So, here it is November again. NaBloPoMo. And I have a blog that has been gathering dust. It has seemed frivolous to spend my evenings writing about music in the way that I do when our country’s very existence has been hanging in the balance. Most of the time I just felt so drained from getting through the day and staying on top of what is going on that I had nothing left to say. Also, where to begin? The sheer volume of unbelievable crap, and the dizzying pace that it came flying at us, was overwhelming for someone like me who often used current events to steer my song choices.
Music is still my outlet though and I needed it more than ever. I upped my concert attendance. For a while I thought I might be able to see 50 bands this year for my 50th year* but my budget and family obligations put a damper on that goal and I think I’ll probably come in around half that number by year’s end. In a year that has seen the violence unleashed at concerts reach terrifying new heights, it is perhaps an odd thing to pursue. My children are alternately worried, embarrassed, and maybe occasionally jealous that I go to as many shows as I do but it’s worth it. It’s always worth it. It has never been more obvious to me that life is short and that sharing in the magic that is a really great concert is one of the high points. Especially now.
I don’t know where the forces of evil draw their energy from to keep up the onslaught they are unleashing on us but I know where I go. If I can’t make it to 50 shows, maybe I can at least pump out 30 days of posts to make up the difference.
*Holy crap I had to add a new category – 50s! Gulp!
At first I chalked it up to the cold weather, after all, I don’t function well in below freezing temperatures either. It was working fine and then suddenly not at all. However it didn’t make a difference if the car was warm or the tapes were warm, if they were in the middle or ready to play a full side. I would put the tape in and it would play for a few seconds then auto-reverse to the other side, then flip back, and after flipping back and forth a few times, it would spit the tape out.
I have one of those cassette adapter things that you stick in the tape deck and then plug into the headphone jack of an iPod or your phone. When I didn’t have a tape I wanted to listen to and the radio wasn’t interesting, I’d connect my iPod. Like so many of my things, my iPod isn’t the latest and greatest. It was a replacement Apple sent me for my first iPod (a 4GB Nano, the tall skinny ones) which had some kind of battery issue. I never had a problem with it but they were offering to replace it for free so I took them up on it. I got a newer Nano, 8GB this time, the little square one with a clip. No Bluetooth, no connecting to WiFi. It was good enough for the gym or the occasional plane or train ride though.
When I had new music I wanted to hear in the car, I’d download it to the iPod and then I could pop in the adapter and listen to it. I could listen to playlists that I’d made for friends or family and burned to CDs so I could test them out in my last car (that had a CD player, no tape deck). It was sort of like having the best of all car stereo options, even if it took a little juggling to make it work. There was definitely some primitive family charm about it too.
For a couple of days this past week I didn’t drive my car because of the various snow storms causing school cancellations. When I got in today, I crossed my fingers and tried a regular cassette (a full album purchased new back in the day). It sucked it in and I could see it wasn’t lying flat like it ought to be. Nothing I tried worked. I tried the cassette adapter, which it spat out immediately. I didn’t dare to try one of my homemade tapes because I didn’t want to risk it getting stuck in there forever or eaten. I gave up and listened to the radio. I pouted.
This leaves me with the regular radio and the various music and radio apps on my phone. I have a Bluetooth FM transmitter so I can stream stuff through the car radio. It works pretty well but I don’t keep my music on my phone and my iPod doesn’t have Bluetooth. If you have any radio stations you like, pass that info along and I’ll look for them in one of those apps.
Sigh. People have long asked me how I can stand my long commute and do I listen to audiobooks or something to pass the time. I have only really minded the drive when traffic or weather makes it take much longer than usual or if I have to be at work or home by a certain time and there’s nothing I can do to shave any time off of it. Usually, I have used that time as my indulgent blast the tunes and sing along as loudly as I want to time.
I can limp along with the phone and the Bluetooth set up but if I want to get to a place where I can really listen to what I want in the car, I’m going to need to upgrade something. Either I’ll have to upgrade my Rdio subscription (I currently pay for the web only version – it assuages my guilt of using a streaming service and I don’t have to hear ads when I listen at work) to include mobile or upgrade the stereo. I don’t think you can get a new stereo with a tape deck these days.
It also means Tape Deck Tuesday is on hiatus until I can figure this out. I haven’t completely given up hope of it fixing itself or me tinkering with it in my usual way, but neither of those things is going to happen when there’s all this snow everywhere. I have really enjoyed those little strolls down memory lane and I’ll miss the fun I had sharing the back story of some of these treasures. Fingers crossed that it’s just a temporary problem.