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deep south

Friday, May 27, 2005

Came off the plane into a colossal, mighty storm; southern style. One with clouds so heavy of liquid they loitered in the warm wind regaling me with a warm sponge bath. Lightening banged itself insanely across the sky emphasizing the fact that yes, I had indeed entered into the depths of the south. The humidity wrapped itself around me and I felt myself falling into a heated water bed. I have escaped the cold (though not the rain) of Portland and feel instantly comforted. I was born here. I hated it here so I left here. But each time I step off the plane into that wet sauna I feel ahhhh, so soft.

Jackson, MS. I have come to visit my mama because I need some recuperation time as I am always tired. My entire body has been covered in some weird stress related rash for 6 months now. I am so tired that I dream of not waking again. My fear of death has obviously receded to the point reversing upon itself. At night I even compose letters in my head to my daughter so that she will be sure to know of all the things I wanted to tell her before I became burdened with a cancer so queer that I died within the week. I wonder if everyone becomes more comfortable with death as they age. I hope to pass somewhat gracefully but after watching 6 feet under, truly one of my favorite shows ever, I hope for a passing with a bit more humor than grace. Maybe everyone will do me a service and don shirts sporting "I came to Andrea's funeral and all I got was this lousy t-shirt".

I am currently interviewing for a position at Baby Wit and there isn't much I detest more than hiring except for firing. I have always had difficulty working for others so I can only assume that the person I am hiring feels the same way. I want to make the job as fun and rewarding as possible but are only so many things one can do to make a part-time slave job rewarding and fun.

I love to quit jobs but that doesn't look possible right now. I am so good at quitting jobs that one year I had over 14 w-2s. I am so good at quitting that people don't even know I am quitting. The last job I ever had I was shuffled into a marketing group run by a woman I absolutely detested. The company was undergoing massive layoffs and with my big fat salary I kept hoping I was next in line but wave after wave came and went and I was still there under the domination of one Ms. Carine M (huge anger management issues) whom I took great pleasure in driving to the edge. One day she dragged me into a room for a 'pep' talk and began gesticulating wildly and bleating out muted verbal expectations (one of my favorite lines from an Alice Donut song) (people on the other side of the glass found it was a fairly amusing) and I think the people above finally got that Carine and I would never be able to productively function as a 'team'. But, I did finally achieve the glam lay off status and walked away from the entire experience realizing that each of jobs I had slaved away at had somehow contributed to making me more able to start my own gig. I think my favorite by far was at a start up company run by 3 of the biggest male geeks I have had the pleasure of interacting with. One of them was totally sexually frustrated, the other a drunk and the third was surprisingly well adjusted and rounded out the trio quite nicely. They were all grads from Stanford so the company was aptly named STG (standford technology group.) It was a real start up. I was often the only one in the office and my job was to make their office appear to be occupied. I admit that I spent quite a bit of time sleeping on the floor in the mornings as I was not used to an 8 am shift and was usually hung over as well (drinking played a huge part in my life back then and if any of you have bartended, cooked or waitressed you can attest that it just comes with working in a restaurant.) But, it was at this job over a span of a year in where I learned that a computer was much more than the word processor I had used it for in college. If David had not hired me I might still be serving a late night crowd over at the Grub Steak off of Polk St.

I digress. Back to hiring. The pool of applicants in Portland is amazing. While interviewing I found a new designer! You should see some interesting tees coming your way soon using a different method of application than the heat transfers we are known for. Experimental and fun. I narrowed it down to four applicants and have to decide when I get back.

I just had the best BBQ ever at Tabb's in Greenville. The gregarious owner won't let you leave wanting for more. Before you get up from his 18 foot long picnic tables he clambors over to ask if you have had your fill as he has a heap more in the back. I am bringing back 3 lbs of his pulled pork because I can't get anything nearly this good in Portland. I had it for lunch and dinner yesterday. Mmmm mmmmm good.

BTW, they do not sell organic food in Leland and forget trying to find a pure fruit juice.

On packaging. I hate huge amounts of packaging so I have tried to streamline it as much as possible. The result from a packaging study by the DEQ determined that plastic is far more environmentally sound than the use of paper when considering both up and down stream enviornmental effects. I use plastic but the thought of it sitting in a landfill (or ending up on some forest floor) for 6 generations or more is really disturbing so I invested $ in a new biodegradable plastic that actually degrades within 6 months in a landfill. It turns into hummus. Really cool. Now the person who wrote the report told me that although they did not look at this biodegradable plastic in their report, that it produces methane gas as it degrades in the landfill and this is bad for the ozone. You can't win if you use packaging but trying to figure out what the least harmful packaging is certainly filled with surprises.

On union shops. I have spent almost a year trying to get my shirts made in a union shop and if the one I am waiting on doesn't come through I am going to use the manufacturer that toy bitch uses as she toured the factory and it seemed more than friendly to its workers. I am way behind where I wanted to be at this point because of this wait and I am beginning to realize that trying to do the right thing may result in unwanted results. Get this…a union shop (one of only a handful in the US) was found to have been purchasing Gildan shirts (total sweatshop goods), cutting out the tags and sewing in union tags! The head of the labor union has been sporting one around this past year. Ouch.

I gotta run as my aunt is buying us lunch today...

Joke of the Year

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Q: How many Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None. There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; its conditions are improving every day.
Any reports of its lack of incandescence are a delusional spin from the liberal media. That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect. Why do you hate freedom?

I am off to visit my mom this next week in good ole' Missisippi. Taking Ava with. My grandmother is turning 82 or something. Big Chinese banquet.

That means no fed ex while I am gone as I haven't hired a new person yet and Kristin is out during the day remodeling a house.

Also, orders are moving a bit more slowly because of this. Should be back up and running at a normal pace in June.

What up?

Monday, May 16, 2005

I had to write today because I saw this little gem and had to share it...
Basically, been riding my bed pretty hard. We have all been ill and it keeps coming around and around again and again. I have had an all over traveling body rash for 4 months now. I have had no energy etc. and found out I had an iron deficiency. Also, visitors. Lots of them. It has been a blast.
Some new stuff. I am hoping Antony and the Johnsons will let me do a t-shirt of them. I heard him sing live and felt so so...it was ephemeral. We are also adding some new art! Exciting.

Union Tradeshow

Monday, May 02, 2005

Just dropped off Mandy and Eric from justiceclothing.com off at the airport and I was sad. Not being very comfortable around strangers, especially strangers in my space, these two put me at ease as soon as I opened the door and made my weekend feel full and fun. I think my daughter felt the same way as she didn't want them to go anywhere without her. I also learned quite a bit about why union? It has been a huge internal debate for me on how to go about making my own private label. The options are overseas, AA, a union shop in the US or a non-union shop in the US. I started shopping around non union shops and found much to be desired. I discovered that over 60% of all made in the USA clothing are made in sweatshops! That's right, sweatshops proliferating right here in the USA. A lot of sweatshops. Sweatshop is defined as a place that violates US labor laws of overtime, pay rates and breaks. AA is not a sweatshop as they pay a living wage but they are also not sweatshop free as they do a number on the employees who do want to organize (threats to close down the shop etc.) I also got to see a resignation letter from one of their employees who had been with them over 5 years and let's just say that it wasn't glowing as far as work environment goes. She wrote of little reward for management positions but you were expected to give blood (sounds like the internet company I used to work for except I actually got paid quite well) and that the use of sexuality was blatantly encouraged in the workplace. Fine for the king but damn, who wants to be a minion female in that environment? Been there and it really sucked. Bad. I think at that point in my life (working for 4 men) I had the smallest amount of self-respect for myself that I have ever had.
But, I respect AA for its vertical integration and its education of a public. They educated me. I really thought that MADE IN THE USA automatically meant sweatshop free. HA
I flew out to NY to visit with royalapparel.net to see what they could do for me. I wanted to tour their cut and sew factory and find it is out in PN so I rent a car and drive out there. I find when I get there that they contract out to local cut & sew factories and that Tommy Hilfiger is currently in process and so I can't get onto the floor. I wanted to work with them because they could make exactly what I wanted (you can see what I came up with on their site now with their new infant line) but I realized that I could not get any guarantee that the people who actually cut & sew were being treated properly so I backed away. I also realized that the only way I could make sure I was working with a shop who treated their people properly was to buy from a Union Shop unless I wanted to tour a shop, ask to speak to the employees, hang out in a factory for a week and request to see their books. I know there are good non union shops in the US but the only solid guarantee that I could get would be from a worker organized shop. After realizing this I entered the marketplace to look for a union shop and found to my surprise there were only FIVE left in the entire USA. After getting pricing from one union shop I realized that I might not be able to afford to go Union. I am currently getting pricing from another and I am hoping that I can produce something for you that I can afford. Update to follow.
I just read this article at http://www.theglobeandmail.ca/
that mentioned babywit as being in bad taste. It made me laugh because it writes "And like it or not, you are the parent. And, guess what? If you don't treat your child with dignity -- and the very serious job of parenting with the gravitas it requires -- one day, when you're too old and feeble to read the small print, he'll think nothing of walking around with you wearing a shirt that says, "I'm With Stupid."
Parenting a serious job? God. That sounds simply awful. I would hate to think of bringing up my child as a serious job....mainly because working sucks and I have hated every serious job I have ever had. People who think of parenting as a serious job are the same ones who stick their parents into homes instead of walking around the streets with them donning the I am with stupid shirt.
Ava loves her President Poopyhead shirt because she gets so much attention wearing it. She loves running up to those conservatives with frowns on their faces and pointing to the President Poopyhead image and saying "Poopy" and smiling that adorable winning smile.
Peace and Love but mostly love