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January 2nd, 2006


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11:58 pm - No offense, but it'd simplify things if y'all WERE electric.
Last week one of my coworkers mentioned that he survived seventh grade thanks to the song Are "Friends" Electric by Gary Numan. I also count "Friends" as one of my favorite songs, and several months ago I put together my own arrangement... and never recorded vocals. Anyway, thinking about the song prompted me to revisit it this evening, and you can probably guess where this is going: January's MP3 of the Month is up.

I'm feeling a lot better than I did last night. Not so much that I'm comfortable answering my 90% of my phone calls or looking at my e-mail, but I'm better. Eventually, most of my friends learn to put up with the fact that I do this, and that it's nothing personal. A few people commented to last night's post, and I'm just afraid to look at those comments because I just don't want to deal with them yet. When I get depressed, I'd usually rather just be left alone because you probably have better things to do than to try to cheer me up. That probably sounds like an insult, but I don't mean it to be. Stated another way, I feel worse when you feel sorry for me because now two people are involved instead of one. I can't state that I'm depressed without making people want to be sympathetic, but I can ignore offers of sympathy. It's probably not a good way to handle the situation, but it's the one I've chosen.

What did I do to help myself feel better? Not a whole lot. I had the day off, so after a relatively unproductive morning, I convinced myself to do something that I've been planning since I moved in August: organize my CDs.

Every couple of years I reorganize my CD collection. Come to think of it, this usually happens when I take them to a new place of residence. Things stay more or less alphabetized for a few months, and then I start getting lazy. Inevitably I end up doing something that involves taking many CDs off the shelf at once, and replacing them haphazardly (say, ripping MP3s of a whole bunch of albums). Once they're so out order, what's the point of trying to maintain a system?

ribsinbacon informs me that nobody actually organizes their CD rack, but my priorities are so skewed that I own in the ballpark of 500 CDs (legal ones at that). Do you know how hard it is to find the Mulholland Drive soundtrack when you don't even organize vaguely by genre? The answer is "pretty."

Organization is necessary. I classify by five genres: Popular music, a cappella, soundtracks, classical music, and humor/spoken word. Actually, it's eight categories: They Might Be Giants, Frank Zappa, and Blue Öyster Cult all get their own spaces. "Popular music" is a catch-all category which should also enclose a capella, but separating a capella makes popular music fit on the shelves better. Beyond genre, everything is alphabetized, and the system (which probably sounds good up to this point) becomes incredibly ambiguous:
  • The Beatles' White Album doesn't actually have a title. Does it belong before or after Abbey Road?


  • Many of my albums are promo copies in cardboard sleeves. Do I file them among regular jewel cases where it will be more of a hassle to find them?


  • Spinal Tap and The Rutles: both bands were created for films and recorded a followup album independent of the film's soundtrack. Do I split them up between soundtracks and popular music or file them together under one category? Which category?


  • The soundtrack to 200 Motels: I'm an AP-style kind of guy, so do I file it under "T," or file as a number? Is it a soundtrack, or does it belong in with the other Frank Zappa albums?


  • King Crimson's output has sucked since Discipline came out in 1981. Why do I keep buying King Crimson albums?
This is probably more trouble than it's worth, which might be why I chose to do it; it's something which will occupy me all night, and I can do it alone. I do work in the morning, though, so I'm going to quit for the moment.

Addendum: I wasn't asking for help on that bullet list, I'm just pointing out my quandary, and the fact that my system is fraught with inconsistency. You know what I really want to know? How do I alphabetize Ben Folds Five? If he were simply Ben Folds, he'd go under "F," but the addition of the word "Five" makes this problematic, hence the "Ben Folds Five -- filed under B" sign they used to have at Record Town. I'm putting him under "B," I'm putting his side project, Fear of Pop under "F," and I'm filing the independent side projects of John Flansburgh and John Linnell next to They Might Be Giants. Hooray for discrepancies.
Current Mood: okayokay, I guess
Current Music: Colin Timothy Gagnon -- Are "Friends" Electric?

(20 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:croxtethscouser
Date:January 3rd, 2006 08:11 am (UTC)

Rutles

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you file these under '........Brilliant' on a shelf by themselves...and you dust that shelf daily!!!
Spinal Tap on the shelf under them and only dust once a week
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From:lord_alucard
Date:January 3rd, 2006 08:35 am (UTC)
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200 hotels should be filed as a number, be feel free to do what you want as long as you don't know any librarians or at least don't invite them over it'll drive them nuts.
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From:sacredspud
Date:January 3rd, 2006 03:47 pm (UTC)
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Yeah... I filed 200 Motels as a number, but I always feel weird doing that because I had a number of classes where alphabetization was important, and we were using Associated Press standards. How the AP alphabetizes numbers really depends on who you talk to (our textbooks said "do either one, just be consistent"), but we were always asked to alphabetize the number "2" as if it were "two."

Generally I make a distinction between "2" and "two." 200 Motels comes before Absolutely Free, as would The Three EPs if it were a Frank Zappa album. It's by The Beta Band though, so it comes waaaay before Zappa.
[User Picture]
From:evil_jim
Date:January 3rd, 2006 09:11 am (UTC)

How To Do It starring the Evil Jim

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  • When I have more than one album by an artist in my collection I put them in order of release date, thus positioning the White Album (1968) between Magical Mystery Tour (1967) & Yellow Submarine (Jan. 1969.) Abbey Road by the way, was released Oct. of 1969. It's a little more difficult to organize but helps to track how a band has evolved over the years.


  • I keep cardboard sleeves & slim cases together in a box I can easily flip through from the top. Ideally they would be alphabetical by genre but since most of them are CDRs I place less importance on them than my purchased albums.


  • Spinal Tap & The Ruttles I would keep next to their original soundtrack counterpart in rock/pop since their music was essential to the film they were in. Just as I keep The Wall next to my other Pink Floyd (between Animals & Pulse) & Blues Brothers soundtracks next to their other two albums.


  • 200 Motels would go at the beginnin of my Frank Zappa albums. Even tho' it's a soundtrack I still think of it as "Zappa" first.


  • I'm afraid I can't help you with King Crimson.

Basically, just think of the first place you look for a particular album & put it there, be it soundtracks, general alphabetical or in the pile at the foot of the bed.

I have enough rack space for all my CDs now but new ones end up on the floor or the stereo because I don't know where to put my third rack. Once I have that figured out I will apply myself to my own organizational systems and put Dewy to shame. I've even gone so far as to make labeled cards to help other people search my collection. It'll be done someday...
[User Picture]
From:evil_jim
Date:January 3rd, 2006 09:21 am (UTC)

Re: How To Do It starring the Evil Jim

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Whups. That should be: The Wall is between Animals & A Collection of Great Dance Songs so the rack looks like this. I realize this is not essential information for you but if I'm going to give advice I should at least pay attention to it.
[User Picture]
From:seanorange
Date:January 3rd, 2006 10:37 am (UTC)

Re: How To Do It starring the Evil Jim

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"When I have more than one album by an artist in my collection I put them in order of release date"

I do this as well. I'm kind of a nerd for listening to how an artist's music has progressed over time. I find hearing songs (and whole albums) in the order in which they're written a completely fascinating exercise. And it makes the work day go faster.

~Sean
[User Picture]
From:evil_jim
Date:January 3rd, 2006 10:51 am (UTC)
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Glad you got home safe.
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From:seanorange
Date:January 3rd, 2006 05:37 pm (UTC)
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Thanks!

~Sean
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From:sacredspud
Date:January 3rd, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)

Re: How To Do It starring the Evil Jim

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I can understand this and I used to do it, but being a Zappa fan has made it difficult. Zappa went back over his career several times to edit and rerelease old albums (which didn't make his hardcore fans happy), and released a lot of old material long after it was recorded. Playground Psychotics was recorded in the late '60s, but not released until '93. Where does it go? How about You Can't Do That On Stage, Volume I, which was recorded half in 1971, and half in 1981? How 'bout Civilization Phaze III, which is the third in a set of three albums, but was released a good 25 years after the other two with material recorded between 1968 and 1993?
[User Picture]
From:seanorange
Date:January 3rd, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC)

Re: How To Do It starring the Evil Jim

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Maybe I'm not the best person to ask -- I organize my shelves right-to-left. :p

Sounds like a conundrum. But this is Zappa, and no matter which genre where one attempts to ensconce him, he's at the end of the alphabet. Uh... I have no idea what that means, except that... yeah, I have no idea.

~Sean
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:January 3rd, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)

Re: How To Do It starring the Evil Jim

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This is the problem. I was really more pointing out the ambiguity of my system than asking for advice. Strict alphabetization makes it easier for people who are essentially unfamiliar with my collection and the artists in it, and I can navigate it. Allow me to rebut your suggestions with my own reasoning, which I stress applies to my collection only:
  • Where to put The White Album: At the front of The Beatles collection, because it has no title. I do not arrange chronologically because I own so much Frank Zappa. Putting his albums in chronological release order would make it needlessly difficult to find what I want, especially in cases like We're Only In It For The Money, which was released in substantially different versions in 1986 and 1993. If I arrange chronologically, I can't in good conscience put them together, yet putting one in 1967 and one in 1986 seems redundant. Alphabetical order overlooks this issue by not taking it into account.


  • Cardboard sleeves: Mixed in with everything else. Why split up the collection over packaging?


  • Spinal Tap & The Rutles: Actually, the suggestion you made happens to be the way I chose to deal with it.


  • 200 Motels: Again, I filed it at the beginning of Zappa.


  • King Crimson: You know, I think you'd like a lot of their stuff, pre-1981. Post '81, they're like ELP in that they were doing what they, personally, wanted to do. Much of it was "experimental," and the quality of their work is all over the map. I should stop saying "they" to refer to King Crimson -- actually, the only constant member of King Crimson has been Robert Fripp. Otherwise, their personnel change a lot. Brian Eno was heavily involved in KC during the '70s, if that's a selling point at all.
Additionally (not as like you asked), if I have albums and singles or EPs by a particular artist, the albums come first, then the singles or EPs. Best-of albums also come last.

Anyway, if anything good has come of this organization, it's the realization that I bought ELP's Works, Volume I sometime in 2003 and forgot about it.
[User Picture]
From:the_tick27
Date:January 3rd, 2006 09:25 am (UTC)

numbers

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200 motels is a ryiko disk and should be filed as sutch in order with the zappa albulms.
[User Picture]
From:the_tick27
Date:January 3rd, 2006 09:29 am (UTC)

Re: numbers

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or maybe you sould just forgo all the "alfabatizing" and arange them autobiagrafical by introduction.
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:January 3rd, 2006 03:33 pm (UTC)

Re: numbers

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This sounds like a good idea to me, except that I can't remember the correct order. It doesn't help that there are a lot of Zappa albums which didn't grab me on my first listen, so I put them away and fell in love with them a couple of years later. That's what happened with Thing Fish, and I really can't explain why it took me so long.
[User Picture]
From:the_tick27
Date:January 3rd, 2006 09:30 am (UTC)

Re: numbers

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all my zappa is in numaical order
From:renny1780
Date:January 3rd, 2006 02:01 pm (UTC)

God's Anal Way

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Okay, where does Ribs get this idea that no one organizes their CD collections? Have you actually taken a look atmy rack? Completely organized (and I'm anal about it). My generes are a bit different than yours but basically it turns out: Soundtracks, Jazz, High School Recordings, College Recordings (sub-organization by orchestra, band, choir), Classical, Country, Collections (including "Reunion" CDs and the like), and then the rest of my music, which I suppose could be collectively catagorized as "Popular" but, really, it isn't all that way. Everything is in alphabetical order and on the occasion that I have CDs by the same artist, they are by release date. Hmmm, sounds familiar. And that, my lovely Colin, is how my CD rack is ORGANIZED :) (and stays that way)
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:January 3rd, 2006 03:40 pm (UTC)

Re: God's Anal Way

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This sounds good, but I'm gonna stick with my system. My woes regarding organizing by release date all stem from Frank Zappa, and my refusal to adopt multiple categorization systems. I'd also like to break popular music down into several subgenres, but there's so much crossover in my collection that adding more genres would mean making a lot of exceptions.
[User Picture]
From:koriandrkitten
Date:January 3rd, 2006 11:02 pm (UTC)
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Sorry, I'd called last night before I read your post so yeah. I really never expect you to pick up the phone either way and am generally shocked when you do. Either way I did post to your last one but it wasn't in the line of cheering you up it was in the line of getting you to watch Harry Potter. I picked up a copy of the 3rd one so you can watch it.

If you get a chance or whatever or you just feel bored give me a call and we can watch that one so I can take you to the IMAX of the 4th.
[User Picture]
From:koriandrkitten
Date:January 4th, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC)
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Looks like we have to postpone.

Nick's having a b-day party on Friday.

Let me know sometime when you're free next week.
[User Picture]
From:theenigma42
Date:January 4th, 2006 08:02 am (UTC)
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Y'know, I put my CD's in the car case, which most of you have flipped through, in alphabetical order. It only holds 100 cd's, but I file old ones I don't listen to out every so often. I don't bother with genres. In fact, they are one of my pet peeves. It's not so bad with music, but with movies, I hate genres. Most of the movies I like cross so many genre barriers, that I can't classify them as one or another. When I go to Preplayed, for instance, I hate having to walk to three different sections looking for one movie, because someone arbitrarily decided it was one type of movie, and not another. If you just alphabetize the whole lot, you can find what you're looking for with a minimum of guesswork, and only having to remember the order of the ABC's.
No offense, but it'd simplify things if y'all WERE electric. - Garmonbozia for the soul.

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