Another Christmas toy was a subscription to XM radio. I had gotten in the habit lately of listening to new age or soft jazz radio in the study using DirecTV's channels, and when they switched their radio lineup to XM recently, I started doing the same. It was getting more and more annoying spending long car trips to Tyler and Texarkana listenign to bad radio, when I'd really rather be listening to the XM channels, so I finally bought the $49 kit to see what it was like.
Hooking up the car was fairly easy, and when I finally got everything set and switched it on (I had to back the car out of the garage into the driveway so it could get a signal) I was absolutely stunned at all the neat stuff I was hearing. I scrolled through the channels (immediately realizing that I needed a remote, since pushing the tiny buttons on the unit clipped to the unit clipped to a rotating A/C vent didn't work well at all) and found seven channels I liked right away. Audiovisions (the new age channel) is still probably my favorite, but I also like Cinemagic (movie soundtracks) and Watercolors (soft jaz). And in just the few minutes I was scrolling around I found pop and rock music I liked on XM cafe and some channel name "Lucy".
But the biggest surprise was how much I go to the comedy channel. It's nonstop stand-up comics, which I have always liked, and this has quickly become my favorite on the drive home from work. Music is nice, but there's nothing like a good laugh to mark an end to the work day, and get your mind reset for home.
Since getting the car unit, I have getten a docking station for the study, and temporarily run an antenna outside under the carpets (I have gotten a 50' cord to run through some of the conduit in the study that was placed for computer lines, but haven't run it just yet). So every day I bring the receiver and the tiny remote in, and start listening in the study. I can switch around from my reading chair by pressing a single button, which has really been nice. Still need separate remotes for the receiver (don't get me started on how many remotes I have in the study alone) but I'm not complaining.
But it sure does make long car trips enjoyable being able to actually listen to music (or comedy) that I enjoy. I haven't listened to much music at all in the last - oh, fifteen years or so, and this is changing that. Haven't bought anything based on what I'm hearing, but maybe that's not really the point anymore.