Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Best Day Ever

I love me some Roadkill. Actually, our whole family does. It's kind of our fourth Friday tradition to hook up the HDMI and Jesse, Charlie, and I will park in front of the TV and watch Roadkill together. I love it so much, I do random stuff like this:

Jesse got a good laugh out of it and Charlie loves it. I somehow worked themes from the General Mayhem 68 Charger episode to decorate my kitchen. Go figure.

One day, while watching the Roadkill 3-Day episode of the LS engine swap on the Crusher Camaro, I started thinking about wanting to make my own fancy Roadkill shirt. I really wanted a shirt, but they didn't sell shirts. Finnegan made a joke about if people wanted shirts they could just make their own. I'm not against that idea. I wanted a cool graphic tee because I am a fan of cheesy graphic tees and their shows are full of amazingly absurd cars and catchy one-liners. (I guess that's what happens when you take two talented writers and let them banter while working on cars and drinking beer.)

So, I designed the Gremmie-Prius FAIL shirt. Then I designed the Fury MINT! shirt. I kept designing more and more shirts based on ideas I wanted to wear. Mike Finnegan wanted one of the shirts. Of course I was planning on getting him and David Freiburger shirts if I ever got these made. And I did.

In the middle of this, Mike called my cell and we spoke briefly about the shirts and a proposed business plan. He asked if I would be willing to sell my artwork to Source Interlink Media, which I told him, "No. I'm not selling the shirts or the art. But I will give you the art files free of charge, should you choose to print them yourselves." He was pretty excited about it, basically saying he had some ideas and my designs basically "nailed" what he had in mind. He got me in touch with their senior marketing director to deal with the business side of things. Somewhere after all of this, I did something I never did for a client: I got in my car and screamed like I just won the lottery. I had just picked up the best clients ever, even if I wasn't charging them a cent. I wanted to do work for these guys real bad and I got hired as a freelancer.

Now, I am getting a LOT of flack from everyone about this not-charging thing. Everyone is like, "If they can roll out money for building up cars, they can pay you for your work. They're gonna make a lot off these. First time do it for free, second time charge them, etc." To reiterate here - they did offer me money. I turned the money down. For me it was not about money. And really, I do appreciate everyone's concerns for me and wanting me to not get the short end of the stick, but really, in the end, my clients are my clients and should I choose to take on a job or not, charge someone or not, is ultimately my choice. Seeing my work in the world and in the hands of so many happy strangers enjoying it is worth far more than any one-time payment I could receive.

At the end of the day it comes down to this: these designs were never about me making money. They were about wanting a cool shirt. I got my cool shirts made. I'm happy. I love designing these things and for the Roadkill guys. They're great guys and they have a great show. For me, this design process is like a Roadkill project of my own - a labor of love. No one is paying me to do this. I do it because I like doing it. Mike and David work at Hot Rod and do Roadkill as a side project. I work full time and design on the side for fun. Sometimes, we lose money on our pet projects. Do you see the parallel here? Not everything is about money. Sometimes it's about the love of the craft.

There was a contract signed. Basically it was a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo saying what my fee was, that I was giving them permission to use my art, and I'd do revisions as needed, and our contract remains in effect until either party decides to terminate it. Just because I did not charge them did not make this any less of a legitimate contractor agreement.

I really hoped that things would have worked out a certain way per the phone call I had with Mike, but because things with Roadkill never go as planned or on time, they wound up getting a box from me with their shirts. In the true Roadkill spirit, I made a point of rolling up the shirts and zip-tying them together and taping the box with massive amounts of duct tape. As an additional packaging joke, I took the sides of the boxes and made them pre-fab To-Do lists with one column reading TO-DO and the other TO-BUY.

Today, I see this awesomeness on the Roadkill Facebook page and their Instagram. It was exactly what I needed to see as I've been in a bit of an inexplicable funk lately. So, I have to say, this was definitely the best day ever for me and I am very happy to see everyone's comments about the shirts. They're now available on MuscleCarMagSwag.com starting with the Muscle Truck design and there will be other designs later, but I'm not sure which ones they'll all be using as I've sent a bunch over. So, to end this on a happy note, a month long process has now come full circle and in the words of Mike Finnegan, this truly is the "best day ever."

Friday, April 11, 2014

Never Gets Old

Sometimes, you find yourself in a situation in life which makes you feel like being a passive aggressive asshole turns you into a bit of a hero. Said occasion happened tonight. Jesse and I had a beautiful dinner that was somewhat ruined by some yuppies sitting behind us. We couldn't help but have to overhear their absurd dinner banter, which was flawed with egregious errors.

For instance, the radio out on the patio dining space was playing a plethora of great 80s music. They started talking about The Breakfast Club and middle age yuppie lady #1 was talking about "The Rat Pack, the group of actors who were in all the 80's movies." First off, she didn't even get the BRAT Pack right. Second, she made absolutely zero reference to Molly Ringwald when discussing them, but instead decided to lump CHARLIE Sheen in there with Emelio Estevez. Later, when the poor waitress had the misfortune of dropping what was like an olive or something miniscule of the sort, elder yuppie lady and middle age yuppie lady #2 were going ape. The waitress dropped a garnish on the FLOOR. But, oh, by the way they were acting, you'd think she intentionally dumped a bowl of scalding hot soup on their laps. Totally out of line.

In the end, we gave the girl a tip that was probably half of what our bill was because she was awesome and she had to deal with that table of high maintenance idiots. Jesse joked, "I should blare Slayer as we leave just to piss them off."

Well, let me tell you something about me and Jesse. We're kind of one in the same in terms of how our brain mechanisms work. We're both those people who among our circle of friends tend to be the most outlandish and we're both somewhat convinced that when we started dating, there may have been some people against us being together specifically for the reason that they may have feared what kind of trouble the two of us would get into if we joined forces. Really, we weren't that bad, though. But we do have a tendency to get excited about the same stuff and take on the same level of enthusiasm towards mischief.

Upon entering the truck, we snickered, rolled down the windows and blared Slayer as Jesse took his sweet time backing up his truck in a 9-million point turn to make sure he didn't hit anything (given he had SO much space, but he wanted to be extra careful.)

The looks on the faces of elder yuppie, middle age yuppie lady #1 and #2 were similar to those of the dinner guests in the RATT video for Round and Round. Yuppie guy just chuckled and tried ever so hard to not laugh as he was clearly amused at their disgust. I think he kind of felt embarassed to be with them after the garnish fiasco. I don't blame him.

Anyway, dinner was great and it's just proof that no matter how old you get, you're never too old to be an asshole and sometimes, you gotta be an asshole to avenge others who can't. I know that poor waitress probably wanted to slap those fools silly, but had to remain over the top polite and apologetic to them. So, waitress lady, that Slayer was for you. Go out and get yourself something nice with that tip we left you, or a tank of gas, or whatever.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Support Art, Support Small Business, Support A Good Cause

Every Memorial Day Weekend, there's this neat little event that happens in Georgia called the Run Across Georgia. It's a five day 260 mile race for individual runners, or a 40 hour 260 mile relay for teams of 3 up to no more than 12 people. 100% of proceeds goes directly to House of Heroes.

Well, I was all signed up to do it a few months back and a few months into training, Jesse said, "Nope, you're not doing it. I changed my mind." OK, fine. I reluctantly contacted the race director and told her I was given the big thumbs down by the husband. She was completely sympathetic to my husbands needs and agreed that family comes first and was more than happy to refund me. However, I don't want to be that person. I know $175 is a lot of money and I could have very well used it, but in my mind, you don't take back from charity, especially when 100% of your money goes directly to that charity. Instead, I asked if I could still at least give my registration costs to another team as a donation, or towards their registration fees or something. She said that was doable, so I had it assigned to my neighbor's team, since I know she does the race every year with a group of amazing ladies as an all-female competitive team.

The race is less than two months away. Teams are formed. Funds are being raised. Hearing about everyone's training is wonderful and saddening at the same time. I'm glad everything is going well, but I'm bummed I can't be out there, not even on a relay team! The only mild silver lining for me in this situation was back in October when I injured my knee and that was like a red flag saying, "Nope, you can't weasel into this one. You're injured. Tough!"


Maybe next year.

In the meantime, the ghost of my original donation page exists. I am but a ghost of a runner who was going to run that was told no and at some point physically couldn't. But that didn't stop my heart. I've been doing a thing on Facebook called #likesforlent, where every day I post something, whether it just be a update of progress, or something more meaningful. For each person who likes that status, I have opted to give up my money (for lent) and give $0.10 to House of Heroes. As of now, I am up to $36.70 in facebook likes. Of course at the end of Lent, I'll go back and recount ALL the status likes and recalculate that.

I have also thrown in some surprise twists as it gets closer to Lent.

Anyone guessing the closest to the final cost will have $10.00 donated to their personal fund raising or to a runner or team of their choice if they are not running.

The person who likes the most statuses, comments the most, and gives the most insightful story as to why they're participating or nominates someone or a team will get the final pot. That can be their own personal fund raising page, or if they're not running to a specific runner or team.

Another twist: I recently had some photos put up at Iron Bank Coffee Co. at 6 11th St on the corner of Broadway and 11th. There are four photos from the Warner Robins Museum of Aviation that I took last time I was out there. These are abstract photos of military planes, engine components, and various parts. They honor the heroes who have flown said aircraft serving our country. They symbolize strength that has survived the years, held up in times of turmoil, and now stand to tell their stories to younger generations. Memories to never be forgotten, lessons to be learned. 

For $50.00, one of those photos can be yours. And for each photo sold, $25.00 will be given to House of Heroes. I would give more, but, in the end, the coffee shop does get a cut of the sales costs, and there is the account of costs of frames and cost to print. So really, after the latter two are out of the way, 50% of the sale is the same as 100% of net proceeds. If you have always wanted an excuse to own a piece of my artwork, now is the best time. Not only do you get a framed, matted, original photo, but you are also supporting local artists, small businesses, and a good cause. 

If you would like to learn more about House of Heroes or donate to any runners participating in the Run Across Georgia this year, visit www.houseofheroes.org.