Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why?

People note how often I go to meetups with other bloggers and ask why I do it.  The answer is simple -- I want to make friends!  I want to deepen my friendship with promising online acquaintances. 

Experience has taught me that you don't really know someone until you meet them in person.  Being in their physical presence quickly tells you stuff you'll never learn online.  Like how pleasant they are, how fit they are, how they carry themselves.  In five minutes, you quickly grasp a person's basic nature and social aspirations.

When you encounter someone on the Internet and they seem nice, why wouldn't you want to get to know them better?  That, I believe, is a better question than the one posed to me.

Next weekend, I'm taking a long motorcycle trip up north to visit another blogger whom I've never met before.  Her name is Aimee and she blogs at the humbly-named, Just Another Crafting Blog.  I admire Aimee's exceptional skill at sewing but, even more, I like her personality.  She's sweet, welcoming and full of joy.  Everything I look for in a friend. 

Last January, Aimee sewed me an apron which is cuter than cute.  I blogged about it in deservingly gushy terms.  Check out that post here.

I'm looking forward to some time in the saddle.  Riding a motorcycle on long trips is fundamentally different from buzzing around town.  Your mind moves into a different mode.  If I hadn't experienced this, I wouldn't have believed it.  Your brain, freed of normal concerns, meditates on its own.  You get the deepest thoughts while riding for hours, ideas you can't pump out in the hurly-burly of regular life.

Have you done a blogger-meetup?  Do you want to?  Unless you live on Mars, there's a possibility I could knock on your door some day and ask you to join me for a cup of tea.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Paul Robeson


Thrift-stores are good for more than just clothes.  My favorite store now carries old vinyl records.

While there last week, I leafed through the vinyl collection and spotted an early Paul Robeson album.  I grabbed and bought it for only a dollar.  While checking out, the cashier (an African-American woman slightly older than me) got excited:  "Paul Robeson!" she exclaimed.  "He's a part of history!"  She called over to the other cashiers (young women) and asked them if they knew Robeson.  None did.  She turned to me with disappointment and said, "These kids, they don't know their history."  I sympathized and told her everyone should know Robeson's story.

Do you know who Paul Robeson is?

Let me start by saying that he had one of the most beautiful voices ever heard.  He was a singer whose vocal talent was extraordinary.  You may have heard Paul's voice and not known it was him -- his rendition of "Ol' Man River" from the musical "Show Boat" is legendary.

Sadly, Robeson's story is tragic.  Born at the beginning of the last century, Paul performed to great acclaim on stage and in movies.  He was internationally famous.  But he had strong political beliefs and became active in the civil rights movement.  These beliefs made powerful forces organize against him.  He was investigated by the government during the disgraceful McCarthy era and was blacklisted which meant his career was thwarted.  Even his passport was revoked so he couldn't travel and make money.

But his art lives on.  I enjoy listening to his music and recommend it to you.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Now In Canada!

The magical journey of the pink boxing gloves is now international.  The gloves are in Canada where three bloggers are going to don them in front of their igloos.  What?  Not all Canadians live in igloos?!

The first Canadian blogger is Sheila, probably the most famous fashion-blogger I know.  Sheila's been blogging since primitive women came out of caves and arranged leaves into outfits.  Sheila posts so regularly you'd think it was her job -- but it isn't.  Blogging is her passionate hobby which she pursues on top of a demanding office position.

I like Sheila's creative spirit.  She finds unusual items in thrift-stores and combines them in fun ways.  Her style is unique and entertaining.  I wondered how people in her office react to her sometimes flamboyant clothing and Sheila explained they call her "artistic" and accept her style as part of her personality.  It's a charming personality, in my opinion.

Sheila's blog-post is here

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Blogger Meetup

There's no better way to spend a nice Sunday in Summer than meeting a blogger-friend in person for the first time.  That's what I did today.

I've known Michi for years, but only online.  She lives in New York but is reclusive and hard to draw out into the open.  Like a skittish doe, Michi fears hunters who want to shoot and mount her head on their wall.  I was carefully slow in approaching her; I didn't break any twigs or make loud noises.  I held out my hand with a treat and she cautiously nibbled on it.

Seriously, what attracts me to Michi is her exceptional artistic talent.  She draws, she photographs and she creates art.  I bought a beautiful fashion illustration of hers early on and she later gave me a second one as a birthday gift (shown at left).  For anyone in the New York area, Michi is currently doing boudoir photography.

We met and spent time at a lovely tea parlor in the West Village of New York City.  The perfect setting for a relaxing, wide-ranging chat.  Discretion prohibits me from disclosing its content but I found Michi as charming IRL as she is online.  In fact, she exceeded my expectations by a wide margin.  Michi possess intelligence not only of the cognitive kind but also of the emotional kind.  She perceives the world in much the same way I do.

I was pleasantly surprised at our conversation which included Michi asking me probing, insightful questions.  Her questions forced me to think about important subjects and confront illogic in my head.  It's a rare friend who can help you improve this way.  I appreciated it and enjoyed her company immensely.

Michi prides herself on wearing only black.  While you might think that's limiting, it isn't when you have as much style in your pores as she has.  For example, who wouldn't want to look this good?!


Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Motorcycle Problem

In the hot Summer, road materials get soft.  When you lean a 800-lb. motorcycle on its side and concentrate all that weight in a tiny area, it has great force.  Over a few hours, the kickstand can sink into the surface.  If it sinks too much, the motorcycle will topple over and its rider will return to a scene of horror. 

To prevent this, many riders put metal plates under the kickstands; they distribute the weight over a wider surface and prevent sinking.  Recently I was having this problem with my BMW K1200LT in my office's parking-lot so I looked for something to do the trick.  I found this...


Thursday, July 24, 2014

What Do You Do?

In my last post, I invited suggestions on how my outfit could be more feminine -- and you were wonderfully helpful.  Your ideas are sound and I learn from them.  I'd like to build on that response in another direction.

One thoughtful commenter suggests that, in addition to clothing, I explore activities to feel more feminine.  Her suggestions are things I already do -- with great enthusiasm.  I started incorporating these activities into my life during the past few years and find deep joy in them.  The expression, "Fake it 'til you make it," has some application here.  Diving into feminine activities makes me feel "normal" even when I'm inept at them.  Opening doors to female life is immensely fun for me.  Plus, I will eventually get better at them and growing mastery is pleasing in itself.

The commenter suggests (1) wearing perfume, (2) mani-pedi's, and (3) watching Fashion Police.  I replied to her and said: "You're right -- and I'm pursuing them with enthusiasm. I found and wear a wonderful scent (Harvey Prince's Hello); I paint my toes every week; and I not only watch Fashion Police every Friday, I bought my own Joan Ranger t-shirt." 

When I went to the Fashion Police website to buy the tee, I was surprised to discover that they only sell the shirts in women's sizes.  Are there no men in America who want to buy a FP t-shirt?  I guess I'm the only one.  I ordered the largest size they offer and hoped for the best.  It fits, barely, and shows off every muscle in my chest.

The commenter's kind suggestion makes me wonder if there are other activities out there that I would enjoy.  My vision on such things is not as broad as yours, so I'd like to ask you for help once again. What do you do that makes you feel feminine? 

There are some things that are not available to me (e.g., birthing a baby), but those are actually very few; most activities are open to everyone and just require desire and effort.  For example, I've always wanted to learn how to sew.  I plan to embrace that activity soon.  Several of you display masterful sewing creations on your blogs and I admire that skill.  Plus, knowing how to sew would actually improve my outfits since most thrift-store purchases would benefit from some tailoring.

What else is out there?  What do you do and enjoy?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's Not Easy...

Contemplating this outfit, I wanted to look feminine.  Or at least create an illusion of femininity.  That's a bigger job than you'd expect.

I envy you guys.   With your naturally curvy bodies, smooth skin and long hair, you toss on a pretty dress and look instantly beautiful.  Sure, adding makeup and accessories takes effort but the process isn't unusually hard for you.  It is for me. 

To look feminine, I need to carefully plan how to create curves that aren't there, minimize certain physical attributes and focus attention on others.  Most critically, I need to generate a mist of poise and charm that real women (like you) possess.  Believe me, it ain't easy to do this with my raw materials.

But I'm up for the challenge.  I gave it a shot here with three thrift-store purchases (dress, belt, shoes).  How close did I come?  Any suggestions for how to look more feminine?