Side Story

The Beauty of the 6-CD Changer – Lessons in Refinement, Self-Discovery, and a Happier Life

 

I’ve always been the type that tries to efficiently tackle problems, but I’ve had even more focus on optimization in 2017 while at work as well as in finances. One of my latest optimization efforts was an update on something that’s been going on for as long as I’ve been driving: recompiling the music setlist for my car’s 6-CD changer.

What’s a CD again?

For readers who might not be aware: a Compact Disc (CD) is a round plastic object with fine micro-grooves etched onto one side. A CD player rotates this disc in a tray while it optically reads and interprets the micro-grooves peaks and valleys as data, and an attached speaker system plays back this data as music to listen to.

The major difference between a CD and more modern DVD’s and Blu-Rays, is the amount of data that can be stored on any one plastic saucer. And to add to this picture, many CD players require music to be stored as an “audio CD” instead of an ordinary “data CD”.

What this all boils down to is that each CD can store roughly 80 minutes of music. My car’s 6-CD changer can play back 480 minutes of music. If we assume on average each song is 4 minutes long, that’s a cap of 120 songs to listen to every 8 hours of driving.

I’m a music glut. I would estimate my entire music collection is closer to a magnitude of 12,000 songs instead of 120 songs. Many of you readers probably have my number beat another 100-fold.

Could you cut down your music collection to 1% or 480 minutes and listen to that on repeat for your (driving) lifetime?

This was the question I’ve been asking and answering myself for many years now. And every year I think I’ve tried and answered this question, I’ve always seen this answer change the next year. And the next year. And maybe after discovering something new or going to a new concert, my answer changes yet again. Did my mood or outlook on life change? Well then that’s another (usually cyclical) change in my answer.

Some songs and music artists have stuck around through the ebbs and flows of my auditory desires. Some have come and gone, from once being single-song-repeat-worthy to never-again-heard.

Some people have recommended that I just change out my 6-CD changer to something that can play data discs or an MP3 player which could store all of my music collection plus more. Sure, cutting down to 480 minutes of music is a tough task for a music glut like myself. Sure, my music sometimes skips for a few seconds when I drive over an especially deep pothole. Sure, the process of burning 6 read-only CD’s each year usually means I have to discard my previous 6-pack.

But my answer each and every time, to everyone that have asked and may ask in the future, is still a big NO THANK YOU.

Some people see limitations; I see refinement.

Some people think that I am missing out; I know that I have been granted something beautiful.

The 6-CD changer is an opportunity for self-discovery.

There is a saying in the culinary world along the lines like: “Show me what you eat and I’ll show you what you are.” As representative as food can be, I think music can be even more defining. While food satisfies physical hunger, music the spirit sate. People can live without music, sure, but are they really Living?

The process of cutting down to 6-CD’s-worth of music is like cutting out extraneous niceties in your life and instead refocusing on what makes you most happy. We can have anything we want, we just can’t have everything we want. What’s true in economic terms seems also true in musical terms.

Along with the final products, the value gained through this optimization process are at least six-fold:

  1. Project and time management skills when making sure you meet the constraints of your stakeholders: yourself, the CD’s, and the CD player.
  2. A discerning auditory palate when selecting live performances based on how they’re executed at different venues on different dates on different tours during different periods of a musical artist’s career.
  3. Exposure to and experience of the hard work put in by artists who have exerted themselves while perfecting their craft, especially as they sing their hearts out at their Last Live.
  4. Technical computer skills in trimming down file durations while adding non-obtrusive fades to intros and outros of clips, all with an attention to detail when timestamping songs in long concert files so that you can extract “just enough” song.
  5. An overall appreciation of humanity’s control over locomotion by rotating a plastic disc at between 200-500 rpm while rotating your vehicle’s tires at up to 1100-1200 rpm.
  6. And an improved ability to drive smoothly, as if you couldn’t let water spill out of a cup in your cup holder, so that you don’t cause your CD player to skip and stutter while you sing along to the chorus of your favorite anthems.

Oh how beautiful you are, my 6-CD changer!

So let’s make more space and time to focus on what makes us most happy. That is my goal, in this Single Player Life, in all aspects of life to optimize. So please don’t try to take away my 6-CD changer. These 6 CD’s are disc images of who I am (as of May 2017, and somewhat tailored to “drivable” music). Each CD could be the soundtrack to an arc of my Audial Novel life. Listen to them, and you will have a window into Six Degrees From My Soul.

I’ll show you mine; will you show me yours?

My 6-CD Changer (2017)
Six Degrees From My Soul
CD Music Artists Thema
1 FAKE?, Supercar A Journey into Sound
2 capsule, REOL Flash Back to Back
3 Perfume Perfume World
4 Otsuka Ai What Comes After And
5 μ’s Music Forever
6 Hiroyuki Sawano Unlimited Vocal Works

(Following links are as close as I could quickly find available in public. Maybe I’ll upload my actual files and share sometime.)

(CD1) A Journey into Sound
Selection of live performances from two of my favorite J-Rock bands: FAKE? and Supercar.
Artist Song Title Concert Song Duration
FAKE? Classic Final Shibuya-AX Live 0:04:17
FAKE? Everglow Final Zepp Tokyo Live 0:04:13
FAKE? Further Away Final Zepp Tokyo Live 0:03:09
FAKE? Snow Final Shibuya-AX Live 0:05:27
FAKE? Here We Go Final Shibuya-AX Live 0:05:41
FAKE? Praise Final Shibuya-AX Live 0:05:53
FAKE? Dreamcatcher Final Shibuya-AX Live 0:03:56
FAKE? Someday Final Shibuya-AX Live 0:03:29
FAKE? Taste Maximum Final Shibuya-AX Live 0:04:10
Supercar White Surf style 5. Last Live 0:04:04
Supercar FAIR WAY Last Live 0:04:22
Supercar YUMEGIWA LAST BOY Last Live 0:05:00
Supercar cream soda Last Live 0:03:24
Supercar Hello Last Live 0:03:32
Supercar Free Your Soul Last Live 0:04:30
Supercar STORYWRITER Last Live 0:03:34
Supercar Karma Last Live 0:10:52
1:19:33

(CD2) Flash Back to Back
Selection of songs from my favorite electronic composer Yasutaka Nakata and his music through capsule, as well as a more recent addition to my electronic palate in REOL.
Artist Song Title Album / Single Song Duration
capsule Flash Back FLASH BACK 0:04:40
capsule World of Fantasy WORLD OF FANTASY 0:06:11
capsule Starry Sky Sugarless Girl 0:05:40
capsule Lounge Designers Killer Capsule Remix 0:04:08
capsule swing 54321 phony phonic 0:03:57
capsule edit More! More! More! 0:06:00
capsule Player Player 0:07:30
capsule All The Way STEREO WORXXX 0:05:14
capsule White as Snow WAVE RUNNER 0:04:11
capsule Control CAPS LOCK 0:04:36
REOL Hibikase No title- 0:04:11
REOL Assymmetry No title- 0:04:16
REOL Give Me a Break Stop Now SIGMA 0:03:42
REOL Yoyoi Konkon SIGMA 0:04:18
REOL Chiru Chiru SIGMA 0:03:18
REOL Okochama Sensou Gokusaishoku ~Koku Hen~ 0:03:33
REOL Flash Back Gokusaishoku ~Irodori Hen~ 0:04:19
1:19:44

(CD3) Perfume World
Selection of songs from my favorite electro-pop dancing trio and music group of all: Perfume.
Artist Song Title Album / Single Song Duration
Perfume Enter the Sphere LEVEL3 0:03:36
Perfume Party Maker LEVEL3 0:07:21
Perfume Spending All My Time LEVEL3 0:04:02
Perfume computer city Perfume Complete Best 0:04:45
Perfume electroworld Perfume Complete Best 0:04:20
Perfume Polyrhythm Polyrhythm 0:03:40
Perfume GAME GAME 0:05:06
Perfume Take off Triangle 0:00:49
Perfume Dream Fighter Triangle 0:04:53
Perfume edge Triangle 0:08:43
Perfume GLITTER JPN 0:05:41
Perfume FAKE IT Nee 0:04:10
Perfume Navigate COSMIC EXPLORER 0:01:19
Perfume Cosmic Explorer COSMIC EXPLORER 0:05:22
Perfume STORY COSMIC EXPLORER 0:05:44
Perfume FLASH COSMIC EXPLORER 0:04:34
Perfume STAR TRAIN COSMIC EXPLORER 0:04:42
1:18:47

(CD4) What Comes After And
Selection of live performances from my favorite solo vocalist and songstress: Otsuka Ai.
Artist Song Title Concert Song Duration
Otsuka Ai I’m Lonely Love Tricky Tour 0:06:35
Otsuka Ai Yumekui Love Tricky Tour 0:04:52
Otsuka Ai Laugh Love Tricky Tour 0:04:37
Otsuka Ai Affair Love Tricky Tour 0:03:49
Otsuka Ai Haneari Tamago Love Tricky Tour 0:05:16
Otsuka Ai Is Love Tricky Tour 0:05:37
Otsuka Ai 5:09am Love Tricky Tour 0:04:15
Otsuka Ai Sakuranbo Love Tricky Tour 0:03:18
Otsuka Ai Mirai taxi Love Tricky Tour 0:04:20
Otsuka Ai Time machine Love Tricky Tour 0:05:15
Otsuka Ai End and and ~10000~hearts Love Tricky Tour 0:09:00
Otsuka Ai Kumuriuta Love is Born 2015 0:05:23
Otsuka Ai Daisuki da yo Love is Born 2006 0:04:37
Otsuka Ai Renai Shashin Love is Born 2006 0:04:55
Otsuka Ai I Love xxx Love is Born 2010 0:07:57
1:19:46

(CD5) Music Forever
Selection of live performances from my favorite 9-member school-idol / voice actress group: μ’s.
Artist Song Title Concert Song Duration
μ’s Bokura wa Ima no Naka de μ’s – 3rd Love Live 0:05:37
μ’s Bokura no Live kimi to no Life μ’s – 3rd Love Live 0:05:22
μ’s Sore wa Bokutachi no Kiseki μ’s – 5th Love Live, Day 1 0:04:10
HonoKotoUmi Susume Tomorrow μ’s – 6th Love Live, Day 1 0:02:06
HonoKotoUmi Start: Dash! μ’s – 3rd Love Live 0:03:03
KotoPana Suki desu ga Suki desu ka μ’s – 5th Love Live, Day 2 0:04:47
NicoRinPana After School Navigators μ’s – 2nd Love Live 0:04:51
NicoRinPana Listen to My Heart μ’s – 2nd Love Live 0:04:34
BiBi Psychic Fire μ’s – 6th Love Live, Day 2 0:03:39
μ’s Wonderful Rush μ’s – 3rd Love Live 0:04:34
μ’s Natsuiro egao de 1,2 jump μ’s – 3rd Love Live 0:04:28
μ’s Loneliest Baby μ’s – 4th Love Live, Day 1 0:05:09
μ’s Kaguya no Shiro de Odoritai μ’s – 4th Love Live, Day 1 0:04:46
μ’s Mermaid Festa Vol 1 μ’s – 4th Love Live, Day 2 0:03:57
μ’s No Brand Girls μ’s – 4th Love Live, Day 2 0:04:57
μ’s Snow Halation μ’s – 6th Love Live, Day 2 0:04:18
μ’s Donna Toki mo Zutto μ’s – 6th Love Live, Day 2 0:04:36
μ’s Bokutachi wa Hitotsu no Hikari μ’s – 6th Love Live, Day 2 0:04:52
1:19:46

(CD6) Unlimited Vocal Works
Selection of songs from one my favorite composers for original soundtracks: Hiroyuki Sawano.
Artist Song Title Source Soundtrack For: Song Duration
Hiroyuki Sawano (egoist) Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress Koutetsujou no Kabaneri 0:01:31
Hiroyuki Sawano (Aimer) Through My Blood <AM> Koutetsujou no Kabaneri 0:04:04
Hiroyuki Sawano (Aimer) ninelie <cry-v> Koutetsujou no Kabaneri 0:05:06
Hiroyuki Sawano (Kalafina) heavenly blue ~TV size~ Aldnoah Zero 0:01:31
Hiroyuki Sawano (mizuki) A/Z Aldnoah Zero 0:05:17
Hiroyuki Sawano (Kobayashi Mika) Keep on keeping on Aldnoah Zero 0:03:51
Hiroyuki Sawano (mizuki) aLIEz Aldnoah Zero 0:04:28
Hiroyuki Sawano (Kobayashi Mika) BRE@TH//LESS Aldnoah Zero 0:04:01
Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (TV Size) Aldnoah Zero 0:01:33
Hiroyuki Sawano (Amamiya Sora) Harmonious -Short Ver.- Aldnoah Zero 0:01:31
Hiroyuki Sawano (Aimer) Song of .. Aldnoah Zero 0:04:19
Hiroyuki Sawano (Kobayashi Mika) Grey to Blue Mare 0:04:13
Hiroyuki Sawano (mpi) The Reluctant Heroes Shingeki no Kyojin 0:04:25
Hiroyuki Sawano (Aimee Blackschleger) No differences Aldnoah Zero 0:04:37
Hiroyuki Sawano (Aimee Blackschleger) DOA Shingeki no Kyojin 0:03:26
Hiroyuki Sawano (Kobayashi Mika) Bauklotze Shingeki no Kyojin 0:03:56
Hiroyuki Sawano (mpi & CASG) Call your name Shingeki no Kyojin 0:04:28
Hiroyuki Sawano (gemie) X.U. (TV size) Owari no Seraph 0:01:32
Hiroyuki Sawano (Kobayashi Mika) ThreeFiveNineFourε 3594ε 0:04:04
Hiroyuki Sawano (Kobayashi Mika) Before my body is dry Kill la Kill 0:04:06
Hiroyuki Sawano (Cyua) Blumenkranz Kill la Kill 0:04:18
Hiroyuki Sawano (Kobayashi Mika) BIOS-D Guilty Crown 0:02:35
1:18:52

Accountability through Uncomfortable Transparency

I will be able to retire within 10 years from (May 27, 2017). It will happen; it’s on the calendar.
I said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until it happens. I’ve shared this goal privately with a few people, as well as made it a public announcement last month in order to get some Kickass Motivation through Public Accountability. As with many things “unordinary”, I’ve received a number of comments from doubters and seemingly haters. Some people were genuinely curious about how I would do it. One of the key steps I’ve taken is to understand where my money is being spent, and seeing if those things are adding appropriate levels of happiness. So in order to pile on even more Accountability through Uncomfortable Transparency, you can take a look at my baseline spending with my Ultra-Luxurious, Carefree Lifestyle. If you think I should be spending less than this, then I agree! I’ll be following up with how I am reducing my own spending to a Still-Awesome, Intentional Lifestyle, where I’ll still be plenty happy and healthy while progressing towards the goal of Early Retirement within 10 years. So I hope you stay tuned (all doubters, haters, curious, and believers), keep me honest and motivated, and enjoy the journey!

My Ultra-Luxurious, Carefree Lifestyle
(baseline simplified average expenses from 2011 to 2016)
This excludes my student loan payments, which I paid off in 2016!
Category Spending Item Monthly Total
Home
Rent $1,640
$1,757
Gas, Water, Trash $65
Electricity $35
Renters Insurance $17
Car
Car Insurance $85
$181
Car AAA $8
Car Maintenance $25
Car Smog $3
Car Fuel $60
Phone /
Internet
Phone $85
$170
Internet $85
Consummables /
Haircut
Consummables $20
$38
Haircut $18
Food /
Drink
Coffee $14
$514
Food $500
Membership /
Fees
WordPress Blog $3
$5
Perfume Fanclub $2
Shopping
Amazon Prime $9
$94
Games $60
Electronics $25
Obligatory Giving
Birthday Presents $54
$118
Christmas Presents $64
Events /
Travelling
Anime Expo $100
$200
Trips $100
Combined Average Monthly Total $3,077
Combined Average Yearly Total $36,924
How Much I Would Need to Save and Invest
to Maintain This Lifestyle in Retirement
$923,100
(assuming 25 times yearly spend, or 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate)

 

My Still-Awesome, Intentional Lifestyle
(starting in 2017 and continuing to adapt to and improve upon)
I hope you follow along, keep me accountable, and enjoy the journey!
Category Spending Item Monthly Total
Home
Rent $1,640
$1,709
Gas, Water, Trash $35
Electricity $25
Renters Insurance $9
Car
Car Insurance $30
$83
Car AAA $0
Car Maintenance $15
Car Smog $3
Car Fuel $35
Phone /
Internet
Phone $25
$110
Internet $85
Consummables /
Haircut
Consummables $10
$10
Haircut $0
Food /
Drink
Coffee $7
$157
Food $150
Membership /
Fees
WordPress Blog $3
$5
Perfume Fanclub $2
Shopping
Amazon Prime $0
$0
Games $0
Electronics $0
Obligatory Giving
Birthday Presents $0
$0
Christmas Presents $0
Events /
Travelling
Anime Expo $0
$0
Trips $0
Combined Average Monthly Total $2,074
Combined Average Yearly Total $24,888
How Much I Would Need to Save and Invest
to Maintain This Lifestyle in Retirement
$622,200
(assuming 25 times yearly spend, or 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate)

Kickass Motivation through Public Accountability

~ I will be able to retire within 10 years from today. ~

This is a challenge to myself, as well as encouragement to anyone else who wants to join me in this journey to financial freedom. This position of strength will grant us the time to do whatever we want to do (even continuing optional work) without having to worry about money. I write this here in this public forum, not to brag, but to hold myself accountable to you and to the me 10 years in the future who will be very disappointed if they are not yet financially independent.

If I had started thinking about this earlier, I could be much closer to this goal. But part of this process involves making peace with my past, and I invite anyone else of any age interested in joining me to look forward with optimism. Today is the first day we can change the rest of our lives.

Don’t worry, there will be no need for major windfalls like winning the lottery or gambling with individual stock-picking or timing the market. Financial freedom does not require working until an “official retirement age” or “hitting a homerun” to amass a stash. Unlike current popular belief, early retirement is really simple.

We will succeed by following 3 simple steps: (1) avoid debt, (2) spend less than we earn, and (3) invest the surplus. The more we save and invest, the shorter the timeline. As a safety margin, I am giving myself up to 10 years, but If you could maintain a 75% savings rate, the you{+7} could already be retired. How exciting would that be!

I turn 29 years old today, May 27, 2017. Before I turn 39 years old, I will be able to retire. This is simply a fact for I{<39}; I{>29} will make it so. And so it must become.

So this post is a birthday can of kickass motivation through public accountability; this is the best gift I could think of to give myself. If I fail in this goal, I will be the first to mock and criticize myself (and I’m asking that you throw stones too), so I better not disappoint!

What Comes After And

 

Otsuka Ai – End and And

On this lonely roadway, I’m shut off from everything.

But it’s okay that I’m lonely on this roadway,

If I can reach you.

To God, a little bit of “Thank you”, and

Without hesitation, I must move forward to the end, and And.

I cannot ignore when you last said “Bye bye”, and

I won’t forget that was our beginning, end, and And.

Sorry, my love slowly grows.

My heartbeat rings out, trying to connect us.

If only it could grow faster, crying out to you.

But was it too late? Please open your eyes.

To mama and papa, “Thank you”, and

My tears will dry in the end, and And.

I will run away and say “Bye bye”, and

I don’t want this to end, and And.

On that lonely roadway, trying to reach you.

I will never forget;

That was our beginning, End and And.

A Lone Story: Give & Take

Part 1: Being Alone

I was alone once. I will never be alone.
But you picked me up. I picked you up, but it didn’t have to be you.
You gave me things I could not obtain on my own. I simply gave you things now that you would pay for later.
Without even wanting anything in return. I never wanted any immediate return, nor did I need it.
I couldn’t even give you anything you needed. For I would take from you much more than what I gave you, in time.
Yet you stood by me, watching over me. So I stood by, monitoring you.
While I met new life-long friends, tasted new delights, experienced new adventures. Friends that you wouldn’t meet again, $5 food that you paid $25 for, dragged to places you never wanted.
You enabled me. I allowed you to get all that, knowing it would be wasteful and eventually forgotten.
You let me be free. I let you get trapped.

Part 2: Never Alone

You always had such a kindness about you. People tend to think I am kind, but I don’t really care about them.
Why were you always there for me? I don’t have to always be near others to get what I want from them.
No matter if I ignored you. I don’t mind if I am ignored.
You never seemed bothered when I did that. In fact, I want you to ignore me.
When none of my friends were available to help. I can spread my attention to others, those same others you call your friends.
And I needed help with planning for the future. I had them all, so much so that they couldn’t help you; only I could help you.
You always assured me that I would succeed. I assured you when you faced fears of failure, no matter how false that comfort was.
There was always someone to return to. You didn’t have to worry, I would always be there for you.
There was always you. But you thought I only had you.

Part 3: No Longer Alone

I remember when I first talked to you, my family and friends introduced me to you A lot of people want to meet me, so I’m used to talking with strangers everyday.
I was nervous just walking up to you, but your smile calmed me down. I was just waiting, for anyone really, but it was you who came to me first that day.
You asked me for my name, where I was born, what I was studying, what I wanted to become. I started by asking you about yourself, a common technique that calms people down.
You even asked other odd questions about how I would identify myself. I wanted you to keep talking, giving me some of your most personal information.
I found that curious side of you interesting and endearing. I always have to get some facts first before considering getting closer to someone.
I could feel a bond deepening between us from those exchanges. I have to ensure that they were truthful, I need people committed to me.
You gazed at me for just a moment more. That’s not always evident from what people tell me, so I always look up a few more things about them.
And then you decided you would be mine. And then I decided you were good enough.
And then I decided I would be yours. And then you decided you would give your future to me.

Part 4: Better Off Alone

We hardly even talked after we first met. I didn’t need to talk to you that much.
Every month you would send me a text message or email. I only had to check in on you monthly.
On our yearly anniversary you would send me a letter in the mail. I reminded you of our yearly anniversary with a letter in the mail.
You were always consistent. It’s the pattern that breaks them.
I could tell you never forgot about me. I never let the people who commit themselves to me get away.
But I was slowly forgetting, not about you, but about what I saw in you. I don’t mind if they discover my ugly side, it’s not like I was hiding it in the first place.
What was it that I saw in you that made me devote myself to you? It’s just that they fool themselves at first because they are tempted by me.
I couldn’t take it back, I could only continue down the path you laid before me. Even if they have regrets, it’s already too late.
I was starting to fear that I could never get away from you. We would be together until I got what I was owed, I always make sure of it.

Part 5: A Loan at the End

I learned what you wanted from me. They eventually figure out what I am.
I learned how you would take it. They find out about my methods.
I learned when you would take it. They find out how long they are trapped for.
It was at that point I felt betrayed, cut beyond the flesh. They always blame themselves thinking that it was their own fault.
I even thought you were enjoying every bit of my suffering. It’s at this point that they give in to despair.
I could have given up, but that would be just what you would gain most from. It’s when they give up that I gain the most from them.
Treating you like something more than you were would just be foolish. If they don’t change their minds about what I mean to them, then they can never forget about me.
You were worse than that; you just didn’t care at all. But I don’t care.
That’s when I decided I would rather be alone. What did you expect? I’m just a loan.

 

My Type – A Loan at the End: Paid in Full

Thanks, now GO AWAY!

a loan at the end