Friday, August 8, 2008

If you can't go for quality...

...go for quantity
I haven't really had time recently to delve into any subjects at length (what with working 10-to-14-hour days, being a little under the weather, and getting into the Times, it was a big enough week), so I thought that I would just do a quick scattershot update so as to forestall (for so long as it may be) the inevitable slide into old age and senility of a casually- (read: not-)updated blog.


I got a quick cold, but I think I'm coming over the worst of it. I came down with alternating fever/chills around Thursday afternoon, and a bit of a sore throat that intensified by Friday. By grace, though, I made it through work yesterday, and rested up last night. My mom gave me a bunch of echinacea and licorice root extract (yo sound like I am finna go potion mastery on they @zz) before I came over to Ko Rea though, so it is all gravy train. Things is straight up by now and I think (pray) I will be at one hunnid per cent (if I were DJ Khaled, I would say we da bess right here) by tomorrow. I am pretty grateful about this as, basically, I have been working so hard (not to mention, with various fractions of the kids that I hang out with for 3-9 hours/day constantly catching their own maladies) that it was a nearly foregone conclusion that, at some point, my immune system would undergo an insurgency and kick my ***. This clemency (of it happening over a weekend) is probably as much of a sign of grace as I could ask for.

from a friend
Yesterday evening I went out to eat with my friend/student, 天花. She
leaves for America for a nine-month stay tomorrow! It'll be her first time
in the States.

天花 and I met when she needed help reviewing for her student visa
interview at the US consulate. After that, we decided to embark on
two weeks of private tutoring to prepare her for American college life.

At the tonkatsu place near work.

Still smiling in the manner of a rodent.

We Got It 4 Cheap: regarding brand name purchases
[Adapted from correspondence: My sister holla'd at me on facebook for some advice on buying clothes. She was at a clearance outlet with my mom and they copped some joints on the low, supposedly marked down from $160=>$20. She asked for some tips on what gear to cop and how to get it for the low as what I do often know.]

I don't usually cop gear no more at clearance outlets... there are two kinds of things that drop at clearance outlets: cheap stuff, and stuff that was supposedly expensive at retail, but was actually simply overpriced when it came out.
In the former case, joints is just cheap and no reason to purchase. In the latter, what is going on is that there is an inferior (or at least mass-market) brand that operates at an MSRP so high above their overhead that they are used to unloading the overstock later on at bulk retailers without loss of profit, because they operate at such a high mark-up. Neither option, at this point, is too attractive to me, personally: Cheap clothing isn't worth it, and I am at a point in my consumer cycle where I already have enough good items, and am simply trying to upgrade. Ecko, Akademiks, Enyce, this sort of stuff, even joints like Lacoste and other mid-level brands (I make an exception for any Ralph Lauren brand, out of respect for the OG's and 'Heads/Lifers), I already have enough of those. At this point, I no longer need more clothes; I am just working on upgrading it all, I'm tryin to go from the 20 dollar tee (Ecko) to the 70 dollar tee (Bape, Bust Out! [ha]) you digg? (of course $70 tee doesn't mean you PAY 70 for it...)

Of course, though, that is simply because this clothing thing is a pastime of mine; as with any other hobby or pursuit, there are different levels on which you can conduct yourself. I mess around with running, but am not investing in running shoes, an iPod/Nike+, etc.

So, in general, unless you are actually lookin to cop clothes for the love of the game instead of just to look marginally fly (and trust me, there is a difference between looking stylish and looking fashionable... you can have real fly style without having any fashion knowledge, and vice versa), my advice is to forget about the big savings. Don't care about how much something's MSRP is (high MSRP has no necessary correlation with high quality or high desirability), or whether the brand is any good (that requires extensive knowledge of what's currently hot, what's classic, where brands are positioned in markets, etc.); instead, just look at the cut, quality, materials used, etc. of a garment.

If you want to get into the brand name game, you have to do some real in-depth research: you have to know what's popular this season, why it's popular, where it comes from, for how much it sells (not retails.... a lot of things don't actually sell at retail price), how much it goes for on eBay, how to tell a real from a fake, etc. You can definitely not tell (without knowing) if something is in-fashion just from the cut and its looks, especially if you're not used to it. Of course, if something looks good, though, it looks good. No shame in copping some lower-level joint just because it looks good: There is, though, shame in copping a lower-level joint because you were fooled by their imitation of a higher-level brand. That means they won.

For example: "US Polo Association" is a lower-level brand with the same stylings as much of the Polo Ralph Lauren collection; as a line, however, they have fairly decent quality. US Polo Association joints are nothing to write home about, but if you got a good deal on them and they suit your body type well, then you should be happy. Of course, if you purchased a USPA joint thinking "hey this is a mid-level brand name", you should feel like a sucka (note: I know the history of US Polo Assn. licensing and branding. My point is simply that, for the last 15-20 years, they have been riding the coattails of their more highly-regarded [if arguably more unofficial] kin).

Basically, that's why I just do my own shopping now. To the untrained eye, the difference between a highly desirable/fashionable piece (BAPE, 'Lo, whatever) and a complete rip-off (Rebel Ape, US Polo Association, etc.) is VERY difficult to ascertain.

NY Times' Background
I guess that i never really explained how I got into the Times. For someone who is quite the opposite of associated with journalism it was a pretty surprising turn of events:
Basically, a reporter (well, technically, a stringer) emailed the Yale Chinese-American Students' Association (who forwarded his solicitation to their entire mailing list, to which I still belong for, you know, whatever reason) all "yo if anyone wants to write up a reminisce about China and the Olympics, holla back." Dude was especially interested in unique perspectives on Chinese culture and the effect of the Olympic Games on 'em. As a Chinese-American from Yale with a rap crew in Beijing, I figured I ought to qualify as such. So I was all why not, worst that happens i use this for a blog entry.
So i hollered and he got back at me. A few weeks later, it went down, with no edits (apparently my unedited prose is up to the apex of journalistic standards.... or dudes was mad rushed).

Recommended downloading
I downloaded this game maybe 3 days ago and it's all I do in the evenings after work now (not ALL I do, but it's a large chunk of my time...) I highly recommend it if you want to just have a quick little game to mess around with.

The Battle of Yavin (The graphical update is a must-download too... makes the X-wings and etc. look much more movie-real).

Basically some dude just programmed a pretty good replica of the Battle of Yavin from Episode IV... and he has a Battle of Endor too, both are real call-backs to the Wing Commander/X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter days. Doesn't get better than skimming across the surface of a Star Destroyer while your lasers are locked onto a TIE Fighter that's been ducking you.

1 comment:

Jess said...

You're awesome. Loved your bit in the Times! :-) Also, how exactly do rodents smile? I sort of like rodents...

When are you back in NH?? Seems like you're having a great summer! I'm back on the 19th-- see you around then? Much love!