Friday, November 28, 2008

Family Slide Show

On Wednesday night, the Huntington family slide projector came out for a little trip back in time. I love old family photos. Although I am passionate about digital photography, it is sad to see the disappearance of the conventional slide show. Nowadays, people just view photos on Facebook, Flickr, or Picasa by themselves, completely removing the physical social experience. I hope the cost of quality digital projectors will go down enough that people can make photo viewing a social experience again.

The distortion of an old slide projected on a blemished wall gave added texture to these already interesting photos. Here are two that I enjoyed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Brior Wooden Watch

Poking around, a German and Swiss watch distributor, I stumbled across this Brior's Tarlo Chronograph Briar Wooded watch. I feel that this watch wouldn't last more than a week on my wrist, but I love the idea and the craftsmanship. has some great watches from lesser known, but quality manufacturers. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Making a Shirt: Part 2

Making a shirt from scratch is hard. Like always, I bit off more than i could chew. To get the fabric, I went to 4th Street in South Philly. As depicted in the mural, 4th Street houses many leather and fabric shops. If you're ever in the area, swing by a couple shops.

Right now, moral is low after messing up a sleeve and the neck. I am running low on fabric. Tomorrow, I will continue to the trek.

Making a shirt

Today I set out on a quest to make my first article of clothing, a long sleeve t shirt inspired by a Filson Alaskan Guide shirt made out of heavy weight cotton flannel. I am going around to fabric stores today to find suitable materials. I am sure a lot of trial and error will ensue and I will keep the blog updated. Here is a rough design that i drew up last night.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Pea coat laden yuppies cruised by typing on their Blackberry's and iPhone's, avoiding these phone booths like a half frozen puddle or a homeless person. It dawned on me; who uses pay phones? With cell phone penetration over 85% in 2007, they are merely taking space and I assume cost more to remove than to maintain. Out of the fifty or so photos I took in my stint at the Coffee shop, I like this one because it shows life passing by the phone booths. Like any transitional technology, these phone booths will soon be relics, like laserdiscs or fax machines. Look for phone booths next time you're out and about and you will be surprised at how many you see.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanksgiving Break: Trecking the Eastern Sea Board

For the next nine days i will be on Thanksgiving break. I plan on spending a couple days in Boston, and then hopping on a flight down to Philadelphia for a couple days, and then up to Manhattan for a night or two and then back to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving and then finally back to Maine. I plan taking a lot of photos and hope to find some cool things for the blog.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Netflix Watch Instanatly: Gems

Ever since Netflix opened up its Watch Instantly feature to Macs two weeks ago, I have been sifting through the 10,000 titles looking for gems. Unfortunately, most of the movies are pulled from Showtime's B grade content. Just think Waterworld at 4:30 am on a Tuesday and you will get the idea. Here is a link to the an Engadget article describing how to sign up for the Beta. Here are some quality titles that have kept me from my work over the last two weeks...

Rushmore, No Country For Old Men, Ordinary People, and last but not least, Red Dawn.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Trip To Burton Factory: Part 2

As a recovering shoe addict, I head strait to the footwear section of any store I enter. The Burton store was no exception. Pulling multiple, "no thank you, I'm just looking," Heisman on salesmen, I headed strait to the shoe section to assess the situation. All of Gravis', Burton's street wear sub brand, looked disappointingly familiar...

Recognize this shoe?
Well maybe this will help...
This is a well worn, Nike SB Verona, purchased at Exit Real World in Portland Oregon in Spring of 2007, which Gravis photocopied. Note the red ascents and same sized cement print.

Burton has amazing design talent at their finger tips. This season, Burton teamed up with Futura to create limited edition outerwear and with Head Porter to create some beanes. Former veteran Burton designer, Hiroki Nakamura, has recently gained substantial following through the success of his brand Visvim. Why doesn't Burton leverage their knowledge of manufacturing, design, quality, and quality to create interesting footwear?

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Backwoodsman

I grew up spending a lot of time in the Columbia River Gorge area on the border of Oregon and Washington. To keep ourselves entertained, my brother and I turned to the woods. Books like The American Boys Handy Book and numerous stories by Ernest Thompson Seaton inspired us to build damns, bows and arrows, and forts in the woods surrounding our house. These activities kept me entertained and instilled an interest in survival and a desire to do things on my own that persists to this day.

Procrastinating in the library one day, I stumbled across an issue of the The Backwoodsman, "The Magazine for the Twenty First Century Frontiersmen." The magazine is an awesome composition of articles on topics ranging from survivalism to do-it-yourself shelter building. Here are some articles that piqued my interest.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Order

I love new wave and the decade of decadence that they helped define. New Order is my favorite new wave band and contributes to my lifestyle. The spectacle their music creates makes any party more fun. As on ode to Patrick Batemen, "Their music combines an upbeat sound with complex lyrics." Here are some music videos and a clip from the dance scene from American Psycho.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Books: As Seen In Vogue

A large library at your finger tips is major plus of attending college. A couple weeks ago, I stumbled across "As Seen in Vogue: A Century of American Fashion In Advertising" while procrastinating on Thursday night. As stated in the title, the book discuses the history of fashion advertising, but also offers an interesting overview of the origins of periodicals and print advertising. Even if you're not interested in female fashion, I recommend this book as background study of the role of advertising in subsidizing periodicals. Here are some original ads from the Vogues from the forties and earlier.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Vuarnets

Life looks better through the lens of my Vuarnets. Vuarnet, a French ski sunglass company has been making eye wear since 1957. Unlike many sunglass companies, Vuarnet focuses on creating great lenses and looks to classic shapes for their designs as opposed to focusing on pioneering designs first and optics second. Although relatively overlooked by the American sunglass market, Vuarnets are used exclusively by the film maker Wes Anderson. Vuarnets are a great departure from the wayfarer shape and offer substantially better optics than equivalently priced classes. Here are some Vuarnets, similar to the ones featured here, on ebay and some photos taken through the lenses of my glasses.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fog On the Androscoggin River

The drive along the Androscoggin River on US-2 on Friday afternoon was gorgeous. The last breaths of fall foliage provided a great backdrop and texture, a layer of fog that engulfed the surface of the water. After many question opportunities, I finally stopped to take a picture on a small bridge overlooking the river. Here is the location of the bridge and my route to Middlebury.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cutting the Fat

I have too many shoes, jeans and shirts in my wardrobe. Over the last 20 years, my taste has evolved considerably, leaving many articles of clothing untouched. To borrow a line from the venerable Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, these clothes are about as useful as "tits on a boar." Not only has my taste in clothing evolved but my attitudes towards consumption have changed considerably. No longer do I want 30 pairs of Nike's or five pairs of relaxed "premium" jeans. Instead, I yearn for an enduring wardrobe that will remain relevant for years and not months to come. A look through my closet conjures up memories and is an illustration of how I've gained character and grown up with these clothes. In many ways, it's sad to throw away something that at one time I cherished. As the title of this blog denotes however, I am restless and have always searched for new pursuits and passions. This burden requires that I leave some things behind in order to continue my search for greener pastures. Here are some photos of my retiring clothes...
These Desert Boots were put through hell for two winters.
I acquired these pitch and blood stains on a backpacking trip in the Goat Rocks Wilderness during the summer of 2007.
Harsh Maine winters and rock salt on walkways precipitated this fading and distress.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Trip To Burton Factory: Part 1

On Saturday, my amigos and I made the trek up from Middlebury to Burlington for a day of exploration. We stopped by the Burton headquarters to see their flagship store. Like all flagships, this one was over staffed and very loud. However, in their lobby were twenty snowboards documenting both the evolution of the sport but also Burton as a brand.

Look at the evolving shapes.The Safari color was is awesome. Very excessive.
These boards are great examples of the decadence that defined the 1980s.

On Her Majesty's Secrete Service

As the Quantum of Solace's November 14th US premier marches closer, my mind turns to James Bond, the hero of my childhood. On Her Majesty's Secrete Service, the only film to star Gorge Lazenby, is often overlooked by fans of the franchise. The film is one of me and my brother's favorites. Although the late sixties aesthetic and Jame's marriage to the daughter of a crime boss erodes some of the "James Bond" ethos, the film's absurd premise of brainwashed beauties living in isolation on top of the Swiss Alps curbs all naysayers.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Yellow Scion on US-4 Near Killington Vermont

(Note the matching yellow splash guard)

Cruising at 63 mph on US-24 somewhere near Killington Vermont, I stumbled across a banana-yellow Scion with two beautiful, handmade Kayaks strapped on top. I flew by without stopping. For the next mile, I debated turning around for a better look. I down shifted to third, pulled U-ey, and reached for my camera.

I have always been interested with the failed marketing of the Honda Element and the Toyota's entire Scion brand. In the early 00's, auto executives decided to build some new cars specifically targeting the emerging generation Y market. They failed miserably.

These photos should make the executives at Honda and Toyota cringe for the following reasons:

1. These photos were taken in rural Vermont, not in a raging metropolis like LA, New York, or Tokyo (the stomping ground of generation Y urbanists)

2. Gingerly Strapped to this scion were two breathtakingly beautiful, handmade Kayaks. These kayaks have two implications. First, these two Kayaks were undoubtedly owned by two aging, outdoorsy, LL Bean-shopping baby boomers not the hipsters from LA. Second, the combined value of these two kayaks surely surpasses the 10,000 MSRP (+/- depending on options) that this Scion Xb rolled off the lot for in 2005, making the entire spectacle that much more odd. These empty-nesters were merely being thrifty with their most recent automobile purchase, not splurging on their first.

There is something strangely beautiful about the juxtaposition of a timeless wooden kayak and banana yellow Scion set in the backdrop of a Sunday in Vermont.

The Last Three Days

For the last three days I have been trekking around the backwoods of New England. I saw plenty of interesting things and over the next few days i will be putting up some articles about my journey. Until then, here is a link to the Picasa Album.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nike SB Arbitrage

In late November 2006, I noticed an arbitrage opportunity while comparing shoe prices on Flight Club (a rare shoe consignment store with locations in LA and NYC) with prices on Ebay. I realized that a substantial discrepancy existed and shoes could be bought on Ebay and then sold on Flight Club with relatively low risk and a quick turn around. From December 2006 to December 2007, I generated over sixty five thousand dollars in revenue buying and selling shoes.

I believe this discount existed for a verity of reasons, the largest two being the delay and hassle of buying shoes on Ebay and fear of purchasing fake merchandise. Many buyers would pay a premium to know the shoes were authentic and receive them promptly.

Although Ebay and Paypal guarantee against fake goods and penalize these sellers, many fakes still exist on Ebay. To the untrained eye, a fake and a real shoe are indistinguishable. Which one of these shoes is fake; A or B? Overtime, the subtle differences become easier to catch. (If you want to read more about distinguishing between real and fake shoes, check out Solepedia's fake guide.) These discounts were fundemental to the relationship between Ebay and Flight Club and thus could be scalably exploited without the gape narrowing.

An average arbitrage shoe trade is as follows: Sb Dunk Milli Vanilli's are listed on Flight Club for $140 ( $112 net after fees). I am willing to pay $84 shipped for this shoe (assuming a 33% gross profit margin). After finding a shoe and verifying its authenticity, like this one here, I would subtract the cost of shipping from my desired price, $84-$17= $67 and then bid accordingly. To increase my chances of winning each auction, I would tack on random cents to each, assuming that most bidders with bid up in dollar increments thus if they bid $67.00, my bid of $67.07 would win. My chances of winning auctions were relatively low so I would bid on dozens of shoes at one time expecting to win a fraction of them. After winning an auction I would have the shoes shipped to my dorm room and then on to Flight Club New York or Los Angeles depending on their inventories. These shoes would then sit on in the store until they were sold at which point they would send me a check for 80% of the sale price. I would deposit these checks and immediatly start buying more shoes. By reinvesting profits I was able to grow my working capital very quickly.

As with any trendy brand, expensive and intangible products such as the Tiffany Dunk draw people to the brand but most people end up buying a cheaper, more conservative product like
Bic Dunk. With this in mind, I focused on general release SB Dunks like the Band Aid, Purple Pigeon, Money Cat, and SB Blazers like the Mission. Although the margins are slightly lower on these shoes, the turn around is much faster.

Starting in November of 2007, I began to see the gap between Ebay and Flight Club prices increase and a jump in the time spent in Flight Club inventories. The increase in the spread between Flight Club and Ebay scared me because the prices in the more liquid market were dropping while the less liquid market were staying constant meaning that sales were slowing down. The sneaker game is dependent on fast changing trends and young people with disposable income. I decided to take profits and stopped buying shoes all together in the middle of December. I learned a lot about leverage, working as a middleman and highend retail and felt it was time to move on.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Classics

I see value in classic brands who's style is impervious to the trends of high fashion and hold allegiance to more steadfast values. These brands are based around lifestyles and social pillars such as the outdoors/hunting, sailing, sports, and preppy tradition. The products these brands sell represent ideas and allusions that are impervious to trends.

Over the next few months I will post profiles of some of these brands, specifically focusing on pieces I like.

Jacques Henri Lartigue

Here are some photos from French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue. His photos of race cars, and early airplanes gained him the most attention but he was also a fashion photographer. I love how he captures people doing fun activities and try to include this in my own photography.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Steven Seagal = Worthy Adversary

A once formidable and awe inspiring ass kicker, Steven Seagal has recently lost much of his chutzpah. Here are a couple videos to remind the world of his greatness...

Note Seagal's limp wrists. He knows that his status as a worthy adversary is irrefutable and thus he has no incentive to run like a bad ass.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Blackberry Storm Pricing

As an avid Blackberry user, I follow the next generation Blackberrys (The Bold, The Storm, and Javelin) very closely. On Halloween, Fortune Magazine reported Vodafone's very cheap pricing for the Verizon bound Storm. Engadget went on to extrapolate that the Storm may be priced at 99 USD. This conjecture on the Storm pricing comes shortly after another rumor about Apple dropping the price of the 3g Iphone to 100 dollars sometime in 2009. Will both happen? I doubt it, but expect to see Verizon to price the Storm well bellow the $199 Iphone in the $100 to $150 range. This is a new approach for Verizon. Historically they rely on the strength of their network to sell potential costumers not attractive hardware. In 2005, Verizon passed on the opportunity to have exclusive rights to the Iphone because they weren't willing to pay the heavy subsidies and monthly allowances demanded by Apple. I am sure Verizon has been kicking themselves for missing out on the opportunity to sell the Iphone and are willing to take some chances in the form of heavy subsidies to have a sexy, well priced phone this holiday seasons. It will be interesting to see how this plays out...

Here is a preview.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Merino Wool Underwear and Shirts

Growing up I hated wool. I Associated wool with over sized socks my mom would make around Christmas and itchy blankets on my Grandmother's guest beds. Recently, my younger brother Tim turned me onto a shop in downtown Portland (Oregon) called Icebreaker. All of their products are made of pure New Zealand Merino wool. Although their designs are very "sporty," appealing primarily for granola eating trail runners, some gems are available on their website. I personally own two V-Neck T-Shirts, in charcoal and white and a pair of Boxer Briefs, both pictured below.
Merino Wool is an awesome material with all the comfort of cotton and the advantages of wool. Look for more designers to use this fabric.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Catlin Gabel Rummage Sale

If you're ever in the Portland (Oregon) area during the first weekend of November, you should swing by the Catlin Gabel Rummage Sale. Each year, the Catlin Gabel community, a private day school, donates their odds and ends to benefit the financial aid annual fund. Generating around 300 thousand dollars, the sale occupies more than 100,000 square feet at the Portland Expo Center. The sale has everything you could imagine; from go-karts to vintage fishing equipment and Prada shoes. Check it out, you wont be disappointed.

Mark Knopfler's Style

Mark Knopfler of the Dire Straits has an amazing sense of style. Here is a picture from the early 80's of him wearing a red, black and white cowboy shirt. Note the color coordinated headband and armband. Here is a video of a live performance of Sultans of Swing. Note the same red, white and black color scheme and the coordinated arm and head bands. Stinking to what he likes.