Five years ago we were getting ready to move from our house in Gaithersburg to somewhere closer to my wife’s job. We had lived in the house on Solitaire Court for twenty-two years, and raised our kids there, so we had accumulated a lot of stuff — a lot of stuff. We didn’t realize how much until we had to clean the place up for potential buyers.
So we set out to declutter the place. We didn’t want to take all that stuff with us. We threw out vanloads of junk. I sorted out my books and comic books and so on, and started weeding out the stuff I didn’t want.
And I looked at the piles and piles of stuff in various obsolete (or nearly so) media, and decided something had to be done about it. I didn’t want to have LPs and cassette tapes and CDs and reel-to-reel tapes, VHS and DVDs, and so on. This is the twenty-first century, and all that stuff could be consolidated onto digital media, which would save huge amounts of space. Eliminating the multiple players would simplify matters, too.
Converting it all was far too big a job to be done before we moved. I was able to thin out hundreds of duplicates of one kind or another (books in multiple editions, LPs I also had on CD, etc.), but most of it got hauled to the new house, and I’ve been working on it ever since.
Ripping all the 500 or so CDs to disk was relatively quick and easy, though about half a dozen got screwed up and need to be re-done. (“Need” is the correct tense; I haven’t done it yet.) I disposed of a couple of our CD players (though I admit to keeping two). Then I started on the phonograph records, which required installing the appropriate software (Audacity) and hooking my stereo and turntable up to my computer.
It takes a long time to copy 450+ albums and a few dozen singles, 78s, and other oddities to MP3. I finally finished a couple of months ago. Then after moving my turntable into dead storage in the basement I hooked up my tape deck and started on the cassettes; I only have just over a hundred of those. I’m in the middle of that, with the reel-to-reel tapes still to go when the cassettes are done.
(I’ve made some progress in other media besides sound; I have one more long box of comic books left to trade in at Beyond Comics, out of the 14,000 comics I started with, and about 300 assorted books have been replaced with ebooks on my Kindle. And all the VHS tapes are gone, replaced with DVDs or Blu-Ray, even if I had to burn them to DVD myself.)
Anyway, as I’ve worked my way through all this stuff, I’ve been posting about it on my old SFF Net newsgroup. Not many people read there. Not many people read here, either, but this blog is easier to link to, and generally more permanent and more accessible, so I’ve decided to copy edited versions of some of those newsgroup posts to this blog. I didn’t keep copies of the early ones, though they’re all somewhere in the SFF Net archives; the ones I do have are all from the last few months, when I’d already finished all the ordinary pop/rock/folk music I had on LP, and had gotten to the stuff in my collection I hadn’t played in decades.
Here’s the first entry, from a post dated November 2, 2013:
National Lampoon’s “Lemmings” is now squared away on my computers in MP3 form. Condition was excellent, transfer went very smoothly.
This brought back a lot of memories; I saw “Lemmings” live at McCarter Theater in Princeton, NJ when it first toured in 1973. Back then nobody knew who John Belushi and Chevy Chase were, but after watching the show we knew they were pretty damn funny. Chase’s Hell’s Angel routine was a lot funnier live than on the album because so much of it was visual; it involved the sort of pratfall he became famous for a couple of years later on “Saturday Night Live.” (He splashed beer on the audience in the process.) And there’s no explanation on the album of what’s going on in the middle of “Lonely At the Bottom,” Belushi’s Joe Cocker parody — he fell down while singing and couldn’t get up, and the band stopped playing and walked away until he managed to get back on his feet. On the record it just sounds like a bunch of grunting and gasping.
There was a lot that didn’t make it onto the album — the entire first act, for one thing, and also “Pull the Triggers, Niggers,” because they’d already put a shorter version of that song on “Radio Dinner.”
(Some other stuff on “Radio Dinner,” such as “Deteriorata,” was also in the first act.)
Anyway. Funny stuff, and most of it has held up fairly well, though “Papa Was A Running Dog Lackey of the Bourgeoisie” is kind of dated.
More when I get around to it.