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April 2007 Archives

April 15, 2007

Undershirts

I was talking to my brother the other day, and we both came to the same conclusion: someone would make a killing if they actually made an undershirt that didn't poke out the collar of your real shirt.

I've tried various styles, various manufacturers, and the damn collar always shows.

You wear a v-neck, and you lose the flash of white in the front... but gain ridiculous and inexplicable collar show at the sides.

You wear an a-shirt or "wifebeater," and you solve the collar problem. But you also end up with a completely pointless undershirt. Why even bother putting on an undershirt when it has no armpit protection? The whole point is to keep your sweat off the good shirt. (I'm happy to say that in recent years, men's fashion magazines have finally joined me in denouncing the a-shirt for the worthless crap it is. Like, totally duh.)

It's not a hard problem to solve. Make the neck a little wider, plunge the collar a little lower, and the undershirt doesn't show. So why has nobody done it?

Kicking Odor Out

And now, a handy life tip.

Living in a hot climate such as Phoenix, people tend to sweat. Even if you live somewhere cold, stress and exercise are among a myriad of reasons you'll sweat over the course of a day. Were we all nudists, the story would stop there: we'd sweat, we'd bathe, and that would be the last we'd hear of it.

Our global culture being overall "civilized," though, we have deigned to carry on our daily business clothed, with the purpose of hiding our other business.

This is all well and good (I spend less time feeling bad about not being some washboarded Adonis) up until we break north past the nipple line. There, my friends, lies our primary enemy: the armpit. It sweats. Your shirt absorbs it. Funk happens.

Funk comes in many shapes and sizes, including but not limited to discoloration, antiperspirant buildup, and permanent stench. Let us delve into solutions for as many as I've encountered in my clothes-wearing life.

Antiperspirant Buildup
You've probably lost a shirt to this. We probably all have. Your arms stay reasonably dry, but over time this waxy, crusty thing appears in the underarm area of your shirtsleeves. Usually right where the fabric tucks into your armpit.

Part the first: Meat tenderizer may be able to save any shirts already so afflicted. Be sure to get the unflavored variety, or you will rue your mistake later. Make a paste out of it with some water, work it in, and let it sit. Wash the shirt normally, and with any luck, you'll be as good as new. But believe you me, it will come back given half an opportunity.

Part the second: Change your primping and preening habits.

The easiest way to solve this is to cast aside antiperspirant altogether. Switch over to a pure deodorant and it won't occur again. If you wear cologne or perfume, you can use that in your underarms instead (and it will, in fact, probably work better than deodorant if you actually get all hot and sweaty).

If you're just a naturally sweaty beast, deodorant alone may not be an option. Instead, there are two ways to go about things. The first way is to shave or trim your armpit hair as short as you're comfortable with. Antiperspirant only works when it comes in contact with your skin. With less hair in the way, more actual antiperspiring will take place, the antiperspirant isn't lurking on your underarm hair waiting to make a mess, and you're likely to use less antiperspirant (using "too much" is what helps speed up the crap formation in the first place).

The second way is to use a product like Certain Dri at night and deodorant when you're getting ready in the morning. Do be advised that Certain Dri is ridiculously concentrated, and if you're worried about pumping your body full of aluminum (be it poor kidney health or just general distaste for excessive metals in your body), it's probably not for you. But if you're already using antiperspirant today, who's going to notice the difference? If it works for you, you're also using Certain Dri only two or three times a week, so it evens out in the end.

Next in our series... Perma-stench. Join me tomorrow for information!

April 22, 2007

Eye-One

If you've been in the market for a printer profiling solution, good news: GretagMacbeth has added an additional Eye-One bundle to their lineup.

The new Eye-One Photo LT strips the CMYK support out of the Eye-One Photo (which you don't need if you're printing through a driver), and takes about $400 off the top in return. If you shop around, you can buy it through the end of May for under $600.

And, as with the rest of the Eye-One bundles, you can upgrade it piecemeal later. Add a RIP and want that CMYK support back? Pay the upgrade fee at that time and there you go.

I was trying to figure out if my startup could afford the Eye-One Photo, but hey, now it doesn't need to!

Edit: I glossed over a point I didn't intend to. For the discounted rate, you also forgo the full-featured RGB profiling for Gretag's "Easy RGB" profiling. It's a reduced-size patch set. The Eye-One Match software uses some fancy mathematics and does a pretty damn good job generating profiles, but for more control you'll probably still want Eye-One Photo.

On the other hand... If you're using the ColorBurst RIP, it's probably the cheapest way to get an Eye-One spectrophotometer to use with their profiling software. Or if you plan on using another profiling package like Monaco or ProfileMaker, again, you won't miss the ability to generate larger quantities of patches (since you won't be using Eye-One Match). Think of it as buying an awesome monitor profiler and getting a print spectrophotometer for cheap.

The Canon Files Continue

Today's mystery: The printer stops after a print job to run an automatic nozzle check. While this is annoying, it is preferable to ending up with prints that look like crap—granted, that's assuming the nozzle check and the "automatic clogged nozzle compensation" work. In my experience these features aren't terribly reliable.

But the nozzles seem to be fine in this instance, so hey, can't fault the printer on that count.

Can we question something else? Heck yes.

After completing the nozzle check, all of the 330mL cartridges—some of which were reporting themselves nearly half-empty—suddenly reported themselves as full. Uh, what? Is ink materializing out of thin air all of a sudden?

The 770mL cartridge, on the other hand, retained its original status.

Mystery!

April 27, 2007

IKEA Nitton

Half the fun of IKEA (which is one of the few brands I can actually stand to type in all caps) is figuring out how to use their products in ways they weren't necessarily intended. Though they do break things down to one essential use in the catalog, and usually in the showroom, with a little creativity you can do far better.

Take, for example, their Nitton undercabinet kitchen lighting. It's just two or three small halogen lights with screw holes in the fixture. You can thus fasten it underneath (or on top of, if you're weird; or on the side of, I suppose) anything.

One of my initial thoughts was that they'd make an awesome work surface light for my Jerker desk. Screw one to the underside of the top shelf, and blammo, light galore! After testing one in that position tonight, I can say it's indeed true. Heck, a lone 2-bulb Nitton illuminates the entire width and depth of the desk surface. Not too shabby. (I'm not sure whether being able to partially see the lamps would cause eyestrain, though, so I haven't gone nuts with the screwdriver yet.)

My primary purpose for buying one in the first place was to wash behind my TV. If you're familiar with home theater, you know a darkened room is the best way to enjoy a movie. But you also know a completely dark room eventually leads to eyestrain as your eyes no longer know where to focus. Popular solution? A gentle light behind your television brings depth back into the room while not being obtrusive.

I'm not so sure about using the Nitton there. It's actually bordering on being too bright. When I get around to building a new entertainment center, though, chances are pretty good I'll throw one of these handy IKEA lights in the A/V stack to backlight my meager collection of equipment... which amounts to a crappy Sony receiver, a Technics equalizer I inherited from my dad and no longer use, and a 1980s-era Sony CD player that occasionally decides it wants to skip through two tracks at a time. Ah, technology.

Granted, now that I've discovered the Nitton, IKEA is sure to discontinue it. So if you think you have a use for it as well, it would probably be wise to go stock up on the damn things before they potentially disappear forever in June.

About April 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Middle Grey in April 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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