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Into Pandora? Let’s share.

I’m looking to expand my musical horizons. It seems I’ve become so entrapped in the music of my high school and college years, it’s hard to know where to turn for relief. I’ve mostly given up on local radio, and I’m too cheap to subscribe to a satellite service, so Pandora is my outlet of choice.

If you’ve created some cool stations on Pandora, please send me a link. I listen mostly at work, so I’ll favor stations with enough variety to keep things interesting, and enough energy to keep me awake without offending my neighbors.

Need more clues? Fine . . . no hip-hop/rap/gangsta noise. Country is tolerable in small doses. Acoustic rock and folk tunes are encouraged. Easy on the foul language (must be SFW). Other than that, it’s a big, wide world of music out there. Help me discover some new stuff. Surprise me. Impress me. Inspire me.

Sending a link to your favorite Pandora stations is easy. Simply open that station in Pandora, click on the “options” tab, and email it to me. Here’s the address, abstracted to deter the spammers: mn1architect (at) yahoo (dot) com.

I’m really looking forward to hearing from you. Cheers!


I got this idea from a friend of mine who posted the challenge on Facebook last night. I liked the idea, and wanted to try it out here. She’s a fan of this blog, so I’m hoping she won’t mind.

What is your favorite first line from a song? The concept is simple enough. It can be any kind of song – rock, country, blues, even showtunes – but to qualify for this challenge, it has to be a song lyric. No books, no movies, no poetry. We’ll hit those categories another time. Leave your favorite as a comment to this post, and do all of us a favor by telling us the source of your selection (song title, artist), and if so inclined, tells us what you like about it.

Is picking a single favorite too much pressure? Fine. Then just tell us about one you particularly like. I’ll even start the ball rolling with a favorite of my own from the Counting Crows:

“She steps out the front door like a ghost into the fog, where no-one notices the contrast of white on white.”

I love this lyric for the creative imagery, and the mood it casts. With that one line, we can immediately understand that this person either feels or wants to feel invisible, which in turn allows us to speculate on what must be a whole host of underlying thoughts and feelings.

So many of you have introduced me to much of the music that I listen to most often, and I’d really like to hear back from you. You don’t have to articulate about it, just share. Have some fun with it. That’s what we’re here for!

If you’ve read the intro, you’ve likely gathered that I’m an architect. It’s truly a wonderful and personally rewarding way to make a living (though I confess there have been occasions when I’d have been just as happy pounding nails with my skull!) On the better days, I get to use both sides of my brain, tap dancing my way through the worlds of art and science, spirituality and technology. I’ve always known that I wanted to be an architect, and I honestly believe that I was pre-wired for the job. As a kid, I’d watch the houses in my neighborhood being built, and I’d sneak onto jobsites to collect bits of scrap to take home and build with. I enjoyed drawing, and to this day I find it hard to describe things to people without doing a sketch. I can look at virtually any building – any object, for that matter – and visualize how the pieces go together to make it work. Luckily for me, it’s mostly intuitive . . . I see it, I get it.

On the other hand, there are some things that I just can’t seem to get a handle on, no matter how hard I try. One of those things: music . . .

I love music. I feel music. It’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have a fundamental appreciation for many genres, classical to rock, jazz to blues. I can hear how it comes together, I can sense the layering of the composition, the moods and the inflections. But try as I may, I have failed miserably at understanding basic music theory. All those lines and dots on the page make me dizzy. And don’t even talk to me about roots and chords and progressions.

I’m at a loss to explain it. At its core, isn’t music merely an artistic expression of a scientific language? Simple math, right? These are things that I tend to do well with, but it’s difficult for me to study at a piece of sheet music and have any idea what I’m looking at. If I break it down to individual notes, one at a time, I’ll figure out the first line sometime next week. Is it really that hard? Or am I missing some grey matter? I’ve even tried approaching it as if it were a foreign language, but at this point I’m fairly convinced that I could become fluent in Chinese or Arabic, maybe both, in a fraction of the time. Other people seem to pick it up with nary a hint of the torment that I’ve gone through. I’ve watched my own kids learn it. It’s all very humbling.

Maybe this is the “old dog, new tricks” phenomenon. I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that when it comes to music, I’m still, and may forever be, just a spectator.