Grand Unified Theory of Purchasing Material
Years ago, I was she asked a friend what kind of case she was planning to buy for her shiny new flip phone. She stopped, a little offended. "I don't want to buy stuff for my stuff," she said. Those words went straight into my hippocampus, without going away. She's right! I thought. Don't buy stuff! So simple! I have tried to stick to that principle ever since, and it has progressed as well as you would expect. Yes, I may spend $ 1,000 on a tech - controlled smartphone, but I only do it every three years (nodes sagely) instead of every two. This is how we win.
The problem is that some types just attract more stuff. The home is obvious: he wants sofas, sweaters, buffet cabinets, canndeliers. There are other computers; they grow USB tendrils. Smartphones build earbuds, cloud backup, and music service memberships. I envy the people who make it work with Eames chair, flexible ottoman, some nice art books, and multi - generational possessive wealth. Their iPads are so empty, just a few apps, but I have 60 terabytes of storage spread across multiple devices as I download large datasets for fun.
I often deceive myself into thinking that the road to less stuff may be paved with more stuff. Recently, under the influence of some long-held percussive desire, I bought a drum machine. It's really more of a portable production studio - a hardware - based update of the music series software from old Amiga computers. There are buttons, an immersion wheel, and a screen that displays mostly numbers. It's called the Polyend Tracker, but I think of it as the Sonic Spreadsheet. Everything you can do with it can also be done on a laptop, you know. Crucially, however, it does not connect to the internet.
I bought the Sonic Spreadsheet with the fashion of going offline, escaping the middle world in which I live, making sick beats in the back garden or at the kitchen table. I wanted to watch on a small screen instead of a big screen, which is how I landed back. Instead I ended up hunting in front of my regular reviewer, watching YouTube videos of various nerds showing how them make hits. Most of their blows were less painful. Their lighting was good, though. The people who are making the sickest blows may not be making YouTube videos.
After a few weeks of practice, the Tracker started calling out: Give me accounts. Boxes of material began to arrive - curved legs to hold it, rubber feet to stabilize it, a paddle case to protect it, a battery pack to power it. While I had a microphone and a lot of headphones, I decided I wanted a special microphone and headphones just for this. Then I downloaded 100 gigs of audio samples from the 1990s, which meant I had to upgrade the Sonic Spreadsheet microSD card. (And of course the samples were inconsistently named, so I wrote code to sort them out.) Everything, every unit of material, came with its own pet material - stand, cover foam, cords, manual, small case drawstring. The supply chain is fractal: Move in your material and there is more material, ad infinitum.
The result of all this is that I have no musical talent. I spent hours cutting and pasting, turning tiny phrases into whole songs, spinning that immersion wheel like a pro, and when I got back to those tracks the next night, I kept I find that I did not have a single creative idea. My drum tracks were like a nervous rabbit kicking a bongo. If you need some famous, pompous digital clown music that could be Christmas carols played in a dog bark, I'm your man. I am not a musician. I am the systems administrator for my digital audio workstation. SoundCloud will not exist for me.