Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Tape imports

I’ve been back since Thursday, but I’ve been busy with a few different projects, some worthwhile, some asinine.

One thing is this ongoing saga of storing my CDs. I went to Fry’s this weekend and bought three no-name binders that allegedly hold 320 CDs each on sleeves. That’s actually 160 per book, because I’m using one pouch for a CD, one for its booklet. I already had 200 CDs in loose sheets, too. Yesterday, I got all of my CDs from A-M ripped, bound, and in books. Not only am I getting a lot of new/old music into iTunes, I’m purging myself of jewel cases and I’m also pitching some CDs that are taking up space. I know this goes against what my personal philosophy was at one time, but I’ve moved enough and dragged around pieces of plastic and metal that I will never, ever listen to again, so less is more.

I also pulled my old JVC tape deck from 1993 out of storage, and wired it into my Mac. I then downloaded a copy of Audacity and started digitizing stuff. Actually, I first started by sorting through tapes and pitching things I had on CD already, or that were entirely useless. My tape collection is down to two shoeboxes and one of those plastic cases you keep in the car, and I think I will get it down by one shoebox when this is over.

After a huge pain-in-the-ass in setting it up, Audacity is actually working well. It’s free, which is good. It also lets you trim audio after you input it. You can also look at the waveforms and drop in a named bookmark when you find the start of a song. Then you click and export everything, and it splits up the songs by bookmark and dumps them to MP3 for you. Very nice. There are some additional functions for cleaning up sound and reducing noise, but I haven’t messed with them. These are mostly 15-20 year old tapes, so there’s not a lot of super high end sound I can squeeze out of them.

The whole procedeure is a huge throwback to 1993. First, that’s when I got this tape deck. Before that, I would plug a walkman into my receiver to listen to tapes. When I worked at Wards that summer, I used my employee discount to buy this tape deck, which had a record deck with the kind of auto-reverse that spun the heads, instead of just moving them over and reversing the tape direction. There was some advantage to this, and I don’t remember what – something about magnetic particles or something. Anyway, it has been a long time since I’ve seen this deck’s little amber display staring back at me, and it’s a weird little flashback to me. Hell, it’s a huge thing just to play tapes anymore. I rarely even touch CDs these days.

The other big flashback is that I’m pulling in a lot of the demos and other odd tapes I could never find on CD. I’m listening to a band called Oliver Magnum, which are a prog-rock-esque metal band from Oklahoma. This self-released tape, Drive-By, spent a hell of a lot of time in my walkman back in the day. I think if I made a top-ten list of the most-played tapes I listened to while trudging across the IU campus back in 1993, this would be in the top 5. And I haven’t listened to it in years and years, so it’s good to see it flashing by on the VU meters in Audacity. Last night, I pulled in an old Germ Attack demo that I loved back in ’93. So this is all a fun little time-waster for me. At least it is delaying me from going on iTunes and buying a bunch of new music.

The iPod is up to 9182 songs; the goal is 10,000. Maybe by Wednesday.

As of yesterday, I have lost 18.2 pounds since 4/27; I managed to lose 3.6 pounds in the week we were in Vegas. (I was 100% sure I gained, but walking a dozen miles a day does something, I guess.) That puts me under 200 pounds for the first time in, well, a while. I think I was in the 190s back in 1997. Before that, it was probably in 1993, when I was walking everywhere (and listening the the aforementioned tapes.) When I get to my 10% goal, I am supposed to pick what my ultimate goal will be, and I don’t know what to use. this page has a calculator that shows results from a bunch of different standards, but it seems like I remember a BMI calculator that took into account your frame size by measuring your wrist, and I can’t find one of those. I think I would be happy if I could get below 180 (184 is officially the low edge of the “overweight” category,) but a harder goal would be somewhere in the 170-175 range.

One of our DVD players exploded on Friday. I went to turn it on, and it flashed orange and shot smoke out of the front. I had to move my player in the bedroom (I never watch movies in here, anyway) and now I need to take apart the old one to extricate the DVD in there.

Gotta go fill up my car. The absolute, absolute best price I can find is $4.54/gal, at Costco. Yeah, I know it’s *only* $4.14 in Elkhart. But to get that price, you have to live in Elkhart. I’ll pay the extra $250 a year for actual paved roads.