Friday, November 27, 2009

A Wall in My Room: Part 2

Used things have stories more dynamic and textured than anything bought in a store on black Friday. They may be harder to find and have problems, but this only adds to their story. Here are some of my favorite used things that I have found over the last few months.

I picked up these white bucks at the Kiwanis in Ann Arbor this summer. The Longwings are my tried and true Ralph Lauren's. I found this trading blanket at a yard sale for 8 dollars. Somewhere along the line, pink edging was sewn on to protect frayed edges.

Rust and white.
I got these overalls at Stock Vintage. They are from the 30's and have decades of blood and grease worn into the denim.
I found this flag at a flea market near my school. It's now displayed front and center. Red, White and blue.
This holiday season, find gifts that tell stories.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

With Me At All Times

I started taking photos a little more than a year ago. Since then I have tried to have a camera with me at all times. Sometimes I see nothing and sometimes I slam on the brakes while going 60 to have another look. Here are some images from the last two months that have caught my eye and made me drop what I was doing in order to try to capture the moment.

I don't know what I like in these pictures. In some I like the colors, in others it's the contrast or the objects in them. A very smart person once told me to not try to rationalize why you like something, just listen to your instinct.

A tidal bay in Maine.

This feels like Maine..

On the Oregon Coast, walking back after looking at waves.

Wet leaves in the Columbia River Gorge.

Here are some more links,
With Me at all Times (Picasa).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Surfing after Sunset

Last weekend, Virginia declared a state of emergency and Atlantic City flooded. For a Maine surfer dedicated enough to don a thick wetsuit, booties and gloves, news like this means one thing: waves are coming to Maine like the British to the Falklands in '82.

I spent the weekend cramped in a car with four college students and our surfing gear, driving around the Maine coast in search of the optimum pit. Unlike other parts of the Northeast, Maine's coastline is relatively unexplored by surfers. An inherent sense of exploration combined with the intensity of surfing when it's freezing out creates an experience few will ever enjoy.

On Sunday evening we ran into the water twenty minutes before sunset on an exposed shore break northeast of Bath. After two tries I made it past the whitewater and thundering waves, finally stopping my feverish paddling 75 yards from the beach. Looking around I spotted my two roommates evenly spaced 100 yards apart bobbing around in the white caps.

For thirty minutes I bobbed around the waves in my own world, observing curious seals and catching the tastiest waves. As time marched on, the sun sunk toward the horizon, bringing a warm light to the low fog.

As the last rays illuminated the fall sky, I paddled in and sat on the beach. One by one my roommates followed the waves into the beach and we congregated at the edge of the surf. We swapped stories as the foam from the whitewater shot around us.

(Spencer Philips took this picture)

We lay on our backs until the first stars of the night shined through the low fog. Who says you have to surf in the summer?

Here are some links,
Surfing at Sunset (Picasa).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Have Truck, Camper, Three Motor Cycles and Two Cars, Will Travel

Waterville, Maine is an hour from Portland, an hour from the coast and an hour from the mountains. Normally I see three major demographics of cars on the highway: the SUV with Connecticut tags and a prep school bumper sticker (wealthy college student), the pickup truck with a gun rack and rusted fenders (true Mainer), and the hybrid with Obama and Co-exist bummer stickers (liberal, elderly Bostonian in exile). Every once in a while I see something that defies my stereotypes.

On the way to the beach on Sunday I spotted a yellow blob on the horizon. As we drew closer, the blob turned into a truck, a camper, three motorcycles and two cars. Truck in the front, camper/party in the back.

I love how the yellows match. Note the sun awning, and storage underneath and behind the camper.

This guy can go and live anywhere with the toys. He represents the ultimate in mobility in a time when more people are locking themselves into suburban lives dominated by mortgage payments and Saturday morning soccer practice.

The happy camper himself.

This guy likes his toys.

Not everything has to be 80 years old, made by a company with heritage, or exclusive to wealthy people. Instead, inspiration comes from individuality and uniqueness. I don't know where he was going or what his story was, but he looked happy as a clam in his setup heading for the open road.

Here are some more links,
Have Truck, Camper, Three Motor Cycles and Two Cars Will Travel (Picasa),

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Finds from the Catlin Gabel Rummage Sale

I made out of the Catlin Gabel Rummage Sale like looter in the LA Riots. I didn't find what I expected. Going into the sale I anticipated finding a bunch of regional brands such as Pendleton (the family that owns the brand went to my high school), White Stag, Filson and Eddie Bauer. I guess Keenan Jay, a current Catlin student and blogger, stashed some away while he was helping set up the sale. The uncertainty and excitement of surprises at yard sales, rummage sales and flea markets will keep me coming back my entire life.

This Old Craftsmen drill was probably my favorite find at Rummage. I love how it looks like a miniaturized riveter or high powered tool that was used to make intercontinental bombers in the 50s.

At first glance, this wool hunting vest looked like nothing special, however had some really nice details.

All the way across the country!

Someone loved and cared for this jacket.

Originally this jacket had sleeves

A Herters goose down vest. Gorge Leonard Herter once had a booming catalog outfitter based in South Dakota. I wonder whatever happened to it?

Awesome Logo.

I really like the red fleece lining of the pockets.

Canvas leather backpack with no markings or label.

I like the color contrasts of green canvas and tan leather.

Great design.

My inner '80s fanatic went crazy when I found these blades.

Built in croakies, you don't see that shit anymore.

I have already passed these on to my girlfriend to wear when she plays squash. Well that's what I imagined at least...

Killer Loop....Killer Bag

My favorite find of the day: a vintage day pack made in Norway with a steel external frame.

Amazing design. It's surprisingly comfortable.

The guy on the left doesn't have the external frame and the guy on the right does.

I couldn't have predicted this, nor could I have ever asked for it. That's why I like it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Final Catlin Gabel Rummage Sale

For the past 65 five years, the Catlin Gabel school has urged community members to look through their garages and basements for things to donate to an annual rummage sale for the school's financial aid fund. Drawing thousands of shoppers from around the Portland area and generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, the Catlin Rummage Sale was a fixture in the local landscape. In early September, I received an email from the school announcing the end to a tradition beloved by members of the community and avid rummage shoppers alike.

An old cardboard box with a section of binding twine is a tradition at the Rummage Sale.

Over the seven years that I attended Catlin, sixth grade on, I built a strong association with the rummage sale, fall and school. To me, the rummage sale was as much a part of my school routine as buying my books in early September or speeding out of the school parking lot in early June listening to Alice Cooper.

As the Maine nights grew crisp and I attended the last autumn classes of my life, I yearned for the piles of clothes and old ski equipment of the rummage sale. I soon set forth on a war path to rationalize making the 3,000 mile journey back to Portland for a long weekend. Eventually, I called my parents and announced my return. The first inkling of my affinity for antiques and clothes had surfaced at Rummage years ago, there would never be another, and I hadn't been home in 11 months....

During the last two weeks of October the school comes to a screeching halt as students, teachers, and parents go out for pick ups, sorting drop offs and transporting the "rummage" from Catlin's West Hills location to the Portland Expo Center. In a flurry of collapsible tables and over-anxious type A parents, sale preparations culminate in the opening of the doors to parents, alums, and volunteers on Thursday at 3 PM for the presale.

I showed up at 2:45 and eagerly awaited my chance to peruse the collection of more than a quarter of a million dollars worth of donated rummage. Anyone see my brother in back? I will give you a hint, he's 6'7"...

At 3PM sharp I was off to the races. Dragging my box and awkwardly snapping pictures, I scuttled to and from large collapsible tables labeled with large plastic hanging signs leaving a wake of unfolded clothes and overturned hiking boots.

Mr. Tucker sorting through piles of shirts for a gem.

A view of the chaos. Dre.

The presale ran from three to five, after that the gates opened and the masses rushed various sections of the sale like the running of the bulls in Pamplona. In those two hours I ran around searching through piles of shirts, old license plates, tools, and boots, all the time filling my cardboard box with my bounty. It was everything I hoped it would be.