7/26/08 Salvo Austin Peay, AMVET's on Elvis Presley

hello. my name is amy. i am wifetron 3000, i am the spousal unit, i am spartacus.

that part was a lie. i am not spartacus. i have never led a slave rebellion nor sparred in a loin cloth. i have never inspired the downtrodden masses to rise up and reclaim their dignity. but i would like to. does anyone know how to break into that racket? becoming enslaved in the first place probably plays a more central role than i think i'm comfortable with at this time... yeah, on second thought, i'm sorry, i'm going to have to reconsider. i will not be crucified for you. crucify yourself for yourself, el gringo nino. take a little responsibility for your actions, geez. i'm not your mother.

this is what i will do, though: i will/am currently trying to write this week's blog entry. we'll see what happens. it could get messy, it could get wonderful. the fun part is not knowing beforehand. like trying a new recipe for cheese sauce that uses yoghurt instead of mayonaisse. it might be gross, but maybe you really won't be able to tell the difference (like the recipe's author promises). who knows? i don't. so let's get started.

fairy land! this place is tied for first on my personal list of awesome. it's my sanctuary of nic-nacs and cast off oddities. this is where trash becomes reincarnated as my aha! moment.

and seriously, who among you doesn't sort of want to do a jig at the thought of perusing a vast selection of zany apparel in what looks like a roller-rink from 1979. who? that's right, not single blessed soul.

the first thing to catch my eye was this beautifully lacquered coffee table, missing it's glass top (but who cares) adorned with a pretty little japanese relief. if it weren't a hundred dollars i would have fought someone for it. a hundred dollars, by the way, is too damn much for anything aside from large pieces of furniture. i mean, yes it was cool. awesome actually. but it wasn't an antique, probably not more vintage than 1993. who makes these decisions? you can probably buy one of these guys brand spanking new in china town for forty bucks. i suppose anything is only worth as much as the dumbest schmuck is willing to shell out. but don't us broke folk deserve to have pretty things for cheap, too? you know, i'm sure that some middle class white woman all panicky from the recession is going to go 'slumming' one day and snatch it up for her daughter's first apartment. then she'll tell all her garden club pals about the 'darling little gem' that she picked up for a mere bill. god, i wish mom had been that cool. unfortunately, her idea of slumming entails liberal scavenging of sale items at marshall's, where everything fairly well glows with it's social acceptability.

let me pause here to tell you a little about myself. i'm an old school feminist, not a neo feminist who preaches castration and misandrysm, and not a post feminist who thinks that reclaiming the right to breast feed wherever she pleases is the first step towards righting the wrongs done against our gender. i don't need to assert my superiority over men to feel validated, and i will not support the idea of bringing your squalling spawn into the office place like it was a daycare. don't get me wrong, i'm a lady that likes to be treated as an equal. but i don't see how that necessarily has to equate with giving up a little dash of class and delicate femininity. and what, i ask you, evokes a more powerful image of elegance and sophistication than a good old fashioned vanity. it's a perfect encapsulation of everything that is so wrong, yet so very right, about being a woman. think about it.

after you've made enough repeat trips to the same thrift store, you begin to spot things that were once your own. there's something very twilight zone-y about seeing your stuff on a rack with a price tag on it. especially when you've already half forgotten you ever owned it in the first place. we used to own this thing, for example. and now it's for sale again but in a different place than the one we bought it in. it made me so dizzy to think about that i had to sit down in it.

when we were in the market for a new couch, i lusted after this one. it's a bit uncomfortable but so so beautiful that i could have forgiven this transgression. it was pale green and dark green damask with little carved feet that looked like the claws of some mythic beast. i was very happy to find that it had a 'sold' sticker on it. i hate it when things that i love languish almost tauntingly, as though saying 'you're the only one who understands, please love me'. bastard. me, not the couch.

furniture that is like architecture is as obvious as buttercream frosting on yellow cake. it's so simple. what's not good about that? maybe if we spent less time blowing people up, we here in america could produce cool stuff just like the swiss.

i have this weird dichotomic (is that a word?) drive to buy shaggy yellow and orange and olive green chairs and couches but really slick dark red far eastern inspired pieces of art. why is this?

this is a coin bank. which is great, because it teaches us to be more like squirells. you know, stocking up on acorns (or in this case dimes) for the barren winter months.

while i don't approve of people who have collections of arbitrary crap that they don't interact with apart from silently appreciating from the other side of a glass cabinet, we have somehow come to own a smattering of shot glasses from everywhere that we've lived (except for hawaii, we never lived there, just went on our honeymoon). i think i'm okay with that. after all, it's not like we don't use them all the time...

what would YOU put on a plate shaped like an ice cream cone? they were fairly large, an inappropriate size really (and shape) for ice cream. would you serve your children spinach and baked chicken on this? they'd hate you. would you eat raw fruit off it while on a diet? you'd hate yourself. i just don't understand!!!

decorative plates with an indo-asiatic flair, on the other hand, i do understand. i find it comforting, alluring, full of promises. it says to me 'attractively thought out decor' or 'appreciative of other cultures, but not in a way that is intolerable to others'. i feel that i need it to be complete. this is part of it's ploy, i'm not the first to fall for it. i decide that i am stronger than this... object, and i move on.

i know that the whole owl motiff thing has gotten a little out of control in the past couple of years (thanks, urban outfitters!). but every now and then, i'm reminded of how much, in spite of myself, i really do love a good retro owl-fill-in-the-blank. this one is a cookie jar! have you ever seen anything so outrageous?! *wink*

i was just saying to amanda recently that we're planning on adopting a rescued boston terrier. we have been wanting to for, well, years really, but unable to due to restrictive leases, impending cross country moves etc. so in the interim we have amassed quite a little collection (embarassingly enough) of boston terrier paraphernalia. you know, magnets and framed photos and the like. as though that would somehow temporarily fill in the gap. how we managed to escape without this guy is beyond me, but we did it. woo-hoo! oh, and the space glasses were pretty great, too. i like a good lime green rimmed with gold. the effect pleases me.

more personal divulgences: i love iconography. that's how i ended up with a kitchen full of good luck charms from religions as vanilla as catholicism to the weirdness of orthodox turkish christianity to some obscure indonesian tribal sect. however, there is nothing, nothing!, that bridges the gap between my views on women's issues etc and my love of religious symbolism more than the apple. it is sublime in it's conveyance of purity and the loss of purity. setting aside the inherent judeo-christian message, it rises above the confines of patriarchy and speaks to a baseline affliction. it is the signifier of an end of goddess, therefore woman, worship. it is propaganda, it is the beginning of our relegation... ah, but i digress.

have you been feeling like a caged panther lately? frustrated because no one seems to see the fierce, cagey, primal side of you? these wall hangings will cure all of that, my friend. hang these bad boys up in your hallway or your bathroom and throw a party. next monday all your co-workers will be talking about how different you seem. look at the way he moves, they'll say. like you're stalking prey. ha! if they only knew.

i think this one is pretty self explanatory. it covers all the bases of working in an office cubicle. depressing. pastel. mind-numbing. i bet it would feel good to smash this sucker on the sidewalk.

originally, i was pretty impressed at the collection of random cameras and attendant accoutrement. til i saw this...

for thirty dollars all this could be yours-

it was all there. old fashioned flash apparatus with six lightbulbs, hard leather case for the whole shebang, lens filters, light meter. i really really wanted it. but my priorities lie elsewhere, and i would not use it ever. it makes me happy that it will probably make someone who will actually use it really happy. is that enough? i don't know, more on that to come.

how chill would it be to roll up to your next soiree with this super hip suede and corduroy backgammon set under your arm? if you have the kind of friends that would laugh at you and drag the mockery on for months, get new friends right fucking now. this is pimp, and so are you.

the kitchen is the modern day hearth, which as we all know is the center of any well balanced home. nothing makes me happier than weird mis-matched kitchen ware. and this place has a lot of it.

these, for example, are just delightfull. they evoke a powerful sensation of the early 80's. when all the former hippies were marrying off and becoming college professors, and their wives were wealthy enough to explore the tactile joys of 'getting back to nature' through things like glass blowing or pottery classes.

perhaps it's because i love coffee type beverages so much, but i have always held a small place in my heart for thermos fashion.

i wish that we lived in a society where dressing like you gave a shit was still a 'thing'. suave, debonair, sexy. yes, please!

and now for the main event, if you're of a mind to call it that. and, i am at the moment. on d's blog, he skillfully skirts (ha!) the issue of fashion. and since 75% of the reason that i love to thrift is because of the clothes, i feel it is my duty to give the discarded avant garde dress designs of 1989 their due.

take this kicky little red leather purse, for example. with it's offset bow (tres chic!) and red leather awesomeness, any woman would be hard pressed not to feel like the belle of the cocktail party with snazzy accessories like this.

if you know someone whose initials are 'lbh' then this is the birthday gift of the century for them! unless they're a dude. i almost bought this, even though my initials don't even contain one of those letters. because that makes it even funnier, right? no, that just evokes a lot of stupid questions and postulation from creepy guys on the street. 'i bet your name's laura. no? is it... leah? lydia? lisa? lauryn? lettie? etc, etc...'

i think that there's a tag on the inside of this dress that says 'by purchasing this item, you acknowledge and shall adhere to the unspoken contract that you are now required to perm your hair into a giant ball and bleach it until it's not a color anymore. you will then be provided with a lifetime supply of capri ultra lights and screwdrivers.'

there are no truly beautiful fabrics these days. it's all poly-rayon blends and bullshit. brocade, now that's a fabric for you. you know in my day... actually, i suppose these are my days. crap.

much like furniture, clothes suffer not at all from the application of a little architectural flair. like doric columns or flying buttresses, this skirt has it all over your run of the mill shotgun shack abomination from target. unfortunately, it was much too small. but someday i'll be okay with that.

on the other hand, this was way too roomy in the bodice area for me. i can't win. but i am a big fan of anything with a tie collar. i don't feel as if this needs explanation. but that's probably just because i don't have one.

i tried to fit this over my linebacker shoulders like three times before i seriously had to sit down in the dressing room and have a little talk with myself. it's just the absolute definition of 'things that make amy happy'. look at it. so crisp, clean, starched and betty crocker-y. this dress is apple pie a la mode and there's nothing wrong with that at all.

so, on to the dumb pictures of me trying shit on. but, i didn't feel like photos of these frocks on the hanger really conveyed the spirit of the garment. like this for example. wearing this, i felt a little like a secretary from 1968. all i was missing was a little hat and some gloves.

in the 80's my family and i took a lot of road trips all over the country. this dress is pensacola, florida if it's anything. all sunny and linen. i got a little contact high off the salt and sand memories, can you tell?

en francais, sil vous plait. these are the exact words that popped in to my head when i saw this vision. grey wool and ivory silk. hellloo audrey hepburn from any one of the movies that she did in the fifties or early sixties. you may notice the homicidal look in my eye. or perhaps the way that this masterpiece looks a bit disheveled. that's because it didn't fit, not even a little. the biggest let down of my week, seriously. this is probably because the size 8 you see on the tag is a vintage sizing. which means that, in the spirit of women trying to lie to themselves about their actual waist measurements, it's actually a size 2. ah, si triste.

i tried not to post pictures of anything that i actually bought, it just seems unsportsmanlike, but i had to put this up because it did actually fit. and was also pretty cute, not as cute as the other thing of course, so buying it felt a little like winning second place at a piano competition.

this book is the universe's way of making fun of me. it was right in front of me as we were going to check out. i got a little woozy just from being so close to a picture of a spider. how pathetic is that?


due to undefined car wobbly-ness and a love for finding the most roundabout route to any given destination, we somehow managed to snake our way into some sort of alternate universe of junkyard dogs and discarded train machinery. it's jarring to sit back and realize that these people (and there were people leering at us with their heads slightly slack-jawed) do this every day all day. just dig around in and live with junk- broken axles, colossal tires, cracked chassis, rusted out metal drums. they sell it for scrap or to anyone who thinks they're going to fix their vintage 'stang up without the meddlings of a bona fide mechanic. they pick their teeth with rust impacted fingernails and loll their faces towards any rumbly cloud of dust that approaches. i'm sorry, i think there's an open can of paint thinner close by, it's sort of screwing with my head.

anywho, it gave me a chance to practice taking pictures out the window of a moving vehicle. keep in mind that this country looking landscape is in the middle of a fairly large urban area. so this, my friends, is the yen to wallstreet's yang in pictorial.

and... scene.

act III

the amvets on elvis presley is my second numero uno. i love this place. it's cheap, massive, and cheap. did i already say that? well it bears repeating.

rows and rows of clothes that all seem to be marked down to half price all the time. what more could a girl ask for? it's quirky, though. in a wonderfully schizophrenic way. i had a guy shuffle up to me and ask me if i knew about the peace signs on my back. the only thing i could think to say was 'no, i'm not aware of any peace signs on my back.' he then went on to explain to me that each human vertebrae contained a peace sign within it. how are you gonna argue with that? you're not going to, nor did i.

i'm trying to think right now of any girl who in their heart of hearts doesn't want to show up, anywhere really, in a solid princess dress. at the moment i'm coming up short.

there are seriously so many clothes that i had to start limiting myself to taking snapshots of my favorite garment moments instead of entire features. for instance this thing. i'm talking 1993 sorority formal, dishwater blonde, pancake base three shades more tan than the rest of her, pointy satin heels and rhinestone earings.

at this amvets, maybe more than any other thrift store i've been to here, there tends to be a disproportionate amount of formal wear. this amuses me, and there's a little game i like to play with myself called 'was this a bridesmaid's dress?' this i think might have been. it's too pristine to be a junior prom dress, those inevitably have grass stains on the knee or a ripped shoulder strap. bridesmaid dresses, on the other hand, seem always to be shed three seconds after the last photo-lineup.

i'd like to get inside the head of the zany fashionista who decided to throw one single sherbet colored ribbon onto the cuff of a dusty rose all purpose dress. what's their process like? i have to know!

sometimes i get a little irrationally obsessive about how people these days seem to be comfortable leaving the house in pajama pants and tube tops for any number of reasons. i think this is indicative of a general malaise rampant among the boring youth of today. i yearn for the way it once was, always forgetting that this happened. remember when the asexual school marm look was in? woof. thank god for pajama pants.

i'm not sure what this is. my analytical brain tells me that it is a mock turtleneck tank top the size of a washcloth made entirely out of deflated finger condoms. my rational brain tells me that noone would buy that, all evidence to the contrary. i am at war within myself!

i almost had to be physically restrained from buying this. i wanted/want it so bad! i mean, an old school nursing student's uniform?! you know this had one of those precious little starched white caps that hovered by the grace of aqua net atop some forlorn looking white girl. i actually would wear this out, too. i don't know why. i don't know where. but there is a time and place in which this and only this smock is appropriate. and now when that moment comes, i will be ill prepared. curses!

without liberal application of glitter and lsd, there's just no way to artificially capture the feeling of being at a pink floyd laser light show. but this fabric is trying super duper hard, all bursting out of the black with electric blue and silver. how predictable.

i think my mom also went through an aztec inspired formal wear phase.

even though i would never ever wear this utterly shapeless glorified balloon, i am almost transfixed by any fabric so undeniably feminine. the sprays of antiques roses contrasting against the greyish sagey green. the golden filigree... it's like wearing a five year old's interpretation of the palace at versailles.

they weren't even trying by the time this shill came down the pipe. that's the nineties for you. no forethought whatsoever.

i know who you are, you believer in butterflies. don't think your glossy optimistic take on the world or genuine heartbreak at the premature passing of john lennon can crack this practiced shell of pessimistic loathing. move along, hippie, your vw van awaits.

you know that's right. if i had some purple leggings and some vintage reeboks, i'd have got this shirt and joined a jazzercise class.

have you ever read the lyrics to any song that was popular circa 1905? they're all like nursery rhymes that sometimes end with a wistful goodbye and fond memories.

pink suede with a giant bow. need i say more? honestly.

leonardo da vinci- a study in psychosexuality by sigmund freud published 1946. whoa, nelly. there was drool, there was a little hoppy-skippy step, there was a clutching-to-the-breast. i love this book. not because i agree with everything it purports, but because it is a window into the shaping of an era's ideas. you can summarize it in text books or history channel specials, but there's just no substitute for ploughing through the genuine article.

when we have a real house, i'm gonna have a piano and a drum set and be the happiest lady in tennessee. plunkity plunk.

this couch was as soft as a twinkie. i just sunk into it's center. and it smelled like everyone's grandmother's house in the whole wide world. you know, comforting and a little bit creepy. god, it was good. it was also when i realized that the battery for the camera had died. c'est la vie.

although our journey together has been cut abruptly short, let us not despair. instead i charge each and every one of you to rise up and reclaim your dignity, just like we talked about before. short of that, get lots of sleep and spend time with your cats.