Monday, July 16, 2012

XVIII: Deja Vu, Illumination!

During the first weekend of July, I was busy attending Paizocon. We did a tiny bit of garage sailing on Sunday after the convention, but Sundays are never really very good for it. We picked up so little that I just decided to roll it all into the post for the next week. And as it turns out, this Saturday was really good. So lets get to it!

As always, I really enjoy finding DVDs at yard sales. Largely because I don't put the kind of value on movies which the movie industry does. When I own a DVD, it provides me with 1-2 hours of entertainment, maybe once every few years when I decide to re-watch it. Some people seem to think that is worth $20-35 per movie. But with that same amount of money, I could buy an indie video game, get 20-30 hours of enjoyment out of it right now, AND have the satisfaction of directly supporting a small game developer.

For me, most DVDs are worth $1-$3. That's the amount of pleasure I get out of them. And that's the amount I pay for them.

Here we have "Warlock," which is a fun little suspense/fantasy film from the 80s which I first encountered while doing research for another project. I haven't actually seen Face/Off or Chicago, but I've heard a lot of good things about both of them so I look forward to giving them a watch. I purchased Sideways entirely on the recommendation of the Nostalgia Critic. Vincent Price is always amazing (though I now own three copies of The Last Man on Earth) and Resident Evil: Extinction is a guilty pleasure which...I already own. Oops.

I was particularly happy to find a copy of the first season of Castle--still in the wrap! It's not uncommon to find seasons of TV shows, but most often they're in pretty terrible shape and not worth buying. I can't count the number of Friends DVDs I've seen over the years, always sold one or two at a time for some reason. (Why do these people own *just* season four of Friends?)

We picked up a few supplies for terrain building over the last two weekends. The saw should be handy for cutting the wood bases which are used for the pieces. The timer will be nice because having a second one will allow us to cook, and time drying plaster at the same time. And the vice can be used to hold two flat surfaces together while glue dries--very useful when attempting to make stepped hills.

As a bonus, we also found someone giving a bunch of these away for free:


Sand is really useful for this terrain stuff, but it's funny how difficult sand is to find once you need it. Without any beaches nearby, I was kind of lost for what to do, short of buying sand somewhere, which seemed a little silly to me. I realize there are times when you need to buy sand for landscaping purposes or something, but I wasn't going to shell out money for the tiny amount of sand we needed.

Speaking of, I've mentioned our terrain building a shit-ton on this site. So here's a little marker of our progress. Morrie's first completed piece:

I must confess, she's proving much more dedicated than I am.

Moving on...

Morrie is often cold living up here in the North West, so we've been on the lookout for extra blankets. Neither of us was too impressed with this threadbare comforter. Not only has it been very well used, but it came with a bunch of pillows and pillow covers, and other stuff we didn't want. Plus it was marked $10. We exchanged a few glances over it, but ultimately walked away.

Out of nowhere, a middle aged woman appeared and said "You can have it for $7!"

"No, thanks. We don't really need it."

"Hokay, $5 just to get rid of it!"


I have a standing DVD rack, and over the years I've come to despise it. Don't get me wrong: it was a very thoughtful gift, and I'll even grant that it's a very clever space saving idea. But it just has too many drawbacks. I never have anywhere which I would call a 'good' place to put it, so instead it goes in three or four nebulous locations, and I move it around whenever I need to get at something it's covering. I don't really like the look of it, and worst of all, it falls over FAR TOO EASILY I've had to place all of my DVDs back into it many times over the years.

But THESE are different.


There is really nothing special about this dragon. I got it for 25 cents because I thought it would be good for Morrie and I to practice painting miniature figures with. It's roughly to scale, so if we do a good job, I may even end up using it.

Speaking of, here's our first attempt at painting minis:

We kinda need the practice!

During my recent Vacation, I did a semi-thorough cleaning out of my old junk. There's a lot of stuff which I'm very emotionally attached to, which takes up a lot of space and has no function in my life. I'm actually going to be doing a post about some of these things in the near future.

Anyway, one of the things I cleaned out was my old Magazine collection. I really love magazines, and I had a massive tub filled with them. I didn't throw away all of my old magazines, mind you. Star Wars Insider is sacrosanct, and any gaming magazine from my childhood is a cherished treasure--but I felt no real sorrow when parting with more recent gaming magazines. I probably threw out about 100 pounds worth of old magazines.

Theeeen a few days later I come home with a few new ones. But these are different, for serious!

First off, in the upper left is an original strategy guide for Final Fantasy VI, back when it was still being published as Final Fantasy III (the numerology of that series is confusing). This is, in my most humble opinion, the strongest entry in that series of games. And while Final Fantasy VII has a strong emotional hold on me, FFVI is also my favorite.

The other three are Nintendo Power magazines from the 90s, which as I mentioned above, are cherished treasures for me. I didn't find out until I got home that these three issues were there because they contain a 3-part series on Final Fantasy VI!

Also funny: I got this at a garage sale which I've been visiting for 3 years straight at this point. There's a lot of pictures of the place in V: Critical Load Time. I don't think we actually bought anything from her last year, but I assure you were there.

This is a duck clock. Morrie immediately regretted the $1 she spent on it. I will say no more on the matter.

These are two of the coolest books I've ever found at a yard sale. On the left is a book of medieval history. I don't know why we don't learn medieval history in school. What's so cool about the American Revolution that we need to spend our entire primary education on it?

On the right is Dante's Comedia. The Inferno is one of my favorite pieces of classical literature, but I never had an opportunity to read Purgatorio or Paradiso. And now I do!

Aside from being lights, these two items have nothing to do with one another. But the orange one is boring and has no story: lights which can be stored in a small space, but moved around easily, are very useful.

The other light has a bit of a cooler story. Because I found one EXACTLY like it last year. You can see for yourself in VIII: Some Kind of Bizarre Quirky Name, and it was one of the best purchases I ever made. Not only did I get to feel manly for a few minutes when I installed a switch on the cord for the light (as is, they're always on when you have them plugged in) but it's probably the light I use the most in my home. It graces my work space:

^That's where I'm sitting right now. It's pretty much the coolest desk ever.

Any day where I find NES games is a good one. Neither of these have tremendous nostalgic value for me, but Galaga is a very well remembered game, and who doesn't love Pac Man? The sidescrolling Castlevania games are always good as well.

I know next to nothing about Escape from Monkey Island save: It's an adventure game, published by LucasArts, and everybody in the world loves it. That's reason enough for me.

These last three all come from the same place. The older couple running it were very kind, and everything they had was in astounding condition. This copy of backgammon, for example, not only has all of the pieces. It has extra pieces! And it's built into a briefcase, which just looks slick. (Are all backgammon boards built into breifcases? I dunno, I've never actually played it.)

Same with Go, really. I'm familiar with it, but never played it. To be frank, I wasn't intending to buy either one of these. But the old woman was so friendly and chatty, and I do like board games, so I gave in and made the purchase. I'm glad I did.

Lastly, and also from that same sale:

A motherfucking crystal ball, bitch.

This thing is hardcore. You could kill someone with this, and it wouldn't be hard. It's that heavy.

I honestly don't even know what I'm going to do with it. But as someone who spends so much of their time working in Fantasy worlds, it is fun to actually handle the kind of MacGuffins which exist in those worlds.

Funny story: I was holding it in my hands for a good few minutes when suddenly I felt an extreme burning sensation. The ball was focusing sunlight on my hand, and I didn't notice it until it hurt like hell.

This was a damned good week.