HoydenSeek’s Weblog

hoy·den: a boisterous, bold, and carefree girl; a tomboy + seek: to go in search or quest of

slacker.com & the slacker portable February 11, 2009

Filed under: Entertainment,Very Good Things — suzanne turner @ 1:59 am

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Website; Handheld Internet Radio/MP3 Player

I know a lot of people enjoy internet radio, and I think a lot of people use Pandora or Yahoo music like I used to… until I discovered Slacker Radio. (Actually, Kim discovered it and enlightened me. Thanks Cheesehead Sr!) Anyway, it has so many great things about it, I’d better get to it.

  1. The site has tons of premade stations, so you can just click one and go. Or…
  2. It also has the option to make your own station, which is really easy. You can start with another station and edit it, or add artists you like manually to build stations for every mood. It’s like an ever-changing playlist.
  3. Whenever a song is playing that you like, you can tell it so. You can also ban songs and artists that you don’t like from ever being played again on that station. So it gets to know what you like and plays more of it. I can’t possibly go into all the details, but suffice it to say that it is extremely customizable.
  4. You can listen to other people’s custom stations, including those made by your friends.
  5. There are comedy stations, both clean and explicit that can brighten any day in a minute.
  6. You can tell it how much you want to be exposed to new artists. It’s a great way to get suggestions. It knows that if you like Jeff Buckley you might also like Elliott Smith and may never have heard of him. Or say you then become a huge Elliott Smith fan… you can quickly make an Elliott Smith station, which automatically plays primarily his music and the 25 other artists most like him. It’s a great way to deeply explore your favorite genres and really branch out.
  7. There are no commercials! That is one of the things I can’t stand about regular radio- half of it is talk, and the other half is nearly all commercials. The small remainder is music. Very rarely on Slacker, there is a little blurb that just says “Slacker Radio” I would say it’s about 5 seconds long. I hear it once about every hundred songs or so. I can live with that.
  8. Best of all, the basic use of the site (unlimited) is FREE. I have never felt the need to upgrade. Though if you do, you can save songs you like to your library, request certain songs to play on your stations, and skip an unlimited number of songs.
  9. Slacker, Inc. Headquarters : 16935 W. Bernardo Dr. Suite 270, San Diego, CA 92127  – Woohoo SD!!!

In addition to the awesome site which keeps you company at your desk, there is also the slacker portable player. Joel and I both opogled these over the summer and finally sprung for them. And we’re so glad we did. I still use mine every day. (My iPod is now my backup player, if that gives you any idea how much I love it.)  Also, if you have an iPhone or Blackberry, you can use the applications without even buying the Slacker portable. Again, the app and the service are FREE. But if you are in the market for a portable player, here is the rundown:

  1. It is great for working out, though it is a little bigger than an ipod. The iPod is still better for running because it fits in an armband. Luckily, I don’t run! 🙂 (Keep in mind, we got the first generation of portables, and they have already since come out with a slightly smaller version.) They have great pictures of it on their site, of course.
  2. It has buttons to quickly let you “heart” or ban a song from your portable stations.
  3. It updates when you connect it to the internet to refresh with the changes you may have made to your stations, and to get new music for them.
  4. It comes with pretty decent earbuds, a wall rapid charger, and a USB cable that connects it to your computer.
  5. It has a library that you can use to store songs from your current music collection. It even has a user-friendly drag & drop method for transferring songs from Windows Media Player right into your portable library.
  6. It has a great big glossy color display that will tell you about the songs and artists.

The minor drawbacks:

  1. The portable is a little larger than I would like, though very light.
  2. I don’t really like or use the protective tough cloth case it comes with, though Joel uses his.
  3. Sometimes it can take a while to connect and update. It depends on your internet connection, but I think it is pretty slow. You don’t have to refresh it all the time, though. It prompts you every few weeks, but you only have to do it every few months. I never get bored with all the stations, so I hardly ever update it.
  4. I wish it had more stations that were separate regarding movies and musicals. I like musicals, but not all Broadway music. And I wish they weren’t lumped together. I also wish they had soundtracks separate from scores…

Obviously, I’m splitting hairs and reaching for cons, but it is to illustrate that I am being thorough. Overall, it is the coolest thing ever. So despite the drawbacks, I still give it 5 hearts. They may even have addressed some of these issues once I got my first edition. 🙂 And even if they didn’t, I would buy it again in a heartbeat… Though, I may have just bought a Blackberry or an iPhone if I had known about the compatability. But the Slacker was cheaper.  🙂

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The Business of Being Born February 9, 2009

Filed under: Entertainment,Health & Beauty,Very Good Things — suzanne turner @ 12:48 am

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Documentary

I gave The Business of Being Born 5 hearts because it is exactly what I want from a documentary: life-changing, enlightening information presented in an interesting way. This film was inspired by Ricki Lake’s (yes, the former talk-show host) experiences during the birth of her first child, when in the hospital she was given little choice in the way the process unfolded. It chronicles several pregnancies of women who have decided to have a certified nurse midwife attend their home births, rather than have a doctor deliver the baby. It is filled with sobering statistics and sensible explanations regarding the correlations between doctor interventions with drugs and the rise in recent years in the number of caesarian sections performed. I think this is something everyone should know about, and this is a great way to find out more. If you have had a child, plan to someday, or know anyone in either of those situations, this should be mandatory. Not everyone may agree completely with the all ideas presented, but having more information with which to make important life decisions is never a bad thing in my opinion.

 

Why HBO Rocks March 27, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment — suzanne turner @ 11:27 am

Well, I don’t know exactly why or how they do it, ok. But here are some of my guesses:

In Treatment – Incredble writing, amazingly deep characters, intense acting – this show’s got it all. I miss it so badly, every hotel billboard we pass on our trip that says HBO makes me want to stay there! (Ok, I just asked and they get it here where we’re staying with family in Helena!!! I guess I’ll finish the blog before I fire up the on-demand In Treatments we’ve missed.)  

Rome – Incredible reseach, superb acting, biggest-budget ever kind of set design… if you’re into history, or drama, or architecture at all, you’ll enjoy it immensely.

Big Love – Such a great premise for drama! One man, multiple women. What could be better? It also strikes a chord with me, as I used to be Mormon, so I enjoy seeing the research they did in order to make the show real. I hope Bill & Barb end up as a monogamous couple in the end, and the other ladies take their own road, but we’ll see.

Flight of the Conchords – Best comedy, I don’t know, maybe ever. Bret & Jemaine have got it going on. Its definitely quirky and silly, but its right up my alley. [If you’re already a fan, also check out the indie movie Eagle vs Shark, starring Jemaine. Think Napolean Dynamite meets Garden State.] We’ve watched each episode many times, and have had the soundtrack in the car for weeks. Maybe we’re too obsessed; it’s hard to say.

Tell Me You Love Me – strangely real drama dissecting the anatomy of love in its various stages – lust, connection, intimacy, alienation, rekindling. It’s amazing. If you can’t get past watching very raw, real sex scenes, this may not be for you. It’s not porn. Porn is fake. Sex is real, and in this show, they’ve done an amazing job of capturing all the moments a couple experiences. I love the journey the various couples make, and the progress, or regression they move through together. The season finale left me in tears and I cannot wait for the next season to start. I wonder if they’ll continue with the same couples, weave in more characters, or just start with new couples. I don’t care, I’ll watch it.

Sex & the City, Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Entourage, Carnivale, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Extras, Lucky Louie – I love these shows when I catch them, but I’m not quite as obsessed as the others. I got into the Sopranos & Six Feet very late, and will have fun sometime going back and starting from the beginning.

Everything Else –  the specials, the movies, RealSex, Cathouse, George Carlin… I love it!! One of the most wonderful specials was The Music in Me, a documentary about children who play musical intruments. It was so inspiring and fun to watch. Robert Wuhl’s comedic take on history is also hugely entertaining while informative.

DAMN that’s a lot of good stuff. I really don’t need TV. I just need HBO. Hmm, now maybe I need Showtime?? 🙂