i love stuff. like, things. i like doodads and knickknacks. junk. clutter. i like to acquire new things and i like to look at things. i like to pick up funny little objects and look at them and then put them down again. i have always been this way.

when i was a kid, i collected things. sort of. not in an impressive or especially dedicated way; i didn't have comprehensive collections, just... i liked to amass things. soda can tabs, beads, marbles, rocks, seashells, state quarters, stuffed animals, beanie babies, antique glassware, teasets, fantasy novels about dragons... i had a lot of stuff.

so, i am frequently window-shopping, and frequently bullying myself into resisting the urge to spend money i don't quite have on absolutely useless items. one thing i miss very dearly is going shopping at thrift stores with friends and making them look at weird stuff i like, so i've been browsing goodwill's website a lot lately.

here are things i did not buy from goodwill.

Jeweled Cement Ball With Clown Faces

what a wonderful item. i fell in love with it immediately. what could be more perfect, more thrift store garbage, more intriguing and delightful? this ball was 8.5 inches tall. it is simply as it says: a cement ball, encrusted with fake stick-on jewels, with several clown faces on it. it serves no purpose whatsoever. it's huge. it's round. it's made of cement. it's got clown faces on it. i would have absolutely bought this had i seen it in a store in person. it was a steal at 7.99; what a pittance to pay for the ultimate delightful object! alas, shipping was a whopping 26.77, on account of it being a massive ball of cement. i resisted my desire for the Ball, not willing to pay such a steep price for it. i regret it now, though.

i will think longingly of Jeweled Cement Ball With Clown Faces for many years to come, wistfully yearning for a life i could have had. a glimmering future in which i could have said, "hey look at this!" and taken my Ball off a shelf and presented it to friends, who would laugh somewhat forcedly and say "what is that?" to which i would respond, "it is Jeweled Cement Ball With Clown Faces, and i got it from goodwill online. it was about thirty-five dollars." and they would say my name in a tone indicating that they think i am a fool, a beloved and amusing fool but a fool nonetheless, and then i would put the Ball back on my shelf with a smile.

i love this Ball. it has been relisted now, because no one wanted to buy it, because it is useless garbage. i must stay strong and resist its siren song. (but, you know... in the grand scheme of things, thirty-five dollars is not so much money...)

Apple With Mouth

a fine piece of Home Decor. an apple, with a set of luscious human lips. just a bit of cupid's bow as well, a fun detail you don't usually see in more cartoonish "object with mouth" art. i think it really adds a lot to the piece. i like how the apple has a chin, too. the stem and leaves look somehow anthropomorphizable - they feel like a part of the apple's not-face, despite not being humanlike at all. the leaves drape to each side like parted bangs. the expression on the mouth is fantastic as well; a very ambiguous expression, giving it an air of mystery... it's not quite a smile, which i think would be outright unsettling, but it's certainly not neutral. the deep indents of its dimples suggest something of a grimace. it conveys such a particular mood... perhaps the apple is annoyed. perhaps it is inhaling, preparing to speak. perhaps it is simply the strained grimace of someone who is not being paid enough to smile at people all day but must do it anyway. it's so simple, yet feels very alive in a way that is mildly disturbing as well as immensely charming. doesn't it look like it might open its mouth and start talking at any moment?

the smooth metallic surface is also really great. it makes it look magical, which really adds a lot to its strange lifelike qualities. a golden apple... perhaps the very apple thrown by eris onto the gods' table, sparking what would become the trojan war?? perhaps it was forged by a wizard. it looks like something you might find in a dungeons and dragons campaign - not a book or video game, but specifically a fantasy ttrpg.

ARTISAN CLOWN MARIONETTE CLOWN BROOCH

what a fun little guy! when i searched for "clown" on the goodwill website, i was not at all disappointed by the results. i'm not super big into clowns generally speaking - i like the idea of clowns, because they're colorful and whimsical, and i think they can be cute or fun to look at sometimes, but the vast majority of clowns and clown material is just not terribly appealing. i don't really understand the fear of clowns, although i know many people find them scary. i'm scared of bugs and that's not really something i can explain, either, so fair enough.

this, though? this is a very good clown. its spritely prance! it is ready to do some mischief. this brooch has so many points of articulation, and i feel confident that it would look delightful in any configuration. the shape of its hands is doing a lot, here - such weird little gestures, but somehow appealing and evocative. this is an acrobatic dancer of a clown. this clown is a fancy clown. this clown would twirl about and do magic tricks. this clown would be a very effective "creepy clown" - it looks sort of dollike and mysterious, like it knows something you don't. reminiscent of a trickster spirit, sort of - its motives are unknown, but it is powerful...

it has very tasteful makeup, theatrical and exaggerrated without being ugly. this is a clown a child could enjoy. it has a little heart on its cheek like marina diamandis. its long thin limbs are anime-esque, which i like a lot. it gives it an elegance that a lot of clowns lack.

the fact that it is a brooch really adds to the charm, i feel. someone is supposed to wear this? on their clothes? where? when? what occasion warrants an enormous brooch of a clown, but an elegant clown? i had a couple of huge costumey brooches as a kid and absolutely adored them, but never wore them anywhere because it never really seemed to fit the occasion. especially for a ten-year-old. i still don't know what they're for as an adult. cocktail parties? do rich people wear brooches? what do you put them on?

i mean, this guy would look fantastic on an ita bag, or nestled amongst a collection of other pins in a decora coord, or hanging out on a similarly ott colorful alt-fashion situation, but i don't know if that was the intent of the thing when they made it. maybe brooches are made for people like me who just like to have things just for the sake of having them.

i've got some outfits i could see myself wearing this with. i'd love to have it. still, shipping is a real beast, and i don't know that i'd have twenty plus dollars worth of love for it.

Fuzzy Blue Monster Marionette

two marionettes in a row! i do not own any puppets nor am i a big puppet guy. i came across this guy... i don't remember. looking at stuffed animals, i think? oh no i think i did a search for marionettes because i wanted to see if there were any wooden ones that looked like junji ito's jean-pierre. this is not at all what i had in mind, but what a fun guy.

i'm really charmed by these kinds of ambiguous Creatures. it's sort of like a bird, but it's definitely not a bird. it doesn't have a face. it's unclear to me if it's supposed to look like this or if something has happened to him at some point in his life. is he supposed to have eyes and a mouth and they fell off? wore off? is he missing a whole head? what's his deal? this monster is clearly a friendly one. you can tell because he's fuzzy. i think he'd be fun to go on a little adventure with. do you think he can talk? does he have a mouth? maybe he's got a mouth under all the fuzz somewhere.

i just like to see a funky little guy of an ambiguous nature and origin. off-brand creatures that aren't really from anything, they're just a strange little spark of creativity. this is a very good one. he's got good vibes. he definitely should have a name. something similar to mr. snuffleupagus. he really looks like he belongs on sesame street or the muppets, doesn't he? he's that kind of "monster."

Wooden Frog Band

this is a fun one, because it's sort of like an optical illusion. at first you look at it and think, "yeah, it's a band! they're all little wooden frogs!" and glance away... but the more you look at it, the more it changes. what about these things actually suggests "frog"? just the sticky-uppy eyes? and yet they undeniably communicate frog, despite not being shaped or colored or in any way resembling frogs. on coloring: totally unpainted except for grisly red smears around their mouths and eyes, giving them a bizarre look of desperation? a bold choice. the red eyes are sort of haunting, like they've been awake for days... forced to play these instruments?

but look closer still: this band's instruments are bizarre. two tubes, one tambourine, one drum, a flute, and what appears to be some sort of dulcimer or psaltery. the tubes are interesting - i assume one is a rainstick, maybe the other is one of those tubes you hit and it makes a little noise? please take a moment to try and think of how this band would sound, banging and rattling and tooting their instruments. their mouths are open - are they also singing? it seems like that would be a very chaotic combination of noises. appropriate for frogs, i guess!

their plaintive expressions don't give me much confidence in this being a fun quaint little folk band of frogs. they look so sad! the smears of red around and inside of the mouths combined with the sad expressions and bloodshot eyes seem to suggest that they have been singing (screaming?) for so long that they are bleeding. at the very least they look upset and surprised to have found themselves burdened with musical instruments that they are underequipped to play with their fingerless hands. the dulcimer player is just holding up his instrument and gazing imploringly at the viewer, as if asking, "what exactly am i supposed to do with this?"

these frogs are each their own little figurine, with little felted bottoms. they remind me of nice chess pieces a bit, with their pedestals and felt. i wonder if they used to be part of a larger set - maybe with more animals, or some kind of scenery or furniture? i like that you can arrange them in whatever order you fancy. they look like about the right size to spice up a nativity scene or a game of chess. they'd make a formidable encounter in d&d, considering their scale and number. a pantheon of screaming musical frog gods, perhaps?? they're too small for an outdoor garden, but they might be fun to dot around houseplants or a windowbox. maybe a terrarium. despite being frogs, they don't look like they'd take well to being aquarium decorations.

Jeans Planter

it's a decorative planter, but it's just some pants. specifically, it's just some jean shorts. i have a lot of plants and i'd like to start amassing some silly planters - although since they don't have drainage holes they're not great for actually planting things in. (i'm sure it's manageable, i'm just incompetent.) i have one cute little elephant-shaped planter right now. i thought i'd look up planters. there were a bunch of fun ones, but this one felt particularly striking as something that nobody would want. just some pants? and the plants grow out of the pants? are the plants supposed to be the body of the creature wearing the jorts? is the concept here that they are abandoned jorts being reclaimed by nature? either way, these would make for a fun annihilation fan-project, i think. sort of like fanart, but very abstract and it's a plant. kind of a thinker, i guess. was there a human who became plant? is it a plant that grew jorts? what does it mean that the jorts are jorts and the rest is a plant? i think it would be a very thought-provoking display to have in one's home, although more realistically the thoughts being provoked would be "why does this person have such an ugly stupid planter?" and "are those jorts or just the top part of jeans?"

maybe you could carefully prune and grow a bonsai tree in this into the shape of a torso and then put one of those chia seed heads on top of it. that would be kinda funny.

Just A Sexy Torso

i dont remember what this was actually called on the website, sorry. it's quite an object, though, huh? i think it's great for intimidating your guests. this piece of home decor is perfect for a villainous lair i feel. semi-sexual in a vaguely threatening way is a powerfully villainous vibe. this very muscular torso looks as though its head and arms and body have been chopped off, possibly for the crime of being less sexy than the torso is. how grisly! it's like han solo in carbonite, but if you cut him up! displaying nude or partially-nude bodies can be tasteful and artistic, but this kind of disembodiment is always going to read as sinister to me. this torso has no identity. its personhood is of no consequence whatsoever; this person has been literally reduced to a muscular torso to be looked at and, if you're feeling funky, touched. brrrr!!!

if you hang this in your home, you have to also lurk next to it and say things like "i appreciate the male form" in a creepy voice while waggling your eyebrows ominously at your guests. make sure to use words like "supple" to increase the effect.

this looks like something a cartoon version of hannibal lecter would put up in his parlor. this is decor for depraved hedonistic space emperors and kidnappers in 00s-era yaoi.

Muzzy

one more brooch and then i'm done for now. this is simply a golden cursive brooch which says Muzzy. like the language-learning mascot, i guess? i googled it and could not find anything else this could be referring to. is this maybe a nickname for somebody's mom or grandma? like nana or meemaw? muzzy? i could be reading it wrong, i suppose, but i'm pretty sure those are cursive zs, and it's not like anything else makes MORE sense. muggy? for your favorite kind of bad weather?

either this is a classy(?) way to declare your affection for the big green monster who helps you to learn languages, or it's simply an ornate way to display a madeup word and confuse everybody. these are very good functions for a brooch to have. wearing this runs the risk of someone thinking it is your name, but that would be fun as well. who wouldn't want to be called muzzy once in a while? i am tickled by the idea of someone wearing a big cursive brooch of their name, out and about in the world. hello, i'm muzzy, and i'm extremely fancy.

perhaps the furry blue monster is named muzzy, and this is its brooch.