31 August 2010


To the list of "stuff I've witnessed people doing in public that I shouldn't have to" (see here for the most recent example), I can now add "guy clipping his fingernails on T platform." I guess I should consider myself lucky he wasn't trimming his toenails.

Mad Men Season 4, Episode 6: "Waldorf Stories"

When I saw the title of this episode, my first thought was that there might be an appearance by Conrad Hilton, but as usual, that's too obvious for Mad Men's writers. However, I'm sure Connie is keeping tabs on Don and his work, and we may yet see him--the show does tend to bring people back. Like Ken--now we know why we've been seeing Aaron Staton's name in the opening credits each week, even though he had only appeared in episode 4 this season. It remains to be seen how well he and Pete can work together.

So Roger's wife's cousin Danny is looking for a job in advertising, even though he doesn't seem to have much in the way of original ideas. This is presented in contrast with Don's first encounter with Roger and subsequent pursuit of a job at Sterling Cooper. Danny is trying to get a job through connections rather than real talent, whereas Don at first tried to impress Roger with his ideas, but when that didn't work, he apparently took advantage of Roger's inebriation to trick Roger into believing he had offered Don a job and didn't remember.

Of course, Don wasn't remembering much of anything over the course of his lost weekend, causing him an assortment of problems: his misplaced award, his obligation to his children, the fact that the slogan the Life cereal guys liked best was the one Danny had used over and over in his work. The missing Saturday was especially jarring, and a sign that Don's drinking is seriously out of control. I liked that Peggy told him off; her instruction to "fix it" refers to much more than just Don's borrowing of Danny's phrase. Peggy is also angry with Don about not sharing the recognition for the award, but that may not be as easily fixable. What's it going to take for Don to wake up?

Meanwhile, Peggy has to deal with the unorthodox work style of the agency's new art director, Stan Rizzo. He's supposed to be this free spirit, but Peggy manages to embarrass him, which presumably removed the roadblock to their making progress on the Vick's project. He's no Sal, that's for sure. Clearly we are supposed to dislike Stan, at least not now, but we'll need to see some demonstrable talent from him to justify his presence. I didn't care for wormy Danny either, but my opinion of him is colored by knowing the actor playing him, Danny Strong, also played the weasely Jonathan on Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

So another little piece of Don's past is filled in, and it's as nearly checkered as his assumption of the real Don Draper's identity.

30 August 2010

Expense Report #21

Did I mention that I'm not working this week? No particular reason, I just haven't had any substantial vacation time since our trip to California back in January, and this seemed like a good time, leading into Labor Day weekend, to take some time off. As such, posting may be a bit more erratic than usual, since, without the structure of getting up and going to work, my days tend to get a little amorphous.

So, I did acquire four Gap undershirts yesterday, and with my various and assorted discounts, they worked out to less than $4.50 per shirt. These are thinner than the ones I used to get at Old Navy, but for wearing under summer shirts that's not necessarily such a bad thing, and the sleeves are short enough so they won't stick out from under a polo shirt sleeve.

I also picked up a couple more of those $10 polos at JCPenney. I guess they're keeping them around for back to school shopping, or something. They didn't have the wide array of colors they had earlier in the year, but I was able to get a burgundy and a nice deep purple.

29 August 2010

This Week in Awesome (8/28/10)

All day I had this nagging feeling that I was forgetting something... yep. Apologies; it's been another fairly busy weekend. Blame it on the "double moon," or something...

I'm a week behind, but I have to give it up for Cee-Lo's "Fuck You"--it's a great song. (Hat tip to DM)

This neat clip gives visual representation to the multiple meanings of words. (Vimeo via Very Short List)

I'm not in the habit of highlighting particular stores in this feature, but Kiosk is not your typical store. If you're in New York, they're also a brick-and-mortar store. (Racked National)

I saw this clip for the Cami Secret "cleavage coverer" a while back, and didn't think it was quite TWiA material, but I guess I was wrong, because this comedian did a great voice-over parody of it using the original video footage. (The Daily What; hat tip to Dr. Hackenbush)

28 August 2010

Heather Gray Roundup

So, if you care about the whole gray undershirt thing, here's what I've found recently:

J. Crew has plain undershirts in white, gray, or black. They were originally $18.50 each, but have been in the clearance section for a while at $10 each. Periodically they offer additional discounts on sale items; last week it was 30%, which would have made the shirts $7 each, through tomorrow there's an additional 20% off. But it's getting to where sizes and colors are limited. Sizing is the same as J. Crew's other knits and tops, so if you wear a large in their button-front shirts, sweaters, or graphic T-shirts then you'd want large in the undershirts. I have this info directly from a customer-service rep; since clearance items are final sale, I wanted to know with some certainty before placing an order. Of course, in the interim the extra-large gray shirts that I wanted have sold out, so I suspect these aren't going to be around much longer.

Teen outfitter Aeropostale has very similar shirts, originally $12.50 each, currently 50% off that price. In addition to the colors mentioned above, these also come in a nice deep blue. I have no idea how their tops fit, but if I had to guess I'd say the same as J. Crew. (Size charts here.)

American Apparel offers discounted three-packs of some of its basic items. Three gray undershirts are $39, which is about a 25% savings over the single-item price of $17 each. What you get for that premium price is exceptionally soft fabric and a product that is made in the USA. As for sizing, I wear a large in most brands' undershirts, like Hanes, but in AA I need an XL. One other advantage to buying AA is that they offer their shirts in lots of different colors, and in addition to black, white, gray, and asphalt, you can get three-packs of three assorted colors, if that's your thing.

I was surprised to find that Gap offers two-packs of gray shirts, just like Old Navy used to. They are $19.50 for two, which is no bargain, but through tomorrow they are offering 30% off everything if you use this printable coupon, so that brings the cost down to a bit under $7 per shirt. I had planned on going to Gap today to buy some of these, but our plans changed and I'll have to wait until tomorrow. I also happen to have a $10 reward coupon from Gap, so my final per-shirt cost will be even less, depending on how many I decide to buy.

BTW, all of these shirts are 100% cotton (at least, according to the info on their web sites).

As a side note to this whole thing, I wrote to Hanes about my disappointment with the 75/25 shirts I bought a while back at Kmart. I was contacted by someone from the company who wanted more information about my purchase, then told a few days later that they were refunding my purchase price because they wanted me to be completely satisfied. That was not my motivation for contacting them, so I was rather surprised, in a good way. The check arrived yesterday.

26 August 2010

Phone Spam

Sometimes I get calls on my cell phone from numbers I don't recognize. Some of these are toll-free, others are not. I've looked up a couple of the numbers on Google and learned that their sources are scammish, or at least unscrupulous. I also receive text-message spam occasionally, so I went into my Verizon Wireless account to see if I could set up blocking on the sources of these calls and texts.

Guess what? Verizon thinks that I should pay for this privilege. As of now it will let me block five numbers without charge, but the blocks expire in three months, which means I'll have to go back in and set them up all over again. If I want to make them permanent, or not have a restriction on how many numbers I want to block, I would have to pay an additional $5 per month.

That's just greed, my friends. I might consider paying a one-time fee of $5, but every month? Gotta be kidding me. If you think about it, why should I even have to go into my account? The ability to block a number should be built into a phone, in its call history: mark this number as spam.

Think of email as an analogy: when you get spam email messages, your email program either diverts them to a spam folder, or you can designate them as spam and the program will treat messages from the same sender as spam in the future, or you can just delete them each time you receive them. But you don't have to pay anything extra to the maker of your email program, or your internet provider, for doing this. Shouldn't it be the same with our phones?

25 August 2010


I know people are upset about the weather this week, and I can certainly understand that--if you're on vacation this week (like my boss is), you have every right to be disappointed. But I don't mind it. I'm happy to have a reprieve from what has been a hotter and more humid summer than we usually get; the air conditioners have been off for almost a week, which saves some money, and we sure needed some rain.

Of course the T was a complete clusterfuck this morning, with all sorts of signal problems on the Green and Orange lines. Since it's been raining for a few days now, I figured it was only a matter of time until we had a horrific T morning. Somehow I managed to get to work more or less on time, and without getting soaked, plus I was able to sit down at North Station, which doesn't happen that often.

I know the temperatures have been cooler than normal for this time of year, but I've seen a couple of people who seem confused about what month it actually is. On Monday evening, heading home on the Orange Line, there was a guy wearing a lightweight black shell jacket, and one of those fur trapper hats with the long ear flaps. Great for a blizzard, not exactly effective rain gear. The next day I saw a woman wearing a wool pea coat; maybe she too was chilly. I've been wearing my lightest Gore-Tex rain jacket and it's been difficult to keep it on because I quickly overheat in it.

Well, no matter--tomorrow is supposed to be a really nice day, and by Sunday it's supposed to be 90 again, and stay that way for several days. Of course it is--I'm taking next week off...

24 August 2010

Mad Men Season 4, Episode 5: "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword"

All right, let's see if I can decipher the notes I made in the dark while watching last night...

[As usual, the standard disclaimer applies: I have avoided reading any other recaps, writeups, or other commentary on this episode before writing this, so if I express something similar to thoughts you've read elsewhere, it's entirely a coincidence. If you have not watched the episode, assume there are spoilers ahead and act accordingly.]

I liked the balance in this episode between the office stuff and the family stuff, plus that meant not a lot of room for Mopey Don. He seems a little better, but not much. He's still seeing Bethany, but just barely--three dates in five months, according to her. By my count it's been four months since the events in the season's first episode, but whatever.

It seemed like the meeting with the executives from Honda had everyone off balance, at least at first. Even putting aside Roger's feelings about doing business with the Japanese (certainly valid, but also short-sighted), it must have been strange in this era to have to navigate business dealings with foreigners.

But once things got rolling, we got some classic Don Draper gamesmanship, tricking rival agency CDC into making a spec commercial by making them think SCDP was making one. I was wondering, though: when Don returned Honda's front money, why was it from his own bank account and not the agency's?

Poor neglected, misunderstood Sally. There are so many places her story can go, but I have to admit I didn't see this one coming. Henry seems to have much more of a clue than Betty regarding parenting; I don't think we know anything about his first wife, but I'm hoping some of the details get filled in. Meanwhile, if Sally does have to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Edna seems like she's a pretty astute and kind one, so we'll see how that goes.

Speaking of Dr. Edna, the scene with her and Betty nicely dovetailed with the one just before it with Don and Dr. Faye in the SCDP kitchen. Each former spouse is speaking with a mental health professional (though in different contexts), and each reveals something fairly personal and intimate.

Don says, ”Why does everyone need to talk about everything?” but then he does just that: he talks to Dr. Faye about how difficult it's been to deal with being a father to his children in the aftermath of the divorce. Don rarely opens up to anyone the way he did in this scene. Dr. Faye tells Don that people feel better after they express their feelings, but we don't get any sense about that from Don either way, at least not yet. However, I assume that this growing intimacy between them is eventually going to lead to some sort of romantic encounter, or at least a tryst on the SCDP conference table.

Betty brushed off Dr. Edna's suggestion that Betty should come in for sessions as well, but when the doctor rephrased it as a monthly progress report on Sally, Betty seemed okay with it. Then at the end of the scene, Betty looks wistfully over at the dollhouse in Dr. Edna's office. For the childlike Betty, it represents both her memories of childhood, as well as her wishes and dreams for what she thought adulthood, marriage, and motherhood would be.

Will either Don or Betty ever come to a deeper understanding of their inner struggles? I don't know.

Apparently, Roger's reference to "Dr. Lyle Evans" was nothing more than a joke on the part of the writers--there was no such person. (I looked this up on Google last night, but didn't read anything else spoilery.) Weird.

Don's secretary was trying to place a "call to California" for him--was he trying to reach Anna?

Oh, hi there Smitty. How do you like working for that dick Ted?

23 August 2010

Expense Report #20

So yeah, I bought that red shirt. What else did I get last week? A new dog bed, but that's more "household" than "discretionary." The dog may enjoy spending all day lounging on the couch, but she doesn't like sharing it. When we're home, if the Mrs. is sitting on the couch, the dog won't get up there with her; she prefers her usual spot on the floor, between the TV and my chair, so she still needs a bed.

If you're a dog owner, you may want to check out the one we got: it's from Costco, measures 42" across, and has a bolster around half of it. Our dog weighs about 60 pounds, but when she gets on the bed she often curls herself up in a circle, so it's plenty big enough for her. It's filled with squishy polyfill and cedar shavings, so it makes the room (and the dog) smell nice, has inner liners, and you can remove the cover to wash it. It was $40 including shipping from the Costco web site (if you aren't a member there is a surcharge, not sure how much). Commenters seem satisfied; one says they've had one of these for three years.

I ordered a T-shirt from Arcade Fire's online store. The shirt design is one they were selling at their concert a couple of weeks back, but they only had it on a pale green shirt, and that's something I know I wouldn't ever wear. The online store has the same design on a white or heather gray shirt (or a darker gray, but that one ships from the UK for some reason, so shipping costs about twice as much), so I ordered a heather gray one. Shipping from Montreal is about US $6, so the total cost is basically the same as if I'd bought it at the show.

Also, I've finally found a (partial) resolution to the Great Undershirt Crisis of '09-10. Costco sells light gray undershirts, in acceptable 90% cotton//10% polyester, in packages of four for $13. (I think their white T-shirts are the same price, but I can't remember.) They're cut fairly long, so they should stay tucked in reasonably well, the fabric is neither too thin nor too heavy, and the neck is high enough and doesn't droop. The only negative thing is that the sleeves are still cut too long to wear under some of my short-sleeve shirts, but I have other shirts I can wear for that. These are much needed, and I'm sure I'll be buying more of them.

(I've been doing some research and found gray undershirts available in a few other places, so I'm planning a post to update my findings.)

22 August 2010

Customer Service Letdown

I'm sure by now many of you are weary of me talking about Lands' End and its Canvas sub-brand, but this is more of a customer service story.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered the red chambray shirt I had previously mentioned. Not being sure about the sizing, I ordered a large, since that's what I wear in the regular line. When it arrived it was just a bit too tight, threatening to button-gap if I so much as breathed in too deeply. So fine, Canvas is sized more or less like J. Crew; now I know.

If your local Sears has a LE department, you can do returns and exchanges there easily, so on Friday evening we went to the mall to do just that. On Friday I had received an email offering 25% off purchases online or in store, so I printed it and took it with me.

I returned the shirt and purchased the extra large using the discount. No one had any issue with that, but the clerks claimed that I couldn't use it on Canvas items. I pointed out that nowhere in the email did it say that Canvas was excluded. The woman who seemed to be in charge fixed me with what I'm sure she thought and hoped was a stern look and said, "We'll honor it this time, but in the future you can't do it." And they weren't even trying to be nice about it; the whole thing was handled rather rudely, in my opinion.

Now frankly, this is bullshit, but I wasn't interested in engaging her in a debate about what merchandise was subject to discount and what wasn't. For both Sears and Lands' End, listen up: you can't have it both ways. You want to make it more convenient to shop for Lands' End merchandise by putting it in the stores? That's great. You want to stimulate sales by offering coupons--also great. But you can't send me an email that says "good online or in stores" then have a clerk tell me I can't use it in the store. If you want to impose restrictions, you have to spell them out on the coupon itself.

If I really wanted to be a jerk about it, I could deliberately try to use such a coupon again for the specific purpose of being declined, and then I could contact the state's department of consumer affairs and/or the attorney general's office. But let's face it, I don't feel like investing that kind of time. So in the future I will probably just avoid going to a store where the clerks don't seem to know what they are talking about, and confine my purchases to the web site.

I'm rather disappointed by this whole incident, because normally dealing with Lands' End is nothing but pleasant. I've bought plenty from them over the past three decades, and I have rarely been less than satisfied with how I was treated as a customer, until now. I think there's a disconnect between the LE promotions department and the clerks working on the floor in the Sears stores--you are all part of the same company, after all--and until I see evidence to the contrary, I'll be avoiding making purchases in the stores.

This Week in Awesome (8/21/10)

I know the schedule's been a bit wonky lately, things have just been a little busier than usual. (See, too much blogging is a sign that I don't have enough of a regular life.) But of course, the internets keep on providing for us...

People who care about words (which includes me) will want to have a look at Save The Words, a service of the Oxford English Dictionary. (Very Short List)

The Emmy awards are next Sunday, and once again I'm conflicted about watching. Jimmy Fallon is hosting, which might make things amusing, but probably no less tedious. Still, NBC was nice enough to produce these promo spots with Jimmy sort of pretending to be Don Draper, with Mad Men's Christina Hendricks helping out. (They are all more or less the same, with slight differences; I like the bottom one best.)

If you're one of the people who still has a landline (I do, but it's VOIP) you can still buy an old-fashioned wall or desk phone with an honest-to-goodness mechanical bell, in Touch-Tone or even rotary dial (for you true steampunk luddites). And there's some logic to that, as the things are virtually unkillable. (Gizmodo)

If you happen to live in LA and get stuck in traffic, you may want to look for a white Mazda pickup truck, because if you are stuck in traffic behind it, you can at least be entertained by a puppet show. (NPR via Autoblog)

19 August 2010

American Panama?

When I talked about my new hat the other day, I neglected to mention that it was made in the USA. I thought that was a little odd for a panama hat, especially since it has a small patch sewn into the inside hat band that says "genuine panama." I think what it means is that the straw was probably woven in Ecuador, where authentic panama hats come from, and then the hats are sent to the US for blocking and finishing.

I understand this. The hat maker, Bailey, has been around since 1922 and has a long heritage of manufacturing in Los Angeles. Among the tags attached to the hat was one for the web site Save An American Job, which encourages consumers to consider buying from companies that America and provides links and information.

I have said before that I believe this is something that people should think about when they are making purchasing decisions. Not that I would presume to tell anyone what to do; I simply feel strongly about buying American-made products when it makes sense to do so. Our purchases have ramifications beyond their immediate benefits to ourselves, and the more aware of this we are, the more astute our purchasing decisions will be.

18 August 2010

Watch Wednesday (8/18/10)

Hey look, it's a watch on Wednesday! How did that happen? Earlier today I was thinking about what to post, and I remembered that I should be doing a watch post this evening, and here we are.

I picked this up on eBay a few weeks ago for $25. It's basically a copy of the modern Rolex Explorer I*, except for the fact that it says "Alpha" on the dial. This is a fuzzy but presumably legal way to avoid being accused of selling knockoffs, sued for copyright infringement, or other such unpleasantness. (Yet somehow they are still allowed to call it an Explorer--go figure.)

Alpha is based in Hong Kong (I think) and they make lots of other versions of more famous watches, especially Rolex models. If you wanted to get one of these new, it would cost about $56 (shipping is included), which is cheaper than a fake Explorer online. If you just like how the watch looks and don't care what it says on the dial, then that's probably the way to go.

For an inexpensive, um, homage, it's not a bad watch at all. It has an automatic movement with a screw-down crown, though I would not assume that means this watch is water-resistant. All the markers and numerals and hands glow in the dark, which is always handy. The dial is a very nice shade of blue, and it's sort of metallic and light-reflective, as you can see. I understand that Alpha doesn't make this color dial anymore. When I saw it on eBay I thought it was black, but it was just a poorly lit photo and the listing didn't specify, so I got a bit of a pleasant surprise when it arrived.

You may notice that this watch has a metal bracelet, which is very unusual for me. I was going to just buy the watch from the Alpha site and get a leather strap for it, but I saw this one and I decided to wait until the end of the auction and see if I could win it. I had to remove a couple of links from the bracelet, but it was super easy because the links have little screws holding them in place, about the size of eyeglass screws. Then it was just a little too tight, so I put one link back in, but then I moved the position of where the end of the bracelet connects to the clasp, and... now it's a little on the loose side. See, this is why I don't like metal bracelets. I think I'll just get a strap for it like I always do.

*Update: I got the new issue of GQ the other day, and on page 261 there are three watches. One of them is a Rolex, and it looks very much like this watch, with what appears to be the same color dial, except it's not an Explorer but an Air-King. I wasn't aware that the Air-King was available with an Arabic numeral dial (I've only ever seen them with rectangular markers), but I'm pretty certain that the Explorer had this style of dial first.

17 August 2010

Mad Men Season 4, Episode 4: "The Rejected"

I'm trying something different here: normally I watch the episodes twice, on Sunday nights when they are broadcast, and again on Monday evenings with the Mrs., because she goes to sleep too early to watch the Sunday broadcasts. I usually do the writeups on Monday mornings, but it seems like after watching the episodes a second time, I often find that I feel differently about something and want to go back and revise what I've written, so I thought I would try watching twice before doing the writeup. Of course, this means it doesn't get posted until Tuesday (or, theoretically, late Monday night), but I just thought I'd experiment with it...

[As usual, the standard disclaimer applies: I have avoided reading any other recaps, writeups, or other commentary on this episode before writing this, so if I express something similar to thoughts you've read elsewhere, it's entirely a coincidence. If you have not watched the episode, assume there are spoilers ahead and act accordingly.]

This week's episode was titled "The Rejected," and there was plenty of rejection going on. It was also decidedly less Don-centric than this season's episodes so far, and that's a good thing, because we needed a bit of a break from his moping and drinking and leching. Instead we got Pete, Peggy, a touch of Pete and Peggy together, and a return appearance by Ken Cosgrove.

We've all had to deal with rejection, and it comes in many forms. Pete is told he has to reject his father-in-law's business due to a (questionable) conflict, and that he has to do this for the good of the agency. He in turn feels like his work is being rejected by Roger and Lane. Peggy rejects the advances of a lesbian, whose friend's photography has been rejected by Life magazine. The ladies in the focus group end up talking about the things they do for the men in their lives, men who end up rejecting them. Allison rejects Don's rejection of her by quitting, with a flung paperweight for emphasis. Don rejects Dr. Miller's analysis of the focus group, after they rejected the concept of beauty products and rituals as an indulgence. Did I miss any? (Probably.)

Here's a question: if Joyce's friend the photographer wouldn't want to have anything to do with working for an ad agency, why would he want his photos to appear in Life? It seems like a countercultural rebel would consider a glossy, mainstream weekly magazine (one full of advertising) to be just as much a part of the establishment as an ad agency. Perhaps because, had they been published (which they never would have been, at the time) they would have been considered transgressive and boundary-breaking?

Unfortunately Peggy didn't get to probe that far, because her conversation with him at the party was interrupted by the police raid, but lucky for her she was swept off her feet and into a hiding place by Abe, the crusading journalist. Could Peggy become a Factory girl? Probably not, but she's getting exposed to new ideas and subcultures that are bound to affect her own thinking, and ultimately her work. And I do wonder if she has ever thought about writing anything else besides ad copy.

Pete's finally going to be a dad (for real this time). It's still difficult for me to think of Pete as anything other than a petulant, spoiled little boy, but he takes the news in a pretty grown-up way. Pete also showed his business acumen (with a little nudge from his conversation with Ken) by turning the rejection of the Clearasil account into an opportunity to capture the business of his father-in-law's entire company. Does this mean the agency will then have to reject the Pond's account?

Since Peggy rejected both Pete and his baby, I also tend to see her as no longer having any feelings for him, but the news of Trudy's pregnancy obviously affected her. Perhaps her status as a single career woman (which she gave up Pete's baby to preserve) isn't quite everything she hoped it would be, or maybe she's just at a point where she's feeling a desire for motherhood, but I don't really think she's ready. I think her path is going away from normalcy, from the accepted and expected roles for women of this time, and away from Pete; the symbolism of the two groups of people on opposite sides of the glass doors at the end of the episode reinforced this.

When Joyce came to invite Peggy to the party, did you notice that she called Megan, the receptionist, "sweetheart"? Just like a man (or a mannish woman who likes other women). By the way, the actress who played Joyce is the daughter of David Mamet and Lindsay Crouse. Trivia: Back around 1990, I was working at a local cultural institution, and I can remember seeing Mr. Mamet on a couple of occasions with his children (I believe he was living in Boston at the time, but that may not be correct), so it's entirely possible this young lady was one of them.

I loved seeing Peggy's head pop up in the transom window after Allison and Don's dustup.

Nice job by John Slattery (Roger) in what I believe was his directing debut.

16 August 2010

Expense Report #19

This week was a bit different. A few years back, I expressed my indifference about shopping on tax-free weekends, but if you need to buy something big-ticketish, or you've been contemplating it, then you might as well take advantage of the savings.

Such was the case for us this time around. The Mrs. and I have been talking about replacing our mattress and foundation for some time. We bought it a few months after we got married, so it's closing in on 12 years old, and its support isn't what it used to be. This is normal, and you can flip the thing as much as you want, but eventually you just have to deal with it.

For almost as long as we've been having the replacement discussion, we have known that we wanted a foam mattress. We tried them out at Jordan's on one of our ice cream visits, and found one we really liked. It happens to be the store's brand, so it's an excellent value, and the store-brand mattresses are made in New England, so we'd sort of be helping to support a local factory too.

A while back, we also saw a rug at Jordan's that we liked for our living room. 100% wool, made in India, and again a very reasonable price. We wrote down the information and held onto it. We even got an American Express gift card from my siblings last Christmas that we've been saving to put toward it.

I recently received a bit of a windfall, and while it's not large enough to eradicate my credit card balance, it's more than enough to buy the mattress and the rug, with some left over. So when the tax-free weekend was announced, I figured we should act. Plus we'd recently received a flyer from Jordan's offering a $100 discount off a $1000 purchase. Combined with the gift card and the sales tax savings, the decision was pretty much made for us.

It took a bit of convincing for the Mrs. to see it this way, but we made our way to Jordan's yesterday. It wasn't quite as busy as I thought it would be; some of the staff we talked with said it had been busier on Saturday. But I think it took only about 45 minutes to accomplish everything, given that we had to go to two different departments. For whatever computer-system reason, the purchases could not be rung up as one transaction, but the clerks knew how to process it so that the correct discount was applied.

Bonus: mattresses include free delivery, setup, and removal of your old bedding. It'll be almost a month before the new mattress and foundation get delivered, which is to be expected when so many people are buying around the same time. (Had we gone on Saturday, we might have been able to arrange an earlier delivery.) The rug is not stocked regularly, so it will take 7 to 10 weeks to arrive (we already knew this), at which time we will go pick it up at the store. It isn't that large, so it will fit in the car easily enough.

15 August 2010

This Week in Awesome (8/14/10)

What's that? I didn't post TWiA yesterday like I was supposed to? Um, things got busy--what can I say? I hope you don't sit around waiting for these; that would be disturbing...

I am a total sucker for stop-motion videos of toy die-cast cars. There's a second clip at the link, too. (Vimeo via Jalopnik)

Also from Jalopnik, this little road-painting oopsie.

Vintage Japanese posters meant to encourage good behavior and good manners while riding the subway: not as weird as it sounds, and in fact some are quite charming. Maybe we should consider something similar here? (Pink Tentacle via Kempt)

This week's über-web video was the security footage of the drive-thru incident at the McDonald's in Ohio. (The Daily What via more or less everywhere) The incident itself dates back to New Year's Day, but the video just showed up now, and it's hilarious in its own small way, and if you haven't yet seen it, you really should (you can skip ahead to about 1:10, nothing really happens before that).

Now, wouldn't it be great if there was audio to go along with that? The good folks at InfoMania thought the same thing, and generously obliged with Security Cam Theater.

14 August 2010

Under the Brim

I've always liked wearing hats--well, except for a period in my early 20s, but I quickly realized that looking cool was less important than warding off the cold--but I haven't always been able to find hats that I like. I usually don't care for what's trendy at a given moment.

For ball caps, I prefer them fitted, and if not sporting a logo of a local team, I want it to be blank. Do you know how difficult it is to find a fitted, low-profile wool cap without a logo? I had one, a long while back, that I'd bought from one of those cart vendors in Downtown Crossing. It was dark gray, and even had kind of a short brim. It was a great cap.

I lost it in 1998, somewhere in downtown Palo Alto, on a trip visiting the Mrs.' family, because I had carelessly put it in my jacket pocket and it fell out. I made do with an adjustable version, but it wasn't the same. I switched to a flat cap, sometimes called a newsboy, in a Donegal tweed that I got at the Irish imports store when it used to be in Quincy Market. That has worked out well.

In summer I can't wear a ball cap--just too warm. But I do need sun protection if I'm going to be outside for a while (which, if you know me, you know I try to avoid as much as possible). I like fedoras and other hats with brims, and they look good on me (not the case with everyone). What I don't like is the skinny-brim look that's currently in vogue (like I said, I usually don't care for what's popular or trendy), plus it has the opposite effect on me: because I have a fairly large head, a hat with a narrow brim looks too small on me, even if it's the correct size.

About eight years ago I discovered the panama as a summer hat, and it made complete sense for me. I've had a few of them since, some of which fit better than others. A couple of years ago I bought one on eBay from someone who imports them directly from Ecuador, where they are made to his specifications. This one was made to an exact hat size of 7-3/8, as opposed to just "large," and as a result fits much better.

But one thing about a panama is, it's sort of dressy, or it at least makes you feel like you should be dressed up when wearing it, ideally in an off-white linen suit or something similar. I wear mine much more casually, of course, but I kept feeling like the hat's natural straw color and dressy black band were working against me.

Several months ago I saw a panama in Nordstrom that solved this problem. The straw was a nice, rich tan color, and the band was olive:
The straw is actually a bit darker than it appears in this picture, but you get the idea. This hat is made by a company called Bailey, and was selling for $83, which was a bit steep, especially since I saw it just as I was starting my spending crackdown.

A few weeks later I saw the same hat in Lord & Taylor. I thought, great, once we get past 4th of July they'll put it on sale, and they always have coupons for additional discounts (you have to sign up for emails on their web site to get them) so I'll be able to scoop it up cheap.

So I waited. And waited. Every couple of weeks, or whenever the emails said "new markdowns taken," I stopped at L&T on my way home from work, and each time the hats were still $83. I waited some more. The email said "final reductions" so I went and looked, and still full price. I complained about it to the Proper Bostonian.

So now it's August, and I'd given up on getting the hat. No luck finding one on eBay either. The other night the Mrs. said she needed to go to the mall to pay her Macy's bill, like she does each month. We usually split up and I wander around for a while.

I went into Nordstrom to see what new fall stuff they had, and along the back wall in the men's department I saw the hats on a shelf (they had previously been displayed on a proper hat rack near men's dress shirts and ties). I checked the hat and it was marked down to 50% off (give or take a few cents), and they still had large, which I had previously tried on and knew it fit well enough.

Sometimes, patience is rewarded (although I admit I wasn't very patient in this instance). And there are still a few weeks of summer that I can get some use out of this, though I think I'm going to have to remove that little black plastic shield thing from the band.

12 August 2010

It's Still August, Right?

The Mrs. and I went to Anna's in Davis Square tonight to get burritos. As we were leaving a couple came in. The woman was dressed in a black fleece jacket (zipped up), a gray skirt, and black tights. The guy with her was wearing a '70s-pimpish leather jacket with big lapels in a sort of burnt orange color. Now I know today was a bit cooler than it's been in a while, but really?

Footwear Daydreams

So, I was never able to get the sneakers that I was wishing for back in the spring because they never showed up for sale anywhere (believe me, I checked). It's possible that the white/red colorway was never intended for the US market and just ended up in the promo picture with the other versions, and no one did anything about it, or maybe it was supposed to be produced but was canceled at the last minute; things like that happen a lot in the apparel and shoe industries. Maybe they'll still appear, though summer is almost over and they aren't really a fall item.

Converse has been plastering the web with advertising lately, for things like a line of Dr. Seuss-themed All-Stars, versions with nylon uppers, and still more variations. This gray leather version caught my eye when I first saw it (I tried to copy the picture to paste in here, but the Converse site wouldn't let me), but after going back and giving it a closer look, it's totally wrong for me. I was sucked in by the gray leather, but I don't like the detailing around the front of the sole, I don't like the perforations above the toe, and I don't like the raised signature on the side.

Plus, when's the last time anything that said "Chuck Taylor" on it was actually comfortable? That's the dark secret of Chucks, something almost no one talks about: the things weigh a ton, and they're not exactly famous for being supportive. I had one pair in the mid-'80s, and I had to give up on them after a while. If I was going to get anything from Converse, I think it would be these charcoal canvas CVOs--look at that, actual collar and tongue padding!

But in general, I haven't been as interested in sneakers as I used to be. The venerable adidas Stan Smith (reasonably comfortable, though not exceptionally so) has recently been released with some nice new trim colors beyond the boring old green and navy, like these white and red ones (again, can't copy the images), or white and royal, or white and silver. (They did some similar shoes a couple of years ago, but the colored leather trim pieces were metallic, which was just tragic.) But it's kind of hard for me to get excited about them. I guess I don't wear sneakers as much as I used to.

What I really want for fall is a pair of made-in-USA Red Wing boots. I mentioned the J. Crew collaboration last week, and those were the first Red Wings that I noticed, but after I looked at their product lineup I found other boots that I like better, like this one called the Iron Ranger, which has a somewhat more sophisticated air about it, while still being plenty rugged.
The color is called "amber," and while it doesn't particularly evoke amber to me, I think it's quite beautiful--the leather has a subtle natural luster to it. Other things I like about this style are the speed-lacing pegs for easier lacing and removal, and the fact that it's available in wide widths. What I don't like so much is the sole, which is completely flat--I worry about traction, especially on wet days.

Another option is this one, the Gentleman Traveler in "black cherry":
Similar style, different details. It doesn't have the speed pegs and isn't available in wide (though I think these tend to be built a little on the wider side in general), but it does have a lugged sole, and it's another quite beautiful color. The GT is also available in black or a wonderful medium brown called "chestnut":
The amber color of the Iron Ranger kind of splits the difference between these two shades, and it's probably the most versatile. Decisions, decisions...

Naturally, this kind of quality and made-in-USA craftsmanship doesn't come cheap: these styles typically sell for around $270 to $300 a pair, though they can occasionally be found for less through Amazon, and there's also a decent secondary market on Style Forum, where you can grab gently used examples for about $100 off list price. It's not like they're going to wear out, and someone else will have done the breaking in for you.

Also complicating any decision is the sizing: everyone says these run large, and you need to get them at least one size smaller than your normal shoe size. Fine, except there's really no such thing as a "normal" shoe size anymore (not for me, at least). I need to find a store that carries at least some of the Red Wing styles and try them on before I can even think about buying a pair, from Style Forum or anywhere else. And then there's the 1,000 Mile Boot from Wolverine...

10 August 2010

Expense Report #18

Last week I bought a few CDs, and that was it. Of course I had to get the new Arcade Fire disc, which was only $8 at Newbury Comics. When I go there to buy something specific, I usually take a quick look around and try to jog my memory about other albums I'm interested in getting, though it usually doesn't work and I can't remember until after I've left the store (otherwise known as "being middle-aged").

This time I managed to remember that I'd heard good things about LCD Soundsystem, who released a new album a couple of months ago, so I grabbed that disc also. I liked it immediately, enough to go to Half.com and buy their previous two albums, which came out in 2005 and 2007, so I don't know how I'd managed to remain ignorant of them this long.

And here's a question: why can't you use PayPal on Half.com? It only occurred to me because I have a small PayPal balance that would have been enough to cover the cost of the CDs, but since eBay owns both Half and PayPal, it seems like an obvious and easy step.

09 August 2010

Mad Men Season 4, Episode 3: "The Good News"

[Disclaimer: I have avoided reading any other recaps, writeups, or other commentary on this episode before writing this, so if I express something similar to thoughts you've read elsewhere, it's entirely a coincidence. And as always, if you have not watched the episode, assume there are spoilers ahead and act accordingly.]

I guess I should have known better than to expect this episode to deliver some actual good news. Instead, we were dealt large helpings of irony, as there was plenty of bad news being learned.

We learned last week that Don is planning to spend the Christmas-New Year's break in Acapulco. He has arranged his trip with a stopover in Los Angeles, so he can swing down to Long Beach and visit Anna, the widow of the real Don Draper, that Don was last seen visiting during his attempt to escape from reality at the end of season 2. Don has taken care of Anna financially since she learned his true identity, in effect buying her silence, but he truly cares about her and has always felt very protective toward her.

When Don arrives he finds Anna in a cast from a broken leg. Her sister Patty and niece Stephanie soon come by; they have been helping Anna with her household needs while her leg heals. Stephanie is home from Berkeley for winter break; she's another fetching, nubile creature tossed in front of Don for him to make a pass at. He does, but his ardor is quickly doused when Stephanie tells him that Anna has cancer and has only a short time to live.

Anna is the only person who knew everything about Don's past as Dick Whitman, and how he switched identities with her dead husband in Korea (until Don confessed to Betty last season). She and her family call him Dick (I wonder if the sister and niece know the whole story? probably not), and he behaves differently around her. Anna is the only person who truly knows him, and learning that he will soon lose that connection weighs heavily on him.

Unable to be around Anna without telling her the truth about her condition (which has inexplicably been kept from her by her family), Don has lost his desire to go to Mexico and returns to New York and the office, to find Lane there, alone, working. Don introduces Lane to his classic shirk-work move of going to the movies, which leads to an evening of drink and debauchery, Don Draper style.

Along the way we learn the reason that Lane isn't back in London with his family: his wife has left him. He looks to Don for advice, which Don sidesteps, then distracts Lane with an offer of female companionship, which Lane accepts without much hesitation. It appears that Don is out to corrupt everyone around him in some way; maybe he thinks he will feel better by making sure other people are just as miserable as he is.

Elsewhere, Joan and Greg are trying to conceive a child (perhaps a hedge against the possibility that Greg won't come back from wherever the Army sends him). But we also learn that Joan has had two previous abortions (presumably in the days before birth control). I was a little puzzled as to why Joan wouldn't explain to Lane her reason for wanting time off--she did have a good reason. Maybe she just wanted to keep her personal life to herself.

07 August 2010

This Week in Awesome (8/7/10)

Well, we finally got some decent, comfortable weather around here, although to be fair, last weekend was also pretty nice. Meanwhile, back on the interwebs...

Can you stand one more Mad Men-related thing? NYC food blog Eater (part of the bloglomerate that also does the sites Racked and Curbed) worked up a nice list of bars and restaurants that have been featured on the show, complete with maps. (via Basket of Kisses)

A Seattle parking enforcement officer ticketed a guy who was sleeping in his car, only he wasn't sleeping... (Seattle Post-Intelligencer via Consumerist)

I've never heard of the band Dancing Pigeons, but they've made a cool video for their song "Ritalin." (Vimeo via Jalopnik)

Last year I posted about some folks who shot a comedic soap opera short film inside an IKEA. Now another group has produced something similar, but perhaps a bit more ambitious. Watch the trailer for Stealing Beauty here (YouTube), and read more about it here (Very Short List).

I know it's been a week since Lindsay Lohan was released from jail, and normally I would be disinclined to glorify her bad behavior and poor judgment by posting anything to do with her, but over in South Korea (Taiwan?) they take a slightly different approach to reporting celebrity gossip: computer animation. Somehow it adds a fascinating new dimension to these banal, tawdry stories while (I suspect) simultaneously mocking them. (The Awl via ?)

06 August 2010

Chilled (Well and Not So Much)

I don't know if it's just my imagination, but it seems like more often than not, the air conditioning on the Orange Line trains has been barely adequate this summer. I've been riding plenty of Green Line trains too, and the AC on those seems much stronger, especially on the newer low-floor cars.

I remember when that wasn't always the case. Back in the '80s when I was in college, it was much more common to board a Green Line train and find that the AC was working only in the front half of the car. You'd look at the train coming into a station and wonder why the back half was so empty, then get on and go "oh, yeah..."

Boarding the bus in the morning is like stepping into a walk-in fridge. Yesterday when I got off the bus at Wellington, my glasses fogged up from the abrupt change in temperature.

Mind you, I don't like that climate change has made us so dependent on air conditioning for comfort. But if you have to have it, it should at least work.

05 August 2010

Watch Wednesday Thursday (8/5/10)

I almost had to call this Watch Wednesday Friday, which would really be lame. I should try to take some of these pictures ahead of time, instead of rushing around every other week, looking for the camera and the USB cable to connect it to the computer, etc.

This is the watch that was at the repair shop for a very long time. It's a Tudor like the one I featured a couple of weeks ago. Tudor used to be more like a little brother to Rolex. Tudor watches used Rolex cases and some other parts like dials and hands, and often looked a lot like corresponding Rolex models, but had different movements that were made elsewhere so they cost significantly less. This is a Ranger, which was the Tudor counterpart to the Rolex Explorer (the first watch worn to the top of Mount Everest). I don't know what kind of movement this watch has.

I bought it six or seven years ago from an online watch seller in Michigan. One day while I was wearing it, I got frustrated with a misbehaving paper towel dispenser in a rest room where I worked, and I banged on the dispenser really hard with my left hand, which caused something inside the watch case to come loose. That's why I had to have it repaired in the first place.

Tudor used the rose logo until some point in the late 1960s, when they switched to the shield we saw on the watch I featured two weeks ago, so that gives a rough idea of this watch's age. The dial has faded a little from black to a very nice sort of slate color, almost like a chalkboard. I like the large numerals and the chunky hour hand. I'm not so crazy about the square stuck on the end of the second hand, but it's how they made them at the time. I've seen later Rangers with different hands, and some with date windows, but I believe this is the original design.

A lot of Rolex and Tudor models take a 19 millimeter wide strap, and this one does too. The strap that is on here is kind of cheap, but at the time it was the only one I could find in that size. They're still not so easy to find, but at least now I know more places to get them, so I'll probably change it now that I have the watch back.

04 August 2010

Early Fall?

If only... but fall clothing is starting to show up online, which is the next best thing.

There's been a lot of anticipation in blogland for the fall collection from L.L. Bean Signature. The new items went live online on Monday, and I really wanted to be more excited about it than I was about the initial spring collection, but again it just isn't doing it for me. I like that some of the pieces are inspired by items in Bean's archives, but I don't see anything that I feel like I need to have. Maybe there's more to come later in the season, and maybe I'll find it more interesting.

Part of the problem, I think, is that I can't go to any of the nearby Bean stores to see and touch the pieces. I was in the Burlington store a couple of months after the line launched, but they weren't carrying any of it, and the staff person I talked to didn't know if or when they would be. I don't think I'll be up in Freeport any time soon, so I doubt I'll be getting any hands-on time with these clothes.

Lands' End has been dropping new stuff onto their site for a couple of weeks now, in both the regular and Canvas lines. I noticed some rather blatant copying on both sides. Canvas has a pair of boots that looks very much like the Red Wing boots you can get at J. Crew: the moc toe, the lug sole, the laces, and even the color of the leather are virtually identical. I like the look of these a lot, and I've been thinking about getting a pair.

The Canvas boots are $150, which is $75 less than the J. Crew version, but those are made in the USA, and if I were to buy them, I would honestly rather spend more for the US-made product. Another pair of Canvas boots at the same price looks a lot like some of the dressier Alden "Indy" boots, again not a bad starting point for a knockoff, though in this case the price difference is much larger (probably about 1/3 what the Aldens cost).

Canvas is a bit late to the party with its version of a red chambray workshirt, but at $40 it's an excellent value, and this one is refreshingly devoid of the fussier details found on some others. I quickly grew annoyed with the extended throat tab on the one I bought from Gap, but the placement of the buttonholes makes it almost impossible to lop it off and resew the edge without it looking horrible, so I am seriously considering replacing mine with this one. (I also don't care for the fabric of the Gap shirt, which is too thick and too stiff; I probably shouldn't have bought it.) This shirt is also available in the more common blue and gray, as well as a darker blue with white stripes and a darker gray they call black with black buttons instead of white, both nice variations on the look.

In the regular LE line, there is a new waxed cotton coat that is a shameless copy of a Barbour coat. It is most certainly not made in England, and the plaid lining is kind of ugly, but for $160 it would be a decent alternative to the $400 Babrour for some people, and with LE's near-constant coupon offerings, it should be easy to score this for at least 20% off the regular price. I'd like to get a look at this in person, to see how well it's made and how it otherwise compares to the original.

One other nice piece that isn't necessarily a direct copy of any particular item, this heavy twill plaid workshirt ($60) fits in nicely with the overall aesthetic of work boots and a waxed cotton coat, and it would also work well as a shirt-jacket when the weather turns cool but not quite cold.

Even Brooks Brothers is getting into the heritage/Americana movement (which, if you think about it, might suggest it's peaking, or has already done so) via a collaboration with Levi's. Yep, BB is now selling co-branded Levi's in the 501, 505, and 514 styles. J. Crew has been selling 501s for a few months now alongside its own jeans, but the BB Levi's are manufactured in the US (specifically Los Angeles, according to the LA Times fashion blog All The Rage). They're certainly not worth $150 to me, but if you're into this kind of thing, you might want to visit your local Brooks Brothers.

BB also has a new group of nice-looking casual shirts, with details like a back collar button, that they are offering in both their regular fit and their newer extra-slim fit. Several of these appeal to me, but I'm going to have to see them in person and try them on in order to figure out which size in which fit looks and fits best on me.

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I've noticed that my mailbox doesn't brim with quite as many catalogs as in years past; between the ubiquity of the internet and the cost of printing and mailing, companies are cutting back on their catalog mailings. It's unfortunate, because I like being able to sit down with a catalog and take a good, close look at the garments in the photos. Often they are larger than the online versions, and colors tend to be more accurate.

03 August 2010

Mad Men Season 4, Episode 2: "Christmas Comes But Once a Year"

[Disclaimer: I have avoided reading any other recaps, writeups, or other commentary on this episode before writing this, so if I express something similar to thoughts you've read elsewhere, it's entirely a coincidence. And as always, assume there are spoilers ahead and act accordingly.]

It's Christmas 1964, and a few old friends stopped by this week, some more welcome than others. When we last saw Freddy Rumsen, it was two years (and two seasons) ago (in episode 209, "Six Month Leave"), and he was being let go due to his drinking problem. Now he's resurfaced, and we learn that he's been sober for 14 16 months, which means he didn't clean up his act immediately, but it's still good to see him in a better place.

Not only does Freddy bring SCDP an account, but we also learn that he's acting as a sponsor for another alcoholic. Good for you, Freddy. I don't know if his character is going to stick around; I think someone mentioned that he was working as a freelancer, so hopefully we'll see him again at some point this season. I always liked his interactions with Peggy, and despite their somewhat awkward reacquaintance, each respects the other's talent, and they are both smart enough to know they can learn from each other.

Slightly less agreeable was the appearance of Glen Bishop, looking well-fed but as creepy as ever, or rather even more so now that he's doing neighborhood B&E's and petty vandalism. Next stop is peeping in windows, then torturing and killing small animals, and in another few years he'll be out in San Francisco committing the Zodiac murders, or something similar.

Of course, his behavior makes troubled Sally swoon--someone cares enough to pay attention to her! And he's a misfit bad boy whose parents are also divorced. (Was that a lanyard key fob thing he left on her bed? I never went to camp, so I never had any up-close experience with lanyard.) Loved Glen's line to Sally: "My mom said that would happen" (referring to the Drapers getting divorced Betty remarrying). Right on, Helen, stay classy--and look what a good job you're doing as a parent.

At the bottom of the holiday gift pile, but the top of Santa's naughty list, is Lee Garner Jr. from American Tobacco. Lee is both a jerk and a bully, which we already knew from what happened with Sal last year (in episode 309, "Wee Small Hours"). But now you could see a deeper awareness on Don's face as he watched Lee order Roger to put on the Santa suit; it's one thing to treat a midlevel employee badly, and even to ask for him to be fired, but to turn that same behavior on one of the agency's top executives is another story. I hope SCDP finds a way out from under Garner's thumb.

As for Don, he continued to wallow in his loneliness and self-loathing, but now he's inflicting himself on others too, making him no better than Lee Garner. He didn't explicitly hire any prostitutes this week, but he effectively made his secretary into one by drunkenly pouncing on her, then giving her her Christmas bonus the next day. At first I thought he'd left his keys in the office on purpose, as a ploy to get her (I'm sorry, I didn't catch her name) Allison to come to his apartment, then I thought he was too drunk to be so calculating, then I changed my mind back after he so emphatically said (twice), "Thank you for bringing me my keys." The worst part of it is that his secretary thought it was more than just a drunken screw, that he was really interested in her. How much longer do you think she'll be around?

Don called Peggy "sweetheart" at the Christmas party. Again, kinda creepy. How long until he tries to have his way with her? The show is skirting the edge here with Don, in terms of his bad behavior. Viewers have had glimpses of Don's dark side before, but they can only take this so far before reaching the point where people will start to lose their feelings of empathy or good will toward him.

Hardly a word from Betty this week.

Peggy's dorky boyfriend Mark, trying to act worldly and sensitive at the same time: "I want to be your first." Oops, too late. Peggy, do you have anything you'd like to say?

02 August 2010

Random T Stuff

Yesterday on the bus, I got to watch a woman put moisturizer on her feet and ankles. Lucky me.

And then this morning, I got to overhear this conversation:

Woman 1: "Hey, how are you? Are you going to work?"
Woman 2: "Oh hi, yeah, I got this job over near Porter Square doing telemarketing. Are you looking for work? Because they always need people."
Woman 1: "I dunno...what's telemarketing?"
Woman 2: "I'm not sure...you call people and try to get 'em to buy stuff."

Expense Report #17

I mostly stayed away from eBay last week, but more importantly, I didn't bid on anything. Looking but not clicking is definitely the safer approach.

Otherwise, I bought the concert ticket, which was $42. Interestingly, there didn't seem to be any exorbitant fees tacked on. Either that, or they were included in the ticket price.

I enjoyed the show, and it was a perfect night down at the waterfront. I thought they would play a little longer, but maybe it wasn't such a bad thing they didn't--my legs were starting to ache a little, and since I was in the back row, I was able to make a quick exit and grab a cab on Northern Avenue before the crush. The cabbie knew that 93 was backed up in the tunnel due to a lane closure, so he rerouted via surface streets, and I still made it home by 11.

01 August 2010

We Will Be Experiencing Delays...

It's only the second week of the Mad Men season, and I won't be able to post a writeup tomorrow, because I won't be home to watch the show tonight when it airs (pretty unusual on a school night).

At the last minute (like, yesterday) I was able to get a ticket to tonight's Arcade Fire show at the waterfront concert pavilion formerly known as Harborlights (it has had so many different banks' names attached to it, I've lost track of what it's officially called now).

I really wanted to see this show, and I was really disappointed when I found out that I'd missed the on-sale date; the tickets had been on sale for a couple of weeks and were sold out. On the Live Nation site they suggest checking back for tickets as the show nears, because sometimes seats become available at the last minute. So that's what I did, and a single seat was available. I think I'm in the last row of the covered seating, but I wouldn't be able to see that well anyway, unless I was near the front, so it's more about the music than anything else.

So the writeup will have to hold until Tuesday. Meanwhile, there's a nice article about the band on the New York Times site, and if you're interested, their Thursday night show at Madison Square Garden is being streamed live on YouTube (there's a link to that page on the band's site).