Friday, September 28, 2012

More Relics

In northeastern Florida.  Traveling around the upper coast and inland.  

Will upload some video of the dives soon. 


I passed by a few buildings advertising Hi-Fi and typewriters and adding machines.

I took the advice of some commenters and readers and went to the Casbah Cafe in Avondale. Great experience.  At every restaurant, fresh grouper was offered in plenty.  Grilled, baked, blackened, broiled, in tacos, over salad, next to squash, on a plate alone, and any other way conceivable.  A chef told me that the Mahi Mahi was also within 100 miles of St. Augustine.  Could be.

Below, the man in the bow tie once again schooled me in gin consumption, and is always willing to travel to meet me anywhere.  My father.

Yankee-Whisky-Papa with Yankee-Whisky-Papa's actual Papa (seated)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lasting Relics , Temporary Tones

 A long drive through the hot California country to visit large-scale agri-business.  I love how the airport codes on my baggage claim remind me to eat well and exercise.  Sioux Gateway Airport's FAA code is still my favorite: "SUX".

Back home in Boston...

On Charles Street, the local market always offers some great oddities in their freezer.

 "Excuse me, is your turtle meat free-range?  It is?  Great.  I trust that the rattlesnake is also?"  Yuppies are predictable.

.- -. -. --- -.-- .. -. --. / .- -. -.. / .--. .-. . -.. .. -.-. - .- -... .-.. .

A drug store that lasts several generations is hard to find these days.  The owner told me that the only reason they survived is because they stretched themselves decades ago to buy the building.  Like our local hardware store, it paid off.  I had to reglaze an ancient window when I replaced the rotted sash-cords.  The locally owned hardware store did the panes for under $30 and delivered the window.

My neighbors, a husband and wife duo are both surgeons, and they seem to be "on-call" every weekend that I break out the saws, hammers, and planers.  Somehow, the sound of me hand-planing a window stay is always too loud for them when they are trying to sleep on a Saturday afternoon.  One of these days, I'll stand outside the operating room and shout at them to keep the noise down.

Family-owned and operated since 1939.  They deliver as well.  No minimum.

 At a dinner with Mrs. and two dear friends, the waiter handed us this.  I love it.  We need more people like this.

An early stroll across the bridge to Cambridge as the sun rose.  Some days start and end perfectly.

A lobstah olive spear for my martini in Portland, Maine.  Hat-tip to the old stomping grounds of friend-of-the-blog JKG.

Taken in the final hours of Labor Day by the longest-enduring cocktail party guest for the night.  A final hurrah for white pants in the continental US until 2013.  Notice the shoes.  

  September 3, 2012

As autumn slowly pulls up the driveway, the altered reality of summer bliss winds out.  The salt sea-air of the summer/autumn 'tween decks is strangely sweet and perfect, but it has the half-life similar to the flawless tone from a tuning fork.  As soon as you comprehend the its pleasure, it's gone.  Walking past an open window in the city hearing a voice practicing its aria, or a piano or cello, sweet and unseen several floors above the sidewalk, the surprise moment lasting only three or four strides.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tailored Shirt vs. Off-the-Rack

A few months ago, a friend of mine called and told me that someone he knew wanted to make a shirt for me.  The offer seemed to be promotional, so I proceeded cautiously.  We met at the location in the Back Bay and I was measured up in triplicate with not only the usual geometry expected from a tailored fitting, but with a few inexplicable crossings and tapings of a random hypotenuse here and there.  As it turns out, I am able to shrug without moving my shoulders.

Instead of a tailored suit, I first tested the waters with a shirt.  I flipped trough cloth after cloth, pattern after pattern, and then described the exact style I wanted, rounded French cuffs, tapered middle, blah blah blah.

A few weeks later, I got the call to come try on the shirt and pick it up if no further alterations were needed.  I needed none, so I took it home.

Now, in full disclosure, I accepted no discounts or promotional anythings from the clothier.  I paid the full price, so I could write whatever I pleased with a clear mind, 'cause I ain't no shill.  When I got home, I compared the custom-tailored shirt to one of my trustworthy shirts in the closet.

  The cuffs are rounded on the tailored shirt.

 The new tailored shirt did NOT have the split-yoke that my shirt did.

 Same cut-away collar.

Same general look and fit.  The tailored shirt did come with my monogrammed initials on them and some brass collar stays, but since I lose collar stays but never forget my initials, there is little value added.  The fit was basically the same as the shirts I buy online (not literally off of an actual rack).  The big difference was that the tailored shirt cost $130.  My usual expenditure for shirts of the exact same cut is between $30 and $40.  Why do I include these tacky little details of price in a blog post?  I include them because this is an example of what tailoring gets you, especially with shirts.  It's just too expensive.  There is no magic fit, and no proportionate elegance.  I like to support local businesses and I like to wear nicely fitting clothes, but not when I can get the same thing for 1/4 of the cost by being patient.  Go to eBay or a thrift store for even deeper discounts.  

If you want a really odd shirt with bizarre features and particular fabric, then tailoring may be for you.  If you already know your size and measurements, and you have a trusted manufacturer, stay with it.  If you are like me and think that paying full retail is a fool's game, you can have your clothing at deep discount and refine it afterwards.  A blog about wearing clothing is one thing, but a blog about buying clothing is unreadable.  

Verdict: Not worth the money.

I am a big advocate for after-market tailoring for better fit/saving money:

The tailored suit estimates were reasonably priced, and I may proceed with one from them in the future.  I will report back if/when that happens.  

P.S. Wikipedia has a hilarious and great explanation of what a shill is.  It really is worth a quick read.