*read the fine print [day 188]

*Blog post subject to change without notice.  Other terms and conditions apply.  Not responsible from broken windshields.

What’s with all the fine print these days?  Are lawyers really that bored?  Or are companies that scared?  Does anyone actually read this stuff?  If not, I’m guessing we all should be.

There’s some crazy stuff in the fine print.  If nothing else, it’s entertaining.  Okay, so I’m easily amused.  Maybe you will be too.  take a look.

*All terms and conditions apply. Who’s terms and conditions?  Mine?  If not mine, where does one find these terms and conditions?
*It is our firm intention to have every advertised item in stock. Firm intentions you say…
*This insert was prepared weeks in advance for publication and prices and availability may have changed. Of course they have.
*Sale doesn’t include Apple products. Boo!  It never does.
*Prior to opening, a line of customers will form outside the store. Yes, we even have line standing disclaimers now.
*Regular prices are offering prices and saving may not be based on actual sales. What does that even mean?   Continue reading

paint it… black? [day 187]

I’ve written a little tune to the 1966 Rolling Stones song “Paint It Black”.  This story started with me wanting to paint my front door…

I see a blue door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I hear the the canvas calling from the kitchen wall
I have to turn my head while the color calls

I see a line of cans and none are painted black
With brushes and ideas both always coming back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look my way
Like a new born baby it just happens ev’ry day

I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my blue door and it has been painted black
Maybe then the paint will fade, not an artist saint
It’s not easy facin’ up when your whole world is paint

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not foresee this thing happening to you

If I look hard enough into the settin’ sun
My love for paint still with me before the mornin’ comes

I see a blue door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I hear the the canvas calling from the bedroom wall
I have to turn my head while the color calls

Hmm, hmm, hmm,…

I wanna see it painted, painted colors
Black as night, color highlight
I wanna see the sun blended from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted colors
Yeah!

I’m a paint hoarder.  Yes, I’m publicly admitting this.  I wanted to paint my front door yesterday, as I’m tired of the bright blue with the orange bricks.  I wanted a dark gray color, but with my challenge, I needed to use the paint I had.

Now I have a lot of paint, so no problem, right?  Wrong…

Of my 100+ gallons, that I do use on occasion, 90% of them are bad, either molded or dried up.  In efforts to still use some of the paint, I added some water to the latex ones that were too thick.  Some of the paints were good, but I didn’t have enough.  Honestly, I wanted to buy some paint yesterday.  I didn’t, but here’s what happened.   Continue reading

paint the town red… or just settle for painting my bathroom brown [day 186]

I’m on vacation this week, or as some might call it, a staycation.  I have a few projects to get done around the house, things I can do without spending money or shopping.  I have about 10 outlets that need replacing, as they won’t hold a plug.  I have all the stuff in the grage to do this task, and I have for about 2 years now.  I even have the black one that goes on my fireplace, nicely matching the slate tile.

What I would really like to do is finish up a few painting projects.  I can’t do this without buying paint, and I can’t buy paint, as that would be retail shopping.  The only room that really needs painting badly is my master bath.  It’s been 80% painted for the entire 4 years I’ve been in the house.  The water closet room still has the original mid 90’s southwest style wallpaper and border with popcorn ceilings.  Now I have paint, lots of paint, but not enough of any one color to do a room.  My paint is leftovers from home projects, church projects, oops paint, hand-me-down paint… you get the picture.  I also have a wall to paint in the upstairs loft room.  I guess I’ll just have to get creative!  I have enough red paint to paint the town red, but not enough other colors to do what I would like to in the house.  I’ll keep you posted.  :)

BLACK FRIDAY: the video [day 185]

Any other day of the year, no retailer would allow you to walk around their store with a camera around your neck, they would stop you and make you put it away.  On black friday, that’s not the case.  With the busyness and chaos of the thousands of shoppers, extremely long lines and merchandise everywhere, nobody stopped me.  Here’s the black friday 2010 video to the tune of AC/DC’s Back in Black.

A few black friday observations:

  • It’s controlled chaos. The retailers are creating it and they’re prepared for it.
  • There’s a size relationship. The bigger the person, the bigger the packages.  Oh, how some psycho therapist needs to analyze this.
  • People like to get a deal. I’m not sure if they really want or need this stuff, but there seems to be an accomplishment once they’ve gotten a deal.  If they researched a possible purchase during the year, they could probably find a similar savings.  Is it really a deal if it’s cheap and not needed?
  • Loss leaders. There are some deals that can’t be found throughout the year, but these loss leaders are only available to the first 3-5 people according to the ads.  Not a bad deal, but I would do the cost analysis, time and effort versus cost savings.
  • Warranties. Many of the big ticket loss leaders have very limited warranties.  Before buying, you better make sure it works before you put it under the tree.  Many items have 15 days warranties.  They might as well just skip that altogether.
  • 2 types of men. The ones that like electronics with a willingness to get up early and fight for it and the “my wife made me do this and I better get sex tonight” male drag-a-longs.  I might start a line of t-shirts before next year.
  • Sporting event. I’m pretty sure most women see this as some sort of sporting event.  It’s a race for the best deals and to get all the shopping done at one time.  Most of them are getting lots of practice time during the year, so it should be a good game.

There’s much more, but that’s the big stuff.  Now, what to get my kids for Christmas without going shopping?

black friday chaos [day 184]

I did it.  I got up and went out at 4am to shoot the black friday craziness.  Yes, that might make me crazy, but it was a blast people watching!  I didn’t buy a thing, I just walked around the stores.  I have lots of video, but no time to edit, as I have to work today.  Here’s a few highlights:

Most of the photos are uploaded, although I still have one camera card to download.  Most of the images are screen captures from my video footage.  Check them out on flickr.

To answer the most asked question I’ve had this morning, no, I didn’t see or capture any fights.  I will blog tomorrow, hopefully with some video.  In the mean time, enjoy the photos.  Here’s a few of my favorites.

The Best Buy bouncer…

Is that really a person without a head?

Continue reading

the junk drawer [trashogram]

This is the bottom of my junk drawer…

In cleaning it, I found lots of spare change and all kinds of odds and ends.  90% of this stuff is things we just don’t need.  You can tell a lot from a junk drawer.  We mess with hardware stuff a lot, I have young kids, they eat candy, we’ve been to Mexico, I like coffee…  You get the point.   Continue reading

introducing [trashograms]

This is the half year art project… trashograms.  What is a trashogram?

Trashograms: The process of scanograms and the trash society challenge, combined to create interest and look at ‘stuff‘ in a different and fun way.

I will be creating 2 trashograms a week for the rest of the challenge.  Some might be in my regular, daily blog posts, others might be posted separately.  Here’s the first one.

This trashogram was made from saved stuff in our art-junk drawer.  These have the feel of an I Spy book page and that’s no accident.  Although you’re not looking for a list of objects, you can look for metaphorical interpretations of trash society issues.  Let me give you a little background on this image.

    • Most of the items were found on the ground in parking lots and the sunglasses came out of a trash can.
    • The fortunes came from cookies and were saved over the last 2 years.
    • The rest of the objects came out of the recycling bin.
    • The texture on the image was overlaid from an abandoned building.

Here’s something to look at as an example. The king of hearts with the bent penny could mean “cash is king” or “we love money”.  These images, by their objects and the placement of them, can have many significant meanings, some more than others.  If you like visually cryptic art puzzles, you’re in the right place!

There’s a lot of art in our trash society.  If you have any requests or ideas, post a comment.  :)

half way! [day 183]

Today maks the half way point for the no retail shopping challenge!  It’s hard to believe it’s been one half of a year already, but it also feels like I have a long way to go.  Today is Thanksgiving, and no, I did not plan for this day to fall on a holiday.  If I had, I would have made it fall on black friday, as that makes more sense.  I was going to do a daily recap, however the search features on the trashsociety.com blog are a much easier way to find past posts.

I get a lot of questions about this challenge, once people process it and quit giving me the crazy look.  Here’s some questions I’ve heard.

What will you do when the challenge is done? Once I’m done with the challenge, I will organize the site into an resource blog, categorized by topics.  I’m sure I will also find another related challenge to do.  I also plan to make this into a book.

Will you go shopping the day it’s done? No, that would feel weird.  This is really changing my shopping habits, and although I will shop again, I will do it very differently.

Have you bought anything? Yes, I had to buy one thing.  Tires for my car.  They were bad and it was a safety issue.  If I wrecked my car or hurt my kids because of a challenge, that would be horrible and I could not live with myself.  No, I didn’t start the one year over, and I did learn a lesson about planning for tire purchases.  Even though I had to buy tires, the challenge purpose was accomplished, I had to learn and think differently.

So, you’re really going to finish this? Yes.  Why not?  Half way there…

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned? I’ve learned much, but the biggest is that I made a lot of impulse purchases.  I can live with much less stuff.  I don’t need that colorful stuff to sit on a shelf or another gadget.  Some of them might be nice, but most will probably end up at the thrift store.

Are you saving money? The quick answer to this is yes, but that was not my motivation at all when I started, although it’s a nice benefit.

What are the benefits of doing it? There are many, but the best one is not one I expected.  Less stuff = less mess.  It’s so much easier to keep my house picked up.  Not only are we not shopping, but we give things we don’t need or use to the thrift stores or to people we know that will use these things.  Our closets are not full, there’s extra space in all of our drawers and my garage, well, it’s made progress, but we still have a little way to go out there.  Need some motivation to clean out an area of your house?  Watch an episode of Hoarders.

Later today, I will be adding a new artistic twist to the challenge.  Stay tuned…

move it Ralph! this shelf is mine! love, Martha [day 182]

I had to shop yesterday for work, and I know now why I don’t shop.  Getting new stuff can be good, but the shopping process just isn’t fun.  I had to go to Home Depot, which is basically a toy store for me.  If I was shopping, that would be in my top 5.

Finding specific paint colors by numbers is no easy task.  While they were mixing the paint, I was helping my friend Shannon pick out paint colors for her house.  I immediately started looking for the Ralph Lauren paint chips, as I like the color selection and the paint covers well.  I looked around and quickly realized that Ralph has left the building, as Martha Stewart stood over my shoulder with a smug look on her face.  She has shoved Ralph out of the way to make room for her collection of more feminine, more subdued colors.

I asked the guy behind the paint counter about this observation.  He told me that Ralph is gone, replaced by Martha because she’s more popular and has a larger market share.  I didn’t buy RL paint because of the name, I bought it because I liked the color selection and the quality.  Do people choose paint because of a name?  Is there something symbolic about it?  Once it’s on the wall, does anyone care who made it?

What do the cans say?  Besides saying these are all great quality and they cause cancer, but only in California?  Martha’s paint has a ribbon around it with the words “color performance”, although I think the ribbon is a subliminal message that says, “I won.  Ralph is outta here.”  Ralph’s paint is the American icon of paint.  The design says traditional, the color pallet says traditional with good taste.  So I thought I’ll have my own paint line.  Jody’s paint is leftovers from her painting jobs and everyone else’s, excluding beige.  Jody’s paint peacefully sits in your garage, waiting for a touch up or a new painting project, but never trying to pull market share from other paint companies.  Can’t we all just get along?   Continue reading

happiness is… [day 181]

I had a conversation with a friend of mine over lunch today, and he’s trying to understand the ‘black friday’ thing as much as I am.  It made me think about a book I started to read recently called Absorbing Spongebob: Ten Ways to Squeeze More Happiness Out of Life.

Honestly, I borrowed this book from the library just because I liked the title and cover.  What?!  Like you have never done that before…  If people didn’t judge books by their covers, publishers wouldn’t spend so much time and money to make them look great.  Sorry, rabbit trail, back to the story.  I started reading this book out of curiosity, but I had to put it down when the author started talking about the episode where Spongebob was playing with a leaf blower.  Anyone who actually watches Spongebob Squarepants knows that he plays with a reef blower.  If you’re going to use a metaphor or character to make your point, do your homework.  I did thumb through the book, but nothing jumped out as life changing.  Watching Spongebob is much better for happiness than reading this book.

So what is happiness and how do we get it?  If you’re looking for the answer to that question, I don’t have it, however I do have a few observations.  Happiness is not in the form of a pill.  Happiness does not come in liquid form either, although some say these help.

Happiness is sometimes difficult to find when you’re looking for it, but sneaks up on you when you least expect it.  There are many masks out there, disguising things as happiness.  Advertisements contain much information about happiness, although buying those things never really produce happiness.   Continue reading