"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Monday, October 23, 2006

The sound of opportunity

Over the weekend, we got a much-needed breath of fresh air as a cold front passed through the area. This means I can finally turn off my air conditioner and open the windows, as the outside temperature has finally dipped below the ninety-degree mark for the first time since about April, I think. While those of you in more moderate climates have four distinct seasons, we here in Texas have only two: "hot", and "damn hot".

In any case, while the cooling breezes were blowing through the house, Mrs. Toast remarked that all we needed was the sound of crashing surf to feel like we were on our own private island. This comment naturally sent me off to scour that source of all things Good and Wonderful (i.e., The Internet) in search of "surf sounds". After struggling through many links to tunes by the Beach Boys, sure enough, I came upon this site, which featured a vast selection of "ambient sound" CD's perfect for relaxation and meditation, all at the bargain price of just $12.95 each. Wow! Check out some of these actual selections from the web site:

Yes, this is what exactly we're looking for. Soothing relaxing ocean sounds, including crashing waves, and squawking sea gulls. Ahhhhhhhh. Close your eyes and you can almost smell the salt air. I wonder what else they have in this genre?

Oh, storms. That's nice. Who can resist the soothing sound of tinkling rain and the rumble of a distant thunderstorm on a summer day? I can easily see how someone might want to pay $12.95 for an hour's worth of relaxing ambient sounds like these. I mean, what a great deal!

And now we ... huh? What's this? "Soothing Air Conditioner"? Um, this is a little bit of a stretch as I just turned OFF the air conditioner. Hmmmm. Other titles in this series include "Soothing Shower Head", "Peaceful Air Purifier", "Calming Electric Fan", and "Smooth Radio Static". Who knew household appliances could be the source of calming, soothing, ambient sounds? And at the bargain price of only $12.95 each!

I'm amazed to learn that babies find the sound of vacuum cleaners to be soothing. Even though I can remember being awakened as a child by the sound of a vacuum cleaner, apparently nowadays major appliances are a source of great comfort to small children, as in addition to this disk, others in this series include "Baby's Blow Dryer CD", "Baby's Dishwasher CD", as well as Baby's fans, washing machines, and clothes dryers. Did I mention each disk in this series is only $12.95?

OK, by now I am starting to realize that there is a vast untapped market here, and I am struck with an idea. If these guys at Pure White Noise® can get people to pay $12.95 by sticking a microphone up to a vacuum cleaner for an hour, there must be many other sounds they've overlooked that I can capitalize on. So, allow me to now present my own entries into the ambient sounds market:

CITY SOUNDS: Sure "nature" sounds are great if you find rustling leaves and chirping crickets to be relaxing. But quite a few people who live in big towns like New York City, San Francisco, and Fargo become quite accustomed to the background noise of the city, and go crazy when they get out into the deafening silence of the country. So for those poor deprived city-dwellers, my first CD in the series will feature sixty minutes of various city sounds such as honking horns, shouting, rumbling subways, the muffled thud of bass from the neighbor's stereo system, domestic disturbances, sirens, gunshots, etc. Urbanites will feel relaxed and right at home.

TRAFFIC NOISE: In case general-purpose city sounds aren't enough for you, here's an entire CD of Traffic Sounds which I can record "live" in one afternoon on Houston's Southwest Freeway. This one will specialize in typical Texas traffic noises, including busses, 18-wheel diesel trucks, lots of cursing, and the occasional crackle of small-arms fire. Nothing like a nice relaxing drive around Loop 610!

BARKING DOGS: Dog lovers will really go for this one. One hour of incessant yapping, relentless barking, and wretched howling. If you're away from home and miss the sound of Fido in your back yard, be sure to bring along this CD.

BABY'S FIRST CD OF GARBAGE DISPOSAL SOUNDS: Air conditioners, fans, washers, dryers ... how could this major household appliance have been overlooked? Crank this one up loud to "create an oasis of relaxation and calm, promote sleep, provide stress relief sounds, block annoying noise for a more restful sleep and improve concentration, and ease the symptoms of colic, tinnitus, ADD/ADHD and hyperacusis". Includes sounds of grinding chicken bones, silverware and other items. Sure, you could just turn on your own disposer, but this CD is only $12.95! Wow!

CRYING BABY SOUNDS: I've saved the best one for last. Are you childless? Ever been out to a restaurant to hear a toddler screaming at the top of his lungs at the next table, and wish that you too could experience the joys of parenthood for yourself? Well then get this disk for all of the fun and none of the dirty diapers. This one's also perfect for empty-nesters who miss the cries, the wails, the blood-curdling screams that only a hungry, wet, and colicky baby can make. Yes, at just $12.95, you'll want to pick up several of these for everyone on your Christmas list. I guarantee they'll never forget you and your thoughtful gift this coming Holiday Season!

Note: No actual babies were harmed during the making of this CD, although we came pretty damn close and had to restrain ourselves on a couple of occasions.


  • At 10/24/2006 07:44:00 PM, Blogger Janelle said…

    I start to giggle every time I say "Damn That Traffic Jam." Those are just too funny.

  • At 10/28/2006 03:52:00 AM, Blogger DogMa said…

    I can't help but think you are making fun of me because I need and love white noise and nature sounds when I sleep!


  • At 10/28/2006 09:35:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Toast said…

    Now Dogma, how would I have known that since you never told me before?

    No making fun intended. Tell you what, if you want to buy a one-hour CD of the sound of my Invacare 5 oxygen concentrator chugging away, I'll even make a special deal, only $9.95 -- just for you. Hey, am I a swell fella, or what? :-)


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