The Tape Collector



“You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies – all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.”

-Steve Martin

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Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap- The Tape Collector. This week 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

I have a little bit of a problem, I ______________ and it all started ______ when _______________ happened.

It was submitted by:

vhs2The Tape Collector

I have a confession, an admission… a little secret I try to keep somewhat neatly tucked away from the prying eyes of just any random person. Only those that I truly trust are let into my confidence…

I have a little bit of a problem, I’m The Tape Collector and it all started a few years ago when reality happened.

You see, we turned off the cable, ditched the Netflix membership and handed the kids a library card, about two years ago. We were sick of paying for something we were constantly yelling at the kids to turn off. Platinum packages with more channels than should be allowed, in a home where there were more televisions than people yet still the family would argue over what to watch. We wanted to cut corners so our small businesses could withstand the economy slump and teach our children to look to words for entertainment so off with the cable. Once the shock wore off, we found that indeed we could live rather happily without television.

I own the kids who have all hit their reading goals for the entire school year… last month. Unplugging was awesome for us BUT as with all great plans, there was a few drawbacks.

The Handsome Prince and I both missed turning on a movie before bed and falling asleep together watching it. The kids liked to watch an occasional movie and we had several VHS players from when we were actively buying storage units.

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We went out to the garage and pulled out the boxes of tapes we had collected from our youth, bins full of tapes without jackets picked up at garage sales, snagged from units we’d purchased, dusted them off and hauled those relics into the house.

VHS: Video Home System aka old school movies that are on those bulky rectangular tapes that sometimes get eaten by the VCR: Video Cassette Recorder. When the recorder would not play the tape, the best remedy is to take the tape out and blow into the hole as hard as you can. Yup. Works now.

We had a grand time going through the movies.

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I’d haggle with my neighbors to pick up their whole VHS collections for one very low price at garage sales. They didn’t see the value it them but we had a blast. Often I was given the tapes because people couldn’t be bothered with an old VCR any more. Weee! I like Free!

video 019 video 018(The whole set of Civil War videos… .25 cents!?)

I found that our local library has a fabulous dirt cheap little bookshop inside that takes in donations and the proceeds go back to the library.

Guess what…

Their movies are .25 cents each and twice a week they are two for .25 cents!

The tape collector couldn’t help but pick up a few here and there.

Long overdue date night?

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I can’t begin to tell you how many nights we’ve spent curled up by the fire.

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60 min of instant crackling fire (and laughter so hard it produced snorting and gasping too).

VHS 1One by one our shelves lined with excellent ’80’s flicks.

The tape collector is always looking for the next awesome movie to share with the family.

VHS 6Movies that just make us laugh.

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VHS 28Movies that evoke emotions and make me shed big fat salty tears.

VHS 2VHS gems of when some of our favorite stars were young.

VHS 8I’ve even built up an extensive collection of vintage films shot in our local hills and old school movie ranches that created modern motion pictures, literally a stones throw from our front door. They seem to just find me and have become quite the priceless set.

VHS 4If it has a sequel or more, you can bet if I’ve located one, I’ll soon have the set.

I never purchase them online or set out to find that very tape but for some very strange reason they crop up and present a ridiculously cheap chance to reunite it with it’s friend.

VHS 5Classics came home from the second hand store.

The advantage has been that when our kids finish the book, often we have the movie. They are the ones that bring in all the movies to go along with the books the teacher just finished reading to them, in to class. Thus causing another afternoon movie day that everyone loves.

VHS 9National Lampoon’s because Chevy Chase is just freaking rad.

VHS 7Seems we have a thing for Goldie. At last count we owned 14 of her videos on VHS.

VHS 15Awesome stuff that makes each night that we actually stay up to finish the WHOLE movie together, like date night. 😉

Can you think of any other way to spend .25 cents or less for an hour and a half of entertainment, some one liners that become inside jokes, the ability to watch them over again when mood strikes?

My videotape hoarding had provided us all with a great time AND a lot more snuggle time with The Handsome Prince.

VHS 13Then there are the stinkers, the awful ones, the total duds.

VHS 19The pictures that should have never seen the light of day but there they are sitting on my shelf, rather proudly on display.

I can’t defend owning Baywatch but Howard the Duck was freakin’ cool way back when I had pegged pants double slouch socks, a side crimped pony tail and a puffy paint shirt tied at the side with a neon clip thingy.

I think I made my point.

I know nothing of cool.

VHS 18Feeling a little song coming on? I’ve got your musical right here. From the crazy collection of Shirley Temple to nearly every popular musical from the beginning of VHS movies until the time they quit making them.

Its a sickness, but it is a cheaply awesome one.

*The Handsome Prince does not approve of most musicals but ironically lists, The Happiest Millionaire as one of his favorite old movies. I didn’t burst his bubble that when they break out into song repeatedly during the movie, most people consider it to be a musical. 😉

VHS 3Need a lift? No need to feel blue. We’ve got over 70 Disney titles for you!

Not kidding in the slightest.

People like to give me their whole collection of Disney so I’ve been able to get pieces I’ve been missing and pass along the free to the next friend.

VHS 16Random movies because each one of us like different types.

Films have a way of increasing our understanding, opening hearts or even shutting minds.

VHS 17Don’t get the impression that I’m out just wasting all this cash.

In reality, we spend $5 or less each month on this funny little hobby. The goal truly started out as a money saving game. A budget stretcher, a fun way to purchase something entertaining while splurging as little coin on the home entertainment as we could. VHS are so sturdy and old, I’ll give you that but there are a great many flicks that you can watch for nearly free, bank those extra dollars saved for a larger more important purchase another day.

VHS 25Groups of kids gather at our place to flop on the sofa, eat cookies and watch Princess Bride, The original Superman, The Santa Clause 1, 2 & 3. Marathons of Jaws, Friday the 13th series and all three of the Free Willy flicks. Sharing the Freaky Friday movie I watched when I grew up.They were sort of mad when they realized Lohan’s character was originally on water skis… just several decades before. What a pip!

VHS 12I prefer to think of this little “collection problem” isn’t so much an issue as it is a righteously fantastic group of amazing entertainment, conveniently stashed in the cabinets of several rooms in our home.

The collection is a wicked homage to my entertainment budget on the cheap and the ability to continually feel like I get to date the handsome guy I married. Little stolen moments together watching old movies and sharing memories they bring up.

So what if we stopped counting at 1,000 cassettes for the same reason why we don’t own a scale. The actual numbers are not what is important but the next movie you watch might be. 😉

VHS 26I’m not one of those people that need the biggest, newest and best. I appreciate the disconnection and don’t miss the pervasive droning on from the this show, that news cast and that program on the darn bad new box… it has 300+ channels and just gets in my way.

Movies are straight up a great way to go.

When you pop a tape into the player, you know just what you are going to get.

There isn’t an commercials to distract, change the mood or sell you more crap. You know the genre you are getting yourself into. Going to the video case for a laugh or a good cry.

Plus, we’ve saved over $4,800 since we made the switch…

The Tape Collector coming in at a grand ol’ total of less than $120 spent on this climatically strange display.

VHS 11Now that I think it through and see the cold hard facts.

There is nothing wrong to saving money and having a top shelf disco time while you do.

I really could care less about the actual stuff, just really fun to go on a cheap-o treasure hunt.

Perhaps this secret isn’t really a dirty secret or a tremendously juicy tid bit but, my friends, before you judge my silly little hobby.

Perhaps I’m just crazy like a fox and haven’t got the problem.

Recycling, keeping stuff out of the landfill and sticking to my budget.

Maybe, just maybe the weirdo here is really…

You! 😉

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

DO NOT MISS the links to all the other Secret Subject Swap writers!!  They are a marvelously talented group of brave, awesome bloggers that blow me away regularly…                            Baking In A Tornado                      Home on Deranged               Evil Joy Speaks                         Writer B is Me            Discovering Me                      Confessions of a part-time working mom                              Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                         Moms Don’t Say That                          Spinster Snacks            Black Sheep Mom                  Spatulas on Parade




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  1. I always pictured you as a book collector but this is a whole new side of you. Of course there are tons of tapes out there, cheap to purchase and well worth seeing.

    I have a whole pile of Barney and Blues Clues ones I can send you if you ever make it through the thousands you already own!

      • Meg on December 13, 2013 at 8:28 am

      Oh believe me, the book collection makes the video hoarding seem like nothing.
      I have book cases in EVERY room and a walk in closet that is half library.
      I purged the Barney, Teletubbies and Blue’s Clues. After solid years of listening to those puppies I couldn’t handle another moment of ownership. 😀

  2. You know what? My husband was only able to finally get me to part with all our VHS tapes (mostly mine) when we moved. It seemed ridiculous to lug hundreds of movies over hundreds of miles. But I miss them. I do. They were such a huge part of my life, my childhood, my college and single years. And some of the movies I won’t ever bother to get on DVD, but stilll!!!!!

  3. PSYCHO!! And I mean the movie, not you by any stretch! You’re brilliant! I saw the movie Psycho in your stockpile…yay! And Point Break is my hub’s fave movie. I always catch him watching that when it comes on cable. lol You have SO MANY great ones! This is an amazing idea…and the best part is they are SO cheap..omg! When there are people who have just as many CD’s as you do, and they spend close to $20 each on them, I don’t think this is bad at all!

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