No Durian Allowed

A helpful warning at our hotel in Penang Malaysia, reminding guests that the infamously odorous fruit is not allowed on the premises. For those of you not aware of this ‘delicacy’, durian is a large soft textured fruit that smells like shit and/or vomit (and that’s being kind; others have described it as pig-shit with turpentine, medical waste, and gym socks). Aficionados insist that the flesh is succulent with a consistency like custard, superior in texture and smoothness to almost all other fruit. Having tried it (in the form of a custard cake roll) I can safely place myself in the former category. The only thing I’ve personally ever tried that was worse is Nattō, a Japanese ‘delicacy’ composed of slimy, decaying mung beans that has the taste and consistency of fresh vomit (someone else’s). But alas that experience is for another post. I can honestly say if given a chance you should try durian, if for no other reason than to have a baseline for the worst thing you’ve ever tasted…

nodurian
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SBooBS - Break My Trickeries!

A pencil sharpener from a newish Taiwanese company. The name is supposed to be ‘SB-BS’ with an infinity loop between the letters. I’m afraid to most native English speakers it reads “sboobs’ however. I don’t think I need to go into why that doesn’t work well (unless you’re selling boob joke paraphernalia). The tagline break my trickeries is more than adequate for inclusion here, but out of morbid curiosity I looked these guys up, and turns out they have a whole slew of ‘office revenge’ products. SB is supposed to be ‘stab back’ and BS ‘backstabber’, so the infinity loop means to retaliate somehow(?). This particular device is supposed allow you to pretend to shove a pencil down the office gossip’s throat while sharpening said pencil. The package also warns you not to use it as food or sports equipment…

breakmytrickeries

Their website has this helpful blurb and diagram that explains it far better (or more colorfully) than I can. “So many trickeries in my head! Sharpen your pencil as hard as you are smashing all the bad ideas! When the pieces come out of my mouth, all fortune will come to you!” The diagram shows the bad luck going in and good luck coming out, and its got a ‘piquant degree’ of 5 stars, which I’m guessing means its pretty hot?

breaktrickeries1

They have a bunch of other anger management tools in their stable, which I’ll save for later post. I’ll include this pencil sharpener that drives the point home far more graphically–hey I made a pun!

backstabber1
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Rise to Coma Fortunate

A t-shirt in Causeway Bay. As a rule I generally don’t take shots of people without asking first (which I rarely do anyway), but this one was too bewildering to pass up. And she helpfully stood still for a full minute while I struggled to find my iPhone and take this admittedly poor shot.

comafortunate coma-icon

First off there’s the utterly incongruous laundry recommendation icons across the top. What do they possibly have to do with comas? Are they to help the nursing staff when they launder it? And the tagline: rise to (a) coma fortunately? Is there anything fortunate about a coma? Not to be overly morbid, but the only thing less fortunate is dying. Though I suppose you do have a slim chance to wake up from a coma at least, so there’s that. Maybe she’s just an extraordinarily positive person…
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Cheesy Opera & Double Layers Indulgence

Yet another bizarre (though admittedly tame by their standards) local Pizza Hut abomination. Of course to American ears cheesy is slang for ‘unsubtle, and/or inauthentic’. Needless to say it’s not the ideal term for selling anything, even in the context of pizza and/or toppings. And speaking of toppings, this latest atrocity has ‘double layers indulgence’–an entire pizza mashed onto another, then loaded down with salami and scallops. The traditional repast of opera patrons everywhere apparently. Well, those and cheap mozzarella cheese, and the more the better! I especially love the scallop shell arrangement on the left. Very elegant, very… operatic? Now if I can just figure out a way to smuggle this double layered indulgence into the next performance of ‘Carmen’…

cheesyopera
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Frost Bag & Bearing the Thought of Being Alone

A Japanese gift bag(?) from Wanchai. Not sure what ‘frost’ has to do with it, though I’m assuming it’s referring to the doily and lace imprints. It’s not exactly freezer ready/food storage material…

frostbag

Regardless the more unsettling aspect is the blurb lining the bag itself. I understand the ‘lost in translation’ aspect of this–Hell I have an entire category devoted to them. But this has got to be the creepiest, most desperate copy I think I’ve ever come across. “I can’t bear the thought of being alone?” Who wants a gift with that written on it? Or more to the point, who’d want to hang out with someone who gave them this? Perhaps you wouldn’t be alone all the time if you chose better gift bags. A start at least. Just saying…
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Pants Story vs. Cardigan Tale

A newish clothing store in Wanchai(?). Ironically no pants were actually on display–if you’re going to tease me with stories about pants, at least have some in your window…

pantsstory

I entered hoping for some truly epic tales, perhaps about the birth of corduroy (the “Cord of Kings”), or an ‘up-from-your-bootstraps’ morality play about blue jeans. Unfortunately I was greeted by stacks of staid cardigans and bland pullovers. Cardigans generally don’t have a lot of stories to tell (outside of the occasional dark family secret or two; Uncle Jimmy’s not really your uncle, I gambled your inheritance away years ago, etc). But I suppose ‘Cardigan Tale’ doesn’t pack the urbanesque fashion punch of ‘Pants Story’...
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