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Churning possessions - John C. Kirk

Sep. 3rd, 2008

02:10 am - Churning possessions

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Over at "Get Rich Slowly", there's a post about The Idea of Having, and I think some of the ideas there apply to me. ("You like the idea of having certain things, but you don’t actually use them.") However, I'm trying to do something about it, by decluttering my flat. For one thing, I realise that I've pretty much reached capacity, so I need to get rid of old stuff to make room for new things.

I did a clear out back in January, and got rid of a bed-full of stuff via Freecycle:
Clutter on bed

For instance, I bought those Star Trek model kits in 1993, but if I haven't even started to assemble them in the last 15 years, it's unlikely that I'll start any time soon.

Getting rid of my old VHS tapes wasn't much of a wrench, because DVDs take up less space. However, my DVD cupboard is now quite full, so I've started to turf out my unwanted items from there too. A couple of years ago (Oct 2006), I installed DVD Profiler on my computer; I use it to keep an inventory, and it copies my list to a webpage for my friends to read (in case you want to borrow anything). It also keeps a "history" for me: I can track events like watching a DVD or lending it to someone. That means I can easily find out which DVDs I haven't watched lately, or even which ones I've never watched at all. It's slightly misleading because it doesn't know about events before I installed the software, but that was almost two years ago, so if I haven't watched a DVD since then it's probably not a top favourite and I can get rid of it.

This does raise the question of why I bought those DVDs in the first place; in a few cases, it's because I've seen the film/TV program before, and liked it, so I bought the DVD when it was available. Nowadays I rent disks from LoveFilm instead, which lets them deal with the storage problems. However, there are other cases where it makes a bit more sense to buy disks, particularly for TV programs. For instance, Gargoyles and Highlander are only available as Region 1 DVDs; I can't rent them, so buying them was the only way to watch those episodes. As for Babylon 5, I bought the Amazon collection for £67.42; there are 42 disks, so that's about £1.60 per disk, which is cheaper than renting, even if I watched it once and then threw it away. (Also, it won't take me two years to get through them all!)

Similarly, I bought a new bookcase for my comics in January, since the old one was starting to show some strain:

Old Argos bookcaseNew Ikea bookcase

Looking at the old Argos one (on the left), there are comics lying horizontally on top of others because I ran out of space to shelve them properly, and the shelves are bending under the weight. The Ikea one (on the right) is tougher, and it has more shelves, so that's worked out nicely; I even had some space left over. However, six months later I've filled it up. So, if I buy new comics (i.e. bound reprints rather than loose issues), I need to get rid of existing ones to make room for them. So far, that hasn't been a particularly tough decision, because there are some that I didn't particularly enjoy. There's a Comicbook Marketplace on 21st September, so I'll take my spares along there, and hopefully I can get a few quid for them.

As a related issue, I've heard about the new Ghostbusters computer game (due on 1st October 27th March 2009), which looks extremely good. I don't play computer games much nowadays, but I'll make an exception for this one. Child of the 1980s, that's me. I don't have a games console, so I normally play games on my PC, but this looks like a "killer app" for the Wii. Quoting from a preview:

But, of course, this is also one of those dream-come-true Wii games. We're getting lightsabers in Star Wars: Force Unleashed; we're getting maracas in Samba De Amigo; now - yes! - the Wii remote's a Proton Pack. We've gone hands-on, and it's ace: move with the analogue stick, aim with the Wii pointer, then press Z and - bssszzhhmm! - 500,000Mhz of particle accelerator beam arcs across the room, frazzling ghosts and furniture. When the beam turns blue, you can slam a trapped Slimer against the walls, Eledees-style. And, yep, you do push the Nunchuk forward to slide a Ghost Trap under a spook before guiding him in with the Remote, 'tugging' him toward you a stubborn fish. It really is Ghostbusters.

I'm still quite fond of the old Commodore 64 games, where gameplay was more important than graphics. In this case, the idea of swinging the remote around rather than just pressing keys really sounds like fun, and I'm grinning just thinking about it. Also, four player mode! The snag is that I don't have a Wii, and I'm trying to be fiscally prudent these days. However, a solution comes to mind, which ties into my previous comments: sell my Scaleo box. I haven't even turned it on in a few months, so it's not doing me any good; if I stick it on Ebay, I don't expect to get anything like the original money back, but it's plausible that I can get enough to replace it with a Wii (which will also take up less space).

Incidentally, the Prince Charles Cinema are doing a double bill of Ghostbusters and Gremlins on 11th October; I have Ghostbusters on DVD, but it will be fun to see it on a big screen again, so I'm planning to go along. In the meantime, I'll re-read my Legion comics.