Sunday, January 26, 2020

A Little Puzzled

Since the beginning of the year, I've been working on cleaning up my laptop.  I have a ton of music and photos, and for the last couple years I've worked half-heartedly to clean the folders up.  For some reason at the start of the year I finally got into the mood to work on it.  In one day I slashed my photo folder by 2/3rds.  Without much effort to be honest, most were doubles, triples, 8x, of the same photo.  The last 1/3rd I've worked on a bit since then and maybe cut another 1/8th or so down.  At current count, I still have over 11,000 photos on my hard drive.  A lot are still doubles, but under different names or sizes, so it will take longer to clean it up.  I'm okay with that, I'm just happy I cleaned up what I did.

In the music department, I haven't gotten near as far, but I have cleaned up a lot.  I won't say how I got all the music, but it's 2020, and its much easier to find a playlist of music online and not as necessary to have all this music sitting around.  Especially since I either don't listen to 60% of it or my tastes have changed.  So while I don't need EVERY Van Morrison or Warren Zevon song, having a personal greatest hits selection works just fine.  CD's I still own or ones my mom has I am keeping so its not like I'm cutting down to zero, but again, its a start.

Combined if I cut most of those folders, I will double the capacity of my laptop.  A few years ago I was really wanting a 2 TB hard drive for all my stuff, today, almost all of it fits on a 1 TB and even then I'm still cutting stuff out.  Soon 500GB might be enough.  Except on rare occasions where I have to switch between my desktop and laptop, I haven't used my external hard drive much in the last 2 years.

A few days ago, I decided to take a break from it.  I decided to clean up other stuff I have too much of- VHS tapes.  I have been working on converting VHS to DVD and eventually to my computer and once I do, I should have more space.  At least in theory.  I still buy VHS tapes when I got thrifting if I find something interesting, so maybe I'll never be done.

Speaking of thrifting and VHS, how about a Savvy Shopping post?  This was my most recent trip to my local second hand store, and my mom and I made out like bandits.  Let's dive in.

Let's start with the last item I got.  Long time readers know I'm not much of a book reader, yet somehow also end up with books.  It wasn't even my intention this time to be honest.  One book for a quarter or 10 books for a quarter.  My mom was in the checkout line and had 10 books.  I'm not much for waiting in line so I did a second browse of movies, and happened to look over and saw this book.  I don't know much about Bo and really didn't care about getting the book, but something told me to pick it up and look inside.

I opened it up and sure enough my instincts were right.  Co-author John Bacon signed this copy.  A signed copy is worth a quarter, so now I have to find a time to read this.  Even if I don't its nice to have a few books that are signed.  Maybe one day I'll do a post on it.  For now I'll just say this isn't high on my list.  I mean I have Roberto Clemente and Johnny Damon books to read first and some much older I never got around to.  So maybe by the summer of 2025 I'll get to this one.  Though in honesty, I did read 3-4 books last year, a new record.  So maybe once I catch up on cleaning up my computer and clearing up VHS tapes, I'll spend more time reading.

Speaking of VHS tapes, I found one I've wanted for a while and ended up getting 5.  The sign says 5 of 50 cents or 10 for a buck.  I never asked if that means 1 tape is worth a dime, or what, but usually find 5 that are worth it anyways, so its never been an issue.  So what was the tape I wanted?

In the 90's whenever a motorsport event was on, there would always be a commercial for "AND THE WALKED AWAY", a VHS series of crashes from all over motorsports.  I've always wanted to watch these, but never went out of my way to check it out.  When I got home I checked Youtube and sure enough, Volume 4 was on there, but cut into sections.  So I'm thinking I'll make a copy and might just upload the entire thing in one video.  I was surprised to see one of the events in this tape happened at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, MO, which is just down the road from where I live.  Even though I never went to many of the events there, I do miss the days the Fairgrounds held all kinds of motorsports events.

Figuring I'd find 5 VHS tapes, I grabbed this one as well, mainly because I knew with it still being sealed, the tape would be in great condition to copy if it wasn't already on Youtube.  As it turns out, it is also on Youtube.  In fact all 5 VHS tapes I got were on Youtube in some capacity.  Some are chopped up, but all are on there.  I go for oddball VHS tapes to get, and never really go after actual full length movies because I don't plan on using the VCR much after I get caught up, and because at best I'll try to make a copy for my own use and for the oddball stuff, maybe upload to Youtube.  At worst, I'll be told to take it down, and I will. 

I've seen Carman in concert at least 3 times, maybe closer to 5.  I always liked his music, and to be honest some of his videos have interesting concepts.  This tape was oddball enough I took a chance even though the case is torn to bits.  But what do you expect for a kids tape?  I watched some of it on Youtube, and its not the best.  In fact I went ahead and made a copy of it yesterday because some was cut on the Youtube version, and I doubt I'll upload it.  It was not my thing.  However while reading the credits I noticed one of the videos had a couple kids names I recognized.  Taylor Hanson and Isaac Hanson.  This was around 1992-1994 and they were unknown at the time.  Later they would form a band with their brother and be know as Hanson.  MMMBOP indeed!  *At least Mmmbop is a bit more catchy then what was on this tape.

I haven't really checked out much on this, but it is on Youtube.  I'm not sure if I was more disappointed some of these weren't any good or if they were on Youtube.  If I had a cell phone I could have looked them up before buying them, but its 50 cents and goes to a good cause, who cares?  This one appealed to me because I like tigers.  That was the main reason I got it and I don't regret it.  It's probably the second best tape I got.

I was very excited to find this one.  Not because I knew anything about it, but it seemed oddball just because it was exclusive to JC Penney.  Honestly that was the only reason I got it, and I've yet to watch it, but from the clips I've seen I'm on the fence if I'll like it or not.

At this point I want to say I'm not advocating copying VHS tapes like these, and the main reason I'm even doing it is because I have some home videos I need to convert.  However, since I don't plan on selling these, I'm making copies of stuff I might watch again.  Some I may try to upload to Youtube, but even if I don't, its mainly for my entertainment.

Okay moving on.  They also have a DVD section and it is usually stocked, but not with stuff that is interesting to me.  On this date though, I found something I've wanted for a while.  Well, something I had but lost.

Walk The Line is a movie I love and have seen a ton of times.  At one point, maybe during a move I lost the dvd.  I still have the case, but the movie is gone.  I told my mom earlier in the week that at some point I was going to buy it on Blu Ray, but finding it for a buck on DVD was good enough.  Not to mention having a remnant of Blockbuster Video was nice as well.  I'm still going to upgrade, but in the meantime I'll get use out of this.

I also found some movies for my mom.

My mom is a somewhat big fan of John Wayne.  She likes True Grit, so she was happy to get this.  I was never into Westerns all that much, but maybe I'll watch it one day.

I showed her this one, and while it was 2.50, she wanted it and so I got it.  It had a slipcase, but it looked nasty so I tossed it when I got home.  The DVD's look scratchless, but they don't look too clean.  I don't think it will affect their playing but we'll see when she watches it.

Moving on, lately my mom has wanted to put together puzzles.  Since she retired she tries to find things to fill her time.  She hit the motherlode this time.

Like me she is a bit cheap.  She won't pay more than a buck for a puzzle, so finding these for 50 cents each was great.  She even passed more up.  For the price of all of these, she could have bought ONE at Walmart.  I've helped her on a couple of these and all have their pieces, so I hope when we go back we find some more.  The Christmas one has been my favorite so far.

As we were leaving I stopped at the free box.  I usually never find anything, but this caught my eye.  It turns out it was from 2019, I thought it was the 1994 version.  Oh well, its still a cool piece to display.  It goes well with this I also found.

Pretty sure this Rafiki is the 1994 version.  The tag is ripped off, but I'm fine with that.  Lion King is one of my favorite movies, and I've been looking for a Rafiki trading card for some time, so this will work in place of that for now.  I want one because Robert Guillaume is from Missouri and I'm sure he doesn't have an actual trading card so the closest I can get is one of Rafiki.

All in all this was a great trip and hopefully I'll go back soon and find more deals.  I can also get rid of these photos off my computer once I post this blog and will clean up my folders a bit more, so I'm happy about that too.

Thanks for reading and have a great week.


  1. "I have too much VHS tapes"... such a thing isn't possible :)

    You should definitely watch True Grit sometime, and you're doing yourself a disservice if you've never seen The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, it's a really fantastic film.

    I love puzzles too, and I always buy mine from thrift stores as well -- not only because they're cheaper, but also because older puzzles just tend to be better looking than what's currently available in stores.

    1. I'll probably watch those movies at some point. I go through phases of movie watching and sometimes do a movie challenge where I have to watch stuff I've never seen, so it should happen at one point.

      As for VHS, I just bought more today, so I don't think I'm making progress.