Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I May Have

A problem.

I dig these Made in USA Eastland of Maine moccasin chukka boots too much. It's gonna be a chukka-filled fall for me, I can tell. Available online at Blackbird.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Fall Has Begun

Well, it has begun to put a claim on my money, anyway. It is time to take a break from displaying my nerd credentials, which are at this point self-evident, to discuss, in this case, boots. Simply put, these boots are killing it. Yuketen has been has been making gorgeous goods since 1985, and in my personal opinion, designer and founder Yuki Matsuda has knocked it out of the park with these Maine Guide DB Chukkas. Horween leather from my hometown of Chicago, hand-sewn moccasin construction, and a real cool ankle height boot with a crepe sole. Wear these with chinos or jeans, or if you are real confident, shorts. I don't think there is a wrong move, except not to get them. Time to start selling organs folks! Available at Context. Now go buy them! But leave a pair in size 11 for me.



Monday, August 1, 2011

I Blame Lego

I thought I'd take a break from the usual denim and what have you (what do I write about anyway?) and briefly, and publicly admit something: I like Lego. When I was a wee nerd, watching Battlestar Galactica (the original series, not the re-imagined one, though I love that too. So say we all.), Buck Rogers, etc, I'd scurry off to my lego bins, and try my best to re-create the spacecraft I saw on the shows. I once even tried to build the Searcher big enough to actually hold starfighters, but I lacked the pieces, and at age 7, attention span required. Jeez, you look back at a paragraph like this, it's amazing I actually found a girl (and a hot one, too!) to marry me.

This is a better starfighter than I could make. What do you want? I was 7. It was the 70's.

So, I can trace my love of lego to the late 70's, a long time, but how did they get there? Who created them to ensnare me so? Well, for that, you can thank a Danish Carpenter (I don't think he was Jewish, but a Lego messiah? Maybe.) named Ole Kirk Christiansen. During the Great Depression, he began making wooden toys to support his family, and by the late 1940's, he had created over 2oo wooden, and later plastic, toys. The name, Lego, came from the Danish words leg godt, "play well". Lego also means "I put together" in Latin, which because I am obsessed with Rome, and as if further proof was needed, a nerd, I think is cool. In 1958 he patented the block system; blocks built today can still be connected to blocks from 1958. Unfortunately, in March of 1958 Ole Kirk (that's his name, not 'ole Kirk) had a heart attack so he didn't get to see the success his company would become. But his son, and grandson did, and that's awesome.

I still have my bins of lego (and an understanding wife), awaiting my next sick (really sick, like flu sick) day where building something and eating grilled cheese is about all I can manage.

Okay this may be going too far.

Now this is more my speed. Skull One FTW!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hot Time, Summer in the City

In Chicago, it's been a million degrees for way too long. Okay, it's been in the 90's plus heat index in the hundreds (thanks humidity) for a LONG time. All of last week, which totally sucked. But it illuminated something to me, namely, while women can dress for summer in a way that is age appropriate - yet stylish, men, seem to have few options that really work.

Option A - dudes wear shorts, and look like they are 19 (if they are lucky). They can't go to work like that, and next to a woman in a nice ensemble (summer dress, skirt, tank top, shorts, etc), they look like a tool most of the time, or at the very least, lack comparable sophistication.

Option B - to hell with the weather, I'm wearing jeans! Sure, they still look cool, but encasing profuse sweat in denim isn't actually all that comfortable. Nevertheless I know tons of dudes who do this, refusing to wear shorts, for the reasons I list above (it should be noted that I, under exposure to heat, do not mind looking like a tool, so I am wearing shorts as I type this. Plus I have nice legs. Hey, don't look at me like that; knowing your strengths isn't arrogance when it's true).

Option C - Linen. Sure, you could look like a British colonial overlord. My friend Brian pulls that off, but it's not for everyone. It certainly doesn't work for me.

Why is it men are forced to sweat? How do you think, my good readers (all ten or so of you), men should dress in summer to avoid profuse sweating and yet dress like an adult?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Business Casual: Casually Stupid

I am unsure how it got so popular. Apparently, over 40% of people who aren't self-employed exist in a "business casual" dress code environment (in the US and other White Collar western nations, anyway).

It is also not considered a uniform. This is news to me, because 90% of the people I see on the train look like some variation of this:

Or, this:
Khakis and collared shirts can be cool. But no one seems to want to try, it makes me sad.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Italian Beef, You Say?

Wikipedia describes an Italian beef sandwich in the following manner:

"An Italian beef is a sandwich of thin slices of seasoned roast beef , dripping with meat juices, on a dense, long Italian-style roll, believed to have originated in Chicago, where its history dates back at least to the 1930s. The bread itself is often dipped (or double-dipped) into the juices the meat is cooked in, and the sandwich is typically topped off with Chicago-style giardiniera (called "hot") or sauteed, green Italian sweet peppers (called "sweet").

Italian beef sandwiches can be found at most hot dog stands and small Italian-American restaurants throughout the city of Chicago and its suburbs. They are difficult to find outside the Chicago metropolitan area. However, Chicago expatriates have opened restaurants across the country serving Italian beef, Chicago-style hot dogs, and other foods original to the Chicago area."

What this fails to mention is how incredibly awesome this sandwich is. Seriously, it's a death row meal. Unlike many other sandwiches the secret is it's simplicity. It doesn't require cheese, or any other condiment to make it tasty. The meat, the juice, the bread - it's enough. I prefer my sandwich with giardiniera, but I'll eat it plain, if it's a good sandwich. That's the other side of the knife edge; while a good beef is sublime, a bad one is horrendous. It's not like pizza or a burger, where even a bad one is edible. No, a bad Italian beef sandwich is an affront to the palate, a disgrace to tradition.

My personal favorites:

  • Al's Beef - This is tops on my list, just about. Great gravy, great thin giardiniera. Also makes great Italian sausage. But, one word of warning. Go to the original on Taylor, or the one on Ontario. Ignore the rest.
  • Johnnie's Beef - I can't believe they don't have a website. Great traditional style beef, with clear, gray-brown juice. And a phenomenal sausage; order the combo. Also, go when it's nice out, there isn't any indoor seating.
  • Joe Boston's Italian Beef - This one is a recent addition to my list. I had seen it for years, but never went in to try it, even though it was in my neighborhood. My mistake - while the fries are often lackluster, the beef itself is tasty, juicy and delicious.
  • Portillo's - It's tasty, delicious and everywhere. 'Nuff said.
Some people might ask, "Why isn't Mr Beef on your list?" I'll tell you. It's for tourists. It's tasty enough, but their giardiniera is totally week; it's celery in oil. Let Jay Leno have his Mr Beef. Any of the above options leave it in the dust.

And now, for some food porn:

Now - go get yourself a sandwich! "One beef, hot; dipped."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

First Watch on the Moon

As the years go by, and I edge, inexorably, towards forty years old (yikes!), I find myself attracted to all sorts of things that I never would have been attracted to in years past. Expensive watches seem to be the latest thing.

I love mechanical watches. There is just something about a device that requires no electrical power source to work. Poetry in the machine, I dunno.

Anyway, the Omega Speedmaster - that's what I want. It was worn during the first American spacewalk during Gemini 4 and was the first watch worn on the moon during Apollo 11. NASA was serious about making sure the watch could handle space. These are the conditions they subjected all the watches they tested to:
  • High temperature: 48 hours at 71° C followed by 30 minutes at 93° C
  • Low temperature: Four hours at -18° C
  • Temperature cycling in near-vacuum: Fifteen cycles of heating to 71° C for 45 minutes, followed by cooling to -18° C for 45 minutes at 10-6 atm
  • Humidity: 250 hours at temperatures between 20° C and 71° C at relative humidity of 95%
  • Oxygen environment: 100% oxygen at 0.35 atm and 71° C for 48 hours
  • Shock: Six 11ms 40 G shocks from different directions
  • Linear acceleration: from 1 to 7.25G within 333 seconds
  • Low pressure: 90 minutes at 10^-6 atm at 71° C followed by 30 minutes at 93° C
  • High pressure: 1.6 atm for one hour
  • Vibration: three cycles of 30 minutes vibration varying from 5 to 2000hz with minimum 8.8G impulse
  • Acoustic noise: 30 minutes at 130db from 40 to 10,000hz
The evaluation concluded in March 1965 with the selection of the Speedmaster, which survived the tests while remaining largely within 5 seconds per day rate.

I'm pretty sure the watch could handle whatever mundane nonsense I could throw at it. I mean, it could handle this:

I know there are other watches that get more notice these days - James Bond's Rolex Submariner leaps to mind, but for me, the Speedmaster is it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Monroe Building

Built in 1912 and designed by Holabird and Roche, the Monroe Building (center) is a beautiful example of early skyscraper design. Here is a picture of it today (or nearly so):

The best part? I spend all day in it, every day of the week, working, looking across at the Bean and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Life is grand.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Job, New Experiences

It should be obvious to anyone who has ever taken a look at my blog that I have been reticent, to put it mildly, to update my blog. Thirteen months is inexcusable, and for that I apologize. In the long months since I've last posted a thing, I've:

- Gotten married. Pretty rad

- Gotten a cat (Templeton) and a dog (Rye). Those astute few will quickly realize, yes, we named our pets after liquor.

- Recently got a new job. I no longer work for the advertising dollar. Instead, I've moved on, to a (I hope) higher calling. I work for the Pritzker Military Library. If you have a passing familiarity with my interests, you'll quickly realize working at the library is a great chance to do something personally rewarding.

-I've also continued my Kuma's habit (my last blog post 13 months ago). It had started long before my last post, and it continues still. My current favorite burger? The Absu.

Don't worry - I still enjoy clothes and what have you, and should have some content and (hopefully) photos soon.

Thanks for standing by!