Friday, October 28, 2011

Nerding out on T-shirts

(Full disclosure: I am assuming that this post will have little to no interest to many readers.)

I know it's a cliche, but this guy loves a good t-shirt.

About two years ago, I stumbled upon this video (no, that's not me in the video). I thought it was pretty cool/funny, and wondered who this Johnny Cupcakes guy was at the end of the video looking very stoic with his hat and deck of cards. A little bit of Internet scavenger hunting and I landed on his website. I thought to myself, "T-shirts? Really?" Don't get me wrong, I liked the designs and I love cupcakes, but didn't really get what it was all about. Then I read his story and got a bit more invested (I liked that he was promoting a drug free lifestyle without any apparent irony as well as how he developed his brand). I bought one of the shirts and didn't think much more about it. 

When the package arrived, I found lots of little trinkets inside the package along with the shirt. There was a button, an old Mighty Morphing Power Rangers trading card, some candy, etc. I was impressed. 

Since then, I've collected a few more shirts (as well as the trinkets that come with them - buttons, more trading cards - mainly early '90's memorabilia like Saved By the Bell, Power Rangers, and Nickelodeon), kept up with the website, and watched as Johnny has done various things around the country. About two months before we moved, he opened a new store in London (he had three stores before that - two in Mass and one in LA). The stores are set up to look like bakeries - people show up thinking they'll get to purchase some cupcakes but find t-shirts in the display cases instead of delish pastries. 

When Kenz and I got here, we made our little pilgrimage to the new London store and got to meet the staff, shop around a little bit. I think I converted her about a year ago when I got her her first shirt. It was all well and good. We'd been to the store, we each had more JohnnyCupcakes t-shirts than we cared to admit, and were back to living a relatively normal life. 

Then October rolled around and the 6th annual "There's Something in the Cupcake Mix" event popped on our radars. Each Halloween, Johnny releases limited edition t-shirts. Once the t-shirts are sold, no more prints are made, there's numbers on each of the shirts, yadda, yadda, yadda.

We were not looking forward to standing in line with what we assumed would be a bunch of young boisterous people, all a bit too excited to get a limited edition t-shirt. We like the t-shirts, but didn't think we liked them that much. We're fans - but not fans fans, yaknow? As a result, we decided not to go. 

Our friend from high school, Derrick, was in town on business (apparently everyone comes here on business! It's awesome!). He didn't know when he would be free - or how long he would be free once he got free, so when he called on Saturday afternoon we dropped our plans and met up with him. He is all "high powered lawyer" these days, working a million hours a week, living in Manhattan, etc. 

We walked him around town for a bit, saw the London version of Occupy Wall Street complete with all the signs, tents, pickets, etc. After catching up on news about people we went to high school with, we took him to what will probably become the place we take everyone who visits us - the Japanese pancake house. 

One lonely picture. Sorry. 
Then Derrick had to go back to work. Yes, after dinner on a Saturday night. 

But we were in the vicinity of the Johnny Cupcakes store... Kenz and I exchanged looks, then decided what the hell - let's go take a look. 

We assumed that there would be a line too deep to expect to get a limited edition t-shirt. To our surprise, there weren't more than 100 or so people standing outside the shop (our assumption is that word hasn't got out on this island - the Boston event had about 300 people). Most everyone had dressed up in their best Halloween costume to wait in line:

This was an employee, I think. She had a wolf mask on, then shed it to look like this. That's a double costume. 
The store itself was set up like a haunted house. All of the employees had costumes on as well. The guy letting people in 5 at a time was dressed up like Dr. Frankenstein's monster. They were serving min-cupcakes. It was all pretty cool. 

His costume wasn't all that, but his cupcakes were!

We got to meet some women in line that were here on business (told you - everyone is here on business) from LA. They were there to pick up shirts for their respective boyfriends who didn't get to make the LA release.

Johnny was there, signing autographs like a boss celebrity:

Lotsa people were wearing Johnny Cupcakes shirts to the event. Kenz and I likened it to wearing the t-shirt of the band to the band's concert, which should be frowned upon. 

We took our moment in the spotlight to meet Johnny and get a snapshot with him:

The shirts came in old school VHS packages that had the corresponding images from the shirts:

We got two of the four limited edition shirts.
The VHS packaging has the numbers on them as well. 

I realize I'm a nerd. 

As we went home, we thought that this must be what it's like to live in a city like London. To everyone here already it's normal, but to us, this type of thing is kind of surreal. We went to dinner with our friend, then strolled to some esoteric t-shirt shop, met the owner, and got a limited edition t-shirt. No big deal, right? Yea right - not to two kids from the lil ol' town of Knoxville.

Everyone told us we'd have such an adventure when we moved here - that it would be the type of thing that we'd remember for the rest of our lives. We agreed with them, but didn't have any real frame of reference. As a result, I didn't think much about what it would be like to live here. I just assumed that the adventure people were speaking of was of moving and visas and the big city, underground railroads, etc. But doing stuff like this was probably what they meant.

Or both.


Happy Friday to you, readers!

Kenz's birthday is this weekend. I assume that will be the topic of next week's post. Until then, enjoy the brisk weather and colo(u)rful leaves!