Sunday, January 20, 2013

Free is Good

On my last post, I suggested this blog was no longer limited to garage sale finds, but thrift store, estate sale, and other finds.  I need to add one more to the list: curbside finds.  I've blogged about curbside finds in the past.  These are items the previous owners have decided are no longer usable or wanted and have set out to the curb either for the trash man or people like me.

While out dropping off bags for Scouting for Food with my sons last November, my second oldest son spotted a pinball machine sitting at the curb.  This wasn't a full size commercial unit, but it was larger than the usual toy version.  As it turned out, it's a 3/4 scale pinball named Star Galaxy that is sold in the UK and Australia for home use.  It runs about £499 which currently is almost $800 USD.

The pinball was missing its power adapter.  I googled for a new one, but it has an odd requirement of 22v 3amps max.  I contacted the company for advice on finding a replacement adapter to which I received the response, "It wouldn't work because we have different voltage in Australia".

A friend at work offered some old laptop adaptors he had laying around.  I wasn't confident about them working, so they sat in a bag in my garage for the last couple months.  This weekend, I decided it was time to either get rid of the pinball taking up room in my garage or figure out if it worked.

I picked an adaptor out of the bag.  It was for a Compaq laptop and ran 18v 3.2 amps.  The connector actually fit pretty well so deciding I had nothing to lose, I plugged it in and turned it on.  It immediately came to life.




Like I said, it's not a full-size pinball, but the play is pretty good and it uses real bumpers and electric flippers.  The sound effects are fairly decent.    One of the sound effects is actually the sound of laser fire from a tie-fighter.  Don't tell George Lucas (or Disney).

The game worked great for a day, then the connection at the adapter started to get stubborn, shutting off in the middle of game play.  I ended up cutting off the adapter end and soldering the wires directly to the circuit board.  No more issues after that.

The kids have been having a great time playing it (Dad too).  There's a pretty good demonstration on Youtube that will give you an idea of what it's like.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Keep On Keep On Keep On Keep On Thriftin' All Through the Night

First, let me get something off my chest.  When I started this blog, I intended to blog solely about my garage sale finds, hence the name of the blog.  But garage sales tend to peter out around October here in St. Louis and don't start up again until sometime in May (with some exceptions of course).  I supplement my urges with estate sales, thrift stores and even antique malls.  So from here out, if I find an interesting item from anywhere at a garage sale price, it's fair game.  Hey, it's my blog!

Now, let me get something else off my chest.  I'm an unabashed Brady Bunch fan.  I watched them as a kid and I watch them as an adult.  My kids watch them.  We love the Brady Bunch.  So when I found this album at a thrift store for $1, there was no question.

Criminal Attraction

I have a confession to make that has haunted me for years.  I am a shoplifter.  Okay, I was 4 years old and it really hasn't haunted me for years.

I was at a Ben Franklin dime store with my sisters, my oldest sister being old enough to drive at the time.  At the cash register, they had spinning display racks of kitchen magnets featuring popular characters and phrases of the day.  Since they were beyond the cash register and not with the other items for sale, I assumed they were free, thinking anything beyond the register was fair game.  There was a Rocket J. Squirrel, of Bullwinkle fame, magnet that caught my eye and I plucked it off the display.  I walked out of the store and proudly showed it to my sisters in the parking lot.  I was shocked to learn I had just committed a crime.  In hindsight, they should have made me go back in and give it back, but hey, we were in the parking lot already and teenage embarrassment probably prohibited such a thing.  We proudly displayed my foray into crime on our kitchen refrigerator for years.  It disappeared at some point years ago.

Looking in a box at an estate sale on Friday brought that memory back.  Inside were dozens of vintage kitchen refrigerator magnets.  I picked out a few that caught my eye.  Yes, I paid for them this time.


We all know of the trucker craze of the mid to late '70's.  Did you know there were magnets to go with it?

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