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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Open Letter to my Musician Friends

ImageDear Friends,

Recently, a good friend of mine who also happens to be a musician, criticized me for being a subscriber to Spotify. I can’t say that I fall into the majority of Spotify listeners, but I want to defend my choice to listen to Spotify on behalf of him and all independent musicians.

I understand that the number of “plays” on Spotify only amounts to pennies per listen for musicians (so I do understand where my friend is coming from). However, it is the very largest database of independent musicians out there where you can listen to the entire album of a particular artist before making a decision to purchase their songs, and it has introduced me to very similar musicians I’ve never heard of based on what I enter into the search criteria (and way more accurately than last.fm or Pandora).

The best example I can give is The Black Angels. I’d never heard of them before I searched the “Related Artists”  section of Radio Moscow. I was introduced to Radio Moscow through the collective iTunes folders at my last job and when I searched for additional Radio Moscow albums I wasn’t familiar with, the “Related Artists” section pointed me to The Black Angels. I actually loved Black Angels (they are now my favorite current band)  much more than Radio Moscow (which is saying a LOT, because I’d travel 6 hours to Kansas City see Radio Moscow!!) Not only did I end up purchasing everything Black Angels ever produced, I have also paid for concert tickets to see them in Chicago with Spindrift (I’ve also purchased all of their albums) & I hope to be healthy enough to see the Black Angels again with the release of their new album this spring. (I also purchased entire albums of Radio Moscow, Bowerbirds, Lumineers, Foster the People, Devil Makes Three, Gary Clark, Jr., White Rabbits, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Divine Fits & others based on either radio exposure to a song or two and/or bands who performed at Lollapalooza 2012, just because their albums were so solid on Spotify.)

I have also used Spotify to hone my choices in purchasing music where I am infatuated with a song or two, but the rest of the album is lame (in my opinion). Again, I introduce Florence + the Machine’s and also the Wallflower’s 2012 albums. For those two artists, I only liked a couple of songs. I purchased the songs I liked, but not the entire albums in those cases. I *would* have been tempted to purchase those two artists’ albums over other lesser known artists solely based on prior releases. Ultimately, I would have wasted my money. I only purchased one of Wallflowers and also two of Flo’s songs at $1.29 each, based on my listens at Spotify where none of their other songs grew on me, despite repeated listens.

In a nutshell, I am a music-a-holic. I LOVE music and would much rather have music playing than talk radio or television. I’ve been a member of Spotify for a year and a half & about 95% of the music I’ve purchased and the concerts within that timeframe that I’ve attended are a direct result of Spotify.

In other words, I will continue listening to Spotify without shame. If I like an artist or a band and I truly believe in their music, I will purchase their songs and/or full albums, regardless of their exposure on Spotify. Spotify just happens to open doors I wasn’t even expecting to approach. If you also subscribe to Spotify, I would like encourage you to click on the “related artists” tab and follow your friends’ favorite musicians to open your world to new sounds. Then, if you truly love a song, or an album, I also urge you to purchase a download or entire album of those artists no matter their top 40 hits status.

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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Early to Bed…Early to Rise

I don’t know if waking up early will make me any wiser, but I’m hoping it will make me more focused and organized.

I haz issues. Lots of them, apparently. After being diagnosed with CFIDS, chronic migraine, sleep apnea, severe dry eye, parotid gland infections, chronic sinus infections, chronic pneumonia & even hypochondria the past ten years, I think I was finally diagnosed properly. I have an autoimmune disease called Sjögren’s Syndrome and now that I know for sure what I’m dealing with, it has become necessary to change my lifestyle.

1. Insomnia. I’m a horrible sleeper. I go to bed late, toss & turn throughout the night & find it hard to wake up in the morning. Fatigue is a real thing, and it has been absolutely crippling the past four weeks because I have the shingles too. One of the things my rheumatologist, other Sjögren’s sufferers and the online research indicate is that I must develop better sleeping habits. Therefore, I think I shall be doing yoga right before bed followed by a shower and I should also set a bedtime of 10:30-11:00pm. (Trust me, this is way better than my usual wee hours!) I also find that I fall asleep easier to a couple of guided meditation CDs I have, so I’ll use those as well.

2. Medication. I hate taking medicine and vitamins. HATE. I am now dependent on medication to get me through day by day. And, I’m lousy at remembering to take it when I’m supposed to. I need to remember that my illness not only affects me, but it also affects my husband, daughter, co-workers and friends too. I’ve made up a little chart to help me remember to take my medicine and I’ve purchased moisturized eye drops to keep at work, just in case I forget to carry it with me. (EDIT: I am allergic to one of the new medications. Lovely. I now have hives on top of the shingles. I am one itchy owie grouchy mess. The medications will be adjusted soon…)

3. Stress. I know, it’s unavoidable, but my approach to life could use some improvement. In addition to yoga & meditation, I have another stress outlet: writing. Julia Cameron suggests writing 3 stream-of-conscious pages every morning, to get all the junk out of the way. All the whiney “I feel like dirt this morning,” “I hate my job,” “I have far too many things to accomplish today,” etc. Once those whiney thoughts are off your chest, it frees you up to look at life a little more realistically, not to mention it opens up your creativity (which is Ms. Cameron’s intent) and for me, it keeps me focused on my goals.

4. Diet. Now, more than ever, it is important to follow a healthy diet. Moderation in everything I eat and drink…no more binges! No more whiskey weekends, chocolate frenzies nor food comas. More veggies and fruits. More water. Less sugar & refined foods. I don’t eat horribly and I love fresh foods, so this shouldn’t be so hard. I’m already 18 pounds down for the year, and being more mindful of what I put into my body can only help get me all the way to my goal weight (I am about halfway there!).

5. Exercise. I’m somewhat limited in this arena because of a herniated disk in my low back, but there are plenty of things that I can and should do regularly. Walk my puppies! Hike (My dog Reno especially loves the woods). Dance. Yoga. Low impact aerobics. Swimming (which I am not a fan of, but maybe I can learn to like it more). Biking. I generally have a great walking routine, so now I just need to be even more diligent and incorporate all the other stuff too. Even though I have two left feet, I LOVE to dance! I’m also thinking of taking a t’ai chi class. I’ve never tried it before, and it looks like fun and something that would tie in well with the yoga.yoga-pose2

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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