Greetings from the Omnigraphic Blogopticon. On view are vile sticky things dragged from the attic, snarky commentary on the world at large, and all-encompassing ennui. All that and a weird rubbery smell. A horrible time will be had by all.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mmmmm, Blizzardy...

Last week I had an amusing travelogue all planned out, but by the time I got home and got back to work I really couldn't be bothered. It might have been as insufferable as some of the vacation slide shows I had to endure as a child. My grandparents would haul out the slide projector and various relatives would load several hundred slides into the carousels, about half of which were souvenir slides bought at Stuckey's, and the remaining ones seemed to have been taken in frightening places where gravity followed no natural law and the inhabitants had the tops of their heads chopped off.

So I weeded out a wee handful, because I only want everyone to suffer a tiny bit. (dun dun duuun!) This time. Plus a lot of the photos were really pretty stinky. *shakes fist* Curse you, HP Photosmart! My tax refund will go towards buying a real camera, with a macro. Dang it.

*weeps over her dead Nikon*

OK, we normally would have driven to Philadelphia on Wednesday, unloaded the van, checked into the hotel, then set up part of the display. Thursday would have been an all-day setup, then the actual show starts on Friday and runs through Sunday. If I go along I ride up in the van, then leave on the train on Friday since I'm not needed for taking customers' orders. This year we took the chance leaving Richmond a day early to beat the storm, but that meant finding another hotel for Tuesday night since the one we had for the week didn't have a room ready.

Couple pics of the convention hall, where about 1500 craftspeople (I think it was a lot less this year due to the recession) set up booths and buyers from around the country make wholesale orders. Prices range from a couple bucks to several thousand dollars. Mostly what was being ordered by stores and galleries were more practical things, rather than decorative artsy stuff, which is kind of unfortunate for the artists, plus there's competition from all the cheap stuff being made overseas.

There were some buyers who decided to not spend the money this year flying in for the weekend, others came in late because of delays at the airports, others drove through the snow. Some will order from the Accursed Catalog we mailed to our regular customers.

Completed setup, after about 12 hours straight work. All this stuff, displays and show samples, is crammed in a rental van. For my part, I stood one of those solid back panels up and knocked one of those teeny light fixtures off the horizontal bar in front and because I can never do only a little bit of damage, a couple hours later I stood another panel up and thought my boss had a hold of it (she hadn't) and it fell onto the metal tinker-toy kinda display at the far right, and because the entire thing is interconnected I nearly tore down the whole shebang. Go me! Strangely, the gods were busy farting in someone else's general direction that day and the whole display held, otherwise I would have had to sleep in the van.

Very few orders for the fancy window things and sculptural stuff at the left of the display but loads for the mirrors. I might very well be getting a real paycheck in a few weeks.

Each of those solid panels is about 8 ft tall and is pretty heavy--they have to be solid enough to drive nails into. We've got eight of the fool things and my wrist is only just beginning to get back to normal. Between loading up, unloading, and setting up I strained a tendon so it hurts when I turn a key in a lock or use a can opener but not when I knit or use a mouse.

We got out of there at maybe 8:30 Thursday night, had a couple drinks and dinner, then got the subway back to the hotel by 10:30. The room had those retarded Sleep Number beds, which to me seem to just be glorified air mattresses, and Wednesday night I couldn't get the thing comfortable. Thursday I deflated it to about a 10 and slept like a log.

Trying to find a parking place before we landed in a ditch. You can see by that yellow barrel it was blowing hard from the south. When we got in on Tuesday they wouldn't let us unload early because there was an auto show being taken down in the convention center. We parked in a lot across the street from the hall for the night and on Wednesday morning dug the van out of the snow to unload but because we couldn't use the outdoor loading ramp they let us drive inside into part of the hall and use the freight elevator. That wound up taking about four hours instead of the usual 45 minutes, so there was another 5" of snow on top of the 7" from the night before plus blizzard winds when we finally got out of there. We also had to check out of the hotel we had in Chinatown for the night and get to the other hotel in Rittenhouse Square before the cabbies all gave up and went home.

Look, it's all blizzardy. But as you can see, the cabbies never went home.

The one bit of the park in Rittenhouse Square that didn't have about 3,000 people in it all chasing each other and trying to shove snow down the backs of each other's trousers. There was a damn snazzy snow fort, but the picture didn't come out.

Random bad photo of the subway. Oddly, it seemed much cleaner than the bus I ride back & forth to work every day. It didn't even have a weird smell. I thought weird smells were mandatory for public transport. It did, however, have a completely unintelligible intercom system, which I thought was just a joke on sitcoms. You either have to count the stops, or read the signs at each stop so you don't accidentally wind up in New Jersey. Yes, there was a subway to New Jersey.

A bad night photo. Since I went to art school I'm gonna claim I meant it to look like that. I shall entitle it "Spire No. 17 (The Night Watch)," or some such pretentious rubbish.

This one should have one of those crap titles like "The Economics of Neon (Electric Love No. 4, The Dreamscape)". Gaaah, I should be shot for that one.

Slide show over. You can all wake up now. I, for one, have an army of Strangling Robots to assemble.


BlackCrow said...

What a great post Sev! I like the stockings....I haven't knitted something grown up for months!
So this is what you get up to when not at home! The mirrors are fantastic. Boy you must have the arms of a sailor lifting and erecting all that heavy stuff!
I do like the snow photos even the arty farty blurry ones!
Please send your army to Tasmania we could do with away with politicians and 98.5% of the population!

Severina said...

See, we hardly ever have guys working there so I'm forced to lift the big stuff. Kind of a pain in the ass.

I'll send you my Robot Army, just as soon as I'm done with destroying North America! Muhuhu hahahaaaa!