4/29/2008 - Salvation Army Danny Thomas


i found a bowling ball!

more on that later.

so this week, due to time constraints related to this retardedly long bus ride i'm about to embark on this afternoon, i had to do my first repeat store! there are still one or two halfway decent thrift stores within relative driving distance that i haven't done yet, and of course the towering monolith that is summer avenue, but for a lot of different reasons the only one i could make this week was the salvation army on danny thomas blvd, which isn't a bad choice for my first repeat, considering they have one of the highest turnover rates in re: merchandise of any store in town. i got this decent picture of the facade from the parking lot of the garage across the street, as well as a fresh spate of "what the hell is this oddly dressed white person doing taking pictures of a junk shop" looks, which i secretly (not so secretly) enjoy a great deal.

are you bummed? i'll confess to being a little ashamed that i already had to start repeating stores, but you knew there were only so many that i could credibly try and make it to and back in one day, right? i mean memphis is huge but it's not infinite, at some point i was going to run out of territory to cover...anyway buck up little solider, wipe that tear off, when i get back to town i'm going to dive in headfirst into the biggest treasure trove of secondhand junk this world has ever seen - summer ave. i've been putting it off until i had the time to devote to it and being more or less jobless for a little while after i get back (that's still up in the air though, i'll probably end up coming back to quetzal for a couple days a week. we'll see), i think i'll probably have spare time in spades. anyway moving on

i have to assume this references new, unopened, UNUSED underwear, although i won't say i've never seen someone's old stanky draws up on the rack with a price tag on them. i'm pretty much willing to buy anything they put out on the floor of your average secondhand store if you catch me on the right day, but undergarments is about where i think any sane person should probably draw the line. i like to save money as much as the next guy but come on, these things basically go like IN your ass sometimes - that kind of filth never really washes out. i traditionally forego the damn things to begin with (sorry if that's too much info about your old buddy dave there) but if you find yourself in the mood to shop for men's low rise briefs, salvo's got you covered. or you could just buy some off of a bum on the street downtown. you know, whatever you want.

LOTS of furniture today. this stuff tends to go VERY quickly but there was a lot of it today. i mentioned this last time i was at this store but i'll say it again - IF YOU SEE SOMETHING YOU LIKE, BUY IT. nowhere is this truer (more truer?) than at this particular salvo. when we first moved here and we were scouting around for stuff to furnish our apartment there were literally 4 pieces of furniture that we looked at and thought we'd just come back the next day and get that were ALL gone by the time we came back, which was, as i mentioned, the next day. kicking yourself for that awesome couch you SHOULD have had is unproductive and requires a degree of flexibility that, be honest, many of us just don't have, so save yourself the time and aggravation and just buy the damn thing if you like it enough to stop and stare at it. it's cheap and that's why you came to the store, right?

the preceding message was brought to you by the total hypocrite who didn't buy this damn valet chair for $20 even though he REALLY wanted to, and is actually physically kicking himself in the ass right now as he writes this. oh well. so it goes. if you've never seen one of these things before it's basically about at footstool height, and you hang your tie and coat and all your personal effects on it and shit and when you go to get ready it's all right there and you can sit on a comfy little stool while you dress yourself (or, i guess theoretically have your butler do it for you) - what could be cooler than that?

so. i'm walking around,

taking pictures of the usual knickknacks and junk that they ALWAYS have here (especially love the side view mirror from like an old cutlass supreme or whatever - do they really think someone is going to buy that?), when what do i stumble upon but two boxes, on the bottom shelf, pushed over all the way on the left, in the corner, all alone, looking unsuspicious and unremarkable, but upon further examination containing

THIS, baby! my new bowling ball! i was...saying "flabbergasted" doesn't do it justice, man! i was literally giggling and tittering with delight like a friggin' nine year old girl (i imagine they do that a great deal) as i examined this damn thing! okay slow down man, breathe, think it through, i kept telling myself (and am in fact telling myself now, even as i write this), try to examine this objectively but fuck it i found a bowling ball and it fit my hand and it's got a frigging oakland raiders logo embossed on it along with the name "CHICO" and it wasn't too scuffed up and it was THREE DOLLARS. so now i have a bowling ball.

okay here's the whole story, the real reason i was so excited, well, rather the reason my excitement blossomed into almost full-on religious ecstasy when i spotted this damn thing. last week one of my favorite local bloggers called out yours truly and a select few others for a trip to hephzibah's wangs and/or thangs in orange mound, which, for a lot of stupid reasons, i haven't been able to take her up on. it gave me an idea though, which i was ruminating on one day at work when a well dressed chappie sitting at his laptop happened to look up at me and say "do you write bitter books?" and much to my consternation i had to admit that i did, and it turned out to be chris who writes unreal city, another one of my favorite local blogs, and in between stammering out praise for the stuff he'd written and a few awkward pauses because i honestly had never given any thought to what i'd say the first time someone blogspotted me in real life (i just made that word up can you tell) i managed to describe this idea i'd been ruminating on, a big idea, something so magical and mystical and packed with peanut buttery goodness that even the mention of its name makes me tremble and quiver with anticipatory glee (have i given it enough buildup already god dammit?):

band of bloggers.

my wife came up with the name. basically what i want to do is pay all the cool locals back who inspired me to do this damn project in the first place and provided me with so much useful information and a sense of familiarity with this town that by all rights i don't deserve to have yet by organizing an event, a night or just an outing where we all meet up and storm the town by force, photographing/videographing/bloggographographing the shit out of everything we see - i'm thinking hep's, i'm thinking a bar or two at some point, i'm thinking IMPERIAL LANES for some 24 hour bowling goodness, and maybe a stop at ck's to unwind afterwards, for some coffee and complaining. i don't know, it's still kind of just stewing in my head, the logistics of it all, but chris was kind enough not to spit in my face when i suggested it, which makes me think there could be some mild interest elsewhere as well. let me know what you think, my email's on here somewhere i'm fairly sure, i'm going to be out of town for the next three weeks anyway so there's plenty of time to plan and scheme, even if only turns out to be like four of us it could still be a good time.

i should mention there was another ball right next to it that was in equally good shape (if a little lacking in the embossed nfl logo department) that was actually a little too big for my hands, which is remarkable because i have pretty big hands (and you know what they say about guys with big hands...big gloves) but if you know anyone whose hands are bigger than this

tell them there's a bowling ball at the salvation army on danny thomas blvd with their name on it. moving on

found this literary masterpiece for like fifty cents or whatever. i had a copy of "the hungry hungry caterpillar" when i was a kid that i absolutely ANNIHILATED, i read the damn thing so much. for a lot of boring suburban middle class kids my age, eric carle's art style is just like imprinted on our cerebellum in a way that will never really wash off, i think. not that i mind, i think the man's really gifted and plan on visiting his museum someday, even though i won't have any kids in tow and will probably freak everyone out.

following along with my romance novel tirade from a few weeks ago i should also mention that i don't plan on stocking kids' books out the wazoo in this imaginary book store i'm going to be running in a couple years here - not that i'll have the same kind of insane jihad against them as i do against serialized romance novels, i just don't plan on having like a "KIDS' CORNER" with a bunch of shitty plastic chairs and some garish paint job where the little lunatics can roll around on the floor while their parents actually look for books they enjoy reading. i don't have any real problem with kids or anything, it's just in keeping with the whole semi-urbane, midtown, coffee and (god willing) intelligent conversation vibe the wife and i are going to try and create, i don't see a HUGE kids' section as being something i'll really have the time or energy to devote to building. i'd rather skim off the cream of the crop, things i KNOW are good (like anything eric carle, shel silverstein, dav pilkey and a few others do) and be able to almost guarantee that your kid is going to find SOMETHING they'll love for the rest of their lives than just cordon off a corner of the store and turn it into a glorified romper room. if i wanted to run a day care, i would, you know? does that seem too harsh? i hope not.

to be honest i was so distracted by the damn bowling ball that i kind of just gave the books (which are always surprisingly well organized at this place - i want to find whoever's doing that and just shake their goddamn hand) a cursory once over and scampered up to the front counter to gush at the guy working the register (need to learn his name - he's always there and he's ALWAYS super super friendly) about how awesome i thought my bowling ball was, which he was appropriately appreciative of, even if he probably started relentlessly mocking the big white dork as soon as he walked out the door - i don't care. he was nice to my face and that's more than most people can even manage, so i'll take it.

and that's going to have to do it for this week, due to time constraints and whatnot (also sorry about the relative paucity of pictures and overload of words but i was actually in a hurry to begin with and then literally felt the need to RUN out of the store with my bowling ball before someone decided it was too cool for me to have and took it away), but i plan on not stopping believing, as journey would say, and keeping this train rolling for the next few weeks while i'm in the relative cultural wasteland of my youth and young manhood, syracuse new york, and hitting up all the stores i used to haunt back in my formative years, giving you, my massive and slavishly devoted fanbase (heh heh), a glimpse at where i grew up, and for the few old friends i have who actually read this thing with any regularity, a chance to join in the fun and ransack the town with me. i'm looking forward to it. for this week, though...

Salvation Army
130 N Danny Thomas Blvd
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 525-6676

music: 101.1 blasting from a boombox - heard a sweet erykah badu track and then SOMEONE CHANGED IT TO LOUD SHOUTY GOSPEL IN THE MIDDLE OF PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC'S "FLASHLIGHT" WHY IN THE LORD'S NAME WOULD YOU DO THAT. even jesus would be pissed if you cut off p-funk like that. jesus would literally slap you. no lie.

specials: usual 50% off clothes on wednesday - still the best deal in town if you ask me that is what i will tell you

so i wasn't kidding about the band of bloggers thing. i took finding the bowling ball to be a sign, if that doesn't make me a total flake, and i am honestly unironically excited about the prospect of this happening. i think it would be fun, so if you're an area man or woman, even if you don't run a god damned blog (that's not at all a requirement) and you want to make this happen just hit me up and we can start working it out.

oh also i'm contractually obligated to throw this in for my little sister in law before i go:

okay. that's it. assuming i don't murder anyone during my 28 hours in the arms of greyhound, i'll see you all in syracuse. i hope you're bringing a tarp or some trash bags or something because it's going to be like front-row-of-a-gallagher-show messy. see you there.



4/21/08 - Bountiful Treasures

i had a stupid day!

being, as i am, a pretty stupid person in general, i'm prone to having entire days comprised of just doing nothing but wandering around thinking to myself, "why am i doing this right now? this is really stupid."

on monday, my only day off this week from the JOB THAT ATE CLEVELAND, which i will, coincidentally, be bailing on at the end of the month, for the greener pastures of unemployment, i went and ran some errands, went to our storage unit, and then just started driving down poplar. just aimlessly, endlessly driving down the most annoying street in memphis tennessee, listening to npr report on the skyrocketing prices of gas and looking for...what, exactly? thrift stores? nope, i've got that mapped out well into the suburbs and i knew there weren't any. book stores? nope, also know the locations of most of the major local ones and aside from davis kidd (which i'd just been to) and the borders in the strip mall in germantown, nothing shaking there.

so what the hell was i doing? apparently trying to find a place to eat a crappy burrito, as i finally managed to snap myself out of my reverie and turn around at the taco bell in collierville, over 20 miles away. i barely managed to slink home, exhausted and ashamed at my fast food consumption, and take a power nap before i could even attempt to reload and try to do something of some substance with this one day off that i was being granted.

a bunch of other stupid shit transpired in between then and the relevant portion of this entry, but to avoid too much voluminous whining about all the ways a boring white guy can waste his days off from work (i know, i know...that's sort of what this whole damn project is about in the first place), let's just skip ahead to the part where i, on the verge of just writing the whole day off as a tremendous failure, stumble across a diamond in the proverbial rough of the out of the way hodgepodge of crap that constitutes most of "american way" south of the highway:

the "bountiful treasures" thrift store, in a fairly innocuous looking little strip of shops off to one side of the "american way," the name of which still makes me giggle just to consider. isn't that one of the things superman was supposed to fight for or something? anyway the store would be easy enough to miss if you weren't paying attention - the sign's not huge and most people drive through there at a fairly good clip, so you'd have to be paying attention, as i was, at least halfway.

the store has the sort of cookie cutter interior that you'd expect from something just jammed into a strip mall - carpeted floors, drop ceiling, little side rooms...it could have just as easily been a law office or something instead of the miraculous mishmash of thrifty delights that it turned out to be, like

these totally sweet vintage little tv dinner trays. i've totally caught my wife's silly ass bento box fever so i'm all into compartmentalizing food now and these seem like they'd be AMAZING for little ocd dinner parties - perfect for the friend or family member who breaks out into hives whenever the peas touch a potato and would probably have a seizure if they had to try and eat one of those kfc bowl meal things - or, as patton oswalt calls them, "a failure pile in a sadness bowl."



come to think of it, i tried to eat one of the damn things once and i almost lapsed into a coma myself. why are they so f*cking popular? whatever.

these gorgeous art deco little serving tray things, like $2.50 a piece i think. fill that bitch with some cheddar flavored store brand snack mix from schnucks and hey! it might as well be the god damned super bowl!

and this 15 or 16 piece glass set (the green ringed ones) for $6. if i wasn't on the verge of replacing my entire collection of glasses with those unbelievable frosted plastic restaurant tumblers from lit (and then getting my head chopped off by my wife when she finds out) i would totally snap these up. almost a MUST have.

this place really runs the gamut though, from your usual selection of neglected old polaroid cameras to like this astonishingly nice king size sleigh bed for $375 that wouldn't look out of place in any antique store in town. i think this thing is just straight up beautiful - nice dark finish on the wood, and aside from some scratches and dings basically in good shape, as far as i could tell - and i definitely put it in my "come back through and snag this" list for when we buy a house someday, assuming it's still there. the fact that i was the only customer for the 30/40 minutes i was in the store makes me think it might be. hope so.

there would be more pictures, MANY more actually, of the old school projection tv setup from the mid 80's that i coveted so desperately and openly, to the entire room full of speakers and stereo equipment and electronics, to the sweet ass set of metal coasters for $4 that i really wanted to buy, but i had an interesting experience: i actually talked to someone. normally when i "do" a store (forgive the turn of phrase, i hate saying it as much as you probably hate hearing it but it's apt here) i usually come in, glide around in as anonymous of a fashion as i can muster being a weird looking 6 foot tall white guy in a beat up old suit, take my little pictures, make my little notes and get the hell out. being that i was the only customer though, one of the ladies who ran the place saw me taking pictures and making notes and wandered over to ask me what was up, an understandable thing, considering.

we got to talking, me trying to describe the blog/project without sounding like too much of a complete obsessive freak, her trying to figure out if i was trying to price compare/scam her/blatantly lying or just insane or otherwise undesirable, and she noticeably blanched when i mentioned the prospect of taking pictures. while she didn't come right out and say "i don't want you taking pictures in here," i definitely got the drift that she was pretty unhappy with the general state of disorganization (which i unsuccessfully tried to convince her was actually head and shoulders above most other stores in town that i've been to, which at this point is, you know, a LOT) and would really like me not to visually document the whole thing.

SO, i was faced with a unique conundrum. where's the compromise point where i try to be respectful of someone's wishes (i mean, i would like to be able to go back to the store at some point in the future, you know) and still do what i feel like i need to do to make a good entry and promote the store and have enough material for me to be able to say something useful or significant about it at all?

i ended up not taking any more pictures (except for one or two that i just had to sneak because it was too important - sorry) and resigning myself to leaving what i actually think is one of the cooler, less trafficked stores in town largely undocumented out of respect for the proprietor's wishes. i gave her the web site address though, and i hope, having seen the end product of all my scribbling and clicking, maybe next time she'll let me take some more pictures and see that i'm here to try to inform and educate people about good stores, which she definitely runs, while still being entertaining and silly and stupid and gross and weird and all that good stuff that you, my millions and millions of readers (permit me my delusions, please) have come to know and love so dearly over the course of like these four weeks or however long i've been doing this.

here are the books i ended up getting

so, final summation - great store, good prices (books like 50/99 cents or so), good specials (bags of clothes for $7 - crazy), friendly staff, totally worth the drive and i'm not just saying that because one of the proprietors might be reading, i promise. if you go, please tell them you heard about it from me and maybe next time i go back i can give it the FULL writeup it deserves.

Bountiful Treasures Thrift Store
4330 American Way
Memphis, TN 38118
(901) 794-6830

m-f 9-6
sat 9-5

pop r+b radio station just playing in the background - apropos, i mostly tuned it out

specials: aside from the bags of clothes for $7 i didn't see any but without pictures to fall back on there is a definite possibility that i saw several important things that are worth relating and have now forgotten them entirely.

and that, sadly, will do it for this week. didn't have time enough or planning or forethought or wherewithal to hit any other stores - bummer. that's okay though, because next week i'll probably go for nancy's if i'm feeling sufficiently burly and then you get not one (1), not two (2), but THREE (3) solid weeks of haunted hayrides down memory lane as i take you all back to my formative years thrifting in the snow covered, salt encrusted metropolis of my childhood, syracuse new york. i'm going back, ostensibly, for a close friend's bachelor party and subsequent wedding (assuming we all survive atlantic city) but i'll be hitting up some of my old thrift store stomping grounds along the way too, and hope to (ear)wax nostalgic for a while with ya about where i'm from before returning to memphis towards the end of the month, rolling up my sleeves and preparing to tackle the white whale of the memphis thrifting experience: summer ave. are you ready? i'm not.

until then, may the road rise to meet you...just not TOO quickly.

your pal



4/14/2008 - Goodwill Highland St

i'll come right out and say it - this week was a bust. due to some scheduling hoohah with my dumbass job, i thought i was only going to have one day off so i tried to cram in a trip to a thrift store i'd been meaning to visit in between laundry, moving massive quantities of book inventory around, chauffeuring my wife to and from work, and drinking heavily. needless to say it did not go well. i'll try to keep the job-related bitching to a minimum, seeing as it's mostly irrelevant, suffice to say that if anyone has any hookups at wild oats/fresh market for a simple, part time position hauling organic bananas around i'd love to hear about it. let me know.

some other blog related business before we dig in, though. voting was overwhelmingly in favor of "over," vs. "under" or "other," in re: toilet paper alignment. good to know i'm not the only one who feels strongly enough about the issue to make my voice heard. next question on the table - if you had to bring only ONE of the holy pentumvirate of monster themed breakfast cereals to a desert island with you - being, of course:

boo berry

count chocula

franken berry

and the forgotten duo of fruit brute and yummy mummy, which would you bring?

any thoughts you have on this crucial issue would be greatly appreciated.

moving on.

this trip was a bust for a few different reasons. one being, i've been to this store once before and, unfortunately, on this visit found it lacking two of the crucial things that made it stand out in my mind on my previous visit: pimps and potholes. last time there was, hand to god, the BIGGEST pothole i have EVER seen in my life in the relatively tiny parking lot outside, a massive, car-swallowing crevasse that even the most observant driver could easily crack their radiator on, if they weren't careful, accompanied inside the store by the smoothest, silkiest, head-to-toe decked out pimpinest pimp that ever laid down the hand, just browsing through the racks like he didn't look like a god damned circus freak, and, OF COURSE, i didn't have my fucking camera.

this time? freshly paved parking lot. boring, run of the mill thrift store clientele. in the words of calvin, PTTTHHHBBBPPPTTTHHH!!!!

what it did have, looking on the bright side, were a few really standout pieces of wall accoutrement, ranging from this enormous rather well framed $6 photo of a downtown skyline, to

this even bigger two panel japanese inspired piece for $20 which i coveted wildly and in full view of several strangers...i'm a public coveter, i'm ashamed to admit...to

this rather snazzy martini piece for $3, which, even though (according to the back sticker) it came from tj maxx, was still EXTREMELY appealing. i am, however, still trying to find a suitable frame for the einstein piece i snagged at salvo downtown a few weeks back, and am, therefore, for the moment, out of the wall hanging buying gaming thinging whatever. anyway so yeah they're all still there as far as i know. DEFINITELY go buy them.

this place was really heavy on the knickknacks/old electronics end of things, which i found a little disconcerting for some reason that i can't really put my finger on, considering how weak the rest of the selection was. my near misses with the next couple items inspired me to develop a new feature in this blog, which hopefully i'll be running on a regular basis. it's called


there are, on any given thrifting day, any number of things that i bite my lip at, wander around and reconsider for a while, and then eventually return to the shelf/table/huge garbage can from whence they came. my question to you, readers, in these little interludes, will be, if you were in my shoes, at that particular moment, would you have pulled the capitalist trigger, so to speak? would you have, as they say, rode the snake? would? you? have? bought? it?

first up is some weird ass little thing called "elements," apparently an extremely copyright-conscious grownup version of chutes and ladders, played with shot glasses. it was $4, still untouched in the box, and made from pure, honest glass - no cheap plexi b.s. here. my problem, though, was with the simplicity of it all - all you do, apparently, in the game is roll a set of dice (which you have to provide yourself) and move your glass around the board, drinking when appropriate and assigning drinks to your fellow contestants at the respective times. maybe if i was 19 again and drinking in some sort of regimented fashion following the dictates of a structured activity held any sort of appeal i would have snapped this right up, but am i the only one who thinks that drinking "games" are, by and large, just a weak way of forcing extra socialization and conviviality into an activity which is already social and convivial by nature? are we that nervous around each other, really?

don't get me wrong, i'm still down for a game of asshole whenever and wherever it's appropriate (or even more wonderfully inappropriate), and i try not to begrudge anyone else their preferred methods of having a good time, but nonetheless, my question to you, dear reader, is...WOULD...YOU...HAVE...BOUGHT...IT?

as a tangential post script, if anyone ever sees a copy of the "shot glass chess" set that i'm still kicking myself for passing up at the big lots in galveston several years ago for $10 floating around, PLEASE, PLEASE just get it and i'll pay you back in spades, we can sort out the details later on. talk about regret...

boy, where the hell do i even start tackling this thing? the flexassage, or flex assage as i immediately took to calling it, is a roughly 2 foot long vibrating piece of foam that made me more uncomfortable than climbing the god damned rope in gym class. what else do i have to say about it? it cost $2. it's a secondhand, two foot piece of vibrating foam that comes in its own plastic covering case that says "FLEXASSAGE™" on the outside. i was tempted. i passed, figuring that i probably flex my own assage enough as is. but. the question remains.





that concludes this week's episode of our philo-retail-sophical q & a session. feel free to answer in the comments, i'd actually kind of like to know what you would have done in my place.

so, yeah, but anyway, there were a few funny records

and a fair selection of books - apologies for the blurriness of the photo, that was definitely a surprise to me

unfortunately almost all the books were $2/3+ a piece, so i passed, aside from another piece to add to my increasingly obsessive james bond book collection.

and, honestly, that's about it. it's not that the goodwill on highland is really a BAD store, in the way that the shadow of treasuries on presley blvd was kind of outrageously gross or anything, it just kind of lacked the one weird hook or spark of insanity that sets a truly memorable thrift store aside from a place that you just visit once and forget about, obsessive blog projects notwithstanding. i'll definitely be back, don't doubt that for a second, but i remember leaving and thinking that it was a real shame that goodwill had their weakest store in town right next to the u of m campus where, presumably, college students are still potentially interested in an interesting, vibrant, unique place to buy and exchange weird shit for very little money. maybe the fact that they bothered to resurface the parking lot is a sign that they're interested in changing that, but of course, only time will tell.

574 S Highland St
Memphis, TN 38111
(901) 458-6610

m-sat 9-6
sun 12-6

music: usual loud shouty gospel on a radio behind the counter - is that like a mandate from goodwill corporate headquarters or something?

for my part, i'm sorry that i only made one store this week - i could very well be getting a job that allows me an appropriate amount of time to pursue my insane little interests here before too terribly long, so hopefully the whole thing will be back on track tout suite. i know, the tension is driving me insane too.

talk to you soon

your pal



4/5/2008 - irrelevant epilogue

on a completely unrelated to anything note, i had the best moment i think i've had so far in memphis on the way home from the amvets store. we decided to take presley back up instead of the highway, and we hit the parkway and started heading back towards midtown, and "love and happiness" by al green came on the radio, and i rolled the windows down and turned the stereo up, and it all just clicked in a way that it hadn't really done yet. it made sense that we were here, what we're doing here, what we are. i don't think i can pin it down any better than that, and we didn't say anything about it at the time, it was just one of those moments that you have that you know is good and you don't want to ruin by pointing out. not that any of this is at all relevant to the point of this blog, i just...it happened that day, and i have this picture, and i wanted to talk about it. anyway after that we got home, dropped off our stuff and went down the street to the P&H, had show and tell picture time with Alex, ate some food, drank some beer, and called it a night. probably the most fun i've had here so far. getting settled in and adjusted has been really tough at some points, but things are looking up.

you stay classy memphis.

and thanks for stopping by.

but mainly, stay classy.


4/5/2008 - Amvets Presley Blvd

[technical note - i finally just gave up on trying to get photobucket and blogger to play nice when it came to pictures and have found iPhoto and google's nifty answer to photobucket/imageshack/flickr/whatever, picasa, prove to be a much more elegant and efficient combination, not that you asked. the upshot of it, what i'm blathering about is, that now the pictures actually function as clickable links to larger images in my picasa album, if you're interested in seeing the fine filigreed detail on that hummel figurine up close and personal, click away. IT'S NOT PORN I PROMISE. NONE OF THIS IS PORN OKAY SO STOP ASKING. okay, on with the show.]

amvets. SO bangin'.

SO chill.

SO worth the drive.

i LOVE this place, if that's not coming through enough already. world's largest thrift store? perhaps not, but after the borderline spelunking, indiana jones m*therf*cking swashbuckling adventure we had at the shadows of treasuries, it certainly struck me as more than a little...how should i say it...elysian. super late hours that they actually seem to adhere to, so you can make it out there if you actually happen to work a normal job with normal hours...

great specials

a friggin' snack bar - okay really just a couple of vending machines and a few chairs, but still. they also have a little arcade featuring old fave ms. pac man, along with primal rage (IT'S LIKE MORTAL KOMBAT WITH DINOSAURS OMG) and a playchoice-10 machine, just like imperial lanes. have you been to imperial lanes yet? you should go. let's go, i'll go. you wanna go?

i digress.

have i already mentioned that this place is bangin'? i have, haven't i. amusingly enough i kind of found myself at a loss for words, and am having the same issue now. my notebook page for this store is only about halfway full, as opposed to shadow of treasuries taking up a page and a half, and not in a good way. so perhaps i'll just let some of these pictures speak for themselves, for the most part. what do you think of that idea, dear?

she seems amenable to it. me shutting up for even just a few seconds always = a minor miracle in my wife's eyes. and yes...she bought the hat.

the quintessential dumb, unnecessary board game that will only serve as an amusing relic of our era for future generations to look back on with mildly bemused contempt. notice, though, if it comes through in the detail, the disclaimer at the bottom "no computer required to play!" and be, perhaps, as baffled as i was. if you don't have a computer, what possible interest would you have in an ebay-based game in the first place? or, alternately, picture the guy angrily returning the game to the store the day after he bought it because it doesn't have a USB port for him to hook up his laptop to it and therefore, can not actually buy anything on ebay through the game itself. i don't know, just speculating.

love this, though. these pop up a lot and i always want to get them, but feel like it would almost be an invasion to buy and take home something so personal, such a fragment or snippet or whatever of someone's life, their past experience contained in a little object like that. my slide carousel idea notwithstanding, i find myself being oddly sensitive about invading other people's privacy or pasts or emotional space or whatever. i mean, there's a world of difference between 400 pictures of some overweight middle age couple trucking around outer mongolia and this almost heartbreakingly intimate picture of this woman on her wedding day. so many questions, so much backstory that your mind can't help but fill in. how does this get here? this is one of the many reasons i love what i do, so so much. this is where your shit ends up when it gets cast to the four winds, assuming it's not in a landfill somewhere. at some point in the past, this woman is sharing a special moment with a lady who i can only imagine is her mother/grandmother/whatever, on her wedding day, and someone's taking a picture. now i'm taking a picture of that picture, and you're all looking at it, and somehow we're all in that same moment together. unfuckingbelievable.

anyway, as a refreshingly silly counterpoint to all this, you know, "emotional depth" and rambling pseudoliterary piffle, here's the requisite huge pile of crutches that is at every thrift store, ever, always, along with the near-requisite accompaniment of old golf clubs. almost makes me want to hit the links but obviously, i'm not a golfer. let's put our heads together and come up with something fun to do with all these crutches, if for no other reason than to see the look on the cashier's face when we bring up fourteen pairs of crutches and set them on the counter. you in?

and, from the "unbelievable randomosity" department, a whirlpool tub! just hangin' out, pretending like it's not blowing your mind, all nonchalant like "hey, if you've got $500 lyin' around burnin' a hole in your pocket you can take me home right now! back up the truck and let's go!" and you're like BARF in my own mouth that is amazing!

and, right next to the tub, these bad boys. i don't know if the picture really gives you an indicator of their size but they're really big, totally sturdy if not exactly pristine, and at $40 each not a bad deal if not exactly a steal. was i tempted? you bet i was. did i pass? i sure did. do i regret it? maybe a little. do i love talking like robert evans?

you bet your ass i do.

anyway i guess i was supposed to be talking about books or something? their selection wasn't too bad, nothing to REALLY write home about, but priced totally fairly at 79 cents per hardback, 49 cents per paperback, and 29 cents for kids' books. found some cool stuff, which i'll get to in a second, but not without mentioning the INSANE

amount of 8 track tapes (at least in comparison to the other thrift stores i've been to)

and cassettes, also a huge book case full of vhs tapes that just wasn't looking suitably photogenic or something, so if you're into mildly outdated media formats, this is the place for you! i didn't look through them too much though as i was too busy assembling my purchases:

that's 8, count 'em eight vintagey serialized romance novels, and i feel this would be a good moment for me to pause, and, as future proprietor of the bitter end of bittersweet books and coffee, LLC, assure you, my potential book-buying public that at no point do i have any plans or intentions of selling serialized romance novels or other assorted trash of that nature in my store. a brief smattering of amusing vintage items will be available for purchase or perusal AS A TRIFLING AMUSEMENT ONLY but will never, and i will stand firm by this assertion even if it puts me in the poor house, NEVER occupy a place of prominence on my shelves. not to get too high and mighty but i regard serialized romance as possibly the lowest form of literature (if the word "literature"'s even appropriate to use in the first place), rivaled only in my disdain by the latest spate of completely fictionalized memoirs by middle class white people pretending to have had interesting lives. i take that back, i'd rather read a hundred pages of james frey describing unanesthetized root canals, or even actually HAVE one myself, than wade through that garbage for even a minute. camp has its place and the vintage serials are wonderfully fun to read with tongue firmly implanted in cheek, even the most mirthless asshole in the world (a title i could claim to be a contender for) can appreciate that, but i gotta come down firm on this: no romance novels. ever. new ones, anyway. we clear?

okay now it's time to talk about judy.

oh, judy judy judy...why you gotta play a man like that? i just got done ranting and raving about how i wasn't gonna sell trashy shit like the stuff you crank out and then there you are, with the book that changed my life.

she always plays me like that.

explanation: right at the beginning of the whole book buying, store opening, shit-getting together process that started a couple of years ago in beautiful sunny galveston texas, i happened across a copy of the book you see here, "Scruples", in the salvation army, and, drawn by a force that i still can't put my finger on to this day, i decided to pick it up and page through it even though it obviously belongs in the class of books that i usually do my damndest to avoid. i happened on the only dog-eared page in the whole book and read the PORNIEST, raunchiest sex scene i had ever seen, outside of "Christina's Treasure," which i'll tell you about someday when you're older. it was love at first sight. i still can't claim to have waded all the way through any of her works although i've made a damn good effort on more than one occasion, but i can claim to proudly own at least one copy of everything the dear woman has ever written. danielle steel? you can go to hell. jackie collins? yawn.

judy's the only girl for me.

okay, moving on. made my book purchases, dropped them in the car and came back in to wander around for a while while amy finished up, just because i was having so much fun. happened to check the end of the tigers game - dorsey just ABUSES people in the low post, it's almost too embarrassing for their sakes for me to watch.

snagged this neat little purse/bento carrier thing for super happy wife time - all the ladies go "awwww that's so sweet he finds stuff for his wife!" all the guys are going either "whipped" or "homo." say whatever you want, if being in love makes me a fag then let's bust out the madonna dvds and whip up some mimosas. i also encouraged her to buy that pair of pink converse that are all the way on the far left side of the top shelf in this picture. that's right, i'm VERY secure.

also found (but didn't buy) this, and i wish i had thought to take a picture of the back, because it had this HILARIOUS inscription/disclaimer thing that said something like "plate not for food use. plate may poison food." or something really ominous and cryptic like that, but i can't remember exactly what it was now. still kind of sweet, and only like 50 cents or so i think, but remember - it may poison your food.

the following is a short one-act play i've written based on the conversation that i had with my wife after i saw the steam buggy, entitled "steam buggy."
me: "steam buggy! $8.98!"

the wife: "what?"

me: "steam buggy!...$8.98!"

wife: "steam...buggy?

me: "steam buggy! $8.98!"


i try to keep the covert photography of other people to a minimum at all times, mainly because it's REALLY hard to get decent candid shots of anyone in the first place, let alone like over your shoulder while you're pretending to tie your shoes. also, while TECHNICALLY not illegal, it definitely skeeves people out, and i try to keep the skeeve factor pretty low most of the time if i can, seeing as i'm starting with a baseline level of "big, weird looking white dude in a beat up old suit," but i had to make an exception because these kids were so god damned cute. i know the picture doesn't do it justice at all but they were acting out like a little game show and asking each other questions off this trivial pursuit card they found and singing songs that they wrote with their imaginary boyfriend chris brown and it was just like the icing on the coolness cake that was amvets presley blvd. go on, girls.

anyway that just about does it i think, just one more observation before we go - several of the clothing items that mrs. dave ended up buying had discounted prices on the tag, the "discounting" method amounting to basically crossing out the old price and writing in a new one with a charcoal pencil, and i was tempted to suggest (not that it would have amounted to much, probably) to the guys behind the counter that they may want to devise a different method for adjusting prices that isn't so...how can i say this...easy to abuse for personal gain? i mean charcoal pencils are like a dollar from any art supply store on the planet, if you walk in with one in your pocket (and a little eraser if you want to remove any evidence of a previous price) you can basically decide how much you want to pay for a lot of stuff. again FOR THE RECORD I DO NOT AND HAVE NEVER ADVOCATED STEALING, SCAMMING OR OTHERWISE SCREWING OVER GREAT LITTLE STORES AND/OR CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS, i'm just making an observation. what you do with it is up to you.

okay spending: like $7 in books for me, don't remember how much amy's clothes were. no one cares how much we spend anyway, i'm just going to start skipping this i think unless it seems especially relevant.

Amvets Thrift Center
2526 Elvis Presley Blvd
Memphis, TN 38106
(901) 775-5010

m-sat 9-9
sun 12-6

music: quiet, unobtrusive soul music from some radio station. perfect.

sales: 25% off for seniors every monday, 99 cent sweaters, 25% off coats, jackets, shorts, t-shirts, blouses and kids clothes - they're practically givin' the shit away folks

that'll just about do it for this week people. my work schedule is going to be thrown into mild to moderate disarray this week (and perhaps longer) but you needn't concern yourselves with that. i will find the time, i will MAKE the time god dammit, neither rain not sleet nor snow nor hail nor whatever else is in the mailman's oath will delay me from my appointed rounds. or, in the words of one of my personal heroes, mr. george nada:

"i have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and i'm all out of bubblegum."

thrift on