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minimalism in a nerdy world

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900 Things: End of the Line

From November 2012 to November 2013, I embarked on my first attempt at minimalism (not even knowing there was a word for it).

I created some good habits, but didn’t ask enough questions about what would fill the space I was creating.

The project was called “900 Things.” 

-Keith Callbeck (@geekminimalist)

On the last day of the project I wrote a final wrap up, warts and all.


I stumbled a couple of times during the project, it made it a bit of a tough road near the end. Having given into temptation once, I found it difficult to avoid abandoning the whole thing in the last weeks.

In September I gave in and picked up a couple of things at a horror convention. A similar thing happened in October at a big comic sale. I picked up a few heavily discounted trades (all on my want list) and a pile of 25 cent New Universe comics. This was definitely the worst I fell off the wagon in the year.

Why? I knew going to the sale at all was basically accepting that I was going to break my rules. I went alone so there was no social aspect. I made a choice and went.

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life is bits of time

More than what solution fits the crime

What I’ve learned is that life is bits of time

-The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Rupert Holmes)


I worked for a professional theatre in administration for nine years. I started in the ticket office and ticket stock came in a batch of 1000 wrapped with three one-foot pieces of string.

Starting late in my first year we began keeping the string and rolling it onto a ball. The center of the ball was tied by the lovely Nancy who used to be our admin assistant. When I got promoted I had my staff continue to dump the string in my office.

When I had video to watch, a script to read, or just an empty time around holidays, I would add the loose string. It was a nice quiet task to keep my hands busy while my mind was on other things.

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Pride of Place

It was the year everything changed.

-Babylon 5 opening narration


Many years ago I lived in a house with a roommate. My roommate had a friend over who happened to pass my room when I wasn’t home. “I didn’t know you had a kid,” he said. He had mistaken my action figure collection for the room of a child. Rattled my cage, to be certain. I started rethinking the quality of my collection.

Out went super-hero action figures, in came statues. Certainly higher quality and not mistaken for toys, they still lack something for me. I think it is that they breed more statues.

One statue is a statement on something you love, given pride of place.

Eight statues is a pile of stuff.

I have continued to minimize a lot of statues and figures. Clearing the way so the ones that bring me the most joy can shine.

One statue not leaving is the bust of G’Kar from Babylon 5. I love this item.

There are two connections for me here. Babylon 5 is my favorite show ever (as you can see from my mega-viewing-fest).

The other is that it cost $50. But not just any $50.

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Minimizing your autobiography of stuff

The battle’s done and we kind of won
So we sound our victory cheer
Where do we go from here?

-Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Once More With Feeling

The hardest part of any purge is taking stock of who you are at this moment as opposed to who you were or who you thought you’d be.

I tried indie film and there’s a little pile of that stuff here. I went to university for comparative religion and there’s a few remnants of that time. And when I stopped working in theatre, I had to deal with a box of plays and reference material.

I have been thinking a lot about who I want to be for the next part of my life. This excising of my past is about deciding what moves forward and what is left behind.

Baby pictures.

The pieces seem part of who I am, fragments of where I’ve been.

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Never be complete

I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let… lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may.

-Fight Club

In 2013’s 900 Things project, I reduced to a few carefully chosen collections including Hunter Thompson, Jack Kerouac, Bob Woodward and Spalding Gray.

I still had a Thompson book in my to-read pile and it was with mixed emotions that I got about 50 pages in and thought “I don’t think I want to read this.”

But what do I do with it? Should it go into the collection in case I change my mind? That seems unlikely. I’m moving away from such things, not toward.

I reflected on why these collections bring me joy. They are, to me, my favorite writers. But not every work by even my favorites is in and of itself a favourite. I don’t care for Kerouac’s poetry, for example. I had several of his poetry books in the collection for years thinking that I would someday change that view. They all went, partly read, to the used bookstore.

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