The best $ I've ever spent
(all prices in NZ dollars; some items may no longer be available)
The best $25 I ever spent:
The Modern Day 3000. Not only does this have a massively cool name, but it is incredibly useful and as can be seen, was very cheap.
What is it? It's a hand-held rechargeable vacuum cleaner. Wicked handy when you have a small person eating in your house. It picks up rice and other bits of crap, but most importantly, it picks up liquids too!
Not only that, but the crud container is transparent, so you can see all the stuff whirling around as it goes in.
The instruction manual refers to a mystical Modern Day 5000, with more features - one day, one day.
Also, I got it from a shop that only sells vacuum cleaners, with the most incredibly aggressive salesmen. I'm sure their temperament isn't helped by having at least three display cleaners permanently, noisily operational. This shop (well, half of it) also has the plushest carpet I have ever seen anywhere - again, useful for demos.
The best $41 I ever spent:
My no-name FM transmitter, bought from the ubiquitous TradeMe. For those that don't know, it has a mini-jack plug, which you connect to your mp3player/laptop/old-skool cassette player. Once you turn it on, you use the buttons to set it to broadcast on an FM frequency.
This particular one goes from 88.0 to about 108.0 I think, in 0.1 increments. Anyway, once you've selected the frequency you want to transmit on, you simply turn on any FM radio (house stereo, car stereo, even nana's tranny) and tune in.
This thing scores on several counts:
- It has 4 memories for storing frequencies
- The LCD screen is backlit, in blue!
- I have seen one advertised that is exactly the same, except for two things: the word "Belkin" printed on it; the $89.95 price.
The broadcast range is about 10-15 metres I think. My plan is to spot a car with a "GT ON 2 IT!" sticker on the back, tune the transmitter to whatever The Edge frequency is, and beam Einsturzende Neubauten into their car stereo.
This is part of my Strategies Against Arsitecture program.
The best $1000 I ever spent:
Bit of a jump there, but this isn't an exhaustive list, more will come to me some other time.
In 1999, I decided to buy a crap van, throw in a mattress, sellotape a barbecue to the side, and go to Gisborne for the end of the world. Naturally, I ended up buying an actual campervan. This was a 1979 Bedford CF (still the most recent vehicle I've owned), with a wood/fibreglass parallelogram-style pop-top, a wardrobe with mirror, a sink with a pump-tap and weird-tasting reservoir, many many cupboards, a table that converted to a bed, and most importantly, curtains.
It would do about 90 km/h, and was always incredibly hot to travel in, but it didn't matter, you were on holiday, it was part of the fun! I am now completely ruined for tents - you cannot beat pulling up to your campsite in the pissing down rain, popping the top and boiling the jug, while your fellow campers steam up the windows of their cars waiting for the deluge to end, or wrestle with soaking canvas (OK, nylon).
We took it to the Big Day Out one year (admittedly, it did the usual thing of running on three cylinders, meaning we left on the day, rather than the night before), and the same cup o' tea trick was pulled at midnight, at the side of the road in front of someone's house in Mt. Smart.
It was also very good for driving to parties, parking on the back lawn or driveway, and being able to sleep, drunk, pretty much at home, but not have to go back and get your car the next day. There were only strange naked men in it once or twice.
Obviously, this was when parties that didn't necessarily involve fairy bread or pass-the-parcel were still part of our social vocabulary.
For extra bonus points (not that it ever needed any), the ancient Dymo labels on the engine cover were later deciphered as call-signs from when it was a Kinleith Fire Service vehicle. The Tok was strong with this one.
I really really miss the old bugger, but it had to go, it would've been stupid to have more than one old-vehicle-project-that-I-never-start, and there was already one of those with major seniority.
Must go now, I'm getting all teary. Please tell me about your favourite purchases.