Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Cleansing

Burn those books, you'll feel better afterwards!
As I in the quite near future will start working a lot more from home (assuming toddler Sunshine and Baby Salaryman will kindly allow me to do so) I did a purging of my computer/work room to throw out some old stuff. I threw out two large cardboard boxes of books and a large part of my trade paperback collection of comics went deep into the closet.

There was a time when my most valued possessions was my "stuff", things like books, comics, DVD collection, games and CDs, everything else I didn't care too much about, even if the TV was expensive it would be easy to replace while my "stuff" had taken some time and effort to acquire and not as easily replaced. The change to digital media has piece by piece ruined this for me, the first to go was my CD collection as the iPod and iTunes came into play. My 2000+ CD collection now sits in a drawer (all hard plastic cases exchanged for thin plastic sleeves to take up less space) and I have not taken out a CD for over 4 years... Selling it off does not really seem like an option considering that I would in best case only get a pittance for it, particularly here in Japan as the music is obscure, but I can't bring myself to throw it away either as many of the CDs hold a story for me, so I just keep it.

When I got the iPad something similar happened to my comic collection, as I just read comics digitally now and can download all the stuff I have, the comics are just sitting there on the shelf, taking up space. I'm torn between trying to sell them somehow as they probably have a little more value to some than obscure CDs but on the other hand I might want to keep them for a rainy night after the apocalypse has killed the Internet and North Korean EMP bombs have rendered my electronic devices useless.

In one way it feels a bit sad as I often have memories attached to the stuff and can remember when (and what I was thinking) I ordered and got the CD/Comic/Book and a sense of accomplishment as the collection was growing bigger. Nowadays it's way too easy to find most stuff online without any real effort more than google or an iTunes search and it's a process that's basically the same every time. Now my "stuff" is all digital and sitting on a harddrive without anything physical to touch, sort and fondle with. I used to enjoy going through the stuff from time to time and figuring out how to sort it the best way, but moving folders around on a computer is just a hassle that feels like work without any enjoyment.

I don't want to come across as a technology hostile Salaryman, all in all the the joy of physical stuff is outweighed by the convenience of the digital age. But the collector in me was rudely woken up, killed, dragged outside, mutilated and hung in a streetlight as a warning to others... What's the challenge in collecting when everything is readily available and easy to reproduce (control+C...)?

However, just recently I realized that the collector had reawakened in me again, although this time directed towards the exciting world of... ... ... cables! With all the electronical devices in the house, I have accumulated a significant range of cables for all imaginable purposes and recently got these two babies for the house and as I unpacked the stuff and felt satisfaction looking at them I realized that these are the depths that I have sunk to now... Is this what is has come to?



(I actually got the pink one for Mrs. Sunshine and initally felt a bit miffed when she didn't share in my excitement of the convenient and stylish power outlet (with USB ports!))

17 comments:

Ἀντισθένης said...

LPs, I wish I were into LPs. I had a roomate in the early 90s at university who was a moderate collector with a decent system. I was being an ass one day and told him the CDs were 'cleaner', because that was the talk back then, and his line was that there was more fidelity in analogue (we didn't use the terms higher sample-rate back then), then he put on some Zeppelin. I don't even like Zeppelin, but he was right.

MP3s? An approximation of an approximation. If that's all I get fro music, I pay for none of it.

pjk said...

I felt compelled to make fun of you and searched the net for some ridiculously power strips. Then I found this page (link at end), and noticed myself thinking these are pretty cool. Mission failed...

http://www.trendhunter.com/slideshow/juiced-up-power-strips

TheOctopus said...

There is something wrong with the pink powerstrip... Looks like they forgot to apply the Hello Kitty decals.

Vinny G. said...

I too used to have the same feeling for "stuff." Recently I gave away to libraries almost 75boxes of books. I'm in the process of getting rid of old furniture and other odds and ends. It is refreshing. Is there a university with a music department/library that might be interested in your CD collection?

kamo said...

Welcome to our brave new world, my friend. I'm still something of a digital hold-out regarding books, but every time I put something new on the kindle I feel my resolve slipping down another notch.

And aside from the colour, that USB extension lead is a pretty neat idea.

Gah...

Momotaro said...

My commendations on throwing out your beloved stuff. I collect some records and have a fair few at mum's, but I have limited myself to two artists in Japan who have a ton of records anyway. I had an OK Pioneer system which I bought for a very measly price (at mum's.) Ironically I don't have a record player here, but the few I have bought are sitting on my chest of drawers and I enjoy looking at them everyday.

2000 CD's is a fair collection, I still have a few hundred sitting at mum's too. Still cannot bare to throw them away.

Books I am not too bad with and can throw one's I don't like away. I go with the Kindle over the bulkier books, but for the small ones I still go with the paperback.

Nat AndMatt said...

Wow good subject. I've thought about this a lot too. For starters I lost pretty much all of my stuff in the UK floods of 2007, so I was forced into the digital age without so much as a by your leave... But even though I have lots and can easily gain more I don't appreciate my digital collection at all. I think nothing off it. However, I was very proud of my DVD collection and took great time and pride in increasing it. The double edged sword being that I don't even appreciate buying DVDs now because the Scrooge in me keeps saying I can get it all for free on the great Internets. Way to do? I wan t to appreciate stuff and I hate this throwaway culture we have developed. Dare I go old fashioned and abandon digital media? Perhaps, if I wasn't moving around a lot in the future.

Mr. Salaryman said...

I started getting interested in music just as vinyl started to give way to CDs and still have 40-50 LPs or so somewhere in the family home, but I'm not nostalgic towards vinyl at all and not enough of a sound fetish to care too much about the smaller nuances. I do have issues with paying for mp3 files but not really due to the sound quality...

Mr. Salaryman said...

Nice! Like the fancy cords, quite a few of them I would like to get for the home if I can find them on Amazon Japan! Give in to the power of the cables!

Mr. Salaryman said...

C'mon Octo! You can't. Equal anything pink with Hello Kitty, that's some form of prejudice, isn't it? For your information, they also had a blue version!

Mr. Salaryman said...

Yeah, I can understand the feeling of getting rid of old stuff! But I'm not just yet ready to give up. The CD collection but if so, a library would be a good idea (have the feelng that they wouldn't be too interested in my music though...)

Mr. Salaryman said...

I can relate, it's not like I'm a digital fascist and given the choice, reading with a physical copy is nicer than digitally! But it's just soooo much more practical with my iPad filled with 50+ books, tons of magazines and hundreds of comic books weighing less than a hardback book... Also, physical stuff takes up space which always seem to be in short supply...

Mr. Salaryman said...

I guess there's degrees of collecting here.I've always been very functional in my collecting and never get stuff just to have it(with a few exceptions) but always get stuff with the intent to use it and then also enjoy the collection. Nowadays doesn't everyone gave a cd player at least in the computer so you can convert to digital and just use the cd to gaze upon?

Mr. Salaryman said...

Actually I agree completely with you on this, although I can't see myself leaving digital media. I'll elaborate on my views in the next post but the whole route of media becoming "disposable" is quite depressing

kathrynoh said...

" But the collector in me was rudely woken up, killed, dragged outside, mutilated and hung in a streetlight as a warning to others... " as well it should have been. What is with men and their collections of junk?

Maybe you should take up sports so you can have crappy trophies around the house? No digital replacement for them.

SusieTron FiveThousand said...

I have tried to de-clutter over the years because my mom is a packrat. You looking for a rare 45? She probably has it! I do hang on to my CDs that have a meaning for me. I was actually thinking a few weeks ago (shock, she thinks!) how certain songs can mentally teleport me to the past so easily. And though I don't need the CD, it helps bring back sharper, clearer memories than just music.
As far as the pink power brick, it's awesome. I was just looking at a headphone splitter the other day.. laughed to think that I used to split the Disc-man with my friend as we would walk home together.

Will said...

There are few things more exciting than being able to stand silent in front of a wall of real books and read their spines at a glance. To grasp the covers, caress the pages, and to enter into the deep creases... no, the digital world is not for me.

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