Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Weirdo non-sequitur post about my Old Navy canvas wallet

When I was 16ish, I had a cheap-ass leather wallet. It belonged to my grandfather when he died, but I don't think it had ever been used. I'm not sure how old it was, but in the clear driver's license pocket there was card with terribly-illustrated drawings of Alan Ladd and Virginia Mayo. There is no way I'd have recognized Ladd and Mayo's on sight, but they were helpfully labeled "Alan Ladd" and "Virginia Mayo," respectively. Handy! I thought this was so bizarrely awesome that I left the card in place.

It wasn't a very well-made wallet, and it starting falling apart rather quickly. Luckily, around my 18th birthday (which HOLY CRAP WAS 12 YEARS AGO!!!), I received an Old Navy gift card.

Old Navy Canvas WalletI walked on in and, not finding any clothes I was particularly enamored with, I ended up picking up a new wallet instead. It was a green canvas wallet; a bi-fold with a Velcro clasp and a zippered coin purse built in to the front. I transferred over the contents of my old wallet, including the ugly illustration of Alan Ladd and Virginia Mayo, and off I went!

It's now 12 years later, and this durable beast of a money holder is still the only wallet I've owned as an adult. It's seen some action: I've lost it for extended periods at least twice. It's been dropped into the ocean in a foreign country. It's packed around a LOT of crap, including ticket stubs for every movie I watched from 1998 to 2005 (it seemed like a good idea at the time, okay?). It has held up amazingly well. The zipper on the coin purse is shot, and there's a bit of fraying here and there, and Alan & Virginia departed in the last two years, but otherwise it's in great condition.

A few years ago, I looked at replacing it. I'd had the thing for a decade and although it didn't need replacing, I wanted to get something new. I looked. Hard. And nothing I found had everything I wanted: bi-fold, canvas (or at least not leather, as I was vegetarian at the time), reasonably attractive. I did find a hemp wallet that was just what I was looking for... except for the giant marijuana leaf embroidered on the front. Nothing met my criteria, so I decided to just hold on to what I knew I liked until it totally gave out...

I don't know what I'll do when that happens!

Side note 1: This is not a plug for Old Navy. due to the labor practices of their various factories, I don't shop at Gap, Inc. Gap is actually one of the better companies when it comes to big-time overseas garment production, but they are no means good guys. Even if 90% of a company's labor comes from "clean" sources, that still means 10% comes from deplorable or slave-like conditions. For khakis.

Side note 2: Hey hemp people: you know, some of us actually might prefer to buy ethically-made, fair-trade, sweatshop free, and/or animal-free products without giant ganja leaves on them, or giant proclamations that "Hey! This is made out of hemp! That makes me better than you, you jackass!" on your products (okay, I may be exaggerating... slightly). And don't get me started on the whole "organic" thing. That's a different post for a different day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Revisiting my "personal history" posts

In the early days of this blog, all the way back in the last decade, I did a little miniseries of posts about my personal history, particularly my relationship with religion. A recent thread on Skepchick has caused me to dig those posts up.

Rereading these, I'm surprised by my level of candor and the depth of my descriptions. I've been an atheist for a long time, but I wrote these as I was starting to find community in other people who felt likewise, and beginning my affiliation with rational skepticism.

I really like these posts. And I hope you do too:
  • Part 1 - Who I am now (well, who I was in 2008, which is mostly the same thing). Why I'm an atheist & a skeptic and what those terms mean to me.
  • Part 2 - I grew up in a Mormon family and community, but my parents always encouraged critical thinking.
  • Part 3 - As I became a teenager, I began reconciling my belief -- or lack thereof -- with a scientific viewpoint that increasingly edged-out religion.
  • Part 4 - "Agnostic, leaning toward atheism"
I would love to hear comments about your own experiences with religion in the comments here on on the posts themselves. Cheers!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Be my podcast co-host!

I'm working on a new podcast. I don't want to give too much away about it just yet, as you filthy internet thieves will steal my ideas, and my soul along with them!

(Um... That is to say, I want to wait until I have a the first few episodes planned out and the first one in the bag before I get too loudmouthed about it.)

The show will have a single, ongoing topic, and I'm going to approach it from a skeptical perspective... though it's not a topic that generally gets a lot of attention from the skeptical community and isn't covered by any other skeptical podcasts that I know of... And best of all, that topic is going to lend itself to being a LOT of fun.

I'm also looking for a regular co-host. It's probably easiest if you live in the Salt Lake area, but I'm open to anyone. Care to participate in a biweekly/semimonthly podcast on a mystery topic? (Just ask me, and I'll spill the details.)

Also, the plan is also to do regular scientific-ish (emphasis on the -ish!) tests to be included in the show, and will require a decent number of participants. The idea is to put to-the-test various claims, myths and legends about my mystery topic. And it will be AWESOME for everyone involved. I promise it'll be a BLAST.


P.S., Hmmm... Upon rereading those last couple of paragraphs, it sounds like I'm obliquely implying that the mystery topic will involve an orgy, for science. Though science is a perfectly good reason to have an orgy, it is not currently on the agenda, as I cannot afford that much plastic sheeting.


P.P.S., And no, it doesn't involve drug use either.


P.P.P.S., To the person who stumbled upon my last post (the decade-in-review music post) with the Google search term "erotic preteens": I heartily recommend you go die in a fire.