Wednesday, April 5, 2023

What Do You Want For Nothing?

 Severe storms have passed so now I can write a blog.  I don't like working on things when storms are near because the power might go out and I can't finish.  As I write this there are still sever storms and tornadoes and I might have to check in with a few friends to see if they came out okay in southern Missouri.

Having said that, I have a few things to show today, and as usual, it isn't card related, but still some good stuff.  Its a mix of stuff from all over, so its not a Savvy post, or a Dollar Tree post, or anything specific.  In fact, the first item I picked up about 40 feet from my window.  Had to do some heavy lifting, so let's dig in.... literally.

A couple weeks ago my mom told me about something in the dumpster.  It was after dark, and the light by the dumpster usually doesn't work, so I waited until the sun came up to check it out.  When I did, it was some wood piece of furniture.  I figured I'd pick it up and at worst just toss it back in if its too bad.  Unlike other dumpster dives, this one actually had trash on it.  I'm not saying I'm a clean freak, but usually I would pass on it, but it wasn't buried too bad, just a bag or two.  So I moved them, and grabbed the square piece of whatever it was.  I figured it was a bookcase or shelf or something.  However, as I lifted it, I realized it was much heavier than I thought.  This dumpster has large side walls, so I struggled a bit but was able to pull it out.  As I did, I noticed it sat in water all night.... dumpster water.  So already I probably should have gave up.  I decided I'd let it set out on the patio for a full day before trying to salvage it.  It looked like a bookcase of some sort but kind of small to put books.  I thought maybe some sort of kids furniture piece which later I realized was absolutely correct.  It was from a school, and had a top that raised up.

The next day I brought it in, and luckily it rolled, and didn't look too bad.  However, the wheels sat really low, so much it was dragging on the carpet.  I figured I'd take all the metal and hardware off first to clean off really good first.  At the least, if I had to toss the rest, I'd at least have some wheels for a future project.  As I started to clean it up, I noticed some of the wood looked a bit bad from sitting in the water, but not too bad.  Some of the side was peeling though, so I figured I might have to repaint it, but ended up not doing it.  What I did have to do though is punching a piece of the back off.  The back had like a dry erase section, but it looked water damaged and wasn't sure if it was from the previous owner or the dumpster.  While doing that, my mom cleaned the top piece of wood that folded on top, and noticed it had a terrible smell (she said it smelled like dirty diapers).  I wonder if they used it as a baby changing station?  It was a nice piece of wood, but I don't need it that bad.  Things got worse as another piece of wood had to be tossed for a bad smell of too.  At that point is when I figured I had to take the dry erase backing off.  It mostly went off without a hitch.  After all that, we finished cleaning it, and everything seemed fine, so now I had to decide how to use it.  A few thought went through my head.... maybe some shelves for baseball cards.  Maybe for VHS tapes, possible for CD's.  All good ideas, and I tried it with VHS for a while (had to relocate my VHS tapes temporarily anyways), but didn't like it.  Books were too big, so I sat for a while.  I let is set for a week or so and decided to find a way to make the wheels work better.  I realized I had an old bookcase about to fall apart which had a couple useless boards.  I decided to cut it and place it on the bottom so the wheels would set off the ground better.  Using only a hacksaw blade (no hacksaw), I managed to cut it near perfectly and the wheels fit just fine.  I finally can roll it and I know how to use it.

I finally have a dedicated shelf for puzzles.  In the past I had them in a closet with the water heater, or in a couple boxes sitting on the floor.  Now I can see which puzzles to work on next, and as it gets empty I can go to storage and find more to bring back.  As long as this holds at least 10 puzzles, I'm happy.  This came in handy at the right time since my mom found a few free puzzles as she was taking some magazines to donate for someone to take (the apartments has like a little free library setup with books, puzzles and other stuff, at least my mom says they do, I've never looked).  I'm happy with using this for puzzles.  The VHS tapes fit well on their sides, but I like to have them stood up, and I have so many now that I ran out of room even having them double stacked.  I never tried card boxes, but I'm not sure I would like that much either.

So free is good, and by taking down the bookcase and finding this, I actually gained space and have a bit more room now.

Speaking of free, my sister visited me this past weekend, and brought a couple things for me she found while thrifting in St. Louis the day before.  One was perfect for the weekend, the timing couldn't be better.

A WWE card game the weekend of Wrestlemania?  Nice! Even better is the brand is the same brand that makes puzzles, so maybe they might have a deal to make wrestling puzzles (I've seen some from the 80's and 90's so why not now). I started to read the rules to the game, but it seemed a bit complicated.  Which is fine, the box displays nice so I can display it.  However inside were cards with wrestlers on them, and I can show those off.

A nice variety of wrestlers, however there weren't really any current ones (Sting is still active in AEW, but still).  I was saddened as I looked at the names I pulled as most of them have passed on- Dusty, Eddie, Razor, Mr. Perfect, Bulldog, Macho Man... all ones I grew up watching, all gone too soon.  Who would have thought Iron Shiek would outlive most of them?  In all there were 30 superstars, and while some are obvious like Hogan, Undertaker, and Ric Flair, some were a bit surprising.  Guys like Mark Henry Sting (who was there a short time) were included.  Some who didn't make the cut were John Cena, Roddy Piper, Triple H, and I think even Bret Hart (Bulldog over Bret, what?).  Again I don't really understand the rules, but these cards on their own look cool.  Even better is there is a larger size card of each of these same ones, so if I do display them, I can display small and large versions of the same card.  Maybe I'll look again at how to play, but doubt I will play it.  My sister figured as much anyways.  I have to look at the TCDB to see if this would be card that are allowed on the site or if they already are.  Either way, I like them.

This wasn't the only item she brought me.  The next item is the inspiration for the blog post title.

"What do you want for nothing.......... RUBBER BISCUIT?" I was quite happy that she found this and gave it to me.  I always loved the Blues Brothers, and the first movie (we don't talk about the second one).  Having this album is cool on a few levels.  First and foremost its probably the nicest condition record I own, and I'm a sucker for soundtracks.  However, before I started this blog I was thinking that I have owned this album on Cassette, CD, and now LP.  I might even have all versions still.  This album is a really good one, and the cover art is cool too.  The back is even better with the band, and acknowledgement of all the members.  While so much focus is on Jake and Elwood (Dan and John), the other members of the band are real life musicians and really good ones.  If you ever heard Green Onions, then you've heard Steve Cropper, one of the songwriters (he's the one with the full beard in the back row).  He has been nominated and even won a couple Grammy awards.  I'm sure most people have heard of Paul Shaffer, the longtime bandleader for David Letterman.  He was also on Saturday Night Live and was part of the band.  When the movie came about, he couldn't be in it, however, that doesn't take away from the movie.  My favorite though is Donald "Duck" Dunn, the man with the pipe on the end.  Not only was his character good in the movie (they had a powerful sound), in real life, he was even better.  While Steve Cropper was a co-founder of Booker T. and the MGs, Dunn would later join the band and also was a session player for Stax records.  One of the songs he sat in on was the original version of Respect, sung by Otis Redding (Cropper was on it too and produced it).  A couple years later Aretha Franklin would rework it and make it a bigger hit.  About 12 years later, Franklin would appear in The Blues Brothers movie singing Think.  Another song that Dunn and Cropper were a part of that would make the movie was "Hold On, I'm Comin'" but Sam & Dave.  While Dunn passed away a few years ago, he might still be remembered today by having one of the coolest GIF's ever.

If you've never seen the movie, you really should see it.  I watch it at least twice a year, and I should watch it this week.... I'm mesmerized by the GIF above... Anyways, the movie is great with a lot of cameos, and its surprising how people don't really consider it a musical when it is pretty much start to finish music.  In addition to the movie, the music itself is amazing.  This isn't the soundtrack, but it is a very nice supplement to the soundtrack.  The Blues Brothers actually had a few albums, and most of them I would consider must have.  If you've never heard the music, check out their version of Soul Man, and then check out Rubber Biscuit.  Jake and Elwood (Dan and John) really liked soul and blues music and wanted to honor the spirit of the music.  Not only did they succeed, but they got some of the best session players to be their backing band (and its almost a crime to call a lot of these guys session players since they not only worked with major acts, but released their own music.  If you have time check out the wikipedia pages for the Blues Brothers, then for each of the other band members.  Its a fun rabbit hole especially if you enjoy music.

I could wrap things up here, but I want to clear up some of my old photos a bit.  I've mentioned I've been working on puzzles lately, and for the last month I've had a theme- food.  After buying a puzzle from Amazon, to hold off on finishing it so quick, I thought I'd do other puzzles that I have of food.  Here is how I've done so far.

The top photo is a trio of puzzles completed in the past, but fun ones to do again.  I forgot how tough the pretzel one was, mainly because there was no picture for it.  Eventually I found a photo online to help finish it.  The pizza one was a quick one, and the Cracker Jack one wrapped up just before baseball season began.  There was another food themed puzzle but remembering it too forever to finish last time, I decided to skip it until after completing the newest one.  The Reese's puzzle was a lot of fun.  It was like a book you can't put down.  Surprisingly, it was pretty easy to finish only a few days.  I am happy I bought the puzzle, and even happier I had some Reese's to celebrate with, even some eggs for Easter.  Plus I had to display my hat, that even after owning it for over a decade (closer to 20 year I'd bet), I still get compliments about.  The puzzle to wrap up food month (which was delayed a few days anyways due to a water leak) is the M&M's puzzle.  It is only 550 pieces, but is a very hard one due to not a lot of variation.  I believe I showed it off a few years ago.  It took 2-3 weeks at least, so it might take a while.

A few weeks back we welcomed a new member of the family.  He didn't have a name, so we named him Gilly (Gilly Gorilly).  He is like a pint sized version of our own Gary Gorilla, who was similar to one my sister Andrea had for many years.  It was by luck we found Gary shortly after Andrea passed, and since then we've expanded the family.  Here is the happy family.

The three main gorillas were all found at Savvy, the local second hand store, and its the reason why I keep going back.  While the prices have gone up (yet not on random stuff), there is always something I may not want to pass up.  In fact I might go tomorrow to check out some VHS tapes.

Before I wrap it up, I thought I'd show a few movies I found at Dollar Tree.  I think most of these were right after the new year, some might be older.  Movies are $1.25 now but I hear there is a sale this week, 2 for a buck, so I might have to see.  There may not be many I'm interested in, but others have mentioned 50 cents is a good deal just for a replacement case.  My counter is (why would one need a replacement case).  Still I might look.  Here is what I bought in the past though.

None of these movies I've ever seen.  However Neighbors I've kind of wanted to see, so for what used to be a 5 day rental at a video store, I can just own it.  Same for the other two movies, the dvd of Blood On The Crown, because Malcom McDowell is a good actor, and it sounded interesting.  Danny Collins I got because others on a blu ray site really hyped it up, and it did sound interesting.  Once I get a little organized I might sit and watch all these.  These weren't the only ones I got though.

These two were the reason I went to look at movies.  I was so happy to find them.  After finding my first blu rays at Dollar Tree a few years back, I joined a blu ray site, and among other things they do is each month they have a movie challenge.  The goal is to watch 50 movies a month, you get nothing for doing it, but one thing it does is gives you a reason to watch movies, and also helps try to expand your horizons a bit.  Because of it, I've watched movies in the last 3-4 years I would have never considered before.  In fact my fascination with Charles Bronson movies really picked up because I did a movie challenge.  I haven't done one in a while, but might have to in the next month or two.  I say all this because thanks to the movie challenges, I may have just skipped past these movies.  I remember watching Brian Banks during Black History month in 2022, when it was free on a few streaming sites.  I already liked Aldis Hodge thanks to Leverage, and I like sports biographies, so it was worth checking out.  After watching it, I wanted to get it or at least stream it again.  When people started finding it at Dollar Tree, it was my second wished movie.  The first was Megan Leavey.  Another biography, I watched this during a holiday (either Thanksgiving or Christmas) when I was bored for a couple hours overnight and needed something to watch.  I didn't expect much, and wasn't familiar with Kate Mara, but by the end I wanted to get this movie.  It was a few years later, but now I finally have it.

My Blu Ray collection is nearing 175, and I would say over half have been thanks to Dollar Tree. Maybe I'll do a future post on that.

I just realized I have another puzzle to show, so lets do that and wrap it up.

This was the other new puzzle I bought on Amazon, and wasn't sure if I showed it completed.  This was also fairly easy, but also very fun.  It took a bit longer than the candy one, but it will be one I think I'll enjoy doing each summer.  I like that these puzzles have large photos.  

So I guess I'll wrap it up now.  This was a fun post showing off some stuff I've acquired in the past few months, and each bring me different levels of joy.  Now that the storm has passed, I think I might watch a movie or two.  I might hold off on The Blues Brothers, but it wouldn't be a bad choice.  Thanks everyone for reading, and a special Happy Birthday to my sister Anitra, who reads each blog.  Tomorrow is her birthday, and when we talked the other day she was a bit sad thinking about our sister Andrea who passed away on Anitra's birthday.  It was also the same day that my best friend got married, so I should wish him a Happy Anniversary too, since he is also an avid reader of this blog.  I actually teased him with the record reveal.  So if tomorrow is a day that you celebrate, I hope its the best one ever.  Even if you don't I hope you have a great day, and a great Easter weekend.  Thanks for reading.