Thursday, November 01, 2007

On a Swap Box mission

Edit: see the first and second blog entries on this topic.

Thanks to Monocle Barbie's tip leading to's blog entry on Swap Boxes, I discovered that the Swap Box Project was started by a fellow who goes by the name maks (or elmaks), and that the project is still in its infancy.

I realized that I should write a story on the swap boxes for one of the local community papers to build more visible community support before it gets killed by the BIAs. To do so, I'd need to get in touch with maks. I looked around on the internet, but everything led back to his deviantART page, and there's no contact info for him there. I could do the lame thing and post comments in other peoples' blogs, but that would be lame.

Instead, I decided to go the more creative way. I rummaged around in my apartment for some Swap Box-sized stuff (no shortage of that here!). I found a small, round mirror, a small key, and a dead 0.3A fuse. I assembled them with some silicone aquarium sealer, and wrote in red Sharpie "LOOKING FOR MAKS - RG>".

Here's a photo.

I needed something white for a backdrop, so in true hipster fashion, I used the Beatles' White Album. I then hipster-whored it up further with some simple photo editing functions. That was all purely for my enjoyment. (Note: it was only after taking this photo that I discovered that he goes by maks, and not elmaks, his deviantART handle. I corrected this before placing it in the box.)

I took it to the nostalgia swap box on Elgin, took out the empty mini-bottle of Bailey's that someone had shoved in the box, and put the mirror in. Hopefully someone who knows him--or maks himself--will find it and get the message. I also hope he appreciates the symbolism in the pieces I used in making it.

Apologies for the poor photo quality. Also in the box at the time were a small figurine and a narrow pad of orange post-it notes. Also, looking at that photo just now, I realize that the frame on the front of the box is derived from one of those stupid ads you see in washrooms. Good on you, maks, for defending our mental environment from those damn things!

maks, if you're reading this, I can be reached at

- RG>

PS: I discovered unexpectedly that you can get Sharpie off a mirror by freezing it, breathing on it, then wiping the condensation off with a tissue. Unexpected, but gave me a chance to spell his name properly.


Tiana said...

I hope he (or she?) gets in touch with you. BTW your first photo doesn't seem to be working.

RealGrouchy said...

Ah, thanks.

I didn't realize the link was to "http://localhost...". No wonder it didn't work!

His deviantART profile lists him as male. So nice when sites do that, to remove this ambiguity!

- RG>

Anonymous said...

There's a photo of him in his deviantART gallery too. He's tall. (But I already knew he was tall, because some of his mirror art pieces were too high for me to look into.)

I'm not sure how long infancy lasts, but from what I've been able to figure, people have been reporting sitings of his swap boxes since at least the summer of 2006.

I like your Beatles lure. I hope he gets in touch with you.

unassociated said...

Hmm, what an odd story. Interesting communal swapping box thing. I like your blog, the random blog button seems to be working unusually well today...