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our beloved revolutionary sweetheart

garbanzo a gogo

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I’ll never forget my first Sony Walkman. I hadn’t yet started running but I loved music. It was the mid-70s, and apple was still a fruit. My Walkman was crude by today’s standards — an eight-track tape player discarded from Ronny Lane’s Ford Falcon and a Sears Diehard (bruce willis sold separately). Sure, it was ugly and heavy and looked odd tucked in my cutoff Levi’s, but I was listening to Grand Funk untethered. Life was good.

Thankfully, Sony upped its game shortly thereafter, and the little yellow cassette player showed up. Now, in addition to listening to the horrible sound of my Little Feat mix tape spooling out at home and in the car, while I ran I could do it on the road. Which at last answered the question of what the Evil McCartney was talking about in the song of the same name. Life was good. Except of course for the Evil McCartney, who is just evil. Life was even better.

I found cassettes to be too much work, leading me to decades of finding the Perfect Sony Walkman Radio Thingy. As time went on they became smaller and smaller. I was living in Austin in the early ’80s, providing the greatest radio stations ever to exist. Life was perfect.

I bought the first Sony Discman shortly after its arrival. Featuring an outdoor battery pack that rivaled my original eight-track car battery, its sound was pristine. The only problem being that it skipped constantly while I ran. Police’s Outlandos d’Amour took only three minutes to play in its entirety. But still. No more hiss. No more commercials. No more Evil McCartney. Life was still good.

As my distances got longer, I found the radio was the best option. After an endless series of Sony Walkman Radio experiments, I ended up with a small, squarish thing. FM only, five presets, a local/distant option. Long battery life, good signal. It would become my best friend on the endless South Mountain doubles. Weekend Edition, Car Talk, Wait Wait. You knew how long the run was by how far into the day’s NPR programming you could make it. Life was bliss for many, many years.

And then the whole phone thing showed up. Now I have an NPR app that lets me load up any show. No more getting up at 5 so I’d be at the mountain at exactly 6 a.m. for my Scott Simon greeting. No more concentrating on Tom and Ray so I wouldn’t miss anything. And, given the limitless options, I found myself abandoning it altogether. The spontaneity, the mystery, was lost. Life was not so good.

I have a Spotify subscription now, so I run with pretty much every song ever recorded, with the exception of Camper Van Beethoven and the second Huffamoose album. But there’s no mystery now. No “what the hell was that?” moment when you hear the best song in the world and have no idea what it was. No shift from the classic rock station to the classic country station to the classic grunge hardcore accordion. When faced with a million albums to choose from, I can’t choose. I found myself missing my old Sony Walkman. Life sucked.

And so I was giddy when a review for the latest Sony Walkman showed up on my Facebook feed. It’s been a long time. It must be pretty great by now, right? I surveyed it nervously. Still says “Sony.” Still butt-ugly yellow. So far, so far. Seems like a good running companion, a way to reconnect to my past an hour at a time.

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And then I saw the price.

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I remember my Sony Walkmans tended to have the shelf life of a Milli Vanilli Grammy. I’m a prolific sweater (the air of unattainability), but at 30 or 40 bucks, it was no big deal. $3,198 seems a bit pricey to reconnect with my youth. Life is the worst.

But then I thought to myself, WWDD? (what would dave do). I’ll just paint my iPhone yellow. Maybe hook it up to a car battery, for old times sake, and crank out a couple choruses of Roxanne. Life is good. And then you die.

Now if Camper Van would just show up on Spotify …

 

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As long as you know that you will know synchronicity...that's the important part.  At that price, you don't have to put on the red light, but I think you might want to.  Because many miles away, there's a shadow on the door of a cottage on the shore...of a dark...Scottish Lake...

On a more serious note - have you heard of the iHeartRadio app?  check it out.

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12 minutes ago, Running Loopy said:

As long as you know that you will know synchronicity...that's the important part.  At that price, you don't have to put on the red light, but I think you might want to.  Because many miles away, there's a shadow on the door of a cottage on the shore...of a dark...Scottish Lake...

On a more serious note - have you heard of the iHeartRadio app?  check it out.

oh, i know. but that's the problem. I can now listen to KGSR in Austin and the little outlaw radio station you could only pick up in the hill country and any other station on the planet. But that requires making choices. I long for the days of simplicity, when there were only three stations to choose from and you just switched back and forth. When driving from AZ to Texas, I listen to the radio constantly, swerving from Tejano to country to farm news to modern rock to static. I think too many choices will be our downfall.

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And yes, that's exactly what I would do. Except I'd probably go for 70s before 80s.

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CVB is pretty sparse on Spotify, but you could substitute Austin's Poi Dog Pondering until CVB gets it licensing worked out. And I do miss scanning the radio on a Texas night and picking up the odd Tejano/Conjunto station. (Steve Jordan is the king!) They're pretty easy to find nowadays when I find myself in Texas.

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Lowery hates spotify. I just want those two albums (key lime pie and sweetheart) but he won't allow them because he justifiably is still mad about royalties. which i sympathize with, but i just want to hear jack ruby.

poi dog arrived in austin about a month after i left, a coincidence i am still bitter about.

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23 minutes ago, Dave said:

And yes, that's exactly what I would do. Except I'd probably go for 70s before 80s.

if i ever need my iPhone caulked, i'm looking you up.

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I don't really recognize most of the things you just referenced. HOWEVER, when I first started running, it was with the Discman which skipped all the time. I think one of my iPods had a radio feature?

You'd think for $3200 it would come with a direct line to the artists or at least a virtual reality headset.

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7 minutes ago, DrWhiskers said:

I don't really recognize most of the things you just referenced. HOWEVER, when I first started running, it was with the Discman which skipped all the time. I think one of my iPods had a radio feature?

You'd think for $3200 it would come with a direct line to the artists or at least a virtual reality headset.

no kidding. for that money, i expect the band to come to my track and play. hey, there’s an idea. a marathon with bands every mile along the course. someone should do that!

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I remember a song I heard once about gerbil smuggling. Didn't catch the name of the band though to look them up...

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34 minutes ago, Gonzo Runner said:

I remember a song I heard once about gerbil smuggling. Didn't catch the name of the band though to look them up...

HA! never convicted.

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the pricing of 'digital music players' has gone a bit insane since phones started playing music. I'm hanging on to my Sandisk Clip and Zen Stone players, may have to buy a couple of backup ones as long as they are still available.. like running shoes..

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I had a similar thing happen when I got my kindle.  Instead of going to the bookstore and spending hours and my paycheck, I can sit at home and choose any book I want but I can never find anything to read. 

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8 hours ago, Keep Running Girl said:

I had a similar thing happen when I got my kindle.  Instead of going to the bookstore and spending hours and my paycheck, I can sit at home and choose any book I want but I can never find anything to read. 

exactly! we were loitering at the library this week and i found a book on an old radio announcer staging a coup of vermont. something about holding an actual book. sigh ...

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19 hours ago, doug in co said:

the pricing of 'digital music players' has gone a bit insane since phones started playing music. I'm hanging on to my Sandisk Clip and Zen Stone players, may have to buy a couple of backup ones as long as they are still available.. like running shoes..

no kidding. just find something that works for you, and stop worrying. 

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On 1/27/2018 at 12:21 PM, garbanzo a gogo said:

exactly! we were loitering at the library this week and i found a book on an old radio announcer staging a coup of vermont. something about holding an actual book. sigh ...

I go digitally wandering around Project Gutenberg.. http://www.gutenberg.org/

there are Kindle books there, some of which I doubt even exist in the physical world anymore. Superior Fishing, a jocose account of fishing Lake Superior in the 1800s..

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/55226

Works from 1923 should enter the public domain next year, and can be made available on Gutenberg. This is quite exciting for some of us.. ha.

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