Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Deja Vu

I already gave one of these away not too long ago:

Would you believe that I had two of them? I would.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Stereo Receiver

Here's a broken stereo receiver that I got from someone who was hoping that I could fix it:

This was back in high school, when my own perception of my electronics skill and knowledge far surpassed my actual skill and knowledge. By now my perception and my skill have gravitated toward one another, but I am just too busy to take a second crack at this receiver.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


A few years back I heard an ad on the radio from the so-called "conservative thinktank" The Heritage Foundation offering a free pocket sized copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I requested a copy and soon received this in the mail:

I don't really know why I wanted it. It's not like I frequently find myself sitting around with nothing much to do wishing that I had a conveniently-sized Constitution that I could read. So, I decided that this guy was next to be given away. I had just decided this as we were walking out the door to attend a ward party, and so I took it along hoping to be able to convince someone at the party to keep it. We shared a table with a couple that I had not met before, and so I decided to try my luck at trying to get the husband to take the booklet. I'll spare the details and make a long story short, but even though he did accept the booklet, it was a pretty awkward exchange that took place. I think that I need to spend some time practicing tact in social settings, although it is funny once in a while to get a true deer-in-the-headlights response from someone as you shamelessly try to foist a worthless item upon them. (Not that I think the words in the booklet are worthless, quite the contrary, just the booklet itself has no value in the digital age)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Nothing says fashion like...

...Short-Sleeved Dress Shirts!

The three amigos here will probably be glad to get some fresh air after being crammed in the corner of my closet for so long.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lost and Found

Once upon a time we packed up the family and went hiking. As we were walking, we spied this little guy all alone on the trail:

It's an Energizer flashlight that is powered by hand-cranking a little on-board generator. It's cool, to be sure, but the crank handle broke off during a ski trip (I mentioned earlier that I had only been skiing once in many years... it was during that one trip) and it was never particularly bright. When it comes down to it, there is only so many flashlights that a person can own before it just doesn't make sense to own any more. For me, that number is one less than the number of flashlights I currently own.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I think I know my own name by now

This was my nameplate at my old job:

It was actually a very useful thing to have, because even long after I had been hired into a permanent position, people still referred to me as "the intern". All I had to do was look up at my nameplate to remind myself of my true title, and all the hurt feelings and self-doubt would just melt away. But now that I am secure in my role at my current job, this little guy is fired.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


At times when I was working on my senior project, the hardest thing was sourcing the necessary parts. Here is one piece that we acquired which we didn't actually end up using:

It is a 10 watt, 2 meter band RF power amplifier. A Heathkit model, no less. I don't actually know for sure that it works, but I only operate on the 2 meter band with my handheld radio, so I don't really have a need for this amplifier.

If you want to see my senior project poster, you can find it here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A piece of history

In 1975 HP released a slimmed down version of its original pocket calculator (the HP-35), and called it the HP-21:

This bad boy sports four stack levels of Reverse Polish Notation calculating goodness. And, since there is only one line on the display, you have to keep the other three levels of the stack in your head in order to use them. Original List Price: $125

(I gave this one to a friend, because I wanted to make sure that it found a home with someone who could appreciate its retro-awesomeness)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just Pants

If you read this blog, then like me, you may be thinking that my stuff reduction lately has been a little lacking in interesting stuff. Just have a look at today's item:

It's just a pair of pants. That's all. But don't give up hope! I have some really awesome and interesting things that I am going to be giving away soon. The problem is that a year is a really long time, and we are still in the first month. I can't get rid of all my interesting junk at the beginning of the year, or else even I would be bored with day after day of giving away old socks and empty Altoids tins. So I try to stagger it a little bit. Once I start delving into my boxes of electronics paraphernalia, however, even I don't know what kind of weird stuff will end up on here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I'm sure I'm not the only one with a dusty stack of these...

Why do we hang on to church manuals like this?

Does anyone ever actually go back and read them after the new manuals come out? If so, I applaud you. But, if you are holding on to your printed manuals to do so, you may be interested in this.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I picked this shirt up from a relative of a friend who was trying to unload some unwanted clothes:

It's funny to me that I ever actually wore this shirt, because it is just about the most effeminate, form-hugging shirt that you can imagine. (I guess that technically I could actually imagine a more effeminate shirt, probably something with a floral print and plunging neckline, but that is neither here nor there.) I'm just glad that it is finally leaving my house.

Friday, January 20, 2012

How to win converts and influence people

Here's another book that can definitely be attributed to compulsive book collecting:

It's a "Missionary Guide" of sorts for Catholics from decades ago. When I saw it going for fifty cents at a used book sale, I just had to have it. Looking back, I can't really think of a good reason why I had to have it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

One more tie

When this tie found out that I was giving that other tie away, it volunteered to go along to keep the other one company:

Frankly, I was relieved to hear it. I wear this tie even less often than the previous one.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Dig

This book was a gift a long time ago, but I'm sure that the giving party will forgive me for ditching it:

It a novel based on the story from one of LucasArts' least popular Adventure video games of the late 80's and early 90's. And that should be all that you need to know about it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

To ski, or not to ski?

Okay, the title is a lame pun. Do the rimshot sound effect in your head if you must. I'm giving up my skis:

They sure were a ton of fun in high school, back when the only tough financial decision I ever had to make was: "What fun entertaining thing should I spend my paycheck on this week?" It seems sad to say it, but I have only been skiing a grand total of one time in past nine years. And you know what? I don't really miss it all that much. Especially not this year, as snow seems to have become an endangered species.

Monday, January 16, 2012

It had a good long run

This pot was a faithful companion of mine during my time as a bachelor:

It has also seen a lot of use while I've been married. The amount of rice, potatoes, pasta, and chili that have seen the inside of this pot would be... well, I actually don't know how much it would be. But it would be a lot. Now that the handles are beginning to fall off, however, and younger pots have come to inhabit our kitchen cupboards, its time to put this pot out to pasture.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My house is now 60 lbs. lighter

I was originally thinking that we would be able to sell this one:

Turns out that you can barely give these things away. The Deseret Industries donations drop off area looked like they already had all of the old tube televisions that they could ever want. It felt really good to get it out of my house, though.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It's a tie

I honestly don't know where I got this tie:

It's been warming the bench for my team of ties for years now. Sadly, I think that it is finally time to send it back to the D-League. Or is it D.I.-League?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Good Memories

Behold, the Gravis PC GamePad:

I believe that it was the 2nd PC that my family owned when I was a kid that came bundled with this controller, as well as a CD full of Shareware games. There were some great titles on the CD: Descent, One Must Fall, Hocus Pocus, Jazz Jackrabbit, Cyberia: Mission Norway... the nostalgia runs pretty deep. Unfortunately, I just don't have any use for this controller anymore. With a little effort I'm sure someone could re-purpose it into a controller that works on modern hardware, but that someone is not going to be me.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


What is it, you ask? Why, it's an improvised RAM mounted device stand, of course. Do you suppose that I have ever owned a RAM mounted device? You're right, I haven't.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Five items in one day

A while back one of our neighbors was giving away a run-down (yet still playable) ping pong table for free because they were moving. Being the overly eager ping pong fanatics that we are, we snatched it up without even pausing to consider that we had no room for it. As great as ping pong is, somehow going to all of the trouble to back the car out of the garage and unfold the (very) rickety table to play a low-ceiling game where the ball was constantly rolling out of the garage and into the street made us less motivated to use the table much. But, we are creative recyclers, and so last summer the table was taken apart and turned into a bicycle stand and beds for the children. There were some leftovers, though, which brings us to today's item:

The paddles came with the table, and now they have no use. It is time for them to make their journey to Land of Misfit Toys, aka the Deseret Industries.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Two out of three ain't bad

If you can't read it, this water bottle has the mantra "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" stamped on it:

Usually when I think of the "three R's", I'm thinking about Readin', Ritin', and 'Rithematic (Thank you, Stan and Jan Berenstain), but this eco-friendly version works too. It's like an educational chant, right up there with:

  • Stop, Drop, and Roll
  • Lather, Rinse, Repeat
and the old classic:
  • If it's Yellow, let it Mellow
The words on this bottle have inspired me to (1) reduce the number of water bottles I own by one, and (2) recycle said bottle. The people who made the bottle ought to be proud.

Monday, January 9, 2012


I have a lot of unfinished projects hanging around. It's a curse, really. Call it Project Attention Deficit Disorder. Today's item, however doesn't come from an unfinished project, but from one that never even got started.

I get really excited when I see great MAME cabinet builds like this one. I've always wanted to build one of my own, and I acquired a couple of CRT monitors in hopes of doing just that. Unfortunately, collecting things that you might someday do something with is a habit that could bury you neck-deep in junk if you let it. It is time for this little monitor to continue its journey toward obsolescence without me.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Don't tread on me

This is a testament to how easy I had it while I was a missionary. I own two pairs of dress shoes, both of which were with me the entire two years. I have been back for over six years now, still using the same shoes, and I am finally going to retire one pair:

Other returned missionaries show off their worn-down shoes as evidence of the countless miles they covered on foot spreading the Good Word. I, on the other hand, was nice and comfortable sitting on heated seat cushions inside my car.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I really don't know why

I don't think that I am a hoarder. For almost everything I have kept over the years I think I have had a legitimate reason for doing so. These particular items, however, not so much:

You can see from the tags that they are coming on three years old, yet they have been sitting in my garage simply because I didn't want to toss them out. My wife likes these plates because I told her about the mnemonic device I had to use in order to remember my license plate number. The square root of nine is three gives "993" and "VFC" stands for "Very Fine Car". I don't have a mnemonic for my current plates and I have absolutely no idea what the number is.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Likely the first book of many

It never really crossed my mind while I was serving as a missionary in Sweden, but thinking back, I acquired a rather large collection of books that were not on the approved missionary reading list. I didn't really read (much of) any of them, I just happen to be a compulsive book collector. I was also naturally curious about the beliefs of other religions. Generally the only people that are willing to talk to missionaries in Sweden are those that are already deeply religious (a small percentage of the population) and I found it useful to have a basic working knowledge of their doctrines.

So here we have my NWT Bible. I picked it up because it has an extensive reference section in the back which serves as an excellent primer to Jehovah's Witness doctrine. As for the translation itself, I don't really care for it. Did you know that the King James Version celebrated its 400th anniversary last year? BYUtv did a cool tribute.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

An Important Gift

I debated a little bit about whether or not getting rid of this particular "stuff" should count. You see, we had acquired a serious backlog of boxed cereal and peanut butter at our house. And even though I believe that storing extras of non-perishable food is important for any disaster-conscious family, it got to the point that we would probably not be able to eat it all before it expired. Thus, five bags of "stuff" is out of my house and into the hands of the local food bank:

The Cache Community Food Pantry looked busy when I dropped the bags off. There is certainly a lot of need even in our immediate area.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A long time coming

This one was hard to give away. About five years ago I was working for a guy who rented out properties, ranging from small houses to commercial buildings. As with most people who play the renting game, he had amassed a fair collection of junk from evictions and abandoned items of former tenants. One such item was this bicycle, which I spied collecting dust in his garage:

It's a 1960 Schwinn Tiger, and it's in worse shape than it looks based on the picture. I loved the classic look of the bike, and my employer gave it to me for free. I've held on to it through the years, always with the intention that someday I was going to fix it up and make it rideable. Now I've finally decided to let the bike go to someone else who is actually going to do something with it.

I gave the bike to a nice guy from Salt Lake City who seemed very knowledgeable about bikes of the era. He promised to send me an update when he was finished fixing it, and I can't wait to see how it goes. It really is a beautiful bike.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Denim? I hardly know 'im...

Someone at work was cleaning out their office and offered up this (unworn) shirt to anyone that wanted it:

Like a sucker, I took it -- not realizing that since I primarily wear jeans, wearing this denim-like shirt makes it look like I am wearing a giant denim jumpsuit. This lightly worn shirt will hopefully find a home with someone who wears khakis. And doesn't have a highly developed fashion sense.

Speaking of fashion sense, check out the first paragraph of this article. It's a great vocabulary list of 17th century insults.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Consolation Prize

I got this mug from my former employer:

Mugs like this were handed out after the completion of a very lengthy project. I was a part of this project for over a year, but there were others who worked on it for even longer. Basically this mug says, "we recognize that you contributed to this project, but your job title doesn't allow for you to receive a plaque like the other members of your team." Truth be told I would rather have a mug than a plaque, because a mug at least serves some utilitarian purpose. However, this mug isn't very comfortable to drink from (it's square) and I have several other mugs, so I am getting rid of it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Got Stuff? I Do.

I have a problem. Specifically, I have a problem with owning things. Whenever I look at my massive pile-o-possessions I think to myself, "Man I wish didn't have so much stuff."  So, to kick off the new year I thought that it would be fun to try getting rid of one of my possessions every day for an entire year. Every day I will post a picture of what I'm getting rid of, and hopefully by the end of the year I will have 365 fewer things in my possession. Here are the rules:

1. Things of very little value will either be recycled or thrown away, but it has to be something that I wouldn't have thrown out this year anyway.

2. Things of moderate value will be given away, usually to the local second-hand store unless I know someone personally who wants it.

3. If I choose to get rid of something more valuable, then I will probably sell it, but it doesn't count as being "gotten rid of" until it is actually sold.

So, with that out of the way, here is the first item:

It is a pair of hiking shoes that I have had for years that are too small for me. They are still in great shape, so I'm sure that the D.I. can get a sale out of them.

By the way, for the benefit of any family members that may read this, know that I have terrible memory for what is mine and what isn't. If you happen to see me get rid of something that doesn't actually belong to me, feel free to get in touch and we will make it right.