Sunday, June 24, 2012

Can’t Stop The Music

There are so many choices now for ways of delivering audio goodness to one’s ears, regardless of your definition of “audio goodness”. Web based services like Pandora, Slacker Radio, Spotify, iHeart Radio, etc. abound. Hell, you can even still buy CDs or just plain turn on the radio. There are online music stores to buy entire albums, or songs a la carte in digital format. And, of course, if you subscribe to a cable or satellite provider there are music channels in addition to television.

Recently I decided to cancel my Premium subscription to Slacker Radio. With all of the various, free, options out there, I just couldn’t see any justification for continuing to pay $9.99 a month, especially when I don’t even use all the features that Premium gives. It didn’t help, either, that their customer service was, well, lacking. Initially I was just going to downgrade from Premium to Plus (so I could at least keep using the ABC News and ESPN channels). Alas, there was no option for doing so, and it took them four days to respond to my email query, despite their canned response saying I would receive a response within 24-48 hours. In the end, that lack of response, plus a need to trim my monthly budget wherever possible, led to just going back to Basic subscription.

I’ve had similar customer service problems with iHeart Radio. There’s supposed to be a way to log in so you can create lists of favorite stations. I don’t have a problem doing this with their mobile app, but the website totally fails to ever let me log in. Their customer service responded, but with instructions about the mobile app. When I replied that I needed help with the website, not the app, they basically didn’t respond at all. But, it’s free, so whatever. Plus, I can now, apparently, sign in to the website using my Facebook credentials with no problem.

I’ve never had any sort of issues with Pandora. I just find their interface to limiting for my tastes. It’s been awhile since I’ve even looked at Pandora, however, so I don’t know if they’ve changed this or not.

I’ve only had Spotify for a few days, so I really haven’t had to much of a chance to play around with it’s various options. I like that they have a desktop app and that it can also sync with my Windows Media Player library, but the fact that theirs is the only mobile app that requires a paid subscription to use is kind of bullshit, in my opinion. While all the others allow free subscribers to use the the mobile app, I really can’t fathom why Spotify would make that a Premium only thing, especially with Smartphones becoming so prevalent.

So, free, plus, premium - whatever your fancy. Personally, I’m going with the free options because what one only offers under a paid subscription, one of the others might allow with the free option. Maybe it makes me sound like a cheapskate, but if I can use something for free by dealing with the occasional advertisement, so be it.

Whatever method you choose, the music can’t be stopped, so rock on!

~ JC

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Dad’s Day

Today is Father’s Day. Have you ever considered, though, that maybe it should be called “Dad’s Day” instead? I mean, anyone with a penis can become a father, but not every male who has contributed sperm to the production of a child can be called a Dad. Dad is more personal than Father, in my opinion. It denotes caring and that they actively have a relationship with their child(ren). At any rate, Happy  Father’s Day or Dad’s Day, as you prefer, to those who actually deserve it.

~ JC


Sunday, June 10, 2012

RIP Ray Bradbury

In case you had not heard, science-fiction author Ray Bradbury passed away this past Tuesday (June 5, 2012) at the age of 91. A few years ago, I read and wrote a blog about his novel Fahrenheit 451. I hate to admit it, but up until his passing, that was the only novel or story of his I had ever read. I managed to get my hands on an epub copy of Ray Bradbury Stories, Volume 1 a few days ago and have since read a couple of his short stories (‘All Summer in a Day’ and ‘The Long Rain’). I can’t believe I’ve never taken the time to read more of his works. I mean, how can I claim to be a science-fiction fan and not have read Bradbury? It’s like saying you're a fan of fantasy and have never read Tolkien. Now that I’ve read a bit (albeit a very small bit) of his writing, I can’t wait to read more. I’ll start with the collection of short stories I have, and probably re-read Fahrenheit 451, but if anyone has any suggestions out there for what of Mr. Bradbury’s to read next, I’d appreciate it.

~ JC


Other Links: -
(word of warning - I wouldn't play this one at work)

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Sorry Ben, But Beer Doesn’t Love Me

A few months ago, I wrote a blog called “Ben Was Right... Mostly” about a quote accredited to Benjamin Franklin regarding how beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. That post also was about how I had discovered that I could no longer drink beer as it makes me extremely sick. Several people have suggested I try gluten free beer, or ciders, as a substitute. Alas, as of yesterday, I’ve surmised that even those options are closed to me. I recently went golfing with a friend; and event that, in the past, involved drinking beer more than it did actually playing golf. Knowing that I couldn’t drink beer, I bought a 16oz can of Mike’s Hard Lemonade instead. The end result was not pleasant.

By the time I got home, I had a horrible headache and felt nauseous. I went to bed at 4:00 in the afternoon, thinking I just needed a nap. I didn’t get up until 5:00am this morning. During that thirteen hours, I tossed, turned, threw up, and generally felt miserable as hell.

I really wish I knew for certain what happened that I can no longer drink beer, or even beer-like beverages, without getting so sick. It’s odd that I can drink liquor and mixed drinks without becoming so incapacitated. I would think, logically, that it should be the other way around, considering the much stronger nature of whiskey, rum, and vodka.

Whatever the reason, it’s become clear that I shall never be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of a cold beer again, I’m afraid.

~ JC