Posts Tagged ‘sirius’

“If you can be lonely, you can be free.” ~ James Taylor

I was listening to Artist Confidential on the Sirius Coffeehouse channel yesterday which featured a one hour Q & A with and live acoustic performance by James Taylor. I’ve always enjoyed the smooth acoustic quality of his voice and his song writing style. It was a very personal interview and performance. The question was asked what advice would James have for new artists trying to make a career as a professional musician. James said that it used to be that there were a million people trying to get into the room, but now there are a million people in the room trying to be heard, due to the changes in recording industry and the internet.

He said that you have to learn to live as simply as you can with as little as possible while you’re trying to get started, specifically 1) avoid developing a major drug habit which consumes your life and talent, 2) put off having children until you’re ready for the responsibility of a parent, and 3) avoid getting yourself overloaded in debt. Then he went on to summarize by saying, “If you can be lonely, you can be free.”

I understand what he meant in the context of what he said, but it has huge implications beyond aspiring artists and to life as a whole.  There have often been times in life when obligations and expectations can be overwhelming and suffocate you. There are times when you just want to run away from them all and lighten the load on your shoulders, if even for a little while. The truth is that relationships carry responsibilities. They require effort, availability, and vulnerability, and when either of those essentials is lacking the relationship suffers. I suppose that statement could well be reversed to say, “You can be free, if you can be lonely.” 

I’ve always immensely enjoyed time alone, solitude and silence are nearly priceless in today’s culture, especially given the noise level, but after awhile silence can become deafening. Being a father, a husband, a son, a brother, and a friend comes with responsibilities, none of which lend themselves to neglect for long. I suppose what I’m getting at is that this quote is as much a warning as a poignant observation. The freedom that you may long for, the grassy hills that look so green in the distance, is a barren lonely place that you get to only after paying a price. Instead, we should learn to cultivate our own space, our own person, and attain a measure of freedom within our circles of responibilities.

I do an obscene amount of driving with my job. I typically travel 2-4 hours from home and make anywhere from 10-20 sales calls a day. So basically, I’m in and out of my car all day. I also waste a lot of time trying to find places. I finally got a GPS navigator this week. I don’t know why I ever tried to do this job without one before. I bought a TomTom One while it was on sale at Target this week.

I’m sure the more expensive models have extra bells and whistles, but the TomTom One does everything I need it to do and more. It’s ready to go right out of the box preloaded with maps of US, Canada, and Guam. There are multiple ways to find your destination with an easy to use touch screen menu. You can calculate the fastest, shortest, etc. route then you’re off with turn by turn voice directions from your choice of several personalities. What I really like is the Itinerary Planner, which allows you to input multiple destinations, sort them, then visit them one by one. It only takes a minute or two to key in a day’s worth of stops for me. The screen is plenty large enough for me and very bright. It is compact and lightweight and conveniently mounts on the windshield. It’s also powered by an internal rechargeable battery, allowing you to put the cord away if you like. You just have to remember to keep your eyes on the road.

SiriusMy iPod has helped me keep my sanity on long drives to and from towns that I work in. I get so tired of scanning radio stations for decent music. I had thought about getting satellite radio but never checked into it. My friend got Sirius not long ago and liked it. So when I saw everything you need in one box for $39.00, I joined the bandwagon.

I got the SIRIUS Stratus plug and play tuner. It’s really compact and easy to use. Installing it was a piece of cake. I opted against installing the FM trasmitter extension antenna. My radio picks up the signal fine without it, but I’m using a cassette adapter instead. I’ve been using a Monster FM transmitter with my iPod for over a year now, which works great, but while you’re traveling you have to change channels often as you go through one town after another. The cassette adapter puts out a much clearer and stronger audio feed than either the Monster or Sirius built-in FM transmitter.

The channel line up for Sirius is pretty strong. There’s plenty of music, sports, talk, and variety channels to pick from. It’s really convenient to browse by categories of channels rather than just having to flip through channels or look one up on a channel guide while you’re driving. The sound quality is really good. I’d like to get the home adapter kit, so I can pop it out when I get home and use it on the weekend. Once my kids find out about the kids channels I may never get it changed again when they’re around.

With these new gadgets to play with, I’m just wondering if my iPod might start feeling neglected.