May 2010

/yard sale sign/ Things were kinda sparse in our neighborhood Saturday! We did our entire main circuit [we usually miss part of it] in a mere hour, even though it often takes 3 or even 5 hours, and we often run out of time and don’t finish it. We ran out of options, so we took 395 down to Carolyn’s work’s exit [Newington], and got on Rolling Rd. and drove it all the way back to Braddock. BAM! Multiple community sales. Had to take almost every turn this side of Morrisette Rd. Chock full of sales over there. Definitely made up for the lack of ones locally.

Got out around 8:15AM, and went until 11:35AM for a total of 3.25 hours.

Total spent $17.05 plus ~$7.60 gas for 38 miles of driving, for a total cost of $24.65.

We bought 15 items – 20 if you count each wrapping paper separately – for a total estimated value of $192.88, leading to a profit of $166.23.

That’s $51.15/hr as a couple or $25.73/hr per person. And to earn that much after taxes you’d really have to earn $237; money saved (by not having to spend it) is actually worth more than we realize when the government’s cut is taken into consideration.

  • $3.00: cat scratching post, 16″ high, 4″ diameter, (my old one is 14.5″ high, 4″ diameter) (EV:$16)

  • $2.80: pillow, leopard print (EV:$25)

  • $2.00: shotglass drinking game, Shots and Ladders, (EV:$17)

  • $2.00: ice bucket, insulated, with lid (plastic inside, metal outside, plastic handle, gold and 1970s looking) (even brand new, it doesn’t come with tongs, though) (same as one on left in the picture) ($19)

  • $2.00: MOM DON’T READ: [highlight for spoilers] shoe, glass, filled with beans/liquid (2 @ $1.00 each) – very weird item, definitely not for me! (EV:No clue! We’ll say $10 because there’s 2 of them!)
  • $1.50: wrapping paper, (6 rolls @ $0.25 each) (price tags:$2,$4.50,$2.50,$1.88,1 partial used and unmarked so we’ll call it $1)
  • $1.00: golf, putting green, 2 holes and incline – fun with cats playing too :) (EV:$15, this one isn’t as fancy as this one)

  • $1.00: pillow, neck pillow, beads [but firmer than microbeads] (EV:$15, though this one looks just like what we got, and is sold for $50!),0.5,0,0

  • $1.00: leather care gel, Armorall – for our {free} leather couches! ($8)

  • $FREE: canteen, circular, w/shoulder strap (EV:$8)

  • $FREE: magnet, Las Vegas ($2 price tag)
  • $FREE: book, MOM DON’T READ: [highlight for spoilers] shorthand translation, Third Edition, Balsley-Wanous – VERY old! (in bad condition, but very vintage… Not sure of actual worth, so I’ll just say $1 because it’s a big hardcover book)
  • $FREE: chair (not even at a yard sale, just in front of someone’s house with a “free” sign on it) (EV:I’m gonna say an automatic $5 for being a functional chair with a cushion and a back, even if it’s in bad/ugly condition… It’s kinda like this one, which goes for $56 new)

  • $FREE: mirror, 36×28 ALMOST the size we were looking for for putting in front of the shutters that are no longer on a window because of our house addition. Just 1 inch too wide :/ (EV:$20)
  • $FREE: mirror, wooden frame, 43×27 frame, 33×23 mirror – kinda nice on the wall by our non-spiral stairs (EV:$30 — framed mirrors actually tend to cost over $100 usually)

Click here for other Yard Sale-related postings.

* EV stands for “Estimated Value”, which I estimate by looking things up in Google Shopping/Google/Amazon/Ebay. I don’t always deduct for an item being used, unless it’s actually in worse condition.


TOTAL ITEMS BOUGHT: 95-154, depending on how you count them
TOTAL PROFIT: $1,421.04
AVG HOURLY WAGE PER PERSON: $36/hr (dropped $2/hr this week)



Went out 2 days after yardsaling with my biggest freecycle score yet! 1 destination, ~$225 worth of stuff!

It was kind of crazy. I wrote down directions, but forgot to write down the guy’s house number. But I wrote down his cell phone #, even though I don’t have a cell phone. At least I remembered that. I drove around and saw people sitting outside. Explained to them, “I’m getting a TV from someone who’s name I don’t know who lives on this street — see? Here are my directions! — but I forgot to write down their house number, only their cell#.” They offered to let me use their phone. I called, he gave me his house number, and I drove the 5 houses away or so to his house and loaded up his stuff.

20100523: 2010 Freecycle Expedition #1:

  • car subwoofer (powered), Kenwood, 10″, 100W, KSC-WA100 [line in, line out, fuse with “15” on it, 0/180 phase switch, 50Hz-200Hz crossover, input sensitivity knob, No. 11000389] (current Kenwood subwoofers of that type are $170 new)
  • TV, RCA 20F511T flatscreen (screen is flat, tv is huge), 20 inch, s-video input, missing remote – $55 used $130 new, replacement remote = $40
  • EV/PROFIT: $225 – but not counted in yard sale stats

    The TV is pretty huge, dimension wise. It didn’t go where I originally wanted it, which was the purple shelf by our downstairs door, where the SubGenius Arise! video tape had caused my “college TV” to finally melt and expire.

    So instead, I moved the small TV on our refrigerator [only active during parties] to the purple shelf.

    This TV would have filled the top of our fridge perfectly – but then the VCR wouldn’t have had room on our fridge. So we took it upstairs. Replaced the bedroom TV with it, and moved the bedroom TV [with built in VCR] on top of the fridge.

    The only caveat to this is we now no longer have a remote to turn off a TV from our bed, as the remote is missing. I’m thinking we could probably use an RCA remote from an old vcr, and code it to this TV to turn it off. If that fails, we’ll use an X10 home automation appliance module to turn it off.

    So this freecycle caused 3 different TVs in our house to shuffle! Now we’re back up to 6 again :)


    Really? I’ve never heard of that. A relative just posted this:

    Twenty years after I bought my first Mac IIx, f-ing MacPros still don’t have an *eject* button, and still won’t let go of their f-ing discs. In 1990 it was floppies–today DVD. Two cold boots and 10 minutes later, the disc finally ejects. Aaaaarrrggghh.

    Apple users care so much about form over function, that they actually found a way to screw themselves over on basic CD/DVD drives. Wow.

    They don’t have a hole to put a paper-clip into, to force an eject! How stupid! I asked, and the answer I received was, “[no hole…] nothing but perfect sleek aluminum.”

    Furthermore, to add insult to injury — they don’t actually have a traditional eject button either! So PC users get 2 methods of ejection (3 if you count software ejection), while Mac users get 0 methods of ejection (1 if you count software ejection — Mac users can type “drutil eject” at the command-line, but do you think they actually know that?).

    I don’t know about you, but I like having redundant systems. 2-3 methods > 0-1 methods!

    My DVD burner stopped ejecting all the time about 4 yrs ago. A paper clip has to be inserted to force the eject. Software eject wouldn’t work either. I’ve paid $0 more since it happened. But if I was an Apple user, I’d have had to pay to replace it, because there’d be no way to eject the disk, because Apple users would rather have sleek aluminum than something functional.

    Ahh, the cult of apple. Computers as fashion. Form over function. They claim they don’t pay more, but every time I hear of an Apple breaking in any way, Apple users have to buy a completley new computer, or send it in for service. I’ve still never heard of anybody I know persoinally ever fixing their Apple themselves.

    Of course, they still claim it’s so much better. It’s like a person taking their car to a shop telling a person who knows how to fix his own car that he’s wrong.

    BTW, Google Shopping says the cheapest 6X DVD drive for a MacPro is $26. If you remove “MacPro” from the same search, the cheapest drive is $10. More evidence to counter people who say “Macs don’t cost more.”

    Apple was the shit… in the 1980s. (more…)

     movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Hot on the heels of Kicking The Dog, we thought we’d try another low-budget independent film that looked interesting and bad at the same time. Note that this is NOT the same movie as the female-empowerment film “The Smokers”.

    PEOPLE: A bunch of nobodies from a nobody production studio.

    QUIRKS: Extremely low-budget. Kicking The Dog looks glossy compared to this! This literally looks like people took camcorders around. I mean, for chrissakes, re-shoot the scene if a frickin’ train roars by and makes the dialog hard to hear! Jeeeeeeeze.

    VISUALS: A few rotoscoped scenes, like Waking Life or A Scanner Darkly. It helped create the feel of two very stoned people having a conversation. And the ending climax scene was filmed in a cool way, with 4 separate panels showing everyone’s face. In fact, many scenes had the “24-style” multiple-cameras-at-once.

    But other than these gimmicky tricks? No good visuals whatsoever. Urban city. People in parks. Apartments. Nothing special to look at at all.

    MORALS: It’s not cool to rob people. And having to deal with the black market puts you in touch with some real creeps.

    POLITICS: Look at all the crap that happened during this movie… Especially the end. If marijuana were legal, none of this shit would have to happen. And a boring movie like this would hopefully have never been made.

    BAD STUFF: While having its moments of visual marijuana brilliance — like the rotoscoped scenes… It was mostly boring. At times, the audio was mixed so poorly that we could not understand what anyone was saying. It was hard to know who the main characters were, what the plot was, or what was going on.

    CONCLUSION: If this movie could be as good as the last 3 minutes, then it might have gotten a passing grade from us. Unfortunately, this movie was a big fail. I gave it a 4/10 on IMDB — which is about what the average vote is — and a 2/5 stars on Netflix. It’s a rare movie that we wish we’d never watched.

    RECOMMENDATION: Even if you think you have to watch every inner-city urban stoner film in existence… You’re still better off without this. AVOID IT! (more…)

     movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

    LIMERICK REVIEW: The war on drugs is dead wrong.
    It makes criminals out of Cheech & Chong.
    Most violence is by drunks,
    religious fanatics and monks.
    The cause of homicide is rarely a bong.

    PEOPLE: A LOT of nobodies.

    QUIRKS: A sketch movie comprised of 60+ non-politically-correct sketches against the war on drugs, and pro drug use. It is political satire, comedy, and education all at the same time. It is not just pro-drug legalization, but pro-drug use. There’s even one sketch making fun of potheads for being too close-minded to experiment with other drugs.

    They also aren’t scared to play Godwin’s Law. Hitler and Nazis are depicted in at least 2 of the sketches.

    One of the sketches is split up into several parts, and is a voice-over of Reefer Madness-type old films. Pointless, but pretty funny at the same time.

    Another is safety tips for running a meth lab, in the form of a PSA.

    Another features a kid’s parents fighting and being irritable after work. “Maybe it’s time that you talk to your parents about drugs?” Then everyone gets high and stops fighting.

    Now mutiply those 3 by 20 to get the rest of the 60 sketches :)

    MORALS/POLITICS: The War On Drugs is dead wrong, as is prohibiting any consensual victimless activity among adults.

    But anybody with a modicum of common sense should be able to figure that out for themselves.

    BAD STUFF: These guys aren’t brilliant comedy writers. They go for a lot of easy jokes here. If it weren’t for the subject material and political relevance, this movie would come off more like a Troma movie.

    CONCLUSION: Carolyn gives this 4/5 on Netflix, and 8/10 on IMDB. I have to pretty much agree with that. The space left over by the lack of comedic genius is more than aptly filled by political relevancy, and pro-drug goodness. We laughed over and over and over, even though the jokes weren’t the greatest.

    RECOMMENDATION: Anyone who likes sketch comedy of questionable quality (MadTV?) and appreciates some pro-drug politics would almost be given no choice but to like this movie. However, there are a lot of comedy snobs out there who might thumb their nose at some of the easy jokes being made.

    The thing is — these easy jokes aren’t being made elsewhere. This movie gets a “uniqueness booster”. (more…)

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