Unwinding a List


Urgency Day: 470

500 Things Items 26-31: Assorted VHS Tapes

  • All purchased
  • All loved
  • They might be missed but not in this format
  • Donations

How quickly the blogging muscles become stiff.

I’ve been preoccupied with other tasks for an entire week, but my brain-fogginess suggests that it’s been more like a month. A sultry summer month at that. Time to dehumidify.

Last week I did enjoy putting up a quick post with pix of those 3 gorgeous wild boys. And yesterday, I was so happy to celebrate my fabulous Laura’s birthday. Maybe it’s partly the annual May birthday swirl that has me off-stride. We have seven SEVEN! darlings to toast and fuss over in May:


Fun fact for me and Paul: Our only sisters were born on each other’s parents’ wedding anniversaries:

May 7th and May 15th. We are so MFEO.

But back to the task at hand.

Last fall, I finally cleared out a vexation of old VHS tapes. How many tapes are in a vexation? More than 1. (Bu-da-bing.)

In my case, I cataloged and donated almost 100 tapes. That’s not only a lot of movies in a truly crappy format, that’s a lot of movie watching. And rewinding. And fast-forwarding. Remember how we were supposed to have those specialized ancillary devices to perform all that tape-winding to save wear-and-tear on our crappy VHS players. Good times.

When I say I “cataloged,” I didn’t actually catalog all the tapes. I’m not exactly up to my sister’s historic level of documentation. (Future anthropologists will canonize her for her meticulous observations about our material culture.) Really I only tracked the tapes which I’d like to replace someday on DVD or whatever format is pre-obsolete at that point.

Granted, through the years I have managed to replace some of my must-have tapes with DVDs. And I am profoundly grateful to my darlings who have generously gifted me with the complete boxed series of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Battlestar Galactica on 82 worshipped DVDs. But since many of my old tapes were of children’s fare, there was less upgrading than might be expected for movies I chose to buy in the first place.

I’m just saying, the library and Redbox fulfill my viewing wishes now. Do you Redbox? Bliss!

So out of the dozens and dozens of tapes I donated to a local hospital, I noted only 15 on my To Be Replaced list and retained only ten of those for just-in-case purposes (hi Laura).

Ready for some insight into my soul? Here’s the list:

  1. Jurassic Park
  2. Sleepless in Seattle
  3. Six Days, Seven Nights
  4. Sense and Sensibility
  5. Top Hat
  6. Swing Time
  7. Shall We Dance
  8. Babe
  9. 101 Dalmatians (1961)
  10. Beauty and the Beast
  11. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  12. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  13. While You Were Sleeping
  14. Anne of Green Gables (1986)
  15. The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (yes, starring Don Knotts)

I suspect only Donna understands that last one.

Mostly romantic comedies and animation, and not a goodfella in the bunch. If you know me, that’s utterly predictable. Also predictable: I could go on and on about the merits of each one and its place in my heart. But here’s something I think is more unexpected and significant for my larger downsizing project.

Since making this list only a few months ago, I have realized that I don’t feel the need to replace even all of these. I would, at this point, further eliminate two of these once-regarded-as-indisputably-vital movies from my To Be Replaced list.

And I would absolutely love to hear your speculations about which two they might be!


3 Responses to “Unwinding a List”

  1. Sydney Says:

    I feel anxious asking WHICH version of Shall We Dance? is on your list, but I think I can *safely* assume it’s the thirties film. Fingers crossed.

    I think the two that you pitched from your replacement list are Six Days, Seven Nights, and While You Were Sleeping. Again, I’m anxious about my picks because I can clearly see these titles included in the pictured stack of six. That photo MIGHT be an excerpt of the TEN retained-super-special-just-in-case movies!

  2. Donna Says:

    I’m guessing Miracle on 34th Street and Anne of Green Gables.

    Could be totally wrong, but I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine and I’m going to go watch Secretariat’s triple crown performances for the umpteenth time before I go to bed, so I don’t have a whole lot of minutes to devote to this perplexing problem. Going with the gut here.


  3. Sydney Says:

    I like to imagine Donna’s nightly bedtime ritual: two glasses of wine, watch Secretariat, brush teeth, take vitamins… go to bed.

    Suzanne, I didn’t see the 2004 version of Shall We Dance with Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere, but it’s out there. The 1996 Japanese version was good.

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