Skip to main content

Compact Discs

This [click on the post title for the link] can't really be called an article; it's more of a stream of thematically linked factoids about one of the late 20th century's perfect objects: the CD. My Dad got the family's first CD player when I was in first grade ('86, I think--I seem to remember it was in the Spring) and I'll never forget climbing up the back porch steps with Simon and Garfunkel's The Boxer blasting through the very walls of our house--it was right at the chorus, "Lie la lie [BOOOOM!] Lie la lie lie lie la lie; lie la lie [BOOOOOM!]" etc. I read later that they used a ridiculous huge drum that had been installed in the bottom of an elevator shaft in an office building in New York City for that [BOOOOM!]. I hope they recorded on a weekend.

By the time I was in high school Dad's CD collection was the thing of legend. My jazz-loving friends would come over and marvel at it--easy to do, as it covered an entire wall of the living room and was sending out feelers and tendrils for more annex-able space. It was also, if I may say, really really good stuff. You could pick any jewel box off those shelves and at the very worst it would be interesting.

Just yesterday at Half-Price Books in downtown Berkeley I found two CDs I remembered from Dad's collection: For the Beauty of Wynonna by Daniel Lanois (you may think you've never heard of him, but if you've listened to any popular music produced in the last 20 years you've heard his work) and Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings by John Prine (and if you've never heard of John Prine you've got yourself a mission then, haven't you--start with his Greatest Hits album; his song about the political climate as of two or three years ago, "Some Humans Ain't Human," is also particularly fine).

I'm sad to see CDs going the way of cassettes and LPs, although the continued presence of vinyl fetishists gives me hope that the those shiny little discs aren't headed for the same lonely fate as the 8-Track. But I must admit, I have felt the pull of this century's current fetish object (a thing so perfect that the book about it is titled The Perfct Thing)--so compact! So powerful! So convenient! And I would love to be able to download lectures, sermons, podcasts, etc. BUT! The Andy and Sarah family budget is one thing, the restrictions (Grrr...DRM!) on what you can and can't play are another, and the fact that an iPod file is only about 10% of the same song on a CD is a third. Plus, it's one more thing, or more specifically, one more place to shove other things. I can easily see my iPod filling up with music and podcasts and such that I download intending to listen to later and then never get around to--just another location for compulsions and intentions to orbit around.

Hmmm...Blogger's still not letting me post pictures--looks like the "Add Image" button has gotten swapped with the "Save Now" button. Maybe tomorrow.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Family and Gender in Ancient Rome

I mentioned below that Prof. Diane Lipsett delivered a wonderful lecture on the conversation currently taking place between New Testament scholars, family historians, social archaeologists and the like. The title of this post is actually the title of en entire semester-long course taught by Prof. Lipsett, so for our, geez, ninety minute session she condensed her focus to Men, Women, and Children in Ancient Rome. With her permission, I am posting my notes from this lecture below, tweaked a little for readability.

Prof. Lipsett is interested in studies of gender formation among non-elites as well as elites, those people about whom we know much less because they did not have the resources or clout to commemorate and study themselves, generally speaking.

Roman households were much broader than we conceive of in modern terms, with a wide spectrum of people connected by family and employment living under one roof (the terms domus/eikos/ikea capture this idea of an indiscriminate household…

Friday Night

I feel drained after this week.So I'm lifting weights by myself in the exercise room of the ArbCo Common House, doing KenKen puzzles in between sets, and feeling really glad I shelled out $30 on a cheapo Bluetooth speaker. It's astonishing that something that fits inside my water glass is capable of being too loud. Aesop Rock, Haim, Mike Doughty, Paper Tiger, and Lorde: this next set's for you. To come: some recent pictures I've made that I like.

I thought California would be different...

True, I didn't think California would be like this, but I don't know how it could be different, either. Sitting on the deck tonight, hearing the resonant tones of the metal wind chimes, and the sorrowful plunks of the bamboo ones, and smelling the jasmine on the breeze; hearing the constant low roar of the highway (even at three in the morning), but also the distant lament of the train horn; and seeing a few stars through the orange-purple night sky...I thought California would be different, but I didn't expect it to be this much the same.


{EdNote: This image is of a print by Raymond Pettibon, one that I had the privelege to live with for a semester of college thanks to Oberlin's Art Rental program and my excellent housemate Josh Adler. I think about it every time the thought "Wow, California isn't how I thought it would be," crosses my mind. Kind of grim, no?}