Saturday, December 4

You Like, You Buy Vol 14

Yes, yes the rumours you have heard about Hong Kong are true. There is indeed a store called Wanko. Far from selling goods of masturbatory delights, it is a fashion chain that stocks affordable workwear and casualwear for the office ladies.

The current spokesmodel is actress Carina Lau, long-time girlfriend of highly acclaimed actor Tony Leung Chiu-Wai. Carina is normally quite watchable in whatever movie she's in but all the acting skills in the world cannot save a photo shoot with a warped photographer who gives very particular directions on how to pose:

The curry fishball & pig's blood noodles you had for lunch came with a free side of salmonella. Oh crap! You instinctively pull your hair back before you start to regurgitate the contents of your stomach.

You have reached the final round of a gruelling interview process for a position as personal assistant to the Managing Director. Yay you! Instead of sitting in the chair offered to interviewees, you perch on the edge of the armrest and confidently explain to your potential boss that you always wear short tight skirts that ride up by at least 2 inches.

You are a glamourous patchouli-scented hostess on a 1970s game show and you're trying to get the audience really excited about what's behind Beaded Curtain No. 1.

Someone on the street has recognised you as the woman who starred in The Gods Must be Crazy IV. You shrink in embarrassment. There's nowhere to hide except behind a high collared downy jacket of questionable design. Make that doubly embarrassing!

The office sleaze tries to hit on you while you are making coffee in the pantry. You casually feign a headache to show him your wedding ring. With your other hand you subtly signal that you think he is a zero in bed, based on the 3 minutes you spent with him in Conference Room 3 during last year's office Xmas party. Uh huh.

Once again, you've caught your philandering husband, scion of a multi-million dollar empire founded on velour, in another affair. Grrrrr. You resolve to ruin his favourite Louis XV hand-carved giltwood chaise longue with your kitten heels.

You are an undercover cop assigned to rid the streets of lowlife scum. It's so cold out on the sidewalk that your legs are showing signs of frostbite but you gamely soldier on because Operation: Trenchcoat Hooker must not fail. How much do you love your job!

Greeting cards

After much due consideration my Xmas card list has been finalised. There were some new additions but unfortunately some people did not make the final cut. I can't remember what they did to displease me but it must have been pretty serious, like wearing lace up espadrille wedge sandals.

For any of my real life friends who are reading this, I am hoping to send out all my Xmas cards next week. I've even modified the standard Have a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year greeting slightly to show how special you are to me. Those of you who have been extra nice to me in the past (eg donated a kidney) might get a little something to go with your card. Just don't expect it to be underwear because I don't know any of your sizes, and that can only be a good thing. If you don't receive anything at all, then you should probably look into getting some new shoes.

However I think we need to move away from the whole card-giving thing as a sweet gesture. For example, on my birthday I don't want a bulky card which opens up to reveal, instead of a bulky red packet stuffed with hard currency, a garish pop-up cake with some Yanni-style lights and music accompaniment. What I really really want is a Swedish Mafia t shirt or a Please Touch My Monkey t shirt. All these things and more!

When it comes to conveying positive thoughts, most cards sound trite and insincere. Especially when it contains a poem that struggles to find a word meaning happy and rhyming with appendectomy. On the other hand, negative thoughts like You Suck! are always meant sincerely. Therefore greeting cards should serve the same function in daily social situations as cards do in soccer. To berate, to lecture, to deliver a kick up somebody's pants without having to wipe down one's shoes afterwards:
1. Movie Manners Courtesy Cards
2. Urban asshole notification cards
3. Road Rage cards

Thursday, December 2

San-X Universe

We all know that Hello Kitty reigns supreme in the Sanrio universe but allow me to introduce some of my favourite characters from the parallel universe of San-X. It's definitely a darker and more perverse place than Sanrio, a place where a puppy can go unabashedly by the name Petite Wanko and the Cheese Head family runs stinkingly amok. The biggest drawcard of San-X characters are their mini biographies simply because the Japanese have a way with words that even a thousand monkeys typing randomly on thousand typewriters over a thousand years could not emulate.

Afro Ken

Afro Ken is a dog that upon first sight leaves a strong impression that you will not forget! Afro Ken is very mysterious - especially in North America. Innocent, blameless Afro Ken surprises many people.

Afro Ken has been around for a couple of years now and despite pretenders to the throne like first Australian Idol Afro Guy, his popularity shows no signs of waning. His extended family tree and constant evolution smacks of a cheap marketing ploy but who am I to lay such accusations on innocent, blameless Afro Ken?


Kogepan means "Burnt Bread" in Japanese. He was made of the best bean paste ingredient, yet he was accidentally burnt in the oven. No customers wanna buy a burnt piece of bread, and that's all Kogepan want to be is to be bought. His depression drives him to many things, like smoking and drinking (Kogepan gets drunk on milk), and he often times tries to pass himself as one of the popular breads at the bakery.

I wasn't initially impressed by his bland appearance but his brooding manner has a tendency to grow on you until you start to think hey maybe he's not such a bad guy after all. Maybe, just maybe, if he asked...or I casually slipped it into conversation, we could go on a date....or a two. I might be the One who can save him from his dark side. And if, no, WHEN I do so, he'll fall hopelessly in love with me and we'll have an entire bakery of babies together. Wow, San-X really knows how to tug on the female heartstrings.

Relax Bear

Relax Bear loves pancakes, cookies and tissues. He makes a mess sometimes, and he's not very good at cleaning up after himself. And sometimes his little feathered friend nags him and gives him a hard time, like biting his tail. He's not selfish, he's just not very good at sharing his cookies. Relax Bear like to wear bear suits with a zipper on the back, and he has many of them. Altho he still is a bear underneath the bear suit, sometimes you see his blue polka dot garment when the zipper is down. Relax Bear also owns a graber for times when he doesn't feel like getting up. But he's not lazy, he is just Relax Bear. Relax bear now has a Little Bear buddy! The Little Bear is kinda mischevious, likes music, dancing, pancakes (of course!) and drawing. Sometimes, the Little Bear draws on Relax Bear's face (and his butt too) when Relax Bear is taking a nap.

Relax Bear is my current favourite. What's there not to love? A bear wearing a bear suit who can't be bothered to wipe himself clean with tissues after making an embarrassing mess. Out of all the San-X characters, he probably has the most enviable life - a typical day would consist of hanging out, watching tv, listening to music, a hot bath, snacking, more hanging out and the occasional spooning with a friend. However I'm not so keen on his friend Little Bear. If you watch this clip and look at the picture below, what he does to the little bird is illegal in many countries.

More interesting San-X characters can be found at Kawaii Gifts.

Wednesday, December 1

Turning to the dark side

Let's tear our eyes away from her startlingly sullen genitalia-ish mouth for a moment and focus on Paris Hilton's new hair colour. Turning brunette is usually something that the more socially inept twin or less musically talented sister without the reality tv show does but many fashion-forward celebrities are increasingly turning to the dark side. Their reasons are varied but nonetheless compelling.

Renee Zellweger
Turning brunette helped my hair to shed all the pounds it gained during the filming of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. So now I'm not only rich, have an Oscar and get to be the sliver of meat in a Colin Firth Hugh Grant sandwich but I'm also thin. Gosh, little petite slim lucky me.

Brooke Burns
I starred in Baywatch, married the same man as Dannii Minogue did, and dated Bruce Willis. After all that, I felt that I owed it to myself to do something classy for a change.

Mandy Moore
I did it to differentiate from my peers because I didn't want to be just another blonde fresh-faced pop starlet coasting on mediocre talent and a nice rack. I'm much more comfortable with the way I am perceived now, as a brunette fresh-faced pop starlet coasting on mediocre talent and a nice rack.

Sarah Jessica Parker
Jumping on the bandwagon, seems like the in thing to do nowadays. What, I can't be a follower? *Sigh* Sex and the City is OVER, I'm with the GAP now! Don't you get it, I don't set the trends anymore, I just see them on the catwalk and transform them into affordable copies for the masses.

Reese Witherspoon
As chief wage earner in the household (ie people actually go to watch my movies), I can dye my hair whatever colour I f***ing want. RYAN!! Goddammit, how many times have I said 2 sugars in my coffee? This tastes like mud! RYAN!! I can't believe you burnt the toast again! And where the hell is my morning paper?? RYAAAAN!!

Back to Paris, that's actually just a wig covering her usual platinum card blondeness. That loud sound you just heard is a huge collective sigh of relief from brunettes all around the world. Paris put on the wig in the belief that her intelligence would rocket to about room temperature (Celsius). However after wearing it for a few hours, she still didn't know what the Wall Street Journal was (is it in the same neighbourhood as Walmart?) or how to pronounce grammar and punctuation.

Thank god there's at least one smart blonde left in the entertainment industry.

Tuesday, November 30

Knit one, buy one

There were many things that I struggled with during my school years - elementary science, double sessions of calculus, acne - but nowhere else did it all unravel so completely and despairingly apart than in sewing class. Somehow the manual dexterity required for these tasks didn't make it out the birth canal with me, waylaid like a piece of luggage that fell off the side of a fast-moving conveyor belt.

So even though there's been a big resurgence in the popularity of knitting, it's not something that I can entrust to these demented hands of mine. However, this blog is not really about me. It's about how YOU dear reader can derive a certain pleasure from the simple things in life. Knitting is something you could do at the office in between reading an email asking you to follow up on the status of something that bears no relevance to you, sending an email to follow up on the status and waiting for the reply to the follow up email. It also helps focus your mind and achieve a frightening clarity without the aid of powerful mind-altering drugs.

With Xmas approaching, you can avoid the shopping crush and unnecessary expense by knitting your own presents. No matter how it turns out, the recipient is forced to hold it up against themselves with feigned delight. By using some guilt-inducing persuasion you could even get them to try it on in front of many people. See, deriving pleasure from the simple (and sometimes cruel) things in life.

I suggest that novices begin their foray into knitting with something small but sweet like a men's thong, then progress to a foundation garment. Guys should also feel free to bring out their balls of yarn without fear of raised eyebrows and in fact, I think that other guys would be quite envious when you show them what exactly you are knitting - this sort of thing comes in real handy for stag nights.

Once you have mastered foundation garments you can move on scarves, afghans and most definitely sweaters. When it comes to sweater patterns, you are limited only by your imagination and god help you if it extends beyond the gallery featured in the KFS Sweater Project. Knit one, purl one wtf? No problem, there are people who will gladly pick up the knitting needles for you if the price is right. Being able to fork out for a red angora turtleneck gown or burgundy angora sweater coat is already a rare luxury in itself.

Monday, November 29

Eastern-inspired pieces

Every year some designer will mangle a kimono or cheongsam for their runway collections and suddenly the East will become so there, so now, so hackneyed. I guess everybody needs one of these pieces in their wardrobe so that they can wax lyrical about the Oriental influences in their life. The East meets West look has to be done properly so stop trying to tie a damn obi around your t shirt and check out these Eastern-inspired fashion musthaves!

Cambodian baby orphan

Who's wearing it: Angelina Jolie
Where to get it from: All disreputable adoption agencies. Look for sign "Instant cash for babies, old (but no older than 9 months) and new" and "Member of Cambodian Baby Traffic webring" on their websites.
Price: Can cost over US$200,000 excluding fees for battling lawsuits and government red tape. VIP Discount for United Nations goodwill ambassadors.
Staying power: At one stage, this trend was in threat of being superseded by Russian baby orphan until it was discovered that Russia, unlike Cambodia, had at least one law and that law was enforced from time to time. So, we think it still has another 6 months before African baby orphan becomes all the rage.
Anything else I need to know: Don't feel bad about using the word orphan if you find out that its parents are still alive. I mean, you use the word turtleneck to describe sweaters even though turtles don't have such soft woollen necks - it's just a term of art. Normally Cambodian baby orphan just sits comfortably on one hip like so but be selective about what you wear it with because it can, and believe me it will overwhelm an outfit.

Korean-American twentysomething trophy wife

Who's wearing it: Nicolas Cage
Where to get it from: Usually found in luxury brand boutiques but keep your eyes peeled because they could crop up anywhere - Nic found his at LA sushi bar, Sushi Avenue.
Cost: Expensive to buy, and make no mistake about it, even more expensive to keep. It will get bored easily and need constant maintenance in the form of jewellery, designer goods and the promise of a small business.
Staying power: As long as there are fortysomething balding men who think they can pull off a mismatching leather overcoat & pants set AND a cowboy hat, this trend will never die.
Anything else I need to know: Some men such as Nic Cage (and Woody Allen, the man who started it all) recommend starting the process of acquiring one when it is still in its teens. Wear it for its gorgeous black hair, cute button nose, pouty lips and helplessly innocent eyes like those of a puppy caught in a housefire. It's only young so don't search for any deep historical meaning in it.

Harajuku girls

Who's wearing it: Gwen Stefani
Where to get it from: Yoyogi Park in Harajuku, Tokyo (only on Sundays) or local cosplay convention.
Price: The girls themselves aren't very expensive because they will follow you around if you dangle something super kawaii in front of them. Ultimately the cost to the wearer is definitely more psychological rather than monetary.
Staying power: As with all trends emanating from Japanese subculture, these particular Harajuku girls are already so yesterday but if you wait for a couple of days they'll be in fashion once again, if only for a few minutes.
Anything else I need to know: Personalise your fashion items by naming them. Gwen calls them Love, Angel, Music, Baby respectively. I'll be calling mine Willy, Wonka, Meth, Madness.

Sunday, November 28

Fashion Roadkill of the Day: Vol 17

The check pattern worries me when it exists outside the realm of pyjamaland. To paraphrase the title of a Jennifer Love Hewitt song, how do I deal? Well I always try to pair it with a muted solid because throwing in another pattern is a slippery slope to Roadkillville, population: one. See for yourselves.

Oh honey, no. Please tell me that you only wearing this because you are on the way to an audition for Oklahoma! the Gus Van Sant remake. Furthermore, the only time when indigo, violet and mauve should be seen near each other is on a prism spectroscope.

Here we have another refugee from the People's Check Republic, fleeing an oppressive communist regime. A regime that not only declares fake Burberry as compulsory but exhorts its subjects to let a hundred flowers bloom, especially all over their pants.

In conclusion, keep things matching. For example, black & white colours throughout the outfit (maybe a hint of orange to alert traffic when crossing the road). Elasticised waistband and leg hems, elasticised handbag detail. Wide checked pattern, even wider pant legs. A small point to note though - while black is slimming, pantaloons shaped like the billowing sails of a Spanish galleon are not. It could lead us to suspect the wearer of trying to hide, not the aftereffects of a hearty Thanksgiving dinner, but the Thanksgiving dinner itself, turkey and all.