Wednesday, December 24

10E2416: Socks for Christmas

First up, from Universal Works their old time jersey inspired Games Sock. Made in Nottingham, England (their home base).
The Stripe Sock is knitted on old, traditional machines here in Nottingham. There are loose ends running up the back of the sock but they won’t come undone.  These traditional machines construct the stripes in a different way to modern machines, as the machine changes the stripe colour the yarn feeders have to step up a line, where the two colours meet, and cut off the yarn to feed in the next colour. This is what causes the step in the stripe and what appears to be, loose ends.  The ends are secure in the knit construction but cannot be cut closer to the sock.  The sock is then hand-finished with a linked toe.

From Oxford Soxs out of Oxford, England comes these pop-worthy (and again knit in Nottingham actually) country/city socks. Hunter green, cardinal red or mustard.

Wednesday, December 17

10E2415: Bobo's Mountain Sugar | Gift

Today is National Maple Syrup Day apparently.

These wont last... flash sale, $9 half-pints of dark and robust (formerly called Grade B shoppers) wood fired maple syrup. From our VT neighbors Bobo's Mountain Sugar. The real deal. Shipping is $5 or free if you get 6. #getstuffed

Boston dwellers - this is the syrup used by Union Square Donuts for their maple bacon btw.

Japanese readers - get yours at the Burton Snowboards store; 5-17-4 Jingumae Shibuya Tokyo.

Tuesday, December 16

10E2414: R Murphy Knives

Bar knife. $79.
  • Made from high carbon steel (1095), 
  • Blade is precision ground, hand-edged and hand-honed. By humans.
  • Blade is cryogenically treated. Sure it increases edge retention but just sounds baddass as well...
  • Full tang construction. Of course!
  • Triple brass riveted handle
  • Made in Massachusetts.

I love a good gift guide. Ton of options here from our neighbors R. Murphy. We visited them a while ago and it was the highlight of the year honestly. The shellfish knives are offered in wood or Murphy Green poly handles for a bit less. #stockingstuffer Unless noted, all knives made of carbon steel (see Julia Childs...). Owner Mark noted "They don’t stay shiny, but they do stay sharp!”

Visit their online shop now.

Clam (top) and oyster knives, $18 or $37.

Monday, December 15

10E2413: Powers Of Ten

A [film, then book -ed.] dealing with the relative size of things in the universe and the effect of adding another zero. "Travel from the edge of the universe to an atom in the hand of a sleeping man at a picnic. The effect is a spectacular cosmic adventure. The journey involves astronomy, biology, particle physics and much more, but ultimately, it is about size." 

You can buy the flipbook of same from the Eames store. The Charles and Ray Eames studio created this film for IBM in 1977.

Friday, December 12

10E2412: London Overground

Had a whirlwind visit to London - a few nuggets of info here. Visited an old family friend in the east end, by Stepney Green who lives in an 1899 tenement that is used for the Call the Midwife tv filming.

Kola cubes and nuclear soor plumes. Presents for the kiddos. If you know you know...

The big take away from this trip is that the Tube is, maybe not overrated... but you can get much more out of the city if you use the overland trains and educate yourself on the bus routes where ever you are. "New build" London partly due to the bombings of two world wars - but some fantastic older housing, now out of reach $$. Former bakery below now a residence.  

Southampton Arms (Highgate) looks throwback because it is. Many original fittings redone, handpulled UK ales and cider, and pork sandwiches (baps, that is on rolls). Amusing list of contact "emergencies".

In one long walk we made it from Holoway Road to Tufnell Park then all the way across the massive Hampstead Heath (had never been - amazing - 3 swimming ponds in summer!)


Quick stop outside John Harvard Library in Southwark (pronounced suth-uck for those just joining. Yes, same Harvard.

On last night stayed with an old pal in Peckham (south east London). No, not Belendam, as the real estate agents are starting to call this recently gentrified area; Peckham! One of the major problems with 'coming up' areas is the inevitable rising home prices and pushing out of established residents. My buddy (OMIL if you are a fanatical 10E reader) grew up in this neighborhood and since cooler than a cucumber HE has no issue being in a fancy pub, but notes with legitimate venom that the older generation are now without their old haunts, so become more and more isolated at home. This is a real problem.

We loaded up for the day at Crossroads Cafe, a good old workman's caf', with a full breakfast (notice you can add bubble - that is fried cabbage and potato - lovely). Did not go to Manze pie shop on other side of Peckham but OMIL has his chair there - as a vegetarian he always orders a veggie pie... you can hear a pin drop. HA! 

Monday, December 1

10E2411: Dave's New York

On recent trip to NYC stumbled on Dave's New York [581 Avenue of the Americas - #latetotheparty -ed.] Half full of Euros looking for rock bottom prices on jeans, and then construction workers looking for a snap-on hood or extra gloves. Fantastic. See "original fit" B01 Carhartts - though in truth that means the recent fit, as opposed to relaxed fit - which is not the 80s straight fit. Anyhow, 12oz duck unwashed, made in the USA, and plenty o' sizes. Good deal.

Wednesday, November 26

10E2410: Convenience Is The Enemy...

This post is now tradition, and have to say thanks and best wishes to all the readers out there [both of you! oh! -ed] and to the extended 10engines family. The east coast storm is certainly making travel inconvenient for many.

Rather than New Year's resolutions I am really going to try to keep feelings of thanks going forward. The idea of community gets thrown around a lot... to paraphrase another great Morris/High Life ad - what are you made of? What do you contribute? Have you volunteered 1 hour, 1 day, 1 anything since moving to town 3 years ago? You can help out. Me too, I can do more. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 25

10E2409: Is There A Turkey In Your Sitting Room?

On the basis that you always need a great title before you actually write the book...

Cartoon from The Message, circa 1978.

One of my mother's rural adventures in 70s Vermont involved driving to town with Old Tom clinging to the rails of the family Toyota station wagon. That white car would sometimes be splattered with the blood of butchered chickens at it was usually parked in the barn. Maybe Tom's move was an escape plan?? Words from Oma below.
"The wretched thing used to wander into the breezeway and start nibbling plants! After the unfortunate episode on the car ride [pictured, when turkey held onto roofrack for drive into town... it fell off past the dump and the Merrills phoned us to say it was in their bathtub...] it (the turkey) never really recovered and did not survive to grace the Thanksgiving table. At least I made it into the local paper."

Friday, November 21

10E2408: Fridays | Poly Tie Days

My job as a digital librarian does not require me to dress in a suit and tie. Hell doesn't really require any dressing up as work from home mainly... Treat it as a pleasure not a chore though and you will find yourself wearing a tie when travelling. Even with a cardigan it elevates. 

These straight 80s poly/icon type ties are great thrift shop finds, and always from oddball regional stores. This place Tech Tailors was in Woostah! Think it may have morphed into a drycleaners now??

Wednesday, November 19

10E2407: That Acella Look

Took a trip to NYC this week on the Acella train, and when chatting with 100 folk related to media and PR the realization of "uniform" creeps up pretty quickly. Trade the bag, or the mocs for brogues but basically similar. If it ain't broke etc...  

Tip to the stockbroker whose capital group had embroidered their name on his gifted bag - Filson will change that pocket out for you here.

Person on train behind me was some kind of HR overlord. Had been on calls the whole way with her coworkers discussing which interviewee would work best on the new HR team. Irony seemed to be lost on her that the head of HR couldn't make a decision on who to hire... BTW "Meg" told the new recruit the job is 100% excel based but no way Richard spends that much time in excel. More like 75%. Rest of the time in meetings... #quietcar #espionage

Business speak is the best. New role, "Solution Captain".

And Connecticut is damn good looking...

Friday, November 14

10E2406: Parenting | LLBean Adventure Bag - Rolling

We have the smaller non-wheeled versions of these for the boys. Adventure Bags they are called by LLBean. Just the sight of them coming out of the closet starts a game plan of books/flashlights/food they'll take on whatever trip is next. This slightly bigger Adventure Rolling Duffle may be next though. $99. Bosh.

Thursday, November 13

10E2405: Trailside by Ursa Major

This has GIFT written over it in 10 foot high neon. Amaze.

Ursa Major the VT based skincare line (beardy types - you will thank me later) are making a 100% natural soy candle with "essential oils including cedar, spruce, sandalwood, mint and orange...". $40. Pssst, when you order from them you also get 3 little grab-baggers to add to your order... traveltastic.

As with their other products, never any petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrance or color, glycols, silicones or polyethylene glycols (PEGs).

N.B., a portion of the sales of this candle will go to The Sierra Club to help protect America's wildest places.

Wednesday, November 12

10E2404: Irrepressible Spirit (Bill McLaren - the 'voice of rugby')

Short rugby ad by Guinness here that centers on the irrepressible spirit of the ‘voice of rugby’, long time commentator Bill McLaren.  Ostensibly "showing that it is not the misfortune we are dealt – but how we face it", but in actuality a love letter to this charismatic and humble fixture of the airwaves who died in 2010.

One commenter notes "Nice but needs to be about 29 minutes longer..." Agreed.

His voice was part of the soundtrack to winter weekends for many British schoolboys. Hell, I quoted him at my brother's wedding...   

Friday, November 7

10E2402: Moriarty Hats (updated)

Moriarty Hats, made in Stowe VT from the 50's until fairly recently. Adopted by the skiing faithful after Marvin Moriarty wore his ma's handmade hat on the ski circuit, and the 1956 Cortina Winter Olympics. Great story from, again, the Austrian invasion days (Emo Heinrich of Stratton even makes an appearance, classic, and the text above is written by a buddy's uncle  Peter Miller.)

Marvin was a sort of 'Bode Miller' of his day - and in real life an absolute no-bullshit guy.

Moriarty Hats was sold to another Stowe man in the 1980's who was again a passionate skier, though it seems to have all folded a few years ago. Nothing out of this world, but you know it when you see it... that peaked top. (pics below via ebay)

Others followed the style of course; Wigwam, Columbia, Turtle Fur, you find a ton out there... but Moriarty were first. They even make an appearance in the bible below.

Must read article below from Skiing Heritage Journal (June 2006).

Monday, October 27

10E2400: Miller High Life goes back to the archives

Miller have pulled a "go back to the archives" trick and are recreating/re-imagining older labels based on old packaging, wooden crates, and other secondary materials. Soulsight from Chicago did the heavy lifting here. MillerCoors recently did a similar trick with Coors Banquet - they took the extra step of celebrating their in-house archivist Melanie Keerins in a few videos of the process. Good stuff. This is also a great use-case for the value of archives and re-using assets generally.

Have not visited this subject in a while - but collected some info in 2010 that might amuse, as below.

If I can't drive that 16-penny nail in three strokes I'll quit right now, or
The idiosyncrasies that made Miller Brewing Company's High Life Man campaign stand out

You know them, you may be over them, hell you may even hate them. I'm frankly still in awe of the Miller High Life ads directed by Errol Morris (art direction by Portland OR's Wieden & Kennedy). I am not a paid expert on the matter but will reveal that my 1995 M.A. thesis was titled "Enlightened Working Class Images in American Film" and I enjoy looking at these things academically. When I told my ma-in-law the thesis title she said, "Now it all makes sense," -the obsessing over new and vintage workwear or photo archives, quoting from the Dictionary of American Regional English, hunting through thrift stores in rural areas... etc.

Have only ever found a few articles that dealt w/ the Morris/MHL ads in any meaningful way; from the filmmaking decisions to voiceover to copy, The Boat has alot going on. Found some great background info as below;

Better reacquaint yourself with the High Life, soldier, before someone tries to take away your Miller Time. This last line, in particular, spoken in the register of a military commander, invokes the sense of discipline required to restore an appropriate masculinity. While that discipline must be a self-discipline, its urgency is underscored by the panoptic gaze of the neighbor whose perspective dominates the spot. That choice of perspective was deliberate...
-via Lair 2007

Morris originally conceived of close-ups of tires scraping the curb and the trailer hitch jackknifing. "But then I looked across the street," Morris said, "and thought we should just show the whole thing from the other guy's point of view." This view included a mock gaslight lamppost, which filled about a third of the frame as a quintessential suburban symbol. Finally, three cameras, each with different film (35-mm, 16-mm, and Super 8), shot the spot. Wieden & Kennedy decided to use the Super 8 footage, filmed by Morris himself, because it captured the vintage "1950s John Birch Society" atmosphere that the agency wanted, according to Williams [Wieden & Kennedy art director Jeff Williams, who also stood in as the man on the lawn].

...The entire campaign was "appealing to that masculine sensibility, the way men are always imparting undue significance to whatever it is we're doing, like a guy saying if I can't drive that 16-penny nail in three strokes I'll quit right now," Kling [Wieden & Kennedy copywriter Jeff Kling, btw great stuff. -ed] explained. He added, "It's like it's a matter of pride, as if the very fabric of our democracy is being woven here with the shifting gears of backing up a trailer."
- via JiffyNotes
Sure, but aren't these ads simply ironic homages to a defunct sort of masculinity? The better ads of the (absurdly prolific) series don't rely on explicit maleness [or xenophobia -ed.] and the copy verges on poetry.

In the final analysis it is still the High Life MAN though. Daniel Lair (in Leisure, Work, and Manliness: Masculinity-in-Decline and the Miller “High Life Man”) has some pithy observations about the challenges to masculinity (and the way those challenges are framed) in the campaign;
Together with voiceover man Doug Jeffers – whose deep, hyper-masculine voice is almost certainly the singly most important element contributing to the success of the campaign (Quigley, 1999) – this team [Wieden & Kennedy team of art director Jeff Williams, copywriter Jeff Kling, and producer Jeff Selis] maintained a stylistic consistency which allowed the ads to hang together in what Morris described as a “mini-movie” (in Middlekauff, 2000, para. 9). Several stylistic elements combine to provide this consistency. First, all of the spots are shot from visually-jarring camera angles not typically seen in mainstream media: shots almost never depict a whole man, only parts, leaving audiences with an incomplete sense of who the men are and depicted in a manner that suggests that the High Life Men of the commercials could be any man.

...The implication of leisure, however, is cemented in the themes addressed by the advertisements: barbequing, yard work, recreational equipment, and fishing, to name just a few. These leisure time pursuits are frequently framed as challenges, from repairing a refrigerator with duct tape to finding ways to maximize free time... Here, the leisure time challenges highlighted may be more mundane than the often extreme challenges faced by the men of more “traditional” beer commercials, but they are challenges nonetheless. In addressing issues of leisure, the campaign implicitly addresses issues of work, as well. Here again, the cultural legacy of Miller’s once-prominent status plays a prominent role: “Miller Time” was (and is) undeniably after work, but is also framed in many respects as a reward for work.

...Here, the High Life ads transform the generic convention of challenges at work and leisure by framing the challenge that men face not as a specific obstacle to overcome – such as a raging stream or an attractive woman – but rather as a more general cultural malaise that must be resisted. The second way that the High Life ads transform the convention of challenge is through their suggestion as to how such challenges should be managed. The challenge posed by the campaign is not one to be won or lost through skill or brawn. Instead, such challenges can only be met with an inner strength that can be found in re-asserting a more traditional masculinity through living the High Life.

The ironic stance of the campaign distances itself from its overt message, instead functioning as a critique of the shallow nature of contemporary masculinity. The High Life Man thus opens a discursive space from which to critique the masculinity of most beer advertising: a masculinity which is vain, insecure, obsessed with demonstrating an extrinsically-oriented sense of superiority in overcoming challenges, and inevitably turns women into objects of sexual conquest. The High Life Man is able to subtly suggest that these manifestations of masculinity are themselves in part responsible for the crisis of masculinity; that the men of traditional beer advertising, by participating in a surface masculinity rather than a “true” manliness, are not “doing their part.”
* * * * * *
One more... we have an ongoing joke at home that someone always thinks up a chore to do that involves roofs/ladders/axes or even better all 3 -usually around cocktail hour. The response to that idea goes something like "better have a few more drinks first..."

Tuesday, October 21

10E2399: Thru-Hiker at SPL, | Thursday 23rd

Oct 23rd. 7pm. "Thru-Hiker" talk at the Somerville Public Library, 79 Highland Ave, Somerville MA.
From April to September of 2013, Wendy Johnston backpacked the entire 2,700 mile long Pacific Crest Trail from the US/Mexican Border to the US/Canadian border through California, Oregon, and Washington.

Join Wendy for a slideshow of photos, as well as a short talk focusing on the reasons that she hikes long trails and the lessons that she learned during her 5 months on the PCT. Q&A to follow. Leave inspired and encouraged to follow your own dreams!
Is this Wild minus the meltdowns? Dunno. Wear your Danners and meet me there and find out. No GORP though - Wendy is sick of that...

Monday, October 20

10E2398: In The Heart Of The Sea

File under "not your father's Moby Dick"

In The Heart of the Sea by Philbrick is his rigourously researched and detailed account of whaling in the 19thC. It elaborates and continues the true story that inspired and ends in Moby Dick. For those just joining, Herman Melville's Moby Dick was a re-imaging of an actual event, the loss of the whaleship Essex. -Reading a few pages

For more on the subject Philbrick has another book, Why Read Moby Dick? that not only details Melville and the creation of his most famous work but also posits that MD sits as a kind of American "bible". For EVEN MORE MD insight, read the site Power Moby Dick that goes through the text line by line. Pretty great.

Wednesday, October 15

10E2397: The Leaves Are Turning

And isn't it always a flatlander who says "yes and aren't they turning early this year?"...
I hate that. Cause if they were turning earlier and earlier like they always say
then pretty soon the leaves would be turning on Easter!
-The Logger.

Tuesday, October 14

10E2396: In Praise of LLBean Ducks 4

From the zamboni... don't jump the gun.

Easy on-off in airport security. Must.

New pair this year.

Fenway Park warning track.

Huge, massive, long-time fan of LLBean rubber mocs (or Noah's Ark deck shoes...). $79. Deal of the century. Wear these things year-round, great for gardening. Full, over-the-top set including these here.

Monday, October 13

10E2395: Eat Your Greens

Pulled out the garden and saved all these at the end. MUST do something with them... green chutney? Blend with chilis and coriander? Anyone?

Friday, October 10

10E2394: Friday Night Flights - Molasses and Rum

Tonight 6:30pm, join me at GrandTen Distilling in Boston for a special event; "Friday Night Flights".

Hear readings from 2 books detailing the historic 1919 molasses disaster in the North End of Boston ("Dark Tide" and "The Great Molasses Flood") plus a short lecture on the rum trade of the 19thC, and learn about the creation of GrandTen's "Medford Rum". All the while sampling GrandTen's light and dark rums too.

$20. Proceeds to our local Friends of the Somerville Public Library (MA). Reserve your place here.
GrandTen Distilling: 383 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02127