Monthly Archives: May 2009

I’ve had the pleasure of researching edible gardens at work and talking to people who are dedicated to eating what they grow. I too aspire to live this modern-day agrarian lifestyle but there’s not much of a garden in my apartment complex. Of course, if I were a New Yorker, I’d know that having access to a rooftop would mean that I could easily construct my very own rooftop garden with the New York skyline as my backdrop. SWOON!

Goode Green NYC, a garden design and installation firm in New York, was linked to a recent Serious Eats article. I checked out the website and fell in love with the featured gardens. The rooftop transformation in Greenpoint is stellar (and inspirational).

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My friend Raymond, owner of Chinatown’s Lion’s Den just informed me that Ooga Booga has restocked his zine! I’ll be getting my copy soon but in the mean time, here’s a sneak peak of what I’ll be enjoying…


“Zine by Raymond Tseng (Lion’s Den) is a visual document of youth and loss in the Los Angeles-area Asian-GQ gang scene.
Softcover, 20 pages, color, 2005.”

I spent most of my Monday afternoon cleaning out my garage. There are so many things that I have to purge including a old Roxy long board (barf) and a pathetic excuse for a microwave that I have shared many a Hot Pocket with. Luckily, I also uncovered some lost treasures including a bag of clothes I thought I outgrew (that I didn’t) and a poem I’d written ages ago, scrawled on a piece of torn notebook paper. I read it and decided that it was more honest and heartfelt than anything I’ve written of late. No idea when poem was written or why it was written; it’s not dated, it’s untitled, and it appears to be composed in one breath. I tend to fill the page with gratuitous scribbles and edits. This was eerily spotless. Clearly, I was determined to convey inexpressible feelings expressively somehow and when left to my own devices, I pick up the pen and bang out emo verse.

I was probably passionately in love with someone, but of course, trapped in my mental purgatory of emotional insecurity and self-loathe. Or, I could have just been really bored. In any case, reading it made me a little wistful and nostalgic about all the love I’ve lost or left behind.


    Your love is like a river
    and I float on that river
    I want to be on that river
    alone but forever with you.

    Amplified tragic culminations of we are two then one and one
    and I am yours but yours is somewhere
    trapped in another cavity.
    Legs embracing arms embracing lips
    smothering breasts and genuine disparity between me and her?

    Because, Lover, your love is like a river
    a ghetto, a visualized concept of swimming
    a moment, explicitly under-produced,
    of I am alone and
    still forever with you.

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I¹m no brand specialist, but I commend Urban Outfitters for ingeniously positioning itself as retail¹s stylish, trendsetting purveyor of tween and teen fashion. It¹s been around since the ’70s ­then as Philly¹s outlet for pseudo funky home-ware and clothing, and known as “the Free People’s Store”. How boho. Around the time I was getting allowance money and saving up for extravagant purchases like pagers, Sanrio pencil cases, and low-top Vans, I learned of Urban and its slightly cooler-than-Wet Seal reputation. I wish I could tell you I was on board from the start, but Wet Seal was the jam back in the day, so to shop anywhere else was virtually inconceivable. Urban reappeared in my formative high school years when shoplifting was a rite of passage for socially awkward teen girls. Walking to class, I¹d overhear these gangster-ass kleptos discuss their pirated booty. Urban’s store is designed like a big warehouse, which meant that slipping a few baby-tees in your backpack was a breeze. Was.

Finally, the hype enveloped my every waking moment. With a wad of cash in hand and an insatiable desire to buy everything, I wandered into the Pasadena outpost for some retail therapy. I left with nothing and was mostly dismayed. The clothes were cheaply made but heftily priced. I scoffed at the faux vintage designs that represented everything I hated about The Man, and poseurs. Yes. I did use that word.

In my opinion, Urban’s creative slump peaked when the store overstocked on the deconstructive look or what I like to call, “fabric scraps disguised as haute couture”. Five years went by before I could even step inside an Urban Outfitters store without feeling like a disappointed Asian mom. And then one day…

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spring 09 catalogue


I dont know circa when Urban’s image flipped a u-y, but the impossible happened. Urban Outfitters experienced the same phenomenon that encapsulates Gap and Jcrew’s retail history– it had a makeover. My jaw slams into the concrete whenever I get the newest catalogue, or when I read about their smart collaborations with up-and-coming or established designers (Geren Ford, Steven Alan, Betsey Johnson, Slow & Steady Wins the Race, Filson tba, etc). There was barely a peep about the website redesign 2 years ago, which is strange given that the old website was impossible to navigate (and was fugly). Now it¹s this hybrid of German- and Dutch- inspired aesthetic but with photos that teeter between American Apparelesque sex appeal and high fashion sensibility. Oh yeah, the clothes, shoes, and accessories are really cool too.

In conclusion (here I am, closing out my research paper like a dork), Urban Outfitters successfully kept its dramatic makeover under-the-radar, and it worked. Very inspiring. Expect to see me with a very blond, short pixie-cut soon.

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spring 09 catalogue