Monday, 27 August 2012

the towelmaster

my computer has been really playing up lately. i guess i shouldn't be surprised it's a 2005 mac... it has had a pretty good run it's just no longer capable of updating any software and runs at a snails pace. while i was going through files trying to find stuff to delete that might...just maybe... make it run faster, i found this story i wrote about my dad years ago i thought i would post because i never write stuff anymore.

i love my dad…i really do. he has always had a very interesting perception of honesty within his survival. He IS a very honest person. very he’s honest about a lot of things like with his feelings if I am pissing him off, he won’t HESITATE to let me know or when someone else is pissing him off, again… no problems with expressing that.

this other perception of honesty I am talking about, is like, for example, years ago, when we would go grocery shopping in montana in the big bulk-buy places and the first thing he’d do is fill his pockets with some assorted nuts etc…just to “tide us over” during our shopping experience. Or, we’d eat a bag of fresh peas, shucking them as we shopped..and in his mind,”as long as we finished them before we walked out the door, it wasn’t stealing”.

when I was 14, maybe 15, he worked for this chemical company… a product supplier for service stations, laundromats etc… we were pretty poor living in a single wide and there wasn’t any money for luxuries. my brother Jason and i started to notice that conveniently and much to our advantage, there seemed to be a lot of boxes of “damaged” goods “unsuitable for sale” that would somehow end up in our possession.

the trailer slowly became crammed full of enormous boxes of toilet paper, laundry powder and industrial-sized cans of assorted cleaning supplies and room fresheners with names like “smells like spring!”. they pretty much took over every kitchen cabinet leaving very little room for all the cans of expired salmon and other assorted expired goods my dad was so fond of. the amount of conversations jason and I had with him about shopping at close-out stores fell on deaf ears. but, I guess really.. looking back, they kind of had to.  So we just turned a blind eye to the whole entire scene because they were essentials.

then one day…it got completely out of control.  I walked in from school to find my dad, tool belt around his waist,  proudly eyeing his handiwork on the newest addition to the trailer… the “ towelmaster”. usually more at home in gas station bathrooms, with a few pumps on the old lever, the “towelmaster” dispensed paper towels with a texture not far off coarse sandpaper.
and now… lucky us…we had one of our very own…mounted right on the kitchen wall.

if that wasn’t enough, right next to it was “the soap something or other”. the “towel master’s” companion. massive cartons of paper towels and liquid soap littered the floor, torn open with the grace of an over anxious 5 year-old at christmas. my dad just looked at me, and beamed, as if suddenly, his life was complete, and said “ i’ve put one in the bathroom too!!!!”

i was totally speechless…. to my 14 year-old self, it was beyond embarrassing. even worse than being dropped off at school in the pimp car with the gigantic semi-nude mermaid hood ornament. slowly, our house was turning into the type of place where long-haul truckers could stop and use the facilities. scenes ran through my head of answering the door in daisy dukes, an 18-wheeler parked out on the lawn, as I called out, “hey clem…what you haulin’ today? how’s that purdy lil’ wife of yours? well, hey… come on in… git yourself cleaned up, there’s plenty a paper towels…here hon……take a roll for the road… this ones on me”.

the long running joke between my brother and i after the towelmaster episode, was to constantly ask the old man when we were going to get the condom and tampon dispensers. you know… just to round it all out…no sense doing it half-assed. truckers need condoms…the scary thing was, I did whole-heartedly believe one day they’d appear.

when I was seventeen and moved into my own place, you know,  when parents usually give their kids, I dunno, furniture, a toaster, maybe even some money to help them get started, my dad presented me with a 75 pound industrial-sized box of laundry detergent, a few enormous cans of aerosol sprays and my very own towelmaster. i could see it was a very proud moment. there were tears in his eyes. what worried me was i’m pretty sure it wasn’t about me growing up and moving out on my own, i’m pretty sure it had to do with the towelmaster…

fortunately for me, in my mundane existence, this wasn’t my dad’s first “stroke of genius”.  it was one of numerous little projects he dabbled in to keep himself busy and me entertained. the thing i loved most about him was he would have one of his little brainstorms and would never… ever… really stop to think, “ is this a little insane? should I really do this? maybe this isn’t the best idea.” NOPE…not papa p…he’d just do it. i was becoming increasingly reluctant to come home after school because I never knew what to expect.

His passion was watching TV. the TV was his best friend. they spent a lot of time together. he would frequently even have conversations with it. for example, whenever he would watch the opening sequence of “little house on the prairie” where “half pint”, laura ingalls, is running through a field, i’d hear him screaming, “don’t fall down…don’t fall down!” obviously she did… every time… then he’d say to her, “you never learn.” the few times i observed him watching TV in silence, concerned me. i would ask him whether the two of them had a little disagreement and whether he thought they’d patch things up.

one wednesday  I remember well, i walked in to find him, in his underpants, sat in front of the TV. i remember it was a wednesday, because it was “western wednesday”…the day of the week he would sit and watch westerns he had seen more times than I could even begin to count. he seemed to know all of these obscure actors that no one else had ever heard of. he would read the credits aloud, “oh…dirk hutzenbiler…hmmmm…haven’t seen him in anything for while…I wonder if he’s related to so and so hutzenbiler that was in blah blah blah”

this day though, i almost subconsciously noticed that something was different. it took me a minute or two,  but then… these huge straps of silver on the arms of the recliner caught my eye and suddenly… i noticed… that he had duct taped the tv controllers to his recliner. he had positioned them just right so they were aimed perfectly at the signal on the tv and then he had actually DUCT TAPED them to the arms of his chair. he sat there like a bastardised version of captain Kirk aboard the enterprise.

i just stared at the whole scene in… i guess… disbelief. had I not been looking at it with my own eyes, i wouldn’t have believed it. i tried to imagine the moments that led up to this. at what moment did he think “SCREW IT… where’s that duct tape?” what was that process like? he looked so smug sitting there. so…content. i said,
“ dad…um…what the hell is this all about? what have you done?”

at first,  he didn’t even seem to know what I was referring to. then, seeing my stunned stare fixed on his crazy chair, he casually said, “oh…yeah…i got sick of not being able to find those fucking things!…problem solved”. that was it. he took a swig of coffee and placed his mug back onto his electric coffee warmer he kept at the side of his chair, and went back to watching tv. like it was the most normal thing in the world…I just shook my head and went to my room. 

ps... f you read this papa pransky... it is written with big love in my heart and a slight sense of revenge for telling pretty much every potential boyfriend i had in my teens the story about how i liked to "ride" my stuffed donkey toy when i was 2!

Monday, 30 April 2012

work work and more fucking work!

                                                                                                                                                                    i never seem to have time to write or post anything anymore! i say that, although i could probably count hours and hours that i waste where i could be way more productive, but just seem to ignore that fact. i have been working at the restaurant pretty much full time ( if not 50 hours a week sometimes) so i am so burned out most of the time and REALLY look forward to sept when texas and tennessee will both be in school full time ( although i WILL miss them terribly...already do) but i feel i am ready to finally get a bit of my life back and focus on jewellery and other stuff again!

i just thought i would put up a quick post (since my last was in february) to direct you to scotts blog. he has been working on some promotion for himself to send out to various art directors/commissioners etc...based on LOST pet posters and dealing with different aspects of loss/being lost. i thought they were pretty damn cool. this is just a choice few he posted. my favorite is the last one...i also can't remember if i mentioned his shop in any posts so i am including a link to that too...

Monday, 6 February 2012

the fruit roll

i know that really, this should probably be a blog about my jewellery, what i am making, what's inspiring me, what is going to go on sale etc... etc...  BUT i like stories and every now and then, through conversations, the stories come up and then i think i should write about them.

i can't remember how this one came up. i was at the restaurant having a drink after work a few weeks back and something we were talking about reminded me of this episode. please look away or stop reading if you are either easily embarrassed or disgusted!

so... many moons ago my brother jason and i were slaving away side by side at a really cool and very popular coffee house in marina del rey. one of our suppliers, a well known company in the catering world,  had their rep visit us every couple of weeks. he was, i don't know, probably mid- thirties, a long-sleeve oxford shirt and pair of slacks kind of guy who was very shy. he probably married the first girl he got to any base with not only because it was easy, but too cringey a thought for him to have ever asked anyone else out on a date after summoning up the courage once. i think he had small kids. he was quite good looking in a wholesome kind of way. he had this funny, awkward smile and seemed to be genuinely embarrassed by anything and everything. his name was doug.

so, one week, after he brought the supplies in, he handed me a couple of fruit rolls. those flat, pressed, sticky, "fruit" things stuck to cellophane and rolled up that were so popular in our lunch boxes in the 70's. it made me feel nostalgic and i was really grateful for the small gift.

a couple of weeks later, when he made his visit, i said " thank you so much for those fruit rolls doug. that was very kind of you. i really enjoyed them, thanks." he looked at me with his awkward smile and said " well, i could bring you in some more if you'd like. "
"sure" i said.
"in fact," he continued, what i was thinking was... i could bring you in TWO next time, and you could give me one back the next week."
"huh?", i said
"well... i thought i could bring you in two, but you could then give one back to me. "
he repeated this a few more times.
i was lost.

i was totally miffed by this and must have looked like an idiot trying to figure it out and make some sense of what he could possibly mean. i kept going through it wondering what obvious point i was missing here. he just stood looking at me, smiling.
i finally said " doug, i'm sorry, i have no idea what you mean... i don't get it... why would i give you one back?"
he said, "well.......i thought........ that you might like to....SEASON it for me".


"you know... SEASON it for me"

there was that WORD again.  oh my god... he couldn't have possibly just said what i thought he said. i was absolutely stunned. it couldn't mean what i had just figured out it must have meant. i think i was in shock. to be honest, i can't remember what i said to him. i was only about 19 and i didn't have the words or the confidence or the attitude at that time in my life to say what i probably should have. i think i just stood in stunned silence freaking out a bit that wholesome, kind of cute, mild-mannered, family man doug, just said something really vulgar to me!

now, with my life's experience, where i have had loads of stuff like that happen,  like guys pulling up in a car asking for "directions" with their johnsons out (why do you do it guys???) i know that there is obviously something really interesting to them sexually more to do with the reaction to the scenario more than anything else.

once, when i was working in camden at dollyrockers vintage with my friend jennifer, this... funny enough... awkward, social misfit type of guy who was maybe late 20's, came in and grabbed the first thing his hands rested on without looking at what it was. it was a pair of jeans, and he asked to try them on. we said, " yeah sure, the dressing rooms are just there" and pointed to them. the shop was absolutely enormous and he said, " i'm a bit claustrophobic, is there anywhere else i can try them on?" i said " the whole upstairs is empty, knock yourself out." he said, " and if i need assistance? " i have to say this did ring alarm bells a bit, but i said, " just call for us."

so i was in the middle of calling in the payroll on the phone and i could hear this " excuse me... EXCUSE me...!" the voice was a bit like "it's pat" from saturday night live. a bit whiney and grating. we could see his socks coming down the stairs, so jennifer started walking over and i was about to say               
"NO! don't go!" when she came running back with her hand over her mouth saying
" oh my god he's NAKED!!!" " oh my GOD he has a boner!"

we called security, as he was still upstairs. the security guard seemed to take his time getting there. when he finally did, the guy was just coming down the stairs in his clothes. the security guard said, "HIM?... he has his clothes on."
"well... he didn't a minute ago" i said.  the security guard got in his face, following him saying " why did you do it? why did you take your clothes off? why were you naked?" he said ," i diiidnnn't"
"yes you did!" i said. then jennifer said, "well, he's not totally lying, he still had his socks on."

i am so glad to this day that it wasn't me that saw that sight, to have it permanently etched into my brain. poor jennifer. but i'm sure that her shocked reaction was fuel for his fantasies probably to this day.

so... back to he was saying this really gross thing to me. i'm sure loving every minute of it.  but what he didn't realise i think was that the manager, johnnie, was my boyfriend. and he was very protective of me. after doug left, i told johnnie what he said and i don't think he was too thrilled.

johnnie was great. he had been a stand up comedian for a while and was quite brazen and funny. he seemed to have no shame. the coffee house was always heaving with people. in the mornings, we would have a line out the door for about 3 solid hours. so, the next time when doug came in, he went about his business bringing in all our supplies and johnnie just acted the way he always does. then, after it was all done, johnnie adopted an east coast accent and shouted so loudly across the packed coffee house "HEEEEYYY....HEEEYYY.... DOUGIE!!!! DOUGIE!!!!! you know... i got that FRUIT ROLL FOR YA DOUGIE!!!! and it's nice and SEEEEEAAASONED!"
the look on his face was priceless. i think he nearly died from embarrassment. i'm sure it had been his  dirty little secret and he had thought i wouldn't say anything to anyone.i couldn't even tell the story to anyone and use the word "seasoned" for about 15 years.
now, it didn't bother me anymore....every time i saw him, i just smiled because i re-lived johnnie's impression. he never spoke to me again and it totally changed the way i feel about fruit rolls ups....

Saturday, 21 January 2012

the worst start to the year!

my god... i have been ill! it all started after a xmas party we had at the restaurant for all of us hard working employees... the plan was to start at the restaurant and then move on elsewhere, but with free pizza, lots of space, our choice of tunes and loads of booze, we very quickly fell into full swing and when it's good, why mess with perfection? some sort of polish vodka was flowing and it was seriously hardcore. i had tried some a couple weeks earlier on xmas eve, well i say tried... after necking down a couple of shots in the kitchen at work while still in the midst of waiting on my last table, i then staggered next door to the off license and spent like £17 on another bottle which saw me completely shnockered xmas eve ( note to self for next year: not a good time to get wasted when you have to sneak into a child's bedroom with a santa sack) and also, i came home covered in chocolate.

so here was the vodka again and i tried to avoid it as best i could, which was a good thing, as slowly but surely, like shot pandas, one by one the staff slowly succumbed to it's strength and it wasn't pretty. let's just say cleaning various peoples puke off of the hotel steps wasn't how i had planned my night to end.

so... next day... feeling ok, i went with a friend to get some sushi and then later had some beef stew and watched some tv that evening and fell asleep on the couch. feeling groovy... all of a sudden, i woke up and the room was just spinning in a really weird way i had never experienced. not like the "bed spins" when you've had too much to drink. more than that. my vision wasn't right. i started to panic and scream for scott and try to get upstairs and found myself violently ill on all fronts. and the spinning just wouldn't stop. i was so freaked out. we called the nhs direct and after being sick a few more times i fell asleep, only to wake up the next day still super ill and still unable to open my eyes without the world spinning. this went on for 3 days. i just lay in a dark room with my eyes closed.

it has now been a week and 3 days and i am none the wiser about if it was a virus or food poisoning or what. i thought maybe the vodka was counterfeit, but no one else had had this happen to them.  i am still shaky and am on pills and can't totally walk straight. i find myself bumping into walls and nearly tipping over sometimes. but, i am much better. i just now want to be back to 100%. i am tired of this ride!

xmas was good! scott and i had a nice break spending time with the kids and i was so pleased that nearly all of my presents this year from scott were homemade. i got some bitchin stuff... we also had a really weird cross over happen.

the year before i was pregnant with tex, scott and i went on the best ever road trip, which i keep meaning to write a post about. one of the places we went to was this town called niland in the desert of southern california... out palm springs way. we saw something that has ever since had a massively special place in my heart, "salvation mountain". i am not in any way a religious person, for me, this was the most incredible piece of outsider/folk art i had ever seen. the amount of time and love and dedication that leonard knight put into this work over the last 25 or so years is just heart-warming.

it was summer and had to be about 120 degrees in the shade when scott and i turned up out there. we spent a few hours talking with leonard as he showed us around and told us about the new bits he was working on. he gets quite a lot of visitors (especially in the cooler months so it was kind of nice to almost hav the place to our selves even if we were sunburned and practically heat-stroked). they bring him paint, and food and donations and help him move straw bales and most importantly keep him company. he was so warm and welcoming and genuine. he lived in one of his cars, or slept out under the stars when he felt like it with the few pets he had found as strays. he told me how they looked after him and had protected him from snakes and other creatures and day in... day out...he worked on this stunning piece of work.

he had a visitor there helping him when we were there and together we all worked on putting some new paint on the waterfalls. leonard liked to use crushed up glass to sprinkle on the wet paint to make it sparkle. it was absolutely hotter than hell out there and i don't know what i was expecting when the visitor offered me his canteen and i took a hit of practically boiling water...... not really the refreshment i was needing!

after a while, sadly we went on our way.  i could have spent some time there. some people go and live there or in nearby "slab city" and hang around for months to help him. i think that would have been a cool experience. it has been a place i have wanted to go back and see again, especially to see how it has changed, other new bits he has added. i have wanted to bring the kids there and always dream a little dream that will happen someday in the not so far off future. so, with it on my mind, i decided to attempt to make a paper cut for scott for xmas of salvation mountain. while i was looking at pix, i decided to have a look online and see if there was any recent news, and i was devastated to find this article that said that recently, leonard had been taken into care for dementia and the future of the place was uncertain. it just broke my heart. so it kind of made my mission to try and do a papercut even more significant.

so xmas morning... after many hours  of my hard graft, ( although i am sure it doesn't look like it took me for-fucking ever, but it did) i gave scott this for one of his pressies...

i actually got so disillusioned with, i never finished it.... not to mention i ran out of time!
so when i then opened this from scott...

i was pretty astonished! it was part of this beautiful map scott made for me of our trip to the salton sea and the surrounding areas, which included salvation mountain.

i feel like such a lucky girl to have received such a nice present. i also got this, which is brilliant!

and is a fantastic addition to the family wall which i will post pix of next time.