Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Condiment Packet Gallery

I still get emails about The Condiment Packet Gallery. Several per week. Many of them are requests for interviews for local television. Reporters ask me to film myself so they can pitch my story. Some are willing to send a camera crew. Other collectors email me to exclaim excitement. I also hear from lots of students who want to ask me questions to fill space for a paper which they were assigned for a class they are bothering to complete. I usually don't respond. I feel a little bit guilty about it, but I check a box next to the email, and I hit delete.

I'm sorta out of the condiment game these days. I actually haven't updated my site in many years. It's a bit of a shame, but I feel like I got way too obsessive about finding new packets, and eventually decided that it wasn't healthy. I've been working to stop my strange tendencies that I feel impede my progress in living a sustainable and comfortable life. I mean... I was thinking about condiment packets from morning to night, non-stop. I'm really proud of the project, but at the same time I just can't make myself lift a finger to get back into it. 

I think your idea is a wonderful one, and I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to use whatever images from the Condiment Packet Gallery, but please always remember to link to me if you do.

Best regards,
Chris Harne

Not always.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ninny in a Moron Suit.

... and again with the anxiety. Frustration, anger. I lost a clip to one of the curtains in my van, and you'd think it was a tragedy. I'm embarrassed at my lack of control over my emotions. I can stand back and look at myself acting like a fool, but I can't raise a hand to stop that person, or convince the man to take a deep breath.

I have rational thoughts, and I am a believer in science. I consider myself to be a spiritual man who is tuned in to the natural world around us. I'm curious. I believe in the ability of humans to communicate wordlessly by focusing on the energy of others. I try to be a humble person with an open mind. But sometimes I'm just a ninny in a moron suit. The farce of it all is bewildering.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Shipping eBay on a stressless day.

I had a nice breakfast before driving to Kennett on this warm and beautiful day. I prepared many bicycle parts to be shipped, and everything seems like a peach.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Strong Case for Weak Acid.

The first hit of acid sure didn't do much. I spent a couple hours waiting... nothing. The second one felt like it might be up to something. It really took until the third one before I felt the recognizable presence of drug-like feelings afoot. Plenty of people were trying this stuff, and it's always funny when it's around for some reason. I've been here; I've been there. I have an understanding and respect for recreational drugs, and I was comfortable with the low and responsible dosage.

I had a great Memorial Day. I spent time outside. I managed to be social and grounded with a good fill of amusement. I had the distinct pleasure of transporting a beautiful girl around in the basket of my adult tricycle, and listening as she told me truth after truth late into the night.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Adderall is a pill. Unfortunately, it's not magic.

Well, that didn't last long. Sometimes taking a small dose of Adderall makes me feel organized - like I'm surfing on top of the wave of small tasks vying for my attention. Sometimes, the wave still crashes down on me. It's a pill. Not magic.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Feeling Productive and Such.

I took a couple days off of Adderall. I don't want to get used to it to the point that I can't use it as a tool when I need it. The break worked for me, and I felt productive and organized at work. At 7:21pm, I was swapping pedals from one bicycle to another. Just one of the many tasks that I do all day every single day I work.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Usual Things.

I'm home alone. I'm eating cereal and watching TV shows.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mac n' Cheese, Cereal, and a Big Honkin' Bong.

The Bodega on the corner started selling bongs. Big cheap gnarly glass ones. I decided to treat myself to a big affordable bastard of a pipe. Impulse buy. It's the first thing I've purchase there that isn't mac n' cheese or cereal.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Van: Clanking Like a Jackass.

Life isn't perfect. The van started to clank around like a jackass, so I had to take it back to the garage. It sounds like I'm randomly running over loose manhole covers, and I'm pretty sure that's not great. I looked underneath the van, and I poked around at a few things before remembering "oh yeah - I don't know the first fucking thing about any of this."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Honey Bee Shuffles Recreational Drugs.

I have a Sun Ringle rear hub on my Diamondback Outlook. The Hoopty emits the loud reassuring buzz of a bicycle with an expensive cassette hub. It isn't an expensive bicycle, and I didn't pay anything at all for the hub.

It is 7:21pm and I am racing around West Philadelphia with a smug confidence. I am shuffling hits of acid here, and bags of pot hidden in cereal boxes over to there. I am visiting with friends and putting the drugs and money where they need to be. I am a buzzing bee, and I am making out okay on the deal.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Camera Tip: Use "Auto-Mode," Dipshit.

Here's an idea. If you're not a photographer - which I am certainly not - then consider taking pictures in Auto Mode. I re-took all those photos that I fucked up awhile ago, and now I have hundreds of photos of shiny bicycle parts that look like someone might actually want to own them.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Training Ride for the Upcoming C&O Canal Trip

I'll call it a training ride. Me and Kristin have decided to ride bicycles from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. along the flat and pretty Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal. The difficult part is that Kristin hasn't ridden bicycles as much as I have. I could ride it tomorrow in my sleep, but as a team we still need practice.

We hopped on our bicycles outside of Kristin's apartment in West Chester. The goal was to ride to a nice orchard and back, completing a hilly but not-so-challenging 12-mile loop. We had to dismount a handful of times, but we did cover the distance. I'm a little bit worried. If we're hopping off to walk now, it's going to take some serious conditioning to be able to complete the mission. Fortunately, we've set aside ten days for the vacation, and there won't be any hills. Still, to me, success seems like a coin toss.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Picked up the van.

I picked up the van, and the first drive seemed good. I drove out to West Chester, and it seems to be running like a top.

Friday, May 18, 2012

More of the same...

No notes on 5/18. More of the same?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Downloading TV shows.

On a recommendation, I downloaded the first season of Boardwalk Empire. Kristin came over, and we watched the first episode.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Old Bottom Brackets for Fun and Profit.

I got a ride back to the 104 bus this morning. I was at work by noon. I sold a swap-meet-bought Dura Ace bottom bracket for $60. It was the older "cup and cone" style with Italian threaded cups. Instant cash, good profit. After work, I installed a different cup and cone bottom bracket in a frame. It didn't say Dura Ace, but with a careful hand doing the installation and maintenance, it will perform just as well. This lesser Suntour unit was spared from the recycling bin.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I spent the day doing nothing and being satisfied about it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Listing eBay and Eating Fried Chicken

I'm in Kennett Square now. I'm eating fried chicken with my family, and I'm taking a break from listing bicycle parts on eBay. I have 50 auctions running, and the harvest has only begun.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

104 Bus Leaves Me Wondering.

I'm on a bus to West Chester. My bicycle is on the front rack of the bus, and I'm thinking of all the other times I've been on this bus headed to West Chester. The 104 from 69th Street Station. Students, losers, and a doofus with a bike. The scenery gets greener as the hour passes, and I'm always left to wonder where I belong. Geographically, and in every other possible sense.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Social Porch Gatherings and Time Spent.

I'm not the social genius I was when I was drinking. And if I wasn't a social genius, I at least knew how to kill some time in a boisterous manner. Now - today, in fact - I am feeling lucky to spend time on a crowded porch. I manage to smile a few times, and resist the temptation treat my t-shirt like a turtle shell. I sold one of my bicycles for some money, and I didn't run home at the first sign of Holy Shit.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Van: Repair Estimate.

The garage called. My van has a lot going on, and it will cost a little over $2,000 to fix it all. I recognize that it might be smart to think about moving on to a more sensible vehicle. At the same time, $2,000 isn't so bad if it gets me a reliable vehicle for a couple more years, which seems likely. I suspect that the garage has access to my bank account information, because the repair bill seems very oddly close to the exact amount I have on deposit in my savings account. Fine. They can have it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On the edge of feeling alright.

I have worries. My general worry level was up a little bit at work, and I was feeling drained. Evan is a great guy. He's a co-worker and a friend. He has the ability to radiate positive energy, and I was thankful to ride bicycles with him and stand next to him as he bought a couple items at Whole Foods. I was able to stuff my brain back into my skull an arrive home in better shape than I left.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Van trouble: overheating.

I love having a van. I'm nostalgic about my time spent traveling in my van, and the portions of three winters that I spent living in my van in Key West. But, it's been awhile. I haven't needed my van for much real van stuff. I've neglected my van, and I've even come close to selling it. I wish there was a "just in case" spot that I could park it for free. If I really needed it, I could come back, throw off a huge tarp, and start it up.

Some routine maintenance probably would have been a good idea. Aside from oil changes, I haven't paid much attention. I've been a little too drunk and I haven't had much money to spare. Small problems have added up, and now it's overheating. I'm hoping that the problem is something simple, but I am afraid it might be a can of worms. I know next to nothing about engines and such, so I took it to a reputable shop near my place in Philly.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cottage Cheese Management Principles.

I love cottage cheese. I have a spoon in my hand right now, but I could almost be drinking the stuff. If I could be sustained on cottage cheese, I doubt I would ever miss the common ham sandwich. I would eat a burrito of cottage cheese with a cottage cheese burrito shell. I am filling my glove compartment with cottage cheese, because this van is registered to "fuck you."

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bad Photos are a First World Problem.

I took a ton of pictures today. I used my mom's awesome and expensive digital camera to take hundreds of photographs of bicycle parts.

Upon transferring the photos from the camera's SD card to a laptop, I found that they all suck. The pictures are dark, and they make my beautiful bicycle parts look like Blemish City. I spent hours, and I will have to start again. Some test-photos would have been in order. Obvious hindsights are a mainstay of my existence.

I feel like an idiot. I feel like a small man. I am not the wise old owl. I am smoking a small bit of ganja from a long simple pipe I found on I exhale. Calmer now. Looking at my feet.

I want to be the artist who made this pipe. I want to be deep in the jungle. I want to try my hand at bum-camping in Japan. I want to ride bicycles and sell bicycle parts - but I do not want the brain chemistry that so often restricts me. I want to look down at my own two feet and declare with confidence that I stand upon the fucking Earth. I want my molecules to gather and assert: everything is fine. Bad photos are a first-world problem.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The van might be running hot...

I drove out to Kennett Square today, as I typically do once per week to visit my family for a couple days. It looks like my van is running a little hot. Precious.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Mission: Buy it and sell it for more.

The nets were bountiful. I found many bicycle parts. I walked in circle after circle, making dozens of deals. I only managed to spend $1100. I was left to wonder if I should have opened my dragnet further or relaxed my criteria. Maybe I should have loosened my grip on my envelopes of cash, and rolled the dice a little more often. In this house, anyway, the odds are most often in my favor.

I focused on buying relatively inexpensive parts. I looked for components which I knew would sell for at least double on eBay, and which I suspected would sell for many times more. For example: I bought a lightly used XTR Rapid Rise rear derailleur for $15. It would eventually sell for $76. Not all of the deals can be that good, but that's the kind of thing I was looking for. I'm not above lowballing people, because hey... a lot of times it works.

I did well. Super well. I left with a few boxes of densely packed gold. I probably could have done much better, but I feel no dismay. A person can usually do better, and that goes for all situations. I had a great time.

My mission today - in no part - included buying a tandem. But I saw an amazing tandem that seemed tailor made for me. Plus, it was powdercoated in bright pink. We bargained back and forth and arrived at $600. I'll profit much more than that from my work today, and hey - who needs all this justification, anyway? I handed him the money and I was riding it around solo and having a ball. If it doesn't get used enough, I'll just sell it for more.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The night before the swap meet at Trexlertown, PA.

At 7:21pm I was getting ready for the swap meet. I drove up to Trexlertown, PA, and I'm hoping for success. I'm hoping to find a lot of undervalued bicycle parts. I'm hoping that I can bargain my way into a few boxes of parts worth a few thousand dollars more than what I'll pay.

I drove up at night, and in a bit of rain. My friend Tim graced shotgun in my van, and eventually we made it. We parked in the big grassy lot which will be densely populated with parked cars tomorrow. Right now, there are a handful of cars, and a handful of tents. Shelly and Brian were already there.

Last time I was here, I was a bit of an ass. I had fun, but I think I made an ass of myself. I accomplished my mission, but I was still drunk at mid-day during the swap. I doubt it hurt my ability to bargain, but I can't claim pride in the caricature I created of myself. I'm being perfectly honest. The same guy got his teeth smashed out. That happened later, but that was the same guy. That man was a fucking dangerous clown. I never want to be him again.

Fast fucking forward: The evening is perfect. I'm standing in the damp grass beside my van. This is me and three friends on a cool night. We're joking and conversing, and I have a bit of ganja in a glass bowl. I'm excited about tomorrow. When I pull in all of the nets, I hope the catch is good.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Closing Time: The Bicycle Shop Routine.

Many days seem remarkably similar. That's the way it is when you work a full-time job. 7:21pm often finds me in a nearly identical place - mentally; geographically - my ass is literally gracing the top of the same wooden stool.

The cash register lies ajar. I glance up to make sure the door is locked. From my perch at the point-of-sale, I count cash. I make sure that the register has all the money that is supposed to be there. I compare the credit card slips to what has been recorded by the computer. I cross my fingers that everything is correct, because God knows: simple math is my crowbar to the knee.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Here's how this blog is working right now.

Here's how this blog is working right now:

1) I write down what I'm doing every day. Usually, I don't constrict the information to exactly what was happening at 7:21pm. I started this blog with a strict mission to write down what I'm doing at 7:21pm, but I soon started expanding into descriptive explanations of how my heart pumps and I began including details of how lonely and confused I am. Now, with my twenties wrapping up: I'm a bit less uncertain, certainly more grounded, and cynicism is vying for a foothold.

2) I write down something that happens every day. I feel guilty when I don't. This has been going on for longer than this blog has existed. I have been recording minutiae since I could hold a pencil and form a sentence all at once.

3) I write down a detail of my day. Sometimes it happens to be what I was doing at 7:21pm, and sometimes my day was so uneventful that I struggle to record any moment at all. I used to have hundreds of followers, but I've chased away all but fourteen.

4) For awhile, I was proud of what I wrote here. I was one of the bloggers who was writing about moving into a vehicle-based home. It was fresh and exciting. I developed a style that I enjoyed. People commented, and I spent many hours grooming my daily press release. The other vandwelling bloggers all quit years ago. A billion other vandwelling and fulltime RV blogs took their place. I'm still horsing out words when I get to it.

5) I write something. I'm literally phoning it in. I put notes on my phone, intending to expand the information into a blog post later. Too much time goes by, and before too long, I don't even know what the notes are talking about. That's now. That's this date right here.

6) I was obviously on shrooms today. My only note for this date is taken from a text document on my phone. There is a one-word entry. "$hrooms" is what it says. Any other details, I am unable to share.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

$2500 in 10's and 20's. Please mug me.

I went to the bank and withdrew $2500 in 10's and 20's. That's most of my savings, but not quite all of it. I'm not a rich guy. This is probably the most money I've seen in cash. She held it out to me in a big stack like it was a basket of french fries.

"Ummm... can I have an envelope or something?" I would expect a withdraw like this to be much more discreet, and certainly with a fucking envelope. I handed her a slip of paper and spoke quietly. She made a grand announcement to everyone in the bank.

"This man has a couple grand in his pocket! He looks like a bit of a pussy!"

Thanks, woman.

This is swap meet money. I'm going to go to a bicycle swap meet. I'm going to trade paper for aluminum and steel. Then I'm going to sell it all for much better prices on eBay. This is it. This is the only business I can conduct with any level of confidence. This is the only way I know how to make a few thousand dollars fast. Wish me luck that it'll work.