Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Johnny Chop- We'll miss you dude.

Yeah, our buddy Johnny Vasko aka Johnny Chop passed away yesterday. He had heart problems. That is all we know. But it doesn't matter how he died, it's how he lived. He was a genuinely sincere and sweet person, as well as being a hell of a bike builder. My first experience with Johhny was at a party in Sturgis 2004. It was one of those little VIP things and I hate those. But I went anyway. I'm standing around bored, ready to leave and I see Johnny. I recognized him from Chica's Biker Builder Off tv show. He walks right up to me and asks me if I'm Crazy Horse, then goes on to tell me how much he loved my work. I took him over to see my chopper which was new at the time. We talked for a while before I left. I was really surprised to find out what a truly nice person he was.
He went on to fame and his own shop. But he never got an atitude and or forgot how to treat people.

Sara just got back from the west coast where she was taking pictures for her Builder and Machine series of photos. She was pretty broke up about it.
The past few years have been pretty tough in our industry. We lost Larry in '04, then we lost a man not many of you know about but who serious chopper builders depended upon. He was Bradley the Polisher and he was also a real good guy. After that it was Gary from Milwaukee Iron that left us. And now we say goodbye to Johnny. I was thinking today as I buzzed around the shop trying to work on the Petty bike, trying to get it done with the deadline pressing down on me. It seems we are always trying to meet some fricking deadline. I don't care who it is. No matter who I talk to, the pressure to get the job for a specific date is always there. NO matter who it, even Hank Young was telling me about some deadline wearing him down, putting in the late hours at his shop. We push, push, push. Then we party hard. It makes for a bad combination. Our bodies and therefore our health as well as our attention to the road while riding get shortchanged. We pay a hard price, then whammo, it's over. We don't truly get to enjoy the incredible gift of life. I have an incredible chopper that sits in my shop. I have a beautiful home, awesome friends. And I don't get to slow down enough to enjoy them.
I made the desision earlier this year, that after I finish book 4, that's it. I'm slowing the pace. Spend some time living the motorcycle life as well as working it.

So all ya out there, this weekend take some time for Johnny, and for Bradley, and Gary and our Larry. Get on that bike and ride. Go to bed early once in a while. Stop stessing over stuff so much. Take better care of yourself. Live your life and remember how very precious it is, even tho sometimes it feels like hell. And never forget our buds that are gone. Don't just look at those old Dave Mann posters, get out there and live it. And if ya see some little old chick on a flamed sportser or chopper on South or North Carolina, you'll know Crazy Horse Paint Shop is closed for the day.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Not much fun here

The reason you all haven't heard much from us is work. Sara is busy as hell at her shop in Pittsburgh. She's doing a bike for a Pittsburgh Steeler. And other projects are piling up. Same here only the big project for the past 2 weeks has been a bike for the Kyle Petty Ride Across America. This ultra will be auctioned off to benefit the Victory Junction Gang camp. More in the weeks to come.

My car painting book will be released very soon. Wow I'm in fine writing form this morning. It has been a rough week. Gotta a phone call from some tv show. They were interested in having a segment in their show about bike painters. It was odd, as the name of their show was the same as another biker tv show. Turns out this show has nothing to do with the "original" one. I get the call after a very frustrating day when I found out that the paint mask material I was using for a project was less than satisfactory and had to desperately make other arrangements. These things only happen on a Friday just before everything closes for the weekend. I was lucky it happened on Thursday when I could get what I needed overnighted.
So I'm talking on the phone with this person, thinking he's associated with this other, established show. He's asking the kind of questions and making the kind of statements that people make, who ARE NOT familar with the custom bike world.
Needless to say I did not give them what they wanted. They wanted flash. They wanted to hear about how I hang out with biker celebrities and have a flashly shop with painted flames covering the building and chrome covered choppers sitting outside and Snoop Dog hanging around inside.

That is so not me. You would never know from going by my place that a motorcycle has even gone down my driveway, let alone the 4 choppers (3 of which have been featured in magaines, 1 being on the cover of Easyriders) that currently reside in my shop. Plus the two complete chopped frames and parts, that await custom paint, the 2 very radical choppers that are in the paint process or the assortment of killer equipment that services these works of art.
No one comes by. Neighbors have no idea. Today is Saturday. I'll be working and I wont be interupted by people coming by. I'll be able to concentrate on my work and put my full attention into the project at hand.
I'll go away for weeks at a time. My place is fully alarmed, bars on the windows, serious locks. Security cams. I still worry. There are times when there are extremely big bucks sitting in my shop.
If they want flash, they can go to my husband's shop. It's all gleeming chrome, bright neon, polished floors, and hundreds of thousands of $$ of custom bikes.

Actually I think its way cooler to have a shop that doesn't look like a shop. I don't need a big picture window, stylish showroom and work area and the large overhead thatcomes with it, to be a bike painter that continuely puts out work that gets featured in magazines like this month's American Iron or win's bikes shows like the Best of Show I got this year or gets books published. I'll put my time and money into creating killer paint work.
Well gotta go, Snoop is stopping by later.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

And then it was Tuesday

Crazy Horse here- This is what one of the walls of my office looks like. That gold mask is a Jon Kosmoski creation. The oil painting are originals of mine. Sitting here watching "Seinfeld" reruns. That was a such a silly show. After a long day of dealing with customers, planning my week by ordering things for jobs, making phone calls, and then there's always the very fun "planning out the rest of the year." Sara and I were planning our stratagy for the AMA Women's Conference in June. We went over what we will be doing ad far as events for the rest fo the year. Hell, why don;t we just turn 65 and get it over with? Ah, we'll be there soon enough, that is if we survive another 10 or 20 years in the MC business. And I have to write tonight for about 6 or so hours, so it was nice to take a break and laugh at people being silly.
Speaking of getting old, check out the issue of American Choppers on sale at any newstand. It's put out by the folks at American Iron. Our good buddy Margorie Kleiman edited this issue and it rocks. What loved about it, was looking at old pictures of Dave Perowitz and Donnie Smith. Brought back alot of memories.
My husband Jim is back from Daytona.
As for the any Daytona pictures, he didn't take many. He was staying at Destination Daytona, which is a great place to be but a nightmare to get in and out of. Daytona is always the same, unless I'm there, as drama follows me like a cloud. So in that spirit, I thought you all might want to read one of my crazier Daytona dramas. It happened during Daytona Bike Week 2002.

The email seemed harmless enough. Angie, an old friend of mine from CT would be in Tampa on vacation with her new musclely boyfriend, some tiger tamer-bounty hunter guy. She wanted to get together in Daytona during Bike Week. I didn't take it too seriously. After all she'd be too busy 'being in love', to waste any time with me playing 3rd wheel. Maybe a quick lunch and they'd be off counting the stars in each other's eyes. I emailed Angie my cell phone number.

Her first phone call on Thursday was something about frozen rats and monkey shit. " I gotta get outta here! I'm on my way! You would not believe this place. He picks me up at the Airport in his car he called the Jag. The window on my side didn’t role down and his window didn’t role up. There was dirt and rat shit on the seat and the air was too expensive to fix. It was all dented up. And his house! The whole house smells like monkey shit. Everything is covered with dust and shit. I open up the freezer and there are ziplock bags full of rats. Frozen rats! Oh my god, he's coming. I'll call you when I get close to Daytona."

This did not sound like true love. After several attempts directing Angie to the Ranch, where I was staying, she finally figured out, for a short time anyway, which way north was. She pulled up to the Ranch in her rental car and paced the yard while telling her horrific tale.

"He took me to his house, where there was the smell of dead rats and monkey shit. I started to laugh, saying your kidding me right!!! We had to go shopping. When he saw me get a few things, he got his own cart, so I paid for my own things. At home when I opened the freezer it was full of dead rats with their tails out of the zip lock bags. Didn’t fit. He feeds them to his snakes. I screamed. He called me Barbie and put a rat-tail on my arm and laughed. I put my sweatshirt on the radiator to dry cos it costs too much to run the dryer. Then he goes and put rats on my shirt so they can thaw out. He bought me these new towels at flea market and never washed them. They were full of dirt. I tried washing up and all this black stuff came out of them. He takes me to all-you-can-eat $5.99 buffets and doesn't pay for mine. Yelled at me for not shutting off the lights and told me to take short showers and to flush the toilet once a day because he has to pay for all the water going out of this dump he calls a house. Then he says to me this morning, ' just how much toilet paper do you use anyway? You've already gone through one roll.".…I called Delta and they wanted $658 to take me home so I cried. Then I caught him looking through my diary and he listened in to all my calls on an extension when I called my daughter!"

Geno, associate editor at The Horse had asked me to try and find Jesse James. So I tossed Angie on the back of my sporty and we rode down to his vendor display at The Wreck Bar and Grill on Main St. She had her reservations about riding bitch. She was convinced everyone was watching us. "They're gonna think we're dykes!" she cried. Her own sporty was 1200 miles away. At one point she screamed how people were staring. I looked around. No stares. So we're riding down the crowded streets and she's shouting, "We're not dykes! She's just giving me a ride!"

A number of people stopped us and asked to take pictures. One group of elderly ladies ran up and posed with us. They gushed about how great it was to see "two women out and about on their own, on a motorcycle. Doing just what they want." OK.

At the JJ display, Angie eagerly played Horse Maiden handing out copies of the Horse. I questioned her, when I noticed she wasn't handling many out. 'You said to hand then out to cute guys," she said. "I don't see any." No cute guys. No JJ. We decided to eat at the Wreck and Angie found a few cute guys. She found a few more down on Beach St. Tom the German, had hot chicks posing on his latest custom. I grabbed a few pics, while she grabbed Tom.

"Hey I know a cute guy here!" Angie suddenly remembered. She knows them everywhere. We tore up to the Broken Spoke. The german lady at the gate stopped us immediately.
"Where do you think you're going?" She challenged. " I wanna go with you! You girls look like trouble." She gave us a parking spot right near her post and we set out to find Angie's soon-to-be-boyfriend. Men began throwing themselves at her, but she held out until she found Jimmi Bell guitarist for the Diamondback Band. At that point she immediately began making out with him. He reluctantly tore himself away. The other members of the band were on stage playing, waiting for him to join them.

A phone call gave me a mission, so we headed south to the marina to find my buddy Bob. My paint fumed brain cells had forgotten Bob's instructions on finding him. So we went around to the biggest boats in the Marina, asking for Bob. Suddenly every guy's name was Bob. Some of these boats were pretty nice. I wanted to go aboard a few of them, but Angie wouldn't have it. "What if they kidnap us? They can just drive off into the ocean and we'll be toast!"

Meanwhile the Rat Tail Man was ringing Angie's phone every 4 seconds. She had driven him to a friend's home, halfway between his house and Daytona. She felt very bad for the people there, being stuck with Mr. Cheapskate. Plus her return trip ticket and all her clothes, including her leather bustier collection, were at Ratty's house. In her rush to leave, she had forgotten to bring everything with her.

"He'll burn all my stuff if he gets too pissed!" After a long session with the map, she fled back to Ocala.

Friday morning, after several lengthy phone seminars on how to find south by looking at the sun, Angie found the Ranch again. We flew down to the Boardwalk Bike Show, where the bikes glittered in the hot sun as scantily clad women crawled all over them, posing for the cameras.

As the sun set Saturday, I did a photoshoot on a rigid FXR for The Horse. Angie assisted.
Where to go next was an easy choice as Angie's "Hot Dude of the Moment" was at the Broken Spoke. Angie was perplexed. The Rat Man had effectively forced her to go back to Tampa by going along on her trip, then staying at a friend's. As much as everyone begged her to stay, the odds were against it. She wanted to stay and have hot evening fun with Jimmi Bell. I wanted to spend time with my best bud. She decided to stay in Daytona as long as she could. We tried to think up the perfect lie. Her rental car was parked in at the Ranch. That sounded plausable! She called the psycho and he wasn't there. So she happily left the message that she wouldn’t be there anytime soon. Shortly after, the phone rang ominously. It was Him! The nut was calling.

"I can't answer it here! The band's too loud. I'm supposed to be at your house!" We frantically searched for a quiet place. Next door at Smiley's by the fire in back was 'sorta' quiet. It would have to do. Angie spun her web, with Ratty not believing a word. "Well, get the asshole whose parking you in towed, I'll pay for it." Oh sure he'll pay for that but not even buy her a box of crackers? "With what, ya stupid cheap dick?" She fumed into the phone. We took off and spent the rest of the night dancing to Diamondback as people tossed beads to us. When the band was done playing, the drummer stood up and pointed to Angie. He tossed his drumsticks to her. Suddenly this big dude flew across the dance floor, shoved tiny Angie away and grabbed the sticks, holding his trophy aloft, very proud of his accomplishment. I wanted to pop him with a beer bottle, but I had an appointment with a couple of cute guys later. A night in the pokey did not fit into my plan. Angie disappeared with Jimmi and my cuties showed up for our date. Angie's phone continued it's angry ring, so she said goodbye to me after I pulled her out of a van.

I'll let Angie tell the rest of the story.

" Wow did we have a fight @#$%%$#@. He said 'I didn’t know you were such a Bitch.' I said 'No I’m a Crazy Bitch, don’t fuck with me again.' He got even by dumping Cobra shit down my toilet and splashing it everywhere on my things. I flipped out, hit him, and packed all my stuff called Delta. No way home. I stayed on the couch. Then he came into the room pined me down, held my arms, and farted on me for, I swear 5 minutes. gross. Smelled worse then the Cobra shit, and broke one of my nails. I took a Xanax, to knock myself out. The good things are I lost 8lbs from nerves, I’m nice and tan, and I think I’m seeing an almost rock star. He’s been calling every day since and I’m home in a clean house. Did I mention I had to ride bitch on Joann’s bike to get to town? Did I mention there was NO sex? I told him never touch me anywhere again. That I skive him. Sorry, but how much can a girl take? Joann is writing this in Bikernet. We're calling it “The Rat Tail man that gave No Tail.” This is all true."

Friday, March 10, 2006

meanwhile in the rest of the world...

I love this picture. I love the bike and the way people used to ride back then. It was a very different world for folks who rode.
Meanwhile, my husband has gotten to Daytona. He's staying at the new Destination Daytona. His boss's condo is very cool, Jim says. He was hanging on the balcony and Cory Ness walked by. Jim says the place is enormous. So far hes having a good time. I wish I were there, but if I were there I could not stay at the condo with Jim, as it is a boys weekend. No wives. Jim doesn't do the guys only thing very often, in fact, he's only gone away without me, maybe 4 times in the past 11 years. But if I were there, I'd be just fine, as I have my own places to be. My friend Rusty Katrina from Denmark is in Daytona. Morgan is there, and Goth, I could crash at my friend Anitas house or sleep in my truck. Plus I'm sure Margorie from American Iron Retailer is buzzing around. So there would be no shortage of friends to hang with. I could even meet my Jim for dinner or drinks. It's funny, a husband and wife at the same event, and not staying together, and it's ok.
I miss him. But it is nice to have the house to myself. About two years ago, Jim went on a Biker Build Off ride and I was alone here for a week. Well not really alone, me with the cats and the dog.
Today is a long day, go into Charlotte, dropping off parts for final clear, pick up soem paint, work on a paint job at my home studio. Get ready to do some major work over the weekend.
I had a horrible headache yesterday. I hate that. I lose so much work time to those headaches. But summer is coming, my bikes await me for summer riding, my hammock waits to be hung up in the woods, my godsons will be here soon and it will be so much "fun" training the 2 yr old not to climb everything in my house or break stuff.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Daytona Bike Week

The husband leaves for Daytona today. It was a last minute thing. His boss Click is down there. He's a got a condo at Destination Daytona. He's been calling asking if Jim is coming down.Jim's fab shop is not crazy busy right now, so he has the time plus his good friends Micky and Dave, will be there. He seldom gets to see them. So he will stay at Click's condo and hang with the boss, see his good friends, and see bikes. Also Morgan Storm will be riding the Wall right across the street. Jim can go over and watch her ride and congratulate Morgan for getting into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame!
That's right our Morgan, who we all knew, was a legend, will become an offically recognized legend!!!!! We are so excited and happy for her. Her dad, Sonny Peloquin will also be reconized! Imagine, to be inducted along with your dad.
So Jim will have fun. And everyone keeps asking me if I'm going, no I can't. Too much work. Summer will be here before I know. And I want to spend some serious seat time on those bikes.
As for the squirrel picture, that was taken last summer. I was looking out the window and couldn't believe it. Does it have anything to do with Daytona? Yes. There are plenty of people at Daytona this week, with less brains than that squirrel.
Ok time for work. Us Femme Fatales are crazy busy this month. Sara is building a bike for one of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I'm getting ready to start on the bike paint for the Kyle Petty Ride Across America bike. Not much time for blogging, but I have a bunch of piant that is almost done, so I'll be posting pictures over the next few weeks!
If you're Daytona bound, remember to stop in at Destination Daytona and walk over to the Wall of Death and say hello to our Morgan! Goth may even be there playing keyboards.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Misc Crazy Shit

Crazy Horse here, I just got back from a 4 day airbrush class. It was incredible. See pics.
Not much time to write these days. Check in and see the pictures I'll try to post. This time a year is always an crazy race that drives many of us in the custom bike industry to insanity. The warm weather teases and customers go completely nuts driving us to the edge of suicide.
Ladies!!!!!!! This is for the ladies only!!!!! 30 years of skiing, riding, outdoor stuff has beaten my skin to crap. I froze it skiing, the wind dragged it all over the place riding. My face never had a chance. So I'm trying something different. Ok I'll just comeout and confess. I love the Mary Kay face products. They have made such a difference in the texture of my face skin. It is so smooth. Never in a million years would I have ever believed I'd be gushing about that that line of products in pink containers. But I love it. Go this this website and check out Muriel's stuff. Muriel Fleming is my best friend's sister and I become obsessed with trying the MaryKay Timewise products after seeing the difference in MaryAnn's skin.
Ok back to Bike Stuff!!!!!!!
For those of you going to Daytona, have fun. I won't be there. I'll be here working and dreaming of riding.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Valentine's Day

The years pass by so quick after age 40. Blink and a year goes by. The big race at Daytons is happening soon. I remember where I was when I heard Dale Sr had died. I was in my truck driving from Columbus, OH to Indy. It was when the Indy M/C trade show used to be worth going to. My husband was showing a bike in Columbus and I left to go back to Indy. For all the wrong reasons. I should have stayed in Columbus and spent time with my husband.
This business can be hard on relationships. So this Valentine's Day I made sure my hubby knew I was thinking of him. He came home to find a little goodie bag of stuff on his work bench. Nothing fancy, some snacks, a wash mitt for his truck, mini mag lights, stuff like that. Oh and a nice card.
He brought me candy and roses. I've spent so much time concentrating on work and survival for so long. It's nice to finally work back into my marriage again, appriciate everyday with him.
Anyhow all the Femme Fatales are busy working, surviving. Summer will be here soon and I want to be out riding, spending time with my godsons, yelling at my brother while he messes stuff up.
Besides the Olympics are on. For a ski bunny like me, there are only one Olympic games, the Winter games.
Ok back to work.