Thursday, January 31, 2008

Honest Question

     Why is it that whenever I wear jersey, I wind up lounging around, thinking about things I'm going to do later?

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves


    Thank Michael, if you want to thank anyone at all. Different people are bound to react differently.

  1. I think about clothes more than I think about girls. But that's a very obvious revelation.
  2. My room is littered with old receipts, magazines, notebooks, and empty plastic bags.
  3. My net attendance of parties in 2007 was not a figure that I followed; honestly, I didn't count. A couple bad ones, but overall, party quality has been on the rise.
  4. My DVD collection is: Drawn Together Season 1, The Devil Wears Prada, Amadeus, and Rainy Day: Rain's First Live Concert. This collection is obviously stifled by my lack of space and does not include DVDs purchased and stored at home.
  5. The last thing I searched on Wikipedia was the live-action Dragonball movie. Folks, I'm concerned about this. Emotions are mixed, I can tell you. Stephen Chow? Exciting. Justin Chatwin? Uninspiring. James Marsters? Interesting. Emmy Rossum? Confusing.
     This was a bad idea. But at least it's a completely one.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wallet Alert: Gram Shoes

(From top to bottom: Gram 383g softshell and Gram 406g in waxed black, both $109 on sale from $218 @ 111Vox)

     Let me tell you right now that my list to things to buy once I get the chance (and the cash) is constantly expanded. I've been looking for shoes that are okay in the rain and both of these by Gram seem like a great idea. I've been a fan of their aesthetic for a while now and though nowhere near as rainproof as a good pair of Hunters, these do seem like a reasonable idea. And they're on sale? You don't say...

     The 383g is actually much more practical, using a tri-layer construction to render the shoe practically waterproof. High-tech and high-style, the 383g exemplifies everything you want out of a sneaker—it's sleek, stylish, smartly made, and could go with just about everything. But I must admit that my heart really belongs to the 406g. The waxed oilskin is Gram's first design and still remains my favorite. So many shoes and only two feet. What ever is a boy supposed to do?

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Monday, January 28, 2008

Seeing Red

     The SAG awards passed and you know what that means:

     Red carpet, bitches.

     Do I love everyone in beading and crystals? No. But does Christina Applegate look divine in this Elie Saab number? Absolutely. The hair is just right, pulled back and effortless, but still very polished. Her complexion always makes red lipstick such a great choice, because it plays up her eyes and the great color of her hair, but I'm glad she chose such a subtle red. Clutch? Check. Bracelets? Check. Fantastic neckline and cascading lines of shimmer? Check.

     I am very glad that Michelle Pfeiffer is stepping up her game. Hairspray and Stardust were both pretty good roles for her and I'm glad that she chose such a chic Versace dress for the event. The brown has a slight sheen that works so well with her complexion and, like, Christina Applegate, her hair is loose, casual, but definitely styled. The choice of peep toe pumps, no clutch, and only a watch for an accessory creates such a sleek and no-nonsense silhouette that it's hard not to notice her. The length of the dress is perfect, appropriate for the occasion, but not overly formal.

     I thought Javier Bardem looked particularly dashing in Prada. The tailoring on the suit is fitted, but not constricting. It's an utterly masculine look. I suppose that some of the fellows felt it was less formal of a night, because Javier Bardem doesn't look particularly out of people without neckwear. Although I think he might be showing just the slightest bit too much cuff, I still think it's a refined look that gents should look for as an example.

     I love you to death, Ellen Page, but who said you could wear this Zac Posen? The hair, color, and sleeves add so much age that it's hard to remember that she's only 20. This could have been much better styled if her hair were in loose waves and she hadn't chosen black shoes. The all-over black works much better with a less conservative cut. The neckline and sleeves in black make this more matronly than anything else. The fact that she's only 5' 1" doesn't help, either. A black sheath or even a cocktail dress would have played better to her age. As a younger actress, she can pull off a more revealing dress, so long as she keeps it black and her accessories and make-up subtle and neutral. I hope she just doesn't keep showing up looking like this.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Unequivocal Equanimity

     I got started talking about art with someone. The who, when, and where makes little difference. But he had showed some of his graphic design off. And I had made comments. Honest comments. I said that I felt one wasn't very aware of proportion and scale. I said the techniques in a photograph looked forced and unnecessary. And he was a little upset at this. Then I asked him,

     "Isn't the expectation of showing your work to get honest opinions?"

     He seemed a little baffled and it did little to console him. It really discouraged me that someone cannot reconcile the concept of honesty with the concept of possibility. That is, the possible of a good reception and the separate and equally distinct possibility of a bad reception. I can't possible tell you good things without telling you bad things. That would be—and let's say it together—dishonest. The act of displaying your own work, things that you have spent your time and energy fucking creating, means that you want someone to objectively view your accomplishments and to critically analyze it. But to go around and act outraged at a constructive criticism is absolute bullshit.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Matter of the Heart

     Honestly, sometimes, all you really need is a bit of joy. Explanations really don't add anything. The universe is not a big pile of shit spinning out of control. Things are okay. Don't worry, it's all good.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Thursday, January 24, 2008


     "Stephen Colbert's show is a spoof of Bill O'Reilly."

     Journalism 141 has provided me with the single most obvious commentary upon popular culture that I have ever heard.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Excuse Me For a Second

     Now, I don't do this a lot, because I think I come through gay enough, as is. There's an obvious attempt to talk about some politics and art and music because I find that stuff interesting, too. But if fashion's available as a choice, 99% of the time I'm probably going to wind up talking about fashion. I don't know if that's a short-coming or a show of passion, but that's exactly what is it.

     And I specifically try to avoid talking about Project Runway. Those in the know (apologies to Tavi and Alison) know how much I yak yak yak about it. It's endless, needling, and completely inappropriate. It comes out of my supreme and deep-seated love for the show.

     But ladies, please pay attention. What we have here is the only denim dress I have ever endorsed. Please write this down on your calendars. It's absolutely fucking historic. Sweet P on the latest episode of Project Runway, "Even Designers Get the Blues", created the cutest, most elegant, and most strikingly modern denim dress I could have imagined. The color-blocking is just as striking as anything Vince or Missoni could make. I even have proof, bitches:

     Granted, these are very Fall-oriented looks, but the color block works just as well in Sweet P's dress. The lines are softer and the colors brighter, a perfect complement to the feeling and warmth that spring naturally implies. Also, the monochromatic choice of blues brings a level of sophistication that you wouldn't expect of a denim dress, which is why I love it. Then imagine seeing it close up? Think of the texture play there! It's darling and I can't get over it.

     Why do I say all this? Well, two reasons, really. I feel that I'm sometimes a bit less receptive to certain things (i.e. denim dresses) specifically because I don't have a wide enough perspective. But seeing this has really forced me to think outside my typical aesthetic box to embrace something that I had previously always disdained.

     But I'm more in it for the chance to bitch about how she got shafted while Ricky's well-made, but slutted-up tube dress got the win. Because you know it's true.

(Images sourced by Bravo and Neiman Marcus)

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Menswear Minutiae

     The devil and the tailor share common ground in the details. The accouterment that accompany suiting are where men get to be unique, where they most silently and most effectively assert their personality, style, and taste.

(Jan Leslie Silk Knots, $65 @ Neiman Marcus)

     I adore the idea behind silk knots. Less formal than cufflinks but no less stylish, silk knots inject color in a subtle way. And a case of them ensures that you've always got a way to match a tie. Of course, the grey knots will probably be the most used, but that black/white one would look rather dashing on a shirt with contrast cuffs and collar.

(Collar Stays Gift Box Set, $30 @ Nordstrom)

     Collar stays are also a must. They are the small detail that do such a big thing with no fuss at all. Never seen, but always noticed, these polished brass collar stays ensure that you never wind up with a wilting neckline halfway through an evening.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Said Calmly, While the Light is Tinged Amber

     I am preparing to e-mail my resumé to Diablo and 7x7 magazine in an attempt to secure an internship. I am so fucking scared of not getting anything and winding up a crazy ass failure.

     The best way I can think to cope with this is to be objective. Listing worst and best-case scenarios allows for proper perspective. It's a matter of recognizing scale.

     Best case scenario? I get an internship. And then I also get a job. Then I work at BARE in my spare time. I would be happy with this.

     Worst case scenario? I don't get an internship. Yet. Or maybe not for a whole. But I can still get a job and work at BARE and have some qualified work on my resumé. I would also be happy with this.

     So it's not like this is going to end my universe. It's just the general type of panic that the application process creates. The fundamental nature of the undertaking is a submission of the self to another for judgment and, ultimately, validation. And that is unpleasant, yes, but not something that will crush me and my endless possible permutations forever. It is an event, another odd-shaped happening hurtling through space.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Monday, January 21, 2008

Don't Get Too Attached

     These two Attachment coats from their Fall/Winter 2008/09 line is the exact reason why I shouldn't be allowed access to the Internet. Both of these coats are beautiful constructed, the color is unbelievable, and I'm sure that they'll look even better in person. The Archive is the only place nearby that stocks Attachment, so I'll see if I can't find some time to stop in and try things on (and consequently break either my heart or my wallet). If I find employment performing menial labor for some currency, this is definitely one of those things I'd be saving up for.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Wallet Alert: Messenger Bags

(From top to bottom: Hlaska Radiant Medium Laptop Bag, $220 @ Tobi; Fox Nylon Messenger Bag, $169 @ Charles & Marie; Cole Haan Leather Zip-Top Briefcase, $330 @ Bluefly)

     And so the hunt for my new bag begins. Function necessarily precedes form, as my needs usually include lugging around my laptop and a couple of books. Classes have yet to begin, so I'm not entirely sure on what sort of demands I'll require of my bag, hence my open-mindedness. My Ben Sherman messenger has served me faithfully, but the minor problems of construction (poor closure, slipping D-rings, lack of structure) has proven to be a less than minor inconvenience.

    The Hlaska laptop bag is really winning the race right now for me. Sturdy fabric with leather trim and padded to cradle a laptop, it's a pretty good fusion of style and substance. The green lining gives it a nice kick, which is always appreciated. And at $220 it's at reasonable enough for a price-point that I wouldn't mind saving up for it. The Fox Nylon bag is, quite honestly, such a cool concept that I'm hard-pressed not to just snag it right now. It's a wrap-around messenger that fits around whatever size load you're carrying, which sounds like a super versatile option. But the Cole Haan comes in simply for the huge discount ($220 off? Oh my!) and an all-leather bag sounds like a great investment, especially at this price. The lack of conspicuous branding doesn't hurt one bit, either.

     But no guns shall be jumped, since I'm lacking any real income right now. I'm planning on heading down to Urban or something to see if I can find a retail bitch position with which I might fill my oh-so-empty hours.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Saturday, January 19, 2008

But for the Grace of God

     Honestly, religion has never played an important part of my life, other than its presence in other people's lives and said people's association with me. It's always been by proxy, through the lens of an non-believer. Or perhaps a yet-to-believer. Christians have always been nice, but the evangelizing streak that I've encountered has always made me wonder whether folks are trying to rack up "scores" with Jesus. I do not know whether Jesus keeps count. I would like to think that Jesus has better things to do.

     But Buddhism has never scared me. Not that I'm terrified of religious ideas and not because I'm Chinese. I appreciate the duality of sin/grace, Krishna/Shiva, Ahura/Angra. It's a beautiful balancing act that gives people a huge amount of moral and spiritual choice. But as nice as that is, nothing has ever seemed as honest, as wholesome as the search for truth that Buddhism preaches.

     I suppose a large part of this comes from how peaceful Buddhist temples are. And I have visited my fair share, from Thailand to China to ones here in the good old U.S. of A. The wildly divergent styles of architecture have done little to dispel the general sense of calm that permeates these places. And I've never quite been able to pinpoint where that calm comes from. It's just like the air is lighter, more still, and I've never breathed or seen clearer than whenever I'm on temple grounds.

     But I think that I'm not ready for religion yet. Maybe I'll never be. But it's pretty comforting to know that whenever I'm ready, there are places to go, questions to ask.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Wallet Alert: Obedient Sons Leather Bomber

(Obedient Sons Leather Bomber, $884.99 on sale from $1080 @ Blackbird)

      If nothing else, I can be thankful that I do not live in Seattle. If I did, Blackbird would become such a cash sink that I would most likely squander everything that I have in an attempt to fill my closet with nothing but their goods. This Obedient Sons leather bomber is a perfect example of what I cannot afford and should never look at, lest my heart explode from sheer desire. Honestly, black leather, Persian fur, and a removable collar? I don't know what else you could ask for, except a couple hundred more bucks off the price. But that's probably not going to happen, so I'll just have to be satisfied with salivating at a distance.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Friday, January 18, 2008

Rendevouz is Hard to Spell

     The day has been fruitful, which is a pleasant change from my usual routine of "wake/sleep/eat/sleep". My professional attire has doubled with the addition of two new dress shirts from Express. While I've made it quite clear how I feel about the brand (producing skank and douchebag uniforms for ladies and gents, respectively), I do feel that I must address their shirting. Now, it isn't perfect. The sides don't fit me as well as some shirts that I've tried on, and the fabric certainly isn't the finest around. But let's be pragmatic here. $20 for a French cuff dress shirt? To deny the fact that this is a deal would be snooty and unreasonable, considering my income and my circumstances. Thankfully, my zeal for mixing the high with the low (the Brits still do it better than anyone else) supercedes any disdain I have for the retailer.

     The first shirt I saw had a spread collar, the proportions of which suited my too-lanky frame perfectly, disguising my neck's tendency to resemble an ostrich's leg. I also liked the faint red and blue striping, which was subtle enough so that I could use one of my ties at home.

     Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I've been pining away for one of A.P.C.'s famed removable contrast collar shirts, as their construction, proportion, and colors are positively sublime. For a whole lot less, I've managed to find a contrast point color with thin black striping.

     But the more productive portion of the day was spent during my last few hours out. Angela had wanted to do a podcast, but I don't think either of us were really sure what a joint one would be like. So we just settled for some apple ciders (and a caramel macchiato for me) and seized the back corner of Starbucks. Not the most dramatic or artistic venue, given the abundance of corporate schlock all around us, but it worked out just fine. I don't remember everything we talked about, but I remember it was good.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Art is Good for the Sole

     Aki Choklat's shoes are vaguely Victorian, a phrase which absolutely tickles the senses. Choklat's academic background (he's a visiting lecturer on design at various design schools in England) shows in the thoughtful construction and elegance of his shoes. A firm believer of "formal elements with directional styling"1, Choklat's shoes embrace the mysterious details so essential to menswear.

     While he does make things other than black, it seems that he's most comfortable working in the inkiest shades. The ribbon loafer is, by far, my favorite piece, combining drama and sophistication like no one else I've seen. The boot's multiple layers unfold like some leather flower, creating the most delightful tension between the delicate and the rugged. And the asymmetrical tassel loafer turns convention on its head to wonderful effect. Available only by directly contacting him, I do wish that some boutiques would start carrying his pieces (I refuse to call such delicately crafted works of art mere shoes) so that I could fervently collect them all and leave myself penniless, but, more importantly, I'd fabulously dressed.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wherein I Declare War on Prom Dresses

(From left to right: Helmut Lang Wrinkled Satin Dress, $207.50 on sale; McQ Alexander McQueen Jersey Baby Doll Harness Dress, $573.30 on sale; Diane von Furstenberg Tere Dress, $339.50 on sale)

     I fear for my optic never every time prom season rolls around. Inevitably you'll always wind up with folks running to Windsor for some god-awful dress covered head-to-toe in appliques with a bubble hem, in a baby doll silhouette. Prom dresses such as those are, by nature, terrible wastes of time, money, and fabric. What good is it to dress yourself in a gaudy, lip-glossed version of yourself.

     Of course, this gets to the very root of my problem with how many women dresses, that is by the fashion shown in the press and not by the style they inherently possess. Yes, Marc Jacobs showed surrealists shoes for spring. Does that mean you should wear one? I don't say "no" outright, because you should if you can. The lesson to be learned is that fashion should serve you, not the other way around. This is best illustrated in my own life. While I have noted the resurgence of distressed jeans on the runways, I will not be giving up my raw denim any time soon, by virtue of the fact that I look better in raw denim; it suits my body shape, my color taste, and my personal style far better than any distressed denim would. This, unfortunately, is often learned through trial and error. I'm looking at you, $200+ Slim Kims sitting in my closet.

     So how does this apply to prom? Why, how doesn't it? I find how most girls style their hair and do their make-up to be absolutely absurd. Have you looked at the hair that some of these girls get? I remember thinking how damned flammable (or inflammable) our proms were, just by taking a head count. Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't get dolled up. Of course you should, it's a nice formal event. Go for it. Manicure, pedicure, new hair style, the works. But don't throw it up into a ridiculous mound on the top of your head that looks fit for nesting condors.

     What we need a whole paradigm shift when it comes to the prom mindset. This shouldn't be an occasion to look as absurd as possible. Instead, why not use it to display your personal style at its best? And don't try to tell me that this is your personal style. Go ahead, I'll give you a minute to click and be thoroughly appalled.


     I know, right? Who would wear that, much less stand like it? (Feel free to drop any mentions of Victorya's dress from the Hershey challenege here.) Dresses like that are why I insist upon shopping for something you would actually wear when some horny teenage boy isn't trying to paw his way past your bra.

     We have excellent choices out there, ladies, and they run the gamut from something that will give your parents a heart attack to only slight hypertension. The Helmut Lang is a perfect example of a classic black dress given a chic, yet timeless, spin. The texture of the wrinkled satin and the length screams party dress, but the color and cut are modest enough for a school event. The McQ dress is a bit more daring, but no less appropriate. Jersey is a particularly forgiving fabric if you're going to spend the night dancing to poorly DJed music (I speak from personal experience, here), but the plastic harness gives the dress an interesting focus point as well as a contrasting shine and texture. Now, if you insist upon a bubble hem, then at least do a refined version of it, like the Diane von Furstenberg we've got above. Subtle banding gives the bodice a constructed silhouette that is a delicious complement to the skirt's shape and volume.

     I hope we've learned something here: prom doesn't need to be hideous, fashion doesn't need to be (too) expensive, and it's never too late to get rid of their rayon/polyester number that you somehow convinced yourself to get.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Wherein I Tell You What To Do: The Mojito

     There are a few things I cannot abide by in life: an overdone steak, a loud ceiling fan, a long ling to the restroom. But high up there on my list is a poorly made mojito. By and far the most sublime use for rum. Piña coladas are too overtly sweet, daiquiris are too much like Icees, Mai Tais are too derived, and Long Island iced teas are too punchy (not to mention how quickly they can knock the unprepared drinker into a state of sheer inebriation).

     Now, I do not profess to be a man of spectacular means or spectacular talents, but one thing I know is how I like my drinks (aside from many and often). I have never made a drink through actual measuring, as I believe this takes more than ninety percent of the fun out of the process. Instead, I've always done it by eye (and taste) and simply choose to live with the results. What this does is force me to quickly improve my pouring skills and figure out the proportions I like, lest good booze go to bad use.

     My prescription (I refuse to call it a recipe) is as follows.

     In a chilled collins glass (if you've got one, lord knows I can't afford proper drinkware):
  • Add a couple of mint leaves; more if you like yours particularly minty and less if you prefer the converse.
  • Add simple syrup (an easy recipe for which may be found here) or simply some powdered (not granulated) sugar.
  • Muddle gently. No, this does not mean smash them to bits nor simply swish them around. We're looking for a few opened veins, not obliterated leaves. You want to drink a perfectly made cocktail, not spit up mushy leaf debris.
  • Add one part fresh lime juice. Bottled juice, while technically acceptable, will certainly produce an inferior drink. But if your own principles (as well as wallet and time allowances) make this necessary, feel free.
  • Add two parts white rum. If you use a dark variety, I cannot be blamed for the resultant disaster.
  • Add ice to just beneath the rim. If you've muddled properly, the ice should be more than enough to keep the mint leaves in the drink and out of your mouth.
  • Finish off with two parts club soda. If you've got a fancy spray bottles (the name completely evades me right now), now would be the time to break it out.
  • Garnish with a mint sprig and serve. Or if you've made this for yourself, kick back, open up the latest issue of Vogue, and enjoy.
     Now, who wants to try that out and let me sample?

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Total and utter mindfuck. We'll update you on this story as we get word.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Friday, January 11, 2008

Respect For...

     ...The man behind the curler in every woman's purse, Mr. Shu Uemura, has died. The New York Times reported that the venerable make-up artist died December 29 in Tokyo at the age of 79. His legacy will live on in every teenage girl (and the occasional boy) who picks up his curler for the first time and says, "Hello fab!"

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Adventures with Ladies, Lard, and La Cienega

     Today was, by all measures, a resounding success. I actually managed to wake up—gasp!—and went through the usual motions: shower, scrub, contacts, blow dry, et cetera. The drive to Westwood was pretty great, not too much traffic. Music courtesy of a Hawaiian contact (known only by name, with no physical acquaintance having been made), leisurely hurtling down the 10 West. Our arrival was greeted by no fanfare, mostly because we didn't arrive so much as confusedly roll into the city. We attempted to locate Crystal, Sophia, and Brittany, but between Leslie and myself, we possess about as much navigational finesse as a rock rolling down a hill. It was certain we would reach our destination, although the questions of how and when weren't given nearly as much attention.

     After parking and meeting up with the three LAers, Brittany quickly left; a paper and a TA meeting prevented her from joining up with us. Well, sucks to her, because we had a fabulous—dare I say...glamarous?—time. Lunch at CPK (California Pizza Kitchen for those uninitiated in its honey dough ways or those who have never entered a gentrified urban neighborhood). I ordered a Diet Coke but was rebuffed in the most polite way possible.

     "Don't you hate it when they do that? You ask for Diet Coke and they go, 'Diet Pepsi?'"

     Sophia makes an interesting point. I was not in the wrong, per say. Operating under the assumption that Diet Coke was served—which isn't a crazy assumption, I'd like to add—I had simply ordered what I wanted. But the blue-bottled equivalent was adequate. Merely adequate.

     We tried shopping around Westwood, but it was a colossal failure. Well, only if you define success at shopping in terms of actually buying things. If you're willing to expand your definition to include ridiculing ludicrous product design and outrageous garments, then you could say we did pretty well. The gift shops around UCLA are laden with items that no one in their right mind would ask for, but are begging to be bought. Candy nipple tassles? 1,001 Weed Games? We tried our luck at American Apparel, but found things equally hilarious. Honestly, a mesh swimsuit? Doesn't the use of mesh negate the body-covering purposes of a swimsuit? Once again, AA manages to confound even the most flexible of minds.

     Sophia had the brilliant (or maybe devious) idea of heading down to West Hollywood and checking out the Marc by Marc Jacobs boutique. Of course I vehemently protested. For three seconds. Okay, two. Okay, I practically green-lit the whole damn thing. She was looking for the tote bag which they had run out of and I wanted the naked Selma Blair shirt in a small, but they were out of those, too. Luckily, Sophia and I reached a consumerist compromise. She picked up a deliriously cute silver necklace in the shape of a key, but the blade was replaced by a delicate little "MJ". Come on. Adorable. I rummaged through a bin of rings mindlessly and the clink-clink-clink was too Lagerfeld-esque to ignore.

     The two are meant to represent health and happiness, but I don't know which is which. Really, they're just fun little doodads and who doesn't love that? The face (symbol? glyph?) on the left one is pretty cool and the designs are fun, but subtle.

     I had held off buying any of the cashmere beanies when I visited the Fillmore boutique, and the solid grey one I had liked was sold out here. But the striped one started calling out my name. Well, it was more like I saw it and loved it, but that's pretty much one and the same. Congratulations are in order for my first beanie. Seriously. I've never found one I didn't look like a douchebag for wearing.

     And to top it off, my mom picked up siu yook (燒肉) for dinner. Anyone who knows me knows my inability to resist: (a) pork rinds, (b) fatty foods, and (c) crispy things. And this, this is the culmination of every Hong Kong boy's gastronomic fantasies. Roasted pork done in the real Cantonese style is, quite possible, the most perfect incarnation of rotisserie that any culture has produced. Oh, sure the French did plenty of cuisine, but the Cantonese just took it to its most logical and most delicious conclusion.

     My only regret is that there are no leftovers.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Calling the Tapster

(Heineken-Krups BeerTender, $400 coming to William-Sonoma)

     Sometimes, I don't need anything fancy to wear. Sometimes, I just need a cold beer. As much as I love the Germans and their love for beer of all temperatures, I don't think I could abide by anything in my house other than cold beer. And no, I don't count calories. So no, I drink beer whenever I damn well please. Enter, this beauty of a machine culled from (obviously) the brightest minds that Heineken and Krups could bring together in one room.

     A 5-liter capacity and LCD temperature read-out means that I can have my beer exactly the way I like: cold and copious. Blame my renewal of love of beer on Anthony Bourdain (whose life I obviously wish to steal and/or emulate). Now, $400 is plenty to shill out for what is, in essence, a glorified refrigerator that can really do nothing more than dispense liquid. But—aha—the operative word here is "glorified". Of course it's ridiculous. What about beer, aside from its centuries of history and tradition, isn't ridiculous about beer? It's delicious, intoxicating, and perhaps the most important thing you can possibly have with cheese. (Before you start bitching at me that the proper thing to drink with cheese is wine, I suggest you go out, find yourself a nice chocolate stout—Guinness being the most easily accessible—and have yourself some nice hard cheeses with it. Then try to tell to my face that beer and cheese don't belong together.)

     Honestly, a cold beer, a good book, and maybe some latkes from Saul's. What else could I possibly desire on this whole, wide world?

(From left to right, the Kingsgate, Aquamac, and Fairmount, $1,468, $538, and $880, respectively @ Aquascutum)
     Who am I kidding? Of course I can't do without fancy things to wear. Aquascutum's been perfecting the trench since they...well...perfected the trench. The company's name, Latin for "water shield", comes from the patented waterproof textile that founder John Emary developed in 1853. With roots in both warfare (these puppies protected many an honorable Allied soldier from the harsh winters on campaign) and tailoring, Aquascutum pretty much explains why folks who lived through World War II are such bad-asses.

     Now, these don't come cheap and I am certainly in no position to just pick up one. The Kingsgate and Fairmount are both classic trenches, but the Aquamac is one ruggedly classic mackintosh. But if you're looking for something stylish, has some heritage to it, and practical, don't just impulsively reach for Burberry. Although I do admit that Christopher Bailey's done a fantastic job turning the brand around and retooling it into one cool-as-fuck brand, there's just a certain je ne sais quoi about these coats.

     And come on. Michael Caine has worn Aquascutum. Michael Caine. You don't get much more bad-ass than that.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Fuck You, Tibia

     I've got some nasty shit growing out of my shin. And by "growing" I mean, it hurts, is red, swollen, and won't give me any relief. As such, it calls for me actually changing out out pajamas and getting my ass to the doctor's office.

5:17 PM

     Behold! It has a name—other than motherfucking hurts like a bitch—folliculitis. Well, not really. But my physician (more like physician's assistant) needed something to put down on my chart. It's basically just an infection underneath my skin that was beginning to form an abscess. Thankfully, antibiotics and hot compresses can reduce the inflammation and stop it from forming any nasty boils. Unthankfully, antibiotics and my intestines never get along. Never.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Queue and Aye

You know why I'll always stand up for my ladies? Because they are bona fide class acts.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sparks for Sounds

     I managed to get my hands on Dan Deacon's Spiderman of the Rings (actually the only CD of his that I have) recently, but hadn't really given it a serious listen until now. I've got to say that it's highly interesting. His live show was a really visceral experience, a combination of performance art, interactivity, and musical exploration. But his recordings seem the complete opposite: thoroughly cerebral, albeit in a really unconventional way.

     Admittedly, I haven't even managed to get through the whole thing, much less form a coherent opinion of it. Part of that is my own laziness, but part of it is Deacon's own damn refusal to let me wrap my head around his music. Sure, you could call it electronica, but that seems shallow and a little unappreciative of the craft that Deacon puts into his work.

     Sure, his set-up is mostly recycled equipment that he's jerry-rigged into some Seuss-like music machine, but that's part of the whole musical process on Spiderman of the Rings. Instead of simply layering sounds, one over another, the tracks seem to emerge and intertwine, embodying the tangled system that gives birth to his music. "Wooody Woodpecker" takes the eponymous cartoon's distinctive laugh and slowly dissociates it from its roots, mixing it with a gentle plinking beat that is soon melded with a rapid-fire drumming. It sounds less like electronica and more like electronic life.

     Rooted in the absurd, the everyday, and the foreign, the album plays out like some strange ion-charged soundtrack to a LSD-induced trip through a Dali gallery. But even dropping names and drugs does little to properly describe the album. Can you dance to it? Sure. But you could just as easily sit and wander through what is nothing less than a sonic exhibition of rhythm, texture, and repetition.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Out of the Mold Modern

(JF & Son, Spring/Summer 2008)

     Thank god for Refinery 29 and for the many people in their employ who spend their time finding kick-ass stuff like this. Nowadays everyone is afraid of the term "Modernist", just because it's so passé to be one; people would much rather reflect on Modernism and critique it and talk about how we've progressed (or not). But if it was good enough for Virginia Woolf then it certainly is good enough for me.

     Comprised of Jesse Finkelstein and Robert Cordero, JF & Son is, by and far, some of the freshest work I've seen lately. I'm honestly surprised that I haven't heard more about them, but I suppose having only produced two collections limits the amount of press they get. Usually, when people invoke Modernism, it winds up being drab and self-deprecating and, more often than not, a bit conceited, as though there's this big joke about reality that we're all supposed to be in on. But rather than giving in to the cynicism, JF & Sons honestly tries to be Modernist, in the most intellectual sense of the word possible.

     The lines are clean, but never austere. The shapes, while body-conscious (which as the current wave of London designers have noted, is a bit played out of a phrase), actually make me want to say that they're style-conscious. And I'm not talking about style in the season-to-season sense, but in the greater scheme of personal taste and expression. Colors are not only restrained, but refined. Their Spring/Summer collection relies on off-whites and blacks with occasional pops of red and yellow for emphasis.

     As of yet, they don't list any stockists, but I'm sure that it'll be coming along soon enough. Shit this good always finds a way out and about.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Be Fair Now

     Now, I must admit that I love the Gawker teams, all their blogs all incisively written and deliriously funny. And although I do understand the Consumerist/Jezebel double-team attacks on American Apparel (see here, here, and here)—mostly critiques of their choices of styling, advertising, and CEO Dov Charney's sleazy self-image—I must say that I find their harsh judgment of American Apparel's inherent fashion sense to be a bit irrational.

     Recently, a couple of folks from Jezebel went to a Brooklyn AA and tried on a few things to display what they describe as "aggressively unflattering outfits". And while I understand Jezebel's disagreement with American Apparel's throwbacks to seventies' spandex and lamé and eighties nylon and pastel, I must say that it seems a bit like they're deliberately looking for things to criticize.

     Now, in terms of brands, I do like some things that AA does (fair wages, pro-immigration stance, vertical integration) and dislike other things (overtly sexual advertising, simply gross CEO). But with all fashion brands, I understand that they are shooting for a certain aesthetic and a certain market; namely, skinny boys and girls who are just too damn hip to wear anything else.

     So while I agree with the ladies who so bravely put themselves up for online scrutiny that their outfits are positively dreadful, I also must say that it seems like they were setting themselves up for it. Would the result have been much different had they walked into a Pac Sun and tried to put on everything Roxy and Volcom? One would think that adults would know what they do and do not like to put on their own bodies and it seems a bit unfair to judge other people who have consciously made the choice to purchase and wear American Apparel products.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Resist Wrist

(Michael Young PXR-5 EL wristwatch, $90 pre-sale at Charles & Marie)

     Honestly, the Internet does not help make me less broke (except for menial writing assignments and endless searches for magazine internships that have yet to appear) and the folks at Charles & Marie are obviously in cahoots with other awesome websites that are hungrily lapping up every stray dollar I have. One of my big obsessions is watches of all shapes and sizes, but I find I have difficulty actually wearing them, due to complications arising from a thin (and slightly limp) wrist and a distaste for anything remotely shiny that looks like it belongs on a banker's wrist, not mine.

     This delicious number from Michael Young—a hard-to-Google designer whose own website does little to explain who is or what he does—comes in both brushed and polished steel (I have a soft spot for the brushed one, shown above), as well as more exotic (and expensive) black and gold versions with an adjustable wrist strap that comes in a variety of colors. Hell, you can even buy a pack of them for variety! What I love about Young's design is that it's design-conscious but blissfully unpretentious. The combination of stainless steel with a synthetic fabric strap creates a delicious tension between something utterly polished and something utterly utilitarian.

     While I could blather on and on about this baby, I'd really rather save my time scrounging for spare cash so I could get one for myself.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Sunday, January 06, 2008


     Honestly, I'd be willing to engage in some form of meaninglessness if it meant that you would buy shit for me. And I'm not talking about any cheap shit. My moral righteousness and my material needs can be interchanged at your leisure.

     Hong Kong made me who I am, in multiple senses. But I guess the sense that is most fitting is that Hong Kong is, as Anthony Bourdain puts it, a giant pinball of consumption. Mad for food and cash and style and substance, I can't wait to visit Hong Kong again. My sense of "home" has evolved over time. There's the suburban sense of "home", a place deserving Steve McQueen-type escape attempts. There's the university sense, where the alternate self holds court. Then there's the overseas sense, and it's calling me, I swear to God. There's this alternate me that rides the Metro, that uses his Octopus card, that shops at Lane Crawford, that stuff his face full of ji dan zai at every available opportunity.

     But we're talking about separate selves, spanned across time and space in very inconvenient fashions. I'd like to think that my current preoccupation with money has more to do with temporality than materiality. I think it's just the future manifesting today, but these little plans don't belong (obviously) and get a bit twisted as they're breaking the rules that govern the time-space continuum. That's the most rational and least honest explanation I'm able to conjure. It'd be a lot easier—but less creative—to just say that I've become addicted or obsessed.

     But obsession is glamorous. Obsession, when taken seriously, turns one into a delirious caricature of the self, a blow-up doll granted some measure of autonomy. But the blow-up doll has been blessed with a brain, albeit it a plastic one. God, what a stupid transformation this has been.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Les Liaisons Dangereux, Une

     There's always a time and a place for awkward honesty, mostly because it's awkward and it has to be done as some point. So, in effect, there is never a time nor a place for awkward honesty.

     His name was Ronald, but other than the shocking veracity of this story, there's not much. We set a date, he didn't keep it. Well, supposedly it was partially my fault, for not having been proactive enough in pursuing him as a romantic interest.

     Maybe this is what the Klaxons mean by an exponential fate.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Fuck Did You Just Say?

(Image courtesy of Questionable Content)

     Something must be said about this, if for no other reason than I haven't heard anyone say anything about this. For those in the know, "teh" began as a simply typo of the most beloved of English articles on the Internet, but has since come to have its own meaning, whose grammatical usage, though fluid, has its own rules and regulations.

     I mean, this is nothing new. All media and all technology eventually generates its own slang and jargon, a unique coded language that only those within certain circles can comprehend and properly utilize. But "teh" seems special. Born out of our post-modern and highly paradoxical relationship with the Internet, "teh" is not merely slang. What it represents is the transfiguration of Modern English through the contemporary filters of language. When someone uses "teh" there is an implication that their language has evolved, has passed through certain cultural and social institutions (formal or otherwise) that have transformed their ability to speak and perceive language.

     Part of me wants to be impressed and part of me wants to be depressed, both stemming from the same inability to believe how thoroughly brilliant/idiotic this is. Has anyone else noticed the phrase "post-modern" thrown around a bit too liberally? I'm guilty of it, too. But if you can't help it, how can I?

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Wallet Alert: Kenneth Cole New York Shoes

(High Style Oxford, $59.99 @ Kenneth Cole)

     Now, I typically am leery whenever I see Kenneth Cole New York shoes for men. Well, for women, too. They're typically a too out there. They try to go for the edgy look that has classic roots, but oftentimes their proportions seem to make their men's shoes a bit too sharp and angular for a reasonable fellow. And I must confess that perhaps my weakness for white oxfords runs a bit deep, but there is something utterly masculine and self-assured about this shoe. The wood heel and leather sole match the white worn leather perfectly. Although I try to avoid stuff that says "worn leather", as it often means poor quality leather put through treatment to seem of better quality. But I might admit that my current pair of wingtips haven't failed me yet.
     The whole store is having an absolutely enormous sale right now. And it appears that plenty of sizes are still in stock. I spotted a few acceptable items, but the brand as a whole just seems to be a little lost when it comes to self-editing and evaluating its proportions. When a shoe gets too pointy, you enter some strange elfish territory.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Friday, January 04, 2008

Rainy Days Provoke Thoughtfulness

     Here's another one that I can't take credit for (all of which belongs solely to The Red Dot), but the Emily Carr Institute Art + Design, having graduated talents like Neko Case and Terence Koh, has just opened up the studioshop. It's basically a classy Etsy—not to say that Etsy isn't classy—but having some pretty heavy artistic credentials does lend it a certain status.     The store if filled with tons of goodies, including this awesome piece from Sarah Fuller's series' called The Photographic Tarot Project. I'm already a sucker for symbolism (the time spent decoding the album covers for both Ys and Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band attest to this) and Fuller's work displays this amazing tension between adult sensibilities and child-like whimsy.

(Lindsay, Ten of Swords by Sarah Fuller)

(She is a Lovely Vessel by Diane Espiritu)

     Diane Espiritu's pottery definitely has a down-to-earth feel, but the ethereal and often incomprehensible patterns (ribbons? flowers? faeries?) takes the traditional vase and turns it into a wonderful aesthetic question. I don't know if I should put flowers in it or just leave it on a shelf, but I know I want it. And the color is to die for.

     Why, oh why, couldn't I have been born with some measure of talent?

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Wallet Alert: A.P.C. Sweater

(Crew neck pullover, $84 @ A.P.C.)

     There's a lot of conflict going on in my brain right now. On one hand, I feel obliged to share the fact that A.P.C. online store (as well as the boutique in New York) is having a massive half-off sale. And I've been drooling over this sweater ever since their Autumn/Winter 2007 collection came out. 100% lambswool (perfect for the season!) and ribbed at the cuffs and hem, you just know that this thing fits like a dream.

     But by sharing it with you all, I drastically reduce the chances that the XS in the turquoise color that I j'adore will be gone by the time I summon up the dollars to get it. Please be kind, fate. I think my heart would just about snap in half if I didn't get my hands on this sweater.

     And I think all of these are going to be Wallet Alerts until my wallet gets a little fuller. I've been asking around for how to properly procure a sugar daddy, but no luck—yet.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Oh Thank Jesus!

It's back.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

That's Fucked Up

    When will the Catholic Church learn to just shut its trap?

     Bernando Álvarez, the bishop of Tenerife in Spain (ironically pictured above with a young boy), recently said that young boys abused by Catholic priests "[t]here are 13 year old adolescents who are under age and who are perfectly in agreement with, and what’s more wanting it, and if you are careless they will even provoke you." Naturally, there are plenty of people in Spain who are plenty ticked off with the good bishop. Of course, his Excellency's PR guys immediately jumped on top of the story, explaining that the bishop would never (openly) condone such morally despicable action.

    I recently heard a story on NPR of a Dominican priest who was shuffled around all over the world, from Peru to Ohio, rather than being properly dealt with by the Catholic Church. The egregious inability (or refusal) by the Vatican to properly address such serious moral and ethical lapses are really telling of some greater problems with the church. I've never been very hostile to Catholicism (at least not anymore than I am most organize religious institutions), but I've got to say that I'm a little frustrated by how much they get away with.

There are plenty of faithful parishioners out there, just as there are plenty of devout and upright priests. But how many regular church-goers have really thought about the $660 million dollars that the Los Angeles Diocese (American's largest, mind you) paid out to its abuse victims. Where, exactly did that cash come from? Hint, be on the watch for the donation plate getting handed out for a second go around. Now, I'm not saying that honest Catholics are funding child abuse, but the higher-ups certainly seem willing to be put hard-working people's money towards less-than-holy purposes.

Slate's breakdown of how the $660 million was raised reveals plenty about the Diocese's inner workings. Basically, it splits up like this:
  • ~$250 million = Los Angeles Diocese's own bank accounts
  • $60 million = other religious orders under the Catholic Church
  • $123 million = litigation with other orders that chose to sit out the settlement
For those of you properly following along with your calculators, that leaves $227 million of the total deal to be paid. And by whom? Insurance companies. That's right, folks, the Los Angeles Diocese, like any other business, can purchase insurance from an insurance company protecting it from a lawsuit. Yes, the Catholic Church purchased sex abuse insurance. And that might be the creepiest part of this whole sordid thing.

(Story and image courtesy of Typically Spanish)

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Wallet Alert

(J. Lindeberg Karson Cavalry Twill Pants, $165 @ Caravan)

Many thanks—and curses—go to the Shoptometrist for alerting me to the great 70% deals at Caravan (coupon code: holiday07). I managed to snag a pair of these J. Lindeberg pants in a 29 for only $49.95. Unlike many of his other products, the above belt included, these pants seem devoid of any conspicuous branding and they seem to be cut slim enough for me. Worse come to worse, I'll use the savings for some tailoring.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Hye Ate Us

Due to the lamentable actions of my parents, I have no easy means of accessing the Internet. Well, I do, but only from the computer in the den, which makes private surfing and writing a bit difficult.

We'll figure this out somehow.

DiggIt!Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves