Alanf’s blog…
Scattered thoughts

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Irrational addiction…

Author: site admin
Category: Motorcycles

There are people all around me that spend their entire lives fighting horrible addictions, some more successfully than others. I know people who are addicted to drugs, others who are addicted to alcohol, many who are addicted to cigarettes, others addicted to sweets. It could even be argued that many of my friends, myself included, are addicted to motorcycles. I’ve known people brave enough to fend off one addiction and then fall hopelessly into another. I even know people right now that are so addicted to healthy things, like exercise and dieting, that it becomes unhealthy. Addiction is truly a complex and dangerous thing.

Well, no matter how much I’m obsessed by motorcycles, my true addition is to motorcycle racing. My wife recently saw a trailer for the movie Fever Pitch, a movie in which a woman’s fiancee is addicted to the Boston Red Sox baseball team, and immediately said “Hey, that’s like you and motorcycle racing”. Uh oh, the first sign you have a problem is when other people are pointing it out…Should I be on the lookout for an intervention soon?

Stack 'o tapes

Well, the strongest sign that I’m addicted to motorcycle racing is to look at the massive pile of video tapes I have stacked up in my living room. This pile of approximately 120 eight hour VCR tapes contains every motorcycle race shown on SpeedTV (and many shown on OLN and ESPN2) over the past five years. The fact that I have that many video tapes is staggering to most people. Then I drop the real bomb on them…these only represent the unlabeled tapes (Getting married gave me enough of a life that I couldn’t keep up with both recording, watching and labelling the tapes each week). There is a Rubbermaid storage box in the basement with around another 100 tapes which are already labelled.

“Really”, my friends ask, “do you ever intend to go back and watch any of these tapes?”. Well, I can only answer with a definite…uhhh…maybe. While I realistically know that the chances of me actually digging out a tape from 1997 to rewatch a Grand Prix race and see Doohan give the smackdown to Criville and Okada is slim its just the fact that I *could* that makes me hang onto them. And how can I possible destroy a tape that may have some spectacular race on it like the famous Eric Bostrom, Jamie Hacking and Kurtis Roberts incident from Willow Springs in 2000 or the brilliant Colin Edwards/Troy Bayliss WSBK Imola race in 2002?

I have decided to take one bold step. No, I’m not getting rid of the tapes but I am starting to go through the five year backlog and label them. I work in the television industry, so I have a TV at my desk. Last week I bought a cheapo VCR and hooked it up. Now I bring one unlabeled tape in to work each day, throw it in the tape player and write down the contents as they play during the day. Then I label the tape, bring it home and put it in the storage box. Slowly but surely I’ll reduce the size of the stack in the living room so its no longer an eye sore.

In the big picture, I try to explain it to my wife this way…there are people out there whose spouses are addicted to crack. Me? My addiction costs around $1.50 per tape and the worst thing it can do to our marriage is take up storage space in the basement. Beyond that, its just an irrational thing like chewing finger nails or eating bon-bons until you throw up. Besides, I can quit any time I want…

[image from my photo collection.]

2 Comments so far


Mike H.
May 5th, 2005 at 1:41 pm

For sure, there are many of us motorcycle racing lovers, that are in the same predicament that you are with a roomfull or two, full of tapes. My resolution, for whatever it’s worth: I’m in the process of buying a DVD Recorder machine. With this machine I’ll be able to edit all those hundreds of tapes, ordered and categorized them properly and end up with my priceless recorded races in a format medium that is much more reliable and with quite a longer longevity,, and to top it all it will actually take 20 percent of the space that the tapes are taking right now. And with the machine I’ll keep on recording future races in DVD format. After taking this step I’ll never buy another VCR/tapes again. Nice, neat, simple solution. Keep enjoying, “Vive le motocyclism”. Keep the rubber side down.

Mike H.


May 5th, 2005 at 2:59 pm

Hey Mike -

Thanks for your show of solidarity. Glad to know I’m not the only one with this particular affliction.

I looked at doing a conversion to DVD but found it was actually less efficient. A single VHS tape will hold about 8 hours of video. With a DVD only holding about two hours of video (the upcoming dual density DVDs will change this if/when they become available) it will actually take four DVDs to hold the data of one VHS tape. The indexing, however, would be a very cool feature. Having a permanent archive would be another great advantage to the DVD.

If I ever a huge storage array, I may work on just converting all my video to MPEG files and just store them on disk Otherwise, I’ll just stick with tapes and hope that careful storage will keep them from breaking down to the point where I can’t watch them anymore.

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