Archive for the ‘Nostalgia’ Category

A Downside to Upgrading?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Next week I’m eligible to upgrade my phone, which I’m only partially excited about because the subpar camera on my iPhone 3GS has taken some really above-par images the past year that it’s been stashed in my pocket. The fuzzed up photos it captures I’ve found to be rather dreamy and almost Polaroid-like. (With or without post-effects apps.)

I’m crossing my fingers that the three extra megapixels, better optics, and built-in flash that’ll be heading into my hand next week won’t perfect away all the awesome imperfections I’ve gotten so used to.

Because I don’t really want to document my daily life in crisp, accurate reality. I want to keep capturing it abstracted and veiled, like it all took place 25-extra years ago on the sets of strange Sissy Spacek movies.

Speaking of which, I now present a series of never-before-seen images from the past seventeen months, taken and never Tweeted while on the sets of strange Sissy Spacek movies while I lazily lived my life.

Goodbye, ol’ phone!

All Work And No Play…

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

It’s that freaky/fun time of year when dressing-up like someone else is encouraged, regardless of your age. (Although dressing like dead, outdated or imaginary dudes is something I personally recommend doing all year round).

As it’s Halloween month, BBC America’s been playing Kubrick’s The Shining seven or eight times a week, and re-watching it for the first time in forever has led me to seek out a little Cabin Fever Chic for my late fall wardrobe.

Faded plaid flannel would be the most Jack Torrance-ish shirting I could hope to hunt down, but the perfect 1979-ish print’s been hiding from me (somewhere deep in that snowy maze, I suspect).

This button down oxford from Club Monaco seems to suggest a shamed prep-school teacher turned hotel-caretaker though, and is just the right shade of old Colorado Tan. Woven with a subtle undertint, it almost makes the shirt literally “Shine”.

These red-soled suede shoes from Quoddy were my first steps toward my transition into a Torrance. I can just as easily see Jack pairing them with pajama bottoms and a cableknit fisherman’s sweater as I can imagine Wendy tying them on over some red tights and a corduroy jumper dress.

The real trick in turning into a 1980 Torrance though is wearing a thick, insipid turtleneck under just about everything.

And then accessorizing with either a roque mallet or a hatchet. (Club Monaco just sold out of theirs, so I’ve been walking around town miming that I’m clutching one instead).

I’m 167 pages into the original book now. It’s not as inspirational as the film, sartorially – but it’s sadder and not so sarcastic. And hopefully by the end I’ll maybe work out how to rock bloody bathrobes as ready-to-wear.

Until then, creeps, REDRUM and Happy Halloween!

The Proof Is In The Pudding

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Come December I like to read boyish old adventure stories. Two years ago it was Call of The Wild, and this year I decided to give the Hardy Boys a try for the first time ever since the back cover of Case #8: The Mystery of Cabin Island mentioned the action took place on a snow-covered island over Christmas vacation.

My sister and I used to have an un-secret stash of Nancy Drew books lying around as kids, and honestly, my favorite moments of any of these teen detective books is whenever it describes what the young sleuths are eating. It’s always cozy comfort food like chicken and biscuits, or flapjacks with syrup, or stews served alongside cold pitchers of milk. To me it’s essentially literary snacking, the plot-lines pretty much filler ’til the next mention of cobbler, or creamed corn, or fresh caught catfish.

In The Mystery of Cabin Island, Frank and Joe Hardy’s wealthy old client Elroy Jefferson receives a holiday gift he believes to be from his missing grandson. It’s a can of plum pudding adorned with fresh pinecones!

Upon reading that, before flipping another page, I searched online for canned plum pudding, hoping someone still sold a tin of the classic Christmas dessert in packaging appropriately retro.

The closet I came upon were various “Christmas Puddings” which definitely are old-century and cinematic enough for me. Since the cupcake and the French macaron have already enjoyed their return from nostalgic novelty to the sweet-tooth center stage, I’m thinking the proper pudding deserves a royal resurgence.

Served warm under brandy butter or custard, it’s a rich reflection of (seemingly) sweeter, simpler days.

Roll With It

Friday, September 17th, 2010

At the risk of sounding great-grandfatherly, “I do remember a time…” when there were at least three flavors of LifeSavers stocked for sale next to half the cash registers around town.

I guess that was before we all felt the need to ultra-whiten our teeth while sucking anything sweet.

These days, an airport newsstand is about the only place I’d trust to offer a full roster of rolls, but the swankiest chain of Minnesotan food markets, Lunds/Byerly’s is now stocking period-packaged LifeSavers in Wint O Green and Fruity Five flavors.

I didn’t see Butter Rum ones anywhere though. That’s how I always rolled.

Time Travelling

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Up in Northern Minnesota, time stands still in a way that wouldn’t be possible down here around home. And even when something you loved up there finally moves on or fades away, signs of it will still remain for many summers to come.

I’m trying to comfort myself here, but honestly I feel a little bit blue.

A Secret About Sears

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

These days it seems like only the few, fawned over brands bother with building goods handsome and built to last. But once upon a time that wasn’t the case, and even at not-so-chic Sears you’d find scrumptious sweaters made by Ohio Knitting Mills and wingtips as deadly and dapper as the four in my collection.

The first pair wound up in my possession randomly, as part of a costume for a film, and a size and a half too large for me. But the second set were selected because they were the most striking of all the brown wingtips in my size at a local vintage shop.

The rest were sought out specifically on e-bay, and although the era and interior Sears emblem varies a bit from style to style, each pair is rock-solid outside and pillow soft inside. With vintage wingtips, if the leather is too pebbly or too dull the shoe reads as too dusty, dated and drab – but the Sears shoes are grained and glossed just perfectly so.

And, apropos for a Sears shoe, even a rare vintage one, I’ve never paid more than $19.99 for a pair. If Alden or Trickers wingtips elude you economically, go see the softer side of Sears.

Forum Restaurant & Bar

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Originally a movie theater, then a beloved cafeteria, The Forum in Minneapolis languished as a series of clubs and restaurants since the early 1970s before being restored to its pre-war wonder under its original name as a chophouse earlier this year. (Don’t you love the retro riche of the word “chophouse”? I always do.)

With its mirrored murals and towering tiles, local historians now cite the refurbished Forum Restaurant and Bar as the best example of art-deco design in the Twin Cities.

As well, it glistens like an Epcot-style tribute to everything über-Minnesotan, with Vikings and Indians and pinecones as the main themes of the glasswork, and sparkling cocktails splashed with rhubarb syrup.

Aside from the woodwork and upholstery everything appears to be perfectly period, right down to the diamond doodads laid into the jadeite walls.

I think I was maybe wearing shorts when I first went, but next time I best break out a fedora, or at least some flannel.

The entire establishment is so Northwoods natty, I wanna look like I belong.

Trouble Makers

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

When was the last time you were a real rascal? There’s a real and rare thrill in rustling up some trouble, a thrill we willfully deny ourselves as we sulk into adulthood.

So pop an Old Time Sling Shot into your back pocket this weekend, perch yourself up somewhere sneaky, then fling bubble gum or your wadded up phone number at eye-catching passers-by until things get thrilling.

You’ll end up either engaged or arrested, but either option makes for a better story than whatever you had going on this weekend otherwise, I reckon.

Plus, you’ll be doing my homestate suburbs some ecological good.

Get this. According to Hickorees: “This classic sling shot is hand made from branches of the Buckthorn bush, a European hedge plant commonly found in suburban neighborhoods in Minnesota, and now considered an invasive species. Buckthorn’s hard “Y” branches are perfect for sling shots, and harvesting Buckthorn wood helps with efforts to control the species.”

So when that mean mom on your block starts wagging her finger at you for slinging away at all the pretty young things in your hood, flatly ask her when was the last time she did anything to help control an invasive species?

By the time she sorts out her answer, you’ll be halfway home and fantastically full of yourself. Just like a kid, but with cooler clothes.

Arthur S. Allen

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

The packaging design of Arthur S. Allen, founder of the Allcolor Company, Inc., New York City and “an expert on the application of color in product packaging”.

Are there still any experts on the application of color in product packaging?

Walking into the after-shave or facial tissue sections of your neighborhood Target store today, it sure doesn’t seem like it.

I miss you, Mr. Allen.

Turning Back Time

Friday, July 9th, 2010

There was a time when everything was perfect. My parents had a cabin up north, and I would float in the lake on my water-skis, waiting anxiously to be propelled up and above the surface.

While I’d bob in the waves all alone, to keep my brain from imagining myself as the tragic victim of the first Minnesotan shark attack in recorded history (with the JAWS theme stubbornly ringing in my ears), I’d stare at one of the many candy-colored scuba Swatches I favored in the early 90s to keep myself calm.

For eight years now, I’ve lived without our cabin, and haven’t slipped foot into a water ski.

I’ve missed it all terribly, and so arranged for a family boating excursion later this month. To fully maximize my orchestrated nostalgia I just ordered an old but never worn scuba Swatch off e-bay to sport that day, and beyond.

It’s sea glass green, see-through band is perfect and the visible cogs and wheels on the face will give me something to stare at rather than mysterious, midwestern shark fins.

I Had To Chuckle

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Besides their gum droppy delicious-ness and their near-perfect packaging these are the two best things about Chuckles candies:

1. You don’t find them very often.
2. But you can always find them in little Mom ‘N Pop hardware stores, without fail.

I wonder why…

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.