Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Vices of Man

Picked up this tie from my friend Mr. Alan C. I suspect he didn't really have much use for it, what being a pastor and all. It's known by several different names including "The Vices of Man," "The Doghouse Tie" and just "The Ugly Tie." As you can see, the vices are represented by the cards, golf clubs, and glasses of beer, with the dog house existing as the implied consequence.

The fairly conservative nature of the tie belies the real surprise, though...

This polyester beauty is primarily redeemed by the fact that it is from Trimingham's, a store that was not only located in on the beautiful island of Bermuda, but was also mentioned in The Official Preppy Handbook (it has since closed).

A Convenient Remedy: The Urban Neighborhood

A video from the Congress the New Urbanism (I'm a member, in case you were wondering). It talks about the way that a different type of planning and development needs to be implemented in order to create a real solution for the problems associated with our oil-based lifestyle.

I am completely sold on this way of thinking, have been for years. However, the challenge of doing it on the large scale that it needs to be done is really quite daunting. The journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step, I guess.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More Whit Stillman...

Just because I can't get enough...scenes from Metropolitan, faithfully compiled by some benevolent person on Youtube.


What kind of blog about the South would this be without a post about hunting dogs? While there are certainly a number of great breeds, from pointers to retrievers, I have a special place in my heart for Vizslas.

For those unfamiliar with Vizslas, they are a medium-sized breed of Hungarian pointers (you can read more about them here). They have very short hair and are very affectionate dogs. Because Wikipedia is more eloquent than me, here is what they have to say: "The Vizsla is a natural hunter endowed with a good nose and an above average trainability. Although they are lively, gentle mannered, demonstrably affectionate and sensitive, they are also fearless and possessed of a well-developed protective instinct."

I first encountered one of these dogs in Birmingham when a girl in my community group (group from church that would meet weekly for dinner & fellowship, a.k.a.- margaritas) had one named Gertie (her full name was Gertrude, but she was informal enough to let us call her Gertie). Gertie would often join us for community group and was the center of attention. She was the kind of dog who didn't understand that she wasn't a lap dog, but that wouldn't really stop her from sitting in your lap. Anyways, after that my decision was made to get a Vizsla, though unfortunately this won't happen until after grad school.

The fact that Vizslas often do very well in field trials is really just icing on the cake. While I definitely wouldn't mind having one out in the dove field, I guess the only down side in having them as a hunting dog is that their fur is likely too short to provide very good insulation in cold water during duck season.

If you're in the South and interested in getting one, this is a great place to start

If they're good enough for Ralph, they're good enough for me

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer in Charleston

After four months of rejection from 31 companies, I finally nailed down an internship for the summer. Obviously this is a bad time to be trying to find a job in the real estate development sector, but I never imagined that it would be as bad as it was. I will be down Charleston (Mt. Pleasant, technically) working for a company called Avtex Commercial. It should be fun and I'm looking forward to getting down there this week.

Here are some photos from around the Charleston area that I took when we were down there for a class trip back in May. Hope you enjoy.

A view down the beach at Kiawah Island

A view of the Charleston peninsula from the old town part of Mt. Pleasant

A view of the marsh at I'on

A view of the old plantation house (which has been restored) at The Ponds development in Summerville

A dock on the marsh at the Beresford Hall development

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gillian Welch

When you are in need of some real country music, not the garbage that they play on the radio by people like Rascal Flatts and Toby Keith, what better person to turn to than a Californian? That's right, I am talking about Gillian Welch.

In spite of being born in New York and raised in California, her songs sound like they are straight from the Dust Bowl, some mountain holler in West Virginia, or some honky tonk bar out in the sticks. Welch a is fantastic writer and has a lovely drawl to her voice and is accompanied on most songs by guitarist David Rawlings. Though not exactly famous, she gained a good amount of exposure by being a part of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.

Of all her albums, I would recommend Time (the Revelator) as the best pick. While perhaps a bit darker than some of her other albums, it has a few upbeat numbers like "I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll" and "Elvis Presley Blues." The song "Ruination Day" is about April 14th: the day that the Titanic Sank, the date of "Black Sunday" (the worst dust storm of the Dust Bowl, as well as the day that MLK Abraham Lincoln was shot. It concludes with "I Dream a Highway," a beautiful, winding 14 minute long song that really illustrates Welch's songwriting abilities.

Below are a selection of her songs for your listening pleasure.

"I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll"

"Acony Bell"

"Time (the Revelator)"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Brown "tuxedos"

This is officially a rant. Brown tuxedos: what are people thinking? As if "tuxedos," or the suits that are passed off as tuxedos, aren't bad enough, someone (a woman, likely) had the terrific idea of making them brown. What was the reason for this? God only knows. I suspect that it had something to do with how popular brown has been in weddings in recent years, and having the groom and groomsmen in brown tuxedos turns them from necessary accessories into necessary accessories that are perfectly coordinated with the rest of the decorations. I find this to be the ultimate insult to masculinity.

As a result, I have two statements to leave you with, dear reader. 1.- If you are a woman reading this and remotely interested in marrying me, do understand that I will not only never consider wearing a brown tuxedo to our wedding, I will allow you absolutely zero influence on what my groomsmen and I will wear. 2.- If you are a man reading this and about to marry a woman who is trying to pick out your tuxedo for your wedding, please do not listen to anything she says and drop me an email immediately. I will be glad to help pick out something to make you look proper and dashing, so that I do not have to later scoff at your wedding pictures on Facebook.



Double Douche (and obviously whipped)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Of all atmospheric phenomenon, lightning is my favorite

Tonight while driving back from Atlanta, I had the pleasure of watching a lightning storm in front of me for about an hour. There was no rain and the lightning was mostly behind clouds and it was really quite beautiful. I had the windows down and the air warm was thick and fragrant. It reminded me of the following passage from On the Road by Jack Kerouac:

"I got dog-tired beyond Macon and woke up Dean to resume. We got out of the car for air and suddenly both of us were stoned with joy to realize that in the darkness all around us was fragrant green grass and the smell of fresh manure and warm waters. 'We're in the South! We've left the winter!'"

I'm not sure why those few sentences have always stuck with me, but I often think about them when driving around on warm nights.

No Reservations...

Although I don't have cable at my apartment, I enjoy coming back to my parents house for a weekend to watch the television shows that have been accumulating on the Tivo. Lately, my favorite show has been Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. It is a highly entertaining show, combining various culinary adventures with Bourdain's sarcastic, cynical personality. It also allows me to vicariously travel to places that I likely never will go, which is great, though his portrayal of Japan has really made me want to go there. If you've never seen it, I would recommend checking it out on the Travel Channel some time.

Attached is a clip from the episode where he went to Vegas. I really enjoyed this episode because he really captured my feelings on Vegas after going out there this past October.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The To-Do List

Now that most of my classmates have left town for the summer, I feel that I have been granted a reprieve from endless cans of Natty Light and Bud Light and now have an opportunity to explore my cocktail options. I have been keeping a list of drinks that I would like to try that I would like to share with you; any tips or notes on these drinks would be appreciated.


  • 1/2 Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 Campari
  • splash of club soda
  • Garnish: orange slice

Pour over ice into a collins glass.


  • One part cognac
  • One part orange liqueur
  • One part lemon juice

The Vesper- many will recognize this as James Bond's cocktail from the novels, as well as in Casino Royale

  • 3 measures of Gordon’s gin
  • 1 measure of vodka
  • 1/2 a measure of Lillet

Shake until ice cold and serve in a deep champagne goblet with a large thin slice of lemon peel

Brown Derby- recipe from this blog
  • 1 1/2 oz. bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. grapefruit juice (not ruby red)
  • 1 tsp. good honey
Lillet with soda and orange slice- not so much a cocktail, but a way to enjoy Lillet, which is already delicious

Brandy Alexander- perhaps out of season, but inspired by the Feist song of the same name
  • 1 1/2 oz Brandy
  • 1 oz Dark Crème de Cacao
  • 1 oz Half-and-half or Heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp grated Nutmeg
I think I've got a lot of work ahead of me...

Now for something completely different

Which way out of rising gasoline costs?

Interesting article on the in's and out's, pro's and con's of the current oil situation in the U.S.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Essay on Whit Stillman's movies

"Radical Decency: the Films of Whit Stillman"

Interesting article that analyzes some of the major themes of Stillman's in his three movies. Pretty interesting read. Sort of makes me want to order the book "Doomed Bourgeois in Love"...

The Cardigan

I guess that it is no secret that I have a bit of interest in women's clothes (and the women in them, of course). Lately, I have been really interested in cardigans. They are classic, versatile, and have a bit of that "sexy librarian" thing going on. They can be worn with shorts, with jeans, with a dress or skirt, or even with suit pants to complete an outfit for the office. Below are some examples.

One of my all-time favorite images from the Sartorialist:

From J. Crew

From J. Crew

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Currently reading...

I am currently reading the following books, both by Robert Farrar Capon (I apologize for the terrible image quality):

The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection

Between Noon and Three: Romance, Law, and the Outrage of Grace

I don't think I've gotten far enough in either one to make a statement as to what I think, but they have, so far, at least made for pretty engaging reading.

Yildiz Over/Under

When George W. Bush finally gets around to mailing me my economic stimulus check, I hope to purchase one of these:

It is an over/under shotgun (I am interested in the 20 gauge) made by a Turkish company called Yildiz Shotguns. They are sold exclusively at Academy Sports for the bargain price of $400 (for reference, many over/unders start at $1000). While this might sound sketchy to some, a little research on the internet has revealed that these really are solid guns, and are a great value at that price.

Additionally, I have read that most Academy stores stock a couple of Yildiz side-by-sides as well (which would also be a great choice).

Come fall, hopefully I will be hitting the dove fields with one of these.

My latest "diversion"

A tendency that I have is to get on certain "kicks" or "diversions" at times, and to spend my time researching these things and imagining how different my life would be if I were to actually buy these products or become involved in these activities. These have included boats, handguns, Vespas, Vizslas, taking up rugby, taking up sailing, moving to New Orleans, etc. Most of these things eventually fizzle when my lack of funds and/or practicality gets in the way, but here is one that I have been interested in recently:

While driving back from an interview in Columbia yesterday, I was pondering the price of gas (and the absurd amount of it that my car was using) and I began to wonder if the key for solving this inefficiency in my life would be getting motorcycle. I would suspect that most people who know me would not peg me as a "motorcycle guy," however, I began to wonder if I had the
right kind of motorcycle, it would be an acceptable life choice. I could visualize in my head what this motorcycle would look like, but didn't know who might actually make it. Fortunately, the internet, mother of all distractions, was able to help me track down two solid leads:

Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Military

These are made in India by a company that took over manufacturing of Enfield motorcycles, which were used by US and British troops in WWII. They are essentially based on the original versions with very few changes, except the addition of some modern conveniences.

Chang Jiang 750

These are Chinese-made motorcycles that are near identical duplications (is that redundant?) of the 1938 BMW R71 motorcycles. Those models were used in WWII by the Germans. After WWII, the Chinese bought the manufacturing equipment from the Germans, allowing the CJ 750s to be as close to the originals as possible. An exciting addition to these is how easy it is to get a model with a sidecar. Pictured is a CJ 750 painted up to be a replica of a BWM R71.

So, am I going to get a motorcycle? Doubtful, especially since I don't have any money. However, I am glad to know that newly manufactured motorcycles do exist that meet my aesthetic requirements for such a vehicle.

Requisite first post

I figured I would make this post to explain why I have officially ventured into the blogosphere (that's a cool word that we bloggers like to use). While I have been an increasing admirer of blogs over the past couple of years, I would say that the final push for creating one has likely come due to the excessive amount of time I have had on my hands lately while trying to find a job. These, now, are the fruits of my labor.

I think my intentions with this blog are these: to share things that interest me, to comment on things that interest or frustrate me, to keep others somewhat updated on my life, and, perhaps a bit of sharing of some of the details of my own life (though I do not wish repeat what might be referred to as the "Livejournal Disaster of '04"). I hope you enjoy.