Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Did You Hear That?

I'm not saying it's one of those kind of days when strange things come wandering out of the mist.
Then again, I'm not saying it isn't.

You Can Go With This, Or You Can Go With That

And now, for your Tuesday viewing pleasure, some sparkling shoes for the holidays.



Big pile of no:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Hundred Acres of Shadows

(Inspired by a true story. Loosely. With thanks to @bmahersciwriter and Captain Morgan.)

The bear lowered his rotund form into the chair and contemplated his guests.
"Well, gentlemen, I think you know why I've brought you here."
As they protested their ignorance, he slid a stoneware jar across the table and pointed to the label.
"Do you know what that says?"
The rabbit was the first to assay an answer.
"Um, well, it's supposed to be 'honey' but it's not spelled--"
"That's right, honey. And do you know what is actually in that jar? Or, rather, what isn't?" He held up a paw before they could respond. "Never mind, I'm sure you do. I'm sure you are aware that when the boys in my lab ran some basic tests on this alleged top-quality domestic honey you were so good to provide for me, they found that all of the pollen had mysteriously vanished from it."
"There must be some mistake," the owl protested weakly.
"Oh, a mistake?" The bear turned to the small pig who had been sitting in silence to his right
"Mr. Let, these gentlemen think that your boys made a mistake. Do you think that is possible?".
The pig shook his head slowly. "Never. Not a chance."
"Well, there you have it," said the bear. "I have to say, gentlemen, I am very disappointed in you. I have been running this operation under the name of Saunders," he indicated the sign over his head. "For many years now, and never before has this good name been sullied in any way. And now you have put me in the very uncomfortable position of having sold counterfeit Chinese honey to my valued customers."
"I assure you," said the owl. "We would never have--"
"Do you know what the Chinese do to their honey?" the bear went on, unheeding. "They water it down. Replace it with beet sugar, high fructose corn syrup. They let it get contaminated with antibiotics."
"Over in that room," he said, pointing to an interior door. "There is a baby kangaroo in the throes of a serious allergic reaction. He'll live, thanks to my doctors, but his mother is understandably concerned. Have you ever been kicked by an angry female kangaroo, gentlemen? No? Well, I wouldn't recommend it."
The pair on the other side of the desk looked at each other, then around the room for possible means of escape. But there was only one exit to the outside, and the bouncer was blocking it, poised to spring.
"We had no idea," the rabbit pleaded. "We were operating on good faith, I swear."
"Of course you were," the bear soothed. "Why wouldn't you be? Why would anyone take a cheap product and sell it at an incredible markup by claiming it was something else?"
"No," he said, shaking his head. "Of course I believe you. My friend here," he pointed to the donkey at his left. "He always sees the worst in everything, but I believe in fair play."
The bear stood up.
"My friends here are going to take you down to the footbridge over the creek. It would be a good idea for you to go with them quietly. When you get to the bridge, you are both going to jump off on the upstream side. One of you will come out the other side first. And the other one. . . won't."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ugly Gifts for Rich People

As Black Friday closes in on us, let's take a moment to reflect on what the more fortunate, and less intelligent, among us are going to have their employees wrapping for them this year.
Gucci hat, $325
"Merry Christmas honey! I think you're a total douchebag."

Maison Frances Kurkdjian bubbles 1.5 oz, $20
Oh for the love of god. Listen, crazy rich people, I am going to try to explain this in a simple enough way that even you can understand: Children do not care about fancy bubbles. They are not interested in the fact that you spent as much on this as twelve bottles of regular bubbles would cost, or that they have delightful notes of fresh cut herbs. In fact, no child has even been interested in any sort of bubbles for more than seven minutes, so you might as well just give up and go buy accessories for your dog.

Jay Strongwater box, $1,400
"Oh, um wow. Thank you."
"It's a toad!"
"Yes, yes I see that."
"And it's also a box! See you can open its back and put something small in it. Like, maybe some toothpicks."
"Yes, it's very useful. And, um, sparkly."
"I knew you'd like it! It was very expensive."

David Yurman bracelet, $595
Things to ask yourself when buying a gift of jewelry for a man:
Is this something he could get for twelve dollars from a vendor on Telegraph Avenue?
Will wearing it make him look like his development arrested at seventeen years old?
Does it cost nearly six hundred dollars?
If the answer to two or more of these questions is yes, put away your credit card and go drink rum toddies until the feeling passes.

Ralph Lauren trinket tray, $250
Because nothing says 'powerful executive' like a tiny silver toilet seat on your desk.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Egrets, I've Had a Few

Some things look a lot more impressive before you take a picture of them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shoesday: Back Down to Earth(keepers)

(Note on the post title: When I started writing this, I thought these shoes were from Timberland's Earthkeepers collection. They're not, but I forgot to change the title before I posted it. These things happen.)
After last week's flight of fanciness, I thought it would be a good idea to get back to something a little more practical, and less likely to have a bunch of twenty-somethings setting up tents on my doormat.* These are Timberland's "Brattle Hiker," whatever that means** purchased in a surprising burst of sanity and worn on days when I know standing and walking are going to feature heavily in my activities. They're lightweight and waterproof and they might not have salespeople falling over themselves to serve me, but I did run about half a mile from the auto shop to the San Francisco Caltrain station on the first day I wore them, without hurting myself or missing my train. So I guess that's a good metric for shoe quality too.

*Ha! We don't have doormat.
**I suppose I ought to hike in them at some point.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Since You Asked: Dear Lucky

The following is an actual question from a reader that appeared in this month's Lucky magazine. I thought I'd help out by answering it for them.

Q: So, I just turned 25 and I still have no wrinkles (phew!), but I want to do the best thing for my face to prevent aging. I already wear SPF every day, but I never know what kind of face creams to buy specifically for antiaging. Should I be wearing anti-wrinkle cream, or will wearing it too soon make my skin immune to it in the future?

Dear Person,

I will be happy to answer your question, but first I have to go slam my head in the freezer door a few times. Be right back.
Okay! Right, where were we? Oh yes, your question. Well, as happy as I am for you that you have managed to avoid developing wrinkles at the ripe old age of 25, and that you are taking measures to avoid excessive sun exposure-- that can increase your risk of skin cancer, which some people actually consider to be worse-- I am afraid that there is one key beauty tip you've missed out on. This may come as a shock to you, but the truth is that being a shallow, image-obsessed moron who is so deeply insecure that she is panicking about wrinkles when she is barely out of her teens is even less attractive than someone who might have a couple of lines on her face. For your situation, I would recommend developing a self-image that is not completely dependent on the appeal of your youth, and maybe taking up a hobby. I understand that decoupage can be very soothing.

As far as the second part of your question goes, I am afraid I am not going to be able to answer that in any useful way because it depends on a) the idea that anti-wrinkle creams have any efficacy whatsoever and b) an understanding of the concept of immunity that is so poor that any explanation I attempted would simply bounce off your incomprehension, like pennies off your inevitable facelift. So, in short: No.

All the Best,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Recipes For the Lazy and Incompetent: Sausage with Cabbage and Chard

New feature! Why should competent cooks be the only ones who share their recipes? I have the culinary abilities of a drunk five-year-old who somehow got into the kitchen knives, and the way I figure it, if I can manage to prepare a dish on a regular basis, then anyone should be able to do it. (Fair warning: My devotion to prepared ingredients makes Sandra Lee look like Alice Waters. But what I lack in authenticity, I make up for in pictures.)

So, Sausage with Cabbage and Chard

First, you'll need some sausages. (Chicken-apple in this case.)

Also, some cabbage, chopped smallish.

That's not a knife.

This is a knife.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Shoesday: The Everyday Louboutins

Let's talk about secret weapons.

Actually, scratch that. A secret weapon is only useful if you actually use it, and that can get messy. So let's talk about weapons everybody knows you have, which are a lot more fun. Also, let's acknowledge that what we're really talking about are shoes.

Recently, I had a fancy-shoe epiphany*. In a moment of clarity, I realized that, as fun as it is to have beautiful, expensive dress shoes, you** just don't have that many opportunities to wear them. So you end up inventing excuses for overdressing, culminating in the time you show up at work wearing a hat, because you just bought a hat*** and you are suddenly aware that you have no idea where to wear it.

What I'm saying is, fancy shoes are even better for everyday wear. Yes, they are expensive, even if you buy them on sale in Las Vegas and only briefly freak out that someone has stolen your credit card, when in fact you dropped it at the last store, but the price per use is going to be much better than if you spent less on something sparkly. (Not that I have anything against things that are sparkly.) Also, if you have shopped wisely, they should be well-made and nicely balanced, making them relatively comfortable for the heel height. At least these are.

But really, let's not kid ourselves. This post is not about quality craftsmanship or value for money. It is about going out to lunch and having someone recognize you by the soles of your shoes, and it is about walking into any store you choose and getting exactly zero crap from the salespeople, even if you are clearly just browsing to kill time. And it is about feeling like you are fabulous even if the rest of your outfit is from Target, because you know it's true.

We are living in a material world, and I am damn good at it.

*Are there other kinds? I hadn't noticed.
***Actually, three.

Rebel Yell

Take that, Authority!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Ugly Things for Rich People: Accessories Edition

It's the accessories that make an outfit. These accessories make an outfit stupid.

Marc Jacobs gloves, $850
I'm not generally a person who will get all frothing-at-the-mouth-y about wearing fur, but honestly: Some poor animal died so that you could go out in public wearing fuzzy fingerless boxing gloves and that render your hands totally useless. I hope you sent some nice flowers to its family.

(See also.)

Benoit Missolin headband, $195
Handy tip: If you are a wealthy older man and your new wife just purchased this on the credit card you gave her, all of your friends are laughing at you behind your back.

DSquared2 scarf, $165

Dolce & Gabbana scarf, $155
This is going to be the primary enduring legacy of the Occupy Wall Street movement, isn't it? The appearance of wealth will become so unfashionable that even people who think nothing of spending over a hundred dollars on a trendy scarf will want one that looks like they stole it off a hobo.

Junya Watanabe scarf, $1,460
I do understand that there are places where "winter cold" means something more than "hey, I can see my breath!" However, I refuse to believe there is any ambient temperature that justifies going out looking like you are in the process of springing fully-formed from the Cookie Monster's skull.

Guiseppe Zanotti sleeves, $245
Are you bothered that so many items of clothing do not come with rhinestone-embellished sleeves? Do your shoulders get unbearably hot while the rest of your arms remain freezing? Do you feel like there is a certain amount of Elvis missing in your life? Will you buy absolutely anything if it's on sale?

Well, have I got a product for you.

Undercover pouch, $435
Yes, I know, the pop art movement was very modern sixty years ago. But don't you think it's time you stopped pretending this sort of thing is 'edgy' or 'artistic' or a commentary on anything, and admit you just spent four hundred dollars for a piece of plastic with a picture of a cookie package on it? The world would be a better place.