ok, the etymotic earbuds came today.
WOOOOOOO! they *rule.* i havent been this happy with a product since i got my ipod on saturday.
if you listen to music while riding, and if you use earbuds, and if you don't have these, run, don't walk, to froogle.com and find yourself a pair. mine were $100 delivered, and they are worth every penny.
i slid them in, and whammo, they knocked down the ambient noise BETTER than the foam earplugs i normally wear while riding. i jumped on the bike, and rode around listening to TAL, and at a very low volume. the sound was wonderful, and i could hear every little nuance of ira glass's voice while bombing down the highway at 70. pretty sweet.
i also re-tested things, and with the ambient noise knocked down, and the headphones at a lower volume, listening to spoken word and riding in town, at night, and on really dark back roads, was not a chore. i was able to focus on the riding. i found that at a few times i tuned into the riding, and out of the listening, and i attribute that to the low volume at which i was able to listen.
and music was a slam dunk, sounded amazing (i heard parts of one of bob dylan's songs from the "live in 1966" album that i've never heard - shuffling around and voices of the crowd, and that was way cool.) and was a pleasure.
im happy, i'm ready to ride, and can now listen to someone besides me talk and sing. bliss.