Siege Diary 12/8/2020


Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt:  Are there any feelings I need to face?  

As the associated meditation for the day notes, the Stoic philosophy was “actually intended to teach us to face, process, and deal with emotions immediately instead of running from them. Tempting as it is to deceive yourself or hide from a powerful emotion like grief–by telling yourself and other people that you’re fine–awareness and understanding are better….Process and parse what you are feeling…Find the positive in the situation, but also sit with your pain and accept it, remembering that it is a part of life.”  This is particularly useful advice, something I’ve been trying to do on a regular basis, usually through music or writing, whether it’s been a personal issue or something much larger (as it’s been in the last year or so.)   That’s helped me to start better recognizing when there is something I need to face, to think about, and deal with.

Today, for the first time in many years, I own a stereo again.  This provokes musing.

As a music-loving kid, I first had one of those flat record players where the speaker was built in.  I then graduated up to my parents’ old stereo (complete with 8-track player, which I never used).  Then, sometime around my junior year of high school, I got a “real stereo” as a bonus through my Dad’s company.  It had everything–a tuner/receiver, a dual cassette deck, and a record player, along with speakers.  In the next couple of years, I added an equalizer and then one of the earliest CD players.  My final purchase as a “serious” stereo owner was a high-quality CD player.  Then, eventually, I stepped back down to a compact system previously owned by my parents, then to something that was essentially a large boom box with detachable speakers, and finally, to my most recent state, where I did not own an actual stereo–just computers with speakers, and the compact Philips system which is really just a radio with slightly better speakers and the ability to play CDs.  That CD playing ability has gradually gotten a bit wonky (the unit is over 10 years old now, with an iPod docking system with the previous Apple connector), so when I saw this compact system, with CD players and Bluetooth capabilities, I jumped at the chance to be able to play music aloud again on something like a “stereo.”

My sense is that most people do not own stereos any more.  They may own home entertainment systems with good speakers, but, apart from a few specialty stores, the “stereo” sections in places like Best Buy are a shadow of what they once were.  Young adults do not generally look to possess a huge stereo system any more (the days of OSAP standing for “Ontario Stereo Acquisition Program are vanished–along with the days where people could really blow their student loans on something other than school).   People are now listening more on headphones or earbuds on their phones, or to streaming services.  Certainly there is no longer a need to record your own copies of LPs or CDs on cassette so you could play them in the car or on your Walkman.  Vinyl is now “retro” and is cherished by certain audiophiles, whereas I remember being so excited about CDs because they were not subject to hissing and scratches.  I’m still buying physical CDs.   I like to have the “hardcopy” versions, to look through the liner notes and enjoy the design and cover art.  I like the fact that no glitch in iTunes will possibly ever delete my collection.

After getting the stereo set up, I finished tidying the office/craft room in the aftermath of SMASH.  I also was able to get three embroideries stretched out on the newly-acquired stretcher bars–they look much better now and can now be hung or put on shelves as completed objects (see one of them in the photo above).   We had a steak dinner from our favourite local Serbian mom-and-pop place, and then I spent the evening on calligraphy.  One error aside, I am very happy with the results.   Tomorrow there’s a free Toronto Symphony performance to attend.

I also read this article , with part III particularly catching my interest — and the author’s bio at the end:  “ is the author of 10 books dealing mainly with the American musical experience. His book-in-progress is The Propaganda of Freedom: JFK, Stravinsky, Shostakovich and the Cultural Cold Warrior.”  You can see why that might interest me.  I wonder how long we’ll have to wait for that book?