Abby and I spent some of this weekend cleaning and organizing. The house has been in disarray for some time, since last month Abby’s best friend Sharon gave her an antique bedroom suite, and we have not, as yet, found a home for the furniture it displaced. We have made some progress, including one of my longstanding projects, to reorganize my so-called “comm center,” the computer table in our office that holds two of my police scanners, an amateur radio dual-band transceiver, a small television and the cable box that serves it, a VCR/DVD recorder, and and until yesterday, four stereo components.
Today, however, there are just two stereo components remaining, the receiver and the CD copier/player. I removed the cassette deck and the CD/Minidisc player.
Before I go on, I want to say that I have always listened to music in a very emotional way, diving deep into the sound and artistry. In addition to entertaining me, music has always moved and inspired me. Yet being a man, particularly a single man for many years, I was sometimes drawn into the senseless egotism of the gearhead scene. When I was in college the center of this pissing contest was cassette tapes. I had some friends who swore that Maxell was the only
worthy brand, whereas I was a big TDK fan. By about 1982, just before the advent of the Compact Disc, cassette tape brands were in fierce competition with each other, and to that end, TDK came out with what I guess would be the ultimate cassette: the MA-R and MA-XG. Instead of the usual plastic case with a shiny logo on it, this item had clear panels that revealed a solid metal frame inside. The idea was that the lightweight, plastic case would move around inside the tape deck and mess up the alignment of the tape with the record and playback heads, but the heavy, super-rigid frame would ensure precise alignment.
It was bullspit, of course, since college kids listening to Frank Zappa could no more hear the difference than they could get to their 7:30 am class on time.
But I confess to owning six of these things. Ironically, the heavier frame made them stick inside my car stereo on cold days, and I would have to pry them out with a butter knife.
I thought of all this as I did my cleaning and reorganizing. I removed the cassette deck and the CD/Minidisc player. The stack of electronics looked much more orderly afterwards, but there in the hallway forlornly sat the tape deck and the Minidisc player. I had a mind to throw them both away, or to squirrel them away in the attic for the day after armageddon when antique consumer electronics would be worth millions of dollars. Instead, though, I took the Minidisc player and my sizable collection of Minidiscs to the bedroom, where I set it up on my night stand as my nap time entertainment. All it required was a headphone adapter. Also, if and when I get tired of my current nap time music, it also has a CD player in it, so I can listen to CDs or copy them to Minidisc.
1991 technology is cool!