the veX-Factor

Vex (vĕks) v. – 3. To bring distress or suffering to; plague or afflict.

Origins of the Popped Collar

Posted by markovsky on March 9, 2008

Gay man with orange polo shirt and popped collarI used to think it was physically impossible for anything to both suck and blow at the same time. Man, was I wrong. That was before I went to college and started noticing this “popped collar” trend. What would inspire anyone drive to a store, search for pink, turquoise or light yellow tennis shirts, slap down $275 for 4 of them, then walk around wearing all of them at the same time, with the collars pulled upward like Dracula?

That’s not a rhetorical question. I really want to understand why people do this, so I’ve pieced together some ideas on the psychological profile of a collar-popping jackass. Here’s my stab at how it all started. We’ll call him Steve.

Baby with Popped CollarEarly childhood: As a newborn, Steve was as dumb as a rock. We all were. The fact that he could not dress himself, coupled with his mother’s addiction to high-profile clothing lines for babies, made him vulnerable to believing the barrage of compliments on otherwise embarrassing clothing. This is when Steve first heard false affirmation that he was cute and valued just as he was, regardless of lame clothes. As a result, Steve entered kindergarten thinking it’s okay to have small tigers and alligators embroidered on his shirts.

Middle Childhood: Imitation phase. Steve begins to develop role models and heroes, mimicking the behaviors of his favorite characters, both real and fictional. With the emergence of “heroes” such as Barney, The Count, Tele-tubbies and others, Steve’s perception of masculine/feminine color preference is heavily blurred by the time he reaches pre-middle school back-to-school clothes shopping with mom.

The Count from Sesame Street explains the benefits of the popped collarThis shopping trip was perhaps the most defining moment of Steve’s perception of coolness. At the local Abercrombie & Fitch, 20 different shades of Easter-egg pastel colored shirts looked Steve in the eye. He tried on a few. Second guessing his choice in colors, Steve glances around the techno-pumping store and spots the exact same shirt that he’s holding, only wrapped around a hard-bodied, chiseled Swedish farm boy mannequin. Feeling halfway justified, he turns to study the massive image ad spanning the entire wall, depicting a college kid in a pink popped-collared shirt, with three trashy young ladies mounting and licking him. Now feeling fully justified, Steve and his mom head for the register.

Old man with a popped collarAdolescence: The identity crisis. These were the years when Steve’s overly-ambitious father sat him down and explained the remarkable success of great grandfather Heinrick. Questions arise in regards to what he wanted to be when he grows up, and the expectation is set by his father, that Steve would carry on the legacy of success. From that night on, Steve carried a picture of his grandfather in his wallet and referred to it occasionally.

Popped collar on Hillary ClintonCollege: The exploration phase. Having left the nest to attend college, Steve-o gathers fresh inspiration from world-renowned writers, scientists, artists and politicians. Playing “Edward 40 Hands” every weekend and a minor football injury are believed to have further impaired his fashion judgment, as well as his inability to recognize that his non-athletic human friends are neither “players” or “dawgs.”

Four popped collarsFrustrated by the growing number of other popped collar enthusiasts, Steve wonders why gorgeous ladies have not mounted and licked him yet, like on the Abercrombie Ads. Steve persisted on being different and much cooler than the other losers who fold their collars. He decided to increase the number of simultaneous popped collars, similar to upping a crack dose after a tolerance is built up. A simple formula would raise his awesomeness exponentially: Increase the number of simultaneous popped collars.

Today, Steve’s as free as a bird (a colorful one with ruffled neck feathers) and untouchable in his coolness. Every morning, shirts stack up and pile on like colorful rings on some Fisher Price Rock-a-Stack. Heads turn, strangers take pictures on their cellphones and middle school girls giggle when he walks by. Regardless, he and his counterparts continue to walk by. Daily.

Steve’s condition is tough for most logical thinkers to comprehend. His desire to be different and noticed (ironically) drives him to be the same as all of the other spiky-haired, flip-flop wearing, collar-popping frat boy bee-otches. And while I’m baffled at Steve’s collar-popping habits, I’m equally dumbfounded at the few who will undoubtedly watch him, raise their own collars and wander the streets like drunken draculi, showcasing their “blah” and “sucky” fashion sense, as they too, spread the plague of the popped collar.

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I Want My HD(TV)

Posted by SeanFranchise on March 7, 2008

So its been a whopping 1o minutes since I dropped my delightfully cheery introduction, and I’m already angry. This anger is not a new feeling. No, its one thats been festering in my mind for a few months now.

I’m blessed to live in Raleigh, NC. By all accounts, one of the best places to live in the country (despite one of the only advantages I can see being a leg up on family purchasing power). Seriously though, Raleigh is a great place to live and I’m grateful to have my life here. One problem, and I’m nit-picking here, is that there’s a full blown cable monopoly here. Thats right, this is Ted Turner territory.

Time Warner Cable is a pretty well established company. But for all the national coverage they have, they are pretty crappy when it comes to HD programming. After spending a weekend at my sister’s house (a DirecTV house), I’ve been itching for more high resolution goodness in my own home. While there, I was treated to the visual nuances of Survivorman’s hippie beard and hours upon hours of full blown HD NFL Network. Rich Eisen’s proud mug has never looked so good. They even had the NHL Network (WHAT?!?!) and the SciFi Network in HD. The thought of Battlestar Galactica in full high definition glory had me drunk with anticipation. Needless to say, I returned home with a new sweet tooth for HD content.

Now, to be fair, Time Warner does carry some of the essentials in HD. All the local networks, including a digital channel that shows nothing but 80s action programming, are there as sharp as ever. And while I relish the chance to watch Air Wolf at all hours of the day, I need more. Okay, ESPN and the deuce are there, as is a combined channel that shows content from Versus and the Golf Channel. Hockey and Golf in HD really are sights to be hold, no doubt. Yet still, I can only find HD to watch a third of the time. So imagine my delight when I read that Time Warner is set to add channels in a few short weeks!

Thats right, soon I was treated to the visual feast that is HGTV-HD and Food Network HD…

Try and keep your pants on. I’m hard pressed to find two channels that I could care less to see in high definition (with the exception of Rachael Ray). So with those new heavy hitters in the mix, I’m still dead in the water for HD content a good deal of the time.

Why not try DirecTV? Because a hundred dollars is a steep price to pay for a simple installation. So why then, i must ask, is Time Warner acquiring such inconsequential HD programming? And why does the satellite subscriber get the goods, and then some?

I guess thats what I get when I trust this guy:

Ted Told Ya!

I know… I shouldn’t be surprised. Thanks Ted, ya smug bastard!

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It’s March! Blogging Season!

Posted by SeanFranchise on March 7, 2008

Its March, and March kicks ass. Saint Patrick’s Day is a few short weeks away, a March moustache is budding on my upper lip, the weather is getting warm and the holy war of collegiate basketball is almost upon us. Hi, I’m Mike and I love all these things. I’ll also be one of the curmudgeons providing rich and compelling content to this space in the foreseeable future. I also have a penchant for alliteration. I’ll keep things brief, but I’m excited about this opportunity to plague or afflict your internets, and I hope you are too.

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