6:02 PM

Get Your Hustle On

Hello, this is the Aussie speaking. The reason I say that, apart from being, well, the only white girl around here (and getting called "white girl" very ocasionally, which I don't mind either), is 'cos I guess that might explain why, for a long time, I didn't really get what "hustling" was. I mean I thought it had something to do with drug dealing or whatever, but I didn't realise it could mean selling drugs, selling your body, selling baby clothes. Hustling is about taking control of your life and then, doing whatever you can to get paid. I used to have a boyfriend who would get up every morning, sit at the table with his glass of orange juice and say, "There's a shitload of money out there in the world, so how today am I going to get some of it?" He had the right attitude.

We were talking about this the other day, how you actually can hustle for just about anything in life. I mean, people just don't think like that but in many other countries you never accept their first offering price. As Miss Saigon puts it: "I'm not fucking anybody, I'm just getting un-fucked." So true.
So seeing Saigon Customs' engines working from the inside-out, I'm inspired to think about making the jump to independent myself. I always thought that having a steady, secure, "okay-ish" job would be enough for me as long as I could paint and write on the side. But I've been in my first real job for exactly 13 months before this (and they are amazing, they even gave me the time off to come and intern here) and I'm already thinking "you know what? fuck it". And I have a GREAT job, the type that they'll fill in a week or so. Why the fuck would you throw all that away?

Well, first of all, the money. Yeah yeah I know there's like the whole "starving artist" thing vs Mr 9-5, steady paycheck man, but as Miss Saigon said yesterday, she knows that as an independent, even though there were quiet times, she could "rack money" she "NEVER would have made" if she had been working for somebody else. It's true, right? I mean at some point in your life - if you even think about shit like this anyway- then you're going to have to decide: do I sell myself to somebody who's going to make 2-300% off of my work and enjoy the convenience, the security, the retirement plans, the credit scores and all the rest of it. Or do I hustle? I guess people just don't think about shit like this, 'cos money-wise in the end it doesn't make much sense. I mean, who are you working for? A hustler. That's right, somebody who thought, fuck it, I can organise myself a bigger slice of that tasty pie. And they got so big they ended up needing you to help them. For what? Some crumbs? So I don't see why you wouldn't want to hustle, unless you're all, like, tired and lazy and whatever. I mean you DEFINITELY can't be lazy if you're going to hustle and survive.

So, writing this (giant-behind-the-keyboards-style) I sound all staunch and motivated but, knowing me, being a security-loving Cancerian there's an excellent chance I'll chicken out after this internship is over and go back to my totally rad existence sitting at a computer in an office somewhere. But at the same time, I know the seed has been planted. When you've been around somebody who's made it work, then that makes a big difference in you thinking "I can do that too". So I guess I'll wait and see.

10:22 AM

Thoughts on America

So, some of you I've met already know I travelled a long, long way to be here but since me and Miss Saigon are from out of the country (she, France, me Australia) occasionally we have a little compare about "here" and "there". To be perfectly honest, I absolutely fucking love your country and would live here without hesitation, on the other hand, there are some kinda weird things that you do here in the ol' U-S-of-A that maybe you could take a couple of pointers on:

Pennies: Do you seriously fucking need these? Do you? I still can't figure out how to lose that extra inch from my wallet that is ALL pennies. You can't leave them with the tip as apparently it's an insult to your waiter. People at the cashier have no patience for you to count them out and homeless people simply look at you in disgust, as they should. So wouldn't it be easier to just round it up or down, just ONE or TWO cents? Seriously.

Paying to receive texts and calls: I can't even imagine what kind of etiquette questions this would pose in stingy ol' Australia, where people with no phone credit cadge text messages the way you bum a cigarette or a light. What if you were saving your last fifteen cents to tell your friend where you are, then some dickhead sends you one of those really awful, sex joke texts that they forwarded on from their Mom? I get those all the time from one of my friends, then again, maybe that's just her. You know, her Mom's like, one of those heaps modern, "Myspace Moms". Do you have those here? Okay maybe not.

Huge meals and doggie bags: Alright, a little rant: you guys have this restaurant thing all mucked up. First of all, you pay your waiters $3.40 an hour, which is not okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know they're supposed to get tips and all, but seriously couldn't you just pay them properly and stop serving like, two meals' worth of food and save the dough that way? Invariably when I want to take my perfectly good, half-eaten meal away ('cos by Australian standards, there's still enough food for a whole meal there) you take it away and put it into a STYROFOAM. CONTAINER. That is like, so passe by environmental standards, just so you know. Then they put it in another, paper bag and then into a plastic bag. Whoa. It would be wasteful to throw that food out, yet the amount of packaging they use means it looks like a Christmas present by the time I get it back. I don't NEED all those bags dude. I know in Australia you don't usually bother with doggy bags (I hate that phrase) 'cos our meals are like, person-sized, but I see a lot of people do it here (with a LOT of food left over). So when I get to a city of 25 million people and see this happening everywhere, every day I realise that the planet is seriously on the fast-track to being FUCKED. Did you ever hear about the North Pacific Gyre? Argh.

Health Care: I know you don't need me to rub it in. You're in a bad place with that right now, but then again maybe your new president will do something about it. Good-looking guy by the way. Our K Rudd could take a few pointers from your Obama.


Leaving trash bags on the curb for collection:
Where I come from, this sounds like you're sending one of your very drunk friends home in a taxi, but in New York they seriously do that, bags and bags of the stuff out on the pavement, every day. It wouldn't be so bad except that the bags leak all this sweet and sour garbage soup everywhere and THAT'S why New York smells like shit. I always get this tangy swamp smell on my clothes, yuk. So, I don't know how much crap people have to throw out every week but we get by with two small-ish bins (one for recycling, one for other stuff), maybe you should suggest it to your mayor (when the Swine Flu outbreak is over, dude seems pretty busy with damage control right now).

Anyways, that's all from me. Nothing sneaker-related in this post but like I said, I have to be ultra discreet. You'll know when you KNOW, alright.

10:58 AM

Don't be scared, be prepared for the first.

Welcome to post number #1 from the Saigon Customs blog. My name's Erika, I'm the intern, I'm about to reveal a little bit about "The Secret Life of Miss Saigon"

Right now, we're readying ourselves for the second International Sneaker Battle, although we can't talk much about that because there are little eye-spies everywhere. We have to keep it even more on lock since SC won Best Custom Themed Sneaker last year, and I doubt their other egos could survive being burned twice by a bunch of little girls.

It's like that, uh, and that's the way it is...

We just moved into a new, 1400 sq.foot studio with lots of natural light that's going to bring out our artistic best. And since we ladies are taught to always have our best assets on display, here they are:

We set it up yesterday. It looks dope now, I can't even imagine how good it's going to look two months from now.

This is Amy. She's all like, man-lady looking but I can already tell she's got our backs. She's like the principal of your old high school or the judge at your DUI appearance: you just wouldn't fuck with her.

My new desk, at the front here. Found by the roadside for "free-ninety-nine"! I trash the environment enough with my overconsumption of sneaks that I like that at least some of my stuff is freecycled.

To unwind, there are a couple of things you can do around here, including getting your arse whooped by Miss Saigon at Scrabble. It's even more embarassing considering her first friggin' language is French. Anyways, RAY FAG EYE, I'd like to see which of YOU geniuses would've picked up on that combo.

More to come.