Saturday, December 30, 2017
I've always liked New Years day. It has always felt like a fresh start. A new shot at being better.
It's not like you can't strive for that on a daily basis, I mean, you can go jogging every fuckin' morning, but when you find yourself at the starting line of the Chicago Marathon, there's a whole new focus.
Last year...a lot of growth happened.
Growth in every aspect can be painful, but it's the awareness of the presence of pain that triggers the actual growth.
"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" It means this...you only need to dump scalding hot coffee in your crotch once in order to be wayyyy more careful while drinking coffee and driving for the rest of your life...pain triggered learning and learning triggered growth.
As rough as last year was for me, it was a great year because I learned so much.
Shitty things have to happen to you in order for you to recognize when something is shitty or has the potential to be shitty.
A key element in growth and change is that you have to want it. You have to cultivate the ability to see that something isn't right or not working, and then make efforts to change them.
Wouldn't it be spectacular if you hit a home run every time you went up to bat? Yeah, that shit doesn't happen because the pitches are constantly changing. As much as you study the pitcher, that jerk off has a whole staff studying you.
I couldn't give two shits about baseball except that it's loaded with analogies for me to use.
I'm discovering that as my son gets older, our business is growing, my parents are aging and falling off, life is just getting harder.
There are some days that I wake up and I'm looking into my coffee cup mumbling to myself "I just can't do this shit", and by "this shit", I'm referring to my life.
It's ok to have moments of weakness. It doesn't mean you're a little bitch, it means that you are "self aware". What puts you in the little bitch category is if you succumb.
When things look bleak or you feel overwhelmed, ya gotta find a new angle, a new plan of attack, otherwise, it's off to the little bitch category with you, and who wants to hang out in there with a bunch of lil' bitches?
Shortly after my father died, I had a dream. I never remember my dreams, but this particular dream I might just always remember...
I was on a cruise ship. There was a storm and the ship was sinking. I jumped into the ocean and realized that I was surrounded by life boats and everyone in them were having like a little life boat party, and I'm like "hey...over here...can I get a little help", and no one gave a shit.
I swam to the nearest lifeboat and killed everyone it.
I woke up thinking to myself "you are one sick fuck".
It haunted me for a couple of days, but I took it as a lesson about my life and found some solace.
The lesson I took is...My life is never going to be easy, and I'm going to have to do some shit I don't want to do in order to survive.
Or maybe I'm a murderous bastard.
All right enough self discovery and dream theories!
XO table...when that one first came across the desk we were both kinda like "fuck that shit, looks like a big pain in the ass"...and it was, and that's good because we had fun making it and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone.
I pretty much say "fuck that shit" to everything at first, it's like this weird mental thing I do before falling in love with the process of making these things then blogging about it's life changing effects on me. Go figure.
"Do NOT open till Christmas" is the third and final installment of the creepy 3 for $1 baby head sculptures.
There's a part in the movie SEVEN where Kevin Spacey chops off Brad Pitts wife's head, and then mails it to him...so...there's that, and then the fact that Christmas just passed and voila'...baby head sculpture,
They're all so fucked up and creepy but I'm in love with all 3. I have my stories for each one, but each one lends itself to ones own interpretation and that is what makes good art good.
So...happy new year my friends.
I hope the best for all of you.
Monday, December 18, 2017
The first part of 2017 sucked ass with our moving of the shop, and once we were all set up and ready to go, we had a presidential election that made people clutch on to their wallets like it contained the last dollar they'd ever have.
May rolled in and people realized the world wasn't going to end and since then it's been full throttle.
2017 has been a test of wills as much as it's been a testament of perseverance.
This business is the most bipolar business you can be in. High highs and low fucking lows, and everyone who shares in our craft knows what I'm talking about.
My Father in law, who's been a master cabinet maker since 1960 has told the tale we live.
He spent many years cabinet making all day, and scrubbing floors all night to keep food on the table, but ya know what? At 84 years old he's in the shop every day still doing his craft.
A craft that kept him from his family. a craft that made him work a second job at times to make ends meet, a craft that will chew up and spit out the weak willed...and he's still fuckin' doing it.
I never realized how much I take from his story.
There was a terrible TV show in the 80's about a bunch of girls in a boarding school that high lighted the trials and tribulations of a fat chick, a lezbo, a black chick, and a rich snobby bitch, all orchestrated by a red haired troll. It was called the "Facts of Life"
Now...I got nothing from the show other than it's theme song that will play in my head from time to time..."Ya take the good, ya take the bad, ya take em' both and there ya have..THE FACTS OF LIFE"
There have been many milestones this year and one that will surely stand out will be working "The Facts of Life" into a blog post...I can do anything.
I mentioned in the last blog that there is going to be a change in how we do things.
We've discovered that most people have never bought anything custom in their life.
They see it as a process as opposed to an experience.
We're selling experiences.
We found that when we physically go to someones home and see their space, we get a better idea of
how to facilitate their project.
We're selling you a lifetime piece, not some fucking table out of a box that your teenage son assembles with the provided allen key.
When you spend time in someones home to create something for them, a relationship has been established, and they're no longer just a customer.
We're gonna play "getting to fuckin' know you", because our pieces are built from the heart.
The customer feels good, we feel good, it's a purchase that doesn't have to be so fucking cold and impersonal.
That's our goal for 2018.
Allright...French Country console...
We weren't given much direction on this one, so we decided to French Country the shit out of it.
Shortly after delivery of it, Zach got an email from the customer going on about how much they loved it....fuckin' aye....love that shit.
Walnut slab dining table for Gretchen in Oak Park...
Gretchen was kind of the catalyst for our "in-home" custom experience.
We've been to a lot of peoples homes, but this one had something different and everyone walked away feeling so fucking good, that we were like "everyone should walk away from a custom order feeling like that".
Does it take more time?
Yes and no.
The time spent in someones home with them, hashing out design, logistics, and details, is way fucking less than trying to figure shit out through emails and phone calls AND...it's just more personal...it's custom...it has to be.
Ya'll have a wonderful Christmas, and we'll see ya in the New Year.
Saturday, December 9, 2017
It doesn't seem like a big deal, but at that precise moment it hit me...slow the fuck down.
I sat in my truck and just thought about everything for a couple of minutes.
Every waking moment is filled with tasks, and the tasks outnumber the minutes, so you're in this constant internal marathon where you're trying to keep up with that motherfucker from Zimbabwe but you haven't trained for this race and THAT sonofabitch grew up running from lions and shit.
My work is fairly fast paced, but the tasks that need to be done to complete a project aren't dictated by the clock because the process is the process, meaning...if it takes 30minutes to mortise in dovetails, then that's what it takes and if it takes longer, than so be it.
Life outside work isn't working out like that.
3pm-leave work, run home and shower, 3:40-exit house, pick up boy from guitar lesson at 4:15, 4:30-stuck in drive-thru trying to get that lil fucker a apple pie, 4:45-Jiujitsu, 5:55-depart Jiujitsu home by 6:15, 6:16-dog has to shit cause he's doing the "I gotta shit really bad cause I ate half of your Christmas tree while you were stuck in that drive thru" dance, 6;30-oven pre heating to 375 so I can pop that bullshit frozen lasagna in, 6:37-oven is pre heated pop that shit in, 6:50-boy asks if we have garlic bread, we don't have garlic bread, you can't have lasagna without garlic bread, yes you can, no you can't...ok, 7:05-run to the store and get garlic bread, 7:25-arrive home with garlic bread, 7:30-do dishes from the morning, 7:45-remove plastic from lasagna container put garlic bread in and cook for 10 more minutes, 7:55-take all that shit out of the oven, 8:00-dinner, 8;35-do dishes from dinner and feed the dog, 8:50-boy asks "what's for dessert?", I don't know what's for dessert, 8:52-scour kitchen for something for dessert, 9:03-cut up banana and cover in the chocolate crackle shit and add some quite possibly expired whipped cream and feed to boy, 9:25-ask boy to brush his teeth 17 times, 9:35-lay him the fuck down, 9;37-i'm dead asleep in my clothes.
No wonder I forgot to put my fucking boots on.
We're being killed by life.
How do we slow it all down?
I don't fuckin' know, and if I did, I wouldn't be making furniture, I'd be charging all of you $1000 a pop to attend my seminar, where I would then allocate my riches to pay other people to execute my tasks so I could slow the fuck down.
Whatever...I'll be dead at 50.
Furniture...yep..that's what we do...chunky slab 2 tier bar table...not sure where the customer is putting it, but it'd be great behind a couch.
Solid steel console cabinet...the only thing that isn't steel is the glass in the doors. The most unnecessarily heavy piece we ever created. Why is it so heavy? I'm going to explain in the next blog how we intend to change how we do our business.
Things are about to get way more personal, and relationships with our customers are about to become something completely unprecedented in the custom furniture world.
But for now...you all have to get back to the rat race and so do I.
Sunday, November 26, 2017
They wanted the base to have tapered legs that are typical of mid century pieces, and the top to be more chunky which would embrace the rustic aspect.
Well as long as we're throwing some classic styles in the blender, lets make this fucker extra juicy by adding some industrial in there by using steel for the base. Sounds good, right?
You don't throw steel in the ol' taper leg machine, because that machine doesn't actually exist, and that's where shit gets tricky.
Some ideas require you to eat shit.
The shit that was eaten was over 40 feet of straight weld and hours of grinding.
Of course it wasn't reflected in the selling price, because a deal is a deal. We don't get a brilliant idea, then execute it, and then tell a customer "uh, remember that price we gave you? Yeah...uh...we're gonna have to go and double that."
Sometimes we throw ideas out there with no fucking clue how we're gonna execute it, but we always execute...and that's all that matters.
There's a lovely couple that got a extremely one of a kind piece, and that's enough for me.
Saturday night, me and my son went to see my mom.
We were trying to get some Christmas vibe, so we went to a mall near my mom.
I'm not a mall guy. In fact, I've dedicated the last few years to solely seeking out the independent makers, one man brands, and general artisan types that make things in small batches and limited runs, but those guys don't have Christmas decorations, and pump Christmas music and cater to a general hustle and bustle of the holidays, so off to the mall.
I literally felt like I was in a garbage dump that didn't smell of rotten food and toxic waste, but instead smelled of 9000 different cheap colognes and vomit worthy perfumes, which is equally as gross to me.
Consumerism at its most disgusting.
SALE, 50% OFF, BUY ONE GET ONE FREE, which all sounds really tempting except for the fact that it's all SHIT.
MADE IN CHINA, fast fashion, home gadgets that will work once, a plethora of items that no one needs or really wants.
Even my kid was underwhelmed and unimpressed with the offerings.
I would catch bits and pieces of conversations from shoppers "do you think Bobby will like this?" "she could really use this" "this would look great on her"...Bobby would fucking hate that, She can't use that, but you could, and I highly doubt that would look good on anyone, were the responses that popped in my head.
A lot of times we buy people we don't even really like, shit they don't need, because we feel obligated.
My friend William from Witness Company (a handmade jewelry company) posted " FUCK BLACK FRIDAY" while everyone else posted their sales on Instagram.
I scrolled through the comments, and most we're supportive and positive...but there were some that showed just how entitled people are.
"Black Friday is when companies reward people for being loyal customers"
Let me get this right, this motherfucker thinks he should be rewarded for purchasing luxury items?
Now I consider William a friend, and I am a collector of his work, and a extremely dedicated supporter of his business, but....I could live without really awesome brass rings if I had to. When I can afford to buy another brass ring that I don't need...I will. I don't ask for deals or discounts, and I don't wait for sales, because I don't expect sales on handmade stuff.
Big box stores can afford to do sales because their profit margins are so high. If something is 50% off at Macy's, they're still making at least a 100% profit. For the handmade market...50% off means the maker covered his material cost...maybe.
I can't blame people because most people are well groomed consumers that have been brainwashed since birth.
As a small business, I can fucking assure you that we can't afford to sell for any less than we already do.
Until you have made something with your own 2 hands and tried to make a living out of getting people to buy it, you'll never really get it. It's like someone showing me a calculus book. That shit is never going to make sense to me, but i'll take your word for it that calculus is hard.
So....I'm still looking for some Christmas spirit.
I usually love Christmas, and I'll get a grip before the 25th.
life is just so hectic and I just want to really enjoy family and friends and moments, and all the things that have always made Christmas...special.
You'll notice that my Christmas list at the bottom of this blog is blank...I don't need shit, and I'm a grown man and I will buy my own underwear.
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Bird dies out of nowhere, dog is pretty much dying, my partners fucking lung collapses at work.
Sometimes you just cruise through life, head out the window, summer smells taking you back to good times, middle finger raised up high, shouting out "fuck the world", cause everything is going dandy and you...you're unstoppable. And then...a baby leaps out in the middle of the road, you slam on the brakes so hard that you're ejected through the windshield, where you land on your back and the universe jumps into full mount and starts raining down elbows to your fucking face.
The universe is pummeling me with elbows right now, but I'm looking for my opening so I can slide out of guard, roll my hips, pull it's wrist to my side, reach over it's shoulder and through it's arm so I can Kimura that mother fucker and snap it's arm at the shoulder no matter how much it taps out. (forgive my jiujitsu reference, my kid has been enrolled in jiujitsu and I'm the equivalent of a psychopathic soccer mom).
Life is not always going to be summer breezes and middle fingers.
Life is going to attack you every now and then.
Last night my kid said "what's wrong dad?", and I considered giving him a bullshit story, maybe telling him I don't feel so good, or some kind of work lie, but I didn't. I said "I'm just going through some shit right now. Sometimes a bunch of crappy things happen in life all at once and you feel like it's too much, but you dig deep, stick and move, and given a little bit of time and redirection of focus...you come out of the storm, but a little bit stronger." He looked a little bit puzzled and said "so bad things are actually good things?" To which I replied "this conversation is getting way to fuckin' existential for my liking"...no, I didn't say that, I totally thought that, but I didn't want to have to explain "existentialism" to a 7 year old, but what I did try to explain to him, is that the way you navigate the bad moments in life help to determine what kind of person you'll grow to be.
He said that he really wanted to cry at school the other day because of our bird. He said it kept coming into his head and he wanted to cry. I asked if he cried, and he said no and that he just kept working on his map.
Chip off the old block. He hung out with that emotion, but chose to carry on.
So me and my kid are having this super deep conversation, and he put his tiny hand on me and said "it'll all work out." Who would've ever thought that I fathered fucking Yoda?!
He's right though. It all works out. If it doesn't, it's because you're a fucking pussy that can't reel in their emotions and press on.
What I've learned from sucky ass situations, is that those situations only change once you've acknowledged all the things in your life that don't suck. Take Inventory, then go to war to protect that inventory.
Goddamn, I almost forgot that we make furniture.
French Country pedestal table with bench...donezo and gonezo.
Funky retail display table that ended up looking like a fucking ironing board from the 1800's...fuck you, I have a weird thing for vintage ironing boards even though I've never ironed anything my entire goddamn life. I actually tried to conceptualize. I wanted to make something that you might find in an old abandoned hunting cabin.
Take stock of all the good in your lives. Protect it. Expand on it. You're gonna have to go find your own 7 year old therapist because mine is booked up.
Saturday, November 4, 2017
The first piece was a custom order where the customer wanted a 1940's style industrial table.
In the building that houses our shop, there's a dude on the 3rd floor that deconstructs old warehouses and smokes weed all day. Every now and then we poke around his space to either pick up some artifacts or just get inspired.
We thought he would surely have a piece that we could repurpose into our customers request, but came up completely empty handed.
There was another monkey wrench thrown into our repurpose idea, that being the table needed to be 42" high (bar height). In 1940, they didn't make industrial tables bar height.
Well fuck...now what do we do?
We make it.
We looked at some old machine bases and pulled some elements from their aesthetic and completely fabricated our own version of what we thought a 1940's industrial bar height table would look like.
I think we pretty much captured the time period, and the customer did as well.
The next piece is what I like to call a "trapped beam pedestal table". Not only does it sum up what it is, but it sounds fuckin' fancy, kinda like a delivery driver being called a "package relocation technician"
THESE are the types of builds that get our blood pumpin'.
After 3 years of working together, Zach and I have found this sweet spot where we're able to slip into whatever the other is working on, and push it further.
I can't speak for him, but nothing makes me happier when I THINK I'm done with something and he comes in and adds something or tweaks something, or just walks over and says "how bout this?" and just like that, it either becomes complete or just fucking better.
It's called "selflessness".
I thought I mastered the art of selflessness when my son was born.
When you have a kid, your food is no longer yours, your home is no longer yours, your time is no longer yours, your money is no longer yours, nothing is fucking yours....and you're ok with it.
I think that I wasn't or haven't been selfless in my work, and now that I am, my journey to selfless enlightenment is complete.
Everything is better when you let go.
Let go of anger, frustration, ego, stubbornness, anxiety, resentment, fear, and all those other debilitating emotions and a whole new world opens up.
I'm no spring chicken, and I know I have more years behind me than I do in front of me, so the reality is....I don't have time to be stunted by negative emotions.
Imagine how much more you could produce or achieve if you stopped being pissed off at things you have no control over or hatin' on some motherfucker, or concerning yourself with why your significant other has 2 bottles of olive oil open at the same time, or buys a pineapple every Sunday just to throw it out and buy another one next Sunday.
I've spent a third of my life explaining myself or my actions to others and I'm done.
I could very well revel in anger and frustration when my chick leaves garbage bags on the back porch instead of walking it down to the garbage can. I could be pissed off and demand an explanation, and in doing so wasting her time because now she has to explain an action that she's never even thought about, so now she's frustrated and angry, and I'm angry and the entire evening goes to shit, and in reality...I don't NEED to fucking know why she doesn't walk it down to the trash cans, it doesn't fucking matter.
Instead, I just walk it down. My life is no worse if I just shut the fuck up, and walk the trash down.
Just take the trash out people.
Not everything in life deserves your approval.
Most of our anger and frustrations stem from the petty.
Stop being a petty little bitch and watch the world open up to you.
Someone jacked your parking space...park elsewhere, someone spilled your drink...pour another one, someone took your clothes out of the dryer while they were still damp...put em' back in.
I'm gonna let ya'll in on a little secret...nobody gives a fuck about how good you are at calling people out on their shortcomings. In fact, most people probably think you're an asshole for your perfectly honed skill.
Whoa...for a second there I thought this would be the blog post where I didn't go off on a tangent, and just stay focused on a build me and my partner are really proud of.
Another happy failure in the books.
Take out the trash my friends...it ain't that bad.
Monday, October 30, 2017
I'm very aware that birds are on the list of "pets that die fairly quickly" along with goldfish and hamsters, but this little flying machine was dear to me.
She was acquired by accident.
I threw a shit fit when I was informed of her permanent residency at our house. "i'm not taking care of a goddamn bird!" was my initial response, until I walked up to her cage, stuck my face in the opening to mad dog this tiny creature, and she hopped over and began rubbing her head on my nose.
It was that moment in which this bird became MY bird.
Anyone else that would put their face or fingers in the cage would get pecked. When I would come home from work, if I did not immediately greet her, she would squawk and flap her wings wildly until I gave her a proper greeting.
As she grew more comfortable with the family, she would attempt to nest in my sons wild hair, and fly about the house landing on random people.
She was therapy for me.
Here we had this tiny delicate creature that would land on the lumbering resident Ogre, and make it be still. This little bird taught me to be still, and when I was still, my mind was still.
Fast forward to Sunday morning when I did my usual routine of removing her cage cover and expecting her usual little whistle that to me, in bird talk, she was saying "wus up"...I got no "wus up", in fact, I didn't even see her on her perch. I looked down, and there was my lil friend, on the bottom of the cage as dead as can be.
We were due to hit a pumpkin patch that afternoon, and I didn't want to fuck up my kids day, but I've always given things to my boy straight no chaser, so bring on the tears.
He hasn't really had to tackle loss directly. When my father passed, my son was fairly far removed from my fathers situation, so to him, it never seemed very real.
He was crushed...I was crushed...we were all crushed. Seeing my son weep from his soul was the most horrible thing I've ever had to witness.
After he calmed down, I said "we have to do some man work". We got a box, we each put in a trinket that represented us, and me and the boy proceeded to the yard to do Sunday morning grave digging.
Not really the father/son activity I was planning on that day.
Although the rest of the day was pretty somber, we managed a pretty decent day. My son articulated a lot of feeling he experienced, which I was very proud of, because for a child to be aware of what he or she is feeling, and then being able to have a discussion about it, is very important. Fuck...I wasn't even as sure of what I was feeling because I'm so accustomed to shoving pesky "feelings" down to the basement of my soul.
So, while many cool projects left the shop this week, this little situation took the front seat this week.
I sometimes use this blog as my therapy, and I'll usually work in things that were created just to stick to the format, but I felt that my fine feathered friend deserved a place of her own this time.
Fly free my friend. You'll be missed.
Monday, October 23, 2017
Butcher block top, and 4 stools that were hand bent and hand carved.
There are some people that will jump online and order up some stools for around $80 a pop and be perfectly happy, there are some people that are like "fuck that.", yeah, ya spend a little more, but after spending so much time, money and energy into a renovation, are you really gonna cheap out in the end? Some people...yes, these people...these people went all in.
When customers go all in, we go all out.
Fuck...I should quit making furniture and become a full time slogan writer! "We go all out, when you go all in, here at Theodore Bundy Toyota!"
Nah, I could do that shit all day, I'd have a little book of catchy sales slogans like the midget from the movie ELF.
We were out to dinner Friday night and the subject of working for someone came up, and I sat there listening to peoples "boss" stories, and I blurt out "can you imagine me working for someone else?" to which everyone got a chuckle before a "uh...no" response.
"Uh, hey Brian, I need you to email So and So Fuckerton, and have them give me the quarterly projections and blah, blah, blah..." to which I would not be able to control myself from responding "Bitch, in the time that it took you to waddle your fat ass over to my cubicle, and dictate what YOU want ME to tell THEM....You could've just knocked that shit out yourself and still had time to wedge another donut in your big fat face, you time wasting, inefficient bastard."
I'm not knocking people that do work for other people, in fact, I commend those people.
Trust me, if I was in the weeds, I could go work for some company and eat that shit sandwich everyday to keep the lights on, but only after exhausting every possible means of NOT living that cubicle life.
Sometimes I actually daydream about it. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all. All I have to do is show up on time, do the work that's handed to me, and then go the fuck home. I wouldn't have to buy my own pens or paper or computer or fax machine or pay for my own cell phone or coffee or water or sometimes lunch or transportation? THEN....they're gonna pay me to go on vacation and be sick every once in awhile? THEN...every year based on my performance they're gonna pay me a little more?
It looks really appealing written down, but then I wouldn't be able to do shit like make creepy baby head sculptures when I fuckin' got a hair in my ass to do so, or say "hey Zach, you're on fire bro! Don't put that shit out yet, I need to take a picture cause that's Instagram gold right there!" Or build someones piece with the selling point that it would be made solely while listening to SLAYER.
I'm going to guess that between me and Zach, over the last 3 years, we've collectively taken 6 work days off.
We have both navigated life with $20 in our checking accounts more over the last 3 years than any other time in our lives.
And for what?
Freedom to create. Being at the helm of your own boat. Taking 100% control of your own life.
The price you pay along the way requires a certain set of testicles.
Even if it all goes to shit one day, we can say we did it.
We went all in and went all out.
There are 2 ways to find out what you are made of.
The first one...get into a fight. You learn a whole lot about yourself after getting punched in the face.
The second one...start your own business.
Starting your own business makes getting punched in the face seem like a cruise ship massage.
The reason I even write about this shit is because I always get emails from people who want to do their craft full time, but at the end of most of these emails, they rattle off a laundry list of reasons that they can't pursue their craft.
I'm flattered that they confide in me, and maybe they figure that if a shithead like me can do it, anything is possible, but out of every email or message I've gotten, not one single person has given me a list of reasons about how they CAN pursue their craft.
I'm not a therapist or a consultant. My only vague advice is...find a way. If you really want it, you'll find a way.
I stopped listening to hopes and dreams a couple years ago.
I'll interrupt someones hopes and dreams speech and simply say "show me."
Don't tell me what the fuck you wanna do, show me.
I wanna fly like that Rocket Man guy from Dubai, I wanna ride a motorcycle cross country, I want a cabin in the woods, I have a lot of hopes and dreams that I never speak of because I don't have a solid plan to execute a single one of those...yet.
This right here, right now is the hope and dream that I'm working on.
Don't let your hopes and dreams remain a topic in conversation...go get em'.
Saturday, October 14, 2017
I wanna talk about art.
I wanna talk about it because I know a lot of people that plopped down in front of their laptop with their morning coffee, checking the blog to see what we made and read about me bitching and complaining of some wacky life situation, are scratching their head saying "what the fuck is this creepy shit?"
It's art. It's my art.
If you didn't think "what the fuck?" for at least a split second, then my "art" had failed.
I'm a realist. I'm not one to be blinded by my own greatness (tongue in cheek statement folks), and I'll bet dime to dollars that a pie chart of public opinion on my "art" would read something like this...
90% think it's creepy and weird and want nothing to do with it.
5% think it's creepy and weird, but are like "it's creepy and weird but it's kinda cool".
5% are like "yo....are those for sale?"
So high 5's to the lower 5's, and everyone else...allow me to explain...
There is something deep inside us. All of us. Even the most non creative mother fuckers out there...it's inside of you too. That 'something" is an urge to create.
Some people are dialed in to that urge and chase it to the ends of the earth. Some people don't know that their urge exists. Then there is the category that I place myself in, which houses people who are driven to always create, but not necessarily within the borders of what art can be defined as.
So right now people are like "what the fuck does that 3rd category mean?"
IT MEANS...some folks are always creating, it's just not always tangible. We create moments for our kids, we create a peaceful living environment for our family, we create a positive work space for our craft, we create relationships, and sometimes an urge tells us to create something that you can see and touch.
My "see and touch" happens to be some creepy fuckin babydoll head sculptures.
Those of you following might be thinking "ok, i get it, but why?"
I'm gonna tell you why.
1. Because the baby heads were there
2. Because I can.
Those who know me are able to look at these pieces and make fairly accurate assumptions. Those who don't know me can develop their own assumptions based solely on what they see.
Either way, my pieces have succeeded because someone is looking and thinking.
You might be looking at it thinking "what a weird piece of shit." but at least ya thought, at least it triggered a emotion, and maybe now you have clarity in knowing more about what you do and don't like.
That to me is the beauty of art...even if it's creepy.
Even shitty art can move you.
I remember being in this massive white room in the Phoenix Art Museum. The only painting in this room was a massive 30'X30' stark white canvas with a yellow dot in the middle.
I paced back and forth in that room, inspected this massive painting, scratching my head, looking utterly confused, and although I thought I was just thinking these words, I most certainly blurted out "what the fuck is this bullshit?".
Listen...it was bullshit. It was skill-less bullshit art, a total fucking scam of a piece of art...but was it?
I spent more time in front of that stupid fucking painting, it evoked more thinking and emotion than any other painting in that entire museum, I actually felt like I got scammed into liking this stupid ass painting, but it clicked in my head that it wasn't about liking or not liking, it was about understanding art.
I was able to get more out of a piece of art that I visually didn't enjoy, than most work that I do visually enjoy.
What a fuckin scammer, but brilliant.
Each one of these creepy baby heads has a story and meaning to me of which I will never divulge.
They were created for you to come to all of your own conclusions. You either choose to come up with your own, or you disregard, but I have never created a piece of art whilst giving a fuck what someone thinks of it.
We were put here to do more than pay bills and die...go create some shit.
Monday, October 9, 2017
The first 2 photos are a concrete and steel coffee table that we made for a great couple in Highwood Illinois.
There were some unusual details to be taken into consideration on this one...First, it needed to accommodate a pig underneath the table.
Not like a pig sculpture, or a pig shape pillow...a real pig.
The second consideration was making the top look like marble.
The pig accommodation, no problem, just a height adjustment, the marble effect...well, we had to wing it.
Here's the thing...you're never gonna know until you try, and the worse case scenario is that you have to make another top.
The last thing we wanted to do is make another top, so you start out real slow and build your way up to the effect you want. If you go all Jackson Pollock on that mother fucker, you're sure to be making another top.
It was a heavy son of a bitch to deliver to one of the most beautiful neighborhoods that I have ever stepped foot in, but the couple was thrilled and on our journey back to the shop, they had already sent us these beautiful photos.
The next piece is a retail display table for Jaunt.
Walnut slab, bent ear steel top.
Zach made a great point that the table was the perfect height for someones kid to lose a eyeball when they're playing tag in the store while mom shops, so he proceeded to weld 3/8" round stock around the entire top.
Do you ever just feel really good about the work you do?
It's a strange feeling sometimes.
Sometimes you're just broke as fuck, but you're churning out some really cool shit, and you just don't even care that you're broke as fuck, because you're making these bad ass pieces that you don't even know HOW you made such bad ass pieces.
That's called passion.
Either ya have it, or ya don't.
If ya don't...then you're in the wrong fuckin place.
If ya do...that passion has the ability to carry you way farther than you thought possible. .
If you follow Breclaimed on Instagram, you will see that I choose passion over product in and outside of my work.
There are many small business's that I support because of their passion, not because of their price.
Bweiss Leather, J10 customs, Zace denim, Nobrandedon, Witness Company, Bravestar Selvedge, Freenote Cloth, Stock MFG, Mister Freedom, Agenda Trading Company are just a few.
These people live their craft. They eat, sleep, shit, fuck their craft everyday.
Not one of those company's started doing what they do because they thought they were gonna get rich.
For me personally, I like to have a connection to the things I own. I like a little bit of back story. I like to know the things I buy are either one offs or made in small batches.
I look at that coffee table from the customers perspective and think "how fucking cool is that?", dudes designed it, built it, and then set it on my rug in front of my couch. Beats the hell out of loading boxes in your car, dragging those boxes in your house, trying to follow directions with little tiny drawings of things that are supposed to fit together, and once you do figure out the Swedish hieroglyphs, that piece has to stay exactly where you assembled it because if you move it, it falls apart. And all for what? You saved a few bucks on something that will end up in a dumpster in the not so distant future.
Look, buy what the fuck ya want, I base my purchases on not only what I want or need, but on it's quality, where it came from, and the fact that my single purchase could possibly change someones life.
When I order a custom leather wallet...that person can now pay their cell phone bill that month...yeah, it's THAT personal, I'd rather help that mother fucker out than add zeros to Amazons future earnings projections.
Most people don't give a shit...as long as it's cheap...that thinking makes zero sense to me."Check out my shoes...they were $12, yeah my toes are bleeding, but they'll stretch out...$12...can't beat it", no I can't beat it cause I have no desire to beat it.
My mom buys my kid the most flammable pajamas on earth cause they're cheap. If it's over 75 degrees he'll burst into flames, but she got 6 pair for $5, I mean fuck...can't beat it.
Save the whales, adopt a puppy, sponsor a child in Africa for .69 cents a day, and shop small to save the working class.
Monday, October 2, 2017
Their customer was looking for a unique bar height table for their theater room.
3.5" top, steel X base, and hand bent railroad spike purse hooks underneath. You won't find that shit at Pottery Barn.
Check out Jaunt for funky stuff or custom pieces for your home or business.
The next piece is a prototype.
We have partnered up with a very talented and interesting woman...my mom.
Since my father passed away a little over a month ago, one of my main concerns was my mom staying busy and active.
Loneliness is a silent killer.
After spending damn near 50 years with someone, and then suddenly, they're gone, and you're left alone...well...we all know someone who has rapidly declined in that situation, and I'll be damned if I sit back and watch that happen.
My brother and sister have been instrumental in hanging out with mom. They live very close, while if I make the journey on a Friday after work...it's a 2 hour drive.
My mom has always knit and crocheted.
There was never a shortage of sweaters, hats, mittens, scarves, afghans, and even a couple of Halloween costumes thrown in the mix (she knit me a Batman costume as a kid...my therapist says I'll be ok) around our house.
She even made any child molesters dream come true when she knit each of us an army green sweater with our names knitted in huge white letters on the front, so when that windowless van pulled up to the park, and the creepy guy poked his head out the window and said "Hey, uh...BRIAN...you're uh...mom wanted me to uh...pick you up and take you to uh...Toys-R-Us...yeah, yeah Toys-R-Us"...I'm like "well fuck, dude knows my name, and I like Toys-R-Us, so fuck it, lets roll out"...and just like that, my face is on a milk carton thanks to that damn sweater.
Regardless of her failed attempt at getting us kids abducted, she's extremely talented.
I asked her to knit me some tiny hanging bags for this wall mount coat rack.
She had a million questions to which I answered "there's no real plan, just do as you see fit".
Ya see, THAT'S the hard part.
When someone gives you all the information you need to make something, well, at that point, you're just applying the proper steps. When you need to create the information, THAT is what gets the gears spinning.
Get this womans gears spinning.
Even if it's these simple little bags, it keeps her eyes off of "Dancing With The Stars", at least for a little bit, and maybe get a little creative, a little distracted, maybe get a little sense of pride and purpose, cause lets face it...when you lose your partner of damn near 50 years, depression is just waiting to pounce, and if it gets a hold of you, it will cripple you, and proceed to kill you.
We're Irish...we're a tough brood, but are we really tough, or are we just really proficient and jamming our feelings and emotions down into the deepest, darkest, depths of our soul? Fuck, I dunno. This is all coming from a guy that operates off of 2 emotions...pissed off and not pissed off.
So, in terms of these little handmade bags, they're versatile in the sense that you can hang em on our coat rack, a door knob, pack toiletries in them and chuck em' in your luggage, put in on your head like a chin strap beanie, fuckin' whatever. At the end of the day, they have a purpose, and to me that purpose is bigger than holding stuff.
Hopefully I can get to the point where I stand over my mom with a stick in some creepy warehouse and spend my day yelling "KNIT FASTER! KNIT FASTTTTER!!!!!" Nah, I just want her to feel good.
If you can keep your mind and body in motion, you can live a long productive life, but once you slam on the brakes, your chances for survival dwindle.
Let's keep it movin' folks.
Monday, September 25, 2017
It's Sunday, and there's school tomorrow, so I send my boy upstairs to get ready to take a shower. He scurry's up the stairs with no protest, and as I'm walking to the stairs, I hear 6 gun shots in quick succession.
I turn and yell for everyone to get in the house and sprint to the front, where I see a tan,older, mini van speeding down our street. I see the car in front of our house, back window blown out, bullet holes in the driver side door, and the man in the driver seat with one hand on the wheel and the other on his neck.
Laura is screaming at me to "get in the fucking house", but I'm oddly calm and say "but it's already over, they're gone".
I call 911, she runs up to our house to find my boy standing in our living room with his hands over his ears, saying "I don't wanna die-I don't wanna die".
She takes my boy upstairs to his cousins house, and we're all in front of the house as swarms of police pull up. All the neighbors have made their way outside now, and everyone has a sort of glazed over look on their face.
This is Chicago.
We see it on the news everyday here, but that summer Sunday, we were the news,
Too close. Way too fucking close.
After talking to various police this week, we are smack dab in the middle of an all out gang war.
Spanish Disciples vs. Saints (who apparently are far from saintly).
The drive by...I can handle. Shit heads killing shit heads....no tears rolling down my cheeks for that shit.
It's how we have to live now, it's how I have to make my son feel safe, it's how this entire block that I live on, is on pins and needles.
The kids? They've changed.
That's what has me all kinds of fucked up. Their whole world changed that Sunday evening, and there is no going back. You don't un-see what they saw. They feel our tension.
My grim hope is that the Disciples and Saints kill everyone that they need to kill...quickly.
How do you rebuild a sense of safety in a child? I don't know, but I'd like to take a crack at it sooner than later.
It'd be great if gangs settled their differences in more of a West Side Story manner, just dance those differences away. If that was the case, I'd totally be looking forward to gang wars...walking down 24th street, snapping and strutting, then BAM! Dance fight!
Shit, maybe I'd join a gang. I'd lose every dance fight, but always live to dance another day.
Life goes on, and while we keep pushing forward, a live edge man cave rolling bar table was created for Jaunt of Action Heights.
Lot's of details in that slab. Bow tie"s to keep the cracks from cracking, hand painted epoxy filler added in all the other cracks and voids.
The next one is a upholstered giant ottoman/table with a drop in steel tray for holding Kool-Aid and Cheetos (I'm just assuming that's gonna be their snack choices).
This has been the summer where me and Zach have pushed the envelope in our work.
Always evolving. A sense that there isn't anything outside of our range.
Mid-Century, French Country, Industrial, Modern, Rustic....bring it on. A one trick pony is only good for one trick, and eventually, that trick gets old.
Stay safe. Hug yer kids. Kick some ass this week.
Monday, September 18, 2017
Andy picked up a new condo in Logan Square and chose us to make a couple statement pieces.
This is why I love my job.
Andy comes to the shop, gives us some insight on what he likes, and then is basically like "make me cool shit for my home"...Done and Done bro.
Sometimes you meet people, you see their space, and you just can not, for the life of you, read their style. With Andy, it was real easy.
The best part of it all is when you lug it in and put it in place, and their face is saying "fuck yeah, my space is becoming a home".
How much easier can it get?
No driving from store to store trying to find something that fits your space. You search and search, and eventually you just settle for some bullshit, then end up hating that bullshit a month later.
None of that.
Come by the shop, we'll swing by your place and make you what you want, and the kicker is....10000 people aren't going to have the same thing as you.
Doesn't it suck when someone comes to your house and is like "oh yeah, we have that dining table....we got it on sale." and in the back of your mind, you now wanna launch that dining table out of your window and tell those people to get the fuck out of your house.
We're here to prevent that.
We'll make you cool stuff, and you get to keep your friends and not smash the dog shitting in your front yard with the dining table you just hurled off of your balcony.
That's my sales pitch...enjoy.
Alright, so Saturday night we had a barbecue for my son's grandmothers birthday.
After the festivities, my son asked if he could spend the night at his cousins house.
This is most parents wet dream, but for me...not so much.
His mom was working, and I, for the first time in 7.5 years, was alone.
I'm used to my lil dude by my side, and found myself pacing the house for about 10 minutes before I started desperately searching NETFLIX for something not animated, or about superheros or talking dogs. I started and stopped about 4 different movies before I decided to stare out the window.
Is this what life would be without my son?
I guess If I had more notice I could've gone to Riot Fest, but I hate big crowds and I hate big festivals, so that wouldn't be an option. I don't drink, so I wouldn't be bar hopping.
What would I do on a Saturday night?
Go to the shop and work?
Really? Is that my option? Work.
I don't know man, but after 7.5 years of fixing Legos, getting kids a variety of juices, riding go karts, playing video games, reading scary stories, watching animated movies about fucking feelings and shit...THAT is the life for me.
That little son of a bitch was gone for a total of one hour and twenty minutes before I realized just how much I need that shit that I bitch about in my life.
So I'm staring out the window on a Saturday night having a fucking panic attack about what I'm gonna do when this boy becomes a man and bounces?
THAT is what I did on my Saturday night. Shit....Riot Fest wasn't sounding so bad after all.
I ended up eating an entire pint of Ben and Jerry's in the dark, while listening to my dog snore...Brian McQuaid you are a party fucking animal.
Without my son, I'm about as fun as an adult circumcision procedure.
Even now, Sunday at 8:14am, I desperately await his arrival.
I've already done dishes, done laundry, went to the gym, cleaned a pair of boots and wrote a fucking blog, all while trying to just fill the time between consciousness and my lil dudes return home.
Don't take shit for granted, and don't eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's in the dark, cause both of those things will make you feel lousy.
Monday, September 11, 2017
I rarely check voicemails, but for some reason, I actually listened to it.
It was from the Chicago Police.
I called the number back, and the officer asked if I knew a certain person.
I did, and I asked the officer if everything was ok, to which he responded "he's dead", to which I responded "dead isn't in the neighborhood of ok...self inflicted?" The officer asked why I would imply that (which is brilliant work Columbo), I said "well, he's fairly young, in decent health to the best of my knowledge, and since you're calling me...I'm ruling out car accident and shark attack. The officer chuckled on the other end, and I believe accidentally mumbled "self inflicted..." as if almost a question to himself.
He was looking for family contacts, to which I had none, and it all kinda ended there.
I knew the deceased was troubled. To the extent that would cause a man with a new business and a 4 year old son to off himself...I had no idea.
Suicide...we hear that shit way too often these days.
There are depressed people. There are people that are chemically fucked up. There are people that off themselves due to the side effects of medication.
My theory on the leading cause of suicide is...LIFE.
Sometimes life becomes too much.
Sometimes we dig ourselves into such a deep hole that we can't even see a pinhole of light from the entry point of our proverbial hole.
There's no cure for LIFE.
I don't always mean to be the insensitive fuck that I usually am, but all the people that I know that were killed by LIFE, they made a metric shit ton of bad decisions.
Sometimes we all need a hand. Sometimes we lend a hand to friends in need. When these people just continue to make bad decision after bad decision...well, we start to not really give a fuck.
All of my friends and acquaintances are adults. I have on many occasions gave that helping hand, and I have turned my back on equally as many.
Cause I'm a fucking dick head?
No, because when I've gone above and beyond in 99% of those situations, my help was shat upon and I became a crutch.
The same life that is killing you, is trying to fuckin kill me too. So, while the axe wielding life is chasing us through the woods, and you're wildly running and flailing and screaming, I'm navigating the woods with the precision of some world champion Parkour kid.
To my friends that are clinically depressed, emotionally imbalanced, or the ones that will actually value my advice or appreciate my helping hand...I'm here for you 1000%.
To the ones that do the same dumb shit over and over...go fuck yourself, I'm not buying a new black suit for your outro party.
Everyday LIFE kicks me in the balls. I've learned to take it like a champ and move forward.
In moving forward we managed to knock out this cool little industrial light fixture for my buddy Dr. Andrew Carr (who has a fucking brain tumor and fights to live everyday and doesn't talk about painting the walls with his brains because some chick dumped him, or he's 2 car payments behind, or he blew his life savings on blow).
The other forward mention via photography, is a entry bench with a bunch of bullet casings mortised in.
I call shit like I see it. Always have, always will.
I know suicide is a real touchy subject, and I fully understand the medical side of depression and chemical imbalances. There's no treatment for a dumb mother fucker that can't help themselves from constantly doing dumb shit.
One of the many gifts I received from becoming a father was learning a very valuable lesson. The lesson I learned is that life isn't all about me.
Many people depend on me every day, and I simply can't afford to do dumb shit and make horrible decisions.
Yeah, it'd be a blast to blow all my money on cocaine and strippers and then possibly gamble away whatever money I can scam or steal, but that's really not conducive to what I've struggled to build.
Ok, that's nice and depressing for a Monday morning.
Try to make it through the day without killing yourself...somebody probably needs you around.
Monday, August 28, 2017
My kid went back to school, which signals the death of summer, and my father passed away.
My fathers passing wasn't unexpected. His health had been taking a nose dive since February, and while we all knew it was only a matter of time, his actual death still felt like a liver punch.
My family is a resilient bunch.
My father was tough as nails, and that trait was handed down to all of us.
While waiting for his body to be picked up, my sister went and got beer and sandwich's, and we raised our cups to our old man, and proceeded to comfort ourselves with laughter.
It felt good to all be together like that in my mothers living room. There will most likely be a lot more of those moments now, because It hit me that for the first time in 49 years, my mother is truly...alone.
Loneliness is a cancer, and right now, my mothers children are chemo.
I'd mostly only see my sister on holidays, my brother and mom, a little more frequently, but I think that is about to change. It's like in hockey, when a player gets sent to the penalty box, the team tightens it the fuck up.
Work continued. Work has always been comfort for me. Whenever the world has kicked me in the balls, work has been therapy.
The productive distraction.
New live edge rolling bar for Jaunt in Arlington Heights, and a butcher block breakfast table for a nice couple who are building their dream home.
My blog posts have always been their best when I'm pissed off about something.
I'm not pissed off about anything (for a change), I'm just...foggy.
Bear with me, the fog will clear, it always does.
Until I'm able to make you all chuckle a bit before your Monday morning commute, or give you something to ponder at your desk...I'm gonna take a little hiatus.
Until then...Hug your loved ones, piss in your enemy's coffee, make art, speak your mind, and embrace life.
Monday, August 21, 2017
We found out that our vendor application was accepted only 5 days before the event and these 2 lamps were the product of a time crunch in order to have some shit to actually sell at the fair.
We had a few things laying around, but you have to fill up a 10X10 tent in order to capture peoples attention.
These things are tough for guys like us because no one goes to these things expecting to drop $500 on a coffee table. They come there for shitty food and cheap sun glasses.
The first lamp is made from a gas pump that I found in the parking lot of our shop.
I have a new respect for the gas pump, because I had no idea how complicated the inner workings were. You would think you just wash out the fuel and feed your lamp cord through and VOILA...lamp. Yeah...there was no VOILA'.
I hoped in my heart of hearts that the lamp wouldn't sell because I really wanted to keep it.
It sold, and now every time I put $10 on pump 1, I think about chopping that handle off and making a run for another lamp.
The next lamp stemmed from an idea I had for a steel lamp shade, but the shade is where my idea ended. I made the shade, and then I was like "now what?".
That's when you just stare at a piece of steel and pace and stare some more, and you mock up all these sucky contraptions until you simplify your thoughts.
Simple can save a idea real quick.
It's so easy to over think. It's easy to get caught up in your own creative nuttiness and not be able to see the forest through the trees.
So for 30 hours over 2 days, me and Zach sat in our 10X10 tent shucking our wares.
If we were to play the "cool stuff" drinking game, in which we would have to take a shot every time someone walked in our tent and said "cool stuff man" then promptly walked the fuck out, both of our livers would have exploded in the first 20 minutes.
The general interest was overwhelmingly positive, but goddamn if you don't encounter some of the rudest most ignorant people that ever fell out of a vagina.
"So uh....what do you guys do?"....um...we're not selling corn dogs, so let's work on those process of elimination skills, or "are those railroad spikes?"...I assume you were born in captivity, so yes, those are indeed railroad spikes.
The absolute best is the jackass that says "yeah...I do this kind of stuff"...oh really fuck wad? Where's your booth, cause I'd love to check out your stuff, oh...you don't have a booth, ok, do you have any pictures on your phone? No? Oh, so you haven't actually MADE anything, but you got a Ryobi tool kit last Christmas, that's cute, but standing in a garage doesn't make you a car.
Then we get the jerkoff who just discovered the internet and proceeds to show you pictures of other peoples shit. Well hey man, feel free to snap some photos of our stuff so if you ever meet that guy from Portland who makes wine bottle holders from gas pipe, you can offend the shit outta him too by showing him pictures of OUR stuff.
Then, as day turns to night...you get the drunks.
There was this dude swaying in front of our bar cart for a good 45minutes. I told Zach that this guy is either gonna try to fuck it, or puke on it, but either way he's buying it.
What I did learn from this outing is that i t's always the people who you least expect to buy something, that buy the biggest ticket items.
There were several sales where someone would be like "I want that, I'll be back", and me and Zach would roll our eyes, and 20 minutes later, some young couple is carrying a table 3 blocks through a street fair to load up their new table on the roof of their Honda.
For a socially awkward guy like myself, these things are painful, but it forces me to engage strangers.
I had to talk to a lot of people that I would feel more comfortable choking out, but I also talked to a lot of really interesting people, one couple in particular told me their love story which almost brought me to tears, another couple reminded me of the people I hung out with growing up, so you just never know who you're gonna meet.
While sales and self promotion were the goal, I also learned to be a little more open and accepting of people. I'm a overly guarded, incredibly proud and protective individual who learned how to open up a little to people that weekend.
While taking home a pocket full of cash was nice, chipping away at my social awkwardness is something a little more permanent.
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Why in the fuck are the news outlets throwing out the phrase "NUCLEAR WAR" like they're talking about a new APP that makes you look like a chicken or some other barnyard animal?
I don't know how any of you grew up, but "NUCLEAR WAR" wasn't a phrase that was thrown around lightly.
Here's the thing...I have a 7 year old boy. This 7 year old child of mine is convinced we're going to die from a tornado every time it fucking drizzles, so when he's flipping through channels and these news stations are spitting out "NUCLEAR WAR" left and fuckin' right, I get the pleasure of explaining what exactly nuclear war is.
"Well Max, you see, a lot of countries have these bombs. When these bombs fall from the sky and hit the earth...they vaporize, and by "vaporize", I mean they fucking kill every living thing within a 7 to 21 mile radius per bomb, fuckin' crazy shit, right?...Let's go get yogurt."
There are 2 subjects that a population should not be desensitized to.
1. NUCLEAR FUCKING WAR
I was at the gym this morning. They have Televisions everywhere (why? I don't know), 17 times on 17 different televisions I saw the phrase "nuclear war"...that number is only when I actually started to count.
Local or global annihilation isn't something that you just throw around.
Yes...Our president is getting his ass handed to him in the polls, and we all know that nothing brings those numbers up like a good ol' fucking war.
Mr. President, I don't know if anyone has informed you, but, you have job security for the next 3 plus years, unless you do something even more ridiculously fucked up then all the other ridiculously fucked up shit you do on a daily basis, you Twitter Critter.
So, don't mind the poll numbers, you're a one and done president anyway.
"Make America Great"....waiting....still waiting.
Americans...there are a lot of Americans that are great. You Mr. President...ya need some work.
Is Kim Jong a fucking cuckoo bird? You are goddamn right he is. Crazy people speak of nuclear war, not civilized rational political leaders.
"FIRE AND FURY"....Brilliant war slogan. I'm in "SHOCK AND AWE" over how great that slogan is.
I'm not Trump bashing cause people get so fucking sensitive. I'm nuclear war propaganda bashing.
Put me in a room with both of these assholes so I can break down nuclear war for them. I don't even need to do any fact checking, I'm just going to revert back to my 6th grade enlightenment.
"Mr.Preident...Fat weird Korean guy...In the event of nuclear war everything dies. Everything. See that fruit fly...dead. Babies...dead. Birds...dead. Anything that can be classified as "alive"...dead. Everything. Your momma...dead. The lady that fixes your wig...dead. Dead, dead, fucking dead.
So, you two mother fuckers might wanna figure some shit out.
Kim...you go on starving your people and pretending that you're globally relevant, and Mr. President, you go on making your rich friends richer, and we the people will go on navigating your bullshit and being content with teeny tiny bits of pleasure being sprinkled on us every now and then."
Watching this shit unfold is the equivalent of watching two drunk assholes arguing in a bar, except these 2 drunk assholes have nuclear weapons in their trunks out in the parking lot.
Ok, I'm done.
French Country...not out style, but it was damn sure fun building outside of our comfort zone.
When you become so accustomed to building the foundations of your pieces with steel, and then revert back to wood, it felt really weird.
Everything has it's place and position. When a piece calls for a particular style, you have to be able to answer the call.
The last piece, which called us back to our roots is a 9' long bar table.
I really hope we don't slip into a nuclear winter, because there are so many new and interesting projects coming in, and it's hard to hit deadlines when you've been vaporized.
Monday, July 31, 2017
First one is a stereo cabinet with speaker stands.
There was a very unique process used for the side panels. There is a deep texture to the wood created by sanding down the light grain to create a valley in the wood.
When I say sanding, I mean 3 to 4 hours per panel of sanding and shaping.
Did the customer request that??? No they did not. You do what the piece dictates sometimes, even if it's at an expense to us. In this case the expense was time, and time is more valuable than money.
The next piece is a bar cabinet for a really cool programmer who lives in the Wicker Park/Bucktown area in Chicago.
Sometimes you meet customers that make you want to blow their fuckin' minds. We walked away from our field measure saying "yeah, we're gonna kill it for this motherfucker".
That's the fun part of our job.
Giving people more than they expect.
Take our leash off, watch us run, you won't be disappointed.
Even though things have been hectic and stressful, you embrace the chaos and let the chaos lead you.
That's the trick.
It's like being caught in a rip current. If you fight it and try to swim straight in, you're gonna fuckin' die, but if you swim with it, and cheat your way towards shore, you're gonna have a kick ass story about how you almost fuckin died at sea.
It's never the piece or the work involved that creates the stress, it's peoples time frame.
Everyone is in a big fuckin hurry for a inanimate object.
Bars, Restaurants...I get it. The doors gotta open, ya gotta recoup that money, The schedules are break neck, for every trade involved.
We're adapting to the pace, we're learning to navigate the clock.
I blame Amazon for our society's "need it now" mentality.
I remember ordering something on Amazon, and if I ordered in the next 4 hours and 52 minutes...I could get it TODAY. What?
That's great and all, but it is grooming our society for instant gratification, and people are having a harder time coping with having to wait for something.
If you were searching for a "mate", do you really want to fuck on the first date, or do you wanna hold hands, revel in that first kiss goodnight, wait a couple days before you see them again, maybe spend a little more time making out, palm the booty, send em off anticipating 2nd. base....finally working up to that moment ya'll get it on.
Maybe it doesn't even work that way anymore, because now there are websites you can join where people can just fuck each other.
I'm a caveman. My mind is still blown that I can "track a package". I don't even track my packages anymore cause I get high off of the anticipation.
I recently had a killer wallet made from BWEISS LEATHER (check him out on etsy and instagram).
We communicated back and forth about my custom wallet. Once I got a feel for where his head and his heart was at, I chucked all my design ideas out the window and was like "bro, do your thang, have fun with it."
I didn't want to know anything about it, or the process, or how long it would take. I wanted the artist to take his time and create something HE was proud of.
An artist is most critical of their own work, so in my mind, if this motherfucker is happy with what he created, then I will not be disappointed...and I damn sure wasn't.
The moral of the story is...be patient.
Life moves fast enough as it is.
There's very little gratification in instant gratification.
No Amazon...I do NOT want it today.
Monday, July 17, 2017
I'm not a sports guy, but oddly enough, I'm a math guy.
While Tavern 57 isn't necessarily a sports bar, the owner explained to us that the 57 came from two of Chicago's greatest sports figures...Walter Payton and Michael Jordan, number 34 and 23...34+23=57.
That was explained to us after loading in a 300lb. solid steel DJ booth. That little tidbit of mathematical information helped take the edge off the fact that I was pretty sure I left my spinal cord on Wrightwood ave after squeezing that beast through the door.
The owners aesthetic, the location, the theme of the establishment, and our aesthetic, all formed a type of mathematical equation that equated into a very warm, slick tavern with just enough edge to lure in a diverse clientele.
It was some of the most brutally paced work that we have done to date, but a lot of fun in the fury of the build.
Walk into a custom shop to get a table made...your lead time is always 6 to 8 weeks, in high season you can jack that lead time to 12 to 14 weeks. In this case...32 line items in 45 days.
If you're in Chicago, check out Tavern 57.
To celebrate the completion of that project, I took Friday off and that evening took my 7 year old to see KISS.
He's loved KISS since he was about 2. I have fond memories of him performing "Back in the New York groove" in nothing but a diaper, and a little guitar, in the kitchen.
He's been to hardcore/punk shows before, but this was the first big budget rock show for him.
When we got to the venue, Megadeath had just started and he got as big of a yawn outta that as I did.
We headed to the food area and got some second rate dinner just as Mashuggah was going on.
We scarffed down our food, headed to stage, I threw him up on my shoulderes so he could see the band. While he was up on my shoulders, he's tiny hands were dangling at my face where I could see he was trying to adjust his fingers into a proper metal devil horns position. With a little guidance, the proper devil horns were positioned and that was the last I saw of those tiny hands.
All while this child was on my shoulders, sweaty metal heads where "high 5ing" my boy and giving me nods of metal approval.
As the sun went down, we made our way back to the main stage where Rob Zombie prepared my son for what was to come.
The lights, the rock cliche' banter, a giant robot on stage...I looked over at my boy and could literally see his little brain processing the performance.
After Zombie, we had some time to kill before KISS, so decided to walk around and hunt for snacks.
My son had a new swagger.
He wanted to walk ahead of me, and from behind he looked like a miniature Kirk Hammet from Metallica. As we navigated the crowd, he received more high 5ing, and devil horn exchanges.
Within this sea of misfits, my boy felt welcomed and accepted.
When we first walked in the gates, he clenched my hand like he was hanging off of a cliff, but with 55000 poorly tattoo'd, stinky metal fans embracing his attendance... that grip loosened, then became non-existent.
We made our way back to our seats and a massive KISS banner blocked the view of the entire stage.
The stadium lights went out. The announcement was about to come..."you wanted the best, you got the best, the hottest band in the world...KISS!
BOOM! Banner drops, lights blind the crowd, explosions, devil horns up in the air...fuckin' KISS.
This 7 year old boy sitting next to me was no longer a 7 year old boy. He changed.
As Kiss played on, a chill blew in, and this young man burrowed into me for warmth.
For a few hours we were 2 dudes at a rock show.
As it grew cold and late, he became my 7 year old son who relied on me for comfort...until KISS burst into Rock-n-roll all night, and he stood up in his seat to sing along with his 55000 new friends.
These little moments, they're woven together to create a thing called life.
Sunday, July 9, 2017
Signs, bar tops, sinks, stair treads, concrete pads, tables, shelving, sign backers, FRP panels, and a slew of other pieces that I can't even remember.
No staff, just 2 guys furiously building.
Do I enjoy the pace? Fuck no I do not...I'm old. I'm feeling my years over these last 6 weeks.
We're in round 5 of a UFC title fight, battered and bloody, but we're ahead on the judges score cards.
Just when we're at that brink of collapse, we deliver more pieces and the owners are happy, and THAT is what fuels us for the next round.
The next blog post will include the final product, but at this point, we haven't even had time to snap photos.
A lot of things have happened over the last 6 weeks personally...my fathers failing health and my friends brain tumor took the front row, causing me to question my own mortality.
We are at the whim of the universe. What that bitch says...goes.
Instead of pondering life and death, I chose to just live.
By choosing to live, I mean really enjoying the moments that I have.
Reading in a hammock, night swims with the family, water balloon fights, ice cream on the stoop. Those little moments are the living part of life, you just have to see them for that.
It's so fuckin' easy to get caught up in your own bullshit, that you don't see these moments as significant, but here's a news flash...when they're gone...they're gone, and if you missed them because your head was elsewhere, the only one that loses, is you.
I don't need a lot to make me happy. I'm a really simple man.
I catch a lot of shit because people assume that I don't give a fuck about anything, when the reality is that I do give a fuck, I just don't give a fuck about YOUR bullshit.
Your boss is stupid...I don't give a fuck...you feel fat...I don't give a fuck...you're tired...I don't give a fuck.
If you don't give a fuck about all your shitty situations enough to do something about them, then how can you remotely expect me to join your pity party.
I'm 110% behind anyone trying to change something that they're not happy about. I'm 0% interested in anyone looking to just vent.
Get a fuckin kitten, tell that pussy about all your problems.
The other day I was in the backyard and somebody decided to go on a rant for an hour plus about their work situation. I was sitting on a bench and literally fell asleep sitting up. Everyone noticed me sleeping except the person rambling on about their job. I didn't need to be part of that conversation, no one did.
They'll go back to work Monday and guess what...it's still gonna suck. Nobody privy to all the information vomited out during that conversation is able to do anything about it.
Am I an asshole?
No...I'm a realist.
I believe that everyone is in control of their own lives and situations. I'm not capable of feigning interest. It's all empty.
Someone backed into your car? That sucks, get it fixed...conversation over. We could spend the next hour talking about how you've been horribly wronged in such a situation, but l just don't care to.
There's a very powerful photo I saw of a missionary pouring water into a starving African childs mouth...I want to print that photo, laminate it, and carry it with me, so when someone starts to tell me about their dining experience where the chicken was so fuckin' dry, I can pull it out and hold it to their face and say "real problems".
You can very easily say "Brian...all you ever do is bitch on your blog"...yeah, yeah I do, but I don't make the 53,400 people read it every Monday, feel free to jump over to youtube and watch videos of monkeys jagging off.
The real asshole isn't me. It's the ones that entertain the conversation and egg it on, but most likely give less of a fuck than I do. They're just waiting for their chance to chime in about their misery, and I personally don't care to exchange useless information about shitty situations.
I've given enough advice that goes completely ignored to know better than to make suggestions.
In removing myself from these situations, I've discovered that it's much easier to deal with my problems and enjoy more of my life.
If that makes me an asshole....Then I'm an asshole.