Thursday, October 23, 2014

Varied Musical Tastes

Lately, I've not been happy with the music on the radio here in Seattle. Sure, one station has started off a 2 Minute Promise (only two minutes of ads at a time), but that just gets them back to the mostly cruddy hipster music sooner. My daughter and I got burned a few nights ago: another station's DJ announced "great music right after we come back [from these ads]." It turns out we almost finished our drive home, more than five minutes, before they played some pop song that neither of us liked.

I'm always flipping through the presets in our cars, hoping that the next station will be playing a great song. And you know that the expression the grass is always greener isn't always true.  But every once in a while, I get lucky and find a good song. And I'll turn it up.  Loud.

I've realized that music I like falls into some pretty disparate categories. This dawned on me as I was driving back into my neighborhood with Verdi's Rigoletto playing loud enough that the ladies walking on the street could hear it.

The morning before that, as I was driving to CrossFit at 5:40AM in the dark, it was Simon and Garfunkel's Cecilia. It's got such a catchy beat and did a half-way decent job of firing me up. You've got to be awake for 6AM CrossFit.

Bend Ova by Lil Jon has gotten some radio play of late. The thumping bass, the rhythm of the lyrics, the call and response just makes it ripe for being played loud. Just about everything my Lil Jon makes me want to move and I don't have any moves. Warning, though this the non-explicit version, its pushes quite a few boundaries, so its probably still NSFW. Or when the kids are home. See, that's why I play it loud in the car.

And none of these are my favorites or even fall in the same genre as my favorites. You've got to go pretty deep on the independent radio stations around here to hear any Ministry, KMFDM or NOFX.

What song(s) are you going to turn up when they come on the radio that might surprise even yourself?

Thursday, October 09, 2014

If your shower is longer than two songs...

I've recently come up with a small productivity trick. I guess it can even be called a lifehack. I keep my showers short and sweet in the morning listening to music. Yes, listening to music.

I enjoy music. It really brightens my mood or helps pull me out of a funk. My family can tell when I've had a rough day if they come home and some dark industrial is playing. When I stay up way too late coding, dirty dubstep helps keep me going for the long run. I have a playlist (listen to it on Spotify its loud and probably NSFW) that fires me up on the way to CrossFit. A day doesn't go by without music. With smart phones and streaming audio services it makes it that much easier to get your music where ever you are.

I go to CrossFit first thing in the morning and return home to shower, get breakfast and get ready for my day. It's so easy to step into a hot shower and let the water massage my sore muscles and warm me back up again, as we start to get into cooler weather. I could just stand there (okay, sometimes lean against the wall) and let the hot water course down my back. I could do it until the hot water runs out.

I've started playing music (you might recall this post) while I'm in the shower and found that a shower takes less than 2 songs. So, I use that as my benchmark for shower length. Instead of falling into a blissful state of relaxation in the hot water, it reminds to keep moving.

I've been unable to get any of my kids to take on this practice and I've got kids who can just stand in the shower well after the hot water has run out (or at least that's how long they seem to me). But I think it would be a great tip to keep them on task.

Now, before any of you go out and have your kids start this, I've also figured out how to game my own system. Most of the time, I listen to punk songs, which are on the order of 90 seconds to 2 minutes long. But if I want to take a longer, relaxing shower, most dubstep songs are 4 to 5 minutes long.  So, if they start listening to Iron Butterfly's In A Gadda Da Vida (bewtween 8 and 30 minutes, depending upon the version) or Weezer's Only in Dreams (7:59) as their two songs, you'll know they're playing you.