Tea House

Loving it so much here. Each day I keep finding new things to explore and the area I'm in just keeps expanding with new developments. When I was here in the Spring, I usually had to catch a bus downtown if I wanted to do any serious shopping (beyond fruits, veggies, spices, etc). But now there's a huge mall just a couple of blocks away, so I can just walk now. Love it!

AWESOME tea houseYesterday was pretty great. A local friend of mine took me to this incredible tea house downtown. The building was like a giant atrium-circular with a massive glass ceiling. Sort of like a huge birdcage. And incidentally, that was kind of the theme of the place-there were bamboo cages all over the place with singing birds and paintings and carvings of birds in all the furniture. There were hundreds of years of history behind it all, too, and my friend proceeded to explain and I proceeded to understand about 10% of it.

My Chinese is very contextual. If I don't know the subject, I'm way out of my league. It's coming along, though. It's fun to eavesdrop on people now. :)

OK, Linty Fresh stuff. So initially, as you may remember, there were some issues with the tees. Most notably, there was a problem with the collar that made it stand straight up rather than lay flat against the neck. Well, after a bit of deliberation and consulting with the factory, they agreed to re-stitch all of the pieces with adjusted collars. The result is fantastic. Fits like American Apparel but made of better, thicker material, and it's still super soft to the touch. I'll be sporting it tomorrow to see how it wears through the day, but I don't have any major concerns left.

posted by Mr. Linty @ 10:36 AM, ,

September Release!

Howdy good people of the internet.

September is here!

Rebel BowelsThat means two things: cooler weather and new Linty Fresh goodies. I can't complain much about weather, though. This summer was surprisingly mild for Atlanta's usually brutal weather, and I got to China just as things were cooling down. I had maybe 2 really nasty and muggy days and then things cleared up beautifully. Right now it's about 75 degrees with blue skies and pretty clouds (China is 12 hours ahead of the US). Awesome!

Anyways, let's get down to the releases...

First off, a brand new tee called Rebel Bowels. It comes in a couple of colorways and even has a little print on the back. And if you're wondering why the stomach has an eye patch, it's a tribute to International Talk Like Pirate Day, which is coming up on the 19th of this month. Which means this tee is Pirate Approved.

Custom LF JewelryAlso new for this month are custom jewelry pieces that come in 5 different colorways. Check the site for all the styles! Each piece will also ship in a special protective tin, too. Get em while they last!

Last up, just wanted to remind everyone about the contest currently running. In case you've forgotten, I'm going to reprinting this design in a few months and need to write a poem for it. I thought it'd be cool to let everyone pitch in their ideas for the poem, and give the winner a bunch of free stuff. Specifically, $100 worth of LF goodies. For more details, see the video I did for the contest here.

Ok, that's all for me. Off to the beach!

posted by Mr. Linty @ 10:59 PM, ,

Settling In

Living room I LOVE THE NEW APARTMENT. Completely knocks the socks off of the old place. The quality of the floors and furnishings are much better than the last. And it's massive. 5 rooms, 2 full baths. We've got a third roommate now, so that means 2 offices and 3 bedrooms, and one of the offices can be converted into a guest room when our friends come to visit (a queue which is already building quickly).

Anyways, I've been busy with the new place, shopping for odds and ends to make life a bit more pleasant on us foreigners. On Monday I'm going downtown to give measurements to this seamstress for curtains. The ones that are currently up are pretty outdated. I'm also going to try to find someone to frame these silkscreened posters that I bought at shows this summer. And if I still have any energy after that I'll be shopping for a giant lamp for the living room, preferably one of those octopus-tentacle-like ones.

KitchenIt's great to be back. I was so timid about returning just a week ago, but it quickly feels like home again. Got to see a bunch of friends last night and was absolutely stoked to hear them say that my Chinese is better than when I left (I tried to practice as much as possible while gone). It was great to hear that because I was so scared that I'd lose it all...

One thing that I really enjoy about China is the people's sociable and fun-loving nature. Not to say Americans aren't this way, but I think we let our busy lives crowd out the good times way too much. And specifically where I was, in Atlanta, distance made things even harder. I had friends that lived over an hour away, so it was difficult to hang out often. Here, everyone is a 5 minute cab ride away, so we hang out all the time. Plus, being in a city, there's no shortage of stuff to see and explore. Just yesterday a friend told me that there's this observation tower right on the coast with a giant telescope where people can see all sorts of cool stuff in space. How awesome is that?

I recently did an interview and was asked what my favorite part of running Linty Fresh is. It's hard to narrow it down to just one thing since it's really been such an amazing experience, but I said it's the freedom I love most. LF has allowed me to be my own boss. I'm certainly not rolling in cash, but I have enough: enough to travel, enough to really experience life and broaden my horizons. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

posted by Mr. Linty @ 11:25 PM, ,

Back in China

It's nice to be back. To be honest though, it kind of feels like I never left; like all the experiences of the last 12 weeks were just lived out in some remote corner of China that resembled home. Weird. I guess that comes from the fact that I was only gone during the summer, and I was so busy and it went so fast. Still a strange sensation. Eerie almost, to be retracing the same route I took to come home back in May, only backwards. Very strange.

The flight was great though, nothing at all to complain about. I think the most terrifying thing about a flight - more so than turbulence or a sketchy landing - is that period of time while you're seated before the flight waiting for your "rowmates" to arrive. Will they be obnoxious? Have kids? Get nauseous? Clip their nails or snore loudly? I was fortunate enough to sit next to a slender, passive Chinese guy who knew English and slept most of the time. These things make all the difference in a 14-hour flight.

It's always impressive to me how efficient Chinese airports are. I'm sure they experience the same traffic as most American airports (if not more, considering China's population is roughly five times that of the US), and yet, everything is handled carefully and smoothly. Lines move swiftly and there's never any confusion, even if you're a foreigner.

At the Shanghai airport I passed my 5-hour layover online. I'm rarely willing to pay those ridiculous WiFi fees, but as I was sitting there reading Jurassic Park in the noisy terminal I suddenly realized that I had no idea where I was going once I flew into my city. I logged into my email and fortunately my roommate had sent me a message with our address. He spelled all the details out carefully, in the Apartment Complex/Street Name/Building No./Entrance No./Apartment No. format typical to China.

The final flight went smoothly. It seems that most airplanes used for domestic flights in China are really new - built in the 90's or even within the decade. The smell better, feel more comfy, and everything just looks a lot newer. Including the stewardesses. I don't think US airlines have been updated in any of these aspects since the 60's.

Took a cab to the apartment, hauled my luggage up the stairs, and walked in to the cheers of a bunch of people in the dark. Turns out a bunch of my friends here decided to throw a surprise party for my return. I was handed a fosty mug of beer and a slice of Papa John's pizza (a new arrival since I left) and told everyone about my crazy summer.

Oh man, it is good to be home.

posted by Mr. Linty @ 1:10 PM, ,

Last Day

I awoke this morning with the daunting realization that this is my last day in the US. As much as I'm looking forward to being back in China, it's scary to think that it's a permanent move. I mean, I could always move back here if I absolutely had to, but I haven't exactly made that an easy thing to do for myself. My car's sold along with a bunch of other stuff. In fact, if it isn't directly related to running Linty Fresh, it's gone. Coming back would mean starting over completely. So yeah, scary.

It's weird how I've had such a shift in perspective about things, too. When I was there, I loved it so much. Being so surrounded by foreign culture, music, food, and people was enthralling and addicting. But now, after being back home where everything is comfortable and easy, it's a little terrifying to picture myself back there. The daily struggles are what come to mind, not the joys.

Gonna miss everyone too. I had a bunch of friends over last Saturday for a cookout and a bonfire. They are truly some solid people: supportive, loyal, intelligent, and fun. Creative, too. Somehow, it seems that every friend that I've got has some sort of creative outlet that they do really well with - writing, music, photography, art & design. I'm sure I'll find that eventually in my new home, but in the meantime I'll miss that as well. Email just isn't the same as a chat around a bonfire.

In any case, it's almost 11 AM and I'm still in bed. I still have a few items to take care of today and then I'll be crashing extra early tonight since my flight leaves at like 7AM tomorrow. My bags are mostly packed, though, and I'm all ready for the long flights there.

See you guys in China.

posted by Mr. Linty @ 9:26 AM, ,

Poem Contest!

So last night I check my LF email and read this panicked message:

Hey, I bought the long sleeve t-shirt for a freind - the white one that has the story of the guy who leaves home to slay the dragon. I wanted to print the story, but it's not on your site anymore. I am sad. Can you please forward that to me, pleeeeeze?!

The tee she referred to is called The Epic of Niloofar and was printed in December of 2007. So I went looking for the story. I first checked the folder where all the "EPIC" related files are kept, and it wasn't there. It also wasn't on my website, since I deactivated that product once it sold out a few months ago. Then I began to panic, fearing that perhaps that file was lost forever.

Then I had an idea.

Why not let you guys come up with a story? And not just a story, but a poem? The thing is, I've been wanting to reprint this tee (in new colors) for awhile now, and tried to transform the story into a poem but had trouble.

It's not often that I leave the creative side of LF up to anyone but myself, but I thought I'd try it this once, just to see what happens.

So here are the [very basic] rules:


p.s. If you're stuck, feel free to use this as a poem opening:

Amid these stones lay scattered bones
Of a dragon and countless men
The men fell first for their trophy thirst
See, the dragon would always win...

posted by Mr. Linty @ 11:26 AM, ,

Too many hobbies

I swear, it is ridiculous how many things I've picked up as hobbies over the years. Drawing, painting, writing, music composition, guitar, animation, tee design... On and on and on it goes. Not that I've ever really done a whole lot with any of them (Linty Fresh is the sole exception here), but still... Sometimes I wish I could just take a year off of life to develop one of these hobbies into something more. For example, writing.

A few years ago I really pushed myself to write. I've kept a daily journal since I was 9 which has been useful in finding my writing "voice", but it didn't do a whole lot for me creatively. Still, that introspective, first-person format was comfortable, so I naturally began a fictional journal. I wrote an entry a day for one month. I had a general plot in my head and went with it. It came out ok, but after reviewing it last week I realized it was amateurish in a lot of ways. The dialogue was unrealistic, the wording and descriptions excessive. Still, it was a great exercise, and the pacing and action made it fun to read.

StoryBut I think I can do better now. I've got a bit more experience and have tried to be more studious of writing from authors I really enjoy. So a couple of weeks I finally dove into a couple of short story ideas I've had for over 5 years. It's exciting to finally get the characters on paper and see how they interact. I've known for a long time that good characters make good stories. Plots are overrated. Catcher in the Rye, anyone? Or how about Napoleon Dynamite, for that matter? Practically nothing happens in these stories, but they're fun to experience because of their engaging characters.

I've begun thinking about what I'll do with the stories once I'm done with them, too. Supposing that they're worth reading, how can I share them with other people? I don't really mind the idea of providing downloads to them, as I'm not too concerned with making a profit in the beginning, but at the same time I want them to be special. Hmm. That'll take some brainstorming. Maybe an exclusive illustrated Linty Fresh novelette?


Oh, and on a completely unrelated note, I found a bunch of images from 1930's-50's movies that I captioned a few years back. Uploaded a few to a new Flickr set. They're dumb, but mildly entertaining.

posted by Mr. Linty @ 4:57 PM, ,

9 Days Left

I'm taking two suitcases with me back to China. With weight restrictions, that means just 100 pounds of stuff. What would you take?

Clothes and shoes are an obvious choice, but not really a wise one. You can get everything you need there: pants, shirts (ok, not all graphic tees, but besides that), hats, socks, jackets, shoes, etc. After all, if you were to check your wardrobe you'd probably find that 80% of what you wear is made there in the first place. No sense in having it make two trips. It's cheaper there anyways.

So in terms of clothes, I'm down to the basics. Undies, a few of my favorite tees, some pants, my favorite shoes and a few other accessories. That gets me to only about 25 pounds. What else?

Art supplies. Although they've got it there, if I want the good brands like Prismacolor and Sharpie, I'm gonna pay a hefty fee, resulting in a price tag at about 10% more than what I'd pay in the states. So markers, pens, pencils, highlighters, and some paints are going back with me, too. Another 20 pounds. After some other digital stuff--my wacom tablet, mouse, cables--I'm at 50 pounds, the limit for the first suitcase. My second piece of luggage is still fully empty. Hm.

Suitcase of booksAnd then I remember: books. Good English reading material. Just about impossible to find in China. I get on Amazon, on Half.com, go visit all the nearby Goodwills. For the next month, I'm getting packages every day in the mail, towers of paperbacks piling up on my nightstands. I packed it all up a few nights ago; now I've got an entire suitcase of books. Novels, business and marketing books, travelogues, short story compilations, history books. Packed so tight that the zipper struggles to keep it all together.


posted by Mr. Linty @ 11:45 AM, ,

August Release Live!

Well what're ya doing here? Go check it out!

posted by Mr. Linty @ 11:03 PM, ,

Starting to sink in

So the other day I glanced at my calendar and realized that my tentative departure date for China is just 2 WEEKS AWAY. Then I had this sudden realization that I'm actually moving there. Not just visiting, but moving. Wowzers!

On the plus side, I'm stoked for it, and it'll be good for me. When I first got back to the US, I remembered how relaxed I felt, how much being over there had chilled me out. I think a big part of stress here in Atlanta is driving. People do the dumbest things and freak out on each other. I've seen some pretty insane road rage result from it all. Driving = stress. Over there, I don't have to worry about all that. Riding the bus all over the place means I don't need a car, don't need to fill it up with gas, and don't need to stress out on the road. Wonderful!

Also good (as I mentioned countless times) is the prices. Rent's cheap, food's cheap, transportation's cheap, groceries are cheap. And to make life even better for us westerners are the introduction of new US eateries all the time; I heard recently that the first Papa John's in our city opened up a block down from our apartment! Plus, there's no shortage of fun things to do, something I had worried about before leaving.

Of course, the downside is that I'm leaving a bunch of friends and family. I'm definitely going to miss them, and they're all promising to visit, but it's a long trip, and I can't expect that everyone will be able to make it over and survive the 30+ hour journey...

Can't have everything I guess.

posted by Mr. Linty @ 9:04 PM, ,