Friday, May 27, 2016

In Memoriam

An acquaintance lost a beloved nephew to the all-too-familiar random act of senseless violence. The family transformed his memorial gathering into a monument to his service to local education.

A couple of weeks ago I learned that his favorite watering hole has brewed a beer in his honor. Seattle lives!    -30-
More after the jump.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Pocket

Leafing through Rose Wilder Lane's Woman's Day Book of American Needlework, I found an image of a pocket. It was surprising to learn first, that a pocket was a separate item of clothing, and second, that it was an ornament. The pocket pictured in the book was meant to be attached to a belt.

As a full-time voluntary pedestrian, I love high-tech travel clothing with secure zippered pockets, especially slim cargo pockets. However, a few favored garments have no pockets. I value their sleek profiles but keep reaching into ghost pockets for tissue and keys.

A small leather pouch with a long shoulder strap makes as good a pocket as any and does not compromise the careful simplicity of a pocketless garment. If style is no consideration, an old school fanny pack or new school runner's belt pouch will do.    -30-

More after the jump.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dress For The Field

I turned out my emergency evacuation kit for seasonal review. Several of the garments that did best service over the winter are ideal back-up for nights in the field. I know how durable they are and will not hesitate to call on them when conditions demand them.

The mid-range Finnish line of coats with a name that sounds Irish can be had at the ethnic boutique close to the Market. The preppie state of Maine mail order operation offers affordable featherweight low-profile rain gear with integral hoods. A high-end British outer wear specialist, the one favored by the American motocross community, sells a technically excellent, well-styled thigh-length jacket with excellent thermal and rain-resisting qualities. 

I am partial to clothing that is as suitable to an overnight in the woods as it is to wandering the halls of a downtown high-rise. I squeak when I pay the price, but it's preferable to the price I'd pay sleeping in the mud.     -30-
More after the jump.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Good Stuff

The trusty manager of the neighborhood shipping concierge desk commented on the Great Big Hiking Co-op as he handed over this month's parcel. He went on to mutter about excesses of style in field gear, and I was happy to suggest reading Fifties field guides, like the ones from Harvey Manning. Eddie Bauer wrote as well and offers a dynamite instant cocoa mix.

Both men began advising at a time when pack frames were made of hardwood and sleeping bags of cotton and kapok. Hikers humped canned goods up a trail. Manning remembers the Depression and how personal experience with hunger led him and his buddies to think nothing of going out for a couple of nights with no food at all.

What makes stuff good? How much it costs per use. Divide the cost of the item and the cost of acquisition (time, travel, and lost income on the price) by the number of times you use it. Relatively expensive things are often the cheapest in the long run.    -30-

More after the jump.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Design To Reverse

Although I've been able to enjoy several uninterrupted decades of domestic life in one location, living like an enlightened tenant has paid off with flexible space, easy maintenance, and lower costs. The house is in an area likely to be developed, so I have not had to consider the resale value of the structure in deciding what to do with it.

It makes sense to set up a space so that it's trivial to rearrange it. Edit choices towards freestanding furniture, textiles that are hemmed rectangles, multiple units that are consistent from room to room, and furniture on wheels or nylon sliders. A few cycles of rearrangement will bring the advice home.    -30-
More after the jump.