I would like to be a good American, really I would. But at the moment, I can only break even — I'm paid just enough to cover the bills, feed myself and pay down debt. After that, I might be able to afford a CD. But if I want something with a price tag exceeding $50, I have to get creative with the fund allocation.

I've been trying to save money for a trip to Japan I'm taking in November, and for the most part, I've been successful. My savings account has a decent balance — certainly not anemic like my checking account balance — and it's incredibly hard not to touch it. Truth be told, I haven't.

Back in March, I bought some external hard drives. I paid with a credit card, then used the savings to pay what put on the credit card. Then I paid back the savings in installment. In short, I've set the precedent to use savings as a lender. I bought a new printer on my birthday, and I have to pay savings back again for that purchase.

I can't keep doing that, and yet, I'm already creating a list in my head of things I would like to get. In some cases, I really do need to upgrade a few items. But most of it is just plain old coveting.

If I didn't have such a narrow spending margin, I would be that good American and spend my way out of these economic doldrums. Instead, I'm being fashionable and scrimping. How proletariat of me.

Still, at some point I want to get …

  • A flat-screen computer monitor. This CRT model from 1998 takes up too much real estate on my desk, which is already crowded with a bunch of audio equipment.
  • A desk suitable for recording. I need a second tier on which to place either the monitor speakers or the computer monitor. These kinds of desks also have slots made to house audio hardware modules, such as my compressor/limiter. It would also be nice not to have my external sound card and MIDI interface perch periously on the desk.
  • A living room chair. The nicest chair in my apartment is the office chair in my studio. I would like something for the living room so that I can read. If I read on the futon, I eventually end up napping.
  • A new TV. I don't care what … just something that isn't hard to pack during a move.
  • Pants to match the suit jackets I bought from Goodwill. Also, the dress pants I have right now are for size 38 waist, and I'm down to size 36. (More likely size 34, but I haven't shopped for any new pants to confirm.)
  • Adobe Flex Builder. I've been experimenting with Flex for the past week as a career preservation tactic. I've hit a wall with LAMP stack web development the same way I did with front-end content production back in 1998. I should probably work more with JAVA to demonstrate some enterprise-level skill, but I think Flex and Flash development might be more applicable to what I do with Eponymous 4.
  • More string quartet scores. I need to do some homework before I can tackle another string quartet.
  • Celemony Melodyne plug-in. I've managed to do some convincing work with the V-Vocal plug-in in Cakewalk SONAR, but that interface can get tedious. It's been mostly stable for the last few work sessions, but when SONAR crashes, it's usually because I'm working with V-Vocal.
  • iZotope Ozone mastering plug-in suite. I like the Mastering Bundle that came with Sony Sound Forge, that I wouldn't mind being able to use it within SONAR.
  • Various software upgrades. I could justify these as business expenses, because these programs figure signficiantly in my work flow. To wit: Ableton Live 8, Adobe Photoshop CS4, Propellerhead Reason 4, Microsoft Office 2007. I'm still using Office 2000.

I will be very impressed if I manage to acquire the items on this list without going fiscally belly up.