Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Back From My Travels (Confessional #2)

I'm back from all my travels out west. I was in San Francisco and then Lake Tahoe for some skiing at Squaw Valley. Both were good trips, except on my flight to SF I lost my iPod shuffle on the plane and no one turned it in. So I'm sure one of the flight attendants on Flight 91 is enjoying some nice tunes. But I wasn't too upset, since I had my full iPod with me. I belong to the race of iPod Zombies and go through life happily going about my business without regard to the rest of the world, all the while absolutely convinced that I am going prematurely deaf. Maybe that's why I don't like sticking Q-tips in my ear. And unfortunately, I know a little too much about the anatomy of the ear (one of the few things I remember from high school biology) and know that there are these things called cilia in your ear that flap around, and that too strong of a sound wave can break these things, causing you to go deaf.

So despite my full knowledge of my fragile cilia susceptible to being broken left and right by menacing sounds, I decided to buy some special IN-EAR noise-cancelling headphones to replace the only set of headphones that I brought with me on my trip that happened to be attached to my lost shuffle. It was a hard decision to make, since the symbolic white Apple headphones are a significant moniker for the iPod Zombie race. But I was ready to make the break. I also had to go to the Apple store to get my full iPod fixed because somehow, the right button on the scroll wheel had become permanently depressed, so my only three choices in listening to my music were fast forward, rewind or stop. And as appealing as some music might sound like that, I wanted to get mine fixed.

My friend and I went to the Apple store in Burlingame. By the way, if I ever live in Silicon Valley, I wanna live in Burlingame. It's such a nice little town, with enough retail and restaurants to make me feel like I'm not living totally disconnected from the civilized world. Burlingame gets an A+ from me. Furthermore, Burlingame had the first Apple store where I didn't have to wait like half a day just to get some service. I just went up to the Genius Bar and saw one of their geniuses and got my iPod replaced, all in about 10 minutes. So easy.

Afterwards, I went to go browse the headphones selection. I had a fair amount of options, from sporty Nike ones to huge-ass Bose headphones. But ever since my friend told me that Bose is "aspirational", I won't buy Bose anymore. I hemmed and hawed, and finally selected some headphones made by Shure. I had never heard of Shure before, but my friend assured me that they were "top of the line."

So I bought these ridiculously expensive noise blockers. Before, I go on, let me just say that the packaging for these headphones made me want to bang my head against the wall and jump off a balcony. These things were so hard to open! You would think they were wrapping a weapon of mass destruction. Anyway, back to my headphones. I suppose that in essence, the idea of in-ear headphones is to actually prevent you from going deaf, since you don't have to turn up your music as loud. My new headphones came with all sorts of sleeves to fit perfectly in your ear and form a tight seal so as to keep out external noise. And boy do these things work. I can barely hear anything from the outside world, and it actually forces people, like my coworkers, to tap me on my shoulder to get my attention. But I've noticed that instead of turning up my music at say a quarter of the volume, I'm actually turning it up louder so I can hear all the little details going on in my favorite songs. much for my deafness prevention.

So there you go. I'm afraid of going deaf. This post actually was supposed to be about my trip, but in truth nothing really that exciting happened. I did go to our company's Christmas party, which was a dinner-theatre thing, where I saw this half Cirque du Soleil/half vaudeville show and people like the World's Hula Hoop Champion at this place. But I preferred to come back from my blog break with some fodder for you all to think about when you're thinking about your aural safety. So next time you Q-tip your ears, think of me. And if you've read this far, thanks for staying interested.

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