27 January 2010

Best. Cover. Ever.

Obviously this isn't Neil Young, but holy crap it's a great impression.

24 January 2010

One Man's Treasure Is Another Man's Trash

I displayed them proudly in my living room - an external view of my internal soul.

To look upon them was to know the real me. The import singles, the special editions, it was all there.

I valued them more than money. If my apartment were to catch on fire, I would fill my arms with as many as possible, forsaking photo albums, clothes, even my stereo.

After selling off nearly 400 CDs and DVDs before I moved to California, about 200 CDs and 30 DVDs (the creme de la creme remained). This weekend, I decided to cut it to the bone.

To be honest, I think I waited too long on the CDs. I haven't bought one in ages and I don't know how many people still buy them? You can vote in my poll...

Do You Still Buy CDs?

At first I thought I'd put everything on eBay, but a friend of mine mentioned a new site called Glyde.com - it's like a kinder, gentler eBay. There's also a CD/DVD re-sell site called SecondSpin.com. You mail them CDs and DVDs, and they send you a check.

So I'm running an experiment. Which site will give me the most money for selling off my (formerly) most-prized possessions...

Glyde, SecondSpin, or eBay?

selling CDs on Glyde
Here's how Glyde works:

You type in an item description (All About My Mother)
You tell Glyde what condition it's in (New, Excellent, Good, etc)
Glyde tells you how much money you'll get, less their cut and the shipping cost.
Once the item is posted, you wait for someone to buy it.
When someone agrees to buy, Glyde sends you a pre-paid shipping envelope.

UPSIDE: easy to use, higher profit than eBay, item stays posted until it sells (no re-listing)
DOWNSIDE: waiting for someone to buy the item.

Here's how SecondSpin.com works:
You type in an item description
SecondSpin.com tells you how much they'll pay for that item
You add the item to your "sell" shopping cart.
Upon check out you get an order number and an estimated total.
You mail everything to SecondSpin, shipping costs are partially refunded for 5+ items.
SecondSpin checks in the items and mails you a check (or PayPal)

UPSIDE: you get paid right away
DOWNSIDE: SecondSpin reserves the right to reject CDs/DVDs for scratched discs or cases. They will not return rejected items. Profit isn't necessarily better than eBay.

If I still lived in Portland, I would just go to Everyday Music...

So Here's the Experiment:

First I went through all my CDs and set aside the ones that were scratched since SecondSpin won't accept them. Anything in good condition got priced out on the three sites. I quickly discovered that some of my most treasured CDs were worth, well, bubkiss.

Under the Pink - 25 cents on SecondSpin, 55 cents on Glyde

Living in Clip - 10 cents on SecondSpin
I guess today's angst-ridden teenagers aren't interested in the bi-sexual poet-folk of Ms. DiFranco.

Artists that are still drawing new listeners (such as The Gossip) fair a little better. For That's Not What I Heard. I get a guaranteed $2 from SecondSpin or I can wait for a buyer on Glyde and get $5.05.

I'm not done yet, but out of about forty CDs and two dozen DVDs, the only item that would do better on eBay is a collector's edition of Pulp Fiction. This item goes for $8-$10 on eBay and Glyde was only $7 and SecondSpin would give me a measly $4.

I sent about two dozen items up to SecondSpin.com today. We'll see how many of them they accept. I've also posted two dozen items to Glyde. We'll see how long it takes for them to sell.

So stay tuned for the results of the experiment, and check out Glyde. They have great deals on CDs, DVDs, and books too...

Update #1 - so far I've made $172!

10 January 2010

Palau Scuba Diving Trip - My First Liveaboard Dive Boat Experience

I'm back from Palau... and sick.

Not sure if I caught something from the airplane or one of the other divers, but man-oh-man...I haven't spent this much time on the couch in ages *hack* *hack*. On the upside, I've had plenty of time to finish my recap video. Run time is about 8 minutes, but I put the highlights in the first 1 min. 45 sec.

Please view in full screen mode.
(click the four white arrows in the bottom right corner - next to the Vimeo logo)

Also, please turn your speakers on!
There are some nice tunes from XX, Blue Scholars, and some old-school Jamaican Ska I hope you'll enjoy. Or you can mute the sound and just put T-Pain on repeat (Mom this is a joke, don't really do it).

Things that weren't captured in the slideshow:

Ascending from some of the dives... it was amazing to look down: coral as far as the eye can see. In other places I've dove (the Caribbean, Hawaii) there are patches of coral and sand in between. In Palau it's solid coral - not one patch of sand visible.

Some of the dive sites, especially down south in Peleliu, there were WWII artifacts. During the dive it would be all round-y organic shapes and then all of sudden - a perfectly square box 10 ft x 10 ft x 10 ft covered in coral. Sometimes the coral growth was so dense, it was hard to tell what mother nature made and what was man made.

I wish I could capture the sounds in the rock islands. It's the classic, movie soundtrack beautiful-and-a-tiny-bit-creepy combination of strange bird calls, trees rustling and water lapping. It reminded me of the river scenes in Apocalypse Now but no monkeys and not at all threatening.

The guide on our kayak trip was great. A native Palauan, she had a lot of interesting insights about growing up on a (somewhat) remote island. Besides being a great naturalist, she gave an interesting perspective on Palau's history as a territory of Japan, the U.S., and at last as an independent nation.

Big thanks to the crew on Palau Aggressor II and the staff at Sam's Tours. I hope to be back one day!