July 3, 2007
I have recently finished ripping our entire CD collection to MP3. We now officially live in the post-CD universe. From now on, all of our music will be acquired in digital form (from eMusic, when possible). The final stats according to iTunes are: 16,804 songs, 42 days playing time, 77.04 GB (that’s 60% of the usable space on my shiny new 400GB hard disk).
The project took me about a month of evenings and weekends, processing the 50-75% of our CDs that had never been ripped (or had been lost in one of the great iPod disasters of ’04, ’05, or ’06 (Never again!)).
Over that month, I’ve heard the following objections expressed by multiple guilty parties.
Objection: “But I like CDs. I like the medium. I like the having them.”
Response: You are a fool. You are a human being, not a magpie: you don’t need a pile of shiny discs to validate your existence. Compact discs have no inherent value beyond the information that is encoded upon them.
Objection: “But the sound quality is not as good.”
Response: You are talking to someone who cut his teeth listening to DIY 7″ records, cassette demos, and entire albums recorded on boomboxes. I ripped everything, including the jazz and classical, at 192kbps/VBR (i.e., “near-CD quality”). And that is good enough for me. If you have a problem with that, you are a wanker. If you persist in this objection, I will ask you to leave.
I just had a damn satisfying bowl of cereal with strawberries and blueberries in it, made all the more satisfying (but at the same time dismaying) by all my failed attempts to have this same bowl of cereal with strawberries and blueberries for the last several months. Apparently they are now actually in season and so they actually, you know, taste good. But even though they previously weren’t in season and didn’t taste good, the grocery store kept putting them out there for me to buy (at tantalizingly reasonable prices) anyway.
It’s ironic, in this world where you can buy summer fruit in January and winter vegetables in August*, where global supply chains are devised to deliver to the consumer everything he wants when he wants it without respect for climate or geography, that we’ve actually lost a convenience that was intrinsic to the old order: the strawberries, blueberries, apples, peaches, plums, and nectarines only showed up at the grocery when they were good (or just a little bit before. And stayed around just a little bit after). You didn’t have to be a student of agriculture with a sharp eye for quality to know when it was and was not OK to buy strawberries: it was OK to buy them for the 3-4 weeks that they were available in grocery stores. Now, it’s just a constant exercise in mental discipline and delayed gratification. Ick.
Perhaps this is why I should do more shopping at the farmers’ market.
POSTSCRIPT: H should not read anything in this post to confirm insane and inconvenient ideas developed while reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma
* Who wants winter vegetables in August?