fauxklore: (Default)
I've got a list of things to do the length of my arm and writing about some of these things will help me cross off part of it.

Baseball: It ain't over till it's over. It ain't over till it's over. It ain't over till it's over. If I say it enough times, maybe I'll believe it.

Fashion: The latest L.L. Bean catalog offers a cashmere hoodie. This is just wrong.

Cars: I read a description of the Fisker Karma hybrid luxury sedan. The detail that I consider over the top is that the wood trim is claimed to be made exclusively from "trees that died from natural causes."

More products that make no sense:There is something being marketed called Devotion Vodka. Its claim to fame is that it contains protein powder. Does anyone actually believe this makes it healthier? I'll stick to a good rum, personally.

Defunct product that made no sense: While cleaning out a recipe folder, I found a "Ragu Rewards" brochure from 2000. One product offered (for just 10 UPCs plus $3.95 postage and handling) was a "children's mess kit." This included one sectioned plate, 4 tumblers, 3 bowls, 3 snack cups, lids, plus a fork and spoon, all in a drawstring travel bag. Exactly how many children was this intended to be used for?

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign:A couple of weeks ago, the Washington Post had a story about the Typo Eradication Advancement League. This appears to be a two-man operation, devoted to correcting spelling and grammar on signs. The odd part is that the story was in the travel section. Anyway, these guys are doing a good thing and it seems they have a book and a web site.

Customer service: It does not give me great confidence in a telephone company when two out of three calls to their customer service department get disconnected in the middle. It took some doing, since the person who was supposed to reschedule an appointment just canceled it instead. He also gave me a ticket number that was completely useless, as it can't be used to look up the status of a repair or even to talk to another customer service person. But I did finally get a technician out here. I have functioning phone service again! And, even better, I no longer have an intermittent hum on the line. It seems that the technician who installed my FIOS back when I moved here (nearly 3 years ago) never disconnected the copper wire.

Travel There is a company doing zeppelin tours in California. I have definitely got to do this.
fauxklore: (baseball)
1) There are some very nice dresses for sale at various stores now. However, they are all sleeveless. I consider this inappropriate for work. And, even if I didn't, it is too bloody cold in my office (and nearly every other office in the known universe) to wear a sleeveless dress without a jacket. None of those nice dresses had matching jackets. Well, actually there was one that did. But it was pink, which is, of course, evil.

2) If I have to prep a senior level person for a meeting (and accompany that person as his tame technogeek), it would be really nice if the meeting agenda mailed out beforehand actually bore some relationship to the real meeting agenda.

3) Road signs in Washington, D.C. suck. I have a lengthy rant on Virginia road signs (the gist of which is that if they accidentally screw up and put up a helpful sign, they plant a tree in front of it so you can't read it), but D.C. signage is even worse. If the arrows along the way are pointing me to 295 north, the actual freeway entrance should not give me a choice between "295 South" and "95" and "East Capital Street." I had to loop back around in a moderately scary neighborhood. (Normally, I'd have gotten on 295 from Pennsylvania Avenue, but that exit from 395 was at a complete standstill, so I thought I was using a clever alternative routing. Of course, if D.C. had actual freeway interchanges, the whole issue would never have arisen.)

4) I believe it is not asking too much for a hotel to publish directions on their web site which don't tell you to turn onto a street that is closed. (This has to do with the "game day" directions from 295 to the Hampton Inn next to Camden Yards, which tell you to turn left onto Washington. There's this little detail of a row of traffic cones blocking the turn, aside from several hundred Baltomorons meandering aimlessly down the middle of all streets, including the ones that are open to traffic. So far as I can tell, there is not actually any legal way to get to the hotel during a game and I resorted to a turn of dubious legality at the other end of Washington.)

5) I also believe that hotel front desk personnel should be able to give basic directions to major roads. I think there was a more direct way to the Baltimore Beltway (695) this morning than by going back south on 295, but gave up when the desk clerk had apparently never heard of that road by either name. (She kept asking if I had an address I was going to. I'm not convinced that an address four counties away would really have helped.)

6) I was in Baltimore in the first place because it occurred to me on Thursday that it was not actually impossible for me to see my Red Sox play the Orioles this weekend. I have mixed feelings about John Lackey. His pitching was just okay, but he made some nice fielding plays. Both J. D. Drew and Dustin Pedroia had good offensive outings, but Youk and Papi both did nothing. It was an exciting game, even if the Sox did lose (in the bottom of the 10th). If I have to deal with traffic and the hotel directions fiasco, the Sox should really reward me by winning, shouldn't they?

7) The reason I stayed overnight in Baltimore was that I was doing a volksmarch in Manchester, Maryland today and it was just more restful not to spend an hour or more driving home and then an hour and a half back north. I was right about that. The walk was very pretty, but it was more difficult than I expected, with a lot of steep natural surface trails. Hiking boots (instead of sneakers) and/or a walking stick would have been good. It was also a bit tricky to follow the route (marked with ribbons on trees in the woods) at some points.


Aug. 17th, 2009 08:05 pm
fauxklore: (Default)
I keep a list of things that I will not do once I retire. One of the items on that list is wearing pantyhose.

So it intrigues me to notice how many women I see on the metro who are not wearing pantyhose. In the case of the youngsters who wear flipflops, hose wouldn't be feasible, of course. I like to believe they change to respectable footwear when they get to work and that includes putting on hose. (I admit that I often wear sneakers or Keene sandals and change to pumps when I get to work myself.) But I noticed an awful lot of women wearing decent adult shoes who were also bare legged.

Is this a real trend? Am I really just an old fuddy duddy if I think it looks wrong not to wear nylons with business attire?
fauxklore: (Default)
1) I went shopping after work. I need new shoes. What I was hoping to find was a simple pair of black slingback pumps. Apparently, I need to go shopping via time machine. (I did try on a few pairs of other shoes without success. I am. alas, too practical to try on purple silk shoes or leopard print pumps, no matter how lovely they may be. Steve Madden makes shoes I think are attractive but they don't fit my feet.)

2) In other shopping news, I did see a jacket I liked. However, I did not like it $600 worth. This whole fiscal responsibility thing may be coming back into fashion, I hear. I also saw an absolutely gorgeous formal dress and didn't even try it on since I can't think of any occasion I would have to wear it for which I couldn't wear any of the other formal dresses I own.

In my youth, I did better at manufacturing occasions.

3) I am offended by people cursing loudly on public transit. The words don't bother me personally, but one really ought not to cuss in public places.
fauxklore: (Default)
Tonight is catchup time and catching up on writing here is one way I am procrastinating on other things.

First, I really liked this item from The Onion. The following paragraph is truly brilliant:

According to NASA officials, the epic postponement will occur in three progressively longer stages. The first, predicted to last anywhere from three to five years and cost an estimated $13.8 billion, is tentatively scheduled to begin in late 2012. The second stage—which will ultimately be broken up into 14 smaller stages—will comprise a series of advanced timetable adjustments that, if successful, could delay human beings from exploring the outmost reaches of the known galaxy for decades to come.

The third stage is largely theoretical at this point.

Moving on to more serious matters, I have to wonder about the Washington Post's headline writers. I got snookered into reading an article about "Suspicious Package Rocks Embassy" only to find out that a band named Suspicious Package had performed at the Embassy of Italy.

I think they did a better job with a piece about Susan Boyle, which they titled, "The Scot Heard Round the World." Unfortunately, they also let fashion reporter Robin Gihvan write about Ms. Boyle. Gihvan wrote, essentially, that Boyle should feel obliged to have a makeover because that's part of the Cinderella mythos and then, in her on-line chat, ignored that she had used the word "should" about 50 times in her essay when people called her on her bigotry. (Fashion reporters are, of course, clueless in general. Another example was a spread in the Sunday paper which reminded me that they have no idea of what is appropriate for adults to wear to work. And the fashion chat responded to a question about where to find affordable plus size garments with a mention of a store that sells sizes 0-18. Yeah, it's possible that the person asking the question could wear a 16 or 18, but that's a big assumption.)

My final news note has to do with the death of Venezuelan polo horses in Florida, possibly by poisoning. I have to admit my immediate reaction was to wonder how Dick Francis would use that in one of his mysteries.
fauxklore: (Default)
Today's Style and Arts section of the Washington Post has sketches of ballgowns designed for Michelle Obama. These are amateur drawings and I have no reason to believe that they will have any influence on what she will actually wear at any inaugural ball. Which is a good thing because the winning illustration has particularly peculiar proportions, even by the distorted standards of fashion illustration. I did the numbers in centimeters because it was easier to measure it that way.

Her head is about 1 cm. long in the picture. The area from her neck to her waist is about 1.2 cm. The waist is 0.5 cm wide. And the length from the waist to the bottom of the gown is 12 cm.

I must have forgotten the part of the inauguration traditions in which the first lady enters on stilts.
fauxklore: (Default)
I'm still stressing out over things I can't do much about (mostly the fate of my upcoming vacation, which has connections through BKK), so here is a meme instead. This has to do more or less with fashion and was ganked from lots of folks, most recently [livejournal.com profile] firecat

A: What accessories do you wear every day?
Two rings (one on each hand) and a watch.

B: What is your beauty routine?
Uh, I wash regularly and I brush my hair.

C: What was the last item of clothing (for yourself) that you purchased?
A cranberry red knit dress.

D: Do you use a dresser, closet, or both?
I have a walk-in closet. It has one set of open shelves on it, which I use for in season pants and tops. The out of season pants and tops are in a few drawers of a chest which also lives in the closet.

E: What type of earrings are in your ears right now?
I rarely wear earrings - pretty much only for major dress-up events. I am one of a very few women in my age group who don't have pierced ears.

F: What type of figure do you have?
Pear-shaped. Your basic hour-glass in which the sand has sunk.

G: Do you wear glasses?
Only when I want to see, which is pretty much all the time that I'm awake.

H: What type of handbag do you carry?
The Le Sportsac deluxe everyday bag has the perfect arrangement of pockets, in my opinion. My current one is a sort of cutesy print with Beatrix Potter overtones. But I've used the identical style in various fabrics over the years, from solid black to red with white polka dots, to a dark paisley.

I: What is your ideal style?
I'm a bit schizo about style. I like a very classic look for work (and work-related social events), meaning suits or shirtdresses. I'm inclined to be far more flamboyant on my own time.

J: What is your favorite brand of jeans?

K: Do you wear knee-hi stockings?

L: Do you *have* to wear matching lingerie?
I don't think I own matching lingerie.

M: Do you wear makeup?
Rarely. It can be fun for parties but there is no reason for it for normal days.

N: Do you wear nightgowns?
Sometimes. I used to like the sort of boring flannel nightgowns that obscure every secondary sexual characteristic. Mostly I sleep au naturel and wear pajamas if I need to be respectable (e.g. at hostels).

O: What outerwear do you put on when going out on a typical winters day?
For work, I wear a trenchcoat with a (removable) wool lining. Otherwise, an REI parka.

P: Perfume?
I used to wear perfume all the time and favored the "oriental" type with lots of sandalwood and patchouli and such (e.g. Tabu, Emeraude, Opium). But I've had allergy issues for the past couple of years so don't wear perfume much any more.

Q: Is your motto "quality over quantity" when it comes to clothing and accessories?
Yes, for serious clothes. I've sometimes bought cheap trendy odds and ends, but not in great quantities.

R: Do you wear rain boots?
No, though I've been tempted by some cute ones I've seen.

S: Do you wear socks or slippers when your feet get cold?
I wear socks most of the time. I wish I could find slippers I like.

T: Do you have a set of travel luggage?
I own a lot of backpacks and a duffel bag. Some of them were made by the same company.

U: What is your daily uniform?
Suit, shirt, interesting lapel pin to keep from being totally dull.

V: If you are married, did you wear a veil with your wedding dress? If not, how did you do your hair?
I'm not married. If I did get married, I would wear a veil.

W: Do you wear a watch?
Yes. I generally wear a cheap drugstore watch since that is something not to worry about while traveling. But I have several fine watches, as well. (My grandfather was in the business.)

X: What item of clothing always makes you feel beautiful?
Not a single item of clothing but I have formal wear that I think makes me look spectacular, especially when I mousse my hair and wear my extravagant dangly Lunch at the Ritz earrings.

Y: What is your favorite type of yarn?
Lamb's Pride, which is a merino/angora mix.

Z: Do you prefer zippers or buttons?
Velcro :) Seriously, jeans demand zippers and shirts need buttons.
fauxklore: (Default)
... but if you were going to spend 5 million dollars on diamonds (1500 carats worth of diamonds and rubies), wouldn't you actually want somebody to see them without your having to walk around undressed to do so?

As opposed to the 2008 Black Diamond Fantasy Miracle Bra in the Victoria's Secret catalogue.

I think I will continue to wear my precious gems on my fingers as G-d and nature intended.
fauxklore: (Default)
I generally buy a new dress to wear on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. If I have to go through the annoyance of clothes shopping, I might as well kvetch about it.

1) It is nearly October. It is officially autumn. Even though it has been rather hot and sticky the past couple of days, one might expect cool weather to be approaching. So why don't the local department stores have any long sleeve dresses out yet?

2) Talbot's did have a jacket dress. A jacket dress is a good thing. Big fabric flower sewn to the breast of the dress, however, not so much.

3) While I was in various stores, I walked through the shoe departments. I did not note the manufacturer, but somebody has come out with an open-toe suede boot. If it is cool enough out to wear a suede boot, you need closed toe shoes. Trust me on this.

4) I gave up on the more upscale mall shops and headed over to the Fair City Mall. Dress Barn had a nearly acceptable dress. It was a perfectly reasonable grey sweater dress, with just one little problem. Namely, it had 3/4 length sleeves. If it is cold enough out to wear a sweater dress, it is cold enough out to have all of my arms covered.

5) There is at least one manufacturer who makes lovely clothing in prints I adore but does not make them in any size below 3X. There are numerous manufacturers who make clothing I like who do not manufacture anything above a size 14. This is annoying.

I did, in the end, find a perfectly lovely cranberry sweater dress. (Note that I firmly believe that one cannot own too many red dresses.) But it took far longer than I'd have liked.
fauxklore: (Default)
Today's Washington Post's Sunday Source section's main feature is on "fashion at work." On the front page, they show a woman wearing a moderately boring pantsuit and suggest changes. As usual, the article mostly reveals that fashion reporters have no clue about what is appropriate at normal workplaces, particularly in conservative professions. (Which means 99.9999% of jobs in Washington.)

1) A camisole top with yellow rosettes is probably not appropriate anywhere and especially not in an office.

2) Likewise for a full skirt with yellow, purple, blue and grey polka dots. (I do, however, own a similar skirt in black and white, which is also not really office appropriate, though I've worn it to work when I haven't done laundry.)

3) Just because it buttons down the front, does not make it a shirtdress. Sleeveless is dubious to start with and putting ruffles at the armholes (and down the front of the bodice and at the hem) pushes it way over the edge.

4) You should probably not be wearing your blouse untucked to begin with. But, if you are, wearing a jacket that is shorter than the blouse just looks sloppy, not cool.

5) Those women on the metro wearing walking shoes are almost certainly going to change shoes at the office, so shut up about it already. Suggesting the purchase of grey and chartreuse high heels instead (at $525, or at least 4 - 5 times what anybody needs to pay for shoes) is only going to make us laugh at you.
fauxklore: (Default)
My weather karma held out and the rain showers had ended by the time I left the hotel this morning. It was a bit on the cold side out but it was still adequate weather for doing today's Volksmarch in Shepherdstown. The highlight of the route was the view from the monument to James Rumsey, who is said to have been the real inventor of the steamboat. (James Fitch got a patent, however, for essentially the same design, and Robert Fulton was the man who made the steamboat economically viable, so I'll let historians fight it out.) The monument has a nice view over the Potomac and the C&O Canal.

There are a number of historic buildings in the center of town, but they are more interesting than attractive. The building now used as a library is unusual for being located in the center of the street. That makes sense when you realize it started out as the market house and was in the middle of the market square. The most interesting story was about Moulder Hall, which served as a hospital after the Battle of Antietam. The claim is that amputated limbs were thrown from the second story windows into waiting wagons.

By the way, the walk directions were reasonably good, but there were at least three times when the number of blocks was given incorrectly. The historic notes were reasonably helpful, although one of them indicated a red gate where the actual gate in question was green. All of which once again highlights the need to have somebody test the walk directions.

This walk finished off my college campuses special program book. Since Friday's finished off the U.S. Presidents book, I've made real progress on reducing the number of special programs I'm working on. All three walks of the weekend counted towards three other programs I'm doing (authors, cemeteries, and railroads).

After the walk, I grabbed a quick lunch at a local pizza place, then drove over to Hagerstown to shop at the outlet mall. I was hoping to stock up on pantyhose (my normal outlet mall purchase), but they didn't have the color I want in stock in my size (or, in fact, in any other size). I'd also hoped that the L.L. Bean outlet would have long sleeve polo shirts, but they only had short sleeve ones. They did have some decent blazers but didn't have a color I liked in my size. As for other stores, either I'm too fussy or I was unlucky or both. I could use a couple of new jackets, but I have very strong opinions about collars, buttons, and pockets, which always makes that difficult. It's hard being the last person left in North America with taste. At this rate, I will have to wait until I'm in Cambodia in December and can afford to have a bunch of stuff tailor made. (I'm not actually joking - I've gotten great wear out of the grey linen suit I had made in Vietnam.)

Overall, it was a good weekend break. I'm hoping for more nice weekend weather so I can get a lot of 10K (or longer) walks in over the next few months.
fauxklore: (Default)
I had a dentist appointment this afternoon so took advantage of being sort of in the area to stop in at Tyson's Corner Center afterwards. For those unfamiliar with it, this is a large, moderately up-scale shopping mall. It's less ritzy than Tyson's Galleria down the block, but a step up from most of the rest of what there is in Northern Virginia.

My real purposes in going there were to pick up some check register pages at the Franklin Covey store and to get the roll of film I shot in Fiji developed. (I take a lot of digital pictures, but film has its uses, too.) And those chores were accomplished. But I also browsed the stores.

Background here is that I wear roughly a size 18. Could be 16, could be 20 depending on style and manufacturer. Regardless, this is usually somewhere in the plus-size department. And said departments are full of perfectly decent sportswear - jeans, casual tops, jackets and so on. They have plenty of dressy dresses. But in 5 stores I went into (3 department stores, Lane Bryant and Talbot Woman) there were exactly 2 dresses that could be worn by an adult woman to a professional job. Both of those were at Talbot Woman and both of them were in colors I don't wear.

I am flattered that, say, Macy's thinks I have such an interesting social life that I need all that sparkle and glitz. But I have a job so I can pay for that glittering social life and I need nice suits or dresses to wear to that job and, yes, maybe a pantsuit or two is okay but skirts have really not gone the way of the farthingdale (whatever that was).

All I want is a couple of long sleeve shirt-waist dresses and maybe a new tweedy skirt suit (or A-line skirt with blazer). This should not be so bloody hard.

And, by the way, Nordstrom's appears to have stopped selling their nice comfy cotton pajamas. Or at least hidden them so well in the lingerie department as to be equivalent.


fauxklore: (Default)

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