Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday's Words for March 18, 2015

I got my very first computer – one that belonged to me right out of the store – back in 2004. That was a couple of years before I wrote what would be my first published novel. This computer was an IBM and had been on sale at a furniture store (a big chain furniture store). Since they didn’t have any more in stock, we got a discount because we were willing to take the floor model.

The staff at the store had installed Microsoft Office 2003 and, they’d downloaded a number of songs into the library of the installed media player. These, they graciously left on the computer. Not only that, they told me how I could download some more songs to add to the library. I did that for a while, but we were on dial up at the time, and it took too long. I think at most the total number of musical selections we had on that computer was about 100. I thought that was a ridiculous number, really. 100 songs? Who has time to sit and listen to 100 songs?

Eventually, as these things happen, that computer died. The next one I got was an HP (all my computers have been PCs, because that was what I’d used at work and what I knew). The only music I put on that computer I uploaded from CDs that I’d purchased at the mall. The media player didn’t tell me how many songs total I had, but there were a few albums that I owned, and had loaded onto my system.

I don’t listen to music every day, and I’m not one of those authors who writes while performers are singing in their headphones. Generally speaking, when I listen to music it’s for relaxation, or for a boost in mood. I discovered long ago that it is impossible to stay “down” when you’re belting out your favorite song of the moment, at full blast.

Flash forward (pardon the pun) to when I got my current cell phone. It’s an iPhone, which has many possible cool apps. Music is one, of course, so I went ahead and got an account at the iTunes store, and put a few songs on my phone. Imagine my joy when I discovered that I could also access those songs from my computer.

Ah, the iTunes store. Has there ever been a more convenient way to purchase music? I prefer to pick up my “iTunes” cards at the grocery store, as I need them, rather than using a credit card to purchase music online.

I’d hear a song, and like it and buy it. Or, I’d listen to a few from one artist’s album, and then buy the album. Easy, peasy. Didn’t think about it much. Also added into my iTunes library a couple of CDs I had purchased at Amazon, but only a couple. I’d started out with mostly country music in my iTunes library. The first album I bought from the iTunes store was Luke Bryan’s Tailgates & Tanlines. Then, I’d hear something and think, oh, yeah, I should get that. Then I began to diversify just a bit. Barbra Streisand came out with a new album, and I had to have that. We watched the movie Jersey Boys, and I was reminded how much I had loved Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons as a teen, and so I had to have all of those. I became fascinated by the BBC’s special recording of Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows”, and so I had to get the original...and several other Beach Boys hits, too, because I’d really loved them as well.

One here, one there, just whenever the mood struck me. I learned how to create play lists, and that’s mostly what I use because it’s easier. I have a number of playlists of songs that I put together. Plus, if I’m in the mood I can go to the “album” section and play a whole album – either one of the several I now have by Luke Bryan...or Blake Shelton or Miranda Lambert or Tim McGraw or Brad Paisley...

Well, do you know that buying one song here and one album there can really add up? I wasn’t paying attention, but I had occasion to look at how many songs I have in my iTunes library because my daughter was boasting to me that she had 200 songs on her iPad.

Over the last couple of years, I have acquired, according to the bar at the bottom of my playlist, 516 songs. That is how many I, as of this morning. By the end of today, who knows? To play them all would take roughly 29 hours—a fact I only know because that same information bar tells me so.

Now, if I could only figure out how to access my iTunes library from my lap top, which I use when I travel, I would truly be in music heaven.


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