Posts in Freaks

You Can Take the Girl Out of Minnesota

published by Fran Shea

The odyssey began exactly three and a half miles West of the Mississippi during what would later be called “Friday.” No need for an alarm to be set because rising at 4am comes so naturally to me – getting a jump on the day makes me feel like a dynamo.

First legs of journeys are often fueled by earnestness and without vigilance, that fuel can turn to ennui. (ahn-wee)fran-ennui

Ennui can turn to desperation and when mixed with starvation, can lead to tragedy. Remember the Chilean rugby team? Their plane crashed in the Andes and they ate each other. Survival and cannibalism are in cahoots, everyone knows that.

Our airline didn’t want that blood on their hands so they loaded us up with a rib-sticking breakfast.

coffee-cookie-airtran

Our plane did land safely on the ground and we were stuffed into a sweat lodge/taxi-cab that smelled like thousands of weary travelers. (Curry + pine tree + urine).

I don’t remember my own birth but I bet it felt similar to exiting the taxi – the crying, the relief, the hotel cradling me in it’s arms.

Like good tourists, we went right from the hotel to the subway. Now I know that when I go to Purgatory (and I know I will) it will look, feel, and smell like the subway.

It will make heaven even more glorious.

manhattan-night

Because traveling underground on a train isn’t strange enough, the subway was filled with hundreds of boozed-up Santas.

santa-subway-2

santa-subway-1

And because my touristy feet were killing me, I had to go to the T.J. Maxx on Wall street to buy slippers. I did see the Occupy Wall Street people and asked them if they wanted to occupy T.J. Maxx with me but they (all five of them) looked at me like I was crazy.

occupy

Oh, we also walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. Has anyone seen that thing? It’s pretty cool and people should really be aware of it.

fran-and-lucy-brooklyn-bridge

Don’t I look serious? I didn’t crack a smile all day.

 

Farewell, No Coast OR Joy For Sale

published by Fran Shea

It’s hard to put a price tag on joy and laughter, but we did: $10.

Actually, four cards for $10. This, and Jen not wearing a top, made our shoppers more giddy than usual.

The Zeichen Press booth was a beacon of laughter bobbing in the sea of wrist-warmers, nose-rings, and ironic Christmas sweaters.

no-coast-1 no-coast-2

I hid behind our card racks for two days and talked to Jen about important things like iron lungs and Santa Clause while our customers snort-laughed (my favorite kind of laugh). There was even a gal that was laughing so hard she had to stamp her foot on the floor. Those responses made me feel like this:

beaker

And I think Jen felt like this:

dr-bunsen

Finally, a man came up to us and told us all about human exoskeletons. (See blog post #390: Freak-Magnet) Eventually, he rode away on a unicorn.

What I guess I’m trying to say is that the No Coast Craft-O-Rama was, once again, awesome.

PS: No show would be complete without a little danger and ours came in the form of an icy, yet beautiful, drive home.

lakestreet-snow-carwash-sign lakestreet-snow-arbys-sign

Freak-Magnet

published by Fran Shea

The sixth-grade science fair was less about science and more about showcasing the student’s idiosyncrasies.

My brother and I spent the Winter inserting motors harvested from innocent appliances into the wall outlet in the basement and recording the results in our notebooks.

The results usually included the motors jumping out of our hands, spinning impossibly fast and bouncing around the room like a pinball.

And also blown fuses. (“Geez mom, I don’t know why the power keeps going out.”)

I don’t remember why we had to perform those “tests” – they really had nothing to do with his perpetual motion machine (made of legos, of course) or my nail+wire+battery=magnet.

The electro-magnet can be turned on or off just like my freak-magnet. I prefer to leave my freak-magnet on as it makes life more interesting.

And now I’ll talk about the project du jour: I designed a logo for a company called Pretty Fluffy Chicken – PFC develops recipes, cocktails, and blog content for clients like General Mills, a cantaloupe grower in California and a law firm looking for a custom cocktail for an event.

This could only be the brainchild of the ladies from JSTK.

Anyway, here’s the logo:

Two For the Price of One

published by Fran Shea

Consider the following multi-purpose items:

• Airplane seat cushion —> flotation device
• Pop can —> pipe (for tobacco use only)
• Puppets —> mittens
• Pencil —> weapon
• Mr. Potato Head —> drug mule
• Van —> meth lab
• Goat —> wife
• Human skin —> lampshade, a la Ed Gein
• Ice pick —> lobotomy tool
• Human hair —> dress

The list goes on.

Sometimes an item is designed with a second purpose in mind (Mr. Potato Head) but not always. Congratulations to all the clever folk that breathed new life into an everyday object.

The Zeichen Press mail bags are full of requests for No Solicitors signs. Your requests have not fallen on deaf ears! (Except for you, Anonymous – I can put my own shoes on.)

Greeting cards don’t always fit into a category and that is okay; think of the card as that conversation piece in your living room:

Thanks, regrETSY!

This is a lot of build up for a new card.

Fine, here it is:

I know this is the second Zeichen Press card that references bacon wrapping.

I KNOW.

Scooped Out Turnips and Hallowmas Wassailing

published by Fran Shea

I think I’m talking about Halloween.

How did this holiday evolve from scooped out turnips and Hallowmas wassailing to full-grown women wearing sexy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes?

“Trick or treat!” They’d say, as I open the door. I would hand them each a Butterfinger and watch them scamper off to the next house.

Adorable!

Anyway, in the spirit of the season, Lucy took it upon herself to carve a block of linoleum into a bat.

The bat inspired a new card. Maybe one teenager could give to another to communicate solidarity? Maybe one bat enthusiast would send to another bat enthusiast? Is it a Halloween card? I don’t know, do whatever you want. I can’t make all the decisions.

Oh, and the carving tools found their way into Jen’s annual Pumpkin Carving Party:

The Magic of Before & After

published by Fran Shea

On a recent episode of Hoarders (Monday, 9pm A&E) we witnessed an extra strange living situation: A man (struck by almost immeasurable grief) shared his home with 2,385 domestic rats.

I say that his grief was almost immeasurable because, although he had a great amount of grief, there was an obvious rat to heartache ratio. 2,385 rats : 1 deceased wife.

To see the number of rats in one area was amazing – they poured like water through every possible (and rat-made) nook and cranny. The bottom of every wall and door had been chewed to bits and the floor was lost under a carpet of rat feces.

But in just a few hours, the team trapped and caged the rats, shoveled out the house (why didn’t they just burn it to the ground??) and left the man.

The before was so ridiculous that even the after looked like a pair of soiled underpants.

Oh, well.

Another thing: Sometimes I don’t believe the weight-loss/makeover Before & After photographs. It’s hard to know.

Before:

After:

Is this transformation even real??

And now, witness the magic of the Zeichen Press warehouse Before & After:

(It’s okay to cry.)

Before:

After:

Gang of Bees Attack Woman Straightening Trellis

published by Fran Shea

The swarm of bees came at me like a swarm of bees and stuck their stingers efficiently into my face and left arm. 

The disfigurement that followed was sideshow-worthy and while I’m as eager as the next gal to take the show on the road, I knew this hideousness was only (sadly) temporary.

My forearm doubled in size and I considered tattooing an anchor on it a la Popeye (the sailor man).

Don’t worry, a can of Raid was emptied into their home/my trellis/the doorway to the shop. I’ll be getting back to work as soon as this Benedryl wears off.

Gute (rhymes with cootie)

published by Fran Shea

Two cousins sat in the front seat of the Chevy Malibu.

The car was parked in the driveway and they waited while it ran and the radio played. “I love this song!” the older cousin was delighted and grinned grotesquely.

The meaning of the song was completely lost on the girl. Many other things were lost on the girl. Like: braces, a toothbrush, a proper haircut, and not wearing her uniform on picture day.

The younger cousin would not lose this opportunity to educate her older cousin. She cupped her hands to her mouth and whispered seriously, “he’s talking about naked ladies.”

It would take years for the older cousin to make sense of what she heard. What could the lyrics, “My angel is in center field” have to do with naked ladies?

ANYWAY, we’re doing a project with my cousin (Sarah Gute) and her husband (Brian Gute).

They’ve ordered the usual: Logo. website, marketing plan. Rototilling. Diaper changing.

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

WATCHandSHAREcards

published by Fran Shea

Dynamite magazine was full of hard-hitting news for kids growing up in the 1970’s.dynamite-magazine

But the best part of the magazine were the centerfolds. I wanted the Hang in There! poster so bad. It would have looked sweet on my closet door – right next to my Jackson 5 poster.

jackson-5

Struck by nostalgia and surrounded by (more) kittens, I took it upon myself to recreate the magic moment of the earnest kitten:hang-in-there-pamWhen I was all done forcing the kittens to perform adorable stunts, it was time to make videos of people reading Zeichen Press cards.

Let me explain: Beneath various cards in our online shop, there will be a link to a video of someone (it could be you!) reading the card aloud. Why? Because even the lazy and the ne’er do wells have a right to Zeichen Press cards.

We want to be more than just friends with: Boo Radley’s

published by Fran Shea

Boo Radley’s-> 232 N. Howard Spokane, WA 99201

ANOTHER profile for that special series dedicated to bringing our readers biased reviews of shops that carry our goods.

Aside from worm farms and taxidermy, I am most attracted to gift stores filled with oddball items. I know I’m not alone – at least not in Spokane, Washington. Boo Radley, that pasty (and super oddball) character from To Kill A Mockingbird, has opened a gift store. I say, good for him! I will put on my ham costume and let him walk me home anytime.

A few items off of the shelves:
Minding a calendar would never be a chore if I had this:

And how about all of the babies that would enjoy being tucked into their cribs with one of these?:

This looks educational as well as delicious. I’ll take 3:

Spokane! What my freak magnet has joined together… let no man put asunder!