Monday, November 28, 2011

Music Man (Virtual)

I love music. I can’t sing but I love music, most music. There even a few (very few) Rap tunes I like.

I’m slowly going deaf. I stopped listening to the radio, records & cassette tapes. Records and tapes: that pretty much tells you how long ago that was!.

And then I got hearing aids. They changed my life. I could hear again. I rediscovered music and began listening to music on the radio again. We got a CD player in the early 90’s & I began purchasing CD’s I found interesting. Over the next 15 years, I purchased almost as many CDs as I did novels. loved me.

Three years ago, I got a Sony eReader. That changed my life too. I’ve read exactly two paper novels in the past three years. I read over 50 novels a year and no longer have to find space to shelve all those novels. Our bookshelves are no longer over flowing with pulp fiction.

I never thought about how many CDs I have or what kind of music I’ve collected. I hear music on NPR or KROQ & I go to and look for it. Amazon has that insidious “help” function, “People who purchased this music also purchased…..” I would purchase the CD I was looking for in addition to several others. Amazon .com really loves me.

In past years, I uploaded my CDs into iTunes on my PC. However, if you don’t purchase your music through iTunes, it’s not saved if your HD (Hard Drive) crashes and if you purchase a new PC, it’s not easy to transfer those saved CDs to the new PC. I switched to MAC when I retired and I am now able to back up my HD on the Time Capsule.

A week or so ago, iTunes began a new service where you can upload your CDs NOT purchased via iTunes and they will save them for you in the iCloud: costs $24.99 a year but it’s well worth it.

It was time to transition my music collection.

I spent last week uploading CDs into iTunes. I began with about 1 GB of music on iTunes (that was about 5 hours of music). It takes about 3 minutes to transfer a CD. I transferred 75 to 100 CDs a day for over a week. Where did all these CD’s come from? It took over 48 hours to upload the music into the iCloud. I have nearly 1,000 CDs! I think I’m getting my $24.99 worth.

I now have over 90 GB of music saved, which is over 33 days of music. If I put my entire collection on shuffle, I’ll not have a single song repeat for a month. That could make for a very strange mix: Bach followed by Macy Gray followed by Frank Sinatra & The Mutators. Yikes!

I have my entire music collection on my iPod and the entire collection backed up to the iCloud. I can purchase music from iTunes with assurances it will not be lost with a HD or iPod crash. Using Play Lists and Genius, I’m now utilizing my entire music library. There are no more CDs cluttering up the stereo cabinet. The CD player is no longer needed. The CD’s have gone into storage.

I’m not purchasing books anymore. I’m not purchasing CDs anymore. is no longer in love with me.

Thank you for listening,

Jerry L. Hanson

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dig It!

One of two raised garden planters
I built a garden this past week. Tuesday, the lumber was delivered for building raised planting beds and 64 cubic feet of topsoil. We live in a desert. The ground is either rock, or sand or both. Our property is mostly sand which is not particularly good for raising vegetables. I’m glad it’s not rock: that’s too difficult to dig in.

We also have an unusual pet that has run of the back & sides of the property. Tortuga is a 75-pound African Sulcata Tortoise, which is the third largest tortoise species. He’s a tank that lets nothing get in his way. He will walk through it or over it: walking around it is his last resort.

We used to have lovely plantings in the back & side gardens. Tortuga either tromped through or ate every plant in his way. I’ve experimented with ornamental plants trying to find ones he will ignore and leave alone. I’ve had little success.

For a plant to survive in Tortuga’s realm, it needs to be protected until it’s large enough to NOT be walked over or through. This brings me back to the lumber & topsoil being delivered.

Raised gardening beds are a must with Tortuga on the prowl. They need to be tall enough to discourage his climbing into them. The ones I built are approximately 11 inches tall. Each planting bed is 4 feet by 8 feet, which need 32 cubic feet of soil each. This solves my poor sandy soil issue, too! I’ll mix in a layer of topsoil with the sand to ease the transition between the strata of soils.

On Wednesday, I constructed the two planters. While I was leveling one planter, I noticed Tortuga exploring the other. He managed to pull himself up over one 2 x 6 layer and got hung up mid way. He couldn’t go forward. He couldn’t go backwards. He was stuck. Thankfully I was there to lift him off. He is inquisitive but he has a very small brain. How did these marvelous creatures survive for millions of years? I quickly realized I needed to complete both planters to prevent a repeat performance of Tortuga’s balancing act.

Friday, I turned and dug into the sandy soil, mixing it in with new potting soil. That 64 cubic feet of soil was a lot of work! Damn! My back was all out of whack… thank god for Pilates. I begged my instructor to go easy on me Friday afternoon.

Saturday, my husband & I headed over to Lowe’s Garden Center. I’d been asking him, “What do you want to plant in your new garden?” “Vegetables.” “OK!”

Doc filled a shopping cart with plants then into the trunk they went. We planted 7 tomato plants, 8 lettuce plants, 2 peppers, 4 pimento (why pimento???), dill, 4 zucchini, 4 cucumbers, basil, green onions, & Greek oregano. All were planted in two 4 feet by 8 foot planters.

So many plants in such small planters. Cozy. I am praying for a bountiful crop and wondering how all those plants will co-habitat in such tight quarters! Is that a tomato or a red pepper? Bite it & find out!

Thanks for listening,
Jerry L. Hanson