Wednesday, May 30, 2012

RIP Doc Watson

This country lost one of its musical treasures this week with the death of Doc Watson.  There's a hole in the traditional music community that can never be filled. 

We were lucky enough to see him in concert a few years ago, and were completely amazed at his playing.  I'm so glad now we had the opportunity to see him, and even more glad that we took it.  There's still a sore spot in my memory whenever I think about the free show Bill Monroe gave in a park a few blocks from where we were living at the time.  The free show Bill Monroe was giving that we did not go to.  That will rankle until the end of time.

Never, ever pass up a chance to see a true musical legend.  Every year we lose a few, and they can never be replaced.  A few years ago, a mailing list I belong to started a "bucket list" of acts people want to see before they (the musicians, not the people making the lists) are gone.  I've been lucky enough to have seen many of mine:  Dylan, Odetta, Jean Ritchie, Doc Watson, Hazel Dickens, Ralph Stanley, Earl Scruggs, Kristofferson. There are already more than a few that I'll never get the chance to see again.  And several others I never got the chance to see:  Monroe, Johnny Cash, Lilly May Ledford, Townes Van Zandt.

I still need to see Loretta Lynn and Willie Nelson, though.  Better do something about that, for sure.  And Merle Haggard.  And Pete Seeger.  And Springsteen (although I'll never be able to afford that one).  And Joan Baez.  And Janis Ian.  And... 

So, who's on your musical bucket list?  Who do you regret not getting to see?  Who are  you glad/grateful you had the chance to see?

Perhaps, there is no greater statement about Doc Watson and his talent than this.  Being included in a Guy Clark song is perhaps the ultimate tribute for a musician.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Share the Lava!

Sometimes when you're working your space, you get the opportunity to interact with customers who are browsing.  The Sunday after I moved into my new spot, I was at YesterNook trying to get everything set up, while working around the usual Sunday crowd.  Not an easy task, let me tell you.

A woman came through with a kid who must have been about 11 or 12.  He was the kind of curious little guy who was interested in just about everything he saw.  I like kids like that.  They remind me of a younger me, except I was a lot quieter than this guy was.

Anyway, my space is a mess.  I'm still moving stuff around to get it into place.  I've got tubs crammed full of stuff everywhere.  Very little of my actual inventory is accessible or visible.  And his eyes land on one of the few items that are both--a lava lamp.  And then his eyes light up!

The next few minutes are a flurry of questions and pleading that can only come from a child who has discovered a true treasure that he must have.  And his poor grandmother was caught completely off-guard.

"Nana!  It's a lava lamp!  I've always wanted one!  Can I get it?  Will you get it for me?  It would look so cool in my room!  How cool is this?  Please, Nana?  Please?  My birthday is coming up?  It's only 12.99!"

She put up a valiant defense, but I could tell she was struggling.  "We'd have to call your mother. She might not want you to have one.  I can't get you something like that without talking to your mother."  Of course, his answer was:  "Call her.  She won't mind."

I was in and out of the space, constantly running downstairs for something or another, so I don't know if the call actually got made.  However, I couldn't resist getting involved and stirring the pot a bit.  On one of my passes through, I pointed out to both of them that I was having a moving sale and everything but furniture was 20% off.  Sneaky devil.

That, of course, got the little guy going again.  "Nana!  20% off!"

Now, I fully admit that getting involved in these kinds of things is a little risky.  I'm all for making a sale, but it can come across as being pushy or nosy.  Still, nothing ventured; nothing gained.  Right?  And, honestly, anything that I didn't have to try and find a place for in the new space was a blessing to me.

Besides, it was kind of fun to watch the kid go.  I was kind of rooting for him to get it at that point, just to see him win.

So, I pulled out my last secret weapon.  The markdown.  I had to run back downstairs, so I turned to Nana and said "I could take a couple bucks off the price for him with no problem.  And you'd still get the 20% off."  I thought the little dud was going to jump through the roof at that one.

When I came back upstairs, he was holding the lamp and thanking me profusely.  Score one for the kid!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Whiny Monday Rambles

I'm in a Junk Funk.  I got the Booth Blues.  I got the Low Sales, No Sales, Ain't Makin' Rent, Cryin' Shame, Down in the Dumps, Whinin', Cryin', Moanin', Blues!

Cue slide guitar here.

Okay, so I'm being melodramatic.  It's something I do so well.  But I'm in a bit of a slump here and I'm not coping with it well.  Not well at all.

I've already talked about not making rent at one site last month.  What I haven't really talked about is the fact that I almost didn't make rent the month before as well.  If I hadn't had several last week furniture sales, I would have gone in the hole that month too.

Last week started off looking like the same thing was going to happen again.   Can't have that.  Just can't.  So I went on the offensive (or is it the defensive?) ad pulled out the big guns.  I rearranged the whole booth.  I marked a couple of large pieces down (one sold).  I slammed the hell out of Craigslist.  And on Friday, I started a sale that's running until the end of the month.

I really didn't want to do the sale route.  I try to keep my prices low enough that I don't have to.  Any more off that cuts my margins way too thin.  Besides, I had done one at the beginning of April and didn't sell a damn thing.  It seems to be working this time around.  I finally made rent last night.  There's still a couple of days in the month, so I can still make a little money.  Maybe.

Everything that I'm seeing is telling me that it's just been an overall slow period at this store, but it's so hard not to take it personally.  I've had a real crisis of confidence over the whole thing.  I know the late spring and early summer is a slow time in this business.  In Louisville, we have to deal with Derby mania on top of everything else.  I also know I wasn't the only one to not make rent in April.  I know all of this, but it hasn't seemed to  help my mood.

Of course, part of that problem is the fact that last week sales at the other store tanked.  For most of the week (and the weekend before) I didn't do over ten bucks a day.  To add insult to injury, a week ago Friday, I had a super day.  Tons of sales--over 70 bucks worth.  Then BAM!  The floor dropped out.

One booth struggling I can deal with.  One of the reasons I have two is so they can supplement each other.  But when both are struggling, I start feeling like maybe I really don't know what I'm doing.

Thankfully, sales have picked up at that location again.  Last night, I matched last month's total, so I'm now set to increase, which is always good.  It's just that I was on a trajectory to have a killer month.  A real killer month.  And that's been totally derailed.  There's almost no way I can do that now.

So, maybe it's not bad enough to be singing the blues now, but it was for a little while.

On top of everything else, my bike got stolen last week!  From out of our back yard!  Someone hopped our fence and swiped it.  I'm still seeing red over that.  I've got another one, but it's going to require about 200 bucks worth of work to get in running shape.

So last week pretty much goes down as not one of the best ones ever.  Maybe this one will be an improvement.  I'll be house sitting this week, so I'm not sure about blogging just yet.  I intend to try, but those plans never work out when I'm away from home.  We'll see.

Today is the second anniversary of this.  I went to the big flea market over the weekend.  That was something we always did either on Memorial weekend or the Fourth of July weekend.  Didn't buy too much.  Just kind of wandered around, checking stuff out, like she and I used to do.

On a happier note, if Blogger's counter is to be believed, I have finally matched the 2005 post count!  Now for 2006 and 2011!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Song for a Sunday

I've always had a fondness for songs about music, especially when they use titles from other songs in the lyrics.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I guess this was inevitable

All this talk about music of my youth lately has put me in the mood for some ABBA.  Ah....ABBA!

Their Greatest Hits LP is another one I checked out from the library over and over again.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fun Finds: Button Bonanza!

Okay, so last weekend started the period where folks in my neighborhood can set out their junk for pick up.  This, of course, means that the pickers, scrappers, and junkers were out in force, with me right there in their midst.

Finds were few and far between--a couple of Playboys here, a boxful of Matchbox cars there--but nothing spectacular.  I did find a fabulous old wood file cabinet, but it weighed about six tons, so I decided to leave it where it was.  I could not picture wrestling that thing to a second floor booth!

But every little find adds up, and that's why we do these things.

The best find of the day was this stash of vintage buttons, many still on the card.  I found them on the corner where a woman was digging through the drawers of a busted up antique dresser.  There was a cardboard drawer thing a few feet away, so I started going through it.  That's where I found these.

Some of them were plain and everyday:

I particularly like the one on the lower left.  The flowers on the corner of the card are embossed!  Such a fancy detail for such plain, ordinary buttons!

Others were much more fancy.  This pic doesn't do them justice.  The pink ones are incredibly vibrant and the glass ones in the middle are almost prismatic.

For the most part, the fancier ones are older than the every day ones.  The row in the middle are marked "Made in Germany--US Zone" on the card.  And, of course, you gotta love the nurses buttons!

There were lots more in this stash, but this is a representative sample.  There were also many cards that were missing several buttons, old pill bottle full of buttons and so on.  I'm going to sell the fancy button cards individually, but bag all the plainer ones together and sell as a lot. 

I found some old small jars from a spice rack at the same curb.  They were filthy and the labels were coming off, so I soaked them clean and took the labels off.  I'm taking the loose buttons and the ones from partial cards and putting them in the bottle for sale.  It turned into a tidy little find!

One more story and then I'll close.  I pulled up at another curb where someone was working a pile, and the guy grabbed the box he was going through, jumped in his truck and sped away!  I guess I look pretty rough when I'm hot, sweaty, and dirty!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

These were actually supposed to be a part of yesterday's post...

Between my dying camera battery and my dying memory (not the camera, computer, or phone's memory--mine), a couple of pics and items didn't make it into the Pictorial Monday Rambles.  G However, they are too wonderful not to include, so I'm going to make Monday Rambles history by turning the first ever Pictorial Monday Rambles into the first ever two part Monday Rambles!  If this weren't a blog, I'd be advising you to double bag this one and save it for twenty years to sell on eBay for big bucks because it is sure to be a collector's item!

So, without further delay, I give you:

Monday Rambles Pictorial Edition, Part Two!

Guess what I found over the weekend while I was out curb-diving during junk set out?

I kid you not.  I never realized there was irony in junking.  I'm going to have to keep this one in my junk sorting and pricing room as a reference manual.  No way I could sell that one.

Also, while I was out wading through people's cast-offs, I stopped for a Diet Dr Pepper, because I was really hot.   I texted Keith, who was home in bed with Kosh about the heat.  He replied back that hot, sticky, muggy curbside picking was what entrepreneurs were supposed to do.  As opposed to him and Kosh, of course.  They're not entrepreneurs and don't have to do sweaty picks.

A few seconds later, he texted me this pic:

Gotta love it.

I'll have more about the whole curb dive experience this go around tomorrow.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Rambles--Pictorial Edition

Just wanted to try something a little different today.  Enjoy!  The pics are not the best, I know.  I was trying to snap them while watching the little battery icon drain to empty, so I was a little rushed and had no chance for retakes.  Only the finest here at Eddie-torial Comments!

Oh no!  I have the Bank Balance of the Beast (plus change)!

Had to stop at the bank on Saturday to replenish my cash.  I actually had to borrow from Keith at this sale that turned into one of the best I've hit in a while.  It was then that I noticed that my bank account was cursed!  What else could I do?  I had to shop a little more to bring that sucker down to a safer number.  I did it for humanity.

Behold!  The world's largest vintage button!

This is part of the junk set out weekend finds.  More on that later in the week.  (And I know it's not really the largest vintage button, but it's the biggest one I've ever seen!)

Sadly, it wasn't the best week for the musicians of my youth.  Right after Donna Summer, we lost Robin Gibb.  Sixty-three seems awfully young to be passing away.  Linda Ronstadt damn well better hang around for a couple more decades.  Just sayin'.

I loved the disco-era Bee Gees like nobody's business, of course, but my favorite Bee Gees stuff was the pre-disco folk-rock songs they did in the early seventies.  I'd never heard it before Saturday Night Fever came out, but I totally fell in love with it.  I remember checking the Bee Gees Gold album out from the library and being totally shocked at how different it was from the Bee Gees songs that were playing on the radio!

So, here's my tribute video.  My favorite Bee Gees song ever:

Look for more posts this week!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Last Dance, Indeed.

I usually don't get a chance to post when someone famous passes away.  Usually, it falls during one of my non-posting times or else I've already got a ton of posts done and scheduled and don't have time to rearrange things.

I had to make time for this one.  Donna Summer was part of the soundtrack of my high school days.  I wore the grooves off the Last Dance and Bad Girls LP's through repeated listings.  I've never been ashamed of my disco-baby past and I'm not going to start now.

Looking back over Donna Summer vids on YouTube, I'm struck by two things.  First, that's a helluva a voice!  I'd forgotten what a powerhouse vocalist she was.  That woman could sing!  Listen to those high notes and long notes.  Wow!

Secondly, she was making music for the audience to dance to, but she's not really dancing herself.  Kind of refreshing to see a singer concentrating on entertaining folks with her voice rather than her stage show.  I'm going to sound like an old fart when I say this, but those were the days, huh?

Keith tweeted me the news of her death yesterday.  I was on the bus to work at the time, but, for just a few minutes, I was a fifteen year-old again--hanging out with friends, listening to the radio, trying to finish my geometry homework.

And, there she was, playing in the background.

You'll be missed, Donna.  Thanks for the music and thanks for the memories.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

27 Different Kinds of Awesome

Just so you can see/hear what I'm talking about, a couple of cuts from the Amy Ray album I was talking about yesterday:

No way I could not like this one:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Rambles

Okay.  I have managed to do what I could not do at all last week--carve out a few minutes in the day to put up at least one blog post.  Let's do this.

Thanks to Shara and Lynn for their sweet comments on my last post about not making my rent.  It still smarts a bit, but I appreciate the encouragement and support.  The whole deal has really made me second guess myself and whether I really know what I'm doing in this junk field.  More on some of those thoughts a little later.

This is my last week on this schedule.  I'll have a few weeks with slightly reduced hours, until about mid-June, so blogging (and junking) should pick up a bit for me.  I hope to get some posts that are hanging around finished and then stored away. I still have that 2005post total to beat!  I'm getting too close to be messing around with work and such!

Sales this weekend sucked!  I think I bought maybe a dozen small items.  Not even enough to fill up one of our backseats.  If my sales at one site continue at the place they've set so far this month, I'm going to be hurting for stock soon.  I may have to pull from the slower booth (which is struggling to get to rent again this month) to make do.

We went to four different neighborhood sales and it was only at the last one that we found sufficient quantities of sellers for it to be worth our while.  Even at that, though, most sales were nothing but crap.  I did get a cool stuffed Hong Kong Phooey toy, some glass Fleur de lis stuff, and a couple of vintage wooden kids' school chairs, but nothing else worth mentioning. 

However, we passed my former comic shop and saw that they were having their sidewalk sale, so I was able to stock up on comics, bags, and--oddly enough--old religion books.  I think I've got enough now to tide me over for a while. 

Yesterday marked Mother's Day number two without a mother.  Memorial Day will be the second anniversary of her death. Time keeps marching on in spite of everything else, doesn't it?

Finally got to listen to the new Amy Ray CD, Lung of Love, over the weekend.  It's about 27 different kinds of awesome and I cannot recommend it highly enough,  A couple of cuts give me goosebumps!

Speaking of goosebumps and cuts and such, I burned my arm on an exposed light bulb in a lamp in a booth where I was shopping last week.  I've been putting aloe and Bactine on it, but it still hurts and it's formed a blister.  I'm not sure what to do?  Should I pop the blister or leave it alone?

Okay, my few minutes are up.  Time to spell check this, throw in some links, post this puppy and go!