Mythology, Monsters & Humble Hogs

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Friday, March 20, 2020. Needless to say, Kev’s art show in Missouri was cancelled. I refuse to go off on anything related to the silly virus overreaction in this blog, anyone with any intelligence has heard too much about it already. I say Kev’s show was cancelled but, weirdly, what was officially cancelled by the University was the artist talk and opening reception; apparently they were prepared to allow Kev to install the show? To what fucking end? I think it had to do with the typically cowardly nature of academics: they didn’t want to take responsibility for lousing up an artist’s hard earned, hard won creative efforts (to say nothing of his having spent $7,000 on materials before he’d even rented a trailer to haul the stuff and booked a hotel room for Christ’s sake) and instead left it up to him whether to cancel the show or not. Ridiculous. Of course he cancelled it. He seemed anxious about the decision but like I suggested, retain your power, the show ought to be rescheduled and produced in a professional manner, they are the one’s who cancelled it. Hell, Nick Cave’s art show in Copenhagen got postponed, so it’s not like any of this is unprecedented (don’t get me started on everybody and his brother referring to these “unprecedented times” oh my God, read your mythology and you will understand that every culture in every era has claimed their own specialness, that the axis of the world resides in their own backyard, blah, blah). But Nick Cave is an established artist, so he gets treated as such, with respect. I hope, anyway. Me and my brother? What can I say? It has been the saddest lesson that I’ve had to learn, not the hardest mind you – there were plenty that were much harder – but the saddest. Namely, that one’s efforts, one’s art-craft is worthless and in fact bothersome, a hassle. And that some of us producing worthy work, work that stands up fairly against at least the worst of the best, can’t pay anyone, literally, to experience any of it. Let alone take any of their sweet time to communicate a legitimizing review.

Be careful what you wish for, I can hear somebody saying. You just may get yourself a review, C.O., and heaven help you then. Blah, blah. I’m no damn fool. There will be folks who dislike my writing; they may even hate it. That would mean it got under their skin at least. Intense dislike leads to things. I intensely dislike plenty of things – the Beach Boys, for example – and the energy, because the world is full of irony, only seems to fuel the intensity of everybody else’s maddening admiration. The more I hate shit, that is, the more that shit seems to get or at least remain in my face.

The negative tone of some of these posts, their ranting nature, has me concerned. To be negative and keep people’s attention, it seems, you have to be either painfully witty and otherwise sharp  tongued or relentlessly, shamelessly pornographic, let’s say. You have to tap the lowest common denominator as a kind of refreshing, for some people enlightening, reset button or check on society’s middling middle ground safe zones that inevitably suppress creativity. I’m neither witty nor shamelessly pornographic. I often wish I was. I was reading about Harlan Ellison (by way of reading about Connie Willis) on wiki and he was apparently a guy who didn’t suffer from any restraint or self-consciousness. Me? I have all these dully self-aware, bourgeoisie tendencies to want to please, to want to be well regarded and respected and, well, liked. Hence, I’m not. Because I’m too often false in that way, putting on a mask, projecting a version of myself that is not true. The truth of me is, as Angie can attest, that I’m often a self-centered asshole. Just like everyone else. Except I’ve unhappy with my lot in life, the reader can attest to this I’m sure, and the frustration of my failures, vocational this is, makes me too often crabby. So be it. I write it out here. In the end, I’m terribly harmless, my bark is much worse than my bite. But that’s no excuse. I suppose this stands as my public apology. I’m sorry. Again, so be it.

Folks like Ellison and Willis I don’t read. I don’t read sci-fi. For many years I haven’t read any fiction. I used to enjoy it, I used to look forward to, say the fiction in The New Yorker each week when I was in my twenties. But I feel as if I got too busy with my careerist nonsense thereafter and then, when that all flopped and I had to recreate my life, I found myself devoted to non-fiction as it related to comparative mythology. Hence, the only fiction I’ve read in the last six months has been Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Witness.

Otherwise, I’ve been investigating various authors, old and new and damned if nothing catches my eye. How can this be? That is, how can I call myself an SF writer and not read SF? Or even any fiction at all? It happens. In all fields of endeavor. I’m not saying I’m proud of it. I’d rather be a great SF writer and a great encyclopedia of the genre both. I respect that guru type of existence. If people said, C.O., yeah, he writes his ass off and knows his shit regarding the genre, too. Such knowledge lends credence to one’s talents. But it doesn’t have to be that way. And it isn’t. It’s no surprise, never having been a true devotee of SF, that I can’t think of an example of an SF author who likewise does not participate fully, as it were, in the genre. But there are musicians that aren’t particularly knowledgeable listeners and painters that aren’t art historians. I have my encyclopedic interest in music appreciation. And I dabble in things audiophile. As I’ve described, variously, my fiction is fueled by the mythology and specifically references the non-fiction, the comparative mythology, mythology, archaeology, anthropology, some science, what have you. What can I say? These things happen and the creative output ought not to be judged on the inspirational input. That said, I felt bad when my editor asked me what SF I read and I all could do was reference a handful of dusty old classic stuff, in no particular order.

  • LOTR (yes, this is officially Fantasy)
  • Ray Bradbury (I read him in H.S., but I don’t recall any particular piece)
  • Asimov (again, I dabbled in H.S., but I never liked him)
  • Ringworld (Niven, I didn’t think was all that great, but the world was memorable)
  • Stephen R. Donaldson (more fantasy, the original Thomas Covenant trilogy or whatever it was, I liked this a lot)

I recall some books that sucked that I for whatever reason read anyway (nowadays I never bother with books I don’t like, I quit whenever the red light flashes). H.G. Wells for years I only knew via a contemporary War of the Worlds compact disc release, perhaps from the 80s, it’s not worth looking up. I only read The Time Machine a few years ago if that. And I wasn’t that impressed, the time travel scenes I enjoyed, the departures and returns, but the alien future planet thing? Not so much; I found it all a little half-baked in terms of world building. Spooky in parts, to be sure. And of course I understand its importance within the context of it establishing a genre. But I have to admit that the spookiness within SF, what might be regarded as its nod to the horror genre, has probably always been the thing that kept me at arm’s length from it. I don’t read to be scared, frightened, freaked out or traumatized. I don’t watch, listen to or intentionally look at anything related to horror. Creature From the Black Lagoon and stuff like that? As a kid, I may have been titillated by the guy in the green suit and afterwards I’d enjoy the pulpy soft-porn angle – the scantily clad beauty thing – as well as the whole tongue-in-cheek, wink, wink, we’re-all-having-fun-aren’t-we self-awareness thing. But as a child, I found it all too much, too difficult to acknowledge and assimilate; perhaps the disconnect from my unconscious, my way of not quite getting what I’m all about, was to blame even then? It makes sense.

Horror. In fact it was only last year when Angie, my brother and me were in Toronto for a couple of days to see a King Crimson’s 50th gig at the amphitheater on the water that I probably finally understood something about the horror genre. We made a point to visit the Royal Ontario Museum, the ROM, as it’s referred to – it’s always good to be in an art museum with my brother, for one thing, because art history is one of his interests (in that way he’s an artist-craftsman that is also the encyclopedia type) – and damned if this horror oriented show, “It’s Alive” https://globalnews.ca/news/5456878/kirk-hammett-alan-cross-interview/ was running. You may find it incredible, me being a self-described music maven, that I didn’t recognize the name Kirk Hammett as a member of Metallica but so be it, I’ve never spent any time at all listening to that band. I respect their place in the pantheon and I’m entertained by a handful of their efforts but mostly I don’t get it. That said, there I was, using music to indirectly expose me to my unconscious, this time my long neglected, shadowy, horror-genre-hinged memories. And I liked it; I enjoyed the imagery for its own sake, which surprised me, since I’d expected, childishly, to be spooked out. But I really connected with the stuff only after watching the video interview with Hammett, running as a loop in a gallery, wherein he describes, eventually becoming very emotional, even teary-eyed, his identification as a youth with the monsters themselves, which I initially found strange. Strange and curious until he provided examples like the Mummy, Frankenstein and I can’t recall what else but that these characters which are obviously potent mythological symbols, tapping archetypal imagery very deftly, were outcasts, exiles who sought to connect to the world, to people, longing for a place within the very humanity that was determined to shun them. Right on. We all know that sense of wanting to belong. And not belonging. Why I was mostly blocked to this sensitivity, at least consciously, is a curious psychological study in its own right but, so be it, a little breakthrough: the monsters are our friends! Just don’t make me read or watch or otherwise spend any time with anything to do with Dracula. Ugh. Yuck. An undead human parasite with notions of creepy eroticism, can it get any more disturbing? Hey, we all have our limits.

All that being said, I fret over Time Crime not possessing, such otherwise compelling, fantastical, unconsciously resonant and revealing psychological hot buttons or touchstones. Oftentimes I think I’m just too damn provincially hung up and uninventive and restrained. To what end, I think. Why can’t I just pour out some gory, twisted, shamelessly raunchy or shocking blast of psycho-strangeness and be who I am about it? I might sell some damn books, acquire a readership, have a life as a writer. I don’t know. I suppose because that’s not who I am; for better or worse, I’m just not that interesting. I may be doomed in that was as a wannabe. But you can’t be what you’re not, that’s the whole lesson of the DOP, after all, to surrender to being who you are as the only legitimate way. Otherwise, suffer.

I always find something valuable, then, in restraint. I would rather allude to than shock. In that sense I respect the power of symbols to awaken the shadow within, to allow for our own unconscious to build its own monsters, our personal demons, to torture ourselves in that way. Oh, and torture is another thing I can’t watch. Though Time Crime in fact has its moments, restrained as they are, in this vein. Why play patty fingers with the ideas? I don’t know for certain except that, again, I don’t read or write to shock or horrify or gross out; I don’t seek to torture folks on behalf of thrills. What am I writing, then? What in fuck does my work tap into? Mythology. Mythology, as the devoted reader will attest, is what it’s all about for me; mythology contains it all – SFF, horror, literature, theater, film, history, philosophy, physics, psychology, oneirology, religion, archaeology, ancient future stuff, retro-causation, romance, transformation, art-craft, technology, biology, Nature, fiction, fact, even goddamn athletics. Whatever, you name it, mythology is the overarching umbrella field that shelters it all. Likewise, it’s the supporting psychological architecture that everything else hangs upon. Mythology is who and what we were, who and what we are and who and what we will be.

What, then, is Time Crime’s niche? The advice being that if you can’t identify it you can’t sell any books. I get it. Except that I write what I write and my job, my work, isn’t to find my niche. I mean, it has become part of my work as an authorpreneur to do all this stuff but I mostly don’t feel inclined to skew my writing to a reader. I frankly don’t think it requires skewing. That is to say that I’m convinced I’m already commercial enough. Being commercially viable is not my problem. Time Crime is a goddamn movie-ready package waiting to happen. Did I inadvertently, then, write a script or a screenplay? Should I quit trying to appeal to readers and instead barrage the film and television industries with my stories? As if I could get past the gatekeepers there at all. My god, I can’t even imagine. The fantasy being, of course, that I dig up an address or two or two-hundred and submit the book and somebody will stumble across it and shout, Eureka, our next major motion picture!

Why not? Right. Maybe I ought to start poking around in Hollywood. It just seems impossible. It all just seems so fucking impossible. Everything can look like a failure in the middle. Here’s to being mired in the middle, then. If I had an inkling to transform Time Crime into a screenplay I’d have already done it. Maybe that’s what I’m missing? Nah. It’s not my job, my work, to write a screenplay otherwise I’m convinced I’d already have done it. Not that I won’t beat myself up about not being capable or even trying to write a screenplay.

According to Findaway Voices I’m to receive a response, with narrator demos, within a week of submitting my query. I’m not holding my breath. Not because of the COVID panic but as much as the manuscript may be a little challenging for a would-be narrator. By way of both the languages and the footnotes both, perhaps. Perhaps it’s tough to find someone willing to tackle such a thing. Perhaps folks assume I’m an expert on the languages I’ve rendered and I’m not; I’d have to research pronunciations on youtube.com or wherever just like anyone else. Which perhaps dooms this audiobook experiment right out of the gate. We’ll see. What I always tend towards, at least in my imagination, is the person who is as desperate and desperately out of synch as me; the guy or gal who’s on the outside, who needs the job come hell or high water, who’s just starting out and is game for just about anything that may lead to vocational progress. A dreamer.

DOP1 (2010-11) VINTAGE POST:

The Logo

My brother Kevin, who owned his own graphic design & illustration business some years ago, which was successful – he piled up Addy awards and got work from everyone from locals to General Motors – helped me out with generating the new Humble Hogs logo. This is a watershed moment for me, as far as HH development is concerned. I like logos. I want HH to have a good one that comes from the heart – it should pop and be professional. As much as I respect the granular and DIY ethic, the organic and the obscure, the non-commercial, I have always liked to see a business with a good logo. It always makes me envious that somebody can refer to their biz with a cool, jazzy, interesting, compelling, meaningful image that captures the business and the vision. So, one of the first things I usually do with my ideas, besides fooling around creating names, is imagine logos. Like a good name and a good website, I think a good logo can capture, for the right business, something that none of the other things can – it provides another angle on the business identity that rounds out the world of HH. There are timeless logos that help to ground the history and heritage of a company. I don’t think you can predict what logos will stand the test of time, and I don’t think it’s something to worry about – you crank something out that means something to you – make it from the heart. But also get some professional help on it – don’t think you can make it fly just on earnestness and passion. Graphic design and illustration is a skill – a talent – like anything else. There’s good and bad design and amateurs more often than not generate amateurish shit. It might be quaint and goofy and granular and personal and even charming when folks who aren’t artists try to do art, but more often than not, it just sucks for the rest of us who have to put up with it.

I’ve rambled on about this, but it is very important to me and keeps me moving forward and I’ve learned that moving forward is what it’s all about – if it feels good do it, and run with it – there’s plenty of shit that comes our way that won’t be moving us forward, so stick to the shit that matters to you and take the ball up field. Anyway, I found myself looking at the logo for Portland Monthly, which I like, and I felt like drawing a version for humble hogs based on that image. I don’t know why, and I couldn’t reproduce this event again, because I’m not a visually creative person, but it seemed to work for this one shot and my brother got jazzed by it. I followed it up over the next day or two with a version that was complete crap – I’d already lost the vision and my brother snapped me out of my fog thank Thor. He was glad that I came up with the concept, because I know my business and the subject matter like he said. But I was glad that he was there to wonk me on the head and focus on the good shit. He’s got decades of experience looking at art of all types, and a zillion logos later, he’s the man to rely on for this. He quickly redrew the logo into numerous variations just to make sure we had the best one to start with and it turns out that this logo seems to have the potential to be modified to accommodate my other business themes as we see fit – not all logos can be fucked with and still retain their essence – this one can be, which is cool. He did just what I needed – took the raw, clumsy, unaccomplished version and balanced it out – kept the charming vibe while freeing it up and adding more life. I think it’s going to look great on anything – an umbrella, a t-shirt, a menu, the side of a truck. It’s got the essence of what jazzes me about pigs, which remain my guides. The pig snout in many ways is the pig – it’s got their personality in it and all that they do revolves around it. My brother says this logo sidesteps all the hassle regarding most other pig images – too many examples to list here, just look around at all the cartoons, woodcuts, paintings, illustrations, whatever, from the past to the present, and you get a lot of the same things being repeated, some well, some not so well, but not many really saying a lot about what I want to say. Enough already, it’s not genius, it’s just HH, but here it is in its first incarnation:

Humble Hogs first logo iteration, 2011
Me and Angie, Houston, 2011

Let Us Go

March 17, 2011. We changed our real estate agent today after almost a year with Julia. Moving back to Ann Arbor soon has us pacing the cage and like we told Julia, we need to feel as confident as possible while we try to sell this house in Texas while living in Michigan. It’s a desperate move – sometimes I think it’s just change for change’s sake – but we’ve got to do everything we can to get this mortgage off our backs so we can increase our odds of success up north. In a perfect world, with HH a success beyond our expectations, we could maybe afford this place too as a winter retreat, but that is not a sound vision, it’s just a vision (to borrow the words of Paul & Ari) that sounds good.

We’re within a month of moving now, and it’s time to start dismantling things like the all-important audio system, boxing some stuff up that I don’t want the movers handling, patching and painting some holes I’ll leave as a result. No big deal. We have really liked this house, it has sustained us when almost nothing else could, and we’re thankful for that. Putting it on wheels and trucking it up north to A2 would be the best option, we’ll likely never have a home we like as much as this one again. I hope we do someday. We don’t want to live in the sprawling suburbs. We’ll never build another house I’m almost positive – why the hell would we? We hope to be too busy to give a shit about houses so much anymore. Busy and happy and jazzed to the max for the rest of our lives. My brother Kevin pulled a good biophycomythological quote from a movie, Rushmore, another one with Bill Murray in it (strange how he seems to appear in more than a couple flix that deal with biophycomythology). Bill’s character asks some kid why he seems to have found the secret to life and the kid says “Find something you love, and do it for the rest of your life.” Another simple way of saying something profound about something profoundly difficult for most of us. But I have learned much about how to get there and that’s where we’re going, to give it a try.

I found out today, from our new real estate agent strangely enough (not following the news hasn’t hurt me any) that BP is selling the Texas City refinery. Fuck BP and fuck the Texas City refinery. Yeah, I should be more yoga about it, but I’ve simply got nothing good to say about that experience other than I met some good folks. And some really fucked up ones. A shit-bag, worthless, poisonous company, BP. And that refinery is a plane of hell – if there’s anyone there who can get or remain biophycomythologically straight while working there, I’d be surprised. It should be scrapped, not sold. But BP pulling out of Texas City does a good job of capping off the busted well of an adventure down here for me and Angie – it seems to end, fittingly, with BP’s failure and disappearance. I failed here too and we’re also disappearing, but I hope me and Angie have learned enough about ourselves from this biophycomythological rehab, from our time together in this house, with and without our dog, that we can make things better than ever from now on. We’re leaving the BP Gulf Coast fiasco behind. I just hope this house can help with our VOG by letting us go soon, that’s what we’re asking of it – to let us go.

Carts & Hearts

We’re immersed now in the process of 1) getting organized for our food cart opening day and 2) moving. Ugh. We’re trying to enjoy the process but it gets tedious. Relying on folks for help is also something that teaches good lessons. First, that most folks are rock solid and giving them the time and space to do things their way is important. Becoming a tyrant is not the point of opening a business – I have to be vigilant of my tendencies to become intolerant, impatient and demanding. Yes, business has to make a buck, but I like to remember Ari’s instruction in his Anarcho-Capitalism Part 2 essay where he describes “how to make money without being a hierarchically oriented abusive ass.”

Kev did a great job on the H2 logo and in fact improved it again before going final – he always manages to tweak his stuff into greatness at the end. I think it has even more life and strength now:

Humble Hogs logo, final black on white

Sometimes I wonder why I get obsessed with stuff like logos and branding. I know it’s not going to make a crappy business good or make bad food taste good. But it’s important to me to present an image that represents what I’m trying to do. I question spending money on a round of t-shirts and caps – not cheap – but it jazzes me and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do – have my own legitimate enterprise that I can be proud of and through it, connect to the rest of the world. It’s a biophycomythological thing – it’s what my heart tells me is right. I don’t want a seat-of-your-pants, shambles of a business. I like the granular, but I also like the professional. Being professional doesn’t have to mean faceless, soulless, heartless, dull, “corporate” (with all its implications of falseness, insincerity, lack of authenticity, etc.) – I know intuitively what I want my business to say and to present to the world. It’s been brewing inside my biophycomythological schism for decades probably, but now I’m focused and can bring this thing to life in the way that I envision it. Just because you start small doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think big. All the while remaining vigilant about the trappings of success and overreaching and losing sight of the goal, etc.

Authenticity is to be expressed throughout HH, but I want it to be accessible – odd, funky, sometimes obscure, but never inscrutable or mysterious. It has to welcome people, why else would a person go into business? Yes, I want the customers to find things a little curious, but in a good way, and if they can enjoy learning about the business as we go along, that just adds more value to the experience, more of the “joy-exchange” that I’m after. It’s great to be able to refer to Ari’s biz books – perfect timing – they’re a great resource to help keep my eye on the prize.

Our cart arrived from Connecticut last week, on a Friday and my brother Kevin was responsible for getting the thing un-crated, hitched to his truck and stored in the U-haul garage I rented. The day was cold, in the low thirties but sunny, with no snow, ice or rain to complicate things. Kev did a great job and got some help from Mark when they discovered that a lock-pin for the hitch wasn’t anywhere to be found in the cart packaging – Mark improvised with some heavy-gage wire and Kev was able to get the egg in the nest with no problems – I simply could not have managed this from here in TX without his help – ‘totally relied on him and he came through big time. Here are some photos:

cart boxed

No hitch pin!!

The egg in the nest – ‘can’t wait to get to A2 and try it out:

Also updated the website – overhauled it really, got rid of all the personal stuff that really was just me legitimizing my six vocations:

Writer

Cook

Urban Trekker

Audiophile

Phycomythologist

Gastro-Farmer

I had a lot of writing posted that I didn’t like after re-reading it – dumped it all, picked a new website template – I’m not paying for custom web-design until we get a reason – for the small chunk of change I’m spending now – about $10/month – I’m getting what I need.

Vendor Bender

I have my cart umbrella being re-skinned by U.S. Awning in Houston as I’m writing this. Black Sunbrella® fabric with a white HH logo – I’m keeping it simple for this first try. $500 but it’s my only method of defining the HH image visually – with such a small cart, the umbrella IS the advertising and it’s necessary I think for me to establish a professional image amongst the other carts. Then the smells, the joy-exchange and the flavors, which will carry the day. Here’s the graphic, which is how I prefer to launch it for hh’s intro to the world:

Humble Hogs logo, final, white on black

Salespeople always seem to have to define new ways of fucking something up. I get a call from my sales guy at U.S. Awning who says the umbrella is ready. Something tells me to ask him for a picture of it before I drive the thirty minutes out there, but I ignore myself and just get going – I put faith first and besides I’m amped enough that I just want to ASSume that everything’s o.k. Alan takes me into the production area and there’s my umbrella. I’m telling you I thought of every way they could’ve fucked this up – crappy re-skin (rumpled fabric, no valance, weird looking location for graphics, etc.) – but I did not think of this: they fucking printed the graphic on the underside of the umbrella! WHAT THE FUCK!! I had actually considered requesting this because I figured that the graphic might be difficult to see when you’re not far enough away from the umbrella, but I couldn’t spend any more money on this thing – the graphic on the outside would have to do.

Alan was beside himself, not in a good way, and proceeded to scramble through the situation, poorly, and I can see that U.S. Awning has some communication issues. When he asked the graphic guy and the production folks if they could put three more graphics on the top-side, I JUST FUCKING KNOW that they all were laughing to themselves – they must have had at least a brief discussion about what I must have intended and it wasn’t this. Alan, who apparently is without common sense, then says “You said to make it just like the one you dropped off.” Well, yeah, asshole, design-wise, but that tiny little advertisement that Creative Mobile Systems had placed in black text on the inside shouldn’t have told you that I wanted my gigantic beautiful graphic only on the underside, you fuck! Who the fuck puts a graphic only on the underside of an umbrella?? They also hadn’t done the venting at the top, which is important to help keep the umbrella from catching air. They hadn’t done a single thing right besides the color.

Holy fucking Thor. I remained calm – what could I say except that the graphic looked TFB (totally fucking brilliant). “Sha-sizzle,” as Kevin would say. I expected it to look good, but in person it was even more dramatic. It’s not my style to berate folks who fuck up, especially in front of others. And I wasn’t as pissed as I could have been because at least they did a good job with the graphic rendering and application process – I could see that it was going to be worth the money. But this was such a dumb mistake. I told Alan, “You could have just called me if you guys were wondering about it.” Don’t tell me they didn’t wonder about it. Anyway, supposedly old Al’s gonna have them take it apart and print more graphics on the outside at no charge, thereby providing me with bonus freebee graphics on the inside. However, I do not have confidence that they’ll be able to anything but start from scratch – how they get that thing apart, run the pieces through the heat-treat gizmo again with more graphics, re-skin the frame and not have it turn out like a fucked-up mess has me wondering. I’ll just assume they know what they’re doing… again.

I’m trying to work with Sherwood Foods, the Detroit distributor for Niman Ranch, to get a reliable source of pastured pork, including offal. My sales guy Jerry D. is hanging in there – I’m a nobody from nowhere, so I sense some trepidation regarding my financial status but hey, get me the credit application, and let’s start doing biz, and we can go from there – I’ll pay my bills order by order if that’s what it takes. It hasn’t been easy to get this lined up with Sherwood. But I just don’t want to rely on local pig farms and butchers for pasture-raised product – local stuff can sell out quickly and leave me in a jam for product. Also, some of the stuff like pigs heads are getting pricey because some A2 restaurants like Grange are sourcing from local farms and causing the prices to go up – $35 for a pig’s head? Cripes, I got my first one from Allen Harrison here in Houston for nothing! Update – I did get info back from Jerry Diaz, my sales guy at Sherwood and they will “build a pallet” for me containing all my Niman shit for each order. I’ll have to break it down myself, which I expected anyway, but ALL NIMAN is what I’m after and I told Jerry he was “rock star.” Now the credit app – I’m like any food biz, they’re gun-shy about start-ups not paying, but hell, here we go. I can’t wait to get some shit in, see what I’m dealing with for product volume and storage – refrigeration, freezing, etc. – holy thor I’m amped to get my food going!

Bread. Not easy to find the perfect hoagie bun, or sandwich bun. I tried ZCoB, but their buns are too large – I’m not serving an enormous sandwich – it’s not the vibe I see for the cart. If you’re hungry, get a “two-fer.” If I had to choose between the samples that Randy from the Bakehouse was kind enough to provide, I’d go with the Ciabatta:

I’m also trying to work with Avalon in Detroit, who’s got me on hold because they’re busy with bigger customers and can’t send any samples yet – I’m hoping this week they’ll be able to work with me, they sound like good folks with a good product that might work. Same with Mill Pond Bread in Chelsea, MI – they seem like good folks and suggested using something besides a hoagie bun to accomplish what I’m looking for, but they’ve also got me waiting for a call-back regarding getting some samples out to me. They very much seem interested in the small businesses – they said they used to supply some large customers but are going back to smaller local customers, which of course would include me.

Another vendor, Custom Ink, is doing HH tees and hats, and they are reminding me of ZCoB with their awesome customer service and communication – all online. Hats due tomorrow 4/5 and I can’t wait. Tees still pending. Definitely looking forward to getting this first run of promo stuff/uniforms established and along with the umbrella, rocking the HH visual to the world. Then getting the groove on with my cart and cranking out TFB chow to match the TFB image!