I'm For Bikes!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Opening Pandora's Box

Some of you have had the great fortune (or misfortune, depending on your perspective) of reading my posts for a while now, following my weird journey to LIVESTRONG 2010. If you were one of the fortunate ones, you read my post detailing how I killed my Blackberry at the LIVESTRONG Austin event.

Well, let's be honest here. I didn't kill my Blackberry. My atomic SWEAT killed my Blackberry.

Yes, that's right.

Apparently my sweat is so powerful and toxic that it kills high-end cell phones, unsuspecting mp3 players, and innocent reel-to-reel tape machines. It's not pretty.

Okay, I made up the last two...but I really DID kill my Blackberry by sweating on it. In all fairness, I guess it could have happened to any other dumbass who decides to put their phone FACE TO FACE WITH SWEATY SKIN.


Oh, and I don't really think my sweat is toxic. I hope no one else does, either...

So, to refresh your memory, I submit the photo of what my Blackberry looked like upon its death. Warning: if you are at all squeamish or suffer from phonophobius mobilius mortuarius (aka the fear of dead mobile phones), avert your eyes (or scroll down REALLY fast):

{DISCLAIMER: I do NOT condone the photographic exploitation of dead cell phones}

I know, I know. I apologize for the graphic nature of this photo, but come on. We live in the real world, right? Things like this happen, people. Gotta toughen up sometime.

After two days of being without my poor, mangled Blackberry, I had to make a decision about a new phone. I had been considering getting a new phone even before my Blackberry - may it rest in peace - went to its reward. My two choices were the iPhone and the Evo. To go with the iPhone would mean leaving Sprint (which was tempting) and leaving Sprint's unlimited data plan (not so tempting). I'll be honest, though - I wasn't too sure about the Evo to begin with. I really wanted an iPhone, mainly because I already have a ton of super cool apps on my iPod Touch (mostly games), but also because I was getting tired of carrying both my phone AND my iPod with me everywhere. I wanted everything in one nice, tidy, shiny package.

(FYI - when I go to make a purchase like this, I research it like crazy. Ask anyone who knows me - I literally spend hours poring over reviews, asking questions on forums, and searching online for the best deal. See, when it comes to my gadgets, I don't take any crap from anyone. I ask tough questions, and if I don't get answers I'm outta there.)

I visited the AT&T store and spoke to a lady who was very nice, but ultimately it was the lack of an unlimited plan that decided me. Off I went to the Sprint store to check into the Evo.

In a word, AWESOME. I know the iPhone is awesome too, but by staying with Sprint I was able to get the Evo, use my $150 upgrade credit, and not have to give up my unlimited data plan....

...which brings me to the point of this post.

[Fooled ya! You thought this was a commercial for the Evo, didn't you??]

Pandora Radio absolutely ROCKS. I don't know what the radio stations are like where you live, but where I live they do not rock at all. They suck. In fact, they are the very definition of suckage. This is why I hardly ever listen to the radio and, until I found Pandora, was discovering new music by asking my high school niece to recommend music for me. Don't get me wrong - she has great taste and has introduced me to a lot of very cool artists; I'm just very picky about my music so that makes me hard to please.

Enter Pandora.

I actually installed Pandora first on my Blackberry but hardly ever used it. I have the app on my iPod Touch but could only listen to it when I was near a wi-fi hot spot (which was never) or when I was at home and logged into my wireless internet.

Imagine my delight when I was searching for Android apps and found Pandora! And it's FREE! I felt like a kid in a candy store when I opened the app and saw all the wonderful choices available to me. I think my favorites are definitely the Contemporary Singer-Songwriter and Bluegrass channels.

Yes, I admit it. I listen to Bluegrass. I mean seriously, how can anyone listen to Bluegrass and NOT be happy?

Anyway, I have gone from someone who NEVER listens to the radio (unless it's NPR, which doesn't work here sometimes) to someone who listens to it all the time on my phone. The beauty part is, I don't have to carry along a separate music player anymore! I can do it all from my phone!

One of my favorite times to listen to Pandora is when I'm shopping - especially at WalMart. We tend to have an unusually large number of screaming, whining kids at the local WalMart, which makes shopping there a real trial for me. I am continuously astounded at the rude and inconsiderate people who shop there. There is NO. WAY. IN. THE. WORLD. my mother would have allowed me or my siblings to do what some of these kids do out in public. Add screaming kids to the dirty diapers left in the parking lot and you've got a real gem of a shopping experience right there. Nooooo doubt about it.

Oh how I wish WalMart would post signs like this!

This is where my wonderful Bose earbuds and Pandora come in. I slip those puppies in my ears as soon as I leave my car, bring up the Pandora app on my phone, and I'm taken from a shopping house of horror to a blissful shopping Utopia. Those screaming kids disappear and I can go about my business with the dulcet tones of Damien Rice, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, The Script, and many others soothing my ears.

I wonder if I can write off using Pandora as therapy? Oh, wait. It's free. Never mind.

Okay, I know this is supposed to be a training sort of blog, but since I haven't been training much lately I figured I'd write about something interesting. Well, interesting to me, anyway.

No worries, though - my 5K training will begin as soon as I can figure out what's wrong with my foot and I will also be hopping back on the spinner since I'll be putting in some long hours at work and won't have much time to ride outside. I'm starting to get that restless feeling, which is GOOD. It means I'm ready to get back into training mode, and about time, too!

I'd like to say again how much I love reading the blogs I follow. To name just a few, Beth over at SUAR and Steve in a Speedo never fail to make me laugh out loud, Mandy's pics of Bailey and the thriving metropolis of Caratunk make me wish I lived in Maine, and KC and Cynthia are, as always, great sources of encouragement and advice (KC, I'll email you about my foot issues soon!). Big Clyde, Patrick, Maria and Matty O. are wonderful to read, and EVERYONE is such a source of inspiration that I count myself very fortunate to have started this silly little blog and discovered so many awesome people.

Thanks for being there, everyone.

I'm off to listen to more music.

(BTW, I was not asked to discuss Pandora, the iPhone, or the Evo by any of the companies involved, and I'm certainly not getting paid for my opinions!)