Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How Do They Know?

How do the junk scavengers know when you've put your junk out on the curb? Within minutes, there they are, sorting through broken chairs, fried computer monitors, and excess yard trimmings. It's like they have junk radar, or something.

These things presumably work a bit differently in other parts of the world, but in this particular patch of California, we put our old crap out near the curb three times a year and the city hauls it away. This is the stuff that's too bulky to be picked up in regular garbage collection. I put out an old dilapidated recliner chair, a rusted-out wheelbarrow, and a bunch of miscellaneous crap. In theory, the city trucks will pick up everything tomorrow morning, but in reality, much of it will be gone by then. Less than 15 minutes had passed since I piled everything up, and there were already guys picking through it. I assume that quasi-professional junk collectors have copies of the pickup schedules for various neighborhoods, and develop a finely tuned sense of when people start putting their stuff out. But their uncanny ability to just know when fresh junk appears is amazing.

Incidentally, I hear in Japan they throw out lots of good stuff. I knew someone who lived in Tokyo for while, and furnished their apartment in this fashion. It seems virtually new furniture and electronics are common sights on junk collection days.

"Wait a second, Dr. Sparkle," you say. "What about a Chrontendo update?" Well, I think Episode 31 should be ready before too long. I was struggling a bit with the History of Adventure games bit, and decided that it would be too long for one episode. So the first half will be featured in Ep. 31, then the rest next episode.

Sorry it's taking so long, but there are ongoing issues with my mother-in-law and her surgery. It turns out she's going to be moving in with us temporarily after she's discharged from the hospital. So once again, thank you for your patience.


Anonymous said...

No, thank YOU Dr. Sparkle! Please don't feel pressured to "hurry up and finish the damn series already" by anyone. This is your opus, a legacy for the pointy hatted people of the future. Thanks for doing such a great job.

garsh said...

It's "wheelbarrow", fyi. I'm genuinely surprised at a mistake like that from you.

Chris Osborne said...

As cool as this is, and as much as I know people enjoy it, real life comes first. So worry about that and don't worry about disappointing people.

Unknown said...

In regards to how scavengers know when you put out old stuff, Most towns have a schedule as to when you can put out "White Items" (Old refridgerators, appliances and the like). Since these pickup schedules are made public through the town's website, there are people who professionally go through piles of old stuff on those appointed days so that they can obtain scrap metal or used furniture that they can restore and resell.

Unknown said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention that you should take your time and finish Ep. 31 right. Love the series, it is pretty awesome.

Doctor Sparkle said...

Garsh: Good catch! That's what happens when you write a post at 1:00 AM. Oddly, I'd been thinking about barrels earlier that day; specifically, I was wondering about the origin of the term "cracker-barrel." And I can't help but wonder if "wheelbarrel" might not eventually replace "wheelbarrow" in everyday usage due to barrow being such an uncommon term nowadays. The only thing that springs to mind when I hear "barrow" is The Lord of the Rings, and maybe Barrow, Alaska.

James: I'm sure these guys do know the pickup schedules, but what amazes me is how quickly stuff disappears. People start hauling stuff to the curb days before the pick-up, yet the "good stuff" gets taken within an hour or less.

Thom Robertson said...

Wow. I'm up to episode 13, and you've done a great job. Thank you for Chrontendo. I love the quiet and scholarly tone, but also your straight talk about the games that stink.

I watch flashy shows like X-Play, and Chrontendo is profoundly different (in good ways).

I've also been a big fan of Gamecenter CX, and now that I'm watching Chrontendo, I get to see the same games from two complementary perspectives. Excellent. Thanks again!

Doctor Sparkle said...

Thanks, Thom. I will admit, not being into video game culture much, I don't really know much about X-Play. I've, to my knowledge, never seen G4. I assumed X-Play somehow combined porn and video games, and was a little disappointed when I learned otherwise.

Gamecenter CX is cool, though.

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