Other than William Shatner, my first real love was music. Particularly the The B-52s. Ever since their appearances on Saturday Night Live in the 1970′s. I will never forget the plinking on that ridiculous toy piano ala Schroeder. I was hooked. The only band whose complete work is in my collection. First all on vinyl, then replaced all with cassettes, and eventually with CDs. Of course now, they are all on MP3 for my enjoyment everywhere. This love culminated in an amazing road trip to see them perform live at The House Of Blues in Chicago in 2010.
Like a lot of moms, I had many what I like to call “dry years” during my first marriage. Those were the wonderful years devoted to raising my children. During that time, my world was very small, and I let the pop culture of the day including music pretty much pass me by, as I was otherwise engaged. Raffi, Disney soundtracks and Sharon Lois & Bram filled our house with music in those days. Sometimes, I listened to the radio. In a city with less than a handful of stations, that doesn’t expose a person to much.
It was quite a long time before I rekindled my love affair with music, but, of course, I still had my crate of records. I will never part with those. My world opened up in all kinds of new ways when I was single and on my own again. I wanted to do and see more. I wanted to hear more. Someone told me about Pandora Internet Radio.
I had no idea what the Music Genome Project was. I still don’t. It sounds like something scary and microbial that could kill us all. Something Ray Bradbury may have written about as a cautionary tale to just STOP PLAYING GOD already and live more simply. Or maybe it’s cute little amoeba like thingies getting jiggy wid it in a petri dish, while all the brainiacs in white coats say “Awwwwwww! That’s adorable!”
Radio that you make? Radio you can change? Radio that instinctively knows what you like? How can that be? Based on what? I’m not going to tell you, because it’s kinda long-winded and technical. But if you must know, you can click here to read all about it.
Well readers, when I opened Pandora’s Box, it was like I had opened Pandora’s Box. I have been listening to Pandora for such a long time, that I used to get emails, bulk emails, but emails nonetheless, from Tim Westergren, one of the founders of Pandora. They were pretty casual. “Hey, we’re getting together in Omaha for a chat with our members, you wanna drop by?” Stuff like that. I think at that time they had around 150,000 listeners. How I ever found out about them so early in my redneck corner of the world still eludes me.
Since those early days, I have become what can only be referred to as a Pandora junkie. I am a text-book dream listener for the Pandora brain trust. I listen so much that now they make me pay. But for a mere $3 a month, you can’t get a better deal. Not only do I now have no ads, but I have unlimited stations.
I listen on my pc at home, on my internet TV’s at home, I have been banned from listening on my pc at work, as I was found to be the company bandwidth hog after much ado. So, I plug my Droid into my computer speakers and use my OWN bandwidth–too bad co-workers. I sure hope you like Steam Powered Giraffe, cuz that’s what I’m in the mood for today. I have an entire WORLD of music at my fingertips now, so YOU can enjoy my love of Rosemary Clooney with me if I chose to let you. Aren’t you people glad you don’t have to share an office with me?
There is no end to my music variety. Internet radio will kill CD sales you say? Not so much when you have a dork like me with my “Pandora Rule Of 5″. I see your eyebrow go up over there. What is the rule of 5 ,oh wise one? you ask. Well, remember that handful of CDs I grabbed from my past life with my clothes and a card table? Just look at my collection now.
For more seasoned audiophiles, no scoffing please, I know the collection is not impressive. But from 5 to that in three years time is quite a jump. You can’t even see the ones that were simply downloaded straight to my shiny Droid. The rule of 5:–If I give a Pandora “thumbs up” to 5 songs or more on any given album, I buy it. I must buy it. It is required buying. Did I mention that I have to buy the album? Put that eyebrow down already. It’s good to have goals. “You’re Welcome!” to all the up and coming artists I have fed and clothed five and ten dollars at a time.
Being exposed to new artists puts me on the cusp of tomorrow’s music scene, ya know. Which gives me one remaining apron string choke hold on my children. When my progeny visit for a free dinner, and we talk about music, which we always end up doing, they might ask “Hey, Mom, have you heard of The Shins?” To which I answer, “Why, of course, darling, I have all three of their CDs. Shall we burn a copy for my little man before he goes home?”
Pandora helps me keep my pole position of Coolest Badass Mom On The Block, even though all of my children have grown up and moved out. Take your Rice Krispie Bars and shove ‘em June Cleaver. Kiss my droopy old butt, Donna Reed. I rule.
Since I do most of my listening on my cell phone now, Pandora is truly my pal. Like my teddy bear, it goes with me everywhere! To the shower, the sewing room, the scary basement, the junk yard, the mini golf course, the bowling alley and the Fortress Of Solitude. I even had my buddy Pandora in mind when I bought my last car. (Think of the “Build a house around this faucet” lady in the commercial) It has an auxiliary jack so one little cord is all it takes to make Jim Nabors belt “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” out the ass of my kicking 6 speaker Bose stereo.
As luck would have it, once again I was on the side of the knife that does NOT have the cutting edge. I work at a dealership as many of you know. Right after I bought my shiny new car, the salesmen started being trained via the interweb on the new models with Pandora pre-loaded into the navigation screen. Grrrr!!!! This is one I will just have to skip. I will wait to upgrade until they can implant a chip in my head. Then all I will have to do is shake my ponytail to get me some K-Pop.