The “Buying snowballs in winter” edition :: Rusty’s Electric Dreams, Issue #165


“A calling isn’t something new and shiny. Often it’s something old and predictable, a familiar face that’s easily taken for granted, an old habit or hobby that comes back into our lives..” —Jeff Goins

Rusty's Electric Dreams

Rusty’s Electric Dreams, an inbox zine from the curious mind of Rusty Blazenhoff
Issue #165 :: The “Buying snowballs in winter” Edition :: 2:07:2018

Buying snowballs in winter…

The floor in our kitchen, and really the floor of the entire back of the house, really needed to be replaced. So, for the past week and a half, I’ve watched the removal of ancient layers of old, dirty linoleum and see it slowly but surely be replaced with a sturdy new marmoleum (a non-toxic, sustainable flooring which we’ve nicknamed “marmaladoleum”).

The flooring guy, John, is a friendly sort and guessed that the top yellow layer was about 15 years old. He estimated the pink patterned sheet directly underneath that was probably from the 1970s. The thin layer of green institutional-looking flooring tile squares at the bottom? He placed that in the 1950s. As a friend quipped about the layers, “It’s like sedimentary rock.”

There was one more layer uncovered, but only in the breakfast nook (aka my office). It was a simple wood floor on top of the subfloor. Unfortunately, it wasn’t nice enough to polish. It will also be paved over in gray marmaladoleum. Seeing some of the “bones” of the house, which was built in 1932, was a joy though. (Yes, I have been taking lots of photos.)

John is probably in his fifties and works alone. When he is on the clock, he keeps us separated with a thin, zippered sheet of plastic that covers the doorframe from the kitchen to the main living area. He brings a small rubbery bluetooth speaker to listen to soft rock and a red Thermos full of I-don’t-know-what, probably water, with him. He wears a headset so he can take calls.

At the end of each day, I got the rundown of what he was able to accomplish in those eight hours. First he removed the old linoleum by cutting them into big squares and stacking them up in short piles. Two days later, he brought all those misshapen squares to the dump, along with an old piece of foam that didn’t fit in my trash bin (he offered!).

Then, on another day he cut and placed a birch “underlayment.” The following day was a short one. He filled in the cracks where the underlayment sheets met with some kind of dark gray patching material that needed to dry overnight. Every night SJ and I have been able to use the kitchen as usual.

John’s meticulous with his work. He really takes pride in it. I told him I was surprised that he works alone because it’s really labor intensive. He said that he tried in the past to bring on help but it never worked out. They were always checking their phone or just not engaged in the work. He said he’s happy working solo. I told him I was happy working alone too, and I am for the most part.

On Monday, he placed the first piece of the brand new flooring. It was ok to walk on it by the time he left. Right now I can hear him ironing out another piece of it. He uses a heavy (and squeaky) metal roller to do the job.

I’m absolutely fascinated by the entire process. It’s cool to witness one man doing his craft. He takes no shortcuts, makes no excuses and confidently stands 100% by his work. It might sound silly but I’ve been so impressed that I want to raise my own, already high standards. I think it’s the only way to get to the next level… the only way to become a true professional. I sense I’ve been holding onto some of my amateur ways. No more.

–Rusty Blazenhoff
P.S. If you’re in the Bay Area and need the number of a good flooring guy, HMU.

This space intentionally left floored

As seen on the Internets


Fantasy super market signs by Lisa Congdon

I’ll take $5 worth of Grit today: I’m digging these “Fantasy super market signs” by Lisa Congdon (who I recently discovered through writer Jeff Goins’ blog… great podcast with her). Be sure to check out her Etsy shop, so much delightful stuff!

:: “Be cool! Be cool!… Just settle the fuck down!”: Tell’em, Patti!

:: This “deepfakes” stuff is crazy business

:: If you’re looking for Girl Scout cookies, my friend’s daughter Astrid is selling them (they can be shipped)

:: Someone wants you to work for free? Just say “No, thanks!

:: Words that depressed people use

:: Doc Pop wrote a fun nerdcore song for his new yo-yo

:: Vending machines of free items for the homeless

:: There’s going to a Meow Wolf documentary!

:: Valentine barf bags

:: Anyone want to have their own old timey roadshow? You’re gonna need this.

:: “Creative individuals have also been found to have higher IQs and lower latent inhibition — that is, an ‘inability’ to suppress irrelevant or inappropriate thoughts, which provide the raw materials for their creative ideas.”

Real things you can actually buy: way!

I'll feed all you f*ckers
Pleased to meat you: It’s a little early for BBQ season, but it’s never too early to get an oven mitt that says, “I’ll feed all you fuckers.” Amirite?  $13.99

Real things you can actually buy: slay!


No one wants to watch you eat that banana

I’m bananas for this: Blue Q (the company behind these two products) is killing it this season. Check out all their new stuff or just grab this hilariously inappropriate dish towel for $11.88.

Real snowballs you could actually buy: brrr!


David Hammons' Bliz-aard Ball Sale in New York City, 1983

Get your fresh snowballs here: Would you buy a snowball.. in winter? Well, on Tuesday, I blogged about a vending machine in Minneapolis that sold $1 (real Minnesota) snowballs to tourists who were in town for Super Bowl weekend. It was a popular souvenir and all proceeds went to charity.

While researching it, I learned about artist David Hammons and his Bliz-aard Ball Sale performance. In 1983, he sold snowballs, in a variety of sizes, as street art near Cooper Square in New York City.

Steven Stern wrote an essay about the piece in 2009. Here’s a snippet:

…”As it comes down to us in documentation, it is a portrait of the artist as an anonymous and disreputable pedlar, an absurdist street hustler. Hammons’ notion of an artist includes a constant flirtation with notions of the illicit and the fraudulent – the ever-present suggestion that the whole business might be a scam. What, after all, could be more of a scam than selling snowballs in winter?…”

I love all of this so much!

Stphoto by Dawood Bey via Aphelis

Featured events


Wonderland by Epic Immersive

Special four-week engagement: Starting on February 24th, Epic Immersive is hosting an “adventure down the rabbit hole” with their new show, Wonderland. If you think you’d like to go, get on the mailing list now. Tickets go on sale February 12th and there are only eight shows total. It’s sure to sell out quickly.

Los Angeles, California
[3/17] Keep saving the date for the first Rusty’s Electric Dream meetup in LA

Oakland, California
[3/5] Heather Gold’s Yarn, a comedy storytelling show especially for women who are ‘Hollywood old’ (age 29) at Homestead, 7 PM doors, 7:30 PM show

San Francisco, California
[2/16] Opening of Michael Wertz’s Sacred Cows show at Alley Cat Books, 7 PM to 9 PM, RSVP

Reno, Nevada
[2/10-2/11] Reno Punk Rock Flea Market


NYC vs SF: attitude by Sarah Cooper

East coast vs. West coast: Many of Sarah Cooper’s NYC vs. SF comparisons made me laugh out loud, literally. #silentlyjudgingyou

Rusty’s Electric Dreams is a weekly inbox zine from the curious mind of Rusty Blazenhoff.

Described as, “One of the most inspiring, weird and off-kilter collections of curated kitschy ephemera for the big-brained.”

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