Sunday, July 24, 2005

It's too hot...Saturday 7/23/05

An item not needed on a hot July day in Georgia. Posted by Picasa
Two weeks ago I contacted a friend who lives in Norcross to see if she was interested in helping me explore the Yard Sale scene in Gwinnett County. Her retort was that it was too hot to go to sales in July. I did not question her lack of enthusiasm but this week I decided it is too hot to go to sales. Especially now as a stagnant high pressure system sits over most of the nation bringing temperatures in to the mid 90’s in Atlanta. I went to sales anyway but found I became overheated in the process and had to end my expedition around 11 AM.

Whiteford Ave. - Edgewood “Garage Sale”

This sale was in the two-car garage of a massive infill home in Edgewood a block from the Marta station. This type of McMansion seems to be the result of big box stores being built in once iffy neighborhoods. The builders at least had the decency to construct the double garage behind the home so that neighbors would not have to face a line of garage doors housing SUVs. Approaching the sale I passed a 2003 big Toyota for sale in the driveway next to it was a large camping tent set up for buyer’s inspection. The goods inside the garage were what one would expect from such a manor. Here two men watched over a collection of barely used sporting and athletic goods that included skis, a snowboard, a strength-training bench, a basketball hoop and various rackets. Also on display was a set of large speakers, a large framed photo of Yellowstone falls, and a small television, some CDs and a bobbing head figure of Clay Aiken. Overall everything looked very clean and most of the stuff looked like it had never been used.
I bought nothing.

Bobbing headed Clay Aiken figure. Posted by Picasa
Flora Ave. - Edgewood “Yard Sale”

This sale on the porch of an old bungalow less than a block away represented a far different lifestyle than the first sale. I had a sense on déjà vu when I walked up the front steps since I had been seen most of this stuff for sale before at this same house. Here was a collection of dusty and mildewy things piled randomly on the front porch and in the front yard. It appeared that the objects were housed in a dirty crawl space or shed then hauled out every year for a sale. Among the clutter was a Zippo lighter with an engraving of the USS Saratoga, a bag of carnival masks, a lamp with a dogsled and Eskimos, an alligator purse, two old Electrolux vacuums and some empty spice bottles. In the yard was an assortment of old electric motors and discarding building supplies. Most remarkable was and old water cooler with the words “Road busters HQ” painted on it. The vessel had been used to quench the thirst of those who fought the building of 485 through nearby neighborhoods. Some books found there included “How to eat like a child”, “Frank Purdue’s Guide to Chicken” and “Home Brewing without Failure”
I bought nothing.

Eskimo lamp. Posted by Picasa
Moreland Ave. - Inman Park “Multifamily Sale”

This sale was in the garage of a condo development built a few years ago next to Freedom Park. I drove into the small driveway and parked behind a new Saab 95 with a “Who is John Galt” and “Don’t Tread on me” bumper sticker. In the back window was one of those stylish looking W stickers that they made for Republicans who felt the Bush Cheney stickers clashed with the styling of their expensive cares. At the sale I found a small assortment of very new and very clean goods spread out in the driveway and garage. Among the stuff was a leather sofa, a paper shredder, a set of golf clubs and two electric fans. There were also two of those backpack picnic sets. Both sets appeared unused. These are starting to be one of the most common unused items at sales. I’m starting to believe no one has ever used one of these sets anywhere.
I bought nothing.

More unused backpack picnic sets. Posted by Picasa
Seminole Ave. – Inman Park “Yard Sale”

This sale offered marked contrast to the prior event. On the roof on a large craftsman bungalow was a bed sheet with the words "yard sale" on it large enough to be seen by passing helicopters. Here the entire front yard was covered in clutter. In the yard no less than three camping tents were erected and for sale. One was sold and taken down while I was there. In the middle of the yard was a massive collection of used golf balls piled into various boxes. A great selection of books and records took up a quarter of the yard. Among the titles were “Don’t know much about geography”, "When do fish sleep?”, "Do animals dream?” “Dictionary of pronunciation of artists names” and “Cooking in the Mississippi”. Among the children’s books was an assortment of Captain Underpants novels. Found among the recordings was a 45 album of the Firehouse 5 plus 2 and two 78 Albums by Dorothy Shay and the Park Ave. Hillbillies. Mixed in with the media were boxes of old House and Garden magazines from the 1960’s as well as old National Geographics. Other stuff scattered about the yard included a Chinese wind up toy of people playing ping pong, a gingerbread house kit, an inflatable strange looking yellow mustached figure called a Bop-it, a box of beanie babies, a small microscope, a bag of plastic eye patches, a Sponge Bob steering wheel cover and a boxed copy of Chaos software. On the street outside the sale was a box marked free. It contained some geometric forms made from popcycle sticks
I bought nothing.

A sign for passing aircraft. Posted by Picasa

Massive assortment of golf balls. Posted by Picasa

Uptown mountainmusic from Dorothy Shaw. Posted by Picasa

This Firehouse 5 plus 2 plays while the city burns. Posted by Picasa

Yellow Bop-it figure. Posted by Picasa
Linwood Ave. - Poncy Highland “Yard Sale”

When I left the sale on Seminole the day was beginning to get extremely hot. When I arrived at this small sale on the porch of a house not far from Ponce De Leon the climate was unbearable. The seller looked hot and I could barely focus on what was being sold. She told me that all the Xmas CDs were free. It seemed difficult to even consider any thing that had to do with that holiday in this heat. I was enen too hot to take notes. All I can remember was a combination Xmas and Tabasco necktie, some women’s clothing and a monitor priced at 5 dollars.
I bought nothing.

Fairview St. Druid Hills “Garage Sale”

At least this sale was in the shade. But I was still dazed by the heat as I entered this sale through the porte-cochere of this classic brick Tudor home. The first thing I encountered were two books by Rush Limbaugh and a biography of William F. Buckley. Other clutter there included some old vacuum cleaners, a cordless phone, some 3M board games and an unassembled plastic model of a piper aircraft. On a table was a selection of barware from the Ritz next to it was a framed copy of the serenity prayer.
I bought nothing.

Maxwell St. – Oakhurst “Moving Sale”

At this sale the sellers well all properly outfitted in lightweight straw hats. I did not have a hat so I had to watch out for heat stroke. A large selection of stuff was assembled in the front yard of a well-kept two-story frame home. Among the items were crutches, a pillow in the shape of a Perrier bottle, night vision goggles and a lot of graphic arts software manuals. In the shade of the porch I found books on dealing with chronic pain and improving ones sex life. On a table was a selection of Indian jewelry from the southwest and native made baskets from the Darien. On the ground spread out on plastic tarps was a collection of antique large tools with sharp blades and points. The most out of place object was a down parka making kit. In this heat the site of the down made one want to drink from the Perrier shaped pillow.
A bought a copy of “The Pillow Book” a collection of old Asia erotic art for one dollar. I hope to sell it on Ebay.

Pillow in the shape of imported water vessel. Posted by Picasa

Some sharp objects found in Oakhurst. Posted by Picasa

Ebay Update

Several months ago I purchased a limited edition book on the founder of United Airlines for one dollar with the intent of selling it on Ebay. I did sell it a few months ago for $26 which did make me feel I was not wasting all my time going to yard sales. I really do not need a financial reason for my habits especially in light of my loathing those resellers who go thought yard sales like unethical fishermen with large drag nets. I should think the reason I go to yard sales is so I can report on what citizens are divesting themselves of, that also should be reason enough.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Saturday 7/16/05- Do women have nothing to hide that they won’t sell?

Fun for bachelorettes at a low price. Posted by Picasa
Today I've notice that far more women seem to sell their belongings more than men. The chances of finding men's clothing at a sale appear to be one forth of finding women's clothing. Women also do not seem to mind to give up things that men would find revealing about their lives. Perhaps the letting go of sexual instruction manuals, personal massagers and erotic dice is a cathartic act for women a way of letting to or perhaps they feel that ridding them selves of this clutter is a rite of passage and selling it in public gives them a sense of ascendancy.

Oakdale Ave. Candler Park "Family Yard Sale"

At first inspection this did appear as advertised with children's bicycles, piles of toys and boxes of juvenile media spread out in the front yard of this home and watched over by two women. Yet when I examined things closer I found a VHS copy of "Better Sex through Yoga" and "Surviving Teenage Pregnancy". In one of several boxes of books I came across several books on witchcraft, not your standard Candler Park Earth/Fem/New Age Magick works but titles such as "Cotton Mather on Witchcraft". Other items were mundane and perplexing at the same time such as the VHS based game "Nightmare" and a kit for making microscope slide from brine shrimp. Also puzzling was why were all the men’s shirts so wrinkled? But the three ceiling fans splayed out on the lawn gave this all an edge of everyday reality.

Clifton Rd. - Candler Park "Yard Sale"

This small sale was set up on the front porch and steps of a 1920’s wooden bungalow. A woman who appeared in her 30’s watched over the assembled goods. Among the items there were CDs of cajun Christmas music, a pack of “52 Cheap Date Cards”, an Andre the Giant, bobbing head figure, a voodoo revenge kit and a plush bear and frog. Among the books were several titles on ballroom dancing, “Prescription for Joy” and “Conversation Piece”. One of the conversation pieces in the latter work was “If you could add anything interesting to an elevator what would you add?” One item was a clear plastic bag on the porch with the label “Bachelorette Kit”. Among the items in the kit was a pair of glow in the dark erotic dice. Each side of the dice bore either a body part name or an action word. The pair facing me read lick-toe..
I bought nothing.

Revenge Kit. Posted by Picasa

Andre the Giant replica. He was never that handsome in real life. Posted by Picasa
Ivy St. – Lake Claire “Fantastic Sale”

This sale was also presided over by a woman. Here I found a Gary Kasparov Chess training kit. The training kit consisted of an electronic chess set and a book with Kasparov’s image on it. I presume the board spoke and made sarcastic comments in broken Russian on any move one makes. Other stuff there included a paraffin spa for hands and feet, hair curlers, a personal; massager, a romantic massage kit, a coffee maker, a souvenir hair clip from the Daytona speedway, a detox in a box kit, a string of faux garlic and pinon incense. Media included a VHS tape labeled “Cuban missile crisis special” and a book entitled “Wake up I’m fat” There was also an unopened box of St. Patrick’s Day cards”
I bought nothing.

A seller lets go of romantic things. Posted by Picasa

Unsent St. Patrick's Day cards. Posted by Picasa
Ridgewood Court – Lake Clair “Moving Sale”

What is it with cul de sac, no matter where theses circular dead ends are located they always seem to attract suburban homesteaders. These homesteaders were selling their in-town ranch and heading to some other cul de sac. There was not a lot of stuff here when I arrived, mostly large plastic children’s playthings. There was also a fireplace screen, some barstools and a metal security door.
I bought nothing.

Maxwell St. – Oakhurst “Yard Sale”

There was not much left here when I arrived and most of it was not very interesting. Among the selected clutter was a plate rack still in the box, a set of Xmas plates with a different Reindeer on each plate (Comet was on top of the stack) a box of Cds without cases and a set of Laura Ashley sheets.
I bought nothing.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Saturday 7/9/05 - Tropical storms or midsummer malaise?

This week the signs are better than the sales. Posted by Picasa
Be it the threat of rain, the extent of the rain we’ve had, the possibility that everyone is away on vacation or maybe it’s the humidity but no one seems to be having any sales of consequence. The folks that are having them don’t even seem to care. And with all this rain I shouldn’t even be going to sales I should be trying to flood proof my basement.

Mell Ave. - Candler Park “Yard Sale”

There was not a lot to this sale just a few blocks from my home. Near the driveway was a small selection of women’s clothing and some toddler toys. Facing the street was a large framed photo of James Dean and a glossy black tote bag that said Hollywood.
I bought nothing.

Whiteford Ave. - Edgewood “Yard Sale”

The grim reminder of this sale was that it was a back to school yard sale. The back to part reminding me that my summer vacation was more than half over and that I would be returning to my life as a working man. The school-oriented stuff included a collection of backpacks. There was another sign that said, “Gently used boys shoes”. I have seen very few boys who use their shoes gently. These children probably just went barefoot most of the time. Other items included a lot of toys, some African art and a framed print of an old front porch.
I bought nothing.

Emerson Ave. - Ormewood Park “Yard Sale”

After leaving Edgewood In continued south on Moreland hoping to see a sign for a sale in East Atlanta that was listed in Craigslist a few days earlier. There were no signs for any East Atlanta sales but I did find this one small sale near my old home in Ormewood Park. In the driveway was once again a selection of women’s cloths, some pop novels by Puzo, Robbins and others, some baby items and a stack of Fiesta ware platters priced at $40 each.
I bought nothing.

McLendon Ave. - Candler Park “Yard Sale”

Back in my neighborhood I found this very small sale. A man had a few things assembled in front of his frame craftsman bungalow. Among the stuff there were twin lamps shaped like the Eiffel Tower, some towels, two glitter covered plush spiders and a few items of men’s clothing.
I bought nothing.

Norwood Dr. Kirkwood “Must See Garage Sale”

I knew this day was going nowhere when I crossed under the tracks again this time going into Kirkwood. First there was no garage at this garage sale. Here in the front yard of a small one-story frame house two women presided over a moderate amount of clutter. Among the stuff there were two framed Chinese ideograms, one symbolizing dreams the other laughter. There was also a lot of women’s leather clothing, a Texas flag made of sheet metal, a box set of the Sopranos, a copy of the “7 Secrets of Highly Effective People” and an old portable TV set.
I bought nothing.

McLendon Ave. - Lake Claire “Yard Sale”

As I neared home I stopped at this final small and insignificant sale. Up some steps in front of the home I found several Cure CDs, a copy of a Gross Anatomy textbook, an Ikea file cabinet, a turntable for $10, some women’s cloths and some cloth napkins.
I bought nothing.

The poster is better than the actual sale. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 08, 2005

Saturday 7/2/05 - The preholiday doldrums

The heavy rains of the previous evening erased all vital information here. Posted by Picasa
The weekend before The Fourth of July holiday is sort of a midsummer dead zone for yard sales. A lot of people are out of town and a lot of people think it’s too hot to hold a sale. In addition many signs people had posted on Friday were eradicated by the intense rains of that evening.
I gave up early trying to find anything around here.

Oakdale Rd. - Candler Park “Yard Sale”

The only real sale I stopped at was in the driveway of a old bungalow. There was not a great deal of stuff for sale. Among the books several titles on home schooling. There was also yet another copy of the Journal of Abundance that I keep seeing. This one like all the others had no entries in it.
There were also shoes, a Christmas village and a selection of toys.
I bought nothing.

I drove by my friend Terry’s home who I encountered in front of my house last week pulling a lamp from a junk pile. She was having yet another sale. The lamp was there as well as the globe and xylophone I had seen in her truck that morning.

Dennis Coburn told me he was having another yard sale at his property in Kirkwood. He also left a message that there was a roadside memorial for a dog on Clifton Rd. Since my show last month people keep calling me to tell me where memorials are. I was able to photograph that was well as the yard sale sign in one shot. I later dropped by the sale but Dennis had already departed leaving a lot of old stuff out in the heat of the July sun.

Yard sale information and a canine memorial all in one location. Posted by Picasa

The ascendancy of Craigslist and virtual yard sales.

Over the past eight months the word Craigslist seems to be coming up in conversations more and more. Two months ago my friend Wayne sold a lot of his stuff prior to his garage sale when he listed it on the site. He said the stuff sold in one day. Will this free online listing service change the world of Yard Sales? How does the experience of a virtual yard sale compare with the tactile experience of digging through a pile of worthless junk?
This week in the absence of a multitude of sales I went to Craigslists the way a lonely but shy man goes to the Yahoo Dating site. I had no intention to buy anything but just wanted to look at other people’s stuff. Since at least a third of the ads had photos I was given at least a visual experience. The first garage sale listing I examined with photos was mesmerizing in it’s boredom. The photos were placed on Kodak’s photo site and I had to look at them slowly and in a fixed order. Shot after shot of different angles of an old rug filled my monitor. Some were close up. One showed the carpet partially flipped over. After a seemingly endless parade of carpet shots the towels came on. I sometimes am intrigued by minimalism but this was starting to put me in a trance.
Another sale simply linked me to a page with thumbnails. At least here I could see all the things I didn’t want to see in one glance. The page contained at least 15 pictures of things made out of particleboard. One upcoming sale was proclaimed as the “Moving sale of the year” among the clutter to be featured there was a wine rack, dumbbells and a Spanish dictionary. Another sale this one in East Atlanta proudly proclaimed having everything from “microwaves to Bjork posters”. The principle thing lacking in all the listings was that no one had photos of just piles and boxes of junk.
More interesting than the Garage sale listings were the free listing. Among the items in the free area were advice, a folding chair, puppies, a plastic ficus tree and the omnipresent trio of firewood, fill dirt and pallets. One person simply announced that he had just thrown a bunch of junk into the street in front of his home.
The Barter section offered some surreal trades such as kayaks for dental work. One individual wanted to swap his glass coffee table for a wooden one. The most intriguing listing involved trading a diamond ring for an aquarium.
While it in not the massive never ending well ordered mob scene of Ebay, the localness of Craigslist makes it seem more real. If you have an aquarium you can see and meet for yourself the individual who chooses fish over love.
Other sections have other stories to tell. When I perused the section for Film/Video jobs I found that one independent filmmaker was seeking monkeys and midgets. His goal was to film monkeys fighting midgets. The auteur seemed to have no knowledge of primate handling and human sensitivity.

Thursday 7/1/05

Clarendon Dr. Avondale Estates “Estate Sale”

This sale started on Thursday and was supposed to continue through the weekend. When I arrived all I found was an open garage with a sign over a few boxes saying “free”. There was also a sign on the steps in the back of the house that said nothing for sale inside of house.
The few things left inside the garage included some broken water skis some crutches, baskets,gift wrap and empty jars.

Free if you want baskets and crutches. Posted by Picasa

A sad announcement. Posted by Picasa
Desmond Dr. - Emory “Estate Sale”

This sale was still in progress but when I entered the mid century ranch house I found that most of the doors had tape over them. Nearly everything in the home either dealt with clothing or drinking. The floor of the one bedroom that was open was nearly covered in shoes. The living room had racks of women’s clothing and more shoes. A table contained an orderly array of neatly folded men’s dress shirts. Under the table was a row of old suitcases used for carrying all this clothing. On the wall looming over the clothing were two portraits of children. Drinking items were in the den and living room. In those rooms I found tables covered with tumblers and stemware. There were two unopened bottles of drinking water, a set of Budweiser coffee mugs a collection of swizzle sticks, a selection of decanters and several other vessels made to hold potable liquids. There were a few other items including a Jacuzzi pump and traction kit. Among the few books was “Grossman’s guide to spirits, wine and beer”.
I bought two empty photo albums for 25 cents each.

A vast assortment of shoes. Posted by Picasa

Faces of children watch over piles of clothing and barware. Posted by Picasa

Well arranged shirts. Posted by Picasa