Defiant Sloth

The Advancement of Circular Fashion

One area we’re seeing a lot of commerce sustainability innovation in is apparel. Several companies, both large and small, have have challenged themselves with goalposts for sustainably producing clothing lines, which has also necessitated differentiated fabrics engineering unique to a company.

Lululemon is one such brand on a mission towards the ecosystem of circular fashion, where they have partnered with an environmental technology company to release an enzymatically recycled nylon. Part of the appeal of this is having a malleable, proprietary textile to deploy and reuse across clothing lines while also checking the box on sustainably sourced materials manufacturing to leave a smaller footprint on output and input against the environment.

Apparel companies using technical or plastic-free organic fibers have an advantage in this space. You see a lot of niche companies out there that specialize in merino wools and encouraging regenerative farming practices excelling in this space. For instance, Icebreaker (specializing in plastic-free fibers, focusing on 100% merino wool usage, and seeking a substitution of remaining synthetics with bio-based alternatives) is at the top of its game, and responsibly sources these materials with decade-long supply contracts. Alternatively, some technical apparel companies like the Colorado-based Western Rise still use plastics-based sourcing, but focus specifically on environmentally-friendly recycled polyester, TENCEL™ lyocell, SUPPLEX® nylon, and, naturally, merino wool.

Here’s hoping to see more apparel companies continue in materials innovation and strive for a supply chain more in line with regenerative farming approaches that lead to an emphasis on circular fashion. As the rise in positive interest from customers to purchase more sustainably-minded products and more cautiously approach fast-fashion habits, the companies anchoring the foundation of their ecosystems earlier are going to be significantly better off in the near future.

(Note: This was cross-posted on from my LinkedIn)

Disappointing to hear about these pullbacks from the financial behemoths, but… at the very least they’re “shifting from pressuring companies on climate disclosures to pushing them to actively reduce greenhouse gas emissions”?

A Trip to Fargo for No Particular Reason

It’s mid-February, and we decided to make a drive up to Fargo, North Dakota. We had planned this in advance back in January, but it still feels spontaneous as I write this two days into our sojourn. Mainly because we did this without much of a plan, like most spontaneous adventures ought to strive for. And what does one do in Fargo?

Sunset gradient descending on several buildings and a stretch of desolate plain into the horizonImage of Fargo at Sunset from Jasper Hotel

Like most trips, we planned to try a few restaurants, a few bars, and a few landmark attractions. I found more notable landmarks on the way up to Fargo than I did in the city itself, whether this is a good thing or an example of my poor research skills for this city... yet to be determined. We found Ole the Viking in Alexandria, MN a nice, 28-foot tall statuesque creation on the bank Lake Agnes. There was also a great little diner there, too (Jan’s Place).

Fargo, though, doesn’t really have anything like this. Instead, its downtown map signage points out three places to take your picture, one of which is a Super Mario Bros. mural residing in an “alley” off Broadway Dr (literally the main drag of downtown). I posed with my dog hovering over the pipe, which was admittedly kind of funny from the right angle. Otherwise, what the city doesn’t tout but should, is a considerable amount of notable neons and legacy signs adorning its buildings, including notable ones like Fargo Linoleum Co, the Fargo theater, Empire Liquors bar, and for the “best gem in the city” (as the barista at Young Blood told us) brunch spot, Bernbaum’s. Notable landmarks, perhaps not, but I do love good signage, and bonus points if it’s neon. Their water tower had some extravagant art as well.

Glowing red neon light inside bar that reads Licensed Liquor Store No. 32The neon sign inside Empire Liquors Bar

I’ll also note that seeing ‘Fargo’ lettering everywhere has its own kind of gravitas, perhaps because of the cultural associations we impress upon the city (which, I suppose if you sum it up, includes the Coen brothers’ 90s flick, the current FX anthology show, and the erroneously-applied “Minnesota” accent, even though this is North Dakota, which naturally stems from the titular film). This isn’t to marginalize Fargo as merely a poking joke from the vantage of cultural media — it is also an important transportation hub, with Amtrak coursing through it and it seated at the intersection of Interstates 94 and 29. The Air National Guard is there, too. And there is a thematic Nordic undertone to several buildings and naming conventions that we couldn’t quite put our finger on, but I’m sure there’s something there ancestrally. They do have two sister cities (Hamar, Norway and Vimmerby, Sweden).

But overall, there’s kind of the bummer with Fargo — and I don’t say this lightly, because I love a good small city visit, but there’s a lack of character here. You can build up a sumptuous fantasy about its barren location on the edge of the Great Plains, but when you get here, it’s sadly drab. Don’t get me wrong, the people are friendly and the downtown is fairly lively, but its weaknesses in expressing any level of cultural spirit are evident at every turn, and you eventually wish there was something more to grasp. Maybe it’s because it’s February and we’re in the middle of a confusingly boring winter in the midwest (no snow, lousy March-like brownish landscapes, and sunny but shitty 20s temps). But aside from some neat coffee shops (Young Blood and Atomic, as well as the yet-to-try Twenty Below Coffee), a notable hotel (The Jasper), and truly fiendish dive bars (Empire Liquors hits the spot), there just isn’t much to stick around for. Maybe we were hanging in the wrong areas, but I really didn’t get a sense of where to be.

Art deco style sign reading Bernbaums on side of buildingThe Bernbaum's Signage

This is also a driving city, no doubt, so it’s not really walkable except for the downtown area — the neighborhoods are connected by massive suburban-sized avenues buttressed by sparse strip malls that seem unwelcoming to walkability. And sure, I marked a smattering of spots to check out beyond this main drag (really wished we would have tried Sickies Garage), but I don’t know — we didn’t feel the pull of adventure here. There wasn’t enough city-cohesion. And we usually venture out in these places...

Anyway, there were several things we did enjoy, and more featured in my Fargo travel guide map here:

  • Jasper Hotel: Solid hotel with the right vibes, though it felt completely out of place in this city. It towers above nearly all the other buildings, which nets long-drawn vistas in the upper visitor floors. Lounge area is cozy, with a great restaurant on the first floor (Rosewild) serving breakfast through dinner most days.
  • Empire Tavern: Cash-only dive with a long bartop wrapping around to a cluttered rear of tables, slot machines, darts, and oddly arranged restrooms. Ah, but there is more than meets the eye here — we arrived mid-afternoon, and were handed a coupon for each drink we ordered. Then every ten minutes they announce a winner, who gets free drinks with their companion(s). Let me make this clear: any drink you want. We won twice in a row and it was the best feeling in the world.
  • Young Blood Coffee: Inviting spot just around the corner from the Broadway drag. Great, classic coffee menu with a few baked goods, and a comfortable space to hang. They also appeared to roast their own beans (kudos), and the packaging had a sassy artistic lilt, worth picking up if you’re in town.
  • Marge’s Diner: While we also did a good brunch at Bernbaums (order at the counter, get-your-plate-dropped-off-after-picking-a-seat kind of place), Marge’s had marvelous North Dakota charm and an appeal many of the other places didn’t. That warm accent was quietly heard all around us, and while the menu wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, the BLT hit nicely. The decor was also a tour de force of tchotchkes, miscellaneous art pieces, and colorfully mismatched wallpapers.
  • Zandbroz Variety: How can you not visit the local bookstore? This one is a gem, too. It’s a combo bookstore with a section for home decor, and a sneaky around-the-corner mini store-in-a-store featuring rows of old used books with a focus on the Great Plains. My wife picked up a 19th century Statutes of Minnesota tome that looks like something out of a museum. Fantastic.
  • And for a real weird time... there’s this steakhouse called 84 Italian Steakhouse inside the Radisson Hotel, that we were too tempted not to try. The vibe was so completely off we had to stay for a drink and dinner. It was dimly lit with an off-blue glow, with the music turned down to barely inaudible levels, and the seating arrangement (especially the bar location) feels like you’re intruding on the layout of the hotel rooms.
interior of bookstore lined with old books and classics, in what appears to be a hybrid bookstore and restaurant with boothsInside Zandbroz Variety bookstore

In summary, the trip was oddly worth it, but I can’t say it’s a destination unless you’re compelled to check it out for reasons unbeknownst to me (you’re a Fargo film enthusiast?). It’s not a bad weekend jaunt if you like in the Twin Cities, either, since this is only a 3.5 hour trip. It's magical in an overcast kind of way.

Otherwise, if you’re cruising through the plains, definitely take highway 90 through South Dakota instead and head to the Badlands and the Black Hills.

Finally posted a proper blogroll on my site. Saw some others rebooting this idea and had to fall in line — it’s such an important, dare I say ‘relic’ of the web of yore, that we should be bringing it back to all our blogs, especially as algorithms and social platforms override the indie web.

True Detective: Night Country was a succinct masterclass in whodunit that delivered a rewarding cohesiveness to all character arcs. It’s too bad it was only six episodes — it was drenched in a blustery winter vibe that was enjoyable to visit — but it was also the perfect length.

Not sure if this actually counts as urban sketching or simply watercoloring, but I made an attempt at capturing the vibe of a truly escapist pull-tab we ripped through a few weeks ago (Bank Roll). And yeah… that $50 win simply subsidized the investment it took to get to it.

a watercolored gambling pull-tab with images of money, yachts, and palm tree beaches with a $50 exclamation for winning

The Simplebits team rolled out a whimsically experimental club today called Simple Type Club. It comes with all their fonts plus whatever they release in 2024, secret meetings, and some merch. Love what they’re doing. For context, my blog proudly licenses their Free Lunch font. Worth checking out.

Joan Westenberg wrote an impeccably-tuned condemnation of the injustices of societal engineering inflicted by elites via technological chasms across society. The entire essay is quotable, but here’s the gist of her observations on a roaring discontent across the globe:

That damage is the result of the elite in every sector, in every corner of society who have been content to grind down the general populace for their own selfish — and intractably large — gains. For too long, technology has sat alongside other mechanisms and failures of power, from financial instruments, political lobbying and careerism to wealth hoarding and environmental betrayal. These elements are always interconnected. And it has created a growing chasm between the elite and the general populace.

This clear and pronounced economic divide is a testament to a systemic imbalance that has long been brewing. The ever-widening gulf between the wealthy and the struggling masses is not a matter of numbers on a balance sheet; it shows a tear in the very fabric of our societies. The concentration of wealth and opportunity in the hands of a select minority has not only deepened the chasm between the rich and the poor but has also ignited a simmering sense of injustice and resentment across the broader population.

More of this, please — using AI to literally unravel the writing from a two centuries’ old papyrus. There’s not a full translate yet, but thus far it remarks about “music, food, pleasure. Basically, how to lead a happy life.”

An old, blackened Herculaneum papyri unrolled on a surface; PHOTO: VESUVIUS CHALLENGE (from the Wall Street Journal)

Crisp, clean, and clear product landing page for the new, standalone, pay-one-time-only Campfire by Once (aka 37signals). If anything, they’re very good at getting the point across, albeit in their cheekily pontifical way.

Screenshot of a landing page for Once product called Basecamp, a mostly blue background and white text simply laid out with screenshots and a buy box in upper-right hand corner

End of an era… Google drops cached pages from its results pages. Their ‘rationale’ is weak:

But it was meant for helping people access pages when way back, you often couldn’t depend on a page loading. These days, things have greatly improved. So, it was decided to retire it.

Sites can still be brutally slow, so…

Savvy tome that Actual Source just put out (Shoplifters 10: New Type Design Vol 2). Looks fabulously zealous in its breadth of type design.

A preview of a type book with two pages open, white and gold background, with various lettering and ligatures sprea out

Coffee bean production is in a difficult spot, and Arabica beans in particular will face harvesting challenges over the next 2-3 decades. The Economist has hope that scientists find ways to cultivate in warmer climate.🤞fingers crossed.

Really dig this concept and its content — Low-tech Magazine is a solar-powered website, mostly themed on sustainability, that features server stats and sometimes even goes down due to low battery status.

Another good essay on the slowly disappearing internet and the dwindling skill of curation.

And the curators— the tenders, aggregators, collectors, and connectors— can bring us back to something better. Because it’s still out there, we just have to find it.

Not only is the origin of this shirt a mystery, but the iconography is also excellent. I hope one of Perfect Duluth’s readers figures it out.

close-up photograph of a gray shirt with black logotype (jagged lines and triangles looking like a mountain) and lettering 'DULUTH'

Loving overview of the incredibly-focused German furniture maker, Vitsœ. They’re famous for the continued manufacture of Dieter Rams-designed 606 Universal Shelving System, among other terrific items.

The NYT has a huge article with curated restaurant menus that dissects trends across menu design, fonts, iconography, and the food itself. Love this.

It seems like credit card spending and delinquency rates could be heading heading towards a minor catastrophe, no?

Graph depicting credit card spending on the rise from several issuers

More bad news for journalism:

[Google News] ultimately does not focus on whether a news article was written by an AI or a human

This probably won’t end well.

Egg on ball.

Egg painted on black concrete ball, sitting on a tiled sidewalk

Finished ‘North Woods’. Lumbering exercise in cross-genre short stories woven together across time but confined to a single location in upper New England. 📚

Succinct retrospective on The Sopranos, exemplifying its radical impact on television and storytelling, as well as its enduring theme of social change. Likely why it found new (and re-found old) audiences over the last few years. Magnificent show.

DVD disc of the first episode of the sopranos sitting atop a grid of other discs in an old black disc portfolio booklet

Why is No One Talking About Bidets

Look, I know this superlative isn’t entirely true, but in the circles I follow online, which tend toward enthusiastic pontificating about the best setups for hardware, software, and every day use items, no one seems to be talking about one of the most important pieces of hardware we all use every single day.

The toilet.

And in particular, toilets with bidets.

Now there are some publications out there doing the good work of reviewing these — namely outdoors/camping enthusiasts like Outdoorsy Nomad (thanks for the recommendations!), Wired (naturally), and of course in Reddit (r/bidets), but I rarely see anyone else talking shop. Sure, you may say that I live in the US and we don’t have a history or culture around bidets, but we’ve been wrong. For many years.

  • Bidets are amazing. 
  • They are life-changing.
  • We all need to be using them.
  • And they seem to be generally more environmentally friendly than toilet paper.

I mean just look at some these things — Toto and Kohls have spectacular full hardware options. There’s a Bidet King specialty shop. And if you aren’t ready to take the hybrid toil/bidet dive (they can be expensive investments), there are plenty of add-on options for literally any toilet.

Washlets. Wand-only. Portable.

No matter the context, your special parts can be cleaned hygienically with minimal expenditure.

And since I haven’t invested in anything more than entry-level items, let’s talk briefly about two items to get things rolling.

Easily Accessible: The Tushy

a white wand-only bidet attached to a toilet with the branding Tushy visible, along with a wooden turn-dial control

If anyone has heard of a budget bidet, it’s probably Tushy. Great direct-to-consumer brand, and easily accessible as an entry-level (but most certainly solid mainstay) for any bathroom.

  • Older models start around $80, with newer models in the $100+ range
  • They’re very easy to install in under 10 minutes, no plumber required
  • The pressure is phenomenally consistent, plus self-cleaning of the wand (though you’ll probably want to disinfect it during toilet cleanings)
  • You can get the models directly off their site or on Amazon (2.0 version linked here)

Easily Portable: VIKKEN Go+ Bidet

hand holding a small cylindrical bidet device with out-flipped wand over a wooden table

Once you’re regularly using bidets, I guarantee anywhere you visit that doesn’t have one will feel woefully inadequate. While not a perfect solve, there are plenty of portable options (the aforementioned Outdoorsy Nomad has a great round-up) of varying designs — the simplest constituting a nozzle attachment wand to squeeze a plastic bottle’s volume through, with the more functional being a battery-operated mini-bidet wand.

The VIKKEN Go+ represents the latter, and for $39, its slim profile and ability to use its included bottle or attach to almost any other bottle makes it an obvious choice for flexibility. It also packs small (sort of the size of a 6-8oz seltzer can).

Does it work?

Well enough. It has two pressure options (activated by a button that is revealed once the bidet wand is flipped out for usage). You can hold and use this thing one of two ways when mounting the toilet — I won’t get into graphic detail — and it provides a fairly controlled experience.

Overall, Bidets Are a Must

Improved hygiene, moderately better eco-friendliness, and far more rewarding experiences await your manifest lifestyle change when you decide to transition to using a bidet (or bidets plural!).

Highly recommended. Just try.


This Ezra Klein Show episode is stellar — “How to Discover Your Own Taste”. Discussion with Kyle Chayka spans curation, taste, and aesthetics, particularly in the context of the Internet, and as an important resistance against The Algorithm that can deter true individuality.

Transcript link for the readers out there.