Saturday, June 06, 2009

doctor doctor

I'm a bit late to Internet radio, via Pandora, which is strange in many ways. I've been a listener and supporter of The Current (MPR) since they swung open their doors about five (?) years ago. With the iPod touch app and/or a laptop we can have great music pumped through the living room speakers whenever we want. The only frustrating bit of listening to The Current is hearing about all the stuff happening in the Twin Cities that you can have no part in. Beggars and choosers. They've got great DJs that hump the bins to find great music; and in the end, I actually like to hear a human voice every now and again. Pandora, even with its missing human voice, is pretty damn amazing. It was created by the folks behind something called the Music Genome Project. Their mission - feel free to read about the details here - is to map every song over multiple specifics in order to match songs to songs for the listener. What's interesting here is that I've had any number of discussions about songs and music (with X and via e-mail with one of my favorite artists) and I have a really hard time explaining what it is that draws me in. Considering that both my daughter, back when she was about 6, and Christine find my favorite music to be, let's say, repetitive, it shouldn't be hard for me to verbalize. Not surprisingly, when I start a Pandora station by inputting a single artist it only takes the scientist inside my computer about three seconds to overload my playlist with all the bands I already own. But, the beauty of Pandora is that I can just let if roll for hours, via different stations (I have ones called Slobberbone, Steve Earle, and Noah and the Whale), and rarely come across anything I don't like. I don't have to swap out CDs (ha!) or make multi-hour playlists from my music collection. The pitfalls? No human voice which makes me feel a bit disassociated after a few hours and there's no real ability, via this genome project, to suddenly pitch some Otis Redding into the middle of my The DJs at The Current are excellent at slipping in songs that are tangential to the artist you just heard: something a scientific approach will never do. Mary Lucia and Barb Abney at the Current are particularly good at surprising you by their mood, not yours.

** On a quick sidenote, Internet radio, whether associated with a broadcast station (The Current) or not (Pandora), is struggling. The royalty cost per song played is about .019 cent. If you like and want to keep Internet radio strong then do your part. Support the broadcasters and keep it active and growing. Pandora offers a yearly membership for $36 a year and that'll cover about 160 songs a month. Obviously, you can listen to way more than that and it's costing you nothing more even if it's costing them more. As for The Current (or something like KEXP in Seattle), become members. Thanks.

What about my pepper mill, you ask? Well, the one I've been using for about four years (it was a gift) finally broke. The pepper mill purchase falls into the same hunting style as my bag: seems I've had hundreds of both and I'll never find the perfect one. I'm happy enough with my Yak Pak and now I'm back in the game for a pepper mill. I've hit the Internet and have a good idea of what I'm going to buy - I just need to find it locally or I'll be waiting a week for it to arrive. How does one cook without a pepper mill? Don't tell me to use something other than freshly ground pepper or you'll be sent away, post haste.

I'll pass along results from our journey.

Hey to all.


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