Thursday, October 29, 2009

the first checkpoint

I walked in and out of the blue room many times today. If I had to guess, I would say I went in there with the intention of box-blogging at least 15 times, which doesn't count the number of times I went in there for other, non-box reasons. I was having trouble motivating myself to launch into something and I thought today might be another "hey, guys, I failed" kind of day. But after standing and staring and removing some garbage and consolidating a few still-homeless piles, I realized: I haven't been slacking off at all.

So much is done. So many things have been discarded or given away, organized and shelved. The difficulty proceeding is due to having run out of places to put things. I need another bookshelf for these boxes of photo albums, and a trunk for these piles of notebooks. Some of these display curios could be displayed on shelves if I had more shelves, and that would help me decide which to keep, which to store, and which to toss. All of those items must be dealt with before exploring the bigger boxes underneath, and it's time to tackle the childhood toys on the right side of the closet, too. Before that happens, though, I need some sturdier storage to contain our heirloom Fisher-Price baubles. A few things in the blue room closet could maybe move into my bedroom closet if I moved some things around in there. But I've come so far since I started this project that shuffling things from place to place just to halfway explore things that have no "away" place seems like the wrong direction and I don't wanna.

Such a relief! And a renewed sense of purpose and direction. Even if the going must slow while hunting for shelves, containers, or time to organize a bedroom closet, more boxes will be unpacked, and more of their contents will be organized, discarded, repurposed, or set aflame.

But not this weekend.

I'll be away from the internet for a few days; the BUSST is playing the 8th Annual Murder Ballads Bash in Berkeley, CA on Saturday and there is much to do to prepare, experience, and decompress before, during, and after.

When I return, I will have a clearer idea of what to do here and in what order to do it. While I'm gone, feel free to leave any unused bookshelves in my driveway (but don't try to steal my toaster - other people who live here will still be around and so will their attack chihuahua). Enjoy the time off, and Happy Nevada Day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

links are easier than scans, ok?

Tonight I delivered all the things I've found (so far) belonging to Mr. Eric Foreman and all the things I've thus promised to Miss Jess. I was going to write about unpacking the microscope box, but mostly it involved Jess getting excited and me going "ew. guinea pig blood. ew." We should've taken pictures anyway. (Hey Jess, how about some snaps in the comments when you refurbish the thing?)

It feels good to have followed through on some next steps of The Project. Plus, Eric was confused ("um, this isn't my copy of The Tommyknockers.") and Jess was so happy (reading the note dated 6-6-07 sealed inside the envelop, "this took longer to mail than I expected."). Even better, though, is that I made it back to Carson City in time to unpack an actual box of my own before midnight. I am awesome (and Jess says my awesomeness is not a fluke).

So let's get to it, shall we? It's cold in here and I'm sleepy from tea partying with the parents this morning.

Tonight, I'm approaching the zine box from last week. Facing real, breathing, funny, handsome history tonight, plus chatting with old friends and girl-talking with even older friends has given me the fortitude to complete this potentially sentimentally ruinous task. I hope.

Ok, I'm not even into the box itself, just the top layer, and I've found something written by Katherine Strickland (girl hero extraordinaire, with extra handwriting radicalness), two color-cover, offset press-printed issues of The Match, and the very first zine anyone ever handed me not written by a friend (something titled the rain that fell last night made me fall in love with you). I'm not going to make it.

I am going to end up keeping most of these.

Especially these:

  • The last issue of Second Guess.
  • All three The Fox and the Hound comic books (nowhere near mint).
  • The first 10 issues of Punk Planet.
  • Several issues of the BG Biweekly, including the issue featuring Narcissistic Freds and a picture of our pre-punk, high-school, not-cool selves. Not. Good.
  • Charlie Maffitt's Brainchild, issue number one. The zine that started a friendship that would span decades and continents (and long gaps of silence).
  • The Posters and Art of Frank Kozik (his official website is down, but you'd know his work if you saw it).
  • ET and Return of the Jedi storybooks.
  • That book Jonathan lent me (The Shock of the New: The Hundred-Year History of Modern Art...)
  • Issues of Profane Existence, Styzine, Thorozine, Greedy Bastard, Beans and Rice, Lookout!, 10 Things, and dozens of other mid- to late-90s zines. No Cometbus or Dishwasher though? Weird.
  • And a big stack of Maximum Rock 'n' Roll.

And on the questionable pile:

  • Many issues of Sassy magazine. I'm keeping the one on loan from the Alpine Library (due 9-18-90). Johnny Depp is on the cover. Screw it.
  • (I'm also keeping the one with happy Kurt and pre-surgery Courtney on the cover.)
  • (Shut up.)
Ok, so, I  kind of failed. Or maybe not. Maybe these readables from times past are worth keeping. If I can squeeze them onto the bookshelf, then I think I'm allowed to keep them. At least until it's time to pack up the books again.


And whatever happened to zines? Have we replaced them entirely with blogs? Did we lose interest in zines, or are they solely the domain of teenagers and punk rockers? Looking at these relics, I miss the days when getting the mail could be the most exciting part of my day. I miss reading a stranger's thoughts, written in his or her own handwriting, about music, politics, and crushes.

Rekindle the old flame. Send me some mail:
Jen Scaffidi / PO BOX 4364 / Carson City NV 89702.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Today, I did not accomplish much in the way of super-exciting-box-related-stuff-that's-also-fun-to-write-and-read-about. Mostly, I played that checkers-esque game of moving boxes around, over, under, and on top of each other, and exchanged some boxes in the blue room for some others in the bedroom. I wanted to make space, and to survey the surroundings for a clue to the elusive next step.

Only I am to blame for the lack of focus exhibited here recently, and I'm blurring the rituals and schedules of many other aspects of my life as well. I'm not sure if it's due to a list full of fun and exciting things that need crossing off, or the normal routines of everyday life, or the big question marks hovering over the big decisions facing me in the weeks and months ahead, or my general laziness and love of blowing things off.

I suppose it might also be due to not allowing myself enough "fun time." When I'm unemployed, it's so easy to slip into an unexamined useless laze-about life of leisure that I may push myself to fill all of my days with meaning and accomplishment which, as we know, leads a person to feel burned out and unfocused.

As some areas go blurry, though, other areas sharpen into my consciousness, and I am drawn to pursue them even as I let other, beloved, pursuits slide. I have never been good at limiting my commitments, and I have often longed for more hours in a day or more days in a week, that I might be able to master all of my loves and still leave myself time to do absolutely nothing productive.

Or maybe I'm just making excuses for the fact that I got distracted tonight by something (of which I'm still unsure) and then forgot to return to the blue room and apply myself to the task I had scheduled for today's Project entry.

Which now, it seems, will have to wait until tomorrow.

And so it is.

Monday, October 26, 2009

the secret lives of purses

I looked around the blue room today and I said to myself, "what pile can I tackle that will yield the largest result with the least effort?" Not that I am feeling lazy - far from it in fact - but so many piles in The Project now require shelving or storage solutions and I, being unemployed, am out of the dollars needed to acquire such things.

But this pile here, this one comes with its own storage solution(s)!

ladies and gentlemen: luggage and purses

Of course, once I've sorted these and whittled the collection down to things that fit in the blue bin plus a suitcase or two, where am I going to put the bin and the suitcase or two?

I'm starting to suspect that I need to get even more serious about getting rid of things. And I'm going to start by returning this suitcase to Mr. Eric Foreman, or at least offering it back to him. I spilled NyQuil all over the inside flap while I was on tour in 2005, but it's still usable if you put a hand towel between the lid and the flap.

hey, eric: you want this back?

Truly amazing fact: inside this suitcase is a towel actually belonging to Eric himself, plus my travel neck pillow that I can NEVER find when I want it.

While I am going through this pile, I am thinking about the sentimentality of purses. Maybe this is weird and I am unique, but people aren't as special as we often think we are, so I bet other girls have encountered this phenomenon.

On average, I use a purse for about six months before I replace it. Sometimes the replacement is passive, like someone gives me a bacon-themed tin lunchbox for Christmas, and other times it's active, like my bookbag is full of cat pee and I must buy myself a new one. These purses come to represent chunks of history; they carry memory along with the lip glosses and cell phones.

Take this purse for example:

winter 2006 - 2007

I remember that this purse was large enough to carry a book and a clean shirt in addition to the normal purse contents. I remember this because when I look at it, I immediately recall the memory of setting it down on PKD's couch when we very first started spending time alone together. I remember that the red stripes matched my red hair. I remember that it always smelled like smoke and PKD's cologne when I got to work the next day. And I remember that one day at Maytan, Drumist startled me and I dumped an entire mug of coffee into it. Which is probably when I stopped using it: I washed it, hung it on the line to dry, and then got a new purse while this one joined the others in obsolescence.

Then there's this gem:

hello, kitty

I carried this Hello Kitty ™ shoulder bag (with matching change purse!) all over clubs and bars in the wake of my dad's heart attack in 2004. I could see my cell phone through the translucent vinyl, back when text messages were replacing calls as my preferred method of contact. I carried it while dancing to the Sounds and "Train in Vain," which Mat would always play when I showed up, every night I tried to dance and drink away the fear of mortality and loss that comes after the crisis goes.

Or this Air Force-issue duffel bag:

basic training teaches you how to fold it like this, I think

Jim sent it to me right before I moved to Texas. I packed everything I owned into this and one other bag, and lugged them from bus to train to train to bus, from Davis to San Antonio, over two-and-a-half days, to start my new life. I stood there, backpack over my shoulder, duffel at my feet, on the steps outside the visitor's center at Kelly AFB, wearing a Zoinks! t-shirt and greasy hair, and watched my new weird future walk toward me.

So what is one to do with all this useless history? Well, I have been meaning to try out one of Ramit Sethi's tips from his 30 Day Challenge to Save $1,000. Tip three is "Sell something on eBay today," which is more about teaching yourself about sacrificing to meet goals than it is about making money. So I think I will auction off these purses as a way to do that. I will.

librarian-like determination?

And finally, I just want to share with you this pile of things I pulled out of all the purses and luggage in this pile, including the world's largest maxi pad, and a five-year-old pack of gum:

the secret lives of purses

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Today's box might be the box equivalent of what Rory refers to as "throat clearing." In writing, I believe, this refers to a weak opening thought, one that doesn't make the point or grab the reader the way a better, more thoughtfully crafted opening might. Box-wise, this box isn't valuable or important or attention-grabbing. But I need things, and I think these things are in this box, so this is what I'm doing today.

This box, as you might deduce, is one of several that I have employed during this project. These boxes, these halfway houses of cardboard, these way stations of storage, these cartons of crap, they contain things I have uncovered but which do not yet have a home. Things like batteries and tape measures, which I really need immediately, to power my overdrive pedal and measure some shelves, respectively.

This need provides me an excellent opportunity to begin assembling my utility drawer, which I will not picture here because I'm certain you're tired of seeing photos of my plastic drawer units.

This need also means that many things taken out of this box may have to go back into this box until such time as I find a home for them. But instead of despairing over rework (which I hate), we will rejoice in the small progress we are making, and in the rediscovery of the label-maker, again.

And in the opportunity to organize the leftover contents into other temporary box-piles, like sentimementalos, craft stuff, manuals, and stuffed animals.

While we're on the subject, what is the rule about adults and stuffed animals? Some things we just have to keep, right? Like childhood relics, thoughtful gifts, or the weird things that Jewbles, the Savant of Crane Machinery, rescues from the claw machines? This is one of those times I need advice and anecdotes. Tell me about your adult stuffed animal rules, please.

While you do that, I will assign additional subdivisions of organization to include jewelery, bathroom items (mostly of the lip balm variety), guitar picks, BBs (not that I have an operational BB gun, of course), and "things for display."

I can not, however, bring myself to sort through the bag of loot from last year's Scheels VIP event, so I will put it back in this box of "um, huh?" and then put all the utility items away and go to bed.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

mystery video camera

Ok, I can see how you might think today's box is a cop-out. I mean, "vid cam" is written pretty clearly on the outside. But let me assure you, I've carted this taped-up video camera to at least four homes. I've had it so long that I don't even know if it runs tape or digital media.

what kind of video camera?

In keeping with the mission statement, I'm handing it over to PKD, as soon as he shows up to get me, so he can organize, discard, repurpose, or set aflame its contents.

Maybe he'll choose "set aflame?"

* * *


PKD said it runs, shockingly, Hi8 video tape. Ha! I seem to remember, now, that maybe it is broken. Like it eats tapes. Like I think I got it from The Parents after they deemed it worthless. PKD said, "I wonder what kind of magic I can create with this?" and then tossed it in the backseat.

I hope that's not where he plans to test it out... or set it on fire.

Friday, October 23, 2009

stupid radish germs

The past 36 hours have been a blur of germs, insomnia, and vehicular logistic difficulties, all culminating in: there's no box today.

Do you think I should change the mission statement to something more realistic, or continue to set goals for myself that I can't always reach but will still spur me ever closer to dedication and goodness?

I guess you can tell how I feel about that.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"no sun!"

While Operation: Bedroom Electronics is on hiatus, I decided today was a good day to go old school: just one box and its mystery contents.

today's box

We can assume that, since it states "no sun!" so threateningly, there's probably tape media of some kind within. Let's see...

can you believe that the box cutter is hidden somewhere in a box?

Oh yes! I'm so excited I could maybe pee! A cd wallet full of things I love! (Menomena! The National! Eric Burn's Decemberists mix! Unwound!) 



  • Zip disks with The Spark EP artwork
  • A mini-disc recording of The Spark at the Stork Club in 2003 
  • A Maxell Hi8MP tape. Is this a video tape? How do I play it?

please help?
And...a cache of cassette tapes, including:

  • ICS day albums
  • Several tapes of four-track recordings of Spark and solo ideas
  • The entire Narcissistic Freds discography, including unreleased tracks (for those of you who don't know, I played bass and sang backups in the Freds, a poppy punk band, from 1993 through 1997, until we broke up and formed Crushstory)
  • A recording, on a Fisher-Price tape, of my 6th birthday:

still fancy at a party, i guess

And, most importantly of all:


(I almost cried a little.)
(And then I called The Sister and she got really excited, too.)

birthdays haven't been the same since we lost you

I was really hoping to find The Twilight Project DAT tape (a different band of mine, circa 1999), but I now fear it's gone forever.

On a related note, I had the volume up on my DSi while I was taking pictures today, and the music that plays while the camera app is enabled is really fun!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

fits and starts

Some days go smoother than others, and today was one of those not-really-smooth days. In between the imperative (looking for a job and fighting with the State of Alaska Insurance Licensing Division) and the mundane (eating and bathing), I managed to get myself part of the way into Operation: Bedroom Electronics.

Further complicating (i.e., impeding) the process is my new laptop, which arrived yesterday and has been test-piloted all over the house and at all hours of the night. Distracting, certainly, although its existence is allowing me to post this while watching a rerun of CSI in my bed, and that does not suck.

Before I could complete today's mission, The Sister came home with a headache; I gave up the noisy work of moving furniture and assembling stereo components. Then my reading tutor-ee showed up for his first lesson and I gave up on today's mission altogether.

I'm glad for the delay, though, because I decided I want to sew (I love sewing now!) a runner for the new shelving unit thing and I still have to talk PKD into converting the TV into a fully operational video game situation. In the meantime, he kindly lifted the big-ass TV onto the bookcase for me (and then killed an ugly ugly bug with his bare hands).

I also cleared off the new shelving unit thing and dragged it into the bedroom. While it's waiting for its new runner and old stereo pieces, it makes a mighty convenient place to stash a laptop.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

there's a big-ass TV in here

Apparently, now I am tackling my bedroom. This is accidental. The only boxes in my room contain records and the record player I ordered in May 2008 and never unpacked, but this is not what moved me to retool the space. I have been motivated by the laundry.

Specifically the arduous, heinous, abominable task of putting away the laundry.

It started with the seasonal closet purging of unworn items. I had been, well, fantasizing about this for a few weeks, so it was easy enough: I tossed anything that no longer fits or hasn't seen the light of day in over a year.

Then I put the clean clothes away into the closet. With much grumbling and annoyance and stomping out to the garage for extra clothespins to hold wide-necked shirts to too-narrow hangers, all the clean clothes got put away.

Then I organized the clean clothes in the closet by type: short-sleeved blouses and t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, button-up shirts, dresses. Why do I have so many black t-shirts?

Then I tidied up all the bins of non-hang-up-able items: underpants, socks, tank tops, sweaters, pants, tights, pajamas. This bin-based system really helps me to not be a major clothes pile type slob. Which is to say, I sort piles of clothes into smaller piles of clothes, which I then place into these bins so as to appear somewhat non-slob-like. There's a bin for each type of clothing, and since the bins are larger than drawers, I don't have to fold anything that goes into them.

Then I put the bins away in the closet. My goal is to keep the bins in the closet, but somehow they always creep out into the room when I'm using them and never quite get put away. But after I huffed and I puffed and I crammed them on top of each other, they made a home inside the closet.

Then I stood there, surveying my accomplishments, and I thought: I did all this work already; eff it, I'm just going for it.

So I stripped the bed and washed the sheets and blankets and dusted all the furniture and put away all the books and movies and cds that had accumulated and vacuumed and when the dust had settled, I realized: there's a big-ass TV in here.

big-ass TV

A few months ago, I mentioned aloud, to no one in particular, that I thought I might enjoy watching the cable channels in my bedroom (everyone loves a little Food Network before bed, yeah?). Two days later, brother-in-law Jewbles delivered a cable-ready television.

I didn't think I had any furniture upon which to place it, but I think the laundry initiative finally birthed a solution:

I'm going to put the TV on this bookcase...

...and put the stereo on this piece...

...right after I clear it off and put it on this wall.

Yes, one of my walls is wallpapered with biplanes. No, I didn't choose the pattern. The house came with the biplane wallpaper, and The Sister refuses to help me remove it. And if she won't help me, well, then nobody will help me.

Anyway, I'm hoping that with the stereo on the one piece and the TV on the other, there might just be room for the record player, and then I can unpack my records!

So until next time, my friends...

Monday, October 19, 2009

i thread the bobbin!

The to-go pile finally reached an unwieldy size, and I have had to drag all that stuff down the hall and into the dining room. This project started with needing to clear the common spaces of my personal disaster / failure to let go / mess; I'm a little annoyed that I have had to take over the common spaces once again. But it's temporary! And much neater than before! And with the garage sale proceeds I will buy a bottle of whiskey to share with the house! Ok? Ok!?

Clearing some moving-around space in the blue room has me pumped up to tackle huge chunks of this project (not to mention, I feel like I need to get to a stopping point before I can resume the rest of my life). So I cleaned up yesterday's mess and then cleared out the right plastic drawer unit.

yeah, still these

It was quick work. The Sister and I did a major bathroom overhaul a few months back and I emptied most of the unit then. With the second unit empty, I was able to put things away in both sets of drawers: strings, cables, electronic devices (like hand-held tape recorders and voice-modulators), band stickers and merch. I have such a feeling of awesomeness putting things away, in a place where they belong, so that I can use them as needed and not have them fall on my head while looking for other things.

Still, I'm sort of upset to have discovered about a dozen Jen Scaffidi Live on KZSU Stanford EPs, but only because I don't know what to do with them now (we thought they were sold out). Each of the covers is handmade by me or a friend or relative, and many of those left are really cute and fun. Plus the performance is magical (if I do say so myself). If you don't have one and you'd like one, I'd love to send you one. For free. Just for reading this blog. Comment your desire here, make sure I have some contact info for you so I can follow up to get your address, and a little four-song acoustic handcrafted love will be on its way to your mailbox shortly thereafter.

(Of course, if you feel strongly about supporting independent music and you'd like to drop a few bucks in the PayPal account to cover postage, I can help you do that and I will feel very appreciative in the process.)

However, the most exciting thing happening here today is: curtains!

The Sister taught me how to cut and measure (we both failed in the calculations, but that's ok), how to thread the machine, how to actually sew, and how to finish and clean up. I'm so proud of myself, even though my stitches are crooked and the curtains are a little short and the work is, overall, kind of sloppy, because: I made curtains!

new curtains, bad lighting

What else can I sew now?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

fully distractable

"Inspired" by all the music-related crap that piled up yesterday, I am now going to attempt to whip some of that stuff into shape. First, I have to clear out at least one of these plastic drawer units.

yep, these again

I'm starting with the one on the left, because it's got music-related crap in it already. Convenient, no?

There's really not much in there. Some crafty things (which are currently crammed under my desk with the "computery" things), some garbage, and a bunch of cords, adapters, and musical devices:

my guitar case has a key?

I would like to note that the cd player seen in the preceding picture belongs to The Brother, who lent it to me in 2001. Obviously, I never returned it. Sorry, kid.

I would also like to note that My Flag is on Fire just hit my playlist, and I'm totally smitten with how Ty sounds just like Mac from Superchunk.

Moving on...

Today's session is quickly dividing itself into subsections: papers, instructions, and tools. I've got this box of zines from yesterday and this pile of papers from Sub-Project: Papers. I've got a pile of instruction books, notes from classes, and sheet music from lessons. And I've got widgets and wing-dings and cables and etc. These are the things on which I plan to concentrate today, things I hope to organize and store in these plastic drawer units.

I have to type it so I will know what I'm supposed to be doing. Sometimes it helps to think aloud.

(That should really be my mission statement here, shouldn't it?)

But, as soon as I sit back down to do the thing I just typed as a reminder for myself to do, I get distracted and sort through the papers anyway, finding old Spark set lists and tour itineraries.

Then I shred a bunch of mailing list sign-up forms and email printouts. And locate a bunch of important receipts for guitars and other gear with serial numbers. Including stuff that belongs to Eric Foreman (dude, the pile for you is getting larger by the day - you better bring your fiance down here for a visit real soon).

And I find one receipt for bass strings, purchased at now-defunct FSU Audio in 2001, signed by my now-deceased friend Marianne Psota. I'm just sentimental enough to hang on to that.

I'm supposed to go to the craft store with The Sister now to get fabric for curtains. Then I am going to attempt to (*gulp*) sew. So I'm leaving a half-finished Sub-Project: Music Papers, Instructions, and Tools and I'm going to put on pants and leave the house and hopefully not injure myself in the curtain-making process.

half-finished mess

Saturday, October 17, 2009

i guess i live here now

Happy One-Month Anniversary, Box Blog Project!

We are marking this special occasion with a serious attempt to UNPACK BOOKS. This is difficult because a) the books are hidden behind, well, everything, and b) putting books on shelves means I live here, and I've recently been considering not.

But, my thinking goes along the lines of "stay in Carson City until after the 2010 election," and that's over a year away, so unpack the books I do!

(Make the good sentences, I don't always.)

Unpacking the books will also result in extra closet space, which I could definitely use. Otherwise, I'll be playing checkers with these boxes until I die.

there's extra space back there somewhere

Sadly, even though I cleared the big bookshelf a month ago, this project requires surfaces to transition objects from place to place, and there is more crap on the bookshelf again. So first that stuff has to come off.

I suck at leaving space

Then I have to force myself to retrieve the boxes of cassette tapes from the top of the closet (wedged under a blender and a crock pot) so I can place a small batch of cassette tapes into one of the boxes.

cassettes by the box

Opening the lightest box takes me immediately back to 1997: my Slower Than cassette! Mixtapes from Jim and Jim and themikeabrego! Oh, and this reminds me that we have misplaced the mixtape Jim made for The Sister in 1993, which we both love so dearly that she gave it to me to back up digitally. Ahem. So these boxes MUST be sorted shortly. But not today. Must not get distracted. However, I will not put them back in the closet so I remember to do something with them... themikeabrego brought all his old tapes out into his mancave and maybe I can do the same thing for myself, somehow.


more tapes and themikeabrego 

But first, the books! And a list of items of interest:

  • The second dead spider of the Project.
  • A copy of The Tommyknockers belonging to Mr. Eric Foreman.
  • Oodles of books acquired from The Parents' former second-hand shop in Baker City, OR (a weirdly large percentage of Oscar Wilde).
  • Pride and Prejudice, which The Sister has currently checked out (possibly overdue) from the library because I insisted we read the original before reading the zombie version.
  • Several volumes of the Lemony Snicket series, reminding me to re-read the whole thing again. I stopped reading right after The Penultimate Peril. I hate when I do that. It happens to me with video games, too: I get distracted right before the last boss and never play again.
  • A page from a magazine, clipped, I assume, to illustrate the bedroom decor my then 12-year-old self would like:
    is that an Apples in Stereo album cover on the wall?  
  • The ADD Quest for Identity, a book purchased at a seminar Jim and I attended (1997) in the hopes, I guess, that we might be able to tame his spazzier qualities. Thirty minutes into the workshop I decided once and for all that the "diagnosis" was useless, the "disease" was imaginary, and our lives would all be easier if we accepted that some people's brains work differently. No medication or behavior modification necessary.
  • A thesaurus. Useful!
  • A box of zines and other punk rock mementos from the late 90's. I don't have the stomach to sort these today. This box goes in the rapidly growing pile of music-related crap.
  • A copy of The Fountainhead, stolen from the Westchester Country library in the year 2000. I have been wanting to read that again. My library karma is so totally crap.
  • The Martha Stewart craft book with the instructions for cucumber sake cups! This is not really that exciting, as obviously the "recipe" is available online, but I'd been looking for it and now I've found it and that is a good thing.
  • Notebooks from my music classes at UNR, plus tons and tons of music instruction books, some written by my grandfather. Plus The Smiths Louder than Bombs! And dozens of other songbooks! These are gonna need a shelf of their own. Did I mention the growing pile of music crap?
  • A collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald stories (stolen from Jim). Fall is an excellent time to read these and then contemplate killing yourself. While listening to Jawbreaker. Just saying.
  • A Lord of the Rings box set, missing The Fellowship of the Ring. Um? Any former roommates out there in possession of this?
  • Several copies of A Separate Peace, which I have never read. Putting both of them in the to-go pile.
  • A box marked "probably books" that fell and almost killed me. And then turned out to be full of yearbooks.
All of this leading me to the revelation that I have no idea how to organize my books. It's been so long since I had shelves and the desire to fill them that I suspect most of this collection has spent its life in boxes. Sad.

So, for now, I'm just piling these books onto these shelves and hoping I will someday be inspired to organize them in some way.

I feel accomplished, but also defeated.

there's that extra space

i guess i live here now 

Friday, October 16, 2009

it's not a run-on sentence if you punctuate correctly

Man, I had such plans for today: I was going to empty these other plastic drawer units...

plastic drawer units

...and then dig a path from here to the closet for the purpose of unpacking the books....

from here to the closet

...but first I had to vacuum the corner where the plastic drawer units would go, which led to changing the vacuum bag, which led to clearing the vacuum brush of this disgusting pile of hair and gross...

disgusting pile of hair and gross

...which led to swearing a whole lot for 25 minutes while trying to put the whole effing thing back together again...

the evil beast, slain and almost reassembled

... which was successful, yet left me no time to actually unpack things, but did result in moving the plastic drawer units to a temporary home, which will allow me to move things around in here once again, which will hopefully enable me to dig my way to the closet before Tuesday.

tiny dog and plastic drawer temporary home

Thursday, October 15, 2009

press pause

Sub-Project: Music is now in a manageable state. My spine is curling over onto itself and most of my joints / extremities / head hurt, so I think I have to leave it alone and come back to it later.

this is where we are

I still have to alphabetize the stacks, and/or possibly organize by genre, and there's still a hefty pile of things to rip and store, which can be done while I'm doing other, boxier, things. The "keep 'em on the spindle" plan is working wonderfully, except now I'm out of spindle space. If you have spare spindles to donate, please speak up!

I'm queuing everything I'm ripping into one master Winamp playlist; today I learned (per those Magnet samplers) that plenty of music from 2003 through 2005 was real sucky.

Filed under "things that don't suck," however, is the disc Eric and Daisy gave me for my birthday (happy engagement, by the way!). I'm bummed I misplaced it these past six months: The Gain, AC Newman, Death Cab, Fleet Foxes, The Okmoniks, Scared of Chaka, Neko Case, and the Decemberists. Yeah.

More good stuff went into the garage sale pile, including duplicates of Sophie's album and Rogue Wave's Out of the Shadow. You want to come to my garage sale now, don't you?

And two additional sub-Sub-Projects emerged, both related to the Body of Work: ICS stuff and other recordings on which I have played (home demos, live recordings, rough mixes, and so on). I'm ignoring these for now, as there is much data on the hard-drives that goes with these things, and I'd like to come back to it at some unforeseen time in the future when I might again feel like hunching over this terminal for days on end. Ouch.

Let's all stand up and stretch now, shall we?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Well, kids, Sub-Project: Music plods along. I have been ripping cds all day and I have nothing to show for it except a slightly smaller pile of cds to rip and a bunch of new music to enjoy.

I have no insights or pictures or pithy comments or anything useful.

But I do have dedication, which is why I'm writing, even though I'm saying nothing.

I also have a sister in the kitchen making chiles rellenos, and I'm going to go eat some right now.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

sexy new bookshelves


The new bookshelves are here! The new bookshelves are here!

After testing several locations and configurations, they made their home under the window.

hmm, need to make new curtains
(and maybe buy a real camera)

This furniturial development necessitated moving my drums into the living room. This sucks a little; I like to keep my mess from spilling out into the common rooms. But, The Sister is already annoyed about some other stuff that I didn't do, so I'm taking advantage of her already bad mood to do this inconsiderate thing now and then I will apologize when she eventually leaves her bedroom.

[Several minutes after writing this, she came into the blue room to ask me why I had exiled my drums. She said they looked sad, like they'd been made to sit in the corner for being bad. Then she acted out her anthropomorphic empathy. So I guess she's not mad.]

Back to Sub-Project: Music, and along the lines of what we were talking about yesterday, I HATE HATE HATE it when I find a friend's album still in the shrink wrap. Oof, that feels awful. Sorry, The Cushion Theory.

Now here's that Cordial album I mentioned the other day. Isn't this packaging beautiful? It folds up quite cleverly. I adore it. And, I just discovered, my copy is number four of 1000. That makes me feel cool.

side one

side two

Tripping over the lines drawn by friends (see yesterday's comments), I now have a box full of cds I know I don't want or won't listen to. I expect to put more discs in there as the Sub-Project progresses. I feel pretty good about this; it supports my need for "clean slating." I've also left myself plenty of unknown things to explore. In fact, I'm ripping a huge stack of such right now. And let me tell you: it's boring as hell.

However, sorting piles into other piles eventually yielded the revelation that any cd in a slimline case without artwork (burned or otherwise) could be ripped to the digital realm and stored on a spindle for backup. Yee-haw!

spindle full of things uncle marty identified as "required listening"

And in the quest to catalog everything in this pile of cds without artwork (burned or otherwise), I came across a blank DVD that wouldn't play. Thank goodness PKD walked by at just that moment: he pushed some buttons and directed reminded me to install VLC, and with that I found a useless copy of The Bishop's Wife (a family holiday favorite) which I can now toss. But now I have installed VLC! Yay me!

In addition to that goodness, he also said he would help me track down all the missing iTunes albums.

Did I mention this cd ripping pile of blah is super boring and ack! Ok, I'm done here. See you tomorrow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

who missed me?

It would be disingenuous to state that I missed the daily routine I've made for myself (which includes this project), but I am glad to be home from my folks' house and to get back to plugging along here. My new bookshelves are riding into town with Dad tomorrow; I'm hoping to dispatch Sub-Project: Music quickly so I can get on to other, boxier, things.

For what it's worth, I did try to get Mom to unpack the box I sent back to her house so I could write about its contents, but she stalled and filled me full of cheetos and pasta and meatballs until I caved. Hi Mom!

As for tonight, I've been experiencing technical difficulties of the kind that make it impossible to actually accomplish anything Sub-Project: Music-related other than sorting piles into other piles. So, sort piles into other piles, I will. And in doing so, I discover (in this pile of paper jacket cds):

  • Many many Magnet magazine monthly music samplers. These are the perfect thing to rip and then give away! I choose the Guided By Voices and the Elliot Smith and the Inara George tracks and hopefully someone who would love to buy the lot of disks for a quarter or whatever will come to my garage sale and this is exactly how this should be working. If I can get my hard drive and Winamp working (together).
  • Multiple copies of things, particularly local bands and/or friends. So let this be a disclaimer here and now: if you find your album at my garage sale, consider the possibility that I had more than one copy before you lurch away, sobbing, to sulk. Thanks!
  • An additional local bands and/or friends problem. See, when one is a musician in a community, one usually accumulates albums made by bands in that community. Now me, I'm a musician and a promoter-networker-type, so I might collect more than the normal share of local product, but I suspect other people might be able to offer suggestions for how to deal with this issue: what does one do with all the albums one doesn't like? Like, it wouldn't occur to me to do anything but cherish my Mister Vague albums, because I really really like them and listen to them and just happen to be friends with the people who made them. But what about the more peripheral things? Can I just put those in the garage sale pile and feel good about it? Should I make an attempt to digitally capture these things I'll never listen to? What about canning the burned promotional copies of things I can't stand? Frankly, the whole business makes me feel like an asshole. 
This part of this Sub-Project furrows my brow, so I'm off to play to DS Scrabble to unwind. Let's try again tomorrow.

Friday, October 9, 2009

short stack

I don't know where to start, so I'm just going to pull cds off the shelves and see what happens. I'm going to organize things alphabetically, because I am unoriginal and because that's the easiest way for me to find things when I'm looking for them. Before we get going, I'd also like to mention that iTunes hates me and did some bad things to me and that is why it may seem like I haven't purchased any albums released after 2005.

Welcome to the beginning of Sub-Project: Music:


additional storage 

Because I don't currently have an MP3 player, and because I'm thinking about moving the whole stereo set-up into the blue room, I'm only going to rip a few things (like this backup copy of Cat Power's The Greatest that I just found!) and concentrate on organizing the entire collection in real life.

A problem I always encounter when I embark upon this kind of thing is: how do I best organize the digi-packs, slimline cases, and paper jackets? They are difficult to skim, since I often can't read the spines. Yet, several great albums have such packaging, like Thom Yorke's Eraser or Cordial's Charmed. But I can't think about that yet. First, I have to get everything into one big pile...

pile of yeah

Quick survey: does everyone out there have a copy of the Just Say Yo compilation, featuring Morrissey, Throwing Muses, James, etc? I always see this in used cd shops (when I frequented such establishments, back when they still existed) and on the shelves of friends. How about you?

And speaking of compilations, I am missing one or possibly two discs of the Rhino Records Poptopia series. I know for a fact that I lent the 90's disk to stupid Kevin Dooley, but the 80's one also appears to be missing. If you own this (completely awesome) three-cd set, I'd love to trade you something for copies of the volumes I'm missing.

 Now that I've got this big pile, I think the next step will be to go through the stacks of burned discs and the aforementioned slimline cases and etc. But that's for another day.

[Don't forget, I may be away from the internet for a day or two... see you when I get back!]

Thursday, October 8, 2009

mostly headless fashion show

I'm not stalling, I'm hunting. For bookshelves, that is. And on a limited (i.e., unemployed) budget with no reliable transportation, that requires NASA-like coordination. The pieces are moving into position, and as soon as the shelves touch down in the blue room, I'm going to launch Sub-Project: Music, which really isn't going to be a very big deal or even be that interesting, I suspect.

[Hey, on a related note, how come I only just now heard the news that we are going to fire a rocket at the moon???]

So for tonight's installment of The Box Blog Project, and because the headless bridesmaid shot was such a hit, we're going to have a little fashion show. I ordered some clothes, which arrived IN A BOX, and I have to unpack them and decide which ones to keep and which ones to return. And you get to opine away in the comments! Interactive fun for everyone! It's like having a life-size Barbie, complete with giant boobs!

Let's do this.

hello, new box

Yes, these are Victoria's Secret clothes. No, I still don't have a boyfriend. Get off my ass.

pink punch v-neck sweater

cilantro henley sweater

pink saphire tee (with shirred sleeves)

persimmon squareneck sweater

sangria scoopneck sweater

cobalt henley blouse (with elbow-length sleeves)

black turtleneck sweater

Ok, give me a second? I need to change into comfy pants and a sweatshirt now. Thanks. That's much better.

Some thoughts:

  • Everyone needs a black turtleneck and I don't care what you say or how uncomfortable turtlenecks can be. It's iconic, and there are some days when you just go, damn, I wish I had a black turtleneck today. That's a day you'd be listening to the Smiths, for sure.
  • Believe me when I say that I would buy clothes with interesting patterns or cuts, if there were any clothes with interesting patterns or cuts for big boob girls that didn't resemble old lady bathing suits.
  • Clothes with buttons always seem so cute and fun until I put them on and realize that I am Kirstie Alley in Look Who's Talking ("I look like a Russ Meyer movie!")
The only definite "keepers" are the turtleneck, the squareneck (it's got really fun sleeves), and the blue henley. The pink tee must go back, as it is unflattering in that "short fat broad at the office" kind of way, and frankly, I'm better than that. The pink v-neck, the green henley, and the maroon scoopneck are all "maybes," which means I will keep them around until I run out of clean clothes and I'm cold, and I will put them on even if they're kind of frumpy.

By the way, guys, I've got plans with my parents this weekend, which means I may have to put The Project on hold until Monday. Oooh, unless the parents have things to unpack.