Soundtrack for Life

Soundtrack for Life was the name I gave to the 20 cd collection of songs I burned for listening when driving about in my car. Every song I had downloaded from Napster that was ranked 4-5 stars. There were “theme” discs. “Just Been Dumped” heavily laden with Alanis. “Cheer Me Up” with a large number of up beat pop-y songs. “Road Songs” for the long road trip. I still have most of those cds, sitting in a spindle, a tower of archaic media that memorializes a rather definitive point of my life and personality.

I since moved on to iTunes, iPods, and even to buying cds. (Napster and piracy discussions aside, I would rather purchase an album as physical media, but at that stage I was paying 40k a year to study, it wasn’t like I had an excess of cash to spend on cds. Now in my adulthood, I purchase them without complaint, even going as far as to seek out albums I retain from my Napster days to purchase them. It is the way I support the artist.)

Level Design, as a profession, seems like it would be wildly exciting and interesting all the time. Most of the time you would be right. Each new day brings new challenges. However, when deep in the mines of production, you hit a point where everything has been decided. All the challenges overcome. It is now time to build it. When creating the 40th version of an entity and moving it to it’s proper position, the task begins to weary, and you have 100 more to go. When creating a nav mesh, while it is wildly accurate and a great way to solve that issue, it takes time of brainless work from a designer.

This is where music comes in. Headphones keeps others from bothering you. And the music helps the time pass quickly and keeps your focus. I have used music as a way of focusing since speed mapping at the Guildhall. Unfortunately for me, the OS we are using at work is not supported by iTunes. So I was left without music. This lead me to finding alternate means for listening to my music at work.

I have always liked the radio. I don’t like idiot DJs, playing the same song every hour on the hour, and commercials, but I love the mix of music and the fact that every so often I hear something new. So I decided to try out this Pandora Internet Radio everyone kept talking about.

I was skeptical. The immediate barrage of ads didn’t convince me any. So I started with AFI, and hoped to build my channel. It immediately pulled one of my favorite AFI songs and started playing. Then I added a second band, Rise Against. It then played one of their songs I really liked. Then it played another and another… before I knew it, I had added 10 to 15 bands and created what was very eerily a radio station very very similar to my five star list on iTunes.

By the time I reached song 17, I was completely convinced. Only a single song had come up I didn’t like, and to be fair, it was the ONLY song on that particular album I didn’t like. But I hated the ads. So I checked to see how much this subscription thing cost. At $36 for a year of unlimited commercial free music… sold.

Now, several hours later, I am even more convinced. Pandora is an exceptional service. Can I get it in my car, cause that would just be awesome.

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