The Sun Sets over Progress

Have I mentioned how much I'm digging my new camera? Well, I am.

Where we live is a construction zone at the moment. They're building some new fancy shmancy freeway that's gonna be awesome when it's all done (another year or so), but until then is a big pain in the backside.

And as I was exiting off the highway on the way home, I saw this. Luckily I had my camera with me.

I like the way that something so awesome as our sun can just blend in and become a backdrop..something we take for granted.

Interesting how no matter how much crap we try to build up, nature always finds a way to make itself known.

I dig that.

And as the sun sets, the moon rises. Maybe one day I'll get a nice lens that can give me a little more clarity, but for now, this is a decent shot.
One last look as the sun sets over progress. One has to wonder sometimes, are we really heading in the right direction?

Where's the High Plains Thrifter, yo??

So...the 3 or 4 of you that normally read this blog may have noticed me trying on a few different names for size and may have wondered why. And even if you didn't, I'm gonna probably bore you with details anyway. I think I covered a little bit of this back in my 'please don't call me a poser-I've faked it for years' post, but meh.

It seems that I try to collect my sense of self every few years. So it was pretty much about time. These are minor journeys into self-exploration that sometimes reveal things about me to me or sometimes just confuse me more.

The last major one was probably when the fit hit the shan with a band I was in. And it's not fair to say it really hit the fan. It just kind of fizzled and that's cool. It served to solidify the feeling that I needed to focus on more of a visual medium. I was never going to be able to convey to someone that wasn't in my head what kind of music I was actually hearing in there and my own skills usually fell way short of the mark.

But video....f**k yeah! THAT I could deal with. That got me going.

And it still does.

I am very comfortable in my new skin (for the old ceremony). I like making movies. I love expressing myself visually. And here's the beauty of it. I don't care if you enjoy them or not. Because for once, I'm creating these things for me. (well, unless you're a church or you pay me to create them for you or ask me to, or I volunteer....but mostly I'm doing this for me, beeyotches!)

So, what the sam hill does this have to do with changing the name of the blog?

Probably not much.

High Plains Thrifter was funny. And it was a fun blog. And I like going to the thrift store. But I just felt like I wanted to change it up.

And there you have it.

And no, I don't know what it is yet. But I'm guessing we'll know before too long.
Or not.

Either way, you've been warned.

Oh, and for the 3 or 4 of you have this blog linked (first of all-thank you), I'm gonna stay with the "Mostly CRAP (with Cheese)" name for a while, I think. Feel free to update your links as you see fit.


2nd Floor Ackshun

Today was a great day. Perfect Ohio Autumn day. I got up this morning...chilled. Grabbed some lunch. Hit a garage sale (more on that and the Corn Hole Conspiracy later). Then Darrin came over for some 2nd Floor jamming and hanging out.

I had the back deck cleaned off and some chairs set up. During the jam session we were joined by our own little rhythm section. I don't know what kind of bird this is. Darrin said it was a finch or something. I was thinking it was a woodpecker or something. Or maybe I just like saying 'woodpecker.'

Darrin jammin'.
The prerequisite 'down the fret' shot.
The view from my deck.
Another shot of the peckerfinch or whatever it is.
Another shot from the deck.
"When I'm rocking out, the thing that really keeps me going is Diet Dr. K!!"
Once more percussion solo with the peckerwoodfinch.
The think I love about our deck is that when you look out, it feels like you're up in the trees. So cool.
Second Floor...circa 2007.
Diet Dr. K...check.Capo...check. Doritos....check. MiniDisc...check. Twizzlers....check. Time to rawk!
If you can guess which gesture immediately follows this picture, you win the rest of CJ's homemade cheesecake!!
After some jamming which involved superfluous use of the minor pentatonic scales for my solos-slash-wanking...and Darrin making the suggestion that there should be a drink for musicians called 'PentaTonic'...we had much more jamming, eating of junk food and then settled in for the first 1/2 of the Buckeyes game before Darrin headed home (we try not to tempt fate by watching a full sporting event together...and true to form, the Buckeyes were just so-so the first half (going in to the locker room behind), and pulled out a huge win after Darrin left.

And now I'm watching the end of Soylent Green.

From what I hear, it's pretty nutritious.


Cloud Pictures of the Day

Some cloud pictures from today. The first few were before I left for work. The rest were after I pulled in to the parking lot at work.

I like clouds.

And with that I leave you to your Friday. I've got some video editing and some jammin' on deck for this weekend, oh...and the yard guy is coming to correct my mess of the job in the flower beds.

Have a great weekend!

footnote for using the pix as Desktop:
I've found that in a lot of these, since it's at a 7MP resolution, it looks really cool if you set them as a desktop background and then in properties, choose 'CENTER' instead of 'STRETCH'.-ATS


The Evolution of Thrift

Let's be truthful...this blog that started out as a haven for the fun trinkets I found whilst thrifting hasn't really been about that for quite some time. Oh sure...I've put an occasional post in there about the thrift. But seriously....the material was starting to be a re-hash. The faces changed but the names stayed the same.

And you know what? I'm a little too old to be posing at this point.
Here's a list of things I considered myself at one time and have pretty much realized that I'm not-at least not to the extent that I thought I was(with explanations to follow):

  • The Baddest White Rapper on the M...I...C....
  • A DJ
  • A contributing member of any band that played out
  • A songwriter
  • A Doctor
  • A Good Friend
  • A Mature Grown Up
  • A Hippy
  • A fount of all things rap-related
  • A Skater
  • A CIA Summer Camp Spy
  • Selfless and altruistic
  • A Hacker
  • A misunderstood Musical Genius (a.k.a. A Serious Musician)
If you know me at all, you know that at various times I have said just enough to let on as though my life has been rich with experiences that relate to all of these things. And you may be asking yourself why I'm coming clean all of a sudden with this.

Simple. I need to grow. I need to break some of these things down. Because they are barriers at this point. Part of a persona I've built up...an image I've got of myself...and it's just f**king false.

So let's break it on down.

The Baddest White Brother on the M...I...C....
Some of you might be familiar with Kid Chill. Kid Chill was my alter-ego in high school. I thought I was the shit. I had a kangol...I had Adidas (or whatever the K-Mart clone for Adidas was). I had a couple notebooks full of lyrics proclaiming my superiority in the realm of caucasian rhyming. Out of the 100 or so rap songs that I wrote, maybe 3 were good enough to pass for mediocre rap. The rest was shit. Seriously. I can't look through that notebook anymore. It's too painful. And hey, it's only taken me 20 years to see that Kid Chill was really more of a parody...as it should have been all along.

See if this one sounds familiar...."I was a DJ at a teen nightclub called 'Flamingo Isle.' Heard it? Yeah. It's shit. I had some 12" singles at the time. And I was 'allowed' to drop the needle a handful of times because I had some rekkids that the house DJ (Matt or Rob or Mark or something) didn't have. I was trying to learn from him and position myself to be a DJ there. He left the club under some questionable circumstances and went on to radio. He had a good touch And I wish I'd paid more attention. But No. I never got paid. Well....one time. It was some birthday party on a Sunday afternoon.

As a follow-up, though, my first actual "PRO" DJ gig came last year when I spun...er...MP3s at Dylan's 13th as DJ iTod. So, this one is only 1/2 bullshit at this point.

A contributing member of any band that played out
Devilcake was never my band. I was never IN Samarkand. I practiced with them. Played a couple gigs with them and then shit on Ian and our friendship. So, it's only fair that annals of that band exclude me. As for Devilcake, let's sort that one out because it's been f**king with my head for a while. The first memories I have of Devilcake was playing on stage at Apollo's with this little garage sale BTS turntable and some wooden flute thing that my grandparents got for me from Mexico or Africa or some shit like that. As I remember, the entire point (as it was explained to me, since it was quite clear to everyone at the time (but me) that I was NOT on par with the rest of the musicians in the band) was to get as many people in for free and on stage as the 'band' while every rocked out.

And I loved that. I really did. The Dark Lord influences on the band were less and the emphasis on food and fun were more. I did write the lyrics to a few of the songs (that may or may not be still played to this day).

And that ideal of Devilcake for me from the first round was exactly what killed it for me the second time. I tried to get on board. I tried to take it as seriously as everyone else did. But I didn't. I was too concerned with the having fun part that I didn't see where the band was going and what effect I was having on that direction...and the "fat guy on the Casio" became a parody of musician on the stage while the rest of the band was seriously rocking out and doing something. By the time I realized that I would have been better suited to manage gig-bookings, flyer creations, etc., it was too late. I was burned out and bridges that had been rickety to begin with were burned.

So, did I enjoy my time with devilcake? The first time, absolutely. The second run...sometimes. And sometimes I fucking hated it. So that's pretty much why I can listen to it on some days and other days don't even want to acknowledge my time in it.

A songwriter
This is one that I really struggle with. I have 4 or 5 notebooks with 1000 songs I've written. Only they're not really songs. They're lyrics to songs. Some of them have chords with them. But I can't call them anything more than poems, in all honesty.

So...this trait I think has been safely amended to Lyricist/Poet. And I'm ok with that. The 'songs' I have recorded really have been more for my own ears....well, THAT and to hear someone of greater musical talent than I say they approve of it. Yeah, I know it's crazy, but a healthy chunk of shit that went from lyrics to final recording was done so I could hear Ian or Darrin, or Nancy, or others say "F*ck yeah!!! That's BRILLIANT!!!" It took me a while to get to the point where I was recording for me. And I can name the songs that I'm proud of that fall into that category...because there's only about 4 or 5 of them. And to me, that's just fucking sad.

I think I need to go write a song about it.

A Doctor
I had it in my head that I was going to be a doctor. A Neurosurgeon, no less. I work tech support for a software company with a degree in Business Administration. Yeah. Not a doctor. Was an athletic trainer in high school....so basically I can tape my own ankle when I play soccer. Medicine? Um no. I'm a geek, yes, but I'm no McDreamy.

A Good Friend
This is probably the hardest one to write and clear out the cobwebs on. It's been on the mantle of my life the longest. And I have always thought that I was a fiercely loyal friend and that the friends I've made were lifelong. There are a few instances where I fell way the f**k short of that goal. And without going in to it in too much depth, I offer sincere and humble apologies to Ian, Darrin, and Duane. There are others that I've stepped on, but these three were three people that, at one time or another, I would have taken a bullet for and I knew in my heart that they would have done the same for me. At this point in my life, there's only one of those three that I have that certainty with. The other two I just don't know anymore. I know that I haven't talked to Ian in years (it seems) and don't know at this point what the hell I'd even say. And until last month, it'd been a year since I'd had any communication whatsoever with Duane.

And at the times of the fallings out, it was never my fault. I was the good friend. They were the ones that were being selfish and dissing me. And I had a laundry list of why this was the case. And if you didn't agree with me...then fuck you. But here's the thing that time and perspective have taught me.....

I'm a selfish bastard. I didn't see it then. And really probably didn't see it until the past year or so. But I have this way of pushing people away if I am not getting what I need from them. And usually what I need is validation that I'm a f**king Brilliant (fill in the blank). I know where that comes from and while I didn't want to admit that the problem was mine, I do recognize that a larger portion of the blame on these strained relationships is mine.

There's no way to go back on some of these. I've changed too much...and so have they. I can only hope that going forward, I recognize the signs and take a step back and just appreciate the friendship for what it's offering in that moment and now try to milk it for the 'tell me how good I am' shit like I used to.

That was probably the hardest one to write. It's shitty to realize that I was more of an instigator than the victim in the dark moments in my life.

A Mature Grown Up
Heh. I'm an adult. But I like looking at the world through my x-ray specs. I'll be mature when I have to be, but it's not my milieu.

A Hippy
Yes. I've been to Hookahville...twice. Yes I have...and I have inhaled. But I'm not a head. I can't tell you what the 2nd set of the 1983 Dead Show was. And I can't name any songs at the two Hookahvilles other than what Willie Nelson played. The extent of my Dazed and Confusion was about a 12 month period after my divorce and before I started seriously dating Nancy. I have never rolled E or any of the Woodstocky staples. And I'm ok with that.

A fount of all things rap-related
After talking to Sean at work quite a bit, I'm under the conclusion that my knowledge of rap roots is a bit narrow in scope. This was a more recent discovery and more of a blow to the immediate ego. But it also has the biggest potential for the 'poseur' label. So it must be squashed immediately. I know about a dozen acts that I followed in the heyday of rap. After that, it was all fringe shit to me. Sorry.

A Skater
I could never and still can't ollie. My skating days are limited to the $15.99 piece of crap skateboard that my grandparents got me at Hills. And you know where I had to skate? A gravel road in Kentucky. Or a piece of plywood that my papaw put in the yard. A skater? F*** no.

A CIA Summer Camp Spy
This one's fun to tell when I've had a snootful. My step-grandma's son does something in the intelligence community and one year before I went to college, he wanted to know if I'd thought of interning anywhere and he started talking about NSA and CIA and Naval Intelligence internships. And somehow that ballooned in to me turning them down because a life in the Intelligence Agency just wasn't for me. This was is mostly harmless and will wind up in a movie one of these days.

Selfless and altruistic
This one goes along with the 'good friend' bit. I'm selfish. And I get mopey when I don't get my way. It's true. I'll try to do what's for the greater good, but most of the time there's an element of 'what the hell's in this for me?' (and this is one that I'm actively working to change, because let's face it...it's a dick move. And no one likes a dick).

A Hacker
I have never hacked a system. I have never reversed engineered any software. I'm just very (very) proficient with tools and have a good understanding of the technology and have a better than average understanding of the OS than most. But if it came down to Hacking, Cracking and Phreaking*, I'd definitely fall into the script kiddie category.

A misunderstood Musical Genius (a.k.a. A Serious Musician)
This one is a gray area for me. I'm not a musician. Sure, I can futz around on keyboards, guitars and blow the shit out of some blues harp...but I can't read music...and I'm not really gonna make it to Carnegie Hall anytime soon.

I love (LOVE) when Darrin comes over and we just roll tape and goof and jam. Because what I AM good at is coming up with lyrics and shit on the fly. And that fits the MO of Second Floor perfectly. I don't know that I'd necessarily call that music...more like musical therapy. I'm going to go back to proudly wearing the moniker of Lyricist/Poet and let the songwriter/musician labels go back in to the box for someone else (like my daughter) to pick up when/if she wants to.

Now I'll go a bit deeper into the explanation. See...I'm at the point in my life where I've finally figured out what my creative outlet actually is....it's writing, movies, and photography.

And the reason I'm coming clean about all of this other shit that I've just been dragging along up to now is that I do NOT want those things to be added to the list of things I 'talked a lot of smack' about but never truly delivered.

And that's that.

The name of the blog has changed. I'm not really do so much thriftpix anymore but am doing other pix and having other random rants, diatribes, and meanderings filling my head lately.
So... I thought it was time to the Darwin thing and evolve.


*I did have an 'accidental' phone phreak that Duane and I found at the SuperDuper on our way home from school. We found that you could hit the dial tone...hit 9 something something...then hit the flashhook twice and hang up and it would cause the pay phone to ring until someone picked up the handset again. I'm guessing it was a line test sequence of some sort. So there you have it...the extent of my hacking. A payphone accident. I wonder if there was a family of happy little birdies in that payphone


My Baby Takes the Morning Train

So, it's no great secret that I love my new camera. And thanks to some recent events that have unfolded IRL, I've been getting up earlier (5:30AM) during the week. I now take my daughter to school and the first couple of days this week I could have kicked myself for not having my camera with me (of course that didn't stop me from waiting until Friday to actually bring it along).

Anyway, I took these on the way to take her to school this morning and then some additional shots on my way to work. These are the things I see every morning and normally drive right by.

Crazy, isn't it? How beautiful things are that we actually see every day but just drive right by?
I will only comment on a few of them.


This one is one I didn't see until today. I thought to myself....'isn't that the purpose of the turlet?...to make sure you DON'T get marks on your rear-end???'

I thought I'd give you a shot of the State Flower of Ohio...the Orange Striped Barrel.

I think that eventually this sign will be like a protest sign....'End Defense Spending'....'End Road Work'....Down with Highway Maintenance!

This was nearly to work. And was out the window. I have to be honest. Some things I shoot just because I think they'd be fun desktops.
Random-in-the-car shot.
I was hoping the 'Dreamgirls' flag would unfurl. Because, strippers can be patriotic, too.
And this is a shot of the building I work in. I didn't ever realize how much foliage and stuff they put around outside the building (because inside it's pretty much a soulless hole).

And happy Friday to y'all. Not sure what all is going down this weekend, but I'm sure I'll be taking pictures.


The Last Wednesday Non-T-Shirt Thriftdition

Well since it looks like the Buckeyes are going to wind up trouncing the Penguins, I'll step away from the tube (because I'm such a HUGE football fan) and start on a post for y'all.

As you may or may not remember, the last Wednesday of the month is 1/2 price thrift day at our local thriftstore. And I'm all about the thrift, but I'm even more about the 1/2 priceyness.

And as the title of the post mentions, I went through the entire evening with NO shots of t-shirts (ok, technically that's not ENTIRELY true, but MOSTLY no shots of t-shirts). This is an accomplishment for 2 reasons and if I have to tell you what those 2 reasons are, well then, this isn't going to be a very fun post. So, lets get on with it, shall we?


Now we're talking. Back when plastic toys were still made in America...and things like parking cars was cool. I have to admit...I wanted this.

I had this. It was fun. Until my kicker was drafted by the Cleveland Browns. Bastards.

Slightly more difficult than Perfection....but no less nerve wracking as the timer made its way to the >DING<>

I have just one word for this....Hells Yeah!

Apparently this was their version of the SpiroGraph. Not nearly as cool. Who wants to lug that big faux desk thing everywhere?

hehehe...It's like Dungeons and Dragons. Only there weren't any dragons. And only one dungeon. And no magic spells or bags of holding.

And yes, it IS as lame as you think it is.

Um...what? No. Robots can't have Non-articulating arms. What's the matter with you people??

Heh. If this thing wasn't so damn heavy, I would have bought it.

Because no, I don't think $29.99 is too much to spend on a Stephen Hawkings Halloween Costume. Although, if I was truly in character, I couldn't exactly tell anyone who I was, could I?

Three questions:

  1. What the hell is this?
  2. Why is it in the kids section?
  3. Why on earth does it have BLUE FEET??

I haven't seen a snow speeder this beat up since the summer David Hartman got a box of M-80's from his uncle in California. Somewhere out there, some poor bastard needs this to complete his collection.
I almost got this to go with my Viagra Racecar mouse, but then I remembered, I f**king hate Nascar.
Merchandising hits a new low. And Stan Lee still gets paid. It's a cruel, cruel world.

Easy to fly...that is IF you have the controller!

Jason's lion from Voltron or the White Ranger's Zord? We may never know...

This just seems like a bad idea.
That's right. Dress your baby in camo...and then put them out in the yard to play.
We have a baby. And it has blue eyes. Hey...doesn't the mailman have blue eyes??
If you like sports oriented tiny Coke bottles, have I got a deal for you.
I almost bought this one for $.59 cents, but then I remembered, I f**kin' HATE Nascar!

Hot steam comes out of the Penguin's mouth. The Penguin is cute. The kids what to pet it. Bad move. So...what idiot in marketing decided to make these vaporizer cute?? You want to keep kids from getting their hands burned, you need to make them scary. I have a few Clown sketches that might do the trick, but Penguins?
Mushy, Cooked, Dry AND artficially colored?? Wow, how do you go wrong with THAT combo??
Cherry Flavored Apple Cider? This earns a well deserved WTF??
Careful when you rack your balls. You don't want to get them all scratched up. Otherwise they just sit in a box and never get used. And what fun is that?

Microwavable Ass Warmer. What will they think of next!?

Kickin' it old school, bitches!
Alright. I'm gonna make a little confession here. I had these. I had these exact headphones.
And I had that bike. But I didn't have that shirt. Because that would have just been gay.
Wow. From this to the iPod. I wanted to get these and retro-fit it with an mp3 player. THAT would be cool! But almost FOUR BUCKS??? Forget it.

Not only was Jesus white, according to this placard, he was Ted Nugent (or the guy from .38 Special)

Um. What?

The last part of this famous quote by Socrates, "....and I'm Gay" is usually omitted.

The Nuge likes his pot-holders big. And yellow, apparently.

Um. WTF? The dude looks like he's lighting up and the rabbits already look baked.

Aside from the blatant stereotypes, I just have to ask...when's the last time you played b-ball in a gymnasium that had shit growing up out of the floors? Yeah, me either.

"Bloody the Apathetic Psycho Clown" wasn't as big of a seller as you might think.
Which brings us to the Art Projects Gone Bad portion of the post. Here's the thing...we all had to make this shit in school. With very few exceptions, we all made crap that our parents pretended to like. But...what a crushing blow to the ego to come in to the thrift store one day and find Mommy's precious ...er...candy dish on the shelf. How can you put a price on love??
It was this piece here, simply called 'ashtray' that made Daddy quit smoking.
This is an original George Plimpton piece entitled 'Never Chew with your Mouth Closed'

Somebody had put this in a corner. I put it back in the middle of a shelf. Nobody puts Baby in a corner.

Dude. That guy looks NOTHING like Homer. Unless they meant Homo Bookends. And then yes, carry on.

God gave you the best he had....and then you wasted it on this piece of crap knick knack. Way to go dumbass.

Try as he might, Don Ho just couldn't make any tiny bubbles with just one string.

A Spike Lee Joint.

Makes no sense to split this in to 2 separate sets. Especially if you split the brands! You can't put the Mita Pros with the Franklins! The weight distribution is all wrong not to mention you've got nubbed with smooth. Idiots!

Grandpa...tell us again what computers were like before Neural Imaging...
I want to get one of these sometime and just hang it up. And anytime someone asks, I'd make up a different story about each picture.

AAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!! Second only to my hatred and fear of clowns is my hatred and fear for anthropomorphic swine that is dressed as though they are getting ready to Barbeque.
At first I thought this was a jar of gumballs. Until I saw the liquid. Which MUST be formaldahyde. Which can only mean one thing. These are gumballs made from human eyeballs. Clearly a bargain at $2.92.

Part 927 of things that should NEVER under any circumstances be purchased at a thriftstore.

RCA/Victor couldn't understand why album sales of their popular Songs for the Family sales suddenly plummeted.
If I'm lucky, there will be some cool shit on this tape.
If I'm unlucky, it will be a copy of these two albums.
Somewhere a 70's party is crashing and burning and in desparate need of the perfect soundtrack.

Holy crap this baby looks pissed!

No wonder the English hate us.
What the hell kind of loaf of bread do you need the toaster on the left for???

I'm not sure this would look good ANYWHERE. Except in my toilet. That's where I put all my crap anyway.
That dog looks crazy. Make up your own fun comments on the rest. No seriously, please. I don't want to have to put another toilet reference in this post.

Yes, please, Bless our home because clearly we don't know what the f**k we're doing when it comes to decorating. And what kind of home has a fireplace on each end?? And what kind of wood do you burn to get the smoke to come out in little hearts? Crazy stuff, yo.

This is..um...a little crazy. And I was going to take a picture of the lady that wound up buying it, but she would have kicked my ass. Seriously. Have you seen Nell Carter? This lady makes her look small.
Yes. The Cutting Edge of Crap.

Something's very wrong here. A 6ft Leprechaun?? What? Just inflate and Celebrate my ass....if you see a 6 ft leprechaun, you need to get the hell out because you're about to get messed up big time. This ain't no Lucky Charms commercial, boyo!
I'm a case whore. I already have 4 cases for my 40GB iPod. These cases wouldn't fit it. But ohhhh how I wanted to get them. Just incase I got a 30GB iPod someday. Don't even ask me how many cases I have for my Pocket PC!

And after 15 years of employment with Philip-Morris you get your very own engraved ashtray and a lifetime supply of Chesterfields! Smoke up Johnny!

So because for some reason, people think you need to make a GAME out of drinking shots, here's the new one for the 2007 College Football season....you have to take a shot every time a commentator talks about how 'this Buckeye team seems to be recovering nicely after losing 13 starters.' Do that and you won't be sober at the end of ANY game this season. I guarantee it.
And of course, after picking up the shot glass, I HAD to pick up the tumbler. After all, if I'm not drinking my whiskey out of the bottle anymore, then I don't see why I should drink my beer in red-plastic cups anymore.
Admit it. You had one. And you thought it was the coolest freakin' thing ever.

Yeah. Me too. Bummer about that. I've got mine up on the shelf next to my Betamax VCR and Laserdisc player.

And with that, I leave you to whatever craziness you had planned for this Labor Day weekend. And if you say you have to work, I think I may have to kick your ass. Wooop. Hold on a second. I'm on call. Gotta go take this.
Be safe and have fun!

Failing NaNo - 4 Years and Counting

I looked, Dear Readers, and noted that the last time I saw fit to let the words fall from my brain bucket and onto these virtual pages was o...