Category Archives: Thrift

It’s not a life hack… 

You know those things that we used to call thinking, common sense or logic? Well apparently they are now “life hack”. People post logical solutions on the internet for people to look up. We live in an age where common sense has been outsourced, MacGuyver would be rolling over in his grave. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with seeking various solutions to issues, actually seeking various solutions is a great idea. Exposure to multiple methods for a single problem encourages looking at things without a fixed idea. Functional fixedness is not a friend to creative thinking. I like to find as many ways as possible to achieve a task, and then I take the easiest. Bill gates said

 “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.

Bill Gates would like me, I’m very good at finding the easiest way to do things. Last night  after grocery shopping I was returning with my trolley to my car at the far end of the car park. Near my car was another trolley, still with its $2 coin in the deposit slot. So now I have two trolleys with a coin mechanic designed to encourage people to return the trolley. I could wheel both trolleys the 200meters back to the shop and retrieve both coins (i.e. Doing what ‘they’ want), I could just put my trolley inside the other (as designed) and retrieve one coin…. or option number three, place trolleys back to back at the right angle, put one chain over the top and one underneath, and I get both coins without the walk back to the market with two trolleys. Sorry to the person that collects trolleys and has to deal with the problem i created for you, but try and think of it as a lesson in life hacking. 

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I Lost on Jeopardy… 

I’ll take things that can be mixed for 500 Alex… 

  • Vodka and tonic 
  • Cake batter
  • Receptions
  • Feelings 
  • Reviews 

And of course tapes…


When I buy stuff it’s not always to keep the wolf from the door, because the wolfs just a puppy and the doers double locked, so why you got to worry me for? (Apologies to Passanger). I also buy stuff because it amuses me, or makes me think of a joke, or a stokes the coal on a train of thought. My brain seems to thrive on wordgames and esoteric stimulation, and bad puns more often than not. I’m not sure if it falls into observational humor, or prop comedy, or somewhere in between. Maybe it’s just my equivalent of a pile of badly typed conversation starter cards.  A reason to talk (or write as the case may be) about something apart from relationship issues and what’s on the telly. 

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42…. 

I woke up today in the same mood I went to bed with the previous night. That mood was a bit black, not pitch, but certainly a moonlight free night with only the occasional pinhole of starlight black. So with my dark cloud hovering at a jaunty angle I consumed a cup of coffee and a bowl of Froot Loops (don’t judge me). Wearing my best fugue, I headed off to get some check the opshop and get some more milk, as I had used the last of it in the aforementioned sugary breakfast treat. 

I arrived at the opshop, found the carapace that wasn’t being taken up by someone incapable of parking between the lines, not as easy to find as it should be. I mean the reason they paint the lines there is to show you where to park, but hey you’ve got a great big fuck you 4wd you can just do what you like, you don’t care if people think you’re a wanker…. ummm where was I? Oh yeah that’s right the opshop. So I do my regular search pattern, records, bric-a-brac, furniture, jewelry and books. That order is not arbitrary, it is the most efficient plan of attack for that particular opshop, and the most efficient way to get to all the good stuff before the meandering no plan losers that miss all the good stuff. Yes I am a model of efficient bastardry when it comes to opshops, markets and garage sales. 

I had almost finished the lap and was coming up empty handed, and my mood wasn’t improved by the lack of endorphin inducing bargains. So I’m at the end of my opshop dance routine, comencing the grand finale of a quick scan of the book section. My last chance for a small hit of thrifty satisfaction lay in the musky bit. 

And satisfaction was had, while checking to see what edition a copy of Life, The Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams, one of my favorite authors. I found this –


…and my day suddenly seemed a whole lot better. Something about finding that signature triggered some of the good shit in my brain. My first time reading Hitchers, watching the TV show with my Dad and stepmother in a terrace house on a tiny TV. My visit to Highgate Cemetery to leave a pen at his grave. 

A long dark tea time of day was suddenly a plentiful with fish.

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House of the Rising Sun… 

There is a house in New Orleans. They call the rising sun, but I can’t seem to find it on this map. 

Today’s opshop crawl turned up a map of Storyville New Orleans. The notorious redlight district created to regulate prostitution and drugs in New Orleans from 1897 to 1917. I’ve got a thing for maps, not the kind of thing that requires googling the name of the disorder of getting obsessed and wanting to role naked in them, but just an atheistic attraction. They can be both utilitarian and decorative, sometimes in equal measure. In this case its utility is as a historical snapshot. A blotchy opaque window back in time, with a jazz soundtrack and a pearl handled derringer under a perfumed pillow, possibly with a touch of syphilis. 


It is a hand drawn 1940s copy of the original 1915 version. Streets, shops, brothels… The names of those trading in negotiatable affections are both mundane and fascinating.  I own far grander and more artistically embellished maps, but they fail to deliver a sense of place and time as well as this simple bureaucratic document. 

Perhaps that’s the lesson here, affectation is a distraction from the clarity that simplicity can achieve. 

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Not My Memories… 

This is about a family memento not a Guy Pearce Memento. I’m taking a bit of break from introspective blog posts, and returning to a more reactive post. 

Today I’m reacting to a common issue I face when it comes to finds that are made from silver or gold. Specifically heirloom items, grannies brooch and uncle Vladimirs silver christening spoon. Ok, specifically wasn’t the right word there, but let’s just use those as an example. Your Granny has fallen of the roof (that’s an old joke about breaking news softly), and the relatives come in to sort out her house. Everyone takes what they want and the rest more often than not ends up at either the charity shop or the tip. Now as far as I’m concerned that’s where any sentimentality should end. I’m not in the business of preseving someone else’s memories, I barely do better than Guy Pearce in that department for my own. So when I find something like this brooch set, I have two choices. 

  1. I can repair, clean and try and sell.
  2. I can pop out the stone and sell for scrap.

The first option requires time and effort and requires me to find someone that will pay for the time and effort plus the gold value. The second option requires 30 seconds with a pair of pliers and into the safe till the next trip to the gold buyer. You may say “don’t destroy the memories”, and I say I’m not, memories aren’t things, and even if they were its not my memories. Honestly if grannies descendants don’t care why is it my job? 

So this time it’s scrap, and it’s not that big a loss. It’s not great quality, if it wasn’t gold it wouldn’t be of any value anyway. I’d rather pay the rent with this brooch, and risk the wrath of the slightly less practical among you. 

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