Saturday, July 20, 2019

Those CDs Have Definitely Matured

I’ve got several hundred CDs spread across my office in the process of being sorted, because a week or so ago we had the carpets cleaned.

No, wait.  Hear me out.  It makes sense.  Or at least there’s a clear thread of causality, which is often all you get in this world.  Especially these days.

A week ago Wednesday, Kim informed me that the carpets were being cleaned that Friday morning. 

On the one hand, it probably needed to be done – we usually try to do that about once a year and last year somehow got away from us.  We have a bumbling little robot that vacuums them whenever we set it to work or nudge it by accident when walking by or even think too hard about it even in a derogatory way, but apparently this is not the same.

On the other hand, this gave me exactly one evening to get my office cleaned up enough for the cleaners to have access to the carpet.  My office is full.  There are books piled up pretty much everywhere, there are other piles of paper waiting to be sorted, and there are at least two long-term projects in boxes waiting for me to have the time to focus on them.  All of this had to get moved into a non-carpeted room (i.e. the dining room) along with everything from the living room as well. 

So we had basically no meaningful access to anything on the first floor of our home outside of the kitchen, but hey – it’s just for a day, right?

This is when Kim suggested painting the living room.

I’m not sure why it needed to be painted.  It’s been the same inoffensive off-white since we moved in a hundred years ago and I’ve been happily not noticing it ever since.  But apparently it needed to be painted and it needed to be painted immediately since all the furniture had already been moved.

Meanwhile I’ve got my advising job, my online class, and three major work projects to try to complete in the near term, Kim is up to her ears in her various jobs – including spending that following weekend in lab for a summer class – and the girls are both now gainfully employed at my old museum, keeping up the family interest in the place.  So nobody had any time to do this.

And yet.

Kim and Tabitha came back from the store on Monday night with all kinds of paint, and then suddenly we were painting in between all the other things we had to do.  This took until Thursday, but now the living room has three walls that are a kind of flowerpot brown and one that’s light blue.  I am given to understand by people much hipper than I that this color combination is featured in a video game called Portal, so perhaps we’re just being cultural these days.

I got my office put back together this past Wednesday, but because of the painting project it took me until Friday to reclaim the living room and dining room.  It’s all usable space now, which is a relief.

Except that the big IKEA shelf thing that we use for our various entertainment gizmos got edited.

We took down the analogue speakers that we haven’t actually had plugged in since 2009.  I took the stereo receiver to the basement, since we live in a dead zone for radio signals anyway.  And the giant CD storage unit / shuffler that nobody listens to since music went digital got put away too.

There were a lot of CDs in there.  We have a pretty comprehensive collection of popular music from the time before we had kids, back in the 90s and early 2000s.  There are some older things, though not many since CDs came later than that, and there are occasional forays deeper into the 21st century as if we were trying to reassure ourselves, against all evidence, that we were still cool.  But those peter out pretty quickly.  Mostly it’s 90s and early 2000s.

I took all of the CDs out of the shuffler and sorted them into alphabetical piles and I’m putting them all into books where we can access them if we want to.  My car, for example, is old enough that you can’t use any Bluetooth devices or streaming services, so if you want to have music in more varieties than Oldies, Country, and Top 40, you need CDs.  And perhaps at some point I’ll import the ones I most want into my computer.

The joy of sorting a dead format is that you don’t have to leave room for future growth.  You can just put them away.

I’m sure I will hear from all the streaming mp3 Spotify Alexa music people about how this project is both quaint and incomprehensible and that I am wasting my time in this digital age, and that’s okay.  I’ve never had a corporation reach into my home and steal back a CD that I paid for, though the same cannot be said for digitally downloaded music.  So I’m happy to have the hard copies.

But they are heavy.

And many.


Unknown said...

Joe uses the website and app called Discogs to catalog his music. The app has a bar code scanner that automatically summons the information. Basically Accio Liner Notes.

David said...

Interesting - there were several CDs that I couldn't identify because for a while it was considered beneath the artist's dignity to put any identifying information on the actual disc itself and all of the jewel cases have been sitting in a box in the basement since 2003.

Song lyric websites are a blessing.

LucyInDisguise said...

(This will undoubtedly be viewed by many as a highjack. Or, perhaps, an independent blog post.)
(Whatever.) (But there really is a connected point, which we will all arrive at in a few paragraphs.)

I’ll see your CDs and raise you a couple of LPs. The bitch about OCD is that it can have lasting impacts on storage space. I own an original release of Iron Butterfly: Live. And everything else ever released by Iron Butterfly. I own a copy of Chicago Transit Authority, And everything else released by Chicago. Ditto The Beatles. And The Beach Boys. Abba. And Led Zeppelin. Pink Floyd. And Spirit. Glenn Miller. And Gene Krupa. And many you’ve probably never heard of. My LP Collection numbers in excess. Very much in excess. Did I forget a number? No, I’m avoiding the actual number due to, well, embarrassment, really.

Okay [cringes], here goes: 1,427 Titles. A rather significant number of those are double albums. Plus a few collections. That represents a rather significant investment.*

Of course, when LPs went the way of the Dodo, I had to duplicate the collection on CD. Plus, there was new stuff to add by artists that were born after the last LP was pressed.

We donated 835 VHS tapes to the local thrift store after replacing them with DVDs. Mostly because my wife wanted to reclaim the space. I recently printed my index of 1868 DVD titles. That’s titles, not discs. Or even movies. (e.g.:“60 1950s Sci-Fi movies on 5 Discs” is a title.) 18 pages. 12 pt type, single spaced.

This does not include any of the Music or Movies currently stored on my shiny new 4 terabyte hard drive.

My wife frequently volunteers the information that living with someone who has OCD can frequently be a challenge. This is especially true when it comes to storage space. Luckily, we have 2½ acres of ground to work with. Although …

This is the long away around to get to this point: My wife feels your pain. Last fall we ripped out the carpeting in the living room and dining area and installed new hard wood flooring - in the living room. After repainting the living room. Had some unexpected expenses and had to reschedule the other half of that project, but we’re finally going to repaint the dining area next weekend, and install that flooring the two weeks after that.


* Actually, when we disclosed the existence of my LP collection to them four years ago, our homeowners insurance company sent an actual appraiser. She spent 3 hours examining the collection, and then gave it an appraised value of $(undisclosed amount)**. They then added an additional $(undisclosed amount)*** to our premium. My Viking thinks I should sell this collection. Not for the mone, mind you - she’d just like to free up some floor space.

** I actually put the amount in there when I wrote this. Then realized this was really not a good plan.
*** Id.

David said...

Wow - that's a lot of music!

Do you actually get to listen to most of it? Music in general used to be a much bigger part of my life than it is now, both performing it and listening to it. I suspect that most of these discs will sit comfortably in their books until my heirs get rid of them. But it's nice to know they're there.

Fortunately for me none of my various compulsions rise to the level of OCD, though people have accused me of that when it comes to books (another physical media that takes up a lot of space and for which the various digital evangelists continually find fault with me). I was glad to get rid of the few albums I had, since mine all managed to warp within hours. Cassettes and VHS likewise. But CDs were relatively durable, and I'm happy to have them.

You won't know what to do with all that newly finished space once it's got flooring!

LucyInDisguise said...

Surprisingly, the technology required to process LPs into actual music still exists. My turntable is less than 24" above my head as I sit here at my desk. I have this nifty little program that allows me to listen to my LPs while simultaneously transmuting them into this digital format and store them on my harddrive. Fortunately, I learned very early how to care for and preserve the vinyl, so, oh, very close to 90% of them require no prosessing to remove pop, clicks & static.

My greatgrandkids watch, rapt, whenever I start transferring the music. The actual music doesn't matter, it's the medium. I started with the 'A's nearly four years ago this very month. It takes a fair amount of dedicated time* to transfer the actual Sounds of Silence.

"You won't know what to do with all that newly finished space once it's got flooring!"

Gauntlet thrown, and retrieved.


* You can't actually fast-forward an LP. Actually have to let it be. Even if Edmund must spend a Saturday, in the park. Time must pass, etc. At least, I've never found a way to do that. Besides, I loves me my music. ROCK AND ROLL!!!!

David said...

I'm sure you'll think of something for that space. Perhaps even dining. I was glad to have the table back so we could eat at home again without sitting on the floor or trying to eat outside when the air temperature was higher than the food temperature.

Of course, it also means more room for storage, but I suspect your wife will have something to say about that. ;)

I think we actually have one of those LP-to-computer gizmos somewhere - Kim found it as a Black Friday thing one year, as I recall - but we haven't put it to use yet. It's fun to boggle the young'ns with old tech. I remember fondly a conversation I had with my daughters about a decade ago, one that involved floppy discs and computers.

I did buy a gizmo that would convert cassettes, though. The first thing I did was digitize an interview I did with my grandparents (both long gone now) and send that out to various family members. Honestly, anything else I do with that cassette tape converter is extra. It's paid for itself as far as I'm concerned.

LucyInDisguise said...

Before anyone asks: I've managed to make it to the Diamond, Neil Moodsalbum.

I have to admit, Jonathan Livingston Seagull was a bit of a chore ... but ABBA - Super Trouper was far, far worse. As I scan through my index, I realize that I not only lived through the disco era, I think I actually bought a significant percentage of it.

Proof that OCD is a mental disorder: who in theirs right mind would buy this?


LucyInDisguise said...

Also, you really should read the comments on that video.



David said...

The 70s were responsible for a lot of strange things.

On the other hand, Americans still regarded criminal conduct as a problem in a President, so perhaps it wasn't all bad.

C'mon, ABBA rocks! Or discos! Or whatever!

You're legally required to do the piano motions with your hands whenever Dancing Queen is playing, even when driving. ABBA is the 9th biggest cause of traffic fatalities in the US.

The more you know.

Lee I said...

You guys are inspirational. I think I have some that special equipment on a cart in my office that I can convert "records" with. My real turntable only has wires as connectors and I've never determined whether there is a plug I can attach that that will let me play music through the hi-fi. (I'm sure some kind of hi-fi exists within the guts of my sound system.) I'm 82 now and I'm getting urges to declutter. I've never had urges to declutter, so I doubt I'll live long enough to finish the job. My first records were by Chet Baker and Jerry Mulligan. I snuck into bars in Hollywood when I was 17 to see them live.

By the way, my blog-reading and writing elapsed there for awhile. This is a timely place to come back in.

David said...

Well, welcome back!

We have one of those gizmos that converts LPs to mp3, though we haven't actually used it. So many gizmos.

You may or may not finish decluttering, but that's no reason not to start if that's what you want to do. I have been threatening to do that for the basement for a while now. Maybe someday I'll start. And won't that be a time?