8/28/08 - Amvets Presley Blvd
hi gang - thanks for joining us again on a gray sunday afternoon's voyage to the amvets store on elvis presley boulevard. now that i've thankfully rejoined the working world, my thrifting schedule will be cast into chaos for a short while, so forgive me in advance if posts become sporadic, mangled, or insane. rest assured some kind of equilibrium will be achieved, at some point down the line. i suppose sometimes that's the best you can manage, right? anyway on with the show
and it's a doo-hoo-hoozy of a show today, as we (my lovely assistant WANDA a.k.a. my wife) and i were called upon to convene for a 90's party, centered around the television show "My So Called Life," which some of you may remember with any degree of fondness, revulsion, or (most appropriately) apathy and disillusionment, my personal fave. we took it upon ourselves to pick up the swankiest nineties duds we could get our hands on, and where better to do so than the thrift store, right? i had a blast rifling through all the flannel, trying vainly to call to mind how anyone could have ever regarded this the height of fashion but then again what the hell did we know, right?
we were just kids! we didn't know this shit made us look like idiots! what did we know about chopping down trees? nothing!
you get the point. lots of flannel. flannel everywhere. on the list of "ubiquitous things that are at every thrift store on the face of the planet," flannel is right up there with ugly paintings, broken toasters, and cosby sweaters in terms of prominence. it really did bring back memories though, of the time in my life when my love affair with secondhand culture began in earnest, and i could still see this stuff with a fresh set of eyes, like it must be for a lot of people on their first few trips. sometimes i wish i could have that newness back a little, still have no idea what to expect, but in a way being however familiar i am (and i'm no expert, at all) with what you're likely to find at most thrift stores just makes the surprises all the more pleasant and unexpected.
so, flannel shirt in hand, we move on to the next crucial component of the 90's ensemble: ironic t-shirt, preferably from a sports team you don't belong to. there are different schools of thought about the most effective method of communicating ironic detachment, existential malaise, and general apathy in t-shirt form. some people lean towards the "band i hate but pretend to like because it's funny" end of the spectrum, or the "random phrase that makes no sense relative to my situation" (world's greatest grandma, etc) area, but i've always felt a good old fashioned christian softball jersey really hits the sweet spot - simultaneously taking religion, organized sports, and the concept of dressing yourself in a way that makes any fucking sense at all down a peg. take that! you showed 'em
there were several contenders. i'll post a pic of the finished ensemble below and let you judge for yourself. in the meantime, i'll just say that i couldn't get this one because i actually did think third grade was kind of cool. rule number one of good old fashioned nineties style irony: never mean what you say, and never under ANY circumstances say what you mean. write that down. or not. whatever
i don't get this one but i thought i would include it because i think it is hilarious
same here, although this one is clearly TRYING to be funny, so it loses a couple points off the top for sincerity. still. little anthropomorphic fire extinguisher man. brilliant
and of course it wouldn't be a trip to the amvets without one pricelessly perfect vintage old computing system, this one still in the box, looking basically untouched since its heyday
ladies and gentlemen i give you the texas instruments ti-99/4a model, original retail price $525 in the grand old year of 1981, now selling for a whopping seven dollars i think, plugs directly into your tv, i swear to you if there had been any cartridges lying around and i wasn't so frighteningly broke i would have snapped this puppy up in less than a heartbeat
so if these pictures are making you drool like the sight of this thing did to me, then get down there, fool, because it's probably still on the shelf. here is some background info. can i come over and play with it sometime?
moving on, the usual outlay of hilarious kitchen crap from decades past...i guess there was a time when grinding your own beef at home was kind of an appealing idea or something? i was actually kind of tempted to snag this thing, just as much for the fact that it's one of those vacuum seal jobbers that supposedly, if you can get it to work, sticks to your kitchen counter with a near-immovable force while you blissfully grind away whatever meats or meatlike substances you might have lying around
and it is a very attractive shade of orange
insert your own sophomoric "grinding your own beef as crude sexual euphemism" joke here
BAWWWWWW i got this for my wife. truer words were never spoken by a small plastic ornament
slick little set of thermos-style modular little mugs...i would say "i need a bigger kitchen" but really if i picked up every neat little cup and appliance and glass set that i saw from week to week my god damn kitchen would have to be the size of a football stadium just to hold it all.
the small amount of vomit that you'll find rising into the back of your mouth right now is brought to you by the anne geddes corporation
i actually kind of liked these, somewhat
so yeah this is ostensibly supposed to be about books, to one degree or another, right? here is what i found. a proverbial sh*tting f*ckton of teenage supernatural fiction, and by "teenage" i mean both aimed at, and in some cases actually written by teenagers. this particular author, one "Amelia Atwater-Rhodes" was first published at the tender age of THIRTEEN OMG and is apparently like the Anne Rice of the pubescent set or something. they had about nine of her books, all of which appeared to plumb pretty much the same territory
and so on
along with a bunch of really regrettable "Y/A MONSTER FIC" like this one..."monster blood tattoo?" really? monster blood tattoo? anyway i'd be lying if i said i gave this stuff the closer examination that it probably merits, but seriously
look at this crap. even at my most morbidly curious i don't think i could slog through more than a few pages of this nonsense before i succumbed to advanced this-is-so-awful-my-pelvis-just-spontaneously-exploded-itis. it's a real disease, look it up. go on
it just goes on and on, too! there were probably like maybe twenty of these things, which leads one to wonder, as i often do, "how does all this stuff get here?" did someone's bible thumping mom just have a jesus fit and decide to pitch all her angsty teenager's completely harmless and benign monster books because they feared a secret satanic influence? and if so, how much would you pay to see a video of the hissy fit that the kid threw when they found out? ooh i bet you've never seen so many doors slammed in your life
for my part, if i found this stuff all over my kid's book shelves, i think i would probably take them out back and have a nice long talk about the birds and the bees and the kids with way way too much eyeshadow...then i'd show them a picture of robert smith without any makeup on...then i'd put the collected works of h.p. lovecraft into a blender, liquefy it and pour it down their throat while i beat them about the head and shoulders with a claw hammer. i am in no rush at all to be a parent.
just for the record, and not to sound like too much of a cranky old man here, but back in my day if you were 11 years old and you wanted to read about monsters, this is what you got. and we liked it!
so books were kind of a bust this time out. no big deal, i got a ton of great stuff the last time we were here. let's try the records...any luck there?
no luck at all.
unless you count thirty (seriously) copies of "born not sworn" by AMBUSH as luck, in which case i hit the god damned jackpot. i know what everyone's getting as a stocking stuffer this year!...
you think i'm kidding
as a random aside that has nothing to do with anything, we picked up three or four good-sized canvas totes for not more than a buck for each of them, to assuage our sorely worn ecological consciences at the embarrassing amount of plastic we generate just from going to the grocery store each week, and it occurred to me to recommend that you all do the same - i seriously see these things at every store i go to, and they're always cheap as hell, and i've been putting them to use left and right since we brought them home. good for you, good for the environment, and good for the good people at the amvets store. i'm not going to go so far as to start talking about "making a difference" or anything, but jesus, i mean if we all just started doing little stuff like this after a while it would HAVE to mean something, somewhere, somehow, right?
okay probably not
anyway that'll do it for this week - another good outing at the amvets, which as always gets mucho bonus points (and a lot more of my business, to be sure) for being open on sunday and just generally kicking six different kinds of ass, even if you do have to drive down to the belly of the beast to get to it, but whatever. i had a great time picking out some silly nineties clothes, here is what we ended up with:
my wife's ensemble and my boots and jeans were from the private collection, but the thermal undershirt, ironic tee and super sweet flannel shirt (which i am wearing as i type this) were all courtesy of the amvets, costing maybe seven dollars total, you won't be surprised to find. the my so called life party was a smashing (and smashED) success, more pics here, griping about the aftermath here here and here.
thanks for reading, join us again soon, same thrift time, same thrift channel.
2526 Elvis Presley Blvd
Memphis, TN 38106