Saturday, February 28, 2009

Zero Halliburton cases

The 12th episode of the first season of LOST, titled "Whatever the Case May Be," features a briefcase that belonged to the deceased Federal Marshall who was on flight 815 and the mystery about what is inside of it. The briefcase featured on show is a Zero Halliburton case.

You probably recognize these cases from numerous other TV shows and movies. In fact, the Zero Halliburton website actually features a page that lists all of its appearances on the big and small screen, and it is quite a list. If a director needs a case to transport some sort of nuclear device or top secret or contraband item, Zero Halliburton is inevitably where they turn. As a result, it is probably one of the most badass looking briefcases you can carry.

According to Wikipedia, "Erle P. Halliburton, the founder of Halliburton, had commissioned the aluminum case in 1938 from aircraft engineers because other luggage could not endure the rough travel through Texas oil fields in a pickup truck." They now make cases in all sizes and shapes, but the majority of them still feature the distinctive appearance of the original. With computer cases starting around $250 and prices going up over $1,000 for the luggage, they certainly aren't cheap. However, if you need a case that will take a beating and seal out dust and water, I'm not sure if there are many better choices. Plus, what could be better than showing up at work with a case that looks like the one that carries the nuclear football?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Follow-up jeans post: the results are in!

First off, I wanted to thank all of the ladies out there who voted on the poll, and for all of the comments that everyone added to the post. Here are a few thoughts:

1. Well, my hypothesis was shown to be false. I had anticipated the results being #1- "Designer" jeans, #2- Levi's, and #3- "Premium" jeans. Instead, it seems that Levi's won with an overwhelming majority of 18 votes, follow by "Premium" jeans with 10 votes and "Designer" jeans with 9 votes. While I'm not sure if the poll was exactly "scientific," I do believe that the results reflect the superior taste of the women who read this blog and voted. Overall I'm pretty happy with the results.

2. Regarding Wranglers, perhaps I missed a particular segment of people by not including them as an option (maybe I should have at least had an option for "Other"). I have never really been in any social groups where they are very common, but I guess there are some places where they are a lot more ubiquitous, especially in Texas. I think that they would fall into the same general category as Levi's, though, given their low cost and similar quality.

3. I should note that I currently wear Levi's 501s. If I wasn't a poor grad student I would definitely like to invest in a higher quality pair, most likely some APCs. They are on my "to do" list. Regardless of how the poll came out, there was really no way I was going to switch to "designer" jeans; it just seems like money poorly spent, and the washes that they have on most of those jeans simply look stupid. I like dark blue jeans, and I'll wear my own whiskers into them by wearing them a lot, the way that people used to do it.

If I had a gun to my head and was forced to buy a pair of designer jeans (seeing as how that is the only way any girlfriend could choose my clothes for me), Citizens of Humanity does actually make a pretty good looking pair of jeans simply called "Selvage." They are made of selvage denim, are dark blue with no wear marks on them, and don't have any stitching on the pockets. The only downside is that they are "imported"; a bigger shame in light of the fact that they apparently have a bootcut pair called "Perfect Selvage" which are made in the US. The $230 is pretty bad, though, especially when you consider what better jeans you could get for the price. C'est la vie...

4. Regarding jeans on women, I guess I really don't have a problem with them wearing "designer" jeans. Women generally have different rules for clothing than men, so if that's what they want to wear, who am I to interfere? Generally speaking, I would say that I like when women wear Citizens jeans, but maybe that really has more to do with the girls themselves rather than the jeans. I think that it probably comes down more to how a particular cut of jeans flatters a woman's physique than to who made the jeans (as Elisa noted in the comments of the last post).

Anyways, thanks again to all who voted.

Bici Coop Valentine's Day party; or Hipsters, Birmingham Style

Two weeks ago I went to Birmingham to try to see if I could round up a job for when I graduate in May. While that wasn't quite success, I was able to attend the "Bici Coop Heart Brakes Prom Benefit" ("Bici" is pronounced "beachy", as in, the Italian word for bike; "Coop" is pronounced "co-op," in case there was any misunderstanding).

Bici Coop is a non-profit group that a friend of mine is starting, along with another girl, which fixes up old bikes and gives them to inner-city residents who do not have a car so that they can have some form of transportation. It will also provide these people with low-cost bike maintenance. You can check out their website here.

Anyways, as a fundraiser, they hosted an alleycat bike race (which a friend of mine from the Magic City lacrosse team actually participated in) followed by a dance party featuring music by Andy's Tea Party, and DJ Nastique of Kids Got the Disco fame. If you don't know what any of those things are that I just mentioned, it's OK; it simply means that you are not familiar with the hipster scene in Birmingham. However, fear not! I managed to get some footage of the party so that you might have a better understanding of just what happens at these things.

In case that video wasn't enough for you, T. Scott Carlisle of T Photographic was there to photodocument the whole thing. You can view his incredible photos here.

I should note that it was a prom themed party, so naturally I wore a tuxedo. Not surprisingly, I was the only one there who did so...Anyways, I had a great time, as I always do at such hipster events. I got to see a lot of friends and acquaintances and had a good time dancing.

Also, if you would like to read a more professionally written account of this event, please read my friend Carrie Rollwagen's article that she wrote for the Birmingham Weekly.

Clemson Baseball and Dabo Swinney: Coach of the People

Last Saturday the temperature pushed 60 degrees, the sun was shining, and Clemson played its second game of the season. A couple of friends and I headed down to Doug Kingsmore Stadium (formerly Beautiful Tiger Field) to watch some baseball and get a little sun.

Admittedly, I don't really like baseball. It's really pretty boring. I do, however, love going to be baseball games. College, minor league, major league, it doesn't matter. Just having a reason to sit outside on a beautiful spring day or summer night and maybe drink a few beers is plenty of reason to justify my attendance, and Saturday was no exception. Clemson was playing UNC Charlotte and had won the season opener the night before. It was actually a pretty exciting game as it remained scoreless until the 6th inning when Clemson scored a run. They eventually scored three more and won 4-0. They ended up sweeping the series as they beat the 49ers again on Sunday. I went to at least five or six baseball games last year, but this was actually the first time I went in the stadium to watch the game. The other games we just stayed out in the parking lot tailgating and listening to the game on the radio. While the game was fun, the tailgating is hard to beat.

While we were there, Dabo Swinney came in around the 8th inning to catch part of the game. He kept a low profile and just stood in the portal behind homeplate watching the game. It was interesting to see so many people come up and chat with him or shake his hand or get his autograph. He took it all in stride and really impressed me with his humility. It was also great to see people so excited about their new coach and how they seemed to feel like he is one of them. Hopefully he'll be able to get things done on the football field next fall. I'm not sure if Tommy Bowden went to many baseball games and shook hands and signed autographs, but for reason I have a feeling that he didn't, at least for the past few years. Below is a picture I snapped.

I don't think I even need to point out how awesome that guy's Scarface jacket is on the left (I am assuming you picked up on my sarcasm here).

Friday, February 20, 2009

A poll for women readers: What jeans would you pick for your boyfriend/husband?

While I'm pretty sure that the majority of readers here are male, but I suspect that there are at least a few women who come here on occasion. For those of you of the fairer sex, I wanted to get your thoughts on this question.

If you were able to choose what sort of jeans your boyfriend/husband (real or hypothetical) would wear, and cost was no object, which of these three general types would you choose?

-Levi's. Since Levi's are so ubiquitous among men, I figured this would likely be a category of its own. These are just your basic jeans. You choose the cut and the wash, but Levi's Vintage Collection is not included here.
-"Designer" jeans. Typically characterized by a well-known name (Citizens of Humanity, Seven for All Mankind, Diesel, etc.) and typically quite expensive, especially when you consider that most are made in third world countries.
-"Premium" jeans. While these can be expensive too, they are usually made in the US, Japan, or some other non-third world country. Made of high quality denim with quality construction. Nudie, APC, Levi's Vintage Collection would be some examples.

While I realize that there are other types of jeans, I suspect that these three should cover the majority of preferences that might be represented here. Please cast your official vote on the poll located on the right side of the screen ----------->

I seriously doubt that the results of the poll will change my own preferences of jeans, I have a hypothesis about the results and wanted to test it. Please leave comments here if you have anything else you would like to share.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

J. Crew Timex military watch, redux

Photo courtesy of Alan's Vintage Watches

In my post last November, I provided some alternatives to the Timex military watch that J. Crew is currently selling. The other day I received an email from Alan at Alan's Vintage Watches telling me that he had a review, with a number of photos, of the J. Crew Timex on his website. While I am not generally a favor of people soliciting their websites like that, after taking a look at his page, I realized that it really was worth sharing. If you didn't want one of these watches before, after reading his page, it just might change your mind. Check out the review here.

I want this:

Maybe I've been hanging out with "bike people" a little too much lately, but while perusing craigslist I came across this Trek 412 road bike. Not only does it appear to be in great condition, it's actually my size. If only I had $200... (Paypal donations gladly accepted).

The same guy also had this Peugeot road bike listed, but I believe it has since sold (probably for the best, for my sake). Both bikes have that great 80s look to them. Awesome.

Dream Car update: Pre-1992 Mercedes 300TE

Some of you long-time readers might remember my Dream Car post a while bike in which I pined for a 1985 Mercedes 300TD. Well, because I saw how high the price of diesel got up, I started having second thoughts, but after seeing this series of videos from the British car show Fifth Gear, my mind has been changed and a pre-1992 wagon (non-diesel) is top of the list now. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sun Kil Moon and Fleet Foxes

For Christmas, my brother gave me an Itunes gift certificate. This is really a great gift for someone who used to list 10+ CDs on his Christmas list every year. While my current "wanted" list is still quite extensive, I had a pretty quick time making up my mind about what to purchase with my $15 on Itunes.

First, I chose April by Sun Kil Moon. Sun Kil Moon is essentially a side project by Mark Kozelek, who is most well-known for his other band, Red House Painters (and also stars as the rock star in the terrible movie Shop Girl). To be honest, I haven't really listened to Red House Painters, and actually wasn't familiar with Kozelek until he released his first Sun Kil Moon CD, Ghosts of the Great Highway, back in 2003. I'm not sure where I originally heard the CD, but I was fortunate enough to receive it for my birthday the following year from my friend, Heatherly. Frankly, Ghosts of the Great Highway is in my top five albums that I own. I never get tired of listening to it. I can also listen to it year-round, since I seem to base my listening choices around the current season and weather.

Anyways, since it was cold and gloomy outside back in December, and since Kozelek's musical style generally does seem to fit with a quieter time of the year, I decided to purchase April. I have been listening to it for the past months and have to say that I have really been enjoying it. The first songs, "Lost Verses" and "The Light," are probably my favorite, but I haven't given it nearly as much play time as Ghosts, so this preference may change at some point. I was really struck by how much of a Nick Drake sound the song "Blue Heron" has; interesting. Anyways, whether this album will prove to be as amazing and have the longevity of Ghosts remains to be seen, but I would recommend it.

As a bit of a side note, before I made my purchase, I was trying to decide between April, which is technically Kozelek's follow-up to Ghosts, and Tiny Cities, which, while technically the second release under the name Sun Kil Moon, is actually a collection of covers of Modest Mouse songs. Not being that big of a Modest Mouse fan, this did have limited appeal to me, though the songs I have heard from it don't sound too bad. Anyways, in reading reviews for the albums on Cokemachineglow, I came across this hilarious Venn diagram that they had comparing Kozelek and Isaac Brock, lead singer of Modest Mouse. I thought it was worth sharing.

The second album I purchased was the self-titled album by Fleet Foxes. I came across this band by some referral on and really enjoyed the song "White Winter Hymnal." Since the rest of the album also has a fairly acoustic/folky sound to it, I thought that it might also be a good winter purchase. Like April, I have really been enjoying it so far. It features some great vocal harmonies, and if you like the singing style of Jim James from My Morning Jacket, you will probably like Fleet Foxes. Plus, with the cover art on the album is pretty sweet.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


A phenomenon has been sweeping the Upstate lately. Frankly, it is the greatest thing from Germany to hit this part of the state since the BMW factory. He is more than a man. He is Tonythedancemachine.

We first became aware of Tonythedancemachine (who I simply refer to as "Tony") about a month ago when some classmates of mine encountered him at one night at one of the Clemson bars. In describing Tony to us the next day, they handed us his business card (which is awesome) and explained that Tony is originally from Germany, doesn't drink, and simply loves to dance. According to our friend, Tony originally came over to the US to work as an engineer, but has recently been going through a divorce and generally sort of a rough patch, and decided that in order to deal with it, he would just dance. Upon further investigation it would seem that he has been visiting various venues up in Greenville for a while, but heard that Clemson was pretty fun, so he apparently makes weekly trips to the Clemson bars nowadays.

Basically his M.O. is this: Tony shows up at a bar, dressed in his tight Levi's, tight Under Armour, and matching brightly colored tennis shows. He walks around a little bit to scope out the scene and then, upon starting to feel the beat, breaks it down. A circle forms around him with everyone watching, laughing and pushing girls in for Tony to dance with. Tony doesn't ever really seem to be phased by this and usually appears to be having a good time. Sometimes the dancing borders on lewd, but it is usually because the girls make it that way. Tony usually stays and dances for a little while, say, half an hour, before making his exit and presumably going to another bar.

I think that Tony can be hired for parties, I'm not exactly sure, but based on the fact that he has business cards and has formed his own LLC, I'm thinking that he does. He is quite internet saavy and has his own website and Myspace page which are both worth taking a look at. On his website you can view more pictures and videos of his impressive dance moves. Overall, I think Tony's a pretty good guy. It seems that he doesn't have ill intentions, and is simply having a good time. He also brings seems to make everyone around him have a better time, so what's not to appreciate about that?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Clemson 74 - Duke 47

I don't really like basketball that much (or any, really), but a 74-47 thrashing of the No. 4 team in the nation seems worth mentioning.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Way to go, Scott

I saw this picture on the Sartorialist today and thought "Finally, that is a look after my own heart." Really, this is just perfect. Fair Ilse. Blazer. Duffle coat. Tortoise glasses. No socks. Manly looking tote bag. Perfect.

This picture was apparently taken in Florence, but based on the guy's red hair and the fact that he isn't dressed like a moron, he must be from another country.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

On "Twilight"

Being a Man, I have not read, nor had any inkling of a desire to read the Twilight series of books that are so popular right now. I have never really been one to get into books that are faddish (I have not read The Da Vinci Code, The Purpose Driven Life, any Harry Potter book or basically any book that has been endorsed by Oprah), but the amount that people (even well-read, literate people!) love these books does seem to border on psychotic. However, I was reading the blog of Birmingham blogger Amanda this morning and she linked a blogger's review, of sorts, of the book that has apparently been around since last March. It was too hilarious to not post here. This is just the first part of the review, entitled "I want to beat Edward Cullen with a stick," but the rest can be found here.

Bad Book Month
In Which I Read Bad Books on Purpose

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Oh, my. This book justifies Bad Book Month all by itself. It's appalling. The redeeming factors are few and far between (mostly Charlie, because he's sweet; and maybe Jasper), but they're helpless against the overwhelming gag factor.

The most appalling element, however, is how popular this novel is. How many teenage girls are drinking this up and screaming for more. I fear for my gender's future, for what they're learning about love and relationships through this series.

However, I'm not the only one who's noticed the general lack of quality about this book (and its sequels, which I hear just get worse). [info]avadriel posted an insightful, if scathing, review of the book. Reading the one-star reviews on Amazon is also quite fun.

Because of the amount of anti-Twilight stuff out there - though, granted, it only equals the smallest fraction of the pro-Twilight fangirl mania - I'm not going to write a review. I'm not going to go into the disturbing way Bella and Edward's obsessive relationship is portrayed as true love, or how borderline abusive it is, with Bella's complete lack of self outside Edward and Edward's controlling, emotionally unstable behavior. I don't have anything new to say on the topic.

I am, instead, going to provide you with a catalog. A count of various elements in the book, which should give you a feel for exactly how numerous its flaws are.

The Catalog

Number of Pages in the Book: 498
The First Hint of a Plot that Is Not Bella and Edward's Romance: page 328
When the Plot Actually Arrives: page 372

Boys that Totally Love Bella (Including Edward Cullen): 5

Approximate Amount of Time Bella and Edward are Romantically Involved Before Bella Is Begging Edward to Turn Her into a Vampire so They Can Be Together Forever: Like, two weeks. Maybe three. The timeline's a bit fuzzy.

References to Edward's Beauty: 165

Broken Down into the following categories -
  • Face: 24 (Favorite adjectives: glorious, heavenly, seraphic)
  • Voice: 20 (The voice of an archangel, donchaknow.)
  • Eyes: 17
  • Movement: 11
  • Smile: 10
  • Teeth: 8
  • Muscles: 7
  • Skin: 7 (Note: This only contains accounts of Edward's skin being beautiful. I didn't count references to it as "pale," "cold," or "white." If I had, this number would be about ten times larger.)
  • Iron Strength or Limbs: 5
  • Scent: 4
  • Laughter: 3
  • Handwriting: 2
  • Chest: 2
  • Driving Skills: 1
The Number of Times...
  • Bella Is Clumsy or Makes a Reference to Her Clumsiness: 26
  • Bella Sneers at Forks or Its Inhabitants: 22
  • Bella is "Dazzled" or Rendered Speechless by Edward's Beauty or Touch: 17
  • Edward Tells Bella to Stay Away from Him While Completely Contradicting Himself with His Behavior: 16
  • Bella is Utterly Desolate at Edward's Absence: 12
  • Edward and Bella Kiss: 8
    • Bella's Hormones Get the Better of Her and She Attacks Edward, Almost Causing Him to Eat Her: 2 (She's not even allowed to kiss him back! Where's the fun in that?)
    • Edward's Kiss Makes Bella Faint: 1
    • Edward's Kiss Makes Bella's Heart Literally Stop: 1
  • Bella Thinks She Isn't Good Enough for Edward: 6
  • Edward Is Referred to As Godlike: 5 (Note: This number might be off, as I didn't start counting until three or four mentions in.)
  • Edward Tells Bella She's Unnatural: 5
  • Edward Sparkles: 3
  • Bella is in Mortal Danger: 3
    • Edward Saves Bella from Mortal Danger: 3
  • Edward Stalks Bella, For Real: 2 (Note: One of these instances involves watching her sleep every night for, like, months.)
  • Bella says "Holy Crow!": 2
  • Bella and Edward Argue About Who Loves the Other Most: 1
  • Edward's Inability to Read Bella's Mind is Explained: 0
I would have kept track of how many times Edward's mood shifts unexpectedly and for no reason, but I didn't have that much paper. I am sad, though, that I didn't keep track of how many times words like "granite," "stone," and "marble" are used in reference to Edward. His arms, his lips. Explain to me how kissing cold, marble lips is at all appealing. And yet it makes Bella faint. I give up.

I highly suggest reading the rest of the review, which includes a parody by the author entitled "Duskiness."

The Strokes

I feel like it's probably been at least a year since I've listened to either of the Strokes CDs that I have ("Room On Fire" or "Is This It") but today I have listened to both and I'm not sure why the hiatus has been so long. If you've got either album, I suggest you put it on Play.