Friday, December 30

boston sour

Old Mr. Boston Deluxe Bartender’s Guide (6th edition, 1946, or before; 1st ed. 1935)

2 oz rye or bourbon
1 egg white
1/4 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice

Shake with ice and pour into 8-oz collins glass. Fill with seltzer water, decorate with lemon slice and cherry.
The above quoted from the fantastic but now-defunct DrinkBoston (nothing to do with the Mr. Boston brand btw, rather a blog from Boston). My brother can rip through the classics (as well as having developed drink menus for various establishments) and over Xmas couldn't resist serving up Boston Sours utilising Bulleitt and Araucana eggs [blue shells, no taste difference -ed.] from the henhouse 50 yards away. I just watch and learn.

fridays are tie days -cetacean

Cetacean [def from Britannica Concise -ed.]: They are found in oceans worldwide and in some freshwater environments. Modern cetaceans are grouped in two suborders: about 70 species of toothed whales (Odontoceti) and 13 species of toothless baleen whales (Mysticeti). They have a tapered body, no external hind limbs, and a tail ending in a horizontal blade of two lobes, or flukes. Cetaceans must come to the water's surface to breathe through blowholes located on top of their head.
50cent tie from the thrift store.

Friday, December 23

gift idea -silpat by demarle

NASA grade materials. Eye-pleasing woven material. Orange border. These silcon SilPat® mats by DeMarle are insanely non-stick sheets used for pastry and any other baking you do. Can be used in ovens up to 480 degrees, and can also be frozen without being structurally compromised.

Caution: Never use a cut or ripped Silpat® as glass weave could migrate to the food.

oma in the spectator

Huge props to mum for generally being cooler than the other side of the pillow, but the newsflash is that the Christmas edition of The Spectator printed a letter she sent to them regarding presents/thrifting/thoughts on giving. It is in the print version only, in a section devoted to Thifty Christmas. Teaser below;
Secondhand /charity /vintage shops have plenty of treasures and the time and thought put into these finds are really the gift in themselves.

You can occasionally even give something that "money can't buy" nowadays, and a bit different from a catalogue or department store. Have always found that these really do surprise and delight everyone.

Put time and effort into the packaging and theme them up with other items for maximum effect e.g special tea with the tea cups or a book voucher tucked into a book.

This all may sound a bit "homespun and worthy" but if you go regularly to charity shops -you will soon find it addictive and more fun than traipsing around crowded shops [and avoiding the babycarriage brigade!-ed.] and there is always the thrill of finding something unexpected or even antique if you are lucky that day.
This will get filed with her note printed in The Scotsman about cold winters; "Reach for a sweater!" #rockstar

Thursday, December 22

the us open turns 30

If the last post didn't make you feel old then this will. The US Open Snowboarding Championships turns 30 this year... coming March 4th-11th, held as usual at Stratton Mt, VT. If they are going to run with this retro red/blue theme and the Burton anoraks etc I'll be made up. Sweet. Looks like they have tweaked the event line-up again, this time no Friday night event (instead Saturday night Rail Jam), and Sunday reserved for the Junior Jam. Racing isn't coming back anytime soon looks like... maybe on the Friday afternoon? #suntanner

ox snowboard boot from burton

The Ox Boot, from Burton. Some might call this vintage styling... for *ahem* others these boots look very familiar... like their first pair but now with everything you need and nothing you don't. The copy reads "good old days without the duct tape." These are mid-range for Burton (sub $300).

Wednesday, December 21

baghdad country club

Book "trailers" are a relatively new sort of thing. This one is for a book/memoir about activities in the Green Zone of Baghdad and the creation of a bar called the Baghdad Country Club. Awesome trailer (animation by Colleen Cox, sound design by Pat Walters) does its job; I want to know more. You can read an excerpt over at The Atlantic then download the whole thing to your ereader via The Atavist. There are straight text versions and a multimedia option with accompanying maps, audio etc. You getting an iPad for Chrimbo? This has Xmas break written all over it.

Tuesday, December 20

late to the party -breathe owl breathe

Micah Middaugh, Trevor Hobbs, and Andréa Moreno-Beals are Breathe Owl Breathe, out of Michigan. Swimming (linked below) may be deceptively simple, but def easy to get into. A few bleeps and squeaks more than their earlier stuff??

Found them through the awesome trail mix series of mix tapes over at Cold Splinters. Download them all then hit shuffle. Not all folky/country campfire music, but quite a bit.

Monday, December 19

tarzan of the apes

Just finished the adventure classic Tarzan of the Apes, the first of more than two dozen in the Tarzan series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Highly recommend. It is not a goof or a romp as many early, slightly campy film versions make out. Gorey. Bows and arrows play a large role in the story which was news to me, and the preamble of the Claytons arrival on the island (Tarzan's parents) is a great castaway-type segment. You can see the where the films (and later tv series) traced their jungle roar/yodel but in the book it is instead a throat-rending explosion into the sky, let out after each bloody kill. Again, good pulpy stuff.

Note, there are serious 1914 Euro-centric views expressed about other nations and the noble white man's inherent superiority... a caricature of the black nanny, and it has been noted that by the 1969 (5th printing) further material had already been left out that was deemed "offensive to certain groups or nationalities". Still, think it is worth reading to see the foundation of this recognizable character.

You can read it free via the GutenbergProject or on your Kindle/iPhone app, again for free, via Amazon. Serious pageturner. Perfect commuter fare.

Friday, December 16

good old shredding -from poler

From our friends at Poler (Portland based producer of camping gear within financial reach, and for kids too!) comes Adventure #006.
"Filmed in sketchy super-8 because the squadron of Poler helicopters we ordered is on back order."
Love it. Featuring Poler team riders Bryan Fox and Scotty Whitlake (10e faves for their low key demeanour and bombdrop style) riding Mt. Baker in a puking snowstorm. Maybe this will get the snow going on the east coast... Thx Benji.

mitchell's wool fat soap

Mitchell's Wool Fat Soap was first produced in the early 1930's by Bradford [England -ed.] chemist Fred Mitchell who realised that the natural lanolin content of wool fat, which kept the hands of local sheep shearers and wool sorters so exceptionally soft, could also be beneficial to delicate complexions and sensitive skins.
-via Mitchell's

They had me at wool fat. Plus the soap comes wrapped in this attractive crinkly yellow waxed paper. Stocking-stuffer-tastic. Saw them this morning in Leavitt&Peirce in Harvard Sq. They also do a puck of soap that the shaving nerds [careful -ed.] seem to regard highly. #gifts

win this -native(x) scarf

Sacrf has been won. Congrats Richard. Little giveaway here thanks to the people at NATIVE(X).

NATIVE(X) scarves are crafted with Pendleton Woolen Mills' 100% pure virgin wool and branded with a leather label featuring Native American artist, Nathaniel Wilkerson's Medeek design. 20% of profits go to the artist. "These iconic symbols of America's past have plenty of modern mileage, and are woven and constructed in the USA. Measuring about 62 inches in length and 5 inches in width."

Same rules as before, 10th person to comment, email me or RT this wins. You can choose from the more red (top) or hazel design. If you don't win just jump over to the Native(X) site and snag one of these for a very reasonable $30; good stuff. Thx Mac.

Thursday, December 15

chainsaw, fire and ott music

Shot by @mns1974 with the Phantom Flex at 400-2500fps. Music "Planes on a Plane" by Patrick Doyle. You think the slowed down chain is cool?? Wait till you see the slowed down woodstove.

bookmark -matchstick lake

Logging related posts and poutine reviews; showstoppers. Much more than that of course... Was recently contacted by Brian Marshall who is based in Ontario and works as a newly graduated Forestery Technician. His post from Radisson, Quebec is a must see. At once personal, his blog is also an insight into modern lumbering (think big machines; feller bunchers, skidders etc). Further reading at Matchstick Lake. Thx Brian.

Wednesday, December 14

orvis -mixed tartan shirt

I can't pull these off but kudos if you can. Wrinkle-Free Pure Cotton Mixed-Tartan Shirt. But maybe don't try it with that sportscoat.

harris tweed + levis

Harris Tweed elbow patches on Levi Strauss denim... 10engines kryptonite. More pics at Hypebeast. If you are shopping in Japan you get to choose which tweed used and where etc. Shoulder/shooting patch? #ideasforfree

Tuesday, December 13

n'eaststyle x shinysquirrel pop up shop in boston

Friend and blogerella Christine Mitchell of N'EastStyle is co-hosting a shop-within-shop with Brooklyn based The Shiny Squirrel at Stel's on Newbury Street. This showcase features a mix of micro brands for men (Buckshot Sonny's, General Knot, Corter, Forestbound) and plenty of hardware for women (lobster claw bracelet jumped out, to me who knows nothing about it...)

Long/short if you want to see some of these brands live, or get a gift a little off the radar go have a look. They didn't have the Buckshot Sonny camo gloves on the first night, but I'm already wearing mine... Head to N'EastStyle for more pics of the goods on show.

Photo by Jon Gaffney of lacking self preservation

tretorn -obo gtx shoes

Swedish based Tretorn sent these Öbo GTX waterproofed shoes for a hands on review. Stats: leather upper, waterproof treated and gusseted construction. GORE-TEX® waterproof lining. Textile sockliner of 100% post industrial recycled mesh. EcoOrthoLite® insole. Non-marking Rubber outsole. $170. [update: a little more info on the leather being used here; it is a full grain, aniline water proof leather w/ a slight pull-up. thx @tretorn]

Thoughts: leather definitely has a treated feel, and water runs off. Gore padded lining and cushioned insole suit it for cool weather I would think. Moc-toe aspect appeals. As other Tretorns I have tried these fit true if a hair small. If you planned to wear thick socks (winter) then I would suggest going up a half size -or my M.O. is to remove the liner if wearing thick socks, put it back in when not. Slight duck bill effect, raising front of shoe off the ground. Nostalgic gum rubber sole.

This would seem to sit at a gap in the market if you are looking for a more Scando-option than LLBean boots, or something less utilitarian than Tretorn's pull-on Stråla Vinter Klar (which I happen to like simply for that no frills aspect).

Monday, December 12

the knife man

Amolador is the Portuguese word for grinder, or knife sharpener. These skilled knife sharpeners push their bikes through the streets, playing a distinctive tune on pan flutes to signal their presence.

Their bikes serve as a mobile workshop, with a sharpening stone mounted on the top tube, a tool box strapped to the back, and umbrellas draped over the handlebars.

Apparently there used to be many amoladors, but with the advent of cheap knives and scissors it's a dying profession which is too bad because it's pretty cool.

I found a Popular portuguese saying, "quando há amolador, há chuva": when the knife sharpener is around, it's going to rain.
-words and video by mattquann

Saturday, December 10

what i have been doing on the weekends

I recently had the opportunity to complete an 8 week internship in the William Munroe Special Collections that is housed downstairs in the Concord Free Public Library (above) in Concord, MA. Open to the public btw, but if you have an idea of what you are looking for I recommend you communicate in advance with the energetic and straight-talking curator Leslie Wilson. Quick note to the uninitiated; Concord and its residents were closely involved with pre- and post-American Revolutionary history (18thC), and was also a seat for the Transcendentalist movement of the 19thC (Thoreau, Emerson et al.), and much more. It is chockablock with history. Has history coming out of its ears...

The Special Collections also house related materials on the back to land movement of the 1960s as popularized by Scott and Helen Nearing, New England vernacular architecture, tools, and New England colloquial pastimes and music. #wheelhouse. These other materials made the reading room a place to delve into a wealth of Americana and frankly was a joy to visit.

The collection with which I worked was not for Thoreau-fanboys, but rather was photographs created by the Department of Public Works of Concord recording weather events, road construction, snow removal and the building of several reservoirs. That makes it sound perhaps a little dry, but there was a lot of social/historical data available from the photos about the men at work, the change in municipal plant, plus the weather event photos of a 1921 flood and a certain hurricane in 1938 were fantastic.

We did not scan the photos at this time, but produced a detailed online finding aid. The technician there happened to also be a streetscape buff, and provided this extra bit of info to the central image used above;
"The pic of the street light and wires is equally interesting as that particular light is 1910-ish (The second generation of incandescent lighting -- this is when they ran high voltage (ca 1,200 volts) to street lights, and the street light bulbs 12 volts, 200 watts each -- they had shunting devices in them so if the light went out the series circuit would remain lit).

One of the biggest complaints of this set-up was when if it rained hard, the voltage was so high that the wires at the fixtures would arc and light-up the area with a blinding blue/white light). The telephone poles not only show tons of party line telephone lines, but telegraph as well."
[love this stuff -ed.]

Friday, December 9

how to shuck an oyster

This is a few years old, but oysters dont change... Don Merry from Duxbury, MA (farmer to Island Creek Oysters) demonstrates shucking oysters by the lollipop method. Bam, now you know. Can do it with a bottle opener or screwdriver even. Nice tip about flipping it over too...

in praise of shetland sweaters

Quickly; a "Shetland sweater" is one made of wool from a Shetland sheep, not one made in the Shetland Isles (100 miles north of the coast of Scotland) though the notoriously hardy sheep did supposedly originate there. Their yard may be ultra-fine (from the neck area) or more coarse, but the (often saddle-shouldered) crewneck sweater is generally from the rougher yarn. The sheep themselves have a wide range of colors and markings from coal black to brown to pure white but the white sheep are morepopular as the wool can then be dyed.

So what? So, these sweaters are hard wearing due to the rougher wool, generally inexpensive (in Scotland), hold their shape better than cotton, and thus have became a preppy staple. Top photo taken yday, below in 1989 (not same sweater but I guess my taste hasn't changed) just home from high school Christmas service (evidenced by kilt), cranking Galiga sound effects on the headphones. #geekery