Category Archives: Patches & Pins

Scooter Riding Patches

I can’t go to sleep or the clown will eat me…

I have the post about scooter rallies and whatnot, but these are club patches that went on jackets, and the usual rider brand loyalty type stuff. Because NGK spark plugs for life, sucker!

This was the first club patch I did. It was an experiment in using those iron-on transfer kits that you can print through a regular home computer printer. Some people have reported good results with that method. I was obviously not one of them. It looked OK when it first was done, but it didn’t take a full week of wearing it on a riding jacket to do what you see in the picture. I really didn’t want to buy blanks and screen print a one-color for a club patch, so I was at a loss for awhile what to try next.

And then I designed and had these made. I use a place in Missouri called Designs On Demand, and they are nice people who do good work for a very reasonable price. You give them a high quality .psd and they put it on a blank using a special dye printer, and it looks hella better than iron-on crud or homemade screens. Not embroidery great, but crisp lines and detail and much cheaper since they can do one-offs instead of minimums so high you’d be stuck with dozens of patches in a box in the back of your closet until you died of old age.

Another patch I had made. There’s an old highway that connects Leavenworth to Kansas City that next to nobody uses anymore because it’s difficult to get anywhere fast on it without killing yourself. It’s a great swerve road for bikes, though it’s no less dangerous for all those same swerves, not to mention fool cagers. But I love the road so much I made a patch out of its highway sign. Good old K-5!

Another scooter club patch. This is from a joke scooter club called the Ford Ranger S.C. The Ford Ranger pick-up is so ubiquitous in the scooter community that somebody dreamed this club up. All you have to do earn membership and get a patch is own a scooter, have a Ranger that scooter rides in the back of, and send in $3 for the patch. I don’t even know if the guy who was doing it is still around, but I have a Ford Ranger and a scooter, so I felt obligated to get the patch. That rusted old junker sitting in a field on my splash page? That is the Ranger of Doom! I think at one point there might not have been a scooter in the whole Greater Kansas City scootering scene that hadn’t spent time in the back of it at some point. I think my own scooter from back then, the Hate Machine, traveled further in the back of the RoD than it ever did on its own two wheels!

I ride a Stella now, but my first scooter was a Vespa, as well as my third and fourth scooters. And Stellas are basically Vespa P-series anyway, so who cares? This patch has been on every riding jacket I’ve had with the exception of my fishtail parkas.

An old Piaggio hex logo patch from the early 90s or late 80s. Probably a knock-off, but still cool.

Dellorto carburetors, because that’s what came stock on Vespas.

Did I mention NGK spark plugs for life? Because NGK spark plugs for life!

Don’t put Pennzoil in your scooter. Seriously. I am not sure why I bought this, but I would guess it came from in the same order from Korea that I got my US Nats patch in, and that I liked it because it was yellow.

Not a scooter, but a lot of scooterists either used to own, currently own, or have a strong desire to own, a vintage Volkswagon Bug. I know why I bought one, and it had nothing to do with scooter anything and more to do with a divorce I was going through at the time. But hey, I was in the “used to own” category and saw his patch, and so purchased it. I am pretty sure the outer edge was blue, and that I colored it in myself with a laundry pen out of a sense of aesthetic obligation.

That should be all the scooter patch stuff for a long while. I’ll probably get a Stella patch at some point, but every time I go to buy one I end up buying a fancy new tiny plastic axe or summat for my 40k models.

Reviresco!

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More Patches: Beer, College, Sports!

It might seem like I’m going crazy with the photographing of patches today, but these have all been sitting in a folder on my computer for a long time, so while I’m here I might as well work on the back, yeah? And again: just what it says on the tin.

Hail to old KU! I recently graduated from the University of Kansas (!More on that soon!), so of course the first patch I want to show in this section is the Jayhawk. This patch comes with a generous felt edging that for some reason really only looks appropriate on collegiate mascot patches and large back patches.

In 2009 I graduated from JCCC, and before I left I snagged a patch from their online store. I don’t think I ever saw anybody who wasn’t grounds crew wearing a patch like this, so I’m not sure why it was in their bookstore inventory, but whatever, I got one without having to steal somebody’s work shirt…

I had a really nice Guinness patch that I bought… somewhere in Lawrence? I got rid of that patch during one of my “I’m going to quit drinking forever” phases. But I can’t quit the delicious dark stuff, and wanted to replace it eventually. There was a period where it was impossible to get Guinness patches, however, due to some kind of licensing shake up, but I got a new one anyway. Or an old one, that is. A friend of mine gave me his old flight jacket, and there was this old Guinness patch you see above. I don’t remember exactly what happened to the jacket, but I know a few of the patches from it are still in my collection.

Boulevard Brewery, Kansas City’s own regional beer company, and makers of one of my favorite beers in the whole world: Bully! Porter. The patch isn’t all that great, being small and impossible to put a needle through, but from a company I support and of local interest, so into the collection it went.

U.S. National team patch, which I bought from a place in Korea through eBay, of course. It’s the way of the future, I tell you.

I think this was the second logo for Kansas City. The first one was similar, but said “Wiz” instead of “Wizards”. Both were equally stupid, and I was glad when the logo changed to emphasize “Kansas City” instead. I was even more pleased when the club changed to “Sporting Kansas City” and dropped the shitty and childish Wizards theme entirely. I haven’t yet acquired a patch for the new logo and name, but it will come eventually. This patch above was cut off a baseball cap, just because nobody makes patches for football teams that I am aware of, or at least didn’t back then if they do now.

I am not now a Celtics fan, but I used to be. When I lived in Florida, which has a crazy amount of British and Irish expats and vacationers, I went to watch live broadcasts of SPL with the local Celtic supporters club. It was fun, but these days I keep my fandom local. There’s a lot of screwy politics and identity issues that go along with club support, and I want none of it.

Another thing I did in Orlando was develop an interest in rugby. I wasn’t a fan of Orlando RFC, I joined the club as a player completely new to the sport. I still couldn’t claim to know much about the game, but I sure enjoyed my brief membership, which was maybe six months? If you’re curious, I was a forward on the B-side. An alternate forward on the B-side, because I had no idea what was going on. But it was lots of fun. At the annual dinner I received this very neat patch, which I guess would have eventually gone on a club blazer had I stuck around. I didn’t stay in Orlando, though I tried to stay with rugby, but there is just no way I could continue with it after I started doing things like falling off scooters and landing on my knees. Kendo isn’t nearly as hard on the body as rugby was.

Playing is always better than watching, yo.

Reviresco!

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Miscellaneous Patches – Part 1 of ???

Exactly what it says on the tin. Today I’m posting pictures of my collection of patches, focusing on patches I haven’t sorted into an established category or developed into a category of their own. These are fun type things; allow me to show you:

My mother worked through a contractor for NASA back in the 1960s before she moved to Germany and married Pop. She worked on the Skylab program building scale models, and was very excited by the “space race” going on at the time. Living on and near Redstone Federal Arsenal growing up it was very close to home, you could say. I remember fondly visiting the Huntsville Space Center when I was a kid, usually during a visit to Grandma’s house over the summer. So, in honor of all that, and at Ma’s suggestion, I added an old style NASA patch to my collection.

This is the ubiquitous “FLY” design, seen on the novelty license plates of a multitude of pilots’ cars. I bought this patch when I lived in Orlando, Florida and was going to helicopter flight school.

Not terribly interesting, but these “Maltese cross” patches used to frame the name of a club I was in on the back of a jacket yonks ago. Because, I don’t know, whatever.

This is, obviously, a Peace Corps patch. I got it from a campus rep who was tabling at the Kansas Union at KU. The Peace Corps is something I am seriously considering at the moment, having established an application profile with them and everything. I don’t know that is what I’ll end up doing, but it would be a good thing, I think. But the rep gave me the patch for my collection, and here it is. Maybe someday I’ll get to wear it…

If you have to ask, it won’t mean anything to you anyway. This is one of several patches I had made for myself. It was an early effort, so don’t judge it too harshly. I know I could do tons better at this same design if I did it right now, but I really have no reason to, really. I wore this on my maroon flight that was my scooter club jacket.

Another patch I had made, for myself and a few select friends. Design based on the company logo and in honor of the Ruger 10/22, a very awesome little rifle.

This will be familiar to anybody who’s read a few of my blog posts! This is a patch I had made of the Romantic Antihero bind rune. This bind rune is one of two maker’s marks I’ve adopted and used for a long while now. I had the patch made purely just to put into my collection; I doubt I will ever sew it on anything.

Speaking of runes, here’s a patch my friend Mark Stinson gave me that features the Tiwaz rune. It anchors the so-called Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru. I’m not big into rendering philosophy into easily consumed lists, but I liked the patch, and Mark, know I liked such things, gifted it to me, which was very much appreciated.

This patch, since we’re on the subject of Asatru and things related, is a modern imagining of the fabled Raven Banner. They make flags of these and I’m dying to have one, but the patch is cool too, obviously.

Push the button, Frank! I don’t remember if Dr. Clayton Forrester wore a patch like this on the tv show, but everyone cosplaying him does. I was a big fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 during it’s original run on the Comedy Channel, so I had to have this when I saw it. I wasn’t really fond of the SciFi Channel’s seasons, but by then I hadn’t been watching regularly for a long time anyway, so I was kind of part of the problem to begin with. But for the first two or three seasons I never missed a show. Just recently I attended a Riff Traxx life showing of Manos, The Hands of Fate and loved it. It was the second one I’ve been to, and I can’t think of a single reason not to keep going to them.

That’s right, I am throwing my vote behind the “star points up” faction. Here is a Browncoats SSI from the television show Firefly. I came to this show late, being forced to watch a friend’s DVDs well after the show was off the air, and I am glad I did.

So I thought, might as well get the Blue Sun patch, too. It’s cool in it’s own right, and I think I actually like it better than the Browncoats SSI.

Another sci-fi show patch. This could easily go into hundreds if not thousands of words, but don’t hate on Carl for what he did. Robotech changed my life, yo. It’s easy to look at it from this century and criticize it, but I was a kid in the 1980s watching this during its original run. Before that I had been a huge fan of Voltron, but Robotech, for all it’s strange edits, bad VA, ridiculous narration voice-overs, and convoluted script, STILL blew anything else on television out of the water where animation was concerned. There was just nothing like it at all, and I still remember getting up early as hell to watch it, sitting there eating cold cereal and then BAM! Roy Fokker bleeds out in Claudia’s room, and suddenly space wars with cool robots got real. I’m going through the Macross titles even now, seeing it as it was originally meant to be, but this kid from the 80s will always be grateful to Macek and Harmony Gold for “real robot” into my young life.

Any regular visitors to RA will know that I am something of a Chaos Space Marine nut (to move on to another area of my scifi fandom). I jumped at the chance to buy into the merch drive of my favorite Warhammer 40,000 “power armor” dedicated internet forum.

Continuing with Warhammer 40,000 stuff, whenever Games Workshop opens a new store they have exclusive collector’s stuff for the lucky few who get there before it runs out. Being absolutely mad about patches, and arguably exponentially more mad about 40k, I was ecstatic when I learned GW was opening a hobby store in my metro area. I got there ten minutes after the doors opened, ten minutes, and they were already out of the exclusive patches! Luckily a friend got there before doors opened and picked up the exclusives, giving me the patch and keeping the poster (which is what they wanted). So lesson learned, get there early. That said, it’s really kind of a naff design, but I’m very happy to have it in my collection.

Apparently GW has “soft” openings and “grand” openings for their hobby centers, space about three months apart. I have no idea why. But at the grand opening they had the things I really wanted, which was the crux patch and access to the limited availability flags (more on that in a mo’). No mucking about this time, I was there just over an hour early for the grand opening at Blue Ridge Crossing GW. We were the second group there, and not long after there was a line extending out into the parking lot. But I got my Crux Terminatus, and I got my limited availability Imperial Guard flag:

Which will someday feature in the blog posts I plan on doing about my vexillology interest, but will put here for now.

So that’s it for miscellaneous patches for now, though it is inevitable that there will be more miscellaneous category blog postings, as I have a deep seated love for these things.

Reviresco!

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Music Patches – Bands, Labels, Genres, & Such

In the alternative music subcultural scene it’s common to put patches of favorite bands and labels on your jacket (or shirt, or pants, or whatever) to identify with that subculture. A single band patch can say a lot about the way you see yourself, and say a lot to others about the sort of things you’re into. Everything from politics to simple aesthetic taste. It used to be that the only places you could get such merchandise was at the show or concert, so a kind of “legitimacy” or “street cred” came from sporting the patch of an alternative band. Of course it came to be that you could then write to the band for their merchandise, and then labels and eventually retailers began offering mail order merch. A couple of these have a kind of street cred themselves, having only existed for a brief time during a certain era. Authenticity and street cred is kind of nonsense anyway, it’s really just a way of saying, “I knew about this before you did so I am better than you.” But then again, these days you can buy merch just about anywhere. Concert T-shirts? Forget it. I remember when showing up to school the day after a concert and wearing the T-shirt you bought there made you the coolest kid in junior high. There was even credit given to kids who were seeing unpopular bands, because they were still getting to go out of town and do things with their friends and without their parents. You could get almost the same T-shirt from the local record store, but unless it had the dates and cities on the back it was just a regular T-shirt. These days you can buy “vintage” concert T-shirts, with original tour dates and everything, and they even come distressed so they look like they might have come from that era. Which is balls, even if you don’t care about “music scene street cred” like I really don’t. Because I don’t care about that sort of nonsense; this is all just a preamble to my music patch collection.

The Ducky Boys, one of my older surviving patches. A nice example of DIY patch making, just a screen printed logo on a piece of canvas. A lot of the old school mail order places offered huge lines of stuff like this because they were so easy and cheap to make. A few places on the internet still sell mass loads of these, but it’s not nearly as cool unless a band member or his girlfriend spent their own time laboring over it. Otherwise it’s just a crass copyright or trademark infringement. But I digress, I got this patch at the Dropkick Murphy’s / Ducky Boys show in Lawrence at the Bottleneck back in… 1999? I was sort of puzzled that I don’t still have the DKM patch anymore, but after thinking about it I probably gave it away to one of my younger friends. I stopped caring about DKM after they released “The Gang’s All Here”.

In the same vein, here’s an incredibly generic mass produced screenprint on canvas patch. An ex-girlfriend of mine gave this to me, and I can’t even remember why, but it was around 2002. My relationship with Oi! music is complicated by the fact that I am not “working class”, but to hell with it, I like music about drinking, fighting, and chasing girls, and it doesn’t matter what the excuse is, really. It probably came from one of the aforementioned mail order houses forever ago. Actually it probably came from one of her ex-boyfriends leaving it her house, but such is life.

Ruskabank, a local ska band from Manhattan, Kansas. They had a radio hit with their song “My Friends” back in 1999 off their album “This Took Some Time“. I still haven’t bought their second album, which is kind of weird considering how much I liked their first one and that they’re local, but there it is. I’ve drank with some of the guys at Aunti Mae’s in Manhattan, and from what I remember they’re decent folks.

The Piestasters… oh man, what can I tell you about the first time I saw them in Lawrence in… 2000. Definitely 2000, because we were all still living in that ramshackle fire hazard of a slum in North Lawrence. But… I don’t remember much about the show other than there was some formal apologies that had to happen before they let me back in the venue. The last thing I really remember was the band buying me shots from onstage, there’s a blurry image of a cinder block flying through the air out in the street, and then cut back to my house somehow with one of my roommates shaking me so hard I vomited because he was mad that his girlfriend threw a milkshake at him and it was somehow my fault. Or something. Don’t listen to ska music, kids, it will just make you throw up on your shoes and get people mad at you.

The Pilfers, which I think was some kind of side project that never got off the ground. There was a lot of that going around in the late nineties and early 2000’s when the ska frenzy was starting to fade. The 3rd Wave blew up huge on college campuses, but it never really worked out because the audience making it popular was frat kids, and the people making the music and really into the originating subculture were punks and skins and stuff, so it was a really odd combination thing going on. Sort of like that transition period where you could go to a Dropkick Murphy’s show and half the audience were skinheads and the other half were suburban kids who had never heard their previous albums. And the DKM got put on tour by their label with Antiflag opening for them, and that was a laugh all the way around. But I digress, here is my old Pilfers patch, who I really go into because of the song “Saga” (which I won’t link to Youtube because the only version I could find had been digitally raped):

The Toasters is one of those bands I’ve liked since I got into Ska, but never got a chance to see until recently. I saw them last year in Lawrence at the Jackpot, where the local band Checkered Beat opened for them. This patch, therefore, is not old at all since I only buy and wear patches for shows that I’ve actually been to. My buttons are where I will show off general tastes, but patches have always been a “had to have been there” type of thing for me.

Bad Manners rocks! I loved getting the chance to see them play live several years ago in Kansas City. Fun fact: I was the fattest guy there. Now, when you’re the fattest guy at a Bad Manners show, you know you need to go on a diet…

I’m not above buying things on eBay if I like them. This was pictured as more… rectangular. What came was this compressed version of the logo, but I guess it’s still cool. It shipped from England, so I have no idea who made it or where it was originally sold, though I’m assuming it was either during the big reissue period when Trojan released tons of compilations representative of different eras and musical movements. Or some enterprising Englishman made some knock-offs and I got one. Either way, it’s a neat patch and I like it.

I know exactly where this 2Tone patch came from: a place called Modern Suede that specializes in catering to the scooterist community. It’s one of my more recent acquisitions, since I’ve been wanting it for years but never bothered to buy it until just now.

This next 2Tone patch has a bit more of an interesting history. It’s very probably one of those cheap knock-offs from an early mail order company, but I got it from a secondhand shop in Westport, Kansas City, when I bought an old maroon flight jacket. The jacket was too small for me, but I bought it anyway, took the patch off of it, and then traded it for a larger maroon flight jacket that a friend of mine had that was too large for her. Everybody happy in the end, right? I have no idea what happened to flight jacket I ended up with. I think I gave it to a girl when I got too big to wear it anymore or summat.

I have this patch because we took it off the jacket of a friend of ours. I don’t remember what the thinking was, except maye we were enforcing some kind of consistency of theme to his patches / messing with him because we could. Probably just messing with him because we could. At any rate, I’ve never really been into the Dead Kennedys, but I can’t bring myself to throw away a perfectly good patch, so here it is:

The following is sort of representative of the attitude I used to have when I was a “hooligan” type. Politics was for the birds, and as a staunchly antisocial punker I would loudly play whatever I thought would piss off the most people. Booze makes you do crazy things.

As a caveat to that last one, I would like to point out that the swastika, also called the fylfot, is legitimately used by religious groups ranging from Buddhists, Native Americans, Asatru/Heathens like myself, and many others across the globe and throughout history, including today. It’s use here as a political thing is in no way representative of its total use, and I myself use it in non-political religious ways that has nothing to do with nazism or radical racial politics. So take this picture of this patch of the swastika and isolate it to a political context, then realize that if I ever used it, or the anti-communist and very racist patch to its right, it was just for a laugh and to try to point out the hypocrisies of others who I thought were being even more obnoxious than I was. I used to like to wind people up when they were full of themselves and inflicting their BS on other people, so there it is.

So those are all the patches that either survived my punk rock years or were purchased out of nostalgia more recently. I honestly though I would have had more than that, but I guess not. I know there must have been some others, but like the DKM patch were probably given to friends who liked the bands more than I did at some point. This ends another installment of my weird patch collection fetish.

Reviresco!

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State & National Flag Patches

Another installment of my odd hobby of collecting patches. Today I’m putting up my collection of flag patches, and the theme is state and national flags.

The most obvious place to start is with the U.S. national flag. I have a few of these, and I think the first one I ever had was off a Cub Scout uniform when I was but a wee lad. The BSA is probably where most people acquire a patch fetish, but I didn’t care much for the Cub Scouts because they wouldn’t let us go camping. I have no idea what happened to any of my Cub Scout patches, neckerchiefs, or uniform, but that’s neither here nor there. It is entirely possible, nay, probable, that the U.S. flag patch from that uniform is the one that ended up glued to some velcro I pulled off an old pair of shoes and used to affix it to an old ball cap. I suppose that I was ahead of my time, since velcro patch ball caps are apparently all the rage with U.S. forces operating in Western Asia right now.

So yeah, here is a U.S. flag patch I probably took off one of my old sets of B.D.U.s:

(It seems after typing all that I’ve misplaced the picture. I’ll get back to that later…)

You have to have a back patch, and I have two. One is a screen-printed affair that a friend gave to me, and another I bought to go on the back of a riding jacket I no longer own (it has some nice reflective qualitites, not to mention being large):

When I first started putting together a “patch jacket” (it would take too long to explain here) I was obsessed with getting a Kansas State Flag patch. Now, I really don’t like the Kansas State Flag. It looks as if it were designed specifically to show which principles shouldn’t be used in proper flag design. I think the only flag I find more aesthetically horrific is the 2001 – 2003 Georgia State Flag. But there you go, I lived in Kansas and had to have one. At the time they were wicked hard to find, however. There is a merchant who travels from PX to PX on posts across the nation, and he sells all kinds of patches, but it’s like some real life Nintendo RPG where the mysterious merchant appears randomly or according to arcane celestial conditions, and I could never find the guy when I had cash on me. Then eBay got hugely popular and the shops in Asia that make patches started selling directly to U.S. individual customers, which accounts for many of my patches after a certain date. So, I finally found the Kansas Flag patch that I wanted. Of course, I don’t think I’ve ever actually sewn this one on anything, but hey, I finally got the bleeding thing:

Here is the shield design that was more popular with IRL vendors, and what I actually wore for the longest time:

And here is the first patch I actually found, and grudgingly wore for a very short time. I found it in the gift shop of the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka. The museum is pretty neat, but this patch was only the Great Seal of Kansas, which itself is very boring (the for the record Kansas has a boss motto):

Speaking of hard to find patches… Nearly everywhere you look if you want a Scotland patch you find the Rampant Lion flag instead of the St. Andrew’s Cross. The Rampant Lion is the heraldic emblem of the House of Stuart, which is not the same thing as the country of Scotland. The Rampant Lion is much more popular, however, and tends to be more readily available than the St. Andrew’s Cross flag. Despite not being entirely happy about it, I wore a Rampant Lion patch for a short time before finding the appropriate St. Andrews flag:

That was all part of my “heritage collection” impulse. My surname and ancestry is Scottish, while my Mother’s side is German. Here is the correct St. Andrew’s flag for Scotland, and a rather iffy German Imperial flag for the German part of me. There really was no such thing as a German nation-state until relatively recently, so it would be more accurate to try and figure out what part of Germany my folks immigrated from and do that, but I’m not sure how to go about that. The red, white, and black Imperial flag is more appealing to me than the red, gold, and black German nationalist flag. Fun fact: Adolf Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that he despised the Imperial flag and supported the tri-color of the current German state, though in all fairness the flag is historical and was also taken up by various other contemporary political movements who were anti-Imperial. Yet neo-Nazis in Germany sometimes fly the Imperial colors because they are by law prohibited from using NSDAP flags or designs derived therefrom. Politics is a strange thing, which is why I endeavor to avoid it.

Continuing the theme of historical, ancestral, and potential controversial flags, I here present flags of the State of Georgia. I collected and wore patches from the Old World where my ancestors immigrated from, but wanted U.S. state flags to represent the parts of the country where those ancestors immigrated to, and where my own two parents are from. These are Alabama on my Mother’s side, and Georgia on my Father’s side. I am also originally from Georgia, having been born in Savannah. A Georgia flag patch was an interesting thing to look for, considering the political controversy over the design was happening during the time I was looking. Which flag design would be represented? Me? I wanted the flag design that was flying over the capitol when I was born in 1975, which is the controversial “Confederate Battle Flag” design. I am a big fan of heritage and neat design, so it pains me that this interesting and aesthetically pleasing design was disinterred from an honorable grave and put to use for the dishonorable purpose of defying the Civil Rights movement. But there you go, politics again. I just like the design and am from Georgia, so prefer to be judged on that if I have any say about it. Here is the “old” version of the Georgia flag with the current “retro” design underneath it. We will not mention the abomination that was in between these two designs again…

And, of course, the first one I managed to find was the ubiquitous shield design:

Speaking of historical flags (and political co-opting again, unfortunately), here are some more that I’ve collected but might cause people to look at me funny if I wore them:

The top flag is one of the official C.S.A. flags, the bottom one a modern invention based on the Confederate Naval Jack. When I was a young thing the only thing the bottom flag stood for to me (and many people in popular Southern culture) was the general idea of being Southron. I look at it apolitically now, trying to understand the different sides of the issue. I still find the design itself appealing, and while I try to be sensitive to the perceptions and feelings of others, cannot but help associate it with my own good feelings and memories of being a young child living in the South.

Here is a Gadsen “Don’t Tread on Me” flag and a U.S. Army Flag. If I wore a Gadsen flag today people might think I’m a Tea Party supporter, but I am not. After my brief dalliance with the GOP shortly after the last election I have returned to my “anti-party moderate swing voter” stance. The U.S. Army flag I collected because I served in the U.S. Army. At least that one is simple to explain…

Flags being representative of peoples, politics, and governments, it’s very difficult to separate these things and approach a flag objectively. The more I write in this blog post the more I am conscious of this. I feel compelled to defend my collection and explain my actions, but as I do I feel a rising resentment, because I really just like flags. I have collected flags I am connected with somehow or anther, or at least feel connected to, and while they sit in my collection box they are as innocuous as I feel about them. Bring them out into the open reminds me that they mean different things to different people, and that my own internal thoughts and motives behind collecting or even wearing a certain flag or design are by-passed by the function of the flag because they are unknown unless you ask me about it or perhaps read this website, and I might be negatively labeled for possessing or displaying some of these. That is an inherent function of a flag, however. It is a symbol that identifies and sums up a person/people in one swift, colorful display. It’s what a flag does, so I understand that these collections have popularly negative connotations for some of my collected flags and designs. Displaying that makes me prone to these identifications I don’t intend. I accept that, I have no choice, but in sharing my collection and talking about it I hope to stimulate some thought on the subject of symbols and identity in anyone who reads this.

Moving right along from all that, or maybe not, here is another flag I collected due to my personal connection to it. I find it strange that this flag elicits strong emotions from people, but it has. I used to wear it on my patch jacket, and I suppose I figured if it bothered anybody it would have been a WWII veteran. This was not the case, and I actually caught a lot of racist/nationalist flak from people my own age and younger over it. It’s the State Flag of Japan (not even the War Flag with the rays coming from the Rising Sun), and I collected and displayed it because of my personal ties to Japan and Japanese people. Two things helped turn my life around when I down enough that I was in danger of not getting back up: the Japanese language and kendo. I have met some very fine people in the pursuit of these two subjects, and the practice and required discipline to pursue these subjects have helped me meet positive people, move away from negative people, and get my drinking problem under control. I wore the Japanese flag proudly on my patch jacket, and will never apologize to anyone over it.

Now we’re moving into the oddball stuff.

The so-called “Vinland Flag” design was, according to Wikipedia, designed by the lead singer of the band Type O Negative. I’m not really sure about all that, but I like the flag. It’s based on the Scandinavian Cross design that, funny enough, Scandinavian countries base their flag designs on. I think the idea is that Vinland was the name Leif the Lucky’s crew called North America, and if the colonization hadn’t failed this would have been a good flag for it. Different groups use this design with different variations. I found it because I am Asatru, and it pops up here and there because Asatru is a “Viking religion” and North American heathens wanted something to identify with. Unfortunately the usual collection of extremists latched on to it, so there is some political ambiguity surrounding it. I think that as a symbol it is not really in the public’s consciousness so much, so in that respect it is nowhere near effective for the shock value the extremist groups desperately crave. But here it is, the Vinland Flag:

Sometimes I buy flags on pure impulse, then look at them later and have no idea what I was thinking when I did it. These two flags fall into that category, being a very tiny German Imperial tri-color and a glittery “Union Jack” that I think I got at a Wal*Mart:

I… have no excuses for these last two…

But that’s my state and national flag patch collection so far. One more page to my odd hobby section in the “Rec Room”.

EDIT: I have another picture to add!

britain-stewart-england-patches

I picked these up last year after I wrote the original article, mostly because I’m a completist, I like to have full sets of a thing. I was in Brit’s in Lawrence buying some Burdock & Dandelion flavored soda, and these were like $2 a piece or whatever, so I picked them up to go with my Scottish National Flag up at the top there. I suppose Welsh and Northern Irish flags would actually complete the set, but I’ve never been to either of those places or have any other connection to them, so probably won’t add them.

Reviresco!

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