Not everybody looks good in a sparkly cape

This is Rick Wakeman. He’s the keyboard player from the British progressive rock band, Yes.

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This picture really makes me sad. Just look at old Rick: greasy hair; terrible haircut; hasn’t shaved in a week; several chins; pasty white skin; plain black XXL shirt; big old belly sticking out; Casio wristwatch pinching his chubby arm — and he somehow thinks that putting a shiny cape on top of all that is an acceptable look.

Not many people can pull off a shiny, bedazzled cape, in my opinion. I think that if you’re going to do such a thing, you need to totally commit to the look — you need the slender figure of an elf prince or the regal poise of a king. The clothes under the cape need to match it. You need to either grow a real beard, or stay clean-shaven. You need to wash your hair.

In other words, you need to actually give a damn about the way you look, and put more effort in than just rolling out of bed and pulling a goofy old cape over your hunched shoulders. If you don’t give a damn about the way you look, that’s ok but don’t go putting a cape on, because the two things are incongruous.

Unless you’re intentionally going for the “sad/absurd/out of touch” look. Which could actually be pretty funny and awesome if pulled off well, but I don’t think that’s what dear Rick was going for here.

I bet his house is a huge fucking mess.

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All those emails with Bill, lost forever.

I think I’ve been emailing with Bill on at least a semi-regular basis for close to 20 years. Often we email multiple times a day, sometimes we miss days, but it’s generally been pretty consistent. I really like that because besides just having a good buddy to yak with all the time, it’s nice for us to have these emails as records of various events in our lives — if I ever wonder, “when did I first go to Sointula?” or if Bill can’t remember when he started his new job, we can just search our emails for key terms and bingo, there it is in the dialogue we’ve kept up over the years. It’s sort of like a diary or a photo album.

I was telling dear ol’ Tom about this at a party a few days ago and he was shocked that Bill and I have been emailing that often for that long. It got me thinking about exactly when we started emailing, so today I checked my primary email address for the oldest email from Bill I could find. It was only from 2007. “Peanuts!” I exclaimed. I logged into my old email account (which I’ve had since ’97 or ’98) and checked it, excited to see what we were jawing about way back when.

Unfortunately, the earliest email from Bill I had in that account was also from 2007. I was quite upset, and incredulous — what happened to all those older emails? Then I remembered: long ago and for no particular reason, I used to be fastidious about deleting emails that were more than a year old. You see, my father is a hoarder so I grew up hating clutter and am a fairly tidy person because of it. Unfortunately, this is one of those instances where I am too tidy for my own good, and threw away years of history that I didn’t care about at the time but now wish I still had. It’s a bloody shame, and I have only myself to blame.

So, 12 years is all I can confirm for my pen pal relationship with Bill, Tom. Sorry to let you down.

Can one ever have enough ugly old shit?

Just now, I was idly perusing a local used stuff website when I came across an extremely tempting ad. I took a screen shot of it to share with people so they can laugh at me and my obsessions.

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That’s right. After all the searching, painful correspondence, problem solving, and favours I called in from friends last year to procure myself a vintage toaster oven, I have now come across one here, in my very backyard. Granted, this one isn’t quite as attractive as my current toaster oven (I prefer the fake wood print and orange highlights on the one I have) but all things considered, this one I just came across is still a very attractive little unit — lots of chrome, simple mechanical controls, nice colours on the temperature dial graphics. Not too shabby at all.

And now, I’m left with the unpleasant decision: do I merely chuckle to myself, close that tab on my browser, and continue on with my day?…

…Or do I take the plunge into becoming a full-on hoarder and buy this stupid fucking thing, just to squirrel it away in my basement and probably give it away in 10 years?

I don’t know yet but I thought it was funny and wanted to email it to a select group of people. Then I realized that the people I wanted to email it to read this anyway, so hey, why not make my dilemma public?

I might have to take up smoking.

I’ve been on a kick of replacing lots of our household stuff with neat vintage and retro shit so I’ve been spending lots of time at thrift stores. I’ve noticed that there is a section at the local Salvation Army for ashtrays, and virtually every one I’ve seen there is hideous in the most exquisite and retro way. Like this

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And this

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And this

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I guess there is a glut of these things because the 70’s was the golden age of both loud, gawdy housewares and ubiquitous smoking. It’s amazing.

But it’s also a fucking shame because I already have a retro ashtray that has some sentimental value to it, I don’t have multiple residences I need to furnish with this kind of junk, I don’t smoke, and not many of my friends smoke. I can’t justify collecting these things but man, I wish I could.

I suppose I could buy all the ashtrays I like and then rotate them. Have one for each month, something like that. That might be fun. But it seems like a dangerous game of toying with a hoarder-like obsession, and I’m terrified of that. My dad is a level 100 hoarder so I’m very familiar with that world, and I don’t want to fuck with it.

But damn, I love those ashtrays.

Hmmmm.