Thursday, August 30, 2007

A slice of life



Make: Oneida
Model: Paring Knife
Size: 3.5”
Color: Black
Part: 64320323
MSRP: $6.99
Paid: $6.99
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 08/29/2007
n/w?: Need

Comment: I have always wanted a good set of knives. This is not a part of that. I bought it at the grocery store to cut my fruit and cheese. This knife is worse than the bad knives I previously bought at Ikea. This takes way more effort than it should to slice an apple.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wipe that look off your face



Make: Kitchen Solutions
Model: Kitchen Towel
Size: n/a
Color: Blue
Part: RN69207
MSRP: $3.00
Paid: $3.00
Made in: Pakistan

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Date purchased: 08/28/2007
n/w?: Need

Cookie monster



Make: Good Cook
Model: Non-Stick Cookie Sheet
Size: 15”x10”
Color: Gray
Part: 4021
MSRP: $6.49
Paid: $6.49
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 08/28/2007
n/w?: Need

Comment: I bought this, not for baking cookies on, but for reheating the giant burritos from the taco place below my apartment. They are amazing, I just can't finish it in one sitting. I figured this cost much less than a microwave and allows my reheated burrito to remain much more edible and much less soggy.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Dust in the wind



Make: American Apparel
Model: Nylon Taffeta Windbreaker
Size: Medium
Color: Coffee Brown
Part: N431
MSRP: $42.00
Paid: $42.00
Made in: USA

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Date purchased: 08/27/2007
n/w?: Need

T for me



Make: American Apparel
Model: Fine Jersey S/S T-Shirt
Size: Medium
Color: Army
Part: 2001
MSRP: $15.00
Paid: $15.00
Made in: USA

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Date purchased: 08/27/2007
n/w?: Want

What's under there?



Make: American Apparel
Model: Men’s Brief
Size: Medium (32/34)
Color: Olive, Navy
Part: 4415
MSRP: $12.00
Paid: $12.00 (x2)
Made in: USA

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Date purchased: 08/27/2007
n/w?: Need

Levi(t) to Beaver



Make: Levi
Model: Slim Straight 514
Size: 32/32
Color: 2817
Part: WPL 423
MSRP: $54.00
Paid: $49.99
Made in: Mexico

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Date purchased: 08/27/2007
n/w?: Want

Comment: A good friend in SF swore by his 514's but I was stuck in my world of designer denim. All I can say is, I have been overpaying for jeans for way too long. These aren't as soft as my Sevens were, but for the price they are quality.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sheet dreams



Make: Hotel Collection
Model: 300ct Sateen Sheet Set
Size: Full
Color: Light Blue
Part: RN75343
MSRP: $54.99
Paid: $34.99
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 08/26/2007
n/w?: Need

A place to rest my head



Make: Laura Ashley
Model: Ultimate Support Goose Down Pillow
Size: n/a
Color: White
Part: 19238
MSRP: $29.99
Paid: $9.99 (x2)
Made in: USA

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Date purchased: 08/26/2007
n/w?: Need

The golden toe



Make: Gold Toe
Model: Sport Sock
Size: 10–13
Color: Black
Part: 614PX
MSRP: $10.00
Paid: $4.99
Made in: Mexico

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Date purchased: 08/26/2007
n/w?: Need

Sock it to me



Make: Puma
Model: Crew Sock
Size: 10–13
Color: Black
Part: PM76129
MSRP: $11.00
Paid: $6.99
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 08/26/2007
n/w?: Need

When size matters



Make: Helping Hand
Model: Tape Measure
Size: 12ft.
Color: Black
Part: 20600
MSRP: $2.00
Paid: $2.00
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 08/25/2007
n/w?: Need

What a waste



Make: Neu Home
Model: Mesh Wastebasket
Size: 11.75”x13.75”
Color: Black
Part: 42187PT
MSRP: $4.99
Paid: $4.99
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 08/25/2007
n/w?: Need

Comments: Sadly, my building doesn't recycle and I haven't found a facility in my neighborhood yet. Hopefully I can find one soon. Remember kids...everytime you throw away a recyclable, God kills a kitten.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Let me be clear



Make: Soft A Silk
Model: Mildew Proof Shower Curtain
Size: 72”x72”
Color: Clear
Part: 13424
MSRP: $14.99
Paid: $14.99
Made in: Unknown

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Date purchased: 08/25/2007
n/w?: Need

_________________________

Make: Creative Bath
Model: Shower Curtain Hooks
Size: n/a
Color: Clear
Part: RN77089
MSRP: $1.99
Paid: $1.99
Made in: USA

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Date purchased: 08/25/2007
n/w?: Need

Hangin' around



Make: Bed, Bath and Beyond
Model: Heavyweight Hangers
Size: n/a
Color: White
Part: n/a
MSRP: $5.99
Paid: $5.99
Made in: USA

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Date purchased: 08/25/2007
n/w?: Need

Stubble trouble



Make: Wahl
Model: Beard Trimmer
Size: n/a
Color: Silver
Part: 9918C
MSRP: $24.99
Paid: $24.99
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 08/25/2007
n/w?: Need

Comment: I don't shave very often, at least not down to the skin. I'm fortunate to work in an industry where I can wear stubble, a full beard, or a handlebar mustache and it's all written off as creative expression. Work starts on Monday and in the wake of all that's happened I've not been able to clean up around the edges before I start my first day of work. Now I have what I need to tame the beast.

Keeping things chill



Make: Progressive
Model: Ice Cube Trays
Size: 12 cube
Color: Blue
Part: PICT-2
MSRP: $2.99
Paid: $2.99
Made in: China

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Date purchased: 08/25/2007
n/w?: Need

Comment: Ice trays are one of those things I always tend to forget about until it's really hot and I really want to cool down my beverage. But at that point of remembrance, if there are no trays, or they haven't been filled, all is lost.

In dryer need



Make: Equip Your Space
Model: Bath Towel Set
Size: Various
Color: Brown
Part: RN89207
MSRP: $25.95
Paid: $20.76
Made in: Pakistan

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Date purchased: 08/25/2007
n/w?: Need

Comment: I needed towels to dry off when I get out of the shower. These were on sale and the brown goes well with the dark wood trim in my apartment. End of story.

Bedtime for blue eyes



Make: Simmons
Model: Beautyrest Classic Pillowtop
Size: Full
Color: White
Part: M13442.20.8106
MSRP: $749.99
Paid: $550
Made in: USA

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Date purchased: 08/25/2007
n/w?: Need

Comment: I spent the last year in SF trying to sleep on a terrible foam mattress from Ikea and promised myself when I moved that I would buy a decent bed. I'm the type of person who can usually sleep anywhere (plane, bus, floor, street)—but when I'm at home, I want my own comfy cradle to lie my head. My new apartment happens to be on "mattress row" and I had plenty of options. I spent the whole afternoon laying on beds for five minutes at a time, trying to determine how comfortable it would be over a period of 6 hours. I finally found on that I liked and was able to talk the salesman into giving me a "Memorial Day" discount. He was also the only guy who would deliver to me on Sunday, which meant I would only need to sleep on my hard wood floor—curled up with a pile of t-shirts—for one night.

Options weighed, purpose defined

The 48 hours following my loss, my mind was running a non-stop marathon of scenerios. What now? After returning the rental van that I no longer needed, I bought a one way ticket to Chicago. As logical as starting a new job, making more money and replacing the things that were stolen seemed...I was having second, third and fourth thoughts about it.

Why?

There was something in knowing that I had nothing, that was very liberating—an opportunity that I didn't want to let go to waste. I thought of dropping off the few things that weren't stolen with a friend, and using the rest of my savings to just take off—travel the world, hop on a fishing boat, do mission work in Africa, hitchhike across Europe. I read epic stories of great adventures like this all the time. But why am I so entrapped by the idea of an ordinary predictable life, that I haven't done any of these things?

I don't know the answer. But I obviously didn't seize the day, because here I am writing a blog about what I wanted to do, but never did. I choose the route most expected and least exciting. I took the job in Chicago, moved into an empty apartment, and began rebuying the things that I needed as well as things I wanted, but could have done without.

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So what is this all about?

This is about living in a consumer culture and being aware of the things I buy. Since there are so may things that I will need to rebuy, I thought it would be interesting to keep track of everything I buy. When I start buying back the stuff that we seem to acquire—usually unnoticed—over time, I want to think about how it will be used, where it's made, how it's made, how long it will last me and what will happen to it when I no longer need/want it. I figure this could also double as a log for my renter's insurance (which I didn't have previously) in the unfortunate case that something happens to all of my stuff again.

I will be logging everything I buy (as well as things that are given to me or found) that are not disposable (i.e. toiletries, light bulbs, food, cleaners, sponges, etc.) and making note of the make, model, color, part number, location of manufacture, price and any other supporting commentary.

This may just end up being a self-serving, online catalog of my possessions, but people seem to find interest in all things internet. So if you find interest in this, enjoy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Zero Day

Some of you knew about the recent opportunity that I was offered, and gratefully accepted, at a design firm in Chicago. Some of you didn't, but now you know. Everything happened pretty quickly, and before I knew it, I had wrapped things up in San Francisco and I was ready to move on to my next big city adventure.

Today was supposed to be day 1 of my road trip East. Last night I packed everything I own{ed} into a van, except for my two bikes, laptop, camera and a few days worth of clothes. The plan was to wake up at 6am, load the bikes on the rear rack, grab a coffee and hit the road.

Instead I walked outside to an empty van with a broken window.

They took it all.

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I was stunned. Emotionless. I really didn't know what to think.

I just kind of sat there on the sidewalk next to the pile of glass as people walked past on their way to work. Most of them glanced at the situation, calculated what had happened, then looked away as if I had a handicap they didn't want to be caught staring at.

My first instinct was to call the police. But once again, the boys in blue let me down for being nothing more than lazy ass government workers, who seem annoyed by the slightest inquisition for help. They wouldn't send someone out to make a police report, see if it was related to other similar break-ins (if there had been any), or even entertain the idea that a crime had taken place and someone needed help. Instead they told me that I should drive the van, with it's busted window and all, across town to the police station and file a report. Thanks.

Next came the car rental company and their attitude about a $300 window and my declining of their insurance. Sorry that I wasn't sympathetic to their loss.

The rest of the day was followed by the slow realization of specific items that were now gone forever. Like my portfolio and all instances of files from my last 5 years as a designer. My inspiration box of work that I had collected from different designers and countries over the years. My library of design books, a few of them signed by their authors...all of these things are worthless to whoever stole them, but priceless to me.

I have been trying to maintain composure and look at this as a liberation from my material things. I had always tried to keep my possessions to a minimum, but this just takes the cake (as well as the utensils I would have used to eat it with).

I somehow feel partially responsible and slightly guilty for not being more intelligent about the situation. I should have known that tinted windows wouldn't prevent a dedicated thief from taking what he wanted. But packing the night before was the most efficient way to get things done. I figure someone saw me loading the van and waited around until it was unattended.

I also began thinking about what drives people to steal, to covet, the desire to have all of these things, or the money one gets from selling those things—and how my career is a driving force of this social affliction.

Design is used to sell. Period. Whether its the newest Nikes, or someone's ideals. My job is to communicate their message. And since the dawn of advertising, the overwhelming majority of messages sent into the world, is to want what you don't have.

Someone else wanted what they didn't have, which happened to be what I had, and no longer have.

Thank you consumerism, thank you thieves.

Today is zero day. Tomorrow I will start again.


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All that remained.