Sunday, December 28, 2014

All in a Day's Work - Chapter 2

Today was Reconnaissance Day; a day for Jane and I to gather intelligence on our upcoming new frontier as retailers...the flea market.

Our Mission...
Determine the following parameters for our next event...
  • long does it take to get to Williamsburg Brooklyn from Montclair NJ
  • Landscape...observe foot traffic
  • Design parameters...survey the layout constraints of booth
  • Competition...conduct an informal assessment and competitive analysis

Today we visited Artists and Fleas in Williamsburg Brooklyn (pictured here).

I'm often embarrassed by my total ignorance of Williamsburg. I'm a born and raised, die-hard, Brooklynite dammit but once I cross that Willie B bridge, I'm completely and utterly lost. How did we survive before GPS? Doesn't matter. Nigel (my iPhone navigator) led us there safe and sound without a hitch. Great day for a dry run although I'm still a bit nervous about the actual day. Jane knows. I'll want to leave NJ three hours ahead for a 50 minute trip. You can never be too careful ya know.

So we enter and I gotta tell ya...butterflies. Right off the bat. I'm not really sure why. Maybe it was the hum of active commerce. Maybe it was the eclectic decor which spoke to our kindred aesthetic. I'd like to think it was complete expectancy; the super anticipatory feeling to get in the game with the other vendors who seemed to fit together like a family somehow.

We were immediately drawn to the very first vendor left of the entrance called The Spooky Boutique. We loved his collection right away. Of course Jane tried on a few pieces. Everything looks great on her even if it doesn't fit (see pic below).

The owner Ricky was a sweetheart. Unfortunately this was one of his last days with A&F. He tells us that after 20+ years in the vintage business and 10 years with Artists and Fleas, that he would be closing up shop and heading to Wisconsin. That's a shame. I was really looking forward to making him my new friend. I could tell he has stories to tell.

Thanks to our surveillance, Jane now has what she needs to conceptualize our limited 6'x6' booth. It's gonna be tough but knowing her, it's gonna be great and inspired (no pressure girl).

And as far as fact finding missions go, I'd say this was a success. We spoke to a few vendors, everyone seemed friendly and we even walked away with a few goodies.

Mission accomplished! We completed all of our objectives. Not a bad day at the "office".

All in a Day's Work

Come on out to BK and visit us at Artists and Fleas on January 10th and 17th from 10am to 7pm. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

All in a Day's Work - Chapter 1

Jane from Mercantile Republic trying on the forbidden hat
Jane and the forbidden hat
Peeps are always asking us "What do you guys do all day?"  It's almost as if they don't believe there's work involved in building a vintage clothing business.  Well there IS a ton of work...but there's also a ton of fun.  And by fun, I mean high jinx, antics and the occasional mishap.

Today, Jane and I decided to visit a local vintage retailer I've heard great things about.  For some reason, we've never quite had a chance to visit; mainly due to the odd hours the guy keeps.  But we were lucky today!  The place is of course gorgeous; like walking into a time capsule.  There's Louis Armstrong playing on an old turntable.  He's got Miracle on 34th Street projected onto a wall.  It really is everything.

I yell across the store "Gurl! They've got hats over here!"  The word "hats" is a trigger word for Jane.  She can't resist them.  She has to put them on.  Some are outrageous and fun.  Some are bugged.  But we have fun taking pictures of her in the hats (maybe I'll post another time).  This day was no different, but wait stick a pin in it right here.  I'll come back to this...

You see, in this business; the vintage business,  there are a lot can I say this without sounding mean.  There are a lot of...characters.  And if there's one thing Jane and I love, it's characters and you could tell the owner of this particular place took great care in creating a certain ambiance.  We totally get it.  In fact we honor and appreciate it. So the point I'm trying to make (not sure how successful I am at actually accomplishing that), is that we like to meet like-minded "characters" like ourselves.  But just when we thought we'd found a new friend...

Fast forward or backwards or wherever the pin was where I yelled across the store.

Jane comes running over to the hat section and starts doing her thang.  Tryin' on this one and that one.  We laugh and joke.  She makes her way over to one tucked away in the corner.  She tries it on.  We decide it's picture worthy and I snap the shot (seen above).  We giggle some more and then out of no where the shop owner appears and ever so gently (with a slight hint of panic), he removes the hat from her head.  "This is a museum piece", he says.  "OH!", Jane and I sing simultaneously. "Sooooowwwwyyyy!!".  "There was a sign", he smirks. We apologize again.  Hmmm.  I'm not sure we did.  We probably did.  Who knows, but from that point on the tension was thick,  So we pretended to browse some more and quickly got out of dodge.  He wanted nothing more to do with us.

Needless to say, this is now the 2nd (or is it the 3rd?) store to which we can't go back.  DAMN!  He had nice stuff!

All in a day's work...


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Gaydar: Myth or Matter - And why do we care so much?


This is one of the funniest scenes from Boomerang.  You can fast forward to 1:32 minutes to get to my point but WHY??  The whole scene is hilarious!

Why do we (and I count myself in this too) care so much about the sexual orientation of other people?

I mean this is not just a "straight" person or a homophobic curiosity either.  I have the same types of conversations with my gays about who's gay, who's not and even though I dabble in speculation (who am I kidding. I sometimes find myself doing full blown research on celebrities), the question really should be "who cares?"

I like how I sometimes feign indifference when asked the question "Is so and so gay?" I'm not so annoyed if it's about a celebrity, BUT I am truly annoyed when being asked about someone I know; even if they are in fact gay. So I answer "I don't know chile!! I don't sleep in their bedroom!"

Again, why do we care so much?  I took great pleasure (thrilled, I might even say) the other day when I heard the news that the actress Ellen Page "came out"; not because I had a "good for her! Now she can be free!" moment.  I wish I were that person. Instead I was like "I KNEW IT!!" And I spent the following two days trying to figure out who I told years ago that she was. UGH! What is wrong with me?

I think the fascination I have with outing someone is because deep down I just wish people can be themselves and be open to love who they want to love without having to hide. It must be incredibly tough regardless of whether you're a public figure or not, to keep that intimate part of one's self buried and hidden from family and friends.


Justifiable Gaydar Exception

NOW if I was to go on a witch hunt for gays, my prey would be the awful men on the down low. Putting the lives of women and other men in danger just because you're a coward is inexcusable and THAT's why people, I will continue to keep my gaydar skills activated.  I can at least try to keep the women in my life safe...right? Or wrong?  I really want to hear back from y'all on this one.

Peace Out!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Resistance is Futile - Apple's close resemblance to The Borg

My sister's HTC blah blah blah ignorant phone (as opposed to smart phone) died on her again today.  My niece had to group text the immediate family group to let us know; just in case we tried phoning her mom.  Funny story about group sister can't participate in any of it with her stupid phone either; even when it's "working".

I tell you all of this because the only reason she refuses to get an iPhone is because she doesn't like the idea of cell phone companies forcing more advance technology on her in the form of the iPhone.  She'd rather deal with a lousy phone out of principle.  She is resisting and fighting against the machine that of which I sometimes lovingly refer to as my pimp daddy; namely Apple Inc.  

There are people out there who swear by their non-iPhone smartphones, but it is my hypothesis that what they're really trying to do is resist Apple. More power to you people!!!  But I'm sorry, you will lose because Apple is the Borg and just like they used to drone on..."Resistance is Futile"...

OK so a quick primer for all of you people that have NO IDEA what I'm blabbering on about (side-eye to all the non-trekkies for 1. mistaking the Borg for the Klingons [like my daughter just did five minutes ago]  2. making me use the term "Trekkies").  I found a pretty decent description of the Borg who in my opinion were the most formidable antagonists in ALL of the Star Trek franchises (with the exception of Khan Nooien Singh who appeared in three if my memory serves me correctly).  Wikipedia, believe it or not has a great description of The Borg.
I've highlighted in red, the eerie similarities:

"Borg is a collective proper noun for a fictional alien race that appears as recurring antagonists in various incarnations of the Star Trek franchise. The Borg are a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones of the Collective, or the hive. A pseudo-race, dwelling in the Star Trek universe, the Borg force other species into their collective and connect them to "the hive mind"; the act is called assimilation and entails violence, abductions, and injections of microscopic machines called nanoprobes. The Borg's ultimate goal is "achieving perfection".

The Borg manifest as cybernetically enhanced humanoid drones of multiple species, organized as an interconnected collective, the decisions of which are made by a hive mind, linked by subspace radio. The Borg inhabit a vast region of space in the Delta Quadrant of the galaxy, possessing thousands of vessels. They operate toward the fulfillment of one purpose: to "add the biological and technological distinctiveness of other species to [their] own... [in pursuit of] perfection". The concept of perfection is the unifying idea at the core of the Borg. The pursuit of an unemotional, mechanical perfection is the Borg's only motivation. This is achieved through forced assimilation, a process which takes individuals and technology, enhancing and controlling them.  

In their introduction (TNG's "Q Who"), little information is given about the Borg, their origins or intentions. In nearly all their encounters, they exhibit no desire for negotiation or reason, only assimilation. Exhibiting a rapid adaptability to any situation or threat, the Borg become one of the greatest threats to Starfleet and the Federation. Major characters that have escaped the Collective after having been assimilated include Jean-Luc Picard and Seven of Nine."
Now if this doesn't sound like Apple, then I don't know what does.  My sister and lots of other folks are our current day Jean-Luc Picards (played by one of the sexiest old white bald-headed men out there btw).  GOOD FOR THEM!!  Keep up the good work and Aluta Continua to you all.

And while I'm only partially assimilated (very much like Jean-Luc pictured above), I went shopping for an iPad mini yesterday and as soon as I can learn to work that damn Mac keyboard (apple + shift does what again?), I too will be one with the "hive mind".  And I'll be happy because resistance is hard work and I just want to be perfect...too.

Live long and prosper...

P.S. - Stay tuned for my next techno-conspiratorial entry "Google - Creating a Universe of Dummies"...Just Kidding

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Dream Catchers

I take dreams seriously...

A few weeks ago, I had a very uneventful dream that involved me sitting in a room with someone I don't believe I knew.  This person gets up to walk out of the room.  I'm pretty sure they had every intention of returning because they went to answer a phone, or help someone in the kitchen.  Whatever.  I have no idea.  I just knew they were coming back.

But then I woke up.

I immediately felt remorseful.  Not because, I thought the dream was going to get better, but because I believed that when the person returned to the room and found me gone, they would either wonder where I went, or think I vanished into thin air.  Of course neither are true was a dream right?  The characters in dreams don't exist once we're awake...or do they?  My mind is open to the prospect even though (in my mind) there is only one valid (and sane) hole in this hypothesis...

What if the dream characters are actual people you know in "real life"?  How can they live in two places/plains (or potentially a very large number of places depending on how many other people are dreaming about said characters) at the same time?  

I know, I know, what you're thinking...This chick is on to something! Right?

So, I've spent a ton of time (not really) trying to come up with  answers to help me solve this riddle.  How can a dream character exist in real life and in my dream at the same time if said dreams are real too?  The first step is in agreeing that dream characters who are strangers to us are actual people who live somewhere in the world (unless they're dead of course.  Hey, if they were dead, that would make solving this so much easier, but I digress).  So yeah, once we're all in agreement (looks around the room for the non-believers)...

The answer I came up with has less to do with alternate universes and doppelgangers (both terms that are used so frequently now but were frowned upon long ago by the way) than it has to do with the potential expansiveness of our mind and imagination.  This is going to sound crazy (*side eye*), but what if our dreams were actually our mind's way of transporting us to various places along the space time continuum?  Who's to say that our so-called unused portion of our brain, is not being used to shift us from one plain to another to interact with people we've never met, and visit places we've never been.

This is as far as I can allow myself to go.  The fact that this has been gnawing at me for weeks is proof to me that there is probably some validity to my theory (because that's how the overly intoxicated spirits work) but the next stage would involve some sort of research...zzzzz.  I'll stick with my good ole fantasy of how dreams work and leave it to the physicists (or psychotherapists I'm sure some of you are thinking) to figure out the rest.

Love ya.  Don't change.



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Forgive Them Father

A song can change the entire course of how I approach the day.  Happily knitting on the train today and blasting music loudly enough to block the sound of a playful 4yr old (someone else's; not mine), the shuffle brought to me a song I often listen to with deep intensity when I'm prone to anger (see video and lyrics below)...

After a good wallow (5 hours worth), I sat down in my hotel room, to write about my "feelings", but before tackling the keys, I read my New Year's eve post from last year; Best I Can and Viola!  I was cured.
I'm better than that and I had to be reminded of this by none other than myself.  Thanks Self!

The lyrics draw me in...most notably the ones in red below...

[Shelly Thunder]
Forgive us all trespassers as we forgive those that trespass against us
Although them again we will never, never, never trust

Dem noh know weh dem do, dig out yuh yei while dem sticking like glue,
Fling, skin, grin while dem plotting fah you,
True, Ah Who???

[Lauryn Hill]
Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them father for they know not what they do

Beware the false motives of others
Be careful of those who pretend to be brothers
And you never suppose it's those who are closest to you (to you)
They say all the right things to gain their position
Then use your kindness as their ammunition
To shoot you down in the name of ambition, they do

Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them father for they know not what they do

[Lauryn Hill - rapping]
Why every Indian wanna be the chief?
Feed a man 'til he full and he still want beef
Give me grief, try to tief off my piece
Why for you to increase, I must decrease?
If I treat you kindly does it mean that I'm weak?
You hear me speak and think I won't take it to the streets
I know enough cats that don't turn the other cheek
But I try to keep it civilized like Menelik
And other African czars observing stars with war scars
Get yours in this capitalistic system
So many caught or got bought you can't list them
How you gonna idolize the missing?
To survive is to stay alive in the face of opposition
Even when they comin' gunnin'
I stand position
L on the mission since conception
Let's free the people from deception
If you looking for the answers
Then you gotta ask the questions
And when I let go, my voice echoes through the ghetto
Sick of men trying to pull strings like Geppetto
Why black people always be the ones to settle
March through these streets like Soweto

[Lauryn Hill]
Like Cain and Abel, Caesar and Brutus, Jesus and Judas,
Backstabbers do this

Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them father for they know not what they do

It took me a little while to discover
Wolves in sheep coats who pretend to be lovers
Men who lack conscience will even lie to themselves (to themselves)
A friend once said, and I found to be true
That everyday people, they lie to God too
So what makes you think, that they won't lie to you

Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them, forgive them
Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them, forgive them

[Shelly Thunder]
Gwan like dem love while dem rip yuh to shreds,
Trample pon yuh heart and lef yuh fi dead,

Dem a yuh fren who yuh depen pon from way back when,
But if yuh gi dem yuh back den yuh mus meet yuh end
Dem noh know wey dem do,
Dem noh know wey dem do,
Dem no know, dem no know, dem no know,
Dem no know, dem no know wey dem do