For some strange reason, our office is piping in Classical instrumental music through the speaker system. And its really irritating me.
I don't like Classical music. Never have. It makes me violent, homicidal, and irrational. I get agitated, I get the jimmy legs, and my back goes into spasms. If it continues, the skin on my face splits, until there's nothing there except the skull. Fire shoots from my eye sockets.
Let me tell you, the plastic surgery bill to fix me up after one of those episodes is outragious. A few years back, it happened three times in a short period of time. My conniption insurance was going to drop me for "unnecessary and avoidable abuse" of the policy. I had to switch carriers.
And now, in my work environment, classicial music. Good lord. Some days I wonder why I even bother styling my hair.
So I bought an XM Satellite Radio to drown out the sound of the classical tunes. Now, you might ask, why don't I just bring my iPod?
Well, that thing only holds 12,000 songs, and I get sick of them. I'm not one of those people that can listen to the same songs over and over. Even the 6500 tunes I have on the iPod, I've heard them all too much. Its too predictible. I need excitement.
For a scant $9.99 a month, I get 120 channels of commercial free tunes. The hardware was free; I used my christmas gift card at Wal-Mart to buy the Roady2 radio.
When I bought the radio, I was told it would never work in my office. Officially, XM tells you that a window or some other direct line to the Southern sky is necessary to get the satellite signal.
Hong Kong Phooey, I said. It'll work.
And I'm just ornery enough to give it a try. If it doesn't, I'm out a couple hundred bucks, but I get a good story. Sounds like a good deal.
I went online to do some research. I might be impulsive enough to plop down cash for something on the spur of the moment, but I am also college educated and like to have at least a little research on my side. What I found was not encouraging. Seems just about everyone who had tried to get XM in their office without a direct shot at the South was SOL.
My office sits facing due north, with no direct sightline to the South whatsoever. As a matter of fact, there is every obsticle known to man between me and the windows facing south. Six cubicles with electronic equipment in each. The mailroom. The hermetically sealed computer room. The bathrooms. And then the corner offices, whose windows face outside to the south. So about 12 walls between me and the majesty of satellite radio. Ain't gonna work.
I brought it in, and sure enough, I get the dreaded NO SIGNAL on the display. Drats.
But I got to thinking. This thing likes the South. If I can't bring it to the South, I'll bring the South to it! So I affixed a Confederate Flag decal to the antenna, and started calling the radio Robert E Lee. And Ipso Facto, the damn thing started to get a signal. Full strength no less. Three bars!
Proof once again that I am the smartest man alive. Or at least the only man dumb enough to actually believe he's the smartest.
Actually, that's just a funny story, and not the way it actually happened. I did get it to work through all the walls, but it took some engineering and jerry-rigging. I used the Satellite Finder utility, and repositioned the antenna a centimeter at a time in various directions until I got a signal. Yesterday, with the rain we were getting, the signal fluctuated between 2 bars and 1 bar -- but the sound only dropped out a few times in the 9 hours I listened. Very impressive. Today, with the atmosphere a tad clearer, I've had full strength all morning.
So I would say the myth that you need a direct sightline to the South to pick up XM is not true. Or, at least, not always true. Because I could not be farther from having that, and I can get a full signal.
And in Omaha, we don't yet have Terrestrial Repeaters, those ground anntennas that catch and rebroadcast the XM signal locally. So far they are in most major metropolitan areas, and particularly in downtown areas where tall buildings block satellite access. So with no Terrestrial Repeater, and no Southern sky access, I can get full power? My thoughts on all those people that can't get a signal is that they just aren't trying hard enough.
Yes, David, Affluenza. I know. You don't have to post a comment on this one. Sorry.
I'm a big fan of the XM station named "Lucy" -- classic 90s alternative. Sneaker Pimps, STP, Pearl Jam, Talking Heads, Green Day, Weezer. If Omaha had a station like this, I wouldn't have to get XM. But I probably still would, because all those horrible commercials for Release: Weight Loss That Works! drive me more nuts than classical music. Good lord. Its called exercise and a balanced diet, folks. Give me the $125 that Release costs, and I'll personally come bust your ass out of bed and get you to the gym.
Though "Fred" is good too -- new & modern alternative. This is like Omaha's 106.9 The City back when it was still around. I miss that station. Nice to have it back, even if I have to pay for it.
The decade channels are decent as well. '40s on 4 (as in channel 4); 50's on 5, '60s on 6, etc. I can't imagine what they play on the 1940's channel. Was there music then? I thought Elvis built the first guitar with his bare hands.
Turns out its Big Band, Swing, and lots of stuff with horns. Not bad, actually. I might listen to that sometime.