Thursday, November 29, 2007

It seems people do read this blog after all

I received the following comment in regards to this entry:

Thanks for the feedback about our models, Lucy.

American Apparel

Unfortunately there is no way of verifying if this Lisa does have any affiliation with American Apparel as her blog spot profile is almost non existent and her only blog entry is nonsense.

However, in the hopes that she does have a legitimate affiliation, I'd like to clarify something for her:

I like American Apparel clothes with a few exceptions (mainly that awful v neck talked about in this post and leggings - I can't wait for leggings to go out of fashion again). I like the fact that they are making an effort to change the way people make clothes and are proving that you can make non sweatshop clothes that are not absurdly expensive, just kind of expensive. Like organic produce verses "conventional" produce. I believe in putting ones money where ones mouth is, and if you can afford to do so, that's great.

I also understand what they are trying to accomplish with their marketing gimmmick of using blown out photographs of bored people who look like they just woke up.

That doesn't mean it isn't funny that they have blown out pictures of bored people who look like they just woke up.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tobias Funke Meets Craigslist

I've found Tobias Funke.


He's posting on Craigslist:

Holiday Elf or Top-hatted Dickens Character for your holiday event!

Reply to:
Date: 2007-11-28, 11:53AM PST

Cool twisty balloon creations and FACE PAINTING for your party!!!

Everybody loves balloons. Wild hats, exotic animals, heart wands, space aliens, daisies, elaborate pirate swords and the classic pink poodle on a leash turn any gathering into a party! From children's birthdays to company picnics to grand openings, "OLIVER TWIST" makes it special.

There's no fright wig or sweaty makeup to scare the daylights out of your toddlers. Just a clean, colorful outfit that still looks "human", and lots of balloon fun!

Kids can also can choose from a face painting "menu". Have your camera ready to capture your son transformed into "BatDude", or your daughter into a sparkly Flower Princess! Or they can choose a design for their arm or hand. Oliver uses professional, high quality, non-toxic face paints that dry fast and wash off easily with soap and water.

Oliver's one hour rate includes twisty balloons AND facepainting for up to 17 kids!!!

Real Santas in Overland Park

I have been charged with the task of finding a "Santa" for my boss's holiday party. I've always found this (American?) idea of meeting the "real Santa" really, really weird. Why would anyone want their child to sit on some strange man's lap just because he's wearing a funny costume and has a tobacco stained beard? Is any child over the age of 3 really that naive as to believe that Santa is hanging around in the local mall? And if they aren't 3 then why bother - they won't remember it anyway? Isn't it so much more magical, interesting and imagination cultivating to not spoil/cheapen the idea of Santa by having him appear at said mall?

Perhaps I am an overly skeptical person and perhaps I was from a young age, but I have distinct memories of telling my father I believed in Father Christmas (as he is called in our family) mostly to keep him happy, much in the same way I ate the pancake he made using the entire jug of batter while my mother was away - I didn't want to hurt his feelings. My brother was still living at home then and we were in Syria, so I couldn't have been older than 5, when I expressed to my father that I was worried Father Christmas wouldn't be able to get into the house, as there was no chimney. He made a big show of leaving the door open a crack and was utterly thrilled to do so. I stood back and watched him enjoy himself, knowing that there was no way a fat man in a red suit would be flying all over the world giving people presents. It made about as much sense as believing in a man who sat up in the sky watching and judging our every move.

But I digress.

In my search for the perfect party Santa, I came across this, the website for the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas convention taking place in wonderful, Overland Park, Kansas: "Overland Park is "The Natural Choice" for your vacation or business destination."

I've been to Overland Park, Kansas. My experience there reinforced every single stereotype I had developed about the Midwest, from the awful, sugary food from cans, packets or boxes, to the various amphetamine habits of the inhabitants, to the disgusting strip mall culture all the way to racist morons (I was, in all actuality, called a "Sand Nigger" when I was there).

It is not the "natural choice" for anyone's vacation and these poor Santas, traveling from such far away, nice, places such as Sweden or Germany are going to be utterly horrified. Much more than they were at last years convention which was in Branson, Missouri, also known as Vegas for Christians.

Moving on, I also came across this site and then burst out laughing. I am made uncomfortable by these sorts of things and thus resort to laughing: it smacks of pathetic effort. Look at Santa Dave from Vista, California. He's had professional photos taken, he probably has a head shot he sends out. Never mind that the photos were taken at Sears and he's looks almost as made up as Michael Jeffries, it's the effort that shows. And it makes me uncomfortable that so much effort is put into something so depressingly bad.

Santa Herbert of Vallejo and Napa Valley has a picture that looks like it was taken off of the Megan's Law website and Santa Randy of San Francisco just looks pissed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Strange men. Again.

A few months ago I made a blog entry about this man:

He is (or was) featured in an American Apparel ad for a V Neck T-Shirt. I discovered today, through perusal of my old blog entries that they had replaced his picture. You can sort of detect a smugness about his expression: he knows he looks ridiculous and he also knows that tons of skinny jeaned, behoodied teenage boys will be staring at his picture going "Is this the new look?? I hope I hit puberty soon or I won't have the 70's porn star chest hair display and homeless man stubble in time for the Ladytron show!"

Anyway, they replaced it with something much more their style:

This man looks equally sad and pathetic, he just happens to look like a date rapist instead of Gene Wilder's illegitimate son.

I like to think that the change is because someone read my original blog entry. I really hope so.

Monday, November 26, 2007


My roommate Shawn has got me turned onto a program called Freecycle. The ultimate manifestation of one man's trash is another man's treasure, you advertise or peruse advertisements for free stuff. All done by email.

Granted, so far I have yet to find anything of use to me.


1 bag of used men's t shirts, slightly soiled.


1 slightly worn wooden table, comes with 4th leg. U pick up.


Extra roll of aluminium foil, half used up.

But, I have managed to get rid of some things. Like 2 sets of skis I've been hauling around from the days my ski fanatic landlord jilted me on a deposit. I assumed I could get something for them or at the very least, not have to rent my own, the next time I went skiing (whenever that was going to be). They were sitting in our storage unit for the 1.7 years I lived there.

Turns out all they were for me was an extra thing to drag around. Gilda has them now and I hope she's quite happy with them.

I can't stand owning these things and dragging them around with me. I'm glad Freecycle gives me the freedom to load my junk on someone else. I learned this frustration with clutter after living with a borderline text book hoarder for 3 years - he couldn't throw anything away and would get furious if I suggested it. He owned 30 t-shirts and finally, after begging him for months to give some of them away, tired as I was of washing them, I resorted to packing them in suitcases and dragging them to our storage unit. He never noticed. If I'd known about Freecycle, they'd have been gone forever.

My ex-boyfriend (the text book borderline hoarder) and I bought a set of side tables together for $50 at a garage sale. He wanted to sand them, refinish them and apparently they'd be beautiful. One had a sticky drawer - he'd get that fixed right up. He got as far as sanding the top off of one (the one with the sticky drawer) and when he moved out, he took the other one with him, leaving me with and ugly, unfinished side table that had a sticky drawer. Thanks to Freecycle, an old friend of mine from high school is stopping by to pick it up, he'll be here in a minute or so - not only is Freecycle helping me declutter, it's putting me in back in contact with people I'd lost touch with! He's also taking the TV that the hoarder's parents gave me for my birthday despite the fact that I never asked for one nor do I have a use for one!

Freecycle is great therapy. It helps people get rid of all sorts of things. House furnishings purchased with the best of intentions, woodworking projects gone wrong, "skinny" clothes hung on to in the desperate hopes of fitting into them. Unwanted toys for both pets and children -for me anyway, the relief of getting rid of that crap is more than worth the effort of selling it. Every time something goes away, I feel that much lighter and that much more prepared to face the world.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Decorate your coworkers office!

Perhaps I am a wet blanket or a scrooge or boring but I find the idea that there is a page dedicated to decorating your coworkers office strangely depressing. It might be fun for people who don't have lives or social interactions outside of work.

The article I stumbled upon on wikiHow (irritatingly labeled "the How-To Manual That You Can Edit) describes carefully outlines the steps necessary for curing a case of the Mondays.

The first step is "to find the office or cubicle of the person you intend to throw a party for." The next step is to "identify a good way to decorate it." I think that should probably suffice for anyone who plans to do such a thing, but in the spirit of Jean Teasdale, it continues. It suggests prominently placing a sign "so they know you really want to tell them something." How about a colourful sign made by sponge painting construction paper that reads "You're Fired and I really wanted to tell you!"?

It then suggests wrapping all the objects in there desk with wrapping paper and filling it with something fun, thus preventing them from getting straight back to work.
Instead, they have to waste time, climbing over balloons, and unwrapping individually wrapped office supplies.

"Oh and you even wrapped my pens and pencils. How thoughtful."

The last suggestion is to take pictures "so that you can remember the fun you and your coworkers had for years to come."

I think that if you had to take the step to find your coworkers cubicle or office, you probably don't have any cause to commemorate this event further than you already have.

The final tip:

"Only use certain party items for people who will like them. Otherwise they don't add to the fun."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sgt. Podge needs a lift

Sgt. Podge is a 12 year old cat that has started disappearing at night. Every morning, his owner, Liz Bullard, on her way back from dropping her son off at school, goes and picks him up at the same spot. On the weekends and when her son doesn't have school, the routine continues.

"Back at home, Sgt Podge has breakfast before going to sleep by a warm radiator."

Although this story has almost no place in a newspaper (it came from the BBC, strangely enough), I'm going to suspend my usual sarcasm and say: I really enjoyed it. I can't think that an American would do the same thing, I think British people (at least in the case of my family) have a strong respect for their pets as individual beings with the capability of handling their own responsibilities, feelings and decisions.

I also like the idea that the cat has come to rely on his lift home and has somehow convinced Bullard to pick him up every day.
And that Bullard is the kind of person who would, every morning, go and pick up her cat with the same punctuality and solemness required of picking up another human being - it's something I bet my mother might do, given the right circumstances.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Ryan is in Russia

Here is what I have been thinking about:

Kaliningrad is 10 hours ahead. He arrives home on Sunday evening. Because of the time difference, he departs Kaliningrad on Saturday night. Right now it's Saturday morning (there). Which means he's leaving tonight according to his clock.

According to mine, he's leaving tomorrow night. What adds to the weirdness is the feeling of time stopping when you are on a plane. Like that time doesn't quite count somehow.

He's sitting in Kaliningrad thinking,

"I'll be on my way home tonight."

and I'm thinking,

"He's not going to be home for another 2 days, he's not leaving until tomorrow night."

Those two points, while one is much farther in the future for me and despite the fact that we are existing in the same moment presently, are actually one point: the point he arrives.

Alternatively, on the way there, he spend 2 days traveling. 2 days were lost to him, as the plane flight was not 48 hours - during this time loss, I went to work twice and had 2 full days.

What a weirdly exhilarating feeling.