Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Updates From the Land of Scrap and Nonconsumption

The Great Scrap Metal Experiment is going well, although it did experience a brief hiccup after David decided to sell most of his bulkier items to another professional here in our neighborhood.  He felt bad hoarding the big items because the other guy is doing this for a living/sole support of his family.  I grumbled at him about it, but honestly he's probably right to be sticking to electronics instead.  They're easier to store, for one.  

Anyway, he has several jars of various types of metals sitting on his work table.  At the moment, he's dissecting a pair of blown-out computer speakers.  I'd always wondered what the inside of a speaker looked like (the answer: a big magnet and a whole crap-ton of copper).  He also picked up a bunch of brass fixtures from the thrift store that are either being scrapped as-is or repurposed into...something.  I've been trying to explain to him that "found object" and "upcycled" jewelry and sculpture and whatnot really is a thing.  He didn't believe me, so I had to drag him over to Etsy and Pinterest and show him.  That was fairly mind-blowing.  

I got him a few jewelry-making materials (clasps, cord) so he can practice and see if he likes doing it.  I'm pretty excited to see what he comes up with. 

Anyway, the other benefit of scrapping is that we get all kinds of very cool free and totally functional stuff.  We've also lucked out with some really awesome Goodwill and Craigslist finds recently.  Here's some of the stuff we've gotten:  

  • A free CRT big-screen TV that was abandoned when its old owner moved away.  The screen flickers a bit when you turn it on, so the cathode ray tube is on its last legs, but for a huge free TV, it's pretty awesome.  
  • Two laser-jet printers with cartridges.  We actually had about six printers at one point but downsized to these.  These were also free, and once we manage to get them plugged in (they're a bit bulky and thus won't fit on the computer desk, so we need a longer cord to connect them or find a way to do it wirelessly) they'll be awesome because we'll be able to print coupons/specials.  
  • A couple of free lamps -- one for the floor, one for the bedside.  I especially LOVE the bedside lamp because it means I can curl up in bed and read without having to get back up to turn off the light.  It's also really pretty -- the lampshade is stained glass and it casts gorgeous colors all across the ceiling and walls.  
  • An extremely cool-looking brass lantern that David found in the trash.  It needs to be cleaned up a bit,  but it's not broken or anything.  There's some talk about sprucing it up into an art piece.  His plans for it are very cute, so I'll hold off until he does it so I can show some pictures ;) 
  • Several free computers.  They weren't very good computers, and mostly we've gutted them to sell for parts.  The last of them is in the living room waiting to either be re-sold as-is or gutted.  
  • A nice gaming computer picked up off Craigslist for $250.  This thing came with a wireless keyboard & mouse and the graphics card alone is worth about $100.  The computer itself would be worth at least $500 if you bought it from a store.  
  • A lovely pair of speakers for $5 at the Goodwill.  These things are worth about $25 retail and they work great.  It's nice to be able to actually hear things on my computer for the first time in months.  
  • I got $10 in gift cards to Amazon from Swagbucks, which I used to fund the purchase of a few new e-books to read on my salvaged Android :) 
I'm probably missing some stuff, but those were the highlights I've been most pleased with.  It's so cool seeing what you can get for nothing or next-to-nothing when you're willing to wait instead of running out to buy something right away.  

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