This past month I replaced a line of Hi-Fi speakers I've listened to and enjoyed for the past 20 years with a pair of new floor speakers from Klipsch. It's an acknowledgment that my hearing and tastes have changed and it's time to listen to my music through a new stereo system. This recognition of needing to do things differently has become a common theme for me lately. I'm finding the old ways aren't working and perhaps joy can be found again by doing something new. With this theme on change, instead of blogging only when I'm inspired by great ideas or events, I decided to blog every few days as I take part in the 100 Days to Offload challenge.
Running my weather station and media server on a Mini PC. Beelink's Mini PC and those like it are the future.
A few months ago, I purchased the Beelink U59 Pro Mini PC with only a few reviews available at the time. Despite being a longtime Windows and Linux PC I've been skeptical of the mini PC market in general and have avoided making a purchase in the past. So much skepticism that my first introduction to this small form factor was last year's purchase of an Apple Mac Mini M1 despite not being a huge fan of the macOS operating system. Luckily, this Beelink Mini PC has convinced me that "small is better" for Windows and Linux as well.
It has been no secret that since the start of the pandemic, I've been obsessed with vinyl records all over again. Part of my interest is out of nostalgia for my old records but I've also bought a lot of new music also being released on vinyl. And you know what? I'm not alone. Weekly sales in the United States of vinyl albums jumped to their second largest week since the MRC Data tracking of sales in 1991. According to Billboard.com:
It was early 1981 and my Dad received an offer from Columbia House to join the Columbia Records Club. For one penny a person could get eleven vinyl records by joining this music club. Better yet, fill in the "secret bonus" 12th box with your album of choice and you got an additional album for free. Nevermind the marketing ploy here that you would be committed to buy additional albums at full catalog price in the months to follow...my dad was about to receive a dozen albums from his favorite bands all at once. So many albums were about to come through the door, that my Dad let my sister and me each pick out a record for ourselves. Whether my Dad liked my choice or not I can't remember, but I picked AC/DC's Back in Black.
The value of vinyl records is still determined by whether you enjoy listening to the music or not. You're not going to get rich from your collection...and that's alright.
From the article, "How Much Are Your Old Vinyl LPs Worth?":
We've all heard stories of rare vinyl selling for thousands of dollars, but does the average music collector have gold buried beneath their record sleeves?
The answer is no.
While some vinyl records may indeed be more valuable than the plastic they're pressed on, Doug Allen, the owner of one of the largest vinyl records stores in the world, Bananas Records in Saint Petersburg, Florida, tells The Penny Hoarder that LPs aren't really comparable to other big-business collectibles, like stamps or coins.
A few months ago, I reviewed six different vinyl record turntables due my renewed interest in listening to music pressed on vinyl records. Despite all six vinyl turntables being good choices to consider, I still needed to select the turntable I would bring into my home. In the end, it was the Fluance RT82 Reference High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable that I chose as my latest stereo component.
When I entered college just after graduating high school in 1986, there was a new band from my neck of the woods that just spoke to me. The band was call The Rainmakers and they were from Missouri.
It wasn't just the Rainmaker's music that caught my attention but also the lyrics themselves. Many of the band's songs from their early days referenced locations and attitude that you can only understood fully if you were from Kansas or Missouri. And the "big city" they referenced most in their songs was my hometown of Kansas City. I was such an early fan that I remember this band wasn't always introduced as the Rainmakers but also as the band "formerly called Steve, Bob, and Rich".
I'm a big believer that it is the small positive things we do in our day that have the biggest impact on our own well being. From here through the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, I've decided to just blog about the small things I'm doing to escape from the anxiety producing headlines in our news. Today, after my day of teleworking, I'm finishing up what I started over the weekend. I'm listening to the second half my Star Wars LP, Sides 3 and 4.
Surprisingly, I recently sought out and purchased a vinyl record turntable. This is a surprise to me because I've spent the last three decades moving from the opposite direction as my music collection evolved from vinyl and cassette tape to compact discs and then finally to digital music stored as MP3 files on my computer and mobile devices. In this century, I don't even know if you can call it collecting music because I now subscribe monthly to an endless library of artists and songs through various music streaming services.
I'm a mid-aged man living in the future where vinyl records are in our past; so I thought. Yet, here I am. I'm looking at turntables and relearning all over again the importance of a preamps and amplifiers when connecting the turntable to a set of speakers. What happened?
My wife and son are struggling with my recent obsession for turntables and vinyl records. I’m slightly confused of their surprise yet I understand. They never knew me back in the old days.
They didn’t know that optimistic teenager that spent hours listening to LPs and spending additional time recording them on cassette tape for my Sony Walkman. They didn’t know that me in college while living in a Kansas University dorm where every room on 6th Floor in Ellsworth Hall had the volume on their stereo set to Level 11.
The Ramones, Beatles, Grateful Dead, Journey, Kansas, Rush, Johnny Cash, Guns n Roses, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Pink Floyd. They knew me back then and that’s good enough for me.
Modified slightly in 2023 for a repost on Medium.