*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Monday 26 November 2012

The 'Inter nets', stupid.

Look, I get you're an 'American' clothing retailer with branches where I'm from, and where I live, but now with this thing called the Internet, I call bullshit.

I can accept that you don't carry my sizes in Japan, because the people aren't, though I do wonder why you don't just sell un-hemmed pants so I could pay someone an hour's wages to make them fit me, rather than no option but not to buy shit too short.

But no, it does puzzle me that you don't carry 'medium-tall' and pants with a 32" waist and 34" inseam in Japan, because though you might not want to keep them in each store, it shouldn't be any trouble to keep them in stock to be sent from your online store.  Then again, Canada's branch doesn't, and why should a Japanese operation take into account a million gaijin when even tall natives have to order their clothing from abroad, as some have told me. As for the Canadian operation, I don't see why people the same height as Americans, but somewhat thinner on average, have even less access to thinner sizes, or waist measurements less than the inseams, than what you can get in the States.

In order to get clothing that, I don't know... actually fits someone without 'metabolic syndrome', I have ordered from the States.  Of course it was a PITA*, because due to your relationships/licensing with your overseas branches, you won't ship outside of the States, even though the Canadian and Japanese branches don't carry my fucking size!

I know I am silly.  You cannot be concerned with the availability to, or perception by, overseas customers, since I can go online and see that you charge more in Canada, and far more in Japan, than you do in the States, for the same items.  Don't give me any shit about different costs: each item's made for $5 by some Chinese slave, and shipped for another dollar.

*Had a friend in the States forward it.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Weekend morning language lessons

Scene: Lying in to the late hour of seven o'clock on the weekend, in a pile of futons.  Antisthenes woken by his J-wife and hybrid, wanting nothing more than for them to shut up, make him coffee, or better yet, both.

Hybrid: I'll do it in here!
J-wife: What?
Hybrid: I'll do it in here!
J-wife: Do what?
Hybrid: In here!
J-wife: What?  There's no object in your sentence.
Antisthenes: He is speaking Japanese...

Hybrid: What's that?!
J-wife: Eye blows.
Antisthenes: Eyebrows.
Hybrid: What's that?!
J-wife: Eye brushes.
Antisthenes: Eyelashes!  You are forbidden from teaching my child English!

Incidentally, you can fit this medium Dominos pizza special in a child's seat, in Japan.  As exciting as my life gets.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Where were you twenty-five years ago?

"Imagine a large corporate machine mobilized to get you to buy something you don't need at a tremendously inflated cost, complete with advertising, marketing, and branding that says you're not hip if you don't have one, but when you get one you discover it's of poor quality and obsolete in ten months. That's a BA."

Monday 12 November 2012

Cycling a pair of kids: outside/inside the box?

I have already addressed whether it is better to have a 'long bike' or a trailer to move a pair of kids, though I am now against the idea of a trailer.  I have also looked at tandems, though that is a larger expense for what I'd want.  It's very hard to choose between child trailers, 'long bikes' and tandems, because as a pair of kids age the ease of schlepping them decreases, and the amount they want to be independent increases: up to six, they have to be schlepped; from six to ten they want to pedal, but you'll want to keep them on a tandem.  I have one child soon 2 1/2, and another soon to be born.  Another issue is me (6'+) sharing a bike with my wife (5'1"), though more likely I won't be able to make one thing work for us both.

A Kona Ute set up with a baby-seat for the younger, and stoker-bar for the older one, will cost about $1150, which beats a Surly Big Dummy by a cool grand.  Comes in two sizes, but won't be able to share with the wife.
Tempting, but will get just six years of full use.

An Xtracycle Cargo Joe folds smaller, which is a neat trick, will get the same use, and comes in three sizes. (One size does not fit all: why I am not interested in the Madsen).  It will also cost $200 more than the Kona Ute, set up as I need it.

Then there is this: the Zigo Leader.
It is a bit of a 'dog's breakfast', and $1675 set up as I want (fenders!), but reviews are good.  No, it won't be fast, but how fast should you go with your progeny aboard?  It is a more versatile bakfeits, and much cheaper, and easier to store at home or in a vehicle.  It is meant to fit all sizes of cyclist, which will mean it will be cramped for me, but a set-back seatpost and different bars/stem may help (as is true for the Madsen, Xtracycle, etc.).

It will get only three years' use to the 'long bike's' six, after which I will likely want to get... a 'long bike'.  Hmm...  Though the Zigo may have 50% resale, as would the 'long bike', not sure it is worth going for.  If I'd had twins...

Friday 2 November 2012

That's not how to get people on transit...

... here's how you get people on transit.
Nobody takes transit willingly, because transit sucks.  It's full of the worst things about this planet (the picture is unfair... to the pig).
"L'enfer, ce sont les autres."  I need to get some mileage out of my Philosophy undergraduate degree.

Oh sure, 'foreigners' like Europeans and Japanese will invest in and take transit, but have you seen those places?  Where were they going to park their cars?
You think they crowd in trains with strangers because they're converted to walkable urbanism or want to save the Earth from climate change?  Have you not met a human before?  It's not how we operate.  We make the right choices when we have no better ones.

You look at any city you can get around in best on foot, and it achieved its density a thousand years ago.  If best by transit or bike, a hundred years ago.  If best by car, after WWII.  It's that simple, and there's nothing going to fix the latter cities but time.  Sure, proper planning and investment in the common weal can expedite this, as they do in Europe, and denial and 'culture wars' can delay it, as we do in Toronto, but the outcome is inevitable if a city lasts a few hundred years, it gets better transit than driving.  Toronto may be a special case: transit, driving, walking and cycling all suck presently.

What I've just written came to me on a Tokyo train this morning, smelling 'salaryman' farts and halitosis.  I was only there because I did not have a better option.  If there was a shower at work, I'd rather cycle the 25km each way, every day.  If I had the money to keep a car in Tokyo, I would, rather than crowd in with strangers who shower evenings, not mornings*.  If I had no children to remain alive for, I'd have a motorbike. The only way to get people on transit is to make it suck less than driving, and that's not easy:
- it has to be faster, door to door
- it has to be nearly as comfortable as sitting in your own car seat
- it has to be cheap yet good, so not only the poor use it
- it has to be policed, so the dregs of all classes do not make people leave it
- it has to be well ventilated and air-filtered, because strangers stink
- it has to be more reliable than people's cars and traffic

Until you give N.Americans that transit, fuck you and take the train yourself, pundits.

*Yes, I do realise that N.Americans smell worse than Japanese, but there aren't so goddamn many of us.

Thursday 1 November 2012

Toronto, you didn't have to suck.

Toronto, you didn't have to suck; you could have been Seville, or Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Portland, Montréal, New York...