Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thrift Store Pen Pals - Laura!

Although I may not be the most active blogger or commenter, I still feel I have the best blog-friends ever! Laura from Musing of and Orange Sheep was this week's Thrift Store Pen Pal, and she did an awesome job. I'm always impressed with my Pen Pals - you guys do way more creative things with your items than I would think to do - and Laura was no exception!

She took her item sightseeing in Manhattan and got some pretty great pictures of all the fun they had! It was highly entertaining to look at the random passersby in the backgrounds of the pictures, too. So do yourself a favor and check out Laura's review by clicking the link below!!!

As always, if you want to be a part of the awesome Thrift Store Pen Pals, just click here!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Judging Books by Their Covers - Part 3!

Although we were warned against it as children, one of my favorite things to do is judge books by their covers. Literally! This time I have an excellent assortment of fine reading, summarized and judged, solely by the title and cover picture, by yours truly. I'm pretty sure I am about 90% accurate on all of my book summaries, so go to your local library and pick up some of these great books! *insert Reading Rainbow transition sound effect*

First up is a classic, The Very Best of Friends, by Anonymous.

Here is where you would expect me to make a bestiality joke about the kid and farm animals rolling in the hay together, but I'm not going to do that (although by telling you I'm not going to make the joke, I just made the joke. Win!). I generally never open the book when Judging Books by Their Covers, but I opened this one.

It is JUST a cover (the pages were ripped out), so I can still get away with it. Anyway, the kid on the cover is a very young Michael Vick. I know, he looks really pale; it turns out Mr. Vick is actually Caucasian, but since he grew up on a farm he was out in the sun a lot and just got completely covered in freckles. That's why he looks so dark now.

(I totally stole that freckle joke.)

Mike never had many friends so he had to look for more creative sources of entertainment. He found the farm animals to be particularly good listeners, as they never complained whenever he went on about himself. They all became very close, and so the Grain Gang was formed. They even came up with fun nicknames! Member list:

  • Michael Vick - Mad Dog Mike
  • Hen - The Scrambler
  • Cow - Cuddy
  • Horse - Me Dick
  • Goat - The Bleating Beater

The Grain Gang was all fun and games at first. They roamed the farm, played by the creek, and discussed girls. But things turned for the worse when Mad Dog Mike got into drugs. The gang started noticing he was acting differently and was spending less and less time with them.

One day, Mike called a gang meeting in the barn. The animals were hesitant considering how Mike had been acting lately, but thought he was calling them there to discuss his drug habit. Mike showed up looking very shady and shifty. He told them he had a fool-proof money-making opportunity and he wanted them to be part of it. All they had to do was meet up in front of the two barns at 6:00 pm. It sounded easy enough, and if it helped Mad Dog Mike, the gang figured they'd do their part.

They arrived in front of the barns at 6, and to their surprise there was another gang there, and they looked angry! Just then, Michael put a fence around the two gangs and said, "Don't let me down, Grain Gang! I have a lot of money riding on you guys killing that other gang!" And that was the end of The Scrambler, Cuddy, Me Dick, and The Bleating Beater. And the beginning of Michael Vick - Animal Figher.

If that was too depressing, next up we have Diablo - A Day Like Any Other by Gabi Adam!

Everyone knows that Diablo is another name for the Devil, and this book is about the Devil himself. Although he is commonly known as the personification of evil, he had a biography written about him to let the world know what a day in the life of Satan is like.

The book starts off with Diablo waking up in the morning and starting his Keurig for some Donut Shop coffee, then watching the news for an hour. He then goes outside and steps onto a beautiful pasture with lots of rolling hills and a single rearing horse, silhouetted against the sunrise. The Devil then puts his fingers to his mouth and whistles. "Sunflake! Here girl!" The horse neighs and happily runs over to her master. "Good morning, gorgeous! Want to take a ride today?" Diablo feeds Sunflake a handful of oats while petting her shiny brown mane.

They then go on a ride through the stunning meadow and through the woods to a cottage set near a babbling brook. Diablo knocks on the door and a fragile little old lady answers. "Morning Mrs. Muffin! I brought you some more home baked cookies. :)" "Oh, Diablo, you are too good to me. You visit me every day and never ask anything in return. Please come in, I have just prepared some tea!" "Thanks, gran, but Sunflake and I have a big day today. I just dropped by to say hello!" They say their goodbyes and Diablo rides off to save an orphanage.

The book really shows that the Devil has just been given a bad rap all these years. The back of the book shows Diablo wearing a wool turtleneck and glasses and enjoying a poetry book.

Finally, we have ¿Donde Esta Bebe Oso? by Mystery Author.

I went to Google Translate for some help with this next one. Unless you can read Spanish, I suggest you do the same.

Diego estaba sentado con sus amigos Raccoon Randy, Dennis Pato, y Randy Conejo. Randy y Randy tenía el mismo nombre, pero Diego podría distinguirlos, porque uno era un mapache y una era un conejo. Diego cuenta a su amigo Butch oso había desaparecido, por lo que pidió a sus amigos animales donde estaba. "Lo vi caminar hacia ese gran castillo detrás de nosotros", dijo Randy. "Gracias, señor Raccoon. Tal vez deberíamos buscarlo." , dijo Diego. "Eso no fue Randy, que era yo, Randy". exclamó Randy. El cuatro de ellos estaban muy confundidos.

El grupo decidió ir al castillo a buscar a su amigo Butch Bear, pero no pudieron encontrar la manera de cruzar el foso. "Vamos a lanzar piedras en el foso para hacer un puente!" Randy sugirió. Todos ellos les gustó la idea, pero Dennis estaba teniendo ninguna parte de eso, y tranquilamente cruzó a nado el foso. Ellos trabajaron durante horas hasta que el puente estaba completo, entonces maldijo a Dennis por ser tan perezoso.

Llegaron a la puerta y se encontró que en lugar de los guardias, había dos cuerpos brutalmente mutilados. Caminaron un poco más en el castillo y se dio cuenta de que todos habían comido. "Esto es terrible! Sin duda, el rey debe saber qué está pasando!" -exclamó el grupo. Diego, Dennis, Randy, Randy y entró en la habitación del rey y vio a Butch oso sentado en el trono, mirando con sangre y feliz. Los cuatro amigos se miraron, se meten las manos en las caderas, y sacudió la cabeza: "¡Oh, Butch! Usted tonto oso!"

And there you have it! Three completely accurate summaries of books I came up with based on their covers alone! Until next time!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thrift Store Pen Pals - Nhya/Carrymel!

Nhya writes a great/funny/awesome blog at Khaki, Not Cocky. Her Pen Pal review is actually quite marvelous - she went above and beyond and did a video! Plus, she opens her Pen Pal item in real time so we all get to experience the surprise with her :)

She didn't seem to know what to think of her item, though, which is kind of what I'm going for with this project. I think that makes her review a little more special. I DID warn you guys that my thrift store selections were going to be strange. So far all my Pen Pals have done a FANTASTIC job - everyone has gone beyond my expectations - which makes me cry tears of happiness :,) So please click the link below to read Nhya's excellent review of her Thrift Store Pen Pal item!!!

If you'd like to get in on this action just comment on the Sign Up Page and I'll add you to the list!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thrift Store Adventures: Disturbing Things!

Here are a few truly and deeply disturbing items I've found in my adventures lately. These are the kinds of things that keep me going to thrift stores. Well, this and everything else - I love them. In fact, if a thrift store was a person, I'd be friends with her. Nothing more though, because I guarantee she'd have crabs.

First up, we have this:

Can you tell what that is? Well if not, let me describe it. I found it in the frames section, among the pictures of forgotten family pets and dead grandparents. It is framed and under glass, as if to signify something of importance. It contains several painted pieces glued onto a blue backboard. And it is a bunch of fingernails. Human fingernails, that someone painted and donated to a thrift store.

Even if you assume that the previous owner DIDN'T stalk, seduce, murder, and collect painted trophies from his victims, this thing is still weird. What is up with the pattern? Why are all the nails left-justified? What is up with this 5-4-5-4-3-3 pattern? Is it some kind of code?? I think we may have stumbled upon a secret.

Here's a close up of some of them:

My favorite from this section is the upper left nail with googly eyes. I can't imagine anyone ever actually wanting that on their fingernails. The next few are simply the epitome of 1989. There is a pretty sweet foot fingernail in the middle row. There are two music-based nails, and to top it off, a nail with a hammer on it. A hammer. On a nail. Cute.

This section just oozes '80s. Nothing too noteworthy, other than that landscape nail in the upper right. It includes a tree, some flowers, and what looks like a tsunami wave.

Well that thing was weird. No weirder than the fact that I purchased it though..........

I went with my friend to Texas to hang out with her and her boyfriend last weekend (they are two of my best-ever friends). One thing we did was visit a Texas thrift store, and let me tell you - it was incredible. The next two items are from that store. Just look at this creepy pillow!

It's a pillow with a picture of Erin Andrews transferred onto it! She is a sportscaster and the object of many sports-geeks' affections. Also, the back of the pillow is corduroy. Side note - have you heard about the corduroy pillows? They're making headlines! Ahhh I'm so funny.

This pillow makes me think of those "girlfriend pillows" that have pictures of hentai girls on them that nerds can sleep with, and perhaps even "sleep" with. Example. It's kind of sad, really. Not for the pillow's ex, but for the pillow itself. Just used and donated to a thrift store. She seems like a sweet pillow, I'm sure she didn't deserve such treatment. Now she probably has crabs.

Maybe not though; another notable thing about this pillow is the tag. It said something along the lines of "Certified Sanitized." That actually makes me feel a little better about touching the pillow. But not much.

Finally, we found a mask of Jigsaw from the saw movies. Here is what Jigsaw looks like in the movies:

Fairly scary, especially in context with the movies. So we decided to put the mask on. But my friend didn't think it was good enough so he added some ski goggles. We each tried this mask/goggles combo out, and they each have their own special level of creepy. Warning, these pics are... different.

Somehow the scariness of Mr. Jigsaw is lost when his hair tufts out the side like that. I tried it on next.

It just looks like some pale dude with frizzy boarder hair and a big, goofy grin on his face. Seeing the eyes through the goggles is a killer, too. My friend tried it on next, but his chin accidentally got caught in the mouth hole.

At this point we just lost it. And so marked the first time I'd ever cried in a thrift store. It looks like he's super confused and kind of sticking his tongue out. And ready to go snowboarding. I don't know if this is as funny to anyone else as it is to me, but I'm LOLing all over the place right now! Except now I'm pretty sure all three of us have crabs in our hair now.

Anyway, those are some of my most recent creepy and disturbing finds! If you want me to send you something like this in the mail, sign up for Thrift Store Pen Pals.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thrift Store Adventures: Mysterious Rejected Book!

I found, perhaps, my favorite thrift store book yet. The thrift store gods smile upon me yet again!

On our way back from Geek.Kon in Wisconsin, my friend and I decided we needed to stop by a liquor store and buy some Wisconsin beer for our friends back home. We were running out of options as we were driving through the countryside of Wisconsin, but we stopped off at an exit that seemed to have a very small town, Mineral Point. We drove through the town knowing that since it is a small town, they would surely have a liquor store; what else is there to do in a small town but get wastey-faced?

We drove for several minutes and after seeing lots of tractor stores and feed shops we saw this sign:

That's a pretty intriguing sign. It is for "Crazy" Franks who is apparently "selling stuff for peanuts..." What does that mean? It could either mean that they are literally selling peanut items for peanut farmers, or that their stuff is so cheap the price is comparable to that of peanuts. Upon seeing what the elephant man up there is saying I am leaning toward the former.

The elephant is saying "Stop have fun." You can tell from the picture he is a Down's syndrome elephant (or "crazy" as the sign says), so what does "stop have fun" imply? Is he telling me I'll stop having fun while shopping for peanut farming supplies, or is he saying to stop and have some fun but just forgot to punctuate?

This is the front of the store:

"Thousands of items just for peanuts." The peanut farmer theory is looking stronger. But the signs also say they make signs and sell homemade crafts, groceries, toys, furniture, and tools. A pretty eclectic mix. It wasn't until I went inside that I learned how truly eclectic this store was. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the different hats this store wears:

  • Hobby Lobby wannabe
  • Hardware store
  • Fireworks store (seriously)
  • Grocery store
  • Convenience store
  • Knife shop
  • Lumber yard
  • Sign making shop
  • Thrift store
It's that last one that had my interest. Since they spread their niche so wide, it was not a very expansive thrift store, but I had to get my fix; I was in WI all weekend without a single thrift :( 

I was browsing their books which is when this little beauty caught my eye, Dreams by Anita Jackson:

This book was copyrighted in 1974 and again in 1979 by Fearon Education. I picked it up because of that awesome cover design, the fact that it was only about 20 pages so would be a quick read, and because it was $0.50. I was fully prepared for this book to be awesome based on the creepy cover art alone, but I didn't expect it to be such a mystery! But before we get into that...

The book is about a guy who has a dream about a train wreck where everyone dies which ends up coming true. The writing is extremely choppy - most sentences are only like 5 words long - and the author repeats EVERYTHING. It is a pretty annoying read actually, but somehow captivating. Here is an excerpt:

Maybe you think I'm a fool. Maybe you're saying, "You're a fool to get upset about dreams. Dreams aren't real. You must be crazy." Maybe I am crazy, but let me tell you about it. I'll tell you what happened to me. Then you'll see why I'm afraid. Something happened. Something I can never forget.
I had time to look at the people. There was a woman in a long, red dress. A long, red dress. I'd never seen one like it. The woman wore a big hat with flowers on it.
The beginning of each chapter has a picture of a puzzle that becomes more and more complete as the story progress, like this:

It's just the cover art in puzzle form. When I turned to the inside back cover of the book I saw this:

Someone stamped the word "REJECT" on the back cover. How peculiar... So I went home and looked up the ISBN and found that this book is ONLY available as a softcover pamphlet-style book. However, the book in my hands was clearly hardcover. Then I looked a little closer and it appeared that someone just cut off the cover and laminated it onto a hardcover book, then bound the book. Why the heck would someone go to all that trouble?

Then I did a Google image search to see if the book was indeed softcover. I saw two different cover art options, neither of them what I had purchased.

I also noticed that the book I picked up was of the "Specter" series, whereas these two are of the "Spirals" series, whatever that means. Either way, the cover I had was nowhere to be seen. It was something special, something unique, and I owned it! So I looked up the cover artist, Bill Shields. Turns out he died a while ago, but he was apparently a pretty respected artist. So why couldn't I find any versions of the book with the creepy cover on Google Images? 

I searched for books with "REJECT" stamped on them. I was pleased with what I found! I think I have a book with rejected cover art!!! I was so super happy when I discovered this, because it means I am probably the only person to own this version of this book - it's at least super rare :) 

I looked on Google Books and looked through a few pages and saw that the actual book doesn't feature any of the puzzle graphics at the beginning of each chapter. Just boring old chapter numbers. There are also discrepancies in publishers and publish dates (1975 instead of 1974). See?

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun trying to unravel the mystery of this mystery book. Not only is it hardcover, has differing publishing info, and has chapter pictures, but it has totally unique (and creepy) cover art by a legit artist! Woot! 

My only question is, why didn't they use the rejected cover art????

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Geek.Kon 2011

Last week's Thrift Store Pen Pal is Laura from Musings of an Orange Sheep! I can't seem to find her email to get in contact with her though, so hopefully she is reading this and will email me her info at WoodyTheHun@gmail.com so I can send her a random item.

[NOTE: this is a really long and REALLY nerdy post. Only my hardiest readers should dare venture forth, as it will reveal more about myself than I should probably post online. And it's kinda long.]

I have been neglecting Ol' Bloggy as of late due to a mini vacation a friend and I took over the last several days. We decided to take a road trip somewhere. Anywhere, really. We are both semi-nerds as we both like video games, board games, and, of course, The Internet. I looked up some upcoming events and found Geek.Kon, a nerdy convention of video games, board games, and internet stuff! ...and anime, cosplay, LARPing, and other uber nerdy ventures.

The convention was near Madison, WI, which is about a 9 hour drive. That's after the 3 hour drive I took to get back to Kansas to meet my friend. I must say though, it was totally worth it! This was my first-ever convention of any kind. I always considered myself pretty nerdy, but I can't compare to some of the people and things I saw.

Although we were a little apprehensive at first, once we got a feel for the geekocity we finally embraced it and called upon our inner nerds (a couple drinks didn't hurt, either). For example, these are the names we elected to display for ourselves all weekend:

And those were mild monikers compared to some. 

During the opening ceremonies, a girl came out and discussed the importance of hygiene and how we should all remember to take showers (with water AND soap). I was a little confused as to why we needed this lecture, but the reason soon became apparent as I walked past the registration line.

There were some questionable smells in that hallway. 

Then we found the video game room. Oh my god. There were soooo many video games. They had every game system. Literally. They had systems I'd never even heard of, and it was all free! 

If my math is correct (and it is, I'm an engineer) they had close to 100 TVs, all hooked up to video game systems. If you wanted a game that wasn't currently on display, you'd just flip through one of several binders with lists of games, check one out, and play. They also had free arcade games set up, including Dance Dance Revolution! I actually took a DDR class in school at KU, but that's a different story. Here's Pikachu at the DDR machine:

They also had a board game room with hundreds of different board games you could check out. If you didn't know how to play a game or wanted to try one out, there was a guy whose job it was to teach you how to play. It was pretty fun to make some nerdy friends and play a random game. In the board game room there were also Role Playing Games. I'm sure you've heard of Dungeons and Dragons, in which you are basically in a fantasy world (all while sitting around a table) and you must roll a 20 sided die to determine the outcome of certain events. It's all very nerdy. 

Well, my friend and I decided that we would try and experience all there was to experience at Geek.Kon, so we decided to do the nerdiest thing we'd ever done: play an RPG. It was pretty outside of our comfort zone to delve that deep into dorkiness, so we had to prepare.

We went to the hotel bar and each ordered a shot of tequila to loosen up for this momentous occasion. Upon receiving his shot, my friend decided he'd better have two. The bartender questioned him about it, so he replied, "I'm about to go do something that'll be very uncomfortable for me." The bartender just gave a funny look and walked away. I then realized that we were two men, in a hotel bar, taking shots shots of tequila. I'm pretty sure that after my friend's comment the bartender thought we were about to go make sweet man-love in our hotel room. 

Anyway, we went to play the RPG. It was actually pretty fun, but then again, I get my kicks browsing thrift stores and eating weird food, so I may have a different fun-scale than most people. My character ended up dying after a series of bad die rolls and the Game Master said that he was taking pictures of everyone who died in the game and would post it on their Facebook page. I figured it would make for some decent blog material so I agreed. The picture is here!

We headed over to the vendor area, which was full of vendors peddling their various wares. 

It was a pretty big room and I got some pretty awesome stuff. I talked with one artist, Jake Rueth, who was actually really cool. I also loved his art; it's just my style - simple and weird. I picked up this little gem, and my friend got this one. I also picked up something that I now cherish almost as much as Gollum cherished The One Ring:

Yes, friends. That IS a rock with Nyan Cat painted on it. Be jealous. Be very jealous. For those of you who don't know, this is Nyan Cat. So happy :)

I got some other stuff, too, but I may use that for another post. Another great part of Geek.Kon was the Kon.Quest, in which there were different stations where you did puzzles or played games and got cards. You then used the cards to play other games and won prizes and stuff. I can't really explain it but it was one of the best parts of the con. 

There was also a rave. It was pretty awesome and the music was pretty great (lots of electro, techno, and dubstep) but the lack on inebriation and abundance of minors made it a little... off. So I only stayed a little while. 

I also did karaoke! I performed Careless Whisper by George Michael. I really hammed it up, too. It was awesome. 

A big part of the convention was anime, which I know next to nothing about, but everyone had pretty interesting costumes! My friend and I didn't take part in the costumes, which I kind of regret now - we were definitely in the minority without costumes. Here are some particularly good/nerdy costumes:

Not sure what they're supposed to be... Again, anime.

Really in-depth costumes!

Batman, with a crazy Bat-Mobile motorcycle. If you look closely you can see Batman smiling under his visor.

There were plenty of dressed up nerd girls, too. I overheard one guy say, "Apparently, nerd girls hold a special place in my dick." That was pretty funny.

So. I guess I'm a true nerd now. Realizing this, it's a wonder girls still talk to me... 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thrift Store Pen Pals - Myli!

My second Thrift Store Pen Pal, Myli from Asian Girl Hearts White Boys, did a really awesome job with her item! She went more in-depth with her review than I would have thought to, which makes me smile. It's interesting comparing how she reacted to her item with how I reacted when I found it at the thrift store. Please click this link to read her review!

Thrift Store Pen Pals - Shane Pilgrim!

As my first ever Thrift Store Pen Pal, Shane Pilgrim reviewed his item with more gusto than I would have imagined! I was literally crying and snort-laughing while reading his review. I had to read it twice to absorb all the funny. Seriously, this man wins The Internet. Click the link below to read it!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thrift Store Adventures: Various Things I Bought!

I'm too tired from the holiday weekend to come up with a good theme today, so I'm just going to show you some fun things I've picked up recently.

But first! Everyone interested should sign up for a chance to be my Thrift Store Pen Pal extra-early this week :) I'm doing something very nerdy in Wisconsin this weekend and will be leaving on Thursday, so I will likely pick a new Pen Pal on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. By the way, my computer randomly chose Myli from Asian Girl Hearts White Boys to be last week's Pen Pal! Before clicking that link, though, know that her blog is a bit... shocking. Fair warning.

We shall begin, yes? First up is what appears to be a cheese tray.

This thing is great for a lot of reasons. It is an awesome Japanese-made wooden tray with a tile embedded into it with a fork and a knife. What really convinced me to shell out a whopping $3.00 for this is the design and colors of the tile. It's marvelous. I want to decorate my entire house with those colors, or at the very least dye my whole body to match.

Why did I buy this? Because it was cheap, stylish, and my brain wants to start a family with that color combo.

Next up is a plate.

I originally thought this plate was done by a child, but the back of the plate says "Louisville Stoneware," which I looked up. It's a professional plate, it just LOOKS amateur. Very sneaky. 

Why did I buy this? I think it was an impulse buy, but it's hard to get buyer's remorse on a $0.50 plate. However, I do like things that are styled simply, so it kinda fits!

Here is an awesome pottery elephant.

He's a pretty great elephant from this angle, but gets better in the next angle:

He's starting to look a little strange, but it isn't until you see him straight on - when he's looking you right in the eyes - that his strangeness can be fully appreciated:

Gah! What's wrong with its eyes..? :(

Why did I buy this? I love weird/funny things so Mr. Elephant here will be a welcome addition into my home (and a steal at $0.75!).

Next up is a nondescript deck of cards...

...or at least you THINK it's nondescript! It wasn't until I opened the cards' box that their true awesomeness washed over me.

What stands out most about this deck of cards? Obviously, it's the fact that they smell like concentrated Eau De Old-Lady. But since you can't smell them, it's the fact that instead of A, K, Q, and J they are labeled 1, R, D, and V! After some research I learned that they are French, and that R, D, and V stand for Roi, Dame, and Valet. 

Why did I buy this? Well, $2.00 seems a bit steep for used cards, but I couldn't pass them up. The face cards and all the suits have fantastic graphic design. Plus, the smell of old lady perfume really gets me going.

Finally, we have another plate!

Normally, I wouldn't buy something this hideous - it goes against my grandma-stylings - but I saw that the back of it was signed and numbered so I took a huge risk and bought it for $3.50. The plate depicts a muscley guy wearing Raiden's hat from Mortal Kombat, holding a baby, with a giant black panther in the background. 

Why did I buy this? I looked it up when I got home and saw that it was going for like $250, in the box. I was shocked! This plate didn't come with the box but even if I sell this for like $20 I'll still make a good profit and pay for everything in this post, twice. Too bad I'm usually too lazy to actually sell anything...

On an unrelated note, anyone want to buy a beautiful decorative plate :D