edited 3 minutes later- I just came from Drawn!, where I read a post about Jillian Tamaki (you can read about her work there). She was mentioning what she listens to when she works, and I figured I may as well do the same and save this post from being a total waste of time for you guys, instead of-- waah, I'm sick, or whatever.
Anyway- Like Jillian, I also listen to This American Life, it's fantastic stuff. It's available on podcast Other than that, like Jillian, I listen to a lot of NPR, and BBC. Music-wise, I play everything from Rage Against the Machine, Beck, Johnny Cash, Feist, Pavarotti (got to see him several years ago. He was still great), U2, and many others. To get a range of ideas, I think it helps to listen to a wide range of music, listen to a wide range of people, study a wide range of art.
It seems many people stop trying out new things after they graduate. For example, their hairstyles are locked into place after high school. Any music that they listen to is the music of their youth. I do understand why this happens though. Everyday life, making a living, it takes effort, and many times there isn't enough energy to seek out, or experience something outside a persons norm. I understand the wonderful freedom a person feels by not having to keep up with the latest fashions, not feeling the peer pressure of classmates to do so. It's one of the many pleasures of being out of school, of being able to be more yourself and not dealing with the hierarchy of classmates or whoever. It's truly wonderful not worrying if you fit in enough to get a date on a Saturday night. To you who are still dealing with this in school, it will get better later in life for many of you. It did me anyway.
If I want to be lazy and wear my pajama pants to the video store, I do. My wife laughs at me, but there isn't anyone I need to impress there. On the other hand, I'm not blind to the different fashions going on. I like many of them. And as for music, art, cinema- give me new, new, new! Show me something that I haven't seen before! I'm hungry for surprise. Show me someone who is trying to think in ways that no one else is. Nothing makes me more excited.
In the end (When it comes to my work), if I need to get myself going, then I play some energetic music, drink some strong coffee (the caffeine buzz is very helpful), and maybe jump up and down a bit.
Have a good day, and hopefully I'll have something new for you to look at soon.