I love Christmas shopping; I love this time of year. While others complain about the crowds, I float along in a haze of joy from the wondrous seasonal music. Oh, I do want to hear you and your drum, and come with all the other faithful, and hear about that holly jolly soul Frosty. But basic requirements of workplace productivity, showering, etc., all prevented me from spending Thanksgiving-Christmas in malls, listening to the piped-in music, and who can trust K-Earth to not play some Beach Boys in December? So, for years, I’ve been mostly holiday music-less, apart from singing “O Tannenbaum” to myself in July.
But now, thanks to the free “Pandora”:http://pandora.com service, I’ve had marvelous holiday music piped directly into my office all day long. My “Holiday Easy Listening”:http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh170942180884830436 station has brought me warmth and happiness all day.
Of course, I listen to other kinds of music as well. Pandora has been a great way to get more into “Alt-Country”:http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh145497772421109988. I’ve even made a more folk/pop-influenced “version of that station”:http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh145711764871665892.
When I feel like being more, you know, trendy, there’s always my “College Rock”:tp://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh151864876753836260 station, or my “Slowcore”:http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh171083768776710372 channel.
When it’s time to speed things up, I have my “straight-ahead punk station”:http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh145666848103684324; none of those whiny Southern California groups there. Since so much of today’s good punk seems to come from women, I highly recommend my “Hot Punk Chicks channel”:http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh147014991093258468.
And then, for those days, I’ve got some “blues”:http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh162603626433698020 too.
It really seems like Pandora’s playing every day for me. I mostly listen through the wonderful “Pandora.fm mashup”:http://pandorafm.real-ity.com/, which integrates “my Pandora channels”:http://www.pandora.com/people/pandora40632 with “my last.fm profile”:http://www.last.fm/user/juniorbird/, which tracks what I’m listening to (last.fm can also watch iTunes). It’s great, when working alone, to have these great new internet tools to make music my constant — and free! — companion.
fn1. Alternatively, “Maryland, My Maryland”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryland%2C_My_Maryland%21; “Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!” indeed.
fn2. I do not, in fact, warrant that all of the female punk-rockers played there are hot. But a surprising number are.
So my Trojans just lost to our cross-town rival UCLA Bruins. And, you know what, I’m okay with that. Sure, call me a bad “homer”:http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=homer&r=f, but sometimes there’s such a thing as a good loss.
See, here’s the thing. I like to see my teams win. And the Trojans are in a rebuilding year this year. We lost our quarterback and our running back to graduation, and when you’re short two Heisman Trophy winners it’s hard to be as good as you were the year before. And the #1-ranked Ohio State University is awfully good this year. Our defense is good, as shown by the first-half safety we scored, but are we up to stopping the Buckeyes? The Trojans’ uneven offense can’t consistently put points on the board, and that would make any trip to the national champioinship a likely futile one.
Better is to go to the Rose Bowl — we won the Pac-10 — and play a great match-up against probably either Michigan or LSU, either of which games is eminently winnable. Then we’ll have a nice notch in our belt, look good for recruiting, and come into next year on a high note.
And next year will be great. John David Booty will only get better, the freshman backfield of Emanuel Moody and C.J. Gable will get better, we’re not losing major defensive players, and we’ll have a real shot at the BCS title.
Trojans coach “Pete Carroll came to talk to one of my classes last semester”:http://wadearmstrong.com/archives/business/leadership_tips_from_usc_football_coach_pete_carroll.php. There he spoke about the difference between challenging yourself and trying for something that’s just too much. Carroll is well-known for getting fired by the New England Patriots and the New York Jets; in the first situation, he just couldn’t handle following the legacy of famous coach Bill Parcells, who took them to the Super Bowl, and in the latter, he just didn’t win as many victories as the ownership thought he ought to. Coach Carroll told us that just because a challenge is the greatest challenge in the world — like coaching an NFL team was for him — isn’t a good reason to take it; you need to take the challenge that is right for you; taking the right challenges, and always reaching higher, prepares you to get to the biggest challenge you can face.
Coaching a college team is obviously the right challenge for Pete Carroll, and the Rose Bowl is the right challenge for the Trojans this year. It’s a good stop back on the way to the BCS top.
fn1. See definition 5.
fn2. Damn you, Broncos!
fn3. Best class required for graduation: ballroom dancing.
fn4. When you lose only one, then you win the national championship. But two is right out.
fn5. That’s THE Ohio State University to you!
fn6. Not Mark David Chapman
fn7. Since the next coaches went 3-13 and 1-15, instead of Carroll’s 8-8, it’s likely that he actually won more games than he ought have.
fn8. And “my current business idea”:http://dinetothrive.com is the right challenge for me, a double, as they call it in the biz, not a swing-for-the-fences, multimillion-dollar, venture-financed home run.