Sunday, June 16, 2013

Steampunk Kilt Pin

Kilts and Steampunk just go together.  I attended a Steampunk convention a couple of months ago.  A number of guys were in kilts. Anything from traditional tartan to contemporary styles such as the Utilikilt.  I even found one of the vendors selling utility type kilts using material with a Steampunk theme.  The material was a little light for a kilt but looked good.

There is a lady that attends some of our kilt nights in Columbus, OH.  Turns out she makes jewelry.  She made a Steampunk kilt pin she calls a "key to time".  She has a copyright on this design.  Her company is ELM Jewelry Designs.  

Now I need another Steampunk convention to go to so I can wear it.  On second thought the next kilt night will do.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

 photo TartanDayApr6_zps5c5fadf0.jpg

 So why is Tartan Day celebrated on the 6 April each year? Because the Declaration of Arbroath was signed on the 6 April 1320:

'As long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.'

This is a translation of part of the Declaration of Arbroath, foremost among Scotland's state papers and perhaps the most famous historical record held by the National Records of Scotland (NRS). The Declaration is a letter from the barons and whole community of the kingdom of Scotland to the pope in 1320, asking him to recognize Scotland's independence and acknowledge Robert the Bruce as the country's lawful king.

The Declaration was in Latin and was sealed by eight earls and about forty barons. Over the centuries various copies and translations have been made, including a recent microscopic edition.

You can visit the National Records of Scotland website to view an image of the original declaration, use 'zoomify' to see the detail of the text and seals, and read a transcript or translation of the document.

More information: 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Kilt comment by author Lillian Stewart Carl

Ran across this blog entry written by author Lillian Stewart Carl.  I wanted to post it here otherwise I will forget where I found it.   Good for future reference.  I particularly liked the comment about modern kilts including utility type kilts. 

In addition to kilt quotes don't forget about this classic from the Honorable Stuart R. Erskine in his book The Kilt and How to Wear it, published in 1901:
 "The Highland dress is essentially a 'free' dress -- that is to say, a man's taste and circumstances must alone be permitted to decide when and where and how he should wear it... I presume to dictate to no man what he shall eat or drink or wherewithal he shall be clothed."

Other Kilt Blogs

As I run across other kilt blogs I like to post them on my blog.  Check out this one by Nicholas Breaux:

He has four posts in February that right on the mark.  Check out his blog.

Changing of the Temperature

Now that we are in March the average daily high temperature will increase by 12 degrees by the time we get to April 1st.  Then another 11 degrees in April.  As the temperatures go up my selection of kilts and how I wear them will change.  As someone who thinks a severe winter is when the temperature goes below 60F I wear kilts in a warmer configuration during the winter.   Now that I have a good heavy wool kilt (the one I made last summer, see earlier posts) I have been getting a lot of use out of it.  I also wear my Union Kilt leather during the winter and not so much in the summer.  In the winter I wear mostly Lewis kilt hose. 

The Lewis line of socks is nice and heavy with some wool in them if I recall.  Nice and warm in the winter.   In the summer I only wear those if I need to go someplace nice.  For the summer it is boot socks or regular knee socks pushed down.  Finding knee socks can be a problem.  Over the past couple of years I have experimented with various types of knee socks.  Most of mine now come from Sock Dreams.  They have a line I think they call “Crunch” socks.   The have recognized that guys like these for kilts so they have them identified as such.  Sock Dreams sells mostly to women  but they have found guys have a need for some of their longer socks.   A few years back I also found Gold Toe knee socks for guys in white and black.  I wear a lot of the black in the summer pushed down.   For the white it has enough cotton that it will take a dye very well.  I have dyed a few to get other colors like a tan and green.     I have trouble finding true boot socks.  Boot socks are a little longer than crew socks.  I tried Soccer socks but did not like the look.  Some of those have color stripes or sports wording on them.   I have kind of given up on socks in color in the summer.  Anymore I tend to just go with black and be done with it.  My shoes are black. 

For shoes the summer is kind of backwards.  With socks pushed down my favorite shoe is 10” boot.  There may be some pictures of that configuration in older posts.  I got those boots at Sears a few years back.  They carry a Harley Davison name plate.  Now in the summer one would think something lighter would work better and the boots would be for the winter.  Looking at pictures of causal kilts in the summer a lot of the guys are wearing boots.  Something like hiking boots from 8” to 10” tall.  In the winter apparently wearing kilt socks up to the knee with boots is some kind of kilt no-no.  I will do it if snow is on the ground but other than that a low dress shoe is the choice for most fair weather winter days. 

Some wear sandals (barefoot, no socks) with their casual kilt outfit.  I am just not an open toe shoe guy.  For some reason I don’t like to wear shoes like that.  I have worn cloth running type shoes but those just don’t look right with normal crew socks, or socks pushed down.  Almost better with no socks at all.  I think I should take the attitude of wearing shoes I wear with shorts and do the same with the kilt.  That would be the cloth shoes with crew socks.  This summer I will get another opportunity to revisit this topic again. 

I also tend to wear more utility type kilts in the summer rather than winter.  During the winter it was almost always tartan kilts.  I do have a heavy denim kilt (Union Kilts) that gets worn in the winter and not in the summer.  The thing has so much material in it that summer is rather warm for that one.  For summer tartan kilts you can’t beat the real PV kilts from USAKilts.  I have a couple of them and those will get a lot of use this summer. 

For shirts I wear long sleeve polo shirts in the winter.   Also long sleeve button down shirts if I want something a little nicer.  In the summer it will be short sleeve polo shirts, t-shirts (some with kilt related statements on them), and short sleeve button down shirts for nicer occasions.   A kilt jacket only for something very nice that more than likely involves wearing a tie. 

So bring on summer so I can swap out the wardrobe in the closet and ditch this heavy winter coat.

Jan 2 2013 - A little cold going out for dinner photo Jan2_2012.jpg
Winter Look with the 8.5 yard, 13oz wool, kilt I made

USA Kilts Oakleigh Tartan photo Oakleigh_USAK_0500a_1.jpg
Summer look with a causal PV kilt from USAKilts

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Kilts And On-line Dating

Once again time sure flies by. We have made it to March. That is a good thing as March is a month where the temperature finally starts to rise to something more liking to my comfort zone. So what have I been doing all winter? Gosh, not much when it comes down to it. I had a number of projects in the queue and not many have been finished. I always under estimate how long something will take. Of course, my estimates might be on target but I let myself get distracted and change priorities. During the past year I have been playing around with something I thought I would never do: online dating.

 The first site I was on a year ago was Match. This is supposed to be one of the best. This one requires a subscription to be useful. The free account is on this site is useless. I signed up for a six month membership. If you ever get on this site take the optional feature for a timestamp of when your messages are read. I found that to be useful. Also, be careful of requests to chat with someone off of the Match chat network. These will mostly be scammers. You may just want to turn off the chat feature. I found no legitimate women used chat. All the chat requests I got were scammers or fake profiles. Ok, so much for the general warnings. So how did I do on Match? To be honest it was a waste of time. I sent out 25 messages in three months. I got back 5 replies. All but one was negative. By that I mean the lady was not interested. Now I was not expecting to get 25 positive responses for 25 outgoing messages. Gosh, I can’t be doing 25 first dates or trying to contact 25 women and keep it all straight. So I expected negative responses to way out number positive ones. In theory you really only need ONE good response. What I did not expect was the lack of responses. When I send out an initial message I would study the person’s profile and comment on what was there. I did not send out canned messages or simple “hi how are you” messages. I took the time to read the profile and respond. I expected the lady to at least read the message and acknowledge it. Instead most just ignored the message. This is where the read receipt comes in handy. You can also tell when someone looks at your profile. I sent a message to one lady and she looked at my profile but NEVER read the message. Sorry, but that shows lack of character in my book. You are on this site so play the game.

From a woman’s stand point my profile is nothing to get anyone excited. I think you have to be a good BS’er to write a good profile. You should be honest and not put anything in there that is not true. You need to write up whatever you are about in a manner that will make someone want to find out more about you. So you need to be a good wordsmith more or less. That I am not. You also need very good profile pictures. Guys, don’t do the bare chest thing. I understand that is a turn off unless you are young and really have six-pack abs. Also, none of this standing in front of a mirror with a cell phone camera. Get some good pictures of yourself dressed nice. Forget the expensive cars in the shot too.

 I have come to the conclusion, at least for my age group, that women want a guy that fits the standard template of the American male. I am not sure what that is but something along the lines of he plays a little golf or some sport, wears his Levis a certain way, can wear a suit, does not have comb-over, never wears socks with sandals, never wears shorts or if he does they are never higher than the knee, has a boat, etc. I always wanted to test this theory by creating a fake profile and go back to the same women where I got no response and see what happens. Of course I could never follow through with any ongoing messages. I never took the time to do this.

 In my profile I don’t fit the typical American male. First I am not sports inclined. I don’t have a boat. I do keep physically fit and ride a recumbent bike which helps. Also, no surprise here if you read this blog, I wear kilts. Not just for Celtic fests but at least 50% of the time. So what impact does the kilt have when it comes to on-line dating. I figured it would be negative at least in the part of the country I live in. To test that theory when I was on match I changed my profile to remove all pictures and kilt comments. Unfortunately I did not stay on Match long enough afterwards to see if anything had changed. I dumped the subscription three months into the six month term.

 Later I signed up one on of the free sites. Made some changes to the profile but again all real and the kilts were still there. On this free site I received a better response rate to messages but still most were a no-response. I did get two dates out of the free site. I only got one out of match. For the most part men are going to have to initiate the first contact. I hate to say this but when I did get a first contact initiated by the lady it was from someone that I doubt was getting any messages from men so they were getting a little more aggressive. I did get one first contact from a lady that was ok. She contacted me because of the kilts. We exchanged a few messages. I got the feeling that she thought I only wore the kilt for Celtic fests and Celtic music performances. When she found out I have 20 kilts she started to ask more questions. Once she found out I wear them more often her attitude completely changed. I got a message from her and she went off on me about the wind blowing up a kilt and not wanting see what was under the kilt. Good grief! Chill out chick. I responded about how a traditional heavy wool kilt is made with the pleats sewn down to the fell and the sporran in the front will limit what blows up where. Never heard back from her. Thankful for that!

The second one was even stranger. I got a first response from a lady five years older than myself. She was attractive and looked like she took care of herself. She was in shape and not overweight. She did not say anything about the kilts in the messages we exchanged. She commented more about the dog I had in one of my pictures. In fact, when we meet, she wanted me to bring along the dog. OK, maybe she just wanted to date my dog. We decided to meet in a park where we could walk the dog then go to a coffee shop nearby. The few times I actually got to meet someone (once on Match and now twice on the free site) I suggested we have lunch or dinner at an Irish restaurant/pub. That way the kilt would not be entirely out of place. Meeting at park caused a problem. Jeans might be more appropriate. The day we were to meet was a nice day so I wore the kilt in a more casual configuration. When I arrived she was not surprised I had on the kilt. We talked some about the tartan and kilt history. We then went to the coffee shop. I must have spent about 2 hours with her. She asked if I wanted her phone number. Sure, I thought I would go out with her again so we exchanged information. When I returned home I sent her a message thanking her for the nice afternoon and I would be in touch. I figured I would call her the following evening. There is a Celtic band playing in town next week and I thought I would take her to that. The next morning I had a message from her.

This message came via the dating site and was time stamped a little after midnight. I was shocked at the content of the message. She went off about how it was inappropriate to wear a kilt, they were for formal events only, yada, yada, yada. I was very tempted to disagree and send her a link to a document about the kilt being the only MALE garment that can be dressed up or down from casual to formal (examples in pictures included in the document). And good grief when the kilts were first commonly worn they sure as hell were not formal garments. I ended up just sending a reply that stated kilts were not for everyone and I wished her the best. I figure she must have talked to someone or maybe spent the evening looking up kilts on Google to find something she did not like.

That is the reason why my profile and first encounter includes the kilt. I want to uncover any rejections before we get too far into a relationship. Unfortunately with my first wife that did not happen. When she discovered I had an interest in kilts she went ballistic over them. There are a few ladies that appreciate the kilt just hard to find. Western society really has a hang-up with non-bifurcated garments on men.

Overall online dating sites are a waste of time for most people (male and female). You don’t get the chemistry that two people have then they meet person-to-person in the course of daily life. What you get is an unrealistic expectation based on what the computer says you should be. So when you do meet this person more than likely it will be a let-down. I don’t expect I will continue online dating much longer. I really have better things to do and would be more productive getting out in public to find that someone special. I have never been one to think that there is someone for everyone. If you find someone great, but otherwise you can still have a great life as a single person.