© 2018 Gerard Gareau


Listen to me: The Library is in your mind.

- May 14, 2018

I’m sitting in the library right now, writing this. It’s a small branch of the Calgary Public Library and when I look around, I can’t help but think: I have more books, magazines and Blu-rays/DVDs sitting on my computer than are in this library.

I’ve been a bit of a hoarder, over the years. At one point I had hundreds of DVDs, CDs, Books, Magazines, and whatever else. But then I started moving around a lot, and moving all of that stuff is heavy and expensive.

There are a few options:

  1. You could toss it all and rely on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, or even get ebooks from your public library.
  2. You could re-buy everything digitally and deal with the copyright protection issues associated with that
  3. You could digitize everything yourself, and then get rid of your physical goods or store them somewhere
  4. You could find somewhere to download things from, which may or may not be legalish in your country.

If, like me, you expect to not have reliable internet 24/7, number one isn’t a viable option.

Number 2 involves some challenges. Sometimes having copyright protection means I can’t move a book between my kindle, my computer, and my phone, when I don’t have internet. Some movies won’t play on some projectors via HDMI due to HDCP issues. Basically, you have the file, and you know everything should just work, but it won’t, because somebody somewhere decided you don’t own the file. And while removing the protection is usually trivial (just google it) it’s technically not legal in most places.

Number 3 is also technically not legal. It’s mostly legal until you get rid of your hard copies, but you still need to circumvent copy protection to do it.

Number 4 is, sadly, the easiest option. Actually buying media makes life harder for people like me.

When it comes down to it, if you’re downsizing a library, digitally, and you don’t have reliable internet or power, there is no viable legal option, so pick your poison.

Ok, but why carry a library around with you? Just pare down your collection.

The way I do things isn’t for everyone. I use a lot of different types of media for reference material, and some I keep around because maybe I’ll want watch to watch Scott Pilgrim vs. the World for the millionth time. I will say that, at last count, I had:

  • Over 750 novels
  • Over 7,500 comics and manga (no, that’s not a typo)
  • Over 100 art/reference books
  • Over 50,000 songs
  • About 300 films
  • Over 1000 full seasons of various TV shows.

I mean, it’s a lot. There’s no way I could drag all of that around with me. And trying to pick and choose what goes? Impossible. Any time I’ve tried that in the past, after about 3 months I really need a specific quote or visual from a scene in a film or book and I need it now before I lose it entirely. It might seem silly to claim media as a business expense, but I ultimately do use everything I see for work, in some form, eventually.

As it is, I need to bring around some art reference books and might cry when need to I get rid of my hardcover Complete Calvin and Hobbes.

And that’s why the site is faux minimalism. I’m not a minimalist at all. But I’m needing to take a stab at pretending to be one.

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