Tuesday, January 31

powder jet snowboards -mountain top

The mountains in Vermont have snow pretty much. The valleys not so much. So get inside, build a snowboard to ride, and head for the mountains. #jeezumcrow.

Have mentioned these guys before; PowderJet Snowboards. Good stuff.

5-10 minute walk

Not sure if this signage is throughout the MBTA but really like the "5-10 minute walk" addition to this map. If there was also a circle radiating from Davis Square (just North) to show where the walk zones meet that would be even better. Why don't they have this in airports, or university campuses or hospitals? Maybe they do. #UX

Monday, January 30

lambchop -mr m

Limited to only 200 copies worldwide and only available directly from Frocksteady, this hand numbered deluxe, foil stamped linen box (size ca. 32 x 32 x 3,5cm) comes with a double LP of Lambchop's newest release, the CD/DVD limited edition, a special download card for even more extra tracks (5 remixes), and eleven 30 x 30cm art prints of Kurt Wagners original paintings used in the artwork. 99quid.

Friday, January 27

burton 2013

The winter sports industry is in Denver for their annual tradeshow (SIA 2012) and there are leaked shots and publicity shots all over if you look. A contact sent the above from the Burton booth, an iteration of the Ox Boot I think, but with a tweed upper? These guys are reading my mail. #tommylikey (ok looks sort of twill but hey, can dream...)

Thursday, January 26

single malt flavour map -david broom

How does a beginner find their way around? The whisky industry does not help itself with its regional classifications (Speyside, for example, stretches from Glasgow to Wick, with numerous whisky styles).

[David] Broom has plotted single malts in Scotland on a grid with four co-ordinates: delicate, light, smoky, rich. The horizontal axis plots the lightness or richness and the vertical axis plots the smokiness. "There isn't a 'best malt' position on the map either – it's an unbiased plotting device," he says.
-via The Scotsman
Post-Burns night, having splashed some whisky on haggis (not kidding), have been digging through this guy's stuff. Published author in his field and general go-to for whisky knowledge. Like the map/taste idea above. He talks about it below.

Tuesday, January 24

the swinging sporran

Tomorrow is Burns Night, January 25th, the celebration of Scottish poet (and famous carouser) Robert Burns. Though dancing is not usually a part of the proceedings have been looking through this book above and its "lighthearted guide to the basic steps of scottish reels and country dances". It includes some background info on proper attire and conventions for attending a ceilidgh (pronounced kay-lee) but also hints at the reason why wearing Black Watch may be used as the default tartan for any wearer...
This legislation [the Dress Act of 1746 which forbade the wearing of tartan and the kilt -ed.] affected all Scots with the exception of those who had fought on the Government side (such as the soldiers of The Black Watch).
Won't rehash my previous Burns Night posts; see them all here.

Friday, January 20

desktop vacation -wilkins farmhouse cider

Wilkins Farm in Somerset, England has a going concern in making rough or farmhouse cider.
There are chairs and newpapers to pass the time of day. The free taster is always half a pint and you will be encouraged to have more; good clean cider. Roger also sells cheddar [unpasturized, rind-on, let's go now... -ed] and stilton [see -ed.] as well as vegetables, chutneys and pickles, and eggs. Don't expect a quick visit, so allow yourself time... This is the real cider none of your concentrate and bottles down here... just Dry and Sweet Farmhouse Cider, which will be blended to suit your tastes, in glass or container.
- via Wilkins
Short doc below is little insight into Roger Wilkins himself and Somerset’s ciderhouse culture. "Dry with a splash" [of sweet -ed.] is supposedly the way to go...

Thursday, January 19

10e at kaufmann mercantile -weaving harris tweed II

My Harris Tweed contact Mike Donald has graduated as a certified weaver. Head over to Kaufmann Mercantile to read part two of our quite personal interview, about what this means to him but in a larger sense what is happening with the HT brand and the area.

One slightly off topic thing we talked about was connectivity on the island...
What about internet on the islands, I thought paradoxically you had fantastic broadband connections?
Broadband on the islands is one of the biggest issues I think we face and I hope it gets tackled by the Scottish government properly this year. It's very poor in some places. I'm lucky to have a 3MB connection which is average. Some places near the main town of Stornoway can get 7MB which is probably as good as it gets here but many of the remoter rural villages make do with a pretty lousy mast-to-mast wireless network at anything between 500KB and 2MB. It's very expensive too and really not good enough, especially if we want to keep young people and associated creative industries here.

BTW, have a look at your own Harris Tweed jacket... see those blue stamped numbers on the side, those correspond to the individual weaver that created the cloth. At some point I am hoping The Harris Tweed Authority will create a database or service so for S&G one could look up the numbers.

Tuesday, January 17

lambchop -gone tomorrow

Lambchop - Gone Tomorrow by cityslang

Felt like a long wait... but check this new release from Lambchop. Worth it... The song above just debuted on The Quietus.
Lambchop's eleventh album Mr. M is due out through City Slang on 20th February, and will be accompanied by a UK and European tour.

Sunday, January 15

get winterized -hat liner

Mentioned these in one of the first-ever 10e posts. Hard hat liners work great for getting your caps into wintermode, or for an extra layer under your helmet to cover your ears. These are from Bullard, who contend to be the inventor of the hard hat; nice potted history at their site. A smooth acrylic knit. Button is a nice feature rather than velcro. I have a whole box of these...

Friday, January 13

pina -wim wenders

Used to go to Sadlers Wells quite a bit when living in London. Do like a bit of modern dance. Wim Wenders has created this piece as a tribute to dancer and choreagrapher Pina Bausch. Showing in 3D. Could be quite intense I bet. Further reading.

fridays are tie days -andover shop

Had my eye on this bow of Pops' for ages. Great spotted pattern; an oldy from The Andover Shop in Cambridge, MA. Funny thing, after wearing it for a while I began to feel the scratchy neck symptomatic of a reaction to horses... and Mrs 10e concluded that as Pops had worn the tie to feed the animals many times it must be the bow tie causing the reaction. Smart cookie. Changed ties and bingo, all good. Let that be a lesson to me I guess... Don't steal a horseman's tie.

Thursday, January 12

the perfect suit

BBC calls this "A witty exploration of the evolution of the gentleman's suit." Yup. This hour long programme features tailor Charlie Allen, Top Man designer Gordon Richardson, Sir Paul Smith, Patrick Grant and others discussing the history and evolution of suiting [? -ed] and the rejection of "the suit" as synonymous with dull. Also the idea of a suit as a man's "armour". I wonder whether the term suit descended from "suit of armour"... anyone?


Scots term indicating a combination of dull, overcast, drizzly, cold, misty and miserable weather. At least 4 of the above adjectives must apply before the weather is truly "dreich". Phlegm should fly if this is pronounced properly...

Wednesday, January 11

before the snow...

Our backhill was the first ski "run" around... pre-Bromley I think. That is Stratton in the distance.

[update -The above may not be true. Conferrring with some wizened types in Peru]

reblog -updated library symbol

Library design consultant Aaron Schmidt has designed this alternate symbol for libraries, rather than the currently used "lone reader L" (which while simple and striking does present a potentially negative, isolationist attitude).

He notes, "There’s still room for solitary reading, sure. But there’s more going on. There are people. Not only do we need to think of our institutions in these terms, we need to convince the public to think of us like this too. Otherwise, more libraries will turn into kiosks."

I like it. I had never clocked that the older symbol represented an L have to admit...

Tuesday, January 10

giveaway -cuppow

Turn a canning jar into a travel mug... This is genius on several levels but have to admit I like it even more cause local guys and ladies dreamed it up. And created all the media for it as well.

The one thing that always struck me about buying a dedicated travel mug was the amount of resources that must have gone into making the mug in the first place. The cuppow lid takes an existing object (the good ol' Ball jar) and transforms it into an acceptable drinking vessel with only a slight modification -the changed lid. Going to say the obvious right now; this would probably work great with cold, non-caffeinated drinks too...

Durable, made in the USA, BPA free, recyclable, and it doesn’t break the bank. Buy yours for $8 here.

Great video below featuring a critical mass of Somerville's Fringe studio types all highlighting the product and ensuing media for it. They have been good enough to offer a giveaway to a 10engines reader; leave a comment or RT this and I will pick one from a hat at end of day. Over. Reader @jgothorpe won it.

I went and bought mine w/ cold hard cash 30 seconds after watching this clip...

10e at kaufmann mercantile -why to shine shoes

Had a whiz-bang assignment recently; interview 3 gents about why we shine shoes. Not the how but the physical and chemical, as well as psychological reasons for doing so. I asked a leather guy (Nick Horween), a style guy (Ryan Plett)and a shoe shine guy (local acquaintance Nicolo Timore of the Top Shelf Flea).

Read the result over at Kaufmann Mercantile.

Monday, January 9

that waiting for snow look

Have been out on the hill twice so far, but waiting for that one big Vermont snowstorm to kick off the year. Here again is my hot tip for parents; check your local mountain for a lower-lift or beginner ticket + the U12 kids are usually free or maybe $5, so you can get out there for around $20 total. Stratton offers a lower mountain ticket for $15 which paradoxically then makes it the cheap option for ski/riding if you are taking beginner-ish kids with you.

Jacket: Burton Groucho in fowl camo.
Wool layer: Ibex Scout
Helmet: Bern (Watts). Keep saying, you should wear a helmet for several reasons... and they are probably all down in the lodge waiting for you.
Goggles: Anon Vintage.
Pants: Burton x Carhartt. Or your sno-sealed lined logger pants...
Tool: Leatherman Blast.
Socks: Darn Tough. Calf padded. Made in Vermont.
Coals to Newcastle. VT maple syrup. Drink it now and dream of snow.
Gloves: I still have a hard time finding something better (and certainly not cheaper) than Kinco lifty gloves.
Vest: Carhartt, pile lined. More pockets...
Boots: Burton Rover (w/ Red Wing).

Will also note that Stratton Mountain is currently celebrating its 50th year in operation with the release of a retrospective book by Hubert Schreibel [our old neighbor -ed.], a Burton x Johnson Woolen Mill run of bags (similar to those they did last year but a pleasing red plaid this time), a special Smith goggles make-up and reissue of the iconic "eagle" sweater from Stratton's Austrian invasion days. Further reading.

Friday, January 6

coleman -don't get stuck indoors

Here's to a weekend of getting outdoors.

fridays are tie days -christmas pudding

Def' a smart move to club your tie when working with lit brandy [well played bruv -ed.]. Pissed the pics do not show the halo of blue flame that was ghosting round the dish here. Anyhow it was suitably soaked and excellent. On me, Brooks Brothers 347 job. A workhorse tie and real favourite, hence pulling duty on Christmas dinner. Wearing it again as I type this infact...

the toothpick

I like these historical narratives that are created using objects, e.g. the books Salt, and Cod. The Toothpick by Henry Petroski does something similar but happens to also intersect with the Maine logging industry and the story of American manufacturing generally. Plus, I bet you know someone who mysteriously started using toothpicks after seeing the movie Drive... this book is for them too.

The Maine Historical Society is holding a series of discussions in the upcoming months, "Extraordinary Histories of Ordinary Things" with The Toothpick as one focus. More info here. Sidenote, the book is also a testament to the power of research (and not using Google), as the author finds many mistruths online and has to dig for hard data with interviews and visits to various repositories. I'm a bit late to the party here as book out a few years ago but looking forward to this. Excerpt below;
The plain wooden toothpick, it may be argued, is among the simplest of manufactured things. It consists of a single part, made of a single material, intended for a single purpose–from which it gets its simple name. It is also among the most convenient and ready of things. It can be used directly out of the box–there being no instructions to read, no parts to assemble, no priming or booting required, and no maintenance expected. When it has served its purpose, it is simply discarded.
The very simplicity and banality of the thing made the toothpick and its manufacture an artifact of tacit knowledge and trade secrets. Even in the late twentieth century, Japanese visitors who showed up at a Maine toothpick factory were turned away, lest they see the tricks of the trade. An American scholar, who should hardly have been seen as a potential competitor, was similarly denied entrance to a Minnesota counterpart. He had to go to Sweden to see some toothpicks being made.

Secrecy coupled with a dearth of reliable, confirmable documentary material makes the task of uncovering the real story of a common object a challenge for ordinary scholarship relying on the usual scholarly sources. But there are other sources of information, not least of which is the artifact itself and the documented social and cultural context in which it has been made and used. Much of the story of the toothpick must be coaxed out of the thing itself and its milieu. With patience, slivers of it can be teased out of even a closed box of toothpicks the way a stubborn seed eventually can be dislodged from between the teeth. Insights into the use and misuse of things can be gleaned from both the froth and the detritus of society.
To an engineer, the challenge of mass-producing something like a toothpick with sufficient efficiency that it can be sold at a profit holds a special fascination. The origins and rise of the mechanized toothpick industry in the latter half of the nineteenth century make for a fascinating chapter in the history of manufacturing, as do the human stories of inventors and innovators such as Benjamin Franklin Sturtevant and Charles Forster, along with their inventions, their patents and patent rights, and their struggles through failures on their way to achieving successes. It is in this chapter of the story that the history of the modest toothpick assumes heroic proportions and provides especially poignant lessons for the technological enterprises of today and tomorrow.

Thursday, January 5

oyster knives

Just found a very informative article about the various types of oysters knives used traditionally, and now, and their variations. The journeyman below is a American design called a Boston ("Bostons feature long, moderately narrow stainless or high carbon steel blades with long oval-round or pear shaped wooden or synthetic handles"). A longer blade would make it a Boston stabber, Cape Cod or Cape Cod stabber. Love this sort of stuff... Excerpt below, or just go read the 5,000 word article here.
Any chef or meat-cutter gracious enough to loan out his or her fine cutlery is doing somebody a real big favor, as merely dropping a fine knife on the floor accidentally may ruin it forever. Telling someone to please not drop one's oyster knife is more likely to be interpreted as kind concern for another's foot rather than the survival of the oyster knife.
Hence, a good knife-maker can't bank on all that much repeat business with his oyster knives, at least not in terms of replacement. A new oyster knife of high quality that is priced under US$ 20 is always a bargain - the price of merely one dozen oysters on the half shell ordered at a nice restaurant. The only way to beat that bargain price down even more and still end up with a quality oyster knife is to buy a good used one.
-via oysters.us

nerd alert -the origin of boba fett

Been playing the card game "war" with the youngsters (teaches hand dexterity and maths...) with a Star Wars deck and started to think about Boba Fett; just where did he come in? Found this video [dodgy -ed.] and comments below after a bit of searching.
Fett was one of the first new characters to be designed for The Empire Strikes Back. He can trace his origins to rejected Darth Vader concepts that once had the Dark Lord as a rogue bounty hunter. Concept artists Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston were most responsible for Fett's design. He first appeared in an 11-minute animated segment of the lamentable "Star Wars Holiday Special" television broadcast in 1978. Fett had another pre-Empire appearance in the daily newspaper strip story arc entitled "The Frozen World of Ota." Given that Fett and Skywalker meet for the first time in both stories, and Luke unwittingly befriends the bounty hunter each time, one or both of these tales is probably apocryphal.

Fett was the first new action figure for The Empire Strikes Back line of toys. He was originally available as a mail-away offer; kids would send in the appropriate proofs-of-purchase and Kenner would send the toy out. The original mail-away offers stated that Fett would feature a rocket-firing backpack, but safety issues dictated that the toy was released with the rocket glued in.

Fett's big-screen appearance had actor Jeremy Bulloch behind the mask, though the character was coldly voiced by Jason Wingreen. For his return appearance in the Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition, various Industrial Light & Magic artists wore the armor.
-via Jedi Council forum

erskine's grain store -rural needs from a to z

Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, so by the law of meatball lunches that meant that Erskine's Grain store in Chester VT had their customer "thank you" on the day before. Lucky me; we hit it on the drive up from Boston. Haven't been in a few years, though Pops never misses, but it is really something to add to the calendar if you live or visit in Southern VT.

This yearly tradition has been going on since the 1980s, and the offerings of tomato or Swedish meatballs, bbq venison, bread and cheddar, and get seconds chili provide a place to catch up with other customers you only vaguely know from previous meetings, and the staff who you see twice a month anyway. Sis won the raffle last year so I picked up her commemorative t-shirt.

They have the hard to find Woolrich made in USA buffalo hats. 'Course they do.

Had not seen these Fiskars axes in the wild. V tasty. #zombiehunting

Felt crushers. Must wear wool trousers at the same time. Great for snowmen too.

Huge selection of Hav-A-Hank bandanas.

Wall of work gloves. #heaven. The intern even liked the food. Hey kid, keep your Jolly Ball away from my chili.

Monday, January 2


Really is mind-blowing living in Massachusetts with the massive amount of shoe-making history that surrounds the state. Walk-Over traces its roots back to colonial times and thus [the naming rights at least -ed.] can lay claim to being the oldest shoemaking business in the States. Fired up to find another storied brand [shoes now made in PA I believe, by HHBrown?]. They are suede, and buck heavy on the site due to some Mark McNairy involvement I believe (see older post at Sartorially Inc with some historical commenting).

Liking these scotch grain brogues above. Available at Orvis. Matt at Men's Threads has some shinier photos. #winter

Sunday, January 1

schuyler towne reveals the inner workings of locks

This is Schuyler Towne, who is a " a mechanical security researcher" aka "competitive lockpicker". Consequently he is very interested in the construction of locks and making them more secure. There is some extreme geekery here, meaning education, and it is great. Or maybe you want to know how a master key works? Bam, video below. Fascinating stuff. He has a blog looking at vintage safes and locks that is really worth looking at too.

I wish I knew about him when we closed our front door with keys inside last month... His workshops would make a good corporate event I bet. He is pretty high energy generally (videos above are more mellow). I believe he may be speaking at the upcoming TEDxSomerville talks in Somerville, MA. Will keep an eye out.

sherlock holmes series 2

It won't be on BBC America until May 2012 but it has landed in the UK. Love that they are doing Hound of the Baskervilles (with the twist being that Baskerville is the name of a military lab of some kind, well played). Have to say the Dr Moriarty character always been the least favourite of mine, wonder how this one plays out. Anyhow, a million clips and trailers out there. A few above.

The Arthur Conan Doyle stories themselves are mostly short 20-pagers. Perfect commuter reading territory. Many free in Amazon's Kindle store or via Gutenberg Project.