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"Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood" — Item 5 of 12

August 30, 2007 · Leave a Comment

“Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood”
Fall 2007 Product Line
Item #5 of 12: Timberland– Men’s Plaid Shorts

Item 5 in the “Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood” fashion line is a pair of plaid shorts by Timberland.

My college roommate works at Adidas. Part of his job is “scouting” early trends in urban fashion in New York, Boston, DC and LA, which he can bring back as inspiration to his designers in Portland, to guide them in their upcoming year’s fashion line.

Last year when my friend visited me in DC, we went to the “And1 Mixtape Tour” at the MCI Center, which of course, was a spectacle to behold. While we were there, he kept pointing out to me the plaid shorts people were wearing… I distinctly remember him telling me: “next year, plaid’s going to BLOW UP.”

And did it ever. Plaid became an integral fad from American Eagle and Abercrombie, to Diesel and Seven, to Sean Jean and Mark Ecko. Of course, the OG of plaid is the lumberjack outdoorsy labels, which is why we’re going Timberland here.

Is plaid “played out”? Maybe. But I give respect to the Timberland label, if for no other reason than the fact that their CEO’s were caught blindsighted when black urban youth started purchasing their merchandise, which was at the time being marketed to white weekend warriors. I’d like to say I’m contributing to dissolving stereotypes by bringing that cycle back around full circle. That, and raising the roof.

The Timberland Plaid Shorts can be purchased at the Pentagon City Macy’s for $20 on clearance.

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The Absurdity of Financial Aid

August 29, 2007 · 1 Comment

I just sat through a quasi-lecture in which a professor of Advanced Economic and Policy Analysis broke down the most recent sub-prime credit crunch our country faced this summer in mortgage markets.

Whatever she had to say about uncorrelated risk and capital flows was stratospheres above my head. (The hope is that by the end of these two years, I’ll be able to hang–or at least pretend to be able to hang–with whatever it was she said).

In the meantime, the inbetween time, I can’t help but chuckle whenever I hear a PhD talk about “capital flows” and speak to the complicated predictive models they’ve built for hedge funds to “grease the wheels” or “oil the gears” of the economy, lending money at the right time, place and amount to keep everything moving forward.

Why do I laugh? Because these professors, who study and analyze economics at the macro-level, work for an institution that, for some inexplicable reason, can’t disperse it’s financial aid to students until THE THIRD WEEK OF CLASS.

That means in the meantime, when I’m looking for a place to live that requires first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and security deposit UP FRONT ($3450); when I’m renting a car and temporary storage to move my things ($550); when I’m paying double rent; when I’ve quit my job and have no other income; when I have the largest credit card statement of my life because I’ve spent the last three weeks eating out in New York… I’m on my own for cash.

Today I went to the Financial Aid office, because Sallie Mae had told me that the funds had already been transferred, and I wanted my hands on that cash. It seems that Columbia sits on the money until I’ve registered for class (which I can’t do until tomorrow), then sits EVEN LONGER until the 13th (when fees and tuition are paid first), and ONLY THEN begins the process of depositing the remainder into my bank account.

The irony of a professor who is paid by these funds (which represent my mortgaged future earnings) trying to explain to me “capital flow” is rib-elbowing hardy har har hilarious. Bastards.

PS

My advice to anyone who finds and reads this post from search terms of “SIPA” and “Financial Aid”: make sure you’ve saved appropriately for September and January, because the money comes SLOOOOOOOOWWWW.

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Trapped in a Liminal Space

August 26, 2007 · 1 Comment

While filling out a security clearance for my previous job, I was required to complete a comprehensive list of all of my addresses of residence over the previous seven years of my life, for any stint over 4 weeks (note: this is something you should try for yourself sometime… it’s quite an interesting exercise).

By the time I had finished the form, I was shocked. During the seven year span, I had moved 15(!) times, living in 12 different residences, in 6 different cities — Irvine, Santa Ana (x4), LA (x5), DC (x2), Havana, and now, once again, NYC (x2). I had lived in a dirty tenement; an even dirtier co-op; on the floor of my friends’ apartment; a hotel; two dorms; four different apartments; and, during five excruciatingly painful episodes, at my parent’s house(s).

Looking back at all of those moving experiences– all of the boxes and bags I carried around; the sentimental trinkets I had unpacked onto my desks (only to repack months later); the layers of tape on the backs of the photos I stuck on the walls above my various beds (air mattresses included)– I recognized that, there were some goodbyes that were substantially more difficult for me to make than others, including my most recent goodbye to DC.

Now: as a child of divorce, I of course have my requisite attachment issues, and am no fan of goodbyes, in general. But the emotions I experienced when leaving DC were only comparable to three other experiences in my life:

1) Coming back from summer camp in Catalina (very first kiss!) to find out that my dad had got a new job in Orange County and that we were moving away from San Diego (my parents broke the news over dinner at Carl’s Jr. and I bawled like an abandoned bride on her wedding day);

2.) Saying goodbye, flight by flight, to all of the friends I had made in Cuba, as our planes departed from Cancun back to our respective corners of the US, (I was such an inconsolable wreck that I almost got detained in customs for getting smart with a border agent);

3.) Moving out of my apartment after senior year of college (playing foosball by myself in an empty apartment and weeping softly).

In between the frantic process of packing up all of my worldly belongings in DC and dumping them in some sketchy closet in Harlem, I had a serene 4-hour drive up the eastern sea-board in which to reflect on what made these particular goodbyes so much more painful than the others. (Note: This is where the post starts becoming relevant to YOU.)

The painful goodbyes are the goodbyes of liminality… the transitional state between two phases in our lives, the “in-betwixt and in-between” periods when we make our rites of passage metaphysically that are tangled and coupled with the actual physical moves themselves, compounding the associated emotions.


The liminal state is “characterized by ambiguity, openness, and indeterminacy. One’s sense of identity dissolves to some extent, bringing about disorientation. Liminality is a period of transition where normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behavior are relaxed – a situation which can lead to new perspectives.”

During my housing search I liked to joke that I was homeless and unemployed, because I felt trapped in this liminal space between young professional and student, between DCist and New Yorker, between post-college and mid-twenties, between the things that could’ve been in my future had I not shifted my life’s rudder hard to the right, and the actual path that now lies ahead because I did.

The actual physical process of MOVING… of seeing my room completely empty, of saying goodbye to the people who had become my world over the last two years… is jarring enough in and of itself. But the self-realization of maturation that accompanies this move, of the opportunity costs of heading in a new and different (and presumably upward) direction, is pretty hard to swallow… especially when you’re driving in Delaware and “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” comes on the radio.

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"Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood" — Item 4 of 12

August 24, 2007 · 1 Comment


(Note: I apologize if this is getting tedious, but I don’t have consistent internet access right now, and all of my worldly possessions are locked in a metal box in Harlem, so I don’t have much time to sit and ponder and write for the time being. Also, I find this extremely amusing.)

Item #4 of the 12-piece Fall 2007 “Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood” fashion line is a cotton multi-striped crew neck by JoS. A. Bank.

There is a very simple equation when you’re shopping on a budget for cross-over fits that wear as well in the classroom as they do on the street:

  • High End retailer + gaudy colors + last year’s line + size XL = HUGE DISCOUNT

Apparently this equation is a kept-secret within the fashion industry that was leaked in 1985 by someone within the Tommy Hilfiger organization, and most recently was leaked by someone within Lacoste. Today I share that the VERY SAME EQUATION works at Men’s clothier JoS. A. Bank.

“Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood”
Fall 2007 Product Line

Item #4 of 12:
JoS. A. Bank — Men’s Multi Striped Cotton Crewneck

The multi colored blue cotton crew is an appropriate item on the Columbia University campus, since the school colors are some bastardized version of Tarheel blue and white.

Because it is a smidgen classier than previous items, the crew can be worn in dressier occasions (such as taking your girl out to Olive Garden, or going to Church) with creased khaki’s, wire framed glasses (no prescription, for decorative purposes only), and black sneakers.

The suggested retail for ths item is $95. However, with the aforementioned equation, the crewneck can be obtained on clearance for $9.45 plus tax.

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"Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood" — Item 3 of 12

August 23, 2007 · Leave a Comment

Item 3 in the Fall 2007 “Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood” product line is an electric all-over patterned teal on cream goalie-sleeve t-shirt from Brooklyn Industries.

“Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood”
Fall 2007 Product Line
Item #3 of 12:
Brooklyn Industires– Men’s 80’s Style Goalie-sleeved T-shirt

Representing other burroughs is essential to any proper New York clothing ensemble, and this item from Brooklyn Industries fits the bill… although the baggy XL may not fit the man.

The all-over pattern on a cream background says “I can keep it clean” and will dissuade the casual observer from suspecting that you are, in fact, homeless and unemployed. The electric blue print emits a radiant energy that is particularly comforting in the doldrums of a dreary fall study session in the library, or a cold night in a cardboard box in Central Park.

This item is available on clearance for $15 at Brooklyn Industries (in-store only… hence the camera-phone photo). The BI label is perfect for hipsters looking to ironically capture the ostentatious nature of urban-wear without getting murdered.
I’m driving to Manhattan in style… Ford Expedition! It’s fun to pretend you are successful.

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"Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood" — Item 2 of 12

August 22, 2007 · Leave a Comment

Yesterday I introduced my new fashion line: the Fall 2007 “Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood” 12 item set. To be honest, the first item I presented was actually the third item purchased in the set, due to the aforementioned inclement weather.

Let’s return back to the first item, or inspirational piece:

This item was purchased by my soon-to-be former roommate Allison and our mutual friend Jackie, who was in town for our last house party. The theme of the party was “streets of DC,” so it seems appropriate that my “New York Starter Set” begins with a District original:

“Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood” Fall 2007
Product Line Item #2 of 12:
Pepe Jeans– Men’s Ryan Cubic Dice T-Shirt

This T-shirt by Pepe Jeans is the epitome of iconic imagery denotating upper echelon “hood status.” The multi-faceted dice face evoke the complex intelligence of both Picasso and Mah-Jongg, and the surreal “7 count” dice reminds us at once of both Miro’s imagination and Ashy Larry’s gambling addiction. The dice themselves cluster together delicately amidst the galaxy of stars, reflecting the inter-connectedness and inter-dependence of the classroom and ghetto.

The suggested retail value of the Ryan Cubic Dice shirt is $40.00… however, this item can be found at the Prince George’s County Marshall’s for half that amount. The item displayed above is green with lime accents; the item I own is teal with orange accents, size XL.

UPDATE

I just found out that Jackie’s credit card information was stolen at the PG County Marshall’s… it is highly suggested that you purchase all of the “Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood” items in cash.

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The Fall 2007 "Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood" Fashion Line

August 21, 2007 · Leave a Comment

During the three day span over which I pounded the pavement searching for an apartment in Manhattan, the temperature somehow changed from 90 degrees and 85% humidity to 65 degrees and rainy… overnight. Needless to say, since I had only packed shorts and t-shirts for the trip, I was shit out of luck for this kind of unexpected weather. To accomodate myself, I went shopping for a hoodie.
Now: the sensation of shopping for expensive clothing while you’re a) unemployed and b) homeless, is exhilirating. Spending conspicuously with financial aid is like playing with the house’s money in Vegas, only you’re playing with your own mortaged money, which is really the government’s money… so I guess it’s YOUR money, John Q. Taxpayer. Thanks!
I have had some frivolous discussions with my roommate Al about doing a “New York Makeover” before I make the transition from DC. Such a makeover would entail trading in my stained and ratty slacks and button-downs, obnoxious pastel polos and cargo shorts, and third-generation hand-me-down-moth-infested shirts, for something “Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood.”

With this “ghetto-eye for the asexual-guy” mentality, I present the first piece of my 12-piece wardrobe for the Fall of 2007:

“Fit for the Classroom, Fit for the Hood”
Fall 2007 Product Line
Item #1 of 12:
The North Face– Men’s Logan Full-Zip Hoody

This charcoal number has an all-over print of faux wood which says “Yo, I live wit my moms, but I still fly as hell.” The fleece inner-lining is a bold burgundy which causes “bitches to flock,” similar to an exotic bird, in nature.

The hoodie can be found at the “Harlem Outfitters” on 145th and Broadway. The sizes available on hand range from 2XLT to 8XLT, but if you’re nice to the store manager he might carry a L in the back. The price of the product is negotiable, but if you work it right (Spanish speaking is a plus) you can get it for $60 flat, with no additional taxes.

Stay tuned for items #2-12 to follow.

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FILE UNDER: NO LONGER HOMELESS

August 21, 2007 · 3 Comments

So I FINALLY did it… I landed a place to live!

After all the bitching and moaning I’ve done over the last month, in the end the place I nabbed worked itself out so quickly and smoothly, that I’m kind of still in shock.

It’s weird. I’m actually kind of angry that it was SO easy (please excuse lame live-journal nature of this post again, but I owe this to my friends after how much they listened to me whine):

On the way over to see what I considerd to be a “safety” apartment, I got a call that the beautiful brownstone 2 BR for $1000 on 142nd/Broadway that I was #2 for had been claimed. Only minutes later, I was talking numbers on a very nice 3 BR on 123rd and La Salle for $1150. The place was mine if I wanted it. The thing was, there were two other people coming over within ten minutes to see the same room. So I took it. And that was that.

Now… $1150 is at the tippy-top of my price-range. I have no idea how much I can afford as a student, but considering I have no salary currently and it’s a $400 jump from my previous apartment… I would guess I can’t afford this place. Priority #1 has shifted to: finding a PT job.

The factors that sold me were: the size of the room, the responsible nature of my future roommate, the quality of the apartment, the fact utilities were included (which is about $70-100 in and of itself), laundry in the building, the furnishings, and most importantly, THE LOCATION. A 10 minute walk to school is MONEY.

The feeling is very much akin to pursuing someone who is out of your league… wearing her down over time with your half-wit and charm…only to discover that the sex is terrible. (Or what I imagine that feeling might be like, since I am a born-again virgin with little to no “game”.)

Anywho… tomorrow I’ll write about the glee of finding a place, if I find time. Gotta go now.

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Update: Housing Search

August 20, 2007 · 2 Comments

I’m currently in the musical chair limbo of: “I can’t promise you the room, but if x happens, you’ll be the first to know.” If blogger had a summation notation function I would express the probability of x happening as a downward sloping asymptote hovering slightly above 0. It sucks.

At this point the search is so utterly despairing that it is full-circle amusing. Here’s one of my favorites so far:

Picture this: A man who sounds like he’s in his late 60s, early 70s has a mansion of an apartment– 8 bedrooms in fact– overlooking Central Park on the West Side. He has presumbably lived in this apartment, which is rent-controlled, for some time, and rents almost exclusively to students to meet the income levels necessary to keep the place.

So essentially this apartment is Real World New York… plus a creepy old man. The apartment is 7 twenty-something students… and an old Shomer Shabis Jew who prefers that you don’t drink alcohol in the apartment on Friday or Saturday. Hilarious.

When I told my friend Adam about this apartment, he responded with this video:

The thing is… I’m DESPERATE to live there. But again, I’m second in line. So frustrating. Will keep you all posted.

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Lame Live Journal Post

August 19, 2007 · 2 Comments

Yeah I hate lame live journals, but I won’t have time over the next few weeks to write anything of substance until I find a place to live. So here’s a quickie:

Yesterday was Harlem Day, and I was in the area checking out some apartments (no luck). I witnessed the greatest spectacle on earth:

1) A block party
2.) A James Brown impersonator in a red velvateen jumpsuit, sweating like a whore in church on Sunday
3.) A rectangle of people, roughly 12 tall by 80 long, doing the electric slide over two city blocks.

Kicking myself over and over and over and over again for not buying a cell phone with video capabilities.

UPDATE:

Someone else had the presence of mind and technology to capture this!!!! Thank God for YouTube!!!

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