It’s been a couple weeks since I have written (life gets in the way sometimes), but I figured, with all that’s happened in the comic book industry since I wrote my last blog regarding Marvel being acquired by Disney, why not continue on the same theme?

Times sure have changed from when our parents were younger.  Children today don’t have to go outside to amuse themselves like they used to, going to the local convenient store and picking up those gumballs, and candy. Riding around the neighborhood on their BMX, or whatever type of bicycle you had, getting into all kinds of mischief. Picking up the latest issue of Spider-Man or Justice League of America from the local comic book store and reading it on the sidewalk with their friends while sucking on a popsicle.  No nowadays, children don’t have to work hard to amuse ourselves.  Not when they have Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 around to play at home. Sure their was Atari back then, but now, you can connect with the internet and play with friends online in the comfort of your own home.  Think about that. In this day and age children and young adults don’t have to go outside to meet friends.  You can build a friendship online, through video games or chat forums. Hell you can be in the same room with somebody and not talk to them. At least not with your voice.  That’s what the laptop, blackberry’s and iPhones are for.  So in that same breath, the ongoing adventures of Spider-Man and the JLA have become unimportant, unless the kids can follow them digitally.

Comic books as literature, just don’t appeal to the younger crowd like they used to.  There’s just too many other forms of entertainment kids and young adults can relate to.  But ever since comic book companies have wizened up and opened up the genre to movies and straight to DVD animated features, all of a sudden this became the first phase of resuscitation for this art form.  Now, along with the older adults who have left the literature behind, we have the younger audience being exposed to what was once a primary form of entertainment to the kids. Enter Disney and Warner Bros to save the day.  As was reported earlier this week, DC continued the “corporate theme” and officially began the “DC Entertainment” era.  Now with both Marvel and DC fully belonging to larger entities, does this begin a new era that will once again expose comic books to the masses making it, once again, a relevant form of entertainment? Current comic book fans are waiting nervously to feel the first effects of this change.

We all know what this would mean from a business perspective.  bigger companies equals bigger distribution for movies, DVDs, etc.  But what happens from a creative standpoint?  Will content change? Marvel and DC have both been slowly getting into the digital market having their creative available online.  Will this be prioritized in order to  further open up the genre to a younger crowd?  How will the purists feel about this?  Them being the minority, will anybody care?

I for one am looking forward to what comes next and do believe this is the beginning of a new era.

From a business standpoint this makes a lot of sense.  Disney will finally tackle what has apparently been a problem for them and that is finding those young male eyeballs.   Apparently movies like Cinderella and Snow White just weren’t cutting it.  For Marvel, I guess this gives them a viable distributor for their 5,000 or more potential big screen characters.

My only question is will this have an effect on the content?  These are characters with rich storylines, some of them more violent than the next (i.e. Wolverine, Deadpool, etc).  Will this effect current deals with other studios? With Spider-man locked in with Sony Pictures and Wolverine and the X-Men under Twentieth Century Fox, will they remain unaffected? Disney  has been notorious for making sure their content stays appealing and non-offensive to their core young audience which is understandable.  My only concern is the comic book genre is not necessarily as young as people would think.  Because it’s been considered a dying media, it has not attracted new younger followers as much as it has maintained it’s old audience from years ago who has grown up with their favourite characters.  Will Disney keep this in mind when producing upcoming films, or try to water it down for it’s desired audience, at the risk of losing the interest of most?

– Vic De Zen

A deliciously sleepy lunch

A deliciously sleepy lunch

Is it just me or does Snorlax automatically make anything adorable? Granted, bento boxes are pretty amazing as they are. Bonus points for nostalgic memories of wandering in the tall grass and playing the flute to capture this sleepy Pokemon.

– Vic De Zen

Ghost Hunters Encounter Strange Incident at Crescent Hotel

Muse – The Uprising (unofficial video)

I heard this last night on the radio and fell in love with it immediately! Other tracks I recommend from Muse is Hysteria and Knights of Cydonia.

Omegle

Remember how your parents, teachers and those rabbits on TV would tell you not to talk to strangers? Well now you can (sort of)! You may encounter the odd troll or other irritating Internet denizens but some users are truly fun to talk to. Make sure to not reveal any personal information (like your name, address, credit card number :P) and have fun! Try to think of it as a fun social experiment, rather than a way to meet people. Again, use your discretion when using Omegle, as you would any other public chat room.

Flashback to the Stay Alert, Stay Safe Rabbits Bert and Gert:

Speaking of those rabbits, I thought it would give you a bit of nostalgia to see them again. Is it just me or do PSAs look dated regardless of if they’re new or not?

This was a pretty video heavy post, hope you guys enjoy them nonetheless.

– Vic De Zen

Good afternoon everyone! I hope everyone has had found amusing links without me. If you have not, I am here to provide some fascinating blogs, links and other stories I found while perusing the Internet. As for the title of this post? Well it’s quite blogcentric and I feel quite guilty that my updates have been less than frequent. Perhaps these links will alleviate your anxiety of my lack of posts :).

Things You Wouldn’t Know if We Didn’t Blog Incessantly

TYWKIWDBI Title Page

TYWKIWDBI Title Page

This is wonderful blog (with a rather long but appropriate name) provides a frequent dose of humorous, fascinating and interesting posts. Before you start perusing the entire archive from the latest page to the very first, may I recommend: cat ladders, cap gun nostalgia, changing demographics compromise social security and Whales seeking Humans. One of the best reasons why I peruse this website is for its links to even more interesting

Rolling Around In My Head

An engaging and insightful blog written by a fellow Canadian, Dave Hingsburger, from Toronto, Ontario. The truth is I cannot do much justice in my description of it. I simply say it is a must-read! I feel the life experiences of the author become teachable moments where readers are encouraged to reflect and think about how they interact with the world around them. I actually found this blog through TYWKIWDBI.

Shorpy

May 9, 1960. Case Study House #22. Stahl residence at 1635 Woods Drive, Los Angeles. Architect: Pierre Koenig. Color transparency by Julius Shulman, who died Wednesday in California at age 98.

May 9, 1960. Case Study House #22. Stahl residence at 1635 Woods Drive, Los Angeles. Architect: Pierre Koenig." Color transparency by Julius Shulman, who died Wednesday in California at age 98.

Shorpy is an online archive of thousands of high-resolution photos from the 1850s to 1950s. Our namesake, Shorpy Higginbotham, was a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

My latest source of vintage eye candy. No words can do it justice, I mean…it’s an image blog. You have to see it to appreciate it. 🙂

Simon’s Cat – Animated Web Series

Adorably annoying, although a friend of mine wondered why Simon doesn’t simply spray the hungry cat with a water bottle to stop the bad behavior. There’s a book coming out, here’s the website for details.

That’s all folks! Hope these will occupy you until we meet again :)!

– Vic De Zen

Today’s Linkage Wednesday post will be partially self-promotion and mostly links to interesting things that may (or may not) be added to your reading list.

The Muppet Show – Time in a Bottle

This song is possibly my favorite Muppet skit, particularly because its both bittersweet, funny and can be watched by all ages. Ultimately children may just think the silly man wanted to reverse his age and got too greedy while adults will think of how fleeting love and life can be. There’s a number of morals you could probably interpret from this.

  1. You can’t save time, it’s fleeting. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.
  2. You won’t find the solution to your problems in a bottle (cough).
  3. If you’ve found a way to reverse your age, don’t push your luck. Sometimes you’ll end up back where you started or worse (*thinks of plastic surgeries that went wrong*)

Ultimately everyone has their own interpretation and I don’t want to impose my opinion on you. Rather I would like to share this wonderful piece of puppetry and music. Hope you enjoy it!

Facebook Adds 50 Million Users in 3 Months

It looks as though Facebook’s growth rate is accelerating. 3 months ago they were celebrating the 200 millionth Facebook member and now they have reached their 250 millionth. Although the social networking website’s membership numbers are impressive, what do they really mean? Are these active members? Are they profiles devoted to Homer J. Simpson and other fictional characters from popular shows and movies? I guess the big question is when/if Facebook will jump the shark soon. What’s next in social networking websites? My guess is everyone will just get sick of them and tell the Internet to leave them alone :).

P.S. You can find my Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/people/Vic-De-Zen/1816877691

Cruller Intentions

New Tim Hortons NYC Logo

New Tim Horton's NYC Logo

I’ve been mildly interested in how Americans will receive Tim Horton’s, partly because I feel it is one of the major companies associated with Canada (although it was incorporated in America before, it is now incorporated in Canada…whatever that means). This article details the launch and the differences between a Canadian Tim Horton’s and an American version. Personally I don’t like the changes. I feel Tim Horton’s is a homey place, and the modified logo makes it lose that appeal. We’ll see if the NYC denizens warm up to it. Actually the website I got this article from, Torontoist.com, is one of my regular destinations. For news on my adopted city, I check this Gothamist network blog pretty much everyday. You’ll find articles, news and dates of events and a daily roundup of links to the top news stories in Toronto. More to the point, I really enjoy reading the Gothamist network, particularly the “Heard in …ist” where overheard conversations are posted on the website. Some of them are strange, others are funny and some just display the quirkiness of everyday people.

P.S. You can find out what I’m doing on the site through my profile: http://torontoist.com/profile/Vic De Zen

– Vic De Zen

Second Denim Clothing Yoga Jeans (source: Denimology.co.uk)

Second Denim Clothing Yoga Jeans (source: Denimology.co.uk)

As I sit here in front of my computer typing this, I am wearing my new Second Denim Co. yoga jeans in a solid dark blue with grey stitching. The wash is perfect for a night out, casual everyday wear or in a relaxed office environment. Easily paired with sneakers, sandals or heels, these jeans are quite versatile. For the curious, I’m a size 27 and typically wear a 32″ inseam. So far I’m quite pleased with my purchase, which cost $99.95 + tax at Jean Machine. I got a size 27 with a 34″ inseam (I haven’t had a chance to hem them so I rolled them up inwards) and the fit is perfect. I made a second purchase but I’ll talk about that one in a later review.

I’m quite comfortable in my new jeans, they stretch and bend with me, all the while hugging my curves. When I sit down, they don’t dig into my thighs or stomach uncomfortably and sit exactly at my waist. When I feel the material, it’s soft, smooth and durable.  That’s actually the secret to their success according to the official website:

“Made of top-quality denim containing 97% brushed cotton and 3% elastane…with 92% shape memory, while the industry standard is only 64%. And thanks to their revolutionairy treatment, the cuts and styles actually shape, hold, and length then body and help mask its defects.”

The company Second is actually based in Montreal, Quebec, a wondeful source of new (and old) fashion designers. Started by Eric Wazana with “a vision to create a denim company for the ‘real people’ who were always being ignored.” This vision has been translated into the goal of affordable, high quality and fashionable products and I feel the company has succeeded by producing such a comfortable, high quality and innovative product. When I consider the prices of designer jeans at with similar quality, cuts and washes at $200-$400 a pair, I do believe $100 jeans can be deemed affordable. So far, I’m only too happy to support this Canuck brand!

Although also produced in boot cut, straight and flare options, I am quite satisfied with skinny leg jeans. Perhaps in a number of months you’ll see a review for the latest Fall/Winter 2009 line of Yoga Jeans in different cuts. Who knows? 🙂

Oh by the way, I’m sorry about not posting the pictures I promised. I’ll be posting them in my next review, so stay tuned!

– Vic De Zen

I was browsing on Twitter and found this article from the Washington Post called “Tight Squeeze: Making Room For a New Men’s Fashion”. First of all, I’m pretty sure this is not new (Wikipedia dates the style as originating from the 1950s). Secondly, if you can’t move properly in your everyday clothing I think you have serious problem of fashion over function. This applies to both men and women alike.

For me, fashion should be a mash-up between your own personal style, current trends, practicality and comfort. Some put more emphasis on ease of movement and comfort while others veer quickly into the “trendy” aspect where practicality is thrown out the window. Quoted from Ray A. Smith’s article:

“Doug Black has found himself in a tight squeeze more times than he cares to remember. One day, he got caught in the rain without an umbrella and was unable to run. When his colleagues sat in a circle, the 23-year-old English teacher from Portland, Ore., couldn’t cross his legs. And when he tried to jaywalk, while in Beijing for work, he couldn’t hop the median divider with his friends.”

Although I am aware it happens, I don’t think it’s quite often that you hear guys having trouble with fashion and comfort. Also, even if I talk about 3-inch heels on this blog, there is such a thing as a comfortable heel (another issue entirely). I’m glad that Doug Black is happy with his style but I personally would not want to have to deal with the hassle of such tight jeans.

I have been reluctant to participate in this trend for a long time now. Part of the reason is because I love the freedom of movement and comfort I get with traditional styles, but skinny jeans (more often than not) go against that. I think the issue is that the cheaper brands tend to cut their jeans in slightly awkward ways (too tight at the feet, too loose at the top) and the quality of the fabric makes it more likely to shrink in the wash and require them to be broken in all over again. Personally I wondered if I didn’t have the body for this type of fashion, like how some body types don’t suit certain fashions. I have seen many women and men who have tried to pull this style off, only to wear the jeans too tightly (in a size too small), so their legs ended up looking like sausage links instead of svelte. Also what about those muffin tops…

Couldnt bring myself to post a human muffin top on this blog

Couldn't bring myself to post a human muffin top on this blog

It’s totally possible that there are people out there with bodies built for skinny jeans, but I worry about the majority of us that are probably damaging nerves in our hips as we wear them. I don’t think people are conscious of the condition “meralgia paresthetica”, described as: “a numb, pins-and-needles tingling feeling along your thigh…weird burning or itching sensation down your upper leg.” The article goes on to explain that “This condition is caused by constant pressure cutting off the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve.” Wait so…we’re cutting off our nerves because of how tight our clothes are? That’s when you know there’s something wrong with what you’re wearing!

Thankfully, in the article I quoted above, it states the higher end brands have been creating more accommodating versions of this denim for men, particularly in the upper thigh and crotch areas. It sounds like the guys can keep wearing their skinny jeans without worrying about their deteriorating lateral femoral cutaneous nerves afterall.

Despite all of my misgivings about this style, a new type of skinny jeans have gotten me intrigued: Yoga Jeans. The article mentions jeans made by “Second Clothing”, the claim being that these jeans are so comfortable that you can perform yoga moves while you wear them. Ever since I read an article on them in the Metro newspaper a couple weeks ago, I’ve decided to set out and review a pair of these jeans for you, my dear reader!

Check back tomorrow for my review and pictures of my purchase. I will also make a follow-up review after a day of walking and running about in them. Let’s hope they stand up to their claims or I won’t have much of a blog post :).

My final word on skinny jeans? Anyone can wear them, as long as they actually “fit” correctly and feel comfortable. My only reservation is when the style is unflattering and a potential medical problem waiting to happen.

– Vic De Zen

This entry was inspired by a SweetSpot.ca article “Fashion Fixes” as well as Emma Watson’s recent rainy day incident (her response to the situation was really cute on David Letterman :)). Also, I’m pretty sure we’ve all had our own little emergency situations when our make up, clothes or any other essential item decided to fail on us.

Edit: I wanted to add this Bridezilla viral video. Although it’s not real, it is a classic example of a “malfunction” and a bad response.

The Situation: You’re favourite work shirts are discolored in the armpit areas after a particularly hot or stressful day on the job.

Prevention Method: Use dress or garment shields. You can actually find them at your local drug or big box store. I am wary of recommending prescription strength antiperspirants because of all the stories about aluminum salts leading to Alzhiemer’s or breast cancer. There are alternatives but reviews are mixed, so I cannot recommend a particular brand unfortunately. Stick with the garment shields and change them as necessary.
Damage has been done: All methods required a “test run” to ensure they do not make the stains worse. For white shirts, using a ratio of 1:1:1 of hot water, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, scrub the affected areas and let them sit. Rinse solution off after half an hour of soaking and check to see if there’s a difference. For coloured shirts, try a bar of laundry soap or Shout Stain Remover on the area. I have also heard that OxyClean can remove these stains but I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure. Warning: Do not wash and dry shirts without treating them right after a particularly sweaty day, as they can set in the fabric from the dryer heat. Unfortunately, it’s very possible the shirts are cannot be salvaged at that point.

The Situation: A sharp foot pain as you walk down the street in your new heels reveals that you are now the unhappy owner of a blister (or two).

Prevention Method: Foot Petals, moleskin sheets and proper shoes. For moleskin sheets, I’ve experimented using them by covering the areas inside of my shoes that irritate my feet the most. Ensure that your shoes are roomy and do not press against your feet in an awkward way. Make sure never to purchase shoes that seem “snug” at the store because it’s very possible your feet will swell as you wear them over the course of regular day, making them much too tight.
Damage has been done: You’ll need rubbing alcohol, cotton ball, blister bandages and a pair of flipflops/flats. See your nearest dollar store or Old Navy for an inexpensive emergency pair of flip flops (during the spring/summer of course). Do not continue to wear the offending shoes because you’ll irritate or even cause the blister to break. Regardless of if the blister has broken or not, make sure to disinfect the area before putting on a blister bandage. Remember to consult your doctor for treatment and to prevent infection.

The Situation: Although your complexion was dewy in the morning, it quickly turned into an oil slick by mid-afternoon.

Prevention Method: Use the correct moisturizer and make up for your skin, depending on the season and weather. Research, read ingredient lists and ask a lot of questions at the sales counter when you make your next makeup/moisturizer purchase. Also make sure you ask for samples so you don’t have to waste money on products that don’t work. Be mindful of how your skin responds to certain foods, environments and your skincare routine. For example milk, seaweed and caffeine are believed to increase sebum production when ingested.
Damage has been Done: Oil-blotting sheets or wash your face with a gentle cleanser (last resort). Oil-blotting sheets come in all shapes, colors, sizes and material types and can range in price depending on the brand. I recommend the synthetic sheets like Clean and Clear for really oily skin, but make sure you follow prevention strategies to ensure you won’t have to regularly blot your face. Lightly powdered (and powder-free) versions are also available at the Body Shop and come in travel-sized packs of two.

Can you think of any other ‘malfunctions’ and/or their solutions that deserve a post? Leave a comment!

– Vic De Zen

P.S. Have a happy weekend everyone!

Just wanted to post a clip from the awesome funnyman Rick Mercer when he visited McMaster U in Hamilton (my home town):

– Vic De Zen

RSS Toronto Star – Top News Stories Feed

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