The MacBitseach

I am The MacBitseach of Clan MacBitseach. (MacBitseach is Irish Gaelic for son of a bitch.)
This blog is about wearing, making, and some of the social aspects of kilts. I started wearing and making kilts in 2003.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas, email me at

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Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fey; in other words

Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.
A. Sachs

He not busy being born is busy dying.
Bob Dylan

There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
George Santayana

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.
Isaac Asimov

As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.
Leonardo da Vinci

Think not disdainfully of death, but look on it with favor; for even death is one of the things that Nature wills.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

The fear of death is more to be dreaded than death itself.
Publilius Syrus

As we look deeply within, we understand our perfect balance. There is no fear of the cycle of birth, life and death. For when you stand in the present moment, you are timeless.
Rodney Yee

Death is not the worst; rather, in vain
To wish for death, and not to compass it.

There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?
Woody Allen

Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering - and it's all over much too soon.
Woody Allen

Life is a fatal complaint, and an eminently contagious one.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive.
Robert Heinlein

The goal of life is living in agreement with nature.

Every man dies, not every man really lives.
William Wallace (Braveheart)

Death makes life precious.
Terry Varga

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Kilt Culture

I don't know what it's like where you live but here in Vancouver we live in an incredibly rich and diverse cultural smorgasbord. It's not a great melting pot. There are sections of the city that are dominant in one culture or another and celebrating your own culture is encouraged.
It's great to be able to go to the second largest Chinatown in the world, (San Francisco is bigger), or go to Fraser street and shop the huge East Indian market, or go to the Greek Festival, or the serene Japanese Gardens, or the Italian coffee shops on Commercial Drive, or Gung Haggis Fat Choy; a Scots/Chinese fusion dinner where you can get haggis won ton.
Everything about Vancouver is related to this cultural diversity. Every weekend is another festival celebrating another culture.
There are very few other cities where I could walk down the street wearing a kilt and get 99% positive comments from men and women. It has to do with the multicultural aspects of the city, with the acceptance of other's cultures and other's manner of dress.
I have seen men wearing saffron Buddhist robes, Arabic robes, sarongs, kimonos, and Chinese robes. There's even a Greek restaurant on Robson street that regularily has a staff member stand out front in a fustanella.
I have personally seen Chinese men, Arabic, Black, East Indian, and any other kind of guy you can think of in a kilt but rarely do you see another wrapped garment being worn by someone from a different culture. Kilts are easily the most recognisable wrapped men's garment in the world, so men of other cultures often wear kilts instead of their own culture's wrapped garmant.
There has been a kind of denial of culture by the Caucasian people on this continent. Why isn't as important as a new willingness to search out where we come from. Yes, we can be Canadians and Americans and still be proud of our heritages.
Just look at all the Vancouver cultures that do exactly that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Top 10 Canadian terms for 'Going Commando'

Now that it's Autumn, I'm feeling a little better about the weather. Today it was 16C (61F) and I found that quite nice. I don't mind the cold but the heat gets to me.
I got to thinking of the 'stones' it takes to go commando in winter in some parts of Canada. Here in Vancouver it's not so bad, but the rest of the country gets a bit chilly!
Here are my Top 10 Canadian terms for 'Going Commando"

10 - Inukshuking
9 - Catching snowflakes
8 - There's an extra puck on the ice
7 - Feeling blue
6 - Ready to salt the road
5 - Playing shinny
4 - Snowballing
3 - Curling
2 - No tape on my stick

And the number one Canadian term for 'Going Commando':
1 - Shovelling the sidewalk!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Fashion Tips

For some strange reason, people seem to feel it's perfectly fine to approach a kilted guy they don't know and tell them what's wrong with the way they dress.

Now, if some woman stops me on the street and informs me my kilt pleats are stuck up in the back and my ass is being shown to the world, I'll thank her. (Whether I flip the pleats back down depends on whether I knew they were up in the first place. lol)
But if she approaches me and tells me my socks are the wrong colour, or my kilt pin is too high on my kilt, or my sneakers shouldn't be worn with my kilt, I usually give that annoyed looking smile. That almost always works.

And everyone seems to know how I should dress. I've been given fashion tips from fully clad pipers to hunched over, twitching junkies. You'd think either one of them would have something better to do with their time. I mean, while giving advice they are even more irritating than normal. Okay, maybe not the piper.
The point is, I knew what I was wearing when I left the house.
These people are trying to get me to fit into their view of what a guy in a kilt should look like.

The funny thing is, every person that has given me unsolicited fashion tips has invariably been dressed with at least one glaring fashion faux pas. Like the lady with the lime green stirrup pants. Or the guy with the orange tie and blue suit.
Even the pipers. As far as costumes go, pipers are some of the most strikingly dressed men in the world. It doesn't make them experts on kilts as daily wear garments.

That's the thing, isn't it. Nobody stops guys in pants to offer fashion tips.
They want to see guys in kilts dressed the way they want them to look. They want to see kilted guys dressed in costumes. Traditional. Scottish. Call it what you want.
I just don't happen to fit their ideals. Luckily, I have my own.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Wooly Bully

First, I like wool kilts. Two of my most frequently worn kilts are wool kilts. Another is a wool blend. Still others are poly/viscose. The point is, I am not anti-wool.
I am pro-truth.

Many people's opinions of what makes a kilt is based in pride of heritage and traditions. I understand and respect that. But a kilt that has lasted generations while only having been worn twice a year for the last 50 years is not a good test of a fabric's durability.
One of my poly/viscose kilts has been worn on the entire Appalachian Trail, over 2200 miles of extreme temps from snow in the mountains to some blistering, muggy, miserable days. At the end of the trail the pleats were still holding. Even I was surprised and offered him a new kilt for the old one. He won't give it back until he's walked 8000 miles in it!
I dare say a wool kilt would not have fared so well.

Some of the qualities of wool are better for kilts than poly/viscose but the reverse is also true.
Wool pros:
Warmer•better swish factor•more available tartans•can be pulled/stretched during the kiltmaking process in ways that poly/viscose can't.
Wool cons:
Varying degrees of itchiness•smell when wet•needs dry cleaning•needs frequent pressing.

Poly/viscose pros:
Machine wash and dry•cooler in summer•holds pleats better with much less effort•no itchiness•similar weight fabric is stiffer than wool, so it's harder for gusts to lift pleats.
Poly/viscose cons:
Less swish factor•less insulating than wool•fewer available tartans.

Leaving aside the traditional aspects of kilts, poly/viscose has to be seen as an equal or better fabric for kilts, especially in warmer climes, and for casual wear when frequent laundering may be needed.
For those who can't or won't leave tradition aside, wool will always be the only choice for kilts. Some traditions are worth keeping and wool kilts are a good tradition. No matter how popular kilts in other fabrics become, there is no choice for many; only wool.
I prefer to have a few choices with the fabrics of my kilts.

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