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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A brief history of the Airstream- my home

OK, so I've read some of my past posts and my typing is absolute garbage. You wouldn't even believe how often I have to correct just to get it to the barely readable point it's at. So sad- I should have taken typing at Lamar instead of "Data Processing"- where we learned how to do computer spreadsheets (like Excel) and I got my "Advanced diploma" because I made that choice. Bogus. Not that an "Advanced diploma" from lamar would've helped anything except maybe getting a scholarship (if I was a minority) to a community college loosely affiliated with HISD.

Anyway, considering that my home and a huge part of my life right now is the 1965 Airstream Trade Wind that, until yesterday, resided in teh backyard of the funeral home, and now is situated along the tall grass and weed line on the East side of the El Cosmico property just out of town. Just to let you know how small Marfa is, my building is considered to be right on the edge of downtown and I can see the Airstream from here if I look due South down Abbott street.

The Airstream has a long hitory, the good parts we'll never know, but we can deduce the worse end of things by taking what we know in conjuction with the condition of the trailer for the first 2 /12 years it was in Texas.

The official owner of this Airstream is the Houston Continental Club, Pete Gray had always been looking out for a cheap Airstream (good luck folks) that he could convert into a band green room for the club's backyard. One day about 3 years ago a basket case Airstream showed up in the parking lot of the club and I asked what it was there for. Apparently, some regular customer had foolishly bought a totally rotted out Airstream from some cat in the Everglades in FL. After spending about $1000 to get wheels, tires and axles on the thing (not even trailer brakes or lights, which were OEM and would be required for regular usage), plus gas, the H-town dude had no place to store it while he got the money and time together to fix it up. From the get go, I saw it as potentially beyond regular repair- not ruined entirely, but rotted, stinky and always wet inside. Plus, somebody had left a bunch of nasty stuff in it and most of the original fixtures were totally gone, and what was left was moldy and rusty-holes in the floor, ruined wood veneer, the whole deal.
Within about two weeks, some nice drunk idiots had smashed out the taillights and cracked some of the yellowed plexiglas windows, plsu ripped off the doorknob.
After about 3 months, finally some gang showed up and tagged the heel out of the thing all across the the back and the driver's side. At that point Pete Gray told the guy he had to get it off the property. A sob story about how he had spent nearly 3 grand on it, including cost ($1500- very cheap for any Airstream), repairs and the trip to get it from the deep swampland of Florida. Pete, not being one for subsidizing slacker idiots other than a few folks who have lived upstairs from the Continental, called his bluff and said to get rid of it, at which point the guy wanted to sell it to Pete Gray. Pete Gray offered $1000 and the guy didn't bite a all. Two weeks later, $1000 bought it for the club and it was moved into the Continental Club backyard for safekeeping and a planned eventual re-do.
Fast forward more than two years to find myself and Trey Armstrong, manager of the Continental Club, joking about me living in that nasty thing out in the desert.
24 hours later, after I had slept on that joke and taken into account how slowly the Marfa project was going, how much money I could save, plus my aversion to renting apartments anyway, I talked to Pete Gray and worked out a deal- I would fix it up as needed, keep it as long as I wanted, and will eventually return it (in however many years) to the Continental for use as a band green room. In Trey;s words, it actually will probably wind up being the band room sooner than it would have if it had stayed at the club.
Anyway, major renovations to every piece of the trailer were in order. I will go through all that in my next post, but first here are some pictures of the fabulous Airstream about 3 weeks after daily work began in earnest. I have some more detailed pictures in analog, but these'll have to do since I have not yet processed film this year.




The vast majority of the serious damage was caused by leaking from the roof vents. These were vents for the kitchen stove, the gas refigerator (still in place). the bathroom and kitchen plumbing vents, the rotted out roof air vents, and the miscellaneous doors on the sides of the trailer that serve the plumbing, gray and fresh water tanks and appliances. Basically, ny forst decision was to eliminate every single unnecessary appliance, sink and the whole bathroom in order to create a larger area with no chance for long term leakage. This is all since it was immediately evident that the entire fllor and portion of the steel understructure would have to be replaced. This would include welding the frame in the rear where rust had nearly caused the dreaded Airstream "rear-end seperation"- often the end of a trailer's usable life. More pics. Keep in mind, I had already cleaned out the trailer, the rotted furnishings (including the 6 ft bed- way too short for me).




Anyway, tomorrow I'll try to go through most of the steps I took in the 8 week and $2500 process of building this basket case trailer into my home- a happy one, thus far. Here's a few more pics, including a couple on a day that my good Lamar High School buddy Corbett "Clitbit" Bishop visited Houston from his home in Tanzania. He actually compared my Airstream/Marfa adventure to his moving out to Africa years back. I guess compared to JP Morgan we're on the same wavelength entirely.




More tomorrow. you wouldn't believe how much more rockin' this trailer is now. By the way, I got some really good help on the national Airstream Forums. Google it and become a member if you're even remotely interested in joining the Airstream ownership cult- a better cult than Apple or Whole Food,s by the way, and I'm an Apple and WFMI stockholder.- David

4 comments:

Michael Nicholson said...

Sir I have a request. I understand that Milo is at the Green Iguana during all 'Stros away games- and calling to himself in the corner. On Mondays can you get him at the Big top with a Mic and the game on with the sound off and get the crowd kicking ass for him before you play Lounge like he loves. He is a Houston treasure- I foundly remember the good old days when he announced Poole fouling 50+ times before they replaced him. And then he'd mention Dancing Berry and the Larry Derker sock giveaaway. I miss the old days. I just saw the incredible video for This Guy's In Love and it kicks ass but Joann Castle kicks ass more- her video for Swannee should be preserved by the Smithsonian! I am living in the back in a sleeping bag and I have a hat rack they gave me for free at Ikea so i wouldnt say anything about service and it is almost filled. My latest is a vintage 'Stros dome cap and I will be getting a miner hat. I wanted a Beaver hat like CLint but that is a real deal replica by the same people and hundreds even $700. I am going soon to Louisiana to get me a mojo hand against the policial stuff of the Psychologists and get help on self-actuating closer to you- see maslow and self-actuazation on the net and I need metaneeds now.
Then I can get closer to that goal and if that happens really go free and give away my self-help on the net where the psychologist can read it too.
And be free like you. Got to go and spin some tunes on my Grandmaster Flash owed turntable with the candle wax from a club show back when Black music was about good times and innocent.
The first Tuesday of the MOnth is collectible day as I'm working on investments to have money at the library so I can be free and please GOd and man I need some EC reprints including the original and way more kick ass comic book mads in reprint form and the Gladstone reprints of the classic Disney work from the era. I think I'll chug a Shasta right now after I sign off and listen to my 45 of Pamela Luchia which is mighty fine. Did you catch Match Game with Gene Reyborn? Mrs. Miller was on but she couldn't say anything or they'd bust her because of past stuff. You are missing out my man- Houston now has Hamburger and Eggroll oh and before I read in bed I need to make a dining and cool place to go list for balance after my projects to please God and self-actuate. I swear they aren't the cool places as much now but I guess I have to find more like that Mafia deli by the courthouse except it's only for Lunch. The Houston Press claims your strip is getting more hippy since you've gone and they have a point. But some kick ass Mexican especially since they killed the once great Otillas. I ate there and then got the Pulp Soundtrack but I had to get Rumble and Brothers Johnson off Ebay and insert them in the cover. Your standards might have gone done since you've left for a better life in the desert. It is more Hippy and all. When I ate I heard Youngblood, Tim Hardin, some group they said was Dopey Grape?, Grateful Dean and Iron Butterfly. But the Coke in the bottle was MIGHTY FINE! and no corn syrup. THe press says the place looks more hippy too but you know I still love it and I can't say about the club I'm still barred. I always wanted to have an internshp from UT riding the Winermobile around the country- that would kick major ass. But then when the RTF club went to Hollywood and we got to the Holiday they were auditioning for Porno instead. Mr. now Dr. Berg made us watch the mighty fine Sullivan's Travels and wow if I could have the blueprints for the airstream for that one. But I'm back in the garage until I go for a mojo hand in Louisiana with my sleeping bag and my record player and trying to self-actuate. The men said I was afraid to do Psychology or I would be one now and the chick said I can't come with such severe problems and so I'm moving to Free plus some investment planning- I can't be homeless- like you and to self-actuate like Maslow tells us about.She asures me that I will NEVER EVER self-actuate but I said if I don't then I have to learn from all our psychologist friends together how to be free and really self-actuate. Dr. Waters is always pissed off looking at me- she was out in the rain shoveling rain on herself with a big janitor broom and I drove by and she was mad. Her husband seems to run from her. The black chick said I was treated the most unfair and her best student of all the people in my worlds but that she has a different agenda than my kind and I have to go. The dean stood up for me and she chased him and he ran away. So I'm going more and more free like you and so far I got to say it feels good. If I need help I'm bringing them all back together for a self-help conference on how I can self-actuate better as I am moving and please God that way. I might along with photography on mindfulness and a Pulp Fiction script which is very hard to pull off right that usually takes years- I do have the soundtrack done on my itunes thought- everything else but my mothers lite Rock is on Vinyl and I got the comicbook for the Point! Think About Your Troubles should be on your playlist because it is the real kick ass version of life when you go free and realize we could be one of the 3000 in 9/11 or 300,000 i n that Tsunami and life is good. I just need to find better dining and things to do more often for balance. And keep exercising, playing Bubbles, Mappy, Mario, Mega, Ghouls, Tetris even if it is for Chicks, man where is Shakeys and Putt Putt with the loop de loop. Well it's getting time for my New Years Ritual of going to Hamburger and Eggroll on N. Shepard after Testimonial Day at the North Main CHurch of Christ in your old hood where I catch the sisters and push them before they kick out the preacher and talk like Jesus and then the soul starts up again and I'm groovin in the isle. There is just something so free about Blacks that I am trying to grasp so I can be like Kid. Oh man I have a video Ipod with Johnny Quest and Easy Reader and Dragnet and stuff on it and I only watch Chain Reaction and CbS this moring off TV but I was at my mother's set and I swear to God i had come back from Serving for Church and I went to the Taco Bell and got $8 of might fine Taco Bell food not Mexican Taco Bell which is differnt and better than the cold crap at Cabana and man I was kicking ass first Barry Williams announces this mighty fine debutante band playing with the big stars of the 70s including Climaxx and New Orleans and then it was Lionel RIchie live which kicked ass. He did Dancing On The Ceiling man and then Brick House. Life is looking up!

Michael Nicholson said...

Man now that you are gone I thought that Molly would be on the dance floor before shows teaching the Safety Dance but I can't experience it I'm barred.
Man men without hats, hippy stuff, I had a fine meal but I swear the playlist at Go-GO was Tim Hardin, Youngblood, Grateful Dead, Holy Modal Rollers and
Iron Butterfly- I must say it sure is getting different since you abonded everyone for greener pastures. You know what the Wicked (RIP) said Don't Let THe Green Grass Fool You. He played my request when he was on Kirby outdoors by the freeway. And I just saw Leon Redbone with 4 people in lawn chairs and they gave me root beer and CHilli and we had a great time jamming to the music. I was touching the stage. Then WIlson came on and he looked at all the white people- and the one Meican guy with his girl clapping over his head and jumping up and down and he looked pissed and after a mighty fine soul instrumental medley before he came and then a few total alltime classics he goes godman crackers to the trumpet guy- this was the day after OJ was free and he tailed it for the van and didn't do an encore and there was a near riot like when Chuck Berry didn't come back for the Aquafest show encore and the crowd was chanting fuck you chich and throwing stuff at the mayor and I got hit on the head hard in the fight when the Mayor announced he wasn't coming back. Man then the Judy's played next and I was with the bass player from the Hates and he was shocked they were playing for Preppy kids and walked out and i was in a daze man. But then I saw that was when I saw the John Show at Antoines and the 6 hour set afterwards by Irma thomas the next week and ate breakfast afterwards at THe GM so life kicked ass. Irma kicked ass and played some mighty fine soul, R&B and New Orleans Jazz funk soul. And unlike Houston the crowd stayed the whole show instead of 1/2 hour. Man in the old days I could eat at Thelmas BBQ and then see the Skatalites and hang out with the band for over an hour after the show and get my album with Kurt from Sound Exchange took because I put it in the pile by accident signed and life was great. It's time to really go free and self-actuate and get to the kick ass times again and do good for God or i'm going to have to do a crazy Mike and hang out across the street and get work. But fortunately if they are barring me from the agencies over 100s on their tests and I'm left in a carer crisis over flunk-out tricks at UT and affimative action pc academia and not doing engineering/science and the R-O/St. Johns people being so 80's yuppie and blowing me by at the party while they do the Safety Dance and I"m on the wall watching this then man i'm free, I'm totally free except for working on my investments from long ago at the library after I read Mad so I have enough money to live a kick ass way and give and I'll write that self-help if I can finish it right to explain the psychologists tricks and other things you aren't supposed to know and leave it up for free on the net above the psychologists website for one thing to please God and help people. Abd dammit I have my sleeping back in the garage with my Vinyl and my new carpet steam cleaner from my man Ray at Sears, the greatest Department store and my $5 coupon for tools what more do I need? Let the Psychologists and Pete kick my ass.
I still reckon that just as when Pete played the only good Frankie song- Oh, What A Nite- that the dance floor would be packed if Mr. Hinkel did Handy Man by James Taylor, maybe the most kick as Lite Rock ever. And you know how bad is life if I can camp out for the first day release of Barry singing the 50s at the Galleria and then go Iceskating before going to the washateria with my clothes in the back at the Shepard place and eat at Jennis those kick ass small packed eggrolls and my dumpling Soup. Houston still has some cool stuff. Remember on Bill Mauhr when he critized Bush before everyone else and the heads balked ads on the show. So to stay on ABC he had like that Lesbian poppoing in the car to that Lesbian club song while driving around and then no one advertised so all he could show was the Barry greatest hits collection and he had Barry on the show to personally thank him for single handedly saving his show. now that's the kind of thing that makes life great!

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