Sunday, July 15, 2012

DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK

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365 plus 88 days ago I composed what would prove to be my last Good Rubbish post of 2011, and most of 2012 to boot.

There's been great speculation over the cause for this unannounced, unexpected, and perhaps uncalled for dearth in drivel, but the simple truth of the matter is that I started grad school in early May of 2011, and only now is that program tapering down.  Tapering down, it should be clarified, not only in terms of in-class time and all that silliness, but also in terms of lengthy papers which I am forced to write in order to receive the teaching credential which I have accepted as my personal goal in academia.

You see, when you exclusively work at a grocery store during the day, writing a bunch of crap on a blog is an entertaining escape from the doldrums of day-to-day life.  When you write papers as a student all day, writing a bunch of crap on a blog is a giant pain in the ass that pays not at all.  Shit happens.

Anyway, I can write again now AND I have time to work on projects again, which is even happier news for me.  As such, I plan to post on here a bunch.  Unless of course I find myself some sort of female caller, in which case I'll drop this blog like a sack of dirt once more.

Shit happens.

The first story of Rubbish's reemergence goes something like this:

Remember long, long ago when I made this kick ass media storage cabinet?  No?  Well then look at the goddamn link, you filthy vagabond.

And then remember less long ago, but still sincerely more than 3 years ago when Father McHanslaw built me  this big stonehenge-shaped media-cabinet-ensconcing plywood contraption for my well-before-30th birthday?  No?  Well I can't really blame you for that one.  Didn't make much of a splash on the date of its publication.

This post will come as the third chapter of this Good Rubbish thrillogy, and a fitting one at that.  Bows shall be tied, projects shall be completed in full, and things shall be put to bed, including me.  See, it's now 1:38am MST, and I'm tired as shit.  Why?  Because I've spent the past hour rebuilding those two posts I just linked to, as all of the photographs from the majority of Good Rubbish's run have ceased to exist on a "viewable entity of the internet" level.  Turns out my knee-jerk boycott of Flickr some 5 or so years ago (which led to my moving the whole of Good Rubbish's existence over onto Zooomr) was a really, really poor decision, as every photo I had on Zooomr has fallen off into some sort of server-al abyss.

Note to self:  Root for the little guy, but never ever, EVER bet on him.  He's the little guy for a reason.

So, for the record, anytime you see me link to an old post from here on out, you can rest assured that I spent 30 minutes or so reuploading all of the photos associated with that post from the hard drive on my computer onto Flickr, then re-embedding the html code back into this marvelous blog.  Pain in the ass?  Yes.  Worth it?  Occasionally.

Back to business:  I closed that post about the stonehenge cabinet with a teaser about how badass it was going to look when I stained it, but as things turned out it actually looked really awful as a stained piece of wood.  The wood glue that had been used to attach the trim around the outside stood out like linear stripes of overripe cuticles, so I decided to just paint the whole thing black.  This is what it looked like:

Cabinet-Painted

Though functional, I felt the cabinet in this state to be rather uninspired, especially considering the garish centerpiece it was supposed to be complimenting.  So to rectify this problem, I decided to wallpaper the cabinet with a bunch of old posters I had lying around from my prolific and prolifically cheap bedroom decorating days of college.

Side-Bruce

I started by chopping up a giant Army of Darkness poster I purchased from central Denver music retailer Wax Trax (specifically their now dearly departed "Across the Trax" merch shop) at some point in the late 1990's.  Ash went on one side, and the lady on the other.  Don't mind the creepy face staring out from the other side of the cabinet... we'll get to that in a second.

Side-Girl

The width of this cabinet far exceeds the length of a standard poster, so for the top I took a Public Enemy poster and chopped it into strips, then spaced them out across the beast.

PE

Visible in the last shot you can also see the back side of a record which I used as an endcap on that piece.  That particular image came from some sort of space odyssey record I found at a thrift store, the other side was covered with a promotional poster from a seminal release of an all-Asian hair metal band called Loudness.  The album was Thunder in the East.  Pictures pending.

Though the cabinet was somewhat drab in its all black state, in truth the main reason I chose to wallpaper it was because I wanted to find a new use for this badass Kenny Loggins poster which I'd purchased at some point in late 2001 during eBay's adolescent years (some of my all time best and all time worst purchases emerged from this era).

Loggins-3

Please pay no mind to the disgusting shoe being used as a paperweight in that shot.  Though this picture was taken at least 2 years ago, I can only assume I was in a great hurry when I took it.

Kenny, I felt, deserved to be front and center on this cabinet, so I chopped him into 4 pieces (the central shelf on the front side of the cabinet is fixed, whereas the rest are removable) and wallpaper glued him into place.

Loggins-1

Once the shelves were back in place, the effect was truly haunting.  Like he's trying to sex appeal his way out of some abstract MC Escher designed mind-prison.

Loggins-2

With all of that in place, I felt it wise to preserve my cabinet decorations, so I had the guys at the True Value Hardware on Colfax and Monaco (see:  the single best hardware store in the city) cut some 1/8" plexiglass to fit the various panels, which I then screwed into place.  To prevent fallout from any accidental beverage spills, I also sealed in the top panel with silica glue (either AKA or very similar to aquarium sealant), but I didn't do a very good job of it.

So now, without further ado, I present to you the cabinet as it currently exists inside my very own apartment that is definitely not a basement in my parents' house (more on that later).

Side-View

Astute photoshop users in the audience may have noticed that I did a total hack job on this shot, as the posterized images are clearly far brighter than the rest of the shot.  What can I say?  The rest of the cabinet looked best without a flash, and the poster parts looked best with a flash, so I combined the two together.  Normally my photoshop skillz are much better than this, though.  To prove it, and also to prove that I am a wizard, I'll sneak in a picture of your personal favorite celebrity into one of these last two shots, and you won't even notice it.

Side-view-2

Aforementioned Loudness promotional piece can be seen behind the floor lamp.

Hughley

And finally, here's a shot from the front with all of my random trinkets stacked all over the place.  The end.

...OR IS IT??????

Sunday, April 24, 2011

HEADLINERS AND ALSO-RANS

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As devoted readers of my precious blog will surely recall, I purchased myself a pickem-up truck some 9 months ago. I've come to call her Dutch, though she might not actually be a woman. Honestly I have no idea, and I don't care to find out the truth of the matter. Regardless, this is what "she" looks like:

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Though Dutch is really in pretty great aesthetic shape considering her vintage (1992), the headliner in the cab was starting to sag as a result of occasional intrusions of water from the roof and a constant barrage of gravity from the cosmos, so I decided to call up my go-to automotive repair buddy Danger Dan to help me replace it.

danger dan

This, as they say in the industry, is Danger Dan. He's a crusty old east coaster. Hails from Allegheny, PA to be exact. Known him a great many years, I have. And one time, he done wrastled himself a whole family of wolverines with just his bear hands, which he'd ripped off a mother grizzly no more than 20 minutes earlier. And that was just with his human hands. Truly a man of great intrigue and consequence, and perhaps consequently a man with great and random stuff. Why, a leisurely stroll around his workspace reveals a whole world of treasures...

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Like an engine lift!

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And a pile of Mitsubishi rims and fashionable/utterly impractical cast-iron steampunk accessories!

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Meticulously organized batteries!

And also one time, he took a drum from an old washing machine and turned it into a backyard grill pit thing.

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See???

Anyway, Danger Dan has been an exceptionally good friend to me over the years, but has also served as an invaluable informational resource for me in more recent years, as he knows an obscene amount about automobiles, and I apparently know almost nothing about buying vehicles that don't break down all the goddamn time (though to her credit, outside of a battery replacement and a couple failed hoses, Dutch has been rock solid in terms of reliability). He's taught me how to change my oil, he's taught me how to install a car stereo, he's taught me how to change the tension on a Saab 900's clutch cable, and he's taught me how to safely move and securely reattach my truck's horrendously placed center-console-armrest-storage-unit-thingy (this last project was far more complicated than it sounds and would have made a great Rubbish post, but unfortunately my camera was nowhere to be found that day).

Dan also serves as a great counterbalance to me from a project creation standpoint, as he likes to think out everything that he's going to do on a project before he actually does it, which tends to minimize mistakes and maximize results. This of course stands in direct contrast to my typical building methodology which involves putting whatever I'm working on together via a sequence of whims and notions, then finding creative ways to fix the problems that arise after I inevitably and invariably fuck everything up on it.

Different strokes for different folks, but there's no doubting that for a detail-oriented, meticulous project like replacing a truck's headliner, Dan's creative method is just downright superior to my own.

This...

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...is my truck's old headliner. It shouldn't be too tough for you to see the sagging fabric and water stains around the outside of the piece, but this next picture should articulate the problems better still:

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I know, gross, right?

Before we go any further, you must first know this: Your standard headliner is made up of two components - the fiberglass molding that gives your headliner its shape and the headliner fabric that gives your car's roof its kissably soft look and feel. But that's really only 66% of the story, as the headliner fabric is actually made up of two components as well - the foam that attaches to the fiberglass molding and the fabric that covers up the foam. This means that there are two adhesive joints in this construct that can fail - the one between the foam and the fabric and the one between the foam and the fiberglass. In my case, the adhesion between the fabric and the foam was failing, which meant that as I peeled away the fabric most of the foam was left behind, still clinging to the fiberglass molding.

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Any application of a new headliner would have looked absolutely horrible if I didn't get that foam off of the fiberglass molding first (and apart from that, it probably would have stayed in place for about 12 minutes before peeling off from my car's ceiling, letting off the faint sound of a distant foghorn as it draped down over my truck's interior), so Dan lent me a small metal wire brush (yep, that's the brush alright) and I set myself to scraping off all of this 20 year old (and almost certainly carcinogenic) foam, inch by inch.

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This is what it looked like when I'd only scraped off a couple teeny tiny areas of the foam.

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And this is what it looked like when I'd scraped off a little more of the foam. And also I'd leaned the whole thing against a hot tub. And I turned it on its side for some reason or another. That's what happened.

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And this is what it looked like with all of the foam gone except for a smiley face.

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And this is what it looked like with all of the foam gone except for a banana.

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And then after that, there was no banana at all.

So it goes.

I bought new headliner fabric at a very cool and somewhat obscure shop in Denver called B-D Company on Broadway, and they recommended that I use 3M brand's "General Trim Adhesive" so I picked up a can of that as well (though in the end it very frustratingly required 1 full can of the stuff plus about 1/64th of a second can to get the job done properly). The trim adhesive shot out like a mixture of silly string, cotton candy, and Spiderman web goo, though somehow I was able to restrain myself from eating it despite the fact that two of these things rank highly on my list of favorite foods.

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Here's Dan laying down a liberal but not overwhelming coat of the stuff on the fiberglass side of things.

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We put some on the underside of the headliner fabric as well, to really make sure we got a strong bond between the two. We then softly pressed the headliner down to get it firmly into place... if you're trying this at home, imagine that you're kneading a ball of pizza dough that you're utterly terrified of. That's the level of pressure you want to be creating.

Once the middle was secured and somewhat dried, we glued and affixed the corners and other assorted tricky areas, until we were left with something like this:

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There were a few wrinkles and dimples left after the fact that we couldn't get rid of for whatever reason (this bothered Dan far more than it bothered me), but things were generally as we wanted them to be so we cut the extra fabric around the sides and wrapped the front end of the fabric (the only end that wouldn't be covered by plastic trim inside the cab) around the fiberglass molding to complete the job. After that it was just a matter of reinstalling the bastard inside the cab, which was FAR more of a pain in the ass than you'd imagine, as it involved removing/reattaching all of the seat belts and plastic trim, and getting the stupid little dome light thing into a position where it would work properly and not fall onto the center console every time I went over a pothole.

But ultimately, and predictably, we claimed victory.

IMG_1104

An improvement? Absolutely. A somewhat underwhelming photograph to end a catastrophically long blog post? You bet your sweet ass it is. Tah!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

FLOODMAGEDDON!!!!

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If you know anything about my history of living in the McHanslaw Manor, it's that it's one chock full of floody goodness and general water-logged-ee-ness. As a matter of fact, in the three or so years that I've lived in this marvelous basement, my earthy possessions have weathered the ravages of three separate floods (the first chronicled here, if you really care to look). That's a fair amount.

The latest of these floods has without a doubt proven to be the most catastrophic of the bunch from a stuff-ruining/life upheaval-ing perspective, but it also had a wonderful cleaning effect on my world. Not only in the sense that it literally washed the holy hell out of all sorts of things that I never have the time or wherewithal to properly wash on my own (my arsenal of sneakers has never looked so bright and shiny), but also in the sense that it forcibly instilled within me some serious "getting rid of shit" momentum, so I decided to ride that wave of righteousness and give the fine folks at some charitable organization a ton of my stuff. We'll call it a floodletting, just to be cute.

While none of my donations could ever be exchanged for earnest American currency, some of the pieces I parted with were half-assed duds from the annals of Rubbishdom, so let's play a little game, shall we? See if you can find the following objects in the picture below!

Framed Racism is Not Funky poster, Vladimir Lenin-themed laptop carrying case, Colorado Buffaloes Starting Lineup action figure, hideous but virtually brand new 30-year-old car-shaped photo frame, Soviet flag, autographed photograph of Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam, creepy headless tea kettle, pill splitter (from my heavily medicated days... quite the collector's item!), reproduced Richard Nixon campaign poster, pink and white elephant made out of paper mache and sea shells, miniature Denver Broncos football helmet,
'Takin Dumps repurposed Hobby Lobby bric-a-brac, protest signage written in French... and crayon.

IMG_0921

Guys from the Healing Minds donation truck, you can thank me next time I see you!

If you've got an especially keen eye, you might have noticed in that shot that I also parted ways with the frame from my Norman Rockwell-esque "Afternoon in Saint Petersburg" piece that I did quite some time ago. It was never my intention to give away with that one, but a large portion of the print was damaged in the flood, so I chopped out a little chunk of it and framed it in a far tinier house than it'd grown accustomed to. Still, I think it looks kinda neat.

IMG_0894

In an effort to be as abrupt as possible, I feel it's my duty to express to you that it's currently 12:22am in my world and I'm about 3% of the way through the process of moving all my shit into a new apartment, so I apologize for the lack of humor, life, and interesting anythings in this post. I'll do better next time. Promise.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

EBAY SUCCESS REDEFINED.

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The following information has only been shared with a precious few of my most trusted associates and allies, but my basement dwelling within the McHanslaw manor has fallen victim to a flood for the third time in as many years, and as a result I've decided it's finally time to extricate myself from this rent-free near-windowless laminate forest and trade it in for some sort of lease-based "apartment" type dwelling that I (hopefully) won't share with two 60some year old roommates.

Of course, they'll probably go down as the best roommates I ever had, but that's sort of beside the point.

This impending move has warped my spend-thrifty ways into downright miserliness, so when I needed a new jigsaw for the purpose of creating an ornate headboard for a bed frame I'll be building sometime soon (more on that later... like, probably months from now later), I didn't go to Home Despot. Nay, I didn't even go to Amazon. I went to eBay.

Normally I don't take the cheap route on tools - be they electronic or not - as a tool is something I plan to have for a LONG time when I buy it, but I really didn't have the coin available to buy a Bosch machine, or my dream jigsaw from Milwaukee, so instead of getting some middle of the road "adequate but generally unspectacular" machine, I opted to get a bargain basement "wholly unspectacular but generally reliable" unit. In this price range, Black and Decker and Skil are the only brands I found worth looking into, so I tracked a few auctions and put in ridiculously lowball bids on them in the hopes that one of them might pan out.

Then one did. A Black and Decker. A brand new one. For a whopping $1.29 winning bid ($11.18 after shipping).

This was well below the normal closing price for identical saws, so I was somewhat befuddled as to what had gone on here, especially since the auction closed on a Sunday afternoon (word to the wise: If you want top dollar for crap you're selling on eBay, list it to close on Saturday or Sunday, the prices almost always get pumped up on the weekends). But then I took a second listing at the auction, and it all became clear to me. Well... the "why I got it for 11 bucks" part of it, anyway:

Screen-Capture-Jizsaw

Let's go in for a closer look at that little guy, shall we?

Zoomed-in

"Oh, no wonder," I thought. "I won a jizsaw. That's not what I needed at all."

Oh well, I paid for the item anyway. Hopefully the item I eventually receive will turn out to be a normal jigsaw that just fell victim to a typo (albeit a typo that the auction author exercised TWICE in his listing), and failing that hopefully the item won't give me nightmares or VD.

Then again, there's a lot of guys out there that've paid a hell of a lot more for VD than $11 after shipping, so I guess I'll be coming out ahead either way.

There's no way to write that last sentence without loading it full of unintentional innuendo. You have my apologies.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A BIRTHDAY PRESENT FOR THE WORLD, 5 MONTHS IN THE MAKING

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On September 6th, 1972, my brother, the venerable and oft-referenced Angwart Schmidt Borlovsky, successfully broke free of the treacherous reign of his mother's womb. By an amazing coincidence, exactly 38 years later he, his family, and scores of unseen but undoubtedly present and famished mountain lions assembled themselves at a mountaintop villa to commemorate this most sacred of occasions.

That villa, of course, was the McHanslaw family cabin.

And those mountain lions, of course, are the ones that will eventually eat all of us, including but not limited to former journeyman NFL quarterback Steve DeBerg. We will all be sorely missed.

Mountain-Lion

In my culture, the 38th birthday for a man is perhaps the most important of them all, as it signals the death of the final few shreds of a man's youthful dreams and ambitions, and the birth of a new era of reluctant yet all-encompassing acceptance of his current circumstances. Naturally, I would not allow this rite of passage to go by without bestowing a grand gift upon one of my dearest familial cohorts.

I found this Star Wars cooking apron online several months before his birthday, and ordered it almost immediately. After all, what better gift could a person give to a person who regularly grills and serves hamburgers to people at his house whilst all of them partake in a spirited game of some kind of wizard/dwarf-based fantasy shit?

There is no answer to that question.

Unfortunately, I failed to recognize that this was a new product being offered by the official Star Wars shop, and as such would by default fall under the heading of "things George Lucas has created after 1983," and as such would also fall under the heading of "being a massive, steaming pile of crap that isn't worth any of your money, even if the theater comps you a free popcorn and sensual Swedish massage, and you happen to be in a wealthy neighborhood at the time so you could reasonably expect that the massage would actually be really nice and not just disturbing." Obviously, the warning signs were there. I should have known better.

IMG_0562

This is the absurd quasi-garment that showed up at my house some 3 weeks later (great shipping speed, Mr. Lucas!). Note the overwhelming lack of attention to detail. Marvel at the totally unadjustable neckline, and woefully inadequate tying cords around the waistline - hardly big enough to house an average Deep Space Nine aficionado, let alone your standard hardcore Star Wars fanboy. And finally, allow your mind to imagine the saccharine sweetness of running your fingers across the fully-synthetic "fabric" (see: "recycled garbage bags") they chose to make this thing out of. Because hey, nothing says good 'ol American barbecuing like an apron that melts to fit the grillmaster's skin!

My initial impulse was to return the product, but Lucas' return policy would have been laughable if it weren't so infuriating. It's been a while so I don't remember all the details, but I do recall that I was responsible for paying return shipping on the product, and that it was going to take somewhere around a month and a half for me to actually get my money back. There may have been talk of a paper check being involved as well - as in, they weren't going to just transfer the money back onto the card I used to pay for it, but rather issue me a check for the cost of the product, minus the overpriced shipping charge they'd gouged me with when I initially bought this thing, and then physically mail that check to me - but once again, my memory's a bit fuzzy on all this.

George Lucas reigns over an empire that completely sucks, that's all I'm getting at here.

Anyway, considering that my refund after required expenditures would have been about 84 American cents, I decided to just keep the thing (after swearing off ever buying anything from the Star Wars Shop ever again... boy, that sure was painful!) and modify it into something that was at least somewhat useful, so I headed down to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and picked up this legitimate, 100% cotton, devastatingly useful apron for about half the price of the piece of shit Dr. Jar Jar Binks slung at me:

IMG_0567

Please take note of the adjustable neckline, and waist cords designed to wrap around a person who weighs more than 140lbs. Such a marvel of fabric engineering I'd never before seen!

I used some fabric glue and Mother McHanslaw's trusty sewing machine (my own machine had yet to manifest itself at this time) and affixed the crappy Lucas creation to the well-designed but unspectacular BB&B apron, and came out with this as my end product:

Finished

Improvement? Absolutely. Perfect? Far from it. In fact, this was one of my first sewing projects, so it is the very definition of "good from far, far from good" (uneven glue application, obtuse stitch lines galore, etc) but I busted my butt on making it (the useful apron required a few alterations to fit the size of the Star Wars one), so I had no reservations about giving it to him on that day.

The very next day, he turned 38 years and 1 day old. I gave him nothing.

Now, let us bear in mind that this project was finished a full 5 months ago, and I'm just getting around to writing about it now. Considering this fact, might it be reasonable to assume that I've finished several other projects over this time, but have just been too goddamn lazy to blather on about them for about 12 paragraphs more than is necessary? Why yes, yes it would be reasonable to assume that.

And hopefully my friends, I will soon get to the weighty job of tying a bow around all of these old projects by submitting them to the world of Rubbish, but I make no guarantees on that front. I've just been accepted to some sort of learning-school for humans, and I'm feverishly working towards a goal that seemed totally untouchable a mere 3 months ago (more on that later), so Rubbish time might further dwindle.

Only Time will tell. She's a filthy gossip.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

UNPRECEDENTED!

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As long-time readers of this blog will surely be aware, I've had a Good Rubbish shop (www.zazzle.com/goodrubbish) established on zazzle.com for a couple of years now, featuring a medley of t-shirts and other assorted crap that I designed several years ago (it's rumored that a new Ronald Reagan hoodie is in the works, but I can neither confirm nor deny these reports at this time).

Anyway, as you might expect, the Good Rubbish shop has not been drowning in sales over the course of its under-hyped, neglected existence, totaling 16 sales over its first 24 months of business. And, if I'm being totally fair, only 14 of those were legitimate sales, as two of them were accounted for by my own Mother McHanslaw as well as the venerable Artimus Mangilord.

Anyway...

Suddenly, and without provocation or explanation, my quasi-derelict Zazzle shop has started blowing up over the past month, garnering 10 sales over the past 30 days alone. That's one sale every 3 days, which any math major can tell you is a massive increase over my previous average of one sale every 46 days. Yahtzee!

As might be expected, almost all of my sales over time have come from my most morbid shirt design of all, this homage to Leon Trotsky:

Square PNG

But as of late there's been a run on what's probably my favorite design of the bunch, this reusable grocery/tote bag design I crafted several years ago:

Bag-template

Take THAT, Westboro Baptist Church!

For the record, I own a few of the "budget" totes on that God Hates Bags design. And let me tell you, I could not think of a finer Christmas gift for your friends, family, or significant others than that affordable, adorable piece.

Now, I have absolutely no idea WHY my shop is suddenly getting all of these sales, or WHEN this hot streak of mine is going to come to a screeching halt, but I certainly am enjoying it. Of course, I shall keep you all up to date if I ever figure out why in God's name people have suddenly decided to start buying all this crap, but I honestly doubt that a question like that will ever present the world with a legitimate answer.

So yeah, that's it. Shameless plug post over, normal Rubbish post pending. Tah!

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