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Hoard Explorer

Hoard Explorer

By Eric Leuschner
One man’s deep dive into his personal hoard in order to reconstruct the events of his life, the history of the world, and the reality of everything.

What began as a teenager’s innocent stash of ephemera and juvenilia has mutated into a compulsion and a mission to build a hyperscrapbook, a real-time time capsule. The Hoard Explorer embarks on an odyssey of strange discoveries and madeleine moments as he explores this idiosyncratic pile of scraps, stuff, and data. Full of artifacts from a forgotten era like clues for a paranormal detective, this memory palace is a hoarder house.
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12 - Ephemera 1 - Part 3

Hoard Explorer

24 - All My Stuff
All of my personal possessions scattered throughout an unfamiliar old house. This episode is a guided tour of my new home. Two weeks ago, I had no idea I would be moving into a different house with almost triple the available floor space. Large finished basement with a utility sink and small side room perfect for recording podcasts. Big backyard with plums and strawberries and figs. Detached garage. Only $300 more than our current rent. Only 2 blocks away from my brother. I still don't believe it, even though I'm already living here. Now most of all my stuff is there, in boxes and in piles, awaiting my personal attention. #hoardexplorer #memoir #stuff #piles #backyard #finishedbasement #detachedgarage #doorknobs #moving #builtin #portland #boxes #lavalier #walkingtour Hoard Explorer also has a music show on Freeform Portland community radio! Listen to past episodes of Hoard Explorer’s Music Dump on Mixcloud: Hoard Explorer also has a magic money concept store on eBay! Support this podcast by purchasing Creamer Dog for $1,000. Comes with NFT certificate of authenticity.
June 17, 2021
23 - Dorothy’s Fabric
Two large densely-packed tubs of miscellaneous fabric. Dorothy spent most of her life ensconced in work that involved fabric. I got the impression that her career ran the gamut from clothing to interior design and everything in between. I didn’t know her but I met her granddaughter who explained the yard sale to me. Maybe the most singular yard sale I’d ever witnessed. The entire front yard and virtually all available floor space indoors was crowded with fabric. Yards and yards and yards of fabric collected over a lifetime which had lately come to pass. Crowds of people walked off with trunkloads of fabric and the piles never seemed to shrink. The hashtag  #dorothysfabric was created to track how her late grandmother’s fabric was being used. An unexpected legacy and a fine tribute to Dorothy’s life’s work. We are now storing two great big tubs of Dorothy's fabric. #hoardexplorer #memoir #dorothysfabric #legacy #tribute #milleunaceramica #tatemodern #instagram #oz #sewistsofinstagram #americankennelclub #monomania #anagnorisis #lifelongpassion #noodlenoodlenoodle Hoard Explorer also has a music show on Freeform Portland community radio! Listen to past episodes of Hoard Explorer’s Music Dump on Mixcloud: Hoard Explorer also has a magic money concept store on eBay! Support this podcast by purchasing Creamer Dog for $1,000. Comes with NFT certificate of authenticity.
June 10, 2021
22 - The Mirror
A heavy mirror in weathered frame purchased at the cat store. This is a conversation I had with Zac about his grandparents’ “intense relationship with objects”. The patrilineal branch of his family exhibits a profound thriftiness and aversion to waste, born of formative midwestern experiences in the Great Depression. The matrilineal branch was consumed with collecting artifacts rather than needful things, amassing a large and wondrous trove of aboriginal art and craftwork from around the globe. There’s evidence that both these tendencies find expression in Zac’s own proclivities. On top of this, his life as a writer and dance critic has layered a librarian’s sensibility with regards to his lifetime’s collection of ephemera. This hoard is destined to be folded into a historical archive, at which point it will transcend him as a personal possession. He loves being a good custodian of his shit. #hoardexplorer #memoir #mirror #dance #gillianwearing #timeoutchicago #silverspace #legacy #archive #phone #marquetry #squidink #desertstorm #custodian Hoard Explorer also has a music show on Freeform Portland community radio! Listen to past episodes of Hoard Explorer’s Music Dump on Mixcloud: Hoard Explorer also has a magic money concept store on eBay! Support this podcast by purchasing Creamer Dog for $1,000. Comes with NFT certificate of authenticity.
June 3, 2021
21 - Amalfi Demitasse Set
Perfect little handmade demitasse made by flawless hands in dreamtown. If I could pick a moment in my life to return to, I think it would be the second time I visited the Amalfi Coast. It’s a highly specific moment, less than a minute really. I was standing on this terrace at the edge of one of those cliff clinging villages, taking in the unobstructed view of the Tyrrhenian Sea. That would be a very good place to which I’d turn back the clock. I remember a time when I didn’t know where food comes from. And I time I won a clown boxing match. Those were good times, but I would take the terrace instead. It’s not even a choice. #hoardexplorer #memoir #amalfi #pogerola #demitasse #poem #flawless #mastino #milleunaceramica #clownboxing #münchen #škoda #framerate #pope #loureed #dairy Hoard Explorer also has a music show on Freeform Portland community radio! Listen to past episodes of Hoard Explorer’s Music Dump on Mixcloud: Hoard Explorer also has a magic money concept store on eBay! Support this podcast by purchasing Creamer Dog for $1,000. Comes with NFT certificate of authenticity.
May 27, 2021
20 - Quail
A hand carved hardwood sculpture of a quail. Don’t know about quail but Dad definitely hunted pheasants. I don’t have all that much experience with guns but I’ll share most of what I’ve got. The pandemic introduced me to food insecurity personally, whereas before it was only through the filter of the food bank I volunteered with in West Sonoma County, or West County as preferred by its residents. There is an arts & ecology center out there where the food bank’s master gardener would sometimes take us. I discovered both the bank and the center through the unlikely portal of HIV/AIDS. It could get kind of lonely up in semi-rural Northern California, so I was just grateful for the company. #hoardexplorer #memoir #quail #dirtyharry #eggdumping #billcos #soap #food #insecurity #hunger #multipathogen #westcounty #compostingtoilet #lemurs ======================================================== Hoard Explorer also has a music show on Freeform Portland community radio! Listen to past episodes of Hoard Explorer’s Music Dump on Mixcloud: ======================================================== Hoard Explorer also has a magic money concept store on eBay! Support this podcast by purchasing Creamer Dog for $1,000. Comes with NFT certificate of authenticity.
May 20, 2021
19 - Boxes
A stack of various sized empty boxes situated in the middle of my basement. I have a collection of empty boxes. I have not broken down any of these boxes in anticipation of the day I will need them in order to move out of my current house. I have not desire to leave this location any time soon, but I think about it. I remember a time when I was 20 years old and more or less homeless, living in the back of a van with Mr. Happy Hat and 3 other people. I did a lot of drugs as a young adult and this was one of those times. In my mid 40s I explored my feeling about tiny homes and intentional communities, but for now I’m just happy to be ensconced in my small (but not tiny) house, reading general audience books on physics. #hoardexplorer #memoir #box #boxes #donuts #unrest #homebuyingseason #tinyhouse #boulder #coughsyrup #milkyway #empty
May 13, 2021
18 - Guayasamín Scarf
A long grey scarf made of heathered jersey and printed with heads designed by Oswaldo Guayasamín. This is a conversation I had with Shya regarding my conversation with Chad. He was concerned that nobody brought up the fear of death crouching behind the hoarding impulse. We forgot to talk about death for most of it, we mostly talked about our living mothers and how they each handle the possessions amassed over their lifetimes. We drift into the topic of legacy, describing heirlooms and feelings about any sense of “heritage”. Shya reveals part of his origin story: his birth from the forehead of the 60s on a commune in Maine. I go on the record over my desire to inherit a numbered block print by Guayasamín hanging in the house. #hoardexplorer #memoir #oswaldo #death #nft #divest #eatenbymice #innuit #mittens #hemp #heirloom #bloodline #mother #facinator #guayasamín #arbitrary #horcrux #enigmatic
May 6, 2021
17 - Bojack Horseman Monopoly with Collectible Baby Seahorse
A mint condition Game Stop exclusive edition of the Bojack Horseman Monopoly boardgame, including collectible tokens. This is a Bojack Horseman Monopoly game that I picked up at Mojosales flea market in Santa Rosa CA. It still has the shrink wrap on it. I bought it thinking that I could turn around and sell it as a collectible. It turned out that this doesn’t fetch a high price on eBay. As a Bojack fan, I admit I see a little of him in me. That box reminds me of my time as a North Bay lush, sucking down some of the world’s best wines for free. Which reminds me of the historic fires raging all around me in 2017. Also, in this episode I officially announce both my magic money concept store as well as my new show on Freeform Portland community radio: Listen to past episodes of Hoard Explorer’s Music Dump on Mixcloud: #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #bojack #monopoly #drinking #firestorm #geology #babyseahorse #fleamarket #fortbragg #ava #wineindustry
April 29, 2021
16 - Little Wabi-Sabi Plates - Part 2
A small mismatched pair of ceramic plates probably bought sometime on a road trip to Montreal in 2016. Chad and I continue our conversation, which veers away from plates and Canada toward his personal stash of ephemera. We debate the value of a single vintage Band-Aid and wonder why it’s so hard to throw away. Chad shares his concerns about memorabilia’s dormant power, suggesting that sentimental attachment to objects can have a toxic effect on the mind. We discuss evidence of early consumer culture found in his midden, and ponder our own relationships with plastic bags and yogurt cups. We compare personal anecdotes of encounters with “clinical” hoarders, speculating on the psychological mechanics at the root of this disorder. We wrap up with a little 90’s rock reminiscence, and then I have to pee. #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #johnsonandjohnson #bandaid #redstring #yogurtcup #consumerculture #value #garbage #nostalgia #ephemera #upstateny #toxic
April 22, 2021
15 - Little Wabi-Sabi Plates - Part 1
A pair of small mismatched ceramic plates acquired somewhere on a road trip to Montreal in 2016. I have only the vaguest memory of the roadside stall where I picked up these two delightful little handmade plates, but I’m fairly certain it was somewhere between Montreal and the small farmhouse in upstate New York where my old friends Chad and Megan currently reside. Chad lacks even the vaguest memory of these dishes’ provenance, but that doesn’t stop me from calling him and recording it for this podcast. Two hours later, I realize that I have a two part episode on my hands. #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #montreal #wabisabi #midden #fossil #wartrophy #couchetard #pickpocket #romanticentanglement #expertadvice #childhoodhome #sanmarino #rekha
April 15, 2021
14 - Tiny Hand-Thrown Bud Vase
A small terracotta vessel handmade by a family of potters in a village outside Bundi, India. A shorter than average episode, wherein I leverage my digital hoard as a memory aid to fill in blurry memories of India. I explore (in the words of Rudyard Kipling) “a palace as men build for themselves in uneasy dreams -- the work of goblins rather than of men.” I find a little clay bud vase at the end of a day in the back of an autorickshaw, jouncing around the Rajasthani backroads to go step in stepwells and soak in timeless village life. And there’s monkeys. #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #india #pottery #memory #autorickshaw #stepwell #rudyardkipling #rajasthan #bundi #fort #langur #macaque #goblin
April 8, 2021
13 - A Turtle Made of Salt
A carved saltrock turtle from the Wieliczka Salt Mine outside Kraków, Poland This episode centers on my business junket to Poland in 2016. My boss was dying of stage 4 pancreatic cancer and I had somehow inserted myself into the delicate task of selling his business before he died. So I checked in to The House of the Klezmer, did some catholic stuff on the side, and spent some quality time underground in jazz dives and salt mines. #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #junket #wieliczka #salt #turtle #ashkenazi #justice #mergersandacquisitions #noveltysocks
April 1, 2021
12 - Ephemera 1 - Part 3
A final attempt at a first attempt to explore the ephemeral hoard. In this episode I come clean about my underemployment. I review a number of jobs I’ve had over the years as well as my jobhunting philosophy. I consider what it means to be passionate in ones life and even sing a few bars to demonstrate. I draw parallels between the Equal Area Project and my first walkabout in the year 2000. #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #neilyoung #passion #williamblake #jobhunt #onehundreddollars #animalspirits #sehnsucht
March 25, 2021
11 - Ephemera 1 - Part 2
Another attempt at a first attempt to explore the ephemeral hoard. In this episode I attempt to unflatten my face. Sometimes my imagination gets the better of me, and in this particular case it got me good. Last Thanksgiving, I discovered a young man living in a shed behind the unoccupied house next door. What happened next involved a mysterious passport, a pair of dead squirrels, and a true crime podcast that only exists in my head. #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #imagination #passport #homeless #thanksgiving #serialkiller #phobia #smile #envelope
March 18, 2021
10 - Ephemera 1 - Part 1
A first attempt to explore the ephemeral hoard. In this truncated episode I fall flat on my face. Sheer hubris drove me to open up the small folder that contains the last lingering remnants of my previous pattern of ephemera collecting. I normally spend time preparing for each episode. This time, I was unprepared by design, hoping to test my memory on the fly, as well as my ability to relay the autonoetic consciousness associated with the contents. It didn’t end well. #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #memory #autonoetic #ephemera #dictionary #knockknock #hypothesis #koozie #envelope
March 11, 2021
9 - Venus' Flower Basket
A delicate glass skeleton from the vast darkness of the deep sea. This natural wonder was once a living sea sponge with the remarkable ability to build itself almost entirely out of glass. It is another new acquisition to the hoard, which I picked up as an impulse buy at the neighborhood curiosity shop. I go into some detail about this miracle of natural selection which the Japanese call Kairou-Douketsu (“together for eternity”). I then  take a left turn into an examination of my personality through the lens of oriental / occidental zodiacs as well as pseudo / pop psychology. I am an individualist gemini water ox rebel, and proud of it! #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard # sponge #fiberoptics #inkblot #water #air #ox #gemini #individualist #enneagram #shrimp #blathers #rebel #oddities #glass #warlock
March 4, 2021
8 - Weird Little Alien Troll
A strikingly ugly figurine with tufts of yellow hair. I received a strange letter in the mail containing a solitary plastic figurine which I can confidently say defies description. The envelope came from a listener in Seattle who also happens to be a dear friend (and hoarding-adjacent fellow traveler). I return the favor by promptly scheduling a Zoom conversation and dutifully recording it for your enjoyment and edification. And thus we have our very first guest on the show! We discuss his various collections (e.g., figurines, playing cards, books, rocks, tools, etc), tracing over the origins and the odd logic of his collecting habits. He opens up a bit about his upbringing on the Puget Sound, his misadventures in Oklahoma, and his general antipathy towards Burning Man. We touch briefly on life under quarantine and sign off before we linger too long. #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #collections #troll #postoffice #diphallic #univulvic #figurines #playingcards #books #rocks #tools #faulkner #burningman #oklahoma #pipecutter #quarantine
February 25, 2021
7 - Creamer Dog
An old Japanese creamer shaped like a blue pug. Instead of investigating the origins of this faded old creamer from Japan, I turn my attention to the “why” of Creamer Dog. Why is he mine? Of all the things I’ve thrown away over the years, why did he make the cut? Why is he still here? This leads us to directly address the psychiatric condition of hoarding disorder as outlined by the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition). I thankfully am not afflicted with such a tragic diagnosis, but I discuss the ways in which I relate to the impulse to hang on to seeming worthless stuff.  I talk about my history of possession by spirits (of my own invention), and set out a hypothesis on the nature of a hoarding dragon spirit. I also touch on hoarding as an economic phenomena through the story of how two mad Texans attempted to corner the silver market, culminating in the catastrophic event known as “Silver Thursday”. #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #creamer #dog  #dingansich #neolithicvillage #disorder #spirits #dragons #silver #spectrum
February 18, 2021
6 - Vintage Wooden Dumbbells
A pair of vintage wood dumbbells purchased from the Modern Antiquarium in Healdsburg CA sometime between 2015 and 2019. I am not entirely convinced that these are, in fact, wooden dumbbells but I’m hard pressed to find evidence to the contrary. In this episode, I attempt to determine the type of wood through calculator soup cube roots and wood density charts. I reveal the complete recipe for my most excellent sourdough waffles. I describe my dalliance with Etsy and eBay and the sale of what was probably my sister's Judas Priest tank top from the Defenders of the Faith Tour of 1984. I also mull over my dalliance with a late career in studio art, including encounters with artist Teresa Camozzi and sculptor Bruce Johnson. #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #studioart #waffles  #judaspriest #teresacamozzi #brucejohnson #materials #firestorm #wine 
February 11, 2021
5 - Ecuadorian Souvenir Plate - Part 3
Part 3 of a vibrantly colored metal souvenir plate from Ecuador in 2011. The souvenir plate returns for one more go at Ecuadorian backstory for my father and extended family. We follow the Swett family from colonial Massachusetts to 19th century Guayaquil all the way to my Nana Olga. Names and dates roll out in an almost biblical succession of begot-begot-begot (usually a Charles). There are tales of derring-do during the war of 1812, shipwrecks and cannibalism off the coast of South America, and a full recounting of all my grandmother’s husbands. I also touch on my theory of infinite rabbit holes and sheepish admiration of deep math. We say goodbye to the Ecuadorian Souvenir Plate and promise to return to Ecuador in a later episode by way of a special hotel amenity. #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #genealogy #swett  #warof1812 #olga #mobydick #hopffibration #greatgreatgreatgrandfather #rabbitholes 
February 4, 2021
4 - Ecuadorian Souvenir Plate - Part 2
Part 2 of a vibrantly colored metal souvenir plate from Ecuador in 2011. The small souvenir plate made of stamped metal takes a back seat to René Girard’s concept of mimetic desire as I riff on my early aspirations to “being” smart and cultured (with questionable success). Eventually I return to the task at hand, trying to roughly sketch my parents’ short foray into the Venezuelan ice business in the early 60’s. I conclude with an ill-advised attempt to read a letter (written in illegible Spanish cursive) from my father to my uncle Edwin in Ecuador in 1970. Defeated and muttering to myself, I commit to a third episode in this Ecuadorian plate series. #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #mimeticdesire #venezuela  #family #father #leuschner #iguanas #proust #mumble 
January 28, 2021
3 - Ecuadorian Souvenir Plate - Part 1
A vibrantly colored metal souvenir plate from Ecuador in 2011. This weeks episode considers a small souvenir plate made of stamped metal that reminds me of my father in a very circuitous way. I bought the plate in Ecuador, dad was born in Ecuador, his birthday was last week, my cousin in Ecuador recently sent me a copy of a letter from my father to my uncle in Ecuador sent in 1970, just a couple of years before I was born. It seems like now is the time to dig into my origin story, family drama and secrets, and the mythology of the patrilineal line. This is a two part topic because even a steeply abbreviated version would not fit, and I needed to save some room for a Spanish poem or two. #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #ecuador #2011 #family #father #leuschner #secrets #lies #poetry 
January 21, 2021
2 - Damien Hirst Espresso Cups with Saucers
A pair of Damien Hirst anamorphic demitasse sets from the Tate Modern gift shop in 2012. On the afternoon of Thursday June 21, 2012, I purchased a pair of Damien Hirst Espresso Cups & Saucers from the gift shop at the Tate Modern. I’ve been a fan of the bad boy of British art since the 1990’s, so I just couldn’t pass up the chance to check out this mind-bending survey of his works against the backdrop of the 2012 Olympics. Earlier that morning, I met a video game recruiter outside the Great Portland Tube Station to discuss a job with a Harry Potter augmented reality game for the Playstation 3. I didn’t get the job, and I was running out of money. I still bought the cups. #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard #demitasse #damienhirst #london #tatemodern #harrypotter #georgemichael #2012
January 14, 2021
1 - Preamble Ramble
A brief introduction to the glorious Hoard and the ground rules for the podcast. This is Hoard Explorer. It’s not a gross and sad hoard like you see on reality TV, and it’s nowhere near as large and invasive a “hoarder” hoard. But it is a slightly irrational hoard of papers, junk, and data that I’ve been collecting over the course of my life. This is the first of a weekly podcast about the hoard, what it is, why it is, and most critically, what it means. This episode goes over the underlying concept: each object in the hoard will serve as a memory trigger that I will faithfully follow into the rabbit holes of future episodes. This is kind of a game by which I build a memoir. Think of it as investigative autobiography and personal archaeology. I have a famously bad memory, so I expect to be surprised as we go deeper into the hoard. In this episode I also give the high level background of the hoards evolution, from high school to the present day. I also reveal what prompted me to begin this podcast right now (rather than save the hoard as a time capsule). #hoardexplorer #memoir #hoard
January 7, 2021