People like it when you take the time to learn their first name and use it when speaking to them.
If the artist was popular at the time of an album’s release, the first pressing is probably the most common one.
Only deal with what you know, but also try to know more every day.
The easiest way to save money is to listen to what other people aren’t listening to. Per Robert Frost: “The good things are hidden so the wrong ones can’t find them.”
If you’re selling online and the buyer has an issue with an item, never give partial refunds, always ask for returns.
If all other sellers you meet think an entire genre is categorically not valuable, that is the genre you should research.
The most costly part of haggling is emotional stress.
The more expensive the restaurant is, the less food they serve you. This is because most of their clientele does not do physical labor during the day.
Something being rare doesn’t inherently mean something is valuable.
Something being valuable doesn’t inherently mean something is rare.
Don’t ask “is this valuable?”, ask “(why) would someone want this?”
Usually the people who argue the most vehemently over a few dollars are the ones who can most afford to spend those few dollars.
A speculator’s market is ultimately only propped up by people who actually want to own the item. Pure speculation always ends in a market collapse.
All sealed items are prints.
The market logic of most media collectibles overlaps with that of prints.
In my line of work, every original is also a copy.
Prices people ask online are just things that haven’t sold yet. Sales records are the only things that matter in appraisal.
Reselling is one of the few jobs where you are genuinely paid to learn new things every day.
If you’re having a problem with a piece of electronics, somebody else has probably had the same problem and complained about it on the internet.
Collecting things yourself is the only way to actually understand the intricacies of resale.
There are always more objects.
Looking for one thing and only one thing, particularly if it’s rare, is a recipe for disappointment. The joy of this discipline is the endless novelty.
Most highly collectible objects were considered garbage at some point.
Brick and mortar is about the sense of community. The internet cannot replicate that.
The best way to always get your money’s worth with a book is to read it and enjoy it.
Every signed object is a rabbit’s foot.
This is the study of peoples’ relationships to objects as much or more than it is the study of the objects themselves.
Your family will have to deal with anything you’ve hoarded when you die.
Beware of cultural necrophilia. Believing that people aren’t making good art anymore just betrays that you aren’t looking very hard. More importantly, it makes you sound old.
All broken electronics have many useful components that can be reused in other repairs.
The desire for recordings of human culture is a pursuit laced with superstitions. It is very easy to be possessed by the dead.
The contents of a book or record are usually easily available. The container they came in gives their cultural context.
Being picky is not inherently the same as being discerning.
If you think a thing looks cool, somebody else probably also thinks it looks cool.
Much of the desire for cultural objects comes from a sense of rootlessness; a desire for a tangible sense of history in ones surroundings.
Any book you aren’t reading, any record you aren’t listening to, any game you aren’t playing, is decor.
The best book ever written on retail is In Search Of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. Every object is someone’s madeliene cookie. Touch and smell trigger memory.
A desire for the past should not be a solution for a perceived poverty of the present.
The search for a pristine copy of an object disregards why one should seek a physical object in the first place; don’t become the sort of vampire who can only suck the blood of virgins.
Taking care of objects is important, but so is taking care of ones’ body -regardless, someday we’re all going to die.
Nostalgia is only one reason to engage the past.
The culture of endless disposability and the culture of hoarding are two sides of the same coin.
All right answers are situational. The desire for absolutes is the desire to stop thinking.
In a capitalist system, people value objects by what other people have paid for them. I sold things on consignment once for a real estate broker; when I explained the most valuable book in his dead father’s house was an academic text on 16th century Italian peasants, he took it with him to read on a plane. He got nothing from it.
Any great work of art is a moving target.
Most of the world’s greatest works have been reproduced to the point of having little monetary value. This is a good thing.
The best way to appreciate what is good in a field one doesn’t understand is to consume something in that field that is bad.
If God created the universe, all media objects are graven images.
Every retail store is also a museum. A grocery store is a museum of the present.
There is no better negotiating tool than genuine enthusiasm.
Most people coming in to sell things fall into three broad categories: somebody died, somebody got married, somebody really loves going to yard sales.
A compulsive behavior is only a bad thing if approached thoughtlessly.
The object only changes when you do.
I am a benign conspiracist-I believe it is all connected.
CRT televisions are hazardous waste unless used. Give them a home.
Love is a relationship to a thing in motion; anything else is taxidermy.
The artist’s intent is only as important as the intent of the audience.
Be gentle with those looking to learn, be ruthless with those looking to speculate.
Something old isn’t something valuable if the people who wanted it are all dead.
Peel slowly and see.
Save some for later.
You will only find what you are looking for. Anything else will find you.
Everything happens for a reason, but not every reason is a good reason.
The way a person tells a story tells you how they assess their surroundings.
Most broken video game consoles can be fixed by cleaning the cartridge slot with isopropyl alcohol and a toothbrush.
All the dead people who wrote books and recorded music were once living people with problems.
Once you get the message, hang up.
Are you more afraid of death or madness?
The voices in your head telling you to do things aren’t you.
The most difficult part of repairing something most of the time is putting it back together afterwards.
Many things very popular in their time are nearly forgotten now. The canons we receive are what the generation after thought was important.
Talk back to the television.
Anything truly original will arrive without an audience to comprehend it.
Meaning is only one use of language.
There are more rare things than common things. There are just more copies of the common things.
The most important archaeology is that of the present.
Realism is just another aesthetic.
The most dangerous propaganda tries to present itself as having no politics.
Distinctions between high and low culture are primarily distinctions between the economic classes of their consumers.
Most audio cassettes can be repaired by gluing the felt pad back in carefully.
Art is not a discrete category.
You are the only person living your life. Use that.
Streaming is a nightmare for archivists.
Are you building a collection or a youtube set?
Use what’s there.
Do the thing and stop whining.
All small time crooks think they’re master criminals. Getting away with something gives them what they actually want: validation. That’s why they’ll tell you all about it.
The amount of water you get from the river is dependent on the size of the bowl you bring.
“The more you complain, the longer God lets you live.”-Russian proverb
Second hand retail is very dependent on weather.
Know what day of the week it is.
A person’s collection is a record of their life and interests.
Self-help books are rarely helpful.
It’s a thin line that separates the dump and the antique store.
A hipster is someone who isn’t actually enjoying this stuff.
College is mostly useful as a way of delaying employment.
The most valuable thing you can steal is time.
When I worked in a bookstore, the owner was about to go on a vacation. I asked him if he was excited about it. He looked at his shoulder and said “If I had actually achieved zen in my own life, I wouldn’t need vacations.”
Reselling is as much about supply and demand as anything else. Don’t overemphasize the importance of the supply.
If the buyer doesn’t know why they want to buy the item, you need to know why they want to buy the item.
Don’t just research prices.
Fidelity isn’t the only measure of a playback device.
The most useful tools in repairing electronics are a 72 in 1 hobbyist screwdriver set, isopropyl alcohol, and a used toothbrush.
Most keyboards can be cleaned by prying off the keys with a flat head screwdriver and soaking them in soapy water.
Read the manual.
An NES will take nearly any barrel plug power supply 9 volts or over.
“If your guidance counselor was so great at picking jobs, why did they become a guidance counselor?”-Matt Groening, School Is Hell
In a comic book one can’t just show or tell, one must show and tell. What’s being told however doesn’t have to be the same as what is being shown.
Art is about evoking feelings in a controlled setting so those feelings can be taken apart and put back together again.
Haggling is something people only do to small businesses. Be careful not to punch down.
Don’t ask me “What’s the best you can do on this?” I come in every day and do my best. That’s why I look so tired.
One must eventually put their trust in strangers; this is what’s referred to as community.
Know when to stop negotiating.
You pay for everything eventually; be careful what you pay for it with.
Your confidantes are as often as not determined by your sleep patterns.
Your time is worth something, if only because you are going to die someday.
There are many more certainties in life than death and taxes.
Life is inherently repetitive, your readings of these repetitions determine everything.
“I’m practicing how to say it right the first time”-Robert Ashley, Perfect Lives
Meet your heroes in order to realize they are also just people who show up every day.
We are all beholden to idols and graven images; their quantity is the only natural check and balance.
Rough edges are what distinguish an accomplishment from an exercise.
Consider the quantity and pace of production as much as other elements in evaluating a piece.
Industrial society has produced far too many objects. Don’t buy new ones.
If your true love is money, kill yourself.
Don’t be too stupid. Don’t be too smart.
What a practical joke pokes fun at is the idea that we perceive reality directly.
Old ways of thinking fade away when the old people thinking them die.
The value of your excitement in a moment is in that moment.
Don’t talk like you’re being interviewed by The History Channel unless you’re being interviewed by The History Channel.
I’m not the reason your adult children don’t return your phone calls.
Be careful when challenging the state monopoly on violence. A collapsed monopoly of violence is a free market of violence.
Not all aspirations are legitimate.
Have you ever met a black libertarian?
Power and money naturally tend towards accumulation.
The difference between the Kanye West who thought George Bush hated black people and the Kanye West who wants to go deth con 3 on the jews is roughly $500 million dollars.
Racists want to be racist until it substantially disadvantages them. Their comfort and safety is our peril.
No death cult has ever called itself a death cult.
Don’t produce industrial objects without a clear idea where to put them.
If you build it they will come. But who are they?
Any system of psychological analysis that doesn’t confront the death urge is worthless or worse.
Appeasement begins at home.
Fantasies in US culture revolve around three primary themes- committing extralegal violence, owning people by conforming them to the dimensions of fantasy objects, and unambiguously becoming an adult.
Money is translated into unlike objects, unlike objects are then translated back into money or waste.
If you find crackly sounds physically painful why are you collecting records?
Curate your complaints.
Libertarianism is mostly a movement about defending the right to not pay people fair prices for labor.
Being transgressive isn’t enough.
Loving the things you loved as a child isn’t inherently a good thing.
Victim status implies a certain social capital; choose your poor wisely.
If the existence of god can’t be determined either way, both the theists and the atheists are making empty assertions.
Don’t put much stock in individual incidents.
Are you making a conclusion based on an experience because it’s a logical conclusion to make or because you were looking for an excuse to make that conclusion?
Are you grasping your experiences tightly or loosely?
Are you practicing religion or tribalism?
The most valuable part of Marx’s ideas is his rejection of nature, not as a concept but as an inherent good.
It is very often a good thing that people don’t achieve their goals.
Don’t confuse a person talking to themselves with a person talking to you.
The difficult part isn’t killing the king but installing a better successor.
All experiences are ephemeral, time only goes forwards.
Don’t privilege your childhood in your memories if you can help it.
There are far worse qualities a person can embody than insignificance.
Think in terms of actions.
Free will is a thing you earn, not a thing you’re given.
The nicest car in the world without brakes or steering is just a more expensive way to crash into a tree.
I once asked a therapist why so many intelligent and successful people were miserable. He responded “The crazy is like a goldfish; it grows to the size of the container it’s in.”
A moment doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be specific.
A story that doesn’t go anywhere, or a story that doesn’t need to go anywhere?
Home is a set of repetitions.
Nothing has to be this way.
A sense of history is a sense of impermanence.
Life is repetitive; appreciate small variations.
Folklore lasts longer than whatever happened.
Most folksy phrases about adulthood revolve around themes of disappointment.
Try to seem more wise than old.
Many of life’s most important decisions can only be resolved by gambling.
How far back do you stand in order to see what is important?
Have a holy book.
Knowledge is like clothing; try knowing things until you find the ones that fit.
A beginning, middle and end may as well be chosen by way of magical chairs.
Don’t strive to be original, strive to be better.
Don’t commodify banality.
The syntax and phrasing and spelling are the message.
Be polytheistic in your influences.
Don’t read this in order.
“The purpose of art is to plow the soul, to harrow it, to make it possible it might turn to good.”-Andrei Tarkovsky
Relating to a piece of art isn’t an inherent good.
The value of philosophy is not the soundness of points but the shape of thoughts.
Your front sign is a billboard telling people who need to get rid of things quickly what you’re looking for.
Shorthand is a means of highlighting the most important bits.
A friend with weed is a friend indeed.
420 is the most largely embraced act of collective civil disobedience.
All Holocaust films are either Purim stories or Passover stories. In the story of Purim an outsider is lobbied to save the Jews from mass extermination. In the story of Passover God intervenes to not only save the Jews from enslavement.
Use index cards to take notes for books you find challenging.
Every event and object has a historical context.
Talk back to the television.
Greatest hits compilations are usually worth less than original albums.
A good idea had under the influence should still seem like a good idea when no longer under the influence.
The more specific the subject of a book, the more likely it is to be worth something.
Items with many varying versions-think any Beatles album etc.-take longer to research.
Pitch a big tent.
Know the history of the area.
Pick and choose the holidays that mean something to you.
Das Kapital has important lessons in how economics work useful to adherents of any school of economics.
Have a broader frame of reference than nostalgia.
The way to have a lot of successful friends is to help your friends be successful.
Consider multiple readings, not just the one the author intended.
Criticism is the act of creatively describing objects.
This is all mandatory.
In good circumstances, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, within limits.
Read books about the history of books.
If you put the creamer in before the coffee you don’t need to stir the coffee and it’s easier to eye the amount.
According to William James, extreme versions of things give a magnified view of a tendency in the normal version of the thing.
Stop selling once you’ve sold it.
The most widely read material before the internet was usually placed next to toilets or inside doctors’ offices.
Mistakes and distortions are the colorings that create the character of an illustration.
Act like you’re supposed to be here.
Does anyone care?
Fortune favors the bold is something I saw on a Flaming Carrot comic book once.
What makes something iconic? What objects best channel that iconography?
Older markets are more predictable markets in terms of reselling. This is a major advantage of working with books.
How long has a subject held public retail attention? When do major trends settle down?
If an item is very expensive online, put in what you’re willing to pay in every current auction for a while. If it’s a mass produced object, you will probably win one of them. An initial high bid also scares off other bidders.
Don’t just curate, diversify.
If you stack two pairs of identical box speakers with the top one upside down, they’ll sound much better than they will as a normal pair.
Buying large collections is the easiest way to grow inventory value, not just because of the bulk pricing but because a large record collection means the owner didn’t have time to use everything to the point it’s worn.
Signatures don’t always add a substantial amount of value to an object.
The strangeness of wear can add to the appeal of an item.
The world is very big. It may even be bigger than our problems.
Be wary of any ideology that is enslaved to axioms.
Per Richard Feynman, you don’t truly understand a subject until you can explain it to a stranger in under 5 minutes.
If you can see the road, don’t turn on your brights. You will blind the driver in the opposite lane.
Find what you love but don’t let it kill you until you’re ready to go.
When assessing a hobby or activity as a potential career, put equal weight on your enjoyment of it and your ability to do it for many consecutive hours.
The heavy trade of “graded” comic books and video games in impenetrable plastic slabs is one of the ultimate affirmations that Marx was correct in his narrative of capitalism as the gradual transformation of a society concerned with the use-value of objects into a society entranced by the exchange values of objects to the exclusion of any other considerations. Money buys objects as a means to reproducing itself.
A man is given a small book that contains the place and time he is going to die. He sends it out to get it graded and slabbed. It only gets an 8.5.
Tell people what you’re looking for. They might know where it is.
If you’re good at one thing and not another, get somebody who’s good at the other thing to do the other thing.
Every new project also serves as advertising for all your old projects.
Resale is akin to an ongoing game of poker. Be the house.
God is an answering machine.
Whatever it takes.
When making plans, remember the initial goal.
Get it done, put it out there.
Invest in yourself but also monitor your investment.
The artist reaches maturity when their influences start to look human to them.
“I’ll talk to strangers if I want to because I’m a stranger too.”
Your early work will probably suck. If it doesn’t, you may not have long to live.
A market of pure speculation is a market that will collapse sooner than later.
Trust your taste over the amount of money someone else paid for a thing.
If someone is arguing with you in bad faith, be ruthless.
Image Comics has offered every creator who has worked for them the same rights deal the founders got and they’re doing just fine.
“If the audience knew what they wanted, they wouldn’t be the audience.”
Try to recognize magic when you see it.
Faking it is part of figuring out how to make it.
Beautiful things are often sad.
It’s easiest to say things when you mean them.
Have a posse.
Choose the things you put up in your home based on the things you want to think about while looking at them.
Be yourself but don’t just be one of them.
Love is giving someone the power to hurt you because you are convinced they won’t
Caring about things is frequently scary.
Love is like a pair of glasses. It’s always right in front of your eyes.
Love is a fine tuned and unique dynamic.
Do you feel, deep down, like this is where you are supposed to be?
If you want people to show up somewhere, make it somewhere where they’d want to show up.
The deepest connections are founded in a dynamic. Those are the people you can not see for a long time and then pick up where you left off.
If you wanted to do it badly enough, you’d be doing it.
If the revolution isn’t compelling, we lose.
The distance of memory is not linear.
For W., who taught me how to write like this without knowing it.
Sadness is when you have emotions that can’t reach a point of action.
“Knowledge before you wisdom or understanding is fucked.” – AZ
I did a gig with Professor Irwin Corey when he was 96. I asked him if he had any advice for living. He replied “Any money you owe when you die is profit,” and then fell asleep.
You might not ever get over something but you still have to keep moving.
“I never sleep because sleep is the cousin of death.”
Figure out what you’re good at and do that.
“It took eternity to get to my destination.”*
The thing that actually anticipated memes was the New Yorker cartoon caption contest.
Are you prepared for when the moment happens?
Did you change over time or did you adjust?
Is it enough? It has to be enough.
Consider the mobility of your employment.
A person’s voice is the part of their presentation they have the most control over.
Blow up but don’t go pop.
Speech doesn’t need to be anything other than sound.
Sometimes love doesn’t have to be fully reciprocated.
What is aging?
What is an adult?
What is love?
Baby don’t hurt me.
Why not get excited about things?
What makes you accept the authority of another person?