One of the benefits is being able to get a six pack anytime I want without having to walk more than 30 ft. That's what I was up to tonight. I walked in, it's a Weds so the place wasn't seriously crowded, and there were the usual suspects of older yinzers and bike kids sitting at the bar. Only something was different. They were all glued to the television screen. They weren't watching a game, it wasn't a crazy news story, it was America's Got Talent. And one of the finalists is this 10 year old opera prodigy, from somewhere near Pittsburgh. You can see a clip of her singing here. She's fierce.
So there was this girl, performing an aria, and doing it beautifully, and the ENTIRE bar was absolutely enthralled. I can't emphasize enough that this was a) the last place on earth I'd ever expect to hear opera, and b) the last audience on earth I'd ever expect to see enjoying it. I almost had to laugh, except then I got caught up in the performance too.
Music. How awesome is music? How often do we even ask that question? I feel like music is discussed and talked about and judged a lot, but when do we really sit back and ponder the enormous amount of awesome that comes from music. Music makes you so present. You know those moments, when you suddenly stop thinking for a few seconds? Where everything is just good, and you are in such sensory overload that you can't think of anything but the very present? I assume that's the moment of Nirvana one looks for in meditation or while practicing yoga.
I, along with most of my generation, and everyone else in cubicle nation, listen to music almost all of the time. I have my itunes library of course, but sometimes I'm sick of it, or am not in the mood to decide what I want to hear, and so I turn to the myriad number of sources of radio on the internet. They all have their pros and cons, but I use them largely depending on my mood.
The old stand by. Pandora is what I turn to when I know roughly what type of music I want to listen to, but don't want to worry about making my own playlist. They do it for you. Pandora is great for long walks, running, or working on something that requires some concentration so that you want to hear the same type of music for a prolonged period of time. You can also look up all kinds of music. For example, when I'm super stressed at work, I'll put on my Gregorian Chanting station and will be provided with hours of chants if I want. (stop rolling your eyes, it's super soothing!)
I recently went back to using blip.fm after a long hiatus. Blip.fm is for when I know exactly which song I want to listen to. Usually a song that I don't want to take the trouble to buy or download but want to hear. right. now. There's the whole following thing, and they keep telling me I have points, and I suppose the competitive edge in me should be more into that, but I haven't bothered. Mostly I just look up what I want and then it's saved to my playlist, which at this point looks like it was put together by an ADD raddled teenager, and features things like R Kelly followed by Sharon Jones followed by Blink 182 and finished off with Feist.
The sixtyone is where I turn when I have no idea what I want. The sixtyone allows anyone or any bands to upload their tracks so you can end up with a mix of signed artists, and groups recording in their living room onto their macbooks. The sixtyone allows you to skip as many times as you want. You can save songs to playlists, you can "heart" songs that you like, and as you use it more, you are rewarded with increased levels. The dangerous thing about the sixtyone is that there is a lot of bad music out there, especially when there's no screening system. The good thing is you get exposed to groups you'd never find. My favorite band I've been introduced to through the sixtyone so far are My First Earthquake. Awesome Pittsburgh group Big Hurry has been featured on their homepage a couple of times now. You'll get a little bit of everything, but you might find something you like.
There are feelings you get—rushes—after you engage in certain activities. These activities often leave you feeling happy, and sweaty. Like running and you know, the obvious one. They are not meant to stimulate your mind. They're just supposed to make you feel f***ing great. The thing about music though, is that at its best, it leaves you drunk and smart. You feel all boozy without the hangover; you get a lesson without the lecture.