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thNorth Carolina photographer Eric Pickersgill was in a café when a family’s non-togetherness spooked him deeply.

The father and two daughters were on their phones while the mother looked out the window, seeming “sad and alone in the company of her closest family.” Ultimately she gave in and took out her own phone.

From this Pickersgill found the inspiration for a photo series called “Removed,” a series of pictures that were semi-staged, yet all too real. Pickersgill would ask device-users to hold their poses while he removed the tablets and cell phones from their grasp.

The result is, well, the same sort of thing we see all the time in public places: People ignoring everything around them to fixate on handheld pixel-makers. But its static nature – men, women and children staring blankly into empty space – makes the exhibit deeply unsettling.

A few examples:

 


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Frigid frozen feet.

Recently DF and I attended “My Fair Lady,” the frugal way: I was reviewing, so we got two free tickets. (You can read the review at the Alaska Dispatch News if you like.)

When we finally went to bed my feet were, as usual, freezing. The rest of me felt fine but my toes were 10 little icicles. This led to us joking about a rewrite of “The Street Where You Live,” one of the more romantic songs from the musical.

In case you don’t know the tune, here’s a clip from the film version:

 

Got it? Now, on to the DF-written parody, “The Sheets At the Foot of the Bed”:

 


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th-2Conferences are always good for odd bits of swag: mouse pads, Post-It notes, bathtub toys.

I was a little more selective at this year’s Financial Blogger Conference, because my suitcase wasn’t very big.

Too, I kept a couple of items for myself:

RepayDebt.org’s “Slash Debt” T-shirt, which bore a piggy-bank head with long black curls and a top hat. (Get it? I didn’t, either, until my daughter reminded me of the existence of the Guns ’n’ Roses musician Slash.)

A squeezable foam “stress bull” – not because I’m stressed, but because I thought it might amuse DF’s granddaughter. He looks a bit incongruous in the cloth Noah’s Ark, since he’s twice as big as the other critters, but I’m sure they’ll work something out.

Purple socks printed with stylized pennies, from Pennyhoarder.com. They’re reversible to plain purple if you care what people think about your accessories. (Hint: I think they’re cool.)

But I still came away with a few things someone will want.

 


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thThe other day I had a massage, my last one with this practitioner because she’s moving out of state. On the landing by her door was a small stack of cinder blocks. I asked if she’d found a buyer and they were waiting to be picked up.

No buyers, she replied. “I’d give them away at this point, just to get rid of them.”

Guess who now has eight cinder blocks, even though she has no particular plan for them? Not right away, that is. But I figured you can never be too rich, too thin or have too many cinder blocks.

Part of me wondered whether this were a hoarder’s rationale. It could be.

 


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thA blogger I know recently hit a run of bum luck, including but not limited to car repairs, house issues, a utility rate hike and medical bills.

Depressing, right? Except that Christina, who writes the Northern Cheapskate website, decided to take a different look at the situation. Specifically, she looked at recent bank statements and her annual credit report.

The sight of paid-off debt and gradually rising balances cheered her and her husband considerably.

“Even though we felt stuck, we were moving – albeit ever so slowly – in the right direction,” she wrote in a post called “The importance of seeing your hard work pay off.”

I strongly recommend running the numbers, for two reasons:

  • To see where you need to make adjustments/get creative, and
  • To discern and celebrate any improvement, no matter how small.

Recently I ran my own numbers – and I liked what I saw.

 


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