Waterproof jackets

My old Snowgum waterproof jacket, which I got about ten years ago, is finally wearing out — self-destructing from the inside, a little like the Snowgum stores themselves.

It’s been so handy that I want something similar to replace it: reasonably lightweight (but not flimsy and featherweight) but waterproof (not just water-resistant), that can be packed down easily to carry in a bag. And I’m prepared to invest in something tough and durable.

It’s sale season, so I’ve been exploring the cluster of outdoor shops around Little Bourke Street.

Kathmandu’s prices at sale time go down to something reasonable (why would you buy when they’re not on sale?) — and they have a few options in the $100-150 range, but I can’t help think the linings on them look just a little flimsy.

Macpac has a few different coats, but their lightweight one (“Dispatch”) seems a little too small and lightweight, and the heavier ones (“Endeavour” and “Copland“) seem a little too heavier than my old jacket — not easily foldable, for instance. They’re a bit more expensive ($229+) but they do look very sturdy.

Nothing in the Paddy Palin shop leapt out at me. I haven’t looked properly in Mountain Designs yet, though there are some in the current catalogue and online that look okay — but unlike shoes (which I’m now happily buying online, in part because I hate shoe shopping with a passion) I’m finding I really need to see coats in person, particularly to see what kind of weight they are.

I’m not looking for a fully-blown stockman’s coat, but Drizabone also has a few options. At first I thought the Darby might be good (despite being described as a “traditional styled anorak” — hello gunzels!), as it looks like the right weight, but I looked at them in David Jones, and they’ve got a peculiar cord-type thing that goes under the arm. I think it’d bug me. Perhaps I should try one of the smaller oilskin jackets?

Any other ideas, preferably in the CBD?

Postscript Sunday 29/6/2014: I eventually got past Snowgum and Kathmandu in Moorabbin, near home. The latter had a jacket I hadn’t encountered at the city Kathmandu — the Andulo — it’s perhaps not the most perfect jacket ever, but given I really need to replace the old one, it’ll do the job for now.

No more tie

This week I stopped wearing a tie to work.

I’ve moved to a new office, where the norm is no ties. I could wear one, but would stick out. So effectively it’s the new uniform.

As I noted last year, when I started working in 1993, pretty much every male white-collar worker wore a tie. Not any more — particularly not in IT.

In some ways I’ll miss them. And it might be time to buy some more coloured shirts… I think white shirts (worn without a jacket during the summer) look odd without a tie.

And I’ll probably miss it when doing TV media. Would it be cheating to keep one in the drawer at work for that?


I have a love-hate relationship with ties.

When I started my working life in 1993, almost all white-collar male workers wore ties. Over the years this has dropped somewhat, and I’d hazard a guess that perhaps around 30% now do so.

I still wear a tie. I switched a few years ago to a Windsor Knot, and this is what I’ve taught my kids to use now they wear ties in high school. Apparently some of the other boys don’t know how to tie them at all, and just leave them tied up all the time. (The girls wear them only in winter.)

Ties can add some colour to an otherwise dull shirt and suit. And when chosen and presented well, can look really good. I think they can give one an air of authority. Such as on TV!

On the other hand they are fiddly, and I don’t find them particularly comfortable to wear.

Ties apparently originated in the 1600s. I wonder if they’ll eventually disappear from common use.

Clear the credit cards for action!

Do I walk a bit funny or something? The heels of the two pairs of shoes I most commonly wear (the Monday to Friday work shoes) are wearing away on the outside edges. Further, one pair is re-developing the same hole which I thought was comprehensively eliminated a year ago. And in the same position of the same shoe. Strange, since the repair bloke fully redeemed it and gave it an entirely new soul.

Since the end of financial year stocktake sales started yesterday, maybe it’s time to go on a shopping spree. Stock up on the stuff I need now at sale prices, rather than later at full price. Off the top of my head, I could do with buying:

  • New pair of work shoes and a new pair of runners, which are also aging. I’m a shocking shoe shopper, racked with indecision. For the love of God, if you know me, don’t volunteer to come along.
  • Something in the casual winter wear department. Maybe a nice shirt and a jumper or two — I’m not quite as bad at clothes shopping as I am at shoe shopping.
  • Perhaps some new work shirts, as some of my old ones will start to self-destruct before too long.Tick
  • A couple of nice new ties. Certainly at least one to replace the nice blue tie I had that got splattered with something very messy (but very delicious) one dinnertime, and I foolishly thought I could try and clean myself, thus avoiding drycleaning. Nuh uh. In fact the eventual dryclean got rid of the original stain, leaving signs of my cleaning attempts. Sigh. Don’t even try.Tick
  • A dressing-gown, for use in preventing freezing my arse off when moving around the house after getting up. My existing gown is unfortunately deficient in this respect, as it has developed a hole in precisely that location. Apart from the temperature factor, not very dignified when going out onto the driveway to get the newspaper.Tick
  • Perhaps look out for something in advance for the kids for their July allotted XBox game.
  • I’m not totally against the idea of, at some stage, obtaining a frying pan which has a matching lid, rather than a mismatched one from a different, long since disposed of, pan.
  • My cordless phone has gone ga-ga, so it’s probably time for a replacement, so I am no longer tethered to the kitchen counter to make untimed phone calls.Tick
  • Might be time to pick up a drill too, for those occasional… uhhh… drilling forays. And lazy screwdrivering.
  • Need a new couch, but will probably wait until I get into a new house. Umm. Whenever that happens.

Yesterday I ventured into Myer briefly, and fought through the crowds to obtain (at 25% off) the XBox game Halo for a bit of grown up MA blast-the-shit-out-of-aliens action. It got incredibly good reviews: the all-time highest rated game on Metacritic. Had a quick go of it last night, and it appears to live up to the hype. More on that later.

I left the rest of the merchandise in Myer and DJs to the hardcore nutter shoppers. But when I have time in the next day or two, further bargain-hunting will commence.


Over the years, my taste in clothing (as well as other things such as food) has improved immeasurably. Various influences – in particular certain girlfriends – have led me to try and take a little more care of my appearance. I’m not quite up to the standard proffered by The Age recently of the "Metrosexual", but I don’t enjoy looking like a slob. Even if I still do look like a slob sometimes. It’s a gradual progression, as the clothes budget becomes available, and more importantly, as I get inspiration and figure out what it is I want.

I decided during the week that I was in dire need of a new jacket for work. The old ones aren’t exactly falling to bits, but they’ve started to take on that kind of scruffy look that means I don’t feel very comfortable wearing them. I don’t want to look like a scruff. I want to be under the delusion that I’m well-dressed. Particularly at work. I’m meant to be a successful urban IT professional, and I should look it, too.

I am the world’s worst clothes shopper. If I don’t have inspiration, the sheer stamina required to put up with my endless umming and ahhing is monumental. It’s a trip I should do alone. After looking all week for inspiration from the people at work, the people on the train, the people walking around the city, but not finding anything, I had taken a look around some city shops on Friday after work. Nothing had grabbed me, but inspiration came later from watching The Sopranos

that night (I’d taped it on Monday). I found myself watching and thinking – hey, you know that’s a nice jacket that (sadistic maniac) Ralph is wearing. Something like that might be good.

So with that little nugget of inspiration, I went shopping on Saturday afternoon. A little retail therapy after the auction to get over the minor disappointment about not getting the house.

Where should I go? Some of the jackets I had seen in DJs in the city had been quite good, if a trifle on the expensive side. But I couldn’t be bothered going to the city, could I? Instead I got in the car and drove to Chadstone. Ah, Chadstone, a hundred thousand square metres of shops, and never a parking spot free, and buses only every hour on Saturdays. I drove around and around for what seemed an age, but was probably about five minutes, and eventually found a spot. But could I find a jacket that I liked? No. Hmmm. 2:30pm. Remembering that I wouldn’t have time the next day to go shopping, I drove to Southland.

Ah, Southland. Not quite as big as Chadstone, but just as annoying to find a parking spot in. No, more annoying. I tried on the eastern half initially. I drove around and around, watching as the other cars I saw started to look more and more familiar. They were driving around in much the same circles as I was. Ah! A spot! There! No, damn, it’s for parents with prams. I wish I still had that old pram in the back of the car.

[On the train - two blokes and a washing machine]
Also on the train into the city – two blokes and a washing machine.

I drove out of the car park and considered looking for somewhere to park in a nearby street. But instead I drove over to the newer western part of the centre. Up the ramp to the top, and I immediately found a spot. The last spot, it appeared, as other cars continued to circle up there. Then I looked around the shops. Saw various jackets, and almost considered thinking about buying one in DJs, but decided No. It really wouldn’t do. It was not quite what I wanted. Fussy bastard, aren’t I?

It was 3:30pm. Hey, what about the ones I had seen in the city at DJs? On sale until tomorrow? They didn’t seem to have the same ones at Southland and Chadstone. Yeah, they’re nice. What time do they close? I drove home, and checked. 6pm. Plenty of time. So I jumped on the train, and half an hour later, with no parking hassles whatsoever, I was in DJs in the city looking at their jackets, and miracle of miracles, I found one I liked. No, really liked. On sale, though still almost stupidly expensive. No matter, I bought it anyway. It’s totally lovely, and I’ll feel and look great (well, apart from the recurring acne, why am I still getting that at 32 years old?!) tomorrow morning when I go to work. Retail therapy works!

I came home, then headed out to the supermarket looking for food. I settled on the ingredients for enchiladas for dinner. Good stuff. And as I was leaving through the checkout, the bloke behind me saw my cloth bag and by golly decided he’d ask the checkout chick to put his groceries into his backpack. Obviously with recent debate, the whole plastic bag thing is increasing in peoples’ consciousness.

I ate enchiladas and dug out a video of Earthshock to watch. Ahhhh… relaxation.

So the lesson for me in all of this? In clothes, look for inspiration everywhere. Once it’s found, go shop. Make sure the credit card is cleared and ready for action. And don’t bother looking in the suburban shopping centres – go for the city – it’s got it all and more.

Hey… you know… I need some new ties…