I sit in on the Untitled Personal Podcast Project

My friend Greg Daniels is launching a new podcast, Untitled Personal Podcast Project, (or yet unnamed) where he moderates a discussion of trending Facebook topics covering entertainment, politics, memes, whatever happens to on the mind of the collective Facebook psyche. He invited me to sit in on the first episode.
 
Check it below and subscribe to the channel here.
 
 
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s2smodern

How to Be a Fat Man, Dress Well, and Not Look Dumpy-Part 1 of 6

Illustrations by Brian Parra

This is the first of a six part article about factual fashion advice for fat guys. Read Part 23, 4, 5, and 6.

The author dressed so well, his wife was willing to take pictures.
There are 285 pounds of blogging chub inside this sharp-looking sports coat.

 

Fat guys have a hard enough time in life, and looking good in clothes is one of those chores that is inherently difficult and fraught with shame. The main difficulties for dressing while fat are lack of options, poor fit, weight change, the expense of big and tall clothes, and, of course, sheer embarrassment. A common pitfall for fat guys is looking dumpy, when one's clothes are poorly worn, ill-fitting and weirdly proportioned, giving the impression he is slovenly and bigger than he truly is. Looking dumpy is the first thing a person notices about a guy. It's human nature to notice flaws first and dumpy details about your dress can speak louder than the real person inside the clothes.

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How to Be a Fat Man, Dress Well, and Not Look Dumpy-Part 2 of 6

Illustrations by Brian Parra

This is the second of a six part article about factual fashion advice for fat guys.  Read Part 13, 4, 5, and 6.

 

Just because you are fat, that doesn't mean you aren't Regular.
When you see clothes described as Regular or clothes don't have a specific cut indication like Big, Tall, Portly, etc., you should assume they are cut to fit the average-proportioned body. Plenty of fat men, regardless of their size, have average body proportions and should be wearing Regular-cut clothes. If you have a large paunch, or belly, and a 3XL shirt is tight around the middle, then look to clothes designated as Big."B" in the size means there is extra room around the body for guys with large girths, so a 2XB is a 2XL garment with extra room around the middle. Tall clothes have longer proportions in many places for guys over 6', so an XLT shirt is an extra-large shirt cut with longer proportions. Portly, in suits, means they are cut for men whose waist size is less than 6 inches away from their chest size. Long suits are for guys 6' and taller. You can also find combinations of these, such as Portly Tall suits or clothes that are both Big and Tall. Pay attention to these labels and understand what they mean to your fit.

sizes

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How to Be a Fat Man, Dress Well, and Not Look Dumpy-Part 3 of 6

Illustrations by Brian Parra

This is the third of a six part article about factual fashion advice for fat guys.  Read Part 12, 45, and 6.

supermanMake sure your clothes fit you right.

You should be able to run your finger comfortably between your neck and your shirt collar. You should be able to run your thumbs comfortably in between your waist and your pants. The placket on your shirt should lay flat and not pull apart. Pleats on your shirt and pants and the vents on the rear of your suit coat should all lie flat and not be spread open when you are standing still. They are there so fabrics that don't stretch can allow for movement; they are not there to provide for extra room. On a suit coat, fasten the top button or top two buttons if it's a 3-button coat, and always leave the bottom button unbuttoned, but make sure it hangs under the buttonhole and isn't spread apart. If anything is too tight or if the pleats and vents are spread open, try the next size up or a different cut that is better suited to your shape...not three sizes up. Your clothes should gently hug your shape and in all other respects conform to conventions of men's fashion. Often, when guys are trying on coats, they will talk themselves out of a good fit because they do the Superman Pose and discover with their arms outstretched the clothes pull or become restrictive, and keep moving up a size until they find free range of motion in whatever size coat/paint tarp they end up in. Any good tailor or clothing attendant should refuse to sell you an ill-fitting coat, but oftentimes, the staff isn't trained or you guys are buying stuff alone and doing the clothing-equivalent of not asking for directions. Let's be honest, almost none of you fat guys needs to be able to do calisthenics or climb monkey bars when you are dressed nicely, so cut the this-feels-too-tight-when-I-raise-my-arms-up-like-this routine and know if you are dressed well, you'll probably be standing with your arms by your side or sitting down to type. Make sure your clothes fit well doing those activities and if you need to join a pickup game of soccer or leap out a window because the city needs you, then, take off your coat.

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How to Be a Fat Man, Dress Well, and Not Look Dumpy-Part 4 of 6

Illustrations by Brian Parra

This is the fourth of a six part article about factual fashion advice for fat guys.  Read Part 12, 3, 5, and 6.

slouchypantsDon't let your pants gather about your ankles.
So common is this faux pas that it deserves to be addressed directly; slouchy or too long pants gathering at the ankles create a terrible look that adds volume to your silhouette and looks slovenly. If you've bought slacks or jeans that are too long for you, do the dignified thing and take them to any strip mall dry cleaner and pay the $8 or thereabouts to have them properly hemmed. If they are dress slacks, verify they will use a blind hem so the thread isn't visible from the outside. The blind hem stitch requires a special sewing machine attachment and is a tad beyond what the average person familiar with a sewing machine is capable of. (Not impossible, DIYers, get a blind hem presser foot, the right thread, and practice it a few times before you tear into those $80 slacks.) If the person helping you with your alterations looks like they don't know what you're talking about when you ask about a blind hem, sometimes called an invisible hem, you're standing in a front for human trafficking and not a dry cleaner; gather up your garments, back out slowly and find another dry cleaner or a proper tailor. When you stand upright and have pulled up your waistband to your proper waist, the back of the pant legs should hang straight down to the back of your shoes, right above the heels, and the fronts should break slightly over the tops of your shoes. Your pant legs hanging straight down, without gathering or bagginess is the best look for you, granted some slight gathering at the bottom is acceptable for jeans. The ultimate length of a pant leg may differ depending on the cut and style of pants, say dress slacks or jeans, so you need to try on, measure, and alter each garment separately; don't allow a rushed attendant to measure one garment and then say they'll use the same measurement for the rest. A proper tailor will ask you how much you'd like your pants to "break," which references how much the pressed crease that runs down the front of your slacks will fold over the tops of your shoes. Full breaks look best on tall guys with skinny legs and for anyone still having their Zoot Suit tailored seventy or twenty years too late. Bigger guys should avoid full breaks and choose half or quarter breaks, which are appropriate for business and casual looks. Guys with short legs (sub 28" inseam) should always choose quarter breaks, sometimes called slight breaks, or no break, which is a look common for military and work uniforms and formal tuxedos. A break is not the same as slouchy pants gathering around your ankles, so be sure to pull your pants up to your navel when they are being measured for hemming and wear them the same way afterwards. If you are having jeans hemmed, where the hem stitch is visible on the outside, it is worth asking about matching the golden denim thread on most jeans, so they look like you bought them like this. If they don't have golden denim thread, again, back out slowly.

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How to Be a Fat Man, Dress Well, and Not Look Dumpy-Part 5 of 6

Illustrations by Brian Parra

This is the fifth of a six part article about factual fashion advice for fat guys.  Read Part 12, 3, 4, and 6.

Bad looks look twice as bad on you.
There is a full canon of standard fashion advice that isn't directly related to fat men; however, you should be doubly aware of these rules because when a bad look is on you, it not only plays into the well-accepted narrative that fat guys are slovenly, lazy and unkempt, but it is literally larger and more noticeable on you than it is the next guy. This list can be long, but if you are going to start dressing well, you gotta know them. The basics are thus: brown or blacks dress shoes should be matched to a brown or black belt. Clashing colors, like reds that aren't quite exact, should be avoided in the same outfit. Don't wear novelty ties or any childish or funny clothing; those items are strictly causal and shouldn't be worn to work or any place where you need to impress. You should avoid mixing patterns like various plaids, stripes, polka dots, and if you do, hipster, make sure one of those patterns is very small almost to the point of being a solid color, like a tight houndstooth, subtle pin stripe or Gingham check. Any metal on shoes, buckles, buttons, cuff links should match, like all chrome or all gold. An exception to all this matching is your watch, the band doesn't have to match your belt or shoes and the metal doesn't have to match your belt buckle or buttons, but extra credit if it does. Also, if you are wearing a suit or coat and tie, it should be a proper watch, no clunky sports watches or Casio calculator nerd watches. If your pants have belt loops, there had better be a goddam belt in them. Speaking of belts, holding up your pants is its only job; unless you're a janitor, put your phone and keys in your pocket. Avoid patterned pocket squares that match exactly your patterned tie. Any shirts with logos or embroidered emblems can't be worn with a suit. Before you sit, unbutton your coat so it doesn't pull across your torso and stress your buttons and also hike up your pants legs so the material doesn't stretch out over your bent knees. This list can seem endless, but you get the point.

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How to Be a Fat Man, Dress Well, and Not Look Dumpy-Part 6 of 6

Illustrations by Brian Parra

This is the sixth of a six part article about factual fashion advice for fat guys.  Read Part 12, 3, 4, and 5.

GLOSSARY
Know what you are talking about the next time you head to the store!
 
TERMS D'ART
Big-Generally refers to large-sized clothes, sizes XL-6XL+, but is also used to specifically indicate clothes like shirts cut with extra room or girth around the torso. "B" is commonly used in the size designation to denote a big cut, thus a 2XB is a 2XL shirt cut with extra girth around the torso.
Big & Tall-A category of clothing, usually used to reference men's clothing (the women's equivalent is often called, "Plus Size") that generally spans regular sizes XL-6XL+, big sizes XLB-6XB+, and tall sizes MT-6XT+. Big & Tall retail locations usually also carry portly, short and extra-long suits, extra-long ties, large shoes, extra long belts, undergarments, lifestyle accessories and orthopedic items for large and tall men.
Tall-Clothing cut for tall men, 6'+, sizes MT to 6XT+,- typically with longer sleeves, torso and tails, lower pocket placement and slimmer cuts for a more proportional look. Tall pants generally have high rises and longer inseams. "T" is commonly used in the size designation to denote a tall cut, thus a MT is a medium shirt with taller proportions. There are some Tall clothes that are also designated as Big, to indicate that they also have extra girth around the middle, in addition to being proportioned for a taller guy.

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Gary and Danielle's Wedding Ceremony

Photo by Karla Van HornOn May 9, 2015, I performed this ceremony to wed Gary Zapparelli and Danielle Martinez at Camp Bartlett in Santa Paula, CA.  I am a Humanist Officiant who is ordained to perform wedding ceremonies by the Universal Life Church. I am generally not for hire and only perform ceremonies for friends.  I have performed four weddings and always write and assemble the ceremonies myself. 
 
I'd like to welcome you all here today to celebrate the marriage of these two beautiful people Gary Zapparelli and Danielle Martinez.
 
It's my honor and privilege to marry these two today, in this beautiful place, Camp Bartlett. Thank you to the Zapparellis for hosting us here. Danielle is stunning in her beautiful dress and Gary even shaved his neck beard for this. You know it is an important day.
 
I met Gary right before he turned 21, at a place, I'll be honest, he probably shouldn't have been when he was not yet 21, but he's always seemed a little older than his age. What I mean by that is he's always known who he is, what he likes, what he's into. He likes those things without apology or remark. Most guy in their 20s usually take a few years to figure that stuff out and their motivation usually influenced by who they are trying to emulate or impress.Gary has always been self-possessed. It's a good quality for a guy, particular a young guy in this day and age. He's always knew when girls weren't right for him, always focused on his work. Didn't need to party to prove anything. He's already got the word "Senior" right in his job title and has his priorities straight. I gotta admit sometimes I don't get to see Gary as much as I like but I realize that's because he's got important stuff going on, or he's watching Adventure Time, either way, he's doing what he wants to be doing and I respect that.

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To My Friends Who Call for Peace

As riots took hold of Baltimore on last week, my initial reaction, I assume like most people, was to first be shocked by the apparent senselessness of violence, to be appalled by images of students throwing rocks, police car windows being smashed, of burning buildings, and of riotous crowds with black faces walled off by police in riot gear. It is sad that this has become a common response to a tragically predictable cause, however it is no less upsetting to see. My knee-jerk reaction is to question the motives of such violence and to wish, as one does, for peaceful demonstrations. I think most people come to this conclusion: violence is not the solution, it solves nothing and destroys the rioters own community, hurts people and businesses who have nothing to do with the problem at hand and is perpetrated by opportunistic people who have no stake in the greater issue at hand. I certainly appreciate that perspective but I think it is what I called it: knee-jerk. It lacks critical understanding about the issues at play and ignores a bigger problem created by just calling for peace: peace serves the side of the issue most vested in the status quo.

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What I Wish Managers Knew About Being A Jack-Of-All-Trades

Photo Credit: Matthew Stumphy at gurustump.com
Being a Jack-of-All-Trades can be tough when most jobs have very narrowly defined descriptions. Here's a list of things to consider when considering a versatile employee.
 
Last night, I watched the young adult sci-fi flick Divergent, set in a future where citizens in a post-apocalyptic society are separated into five factions depending on their nature and talents. These factions are charged with fulfilling a specific need of that society, such as food production, public service, defense, or science, etc. Divergents were those who don't fit neatly into these factions because they display the talents and abilities of several factions and are thus hunted because they mess with the program. Like much young adult post-apocalyptic fare, it's a grossly oversimplified allegory for growing up and finding a calling while preserving some amount of one's youthful spirit in the process. I watched this at 1 a.m. on a Monday morning because I am unemployed and have nothing to do on Monday proper except laundry and mining LinkedIn for job postings. I have been job hunting in earnest for six months and yet nothing with any sort of potential has panned out. To be fair, there are lots of factors at play: it's a tough economy, granted; and year-end is hardly the best time to ask someone to take me on, surely; and, familial obligations require I find a job with a certain level of compensation or else I am worth more to my family uncommitted, and yet there is one more thing complicating this already difficult situation.

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