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.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I know it's not politically correct, but...

I lurve the exotic leather accessories from Etsy seller Unearthed. Specifically, the brightly colored stingray cuffs:

The colors are brilliant for spring, and I love the concept of something so luxe that almost goes over the top into looking fake and plasticy. Kind of like the purple patent handbag that I like to bust out randomly. That shit retailed for almost $800 (no, I didn't pay anything close to that), but looks like it could have fallen off a truck behind Forever 21.

The sisters behind Unearthed also do some beautiful and original work with alligator and other skins, but how can you say no to the stingray? One of them took out Steve Irvin and left that adorable reject from The Dark Crystal without a daddy. The least I can do is enable some eye-for-an-eye with a lovely accessory.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Living room, before and (sort of) after


After (kinda):

I'd been told that the clock above the fireplace was too small, so I moved that into the bathroom and replaced it with the Charlie Harper print from the kitchen. We also got rid of the brass fireplace screen and tools that came with the house (along with the window treatments that we've never bothered to replace). We don't use the fireplaces anyway, so no harm, no foul.

Still up in the air on art for above the fireplace. I have a large Ork poster of Portland in the black and white with a chrome frame that I may try there. If I do, I'll post a photo.

The marble-topped tables in the Before were actually nightstands from Michael's loft-dwelling bachelor days and were no way, no how going to fit in our 1964-sized bedroom. Unless we decided to share a twin bed, which, not so much. The hanging shelves are Elfa from the Container Store (anyone want to take them off my hands?!), and probably one of the more foolish purchases I've made for the house. Sometimes frugal screws up functional, you know?

I'd started thinking that with the ability to work from home, I should really invest in a convenient, uncluttered place to work. Previously, my laptop and assorted recharging doo-dads all lived on the kitchen island, which was a daily visual annoyance and not that comfortable. I'd also noticed that outside of the holidays, we just weren't using the living room. It had become what I sneer at - a visiting priest room. Which is all wrapped up in counter-aspirational class issues for me and fairly pointless since we've only had a priest at our house once, and we hung out in the backyard anyway.

I suspect I initally saw ISS Designs advertised in the back of Atomic Ranch or Dwell. It kept cropping up, though, as a period-appropriate and infinitely customizable, if painfully expensive, solution to both problems. I finally pulled the trigger around Christmas, and finally got the cabinets delivered in February:

Gods bless Michael and his calloused hands for installing it all. I'd forgotten about the tray ceiling when I placed the order for 8' poles. Which meant Michael had to take the poles to his shop to cut 2" off of them. Sorry, hon.

Now we have a much more cohesive look, more storage, and I have a Corner of My Own. I still want to get a bigger rug, something cool to hang above the fireplace, and more color, but that's all superficial. The shelving and can lights were good investments in actual functionality.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lookit what I got!

They need a little cleaning up, but I've been wanting one since renting a house in Black Butte Ranch years ago that had the Yugoslavian knock-offs of the Wegner ones and this pair was only $200. I really like the ebonized wood, and don't miss the handles on the inspiration chairs.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Terry's socks?

In a sporadically frantic attempt to find affordable big art that didn’t come from Ikea, I found Terry's Posters, an enormous selection of film posters. Which rocks for several reasons. First, it's Czechoslovakian, and so am I (partially). Second, the prices are fairly affordable, although there are some pricier options in the "Best of" and "Rarities" sections. Third, it has an entire section of posters for Czech versions of US films, which are SO MUCH cooler than the US versions:

Jaws 2:

So eastern bloc and constructivist compared to the cheesecake US version

Short Circuit:

Wasn't this a kids movie? Maybe this was actually the poster from Terminator or something.

Poseidon Adventure:

Okay, the US version has them beat on the tagline ("Hell, upside down"? Hell, yeah!), but the "cast of thousands" yearbook page look blows ass.


Face it, every version of this movie poster kicks ass because this movie kicks ass.

With the exception of the last, the posters are way more interesting than the films were.

Of special note - check out the ability to search by actor or director. I think the Czechs have a serious Thing for Clint Eastwood, because those are the awesomest.