# # The Necessary Year - Day 33 - Progress

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

The Necessary Year – Day 33 – Progress


(this post is part of an aborted 1 year experiment in material abstinence I called The Necessary Year)


The other day I was listening to some random music with my daughter when a track by a certain group came on (Tin Hat – used to be Tin Hat Trio) which led to a discussion about the vocalist (and violin player – Carla Kihlstedt), which led to a discussion about another band said artist is in (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), which was followed by a serendipitous email from a Seattle venue that is hosting a concert by the latter (tonight at Neumos – no, I’m not going: TNY), which led, in turn, to me doing something I hadn’t done in seeming bloody forever: seeing what, if anything, said groups/artists have put out in the last few months or so, not to mention others.

The next thing you know, I’m poking about the web for music like I used to, like I’m gonna buy something.

This all occurs around the same time that a friend of mine from the local record store asks if I happen to own a certain Parker/Bailey/Zorn cd (Harras) which, apparently, has become rather expensive since going out of print. I do so happen, and he compels me to bring it by the shop as a loaner (and a burner too, I’ll bet – the evil bastard), which leads to me suddenly finding myself in a large room, surrounded by records, cds and dvds that are not only not mine but also for sale.

This is a little like a freshly recovered alcoholic suddenly discovering him or herself in the middle of a bar.

After dropping the cd off to my friend, I wandered the racks – not thumbing through the titles, not hitting the used section, just peering somewhat cursorily at the faced titles, taking my longest gander at the new releases, then wandered back out into the light of day.

Both experiences (the virtual and the real) made me realize how far I’ve come in such a short time as non-consumer, for my general reaction was not the urge to spend but cautious indifference.

While there was a slight sense of hoping I wouldn’t see anything that would make me want to cry while I was at the record store, and thus part of my hesitation to dig too deeply into the bins there, at the same time I knew I wasn’t going to be buying anything. My interest level was just barely above that which I used to have as a kid when accompanying my mother to the ladies’ clothing section of a department store: ho-hum.

The internet experience was a little different, as it is very easy to follow one’s nose online with all those helpful, little hyperlinks but, after a couple of stops at some favorite old hunting grounds and adding a number of things to my “to-buy” list here on TNY (the recent, new, and upcoming releases on Tzadik were particularly deadly), I just stopped looking.

What was the point? Not only will I not be buying those things right now, to a certain degree I’m not even sure I want them any more – or at least not as I used to: as if they were air to fill my lungs and water to slake my thirst. I mean, how long ago was it that I was on here absolutely heartbroken about TNY keeping me from getting the latest Zappa release?

The funny thing is, I received a $20 gift certificate to an online retailer for Father’s Day which I have yet to use. I suppose I could use it to get one of the things on my list but I am holding off for a couple of reasons:

1 – I want to be really sure of what I get – not pop-off on just anything like a kid with birthday money burning a hole in his pocket and
2 – Like an addict, I’m thinking that having some new thing coming in the mail might not be the best thing for me at the moment.

Another, seemingly quashed, passion of mine is Japanese toys.

Now, I still love these silly things and am excited for the day that I can once again appropriately display the considerable collection I have amassed but, as to adding to said collection, I have very little urge.

This was accomplished not through a sudden disinterest in the toys but in simply avoiding the behaviors that led to my collection addiction in the first place.

A great deal of my daily free-time (and I used to have a lot more than I presently do) used to consist of me interacting in online communities built specifically around the act of collecting and enthusing about these toys.

If I wasn’t online interacting with these folks about JPtoys, I was online trying to find and buy them: eBay, HLJ, Y!JP – oh, the hours we’d spend together!

Finally, if I wasn’t doing one of the two above activities, I was working on a visual production of some sort designed to not only entertain my virtual friends but also to inform them.

And what was I informing them of?

Well, my taste and success as a toy collector, of course! (do let’s try to keep up, shall we?)

Of course, my life was filled with many other, non-jptoy related things – I am a father, after all, and have many other interests – but this “hobby” as we like to call it (does collecting something at the click of a few buttons really qualify as a hobby? With the advent of the internet it seems a rather passive one to me) swallowed more and more of my time and focus the longer I was involved with it.

So shutting it down in my life took some doing but I had a little help in that the main community I was involved with had begun to die back a bit. There is only so long grown men of any intelligence (and the core group is composed of very bright and professional individuals – no, really) can sit around typing about toys to one another.

Of course there are other groups, newer toys, different people to type at but, with TNY in mind, I just kind of eased back.

Though I still interact with folks on the board at the aforementioned main site, I limit it to humorous remarks and off topic comments which circumvent the purpose of the place but help me to stay in contact with a group of people whom I have “known” for a decade and many of whom I now consider friends of a sort.

So the trick for me has been avoiding the consumer triggers – no tv, avoid stores and internet surfing of no consequence – and, having done so, I now find the siren-song of knee-jerk consumerism that much less compelling and audible.

Of course, my focus is on other, more serious things right now (divorce, moving, job security, etc.). Once it all settles down and I find myself with more free time to knock about, will I continue to find this new sense of control so easy or will the gotta-have-its wrap their pale fingers around my balls once again?

Time will tell …

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