THE CUT III
Written by John Andreula
As I gaze across the vast landscape of collected media in my house, one of two ponderances typically pop into my mind:
“Man, that’s a great (insert movie, book, video game, toy, comics, etc.)!”
“Why the hell am I keeping this?”
I clearly understand the implications of each.
If it’s the first, then I’m looking at an item I cherish. It brings joy to my life. If it’s the second, the solution is simple. Get rid of the junk. It is only clutter in my limited physical and mental space.
But, sometimes the line between the two isn’t obvious.
Nostalgia and emotional attachment can play tricks on us. People become bewitched by the things they own.
I have a friend who’s parents both passed away. She is reminded of all the heartache and toil that were required of her in dealing with the affairs of their passing. There were so many material possessions that she had to deal with when they were gone. She was tasked with the enormous job of deciding what to keep, what to get rid of, and how to get rid of it.
I can feel the sadness in her words. She has attachment to some of the items, but not many. For the most part she feels true detachment from all of it. Her parents had no idea the additional stress and work they were leaving behind for her in all their accumulated possessions. This story is all too common today.
I constantly consider of my own daughter in these moments. I don’t want to leave her in a similar predicament. I know it is an inevitability that I will die one day. As of this moment, she and my wife will have an abundance of my stuff to deal with when I’m gone. This thought disappoints me.
When I go, my family will have to make the same choices my friend, and so many others facing similar dilemmas in our modern consumeristic world, was forced to. It sounds terrible. I truly do not wish that on them or anyone else.
Alas, I do enjoy having my things. Yet I am becoming increasingly discerning and considerate at my advanced and crankier age about what I feel is truly worth buying, owning, or keeping. Hence, another purge of my possessions must occur.
So why not have fun with it? I’ve created a game out of of the process of reducing the many material excesses found in my life. It makes the overwhelming nature of the task far more palatable.
This game is called “THE CUT.”
Each time I play I collect some items and decide what to keep or get rid of. Then, for giggles, I determine what the value is of each on the secondhand retail market.
So, without further adieu, here’s the newest installment of THE CUT.
The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll
This book is the complete collection of Lewis Carroll penned works, as the title implies. Carroll wrote all his books, letters, and stories in the 1800s. This was quite a dated read and it was obvious in these collected works and through the author’s voice.
Lewis Carroll was the man who wrote Alice in Wonderland, and Alice Through the Looking Glass. These are two of the most celebrated youth fiction stories of all time.
I have a new perspective on Alice and Wonderland, after finally reading the original text. Most people believe mental health, or Alice’s lack thereof, is a central theme in the stories. Conceptually, this theme factors into all of the modern adaptations. Strangely, none of it is in the author’s material.
There is a frenetic, disjointed, schizophrenic/borderline personality disorder to the stories themselves, but honestly the worst thing that happens to Alice is that she was in the stories.
There have been so many movies, cartoons, and comic book adaptations on Carroll’s Alice works over the years. My personal favorite was the video game American McGee’s Alice for the PC, which was released in the early 2000’s. It was one dark and twisted game. It stands out as one of the best and most unique action platformers I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.
The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll doesn’t make THE CUT.
I made a commitment in my New Year Geek Resolutions to stop myself from consuming bad content. I’m still struggling with the old habit of continuing down the rabbit hole—pun-intended—even after accepting that what I’m consuming is bad, or worse.
I finally stopped reading The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll shortly after the two Alice stories. The book was extremely long and painfully dull. In brief, it sucked.
I’m probably going to hear dissent from anyone who grew up on the Alice stories, but thankfully most of them died in the last millennia. After attempting to read this tome I have come to the conclusion that Lewis Carroll is grossly overrated.
Even while I read the two Alice tales, I kept falling asleep. It’s possible that was because I read the book before bed, but I digress. The stories lacked linear structure, and they didn’t go anywhere.
This book just wasn’t good. It might be good if I needed to prop up a leg on a very uneven table, but even then I would probably choose a book I kind of liked.
The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll was quite possibly the worst book I ever attempted to read. I am so pleased with myself that I tapped out when I did.
Nobody is selling it on eBay. This typically means that I can attempt to sell it, if I so choose. It might also mean it just sits on a different shelf in my house while I trick myself into believing someone may actually want this terrible book. I will waste even more time and energy on something that is not only monetarily worthless, but I that kind of hate as well. In the end I’ll be no better off than if I get rid of it now.
I’ll just tear out some pages and toss them into my compost. I’ll burn the rest. Problem solved.
THE 4-HOUR WORK WEEK by Timothy Ferriss
Increasing efficiency and productivity while cutting time wasting out of life, that’s what THE 4-HOUR WORK WEEK is about.
This book was a primary catalyst in allowing me to question my old status-quo last year. Since then, I’ve stepped outside of my stupid workaholism, and started to enjoy my time on my own terms and begin becoming truly happy. At the risk of sounding woo-woo, I can say the 4HWW changed my life.
I didn’t even have to wait until I was finished reading the book to start making changes in my life and working habits. After completing Tim Ferriss’s first best seller, I felt empowered to take control of my work-life balance. I also found it simpler to set actionable goals that allowed me to achieve some of my dreams.
I feel like a dork or possibly even a sucker rereading what I just wrote, but as they say, there’s one born every minute.
THE 4-HOUR WORK WEEK makes THE CUT.
Here I am ridding myself of a bunch of popcorn and bubblegum media in my collection and I decide to keep a personal development book. I do feel a bit silly. Smurf or someone might even pull my Geek card, so don’t tell them.
There were a lot of concepts inside THE 4-HOUR WORK WEEK that I believe I will want to revisit in the future. Much of the book’s contents spoke to me. However, I’m not ready to commit to all the challenges within, so I’ll hold onto 4HWW for a yet undetermined time.
I already am ready to only work four hours per week though. I hope by keeping this paperback I will achieve that lofty goal through osmosis someday.
As of the time of writing this, a copy of the 2007 paperback edition can be found on eBay for $1.99 with free shipping. I recommend spending the extra money on the 2014 edition, as much of the recommendations and referrals within the book are technical and web-based. We all know how much has changed in the worlds of technology and the internet since the first printing in 2007.
THE QUICK AND THE DEAD DVD
Who can forget ARMY of DARKNESS, or the Tobey Maguire’s SPIDER-MAN movies? Those films were both dope visual experiences and fun stories.
Those and THE QUICK AND THE DEAD are all birthed from the directorial mind of the legendary director Sam Raimi.
I can recall THE QUICK AND THE DEAD from the time of its release in 1995. It had early performances from Russell Crowe, and a young Leonardo DiCaprio. Additionally it featured an ornery Gene Hackman, and a bunch of other actors I now recognize, but didn’t know their names then; Tobin Bell, Keith David, Lance Henriksen, and Mark Boone Junior, just to name a few. Best of all, it had a sexy Sharon Stone at the top of her game.
Back then I was a young adolescent. I had just discovered girls and the joy of boobies. I used to stay up late watching movies on HBO and SHOWTIME that notified me the film would have “N” (nudity) or “BN” (brief nudity) before the opening credits. I wasn’t into westerns, but for the chance to see Sharon Stone’s not-so-elusive-at-the-time nipple, I stayed for what was an entertaining, modern cowboy flick.
I enjoyed the unique characters, and the concept of an entire frontier town that shut down their business-as-usual to host a week-long gunfight tournament. The variety of story lines and the graphic maulings lent to make this a memorable film to the impressionable young man I was at the time.
The performances were fun, albeit a bit over the top, but overall THE QUICK AND THE DEAD was, and still is, a very fun and entertaining movie.
THE QUICK AND THE DEAD doesn’t make THE CUT.
Keeping in line with the dark theme of death that started this piece, I inherited this movie from a family member who passed away a few years ago. I kept it because of my nostalgic connection to both the film and my deceased loved one.
I didn’t get around to watching the movie until my wife recently pulled it off the shelf and proceeded to pull a “me.” She inquired, “Can we get rid of this?” I replied, “Well, we have to watch it for me to be able to make that determination.”
We did watch it, and it was still enjoyable, but it was no DONNIE DARKO or 12 MONKEYS. The graphics of the gunshot wounds seem very dated today. This made the movie come off a bit hokey. It made me wonder how I’ll feel when I revisit ARMY of DARKNESS in the future.
Sharon’s Stone’s 1995 nipple is still nice, as is the beautifully detailed cinematography. However, neither of these necessitated retention. I don’t see myself choosing to watch THE QUICK AND THE DEAD again anytime in the near future. There wasn’t enough substance to warrant more than that one final viewing.
Minimal. It’s going to 2ND & CHARLES for trade credit on my next trip.
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL DVD
Continuing with a Sam Raimi theme for the movies in today’s THE CUT…
Raimi sure knows how to tell a story. Start watching OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, and it kind of looks like a Tim Burton film. It features vivid imaginative colors and the story-telling style that is reminiscent of Burton, the creative genius behind 9 and Edward SCISSORHANDS. OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL is a bit more slapstick and contrived than the typical Burton film. I’m not certain that Raimi did not do this with some tongue-in-cheek intentionality.
There are some fun comedic moments, as well as striking visuals and special effects in this prequel to the 1939 classic WIZARD OF OZ, but the script writing was subpar. The movie made a handful of good actors look not so great and powerful by proxy.
There were aggressive flying baboons, so the movie had that going for it, but it was definitely no Return to OZ. That one was by far the best L. Frank Baum cinematic adaptation to date. This is a universally recognizable fact. There’s no point in arguing it.
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL makes THE CUT.
Here we run into another situation of “Honey, can I get rid of this?” and my wife responds that I cannot. The love of my life likes it enough to keep it. Plus, it’s her movie. I know what they say about a happy wife, so, on the shelf it goes back. We likely will not watch it again for another five to seven years, if even then.
There’s no doubt that OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL is a visually beautiful movie. However, much of the acting is over the top. The computer-generated cinematic elements are either too primitive for their bold attempts, or they just weren’t good quality.
I do have a distant cousin, Joey King, that was in the film. She played the girl in the wheelchair and voices the china girl. She was probably the best character in the movie, but that’s not enough for me to keep it. I’ve never met Joey, and frankly I wouldn’t keep a movie even if I was in it at this point in my reductive journey. But alas…
One can acquire this alright film for $3.74 on eBay right now, if they are so inclined.
MUSIC FOR THE JILTED GENERATION CD
by THE PRODIGY
Rest in peace, Keith Flint.
He and his band THE PRODIGY were a groundbreaking musical act. THE PRODIGY are probably only going to get the credit they deserve from music nerds and dorky bloggers like myself, but unfortunately, and somewhat irrelevantly, that’s the breaks.
At the time of their coming to prominence in the 1990’s there were only two genres of music generally accepted by the ironically-popular counterculture youth. Those were alternative rock and rap music.
THE PRODIGY took the world by storm by doing things differently. They were essentially one of the first modern EDM groups. The band’s crazy and unique look and their shocking music videos set them apart from most of the rest of the scene. Their sound was intense, melodic, and rhythmic, and their music still resonates today.
I personally caught on to THE PRODIGY in 1997, after seeing the music video for their song Firestarter for the first time on MTV . It was outrageous. I felt I was witnessing something exciting and ahead of its time. I went out and bought the CD for the album said song was featured on, called THE FAT OF THE LAND. It was a great disc that well expressed my conformist rebellious nature of the time.
Sometime circa the early 2000s, I parted with that CD for booze or drug money at Second Spin on the Hill in Boulder. I probably banked a whopping $1.50 or $2.
A couple years later my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, joined BMG Music Service. She had selected MUSIC FOR THE JILTED GENERATION as one of her free or near-free plus shipping and handling selections from the now-defunct music club.
JILTED, the group’s sophomore release, was a bit more mellow and melodic than its 1997 follow-up THE FAT. It seemed more in the genre of electronica and less heavy metal than the other one.
It was, and still is, very listenable.
MUSIC FOR THE JILTED GENERATION doesn’t make THE CUT.
The music is good, but I don’t feel any connection to the physical copy of the album. I think I snuck this one past the goalie though. I’m not certain that my wifey remembers it was hers, or more likely, she just doesn’t care about it that much either. JILTED is yet another in a conga line of CDs that I am accepting I don’t need more than a digital copy loaded on to my hard drive. Nostalgia be damned.
As of June of 2009 BMG Music Service ceased their famous 12 CDs for the price of 1 deal. No longer can anyone have a bunch a CDs sent to them that they wouldn’t have bought otherwise. I believe BMG and Columbia House directly resulted in the purchase of 99.3% of all CDs purchased for just one or two songs on the album.
Off to find its orphaned brother at my neighborhood used media store. I’ll gladly accept the $1.50-$2 in store credit for the privilege of further downsizing my CD collection.
HEADSHOTS: Se7en CD
Oh, nostalgia. Just considering the feeling makes me old. No one’s ever really too old for it, though. There are too many fond memories of the now classic stuff discovered back in the day.
For me the most intense recollections I have are from going to shows for presently humongous groups and artists, back when they were still underground. I was at the shows that Macklemore opened up, before he won all of his Grammys. I remember The Roots before they were the house band for Jimmy Fallon. And I definitely remember Atmosphere from the days when tickets to their shows were still fifty or less bucks each.
I am aware that nothing makes me sound older than saying, “They were so much cooler before anyone else knew them.” I’ve said this a handful of times throughout my life, but I’ve never said it about Atmosphere. In terms of their musical quality, in the opinion of this hip-hop snob, I feel that Slug and Ant, the members of Atmosphere, have improved significantly with age. I actually prefer their more modern, less brooding music of the past decade to their music of the late 1990s and early 2000s, when they weren’t selling out every venue they played.
Don’t get me started on my diatribe of the inverse trajectories of their music career and that of the late Mikey Larsen, AKA Eyedea—Rest in peace, Eyedea. That in itself could be a whole other Your Quarters Worth column.
HEADSHOTS: Se7en is a double album of early Atmosphere material that I purchased back when I used to piss my money away at the many CD stores—anyone else remember Sam Goody? I used to buy anything and everything that had Atmoshere’s name on it. As I said earlier, HEADSHOTS: Se7en was from their young, somewhat whiny, drug-induced and superficial days.
Apparently this year is the twentieth anniversary of the album’s release. Frankly, the album lacks both the production quality and the depth of lyrics that are omnipresent on much of the band’s later releases.
HEADSHOTS: Se7en doesn’t make THE CUT.
If MUSIC FOR THE JILTED GENERATION didn’t make THE CUT, I most definitively and conclusively have no need to hang on to this 2CD set.
If I had a time machine I would go back and visit myself sometime between 1997 and 2002. I would slap myself in the face and tell young me to start thinking harder about the tens of thousands of dollars I will squander away on crap I won’t really want over the next several years.
Oh, and P.S., young me, there’s this thing called the internet. You haven’t used it much for more than porn and video games, but it is going to make your stupid hobby of collecting stuff obsolete within the next twelve years.
As a final ode to nostalgia, it’s strange when music from one’s past is now considered oldies in the present. Both Atmosphere and THE PRODIGY fall into this category now; very weird indeed.
As with the many ironies that make up life, this one will probably sell for three to five times what the obviously higher quality THE PRODIGY album does. It seems that the more popular an album was, the more readily available it became. That higher availability led to significant depreciation over time.
One cannot account for taste.
It’s common knowledge to the somewhat tech savvy that CDs can be uploaded to computers and phones as digital files. These zeros and ones don’t take up any physical space. The discs, along with their cases and artwork, are cumbersome. They are rarely put into any disc players, if at all.
Even albums with autographed album liners or some relative nostalgic value have trouble standing up to the always evolving standard of what one actually feels compelled to keep. The necessity of CDs is being further diminished by streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube. DVDs are similarly being replaced by on-demand viewing available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and so on.
Much of what’s not available on those services is available at the local library, and it’s free. One can find almost any book there as well. People can take all of these home to borrow for anywhere from one and twelve weeks, depending if anyone else is waiting for the items after they are returned.
By now you’re probably noticing a theme to this process I call THE CUT. The more I assess and reflect, the more I recognize I can live without. My material possessions are beginning to have less control over my actions and emotions. The progress is creating more progress.
Gone are the days,when we will watch a movie many, or even several times. There’s just too much competition for our limited attention and time. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the abundant amount of content that is available. Replay value itself is significantly lessened or null these days.
Ironically, the process of THE CUT is compelling me to watch, listen, and read the many artifacts I have accumulated over the span of my life. Otherwise, they just collect dust on a shelf in my house. More often than not, I end a viewing or listening session stating, “That was fun, but I don’t think I need to keep it anymore.”
Slowly and steadily I am recovering the space in my house and the sanity in my mind. I expect to dwindle my collection down to a modest fraction of what it once was. Once through my CD and DVD towers, I will tackle my books and action figures. From there, I can progress to my trading cards and comic books.
Since there is so much to all of this stuff, I fully expect to die before I am done. Hopefully that will be a long time from now. Upon my passing I will know I took care of those I loved in not leaving them a bunch of miscellanea to deal with. I may even recoup a reasonable percentage of what I spent to initially acquire it all. Failing that, I will have provided some awesome philanthropic organizations with items to sell and raise money.
One day I will be able to look around and feel I’ve accomplished enough. Only then will I be able to cut THE CUT out of my life, like the many things I’ve purged and reduced already. Until then the quest for the perfect minimum possessions continues…
To all our fabulous readers in the Boulder or Denver metro areas, I wanted to show my appreciation for you visiting 5280Geek.com.
I would like to give you any items that didn’t make THE CUT (especially the Lewis Carroll book). They are yours for FREE!
If you are interested send an email to Info@MovingOnUpwards.com. It’s first come, first served, so don’t wait!
John Andreula is a geek residing in Westminster, Colorado.
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