July 24, 2008

Stuff Our Dreams Are Made Of

I don't really like to think of myself as a thing person. You know, one of those people ritualistically obsessed with all things materialistic, new and shiny. I'd like to be one of those people who can shove a book in a bag and be happy on a desert island somewhere. And man does that sound nice right now. But I'm afraid I'm not. I need my stuff.

What surprises me is how early that stuff-needing starts. When we got back from vacation a couple weeks ago, Mia walked into the house and found all her coolest stuff. After an hour, dolls, books and toys were everywhere. And we don't generally encourage a love of things. She has less crap than a lot of kids her age and she's generally happy to make up games, read books and play with milk cartons (though that last one makes me feel like a failure as a parent.) When I was growing up, my parents were the same way. One day when I was four or five, I walked into the living room with a coffee can on a string. I thought it was cool but my dad instantly swooped me up and took me to the toy store. I guess the lesson there is that kids don't care as much as parents. Regardless, most of us become people who are interested in stuff and accumulate it at an alarming rate. Which, considering how cool stuff is getting, isn't really all that wrong of us.

Within easy reach, standing in my kitchen getting ready to post this - the laptop I'm using, my work laptop, Beth's laptop, a nice TV, a DVD burner/VCR combo, an iPod Touch, an iPod boombox, and my BlackJack II smart phone. That doesn't include the 3,500 CDs in the basement, the ton of DVDs, the thousands of books in shelves stationed throughout the house. Not to mention Mia's stuff, the desktop computer downstairs, the external hard drives, printers, scanners. Nor does it include the even bigger external hard drive I want to buy. Or the 3G iPhone I was convinced I wouldn't want but now find myself craving despite the fact that aforementioned smart phone is actually pretty cool. So, yeah, I'm definitely not that guy who can shove a book in a bag and be happy on a deserted island.

What stuff can't you live without? And what stuff do you most want?

Posted by Chris at July 24, 2008 6:36 AM

Hands down my Tivo. I think it's the best invention ever. So I guess that would mean I would need a TV to connect to it. lol

Posted by: Dee at July 24, 2008 6:50 AM

I cannot do without a number of things. HDTV, XBox 360, laptop, ipod shuffle (I know its not a real ipod, but it was free) and my internet connection. As a matter of fact, I discovered a way to play my 360 with a split screen so I can watch the Tigers game at the same time. Sad, I know, but you have to give me an A for effort.

Posted by: harrylips at July 24, 2008 7:17 AM

The joke in our family is the BAGS of stuff I bring with me when we go away anywhere. At least 2 books, Ipod, knitting, portable dvd player, magazines I haven't yet read, Nintendo DS just in case...and that might be for just an overnight trip!
Ironically there is nothing I can think of that I can't live without! Just my books I guess!
I WANT an Iphone to replace my junky blackberry but my current plan doesn't end until 4/09 so I guess I can wait til then and by then I probably won't want it anymore.

Posted by: NancyJak at July 24, 2008 7:18 AM

Uh. I think I would die if I didn't have my iPod, my lap top... and I blow pretty much all my money on clothes and purses...

Oh! I would be extreeeeemely sad to live without our large flat-screen high-def TV/DVR.

Yeeah. I'm materialistic with the best of 'em. If you ever do find out how to live on a desert island with a book, let me know.

Posted by: cassandra at July 24, 2008 7:27 AM

I thought about this, and at first, I could list a number of things. But we're at a family reunion, and I realized that I haven't started my iPod, I've only just used my laptop for non-work (and it's insomnia-related use), and my cell phone has only been used to get us picked up from the airport. We have stuff, and we like it. We just don't necessarily need it... Kind of like your week at the beach.

That's kinda awesome!

Posted by: alektra at July 24, 2008 7:54 AM

I offered to buy you that damned phone for your birthday and you said no. Ergo, if you buy it for yourself I will never forgive you.

Posted by: Mrs. Cactus at July 24, 2008 8:08 AM

Can't live without my camera. My laptop. My INTERNET. My cell phone.

What do I want? New camera :-) New Laptop :-) New iPhone :-)

Posted by: Alissa at July 24, 2008 8:11 AM

Aww, I love it when my son likes the simple things over the awesomeness of toys. We used to say that we could have just had some boxes and tubes from the toilet paper and he would have been thrilled. He too has a ton of stuff but not near as much as some kids and he always gravitates to the "simple" things. It is a great reminder that kids imaginations are way better then the toys we think they need!

Need and cannot live without: our laptop computer, wireless internet and the digital camera.

Posted by: Christina at July 24, 2008 8:19 AM

My vintage Marantz amp and iPod do the job for me. :) I couldn't care less about phones, but I too have two external HDDs and I'm currently working my *butt* off to get Nikon D300...

Posted by: Alex at July 24, 2008 8:24 AM

I love my iphone a little too much. If it was a person I might leave my husband for it.

Posted by: jodifur at July 24, 2008 9:06 AM

There's not much I couldn't live without. As boring as this may sound, I have 1 (that's one) TV (in the den), a DVD player (that sucks), and a computer. That said, I really love the internet.

I do want a new phone because mine keeps randomly turning off but, alas, it is back to school season so I'll be using my mad money on princess bookbags and little Chucks.

Posted by: Mymilabean at July 24, 2008 9:16 AM

I claim to be the type who doesn't need much either but I know I do. I really love having a 55 inch TV; when I watch ER reruns, it makes George Clooney look all that much hotter. Also, I am quite in love with my Klipsch ipod speaker, that I use every night while feeding the baby to sleep.

I don't really want much but I think it'd be nice to have a laptop and a digital SLR camera. My canon is nice but it doesn't have the kind of lens power I desire.

Posted by: Claire at July 24, 2008 9:27 AM

Just my laptop, my TV and my coffee maker!

Posted by: Maribeth at July 24, 2008 9:30 AM

I would have to say I could not live without my laptop and internet access. If I have my laptop, I have music access, I can read any news necessary, I can watch just about any show on tv now that they are all put online or iTunes has them. I can correspond with just about everyone I know and I can entertain myself with blog reading and games! Not sayin' I don't love my cell phone and tv and iPod and all that other jazz.

Oh and I guess I need an unlimited supply of books to read.

I think the big question for our age group Chris is *could we ever go back to what we had access to when we were in, say, 8th grade?* I am admittedly an internet and computer junkie but I sorta long for those days when it was just simpler. Very rarely do I ever sit down and get engrossed in a good book and not check my email until the book is finished. Thats pretty sad...

Posted by: Joi at July 24, 2008 9:42 AM

I'm not likely to blow money on clothes and shoes.... I've also tried to curb my book buying addiction by utilizing the library more (and it's... meh... I like OWNING the books and knowing where they've been!). But if you took away my laptop (my personal, not my work one - because yeah, I sit there with two open laptops in front of me) I might whap you upside the head. Ditto for my iPod. And same goes for my iPhone (and yeah, I'm totally craving the 3G even though I've only had my iPhone 7 months. I thought I could wait and that it wasn't a big deal, but... I totally drink their koolaid. I just want it).

Posted by: sarah at July 24, 2008 9:43 AM

my WRX. they can take anything else, but i need the car. pissed, sad, happy, anything, i get in the car and drive somewhere and it's better. whenever i pull away from a stop i imagine the car is a roaring beast with all four wheels (MASSIVE CLAWS!) tearing at the ground. i have this insane need for speed that only internal combustion can satiate. and i like the noise it makes :D

Posted by: Jared at July 24, 2008 9:53 AM

My constant companions of late are my iPhone, Zune player, 3,000+ books, laptop and external drive, desktop PC, printer, scanner, internet connection, camera and lenses, blank CDs, TV, Direct TV, and Tivo.

On my wish list, a second camera and new lenses, a wireless remote for my camera, wireless file transmitter for my camera, new flash, a larger external drive, and full set of Le Crueset cookware.

I highly recommend the 8G iPhone.

Posted by: Maria at July 24, 2008 9:54 AM

I have been attached to computers most of my life. I blame my father. So I can't live without that or my iPod, which helps me block out the world, or the internet or DVDs or TV or even stupid cable, which is sucking my brain out my ears. I want an iPhone so badly and am glad I'm poor, so that I don't have to worry about resisting the temptation lol I want a Wii or an Xbox 360 or some sort of gaming unit. I'm supposed to buy my brother's old first generation Xbox but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at July 24, 2008 10:10 AM

I would love to say I could be happy with just my books....but I have to be honest and say "Please never leave me" to my DVR/TV and my laptop.

Posted by: diane at July 24, 2008 10:16 AM

Ok, Lady's all time favorite toy in the WORLD (aside from her bedtime entourage of course- blankie, Johnny the stuffed weimaraner, Stuart the stuffed jack russel), is the cardboard roll from the paper towels and/or the cardboard roll from the toilet paper. So, to the milk cartons and Mia, I say play on!

I could not live without books, if we're talking "things." I also could not deal without some sort of feed into breaking news. I'm a junkie.

Posted by: chatty cricket at July 24, 2008 10:31 AM

Cannot live without: guitar or piano, TiVo, internet connection and a computer, my Snoopy, bacon, chocolate, and probably Brandon too.

Everything else is relative. :)

Posted by: oakley at July 24, 2008 10:46 AM

Oh. And a well-seasoned cast iron skillet too.

Posted by: oakley at July 24, 2008 10:51 AM

I'm thinking the most important bit of "stuff" to me is my computer - an iMac, but the type doesn't matter as much as the internet connection.


Posted by: cassie-b at July 24, 2008 11:11 AM

Not to rub salt on a cut or anything but that 3G iPhone is pretty freaking sweet. My husband is getting one (hopefully any day now) and because I'm such an awesome wife I get his hand me down original iPhone. somehow that doesn't sound as cool as I think it is.

So stuff I can't live without...my books, my favorite drawing pencils and sketchbook, a good pair of flip flops, my iPod, I think that's about it.

What do I need...a new house (desperately), a Canon Rebel XTi EOS 400D with 50 mm lens, and a MacBook Pro. Then life will be complete, well, until the next thing.

Posted by: jen at July 24, 2008 11:22 AM

When I get all apocalyptic and want to really freak myself out, I imagine life without toothbrushes. Yes, toothbrushes. Every time Kate kisses someone on Lost, all I can think is, "But she hasn't brushed her teeth in MONTHS."

What do I WANT? I kind of covet plush bedding. I like fabrics.

Commence teasing in three...two...one...

Posted by: Mr Lady at July 24, 2008 12:45 PM

I gave up TV in January because I knew I'd not be around much while preparing for the thesis defense. I found that not having anything to watch is actually pretty nice, because there's these things called books. I still don't have cable and don't miss it, but I couldn't live without something to read.

While I dig the laptop(s) I have and would probably go into minor shock for a few days without them, I would definitely recover quickly and completely.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at July 24, 2008 1:40 PM

You're going to think I'm weird.

In our house, we don't go for stuff. In fact, people comment about how little stuff we have. Oh sure, the house is comfortable-it's just not that full of STUFF.

We have no DVDs, except 2 that were gifts. Maybe around 50 CDs, a 12 year old stereo, DVD player that is rarely used, and Hub's new TV. The cell phone is old and was bought only because the phone company was taking to long to set up a land line. Other then that, there are no game systems or Nintendo DS, etc.

My most favorite "toy" is the computer. Other then that...everything else is just stuff.

Posted by: Scatteredmom at July 24, 2008 1:50 PM

All of the above. I need it all!!! =)

Speaking of deserted Island....I just finished two books that I really think you'd like...they are travelogues about a really funny, sarcastic guy and his girl living in the South Pacific Islands. I don't know why, but when I read them you crossed my mind (probably because we like a lot of similar books). They are written by J. Maarten Troost - The Sex Lives of Cannibals and Getting Stoned with Savages.

Posted by: lesley at July 24, 2008 3:03 PM

Ashamedly, I don't think I'd like existence without a computer and the internet. Even slow internet (which makes me super bananas.) I like to talk on the phone, sure. I'm a girl like that. But the internet? Oh, it makes me happy.

Posted by: k8 at July 24, 2008 3:18 PM

Well in the moment, Twitter. Plus my laptop, TIVO, my Crackberry and iPod Nano and I'm a bit embarrassed to add....the wii.

Posted by: Issa at July 24, 2008 3:45 PM

I recently sold everything and moved to another city. I got rid of stuff I never thought I could live without. But I never once thought of leaving without my shoes.

Posted by: chantel at July 24, 2008 3:51 PM

How timely! My husband just sent this article to me. Very interesting how we are made to believe that we need more stuff and the perfectly good stuff we have is no good any more.


Posted by: Tara at July 24, 2008 4:06 PM

First and foremost, I couldn't live without my cell phone, my life line to the world. Then the laptop, my cameras of course, there's just too much to list.

Posted by: Jeff A at July 24, 2008 4:45 PM

In this order:
MacBook, Garmin Forerunner and both my Shuffle and my iPod.

What I really want is an iPhone...

I try to do with less. It's just a few things right?

Posted by: Nat at July 24, 2008 5:38 PM

I don't want to live without my MacBook Pro. I would be so sad. I also enjoy my iPod, but I'd probably keep one of the digital cameras over that, if forced to make a decision. Because my music is on my MacBook as well. Duh.

What do I want? iPhone! When do I want it? NOW! My anniversary present is still not in. :( How can I celebrate the year that has been without my anniversary present?

Posted by: jodi at July 24, 2008 6:12 PM

I always think that whenever I start thinking about things that I feel underprivileged about. Like the fact that my car is about to fall apart, or that I live in my parents' basement with my husband and deal with centipedes and flooding. But you start to think about all the things you DO have, and how spoiled we all really are these days. We have so much, and yet we're always wishing we had more. It's kind of sad...

Posted by: Jessa at July 24, 2008 6:34 PM

I've never thought that I would be one of "those" people... but I can't live without my Blackberry world edition (as if those that work only in the States are insufficient...), my laptop and an internet connection. The only defense I can offer is that I use all three for work. :)

Posted by: Liz at July 24, 2008 6:51 PM

My 'cozy pajamas', blanket, pillow,music, hairbrush, chapstick, mascara, foundation, socks, books, cats, phone, coffee and habitual mug, chocolate chip cookies, blueberries, assorted photographs.
(clothes goes without saying probably, but not everyone needs socks. I need to have socks at the ready at least ;-)

Posted by: Karen at July 24, 2008 6:57 PM

My 'cozy pajamas', blanket, pillow,music, hairbrush, chapstick, mascara, foundation, socks, books, cats, phone, coffee and habitual mug, chocolate chip cookies, blueberries, assorted photographs.
(clothes goes without saying probably, but not everyone needs socks. I need to have socks at the ready at least ;-)

What do I most want?
A beach house and a horse :-)

Posted by: Karen at July 24, 2008 6:58 PM

My boyfriend just got an iPhone and I want one desperately. While I have a Blackberry, which like you said about your smartphone is pretty cool in itself, I am still craving an iPhone. As for things I couldn't live without, probably just my phone, with email and internet capabilites of course, and ipod loaded with music and movies. That's all, simple as pie!

Posted by: Dianna at July 24, 2008 7:15 PM

I need my cell phone, especially when my boys are with their dads. I need my contacts. Can't see without them, and wearing glasses gives me a headache. I need my cds and JVC stereo. Living in Las Vegas, I need my car and I NEED my air conditioning. I need my sweet knife set. How did I cook without it? I need my grill. Although I love my tv and dvr - you could take it. I'd get over it pretty quickly.

Posted by: Mindy at July 24, 2008 7:44 PM

Speaking for myself and my husband: iphone x2, laptop, bigscreen TV, TiVo, Nikon D80, xbox 360, macbook pro, ipod x2.

Yup. I love all things with shiny new buttons. It is my weakness.

Posted by: Lori at July 24, 2008 7:52 PM

Speaking for myself and my husband: iphone x2, laptop, bigscreen TV, TiVo, Nikon D80, xbox 360, macbook pro, ipod x2.

Yup. I love all things with shiny new buttons. It is my weakness.

Posted by: Lori at July 24, 2008 7:52 PM

I do like our computer, tv, steroes. I like my new camara phone a lot. I'd miss my books and cds big time.

But what could I really not do without? easy. washing machine, dryer, vac, running hot water, central heating, fridge.

And yes, I have lived without all of those at one time or another, and boy do I appreciate them now!

Posted by: mamacrow at July 25, 2008 8:32 AM

Dear Santa,
I would like the perfect (for me) mp3 player. Thanks. Love, Heather

I sure appreciate my bike and my yogurt maker. My laptop is VERY important, my tv is fun but not that useful.

Posted by: Heather at July 25, 2008 8:50 AM

I find it interesting how much alike we all seem to be. I can't imagine my life without my cell phone, the laptop, Tivo or my Palm. I don't have a land line phone, so I need my phone. Everything is in my Palm and my cell phone.

What I missed a few days ago was my laptop. Stranded in the Philly airport for a 4 hour delay with nothing to do. I could have been listening to my Ipod, but all I wanted to do was surf the internet and I left that at home.

Posted by: Diane at July 26, 2008 12:37 PM