Something From Nothing Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
Olf
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Olf »

I've just finishes reading your log over a couple of weeks. Inspiring to say the least! Looking forward to follow your adventures.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

Hey, Thanks Olf!

I've made a new friend at the swap meet. Every week she goes to an auction and buys pallets of Costco items that have been opened, spilled, dented, and damaged. She cleans up the containers and places them in large plastic bags then sells them. The last few weeks she has shown up with industrial-sized packages of high end soaps, cosmetics, antiperspirants and cleaning/laundry supplies. She sells them for about 15 cents on the dollar. Generally she has a dozen cellophane wrapped packages of one particular item that got messed when something else leaked on it. Easy enough for me to remove them from stained packaging and resell. I am back in the soap business. And cosmetics. And all kinds of strange things.

There is one swap meet here where about 70% of the sellers flip Costco overstocks they bought at auction. I read an analysis of Costco's business model recently and learned that their profits are almost exactly the amount they take in membership fees. In other words, they set prices to break even. Interesting model.

jacob
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by jacob »

The toll road model. Turning consumers into recurrent cashflows. Amazon Prime is heading in the same direction after the buy-in has been secured.

davtheram12
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by davtheram12 »

Early yesterday morning on my trash scavenging I found the following items:

Mophie battery case for an iphone 5S. Gave it to the DW since she still using an iphone 5S
GoPro water proof case with attached floating handle grip. Ill be using this since I was gifted a GoPro many years ago.
Euro Cuisine yogurt maker with extra tier and 14 total jars and lids. I do like yogurt so this I will keep and use after a thorough cleaning.
Driver side WeatherTech FloorLiner. Its too big for my car but I can easily cut it and shape it to size using some scissors and a heat gun :D

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

A recent article on John Plant the guy behind the YouTube channel Primitive Technology who may be the ultimate something from nothing.

https://www.outsideonline.com/2404416/j ... be-channel


John Plant might be the most popular YouTuber who has never spoken a word on camera. In the four years since the 36-year-old Australian started his channel, Primitive Technology, he’s attracted 9.8 million subscribers and racked up over 775 million views on his 48 videos. What does he do to capture such a large audience? In each video, he goes out into the bush near his home in far north Queensland, with nothing but his now signature pair of blue shorts, and silently creates handmade shelters and tools using only what’s available to him in nature. That’s it. “Primitive technology is a hobby, where you go into the wild bare-handed and make things from scratch without using any modern tools or materials,” Plant says. “That includes making the tools you need to make things. You can, in theory, with enough time, make anything that exists in modern times

7Wannabe5
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I LOVE "Primitive Technology." I really want to combine "Primitive Technology" with "The Scavenger's Manifesto" and other related works to develop a hobby where I start with the modern technology/stuff, deconstruct it back towards the primitive, and then end up with two or three versions of the same item/function. I am interviewing for a job teaching middle school general science so that maybe I can kind of get paid for developing this hobby.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

Found two organic apples and two organic bananas in the trash today. Right on top. Just ate one of the apples. I've come to the conclusion that the most delicious apples in the world are thrown into the trash cans of my apartment building. Something about the cans make them more delicious. I may be biased.

I did a bit of analysis on my ebay trash-store. The last time we were here about 75% of my sales revolved around second-hand camping, backpacking, hiking, travel and expedition gear. Now that we are back in full swing I took a look at the many hundreds of items I've sold so far and only five were related to those previous areas of focus. Today my main focus is on overstocked health and beauty items with a sideline in discontinued plumbing inventory. I am not quite sure how I got here and am somewhat surprised to find that I am enjoying it.

One of my goals is to expand into selling vintage clothing and gear on instagram. I like polyester clothing from the 70s that was made to last forever. Suddenly it demands a premium in the exploding community who eschew fast fashion.

Both Mrs. Ego and I have once again secured positions teaching fitness classes in exchange for a small income and free access to the gym. She teaches Power Yoga and I teach a new video enhanced version of indoor cycling where power meters are projected in large color-coded dials on the screen behind me for all to see. So, once again I get paid to exercise and scream at people, but this time with a data-driven twist.

The girl who accidentally sent the Amazon packages here finally had someone pick them up last week. I'm glad I followed the advice given here by @ertyu & @theanimal and held onto them. She was very grateful.

I found a wallet in the lobby with $167 in cash, several prepaid credit cards and no ID. It was very early in the morning. Later that day I learned that two guys had somehow gotten into the building the night before and were trying to steal a bike. I suspect it belonged to one of them because I got no response to the all-tenant emails regarding a found wallet. I haven't yet checked the balance on the credit cards. Not even sure how to do that.

SavingWithBabies
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by SavingWithBabies »

I once returned a similar wallet I found on my walk home in Oakland. It had $400+ in cash with 4 crisp $100 bills! I thought it was fake money at first. It was tempting to keep it but the guy had a prepaid credit card with his name on it and I found him on Facebook. No names on the credit cards? Might be able to track them down via that but if it is the thieves... Hrm.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

The credit cards have no name on them. They are issued by NUMI and they say NUMI CARDHOLDER where a regular card would have the name. I think maybe they are gift cards. I just checked on the NUMI site and tried to see if they were registered with a user and if there was a balance. Both cards produced an error when I entered the info. The only other card in the wallet is a fast food loyalty card. We've had the wallet for a few weeks now. Not all of the tenants receive the emails I send so I mention it to them in passing when I see them. So far no hits.

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C40
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by C40 »

Who else carries around a wallet with cash, prepaid credit cards with no names, and no ID but someone who is up to no good?

I suppose that close to Mexico there are many folks flying under the radar of the US gov'. But, do they carry a wallet like that?

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

@C40, this morning I was on my way out very early and ran into an Amazon Fresh guy making a delivery. A surprising number of tenants now order groceries online and schedule deliveries for the 3am-7am window. I guess it could have been one of them.

paretotime
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by paretotime »

I carried a wallet like that once when I was young, to take office petty cash to the post office when mailing out a huge shipment. The only ID was a single business card, so when I stopped to pick up family on my way home from the post office and dropped the wallet I desperately hoped someone would call the office to report it. The wallet was retuned in a few days, and the business card, but the finder said 'there was no money in it when I found it', implying that an earlier person cleaned it out and put it back on the ground which is plausible, but disappointing. At least the long parcel receipt was also inside, so I only had to reimburse the missing balance and not have to admit to my boss that I lost it all. Lesson learned.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

I bought a carload of plumbing supplies at the swap meet on Wednesday. As I transported the loot to my car I passed through the space of another seller who had this antique frame laying face down on the ground. I looked at the frame (appears about 60-80 years old) and thought I might be able to use it for a painting we have so I asked the price. When he said $1 I paid him, tossed it into one of the boxes I was hauling and forgot about it. Yesterday I was organizing the boxes and Mrs. Ego saw it. I told her I wanted to see if the painting would fit in the frame. She was appalled that I would remove the embroidery. I hadn't even read it. Never been much of a fan of these but it was too much of a coincidence so it now hangs in the kitchen.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

Last year before leaving we debated whether to keep Mrs. Ego's Vespa-style scooter and pay to store it or to sell it. At the time I did a little research and found that it would cost about $1000 to store it. We didn't know whether we'd be returning to a place where a scooter would be useful, so we decided to put it up for sale. Eventually it sold in the fall of 2018 at the Kelly Blue Book asking price to a woman who was a regular in one of the yoga classes Mrs. Ego taught. The woman is a professor at a local college and thought it would be easier to park on campus.

A few weeks ago she showed up in Mrs. Ego's class and asked if we wanted to buy it back. Just after purchasing the scooter she had signed up for the motorcycle safety course but did not pass the class and consequently could not receive her motorcycle license. So the scooter sat unused in her garage for a the entire time. When we went over to check it out we found that the odometer showed only one mile of use from when we sold it to her, but it wouldn't start because it was stored for so long. She promised to get it running and we agreed that if all went well we would buy it back for the current Kelly Blue Book value which is now $400 less. She was thrilled and had a mobile mechanic tune it up, replace the battery and clean the carburetor jets. It will probably need new tires at some point in the near future.

We picked it up today. It ran better than I remember.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

Found a Louis Vuitton shopping bag in the recycle bin. I listed it for sale on craigslist for $25. If I get a buyer I will certainly ask them why they are buying.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

Mrs. Ego dug this out of the trash a while ago and listed it on Offerup. Today a nice older Polish man came to see it. He said he has been suffering from a horrible back problem and offered $20. She accepted his offer and was happy to get it to someone who would use it.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

Back before Christmas I was surprised at the number of fake Christmas trees being Amazoned to our building. Today I found the fifth tree of the season in the trash, nicely packaged in its Amazon box with address label. I was tempted to to put it in the basement and "deliver" it to the same person next year. Are plastic trees now made to be disposable?

davtheram12
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by davtheram12 »

@Ego
I would say the fake Christmas trees are becoming more 'disposable' as people start to realize disassembling, storing, and reassembling said Christmas tree is a bigger pain than they anticipated. I have nightmares from the many times I was required to "take care of the decorations". The fake Christmas tree my mother decided to get was heavy, bulky, prickly and required constant upkeep (it had pre-installed lights). Since my parents divorce, it now sits in the garage collecting dust. Its rather ironic considering she took everything including all the ceiling fans and light fixtures :lol: . I guess she realized the tree was too much to deal with.

Great story on the Vepsa! I've done similar things with some items. It usually happens when others are desperate for some quick cash.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

@davetheram, the first thing I thought of every time I saw a tree in the trash was @jacob's point about how minimalism isn't really minimalism if we are buying solutions to problems and doing things like this, disposing of a perfectly good reusable Christmas tree every year.

In the NY Times today....

Nothing Says I Love You Like Second-Hand Flowers

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/12/nyre ... nment.html

Today Mrs. Ego and I went to the swap meet and she picked out Valentine's Day roses. They were pulled from the shelves of a grocery store because the best-by date on the wrapper had passed. That guy was selling them for $3 a dozen.

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SavingWithBabies
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by SavingWithBabies »

I think the problem with fake trees is they are often inexpensive enough to be considered disposable. They can also be cheaply made where the feet/support pieces attach to the bottom. I personally would fix it if I were to break it and we reuse ours. It's unfortunate that we can buy fairly well made items so inexpensively that people can consider them disposable. It really speaks to how disconnected we are from our trash (I don't know right now where my trash goes after it is picked up and out here in the sticks, we don't even recycle glass so we've taken to reusing/repurposing it as much as possible).

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