Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Things to Buy With Bookman's Credit

So my in-laws gave me a great gift for Christmas: Bookman's credit. If you're like me you're a 32 year old man who looks nothing like his profile picture and has too much time on his hands. You also know the joys of Bookman's, which is the greatest used item repository in Arizona. Most of the store's physical space is devoted to used books (which is less and less appealing to me since my acquisition of iPad technology) but there are also musical instrument, electronic, and video game departments. Bookman's is one of my happy places.

So the wife, kid, and I packed up and headed to Tucson (not my favorite place on Earth) to go blow my Bookman's credit. I ended up picking up a CD player which looked fantastic and turned out to be a total dud (The right channel is dead. Thanks Memorex for doing such a bang-up job making it and to Bookman's for selling it to me in such condition), a second turntable for the computer room, and three NES games.

This is the CD player I purchased. The main reason I'm so upset that it doesn't work is because it's a beautiful piece of machinery that fits perfectly on my shelf. I just wanted this thing to work so badly (I'm tired of listening to my CD's with my discman and headphones. It makes me too isolated) that it was doubly upsetting when it didn't.
This is the turntable I picked up: the Ion Profile Pro. It's a USB turntable (a disappointing development if you ask me. So many turntables now are being marketed as a means for transferring your vinyl to digital formats. I could understand it if they were being marketed as a way of making your vinyl collection portable, but they always seem to be advertised as a way to be able to throw your vinyl collection out once it has been digitized. The only thing I can think of is that there has to be a whole generation of people who wish their father's Pat Boone records were MP3's.) but it also has an internal phono preamp which makes it much more versatile than my old Pioneer turntable. The Pioneer is a better turntable in general. It has a better needle cartridge, better tone arm (you can't adjust the balance or anti-skate on the Ion), better use of wood paneling (the Ion sadly has none. It's as if it wasn't made in the 70's at all), and better overall sound. On the plus side, I can plug the Ion into anything that can take USB or RCA connectors, and it doesn't have to be grounded like the Pioneer (older turntables have a ground wire as well as RCA plugs. Usually the ground plugs into the back of the receiver or amp, but my Pioneer doesn't ground properly unless it's wired to the screw of the outlet cover the turntable is plugged into. So not only can't I plug my Pioneer in just any old where, it needs an amp with a phono preamp and an outlet that is nowhere near the floorboards. Luckily I have such a setup here, but I might as well bolt my Pioneer to the shelf because it literally can't go anywhere else).

The Ion looks super sleek, which is nice. It also allows me to play records in rooms other than the one my vinyl collection is in. I keep my records under lock and key because my soon-to-be two-year-old daughter has already taken an interest in my records but has no idea how to treat them properly (I don't know what the age of consent is for a record collection. I want her to have great taste in music but I don't want her to ruin records like I did when I was a kid. She already sat on a fairly rare Scott Walker platter once, which prompted the locking doors on the collection). For the past 8 months I have only been able to listen to my records if my daughter isn't around, but she's always around. With the Ion I have a little more freedom, which is nice. So far it's been like inheriting my own record collection. Anyway, I'm talking too much about this thing and I'm sure I sound like a typical vinyl-centric hipster. I hope I'm not that guy. I've actively tried to take steps to not become that guy. For example: my actual prescription glasses are horn-rimmed (I got them in Cambodia. They were the only decent frames in the store) but I never wear them and choose to squint rather than even look that horn-rimmed hipster vinyl guy that nobody likes. Also, that hipster guy is a blogger so I'm on thin ice. I am not writing this from a coffee shop if it helps.

This is the first of three NES games I bought. I don't really care for Q*Bert on the NES. I own it for both of my Atari systems and without looking I might even own it for the Intellivision. It's a little too simplistic for a Nintendo game, but there's a good reason why I bought it. A reason I will reveal soon.
From all accounts this is not a good NES game. I looked at screenshots and was not impressed, yet there's a good reason why I spent Christmas credit on such an item.
Zanac seems like a good enough game, but that's not why I bought it. All three of my Nintendo purchases fill one purpose and one only: I needed a "Q" "X" and "Z." With these three games I now own an NES game for every letter of the alphabet. It's odd that I didn't own a game for any of these letters considering that prior to buying these games I owned 153 NES games. I'm not particularly excited about any of these games, but my collection feels more complete. This was an OCD purchase more than anything.

Anyway, that's what I did with my Bookman's credit. The CD player will be going back (it's a 2 hour drive back to Tucson. I miss living in Mesa) as soon as I can manage and I'll have another $30 to blow on Bookman's purchases. So look forward to another blow by blow of a nerdy shopping spree. I know you can't wait.

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