Heirlooms & Detritus

Sunday, 20 April 2014

As I’m cur­rently en­gaged in my bi­en­nial deep-clean of my house, I’m con­cen­trat­ing on get­ting rid of things that I don’t ac­tively use. It’s an as­sort­ment of the usual stuff, clothes I bought, books I no longer want, etc. Disposing of that stuff is pretty easy, but this year I’m con­cen­trat­ing on the stuff I’ve been haul­ing around in boxes for years; stuff that just sits, tak­ing up space. Mostly ma­te­rial mem­o­ries.

I haven’t worn my Notre Dame mono­gram jacket in a decade. Do I re­ally need to keep it? I have my baby china. I have no mem­ory of ever eat­ing off of it. Do I re­ally need to keep it? Do I re­ally need to save my year­books, my col­lec­tion of bat­tle­ship draw­ings, my base­ball cards, my com­plete set of un­opened Star Wars Episode I Lego? What’s mine & spe­cial to me I will keep, and it’s mostly small, or dig­i­tized. Photos, my na­tional cham­pi­onship ring, my first sto­ries. There are also items that have been handed down to me that I care for: my grandpa’s cuf­flinks, my grandma’s po­etry, some of my mom’s an­tiques, quilt­ing & needle­work.

I’m hav­ing trou­ble dis­cern­ing the line be­tween what I want to save, what I don’t care about, and what my son might want years from now. And, I re­ally, re­ally, re­ally don’t want to haul around gi­ant plas­tic tubs for the next 30 years that are a per­sonal li­brary of my life as a child.

File this un­der: Crap that I don’t want but don’t know how to get rid of.

Digging Drifter Bags

Monday, 18 November 2013

I fol­low this style site called Well Spent. They “[fea­ture] hon­estly crafted prod­ucts that look good and don’t cost an arm and a leg.” Last week they did a Q&A with Drifter Bags. The first thing that struck me was that it was an Ohio brand. I shoved the link up on Facebook, and, lo, my friend Rich com­mented with an ad­dress. Turns out Drifter Bags is based 15 min­utes from my house.

Well, now I just had to go visit. They do their work in what looks like an old car deal­er­ship. I walked in and Tony Nguyen him­self came out to say wait on me. The place is filled with mer­chan­dise, all of it styl­ish and in­trigu­ing. Most of the bags are made out of sturdy ny­lon pack cloth, but if you’re look­ing for sturdy Cordura, or Martexin waxed cot­ton, or a bag made from cloth pro­duced at the Bemidji Woolen Mills in Minnesota, you can take your pick.

Tony told me that the bags are hugely pop­u­lar in Japan, Australia and Europe, but aren’t get­ting much at­ten­tion in the States. Hopefully that will change.

I picked up the Martexin waxed cot­ton Classic Messenger Bag and a wal­let for my son. And, good for me and oth­ers within dri­ving dis­tance, the prices were a bit less on se­lect items in the store.

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Thursday, 15 July 2010

I talk about Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction too much. By too much, I mean every cou­ple of years. I re­ally should read some other stuff that he’s writ­ten, so I don’t get too pseudo-in­tel­lec­tu­ally schol­ar­ship-boy­ish. Like I’m about to.

I col­lect stuff, not a lot, but stuff nonethe­less. It used to be base­ball cards, then Tolkien books, then good sci­ence fic­tion in gen­eral and now beach glass, good movies, and lo­cal mu­sic para­pher­na­lia. I used to col­lect things as if the things them­selves were pre­cious. Benjamin would call this the aura of the art ob­ject. He posits that orig­i­nal works of art have greater value than re­pro­duc­tions. That’s the kind of rea­son that peo­ple go for mint first edi­tions, signed copies, &c. There’s noth­ing wrong with that. I would still love to get my mitts on a first edi­tion Starship Troopers with the awe­some dust-jacket, but my collector’s cri­te­rion has changed over the years.

I no longer col­lect things as if the things them­selves were pre­cious, I col­lect them be­cause of what they con­tain. So now when I’m at Half-price Books, and I see a hard cover of LeGuin’s Lathe of Heaven with the orig­i­nal dust-jacket cover art, I don’t care that its just the book club edi­tion, I care that it is hard-bound and there­fore more durable than my pa­per­back ver­sion. The dura­bil­ity mat­ters be­cause it pro­tects what is re­ally im­por­tant about the book, the story it­self. So I’ll pick up an Asimov om­nibus and get rid of my an­cient pa­per­backs (which are worth more than the om­nibus) be­cause the om­nibus will last longer.

I don’t mind that my Egon Schiele came from All Posters or that the Death of Marat in my bath­room (which never fails to make me act dis­gust­ingly smug) came from the same. If my art se­lec­tions are con­sid­ered a col­lec­tion, I have what I have be­cause I like it, not nec­es­sar­ily for its ex­trin­sic value. I try to col­lect ex­pe­ri­ences, emo­tions and mo­ments of com­mu­ni­ca­tion now, not every last edi­tion of the Lord of the Rings. (Although if you want to hook me up, I won’t com­plain).

Packrat Purge

Sunday, 4 August 2002

the pack­rat purge is com­plete and sev­eral gro­cery bags are now filled with ran­dom para­phre­na­lia that i deemed un­nec­ces­sary to store for an­other year. to­day i also washed my car and bought a pic­ture al­bum to house my col­le­giate pho­tographs. my room is now liv­able for the next few weeks.

we need wa­ter ter­ri­bly. we’ve had no rain in over a month and every­thing is ei­ther dead or dy­ing. the gras crum­bles to dust when it is stepped on, the ground is cracked, there in­sect count is even low. there is no stir in the air. much of my town’s liveli­hood is de­pen­dent on the suc­cess of the crop. if we get shat on this year the al­ready de­pressed eco­nomic straits of our com­mu­nity will only be com­pounded. i’m read­ing Double Indemnity and I ex­pect to com­plete it this evening.

Happy 1st Anniversary to Brian and Alice Stone!