One of the crappy mobile phone pictures I took today – Tomasz came as the Tooth Fairy with a little purse, wings, and combat boots. He was very popular with the guys for some reason. Tom was in the back as Fred Flintstone. Annamaria was a scarecrow, and Nancy was crouched down in front, dressed as a chicken and possibly pretending to lay an egg.
… they’re the American uniform at home and abroad.
UPDATE: Just wanted to add what inspired this:
The way American tourists dress drives me crazy. Khaki shorts, worn-out and drab-colored t-shirt (or shirt), and the infamous sandlas, often with socks. Damn. It’s as if this “uniform” comes stamped out with their visas. I’ve never been to the US so I don’t know if that’s how they dress in their daily lives, but I sure hope not.
Yes, well, many Americans dress like this in our daily lives, because it’s easy, cheap, and comfortable. I was amused by And Far Away’s post, because it was totally true and funny. I actually wore khaki shorts to work today with those gawd-awful green Tevas, because we’re pretty casual at my office (especially in summer). As it happens, I was glad I had some water-friendly shoes on as I left (ON TIME for the first time this week) as it was raining pretty hard.
It actually felt nice to be out in shorts and sandals on a warm, wet evening. I got rain between my toes and thought about how fun it would be to run around without the umbrella, and just stomp in puddles like a little kid without a care. This propensity by Americans to run around stomping in puddles like a little kid without a care has gotten us into trouble before (see Bride, The Princess: Land War in Asia).
Not all of us can be fashionable people. Our neighbors to the North, Canada, routinely go out wearing much more stylish clothing than we do, especially on summer weekends, even before nightfall! Yet we Americans do not -we will go out to dinner so casually dressed that no one will look twice as we show up at a restaurant in what charitably could be described as “leisure” wear. I myself can’t stand to shop for clothes, and have very, VERY limited options in my closet for “dressing up.” So I “go casual” because it’s a lot less stress, angst, and self-loathing.
See those lumpy, bolsterlike structures up above my shoes and below my shorts? Those, my friends and robots, are my knees. Below them, if you care to look, are my cankles. There’s really no point in spending a lot of money on attractive shoes that draw attention to one’s cankles, is there? Especially if high arches require orthotic supports be worn in order to avoid extra foot, knee, and back pain. Sure, I’m now in my second week of avoiding processed sugar, reducing portions, and drinking lots of water. And I had a good workout last night at the health club, walked 2 miles with no major foot problems. So maybe I’ll be able to improve the look of my cankles with weight loss in a few months, and think about buying something nice to wear. Maybe.
I do have some nice slacks and tops that I bought for last year’s England/Ireland trip, and in fact I didn’t take a pair of jeans with me. Which is TOTALLY WEIRD, if you ask me. And then on a recent weekend trip, I once again didn’t take a pair of jeans. But I did take khaki shorts (sure, they’re big and roomy, and comfortable to walk in). And I took the Tevas, because they have some arch support as they’re built on a kind of hard-shelled chassis. My feet start to ache if I wear the older pair, the ones with soft soles and no support.
So I’m afraid that I, at least, will continue to wear the American leisure uniform of Fashion Slack. After being traumatized by watching too many episodes of What Not To Wear that never featured pear-shaped be-cankled women such as myself, I concluded that there’s just no point in bothering with fashion when you’re up against a multitude of competing figure faults in a weird size that’s too big for regular size clothing but too small for “queen size.” Comfort rules! Although I do avoid unflattering clothing as much as possible (I took that much away from WNTW), I just won’t wear uncomfortable shoes, no matter how fashionable they may be.
Like And Far Away, I think extra-long, extra-pointy shoes for either women or men are just one big steaming pile of NO. The examples from there were entertaining, but I recently encountered shoes too bizarre for real life:
See, I actually own an outfit a lot like this in Second Life – short plaid skirt, kitty tail and ears, braided hair. It’s kind of a common look on SL, that I like to call “Neko Schoolgirl.” I do like to dress up more in SL, because it’s…
wait for it…
… cheap, easy, and comfortable. You just click on an item, or a folder of items, in your game inventory, and presto! you’re wearing different clothes (or sometimes a body of a different species). It’s fun “shopping” for stuff to wear or attach (I don’t mean anything like THOSE sort of attachments).
But what is with those crazy instruments of torture on her feet?? They’re like platform shoes gone ballistic, or ballet shoes with buttresses. That’s just… so very wrong. Also, the claws and crouching pose are slightly disturbing.
Strangely though… I don’t think I’ve ever seen truly baggy khaki shorts and virtual Tevas for sale in Second Life, even in the most American of shops. Guess we’re not willing to look like slobs if it’s just as cheap, easy and comfortable to be stylish.
I can has iPhone?
Inspired by Pollster.com’s post This is Personal
Pop was having none of it. He walked away from me and wandered up to the museum staffer standing at the head of the long line leading to the elevators that takes all visitors to the museum exhibits. I thought for a moment that Pop was going to ask directions. I was wrong.
He thrust out his arm in the direction of the staffer, displaying the number the Nazis tattooed on his arm at Auschwitz just a few inches from her face. Without making eye-contact and barely breaking stride, Pop kept walking. Understandably, the staffer barely blinked. She didn’t make a move to stop him.
Pop kept walking right into the elevator that had just filled with the visitors that had been waiting in that long line. And even though the elevator was already quite crowded, he walked right in. Jake and I had to run past the guard to catch up. “Pop, Pop,” I said, feeling a little embarrassed, hoping to talk him into at least waiting for the next elevator.
The staffer inside the elevator must have heard me, because he smiled, held the door and said with smile, “We have room for Pop. You guys too. C’mon in.”
And up we went. I have been to the Holocaust Museum many times, but none as memorable as that visit.
About a month ago, in a conscious effort to carry on her father’s tradition and to commemorate his birthday, my wife Helen paid her own solo visit to the Museum. She arrived at the end of a busy work day, in a rush, just a few minutes before closing time. Unfortunately, given the late hour, they had run out of the candles usually provided in the Hall of Remembrance for visitors to light and leave in the niches of the outer walls.
Already feeling emotional — her dad had passed away just six months before — she broke down sobbing.
A staffer nearby immediately came to her assistance, asking if she needed help. She explained, and the gentleman asked her to wait. He soon returned with a candle, explaining with a conspiratorial wink that he kept his own special supply for such emergencies.
The guards and staff at the Holocaust Museum have a special duty. The do more than just protect and operate one of Washington’s many heavily trafficked museums. On a daily basis, they help open the doors to the elderly survivors of the atrocities of World War II. As my stories attest, they do it with a remarkable degree of kindness and professionalism.
As far as I know, the Holocaust Museum personnel that we encountered were not armed guards, though it is possible they were. But when I heard about the shooting this afternoon, and more specifically that at least one of the victims is a security guard now apparently in critical condition, it struck very close to home.
This is personal.
As far as I am concerned, the staff members of the Holocaust Museum are part of our family and the Museum itself is hallowed ground, and we pray for the recovery of the wounded guard. “Never take your guard force and security people for granted,” William Parsons, the museum’s chief of staff said on television a few minutes ago. Our family never will.
A very sad update: MSNBC just reported that the guard, Officer Steven Tyrone Johns, has passed away. We are all mourners tonight.
UPDATE: As usual, Pam nails it. Check below the jump for a visit to last year’s wingnut charade as it played out during the Presidential election and after.
Overnighting in Seaside, walking the Prom
UPDATE: Seaside, Oregon is definitely a place I’d visit again, perhaps as a base for exploring and photographing the Oregon Coast. We picked it at random as it was about as far as we felt driving the first day, after going through Astoria and Tillamook (did stop for some squeaky-cheese curds, which I worked on all day).
Seaside is one of those places that’s got some authentic charm and history, although there are a lot of big new high-rises along the prime beachfront spots of its classic “Prom” or promenade. You can see the Wyndham timeshare on the right hand behind the Lewis and Clark statue. We had stayed in a Comfort Suites (that was very comfy and a sweet deal) and I left David in the room to explore on my own for a bit. I walked up the “North Prom” and enjoyed the sea breeze and looking at the cute beach cottages. One in particular caught my eye with its carved picket fence (many feature front lawns and fences, no doubt for family play space). The pickets were carved in the shapes of birds, maybe pelicans or seagulls, and it had the birds carved on an old-fashioned garden gate, too.
The main drag of Seaside is an old-fashioned street of small shops and attractions buildings painted in pastel colors, very pleasing to the eye. The “tacky tourist” look of some beach or resort areas was not as much in evidence, so clearly the local zoning people wanted to keep Seaside looking a little like it did in its glory days of the Twenties (aside from the highrise condos and some of the hotels). When I walked back, I was struck by the sight of an old-fashioned candy shop proudly displaying a fresh log of fudge on a marble worktable in the front window – and I do mean a LOG of fudge. It was about the size of a railroad tie, elaborately worked and swirled so that the top took on a braided appearance.
I ended up getting some fresh warm caramel corn and a bag of salt water taffy. The taffy has made it all the way to San Francisco, as a gift for my teammates. The caramel corn lasted until the next day on the road.
We ate dinner that night in a nice little Italian place called Guido and Joe’s, where David had some very good but spicy cioppino. He later noted that he maybe shouldn’t have enjoyed so much of it, but sometimes one must suffer a little after enjoying good food. Fortunately, I brought plenty of antacid stuff.
I can has iPhone?
Title: End of the Oregon Trail
Originally uploaded: 26 May ’09, 6.42pm CDT PST
I can has iPhone?
Title: BLTT&C at Hump’s Cafe in Clatskanie
Originally uploaded: 26 May ’09, 3.30pm CDT PST
UPDATE: We drove towards the Oregon Coast and down towards San Francisco in kind of a random fashion, and next time we’ll do it a little differently to minimize long driving days and maximize hanging out in interesting places days.
We stopped at this funky local place after crossing a bridge from a very industrial area of southern Washington into Oregon. It was a pleasant surprise once inside, full of quirky decor and homey touches. The food was quite good, and I really liked this “Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Turkey, and Cucumber” sandwich.
According to Pam’s House Blend, Larry Stickney of Protect Marriage
Washington has a Twitter follower FAIL:
Yep, two (2) followers. No SEO guys? No life coaches? No Bacon/Anti-
Bacon bots? Not an impressive showing of support for withholding
marriage rights on “moral” grounds.
I can has iPhone?
Title: Larry Stickney Has Two (2) Followers
Originally uploaded: 26 May ’09, 11.10am CDT PST
UPDATE: Added the link to PHB that I couldn’t do as easily from the iPhone with the image in the mix, and while grabbing it, checked Mr. Stickney’s Twitter page. Still no followers, no new updates. Larry has a sad.
I can has iPhone?
UPDATE: When I lived in Seattle, I sometimes rode my bike or the bus out to Golden Gardens Park in the afternoon. It’s just a really nice place to spend some time. David and I walked along, smelling the smoke from a number of campfires on the beach (the parks department provides big iron fireboxes). It was the end of the Memorial Day weekend, but plenty of people were there to grill, picnic, chill, or even get married (there was a wedding reception in the old bathhouse, which must have been restored as a community hall since my time).
We’d driven out there to have dinners at Ray’s Boathouse, a Seattle seafood institution. We had a great meal and a nice table by the windows – they have an awesome view of the water and sunset.
Their grandad wrangled the flipflops while their owners played in the
shade, waiting to enter the hula show venue.
I can has iPhone?
Title: Herd O’ Flipflops
Originally uploaded: 24 May ’09, 4.40pm CDT PST
UPDATE: We were in line for a hula showcase (being fans of Hawaiian music and culture) and I noticed the guy behind us instructing a bunch of pre-teen girls to stay in sight, and he’d watch their shoes so they could run on the grass lawn in front of Bagley Wright Theatre. This meant that he had to kick a flap of flip-flops along (I just made that collective noun up) as the line began to move. The little girls chased each other around in the sun, running in circles burning off an excess of energy that I envied. Eventually, the middle-aged granddad called them over to retrieve their footgear and they trooped in to watch the show.
I have a fondness for shots of flip-flops, because they’re often encountered on the beach in Hawaii, or left on front porches or doorsteps. The curved shape of well-worn “slippahs” is like a ghostly imprint of their owners, who might have just stepped out of them to wade in the surf, or jump in the pool.
I can has iPhone?
UPDATE: We were waiting for the next act, after a long day wandering around mostly in the corner of the Seattle Center site near the Northwest Court Stage. This room seemed to have become the default “indoor folk venue where we stick acts that don’t have enough draw for a big outdoor stage” place. In years past, there was a coffeehouse vibe and this kind of act was in the Alki Room, a multi-level place with good sight lines, room for a few chairs, and the ability to set up a small food/beverage/snack counter. Alas, not this year, as they had moved all the artist music CD sales into Alki. So we were somewhat crowded and there weren’t enough chairs. These guys were interesting, but not what I had hoped for, and we were waiting for the next act anyway.