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The Generation Gap, Music Version

Last month I wrote this (long) Facebook status:

There’s a 9 year age difference between me and Dave, although I rarely notice. It really shows up, though, when it comes to music. He recalls the Creedence Clearwater Revival version of Proud Mary; I remember the Ike & Tina version. For Dave, Spirit in the Sky is by Norman Greenbaum … but he patiently watches as I show him the (CLASSIC OMG) video for the version I know and love, by Doctor and the Medics. And I present the following conversation (which took place earlier this week as we watched The Voice, and a contestant sang ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’):

Me: Who sang that song? Was it Bad Company?

Dave: Um…I don’t know, I think it was some kind of soul/R&B group.
Me: No, it was southern rock kind of stuff. (pauses TV) Can you check? It’s driving me crazy.
Dave: (gets tablet and searches) Oh yeah, it was the Drifters. Now I remember.
Me: What? That can’t be right, let me see. (Dave hands me the tablet and I scroll down)
Me: There it is – Grand Funk Railroad!
Dave: (takes tablet back) That was in 1974, you were only 10 years old. How do you remember that?
Me: Oh, honey. All I did in 1974 was listen to the radio. I kept a cassette in the tape deck and my mission in life was to run fast enough across the room to hit ‘record’ when my favorite songs came on the radio. I probably had 5 or 6 cassettes with multiple partial recordings of this song.

Ah, those were the days.

* * *

It wasn’t just songs on the radio. I would also carefully read the TV Guide to see if any of my favorite singers were going to be on TV. This was about as close to seeing them in concert as I could get, and it was a huge deal. I’d put a fresh cassette tape in my portable tape recorder, then set it next to the TV speaker and record their performance. I think I may have taped at least half of all the Sonny & Cher shows that way; if someone had told my 10 year old self that in the future, I could push a button and record not only the sound but also the video … well, I think my little mind would have been blown.

So anyway, last night we had a replay of almost the exact same conversation that I had described on Facebook. We were watching The Voice and a contestant sang ‘Without You.’ After it was done, I asked Dave how he liked it and he said he thought it was a terrible version of that song.

“Well,” I said, “I think someone like Celine Dion covered it and turned it into a ‘diva’ song. She was probably singing that version.” (We can’t stand that, by the way.) “It was originally kind of a rock ballad from the 1970s. Who did that song anyway?”

Dave said, “LeAnn Rimes? Trisha Yearwood?”

I stared at him.

“I think maybe we’re thinking of different versions,” I said carefully. I mean, I don’t think LeAnn Rimes was even alive in the 70s, was she? I grabbed my phone and did a search.

“Okay, yeah. It was done by Badfinger in 1970.” I scrolled down on the Wikipedia page. “It was covered by something like 180 people, though. OH – it was Mariah Carey who did the diva version, not Celine Dion.”

I kept looking and didn’t see any reference to LeAnn Rimes, so I did a separate search and we found out she did a completely different song with a similar sounding name. (Makes sense that Dave thought it was a terrible rendition of her song … since it wasn’t her song.)

Then Dave was acting like he didn’t even know the original song, so I made him suffer through a tiny Youtube video played on my cell phone, lucky guy. But he did admit to recognizing it though once he heard the original.

The other day I read somewhere that Angus Young from AC/DC is 59 now. I did the math and thought, “Oh, he’s only nine years older than me.” Back when I was really into AC/DC, he seemed so much older, you know? Then I realized he was Dave’s age.

“Did you know that Angus Young is the same age as you?” I asked.

“Who is Angus Young?” Dave said, confused.

“You know, Angus Young from AC/DC.”

“OH,” he said. “Isn’t he the one who tried to have someone killed?”

“Oh my god, no. That was the drummer. Angus Young is the guitarist, the one who usually dresses in a British schoolboy’s uniform.”

Go, Angus, go!

Go, Angus, go!

And, well, then I started giggling. Yes, Dave is his age. But I can’t picture Dave dressed as a British schoolboy.

At least I don’t think there would be any confusion over who did “You Shook Me All Night Long.” It hasn’t been covered by Merle Haggard or Charlie Pride, has it?!

Hook Me Up

I’m on a little music kick now, so I thought I’d show everyone how I use my MP3 player with my cochlear implants.

If I’m just sitting at the computer or whatever and want to quickly listen to music, I can put headphones on.  These work really pretty well and are actually easier to use with CIs than with the hearing aids I used to wear.  My hearing aids had a microphone on top of the hearing aid case (which sat on my ear — they were behind-the-ear hearing aids), so I used to have to actually hold the headphone in place so it would rest on top of the hearing aid.  I couldn’t let go or they would slip off, unless I was wearing the really big, totally-cover-your-ear kind of headphones.  Earbuds were totally out, obviously.  On top of the aggravation, I only heard things in my left ear because my right ear was totally deaf.  I’d never heard anything in stereo before.

With my CIs, I use an earhook called a T-Mic.  Here’s a picture of how the T-Mic fits on my ear:

Cochlear Implant with T-Mic

Cochlear Implant with T-Mic

The T-Mic curves down into my ear and places the microphone in the ear canal area, so I can wear headphones as they are meant to be worn, and the sound is easily picked up.  I also hear in BOTH ears now, and I’m finally realizing how cool it is to hear certain instruments/sounds in each ear instead of hearing everything through my left ear only.

Last weekend we wrestled our treadmill up from the garage and set it up in Eric’s old room.  I really wanted to get back on the Couch to 5K program which we had started over the summer, but I can’t handle running outside in the freezing cold, snow and ice.  So I fired up the treadmill, grabbed my MP3 player and headphones, and started walking.  After about 2 minutes, I shut the treadmill down and walked out of the room.  It was so loud, the sound of the treadmill humming and my feet jogging along, I could barely hear the music.  I can only turn it up so loud before it starts to sound distorted.  So I went to Plan B, and this is how I always listen to music now when I’m on the treadmill.  Are you ready?  It’s a little involved but the end result is pretty cool!

First I had to convert my MP3 player to work with my Direct Connect cables.  This is something that Advanced Bionics offers for people who have their brand of cochlear implant, and it lets us connect directly to a battery-operated device like an MP3 player.   The sound goes right from the MP3 player into my brain, eliminating the need for headphones.  (Side note:  I’m sure other CI manufacturers have something similar — I just happen to know the most about the Direct Connect since it’s the one I use.)  🙂

The Direct Connect is actually two cables – one plugs into the device, and has a connector on the end for the second cable, which ends in a small earhook that doesn’t have a microphone like the T-Mic does.  It ends up being really long!

Since I have bilateral cochlear implants, I need to be able to connect two Direct Connect cables to one device.  Dave happened to have an adapter that fit my MP3 player, so first I plug the adapter into the headphone jack of the MP3 player.  The adapter has two openings, so I plug a Direct Connect cable setup into each of those two openings.

This is what it looks like, all connected together – I stretched it out to full length, and you can see it goes the entire length of the kitchen island!

Direct Connect setup with MP3 player

Direct Connect setup with MP3 player

Here’s each end of the above setup:

MP3 player with adapter for two Direct Connect cables

MP3 player with adapter for two Direct Connect cables

The small earhook that each Direct Connect cable ends with

The small earhook that each Direct Connect cable ends with

Now I need to get my cochlear implants ready, so first I take them off:

My colorful cochlear implant processors and headpieces

My colorful cochlear implant processors and headpieces

Then I remove the T-Mic earhooks (they twist off):

CIs, minus the T-Mic earhooks

CIs, minus the T-Mic earhooks

Then I put the small earhook on each CI, so the two CIs are connected to my MP3 player:

CIs connected via Direct Connect cables to my MP3 player

CIs connected via Direct Connect cables to my MP3 player

I have a case that I pop the MP3 player into (and tuck some of the extra length of cord into, so it’s not hanging down) and that can hook onto the waistband of my pants.  It’s a little big (it’s actually the old case for my PocketTalker listening device) so I’m on the lookout for one that fits better.

I asked my audiologist to give me a program for the Direct Connect that gives me about 25% microphone and 75% Direct Connect – that way I can still hear if someone is talking to me while I’m using my MP3 player.  I do still hear a little of the treadmill, but the sound is GREATLY reduced.  The Direct Connect puts the sound right into my head without as much distracting background noise like the headphones were.

This is what I look like, all Direct Connected to my MP3 player:

Ready to rock!

Ready to rock!

It’s a little convoluted compared to just popping headphones on, but the end result is so worth it!!

By the way, Sabrina is also a big fan of the treadmill:

Beanie the cat

Beanie the cat

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