Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Looking Across Lake Union from Seattle's Gas Works Park
(Hawaiian Odysseus Photo)

Two days after Christmas finds me back in a favorite coffee shop in Walla Walla.  I was hoping to find some peace and quiet in a corner of this usually chill hangout spot.  

That's not going to  happen.  A long haired young man and his senior citizen friend are engaged in anti-Bush, Jr. sentiments and hints of a 9/11 conspiracy.  


The only conspiracy I'd have wanted to entertain myself with today is the dilemma involving the whys and wherefores of how calories around this time of year make more of an impression on the belt line.  Now that's fodder for conspiracy theorists.  

I'd mention it to these two local yokels, but--undoubtedly--they'd find a way to attribute such a conspiracy to the aforementioned Bush, Jr., and his cheney, Croney...uh, I mean,  his croney, Cheney.

Anyway, a nice thing did happen as soon as I turned my laptop on.  I found that there'd been a sale on my eBay account of a Metz #1 Magnum Grizzly Neck for $40.

  Metz #1 Magnum Grizzly Neck
(Hawaiian Odysseus Photo)

Traditionally, this item has principally been an integral material for fly tyers.  In recent times, however, a craze for chicken feathers (and those of other fowls) running rampant among females, mostly,  has put a huge dent in the supply of these materials as well as jacked up the prices for saddles--that part of a chicken's feathers near the rump area which usually consists of longer feathers.

Because I wasn't quick enough to invest in these saddles--which, incidentally, are selling like hotcakes online and for extraordinarily inflated prices--I've settled for Metz #1 Magnum Grizzly and Metz #3 3-In-1 Grizzly/Olive necks to sell on eBay, Craigslist, Etsy, and Yardsellr.  It took some creative marketing strategies and good descriptive writing, but these items have done respectably well for me and have helped keep my online business afloat.

So--narcissistic, loud-talking Starbucks customers aside--I am very thankful for the privilege of being my own boss, the freedom to sit in coffee shops and engage in my work while appearing to languish, for the wonderful eBay (and other online venue) customers who themselves have the most interesting backgrounds and stories, and for the fellow blog writers and readers who have visited Hawaiian Odysseus and Hawaiian Odysseus 2 this past year and reinforced my awe, motivation, and inspiration for online engagement.

Mayan calendars notwithstanding, I'm looking ahead to a very delightful and prosperous 2012.  I wish you the same!

Aloha and mahalo!

Hawaiian Odysseus

Hawaiian Odysseus
Visualization for 2012
(Photo Courtesy of SKA) 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Vintage 1956 Ad
Listed 11/22/11; Sold 12/19/11
(Hawaiian Odysseus Photo)

It was about a month ago when I came across this cute baby ad in a national periodical that bore a 1956 issue date.  I was instantly intrigued by the simplicity of it.

My imagination took me back 55 years  into the past.  I thought of the ad team gathered around a conference table with piles of photo portfolios, unfinished typed text, penciled notes on half-crumpled sheets, coffee cups strewn all over the place, and ashtrays filled with cigarette butts and their still-burning siblings.

Long into the wee hours of the morning, they labor, riding the ecstatic highs of newborn ideas and crashing with the tumultous lows of fellow critics' rejections.

Until, sharply at 4 AM when the night janitress arrives to do her cleaning, bringing with her an unusual item, her 7-month old son.

Simultaneously surprised and embarrassed to see the ad men still confined to their office, she quickly explains that her husband--a fireman--has had to respond to an out-of-state wildfire emergency...thus leaving her with no time to recruit a minuteman babysitter.

She puts her baby, now awakened by the strange surroundings and stale smell of the office, on a sofa in as remote a part of the conference room as she can get to.  Her brow is furrowed as she wonders how she is going to get her work done in the midst of the extra bodies and all their clutter.  But first, she has to change her baby's diaper...

One man, a bit irritated and unnerved by this intrusion, attempts to light up another cigarette.  Big Jim, the copyright editor, shakes his head No!  The silent implication is clear:  There will be no smoking with a baby in the room.  

Fatigued and disgusted with themselves for not coming up with any winning ideas, the men find themselves drawn to the sight of the baby.

The midsummer night's warmth compels the attentive mother to leave the baby dressed in only his new diapers. He coos at his mother while grabbing his toes.

A square plastic cylinder of Johnson's Baby Powder, still opened, falls to the floor.  A cascade of white dust, like horizontally falling snow, gushes from the multiple holes of its lid.  With an audible sigh, the young mother picks it up and places it next to the baby...

Almost in unison, with a serendipitous and paradoxically silent yet multi-decibel EUREKA!, the ad men look at each other...then back at the baby...and then begin laughing and cheering.

Nothing...absolutely nothing...gets the message across as effectively and convincingly as...



Taking a lesson from this, I decided to cut some of the literary fat from my listing descriptions, especially the ones for vintage ads.  It's not only made my job easier and more time-efficient; I've actually made more sales as of lately.

It stands to reason that the magic that appeals to prospective eBay buyers of vintage ads transcends anything the seller might take pride in writing.  There's something about an ad that jumps out and grabs the viewer--an old memory, perhaps; the universal appeal, as in the case above, of a contented baby; an actual job experience with the ad's sponsor; or the clever way a phrase is turned.  Whatever that whimsical ingredient is, it's my responsibility as a seller of ads to sit in the driver's seat, as it were, and BE the buyer (as a Zen Master would put it).

Yes, visualization is alive and well in my self-proclaimed full time job.

And if I have to become a powderpuff or take a powder to fight this unrelenting recession, then so be it!  No matter what, I sure am having fun!

Friday, December 9, 2011


 1991 Daisy Kingdom 15" Doll
Yay!  We found her a home!
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

And we placed her sister in the same home, too!
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

It's a beautiful thing when an eBay sale takes place for us and my wife and I eventually receive positive feedback from a happy customer.  This is what I wanted to share with you today.

First of all, in order for you to completely grasp the scope of what I'm about to share with you and have a deeper appreciation for the importance of well-written auction and store descriptions, creativity, and that personal customer service touch, please read or review the following link.  It connects you to a previously published Hawaiian Odysseus post.

Scroll  on down to the part about the doll(s) above and get caught up to speed on the front end of this transaction.  In summation, it was the first estate sale I actually found the courage to get out of the car and accompany my wife to...although I gingerly did so after she'd been in the home for about ten minutes.  In fact, she called me on my cellphone from within the house to coax me to get out of the car.  (I mean, if you've ever watched STORAGE WARS, the great reality series hit on the A&E channel, my wife and I are a middle-aged Pacific Northwest version of Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante...we're really a hoot of a team!)

So, anyway, I quit being a girl and got out of the car...and I'm so glad I did.  Because by that one very hesitant yet fateful move, I was thrust into a whole, brand new, and adventuresome world.

And, if I might wax romantic, it turns out to be a pretty cool way to date my wife of almost thirty years.

One of the things that caught my eye at this first estate sale were these two dolls.  Since they were nicely covered in cellophane packaging and lying in the midst of a huge stack of cross stitch magazines and scattered patterns, I figured they'd be worth something.  The sales tag said $4, and I haggled the price down a dollar. Walked out of the home like I'd really done something!  Big shot estate sales buyer then...while a scared little Walla Walla squirrel just a half hour earlier.

That night, I must've spent three or four hours going through the day's estate sale booty and listing them on eBay.  I took that long because there were photos to be taken of each item and, even more so, research to be done and creative descriptions to be written.

I don't always hit a home run with my listings.  But in this case, I had lots of fun creating the following.

Before I share that with you, though, I want to include the positive feedback I received early this morning from the customer:

"loved item descriptions; very personable transaction; great experience; delight"

There's a little behind the scenes story I want to insert here.  After the kind woman bought the first doll, my wife suggested that I make her a deal with the second one.  At first, I thought maybe I'd be coming across pushy...and then, I got pridefully motivated when I started thinking how my wife had better entrepreneurial risk-taking skills than I was exhibiting, and so I decided to take a risk.  

I emailed the woman and presented her with a 50% discount offer for the second doll.  She accepted my offer in a heartbeat.  I ended up making a 400% profit in the transaction.

No matter how small or big the monetary value, doing better than a 100% profit margin is a huge plus in my bottom line any day of the year.

I appreciate my wife's input of female intuition and haggling ability, a character trait she claims she got from her father.  Now there's a German who could bargain shop a camel from right under its Muslim rider and convince the Bedouin that he was doing him a favor!

Anyway, here's a description.  For newbie sellers on eBay, use a written voice similar in style to the way you would speak to your buyers in person.  I have a certain dry wit and creativity that blends nicely into my descriptions.

Above all, don't be too critical on yourself.  I am a perfectionist addict, so I should be the last to talk.  Point being, just let yourself flow.  I never do rough drafts in handwriting...I simply let my fingers free-fall on the laptop's keyboard.  Kinda like the way I compose my blog posts.  

At the end of the day, no one should ever have to tell us that this is the way to think or act or be.  As long as we aren't hurting other people or ourselves, we deserve the utter and ultimate freedom to be whom we were meant to be.

Above all, have a great time! 



The winning bidder will receive a twenty-year-old 15" DAISY DOLL from the folks at Daisy Kingdom, Inc. 

Take good care of her...although she had proper nutrition, a good lifestyle, and a smoke-free upbringing, she is only half dressed in her bonnet, black high-top shoes, and muslin undergarments.

Word has it that she is interested in pursuing a career in modeling.  She has had some experience with Victorian, early American, Amish, rural American, and country/western fashions, but she admits she also has a certain curiosity about other styles of dress and cultural lifestyles.  It may be a stretch, given the fact that her stiff porcelain (or is it hard plastic?) face and neck and hard plastic shoulders, along with her hard arms, feet, and boots that she chronically wears limit her flexibility and range. Nevertheless, there's a bit of a gamer and an adventurer in this young lady.

She's looking for work as a nanny or adult care provider, so if you are willing to accommodate her, please remit her travel expenses via PayPal, our preferred method of payment, and we shall send her off to you via USPS Parcel Post (if you live in the USA) or via USPS First Class Mail International if you live across the pond or in parts more exotic.

Thank you very much for participating in our eBay listing.
For LORDS OF THE FLY, we're Joe and Rita.

Check out our other items!

Thank you for visiting our eBay store--

LORDS OF THE FLY Visit our eBay store!

--the humble online shop with great expectations!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Coca-Cola Ad
From a 1950 National Geographic Back Cover
(Hawaiian Odysseus Photo)

An estate sale I recently attended in Walla Walla yielded me a cache of old magazines.  I ended up going back to this home a second time with my wife at the invitation of the owner's sister. She made me a deal I couldn't refuse.
When the dust of dickering had settled, I ended up shelling out $107 for a total of 230 magazines.  At about 46 and a half cents per magazine, with the potential of either selling most of the magazines for about $10 a pop and carefully removing ads from the rest that I could list at $8-10 each, I saw this as a great deal.

There are always challenges.  The first big one was to convince my wife weeks ago that my vision of generating a viable income from this pursuit could become a reality.  I think I've met that challenge quite well, and my wife has found good reason to help me with this latest of Hawaiian Odysseus projects.

Secondly, there's the issue of storage space.  An upstairs bedroom has become my office/den. The primary occupants of this space for several hours each day...and sometimes, late into the evening...are our cat, Kona (star of several blog posts), and me.  I do my best to keep the room tidy, but I always look over my shoulder in case the producers of A & E's Hoarders happen to be nearby. There are several boxes and plastic shelves full of either magazines or ad clippings. Whenever I exclaim, "Thank You, God!" upon discovering that I've made a sale, I'm simultaneously cheering the fact that either a magazine or one more piece of paper is being paroled from my den of ephemera.

As I come across more fodder for my business in yard, garage, and estate sales, however, it's increasingly apparent that I'm fighting a losing battle.  Compounding this is the fact that my wife's olefactory sense is keener than mine...and her tolerance for the musty smell of vintage paper is proportionately lower.  She's taken to buying these gizmos with scented oil that you can plug in to electrical outlets.  They double as night lights.  Personally, I can't stand them.  

But, sigh!  Marriage is a give and take institution, and I'd rather live with marital compromise than be without.  Know what I mean, jelly bean?

So, anyway, third challenge...and one that I welcome the most because it's all about keeping Alzheimer's at bay...is writing up good descriptions for my listings.

One of my pet peeves about eBay is coming across auction or store listings that consist of no more than one or two sentences.  For example:  Good magazine.  No pages missing.

Boring!  And the mark of sheer laziness.

My goal, then, is to imagine that I'm the buyer.  I am therefore not shy about using my unique voice in my listings.  It's my attempt to be right there in that buyer's personal bubble, letting him or her know as best I can that he or she is about to buy a quality product from me.  Significantly, if anything about that item has a flaw, that buyer will hear about it from me long before they see the actual item.

So what might take another seller seconds to put together, especially with a bulk listing program, takes me much more time as I craft a template.  Once I create the template, things get easier.  

While I'm recycling the products that others have created, I'm actually utilizing my creativity in each eBay listing.  

One other challenge involves the time and effort needed for carefully removing the staples and remnants of spinal glue and clipping the frayed edges.  Here's where I could use some help, but my adult son's well established in his professional career in another state, and my daughter is employed full time in her collegiate studies at the local university.  

And Kona's no help...except when it comes to chewing on oatmeal cookies from the Dollar Tree.

So I do my best, and before I know it, it's time to retire for the night.

Okay, so now with all that introductory prose out of the way, I've come to the  meatier aspects of this post.

See that photo above?  Coca-Cola ads do very well on eBay, so much so that Coke ads are a sub-niche of their own.  At first glance, eBay is flooded with Coca-Cola products.  But that's part of the reason why I promote good, solid, and appealing descriptions in my listings.

Anyway, I was ecstatic that the above ad, a back cover I had removed from one of the National Geographic magazines I'd purchased from the woman at the aforementioned estate sale, sold this past week.  

It sold for $4.95, and the shipping was free to the woman from Michigan.  After the eBay final value fee, PayPal fee, and shipping charge, I made a humble profit.  

A lot of work for peanuts, you might say.  But to me, it's a valuable experience as I utilize trial and error to find my potential customers' trigger points.   Plus, being a newbie to this ad-selling niche, I realize I have to forge a good, solid, and reputable foundation in order to establish a golden customer base.  Repeat customers and/or the feedback I receive are vital components of a successful eBay venture.  So I don't mind paying my dues, so to speak.

Here's another one that also sold this week.  It went for $8.99 to a gentleman in Texas.

Life Savers Ad
From a 1953 LIFE Magazine
(Hawaiian Odysseus Photo)

My son in Hawaii, a former popular island deejay and well acquainted with radio advertising, asked me just the other night why these vintage ads appealed to people.  A great question, indeed!  

My response was, "When I say, 'Crackerjacks,' what do you think of?"

"The toy inside,"  he replied.

"And also the sailor on the box?"  


"What about Morton Salt?  Think about the girl with the umbrella?"  I asked.

"Yeah,"  he said.

I went on to establish my point.  "See?  People associate certain words or icons with memories from their past.  Seeing or hearing about these items takes them back to a warm and fuzzy time in their lives.  So having these ads to matte and frame and put up in their office as a conversation piece or add to their living room decor preserves a very special memory for them."

The Lifesavers ad elicited a collection of feelings for me.  It's a simple yet brilliant idea that was brought to fruition by the particular ad agency.  I instantly remembered both the candy and warm memories of pulling at a chicken or turkey wishbone with my mom or siblings five decades ago.  I was also attracted to the great illustration.  Regretfully, I could not see any artist's signature.  It certainly looks like a Norman Rockwell work, but I didn't want to second guess who the actual artist was.  

That's another thing.  Sometimes the ability to identify the artist in illustrated ads helps to make the sale.  This actually happened not too long ago, but that will be the subject of another post.  Maybe even the next one.

I gotta hustle and get out of this favorite Walla Walla Starbucks and catch a couple of buses to get back home.  

My wife and I, you see, have a date this afternoon at a certain College Place thrift store.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Heinz Baked Beans Advertisement 
Woman's Home Companion
August, 1908
(These and subsequent images are Hawaiian Odysseus photos.)

103 years ago, the people who labored long hours to bring a certain edition of Woman's Home Companion together in time to make the publication deadline had no idea how their creation would help a certain backpacking Hawaiian wayfarer earn an honest income over a century later. 

With the magic that only science and technology can concoct, sprinkled with supernatural blessings from the Author of all good things, here I am-- smack dab in the ethereal Internet cloud--resurrecting, if  you will, yellowing pieces of paper and selling them on the eBay juggernaut.

And, wow!  Am I ever enjoying it!

For those of you who've been following Hawaiian Odysseus, you're aware of the journey...and all the changes along the way.  Thanks again for loyally being a part of this trek through life.  

For newbies to this spirited blog, HELE MAI!  Welcome!  You've hopped on this oft-derailed train at an exciting time.

Why?  Well, because I'm exuberant that-- 
  • I have no idea where it's going!
  • I'm excited about the possibilities!
  • It's kinda scary, and...well...I've always been a sucker for scary movies!
Guess you could say I'm an adrenaline junkie.  Which aptly goes hand in hand with my OCD fascination with coffee shops.  Caffeine only enhances its partner in crime.

On the threshold of senior citizenship...in the autumn of my life...I am the proverbial Huckleberry Finn, setting out on a raft (crafted from bamboo and koa...just had to give a shout out to my Asian/Pacific Islander ethnic groups!) and traveling to who knows where?

What is this guy talking about?  Doesn't he have family and financial obligations?  What must his wife think about  him?  Is he just a loser rationalizing his imaginary successes?  Is he a nut case?

Actually, dear friends, the way I envision it, it's like being Clark Kent and Superman.  So, okay, nut case would be the closest fit.  : )

The primary identity is that of a guy who got very tired about a year ago of working an unrewarding job as a bagel baker on a graveyard shift and who intensely hungered for a freedom so very few in American society have.  In the present, Clark works obsessively--sometimes 12 hours a day--to get his eBay business to the next level.  The work ethic is disciplined and very grounded.

And then there's the alter ego--the Superman identity called Hawaiian Odysseus--whose mission in life is to be a blessing to his community, be it locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally.

I'm all about being a champion of the underdog...and, sadly, the underdog of today is the average middle class individual who grew up in a home espousing the American Dream only to find himself/herself stuck in the current economic hell of waning incomes, increasing taxes, foreclosures or the threats thereof, and never knowing with any certainty when the ax will fall in our paycheck to paycheck existence.

So, for the next year or so, my Clark goal is to build my internet business while Superman champions the cause of the quickly disappearing middle class man by way of this blog.  Simply put, for the time being, I will be posting a lot about how I'm developing my eBay store--LORDS OF THE FLY--taking it to newer, higher, and more challenging levels until I attain the ever-elusive financial freedom.

Or not...

And therein lies the paradox of risk.  

Risk is life's pair of dice.  You win or you lose by the same toss of those dice.  What makes the difference, I've discovered, is one's attitude towards risk.  If we run from it, always playing it safe, it's almost as if we'd never lived at all.  If we embrace it, respect it, tolerate it, and harness its awesome power, we liberate our God-given imagination, creativity, and talents.  And then, dear friend, our universe knows no limits.

The real question is:  What involves more risk?  To continue, in this Great Recession, to struggle from paycheck to paycheck  working for someone or something else?


To think outside the box and embrace risk.

Sometimes, the greatest first step in shedding the inhibiting fear  is to walk right into it.

Now, I can just imagine my Christian friends wagging their puritanical fingers at me and, with furrowed brows, expressing disdain over what might sound like New Age hocus pocus.

My response?  Tell that to a hundred thousand Israelites walking on the Red Sea mud, clay, and sand, hurrying with great trepidation and anxiety to get to the other side, extremely concerned about the possibility of the towering and massive walls of water on both their left and their right swallowing them up.  Certainly, on that fateful day thirty-three hundred years ago, they knew RISK intimately.

They shed their inhibiting fear by walking smack dab into that tumultuous and turbulent sea.

And the rest is history.

What is this guy talking about?  Isn't he just rambling?  I'm not sure I'm following him.  Who does he think he is?  Clark Kent?  Superman?  What in the world is he talking about?

About these asides...on Thanksgiving evening, over at my sister-in-law's home in Stanwood, Washington, a town about 45 miles north of Seattle, my son, brother-in-law, and I watched this comedian who utilizes asides from the audience's point of view to poke fun at himself.  I thought his hour-long monologue was hilarious!  So I thought I'd use the device myself.

See...it's all part of what I'm talking about.  Taking risks...trying new things...thinking outside the box...learning to be flexible with life.

Which brings me full circle to what this post was intended to convey.

I'm forging new niches in my eBay store.  New niches utilizing old articles.  

Old as in vintage...more specifically, vintage ads, articles, prints...and sometimes, the entire vintage magazines.

Where do I find them?  At yard sales, garage sales, estate sales, and thrift stores.

Yes, indeed, the old adage of One man's trash is another man's treasure is certainly tried and true.

Armour's Veribest Meats Advertisement
Woman's Home Companion
August, 1908

Take these ads from a 103-year-old American periodical, for example.  Quite literally, they're dirty pieces of paper--scuffed up, yellowed by the process of oxidation, and sometimes pockmarked with water stains--and yet bearing  value, both monetary and intrinsic.

Progress has been slow, but I've proven to myself that I can sell items like these on eBay.  I've figuratively walked into my fear, as it were, and by doing so, done extensive damage to my acquired inhibitions.

I've also learned some things in the process.  As part of my Superman (aka Hawaiian Odysseus) mission, then, I incorporate little things I learn into my actual listings.  

For example, I now put the following text into my descriptions for the vintage items I'm selling:

Why Collect Vintage Ads?
  • To preserve Americana
  • To understand our heritage
  • To appreciate our social, cultural, political, and economic roots
  • To enhance our grasp of history
  • To compare and contrast the past with the present
  • To leave as a legacy for future generations
  • To own as antique collectibles
  • To acknowledge the art and artists of yesteryear
  • To frame and craft into attractive gifts
  • To utilize as decorative household pieces
  • To buy, sell, and trade
  • To enjoy a good return on investment
By no means am I suddenly a connoisseur of vintage ephemera, but it's certainly a pleasant and serendipitous experience to learn new things as I unearth these nostalgic mementoes.

As I carefully remove these items from their respective magazines, I also recall the circumstances by which I came across the periodicals in the first place. 

For example, the three ads presented here came from the same magazine, a 1908 issue of WOMAN'S HOME COMPANION.

Several posts ago, I wrote about how I preferred having my wife drop me off at a coffee shop while she and our daughter went thrift store shopping.  I was pretty clear about my disdain for shopping.

So, life being a learning curve, several Sundays later, in my quest to find new and different things to sell on eBay, my wife took me to this estate sale in Walla Walla.  I was still in my You're not gonna catch me going to yard sales! mode, so I bravely stayed in the car and gave my wife instructions to look for old magazines.

Several minutes later, she called me on my cellphone and told me that she'd found three old magazines.  I was so excited I almost left the car...but I rationalized that she had the keys, and I didn't want to leave the car unlocked.  So I just waited for her return.

To my dismay, the three periodicals she'd bought were without covers and had liberally been dissected.  A kidney here, a liver there, another organ missing on page 23.  I jest, of course, but seriously--someone had removed ads and/or articles from these ancient issues, rendering the magazines practically worthless and impossible to sell.

I've had them sitting around for the last couple of months or so and was about to toss them out the other day when I stopped and thought, Hey, wait a sec!  I might not be able to sell these magazines, but I can certainly try to sell the ads...

And so there you have it.  I cut these three ads out, did some research on eBay, worked on the descriptions and overall presentation strategy, and posted the items this morning.  By the time you read this, the ads may no longer be available for viewing on eBay.  The reason for this is that expired listings are only retrievable for 90 days.

Suffice it to say that I'm having a wonderful time doing the ultimate recycling...making treasure from another man's trash.

Hey, even if the owners of that country estate thought they were making an easy three bucks selling those magazines to my wife, I'll make multiple times our investment by--yes, you're getting it!--taking risks.  Small-scale risks, you might say, but small or big, risk-taking of any magnitude is one and the same.

A recent big risk for me was to eventually overcome my preconceived notions and finally get out of the car at the next estate sale...and the next...and the one after that...

Okay, so I've set the stage for you.  I'll occasionally be posting about my adventures on eBay, Etsy, yardsellr, Craigslist, and so forth in the weeks to come.  

I'm really looking forward to 2012.  Some say that the Mayan prediction about the world coming to an end in the new year is the absolute gospel.  What little I know about that prediction indicates that they misinterpreted the Mayans' true intent.

But then again, what works for me is that the world as I've known it will essentially come to an end for me.  Why?  Because broader horizons are opening up.  This time next year, to offer a preview of two of my desired goals, I will have my own off-eBay store and will be actively trading with China and other distant ports of call.

You are more than welcome to monitor my progress.  The personal ministry of Hawaiian Odysseus is to encourage the struggling common man all over the globe to persevere by taking risks.

If I can do it--and I will!--then by all means, so can you! 

Ivory Soap Advertisement
Woman's Home Companion
August, 1908

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Kona, Trying to Sleep
Tommy, With Exciting News
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Kona!  KONA!  Wake up, my friend!  I got some terrific news for you!  Obama pardoned me!  Obama pardoned me!

Dude.  Keep jumping on me like that, and I'll raise Cain with your turkey butt.

The Political Satirists Taking a Bow
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Thanks for viewing our public service announcement.  

We hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving.

Tommy avoided the chopping block once again, and Kona's getting ready for the cold winter by putting on some weight.

We just want to encourage our fellow Americans to do the right thing--get out and vote!  It's your privilege...and your patriotic duty!


Thursday, November 17, 2011


Kalau, Kaua, and Ryder
The Three Menehune--Together Again

Perspective is everything.

For those in our family who are older, it's only been about a year since we saw these three posing together.

But for these kolohe (Hawaiian for rascal) guys, it's been a lifetime.

The world continues to turn on its axis, but not unlike the bones in my body, it's groaning from all the turmoil, damage, and utter lack of respect the majority of the human race has for Mother Earth.

But perspective is everything, I remind myself.

So when I'm weighed down by the cares and burdens of this mortal coil, as Shakespeare would phrase it, I find respite and spiritual oasis in the joy of thanking God for these three little ones.

They remind me, you see, that just because the world might be on an irretrievable tailspin, God has not abandoned his faithful vigil over us.  

These little guys are living proof that God never makes mistakes, and He never takes a day off.

As this post draws to a close, let's take a look at yesteryear...and as we do, let's indulge in smiling more and being kinder to each other.

God bless you all!

Hawaiian Odysseus

Kalau, Kaua, and Ryder
A Lifetime Ago

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


AFLAC Duck Egg Savings Bank
Hawaiian Odysseus photo

Boredom can make one do some crazy things.

The other day, I rummaged through the freebies area just outside a thrift store.  I don't know...maybe I've been watching too many Storage Wars episodes on TV lately, or maybe what I was able to tolerate of the lackluster Seahawks offense did me in.  In any case, I was bored like a gourd, and I needed to do something.

So I...okay, I'll just say it...I dumpster-dived outside a thrift store.  Except it wasn't a dumpster.  It was more of a table with boxes and paper sacks and plastic bags filled with dusty, dirty stuff, making like Barry the antique aficionado hoping to unearth in all that debris a treasure of immense significance.  

My wife kept interrupting me, showing me some great stuff she'd found inside the thrift store.  It was beginning to annoy me just a little bit because I was feverishly employed in my intense battle with the donated knickknacks.  

You see, the more I get involved in this self-employed (and hopefully not self-delusional) gambit to sell novelty items along with my standard fly tying niche fare on eBay, the more I'm driven to prove a point...to myself more than anyone else...that on any given day, a very determined man can muster up every bit of his resourcefulness and sell another man's junk.  (Okay, this is the part in my daydream where the piped-in THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM music volume builds to a crescendo as Richard Kiley belts out "...To reach the unreachable star!")

Falling abruptly back to earth, and fast-reversing to about an hour ago, I took a half dozen photos and whipped up a quick description and posted the item.  (I am posting a link to the item, but it'll be gone after three months, so I'll just copy and paste the verbiage below as well.)

Have fun!  I did!  And I'm curious to see how the bidding goes on this one.




The AFLAC duck is at it again.  This time, she played us pretty close to home.

It appears that she went dumpster diving outside a local College Place, Washington, thrift store. Since we've been tracking her whereabouts ever since she "dissed" Yogi Berra at the barber shop in that TV commercial, the owners of the thrift store called us to investigate.

We pulled out our forensic investigation tools--stuff we'd found on eBay--and went to work.

And we found enough evidence to indict her of vandalism and littering if she ever shows up in our conservative town again.

She had the nerve to lay an egg in the midst of all the donated merchandise from the locals.  We're now offering it up on auction, hoping some good citizen can make good use out of something she'd left as a poor joke on us.

The egg has a photo of this public enemy next to the AFLAC logo. It is approximately 4-1/2 inches tall with about a 3-inch diameter. The duck must have been eating a diet rich in PVC lately because the egg has a plastic composition.  It is cracked and can be disassembled and re-assembled quite easily. There is a handy slot at the top into which you or your youngster can insert coins.

There is a reward out for this duck, so please be on the lookout. In the meantime, bid heartily, and have a great time!

PayPal is the preferred method of payment.

We will ship to either USA or international destinations via USPS First Class Mail.

Thank you for participating in this eBay listing.  More importantly, thank you for vigilantly being on alert for this rascal little duck!
Why Collectibles? 
  • To preserve Americana
  • To understand our heritage
  • To appreciate our social, cultural, political, and economic roots
  • To enhance our grasp of history
  • To compare and contrast the past with the present
  • To own as antique or contemporary treasures
  • To acknowledge the art and artists of yesteryear and contemporary times
  • To frame and craft into attractive gifts
  • To utilize as decorative household pieces
  • To buy, sell, and trade
  • To enjoy a good return on investment
  • To keep tens of thousands of eBay sellers from becoming chronic couch potatoes
PayPal is the preferred method of payment.

We will utilize USPS Parcel Post to ship to USA destinations.  For international destinations, we will use USPS First Class Mail International.

Thank you for participating in this auction.  Be sure to check out our other items. Welcome back anytime!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Collectible Vase with Lord's Prayer
(This and subsequent images are Hawaiian Odysseus photos.)

The Message's interpretation of Isaiah 54:2 couldn't make it clearer for me...

"Clear lots of ground for your tents!  Make your tents large.  Spread out!  Think big!"

I am taking God's promise to heart, humbling myself and adopting a teachable  self-image.

In my Hawaiian Odysseus life's journey, I have figuratively come to a place where I must no longer run. Rather, I am taking up roots, stretching out every possible square footage of my tents, and driving my stakes deep into the ground.  For God, for family, for self...

It's with this state of spiritual, mental, and physical mettle that I approached yesterday's activities with my wife. 

There used to be a time that the most exciting part of my autumn Sunday was to watch and cheer for the Seattle Seahawks.  While I was wasting three-plus hours being a couch potato, according to my wife, she would be working hard taking care of the chores and errands she didn't have time for during the busy work week.

But nowadays, intent on making a serious go of building our eBay business, taking it to the next level, what really turns my crank is to find hidden treasures in other people's junk.

So we went to an estate sale in one of the more affluent neighborhoods in Walla Walla.  

(The Seahawks' offense sucked yesterday, by the way.  They could barely muster three measly points against the Browns in a game where each team was trying its very best to lose.  In that ironic sense, the Seahawks came up victorious.)

There was literally only a half hour left, and so we hurriedly went through the various rooms of the large, beautiful home, looking for last minute bargains.

We found a few things.  The photographs and captions in this post will show you what I bought and have either listed or am in the process of listing for this week's auctions.

I spent a total of $8.50, and I'm looking forward with breathless anticipation as to how my investment turns out.

Along with the item in the photo above, I picked up the following eBay candidates at this estate sale:

Krinkles by Patience Brewster
Investment:  Freebie

Bridge Set (external view)

Bridge Set (internal view)
Investment:  $2.00

Set of 8 Cross Stitch Booklets
Investment:  $2.00

Cross Stitch Doll (pair) 
Investment:  $3.00

I never thought I'd be playing with dolls.  But I guess I'm feeling less pressured to save face and be macho the older I get.  Besides, the motivation of contributing to the Scholarship Fund gives me a great deal of freedom to explore, shall we say, my softer side.  

The time at the estate sale quickly came to an end, and with a bit of excitement, I shared with my wife the auction strategies I'd be attempting later in the evening.

By the way, even on football and World Series weekends, listing on Sunday night is a pretty good idea.  A lot of eBayers find that a great time to look for bargains online.

Me?  I am so unorthodox.  I list any old time I please, and I usually luck out.

Anyway, we had an hour left before the Sonbridge thrift store closed, so we hustled on back to College Place.

Sonbridge Community Center is owned and operated by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.  It is located at 1200 SE 12th Street in College Place, WA. (If you're ever in southeast Washington, please check this shop out. It is literally bursting at the seams with treasures!  You'll feel like you're Johnny Depp playing Captain Jack Sparrow!)

Some of our best finds have been in this place.  Yesterday, for example, my wife picked up two great items. She found a complete VCR player for $2.50.  I'm looking forward to doing some minimal mechanical adjustments with it, cleaning it, and selling it on eBay.  

The other thing was a back massager, that sort of thing you put on a chair or car seat, lean back into it, and enjoy the good vibrations.  My better half got it for $1 because the adapter was missing.  No problem.  When we got home, she dug through a Tupperware full of cords and thingamajigs and found a compatible adapter. She attached it, plugged the device in, and voila! it worked like a charm.  I'm so proud of her.  We will most likely keep it, but something like that could sell easily on eBay for $40 or more.

Me?  Again, I found myself doing something I'd never done before.  I went dumpster-diving outside the store. Well, sorta.  They have a special area where a bunch of junk and doodads are kept in sacks, plastic bags, tubs, bins, and shelves.  It's right outside the store and has a sign that says:  FREE.

I like FREE.  It's my favorite four letter word that starts with F.

So the following pictures will show you what I found:

Jackson Brand Woman's Handbag or Clutch Purse

Investment:  FREE!

Madame Alexander Dolls--Hansel and Hansel
Investment:  FREE!

Madame Alexander Dolls--Three Mad Hatters
Investment:  FREE!

Ghirardelli Chocolate Collectible Tin
Investment:  FREE!

And so there you have it, faithful readers.  I'm having the adventure of a lifetime deep into the autumn of my life...and simply digging every second of it.

Be sure to check out our eBay store and auction offerings.  Here's a link below for your convenience in finding us.

Until next post, this is Hawaiian Odysseus highly suggesting that you support your local thrift stores.  They're working for a good cause, and you may just end up doing yourself a favor as well!

Vintage Photo
Investment:  PRICELESS!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


(Photos of this and subsequent postcards by Hawaiian Odysseus)

Thank God for the extended recession!

What do I mean by this?

Well, you know how they say that necessity is the mother of invention.  Or, as another tried and true adage puts it--When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

The veracity of these old sayings hits home to me more and more in the autumn of my life. 

I didn't always get along with my dad.  (Today, I love him dearly, and I always will.)  Time does have a way of healing.  More specifically, it gives one a more matured and wiser perception of human nature as a whole. And, for the better, I believe, time has a way of underscoring that a lot of the drama we either create or participate in in our lifetime is truly insignificant.

At this point in today's post, I am reminded of a third wise saying:

To err is human--to forgive, divine.  

Once I forgave my father and others, I was free to ask for forgiveness as well as forgive myself.  This process then eradicated any need to feel sorry for myself.  This then led to greater physical, spiritual, and psychological energy to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, whatever the IT happened to be at the moment.

Finally, it gave me pause to reflect on my life.  And this is what I learned.  In a nutshell, I learned that I can be thankful for the bad as well as the good in life.  The dichotomy of surviving both processes has inevitably made me a stronger human being.

One of the lessons my father taught me, both in word and by example, is that a real man hustles.

No, not in a bad way of using people.  But, rather, in a good work ethic way.

I utilized this lesson as a young lad.  Realizing at a young age that I wasn't athletically gifted, yet wanting, nevertheless, to make the various youth league baseball teams as well as high school varsity sports teams, I worked extra hard in practices and cheered extra hard while warming the bench.  As a result, every now and then, I got summoned by my respective coaches to get in the game.

As a senior in high school, wanting so much to have enough money to rent a decent outfit so I could take my girlfriend to the prom, a friend of mine and I sold 100 pies at a dollar apiece.  I paid the vendor $60 and pocketed the other $40.  In 1969, that humble amount of money covered my prom expenses comfortably.

I write about these life experiences because they are part and parcel of what I am about today.  

I refuse to let anything in life ever get me down again. 

So, thank God for the recession.

It has motivated me to expand my eBay business.  Over the past few months, I've risked investing increasingly larger amounts of money on credit in more inventory for our family shop on eBay, Lords of the Fly.

In addition, I've ventured forth into new territory, dabbling in vintage collectibles.  There have been, I'm happy and thankful to report, a few nibbles.  For now, I'll take the small fry.  It's a definitely positive rung up the ladder of success.

So, with this background in mind, my latest venture involves the marketing and selling of postcards.  In my limited understanding and experience, I'm sure that what I'm offering on eBay isn't old enough to compete with the big time vintage dealers.  But it's a start.  And, for me, having any impetus forward in the midst of what could arguably be depicted as the worst recession in history without being a depression is a huge PLUS.

I continue to ask God to bless our family business.  In recent months, I've seen some promising signs, and I'm more determined than ever to keep working hard.

Yes, life is good.  I have renewed purpose.  

And everything to be thankful for...GOOD and BAD!