Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chicago (Glencoe) Botanic Garden

There's an oak tree in the neighborhood, but no acorns. Surely the Chicago Botanic Garden must have some oak trees that actually yield acorns, I thought. So we went there this past weekend with Mordecai's mom, and happened to park next to an oak tree with plenty of acorns below it. Some had lost their "hats" or whatever those caps are. They were generally all brown, dusty, and round, very much unlike the ones in this picture I posted earlier, and unlike the ones that the Totoros collect. I might have to ask my grandma to send some from Japan, as environmentally questionable as that might be.

There were no acorns inside the gardens, but there were some other things to note.

Though I'm not a big fan, I think Kant likes these. I'm not sure he'd like this yellow and pink one. It reminded me of strawberry-banana flavored things, like yogurt and smoothies, a classic fruit combo in my book.

Mordecai crossed the railings and searched for acorns, but only retrieved some sorry caps. He also rolled around in some weird patch of low-growing plants, only to crush the leaves and to come up smelling like urine.

Chipmunks are everywhere in the gardens. They are jittery and fast, as if they're on speed. Maybe all the humans make them nervous, though you'd expect that they'd get used to us by now.

Some people got really into the Japanese zen gardens.

Someone left these sunglasses behind. They were kinda greasy and well-used. I like how I could safely assume that an elderly person left them behind; in any other situation, I'd probably have to assume that they belonged to some awful mustached male hipster or his female counterpart.

Unless I become obsessed with acorns again in the coming autumns, and the oak trees in Logan Square don't produce them, I think I've satisfied my every-ten-years-quota for making a trip to the Botanic Gardens. Enjoying those gardens is a sign of growing up or aging!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Animal Crossing Influences: Fashion edition

I thought I'd share some more recent Animal-Crossing inspirations, specifically related to fashion.

Ever since I started taking Gracie the fashion-police-giraffe's surveys and receiving "Fashionista Badges," I've become quite obsessed with the houndstooth pattern. One of the first questions she asked me was what print I considered to be classic--I think plaid and some other unmemorable things were on this list. The only thing I didn't recognize was houndstooth, and since I didn't like the other options, I selected it. Her immediate response was somewhat positive, so I thought, hmm, I better check this out. It turned out that I had seen houndstooth before, but just assumed it would fall under the umbrella of tweed, which at the time I took to be a generic term for multiple wool prints. Now, houndstooth haunts me left and right. I'm not sure if it is indeed classic as Gracie seemed to have indicated, or if I'm just noticing it all of a sudden now (especially in the fall).


At the end of this past summer, I bought a winter coat on sale at Bloomingdale's. It wasn't just any coat--it was the last one on the floor; it fit me perfectly; I got the salespeople to help me scheme to get it at a reduced price (apply for their credit card, come back in a week to readjust the price during a card-holder exclusive sales event); and above all, it was HOUNDSTOOTH. All factors read as DESTINY to me.

[I like to think Nodame would wear a similar coat]

And just the other day at Target, I was wondering what color tights I should get. I've been seeing opaque colors on many women now, and since I wear a lot of black, I thought that might work. But then I looked beyond the opaque color selection, and noticed a black and dark gray houndstooth-y print. DESTINY!

[Knobby knees]

I also bought some leftover houndstooth fabric a while back, but my sewing projects have been put on indefinite hiatus for now. Eventually, I'll make something...a DS case? An acorn-collecting pouch?

The other Animal Crossing character who has inspired me to seek certain prints is Blathers, museum-curator-owl. I always meant to further investigate the acquisition of argyle clothing, like a sweater, but who wants to wear argyle or a sweater in the spring and summer? Finally, this fall, J. Crew answered my calls with a multitude of argyle sweaters. Unfortunately, some were cashmere (=expensive), but I found some merino wool cardigans in a different section. DESTINY!

[Maybe I should've become a museum curator...]

Much like last fall and winter, my wardrobe consists of black, gray, and white. This could be the influence of Mordecai, but these are also the easiest colors to work with. Now, if only I could make and save money in my normal life the way I do in Animal Crossing life, I could fund more houndstooth and argyle investments...and so much more...

To be continued.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Acorn Festival

I feel lame blogging from a tea cafe, but at least I had a relatively productive day. Plato and I are buddies--I know he don't hate on women.

Across a plethora of DS consoles world-wide this week, many Animal Crossing players are celebrating the Acorn Festival. I've been looking forward to this for a long time because I like festivals, and for this one, you have access to special "mush" items (so you can make a "mush-room" in your house--GET IT?!). Tortimer, dressed as "Cornimer," gives you the items for gathering a certain number of the acorns. There are a variety of acorns, who knew? Round, small, large, normal, and rotten. If you give him a rotten one, he gets mad.

[Some Japanese acorns from some Japanese blog]

[Rotten acorn!]

Tipper, my big-headed cow neighbor, pointed out that there aren't any oak trees in our town, so where do the acorns come from? Turns out that huge head isn't for nothing. In any case, now I want to find and collect real acorns.

[I could make Totoro acorns]

In the Japanese classic "Totoro," Mei collects acorns that the mini-Totoros have left behind. Where can I get acorns in Chicago?! Could there be Chicagoan Totoros?!

[From the "Republic of Acorns"]

The arrival of the Acorn Festival means that my anniversary with Animal Crossing is approaching. Joe started playing before me, around this time now. He then told me that Animal Crossing was the shit, and I decided to give it a second try after giving up half a year before. I'm not sure whe the exact day was that I started playing again, but since that date X, I've never gone a day without playing for at least a few minutes. The vicissitudes of life in Humania are sometimes just as extreme and harsh as "real life," but holy crap, this is the greatest game ever.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Britney Spears "Gimme More"

It's Britney, bitch! She takes her batshittery to a new level. In her music video for "Gimme More," she has more funny phrases sung in her inimitable nasal style, forced color and filter effects to aestheticize/minimize the mess she's creating for film, random moments where she appears to have actually stripped, and then there's a good 1 or 2 seconds of her butt jiggling in fishnet hosiery. She even smiles here and there, which is sort of creepy, given the context of her out-of-control life.

TMZ claimed that her performance on the VMA show was "career-ending," but I find that ironic since they basically fuel the non-musical aspect of her career. Indeed, this video would be "career-ending" for any other artist, but this is Britney Spears, and nothing from her shocks us anymore. Unless she ends her life, I don't think anything can stop the masses from paying attention to her. So assuming she doesn't die, I think that there is a lot of hope for America's Paradigmatic Pop Princess. If Mimi can do it, so can Brit-Brit!