Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Starter Jacket

Well here’s a jacket I never thought would be retroed; Starter windbreakers.  I first fell in love with them on the playground back in grade school.  They were cool to wear, however provided little warmth during the harsh Canadian winters.  Yet, kids wore them because they came in popular sports team colorways, such as the Bulls, Magic, Mighty Ducks, Cowboys, Raiders, and Yankees to name a few.
A few years ago I tired looking for a Bulls jacket on E-Bay, however I became disappointed when I realized how expensive the asking price was.  They were also used, since deadstock jackets were difficult to come by, which made it even more difficult to purchase because I don’t like wearing used clothing.  Then suddenly one day, I walked into my local Champs store and noticed that they were selling retro Starter windbreakers.  I couldn’t believe it, the one piece of nostalgia from my childhood that I had been looking for, for a long time was suddenly before my eyes.
The teams they had at Champs were of the Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago Bulls in a black colorway, while Footlocker had a red version of the Bulls and also the Brooklyn Nets in black.  Though I’m a fan of the Jays (my home town), my favorite jacket was the Chicago Bulls in black.  The retail price for the jacket was $180 Canadian, but since I’m frugal, I decided to pass and wait until they went on sale.  Unfortunately by the time they went on sale my size was sold out, but I was lucky enough to be able to special order my size from another store in Montreal (extra $8 for store transfer).
This 2013 retro is very similar to the original jackets from the early 90’s.   They’re made with all the same materials, stitching and embroidery as the originals.  Although a complete comparison is difficult because they made so many styles of the originals to give a side-by-side comparison.  The most important thing is that they’re true to the style and fit of the original windbreakers.  Keeping true to the original also means that they have the same quality, which means they won’t keep you warm.  But that’s okay with me because these jackets are meant to be shown off.  As for fit, they are very slim, so I suggest you go up a size if you do prefer more room.   And in case you’re wondering if you’re too old to wear this jacket I would say that if you love to wear jerseys, you’ll also love to wear this jacket (I was surprised at how good it looked on me).  Trust me, this is one jacket you won’t regret showing off in.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

McDonald’s Poutine

For Christmas 2013, McDonald’s Canada brought back the McDonald’s poutine.  Can you imagine McDonald’s fries getting any tastier than they already are?  Well, McDonald’s brought them to another level by adding gravy and cheese curds to make them poutine.  Of course for me, gravy is not enough because I also like to add ketchup and make a real mess.  The poutine comes in a traditional brown paper box (wax on the inside).  Once you open the box, you will notice that the fries do tend to shrink, and the cheese doesn’t melt that much.  But that’s okay because the poutine tastes amazing, and adds another delicious option to the many varieties of poutine’s we have to choose from in Toronto.  Currently it cost $1.50 to make your fries poutine, and $3.99 by themselves.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Sometimes when I look at games that feature beautiful realistic graphics that require tactical skills, and have mature themes I wonder if I should buy those games.  Those games are considered appropriate for my age and are hardcore.  Yet, when I do play those games I’m left frustrated and bored.  I neither have the patience nor skill to play games like that, so I end up either dying all the time or having to repeat a simple task over and over again to complete it.  That’s why I always end up going back to a Nintendo game when I want to have fun.  Their games are easy to play, original, and allow people from all skill levels to participate.
The key to having fun with video games is to play a variety of titles and genres.  One such game that I haven’t played in a while and that was long overdue from Nintendo is a Donkey Kong game.  Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze released on the Wii U on February 21st, 2014.  I wanted to play this game for a while because it reminds me of those classic NES games that were easy to play, but with current advanced graphics.   Besides the game play, what drew me the most to this game was its creativity from backgrounds and how you interact within each environment.  The controls are accurate and easy to use with only a few different moves to remember.  The game also allows you to play on the gamepad which is convenient.  While the line-up of stellar triple A games is slowing coming to fruition on the Wii U, this is one game that was worth the wait.

Friday, March 7, 2014

LeRoy Neiman Frank Sinatra Tribute Painting

This painting is a clustering of my adolescent experience.  It represents a point when I first started buying Playboy magazine and listening to Frank Sinatra.  What initiated my interest in the magazine were the beautiful women, however as I moved on to reading the articles, I found the magazine to be smart, stylish and inspiring.  I also started reading other similar magazines such as Esquire, Mens Health and National Geographic.  These magazines made me feel like the world had so much to offer, and to appreciate the sophistication in art, quality in material goods, and travel.  To complement my sense of style, I started listening to jazz and Frank Sinatra.  Sinatra to me was the ultimate guy to look up to. He dressed nice, was cool and collective, women loved him, and his music was classy.
A couple years ago I read about the death of a painter named LeRoy Neiman.  I was shocked when I read the news because it wasn’t until that moment that I realized who he was.  Neiman was considered the go-to artist for Playboy, having been featured numerous times and even responsible for creating the Femlins (the female figures on the party jokes page).  Most people will remember him for his painting in the ending of Rocky 3 (as Eye of the Tiger plays).  It was sad to hear about his death; however it was also cool to find out that he had done so many famous paintings.  In honour of his legacy I decided to reproduce one of my favorite paintings by him, Frank Sinatra on the cover of the Duets album.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a clear enough picture of the original, so I had to use a picture that I found online instead.  It’s still a nice picture because I was able to look at the details and colors carefully.  I used a canvas and paints that I bought at the dollar store.  I still feel like I’m just getting back into painting so I want to keep my hobby on a budget.  I found this painting to be very enjoyable because I was also listening to my Frank Sinatra collection on my ipod as I painted.  Like most paintings, I started with the background first and worked my way up to the main figure.  Everything was quick to do, however the face and hat was where I spent most of my time.  I can admit the face isn’t exactly like the original, but I’m okay with that because I’m happy with my final result. In the end what matters most is being satisfied with what you can paint and continuing to get better.
LeRoy Neiman Wiki:
Frank Sinatra Duets: