Archive for March, 2010

A Life in Miniature

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

In prepping for Paris, I could (after four years) no longer postpone purchasing a new and perfect digital camera. I had been eyeing the hunky chunky Canon G10’s and G11’s for over a year, but at almost $500, until they shoot HD Video, I figured I should hold out. I also considered the Canon S90 with a ring around the lense the user can assign to adjust either exposure, ISO, or focus – but after finally trying one out this past weekend, the ring seemed clicky, clunky and surprisingly inconvenient.

I ended up opting for a camera that wasn’t really ever on my radar screen – the Canon SD1400, and here is why:


First off, it’s awesomely pocketable. There’s already a D-SLR in my house, so it’s nice to have something on the way other end of the size spectrum.


Initially I thought it was almost too small, but after firing some test shots in the store, I noticed that when the flash fired, it didn’t fry out the image into white, hot, horribleness. The camera automatically dials down the force of the flash, depending on the shooting conditions, to ensure un-ugly images. The camera was tiny, but it was proving to be quite quick and ultra clever.


At 14 megapixels and $279 dollars, while still at the store, I went online quickly to see if there were similar Canon models with less pixels and for less pennies, and of course there were. But those models didn’t have my new favorite shooting mode/effect: Miniature.


Used to replicate the Photoshop tilt/shift effect that transforms ordinary cityscapes into seemingly scaled-down miniature sets from movies, applying this shooting mode isn’t just awesome for wide, outdoor shots of streets and oak trees.


It’s just as enchanting using indoors and close-up, for mega-macro close-ups or almost Holga-like abstractions of ordinary, straight-on set-ups. (You might need to click and enlarge the images to properly witness the full miniature effect.)


So with a D-SLR, my Lomo LC-A, and my new pocket-powerhouse SD1400 from Canon set for departure, I’ll be able to obnoxiously over-photograph every pastry, peony and park bench I come upon in Paris.

Ways To Be Cool

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Let’s be real. The bunch of blogs we bop toward each day are essentially the secret scrolls we rigorously study in our common quest to turn covertly cooler.

If you’re looking to save yourself a ton of time and ensure your ultimate coolness for all eternity, I’ve just scored a killer crib note that lays out each and every shortcut to classic cool.


I have no clue who assembled this essential list but either they’re under fourteen or…I hate to say this, its maybe just a fake.

But since being cool is my main mission in life, just to be safe I think I’m gonna finally “learn to speak European” and for sure, for sure “hang out w/ Steve.”

I can totally see myself seeming cooler already.

On Deck

Friday, March 26th, 2010

When I was in jr. high, the only shoe a guy could wear with his French-rolled jeans were some dark brown deck shoes. It wasn’t preppy, and it wasn’t at all pretty. But other than Nikes and such, it was the only non-atheltic shoe we had access to in mid-Minnesota. It was the exhausted extent of our adolescent, aesthetic imaginations.

So two years ago when the deck shoe docked back into fashion relevance, I was far from the shore and weary about its weird return. When a year passed and the faddish irony had solidified into something stronger and more lasting I wasn’t as salty about the style’s resurgence, although I wasn’t scoping out a pair for myself either.

But the white Common Projects court shoes I’d bought last spring have always been a bit tight, and my navy Vans feel coarse and stuffy on the inside, so last summer I ended up pairing all my rolled-up chinos or shorter-than-short shorts with a pathetic pair of gray plastic sauna slides I’d swapped up from the dollar section at Target.

The slides slipped on and off in less than a second, and felt good even on the sweatiest summer days, but I knew every time I had them on that they were effectively killing the cool of whatever outfit I had assembled.


So, believe it or not (and I hardly do, myself) I’m turning to the deck shoe this summer as my fashion footwear life-saver. However I might’ve felt about them twenty years ago, their leathery insides were always smooth and soft, and they were a breeze to kick on or off, summer, spring, and fall.

I’ll be steering clear of anything (brown) that reminds me of any of my ’89 – ’91 pairs, and of anything too prep-ed or peppy. So white soles are a no-go. I’m betting on the less-boaty broodiness of all-black styles.

I (think I) think there were some at OiPolloi forever and ever, until the moment I realized I cared.

Rogues Gallery had (has?) some too that seem cool if not costly.


For now, I’m waiting to see how these dressed-up, fifty-buck ones from Asos in the UK look when they arrive in the mail next week.


If they fit and seem not too flimsy, then the first order of business will be to beat ’em up a bit. Scuffed and with rough jeans they could be incredibly see-worthy, mates.

Travel Guides

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

I’m jetting off to Paris for the first time later this spring.

I am of course very excited but also a bit concerned with how to best organize my itinerary. I don’t want to tumble into every tacky tourist trap, nor waste my precious shopping sprees in endless luxury and lady stores that will have little relevance to me and my Louis Vuitton-free lifestyle.


If any of my well-respected readers have guidance on the best sites, shops or strategies for creating the brightest of times in the City of Lights, I know your advice would be the smartest and most chic of all.

Space Program

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

There’s a room where I live that’s turned a little musty and museum-like in its aesthetic. Inside sits an oak-y old grandfather’s clock, a taxidermy partridge, a military trunk, and a tarnished metal desk seemingly salvaged from Ichabod Crane’s first house.


My goal is to gradually mod the place up and propel it into the 21st century (or at least the middle of the 20th) and the shiny slickness of the 1960s Space Race seems a futuristic yet rightly retro reference to start with.


Designer Ross Berens has created a series of science-lab-ish prints for the original nine planets on cotton rag archival paper, available at


Mercury, the most heavenly of them all, is orbiting toward my mailbox later this week to rocket my rusty old room into a revolutionary new era.

Character Driven – Mr. Bruce

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

It’s been ages since I hammered out one of these posts.

In the Character Driven series, a single fashion find is fleshed-out, through its pairing with other items-of-interest, into a full-fledged, fictional figure, complete with a Treasury-issued name, age, and symbolic style signature.


I’ve never quite had the right pipes for pulling off a sleeveless look, but this dirt cheap T from KleinWorld was so pick-up-truck tough it begged to be worn by someone better-stemmed and stylish, even if that someone was entirely imaginary. Introducing well-armed (get it?) handyman, Roscoe Bruce.


Long days of sawing and hauling have left his arms too bulging and self-beloved for any top saddled down with sleeves, although, in these still shivery days of early Spring, such silly skin-flashing has left poor, stubborn Mr. Bruce with a chronic cough helped only by the constant popping of Smith Brothers honey drops.

T-Shirt: KleinConnection
Hat: UO
Vest: LL Bean
Thermos: Blackbird
Boots: RedWing at UO
Cough Drops: Drugstores
Pants: Trove at NowThen

Roped In

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

I read somewhere once that jumping rope for just ten minutes burns as much calories as like…running uphill for five days or fourteen weeks straight…or something amazing like that.

Canoe olympic jump rope dbl dutch

Plus, if you can rope in at least two extra pals into your heart pumpy jumping then you can Double-Dutch and make up happy little rappy-chants while working up your sweats.

Not sure of the exact figure, but I think laughing at rappy-chants burns quite a bit of calories too.

Old School ropes available at Canoe.

Riding The Rails

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Never has a vagabond-ing bum looked so honest and hard-working. Or maybe it’s the opposite…

Never has a hard-worker looked so bummy and so vagabond-ing.


Were it not for the gloves, I’d probably toss quarters in the guy’s dingy tin cup and walk on by. But what with the white jeans and the kerchief and the lovable gloves worn without any coat, he isn’t so much a street corner charity-case as my (surprisingly employed) Spring Style Icon.

The Life Cinematic

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Channel your inner Wes Anderson with these blazing yellow booklets, storyboard-ing your every well-composed wish into cinematic reality.


Previously sold out but back in stock once again!

Adding Up

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

For over a year I came up empty handed in a number of online auctions for the fancy little 660 calculator from Panasonic.


But one sits smartly on my desk, at last!


I’m thinking of taking it and a thin stack of books on an early Spring stroll and pretending I’m an Algebra-obsessed exchange student in Osaka, circa 1981.

Just seems like the right thing to do.

“No Matter Where You Are…”

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

“…in the world, on March 2nd get to a TV.”

Twenty one years ago tonight, I did just as the voice commanded and knelt my 7th grade self in front of the biggest TV in our house. The commercial for the commercial underlined just how serious it would be.

The fainter and closer to eternal loss that a memory is, the more I love it…

For a long while, I could still picture the diner dance party, the Catholic school girls, and the skunky striped hair-do as clearly as I did the burning crosses and the waxy black Jesus.

But when one set of chaste images is banned after only one airing, sending the blasphemous others into ubiquitous iconography, of course my memories are bound to darken at different rates.

At last, through the power and glory of internet video, all are again resurrected, forever and ever. A-men.

All Aflame

Monday, March 1st, 2010


Incense is for hemped up hippy-dips and candles can get a little soccer mom-ish. The “hot” new way to play with fragranced fire is with Armenia Papers.


Florentine pharmacist Santa Maria Novella offers an abundance of dramatic costume-drama-like cosmetics and tonics, and their frankincense and myrrh-scented Armenia Papers singe away the stagnant staleness of our modern days with a cinematic sense of ceremony.


Sized like a stick of gum, each scented stick is to be folded back and forth like an accordion, set on its side, and set aflame, to fill your room and your soul, once again, with a sense of romance and of warmth.