Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pandora's...Nope. Can't Say That Word Without Laughing. In ANY Context.

I haven’t had a fucking thing to write about for months. More accurately, I've had thousands of things to write about (getting engaged, adopting the world's most decrepit dog and making him fat, decided to buy/shop for a house and looking at several dozen ((mostly mold-infested)) of them, debating the hotness of Prince Albert piercings on hairy guys, surviving the acquisition of the new Transformers PS3 game ((WE ARE CAPTURING MOTHERFUCKING B)), getting married, getting published, starting/joining a writer's group that I nicknamed SOMETHING INCREDIBLE ((after someone else called it that)), surviving pavement ant infestations, tolerating scorpion-cricket infestations, having both of my ((estranged)) parents in the same state AT THE SAME TIME)) lately but am too lazy to actually put those things into the form of a blog post. Or a tweet. In fact, I'm pretty sure Twitter dumped me back in June, although I still have it's mixed tape and a few condoms in my night stand. I have been completely preoccupied with the wedding.

I know, I know...you're all thinking, "Enough about the stupid wedding, we're sick to death of hearing about the wedding, I got married once and I don't suck, so stop sucking,shove your fucking wedding IN MY EAR," but here's what happened: On the morning of my last day of work prior to our wedding day, I was sitting at my desk Attempting to Get Shit Done so that I could miss eight days of work without the threat of returning to find a robot doing my job - or a chimp - and that's the moment when I realized I was DYING to write.

And not just write, but actually blog. I was brain-firing material for TWO DIFFERENT POSTS. Awesome ones.

Brilliant crap just kept popping into my head and I was sitting there like, “DUDE, Catherine. Can’t you see I’m trying to work? BE AWESOME LATER.”

Turns out my material wasn't as awesome as my sleep-deprived Bride Brain had my Funny Bone thinking, but it was SOMETHING, nonetheless. One of the topics that gave me Brain Orgasms that day was the complicated joy that is Pandora.com.

I'll just warn you now that if you don't use Pandora.com to listen to music, then not only will you find this post to be overwhelmingly NOT funny, but it probably won't make the slightest ounce of sense, either.

I made the mistake of trying out the Pandora material on one such friend. Verbally. Without the luxury of ALL CAPS. Let's just say that she was not impressed.

Another friend - this one a faithful listener of her personal Show Tunes!! station, but only when she's not tuned to GLEE!! - sat in her office next to mine and read my one-liners and she laughed until I could feel the spray of her urine on my face from around the corner. So that was encouraging.

Later, I tried it out on another friend who took it upon himself to counter my jokes with his personal jihad in the name of Guarding Pandora's Honor, and repeatedly told me I was both not funny and totally not getting It. Like he thought I might hurt Pandora's feelings.

BUT...IT'S JUST...BUT I.....well FUCKSTIX. I think this shit is funny.

I use Pandora, and while I agree that a web-based radio station that I can change at the click of a button is awesome, I find myself laughing loudly when an overwhelmingly NOT MY STATION kind of band starts to play.

The whole premise of Pandora is that you type in the name of a band or a song that you like, and this Internet software will create an entire playlist based on your choice of that first band or song. It attempts to determine what songs you A) like and B) want to hear, and it attempts to do so without the benefit of your personal Itunes library at its fingertips. This is not like putting your MP3 player on "shuffle" - Pandora has EVERY SONG IN THE WORLD to choose from, and boy... most days are like a game of auditory roulette.

This is why it is imperative that you remain calm at all times when listening to Pandora.com. You must never click the Thumbs Up button without the strictest of prior self-examinations (Do I REALLY like this song?) because that "Thumbs Up" gesture isn't just saying, "Hooray for Pandora," my friend. Hooooooo no.

It's saying, "YES! HARDER! FASTER! Fucking DO me, Pandora!"

If you, in your excitement over hearing a Tool song you love, hastily and without proper consideration of the entire collected works of Tool in mind, click Thumbs Up when Pandora plays Sober, well then...rest assured you will soon find yourself listening to a fourteen minute track of the sound of a spoon being dropped into a bucket full of worms. On Pandora.com, Tool is malware to your ears, as is Dave Matthews Band, Led Zeplin, Metallica, Coldplay, etc. Once they've been Thumbs Up-ed, you will never be rid of them. And I'm also pretty sure they're secretly video taping you in the shower. They're THAT insidious.

Not following?

Pandora's song selections are like shopping for clothes with your mother in law: You make the mistake of telling her you like the little embroidered flower on the butt of a pair of jeans at Nordstrom's and she'll take that to mean that you think the faux-denim button-up blouse with the dogs and cats stitched along the button holes over at Talbot's is something you'd like to try on. "Oooh look at the stitching!" she'll say. "I think you'll love the stitching."

Try as you might, you'll never be able to explain the difference between the two very different versions of embroidery, and therefore you will be forced to listen to all thirteen of Jack Johnson's songs every single day for a week because you once gave a Thumbs Up to a Santana song.

Another example: Lamb of God fan knows that the difference between metal music and emo bullshit is a very thin, smoking-red line. Puddle of Mud is unacceptable, as are Godsmak, Nickelback, and Linkin Park. Unfortunately, Pandora does not share a metal fan's sense of discrimination. Or EAR DRUMS, apparently.

Once, on my Lamb of God radio station, I was subjected to the opening bars of Jay-Z's "Hollywood." I'm not sure exactly what it was about my speed core music selection that led Pandora down the TEENAGE GIRL HIP-HOP path, but there I was: befuddled and bleeding from the ears.

I'm considering litigation.

Sometimes I wonder what songs Pandora vetoes when you click the Thumbs Down button, an equally risky move. The answer is probably "all the good ones", because I'm pretty sure Pandora uses the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon method to determine musical similarity. And when you do frown on a song selection, the way Pandora apologizes for picking that song is just creepy. Giving a Thumbs Down to Pandora is like shoving your way to third base with your clingy, fifteen year old girlfriend, and then telling her it's over.

Inevitably, she'll IM you saying, "We're so sorry! We promise never to play that song again if only you'll just LISTEN TO ME! I'll even touch your penis!"

Sometimes, though...sometimes the damn computer gets it right. During those days when Pandora is on a roll - when it's actually picking songs that you want to hear and that make sense mushed together in the same genre - then you must walk softly and tiptoe around like a sleeping baby. My advice to you is DO NOT PRESS PAUSE. DO NOT GET UP FROM YOUR DESK TO TAKE A PISS. DO NOT COMMENT ALOUD THAT YOU'RE DIGGING THE PLAYLIST THIS MORNING. If you do, beware the "Little Bubbles" guy, and don't say I didn't warn you.