Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Bad Luck With Cheap Clothes Continues

Can you think of a style of clothing that has never been seen before? I think I just thought of one: short sleeve hoodies. Not that I wanted to think of this, but sometimes necessity is the mother of invention.

My invention: the short sleeve hoodie

Uniqlo is the Ikea of clothing, and I don't mean that as a compliment. I know a lot of people out there like Ikea. I don't. Their stuff looks good enough in the catalog, but anything I've ever bought there looks like cheap junk when I get it home.

Uniqlo is Japanese for "Ikea".

Uniqlo is Japan's leading retail chain. They have a flagship store in SoHo. It's a fun store to walk around, and their clothes are cheap. Child labor cheap. Forced prison labor cheap.

Granted, this is New York, where you can get a "I ♥ NYC" t-shirt on the street for $2. But to see a new t-shirt for sale for $8 in a store whose name didn't include numerous ¢ symbols and whose wares would likely result in a bed bug infestation were they to be brought into your home was shocking.

A couple of years ago I bought a shirt from Uniqlo. It was $10. I still have the shirt. It's a great shirt to wear while bike riding in really hot weather. It's made out of some kind of fabric that dries quickly. It's lightweight and lets the breeze through. It's like a poor man's cycling jersey.

This past Christmas I returned to Uniqlo in hopes of finding more of those shirts. Unfortunately, those are no longer available. Fashion has moved on. But my office is freezing pretty much year-round and I needed a new hoodie to keep myself warm when I venture away from my desk and the comfort of the space heater I keep at my feet at all times. I spotted some at Uniqlo, so I bought one.

Maybe I can get a Pepsi sponsorship; the hole looks like their logo.

My first mistake was buying it at all. It cost $30. I went into the store promising myself that I wouldn't buy anything costing more than $20. In my own defense, shopping just before Christmas isn't a very enjoyable experience. I needed a hoodie and I didn't want to shop around.

My second mistake was not taking it back after I tried it on. I didn't try it on until I got home. Then I realized the zipper was on the left side instead of the right side. When I told Kelley this she immediately accused me of wearing women's clothes. I didn't care about that. Besides, I had already convinced myself that, in Japan, they must zip their clothes from the left. After all, they drive on the left, right?

I should have returned it because it is doesn't feel right to zip from the left. On the other hand, I feel that it has improved my dexterity a bit.

My third mistake was wearing it more than one time. I'd have been better off wearing it once and then losing it, because the elbow almost instantly wore out.

But, had I bought a quality hoodie, I never would have been inspired to create the short sleeve hoodie.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Strange Things Happen When You Listen to Pandora Long Enough

While I'm working on my computer I often listen to Pandora, which is an online music service. Pandora allows you to select an artist, and then Pandora will play songs from that and other similar artists. I don't know exactly how it goes about determining this, but it's been pretty reliable for me. Sometimes it will throw something a little odd in, but nothing like what I heard yesterday.

Pandora is an internet radio site.

I was listening to Fruit Bats, an indie/folk rock band. That a Bon Jovi song were to come on would be completely unexpected. But a cover of a Bon Jovi song performed by Alvin & The Chipmunks? I mean, a cover of a Bon Jovi song performed LIVE by Alvin & The Chipmunks.

In case you can't read the man's shirt, this is Bon Jovi.

Nothing against the song, or Bon Jovi. Back when musicians were required to cut the sleeves off their t-shirts before they were permitted to wear them in public, I liked Bon Jovi. I remember begging my mom to go to Boogie Records on September 13, 1988 to buy "New Jersey" for me so that when I got home from school I would be able to listen to it immediately. (Thanks Mom!)

Chipmunks 1981 and Chipmunks 2007

It would be one thing if it were a silly little novelty cover, but this version takes itself really seriously. The ostensible Alvin sings in a sultry way that makes the cover seductive in a way that the orignal just isn't. He also employs a Mariah Carrey-like vibrato.

Simon adds in ridiculously unnecessary guitar flourishes all over the place. How do I know the name of the guitar playing chipmunk? Because Alvin announces the guitarist by name (2:48) before he lets loose with a guitar solo that will remind you why that particular variety of musical interlude is no longer prevalent in popular music.

And, in true rock 'n roll fashion, Alvin ends with a hearty "Thank you! Goodnight!"

This was a truly bizarre interruption by Pandora.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Courting Rituals in New York

Let's say you're riding home on the subway after a long day at work... actually, I don't think it really matters what you're in the middle of doing. If you were to see a man sporting a tattoo that reads "I LOVE TO EAT PUSSY", what would you do? If you're me, you take a picture of it.

An interesting, but probably not very well thought out decoration.

Unfortunately the tattoo was too small for my camera to pick up.

I rode the train with this man earlier this week. At first I thought he had a spot of grease on his hand. I looked closer and saw it was a tattoo, one of those do-it-yourself jobs. It was poorly done, spectacularly so. At least I can report that all of the words were spelled correctly.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Commitment to the Future of Dermatology

In a Costco flyer that arrived in the mail yesterday, there was an ad for a moisturizing lotion named Cetaphil (available in convenient 32 oz quantities). The name caught my attention, as it sounded more like a vitamin for old people.

At first I was going to write "gerontological vitamin", but I wasn't sure if "gerontological" is actually a word, and if it is a word, if I was spelling it correctly. A quick internet search turned up that, yes, it is a word, and that I spelled it correctly.

Like sands in the hourglass

The search also revealed that there is an association called The Gerontological Society Of America. The honesty of their logo is refreshing. But I digress...

I was writing about the ad for Cetaphil, the moisturizing lotion. Featured prominently in this ad is the logo for Galderma, the company that makes Cetaphil.

Galderma: Committed to the Future of Dermatology

First off, in an age of widespread suspicion of the motives of the pharmaceutical industry, why would this company choose a name like "Galderma"? Was that the most sinister-sounding name they could come up with? Which of the following does "Galderma" bring to mind:
  1. A demon who, when his name is properly pronounced, will enslave all of humanity, and is reserving an exceptionally torturous form of servitude for the unfortunate fool who summoned him forth.
  2. A Brazilian death metal band whose lead singer recently died in an unexplained incident involving Cacha├ža and a child-size Barney costume.
  3. Something that Captain Kirk shouted during one of the Star Trek movies.
  4. A joint venture between Nestle and L'Oreal which provides products that meet the needs of dermatology patients and physicians.
And then, why would they pick the slogan "Committed to the Future of Dermatology"? They are committed to perpetuating the need for dermatological products? Do they need to rub our noses in it? It's like ConAgra being committed to "the future of hunger", or Monsanto being committed to "the future of crop failure".