Pushing The Envelope…

Part of the whirlwind is over, thankfully. Sofia decided months ago that she was going to be a superhero for halloween. Of course, many adults asked her over the past weeks what she was going as and she said simply… a superhero. Then, in every case, the adult asked… which superhero and the bug just looked at them like they were crazy. We obviously haven’t been keeping her abreast of the different superheroes and their associated powers, she just knows them vaguely as a group that wears capes and masks. So here’s the superhero…

And if that doesn’t strike the fear of jebus into you, this may…

And of course here’s the booty of drugs, no doubt the result of her super-adventures…

We did what we do every year which is to allow her to select about 10 or so pieces and then we pack up the rest (this year was quite a large bag) and give it to those who are not particularly interested in their health… mom’s fellow nurses at the hospital. Nothing like a pound of candy in between cigarettes. Two days later was the bug’s 7th birthday which is difficult for me to get my head around. I won’t even go into the cliches about how fast they grow up other than to say that I’m amazed at how much things have changed with her since I started the blog, here’s the first pic I ever posted of the bug when I started this blog…

Anyway, the family met at a cake and pie place to have cake and ice cream. Here’s some of the action…

Here’s trouble, cousin Rachel…

Opening presents, the bug got a basket for her bicycle but decided until we got home that it would serve as a fine chapeau (it might have made a good addition to her superhero costume)…

The big hit as far as birthday presents were these stilts…

During the summer of my first year of college, I came to northern KY (just across the river from Cincinnati) and got a summer job as an insulation installer. I remember two events about this job. In the first week the owner’s son was on the same job site as I was and when putting insulation bats on the ceiling, installers wore stilts. These stilts don’t have a rod that sticks up behind your shoulders, they have a brace that straps around your calf. I got very good at working on stilts but the first day I put them on (being about 30 inches off the floor), the owner’s son came up to me and pushed me over so I went crashing to the floor. He said that I had might as well get the falling out of the way right off the bat (no pun intended). So I was trying to show Sofia how to use them and Mom said… “oh Jim, don’t do that with your bad shoulder” (yes, my shoulder has not gotten better and is very easily re-injured… every day). I said, hell, I worked on stilts before. Mom said… “you were in the circus?” Hmmm, I guess to her that wasn’t difficult to believe… that I was a clown in a circus. Not to get off on another tangent but I remember the first day on this job. My friend, me and the owner’s son (who was driving the truck) headed out to a job site and on the way there the owner’s son lit up a joint in the truck. This presented a small dilemma to me because although I wasn’t averse to cannabis, it was the first day on the job. The other side of it was that it was the owner’s son and I didn’t want to get on his bad side. So I did what I thought best… I inhaled… repeatedly. So he put me in the kitchen of a new home that had been framed and the walls, plumbing and electricity were finished. I had a large sharp knife and bags of insulation bats which are big pink fiberglass strips made to fit snugly betwixt the studs in the walls that are supposed to be exactly 16″ on center apart. He explained that I was to put the bats between the studs and cut the extra off the end with the knife. Also the knife was used to slide down the edge of the bat, once in place, to make sure that any gaps are covered by smooshing the fiberglass sideways with the back of the knife’s blade. So as the owner’s son went into the other room and left me in the kitchen, totally baked (no pun intended), I proceeded to install. To this day, I would love to visit this house, rip out the drywall in that kitchen and view the perfect insulation installation that I did that day. I got completely carried away and managed to make every bat fit with German tolerances so that the final result looked akin to… what? Well, the best way to put it was that it looked as if a giant had tipped the house on its side and poured pink liquid into the wall and then tipped it back up. The pink insulation was a beautiful 1/4 inch from the edge of each stud, around each pipe and around each electrical outlet. I’m confident that a more beautifully insulated wall was never conceived… and that’s because no one would pay anyone to do it like that and it didn’t actually function any better than if it was done in 1/10th the time. What the owner’s son didn’t tell me was that the company had a site inspector that would go from house to house to keep an eye on quality control. So as I sat, content and stoned on the kitchen floor painstakingly manicuring the edges of large fiberglass bats to look as if they had been poured between the studs, the site inspector showed up and stood behind me at the doorway to the kitchen. I was oblivious to his presence until, in a thundering voice, he said… “what the hell are you doing?”. I was confused and eventually embarrassed as he read me the riot act about how long it had taken me to do one wall of one room (although to this day, I maintain was a real thing of beauty) and that if I didn’t get a grip I would be fired. OK that’s enough stilts stories, suffice to say that Sofia loved the stilts and is learning quickly. I spent all week shellacking. I have to sit in a strange position to keep my shoulder from hurting but I’m doing OK. Here’s some greenware shots…

Last but not least I’m posting a video. This is related to the title “pushing the envelope”. First I’d like to point out that I do not watch C0nan 0’brien but as your intrepid reporter I felt it necessary to post this to point out the state of network news coverage in this country…

If you watched the whole video, you will have found out that I’m not posting it because of anything to do with gay marriage but the absolute lack of diversity or even thought when it comes to delivering our “news”. These people are merely fastidiously coiffed, smiling dolts reading off teleprompters whatever is written on said teleprompters. If this isn’t enough to make people turn off tv news, I don’t know what is.

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6 Responses to “Pushing The Envelope…”

  1. Michael Giles Says:

    Been a while since I’ve tuned into tv. Seems Conan O’Brian now has a beard. I hope the little weas…woops…fellow will let the facial hair grow long enough to coif it in a style commensurate with whatever that is he has on his head! Now that would be some interesting envelope-pushing-on-late-night-television. So to speak…

  2. soubriquet Says:

    Ahhh, Jim, lad! What a great story.
    I always wanted to try those fancy stilts, they look all high-tech, straps and springs and articulating joints and stuff, but I’ve not managed so far. Urdinary stilts, crudely made from waste wood, those i can… (or could) do. Actually. um. it’s a few years back, so now I’d probably end up breaking bones.
    Insulation batts. When you start. as with all construction jobs, it’s hard to know, until you observe the time-served guys, just what the line is between totally crap, adequate, o.k., and what the hell are you doing?!
    I hate that prickly rockwool stuff. it makes me itch. aaaaargh!

    Great image though.

    As for the bug, what a haul! I’ll watch out for her in ‘Superhero News’.

  3. meredith@whynot Says:

    yes, I can understand your sense of time while working on your art of installing instillation. The man just did not understand and to interrupt you… just rude!
    And now you can put those skills to use on clay- just minus the brain eating components of rolled up goodies.
    I had a customer buy a mug the other day and say it is better than being addited to drugs.
    Buy Mugs not Drugs- new motto.

  4. Rob - Simple Circle Studios Says:

    Your former employer’s son sounds like a bit of a d!ck. Those stilts are not difficult to walk on; not once have I fallen while using them.
    Sorry to hear your shoulder is not doing any better. Perhaps time will be your friend; and if not, narcotics could be.

  5. Zygote Says:

    I have to say that I loved peeing while wearing those strap on stilts, it just cracked me up everytime… Geronimo!
    The greenware looks simply awesome. I would love to spend a week or two working in the same studio with you just to get used to watching these develop. Beautiful.

  6. ang Says:

    what the???? envelope…onvelope they surely cant all have the same copywriter?? hey jim admiring your restraint with the sweets, lollies, candy :))

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