Uptown Cheapskate

Crayons 2

If you are like me, you enjoy designer clothes and looking nice. The “names” last longer, carry a certain prestige, and, you generally get what you pay for. Cheap clothes look cheap and fade significantly after five or ten washes. If you are like me, you also have a limited budget. Student loans, rent, bills, car payments, and the necessities of life leave little room on a modest income for spending hundreds a month on clothes to look GQ fresh.

Having given up on department stores a long time ago, I spent some time trudging around designer fashion discounters like Ross, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, etc. Ross has completely gone to hell in the last five years – but I digress. I still like those places, but have lately discovered upscale consignment stores. If you can be seen shopping at Half Priced Books then you can be seen in a clothing consignment shop.

Seriously, these places are far superior to looking like one is performing community service in the Goodwill. Most only accept the nicest clothes and donate the rest. The benefit to you is that their selection of gently-used, high end-clothes, shoes, and accessories is usually nice. Two stores come to mind as the crème of the crop – Plato’s Closet and Uptown Cheapskate. Without detracting from Plato’s Closet; Uptown Cheapskate really shines.

The staff is great and there are some real finds if you look. The experience is also nice. Uptown makes you an offer on your clothes while you wait, or will call and email you when your offer is ready. They search your clothes on a computer system for a value range, and seem to offer you about a third of what they will sell them for. The pricing is very competitive, even a bit negotiable if you can find a stain you can live with on a must have item. I’ve found that each box or armful of old clothes I take them generates me about $40. Remember, though, my clothes are almost all designer or similar like Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Gap, Under Armour, etc. They won’t but cheap stuff or worn out, threadbare items. When they make you an offer, you can accept either cash or 1.25 times that in store credit. I suggest looking around while they prepare your offer.

So! This week, I dropped off a bunch of clothes at the Allen, Texas location. What I found while waiting was great! I call this collection my “Fall Crayons Collection ”ha ha – they are monochrome, interchangeable, and have crayon-like textures. Anyways, here is what I purchased:

  • Lacoste grey sweater, made in France, slim fit, retail ≈ $130, Uptown $18.99
  • Abercrombie and Fitch mountain baseball jacket ( button up, stretchy grey hoodie), retail $100, Uptown $23.99, reduced to $16.99 after I noticed a small stain
  • J Crew beige whool sweater, retail ≈ $80, Uptown $13.99
  • Gap sweater with arm bands, retail ≈ $75, Uptown $13.99
  • Ralph Lauren blue label custom fit blue polo, retail ≈ $85, Uptown $23.99
  • Banana Republic (not the outlet with the three little dots on the tag ) grid pattern with paisley overlay, slim fit, button-up shirt, retail $70, Uptown price, $12
  • Cole Haan penny loafer, slip-on, dress shoes, retail $100-150, Uptown $47
  • On the Byas color block pocket t, new with tags, at Pac Sun ≈ $20, Uptown $9.99

As you can see, this selection isn’t something for nothing, or a steel, but it is a good deal. My selection was in excellent condition – and in two cases brand new. All of this together would cost $500 – $600 at major retailers (even on sale), and at Uptown Cheapskate it was about $140. Not a bad deal when you subtract the $70 or so in store credit I received from my old clothes.

As an added bonus, the music is really cool – obscure electronicia and indie type stuff. Half the time, it isn’t even recognized by Shazam on my phone. Uptown Cheapskate, highly recommended!



Here Comes the Snow!

“Here comes the night time
Coming on slow
Here comes the night time
I know that you know”

Arcade Fire “Here comes the night time II”

On November 11, 2014, a powerful, early-season cold front swept across the Front Range – bringing bitter cold (temps as low as 2 degrees Fahrenheit). One of my fondest memories was watching an approaching winter storm while swinging on my swingset in the backyard of our house in Loveland circa 1987. A bruise-black line of clouds engulfed the Front Range from the northwest, growing closer and more impressive, almost scary, until the wind picked up and the day fell grey and snow swept around by early evening. Just before the sky opens up and it snows, the overcast, probably laden with ice crystals, change from a dark grey to whitish. Then inside for tomato soup and grilled cheese. So many of other people’s memories seem to revolve around people; so many of mine it’s just me and the sky.

My memory is very close to what is captured in this terrific time-lapse series of photos from the folks over at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Air Pollution Control Division, air quality camera. Whew, that’s a mouthful. Their camera posts a live image of downtown Denver (facing west) every hour. I have spent many a minute staring longingly at the sky back home.

Here is a link to a live image of Denver: http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/live_image.aspx

Here comes the snow II, Colorado Hans. Enjoy…



A cold front passed through North Texas today around 12 noon. A line of high clouds and some light wind marked the passage of the front. Is it just me, or do sounds become more acute just before a front passes? Just like rain has a smell, fronts seem to amplify sound. Could that be due to the density of the air increasing prior to passage?

Anyways, back to Virga. The high clouds featured some beautiful high-altitude, wispy virga; something you don’t see too often in Texas. Virga is more common in  higher-altitude, Virga1drier regions. In meteorology, virga is an observable streak or shaft of precipitation that falls from a cloud but evaporates before reaching the ground. At high altitudes the precipitation falls mainly as ice crystals before melting and finally evaporating; this is often due to compressional heating, because the air pressure increases closer to the ground. It is more common in the desert and in temperate climates. In North America, it is commonly seen in the Western United States and the Canadian Prairies. This is why you witness it more in Colorado than Texas. I look forward to getting better and more frequent pictures of virga soon!


Shoes as Art?

Sometimes a shoe transcends mere footwear to become a work of art. Sometimes an advertisement transcends mere marketing and becomes a work of art. Consider this picture of a used gentleman’s hiking boot from Etsy.com. The perspective of the yam-colored boot in the foreground with golden-yellow tall-grass in the background contrasted against a deep blue sky with fleeting cumulus clouds is stunning. Oh! I forget to mention the vintage looking avocado green stool. Perfection! It may be my favorite photo of 2014. I cannot emphasize enough that this was from a private seller’s ad for a used pair of shoes! If my memory serves me, the seller’s location was somewhere around Fayetteville, Arkansas – Prairie Grove perhaps? Heaven maybe.


The Birth of a Storm

Storm 3-28c

The birth of a storm is a fascinating thing to watch. When atmospheric conditions are right and some sort of outflow boundary, dry-line, or front interacts with warm, humid, and unstable air – fireworks happen. Cumulonimbus clouds seem to just explode out of thin air. These pictures are from my cellphone, and capture the birth of a thunderstorm in spring 2014 near McKinney Texas. The storm formed just before sunset out west of Highway 75 (probably over Frisco, Texas) north of the DFW Metroplex and moved off to the East as night fell. It featured a brilliant lightning show that lit up the night. Due to its timing and location on an otherwise clear evening – it was very photogenic and viewers submitted pictures of it to the TV news. It remained below severe limits, but if I recall correctly, did drop some small hail north of McKinney. Enjoy!

The Journey Home

We’ll do this all again,
someway, somewhere, some-when…

Homeward Boundless

I am homeward unbound, full of colors and sound, mountain and valley. See you soon aspens, with yellow-gold hues, skies with infinity blues, rolling clouds into forever-ness. Fire and snow. Work hard, save money, pay of indebtedness. Avert rear-view mirror gazes. Regression progression. Contrast. Focus on mountains, plains, and front ranges – homeward boundless. Understand pattern and process. Understand myself. Am I demonym, word, or philosophy? Something more, something less, emergent? The evolution of a man. I will I can. Mirror Mirror. See you soon Coloradan.

A carved-up Aspen tree at the Kenosha pass scenic turnoff over South Park, Colorado.

Memories of past loves. A carved-up Aspen tree  is resplendent in fall colors at the Kenosha mountain pass scenic turnoff above South Park, Colorado. October, 2014. Elevation,10,000 feet.