Tuesday, July 29, 2008

(Hipsters/Hippies) + (10 years later) = Yuppie

I was having a discussion with a friend about Hipsters and Hippies today, as she was dismayed at the rate in which they have quickly populated much of the greater NYC area. My friend, a transplant from the cornfields of the far west, is very much a conservative (think perky, 1950s housewife, minus the Valium) and who has a great distaste for Hipsters and Hippies. She believes they have tainted her NYC existence, as her humble abode is now turning trendy and expensive. Her distaste has caused her to interchange the words Hippie and Hipster to define our 20-something peers. Being a somewhat reformed hippie myself (unbeknownst to her!), I have to set the record straight.

Profile of a typical HIPSTER: lives in Williamsburg, lower East Side, invading areas of Sunset Park, Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Greenpoint, and Clinton Hill. Has a large trust fund to finance the apartment, which they furnish with “finds” from street curbs/craigslist, goodwill, vintage stores, or inherited from their parent’s third summer house. Wears tight pants, smokes, hates other Hipsters, and talks incessantly about art, creating art, displaying art, defining true and authentic forms of art, how other people’s forms of art as not true and authentic art. Most likely looking tortured, or paying a lot of money to look tortured. Personal hygiene is questionable (“I don’t have money to pay the bills” – a blatant lie! Water is included in most NYC rents, especially ones requiring parents to co-sign the lease, as well as partially or wholly finance). Exists primarily in NYC. Close relatives are borderline Goths and Indie Concert Nerds found in other parts of the continental US.

Profile of HIPPIE: lives in a rent-controlled hole in the Village if they are lucky, outer boroughs if not, hangs out in Union Square. Hippie ideals include going back to nature, and the old/primitive way of things. Wears all natural fibers (think hemp and linen), eats only raw foods, makes their own deodorant, likes to protest the big and minuscule, either abstains completely or smokes a lot of pot, does Yoga, takes vitamin supplements for added nourishment when eating raw foods is not enough. Drinks and eats many soy products. Personal hygiene is very questionable. Hair most likely in dreads or general disarray (carefully windswept with clay or wax-based hair products).

These two profiles seemingly have nothing in common at first glance; upon closer inspection, they have a lot in common, which leads me to believe that my friend was right in using the two words interchangeably. For example, both hippies and hipsters have questionable personal hygiene habits. The hipster because he supposedly can’t afford it, the hippie because they don’t want to bow down to social convention, or that they are too high on “herbs” to realize they smell like old cheese whiz. They also take themselves way too seriously – this is to be expected from Hipsters, but is a bit disappointing for the Hippies, as they are supposed to be accepting of diverse view points and all of that brotherly love stuff. In reality, they only love/screw those that support their particular view of life and try to shame others into believing what they believe is to be the only way to live life (of which I have been plenty guilty of, in my most zealous phases of my life, I admit).

Because Hipsters and Hippies have so much in common, they are bound to hate one another. One medium however, has brought them together, as I am finding out more and more: knitting, of course! It is very logical – from the Hipsters point of view, knitting is a form of art, and a FIBER art, no less. Hippies, on the other hand, who think they invented the Greening movement, knitting is the ultimate “Green” activity. What better way to sustain local sheep farmers, say f*** you to mass consumer culture and be at one with nature by touching soft, hand-spun yarn bought on prime real estate in Soho?

While the fiber art form of knitting bridges the difference between the Hipsters and Hippies, another thing will inevitably occur to converge the two cultures – old age. As the body muscles wear down, so does the will to live uncomfortably – walking everywhere loses its Greening appeal, and eschewing personal hygiene will be compromised for the banking/investment jobs needed to afford the trendy diggs. Yes – the hippies and hipsters of yesteryear will become the present day Yuppie. Soon enough, they will start to shop at whole foods (it’s organic!); buy items from Ann Taylor Loft, J Crew, and Brooks Brothers (they have wool and silk!); “interacting with nature” will equal sailing on a motorboat or kayaking near their long island summer home; “art” will take the form of ostentatious purchases in overpriced flea markets or foreign trips abroad. Sad but true. As I quickly depart my mid-twenties to approach my late twenties I feel am feeling the inevitable slide into yuppy-dom. No one can save me now.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pit Stop at an Alpaca Farm in the Middle of Maine

Hurray for Alpacas and their woolly fluffiness. This is the most expensive scarf I have to date. At $14 a skein, I didn't want to buy the requisite 10 needed to make a small sweater that I'll inevitably botch, so I went stingy and bought 3 skeins. Although a scarf is a very basic and boring item, it is at the same time the perfect thing to snuggle against and hide behind when the man-made wind tunnels (thanks to high rises, lack of trees, and being on an island near the water) rip into you at 50 miles an hour. The picture was taken after one season of wearing, and it held up well - the scarf has started to felt a bit, no doubt from the snow and whatever else that got on it. The best part of it was that it's gotten softer over time, and not pilly like I expected. If I ever find the farm again, I'd like to go back - I remember it being near Moody's Diner, which is kinda-sorta famous... (sorry, Mainers)

Sweater Woes

So here's the story - I got 6 lovely skeins from Purl - Rowan Tapestry in Country. It's made partly out of wool, partly out of soy fiber. I loved the color scheme, and I loved it even more that it was on clearance! Soy fiber was also intriguing to me. I used a pattern from KnitScene, Fall 2006 called Platinum by Luncinda Heller, but it was a short sleeved sweater and was supposed to be short enough to expose the midriff. Seeing no sense in making a belly shirt out of a wool sweater, I decided to make it full length and make the sleeves as long as the yarn will hold out. It was my first project that required sewing the pieces together - ick. The result is above- although it looks pretty good on the coat hanger, it's so damn small that I look like an Olympic swimmer trying to put his speedos on after lunching at the all-you-can-eat-buffet. I am however, proud of my cabling job. The next step is ripping out the bottom and lengthening it - this is evidence that the sweater was intact and looked halfway decent before I go and butcher it beyond recognition! That, and I have to find a way to de-itchify the thing - tried using hair conditioner, with minimal results...

A Present

A relaxation picture (taken in Yarmouth, MA) for an exceptionally irritating day. Curse people who waste other people's time, making them fix up messes they create for themselves. Just because someone is unorganized, doesn't mean they should be causing other people to live their miserable reality alongside them! TGIF~!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bye Bye Nalgene

Having resisted the Anti-Nalgene movement for as long as I could (I faithfully used my undergrad and graduate school themed Nalgenes for years) I finally gave into convention and got myself a Kleen Kanteen, over the more popular and more wildly coveted Sigg. This was a planned impulsive buy at Freeport Maine's LL Bean Flagship store during the fourth of July weekend. I was very excited, as it looked like an old school milk bottle, and the top was wide enough for me to wash out with a scrub brush. There were no signs of an epoxy coating in the Klean Kanteen found in the Sigg, which in all likelihood would later reveal to cause yet another horrible disease! Although the Sigg was a bit more exciting in design, the coating on the inside of the bottle freaked me out. Aesthetics almost trumped real or imagined health concerns, until I saw the price. The Kanteen was cheaper, and I of course never turn down the better deal! Being an avid drinker of tea however, I am somewhat concerned that my new heat conducting toy will end up giving me third degree burns - true to its word, it is a piece of metal with no coating whatsoever. But by being a panic driven consumer yuppie, the very type of person I have fought not to be (although inevitably will be), maybe I deserve a taste of my own medicine...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Knitting Rant

Although I claim to have a passion for knitting, I realized I had more rant posts than knit posts... oops! I'll blame the heat for my spicy ways. I do have a number of projects, which I haven't had a chance to post - completed items include a silk/wool shrug, a short sleeve sweater (that needs modification, as it currently fits an 8 year old. It needs an upgrade so that it can fit a 12 year-old. Yes, it's for me - spiciness and shortness of stature seem to mix, or rather, it's better tolerated by the general public, dismissed as cute or feisty and not taken very seriously... grr...), an alpaca scarf made with ridiculously expensive yet oh so soft yarn (at $14 a skein x 3 to make the scarf, it better be!) bought on impulse in the rural backroads of Maine, and hand warmers (practical for the two days between switching the office air system from summer to winter). In between projects include the River Forest Gansey from Hand Knit Holidays (I was nervous about doing an intricate pattern, so I knit tighter for the parts of the sweater that I did first, namely the back, so that the front and back are disproportionate, and I am too lazy to do it over, or block it into shape, plus I have to finish making the sleeve, not to mention make the collar and sew it together -blah!), and the Central Park Hoodie (which I have all the parts for, I just have to sew in the sleeves, then block it into submission). Upcoming projects that I haven't started or bought yarn for include some/a lot of items in Vintage Knits. All of the projects, including any upcoming and uncompleted ones require touching wool in 100 degree weather... most of which are completed during my morning commute filled with grumpy Brooklyn-ites, then Manhattan-ites, then Bronx-ites as I make my way through 3 boroughs for a total of 3 hours each day... not so appealing. But I have been on a knitting kick, despite it all - must do it while it lasts, as my undiagnosed but long suspected ADHD will kick in and I'll find new things to obsess about for a short time... only to revisit them a month, or 5 years later.