Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Mill's New Clothes

I’m not really one to pray at the satiny, slim-fit altar of high fashion. I likes me some Old Navy shirts and some blue jeans from Target. But at the same time, I can’t help but occasionally splurge on a high-fashion, well-tailored, perfectly proportional suit of clothes. – so long as it’s a bargain of epic proportions.

And so it’s been that I’ve recently frequented the Gilt Groupe’s website, looking for a new fancy dress suit. They offer brand name European and American designer clothes, at Bangladeshi garbage dump prices. The only problem is, you can’t get your cash back. So if you order something, and you don’t like it, you’re stuck with store credit.

Not a problem if you spend 30 bucks on a pair of Ralph Lauren pants or, 50 bucks on a Vera Wang cummerbund. But if you drop a few hundred on a new suit – well, you’re stuck with a buttload of store credit if you don’t like the fit or finish of the garment.

And it’s taken a few tries for me – of ever more expensive suits – to finally find one that not only fits, but doesn’t look like something Deion Sanders would wear to church.

It was getting to the point where if I didn’t find a suit I liked, the Gilt credit would have lasted for 5 years worth of Calvin Klein underwear, and Marc Jacobs dental floss. And I was beginning to think that Gilt’s great prices are mostly due to the fact that every goddamn garment they sell is irregular to the point of being comical.

I swear one of the suits I ordered was about 3 inches shorter in one arm versus the other. And at the same time, the tightness of the armpits and the suffocating, intestine-strangling cut of the pants made me feel like I was stepping into my Bar Mitzvah suit – which, after 20 years, may have actually fit me better than the piece of crap I was trying on from Gilt.

But again, you can return whatever you order, no questions asked, for store credit. So I kept my head up and soldiered on, ordering any suit that looked halfway decent on the website. But the pictures and sizing of the models can be very misleading. No normal human is 6 foot 2 inches tall, with a 30-inch waist, and wears a size 40 jacket.

If they do, then there’s something wrong with the jacket – and/or they probably have some genetic disease like Klinefelter’s syndrome, or some other type of hypogonadism. That’s what I’ve learned through this whole ordeal. I feel sorry for these models, because they can only get their clothes from the limited assortment of irregular leftovers sold by websites like Gilt.

That being said, I’m happy with the final result of my Gilt Groupe adventure. According to the label, it’s a size or two larger than what I’d normally wear, and yet it fits just fine. I look like a million bucks in my new suit, and I got a screaming bargain to boot. Gilt is a great site, if you have a lot of patience, and are willing to gamble like you’re at the MGM Grand.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oktoberfest – The Best German Idea Since the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

The Uncertainty Principle is a pillar of modern physics, just as Oktoberfest is a pillar of modern beer drinking.

In quantum mechanics, the Uncertainty Principle states that one cannot simultaneously ascertain the precise location and precise speed of an electron. The more precisely one quantity is known, the less precisely the other quantity can be calculated. Likewise, during Oktoberfest, the more beer one drinks the less precisely one can know their own location.

Controversial East German waitresses use performance enhancers to allow for incredible feats of beer lifting strength.

I know that Werner Heisenberg – the famed Nazi sympathizer and Nazi physicist – first proposed the Uncertainty Principle back in 1929. I do not know who first came up with the idea for Oktoberfest – a 16-day festival revolving around beer and sausage – but whoever it was, their intellect rivaled that of the world’s greatest scientists, including Heisenberg. In fact, I’d argue that the dude who first proposed Oktoberfest was smarter than Heisenberg, or Niels Bohr, or Shaquille O’Neal.

I mean, it seems intuitive that it would be really tough to know the exact speed and location of some tiny-ass, super-fast little thing like an electron. But then again, the concept of Oktoberfest seems rather intuitive as well.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Perfect Pushup Update - A Perfect Injury

I've mentioned my Perfect Pushup workouts before: Here and here. The goal was to get super-ripped. Ripped to shreds. Torn to flecks. And all cut up like a samurai sword to a watermelon.

That plan was born back in December, and after about 8 weeks - when I slipped and fell in my apartment, injuring my ass and my wrist - the plan went into a deep, deep slumber. But the plan to get all ripped woke up again, about 7 weeks ago. I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner. It was groggy at first, like a big, sleepy, lazy old bear. And soon enough it was alert - feeling well-rested, if not a little thirsty.

Anyway, I'm the bear and I'm trying to get in shape after hibernation. Get it? So I dusted off the Perfect Pushup thingies, strapped on my running shoes and - wait, or did I dust off the shoes and strap on the Perfect Pushup thingies? No matter. I was off and Perfect Pushupping before long, even starting close to where I had left off several months before.

Things were going well. Very well. I could sense the transformation was about to occur. My muscles were about to burst forth, tendons and all, through the skin. Not literally, of course, because that would result in terrible, horrific injury.

Then one day, a couple of weeks ago, I felt a sharp pain in my left palm while I did my Perfect Pushups. I ignored it, and powered through another set. I changed the grip width, put my feet on a chair, and started some advanced Perfect Pushup maneuvers. The pain got worse. I could feel some swelling in the meatiest part of my meaty palm. It was like a small meatball floating in a sea of meat. And that little meatball hurt like shit when I did Perfect Pushups.

So I took a week off. Maybe I'd heal quickly and be able to continue my strict Perfect Pushup regimen. But after giving it another go, the pain was still there, and I think I actually re-injured the hand a little bit. That popping sound, coupled with sharp pain, was not encouraging.

The whole thing's so strange because it didn't bother me for weeks. And the right hand doesn't hurt at all. Furthermore, the Perfect Pushup is designed to lessen stress on joints etc. It's supposed to be all ergonomic and shit. It just feels like all of my weight is focused on one part of my palm - the hurting part - when I do the Perfect Pushups now. I fear that the injury is a result of some small anatomical oddity within my hand - and I won't be able to blame Perfect Pushup Inc. and get my money back.

I guess I'll lay off the Perfect Pushups for another week or two, and see if the situation rectifies itself. If not, then I'll troll the internet for more miracle fitness products and hope the next one doesn't hurt me to use.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Spend Way Too Much Time Watching Football

And it’s this time of year during which my addiction is painfully apparent.

Saturday, no NFL games on TV. I went to the library, dropped of a package at UPS (an internet clothing return that fit like my Bar Mitzvah suit – more on that later), went food shopping at the crazy crowded Fairway in Redhook, met up with my colleague Dennis in Flushing, Queens for some authentic and delicious Dim Sum, and even squeezed in some exercise – a jog and some pushups and situps if you must know.

But wait. I wasn’t done. That’s right there’s more.

Jaimi and I also did laundry.

So it was a productvie Saturday, to say the least.

But then again, there wasn’t any NFL football on TV. Now let’s take a quick look at today’s accomplishments.

I woke up, had some coffee, went for a quick jog – which was shorter than normal due to rapid heartbeat, dizziness, and sweaty palms due to NFL opening weekend fever – made some scrambled eggs, and headed to Jersey to watch the Eagles game at my friend’s place. He has DirecTV and the NFL Sunday Ticket package. That’s not the only reason we’re still friends, but it sure as hell doesn’t hurt.

I watched the Eagles deconstruct the Panthers like so many Tinker Toys, under the force of their relentless pass rush. Sure, McNabb broke a rib or two while scoring a touchdown, but the defense looked so good, they shouldn’t even need to field a quarterback for most of the season. Let the ball throw itself.

Then I came home, watched the Giants dismantle the Redskins, ate some snacks, had some dinner, and started to watch the Packers and the Bears.

After eight hours of football, I had to shut it down. It was much too late to salvage the remains of the day, but at least I showed a tiny smidge of restraint. Maybe next week I’ll turn off the TV fifteen minutes earlier than today.

Baby steps. That’s enough for one day.

But it's a very long season. And just as a heroin addict steps down to methadone, I too must find a lesser addiction to occupy my time. That is, of course, if I were actually serious about trying to not watch so much football on Sundays. Which I'm not. Not serious at all. Big joke. Hahahahahahaha!

Football is awesome. It's way better than heroin, with no needles involved.

Go Eagles!!

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Binder Clips – ¾ inch Size, 40 Pack – A Product Review

Binder clips are more useful than computers. Or medicine.

Sometimes you have too many pages to staple together, and a paper clip just isn’t strong enough to hold it all together. Sure, glue might work, or duct tape. But if you want to be able to read any of the pages that you’re fastening together, you’ll need a better option.

That’s where binder clips come in real handy. They’re sort of like the superheroes of paper fasteners, in this reviewer’s humble opinion. They’re lightweight, strong, sleek, and easy to use. You don’t need to have a PhD to use one. Just squeeze, insert paper into the open end, and release. The binder clip takes care of the rest.

I guess there’s some kind of spring in there. Or an invisible elf holding the ends of the clip together. Either way, every binder clip I’ve ever used has served it’s intended purpose to a tee. Whether that purpose be to grip together 100 pages of fantasy sports draft prep materials, or to clip an orange pylon to the dog’s tail and watch him chase it until he collapses.

Any way you slice it, the binder clip is one of the handiest tools around – when it comes to reversibly clipping things to other things while doing minimal physical damage to either of the things that are clipped together.

Not only that, but these things are pretty cheap!! You can get 40 of them for a couple of bucks at Staples. Have I died and gone to paper fastening heaven? If not, then please God, take me there now!

In summary, I highly recommend binder clips. They work great. They’re affordable. And they’re big enough to not be much of a choking hazard to humans. If you need to stick some pages together but you’re out of staples and/or paper clips, then binder clips should be one of your next 5 or 6 paper-fastening choices.

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day - The Opposite of Labor

I guess my idea of a good Labor Day weekend is doing as little as possible. Relaxing one final time before the summer turns to fall. Grab a good book, kick back on a private balcony with a mountain view, and fall asleep in the sunshine.

In retrospect, perhaps that’s why Jaimi and I decided to head up to the Catskills for the long weekend. Because that’s basically all there is to do up there. Which is fine for me, and totally appropriate for a holiday known as Labor Day.

We found a nice B & B online (The Rosehaven Inn) and booked one of their four well-appointed rooms. We weren’t sure what was in store for us up in the Hunter Mountain area, but we figured it would involve some hiking, some eating of food, some drinking of wine, maybe some touring of quaint historic towns, some tubing down a river of some sort, some art viewing, some antiquing, and some playing with the resident dog at Rosehaven – Gandalf the golden retriever.

As it turned out, we really only did about 60% of the items listed above – and all within the first 4 hours of the trip. The Hunter Mountain area is very scenic, in both summer and winter. But for city slickers such as ourselves, it was a bit lacking in activities. Plenty of hiking, for sure. And Gandalf the dog was very nice, but rather old – much like the silver-haired wizard of the same name.

Coincidence? Both wizard and dog are old and nice. Hmm. Why, Gandalf, you are such a nice doggie, but how did you just make that tennis ball transmogrify into a piece of beef? How is it that your bark causes squirrels to fall from the branches above you? And I swear you just entered the house through a solid door -one in which no doggie-door has been crafted.

Anyway, great dog costume old man. You probably have most of the guests fooled, but not I.

We did enjoy a few decent meals in the town of Haines Falls. A special shout out is in order for The Last Chance restaurant, featuring 300 beers and a decent roast beef sandwich. I certainly didn’t try all 300 beers, but it’s nice to know they’re available.

For our final dinner in the area, we ventured forth to the ski town of Windham, and tried a place called The Mill Rock. We mostly tried it because I’m the Mill, and the name of the restaurant is one letter away from “The Mill Rocks” – which is not really a good restaurant name, but is more a statement of immutable certitude, and had me giggling all night. Because I do totally rock, and it would make sense that this restaurant would be awesome.

Awesome name for a restaurant, but only if it was my restaurant, and my face was basically the entire sign.

It was not awesome, but was perfectly adequate in many ways, and almost totally inoffensive in terms of flavor and odor – which is another great way to describe me.

All in all, we had a nice, relaxing Labor Day weekend in the mountains. The location was convenient to Brooklyn (only 2 hours by car), the accommodations were very comfortable, and there was an old man dressed in a dog costume.

Hope your Labor Day was just as nice.

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