Sunday, April 18, 2010

Images of resourcefulness (Part II)

My friend Shannon gave me a haircut recently. Ever since I moved out of Alaska, I've been thoughtlessly paying professionals to cut my hair for upwards of $15 probably three times a year. What a waste. I really can't see myself paying for one again. (Great job Shannon!)



My sleeping patterns are strange. Typically, I go to bed around 3-4 am, sleep until 8 am, and then take several naps over the course of the day to recharge. Since my parking lot is quiet, napping in the van is one of my favorite daily activities. Of late, though, it's been way too hot inside the van during daylight hours. Luckily there are some nice couches for napping in the library, and I've recently been sleeping on a tarp under a tree by my van.

Shirt: $2 from Salvation Army. Pants: (from 1997). Socks: free from Park Service. Crashing a wedding for free food and booze: priceless.

I charge up all my electronics (laptop, cell phone, and camera) at the library.

Lots of places on campus to fill up my water jug.

Students are not allowed to store stuff in gym lockers over night, but I've learned that the rules are rarely enforced. (I've only had my lock cut off once before.) I change my locker every couple weeks just so they don't think that someone's chronically breaking the rules. My first semester here I carried my gym clothes and shower toiletries everywhere, which was inconvenient to say the least. Having a locker at the gym--where I can keep my gym clothes, towel, and toiletries--makes things a lot easier for me.

I throw my trash out in a garbage receptacle on my walk to school. I use my plastic vegetable bags as garbage bags. I also reuse old bread and tortilla bags instead of wasting my money on ziplocks.

As I mentioned, it's starting to get really hot down here so cooking in the van is something I do less and less. Instead, I've been cooking on the lawn in front of my van. I wouldn't have dreamed of doing this before I unveiled my secret since it would have looked awfully fishy for me to be cooking on the campus lawn with backcountry gear. Nowadays, though, I just don't care as much. Plus, I really enjoy cooking outside. It would be great to have my own little fire pit, too. My meal, here, is fusilli noodles with garlic, mushrooms, zucchini, and carrots with alfredo seasoning. Probably about $5 for everything.

Whole Foods puts out free cheese samples every day, sometimes as many as five varieties. To make it seem like I'm not taking advantage of the free helpings, I put on an air of a cheese connoisseur who's meticulously evaluating each selection while wearing an expression that seems to say, "Hmm.. the rubusto this week is well-aged. Would go well with a Syrah."

People have called me "masochistic" because of my supposed "tough" life. Either I've mischaracterized my life or there are just a lot of wimpy people out there who can't help but think that vandwelling must be all struggle and strain. The fact that I'm able to rent films from the library and watch them at "viewing stations" (see below), not to mention keeping up with my favorite TV show (The Office) on Hulu, should dispel notions that my life is tough and that I'm masochistic.

To see Part I of "Images of resourcefulness," click here.


Bob L. said...

If it gets to the point that you can't find someone to do your hair for you, spend $9 at Wally World and get an electric Hair Cut Clipper and live with a short hair style. Amazingly simple to do, just put the right guard on it for the length you want and do it. A little trim around the ears without the guard. Then touch up that spot you missed....Oh crap, forgot to put the guard back on for that. Oh well, make this one a REALLY short cut. Easy to wash too.

As for the locker locks, might be good to put different locks on there also, so it does not look like the same lock is on there all the time, although I would bet they seldom check, and only occasionally go through and cut any lock they find. If that turns out to be more frequent, then maybe a wire tie would do the trick, then you just have to carry a wire cutter or whatever.

Spork said...

Love it Ken! The details vary but the theme remains the same..."frugal" means more freedom and less stress.

@CT_Bob, yes, a trimmer pays for itself in one or two sessions. I never said anything to my stylist/barber, just quit going, probably should stop by and let him know why I disappeared ;)

George Carlson said...

A hair trimmer is definitely the way to go. I've never had a for pay 'professional" haircut in my entire life (something I'm strangely proud of). My mom cut my hair from birth through my senior year in high school (and actually always did an awesome job to the point where friends would come over to have her cut their hair instead of going somewhere else). Since then I've learned to buzz-layer my own hair, box the back, and leave a little bit of bangs. Its easy enough once you get the hang of looking through two mirrors to see the sides and back and looks alright (as far as I'm concerned). So yea, on top of never paying for a hair cut only two people have ever cut my hair. :-)

VJP said...

Don't forget the "reduced for quick sale" food at the store. At the farmer's market, at least one vendor sells "ugly tomatoes" at a reduced price.

You could let your hair grow long, then donate it to children with cancer, which I what I've done 3 times. It's probably not for everyone though.

Mike said...

I'm just letting my hair grow long but I have clippers to buzz it if I get tired of it. Shorter hair would also save some shampoo I guess. I used to charge all my electronics at work. Used to fill my water bottle at work too.

Anonymous said...

I really admire your ingenuity and nonconformist attitude.

Ken said...

Bob—I’m going to enjoy a full head of hair while I have one. Considering the frequency of male balding in my family history, it’s only a matter of time. Also—not too worried about the lock. I never have anything more valuable in the locker than some toiletries and smelly gym clothes if they choose to cut it again.

Spork—I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t think “frugal” anymore; I just am.

George—I really don’t think I could pull off the solo cut successfully. But if it comes down to it, I’ll take your advice.

Viv—No discount racks at Whole Foods. Though there is dumpster behind the building… I don’t think any kids want my dander-powdered hair.

Mike—Indeed, water and electronics chargers are easy to find. I’ve seen some people use some portable solar chargers for some really small stuff. I may get one if I ever do some heavy-duty backcountry living.

Anon—thanks. Ingenuity comes easy when you’re forced to adapt. And I’m not trying to be nonconformist—just how things work out I guess.