Archive for December 2003

At “La Vie en Rose” Yorkdale

Overheard from some Chinese girl while she was pawing at these: “Whoa, there’s so much padding on this bra!”

Never really understood the padded bra thing. Let’s say those booby holders work their magic, making them look bigger, and they help you to attract the man of your dreams. Won’t he eventually notice the discrepancy when he sees you naked?


Christmas vacation started on Wednesday for me, so I went out to buy things for myself [1].

Whenever I need pants, it never fails to visit the Gap at either Conestoga or Fairview Park. The sale/clearance section at the back of the store[2] always has pants in my size range. I’m practically a “square”, with my preferred size being 32×30, but I’ll consider anything from a 30×30 through 32×32.

The odd thing is that in the GTA, those sizes are always the first to go. By the time pants make it to the clearance section, only the “short-fat” (e.g. 42×30) and “tall-skinny” (e.g. 26×34) sizes are left. Not so in K-W, the square sizes are the ones left in the bargain bin. So around these parts I’m practically always guaranteed to get a decent pair of pants for $20-$30. Woohoo!

Speaking of pant sizing, I saw this tip on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: Too lazy to try on a pair of pants? Button it up, lay it flat, grasp the edges of the waist, then wrap it around your neck. If the two edges meet exactly, the pants should fit. I don’t really see the point for boy pants though, since they’re always labelled with the exact measurements. What they need is a shortcut like that for girl pants. I don’t understand the whole single number sizing system. How can a single number convey sufficient information about the size? At the very minimum, don’t you need length and width? Also, when the number has no units, how can there be a standard across stores? Case and point: a size 0 at Banana Republic is like a size 4 at Gap, which I guess indicates that rich girls are generally fatter than middle class girls. <shrug>

[1] I’m pretty much done buying presents for other people, except for my parents, who are truly a pain to shop for. They usually want things that are practical, which is fine. But the first thing they ask when opening a present is, “How much did it cost?” If it’s above some threshold they choose to be fair value for the item, they’ll complain that it cost too much and won’t enjoy using it, even if it’s nice. Hello?! Who cares, you didn’t pay for it! Which is also kind of funny because it applies to food as well. They don’t enjoy nice (i.e. expensive) restaurants, even if the food is outstanding. The more expensive something is, the worse it tastes.

[2] Historically, the sale/clearance section has always at the back for clothing stores, the same way necessities like milk and eggs are always at the back of supermarkets. But for some reason the Gap and Mexx stores at Fairview Park have moved their sale/clearance sections to the front of the store. Is this a new trend? If so, I don’t understand it.

Winter tires

I always dread making large purchases. I go through this process where I first convince myself that I really need the item, then I research the heck out of it to make sure I’m getting the best deal possible. The larger the item, the more time I spend researching, in some cases consuming my every waking thought until I’m a quasi-expert in the field[1]. Sorry, you won’t find any spontaneity here – at least none that costs more than about $50. Yeah, yeah, I know, boooooring.

My most recent purchase was a set of winter tires and rims, which I ordered from Tire Trends in B.C. (saved the PST, woohoo!). The whole process was kind of strange because my parents have never used winter tires, so I’ve always had the mentality that they aren’t necessary. I guess it’s different now that I have my own car.

It started in the last two weeks with the first snowfalls of the season. I noticed the ABS on my car going off more than I thought was healthy. Sure, it was easy to blame it on me just driving too fast for the conditions, but in some of the cases I was going a reasonable 20-30 km/h. The only way I could have avoided the now-too-familiar pulsing of the pedal would be if I drove at a speed where it would be faster to walk instead.

I’ve read articles in the past about how ABS and traction control can do more harm than good, but I just chalked them up to FUD[2] spread by farty old luddites that were used to driving their old beaters. It wasn’t until I saw this FAQ that it all started making sense. ABS just prevents the braking system from applying more braking force than the amount of available tire traction. Likewise, traction control just prevents application of more accelerating force than the available traction. So in the worst possible case where the tires have almost zero traction (e.g. a skating rink with racing tires), ABS would prevent the car from stopping, and traction control would not allow the car to start moving.

Clearly, the OEM Michelin MXV4 tires on my Accord just don’t cut it in the winter. “All-Season Tires” my ass.

So the quest started for a set of winter tires. Initial searches showed people raving about the Bridgestone Blizzak, Michelin Arctic Alpin, and the Yokohama IceGuard IG10. The technology behind them sounded pretty cool – hollow “vacuum packed” beads embedded in the tire, designed to break on contact with the ground. The broken vacuum sucks up any water on the surface of the ice, allowing the tire to grip.

I was sold, it sounded cool until I found out about the tradeoff. These types of tires are so soft that they just get eaten up on dry pavement, which is unfortunately the norm for the GTA. Main roads and highways are usually dry, side streets just have slush and packed snow rather than ice. The solution? A whole different class (or oxymoron, depending how cynical you are) called “performance winter tires”. They use a rubber mix that isn’t as soft, so they last much longer and handle much better on dry pavement, but unfortunately they don’t have the beads so they don’t literally stick to ice like the Blizzaks.

I eventually settled on a set of Kumho KW-17s, plus 4 OEM Honda steel rims, taken from other Hondas (legally, I assume). Total after shipping and tax? Roughly seven bills, and I still have to install them myself. Good thing they come on the rim pre-balanced. At least this’ll give me practice changing tires, in case I ever have a flat.

[1] Some future purchases that I’m really not looking forward to, ’cause the research will be difficult: 1) A house. 2) A home theatre. 3) My next car.
[2] FUD = Fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

Baboons, fornication, and Krispy Kreme

I recently stumbled across Terry Lin’s webpage, someone I haven’t seen or spoken to since high school. Those were good times – hanging out in the library during OAC Day 1 spares, playing StarCraft and watching movies on prom night [1]. Seems all that time he had some serious issues that no one knew about. C’mon, suicidal due to lack of attention from girls, not having cool hair or clothes, not being popular, and being a virgin at age 20? I don’t know the full story and I don’t mean to trivialize things, but it sure sounds like he should suck it up and get in line behind the other hundreds of millions of “sufferers” on the planet.

Then there’s this. I think somebody’s been watching far too much pr0n. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard the “men are programmed by mother nature to spread their seed” thing before, and it probably makes sense to follow that instinct…. if you’re a BABOON! Let’s think about this logically for a second. Say you’re a regular Don Juan and in the prime of your life are able to charm and bed thousands of women. Good work sir, you’ve spread your seed far and wide – into thousands of condoms. Lot of good that does. Wait, what about the small fraction where there was no contraception? Congratulations, hope you can keep up with those support payments. Here’s a secret: wealthy people don’t have children. Reproduction is for chumps.

Why would you choose to give into an instinct that in practice results in a complete waste of effort, or if you “succeed”, is very likely to send you to the poorhouse? Why, the pleasure of fornicating of course. Sure, but everything in moderation.

See, it’s kind of like Krispy Kreme doughnuts. In fourth year, Tim and I used to make runs to the Ottawa Street location in Kitchener, where we’d each get a dozen Original Glazed, and scarf half of them (plus the one while waiting in line), right there in the store. Add to that Tim’s Original Kreme frozen drink (which can only be described as half-and-half whipped with crushed ice), and let me tell ya, it makes for a bad scene.

Fond memories, yes. Good times, yes. But it’s not like I spend every waking moment thinking of how I can get my hands on another dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts. In fact, that’d just be gross. QED.

[1] It’s not like I didn’t want to go, or didn’t try to buy tickets. I even put down the deposit for a tux, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

Pencil skirts are for women with no butts

So I’m waiting in the fitting room area of Club Monaco at the Eaton Centre, and this twenty-something woman opens her change room door wearing a fitted grey pencil skirt. She says to another woman also waiting in the same area, “Can I ask you something? Does this look too tight on me?” It’s a loaded question, almost as bad as the dreaded, “Does this dress make me look fat?”.

Picture the skirt straining at the seams in the butt area, but everything below the thigh hanging loose and wrinkled, like a haphazardly wrapped pair of sticks.

The other woman goes, “Uhh…. no, it looks fine, really.” I guess the rules apply to both genders.