The Beauty of Old Things

Several months ago my daughter surprised me with an odd request. She had noted that many of her friends and family were giving away their collections of old vinyl albums; could I help her select a record player so that she could play them?

While I am aware that vinyl is making a comeback, the last thing I expected was for my daughter, the Streaming Queen, to want to explore a technology that I abandoned decades ago. She has been so gung-ho when it comes to subscribing to this service or that, taking her music and stuff with her on her phone that I was taken aback.

When I finally managed to stop laughing I agreed to help her. I figured she would quickly get bored and pass the items on to me–and I would selfishly enjoy the nostalgia.

I helped her select a portable record player, get it set up, and showed her how to use it. I instructed her to keep a coin nearby to help with skips and even how to clean the records if they were dirty.

We’ve ended up with a new ritual as a result. When my daughter is at home she selects one of the albums from the ones she has managed to scavenge and plays it for both of us. She gets to expand her mind with older music while I get to savor the blast from the past.

Her friends are rather surprised when they come over for a visit. She likes to pull out her favorite Big Band album and use it as background music when they come over. Considering that most of her friends have never even seen a record player in real life, much less heard such old music, they are usually quite surprised.

Watching my daughter has made me realize the error of my ways. I eliminated my old stereo system along with a huge collection of vinyl, cassettes, and 8-tracks many years ago under the misguided notion that modern was better. While I see no logic in regret, I do see opportunity. No one wants to use older technology any longer. If it isn’t the latest and greatest it’s tossed out with the trash or practically given away at thrift stores.

While I don’t see myself actively shopping to replace my old stereo system in the future, I’ve decided that I won’t hesitate to fish one out of the trash or buy one if I stumble across a cheap offering at a thrift store. I’m always stumbling across interesting dumpster finds so it shouldn’t be an issue to locate a small music collection as I go about my daily life.

If anything, I’ll be saving something from the landfill while reducing my dependence upon the Internet. I will admire the beauty of the past as I carry it with me into the future.

We have been much too quick to discard the old, I’ve decided. For me, that stops now. Do you have any older items that you still use? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale

Hello Everyone!

Once again I have joined the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale. To thank you for being such loyal readers, I have listed all of my books at a sizeable discount or for free. You can find a list of my books here.

All you have to do is click on the book you are interested in. When the description page loads, simply choose to purchase it using the sale coupon on the right hand side. While you are there, please check out all of the other books that are on sale as well. You will find a lot of bargains.



Would you like a Tiny House?

If you’ve ever wanted your freedom or independence here’s something you might want to sign up for. A tiny house is going to be given away to one special person. All you have to do is apply. If you win, you agree to foot the expense to have it towed to your place of choice.

Here’s the link if you’re interested:

Good luck!


Last Chance for FREE Books!

Okay guys, before the latest round of excitement I told you how to get a bunch of great books for absolutely FREE.

Well, that deal is almost over.

Tonight it all ends. All you have to do to get this wonderful collection of books and courses revolving the eco-sustainable lifestyle, including a FREE copy of my book The Minimalist Cleaning Method is to click this link, type in your email address, and wait for them to send you a link to the download page.

Grab it while you can.

Cheap or Free Books, Music, and Movies

I am a bibliophile. I love books of all kinds and read voraciously.  Over the years I have spent thousands of dollars on books alone, not including music, movies and other forms of entertainment.

After moving out on my own I had less to spend, so I started looking for free or really cheap alternatives to buying all of this stuff.


Books are fairly easy to find online. Websites like Project GutenbergiBiblioGoogle Books and others have a lot of books for free.  Some writers will place copies of their books online in html format with a request that you purchase a hard copy if you enjoy the book.

Of course you can also go to the library and do book swaps, but why leave home when you don’t have to? Just use your favorite search engine to look for ebooks or free books online and watch the world open up to you.

If you are looking for a specific title sometimes you can search for “title pdf” to locate the book in pdf format.  Chm format is another one books (especially technical books) appear in online.

If a book is in html format you can use Plucker to download the entire book for reading on your computer, smart phone or pda. My Lifedrive gets a lot of use for this purpose!


There is a lot of controversy about music online. If you are near a good internet connection you can avoid this controversy by using websites like Pandora or Shoutcast to listen to a variety of music online for free of at very little cost (Pandora now charges it’s heavy users a small fee).

Some people swear by iTunes for obtaining their music. I am not a fan of iTunes simply because of the proprietary format the stuff comes in.  In order to play it you need their player or their software, and despite the fact that Apple will allow you to convert it to mp3 I find it easier to deal exclusively in formats that are easily played by a multitude of machines and brands.  My choices for these formats are Ogg and Mp3.  Ogg is an open-source format, so you will never have to worry about buying a decoder for it.  Mp3 is not so open, but is so common that most music players cover the format out of the box. I don’t even fool with WMA format because of the copyright restrictions that it wants to place on files.

Mp3 Fiesta is my favorite place to purchase music online.  The track prices are very low and it is completely legal. I have purchased Top 100 Billboard collections for around $5, an average CD costs $3 and an individual track normally costs a dime. I have yet to find a legal source to beat prices like that, and if you know of one—please let me know!

Gregory Johnson, author of Put Your Life on a Diet: Lessons Learned from Living in 140 Square Feet recommends Kahvi as a source of free music from musicians looking to promote their work.

Movies and Shows

Places like Hulu and Fancast are places to watch movies and television shows for free.  ABCNBCCBSNickelodeon,   A & Eand others offer free episodes for online viewing.

Justin TV has a lot of different stations to choose from, showing movies, television shows and a huge variety of other things. This website is a virtual video smorgasbord!

You can also go to libraries in larger cities to find a large collection of videos to check out and view at home for free.  Some libraries will amaze you—they have more titles than several video rental stores combined!


If you are spending a fortune on these items you can stop now.  There are much less expensive alternatives available, you just have to know where to look.

If you know of any great resources that I have missed, please note the location in the comments. This will help all of us to continue to live more frugally.

Have a nice day!!!

Getting Started with Freecycle

After a few days lurking on the very quiet local freecycle site, I have decided to wake things up a bit with a couple of offers, just to see what happens…

I’m more accustomed to a local trading post you call into, which is what we had where I used to live, but I have some things to eliminate from my life, so freecycle it is.

I really want to put my old television on there to get rid of it.

I really really do.

Even my daughter wants me to get rid of the monstrosity.. Well, a small monstrosity.. Only a 19 inch, but huge compared to the monitors we have available these days!

Last time we watched it.. I think was when  a friend came over and wanted to watch a movie few weeks ago.. 

I don’t know why this decision bothers me so much!  We don’t use the stupid thing, and we could use the freed up space!

I know!  We could take the tv apart and set it aside, and if we don’t use it in a set amount of time (say a month) we put it on freecycle… I don’t think it is worth much cause it isn’t digital, and maybe it would help someone who actually uses a television…

I hate this.  Why does a logical decision have to be so darned hard? sed0 \ls