Monthly Archives: April 2015

What to wear to the End of the World.

* this article originally appeared on Carnal Nation and io9, repubbed here for the ages.

resident-evil-afterlife-movie-image-milla-jovovich-12-600x400Things are always a little sketchy, globally. They’ve been sketchy my whole life, what with Reagan and the Cold War and acid rain and global warming and shoals of plastic bottles in the Pacific. Now that we’re all depressed, let’s talk about clothes!

Obviously, when the Apocalypse comes you want to be dressed for it. You want to look good, and have a place to keep your tools and weapons and jerky. You want clothes that are sturdy, in case you’re dragged over the desert sands behind a motorcycle, and clothes that are washable, because your drycleaner is at the bottom of the new Los Angeles Sea. You’ll want clothes that are modular, because you’re likely to be wearing the same outfit for quite a while. You may want clothes that are armored, knife-proof or bulletproof, and you’ll definitely want some fucking bad-ass boots.

Also, you should do your shopping as soon as possible, before the worldwide economic meltdown. For boots, get yourself some New Rocks. Sure, they cost a fortune, but you’ll never be buying another pair of boots anyway, on account of that EMP taking out all the electronic currency. If you must go with Demonia, the Stomp or Transformer models are good for kicking in zombie heads. The Transformer can be instantly weaponized with attachable spikes. The motorcycle gear company Icon also makes fabulous high-heeled boots for your chic cycling needs. You’ll need a tattered skirt with lots of pockets, d-rings and straps. I found this French-run company based in Hong Kong and Bali, Shaman Electro, by looking at the tag on the back of Carnal Nation Editor-in-Chief Theresa Ikard’s fabulous tattered skirt.

Cryoflesh-Aquarius-SkirtOr this amazing one by CryofleshOr some demented modular skirt plus pants thing. Then you need a jacket. Maybe you’ll want this fucking crazy stillsuit/desert nomad hoodie to protect you from the radioactive ash. Or how about Kevlar or Aramid lined hoodies that deflect knife cuts? Try out this razortape-print Kevlar-lined hoodie from BladeRunner in the UK. They even have a  sickening pink “ladies” version.shaman-electro-pandora1

If you’re protecting yourself from the elements in the frozen wastes of Brazil, you’ll want a warm coat. After much research, I’ve concluded that most women’s cold-weather gear is not hot, and therefore, by definition, sucks-not-in-the-good-way.

The only cool insulated jackets are from motorcycle gear companies—and they have the advantage of being armored at the shoulders and elbows, for when you jump out of  the speeding jacked-up BattlePrius in the middle of  the wasteland. I like the British motorcycle gear company Frank Thomas for their Armored Venus line. This jacket from FirstGear is actually electrically heated. FirstGear-HeatedJacket-2_0You can plug it in to your methane-powered hybrid motocross hoverbike!

Then you need a place to put your gear. You’ll want your hands free, so you need a utility belt or vest. Poizen Industries makes this cute bustier with zipoff pockets and ammo holders.poizen-corset2

The craziest, most amazing utility belts and holster belts anywhere are on etsy at Jungle Tribe’s shop:JungleTribe bage

 

 

 

Much, much cheaper are cloth utility belts.

Five and Diamond’s Wild Card belts are fabulous. There are Wild Card holster belts, and the Skin Graft holster belts sold both at F&D and at the Skin Graft site.

Once you’ve stashed your gear about your person in all your little pockets and pouches, you can protect yourself from the toxic rain with the Blade Runner umbrella— at thinkgeek.

Of course, the accessory you need most of all is Milla Jovovich and her machete.

Loves Saves The Day, third time lucky, and other adventures in second chances.

We’re in Berlin! Swinging on the subway pole, giggling, I’m delirious with the rightness of this city. “Who are you and what have you done with my depressed wife?”, my husband wants to know.

Who is this jolly person who walks for miles exploring, who carts home bags of groceries and cooks actual meals and even sometimes washes dishes? Who is this person who goes to the club at midnight second night in Berlin and says “Suzanne- I’m on der list”, and cruises past the waiting Brits? This giddy creature thanking the punk rock tweens on the subway for their compliments on her hair and replying, “Die rot mascara ist on point!” This grateful animal whose instincts are no longer in collision with her environment?

My true self, an urban animal, that’s who. Free of the car, loose and easy in a real public transit system, safe in a city that stays up all night, where you can get a decent espresso on the subway platform and the streets are full of people living ordinary lives. It is a miracle to be here, to be transported to this place where people live like people, like the New York of my childhood.

When I would leave our Chelsea apartment and go out to walk the city in the 80s I would feel like i was slipping into my true skin, like the city was an armature I was happily donning. It amplified my strength and fed my energy; I could tell the whole world, “Get away from her, you bitch!”. Here it is the same. After a quarter century of little cities, the buzz of correct urban density is electrifying. I feel right size, a single cell in a healthy body.

You can meet anybody here. I told the Italian guy who was making our pizza my name, and he said I had to listen to this song from when he was a kid, and the Polish guy pulled the video up, and we watched it while the Argentinian girl folded pizza boxes. Then he invited me to see his band play at a club in Kreuzberg.

Soylent is free research for space sustenance. Drink on, geeks!

Suzanne Forbes illustrationI just read Lizzie Widdicombe’s thoughtful New Yorker piece on Soylent. On the face of it, Soylent seems like a classic example of privileged people solving Valley problems. No-one wants to not need food but supertaster Aspies who think they’re too busy saving the world to eat, right? When the Kickstarter launched, I saw it primarily as another asshat lifehack from an engineer who lacks sensuality. And a possible solution for my hacker fiance’s dislike of eating.

But… I care about space travel as much as I care about heirloom tomatoes, and Soylent could be an important piece of making it viable. We know that the DNA of heritage turkey breeds could provide the genetic diversity from homogenized foodstock turkeys we need for a resilient new-planet ark. Slow food is part of the future of space travel for those reasons. So is DIY. The legion of unpaid researchers using their own backyards to develop greywater irrigation and raised bed planting innovations are working for space. Although they’re only trying to grow their own food to save this planet, and building these raised beds because their West Oakland soil is full of toxins, they’re advancing our sustenance palette.

NASA would have to pay people lots of money to live on beige post-food slurry and carefully monitor and record the results. Companies would spend fortunes on the R&D these Soylent formula obsessives are doing for free. If I get on the generation ship (as a resident artist, I hope!) I’ll be glad a bunch of vegans in a Santa Cruz dorm tested green sludge recipes for a year. So I withdraw my criticism of Soylent, and I say, drink all the sludge you want, narcissist ascetics. Just make to quantify everything you learn.

Targeted content marketing for conversion, or, “You talkin’ to ME??! You talkin to ME?!”

content marketing conversionBrands are becoming publishers.

Let’s say it again: brands are becoming publishers. Is this good? No. It’s stupid.

If you’re in the sneaker selling business, and you are forced by your marketing strategists to become a content publisher, are you going to have the experience equity in publishing you have in sneaker production? Hell no.

You are no more qualified to be a publisher than a squirrel is.

However, you do have one thing that publishers are desperate for- specialized knowledge which can be converted to content. You are deeply knowledgeable about sneaker production and the needs and habits of the sneaker consumer.

You have a treasure trove of potential content.

And since publishing is as simple as setting up a WordPress blog, if your marketing team or some blogger on Scribd can convert your knowledge trove to content, you have plenty to publish. So suddenly you have a content archive which is a value-add to your consumer. But you still don’t know anything about publishing.

About how to tell a story, how to sell a story, who to tell what story or how to use a story to create consumer aspiration, which is the real point, for you.

So do you just open a content firehose on your blog or site and hope it will attract people through search, get shared and give you beneficial backlinks?

Sure, you could start there. Or you could design your content to attract the people most likely to buy your product and use it to guide them to the purchase that will make them happiest.

Let’s do a case study, of how a company called Orchard Corset (link has no nudity but still NSFW) is doing a tremendous job at this with reasonable, not-extravagant resources. Orchard Corset is a company up near Seattle that sells mass-produced steel-boned corsets and shapewear, and their content marketing ROCKS.

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