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April 6, 2000

I have a lot to learn about the digital camera that materialized on my doorstep this afternoon, but I think you can tell that I'm determined. One day, one picture. Think of it as a trend. And I had some good subjects. Suzanne stopped by this afternoon with some much needed boxes, and she told me the girls were coming over tonight. Well, I didn't need any more incentive than that. A brand new camera and two photogenic young ladies (that's David there with them, and I don't mean to say he doesn't take a great picture himself). So I snapped a few, and this was the only one that looked good enough to represent my initial attempt at digitizing my little world in images. Of course, getting to play with a couple of little pixies was more than just a side benefit of my dip in the photo pool. It was the very highlight of my typically humdrum day.

I'm getting ruthless about throwing things out. Anything I haven't used lately is fodder for the dump pile. It isn't making much of a dent in the mountain of matter that I'll have to move, though. That's because of the multimedia nature of most of that mountain, and my adhesive attachment to it.

I own over a thousand CDs, carefully sorted over the years into categories and subcategories. It's not that I believe in pigeonholing music to that degree. In fact, at one time I had every single one of them sorted solely by artist. That didn't work out well, in the long run. I now have the classical CDs that start my day in one place, and the jazz CDs I usually play in the evenings somewhere else. I have a favorites file, just as I do on the computer. I have a whole wall devoted to women artists (chick singers, to the Dan Bern crowd). I have a country section, a folk section, a blues box and a special box dedicated to artists that I have four or more CDs by (Jimmy Buffett, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Chris Isaak, Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Van Morrison, Tori Amos, and on and on and on).

If you walked into my house you might think you were in a video store, or at least in the home of an obsessive recluse whose devotion to TV would put Chauncey Gardner to shame. I have classic movies and recent blockbusters. Every Hallmark Hall of Fame from the last several years. Disney movies galore. For a while, I taped the first episode of every new series that came on the air. I have the first Cosby Show from 1982 and the first Party of Five from 1994. Did you know that the last Newhart aired ten days before the first Seinfeld? I have them both on the same tape. May 1990, that was.

When a show came on that I knew would be canceled, I taped every episode. I have Earth 2, beginning to end. My So-Called Life. Remember United States, a series starring Helen Shaver and Beau Bridges from ... I don't know, 1980? Of course you don't. You should come over some time and watch all thirteen episodes with me.

Then there are the news stories. A lot of Gulf War coverage. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The release of Nelson Mandela from prison in South Africa.

Even if I were able to convince myself that I should get rid of some of the excess video tapes, I wouldn't know where to start. Toss out the 1986 National League playoffs between the Mets and Astros, or the 1994 Winter Olympics from Lillehammer? I don't think so. Richard Kiley's series A Year in the Life? Not likely. Murphy's Law (with George Segal)? Starman? Dolphin Cove? I'll Fly Away? Against the Grain (1993 series starring Ben Affleck as a high school football star)? See what I mean? I just can't do it. It's all going to the new house, even if I never watch any of it again.

Excuse me. I gotta go. I like to watch TV.

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