Friday, June 12, 2009

Someone needs to buy this...

Because I have no excuse to and it's awesome.

Offi Wave desk for $600:

Another random Etsy find

Went on today and search for "bird sculpture". This is the delightful weirdness I found on the first freakin page:

Of course, I had to click through to the seller's shop to see what other types of surrealness were on offer.

Yes, that's a poodle with the head of a human skull. Wearing a crown, no less.

Victorian lady with a bunny head. I shit you not, I crap you negatory.

The only question remaining is whether I should go with the "classier" Robin Danny Boy in white or the Boy Chick with Owl Bonnet in a turquoise blue that will really pop against our primarily white walls.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I'll quit procrastinating next week

Instead of gardening and home improvement and all that other stuff we're supposed to be up to, this is what we've been doing:

So, yeah, still no movement on the backyard. I've culled some sweet-ass inspiration photos, though.

Liking the geometric concrete pavers contrasted with the black river rocks. (via)

Needless to say, I'm not putting a freakin flat-panel in the backyard, but the metal grating on top of the grass fascinates me. (via)

More concrete pavers plus river rocks, with a lab throw in for good measure. (via)

Pretty much everything that Anna at Door Sixteen is looking at. Especially the wood decks, geometry, and levels at Modular Garden:

Also, fire pit kits, retro bullet planters, and some eco-pavers that are totally not our style but I love the concept.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My not-so-secret shame

After the inspiration post the other week, photos of the actual backyard should have followed promptly. As they would have, were I not ridiculously embarrassed of how bad it's gotten back there.

"You expect me to poop in this craphole?!"

That was taken from the sliding door in the office, facing southwest. Note side of neighbor's garage and, uh, rustic? shabby chic? fence.

The classy item, the Lutyens bench, was Michael's from before we met. The distinctly unclassy item, the Easter Island head, was a plastic piece of crap I bought off eBay. Go Team Trailer Trash!

Facing west, with the garage wall on the left:

Note rangy lavender bush and bare dirt where the dog leaps from the porch.

Looking south from the north end of the back beck:

The half-wall used to run almost all the way around the perimeter of the deck, but Michael removed all but this side, which blocks the view of our aircon unit, which is older than either of us. Underneath the deck is cracked cement.

Yes, we have a lot of outdoor furniture, none of which matches. This is what happens when you get married as old farts, so there's a lesson in that, somewhere. Also, unused dog crate and, way back and on the right, the wrought iron table that Michael tiled with a representation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Who said I had all the class in this family?

Also note ghetto corrugated porch cover. What I didn't manage to snap a good photo of is the section above the grill, which buckled pretty severely and started leaking during the recent Snowpocalypse.

Here's a really "great" shot of how crappy the grass looks:

Sod courtesy of dogpiss and spazzed-out labradoodle.

So now it's out there, the reason why I lie and tell people that we don't have a backyard. Hopefully this will be the kick in the slats I need to help Michael get this done. He's already got the entire space exquisitely detailed in Google Sketch Up, so it's only a matter of time until I come home to a driveway piled five feet high with pea gravel.

An attempt at greenthumbery

I'm a notorious plant killer. I even managed to kill the cilantro plant that I potted in the Grobal self-watering planter, FFS.

Which is why I'm unconscionably proud of the fact that I haven't killed the plants I got from Ikea. Yet.

This is a selection of three succulents that were $2 or $3 each, plus pebbles ($3, IIRC), and a glass dish that the magnolias Michael gave me for Valentine's day were floating in:

I probably should have put pebbles on the bottom for drainage as well, but so far they're doing well under my benign neglect. The grayish-blueish one on the right has even sprouted a baby!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Oh, the irony...

Just had to post this sort-of knock off of a Risom lounge chair. More "reminiscent of" or "inspired by" than "copy of", though.

Here's the Craigslist find:

And here's the original:

The arms on the original are definitely more elegant, but I actually prefer the rope to the cotton webbing.

Knock it off

A recent post at Apartment Therapy kicked up the old "licensed vs. knock-offs" debate again, and it got me thinking.

I'm honestly quite torn on this. To a large extent, I agree with one of the commenters on the original post about IP being a less important consideration than issues of sustainability and fair working conditions. If a licensed reproduction is produced in a way that is closer to my principles than an unlicensed reproduction, that's certainly a mark in its favor.

On the other hand, how can Herman Miller justify charging $829 for a 15" walnut stool? The original creator (as well as her estate) has long since been adequately remunerated for her intellectual property.

I've also been at a loss to find any information on the Herman Miller or Vitra websites about where the walnut for this piece comes from or under what conditions it's made. Does it come from an FSC-certified forest? Is the laminate or glue low-VOC? Is it made in the US or other developed country where workers are paid a living wage? Is it made in a union shop?

These are the issues that are important to me, but none of the online retailers I've found provide any information about them. What this tells me is that the appeal of licensed reproductions has less to do with what I consider to be the real value of an object, and more to do with the label.

That said, I still love that stool. I love the lines and the richness of the wood. My M.O. is to haunt Craigslist and other resources until I find one, used. This also prevents the waste and resource use inherent in buying anything new, licensed or not. And if the seller wants to give me a certificate of authenticity, I'll take it and put it in a file folder somewhere, on the off chance I'll need to sell it in the future to some other brand-whore.

Many argue that intellectual property is inviolate, and that if you can't afford the real thing, you should refrain altogether. Leaving aside the fact that it's impractical to ask people to sit or sleep on the floor rather than buy a knock-off (yes, I slept on a blanket in our college apartment for three weeks because I didn't have enough money for a bed), I'm accustomed to doing without until I can afford to pay cash (not credit) for quality. I didn't own a car until a few years after college because I could take the bus to work, and I was raised to believe that car payments are stupid. When I had $7,000 saved up, I bought a used Subaru and drove it with virtually no problems for years.

That's an example of my individual priorities, though, and I'm a terrible hypocrite when it comes to certain things. Like those acrylic tables I ordered last week that were probably made in China. And the Ikea wool rug I bought when I decorated my first house many years ago, which was probably made by child labor, or at least in some third-world hellhole of poverty and abuse. I try to keep my consumption of such things to a minimum, but sometimes my needs, my wants, and my cheapitude get the better of my intentions.

The older I get, the more I try to bring my actions in line with my ideals. Of course, the older I get the more money I have to pay for those ideals, so I can't condemn the choices of those without the resources I have.

In the end, any douchebag with $5,000 to burn can afford a Barcelona lounge chair. It's high-end mass produced, but it's still mass produced. I honestly don't see value in it equal to the cost, especially if there are no guarantees that $5,000 pays for the qualities that truly matter to me, and not just a sticker underneath where I park my ass.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Some of my favorite songs right now...

Fever Ray, I'm Not Done

Diplo/Kazu, Sushi Chop (via Mad Decent)

He is risen!

I came into work today to find those plastic Easter eggs scattered around the office. Apparently, the fable of the resurrected rabbit includes a fake mustache, since that's what I found (along with some candy, natch) in the egg nestled in my pencil cup:

Of course, since one facial appendage leads to another, I had to break out the clown nose:

I could go steal the eyepatch from the lady in QA, but would that be too much look?

Etsy shopper

Style Spy just had a post about a really cute, colorful Kenneth Jay Lane necklace:

At $300, that's a little steep for enamel. Being the cheap-ass Pollack frugal shopper I am, I went to my go-to source for all things jewelry - Etsy!

For $165:

For $129 (and how can you go wrong with a seller called "bionicunicorn"?)

For $96 (plus a little more in shipping, since the seller is in the UK):

For $32 (a little more subdued in weight and palette, but still a statement necklace):

Actually, I think that last one's my favorite. Gotta love the red-and-turquoise combo.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Disappearing tables

Last Sunday, I went a little nuts and bought a bunch of houseplants at Ikea. Once I got them home and potted up, I realized that we have a dearth of side tables. So, I want places to put plants (and beverages and remotes and maybe feet), but I don't want to clutter up the joint visually.

I'd been eying cb2's acrylic nesting tables for a while, but after browsing the site, found I preferred the Monacle [sic] side table (possibly because it shows up in the apartment of that muscle-bound, tattooed pixie on Color Splash):

(BTW, it's backordered until the end of April, despite what the website may say.)

I also ordered this acrylic side table from Overstock:

Both are on sale for about $100 each.

I'm still toying with the idea of getting this for the entry way. $295's a little much for acrylic, though, don't you think?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Landscaping inspiration

The Hotel Modera is a hip new refurbished hotel right around the corner from my office. I found myself making detours to pass by the courtyard during my regular preprandial perambulations, so I figured I should take some photos.

I love the slat fencing and contemporary angularity of the design:

On the right (South) side are tables and chairs separated by concrete planters and benches. Note superfly plant wall and right-angled lines of planting beds:

The grass coming though the void in the pavers adds height and interest to the layout:

I like how the geometry of the pavers (and even the plantings) is broken up by the organic, rough stone. The cement "bench" provides seating and directs flow:

Different plants are arranged with zinc (? the same material as the fire pits and planters, I think) on the plant wall, giving it an unexpected patchwork feel:

The groundcover coming up randomly and the living wall keeps the geometry of the pavers from being boring:

The two sides of the courtyard are separated by wooden decking and a glass pergola, which is great in a climate where most of our sunshine comes in liquid form (and no, I'm not talking about beer):

The North side of the courtyard has outdoor seating arranged around fire pits with ground cover of crushed oyster? Gravel? Not sure:

The fire pits are made out of the same oxidized metal as some of the panels on the plant wall and the gigantor planters:

That's a metric shedload of euphorbia, Itellyouwhut.

We're planning on using this as an inspiration for a dog-friendly backyard transformation this year. Once I overcome my shame, I'll post photos of the current condition of Jake's playground and craporium as a "before".

The five little words every woman loves to hear...

"Let's get a new toilet."

The basement bathroom is, well, a basement bathroom. We've tried to gussy it up with kicky paint and a Warhol-ish shower curtain, but it's still cramped and somewhat grim. Perfectly suitable for terrorizing bathing the dog, but it's not optimized for human use. Namely the toilet. Specifically, the seat. It's small. So small that, um, manparts hit the inside when owner of said manparts sits. Or so I'm told.

Elongated bowl it is, then! Being a good treehugging guilty liberal, I immediately found the EPA list of high-efficiency toilets. Unfortunately, my old standby,, is out of business, at least for now.

I'm currently on the fence between the Toto Acquia II dual flush terlet and the Toto Eco-Drake 1.28 GPF terlet. The former is apparently a pain in the ass to install, but more efficient for, uh, number ones.

Either way, we'll be eligible for a $100 rebate, and no one will have to deal with their junk bumping up on a toilet seat anymore.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Short hair: pros and cons


  • Dries faster
  • Uses less shampoo/product
  • Healthier
  • Doesn't get stuck in lip gloss
  • Hides gray hairs
  • Lends itself to faux hawks and shampoo horns
  • Encourages comparisons to Audrey Hepburn/Jean Seberg
  • Differentiates wearer from ponytail-wearing, LARPing comic book guy
  • No weave for mouthy hos at the club to pull out


  • Mongoloid rooster bedhead
  • More frequent salon trips
  • Less overtly feminine
  • Can't hide unfortunate Habsburg chinzilla or talking zit
  • No one notices when you get your hair cut
  • Delaying salon visit can lead to incipient mullet and/or "Chachis"

The new "Keep Calm and Carry On"

Yes, everyone's sick to death of the ubiquitous "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters sprouting up all over like mushrooms after a rain storm. Just as KCaCO replaced "FOR LIKE EVER", a new cheeky text-heavy poster available in multiple colorways shall eventually win the to-the-death cage-match of cutesy poster supremacy. My vote's for one of these, from two Canadian dudes known as Whigby:

Each combines a famous quote (from Sigmund Freud, George Orwell, and Frank Lloyd Wright, respectively) and silhouette on a 19.5" x 26.5" silkscreen.

Also available from Velocity art and design and probably a lot of other sites I'm not familiar with.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Bugatti in the barn...

You know those stories about the city slicker who breaks down in unincorporated East Catfart, hoofs it to a farmhouse to ask for assistance, and is led by the elderly gentleman resident to a barn to scrounge for tools only to come upon an untouched 1921 Bugatti Brescia Tourer that said farmer claims he'll sell for a pittance? Okay, this isn't anywhere near as orgasmically, impossibly awesome as the Bugatti in the barn, but it's definitely a steal:

Heywood Wakefield expandable dining table. The seller's asking $150, and apparently doesn't realize this table's worth between $1,500 and $1,800. Even if it's scratched to shit, it's still a great deal. I'd totally buy it if I had, you know, a dining room.

Oh, that knock at the door? It's probably not a sexy pizza delivery person. You can quit composing that email to Penthouse Forum.

Better like this?

or like this?

I think I like the Charley Harper print better, but neither of them really cream my twinkie.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's baaa-aaack


These boots were made for stomping zombies

About two months back, I realized that my kitten-heel black boots with the wafer-thin sole probably weren't the most appropriate footwear to be stomping around downtown in, considering I was covering 2+ miles a day in them. At the same time, I was seeing a lot of flat boots around, some equestrian, some not so much, and coveting the easy, comfortable look. But in the back of my mind, there was still a howling, gibbering desire for this:

Needless to say, going for the whole look isn't an option. There's not a whole lot of opportunity for a supportive undergarment there, and the weaponry might get a little heavy on my commute. Oh, and Eric Brown busted out the seams of my favorite red dress in college (I still have those photos, Eric) and I haven't found one I liked since.

What I could emulate, though, are those boots. And suddenly there's the confluence of current trend and poignant longing for badassery to enable my purchase of footwear.

According to this site, you can actually buy the "hero" boots (I think that means Milla's feet were actually in them — if you're into that kind of thing) for $4,500:

This is one of those times I start thinking how cool it would be if I won the lottery, then realize I'd be the most stupidly profligate newly-minted millionaire ever and end up on one of those TLC shows moaning about how my periodontist cheated me out of seven figures.

The closest match I'd been able to find were the Camper Spiral boots. Which I could never find both a) on sale and b) in my size. I love Campers, but not $200+ worth.

After that burst of urgency that, for me at least, usually follows several years of stubborn longing thwarted by self-denying cheapness, I ended up buying these, gratuitous hardware and all:

They turned out to be a great compromise between looks and fit — the front of the calf is a nice leather, and the back is that stretchy fake stuff that hooker boots are made out of. Respectable equestrienne in the front, crack ho in the rear! I found a 20% off coupon at, and shipping was free, so I ended up paying only $108.76 for them! And frankly, when you're preparing for the Zombiepocalypse, $108.76 is a small price to pay for comfortable, reliable footwear.

Besides, you need to save your money for your emergency food kit and zombie survival guide. DUH.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stimulating the economy, one denim garment at a time

I guess I'm still high from the rush of getting a pair of Kut from the kloth trouser jeans for $10 at the Rack the other day, because I just went and bought this on my lunch:

I've been wanting to get a pencil skirt for a while, but hadn't found one that fit right until today. It was $42.99, not $44.99 (I know, "I WANT MY TWO DOLLARSSS!"), which is more than I usually like to spend on overpriced Made in China BR crap, but it fit really well! And I resisted the siren call of this:

Which is probably a good thing, unless I get a job as a roadside flagger. In that case, I'm going to be kicking myself.