November 7, 2001
Since I was told that all the merchandise at the local Goodwill is brought over by semi truck from Tacoma I decided to locate the source of the Nile and planned a road trip.
Tacoma seems like Seattle without all the art venues and somewhat more blue collar. Downtown was vacant by 6:30 and it was disturbing. I was almost freaked when a cop yelled at me across the street and laughed when he asked for a jump start. It reminded me when I worked in a Military gas station booth and the naval police flashed a badge to get in and used the phone to place an order at a local restaurant.
One the way to Goodwill I saw a Value Village (Itís called Savers in some areas of the country). As far as I know these are the only thrift stores that arenít non-profit and sell second hand stuff for pure revenue. I like the idea and wish I could form a thrift team to open up a shop to sell the rejects. I think it would be fun. They had about 30 tapes for $.29 each, mostly classic rock and bootlegs. I got a Cheech & Chong tape that has a bad drawing of two metal heads on it. Talk about false advertising.
Then I hit the Goodwill on 38th street and it was huge and had about as many people in it as in Sears. I know these are hard times and if I had some dough in my coffers Iíd invest a lot of it in thrift stores since they are big business during a recession. And like all Goodwills they use the same brand of laundry detergent that smells like a musty old man. The Lp section was overstuffed beyond its carrying capacity and after a 20 min workout fighting with it I was content to stop with a Gunfighter Ballads record.
The Tape collection was all right except a copy of Ringo was priced at $2.00 instead of the usual $.39. Nothing outstanding here but it was one of those stores where you needed an hour to check out the electronic section and since it was closing in 45 min I was stuck. Then at 9:00 the once helpful clerkís sense of humor quickly became similar to an unflushed toilet bowl so I headed home complete. You may have noticed the lack of pictures in the last few updates and thatís cuz the camera has been on the fritz but I should get a cheapo one very soon. Until then enjoy Tito the Gay Ranchero
December 3, 2001
It seems a recent snow fall has caused the Goodwill semi truck to turn back from its designated route so we have 2 weeks of the same old X-mas crap. Things arenít much better at the other thrift. Now when I see those irritating Salvation Army bellringers I can shun them with impunity since I see Goodwill as the wining team and SA as a bush league thrift here that has sat on its laurels too long and has forgotten to compete and rotate its stock with any regularity. Even politically it has made enemies of the gay and lesbian community. Can your neighborhood second hand store claim that? On an average day at any given time youíll see 40 people in Goodwill and maybe 7 in the SA. Iím not alone in this evaluation, last week some slick well heeled PR feller was walking the floor with a pencil and pad surround by several employees and yes men demanding this store be moved to a more central location and said it was ripe to make a killing with these recessed times and had figures and percentages to back up his claims.
Tape wise would be amazing if I liked the easy listen sounds of Lawrence Welk but since I like his show for the visuals Iím stuck.
I have a friend in the next town whoís big on Tina Turner and called me up out of the blue to go for a drive in my car to hear an 8 track he found of Ike and Tina. So I ended up driving him back and fourth until the tape finished (I have a player in the car). I dropped him off and told him we should do this again sometime. It was a nice drive.
One thing I saw that interested me was a cassette tape shaped device that has a plug on one end of it that allows you to play a portable CD player in your car if you only have a tape player. Can you imagine if I put that into an 8 track to cassette player in a car 8 track player. It would be like devolution. Iím thinking next update.
I got some cool lawn jockeys this weekend. Who's the real king?
December 10, 2001
If I didnít know any better Iíd say this war is the best thing that has happened to this town in decades. As I mentioned in many journal entries a good chunk of the population here are in their 70s & 80ís which I can see brings back memories of that "Good old days" feeling in the air. A slow drive past the Elks club and one can see advertisements in large 6 inch letters for Tuesdays victory dance with quaint phrases like " Yankee Doodle Dandy" on the next line. Little old ladies in coffee shops who were once silent now are animate about how itís about time "patriotism has come back". Any day now weíll be see those "Buy War Bonds" billboards and dime a dance celebrations.
My pet peeve, which may sound sexist, is the way women here embrace blue jeans as and ruin the aesthetic. Certain parts of this town could be a time capsule with the buildings they are never torn down and the general stores that have been in the family for generations. Iím nearly whisked away until that "youíve come a long way baby generation" in modern slacks reminds me itís 2001 once again. Seems like women dress like men and men dress like the homeless nowadays.
Personally, when I got out for any long period of time I try to wear something 15-30 years out of style. The older folks catch on and give me compliments (I have a leisure suite that often commands respect here) and if I really get into it try to throw in phrases & slang from the era. That 70s show frequently uses the word "burn" to describe some one getting the best of you but when I was a kid the whole phrase was "Take a burn! or TAB (like the saccharine cola drink)" no one has gotten this one yet.
This week I found 24 rock tapes of various 70ís artists like The Guess Who, Steepenwolf, and America. What made me take notice here (In the case of America anyway) was they were issued on a high quality shell. I have 2 copies of Americas Greatest Hits on Warner Bros that was put out during the Jimmy Carter years oil shortage which play quite inferior and are very cheaply constructed. This copy is a sturdy cart which is evocative of The classy RCA shell without the annoying rivet. I wish I could find more of these cartridges in this luxury format to replace the Warner's versions of Devo, and The Rutles that make listening a lot of work.
And to this day when someone says Warner Brothers I think of Bugs Bunny, Time Warner = Cartoon Time.
December 19, 2001
I havenít had an entry about 8 track players in a while and seem to be concentrating on software as of late. Once you get you hands on the old standbys like Weltron, Aquatron and The Pump and regularly dust your wood grain consoles with Lemon Pledge they become less of a focal point.
I almost forgot about the excitement of unearthing fun stereo units until I went to a lefty yard sale last week. A liberal in this conservative peninsula is as out of place as a keg in a AA meeting. It was kind of fun leafing through all the overthrow the government books and the big brass hookah for sale. I even signed an anti-Wal Mart petition (It struck me odd since Wal Mart has been here for years and a grass roots referendum is the last thing here that would shut them down.). But next to the coffee can cash box was a stereo system with two amazing round speakers. She even dressed them up with a couple of old "Flip" wigs. Take note, this is a yard sale clichť and now I shall call it Greggís Law- "If a stereo is playing at a garage sale itís not for sale." Iíve lost more cool players this way but in this case I think I can blame a bad Backstreet Boys song and because of it I got the whole set for a measly buck. Iíve been elated for all week and with the thrift stores at their seasonally worst (X-mas ornaments for days) I consider this my big present this year.
I hope I can come up with a best worst list for next week.
January 10, 2002
This and other sites have been a pain in the ass to do anything with lately since they all decided to renovate them at the same time for New Years. Consequently updating has been a more trouble than itís been worth.
Now that the holidays are officially over (The lady at Safeway still says "Happy New Year as of yesterday) Hopefully itís time to return to the usually routine, albeit, all this fricken flooding has extended the doldrums. Putting the "Wash" in Washington.
It sucks hitting a single yard sale on Sunday and finding nothing but Avon bottles. I can appreciate the obsession, Avon bottles seem much more fun to collect than coins and stamps. Also I think the most valuable bottle would probably go for around $100.00. Compare this to the most valuable comic. I brought up comics since I was told that one of the ones I had as a kid just (And still have in the basement) went for a grand (Hulk 181) I may have a nice retirement in my future yet. Screw IRAís.
Iíve been sort of boycotting and watching Goodwill 8 tracks from the corner of my eye since they went back to charging $.99 a cart. So far Iíve by passed only a few unheard of bands I may have wanted to experiment with and hope they arenít worth the effort. I may have bought a set of those blue Beatles Greatest Hits tapes that had a wrinkly label and no pads but Iím not going to dwell on it.
Right now I figure I have more tapes than Woolworthís did in 8 tracks classical period (1974-78). I remember as I kid grabbing a tape through the precut Plexiglas hole that was big enough for a hand to get through but not large enough for a tape to slide out of. Other varieties of this were the key and lock glass in mall record stores where you had to bother the clerk to see the songs on one. These security devices on CDs may make you feel like 1984 but they canít be beat for convenience. Back in my shoplifting high school days besides throwing tapes down our crotches the hooligans and me would also switch prices on certain LPs over to pay the cheaper price. I remember at a Sears store putting a single LP prices tag on Kiss Double Live Platinum and placing it on the shelf until I got the guts to take it to the clerk. A girl saw the new price and tried to buy it and got caught. They called security and I was cured of this for a long time. I canít remember the last time I stole anything. Thankfully we have a statute of limitations.
January 16, 2001
I wonder if someone in the great infrastructure of Goodwill reads this journal since the tapes today are back to the happy $.39 each. I even got a preferred customer coupon today that gives me 15% off on merchandise in February. Found obscure stuff from Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton, Beach Boys and Steve Miller Band. The fun find however was a Jim Beam bottle that I was told was the same type painted and used on the run of I Dream of Jeannie. Who knew.
January 27, 2002
It was the first yard sale experience of the winter in the snow. I use to dread these things but now I see them as a way of weeding out the amateurs from us seasoned hunters and gathers. The option of selectively purchasing tapes an tiki mugs on line is there but they never can replace the joy of playing dumb with a widow and offering here a dollar for her Mannequin piss battery operated liquor dispenser.
This weekend was one of those quality over quantity days and out of 4 measly sales I got 10 8 tracks, the first prize goes to a Ravi Shankar one and a consolation prize to a Styx tape held together with hospital cloth bandage. A star clock like in the background of Bewitched, four tiki mugs (150 and counting now). The weird find of the day was a board game like Monopoly called Black & White which has a racist twist and before you play it you have to decide if youíre going to be black or while (compare this to Candyland where the youngest player goes first). The "Chance" cards have fortunes such as "Grand Dragon of KKK elected mayor go back 4 spaces". I first thought it might have been put out by Rainbow Push but it was released by Psychology Today magazine in 1970. I wish they had African Americans in this town to play it with but itís so Caucasian here that we have a Mexican restaurant that is owned and ran by white people. Iím 1/3 Mexican and know another fellow Latino down the street and when we go out for a beer itís a major cultural event.
Someone is making a movie about me.
February 10, 2002
Nothing worth bragging about this week but hereís something I did that maybe 8 track sacrilege. I took one of those cassette to 8 track converters and then plugged in one of those cassette to CD player adapters in that so now this is like a daisy chain on a USB and now Iím wondering if Iíll be able to make it so I can play MP3s on my 8 track player in the near future. This is almost like the evolution of car stereos in a nutshell. I get enough questions about the 8 track player when I take it in for an oil change and I canít wait for next comment.
February 24, 2002
A few 8 track discovers this week but if this site was called The Tiki Landfill I would go on in glowing prose about the estate sale chock full of tikis, space pop and Yma Sumac records. When I see the Ebay hunters and gatherers Iím often dumbstruck the way they can drop $50 at a single sale and head to the next to do the same. I rarely spend $30 in a single adventure of 10 or more sales. Saturday was another story and I picked up 17 tiki sculptures 3 tiki letter openers, a pendent and tiki back scratcher. But this page is all about 8 tracks so lets stick to topic.
The bin at Goodwill was exploding with tapes this week but on closer inspection 95% of them were country music and other aesthetically unplayable cartridges. But, since the month is almost over and I still have my discount card that expires soon I decided to pinch my nose indulge, and hope for the best. Here are the results.
Playboy Country Music Vol 1- You have to wonder why Hef and his Empire in their hermetically sealed jet set lifestyle would sponsor a homespun tick toc beat musical style that is about as sensually and erotic as hair shirt. One look at the song selection sand youíll see that 3 of the of the songs are you that country sensation Barbi Benton who was coincidentally his girl friend at the time. Some people by their girlís diamonds no Hugh. I only wish she did a bad performance instead of a pedestrian on than it might have been a fun tape.
Christmas Hits For Dancing- I first thought this was part of that Saulsola serious of Christmas disco that is a real room clearer but this one is pre disco and even worse. Pick your favorite carol and put a slow 1-2-3- waltz beat behind it and this is what you would have. I guess itís a remedy for those who are too filled with the spirit and need to come back to earth for a slapping.
Buzz Martin Sold Gold- This one is by a Singing lumberjack and I suspect itís a vanity release since it has Buzzís address on the bottom of it so you can order more. You have to love a guy who brings his son and daughter on stage with him to sing and tackles logger social and political issues in song. I donít like gospel music because they all sing about the same thing and its overkill but I donít know any other singing loggers and love his originality. I only wish every worker would make songs about their career.
March 15, 2002
I got a copy of Pink Floydís A Nice Pair from a friend who put it in his player and during the track change keep playing while the tape kept unraveling until 20 feet of 8 track later the player stopped playing. Heís a neophyte and gave it to me with and said good riddance. I fixed it in 5 min and am deciding if I like it or not. Part of me would like to auction it and show him the results since like everyone else I know is flat broke and lives on Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I clean out the car player the other day and out that thin clear plastic skin that covers the pressure pads all over the insides. This is a problem I donít think Iíve seen addressed before and they really can accumulate, I found 11 of theses strips.
I found a suitable Napster substitute last week and an all new Media Player. The only drawback is it's always on sending my surf information to a big demographic computer, not that Iím paranoid or screaming 1984 since I think the average person would be bored by my surfing. Iím a tweener in the middle of the boomers and before the Xerís and my demographic has never been really marketed to and think its too late for that now. Just wondering why Iím getting an onslaught of spam for porno sites. They can be really creative. But back to the free downloads, I find myself so engrained in this consumer culture that its sort of alienating hearing a song at home without any documentation of it. For example when I plug in an 8 track I have the tangible cart with the song list. I remember at first that this too was strange since with CDs of Lps you usually get a booklet about your purchase and some liner notes. I thought 8 tracks weíre the no frills bare bones music experience but Iím getting use to MP3s that are stored solely on the hard drive with not jewel case (or cart) that offer nothing but music. When you think about it itís so ecofriendly without having to deal with all the plastic and even falls back on that punk DIY ethic with the free sounds. 8 track collecting is saving something from a landfill and I see this as similar. Never did like those shiny disks anyway. I wonder if I could live without a single Lp, CD or 8 track and all the music on a hard drive? And when you think about it it's hard to find an entire LP of outstanding songs.
April 20, 2002
My father died which explains the long absence. His last days brought me back to Honolulu where I grew up and since Iíve never been too keen on sentiment Iíll keep it all about 8 tracks and such. During my stay I was anxious to see how that place changed in my almost 3 years away and I have hardly any regrets about leaving. In a way it was like going forward in a time machine and seeing the future. I first visited my last job that laid me off and they were a week from being merged to a new company and the 12 workers before had shrunk to 5. I took a little pleasure in seeing this place go down the tubes, I guess I still hold a grudge. Next week I decided to hit the old thrifts I use to enjoy there. I was sort of shocked when I looked under "Thrift Shops" in the phone book to see so many of them went under. The ones that survived seemed expanded and renovated trying to capture that Sacks look in a Salvation Army. It didnít work at all. Another surprise was in the several weeks there I couldnít find a single 8 track tape. It was like heroin withdrawal. Iím so spoiled here and wonder if this is what itís like in big cities. Also my conditioned ebay seller mind was on the look out for saleable items and I didnít see anything really exciting. Next being a part time tiki collector I returned to my favorite "vintage" shop, which use to have nice mugs for rarely more than $5.00. I was depressed to see the same mugs starting at $30 and going as high as $145.00. So there you have it, paradise lost. Someone told me that smaller towns are about a year behind big cities in their degradation so Iím hoping I didnít see the future there. Todayís thrift run had a woman with an 8 track player and about 20 tapes ĺ country music for $30.00, no regrets here. I also decided that Iíve done about everything I can do in this small town and figure in a few months I should be heading out to Washingtonís capital city Olympia. I was there last month and had a good times with the not quite big city atmosphere and personal bars. When I was in High School the big joke was how bad Olympia beer was and I got to try it first hand in the stubby 8 oz bottles and guess what. Itís as bad as I remember it. Hawaii may have changed but Olympia Beer is still the same.
May 4, 2002
My thanks for all the condolence Iíve gotten lately Iíve got boxes full of my father clothes and not sure what the ritual is. He was a lot bigger than I was so I canít wear the pants without looking like MC Hammer and if I donate them to a thrift they will be the dreaded apparel that everyone says someone died in. Maybe Iíll set him up a shrine.
Yard sales are back so
I got 3 portables (one of them works) a video camera for $10 (it works!) a 20 inch monitor for $5 Iím not sure if I like this yet, nice graphics but blurry text. The find of the week is a can opener that is carved out of wood and says "Eve" on it. I like it because last year I got one that opens bottles and says "Adam" on it in all itís anatomically glory. I wonder if theyíre from the same set?
Iím being evicted in July so I maybe in Olympia sooner than I thought.
May 5, 2002
79% of all the shoppers are female
45% visit 5 or more times per month
Customers under 30 (14%)
Customers over 60 (16%)
24% earn over $50,000 a year
Items Goodwill wonít accept-
Pianos (Iíve seen a few of these so someone is breaking the rules)
Food Items (ditto)
Electrical Items that need repair (Let me tell you about all those busted 8 track players I still own)
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