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Stuff

I have too much stuff. I realized it yet again when I finished reading a bunch of comic books and then went to put them away. On top of having a few hundred comic books, there are magazines and photos and books and miscellaneous boxes of stuff old and new that I have stacked up on shelves and on the floor. That's just the spare room, mind, the one that Wolf uses when he comes to visit (as he is later this week). Most of my other rooms in the house are filled with ... stuff, and more stuff. From time to time, like tonight, I look at it all (or a part of it) and just shake my head. It's like an anchor, which I mean in two ways, one of them not so good. I like my stuff, but at the same time I feel like it's all too much, and I'd be better off without it. I'm not sure why I think that. Maybe it's the fear that by the time I'm 60, I'll have a one-lane house with so much stuff, I'll never be able to die and force relatives to deal with it all. Yet when I start trying to clear stuff out, it's a huge effort to just fill one garbage bag's worth of discarded stuff, and it's months before I can try again.

This comes up because in one of the comics I read tonight, John Constantine: Hellblazer, our hero torched his warehouse of occult-related objects gathered over his long career, in an effort to try to exorcise some personal demons, maybe. (It's not going to work for Constantine, I can tell that right now, but anyway....) It's not like I have any shrunken skulls or books on necromancy, but the idea of just chucking everything and starting over and lighter seems pretty attractive sometimes.

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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
altivo
Mar. 20th, 2006 11:45 am (UTC)
I know what you mean. Fortunately for me, my "stuff" is mostly limited to one small room, but it's loaded. My father had the same syndrome, and I'm very like him in many ways.

My mate has it far worse. After 14 years in our house in Chicago, he had the basement filled and a three car garage filled with only enough room for me to get a Chevy Metro in and out. A full sized moving van made TWO trips to shift all that out here, where it then filled two barns. About half of that space still hasn't been recovered, even seven and a half years later. I will admit, though, he has gone through a couple of major toss-outs.

I see you found a Vaughan Williams recording. Which orchestra and conductor? What do you think of it?
songdogmi
Mar. 20th, 2006 06:16 pm (UTC)
I bought this one at Borders on Friday. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Chorus (conducted by Paul Daniel) with Joan
Rodgers (Soprano) and Christopher Maltman (Baritone), recorded in 2002. There are probably more definitive recordings, but I'm usually pretty happy with Naxos recordings, and you can't beat the price (especially as Borders then took another 20% off). I thought the piece was very worthwhile; I don't generally like choral works (surprising for a singer, I guess), but this one I liked, I think because of the literary themes involved. I need to give it another listen so I can pick up more of the lyrics, as my ear isn't as tuned to formal singing as it could be. All in all, I'm glad you recommended it.
altivo
Mar. 20th, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC)
I'm not familiar with that particular recording. Mine is so old it's on vinyl (!) and does have all the lyrics printed on the insert I think. They are taken directly from Leaves of Grass and it may give page or section references too. I'll have to pull it out and see which orchestra it is. I haven't listened to it for some time because I can hear most of it in my head on demand, and, it's an LP. I think Gary's PC is now set up to transfer vinyl and cassette to digital format such as MP3. I need to learn the process and rescue a bunch of things that have never made it to CD and therefore haven't been played for many years here. We must have 8 or 10 crates full of vinyl LPs stored out in the barn.

I generally don't care for "popular" vocal recordings, you know, the Selene Dion-Enya-Ricky Martin-Garth Brooks-whatever stuff. I do like folk acoustical singer songwriters and traditional performers, though. And good choral music, which can be hard to find, is definitely worthwhile in my opinion.
songdogmi
Mar. 20th, 2006 06:53 pm (UTC)
Digitizing LPs and tapes is a fun process. Wolf and I do it when we can't find the equivalent CD, and then trade if we've done something the other one's interested in. It can be pretty involved if you're interested in doing restoration work beyond just transferring the content to digital. For instance, it's possible to remove the pops and crackles from the scratches that LPs always seem to have (especially if they belonged to a teenager with a cheap turntable, like me). That requires sound editing software, but you don't need much to do the initial transfer (which as you say Gary has all set up). And then you get your old favorites back, which is really cool.
altivo
Mar. 20th, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
I know Gary has at least experimented with a few tapes at this point. Unfortunately, he was doing it by using Windows Media Player to record and got pretty frustrated with the lack of editing ability. I'm used to using Audacity from doing the podcast, but of course that was on my PC which runs only Linux. He has by far the better sound card and speakers, so I downloaded Audacity for Windows and installed it for him, but I don't think he has tried to use it yet. It may have some filtering included that you can use to clean up old LPs. I think most of the ones I want are still in pretty good condition, but after 7 years of storage in a barn, who knows? They are at least packed well, standing on edge and with no slanted positions to encourage warpage, and the boxes are well sealed with packing tape to keep out most of the dust.
songdogmi
Mar. 21st, 2006 12:05 am (UTC)
If Audacity has filters that could clean up LPs, that would be great. I'm not familiar with it, but I have heard of it. Windows Media Player would be a scary way to digitize something, if I remember my early attempts right.

Wolf and I use Cakewalk Pyro, which has pretty good filters and other features, but it's a twitchy program and only works for us because we've fought with Cakewalk products a lot over the years. (My CDs were done largely in Cakewalk Guitar Studio 2.0; the more I did the less I liked it and the less well the whole system worked.)

You think your LPs are stored properly, but the sheep might've gotten into them and played a few at late-night barn dances. :)
altivo
Mar. 21st, 2006 01:22 am (UTC)
I rather doubt that last. Judging by the sheeps' own performances, hip hop would be more their style and I guarantee there is not one example of that in ten crates of LPs out there.
ferndalealex
Mar. 20th, 2006 05:49 pm (UTC)
When we move I toss crap. OTherwise, I try not ot get it in the first place. David is forever throwing out stuff. Up to two large (32 gallon?) trashcans a week, but there never seems to be a decrease in stuff.

I would get rid of anything, except my books. In fact, this spring there will be a neighborhood block sale and a chance to get rid of more...stuff.
songdogmi
Mar. 20th, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
Not getting it in the first place is key, I think. Don't let it in your house, and it won't take root there. Books and CDs are the things I wouldn't get rid of, unless I was going to judiciously cull the collections (i.e. "What did I buy THAT for???" or "How did I get two of these?")

But having said that about books and CDs, it's apparent to me that I like to keep a lot of other things, too, even though they don't have as much value to me. It's not as bad as it could be, but it's an awful lot of miscellaneous ... stuff. If I had to move right away, I'd be mighty scared. :)
altivo
Mar. 20th, 2006 06:57 pm (UTC)
I'm bad about getting rid of clothing I don't wear any more. Well, you never know, I might still want to wear that hand-painted t-shirt from the 70s...

I have a dresser that my dad built in the 50s for himself and my mom. In the "moderne" style of the period, it is wide: four drawers tall and three across. One person can't use all that space of course, at least not sensibly. So it has moved with me, with contents intact, probably since about 1974. Every once in a while, I dig to the bottom of a drawer and find some sort of OMG item. I always remember what it is, where it came from, and why I had it. But really, only about three of the drawers are in active use. The rest is just a collection of junk, mixed with socks and underwear that I wouldn't wear now even if they still fit, which they probably don't. ;P

One drawer has boxes of cancelled checks in it. I have a feeling some of them go back as far as 1969. I should look and post one here. The two guys I shared a first apartment with then, fellow students, thought getting a joint checking account for household expenses would make accounting easier. Maybe for them. I ended up doing all the accounting and balancing the statements. If they are there, though, the checks were real gems. "Personalized" artwork on checks was a new idea at the time. Ours were fluorescent yellow with a peace symbol in the middle. They ought to be museum pieces by now, don't you think?
songdogmi
Mar. 21st, 2006 12:10 am (UTC)
As I understand the guidelines, you don't have to keep checks for over 35 years anymore. :-) I only got rid of the checks from my first two checking accounts (1980–1984) last summer. However, I had to keep the passbook from the bank in North Dakota where I had the account while I worked out there in the summer of 1982. (Remember passbooks?)

Clothes, I've done pretty good with giving the too-small ones away over the years. I still have a couple of boxes of big-but-not-big-enough t-shirts that I'm procrastinating about discarding, hoping I'll have a use for them again someday.
altivo
Mar. 21st, 2006 01:27 am (UTC)
Yes, I do remember passbooks, though the last one I had was much longer ago than that. Gary's mom still has one, though her bank has tried to talk her out of it with various offers over the years. They no longer have the machine that records deposits or interest by printing them in neatly, and instead have to handwrite them in and stamp it with some official rubber stamp. There's some question of what they will do if the book runs out of pages before she runs out of steam, but for some reason they haven't been able to just unilaterally transfer her balance to a statement type account. Having the book in her own possession gives her some sense of security, I guess.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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