Monday, July 14, 2014

A few updates

Happy Monday, if there is such a thing.  I hope everyone had a nice, restful, enjoyable weekend.

Wanted to start with a handful of updates on items I've mentioned in this space in recent posts.

First, in the post entitled "Musical chairs" I noted my renewed effort to capture more music that is traditionally of interest to me.  I appear to have now completed my latest mission, as I now have 2452 individual songs in my iTunes library (and that's after deleting a lot of duplicates of the same recording, from "greatest hits" or "essential" collections).

I also neglected to mention one of my favorite streaming music services, Songza, which I mentioned in a direct communication to a good friend who read this particular post.  Songza was in the news recently because it was just announced that Google is acquiring the company.  It works on a context-oriented scenario.  The system will ask users what they're doing (relaxing, working, concentrating on something for work, entertaining, etc.) and then recommend a number of playlists based on that stated activity.  Pretty useful, and, like many other such services, if you don't happen to like a specific song, you can skip it, but only a few times per hour.  And there are commercials, as there are in the free version of nearly all of these streaming services.  I also didn't mention iHeart Radio, which is 100% free and I believe it's also commercial-free.  Give it a look, too, if you're interested in the whole streaming scenario.

As a corollary to all of this, I read recently that people are struggling to figure out how musicians will make a decent living in the age of subscription-based or free music streaming.  If folks aren't buying recorded music, who pays?  Those who do apparently aren't paying that much, it seems.

Another followup near and dear to my heart is that the Cincinnati Reds have climbed squarely into the race for the National League Central Division championship.  After lagging behind the leaders for the first couple of months of the season, the Reds caught fire and have played very well over the past six weeks or so.  And have done so despite more and more players lost to injury, whether on a short- or long-term basis.  My son and I attended a game Saturday night in Cincinnati wherein they overcame a four-run deficit, only to lose largely due to the efforts of a single Pittsburgh Pirate, Andrew McCutcheon (and what an exceptional player he is).

Saturday night also brought another first.  I walked out of a restaurant due to incredibly poor service.  It was after midnight, granted, but this was a burger place that pretty much specializes in late night dining.  Apparently the staff was totally unprepared for the large post-game and post-bar crowd.  Dirty tables, few servers, etc.  We got our table and were not acknowledged for about ten minutes.  My drink arrived but my son's milkshake was missing in action for over twenty minutes.  When it arrived it was thin and runny, and had clearly melted partially.  We simply got up and left.  Never done that before, and won't go back to that location, despite the fact that I like their food.  No matter, there's another location a couple of exits down the interstate.

Finally, to those wondering, I've just passed the two-month mark in my new job.  Like the change very much, and am already feeling far more valued and engaged than in my last position, which I now characterize as simply a bad situation and a bad fit.

That's all I have, folks.  Have a good week!


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