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Rummage sale coming up; the question at hand was, "how do we handle the cash?" Wifey recommends fanny packs; I seem to remember custom-designed money-belts for such an occasion.

We stop at a discount office supply store, with no luck. The proprietor seems to remember seeing them at WalMart or Target. We take the former.

We find the coin wrappers and low-budget cash registers, but no money-belt. Wandering the store, we wonder when we would have ever seen such a thing in a store -- certainly, we should have, right? Could it possibly be someplace else -- and where?

A trip over to Office Depot recruited a 20-something helper who wasn't completely sure what we were talking about, and offered us locking bank bags more than twice. No, we need something strapped to our waists, a couple pockets for cash and change, and that was it. We're led over to the coin wrappers and higher-end-cash-registers. More bank bags. We leave.

We wonder: was such a thing a relic of the past? Wifey wonders, out loud, "have they just been passed down for so long, and that's where they get them?" I don't know, I say. I'm trying to remember something more about what those belts look like. As we're getting into the van, I suddenly remember what I've seen printed on the front of these cash-bibs in the past. I now know where to go.

I still have to work my night shift, though, and at 9 I'm released from my desk and on my way to Lowe's. The store closes at 10, and the huge building is a cave-maze labyrinth of emptiness, toilet seat covers, and ceiling fans. The fans were still running, the Muzak was not. I wander, staring upwards at the aisle identifying signs. The ceiling must reach twenty, thirty feet above the floor. I wonder how large those letters have to be to still be legible to people on the ground.

Tools were close to the front, on shorter, less clausterphobic shelves. I find tool belts. Lowe's branded canvas nail-belts: $1.89 each. These are what we remember from the rummage sales of antiquity; cheap, multipurpose belt-bags were the bastion of the carpenter. Katy No-Pocket knew this. It just took me a while.

I take four (one each for me, D, and Allie; one spare in case Grandma shows up) and wander up to the counters. To show just how much demand there is for their store, the block-long checkout area has dozens of lanes, ready to check-out the hordes of cabinetmakers and plumbers I had to fight past to find my money-belts. No, the usual applied here, echoing every experience I've had at every grocery store and department store since the beginning of time: dozens of closed lanes, one open lane with a worker and four customers in line, one open lane with the light on and nobody at the register. Also, per my usual experience, I wait at the end of the line, until that absent worker waves at me to catch my eye and said, "Sir, I can help you over here?" I look at the person in front of me, who had not noticed. I take my bags and toss them at the end of the conveyor belt. The slow-paced race to the till was won by me.

"Find everything?" "Just these?" "Is that a credit card?" So many common questions, but one last one before I could leave.

"Phone number?"

I give my standard answer, the phone in the house I grew up in, which is about 6 residences ago for my parents. I should call the current owners of that phone number and ask how many automated phonecalls they get reminding them that the extended warranty is still available.

She must have noticed my furrowed brow over the question, and offers, "It's for the warranty, if you lose your receipt."

"In case these are defective, and I can't make them work?"

Without understanding the joke, she answers yes, and I leave.

You may have noticed that I have rolls of film lying around to be converted to computer-playable files...but this guy has taken it the entirely opposite direction by taking computer video and printing it to 8mm and 16mm film. This has to be the coolest, most interesting retrohack of media I've seen since I played with recording my MP3s to 8tracks. (via kottke) #

Dude, transparent screens are cool, but this goes beyond, and then some. Of course, since cats are involved, it requires a mildly amusing caption. #

I suppose this makes me a bad person: Google's logo yesterday was a stylized iceberg...and my first reaction was, "oh, yeah, the Titanic's anniversary was last week." #

We were wondering: what's a pompatus? Our consensus was it had something to do with royalty or regality, but it turns out that it's a relatively nonsensical word (possibly derived from an old R&B tune), coined for that particular song, and its definition left rather open-ended by the songwriter. #

After almost disappearing due to legal and financial troubles last year, KNDS is seeing a resurgence in support, starting with a 5x bump in budget courtesy of the NDSU student government and a restructuring which creates the 'BOMB', a broadcasting advisory board at NDSU. Yay for LPFM, the last bastion of community-controlled long-tail music radio! #

Personally, I prefer his site to, and now, today, Lileks has announced he's finished with the redesign of his Fargo website. Looks good -- has more stuff, more personal photos, and it's organized more like a walking tour than specific building categorizations like before. #

Microsoft, always with their hands in everything, is often overlooked for their technological advancements. One of their newest is the high-capacity multicolor barcode -- a rectangle full of multicolored triangles, compressing a larger amount of data in the comparable space of a regular barcode. An entire novel could be encoded and fit onto two letter-sized sheets of paper, using a regular inkjet printer. #

For those of you who require creepy napping, here comes the blood puddle pillow. Just don't let anybody go all CSI on your sleeping body...that may get a little messy. #

An extra-creative advertising agency has used an old-fashioned method of hoaxing as a way to advertise a haunting-related videogame. Take film (remember that? Put it in a camera, take pictures, take the roll to WalMart?), pre-expose portions of the frames with pictures of ghoulies, then distribute. Ghosts "mysteriously" appear in the unsuspecting (or somewhat-suspecting) swag-getters. Decidedly low-tech, think 1930s or earlier, but very sufficient in getting attention and delivering their message. #

Vonnegut, dead at 84. #

Make people give you respect -- with a little eye contact. It's something you'll hear from anybody in the kind of job which requires them to demand respect or control the situation; most people can make it work to their benefit, provided they are able to act the part without letting their self-doubt take over. #

We're down to just a week until your tax return is due...and don't think you can get all high-and-mighty and start claiming that the government has no right to tax you -- they do have the right, and the proof is extremely long and boring. You're better off just accepting it, and getting that return in on time. #

Along the North Dakota / South Dakota border once stood hundreds of rough-hewn stone markers identifying the division between the two states. Mostly forgotten, one of the quartzite markers has turned up, was impounded by police, but will end up on display at NDSU. Some still stand, as pictured around 3/4 down in this page, and another has been immortalized in reduced form as a trophy. #

Some artistic fellows have created an art car devoted to the erotically brassy album, Whipped Cream and Other Delights, by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. In his intro to design of the car, he explains on how he had devoted his life to buying every reasonably-priced thriftshop copy of Whipped Cream he encounters...and he was only mildly surprised to find another guy who does the same thing. Well, I'm another guy; just this past weekend, I was chastized for buying yet another copy of the sexy album. I'm only at a dozen or so copies, and, of course, I only buy it for the music. We should start a club... #

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