Archive for the ‘iPod’ Tag

The Cool Kids Were Right   1 comment

iPod 1All the cool kids were doing it. I resisted. I was wrong.

Hear that, Velda? I was wrong. I freely admit that.

For years and years, I resisted the idea that lower quality electronic copies of songs was the way to go. We bought iPods for the kids … but I bought CDs. Finally, last Christmas, I embraced change and asked Santa for an iPod.

And I have now ripped 72 gallons of CDs. I know it’s 72 gallons, because that’s the storage capacity needed to keep all of the CDs & jewel cases. And yes, the idea that I’m keeping the CDs is probably evidence that I haven’t fully embraced the digital age … oh well.

I decided to buy library software to store CD-quality audio on my hard drive; I am using JRiver Media Center 18. It allows me to drag and drop playlists, design smart playlists with rules that I write, and play songs by genre and by artist (to name but a few of my options).

13,619 songs are now at my fingertips, wherever I go. There are 17 different playlists, each of my specific design.

And that, my friends, is a wonderful thing.

Ipod 2

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Music To My Ears

Sobbing On An Airplane

JRiver Media Center Software

 

Sobbing On An Airplane   4 comments

XL, A NovelI have no clue where to start, and only a vague idea of where I’ll stop.  Settle in, kids, this one may be rough.

First, I’ll blame Michael.  He got me interested in Bruins Nation, a sports blog for the UCLA Bruins, which is where he gets his Bruins sports trivia.  I subscribed to their RSS feed (I’m not cool enough for a twitter feed), and that got me to thinking … how about my alma mater?  Surely there is a sports blog dedicated to the University of Missouri?  My Tigers???

Mizzou LogoIndeed there is: Rock M Nation.  I began to read, and I am now awash in sports trivia for the two colleges’ teams I follow: Mizzou, where I went to school, and UCLA, where my money went.

One post on Rock M Nation pointed me towards a novel that was set at Mizzou.  It’s written by Michael Atchison, an alum that knows the guys at Rock M … come to find out, he’s a sports journalist who wrote a novel about music.  And growing up.  And being disappointed.  In Missouri.

I’m in.  There’s an excerpt you can read, here.

Meanwhile, back at the computer, I decided to upgrade my music consumption with one of those new fangled iPod thingies.  The lovely Velda gave me one for Christmas.  Perfect!  I had a business trip coming up in January to northern Iowa (the high was 11* while I was there), so I could use the iPod on the trip.

I proceeded to rip the soundtrack of my life.

I believe in purchasing music, by the way.  I have CDs and more CDs.  I do not steal music.  Haven’t purchased digital downloads, as I 1) had no place to put them and 2) I don’t like their inferior audio quality.

I’m an audio snob.  Get over it.

So I made digital copies of music from Carly Simon, Jethro Tull, Tom Russell, Bread, Eastmountainsouth, Chicago, The Beatles, The Stones, Michael Jackson, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Madonna, Hank Williams, Orleans, Martina McBride, Rosie Flores, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Church, Nikka Costa, Pure Prairie League, Clint Black, Nicolette Larson, The Wailin’ Jennys, Frank Sinatra, Wylie & The Wild West, Barbra Streisand, Led Zeppelin, Zac Brown Band, James Taylor, Danni Leigh, Amy Grant and Lady Antebellum. To name a few.  I got on the plane with 11,000 songs.  It was heaven.

My iPod, my noise cancellation headphones, and my kindle.  Three illegal items when the plane is taking off or landing, but, oh, when we were soaring … I was soaring.

I pulled up my nascent playlists.  Funk.  Mellow.  Western. Hits.  ’70s.  Country Stars.  Yum.

I had not had this level of aural control of my environment since I stopped regularly visiting my woodshop … where I have a great CD changer + sound system set up (OK, OK, my garage.  But it IS my woodshop.).  Unfortunately, my last woodworking projects were last spring, and life took some different turns since then.  All good … but I now had my music back, and it was wonderful.

On my way to Iowa, I finished my Poul Anderson series of 7 novels that collected the eon-spanning story that went from the Psychotechnic League to Domininc Landry into the Long Night that followed.  Great space opera, classic, award-winning science fiction, but I struggled a bit to finish it.  The series has been compared to the James Bond series (Ian Fleming introduced 007 to the world 2 years later).  Same dashing hero, same damsel-in-distress conquests. Good stories, really, but not great literature.  I was glad to be done.

On my trip home, I didn’t know what I wanted to read.  I had about 25 novels on the kindle … and I’d forgotten what XL was about.  I needed a change of pace, though, and this unknown author looked like just the ticket.

The music was a collection of favorites.  I jumped around from mellow to party to western to country.  But every tune, every tune, was a favorite.  It was transcendent.

And then the novel took me back, just as the music was taking me back, to the beginning of my college journey in Columbia, MO.  In 1974, I found a creative release like never before … just as David Hankins did in XL.  He met the love of his life, as did I.  He had his dream yanked from him, as did I.  His story might be more compelling than mine, but with my music in my ears, and his story in my heart, I was having a wonderful, wonderful trip.

And then the book turned sentimental, with a character that believed in David dying, and then using his funeral to give even more support back to David.

I sobbed.  In the plane.  Me.  Sobbed.  In public.

Now, I’m not a walking puddle of emotions like Velda.  Her profound leaking of tears at Christopher and Alley’s wedding became the stuff of legend.  She’s probably still dehydrated, 5 years later.  I am an emotional sort, and I’ve been known to shed a tear now and again.  But in public, in the company of strangers, while reading a book?  Not so much.

Until I played my soundtrack, and read XL, and it was simply pitch perfect.

XL’s about many things, but the engine that drives the book is music.  The author says on his website that there are 209 bands & musicians discussed in the book.  It’s about the music, and Hankins has the music in him.  It’s a great read.

You’ll meet David Hankins as he studies journalism at the University of Missouri.  There were a few landmarks in the book that made me feel at home … but the novel could begin at any college, really.  And when David went into the ’80s Goth underground club scene in Columbia I didn’t know if Atchison was kidding or serious.  I mean … Columbia?  A counter-culture?  Really?  Maybe it was there.  I was so straight in the ’70s, I wouldn’t have known a counter-culture if it hit me in the face … which it did a couple of times, come to think of it.

I finished the book after I returned home, and it did not disappoint.  I wholeheartedly recommend it to you, whether you know Mizzou or not.  In the end, the book is just about a guy, that loves a girl.  They both love their family … and his music.

This is Michael Atchison’s first novel, but I look forward to his next. Hope to see you around the Quad, Michael!

The Columns are all that's left of an Admin building that burnt in 1882, are set in the middle of Francis Quadrangle, AKA the Quad.

The Columns are all that’s left of Academic Hall, which burnt in 1892.  They are set in the middle of Francis Quadrangle, AKA the Quad.

Music to My Ears   2 comments

Beatles - I Want To Hold Your HandMy first album was “The Stars Sing!”  It had a treasured cut from Captain Kangaroo singing “Button Up Your Overcoat,” who was of course my favorite TV star.  Jimmy Durante and Cab Calloway were also on it … and I have no idea who else.  Don’t know how I got the album.  It was 1962.

Cyrkle - Red Rubber BallThe first 45 I remember listening to was my sister’s: “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” The Beatles were first, and the British Invasion was on!  WHB-AM/Kansas City was the home of the World’s Happiest Broadcasters.  Top 40 radio ruled on AM.  It was 1964.

Eventually, I would buy my own records.  My first two records were 45s, Jan & Dean’s “Popsicle” and The Cyrkle’s “Red Rubber Ball.”  Clearly, I was an early fan of bubblegum pop.  It was 1966.  What can I say; I was in elementary school and that’s got to be age appropriate.  I was not known as a tastemaker in those days.

(insert your own punchline here)Jan and Dean - Popsicle

It was just a couple of years later that I explored Grandma Shull’s house, and found what was floating in the dust on the 2nd floor of her wonderful old farm house.  It’s when I discovered one of the first music playback machines, the Edison Phonograph.  It played 4-1/2″ wax cylinders, and was one of the first ways that recorded music was delivered to people – in 1887.  And they still worked 80 years later!

Edison Phonograph

In that same room were 3 Victrolas.  I could play the 78 RPM records that Grandma still had … which went on a hand-cranked turntable, with a wooden needle vibrating to the grooves in the record.  There were steel needles available, too, but they were harder and wore the wax away sooner.  The wood alternative was softer and they wore away faster, resulting in lower playback quality.  Lower quality in a Victrola.  Riiiiight.  But it was while playing 78s that I discovered Spike Jones, and my love of the absurd began.  Yes, I blame my Grandmother for my later love of Beckett and Ionesco.  Which started with a Victrola.Victrola

I never bought a reel-to-reel player, and thankfully missed the whole 4-track and 8-track fad.  That was truly awful technology.  Imagine listening to an album (OK, even that seems to be a dated concept these days).  In any event, listen to an album which is divided into 4 equal parts, regardless of song breaks, and then listen to a loud “clunk” as the tape heads change position every 2-1/2 songs.  That was 8 track technology, and it was state of the art for in-car listening for a few years.

Cassettes came next.  The best part of cassettes was that I sold a national sponsorship to TDK Tapes when I was at Six Flags.  That was a 6-figure annual deal, and I loved TDK tapes for as long as that sponsorship ran!  And that was the only thing I liked about cassette tapes.

I wholly embraced CDs … and still have not moved beyond, actually.  I’ve ripped them, I’ve burned them.  CDs are great.  But the world has progressed again, and I am behind in the portable digital world.

So this year, I’m asking Santa for an iPod.  I think it’s time.  Maybe I’ll discover a new absurdity to love.

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The History or Recorded Music

Timeline of Audio Formats

Velda was bored….   4 comments

Sometimes, she just gets these ideas.  I am generally a fan of her ideas … but this time I had no choice.  Lauren was in.  I was, therefore, participating.

Velda loves the things that don’t sell.

We were having a garage sale!

Things to do instead of hosting a garage sale

1. Pile all of your “extra” stuff in the driveway.  Put a sign on the mailbox:  “Take our stuff.  Please.”  Then, go to a movie.

2. Take everything to Goodwill.  Then, go to a movie.

3. Build an addition onto the house so you have more storage space.

4. Encourage Velda’s hoarding tendencies.  Embrace goat paths through the house.

5. Tell Lauren she needs to keep all of her prom dresses, since she no longer has her Beanie Babies.

6. Plan on going to a lot of Hallowe’en parties next year, and wear one of the three colors of graduation gowns in the closet.

7. Go see some AYSO games.  It’s soccer Saturday, after all.  Then, go to a movie.

8. Mizzou has the early game.  Must watch the Tigers!  No time to babysit unwanted stuff to make sure we get fifty cents for everything.

9. The forecast is rain.  Sorry, dear, we have to stay inside.

10. Continue to frustrate your wife.  Move to a motel.

11. Research alternate uses of 20-year old Tupperware.  Make your own reusable Christmas tree decorations with the lovely red and green lids.  And, uh, figure out something for the orange and the blue ones, too.

12. Hide behind the piles of boxes in the garage.  No one will ever find you.

So, like I said, we’re having a garage sale.

The Prep

I do claim to know something about marketing.  Here’s what we did:

  • Ad to run in the Newhall Signal, the local paper, Friday & Saturday. Unfortunately, due to a clerical error on my part, the ad only ran on Saturday.  Good news:  you saved $5.50.  Cost for a one day ad:  $24.50.  It was succinct:  “Garage Sale- Saturday 11/10, 7am. Clothes, books, kitchen ware. *Address* *City* *Zip Code*”
  • Post to Craigslist.  Free.
  • Signs are needed on the major cross streets; park a car at the main traffic junction with signs front and back.  We had to buy signs, packing tape … and masking tape for price tags.  Lauren claimed $17 for this; I’m guessing she expensed a Starbuck’s coffee, too.
  • We got a bunch of change: quarters, singles, $5 & $10.  No sales below 25 cents, we agreed.

5:30 AM (O Dark 30)

We were already on the driveway, setting up tables and moving outside all of the items that we’d preset in the living room the night before.  Lauren went to go post the signs (and tear down the 2-weeks out-of-date signs that were taking up the prime spots on the light poles).

The driveway was set up an hour later … and we had our first customer at 6:30 AM for our 7 AM garage sale.  We started putting up the shade structure on the grass and Lauren started hanging the soft goods at that point.

The Sale

I’m not a garage sale person, so I don’t know much about this sub-culture.  It was a fascinating view of humanity.  A few observations:

  • Three languages were spoken, not including whining and sarcasm.  Welcome to LA.
  • Loved the guy that bought the iPod belt case for his Droid.
  • Highest priced item:  a Nintendo 64 console with bad controllers.  $15.
  • Lowest priced item: Velda’s Food Digest magazines.  She gave them to the first lady that walked near them.
  • No one knew what a cot was.  Didn’t buy them, either.
  • Loved the neighbor that walked over, bought 4 books … and then sent his wife to buy a few for herself, too.
  • People buy used shoes.  Who knew?
  • Coats moved quickly @ $3.  They didn’t move at $5.
  • No one bought Shakespeare.
  • People buy Nintendo 64 games.  One guy collects Nintendo instruction manuals from Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64.  It’s a big world out there.
  • People don’t buy books.  Or, actually, they don’t buy enough books.  Or I have too many.  You decide.
  • Top requests: tools (no, I still use them), bikes (no, not for sale) and guitars (huh?).
  • Big traffic until 10am, and then it slowed down until 12:30 when we shut it down.

The Bottom Line

Total Sales:  $231.75

Expenses:  $41.50

Profit:  $190.25

Posted November 10, 2012 by henrymowry in Living Life

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