Sunday, August 15, 2010

Garage Sailing IV: Sidekicks and Magpies

I am a materialistic guy.

There's this notion in our culture which we're assaulted with all our lives. It's the moral to the story of dozens of episodes of children's television programming, which ironically are usually just attempts to sell toys anyway. We're not supposed to care about things. We should only care about people, and love, and other such noble goals.

In a way this has created a repression in our society much like the much-discussed repression of sex. Sex is "dirty" and "wrong" in our culture, despite the fact that everybody does it, and everybody wants it, and everybody would probably be happier if they were getting more of it than they are. The same can be said of possessions.

Most people in our culture care very deeply about the things they own. You would be hard pressed to find a person who didn't "collect" something. Collect as in possess a number of items with a similar theme, and little or no utilitarian application, simply for the joy of ownership. That's pretty materialistic.

Fuck this Victorian ideology of remaining aloof from what we own.

But at the same time, recognize that when you die, your kids are going to spend less than 10 seconds looking at each of the items which meant so much to you. And then they're going to sell it in an estate sale, and somebody like me is going to show up and buy it, and add it to their collection of stuff, and probably eventually throw it in the trash.

It's sobering.

But, then again, the fucking is even more fleeting. And we surely don't want to stop caring about that!

Everybody feeling depressed and introspective? Excellent! Lets move on to the pictures of the junk my kids will eventually throw away:

Much like last week, and the week before that, I didn't so much go looking to go garage sailing this weekend, it just sorta fell into my lap.

See, coming home from work on Wednesday, I noticed signs had gone up all over town. Apparently there was going to be a huge city sponsored Rummage Sale at Loyalty Park (3 blocks from my parent's house.)

Obviously, I had to go.

This week I also ended up taking my younger brother, Ronnie, with me. The kid looks up to me like...a fuckton. I think that in many ways, I am to him what my uncle Joe was to me. And much like the relationship between Joe and I, I've thusfar found his attention annoying. He's a sweet kid, but his adoration often pushed the boundaries of my gargantuan personal bubble when I was still living here. Still, I like to try and spend some time with him now and again.

Our first stop was a garage sale right next to the park. I had seen it Firday evening, and it looked as though the family living there was selling half of their worldly posessions. Seriously, there was a TON of stuff.

But as is the case with sales like that, I didn't find much I wanted. And, unfortunately, the people running this sale were in a class of sellers I've personally dubbed "Yard Curators," because they seem to think their mishmash of possessions they no longer want are museum pieces, worth several times their apparent value. (Watch Stephanie make a joke about Yard Curators. She'll do it.)

This particular yard curator laughed at me when I made an offer on these sketches, and demanded $25 for the pair:


Yeah, that's not happening.

Granted, I could easily see those going for $25-30 a piece in a store. But this isn't a store. They're not hanging on a display wall, they're sitting in the dirt, leaning against the side of your house. And while your story about how the shop you bought them from having closed down 30 years ago is mildly amusing, it doesn't increase the value of pencil sketches in cheap frames. I promise you that, unless an Antique dealer bought them (which does happen now and again,) those sketches do not sell.

This seems to be difficult for some people to figure out, so allow me to make it clear: the primary purpose of doing a yard sale is to get rid of crap you don't want, not to make money. If you're looking to make money off of something, there are actual stores you can sell things to, or better yet, eBay. And don't fucking laugh when somebody offers you $5 for an unmarked item which looks like it took a second year art student an hour.

I don't think I realized until writing that how much that experience annoyed me.

I did end up giving them a dollar for some knick-knacks I found:


I generally don't like to pick up things which are only useful for being displayed, but old video game merch is kinda my thing, so the Luigi and Goomba toys were a fun find, and who doesn't remember the transforming McDonalds toys fondly? Those things were kickass! Though, after the purchase, I had to explain to my brother why you do not tell the seller that something is a "good price." Particularly when they're charging a dollar for three happy meal toys. Oh well, it's how he'll learn, right?

Skeletor is actually for my friend Jeremy, and the mini yard waste bin is because my brother thought it would be hilarious to fill it with grass and stick it out on the curb. I picked those two items up a few blocks away from some very nice people, with whom I ended up talking about my desk-making ambitions. The Screwdriver I got for a quarter at the rummage sale, and speaking of which...

It kinda sucked pretty hard.

Now, granted, I showed up late in the day, and this was a pretty well publicized event. So there's a good chance that there was good stuff here before, which was gone by the time I got there. I don't know how I slept in until noon, but I did!

There were a ton of World of Warcraft card game cards there, but I hate card games, so I didn't really look at them. I'm sure any item code cards were already used anyway.

What I did find is a whiteboard:


I fucking love whiteboards. If you look through my LJ's archives (which you shouldn't do) I even have an entire post about how much I love whiteboards. I don't understand why so many academics prefer blackboards. I'll grant blackboard lovers the tactile angle--they've certainly got that going for them. But the sound chalk makes, the mess it makes, the inconsistent lines you get with chalk? No way man. Send the blackboards back to wherever they came from, I'm a whiteboard supremacist.

The tape peeled off the board easily, so now I've got a nicely sized, second whiteboard. And it was a dollar!

Secondly, I found this for fifty cents:


Don't ask me, I haven't even opened it yet. But it was fifty cents, and it looks kinda fun. I'm a fan of obscure boardgames, so I'll enjoy checking this out.

[EDIT: I did check it out, and posted about it. I'm too lazy to move that post to this blog right now, but here's a link to my Live Journal post.]

I learned as I was leaving the rummage sale that it was not in fact a city sponsored event, but was instead sponsored by a local church. This made me somewhat uncomfortable, as I make a point to avoid supporting churches. But it was $1.75, so I didn't worry about it too much.

And who knows? Churches do do things like manage food banks. I just worry it might be used to purchase new whips for the "Youth Self Flagellation Course," or some other nonsense.

After this we drove around a bit. I ended up next-door to the house which I'd gotten the ship painting from two weeks ago, and found this:


Not super interesting, but it's useful cookware that I didn't have. I do enjoy cooking whole birds!

Much MORE interesting is this:


I have no idea what vintage these are, but they're made of a very heavy metal. It's a stapler and tape dispenser. The tape dispenser is actually missing the blade, but I figure there should be no problem at all taking the blade off some cheap tape dispenser and screwing it onto this thing.

I spend a lot of my time at my desk, working with paper or other such projects. So staplers and tape are a huge part of my daily life, and these are so much more personal than the generic plastic crap I get from grocery stores.

Oh, and the cost? A dollar a piece for all three of the items I got from that sale.

This next picture is stuff from a bunch of different places throughout my whole day, so here's as good a place as any to post it:


Top Right is a VHS copy of the old "The Hobbit" animated film, which was actually pretty good. Good enough that I was willing to spend a dollar on a VHS copy.

Top center is the movie 300, which a lot of people who try too hard to be intellectual hated. I've yet to hear a legitimate criticism of this film. It was excellent. It was a dollar.

Top right is a 2-disc CD set of Bheethoven's music. I got this for $0.50 at the big estate sale, which I'll discuss in more detail below.

To the left and right are near-mint copies of a DC comic called "Swamp Thing" from the 70s. I paid a dollar a piece for them. I kinda wanted to get them appraised when I went to the comic book store later in the day, but they were in my car a few blocks away, and it was late in the day.

Center is the album "Other People's Songs" by Erasure, whom you should all be familiar with by now, thanks to this:

The album is just a bunch of covers of...well, other people's songs. I listened to it in the car as I drove around a bit. It was worth the 50 cents I paid, I think.

Bottom center is The Legend of Zelda Collector's Condition, and Twilight Princess for gamecube, along with a memory card. My brother latched on to them, and I picked them up for a total of four dollars.

I also picked this up for 50 cents, it's not super interesting, so here it is without much commentary:



For those not in the know, there are short legs. The idea is that you put water in a pan, and this in the pan, and vegetables on this. You then put the pan on the stove, and the water boils, and you steam the vegetables. Again, I like food prep, so this could be fun.

Moving on to more interesting stuff, lets talk about the Estate Sale. Which I actually visited twice, once with my brother, who I then needed to take home, then again by myself. I picked up quite a few things which, until a short time ago, were an old woman's cherished possessions.

I was a little wary at first, because out front there was a sign listing the "rules," such as "absolutely no negotiations," which for me has become a red flag for "everything is overpriced!"

Turns out though, that everything was quite reasonably priced, and on top of reasonably priced, was half-off, given the (by then) somewhat late hour of the day. (Most sales like this go from 8 or 9 until 4. 4pm is consistently the 'end time' for yard sales, don't ask me why. It's summer, the sun is up well after 7!)

The first time I was there, my brother dropped and broke an item. We offered to pay for it, but they let us off the hook for being honest. I swear, telling the truth is like...the greatest scam there is.

Anyway, on to the stuff:


I am a huge fan of canes, and these were $2 a piece. And yes, this fascination began with Dr. Greg House. But at this point I've spent something like 3 years role playing Lord Sentai Grehsk in WoW, who walks with a cane due to injuries sustained during the second war with the orcs. And I've written many more characters with physical has become something of a fascination of mine, actually, to write protagonists with significant disabilities. Scars are the kind of thing a 14 year old puts in their fanfiction. My protagonists are often missing an arm, and I've written more than one woman with amputated breasts. I like canes -> amputated breasts. Aren't you glad I don't edit these posts?


I've been surprised at the lack of tools I've been able to find at garage sales. I very much want to teach myself the basics of things like carpentry or cabinetry. So I'm always looking for tools, and $1.50 is not much to pay for a good framing square.


Toaster and Kettle! I've tested both, and they work great. I think they were maybe a dollar each.


To the left is some egg beaters, which are CRAZY powerful. Serious, I plugged them in, you could run a fuckin' CAR on that motor, geeze.

To the right is a very old, home video camera. It was the most expensive item I got at the estate sale; a whopping four dollars. I got it as a gift for Stephanie, though I don't know if she'll really like it all that much. Still, it struck me as the equivalent of buying me an early edition of Beyond Good and Evil.. The book, not the game...though I never actually finished that book. *shame!*

I drove around quite a bit before I found anything else I wanted. It's funny, sometimes you'll find nothing at a specific sale, and other times you'll find several things.

There wasn't much special about this garage sale, though it did have a wicked awesome headboard that I would have bought had it been practical for me at all.




The lamp was $2, the bag was $1, and the CD-ROM was free. I'm particularly happy about the bag, as it is quite small, and well sized for Thaed (my new netbook, about whom I will probably post about.)

And that was the last stuff I ended up finding at garage sales. Well, actually, the comic books above were found slightly later in the day, but still, all the garage sale stuff has been posted.

HOWEVER, there are two more interesting stories from today.

In the town next to the one I'm living in now, there was once this guy named Meeker. He's basically the Jebediah Springfield of Puyallup. The Puyallup Park still has the foundations of his first house, and his second (much larger and fancier) house is a museum maintained by the historical society. Ya know, the same way every little town has one house which is maintained by the historical society, because a historical society's gotta have SOMEthing to do to keep them off the streets, right?

Anyway, there seemed to be a huge rummage sale going on there as well, so I took a look.

There were a few interesting things, but as I expected almost everything was an "Antique," which means people will shell out a lot of money for it, which means it's out of my price range.

While looking through some books, a nearby old guy said "Find anything good?" to which I replied "Naw. People rarely put out the good books at these things." (which is true. Garage sales are a TERRIBLE place to find books.)

Then I hear somebody behind me "Yeah, all the good stuff is over here!"

So I turn around and see a coworker from my very first job, back at Safeway. He's approaching his 70s, and apparently builds bird houses to sell at these things. He's still working my old shift, and I gave him my email, because he quite likes sending out forwards to people on his joke lists.

I'm really hoping that he doesn't send me any more far-right propaganda...but he probably will.

And the last story is about a purchase I made from a business, with real-business dollar amounts.

See, eight months ago, I was in a pretty low place. I'd just been forced to give up on every dream I'd ever had, been forced to move back in with parents who treated me like garbage growing up, and whom I still do not get along with even to this day. I was marching far and wide looking for work, and more often than not was getting treated like dirt for having the audacity to ask if a business owner would like to see my resume.

Among the people who DIDN'T treat me like shit was this comic book store owner. He politely explained to me that it was a small family business, and they couldn't afford to hire anyone else. He wished me good luck, and I was on my way. But I didn't forget that he was actually nice to me, and I certainly didn't forget how well stocked and laid out the store was. So I vowed to go back when I had money, and support that business.

And today I did.


Yes, that's a comic book series where all the marvel super heroes become zombies. I've only read the first one so far, but let me give you some highlights:

-Zombie Spider Man shoots strands of veins and arteries out of his wrists, rather than webs.

-Zombie Spider Man ate Mary Jane and Aunt May

-Zombie Spider man brutally slaughters five members of his rogues gallery Let me detail that:

--Bites out Kraven the Hunter's jugular. Seriously, he has a 2ft length of jugular in his mouth.

--Reaches into Mysterio's skull and pulls out his brain and eats it.

--Electrocutes Doc Oc, tears his stomach open, and eats his entrails.

--Rips off both of vultures arms.

--Uses the blades on vultures wings to cut off Electro's head

Sandman then gives this speech:

"I...I don't get what you're doing! This ain't how things ARE! This ain't how they're supposed to HAPPEN! We fight, you usually win, we go to prison, we escape, and it starts all over again! Why are you DOING this? WHY ARE YOU BREAKING THE RULES!?"

The only thing about this comic which ISN'T awesome so far is that it is apparently the second storyline in this "Marvel Zombie" comic series, so I'm totally missing out on a bunch of backstory. Still, it's been good times, and the next issue has ZOMBIE IRON MAN on the cover. SO WIN!

Also made of win? This barbie doll they had at the shop:


And that's it for this week.

That's probably the longest one I've done.

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