…and that’s not even mentioning the 3-for-$10 deal on Haagen-Dazs miniatures.

Apologies to the six-seven people who’re probably wondering if I’ve dropped off the face of the earth. Short answer: No. Longer answer: I’ve been working on the snark project described below, and as often happens, it touched off so many unforeseen wellsprings of aggravation that editing the rant is taking more time than actually writing it.

However. I did just want to pop in and provide a capsule update of recent hilights @ Shoe Central, because the more I thought about it, gosh they’ve been piling up:

I’m typing this on my new (PINK!) laptop… well, OK, sort of a subtle rose. Anyway, it is in my lap, on the couch, and it is FABULOUS.

This is not because I’m a spoiled brat — although I probably am — but because the Shoe household has finally decided the lines along which it wants to fracture itself. And one of the other pieces wants to buy my old desktop. More on that later… yes, I know I keep saying that. You know my stories, they’re complicated.

I just bought the entire BBC series of Little Dorrit on iTunes. And have an entire weekend to watch them in. Bliss.

Shoemom is currently out attending the bridal shower of our 83-year-old friend. Her fiance is 87. The wedding is coming up really shortly.

Jasmine is at the vets’ getting fixed. Apparently they’ve stuck her in a little funnel collar thingy because she tried to lick her stitches. Is it wrong that I find this mental image absolutely hilariously adorable?

[Insert picture of frowny-faced Little Critter here]

I am SO MAD.

Went to price out a new laptop @ the local Best Buy tonight. Noticed they have a twelve-month no interest payment plan. Since I’d already fallen hopelessly in love with a pale-pink Sony VAIO 15-inch, why not?

Trotted over to the customer service desk to apply for the financing. "Sure… I’ll need your driver’s license, please?" "Oh, I don’t have one. But here’s my Ontario Health Card. Also issued by the government, and you’ll notice my picture there as well…?"

"Nope, sorry, we can’t take that."

I stared at him. He appeared to be patiently waiting for whatever was coming next. "You don’t take government-issued picture ID?! What do you do if someone doesn’t have a driver’s license?"

"Well, we do take a passport…" Pause, motivated no doubt by my despairing headshake. "OK, how about your citizenship card?"

I stared some more. Out of my bright blue eyes, in my pink-and-white face. And said in my prominent Southern Ontario accent, "Uh… trust me, I was born here."

He seemed to understand, albeit not to the extent of giving me a break. Ditto the nice girl at the bank hotline # he eventually had me call.

The upshot of it is, I left laptop-less. Still completely and totally bewildered as to why a government card (for which I was required to provide proof of residence by really humourless civil servants, after standing in line most of an afternoon) should be considered less than definitive proof of my existence.

All anybody could say — even to "So, you’re about to risk losing a $1000-plus sale over the wrong type of ID card?" — was "Well… yes, it’s policy."

I still do not plan on ever shoplifting. But I do believe I’ve gained a weensy bit of insight into potential motivation.

In which I totally ignore the entire ‘Obama wins Peace Prize’ thingy.

Seriously. I mean, the only rational response to that is "OK then! Apparently the rest of the world was even more traumatised by the Bush administration than we realised!". And many, many more articulate people have already raced to their computers to make that point and related ones today.

I figure a quick repost of an interesting discussion I’m having in another LJ thread, on a subject I can actually claim expertise in, would be more to the point. ‘Cause I have actually had this happen in a lot of cases where my profession comes up. I am a buyer’s assistant in a high-end womenswear buying office.

Yeah, I know, you can’t resist, can you? It’s either "Ooh, designer labels are so shallow/stupid/a ripoff!" or "Ooh, unrealistic sizing drives me nuts! The other day I was looking at a size 00, can you believe it…"

I generally bear this kind of stuff with a grin, as I happen to agree with both POVs to a certain extent. My method for dealing with the excess madness — one that is thankfully supported by my buyer — is just to relax and have fun with all the pretty clothes. Not to mention, I admit, the massively reality-challenged culture that surrounds them.

Me, I’m never gonna be in with the cool crowd. I’m a 175-lb. 38-year-old in an office-full of gorgeous kids, I am by default — and a certain native eccentricity — the fashion granny. That said, I’ve learned a lot about how to make myself look good these past five years; not just in terms of following the trends, but in choosing colours and styles that flatter…

…And, of course, ones that fit. Definitely picked up a few hints about those. So when asked "What is the deal with specific sizes for men and not women, anyway? There are just as many variations in men’s bodies as women’s!" I am fully prepared to respond…

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*grin* True, but there is also far more variation in female fashion.

[Disclaimer: The following discussion merely reflects present realities, and in no way should indicate agreement with or approval of those realities by the author. Thank you.]

 The original discrepancy arose in large part because men were the ones wearing uniforms on the job, in the military etc, so standardised sizing has until comparatively recently been a much bigger and more accepted part of their world. Standardised charts for women do exist of course, and I gather there is a movement afoot currently to use them across the genders/ages. But as long as women have (or are perceived as having) a more emotional, less rational investment in their clothing choices, so too will be their sizing irrational.

Put simply, sizing for women reflects body image. As long as you’re dealing in abstract numbers, you can make women feel however you want. You just lower the numbers, and hey presto! women feel like they’re beautiful and special in your clothes. Conversely, you can mess about with sizes for ‘above average’ women — saying 3X instead of XXXL, for instance — to help disguise the fact that they need them.

Within those various numbers you can further play around with form, function, fabrication etc., and heighten whatever the effect by hiding/minimising flaws, or enhancing/creating good points. Or just playing around with concepts generally, as on a canvas. Think about runway shows you’ve seen — it’s art, abstract art, with models simply being used as walky-talky clotheshangers for the designer’s ‘vision’. Standardising sizes would take you behind the curtain, so to speak, far too soon. 🙂

Besides which sizing, as I mentioned above, reflects label image and marketing. Yes, this is a pan-gender issue, but it’s much more directly reflective of physical perception in women; as we age, we are seen as wanting to hide more, as needing more ‘relaxed fits’, shall we say.
One label wants to be worn by hip teens; another, by their moms; still another by their grammas. All of these women may well share one or more general measurements, but if their mom can get into their Juicy tops, teens aren’t gonna buy, and if Gramma can get into them, both mom and grand-daughters will shudder as they pass the rack.

When the going gets rough/just shop with somebody tough

It’s been an interesting week for rampant consumerism, here @ Shoe Central:

I got a new cell phone! *cuddles phone*. It’s a Blackberry Pearl flip (I have this thing about exposed keyboards; given the chaos that is my purse, there’s a real chance of accidentally dialling Uzbekistan in there). The back part is pink, since that was the only colour they had, but the flip is black, so my self-respect is OK.

Almost as much fun as discovering how far cell technology has advanced in three years – and gosh, hasn’t it been a lot – has been watching Shoemom discover the same thing. Took her three full days to get past the welcome screen. First thing she found after that was: the camera. Somehow it’s never the things you think they’ll be excited about, is it?

"Hey, over here! Cheeeeeese!" [clik!] "Oh, shoot, hit the button too soon."

"MOM! This is – is that my butt?!"

"…yeah, sorry. Where did you say the delete button was again?"

****************************************

I got new SQUARE-RIMMED glasses! *loves glasses* They are PURPLE! There is PERSONALITY! There is even a discreet bit of SPARKLY! I am just so incredibly thrilled to have finally joined the new facial fashion millennium! Can you tell?!

In other face-related news: MAC cosmetics. Demo in our office atrium. VERY flattering salespeople. Thus I am now staring across the dresser at a Look in a Box; everything I need to create ‘Sweet Tease’ on this heretofore totally naked mug. Wondering how on earth I’m going to learn to apply mascara well enough to justify $80. Currently, I am tossing around ideas involving something I once read about 19th-century women and permanent cosmetic tattoos.

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–The itteh bitteh kitteh comes home on Saturday night. As alert readers may recall, Kitteh was going to be called Jemima, but the mental images re: offensively anachronistic pancake pitchwomen proved finally too weird. So kitteh is now, once and forever: Jasmine. *squeezes Jasmine and calls her…oh, never mind*

Anyway, this is going under Consumerism, Rampant, because frankly the pet industry – as represented on the Net at least – is really harshing my mellow here. All I wanted was some quick advice on settling a kitten in a new home, and suddenly it’s like I’m Madonna and they’re the entire Malawian government. I can understand protective outrage to an extent, but the blanket assumption that every wannabe pet owner is an irresponsible twit who’s never before taken care of another living creature…yeah, a bit much.

********************************************

So anyway. The garbage strike is (almost) over – it would be over now, except Shoemom wisely restrained me from going down to City Hall upon notice of delay and holding the union leaders’ heads in a used litter tray until they sobbed for mercy – the weather is heating up, the new stuff is new…here it is August, and summer’s just starting.

Nice post of niceness

OK, I’m officially on an upswing this week. Found a pair of slinky jeans that fit perfectly and everything. Down two sizes from last year’s purchase, too. Turning thirty-eight? Hah! I laugh at turning thirty-eight!

Well, alright, I don’t really. But the jeans definitely helped. So did the cute sneakers – do they still call them sneakers? I just realised I may with one word have completely undone all the jeans’ good work. Excuse it please. They’re New Balance, and according to the endearingly typical salesdude @ Athletic World they’re ‘very ergonomic fit, good for the high-intensity urban environment’. Translation: I’m all kitted out for the summer’s hiking. Which is nice.

So is the response I just got from my very nice former PopMatters editor re: my most recent feature submission: he definitely remembers me, and will be pleased to take a look at my essay ASAP. This, of course, being the flat print version of “OMIGOSH HE REMEMBERED ME! I TOTALLY DID NOT EXPECT THAT! DO THEY REALLY DO THAT?!”
…aaaaaand the sophistication level slips another notch. I don’t care. Frankly at this point I am not even really worried about the article getting in or not – although it would be huge if it did, don’t get me wrong – I am just so pleased to be remembered. Makes me feel all…professional, and stuff.

Meaanwhile, the plotting ideas for finishing the sci-fi novel keep on keepin’ on, popping into my head apace. Apparently, my subconscious really wants to revisit this thing, so I guess the Grand Sweeping Epic of Everything will have to wait a bit. Sorry, anybody who was waiting breathless.

Last but definitely not least, it came time for my bimonthly flash of renewed interest in Kalan Porter, ex-Idol moppet and current…baby-faced blond dude with big china-blue eyes and some stubble. There’s a ways to go yet, is all I am saying, deliberately ironic blogging or no. Still, they did pose him with a glass in his hand for the scanned article I read, and there doesn’t seem to have been any angsting in the fandom about a possible drink problem as a result, which I think qualifies as serious progress.

(I, on the other hand, have regressed dreadfully. Because I now cannot get out of my head the impulse to pop in and start some angsting, just for giggles. I think my next rant post will have to deal with how fandom rots your brain.)

Anyway, in the article Kalan describes his new music as ‘kind of synth-pop…fun…very uptempo’. Now, as has been chronicled elsewhere, I adore synth-pop. Have done for years. Always assuming Kalan is talking Thompson Twins and not Aqua – the emphasis on ‘fun’ is especially worrisome – but that’s a risk I am prepared to take. Go ye forth into the world and tweak those keyboards, KP. I may yet realise my dream of hearing the Weird Scathing Angst factor performed deliberately, rather than frantically wishing it there myself in an effort to salvage coolness points.

Now, to bed…perchance to dream of the Niceness Wave spilling over Finance. “Why, yes, you can have this new vendor record # processed overnight! Urgent purchase orders approved without budget dollars available? No problem, our pleasure!”

All cheered up!

But I’m afraid I’m becoming something of a shopaholic in the process. Which worries me not least because it forces me to self-identify with cutesy chick flicks.

At any rate, I decided to head over to the iTunes Store the other night for some serious musical medication. For good reasons; Bruce Springsteen’s latest had reminded me that my library was still missing Streets of Philadelphia, and I mean, really. After that, though, things may have gotten just the teensiest bit out of hand…I probably didn’t need all that Bruce Hornsby, let’s put it that way.

I did find a bunch of Hall & Oates classics that filled the mood-lifting bill most excellently. I have always had a thing for Daryl Hall’s voice…um, also Daryl Hall’s picture staring out at me from the iTouch while the songs play, nice bonus. Seriously, they were among the premiere pop craftsmen of my generation, and when your generation also includes Boom Boom Boom (Let’s Go Back to My Room), that is something you hold on to, believe me. 

While I was at it, I picked up a couple tracks off Duran Duran’s Arena, another key entry on my Remember Back When I Was Young and Carefree setlist. That I was carefree mostly because I had no musical taste is debatable, but I don’t care, it’s The Seventh Stranger and I get to feel gloriously hedonistic all over again.

So between the need to organise the new music, the circuit assembly this weekend, and another vow not to write another word unless it’s in the furtherance of my fictional ambitions (ha ha ha), things are getting back on track, here @ Shoe Central. Will keep you posted.

I get to have an iPod Touch!

Because…um, well, basically because I’m an evil bitch who doesn’t care about all the sweat and blood Shoemom expends to keep us in the financial black. But I’m sure she’ll get over it eventually.

I did have a really good sob story this time, if I do say so myself. Just completed five years of service to the Hudson’s Bay Company, and have the commemorative plaque and pin to prove it. (One of the niftier little side benefits of working for a 338-year-old enterprise: the commemorative pin shows its beautiful coat-of-arms. I had half expected it to have stripes.) Plus, one of my supervisors asked me to fill in for him when he goes on vacation in February.

So it seemed an opportune moment to self-reward, and I’ve needed a PDA for some while now, so the fit was a natural one. The iPhone is much too expensive when you add on the charges, and anyway I don’t want a cell phone that does anything more than make phone calls. Did a bit of online research, and everyone – I do mean everyone – sang the praises of the Touch. Such solidarity is rare enough to be un-nerving; I was starting to think it maybe dispensed soma on the side.

So Shoesis gets the old Nano to take with her on her cleaning jobs, and I get to feel a comfortable glow of sisterly solidarity. Now all I have to worry about is finding wi-fi spots here in Toronto. From what I can tell, it seems a complex business. Perhaps the universe’s way of ensuring Shoemom gets her own back, after all…?

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