Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ash Wednesday, Clutter, & Music

Once again, I'm violating my New Year's resolution about not post-dating blog entries, but I started this on Ash Wednesday and it got lost in the 過労死 of the past week ...

Here we are in the Lenten season and I have no idea what I will forsake for my fast. Last year was the first in a while where I didn't give up Diet Coke and while my body could probably use the detox, I'm not going to give up caffeine this year either.

Instead of focusing on the fast, I guess I need to focus on doing something positive ... like finishing cleaning up the basement so we can move the guest room there and then covert the guest room to the new nursery. It's not a matter of painting or anything, it's the much more difficult task of decluttering things. Over the weekend, I moved around books and bookcases, freeing up a wall to put the guest bed against; now I need to organize/throw out a lot of stuff. One thing I'm looking at doing is seeing what CDs I can get away with ripping the tracks I like from (and then getting rid of the discs), and for the other CDs switching from standard jewel boxes to slimline ones. Yes, this is level of decluttering I'm at. Effective, I'm not sure, but it will free up some space.

I'm also clearing out some piles of magazines and other things around my desk. I have a problem; I admit it.

UPDATE: Fast-forward to the future (Sunday afternoon), my initial trial with a 50 pack of slimline jewel boxes makes things look promising: I've ordered 500 more and I think I'll be able to consolidate most of our CDs into one big CD rack with only a little overflow (and a decent-sized pile of CDs to get rid of). The slimline boxes let me keep the CD booklet, but I'm planning to take apart the trays to get the back panel insert and will store those somewhere ... just in case I decide to reverse this decision at some point. As for what I'll do with all those empty jewel boxes ... I have no idea.

I'm also rapidly filling up a 100 GB external hard drive with tunes: the first 5 or 6 gigs were songs off-loaded from my computer at work that'd I'd picked up over the years from the old, Amazon, the Live Music Archive, various band sites, and other places. But since then, I've ripped tracks from a stack of discs and started an eMusic subscription.

I have to say I really like eMusic. It doesn't have the selection of iTunes, but there is a lot of good (particularly indie and small label) music there — the entire Decemberists catalogue, for example — and it's all DRM-free MP3s, which makes it easy to transfer to different media for playback. Even nicer is that while they do have a pretty straightforward download accelerator, you don't have to use their software to organize your entire music library (something that's making me unwilling to try the free Connect downloads I could get from the new My Coke Rewards program.

This isn't a commercial for eMusic or anything, but the basic sign-up deal is a 25-song free trial, but if you shoot me your e-mail address, I can use their "tell a friend" feature to send you a 50-song free trial offer. (Full disclosure, for everyone I refer who becomes a subscriber, I get 50 free songs myself ... and there are a lot of things on my save-for-later list ...)

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