Monday, February 16, 2009

Musical Monday -- Ambient Music Edition

I have to admit that while I love music, sing in the choir at church, and play both flute and guitar (neither one very well any more,) I tend to not turn on music around the house. I attribute this to the fact that as I get older, I have learned that I can only handle so much going on around me, and when the kids were a bit younger adding music to the mix put me on fairly continuous sensory overload. This lead to grumpiness and other negative stuff. So although Roger and the kids listen to a fair amount of music, with and without headphones, I am almost never the one turning it on.

Several years ago when George was still living at home and bought his first MacBook (out of his retail job earnings,) it came with a "free" iPod nano. I've lost track of how many and which kinds of iPods my kids have bought -- Tommy currently has a "touch" model -- and George decided that the free one should be "Mom's iPod." He loaded it up with the music I requested, acquired a cute pink "skin" for it, and gave it to me. And I listened to it maybe 20 times, and that's a generous estimate. Quite aside from the sensory bit, I am not a headphones person, which I've known since I got my first transistor radio back in the late 50's. (Yes; I'm old.) I eventually passed it on to one of the girls. And that was that.

I mentioned that Roger listens to music; usually he plays it from his laptop while he's working in the home office. If I did want to hear music during the day, the office was somewhere something that suited my taste was likely to be playing. Until about a year ago.

Last summer Roger got a new laptop. Because his laptop is his work machine, he installed a particular Linux distribution which meshed with the system his client at the time was using*. Which was great, except that the Linux release had no sound-card drivers for the particular machine he wanted. No sound card = no sound = no music. Even though there are other computers in the office which did have working sound, they just weren't convenient enough, for things like turing the music off quickly if the phone rang. So the office became mostly silent.

And I missed the music. Apparently, with fewer kids at home, my overload was reduced, and I was starting to enjoy having some music around. But now it was gone again.

Last week while I was away helping Arwen while Blaise was in the hospital, Roger decided to update his laptop. The customer he had last summer is no longer in the picture (job completed), and he and Tommy decided that maybe a different
distribution of Linux would solve some ongoing problems with the touchpad. Which it did. And it also had sound drivers! As I sit here typing I am listening to The New World Symphony coming from the desk to my left. I'm delighted!!!

* Tech speak -- don't worry if you don't understand it; I just parrot the explanations they give me.


Jen said...

I like a quiet house too. But sometimes it gets too quiet (the dogs bark at all the outside noises when it is too quiet inside) and I've been wanting some good music CDs.

Lindsay said...

I've noticed that I'm very particular about noise. I do not like it to be 100% quiet, but there are some noises that make concentration on my work impossible. I can't even sleep in the quiet. At all. I need to sleep with a fan going. It can't just be the noise of a fan, though; I need to be able to feel the breeze, too. It's weird. When I work, though, I find that I'll listen to a few songs at the computer during my mini-breaks, and then I will work some more. That seems to be about the right about of motivation without the distraction. I'm just really picky about music and noise. I like having white noise, but if it's white noise, then I'm not really paying attention to it, and that bothers me for some reason.

Anxious personality type much? Sigh.

Ted said...

I was waiting for the, "And then instead of Linux we installed Windows, and beautiful music filled the air again." :-)

PrinceOfTheWest said...

I considered it, but that darn Microsoft Office kept giving me the red screen of death.

Fortunately, Open Office 3.0 is pretty capable.


Rosemary Bogdan said...

It's amazing the music options available today.