2018

My friends are as into music as I am. It is not surprising that a good one wanted to borrow one of my favorite band t-shirts for a special concert a while back. I have tons and he knows it. His collection is rather meager. Of course, I said yes. What’s a simple shirt between friends? I have a good assortment of these memorabilia items purchased over the years online or at different venues. They remind me of the great music I’ve heard. It is a way to literally stock pile history. Plus, going casual most of the time is my style. I offered my friend a choice of five and he selected my most prized possession. So what is the big deal? The story will unfold.

The problem is that the shirt never came home. It is not that he was lax about returning it or that he lost it in a pile of dirty laundry. He didn’t give it away or use it as a cleaning rag by mistake. The real truth is that he was in a car accident and it had to be cut off with trauma shears (these things: https://www.wardheroes.com/best-trauma-shears/)  by the EMTs so they could see the extent of his physical damage. This actually happened! I can picture it in my head.

I can’t be too bummed about this turn of events since a human being is far more important than any concert tee for sure. I am grateful that he is alive and I can certainly do without one shirt. He was very apologetic when he recovered and offered to replace it as fast as he could. It isn’t available anymore—I knew that—but I indulged him and let him search for it on the Web. It made him feel better to at least try. Finally, he came to the right conclusion and let the issue die. I reminded him how lucky he was that he only sacrificed the tee and not a limb in the accident.

Car accidents can be devastating, often requiring trauma shears or the Jaws of Life. It is a scary proposition. You wonder how firemen use these dangerous tools without cutting something vital in the process. More than once, these ingenious devices have saved lives. People who experience being trapped in a vehicle are willing to let anyone or anything free them as quickly as possible. Cars are known to catch fire in some cases. You have to get out fast.

I don’t keep any safety equipment in my car as I don’t expect to use such last resort gear. I do have some shears among my tools in the garage. I bet it took about five seconds to make mincemeat out of my t-shirt. It is a wonder that my friend walked away with only a few minor scratches. We are celebrating by attending an upcoming concert featuring a favorite band. I will be happy to buy him a replacement shirt.

I had a fantastic music collection at one time, the kind you brag about. It had some very rare items and a variety of selections from many categories. It was thus very comprehensive and something to be proud of. I am lamenting its demise. You don’t collect this much material in a short period of time and it will take a long time to reconstruct. I say this because, sadly, it has been damaged beyond repair. How did it happen? Let me tell you the full story.

I was moving to a new apartment and had packed up a lot of personal things to store at my parents’ house to avoid unnecessary storage charges. Was this ever a mistake! Of course, there was no way to know in advance. I found a good empty spot in the guest room closet, away from prying eyes and hands. Little did I know that an evil humidifier would attack everything with its errant mist. My mother likes to keep things moist in very dry weather as she can breathe more easily. She got a whole house model (like these; https://www.humidityhelper.com/best-whole-house-humidifier-reviews/) and placed it in the guest room in an empty corner. It was pointed right to the closet—just my luck as it turns out.

The darn thing always worked fine until my belongings came to stay. Maybe they annoyed it because it retaliated in no time flat. It leaked and didn’t stop emitting moisture until it ran out of water. It had a super large tank that ran for hours on end. It was enough time to ruin the packaging on the CDs in my collection and some old cassette tapes from special occasions in the past. I had not yet gotten around to transferring them. There was mold everywhere when I came to fetch the collection after I settled in my new place. I had extensive notes and rare album covers from old LPs. All were ruined. These covers are sometimes more valuable than the disks inside. I was aghast.

I rescued some items but the collection never seemed to be the same. Everything looked dog eared and in sad shape. I kicked the humidifier over and broke it in half. It had gotten to more than the music collection (which included old signed sheet music from decades ago), but it was all I really cared about. So what if some old clothes were moldy. I would put them in the wash. I had some posters of famous groups that were ruined by moisture. Not all were framed for protection. By the way, framed photos and posters can show mold even under glass. You just have to know to keep valuables away from an excitable humidifier.

My parents were devastated for me and offered to replace anything and everything. I hated to tell them that it wasn’t possible. They bought me some concert tickets and I pretended to be grateful. It didn’t make a dent in my depression.

While I love streaming music, I’m a big fan of all different types of podcasts, too. Some teach me things or keep me informed, some make me laugh, and others bring me good ideas for new entertainment. Podcasts are sort of like streaming internet radio, except that they are prerecorded so you can often listen to them on the go – at the gym, in the car, and while you’re out living your life maybe without the greatest internet connection. Here are a few of my favorites, and how you can find your own:

A great place to look for podcasts is pretty obvious: the iTunes store. You can subscribe to different podcasts and they’ll be sent to your device automatically as they’re released. For somebody like me, who forgets what day it is, that’s a handy feature. And the best part: most are free, and because they’re downloaded to your device, you don’t need to be connected to wifi to listen to them. I like NPR’s All Songs Considered, which often has new music, guest DJs, and interviews with musicians. Great way to hear great music you may never have heard before and listen to some great conversations. Many of the best podcasts out there will have the NPR name on it, honestly. Not all of them are geared toward obnoxious hipsters who would rather have their news read to them while they sip their dairy-free lattes and eat their organic, artisanal, grain-free bagels.

There’s Podbay, which has podcasts from lots of different providers. You can download the app to both Android or Apple devices for free, but you can’t download the source – you need to be connected to the internet to use it. I think it is a little easier to find things on their website than in iTunes, and is how I came across Song Exploder, where artists take apart some of their most famous songs and talk about how it came about. Super interesting stuff!

iHeartRadio is both a radio station and a source for podcasts. They feature podcasts from various stations they own here, so the site is a bit self-serving, but it does have its uses. If you like stations they own or specific personalities on those stations, it can be worth the free download.

tunein has both regular and premium content. The premium stuff is good for sports fans (they have NFL, MLB, and NBA games) as well as those who like their music without commercials. If you like audiobooks, this is another way to purchase them as well. This is where I listen to Triple J Like a Version, an Australian podcast where artists come in to play one of their own songs, plus cover a song that they enjoy.

There are a lot of podcasts out there. Go take a look to see what you can find, then try out a few. Afterward, come back and let me know what you find in the comments – maybe we can help each other discover some new things!

The worst thing happened. No one died.  I missed a concert, not just any concert but my very favorite band. I was so miffed. I had spent a bundle on the tickets to get the best seats. I got there too late because I overslept. When I looked at my watch it read a few hours earlier. The battery had died and the dial misled me into thinking I had time to spare. I nodded off, got up, drove to the venue and went home in a funk. It was a dismal night. It is time to get an automatic watch – but first to read more about them in Timepiece Quarterly! There is no better reason and I don’t care what it costs.

An automatic watch won’t let you down. No more batteries to replace every six months. I always lose them and forget how to do it. Getting a new device of the right type will prevent another tragedy from happening. The worst of the matter is that while the group was playing another night, the tickets on the resale site I use were horribly overpriced. With a great review, the second performance was sold out in minutes, leaving only a few scalper tickets. I became the owner of one. I revved myself back up to my previous state so I could enjoy the show to the fullest, with no memory of what I had missed two days before. I had a whole in my pocket having bought two tickers for the same group. Life is tough!

Given that concerts are among the great moments in my life, I couldn’t miss this band because of a stupid watch. They won’t be back in this area for ages. The thing with watches is that when the battery is low, you don’t know. The watch just stops. With a top-tier automatic you can set the watch to several time zones. That may be overkill, but I wanted the best. No, I did not get the Rolex steel and 18 K yellow gold men’s submariner automatic blue dial watch at $11,000. I got a close second at $300—ha! That’s more like it. The Anatol automatic was the same as the Stuhrling but I like the looks better. It is a matter of individual taste as most of these watches perform superbly. The reviews were great showing long-term user satisfaction. It is an exquisite timepiece with automatic movement in a stainless steel case. It has what is called a skeleton dial. You have your choice of straps or bands. It is water resistant just in case to 50 meters. I like the shape of the case, the push-pull crown, the crystal dial window and just about everything else.

With my new watch on my wrist, I feel more secure about making dates and appointments. I will never again experience the panic of driving to a venue and seeing the parking lot empty.