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Next week I’ll be blogging from Washington, D.C. during the inauguration festivities. We’ll be taking lots of pictures and video, so be sure to check out our Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube channels if you want to check out all the craziness that finds us. We’ll do the best we can to find some down time for uploading and such.
If you’re going to be in D.C., hit our Facebook page with stories and photos of your wild and crazy time.
In any case, in preparing for this trip I figured I’d make a list of the things one might need when traveling to a City of 600,000 that’s about to be filled by 4 million people. Packing light and being scrappy are a must for this trip given the crowds, so I figured I’d make a list of things I can obtain at work or in transit to make life easier.
Since my experience on the East Coats tells me that venues in wintertime tend to overheat their interiors to the point of sweltering, layering is going to be a must. Of course, no self-respecting CafePress employee would leave for a societally significant event without a trusty t-shirt or two anyway. I’ll be packing a few of the limited-edition Obama inauguration t-shirts (above), which is particularly appropriate given that we’ll be attending the Rock the Vote/Rolling Stone inauguration concert. The free-with-purchase beanie will also be coming with me, which is good news for my ears but bad news for my hair.
Added bonus: packing extras means that we can trade them in the event of a true emergency. Like needing the use of a bathroom.
It’s cold in D.C., with today’s “high” being a balmy 19 degrees. It’s especially cold in D.C. for California people who generally see anything below 40 degress on a ski slope, which means that we’re usually draped in puffy jackets and high-performance pants in such conditions.
With that in mind, I realized that I’d better get some sweatshirts for layering purposes. I really dug the design I found (at left) – it reminds me of a time when I wore Wonder Woman Underoos.
Speaking of which, given the weather I wouldn’t mind an adult pair of those. Too bad they don’t make them; I’ll just have to settle for a boring old thermal and long johns.
Thankfully we have the Flip Mino, which can fit in my pocket and not worry me unnecessarily about the various bad things that I’ve been known to do to electronics, such as: dropping them, getting them stolen, accidentally wading into the water with them (unlikely anyway, given the temperatures)…
Let’s just say that the inexpensive and blissfully portable Flip is the absolute best solution for in this scenario for people like me.
Planes may not give us food anymore, but most of them still give us peanuts. Given the high protein content of peanuts, the portability of those nice little bags and the idea of 2-4 million people trying to find food in a city meant to feed 600,000, I’m thinking that stocking up on plane peanuts isn’t a bad idea. Added bonus: salty snacks help us retain water, which might help with the bathroom math issue.
Those 4 things plus a pair of jeans or two and my toothbrush, and I think I’m pretty much set. If y’all have a travel “must” that I’m forgetting, do feel free to share.
And if you are in D.C. next week and you spot us, come say hello! You never know – you might just bump into us somewhere unexpected.
The Bush administration hasn’t been without its controversies, and in its last days has found itself with another one over the ongoing issue of millions of missing emails.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola wrote a four-page opinion in which he claims that the Executive Office is ignoring the obligation to search for (and, one assumes, locate) the lost communications. Facciola states that the Bush camp is deliberately limiting its search to the requirements of the Federal Records Act, while ignoring the preservation requirements of the Presidential Records Act.
Currently, a variety of federal judges are demanding that the Bush administration spend their last few days in office conducting an appropriate search for these e-mails. Of course, when you’ve lived somewhere for 8 years and you have to pack up to move you do tend to find long-lost possessions. One might wonder whether they’ll find the missing e-mails with all those rogue, orphan socks that escaped the White House laundry room.
What’s most interesting about this news is that, in history as recent as the Iraqi shoe-thrower, this kind of headline would have begotten a flurry of t-shirts on the matter. And yet it seems that our designers – both pro and anti-Bush – have at this point decided to turn their attentions to the new administration to come. So whether you’re an Obama Mama or fear for a socialist future, it would seem that, indeed, a new chapter in American history has started.
Whether that poster is lauding the massive savings brought on by having an unlimited texting plan or warning parents that their children may develop a text addiction due to the unfettered, glorious freedom of an unlimited texting plan is subjective.
The 13-year-old girl managed to text herself silly by sending an average 484 text messages per day. This breaks down to about 30 messages an hour, assuming she slept for 8 hours (unknown, and perhaps a bad assumption). What’s not listed is how many phone calls she made, and how many texts might have been avoided by (a) making a phone call or (b) going over to a friend’s house to have an in-person conversation.
Without an unlimited plan her texting habit would have cost Dad around $3000. As it is, the 440-page bill was enough to make the logging industry look good by comparison, and has led her parents to limit her texting after dinner.
On the plus side, her new texting restrictions will prevent this one teenager from unduly influencing the results of American Idol. No word on whether her efforts were instrumental on keeping Sanjaya in the running for so long, but we have our suspicions.
The plot centers around Obama and Spiderman facing off with a supervillain at the inaugural ceremonies, after the ever-astute Peter Parker notices that there’s an Obama impostor trying to… well, I don’t want to spoil the ending. Let’s just say he’s a bad dude.
The budget sessions have been contentious for several months, and Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the most recent budget plan submitted by legislative Democrats. The main friction points are taxation and spending issues, with arguments over the extent of spending cuts and tax increases and where they should be made leading to the current stalemate.
Hasta la vista, refund.
While The Onion has provided some levity, the budget situation has been a weighty issue in the public sector. The pinch is already being felt by a variety of public services – hospitals, public schools and universities have been under siege throughout 2008, and with the budget still stalled and massive cuts expected the situation isn’t looking any better for 2009.
With America’s most populous state facing the possibility that taxpayers will be getting IOU’s instead of refund checks, the question as to the banking industry response looms. In 1992 California issued IOU’s to some of its employees and taxpayers. These IOU’s were honored by banks at the time, but in 1992 we weren’t in the middle of a credit crisis and global economic downturn.
As a California taxpayer, I’ll just point out that not getting my money prevents me from personally stimulating the economy with my refund check. So I guess I’ll just be California Dreamin’ for my money back. Or for someone to decide that California merits a bailout – I mean, as long as we’re handing them out…
With that in mind, Governor Schwarzenegger and the entire California legislature win a Fantasy T-Wearer award this week, in the form of the “outraged” bumper sticker seen at the beginning of this post. May it be seen on all official state vehicles – and whatever Arnold chose to replace his fleet of Hummers.
I’ll also note that I wouldn’t mind getting one of those stickers as an insert with my IOU. Then again, that probably means that I paid for it…
One might think that an arrest of this nature combined with taped evidence, a call from his party and the President-elect to resignand a subsequent impeachment might lead some politicians to call it a day, but Blagojevich has shown that he’s anything but a quitter. He continues to deny any wrongdoing, and it would seem that he’ll keep showing up for work until the Illionois State Senate proceeds with their own impeachment trial – or until Patrick Fitzgerald gets impatient and shows up with a stage hook. (Though one might assume that a wad of cash with a sly wink in his direction would work too.)
Our Blagojevich t-shirt collection has continued to grow as the Still-Governor has continued to retain his office, and although he’s already won a Fantasy T-Wearer award we’re compelled to give him another one today.
And so it is that the first Fantasy T-Wearer award of 2009 goes to the ever-tenacious Rod Blagojevich, with the “Never Say Die” pirate hoodie (since it’s winter and all) at left.
Confession: I have not read the “Twilight” books, and I have not seen the “Twilight” movie. So I’m pretty much in the dark when it comes to the nuts and bolts of “Twilight.” But with so many fans making so many interesting “Twilight” t-shirts, I have to admit that I’ve become intrigued by the story at this point.
Being so intrigued, I decided to take a deep dive into the half-million fan-created Twilight products to see whether I could piece together the plotline of the “Twilight” series, thus saving me the time of reading 4 books or spending 2 hours in a movie theater. (Those of you who are “Twilight” fans are more than welcome to e-mail or comment to let me know whether or not I’m on the right track.)
Here’s what I’ve figured out so far:
Edward Cullen is a teenage vampire and in love with the brunette Bella Swan, who seems to be new to town and is not, from what I can tell, a vampire. Edward lives in Forks, Washington. He is a baseball player, and I’ll go out on a limb and guess that he’s a handsome and popular baseball star who drives the ladies of Forks wild. (He certainly drives the t-shirt makers of the world wild – Edward has more shirts than anyone else.) He thinks that Bella is exactly his “brand of heroin(e).” He has a silver Volvo and is apparently known for some reckless driving here and there. (Perhaps there was a fender bender escaping evil and saving Bella?)
Edward sparkles in the sunlight. I’ll take this to mean that all the vampires sparkle in the sunlight, and that this is why they live in the rainy, rainy town of Forks.
Edward is a broody kind of guy, which is what happens when you’re immortal and in love with a mortal and full of teen angst and living in a gloomy climate all at the same time. So Edward is somewhat of an Emo vampire, which pretty much fits with most vampire temperaments I suppose.
Jacob Black is a main character, is a werewolf and is a Quileute – whatever that is. Is it a town? A tribe? A school? I’m not sure. He seems to attend La Push High School, so I’m guessing La Push is a (coastal?) town next to Forks and Quileute is some sort of werewolf breed. Since I think he goes to a different school, I’ll guess he’s a rival baseball player and became friends with the vampires out of their common bond of immortality (are werewolves immortal?) and/or otherworldy-ness. I’m not sure, but he’s popular with the t-shirt folks and I’m guessing that means he’s not an outright villain, and that he’s pretty darn dreamy when he’s not looking like an oversized rabid dog.
Other characters in the movie are listed in the design on the left. From what I can tell, they’re coupled out like this: Jasper and Alice, Emmett and Rosalie (she’s a very pretty blonde, apparently), Carlisle and Esme. Emmett Cullen is also a vampire and is most likely Edward’s brother (unless he’s a cousin – not as many shirts about him as about Alice, which means he’s a more minor character), but it also seems that he transforms into a monkey. Hmm. Maybe he just has a monkey; whether vampires can transform into monkeys is beyond my scope of knowledge. Carlisle Cullen is a doctor and a lot of Cullen family crests come up under his name, so I’ll guess that Carlisle and Esme are Edward’s parents.
Edward’s baseball team also has some players on it that he pals around with – namely Alice Cullen and Jasper Hale. I’ll assume that Alice is his sister, and that this means that she’s a vampire. She’s also apparently somewhat quirky and small in stature, and can be annoying to some fans. Jasper – who is apparently from Texas – may or may not be a vampire, since his main characteristic seems to be that he’s a mellow guy. His birth was apparently dramatic and involved a war and death, so perhaps he’s just a hang-loose kind of vampire not interested in showing off his sparkliness.
There’s some other designs that lead me to believe that the Cullens all drive fast, somebody drives a red BMW, and a yellow Porsche was stolen by Edward from someone he knows, probably to whisk Bella away from certain death. Someone is also covered in feathers at some point, and I’ll guess that Bella was the victim of a teenage prank from someone either (a) in love with Edward (b) upset that she’s not immortal like the rest of the cool kids or (c) both.
That’s about all I’ve pieced together – I’ll assume that there’s some epic battles of good and evil, a love triangle or two, and the general family drama that occurs when a teenager brings home a new flame that doesn’t fit in with the family’s idea of good breeding. (In this case, Bella’s unfortunate status as a mere mortal.)
With Macworld going on this week, it’s no wonder that folks out there have an interest in all things iPhone. The exploded iPhone t-shirt (left) has reached a sort of infamy from various bloggers out there, but no worries to those of you who want a different design style to pay homage to exploding things, techie fun or the iPhone: there’s plenty more for all of you.
And remember: if you can’t find one you like, you can always make your own. DIY (er… iDIM?) is all the rage these days.
You don’t have to get to D.C. to participate in the inauguration – this year, you can dress the part in the comfort of your own home with the Very Official Rolling Stone Commemorative Inauguration T-Shirt That Benefits Rock The Vote And Only Costs $15.
For short, you can call it the VORSCITS. Or you can just call it the Awesome Obama Inauguration T-Shirt. Or the Rad $15 Inauguration T-shirt of 2008. Whatever you call it, you might want to get one now before we run out. Unlike most CafePress products, this one here’s a Limited Edition T-Shirt and that means that we will actually be out of stock at some point, for real. Which means that we can say “Act now while supplies last!,” which is a pretty rare and novel day for us ’round these parts. So I think I’ll enjoy this new, fleeting freedom and remind you to Get it Now Before It’s Too Late!! (using exclamation points here to underline the sense of urgency).
I also get to say this: Free Gift With $50 Purchase! Yep, if you spend $50 you do get a cool Obama beanie to go with your Obama t-shirt. This beanie will come in very handy indeed if you actually attend the inauguration, as the East Coast seems to have been hit of late by temperatures more amenable to a snow yeti than to its human residents.
Of course, if you miss this Limited Time Offer (!!! – urgency, folks) we have a couple hundred thousand other inauguration t-shirts, as well as 2.1 million Obama t-shirts (and growing), and those will be for sale for the forseeable future. Since that’s a lot of stuff to sift through, we did pick the top 44 T-Shirt designs (seeing as how he’s the 44th President and all) so that looking for the perfect Obama T-Shirt doesn’t give you carpal tunnel syndrome.
The $15 Inauguration Tee is a joint project with Rock the Vote and Rolling Stone – the former is the beneficiary of the proceeds and a partner we’ve worked with throughout the election, and the latter worked with its artists to come up with a hip, memorable design that captures the spirit of the Obama inauguration. The 2008 election was a historic one for Rock the Vote: 2.5 million online registration forms were downloaded, constituting the largest voter registration initiative in history. That’s not quite as many forms downloaded as Obama products created by you, but it’s 80 times the number of Obama thongs.
So remember: Act Now, For A Limited Time Only, While Supplies Last, Commemorative Limited Edition and Free Gift with Purchase!
And hey, if you’re not one to be swept up in Obamamania you could also go retro and start a Reagan or Kennedy t-shirt craze at your own leisure.
It may not seem like a Vice Presidential candidate has a lot in common with a local plumber and a teenage vampire, but then again this was a year of surprises. Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Joe the Plumber and Edward Cullen showed the kind of impact that can be made when the everyman appeal hits home.
John McCain’s surprise pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate spurred a Republican resurgence of energy and a national media frenzy. As Palin fascination grew, the t-shirts came pouring in – Palin actually unseated Obama for a time in the t-shirt primary, thus proving that a Bible-and-Gun-totin’ Hockey Mom could inspire more than her party members. Sarah Palin had a lot of nicknames and colloquiallisms applied to her that lent themselves naturally to merchandise, and many of them had to do with animals – not entirely inappropriate, given that she hails from the bucolic state of Alaska. She was the Cougar, the Barracuda (and the Sarahcuda), the Moose-Hunter, Caribou Barbie and the Pit Bull with Lipstick. She was also the Maverick (and used the term liberally to describe both her and McCain), the Hockey Mom, the MILF and the VPILF.
Given her unabashed love of hunting, guns and her religion, it wasn’t surprising to see strong opinions on both sides of the political fence about Sarah Palin. The religious right embraced her as the All-American poster girl and portrayed her as the anti-Obama; liberals and feminists, insulted at the implied assumption that women would vote along gender lines rather than on political issues, decried her as inexperienced and anti-feminist and accused McCain of pandering to the 18 million voters who had chosen Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries.
It seemed that everything Palin did was worthy of a headline, most notably any homespun gaffes she might make in front of a camera. But when Palin spoke, people listened. From her noting Alaska’s proximity to Russia as foreign policy experience to her performance in the debates, Sarah Palin was someone who’s every word (and choice of accessory) was discussed and debated – and, very often, committed to the almighty t-shirt. In the end, Palin’s newsworthiness was unable to knock Obama out of the minds of American voters on election day. But in the short time she was in the public eye, Sarah Palin managed to put Wasilla, Alaska on the World Map. (It’s up by Canada, kinda next to Russia.)
Republican Congressman Ron Paul burst onto the 2008 election scene Howard Dean-style. Using the Internet as his canvassing ground, he amassed millions of supporters (The “Ron Paul Revolution“) who viewed the Republican Presidential Candidate from Lake Jackson, Texas as a heroic, no-nonsense, common-sense-talking anti-Bush. Though a Libertarian at heart, Ron Paul has been open about the necessity of running for public office as a Republican in order to have a viable shot at Congress and the Presidency. He is openly critical about President Bush and his administration, particularly as relates to the Iraq war and Bush big government straying from intrinsic Republican values.
Without the money to buy quality airtime and with the cameras aimed elsewhere, Ron Paul used the Internet and in-person speaking engagements to spread his message. His dedication to his ideals and the massive online support he amassed did get people to stand up and take notice, though ultimately – like Dean before him – he was unable to transfer his online popularity into real-world votes. Still, though, Ron Paul made a name for himself as an honest-to-a-fault public servant who stays true to his beliefs and his constituents, and he was the first candidate in the 2008 election to harness the power of the internet to mobilize his message and his supporters.
Joe the Plumber
Joe the Plumber (known as Joe Wurzelbacher by those who can pronounce it)made a name for himself during the third Presidential debate. Better said, John McCain made a name for him (namely, Joe the Plumber), mentioning Joe 21 times. Obama was good for 5 mentions, for a grand total of 26 mentions for Joe the Plumber. By contrast, Iraq came up 6 times and the economy was mentioned 16 times. Joe far outshone mention of Sarah Palin and Joe Biden as well. Not surprisingly, we saw Joe the Plumber designs hit the system mid-debate and within a few hours Joe had about 1/4 the content of all plumber designs.
Joe became an unlikely hero for the McCain campaign after having a discussion with Obama on the campaign trail about the Illinois Senator’s proposed tax plan. McCain used Joe as an example of a hardworking American (dare we say Joe Six Pack?) who would pay more taxes under the Obama plan. The Obama/Joe conversation was recorded by cameras; the uncut version ends with Obama noting that chatting with Joe was good debate prep:
His vote was kept private for 12 days, at which point he jumped on the bus and hit the campaign trail with John McCain. In the meantime, Joe was made an instant celebrity and unlikely political pundit, being interviewed as a symbol of the everyman by everyone from Katie Couric to Mike Huckabee. Local television stations around the country scrambled to find their own Joe the Plumber (my own local station used Eduardo the Electrician – yes, really), but none could match the t-shirt worthiness of the actual Joe the Plumber.
As is the case with so many relationships rushed into by two people who barely know each other, the McCain/Wurzelbacher romance hit the rocks a couple weeks later over McCain’s support of the Paulson bailout plan. While Wurzelbacher now says he was “appalled” by McCain at that point and considered moving out (read: getting off the bus), he reconsidered due to their mutual desire to move the Arizona Senator into more modest accommodations in Washington, D.C..
With the election over, Joe has found a place for himself on conservative talk radio and television; he also has a book deal in the works. When all is said and done, Joe the Plumber will go down as someone who took his 15 minutes of fame and ran with it. (Er… or rode a bus with it.)
If you haven’t heard of the small town of Forks, Washington or its sparkly resident Edward Cullen, chances are that you don’t have a teenage girl in the house. The real town of Forks is the setting for Stephenie Meyers’ “Twilight” book series, which portrays a love story between teenagers Bella (a mortal and recent transplant to Forks) and Edward Cullen (vampire, baseball player and Forks resident).
The hit book series was optioned by Hollywood, and the first “Twilight” movie hit theaters on November 21st to rave fan reviews. Before the movie opened, the “Twilight” folks did something for their fans that’s a rarity in Hollywood: they gave them permission to make “Twilight” merchandise.
Given the avid fan base of “Twilight,” we looked forward to seeing creative, inspired designs – and we weren’t disappointed. Twilight t-shirts immediately filled the fan portal to the tune of almost 450,000 Twilight products as of this writing, and motivated fans were able to wear their own creations – and those of other fans – to the opening night showing.
While Edward Cullen himself is by far the most popular character in the land of t-shirt fandom, there’s also a wide variety of shirts celebrating Bella, Jacob and the story itself. All in all, it’s been a real treat to see the enthusiasm and creativity that “Twilight” enthusiasts have demonstrated over the past few months.
So what would Edward wear? Well, we think he’d find something.