I have really been trying not to think about Fall too much. I know that I still have at least two months worth of heat and humidity to put up with before relief arrives, and I only make it worse on myself to start thinking about cooler days now.
Fall is my favorite season for multiple reasons, but fall clothing is certainly not the least of these reasons. Chief amongst this clothing are my Barbour jackets. If you don't know about Barbour jackets, for shame. And if you know about them and do not own one, I will simply say, without hyperbole, your wardrobe is not complete. These are some of the most versatile, durable, hard-wearing, good-looking garments that have been made. And because they can last 20+ years, they are simply a great a clothing investment.
I already own a Beaufort and Bedale (which is sorely in need of patching and rewaxing), however, this evening I found myself perusing the Barbour website, looking for nothing in particular. Then, I came across the Cowen Commando. I have not seen this jacket before, but I really like it. According to the Barbour website it is from a "historic British Army pattern" and I really like the cinched waist. I don't know if I'll try to get my hands on one this year, but I may put it on the long term wish list. Below are some pictures, but the best picture, in my opinion, is on the Barbour website.
Fortunately, it is also available in classic "sage"
A quick note. Although I have indicated before how attractive I find women in Land Rovers, women in Barbour jackets are simply on a whole 'nother level. Maybe I just have a thing for women in British-made goods...
I was not familiar with the beverage known as the "po'mosa" until a week or so ago. Fortunately, some new friends in Charleston were able to enlighten me and introduce me to this nice little concoction.
Ingredients: 1 bottle of Miller High Life (the champagne of beers, after all) Orange juice
Directions: Open up your bottle of High Life and drink about two or three ounces. Next, pour orange juice directly into the bottle until it reaches the top (you can drink more beer initially if you would like more orange juice mixed in). Next, kick back and enjoy.
A picture of Daniel Luckett being carried off the battlefield, from USA Today
I went to high school with Daniel Luckett. For those four years, we usually had at least one or two classes together each semester. We also played football together (for the one year that I played football, that is). He was always a great guy: had a great attitude, was funny and was fun to be around. We didn't really keep in touch after high school, and we actually aren't even friends on Facebook. I wasn't even really aware that he had gone into the Army after he graduated from Auburn. Needless to say, I was quite surprised when I was invited to join the Facebook group "Daniel Luckett: an American Bad Ass." From there, I found out how Luckett had been injured while on duty in Iraq. By the time I started reading the blog that friends and family had been writing about his status (it can be found here), things had pretty much stabilized and it was clear that he was going to be okay, in spite of losing one leg and most of the other foot.
Luckett is the only person I know who has been seriously injured in Iraq or Afghanistan (I won't count Matt Summers because he came back in one piece, in spite of being nearly blown up by an IED), and I hope that he will continue to be the only one. I still haven't spoken with Luckett since I found out about his situation, but I am really proud to know him and to have gone to high school with him and played football with him (for one year). I wish I could get up to D.C. some time to visit him, but hopefully I will be able to see him when he comes back home. I appreciate his service to our country and wish him and his family the best.
Here is a great article about his story that was recently posted on his blog. It's worth a read.
Since being in Charleston, I have begun to notice an inordinate amount of hot women driving Land Rovers. This is really a fantastic trend, and one that I hope continues. I'm not sure what it is about that magical combination, but like beer and pizza, it really couldn't get much better. What makes the phenomenon better is that these mysterious women (I have never, in fact, met a woman who drives a Land Rover) do not seem to have a preference for a particular model of Land Rover. Some of them drive Discoveries, some drive Range Rovers, and I'm sure I've seen some driving LR3's (nouveau riche, likely). I can't remember if I have seen the white rhino of their kind, a woman driving a Defender, but let's pray that she's out there somewhere. I should also note that, as demonstrated in the picture, wearing aviators while driving a Land Rover manages to increase the hotness factor exponentially. Let's just pray that these women continue to remain immune to rising gas prices.
A Note to Women: If you are in the market for a new car, I hope that this post has been beneficial to you. While shopping for a car (the ultimate shopping trip?), I suspect that question has likely crossed your mind "Will I look cute in this car?" Obviously, this is an important question, but let me clear up some misconceptions. Men don't care if you're driving a Mini (no offense Jessica and Elisa), nor do they care, as some extremely misleading news stories have indicated, if you are trying to get great gas mileage by driving a Prius, and they absolutely hate to you see you driving a hot sports car with more horsepower than their own car. They really just want to see you in a Land Rover. "But those cars get terrible gas mileage!" you might say. Think of it this way: the worse gas mileage your car gets, the more successful of a doctor or lawyer (or developer) you are going to attract. And once you have caught his attention with the Rover, marriage is a sealed deal. So really, think of that all-time 4-wheel drive as an investment in your future.
After espousing the merits of muxtape recently, I finally put my own mix together. It is inspired by my experience spending the summer in Charleston/Sullivan's Island. I have tried to capture the mixture of Southern culture with beach/maritime culture that seems to exist down here. I'm not sure how well it was accomplished, though: you be the judge.
As a note regarding the use of muxtape, I will simply state that I hope that they add support for MP4 files soon, as it was a bit of a hassle to convert all of my MP4 (Itunes) files into MP3 before I could upload them. Also, if you have music that was purchased via Itunes (as opposed to ripped onto Itunes from a CD), it is most likely a secured MP4 file (an M4P file, to be exact) and can only be converted to an MP3 with a significant amount of work.
I recognize the fact that most males my age pine after Porsches or Ferraris or other completely unattainable exotic sports cars. My object of desire is a bit more humble. The 1985 Mercedes 300TD, a diesel station wagon, is what my heart is set after. Oh yes, it will indeed have the jump seats in the very back that face backwards. I'm not too picky on the color; the red one from Dan in Real Life was pretty nice looking, but it is hard to beat navy. Please enjoy these various pictures that I have scavenged from the internet:
The money shot:
I have it on good word from cousin (who previously worked as a mechanic at a Mercedes shop) that the diesel versions are much more reliable than the standard versions; not only do they break less, but the necessary repairs that are often required usually cost significantly less than their unleaded gas-consuming cousins. The only obstacle that worries me is the cost of diesel. In spite of the better-than-unleaded gas mileage, with diesel pushing $5 a gallon, and with no drop in price in sight, I'm afraid that the impracticality (that is, the impracticality beyond owning a 20+ year old car) might be stacked too high against the fantastic looks and imitable 1980s soccer mom cache of this car.
I am relatively new to the website muxtape, but I am a pretty big fan already. Basically, it is the 21st century equivalent of the mix tape in which a person can upload a playlist of 12 songs onto the internet for anyone to stream on their computer. I would say that I have generally enjoyed creating and sharing mix tapes (or CDs); my most famous series being the "Ultra Sexy Love Mixes" that were created and given to some friends during college (wow, I sure talk about my "crazy" college days on here a lot). Anyways, I have not created a muxtape of my own yet, but I have two that I would recommend that were created by two bloggers whose blogs I enjoy.
The first is Hollister Hovey's "Americana" mix. I really enjoy this one, and, as a result, have found that I really enjoy the artist A.A. Bondy, who has two songs on this mix (mux?). Also, Jim James and Calexico's cover of Bob Dylan's "Goin' to Acapulco" from the movie I'm Not There is a highlight. Be sure to check out Hollister's blog.
Second, I like Michael Williams' mix which he says was "designed for dive bar drinking." I think maybe I like the concept more than the music itself; while listening to it I really can imagine these songs playing on a jukebox in a dive bar (perhaps my favorite kind of bar). Michael's blog can be found here.
This post doesn't really have much behind it other than my personal preferences. I considered writing a whole post devoted to the first Navy Jack/Gadsden flag, but decided to just make this instead. For, in descending order, these are my top three:
1. The Virginia state flag What's not to like about a guy bare-breasted woman with a spear standing over a dead tyrant? I haven't lived in VA in a long time, but I sort of want to move back just so I can hang this flag up outside of my house or buy a belt with the flag on it.
2. The First Navy Jack I couldn't decide between the First Navy Jack or the Gadsden Flag, but I think I like this one more. In case you want to read more information about the First Navy Jack, there is, apparently, an entire website devoted to it. If you want to find out about the Gadsden Flag, you can check out the Wikipedia entry.
3. South Carolina state flag How could I live in South Carolina and not pick this flag? Admittedly, though, I have grown a bit sick of how overdone it is in this state. It is really difficult to conceive of an object that this flag has not been put on and sold to college students (yes, I will admit to owning a belt with the flag on it). It should also be noted that the crescent is not actually a moon, but is, instead, a crescent (find out more at Wikipedia).
I'm not sure when I decided to take pride in having a serious watch tan every summer, I believe it was probably some time back in college, but it is now one of my favorite annual traditions. It is also a tradition that makes my college roommate roll his eyes (he was the one who recently described my watch tan as "wicked"), but nevertheless, I look at it as a sign that summer is here and it serves as evidence that I have been trying to enjoy it. I also like to think of it as a tanning barometer; whenever I feel like I am not as dark as I would like to be, I am able to take my watch off and say "Hey, at least I not that white anymore." As you can likely see, at least as far as my forearms are concerned, I've got a nice bit of darkening going on, although it is going to take a few more days at the beach before I get everything else to be that color.
I certainly would not consider myself a photographer. In fact, as far as photography goes, it is barely a hobby for me. I think I got past that phase in college. Back then, I bought a Canon SLR camera because the girl I was dating at the time had one and I figured I could pretty much be a pro if I had a camera like that. Well, once the cost of film and developing pictures started to add up, and once I realized that it was annoying and inconvenient to tote around an SLR, the camera pretty much ended up in a drawer.
I bought a digital camera a few months back because I liked the idea of being able to put more pictures of mine and my friends' exploits up on Facebook. I bought the smallest, cheapest, but best reviewed camera I could find on CNET (I got the Canon PowerShot SD1000 DIGITAL ELPH, for those who are curious), and have enjoyed it so far. It is small enough to fit in my pocket to take the bar, and I feel like I can take pretty decent landscape-type pictures with it, though for the best results, they require a little doctoring in Picasa and GIMPShop (basically a free version of Photoshop since I can't really justify shelling out a couple of hundred dollars for the real thing). I should point out that Picasa is really a great piece of freeware that is excellent for organizing and viewing photos, as well as making easy adjustments to colors and lighting. In fact, it has a "I'm Feeling Lucky" button which will automatically make enhancements to a photo by itself, and 9/10 times really comes out with great results.
All of this to say, two things. First, if you haven't already, please take a look at the Flickr albums of a couple of acquaintances of mine which are located on the right side of the screen. They really are some of my favorite amateur photographers. Second, I have fooled around on GIMPShop to sort of create my own photos like Philip's (the album on top). Philip does a great job of editing his digital photos to make them have that vintage look, which, for some reason, evoke a really strong emotional response with me. After he told me how he did it, I sort of "borrowed" his technique and did a few photos of my own, which I have shared below (though I can't say that they are anywhere near as good as Philip's).
A photo on the Maine coast, from a family trip up to New England a couple of years ago
A photo taken of the Niagara River, from a trip to Buffalo back in '06
An "artistic" (i.e.- completely random) photo of Jessica's chin at Niagara falls
(I couldn't find a good image of the bottle, so I "Photoshopped" this image to get the point across)
I am not sure how many people have tried this product, but after having yesterday, I can't seem to say enough good things about it. Basically, it is a tea infused vodka that is made right here in Charleston. While I am certainly one of the first to be skeptical of flavor-infused liquors, and of vodka in general, I must say that this stuff is fantastic. I tried it yesterday mixed with lemonade and it was great. That is, great in that troublesome way that you can't even taste the alcohol. And, coming in at a quite respectable 70 proof, after two or three of those drinks, things are likely to start becoming a little blurry.
The bad news is that, according to an article I read, it is currently only available in South Carolina, Nevada, Colorado and New York. However, it is supposed to be shipping more widely later on. Just because you live in one of those states, though, doesn't mean that you are going to be able to get your hands on a bottle right away. I just got back from the liquor store and the guy told me that he got six cases in on Friday and that they were already gone. He's getting six more cases in tomorrow, I will definitely be stopping by on the way back from work. Also, I am suspecting that it will be a frequent guest at many Clemson football games this fall.