31 March 2012

This Week in Awesome (3/31/12)

The bucket of awesome is slightly less full this week. Quality, not quantity...

Are you old enough to remember The Gong Show? My father and I thought it was hilarious, and we used to watch it every afternoon for the couple of years it was on. Here's a short history of it. (Splitsider)

San Diego anchorman Ron Burgundy stopped by Conan the other night to jam with the band (on flute, of course) and make an important announcement.

The opening credits for Breaking Bad reimagined in the style of Mad Men. (Blame It On The Voices via Videogum)

And finally this week, did you like that song that Megan performed at Don's birthday party? Are you not yet tired of having it stuck in your head? Then you can get the mp3 on iTunes, but if you really want to be cool you should buy it on a 45 rpm record. It's a limited edition, available on either black or red vinyl.

30 March 2012

End of an Era

Today is my last day at my job. A combination of circumstances made necessary some changes to the organizational structure that resulted in 14 of us, about 60% of the staff, having our positions eliminated. We found out more than two months ago, but publishing monthly products means you can't just announce cuts and send people home at the end of that day or week; due to advance production schedules, a handoff date has to be planned, and today is it.

(I apologize if I'm being somewhat vague about things, but I think it's safer not to discuss too much of the situation publicly.)

I've been here six years, and some of my coworkers who are leaving have been here for as long as 15 years. A couple are within sight of retirement, while others are under 30. People have kids, one is pregnant, one is getting married in a couple of weeks, and several have spouses that also are out of work. Some of us belong to a union, which means we have a sort of safety net for a couple of months while human resources helps us look for other job possibilities within the organization.

I have really enjoyed working here, and that's because of my coworkers. I've been very fortunate, and this is the most harmonious workplace I've ever been a part of. When you spend every day with a group of people, that makes a huge difference.

I hate looking for jobs, but it's just how things are these days. What's next for me? I don't know, but I guess I'll find out. In the meantime, I am looking forward to at least a few days of doing very little.

29 March 2012

Jury Dummy

Sometimes the brain really doesn't want to cooperate... back in December I received a summons for jury duty in March. I was originally supposed to go to Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn (the one that used to be in the tall, ugly building near Lechmere). It is possible to get there by bus, but I was afraid that I would not be able to make it by the 8 am start time.

I went online and petitioned for reassignment to Malden District Court, which is a mile or so from our house. I figured if it was nice enough I could walk, or at worst catch a bus over to Malden Center. My request was granted within 24 hours, but it caused the date to move up a few weeks, into late March. I made a note in my calendar that my jury duty date was March 29th.

Except it wasn't. Yesterday I was filling out my juror questionnaire, and noticed that it said I was supposed to go on March 22nd. I looked at the email I had received last week, and it said the same thing. Somehow my brain changed the 22nd to the 29th back in December, and since that's what I had put into my calendar it kept getting reinforced each time I looked at it.

A call this morning to the office of the jury commissioner quickly rectified the situation; I have a new date to appear, at the end of April. The clerk's general tone implied that others have made this sort of blunder before me.

28 March 2012

This Is Exciting

Several months ago, my friend A Proper Bostonian was contacted by a theater group about using some of the posts she had written in a production, along with those of other local bloggers. The director/writer asked her about other possible sources, and she suggested me.

At the time I didn't think anything of it, since I don't tend to focus on life in the city in quite the way PB does, and I never heard anything from the person who had contacted her. Some time later, I got an email from him saying he'd seen some posts he was interested in incorporating into the production.

The resulting production, called Blogoliloquy: Boston, is being presented next week, April 4-7, by Turnstyle Theatre Company at the Plaza Black Box Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts on Tremont Street in the South End. Six bloggers are represented, including PB and myself.

I've never met any of the other bloggers (as far as I know), but it's a thrill to be included and I'm looking forward to seeing the show. Tickets are available through BostonTheatreScene.com.

27 March 2012

Mad Men Season 5, Episode 1: "A Little Kiss" (Parts 1 & 2)

So Mad Men finally returned Sunday night, after an excruciating wait of nearly a year and a half. The first episode was supersized to just over two hours, but it still counts as two hours of season five, meaning there only eleven more episodes that will air this season.

I would have preferred a single hour for that reason, plus I didn't feel like sitting on the floor for two hours in front of the second TV to watch it live, so I didn't see it at all until last night and I've only watched it once. In the coming weeks my plan is to post my thoughts as soon as possible after the episodes air, hopefully on Mondays, so you won't have to wait too long.

[Let's remember my standard 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. If you have not watched the episode, assume there are spoilers ahead and act accordingly.]

We've jumped forward in time approximately six or seven months since the events at the end of season four, to the beginning of the summer of 1966. (I didn't have an exact read on when S4 ended, other than it was the fall of '65.) Don and Megan are married and have a swank new apartment, and as I expected we don't get to see the wedding. Fans may be disappointed by this, but from the production's point of view, it's much easier and less costly not to have to depict a wedding ceremony. Who knows? Maybe we'll get a snippet of it as a flashback.

Elsewhere, Joan has had her baby (I expect Christina Hendricks was grateful not to have to don prosthetic pregnancy gear), a boy named Kevin. No disrespect to anyone named Kevin, but I was expecting a slightly less ordinary name from her. Conveniently someone mentions that it looks just like her, which means she can dodge the paternity issue, at least for the time being. Joan is almost immediately torn between her maternal instincts and her desire to get back to work, and having her mother around seems to be making her distress worse. Why do people on TV always have such fraught relationships with their parents? It's such a cliché.

Pete and Trudy have moved to Connecticut, and Pete is already weary of the commuting routine. I predict he's heading for a full-on affair, not just one of the one-time assignations we've seen in the past. He's also clashing with Roger, who's still doing as little work as possible and is now buying favors outright.

Peggy is still pissed off about Don and Megan, and she's letting it affect her relationship with Don, which is worse. Even though she wouldn't want to be the younger woman Don married, part of her still thinks it could have been her, had she made different choices earlier in her employment.

What to make of Lane? The guy has quite a kinky streak. As his fellow countrymen would say, he's bent.

I found the party scene rather depressing, probably because we were primed to see it the way Don would. And while Megan's performance was certainly provocative, I found myself wondering if she had been some sort of performer before coming to work at SCDP. Instead of having her work at the agency in an easy boss's-wife job, I would rather see her to say to Don, "I'd really like to go back to my career as a nightclub singer," because he would be totally against that and the resulting conflict between them would be a lot more interesting.

Two hours and no sign of Betty? I thought maybe the writers had given in to fans' anti-Betty sentiment, then I remembered that January Jones had given birth not too long before production on this season started, so I guess they had to work around her to an extent. She was in the previews for next week, though.

I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with me, but I really liked Pete's madras jacket. The colors were a lot more interesting than what you typically see for that type of garment. Update: at least GQ agrees with me.

Wacky Weather

The recent weather fluctuations have certainly made it more of a challenge to dress appropriately. Last week I had to pull some lighter-colored, lighter-weight pants out of warm-weather storage, and on a couple of days I didn't bother to wear socks. (I did consider wearing shorts on Thursday, but decided against it.)

I recall a spell of March weather like this when I was in college; I specifically remember taking a bike ride along the river, and getting a cold a couple of days later.

By yesterday morning, I was back to wearing a hat, scarf, and gloves with my wool-lined corduroy coat. Truthfully, I prefer it this way. I can never be as comfortable in warmer weather regardless of what I wear, and I just prefer outfits and looks that include a piece of outerwear or a sport jacket.

I do enjoy a spot of nicer weather during an otherwise cool season, but that was too much, too abruptly. The Mrs. had an even worse time than I did; she was irritable and had trouble sleeping for several days because of the unexpected warmth.

I recently reread The Great Gatsby, and found myself wondering how men and women tolerated the multiple layers of clothing they wore in earlier eras, even during the summer months, and at a time when most people did not have air conditioning in their homes, or even in their workplaces.

Given the dramatic fluctuations in the weather patterns of the past decade or so, I think we have to expect that abnormal will be the new normal.

25 March 2012

This Week in Awesome (3/24/12)

Crazy weather this week, but I'm glad it's back to normal for this time of year.

Cutting down a tree, what could go wrong? If the video winds up on the internet, then you know something did. (The Daily What via LiveLeak)

LEGO TV characters. (Laughing Squid via Blogfood)

For the person who has everything: cardboard standups of writers, artists, and historical figures. (eBay via Put This On)

Sometimes when the toys get put away, they get frisky. (The Daily What)

And finally this week, the return of Tebowie! (Late Night With Jimmy Fallon via Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch blog)

23 March 2012

Retro Video Unit (3/23/12)

Digging through the dusty basement of YouTube can sometimes be frustrating. There are songs that I'm certain have official videos, but if I can't find them anywhere I can't feature them. Sometimes the only version of a song is a live performance, but that can sometimes turn out to be just as good.

And sometimes I find exactly what I'm looking for. I've always liked The Jam and think they were criminally overlooked during the late 1970s new wave period. I once read that someone believed they didn't catch on in America because their British accents could still be heard when they sang. I have no idea if that's true, and it would be terribly arbitrary if it was.

Their music had clear 1960s influences at a time when many other punk and new wave musicians were trying to distance themselves from that era, so perhaps that contributed to their lack of popularity. They also made overtly political music, they dressed rather well for musicians (for me that was just one more reason to like them), and they did things like release singles that were not later included on albums, which may have confused some of their more casual fans. This is one of those singles, "Going Underground." In the US it was packaged as a bonus with early pressings of the album Sound Affects, and I still have my copies.

This is about as simple as a music video can get, but it allows the song to stand on its own. Paul Weller and Bruce Foxton are playing Rickenbacker instruments, which were (and still are) among the coolest-looking guitars and basses.

Mad Men Week: Elisabeth Moss's Wild Side

Last week my attention was directed to an interview with Elisabeth Moss, who plays ambitious copywriter Peggy Olson on Mad Men. She talks about allowing herself to loosen up and have some fun in her off-screen life, and the accompanying photos definitely present her in a way we aren't used to seeing:
Christina Hendricks understandably gets plenty of attention for her looks, and January Jones has paparazzi following her around as well. But Moss has her own kind of sexiness that I think is underappreciated, most likely because of Peggy's dowdy good-girl image early on in the show.

Peggy has evolved quite a bit since the beginning of the series, having gone from a rather mousy secretary to a single, fun-seeking career woman enjoying city life. She undoubtedly earns more as a copywriter than she did as Don's secretary, so she can afford somewhat nicer clothes, and I'm sure she's gotten a few style tips from Joan along the way. Here's a promo photo for the upcoming season from the official show website:
This is certainly a more sophisticated look for Peggy, as is this one:
Both of these are great. They remind me of photos of my family that I've seen in old albums (Mom, do you remember anything like this?), and also of pictures of 1960s performers like Diana Ross and the Supremes.

22 March 2012


I happened to hear a T announcement today about new bus schedules taking effect this weekend, and it made me realize that I hadn't bothered to get new paper schedules in at least six months, if not longer.

I used to make sure I always carried the current schedules for the routes I used most frequently, plus a few others it was likely or possible I would need. But with the gradual ubiquity of mobile internet access and apps that tell you how far away the next bus is, I no longer need a printed schedule.

Today I left work early to do an errand in Harvard Square, after which I needed to know how long I would have to wait for the next 86 bus to get me over to Sullivan. I pulled out my phone and checked MBTAinfo, which told me I had seven minutes to get to the underground bus platform inside Harvard station. Progress.

I'd like to think that smartphone use has resulted in the T not having to print as many copies of their bus schedules, perhaps saving some trees in the process as well as saving the T some money.

Mad Men Week: TimesTalks with Creator and Cast

The New York Times produced this video discussion with the Mad Men cast and show creator Matthew Weiner this past Tuesday, March 20th. (Note that the video runs for just over an hour and a half, and it will begin to autoplay when you arrive at the page.)

21 March 2012

More Bad Behavior

Yesterday I came across another smoker in a T station. I've ranted about smokers before and their willful ignorance of posted restrictions. Smoking is an inherently selfish act, just as drunk driving is—both put others at risk who have no direct involvement in the acts—and smokers are invariably the most selfish people I encounter.

This guy was on the Orange Line platform in State Street station. He was a full-on Jersey Shore caricature: tank top, synthetic basketball shorts, shoulders and one foot against the wall. As is my practice, I stopped in front of him and asked in a civilized tone of voice, "Would you put that out, please?" His response was immediate and flippant: "You wanna call a cop?"

I thought to myself, what would be the point? Yes, there is a law, and supposedly a smoker can be fined, but it's a joke. There's no enforcement of it that I am aware of. I've never seen anyone receive a summons for smoking in a T station, because the T doesn't have the resources to police the stations in that way.

There was a young woman standing next to him; I hadn't realized they were together, but she also chimed in: "Whyn't you move? Go stand somewhere else."

So there wasn't going to be any reasoning with these two. I could only respond, "It doesn't matter where I stand, I'm still going to have to smell it" and then continued down the platform. There was some residual mouthiness from them, but I'd moved away quickly enough that I couldn't make it out clearly.

Smoking inside a subway station is one of the rudest, most insensitive things a person can do. But the other factor at work is the behavior of the other people waiting. All the other people standing there are victims of one asshole's bad behavior, but no one does anything about it. Shame and peer pressure should matter more than a theoretical, unenforceable fine.

What are the chances of getting a law passed that allows behavior like this to be answered with a punch to the face?

Mad Men Week: Interview with Matthew Weiner

A couple of weeks back, the New York Times posted a lengthy interview with Mad Men creator and showrunner Matthew Weiner. It's in two parts, so here is part 1 and here is part 2.

20 March 2012

One More Stitch

After two weeks I have not heard anything back from Levi Strauss about the stitching on the pockets of the 505s I bought recently, which is unfortunate, not just because I didn't get an answer but also because it suggests that my request was not taken seriously.

But over the weekend we were at our local Costco, and they had a table full of 514s (the skinny jeans of choice among lower-income hipsters; rich hipsters buy A.P.C. jeans, or so the internets tell me) with stitching very much like what's on my 505s, so it would seem that a broader shift back to the shallower arcuate shape is underway.

(I promise this is the last I'll have to say on the subject.)

19 March 2012

Mad Men Week: Retro Ads

Newsweek is celebrating this coming weekend's return of Mad Men with a special issue in which all the ads are done in the way they would have looked had they appeared in the 1960s, or (in a couple of instances) in obvious homage to the era's advertising. Clever, and sort of meta as well. You can see all of them over at Ad Age. (Esquire Style Blog)

18 March 2012

This Week in Awesome (3/17/12)

A belated happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone. You've been good, so I've got a whole big bucket of internet awesomeness for you this week...

A designer with an interest in public transit maps who critiqued the MBTA's system maps a while back, and was challenged by the map's designer to do better, decided to take a swing at doing just that. They're unofficial, unfortunately, but I think he did a nice job. (Transit Maps via Universal Hub)

Jalopnik collected a bunch of crazy chases from Bollywood movies. If you have nothing better to do for half an hour or so, they're highly entertaining.

A New Yorker art editor takes us behind the scenes and shows a bunch of the magazine's rejected cover designs. (Blown Covers via The Awl)

Old photos of roadside restaurants, with the added attractions of old cars and glorious signage: it's almost too much awesome for my brain to handle. (Retronaut via Curbside Classic)

And finally this week, a double shot of vintage time-lapse video. First, a 1968 film of a walk up Broadway in New York, condensed to two and a half minutes. But that means the images fly by really fast, so someone took it upon himself to post a slowed-down version to YouTube. (New York Times City Room blog)

A few days later, MIT posted a time-lapse video of a drive through Cambridge, Boston, and Brookline done by one of its professors in the mid-1960s, using a dashboard-mounted camera. (Universal Hub) Bonus: visit the original UH post to see a lively discussion in the comments that helps to identify the route taken and to narrow down the time frame in which it was filmed. Great stuff.

17 March 2012

You Can't Refuse

Once again, deadline week interfered with my life and blogging. So here's the bit I'd planned to toss out yesterday: Thursday was the 40th anniversary of the original release of The Godfather. The New York Times's City Room blog did a piece on the essential New Yorkness of the movie, and included a link to the paper's 1972 review.

15 March 2012

Pie "R" Round

I didn't even realize yesterday was "Pi Day," but I had pie anyway. I find this to be a good policy to follow in general: eat some pie, just in case, because you never know...

14 March 2012


Well, that was strange: someone walking by my cube just noticed that my coffee mug was sitting on top of a bookcase that is positioned against the outer wall of the cube. But I don't actually pass by that spot to get into my cube, so it may have been there for a couple of days without me or anyone else noticing it.

13 March 2012

One More Plug

Nice to see the New York Times giving some love to my favorite sitcom, Community, which returns for the second half of its third season this Thursday at 8 pm on NBC. And hey, you're in luck: there's a trailer:

Hmm... I tried embedding it, but it's not working, so just go watch it over on The Soup blog.


My travel coffee mug is missing from the office. I didn't end up using it on Friday, and when I went to get it yesterday it was not in the kitchen. An email to my coworkers yielded nothing. This is quite strange; everyone in the office has seen me with it at our weekly group breakfast, and so knows it's mine.

I liked using the mug because it kept coffee hot much longer than in a paper cup, and because the cafeteria gives a discount on their coffee when you use your own mug instead of a disposable cup and lid each day.

12 March 2012

Brieflly Noted

—I did go ahead and make a formal inquiry to Levi Strauss media relations about the arcuate stitching on those 505s I bought. It's been almost a week and I haven't gotten a response yet, so either they don't check that email address frequently or my request wasn't taken seriously.

—Even though it was cold out this morning, it's very much a springlike day, so I decided to wear my faithful L.L. Bean blucher mocs for the first time this year. I love these shoes, but I'd forgotten how lousy the laces are at staying tied. They are some sort of textile that is colored to look like rawhide, but I can't help thinking that I would be better off if I just switched to real rawhide laces.

11 March 2012

This Week in Awesome (3/10/12)

"Springing ahead" always messes me up for a few days...

A graphic artist created visual representations of certain mental illnesses. (Web Urbanist via Blogfood)

The Awl collected a bunch of online dating horror stories. It's always better to read about someone else's misfortune than to experience it yourself.

The Colts released Peyton Manning this week. Where will he end up playing? A New York Times sports writer examined the possibilities with all 32 NFL teams.

Mashups are getting really complex. This seemingly shouldn't work at all, but it does. (Vimeo via Cubicle Party; originals here and here for reference purposes)

And finally this week, this video has been making the rounds because, unlike most sales pitches, it's honest and expresses its point really well. (Dollar Shave Club)

09 March 2012

Retro Video Unit (3/9/12)

Today's clip comes to us via New Zealand, courtesy of the band Split Enz. Their first US album, True Colours, came out in 1980. I first saw this video on a late-night, presumably syndicated TV show that presaged MTV called Rock World. In Rhode Island where I grew up, it used to air at 1 am Sunday mornings, after Saturday Night Live (by which time I probably should have been asleep) but on a different channel—I want to say it was the Boston station WSBK, channel 38, but I can't find any information about the show on the web, which is kind of surprising. It's where I first heard a lot of music that had no chance of getting played on regular radio, and where I first saw several of the clips that I've been featuring.

The Finn brothers, Tim (lead vocals) and Neil (guitar), later went on to significant success in Crowded House.

08 March 2012

The Stockings Were Hung?


I wish this was a joke, but it isn't. Sadly, I can kind of understand why someone thought the world needed this product, but I have a very hard time believing that any man with a shred of dignity would even consider it. But clearly some men do, which is really, really depressing.

07 March 2012

Watch Wednesday (3/7/12): Orient Mako Review

Update, 3/10: I finally got around to taking some pictures. I could have borrowed some from the Orient website, but I thought my own shots would give a better sense of the watch.

I've been wearing the Orient Mako watch for about a week and a half, so it's time for my review. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll remind you that Orient Watch USA sent me this watch to review and keep. But it's a watch I would confidently spend my own money on.
The Mako is a dive-style watch that's available with either a metal bracelet or a rubber strap. Dial color choices include black, deep blue, orange, and yellow (from looking at the Orient website, the yellow seems to be available only with the metal bracelet). All have a black ratcheting coin-edge bezel, except for the blue dial, which is available with either an all-blue or a blue-and-red bezel. The case measures 41 mm in diameter, and takes a 22 mm bracelet or strap.
The Mako's dial has its own distinctive look thanks to the squarish numerals at the 6, 9, and 12 positions. The look of these numerals is one of my favorite features of the watch. There's also a day/date window at 3. The second crown above the main one adjusts the day of the week; to use it you first need to unscrew the collar, which keeps it from getting changed accidentally during normal wear. The main crown screws down as well.

The watch is hefty and feels substantial, but not too heavy on the wrist. The construction is impressively solid, especially the adjustable bracelet. On many watches competitive with the Mako, the bracelets, and especially their clasps, can feel flimsy. The Mako's bracelet has a foldover locking clasp and a pinch release; both work flawlessly and feel very sturdy.
One distinction that separates Orient from many other watch companies, including some of the top Swiss brands, is that they manufacture their own movements. The Mako, like most other Orient watches, is powered by an automatic movement that keeps very accurate time. I've worn this watch approximately every other day since I received it, deliberately, to monitor its power reserve. That's the amount of time you can expect the watch to keep running after you take it off. Orient claims a reserve of 40 hours, which is right in line with my personal experience. If you take it off before going to bed and skip a day, the watch will still be accurate the second morning.

In normal use, I encountered only one minor issue, and it's really rather subjective: all Mako models have a silver second hand with a red tip, which against the orange dial is sometimes hard to see. But when checking one's watch to see what time it is, reading the second hand is secondary to the hour and minute hands, which are plenty easy to see. Those hands, and the hour markers, glow in the dark if first exposed to light.
The Orient watch reviews I've read online focus on value, which is justified. In the 1970s Japanese watches began to gain attention and acceptance in the marketplace, and took sales from both American and Swiss brands by offering comparable quality at lower prices. As of this writing, the retail price of the Mako on a metal bracelet is $215, or $180 on a rubber strap. However, Orient Watch USA has generously offered me a discount code to pass along to readers, so if you are interested you can save 30% by entering "someassembly30" at OrientwatchUSA.com.

The Orient Mako is an outstanding value for an automatic watch, and while it's not a particularly dressy model, it could work nicely with a leather strap substituted for the rubber one (one of my favorite watch modifications, as readers probably remember). There is a community of Orient owners and fans at www.orientalwatchsite.com/forum/ which includes a section of straps for sale.

06 March 2012

Silver Screen

Movie buffs, take note: this year marks the 70th anniversary of the release of Casablanca, one of the most beloved movies ever. The actual anniversary date falls in November, but according to HitFix, Turner Classic Movies is presenting a one-day screening of Casablanca in several hundred theaters nationwide on Wednesday, March 21st.

It's described as a "new digital transfer" so I'm not sure if that means the showings won't be on actual film (and I'm going to leave that argument for the hardcore cinephiles), but I think what's important is the fact that it will be possible to see Casablanca on a big screen. I've seen the movie several times, but not for many years, and I honestly can't remember whether or not I ever saw it in a movie theater.

Here's the list of theaters showing Casablanca. In the Boston area, you can see the movie at the AMC Fenway and Framingham, the Showcase Cinemas in Dedham and Revere, and several other locations.

05 March 2012

Footwear Flashback

This ties into my long-standing appreciation of penny loafers, and has a kind of Mad Men vibe too: over at Ivy Style there's a nice collection of vintage ads for Bass Weejuns.

03 March 2012

This Week in Awesome (3/3/12)

Going to Target is not an especially exciting way to spend a Saturday evening, but in our defense, we had run out of several things, plus we are boring. This is what happens when you've been married a while...

Did I hear someone in the back say it's been a while since I linked to a time-lapse video? You are correct, so how about a whole bunch of 'em? (Mashable via NPR)

And while we're at it, how about a big-ass mashup of a bunch of movie car chases? (Jalopnik)

The New York Times started a tumblr (I know, right?) to showcase photos from its archives. (The Hairpin)

Paul Rudd was on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon promoting Wanderlust, which led to this gallery of posters for fake buddy movies he and Jimmy purport to have made. (Videogum)

And finally this week, radio host Jesse Thorn (who is also the founder of men's style site Put This On) shares his wisdom about finding ways to do what you love and make money at it, too. (Transom via PTO)

02 March 2012

Back Pocket

I avoided Levi's for a long time, but I've gradually come back around and currently have three pairs. I've found that I have a slight preference for the traditional straight-fit, zip-fly 505 over the button-fly 501. In my size the leg openings are very similar, but the 505 has a slightly higher rise in the back, which is more comfortable when sitting and bending over.

Recently I was ordering a few items of basic furnishings (socks, underwear) from JCPenney, and decided to get another pair of 505s. Jean prices have gone up over the past year of so due to higher cotton costs, so Levi's don't go on sale as often as they used to, meaning it was just as easy to include them in this order as to get them from somewhere else for the same price (I've ordered the last couple pairs from Zappos). Also, I liked that JCPenney did not back down when confronted with that hate-filled business a few weeks back regarding the choice of Ellen DeGeneres as their new spokesperson. Vote with your wallet, right?

A decade or so ago, Levi's changed the shape of the arcuate (that's their word for the curved stitching on the back pockets of their jeans), making the center deeper and, to my eyes, ruining it. It was one of the things that soured me on them temporarily. When these new jeans arrived, I was very surprised and pleased to find that the arcuate was shallower, much more like the way it used to be.

I have no way of knowing if this is a permanent change, or only something temporary, or some sort of accident or fluke. Since I didn't go to a store to get the jeans, I didn't have the benefit of seeing lots of other pairs around, nor could I find any specific evidence of a change anywhere online; on the Levi's website and others, the only arcuate I saw is the deeper version, though it's also possible that sites don't know that a change is being implemented and are still using older images.

You know, I may be overthinking this...

My first instinct was to order another pair right away, but that wouldn't be the most economical reaction. I'm considering attempting to contact Levi's PR to see if I can get some sort of official comment.

01 March 2012

Back to Class

If you can stand another bit of TV-related news, Community returns to NBC's Thursday night comedy lineup in two weeks. From that point it should run until the end of the season in May, uninterrupted, 12 new episodes. No word yet on a possible fourth season; it's still very much up in the air, but that doesn't mean it won't happen. Fingers crossed.