Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Why I love Vagrant Aesthetic (and why you should too.)

I don't get paid for this.

That should go without saying, but alas I am… y'know… saying it.

Hipster, please! is not some money-making machine. I don't run ads and I don't have sponsors. Shit, the closest thing I have is the Play Asia affiliate link in the sidebar, and that only affords me a modicum of store credit for any items purchased using said link. (It's been used in this way exactly twice, in case you're wondering; both times by my mother at my own urging.)

By the same token, it's not exactly a black hole for my disposable income either. Thanks to services like Blogger and Gmail and the ample free storage space/bandwidth provided by cats like Antisocial and Beefy, I manage to keep this project going with minimal investment on my part. I pretty much just pay for the domain, and that's not exactly an exorbitant expense.

As I've said before, being a nerd music blogger is its own reward. I get to interact with interesting people, I get the skinny on new tracks and projects before many other nerdcore fans, and I've even been namedropped on a couple of occasions. Truthfully, that's enough to keep my spirits up and to remind me that the scene itself is full of real, living, breathing individuals, even though the bulk of which I know primarily as pseudonyms and URLs.

Still, sometimes I get little additional perks: a CD here, a sticker there. Only for me they're more than little perks; they are delightful bite-sized nuggets of validation.

I say all of this so that when I tell you that a veritable ball of awesome arrived on my doorstep a couple of weeks back, you'll know I'm speaking true.

My new pals Dennis and Denika are crafty, and I don't mean that in a Beastie Boys sense; I mean that they are grandly creative people who produce tangible goods. Such goods are – and I stretch my vocabulary-muscles simply to find a proper way in which to impart this to you – totally fucking boss!

This Arizona couple sells an assortment of interesting and admittedly bizarre items via their Etsy store (a service of which I was embarrassingly unaware prior to their introduction), the chief of which has become adorably grotesque stuffed zombie figures. Dennis and Denika recently decided to begin taking custom orders, a service which allows regular individuals to have made-to-order zombie plushies crafted for a nominal fee.

What's more, they decided to launch this line by crafting a zombified version of little ol' me! Given my self-professed fear of all things zombie, you'd think I would be offended, but you'd be wrong. I was delighted, flattered, and genuinely touched.

The thing I try to impart through this site (with varying degrees of success) is that nerds aren't simply people who love Star Trek or play D&D or excel in calculus; they are interesting, vibrant, creative individuals who just happen to have interests, attitudes, and skill-sets that aren't exactly congruent with the norm.

In my mind, the thing that sets the “nerd” apart may be rooted in interest – or, better yet, in the intensity of that interest – but it is complimented, nurtured, nourished through just this sort of unbridled creativity.

I appreciate the work of Vagrant Aesthetic in the same way that I appreciate the works of musicians like Drown Radio, Year 200X, or Stovokor; not simply because it is different for the sheer sake of novelty, but because it's an honest (and original) representation of the people who create it. It is, in a very real sense, a visible manifestation of the nerd pride that I haphazardly promote.

It's not about weirdness for weirdness's sake, it's about good-natured eccentricity.

Dennis and Denika did something really nice for me, and I just wanted to thank them all public-like. If you've got a moment and think you might be interested, go take a look at their wares. I don't think you've ever seen anything quite like ‘em.

And, should you be in the market for a personalized zombie plush, be sure to hit them up.


Glenn said...

I must admit that is pretty damn sweet. Loving the style. I would love to be zombified.

As a doll.

ChurchHatesTucker said...

That's really good as a 2D image, impressive as hell that they did it on a plushy.

Just out of curiosity, are you left handed? 'Cause you are now...

TJ said...

Hell, I'd love to be zombified in any way shape or form. But I guess a doll will just have to do.

Dennis said...

Hey Z, this is Dennis. That las link to us goes to the Beastie Boys.

Aside from that, thanks for the write up! Any pics with you and your zombie yet?

Z. said...

Glenn, you, Gabriel, Syn, and Matt should all get zombies made. Then we could have a nerd music journalist cabal of the undead! ;)

Church, I gave Dennis permission to go crazy with the damage. Apparently he thought I had one arm too many.

I guarantee, TJ, you won’t be disappointed with their work.

I’ll have to check those links, Dennis. My little one is sick, so it took me two days to get this cobbled together. No pix of me and Zed yet; mostly because my wife is too terrified to get near him! :D I do have a couple of pictures of Little X. playing with him, though. I’ll have to see if I can find ‘em! Thanks so much for taking the time to make this for me. I truly appreciate it.

Denika said...

I feel bad that I haven't commented on this yet but I have no idea how to take a compliment :p

Thanks a bunch for thinking so highly of us!

Z. said...

Hey, you guys are big supporters of my little blog/podcast, and you were nice enough to take the time to make me my own zombie. It’s the least I can do! :D

Dennis said...

I thought about doing zombies if other artists wanted them...a giant beefy zombie would be fun...I say giant as in a big zombie..uh, not a reflection on his weight :)

Z. said...

If you made a Beefy zombie the big guy would NEVER stop talking about it! :D