Weird Things We Love: Lolita Fashion

two gothlolitas

Two Goth Lolitas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, as mentioned on my Monday post, the car trip to Chicago didn’t start out with The Worst. Fanfic. Ever. The girls spent the first hour or so on the 3G tablet, surfing the web for com sales and checking out fashion.

I heard enough of my daughter and her one friend’s conversations during our France trip to know that this specifically refers to community sales – of Lolita fashions put up for sale by individuals, usually on LiveJournal pages.

I would never have heard of “Lolita fashion” if my daughter weren’t into it. To start with, it has nothing to do with Nabokov’s novel or creepy pedophiles with  schoolgirl fantasies. If anything, it’s on the opposite end of the spectrum in that Lolita fashions are very modest, Victorian-inspired dresses, skirts, blouses and accessories.

And let me point out here that the “weird” in “Weird Things We Love” should not be taken negatively, but rather in the spirit of things that are unusual or not mainstream. Originating in Japan, and popular with anime fans, Lolita fashions are (depending on one’s taste) beautiful, elegant garments, often hand-made, and made with high quality lace and trims. The fabric prints are a big deal, as many are custom-designed, limited editions. As someone who sews, it’s easy to see the care taken in the construction of the dresses, skirts and blouses – these won’t come apart in the wash (not that I’d put them in a regular washer!).

Sweet Lolitas em Harajuku

Sweet Lolitas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are three major sub-styles of Lolita fashion: goth, sweet, and classic.

Goth is, as one might guess, mostly black or dark colors, and is a blending of the overall Lolita look with goth. However, people who dress goth Lolita don’t do the extreme cosmetics, but keep toward a more mainstream look as far as makeup is concerned. The character Taylor Gressman in my books Time’s Enemy and Time’s Fugitive dresses in goth Lolita style.

Sweet Lolita is probably the most widely-recognized form of Lolita fashion. Its emphasis is on being not only pretty, but cute – and I mean extreme, saccharine cute in some cases. Sweet Lolita prints are typically stuff like cakes, cupcakes, and candy or puppies, kittens and unicorns. Pink is, of course, the quintessential sweet Lolita color; peach, baby blue, and mint green are also popular. Think cotton candy. A LOT of it.

Classic Lolita is somewhat of a cross between Goth and Sweet, with a more “mature” look and less in-your-face cuteness. I would consider the dress my daughter bought in Paris to be classic Loli, although the maker is technically considered sweet. Hence, one stop on our France trip that my daughter and her friend were most excited about: shopping at Baby the Stars Shine Bright.

BtSSB is one of the premier brands of Loli fashion, and like the others, is based in Tokyo, with stores in San Francisco and Paris. Going to the BtSSB store was a big highlight of the trip for my daughter and her friend, who’s also into Loli clothes.

Arriving at Baby, the Stars Shine Bright

What was even more exciting was when we went in the store, and she found a limited-edition print she’d seen online and was hoping she’d find: the Romeo and Juliet print.

Of course, she had to try it on.

The blouse was perfect – no small feat for my daughter, who’s pretty curvy. One thing nice about Lolita blouses and dresses is that they usually have a lot of shirring (or gathers), so that they’ll fit a wide range of sizes. Even cooler, many of the blouses – this one included – feature detachable sleeves, so they can be worn long- or short-sleeved.

The jumper was a bit tight around the bust, so we loosened the corset ribbons in the back and managed to zip it. Then one of the other girls in our group pulled the ribbons to tie them, and disaster struck: a tiny, delicate strip of lace broke.

The Romeo and Juliet dress

We had to buy the dress. At full price. Did I mention these are limited-edition, custom designed prints (and therefore, designer clothes)? My daughter assured me that if I could fix the lace (I could), she could re-sell it at home for at least what we paid for it, if not more. So she planned to get online with her own community page and find a buyer for her own “com sale.” We bought the dress with that plan, along with the blouse, which I said she could keep since she could wear it with anything.

The print features scenes and quotes from the play

When we got home, she tried on the dress again to show her dad. This time, she took the ribbons out altogether… and the dress fit!

He took one look and said “you’re not selling that.”

That dress was more than I’d paid for any dress before besides my wedding dress. But it turned out to be a happy accident, and hopefully something she’ll enjoy for many years. Just hope she doesn’t gain the Freshman 15 when she goes off to college!

Had you ever heard of Lolita fashions? What do you think of them?

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You too can be radioactive for just $34.95!

Sometimes, if I am really bored at work, I read Amazon reviews. OK, I also read blogs. But at my primary workplace, blogs are blocked, and I get tired of reading on my smartphone. Luckily, Amazon is not blocked, and a few weeks ago, while waiting for a slow database export, I stumbled across this gem:

Uranium Ore

That’s right, real uranium ore! I found the Product Details very interesting:

Product Features

  • Radioactive Ore Sample
  • License Exempt – low radioactivity
  • Useful for testing geiger counters
  • Shipping compiles to NRC and postal regulations
  • Radioactive minerals are for educational and scientific use only.


The product had an average 3.8 stars out of five. Here’s what some users had to say. Surprisingly (or not), none were an “Amazon Verified Purchase.” Hmm….

2,640 of 2,754 people found the following review helpful

I bought this to power a home-made submarine that I use to look for prehistoric-era life forms in land-locked lakes around my home town in Alaska. At first I wasn’t sure if this item would (or could) arrive via mail, but I was glad to see it showed up with no problems. Well, almost no problems.

Unfortuantly my mom opened my mail, because she does not respect people’s privacy. She was pretty upset to see Uranium Ore. After a long argument and me running away from home again, she finaly stopped being such an idiot and I was able to get back to work.

The quality of this Uranium is on par with the stuff I was bying from the Libyans over at the mall parking lot, but at half the price! I just hope the seller does not run out, because I have many projects on my list including a night vision sasquatch radar, an electromagnetic chupakabra cage, a high velocity, aerial, weighted Mothman net and super heated, instant grill cheese sandwhich maker.

Here’s the “most helpful critical review”:

7,800 of 7,937 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Product, Poor Packaging, May 14, 2009
This review is from: Uranium Ore

I purchased this product 4.47 Billion Years ago and when I opened it today, it was half empty.

 It might even be the start of the Zombie Apocalypse:

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for creating a zombie apocalypse =), November 20, 2010
This review is from: Uranium Ore

This item works great when trying to create a zombie apocalypse. I tried some on my friend (smeared a little on his big mac when he went to the bathroom) and boom! Instant zombification! Just be careful not to get any in an open cut or in your eyes, because it will turn you into a zombie really fast. My plan is to start a zombie apocalypse so that everyone will get sick and eat each others brains, leaving me the only healthy person and thus leader of the new free world! I wish amazon would ship this product in larger quantities because it would make my plan go so much faster! But at least I was eligible for free amazon prime super savings shipping!


But my favorite review of the product had been removed between the time I read it and now! Luckily, we have Google Cache!

Top Reviewer Ranking: 883,002 (Learn More) – Total Helpful Votes: 5 of 5
Uranium Ore by Images SI Inc.

Uranium Ore by Images SI Inc.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not as advertised, by Osama Bin Laden, April 12, 2012
It’s a trap! I wanted to, uh, liberate the Americans so i bought 800 cans of this and attempted to ship it to my secret fortress in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The delivery guys showed up in a black helicopter and instead of my uranium they brought guns! Please nobody fall for the same trap i did I am stuck in my house now i can hear them shooting downstairs i am hiding here with my wife please don’t kill m-


Many reviews mentioned Back to the Future and time travel. Obviously they haven’t read my Saturn Society books! Emmett Brown wrote several reviews. I wonder how?

There actually were a few reviews that said it was good for testing one’s Geiger counter. Although I find it amusing that the shipping “compiles” instead of “complies”… must be the programmer in me. What are some of the most entertaining Amazon product reviews you’ve seen? Would you buy Uranium Ore from Amazon? Oh, and what about some of the products under “Customers who bought this also bought…” LOL!

Weird Things we Love: Humppa

Let me start out by saying I don’t necessarily love humppa; I just discovered it – or rather, my daughter did – a few days ago. But apparently it’s pretty popular in Europe, especially Germany, Poland, Austria, and of course Finland, where it originated. My daughter ran across it while researching a school project on Finland, and spent many hours getting sidetracked by humppa.

Finnish Humppa-Band Eläkeläiset on stage

What is humppa? It’s music. Or dance. Or both! Set to a very fast 220-260 beats per minute, the music is sort of a cross between jazz and foxtrot. My daughter describes it as “extreme polka,” which fits better IMO. Think Weird Al Yankovic, and you’ll come pretty close to Eläkeläiset, Finland’s popular humppa band.

The dances came first, around the turn of the twentieth century. There are three primary styles: one-step, two-step, and one that resembles a limping walk. The name “humppa” wasn’t coined until the 1950’s, and is assumed to be based on the the oompah sound of the tuba in some German folk music.

Humppa pretty much died out after that, until Eläkeläiset revived it in the early 90s with humppa versions of popular heavy metal songs. This is as weird as it sounds, and it’s hilarious!

Here is “Humppalakein,” Eläkeläiset’s version of “Breaking the Law,” (which some YouTube user put to the original Judas Priest video – LOL!):


It gets better: Black Sabbath, anyone? In the video, you can barely pick out the original melody, but I’m LOL watching this to Ozzy singing!

They’ve done covers of Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Queen, and more. According to my daughter, the lyrics aren’t translations of the original English lyrics, either – they’re not even close! She says they mostly translate to things about humppa dancing, the music itself, or drinking. Heavily. (I’m not sure where she found this, or I’d link.) The concerts and festivals sound like quite the experience, too – the band often passes out vodka, to anyone who wants it! (And who doesn’t?)

Their website is pretty amusing, too. My favorite is the “Hidden Alcohol” page, complete with undecipherable (to me, at least) maps. Apparently, the band leaves buried treasure in many of the cities where they play – bottles of vodka! Can you imagine that in the U.S.? Me either.

So have you found any weird music you (or someone) love lately? I’d love to hear from you! What do you think of humppa? If you had a chance to see Eläkeläiset perform, would you go? I think I would, just to watch the audience! But I’d stay off to the side, so as not to get danced over.

Eläkeläiset photo by Roger Zenner, via Wikipedia, Creative Commons license