Tuesday, August 02, 2005


In Which We Make An Inventory of Crap...

Over my own collection of C.R.A.P., Her Lovely Self has been able to exert a great deal more control than any previous person in my life, including me. So it is that once a year, I load up about four boxes worth of stuff that we donate to assorted shelters and holiday toy drives.

As I've probably mentioned a time or seven, I get sent a LOT of product samples by assorted companies, not so much for the current job I have, but more as a result of my years as a freelancer when I specialized in reviewing all manner of fun gear.

I won't sell product samples or giveaways. It's one of the few shreds of ethical behavior I've managed to keep intact. If stuff comes in as a result of my full-time job, it usually ends up in the semi-annual prop or book sales we have in the office, although my department will also make holiday runs to various charities. If something's sent to me personally, at my house, as a result of my freelance rep, and the manufacturer categorically states they don't want it back (for many vendors, getting product samples back simply isn't worth it. Especially in the case of electronics, which are often rendered obsolete in the time it takes to ship the thing to me in the first place), I'll keep it, but usually only long enough to get it into someone else's hands. It sounds more kind-hearted and philanthropic than it is, I assure you. I only give things away like some half-assed Santa because it allows me to accumulate favors with minimum effort on my part. Also, it's just good to have a little karma in the bank, you know?

But until I actually manage the hand-off of my assorted crap, though, it has to go somewhere. So it goes in my quadrant of the basement, where I also keep a small desk, a meager 10 boxes of personal mementos and papers, eight shelves of clips and writing samples and, uh, a little more than 17,000 comic books.

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Oh, and every toy I managed to save from my own childhood, including some Johnny West guys, three cases of Mego action figures (including my extremely rare Greatest American Hero figures), all my Star Wars toys (including that Millennium Falcon which, I'm sorry to disappoint you, will be buried with me), a box of orange Hot Wheels track (including a working Powerhouse and about 20 Redline diecast cars).

Plus three boxes of assorted wires and patch cables and adapter cords that I don't know what they go to.

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Plus all these toys and my mom's old Viewmaster, in its original maroon and white box.

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And this thing, whatever it is.

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And these.

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Plus a golf bag full of clubs and, uh, swords.

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Yes, swords. What about it? And yes, hanging in the most Damoclean way from that pipe are two fencing masks, a saber and a sword-cane. I'm not so good with either of those. My weapon of choice is the French foil, which I studied in college for two years. If you should ever decide to accost me and my lady in some darkened street, God help you if I can lay hands on a car antenna. That's all I'm saying.

As you may have noticed, most of what is cluttering the space is either electronic in some way, a paper product, or a toy. It's natural to keep the toys, of course, because I loved toys as a kid, and now I have kids, and who knows when they might decide they want a complete sets of Jurassic Park dinosaurs (as is now happening with Thomas) or a Barbie donut shop? But Her Lovely Self says the kids already have plenty of toys.

And lest you think this is a case of the cobbler's kids going without shoes, permit me to show you the quadrant of the basement given over to my offspring.

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Suffice it to say, they have plenty of toys and items of interest.

So they're not going to miss, for example, this authentic Harry Potter Time Turner,

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a device with which I've had

So they're not going to miss, for example, this authentic Harry Potter Time Turner,

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a device with which I've had

So they're not going to miss, for example, this authentic Harry Potter Time Turner,

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a device with which I've had, uh, mixed results (wait, did I say that already?) That's already earmarked for a certain someone.

But what to do with this Star Wars lunchbox, which contains an invite to the unveiling of last year's Star Wars DVD set (cleverly applied to the back of a Han Solo figure package)?

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Or this locked briefcase, which contains something, but I have no idea what because the key could be in one of three preserve jars full of keys, or possibly even in the briefcase itself?

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Or the computer games that fill the bottom shelf below the TV in that earlier picture?

Or a mysterious batch of books, signed by the author?

Or that piece of Pete Ross's t-shirt from the show "Smallville"?

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Well, funny you should ask. Because over the next few weekends, I'm going to try to weed through as much of this crap as I can. A lot will go to local charities, but I think I'll hold some plum items back and list them in a future blog entry, free for the taking.

There will of course, be a couple of catches (aren't there always). For starters, I'll have to figure out a system of distribution that permits me to send items out through a network of friends and a wide variety of postal zones. After all, I have a secret identity to maintain, you know.

Second, I think I'm going to have to require some goofy or noble gesture on the part of the recipient. Perhaps you can email me or tell me in comments what you'd be willing to do for someone else in return. Or maybe I'll hold a limerick contest. Or a haiku contest (and here's where I slip in a little digression about how much I'm enjoying the busblog. Yes, I know I'm tragically uncool for not reading Tony Pierce sooner and being only the millionth person to sing his praises, but better late than that other thing, yes? No?)

Or maybe I'll simply start asking for suggestions right now. Anybody?

But no matter what, and let me be clear, I'm not giving up these swell new glasses I just found.

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Just so we see eye to eye on this.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

So THAT'S what you look like after a nights indulgence of Absinthe!

Limeric contest? Haiku contest? You've been reading way too much Nickerblog & busblog, in my humble opinion.

Actually it isn't too much for "The Sex Man" that had his ass appear on a published book to ask.

Sorry, it's way too much fun to not bust your balls on this one.

As for the basement: I'm surprised it isn't catalogued and numbered.


(That's a compliment - my storage isn't quite as tidy as yours)
I never realised you were a redhead. That explains a lot...
Say, aren't those the glasses Ken always wore to art meetings??
wow dude, packrat much? :-)

the time turner clock thing really got me laughing.. maybe it's because I'm tired as hell, or maybe because it's funny. who knows.. who cares at this point. i should turn back time and get more sleep... now THERE's an idea!
Dibs on any old school toys you decide to get rid of!

If you get rid of any of them.

I'd be a living legend in the office to actually have one of MM's old toys. I'm already sort of one for having a link on your blog.

Take care man!
I think you should *auction* all of your lovely goodies, but not like on eBay...

Readers could bid by promising to do good deeds in return for the loot.

For example: Say I wanted to bid on the mysterious black briefcase. I would bid 2 random acts of kindness, 1 delivery of homemade chocolate chip cookies to our local firestation, and a bag of toys to the children's hospital.

Then, you (and a panel of judges to-be-named-later if you so desire) could decide which bids were sufficent to "win" the goods. You could even require proof (digital photos are quick and easy enough) of good deeds done before shipping!

Good karma abounds from all of the good deeds done, and happy readers get goodies in return.

Just a thought, mind you...
You know how people say "lol" but really just mean "I thought about laughing a few time?" I was actualy laughing loud enough to scare the dog once that list of junk started rolling. Master Violet Ray #9! I howled.

(and then of course, I did some research)

You are such a nerd! Now I like you even more :)
you know, those glasses reminds me of a certain superhero who is also a reporter.

Your real name would not by any chance be Clerk will it? And her lovely self being Lois?

It will be funny really, because that certain superhero is an idol of mine too.
I think Master Violet Ray is a brilliant band name. I'd love to know what the hell that thing is.

Any man who wants to be buried with his Falcon is okay by me. (Of course, I used to "freeze" a Han Solo figure in a five quart bucket of Kemp's vanilla ice cream in my parents' freezer back in Moline, Illinois, so I see you as a kindred spirit.)

I used to have a pair of those glasses, btw, when I lived in Moscow - so did a small group of my friends. We'd go to Gorky Park, buy helium balloons, suck some in, and wander up to people and ask mundane questions from behind those eyes. We scared the crap out of a lot of people. Good times and cheap entertainment in the fading light of Gorbachev's Soviet Union...
I like the good deeds auction idea -- Master Violet Ray is a necessary accessory to my sis's new clinic ...
I applaud you for trying to overcome your CRAP disorder by giving away some of your wonderful toys. Whatever contest you come up with, I'll happily take part in, but are you sure you can really part with such a brilliantly organized masterpiece? it's gonna be tough...you're much stronger than I would be if my significant other succeeded in his attempts to get me to part with my trove of junk...er, treasures.
*look into my eyes* You wiiiillll give me the Millennium Falcon.... you wiiillll give me the Millennium Falcon *snaps*

Okay, so that's cool. Figure out your mailing system and then post the list. I love Thimbelle's idea of the good deed auction... I take that cookie delivery and raise you a donation to the local public library...

BTW, why do you have a piece of that guy's t-shirt? what type of promo was that??
I'm glad I'm not the only one with a box of miscellaneous cords and such. Would you believe my hisband actually tried to throw it away?! The very idea!

Love the violet ray gun thingie. What a concept.
I feel so transparent all of a sudden...Hey, watch where you're lookin' with those things! Wait, maybe it's the master violet ray...Ok, I'm getting out of this basement.

Seriously, though, I feel for you. Both my studio and my basement are in similar states in terms of volume, but alas, as cluttered as your is, it's WAY more organized than mine!
The violet ray thing is probably an ultraviolet light to use with....rocks and minerals. I know it's really no too exciting. I have one in my lab (that doesn't work, it just makes a creepy humming noise) but you can get some minerals on the Ward's webpage (http://www.wardsci.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_455360_A_Introductory+Fluorescent+Mineral+Collection)that will glow like a stoner's black light dorm room poster when you wave the wand over it and look all blah when you don't!

Since I'm a (easily pleased) geologist I think that kicks ass.
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