Moving, Manuals, and Buttons

Stuff Considered

This morning I helped some friends move, so it was fitting to have possessions on my mind. I’m struck but the immeasurable value that some items have. An item has a cold dollar sign affixed to it–exactly what it is worth on the market or what it would cost to replace–but sentimental value is hard to nail down. This line of thinking was prompted by something my brother wrote recently about music. He talked about the aspect of music that is measurable and definite (think musical notation and the math of music) and those that are not (the emotional impact of music). Possessions are similar.

Right now I believe the object that I value the highest because of sentimental value is my old Aria AW-110 acoustic guitar; my first guitar. I got that guitar on January 6, 1994. At that point I could not play it. I remember struggling to form chords, wrestling with striking the correct strings, and practicing for hours on end. Playing the guitar did not come naturally for me. At all. Eventually the hours of practice came to fruition, that’s when I went from wishing I could play the guitar to loving the guitar. So my Aria isn’t just an entry level guitar to me. Instead it symbolizes overcoming an obstacle. If my apartment caught fire and I had to choose which of my guitars to grab I’d save the Aria (hopefully my other guitars do not read this post). Financially it is the least valuable guitar I own, but it’s worth more to me than all the others. Even though the frets are worn down, the bridge is cracking, the finish is damaged, and it’s rather difficult to play, I still cherish it.

Tossing Manuals

Last week I had a revelation. Just about all of the owner’s manuals I have in hard copy are available as PDF files on the internet. So I packed up all the hard copy manuals I own and threw them out today.

Changing Buttons

A few years ago I bought a coat from someone. They offered to throw in a tan wool blazer for $2. How could I say no? I bought the blazer. It’s a Rue Royale blazer by Nino Cerruti, which contains a delightful label by the pocket that reads “MAN IN WOOL,” with smaller text that says “100% pure wool.” I put the blazer into storage and soon forgot about it.

It crossed my mind recently, so I took a look at it. I decided to use it as a light jacket this fall. The buttons looked a bit tacky to me, they were a cheap plastic gold and had a disturbing tendency to rattle. Today I replaced those buttons.

The blazer before (left) and after (right).

As I selected buttons I faced a dilemma. The stores I checked at only had matching buttons for the front and sleeves of the jacket in cheap gold or silver. The brown leather-like buttons I wanted only came in the larger size. So I bought two of those and used tortoise shell buttons on the sleeves. Are unmatched buttons on the front and sleeves of a jacket a fashion faux pas? Someone told me that a blazer always has gold, silver, or brass buttons so I guess my jacket no longer qualifies as a blazer by that metric.

Looking at the picture above you might think the gold buttons look fine, but I assure you they just photograph well, in real life they looked bad (plus they rattled).

Don't be fooled by the picture, these looked bad in real life.

The new buttons.

Ideally I should get the jacket tailored because I’m built like Lowly Worm. Since I’m only planning to use the coat as a casual jacket my plan is to let be a bit loose. Someday I will discover a good tailor and rack up a large bill  getting all my shirts and coats taken in.


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