Monday, April 19, 2010

Arlington Update: Jamming Out

After surviving my stem cell transplant in 2003, my dad’s coworkers scrounged a few hundred dollars for me to buy myself a present. I chose to spend it on something practical. I narrowed my options down to the following:

Old-fashioned popcorn machine
retro popcorn machine
Snow cone maker
retro snow cone machine
XM Radio
Delphi XM satellite radio
At that time XM Radio had fewer than 1 million customers, but JD—always one of the first to adopt new technology—had bought a unit for his Wrangler, and I loved it. The commercial-free music, clear sound, and plethora of sports channels gave XM a slight edge over popcorn kernels. I splurged on the Delphi SkyFi car unit and home boom box.

Throughout my six years with XM, I had only two qualms: no modern, hard rock station, and no mainstream rock station. I could only take so many ‘90s alternative and Shins/Killers/Muse-type songs. I voiced my concern to XM in an e-mail. “As an economics major I don't see why an upgrade can't be made,” I wrote. “The cost of changing the music selection pales in comparison to the fixed costs of the satellites.”

He lost me at “fixed costs” and didn't respond.

When I moved to Arlington, I cancelled my subscription to XM because of the county’s vast public transportation. Though I miss it now, at first I enjoyed flipping through commercial- and static-ridden FM stations. It reminded me of the old days.

I also realized that XM lacked one more key station: an equivalent to Hot 99.5. Shockingly, even 99.5 doesn’t play the hot new shit enough for me, so I created a playlist on Grooveshark dominated by Justin Bieber tunes. Don’t be ashamed if you have to Google Justin Bieber—I did the same thing when I kept hearing his name mentioned. Trust me—he’s worth the hype.

Keep in mind, though, that this is coming from someone who outright purchased two Britney Spears albums. Let that soak in before judging me.