Shopping


At long last, I have taken the big step of urban living, and bought a bicycle for myself. For so long I have depended solely on the MBTA for my transportation needs (because if you need to depend on something…) but now that I live more than a ten minute walk from Davis Square, I’ve made the big move.

And, most importantly, found a veritable treasure trove of vintage objects (aka antiques) in the process. Enter: Cambridge Antique Market. This place is ridiculous. They have multiple stories of jewelry, furniture, random items, and fun old things. Not to mention the basement, where in is housed Cambridge Used Bicycles.

Joyus Above-Ground-Transit Enjoying Fellows

Joyus Above-Ground-Transit Enjoying Fellows

If you (like me) spend a fair amount of time walking around Cambridge and Somerville, you have probably seen the gorgeous vintage bikes that these dudes chain up with little signs on them. Well the bicycles in store are just as fab as the advertisements would lead you to believe.

They have a fairly large, almost constantly rotating selection, so chances are if they don’t have anything for you when you go in, they will soon. It’s best to call ahead to check (as the Antique Market is not exactly the most accessible location for self-locomoters), but when I went in, they found a bicycle for me, and had it all fixed up and ready to roll out within a few hours.

Prices for most bicycles range between $150 and $250, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll find the right one for your fine self. But the staff is great– totally on top of their game and helpful, and will do their best to get you out the door on wheels. I also got some beautiful woodblock prints for about half of what the price was listed as, so definitely check out everything they’ve got anytime you stop by.

And now begins a new chapter in my life, a chapter where I will no longer be a sad, delayed and anxious subject of the MBTA’s whims!

…Until it snows. Eff.

10

1. Getting my socks blown off by Yjastros, the Albuquerque-based, internationally acclaimed (and preemenent in America) Flamenco Repertory Company.

Dancing so fierce you'll dream of tigers and pumas.

Dancing so fierce you'll dream of tigers and pumas.

Seriousy, if you ever get the chance to see their artisitc director, Joaquin Encinias, dance, take it. He will mesmerize and enthrall you. And the rest of them won’t exactly fall down on the job, either.

2. Drinking coffee

This is a picture of the interior of my chest.

This is a picture of the interior of my chest.

Dear Satellite and Winnings Coffee Company: You are both welcome for your respective profit margins. It was my pleasure.

3. Going to Austin, TX.

I have no idea who these Hipsters are, but they fairly accuratly depict my feelings about Austin.

I have no idea who these Hipsters are, but they fairly accuratly depict my feelings about Austin.

Highlights include The LBJ Presidential Library and Museum and Redbud Lake.

Lowlights (blacklights?) include Lone Star Beer and The Sun.

4. Doing a lot of Vintage Shopping in Austin, TX.

Me, in my new Vintage Texan duds

Me, in my new Vintage Texan duds

If you go, definetly check out New Bohemia (and adjacent New Brohemia) in the fashionable South Congress neighborhood (also known as SoCo if you’re an alcoholic [read: Texan]), as well as Cream Vintage on Guadalupe St. boarding the Campus of the University of Texas (I am told this stretch of Guadalupe St. is known as “The Drag” by fashionable “Longhorn” students and “Locals”. For what it’s worth, I think “The Drag” is a really poor choice of title for any part of a city that is supposed to have fun things to do on it).

Both establishments (as well as their many fellows) are surprisingly affordable with a smashing selection. Very cool stuff.

5. Being surprised by the existance of something cool in Texas outside of Austin (in Amarillo, of all places).

The 806

The 806

The 806 is, from what I can tell, the only coffee shop/vegetarian eatery in the city of Amarillo. They have really quite fantastic coffee as well as incredibly tolerable food, though my nachos did take about 19 hours to cook. The only knock against this place, really, is that you have to pay for water (sort of understandable, given what West Texas looks like). But overall, a definite gem in the rough. They even have art! On the walls! In West Texas!

6. Not being in Texas.

Overall, I think a positive choice given the alternative.

7.  Watching a lot of Harvey Birdman

Harvey Birdman, in a moment of agony.

Harvey Birdman, in a moment of agony.

Best program on Adult Swim ever. Bar none.

(Except for Cowboy Bebop, of course. Also, Metalocalypse is a close second. A very, very close second.)

[Squidbillies is terrible.]

8. Reading a biography of the 32nd American President.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Nations first "Balla-dent"

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Nations first "Balla-dent"

I continue to chug along of Conrad Black’s exceptional and truly epic Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Champion of Freedom. Weighing in at over 1100 pages, this tomb is one of the most incisive, wide-ranging, detailed and thought provoking Historical works I have ever read. Not only does it provide a vivid portrait of the man himself (both laudatory and critical, in turn), but also the unprecedented events he presided over and confronted, and descriptions of just about every human being ever involved in those events. Fantastic, fantastic stuff.

9. Seeing world renowned improv and sketch comedy in Albuquerque

The Pajama Men

The Pajama Men

The Pajama Men (Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez) have received plaudits from such diverse sources as The Chicago Tribune, The Albuquerque Alibi, The Scotsman (of Edinburgh), and The London Times and awards from just about every fringe festival worth mentioning in the UK, Canada and Australia. And they’re currently premiering a new show, in Albuquerque, at the Q-Staff Theater. Oh, and it’s freaking hilarious.

Check these guys out, they’re gonna be superstars.

10. Watching a lot of Baseball

"Awww, Snap!"

"Awww, Snap!"

Let’s go Red Sox, let’s go.

(I lead a successful life.)

We’ve been posting a lot about media. For a brief break, how about some clothing?

Jellyfish Tee from Amongst Friends

Jellyfish Tee from Amongst Friends

Amongst Friends from the NYC has most of their fall line on sale, bringing them down to could-reasonably-pick-these-up-on-a-lark range. I like their tee-shirts, especially the jellyfish; also check out this bangin cordouroy fedora.

On the other hand, if you do want to drop more than your rent on some shirts, check out the Black Buoy. I’m partial to the black tee-shirts myself, especially if I feel the need to have a shirt that goes to my knees. There’s a bunch of keen non-shirt stuff available as well. Don’t miss the Death Pits.

While I find them rather overbranded for my personal taste, Fundamentally Unstable has some solid designs that may appeal to those of you who prefer displaying the moniker FU to all and sundry. Just don’t add an S in the middle.

Snake and Horse Tee from 1AEON

Snake and Horse Tee from 1AEON

On the other hand, there do exist shirts that I like AND are affordable – enter 1AEON. Really great designs based off of nature and guns (two ancient lovers indeed), for boys and girls. Mostly shirts, but also some accessories and tote bags. Also, weird masks and metal bands.

Howling On The Wind Tee at Bonbi Forest

Howling On The Wind Tee at Bonbi Forest

I also can never shut up about Bonbi Forest. Just block out some time to browse everything.

Finally, if you ever want to get me a gift, browse through the industrial jewelry at No Form Design. I love pretty much everything. Especially this hinge cuff (which reminds me I need to make my handcuff watch at some point…)

I hope you’re able to get some swell clothing for the warmer weather, if it ever comes…happy March, everyone.

This post is for you, but it’s mostly for me.

Albums coming up soon that I’m looking forwards to:

Tonite: Franz Ferdinand by Franz Ferdinand. Drops 1/27. I quite like the Franz, and their first two albums both bring me much joy. Good hooks, tight production, and I dig the singers voice. The second album showed movement away from the now-standard Brit/Indie/Dance/Pop style of the debut, which I appreciated. I’m excited about the nods to a quirkier, moodier sound that I’m gleaning from the new single, Ulysses. Ah hell, here it is:

Middle Cyclone, by Neko Case. Drops 3/3. Neko Case is lovely, and I’ve been dabbling in her work for a while, and I think I would enjoy hearing some new stuff.

Hazards of Love, by The Decemberists. Drops 3/24. OMG NEW DECEMBERISTS! Absolutely one of my favorite bands, full stop. When I saw them in November, they played a couple of songs that should, theoretically, be on Hazards of Love, and they were bangin’ hot. So I’m a little excited. You can go to their website RIGHT NOW and download a cut off the album, called The Rakes Song. Do it now.

Honorable Mentions: Mos Def – The Ecstatic (2/9), Lamb of God – Wrath (2/24), Madeleine Peyroux – Bare Bones (3/10)

Just a few quick suggestions from a recent trip Nathan and I made (as well as a couple old favorites):

Motley

Super rad little boutique down in the South End (On Tremont Street). Mostly men’s clothing, though a couple things for the ladies as well. The highlight of this place is definitely the t-shirts– they have a full rack of kickin’ designs, and as an added bonus, when we went everything was on sale. Also a great variety of bags, both messenger and otherwise, for that special someone on your list who needs to carry something. They (because how could they not?) also had a great selection of funky little accessories (Stocking stuffer, anyone?). Pricey, but not any more so then similar stores.

Black Ink

Super nifty little “cool shit” design shop with locations in Harvard Square and Beacon Hill. It’s difficult to really describe the merchandise here aside from to say that if you want a whole lot of interesting, design things in one place, this is that place. Great for little knick-knacks, as well as semi-ironic gifts for your semi-ironic friends. They also have a ton of Tin TIn related items, from very nice watches to t-shirts to posters. As a side note, the Black Ink also has a link the Museum of Useful Things, which apparently has ceased to exist as a non-digital entity, but where you can continue to spend some digital cash. Speaking of cash (both digital and the paper variety), you will spend a lot of it if you shop here and buy more then one or two things. The problem is that you’ll want to do just that.

Planet Records

One of the very few record stores in Boston that is not either Newbury Comics or CD Spins, off of Harvard Square on JFK St. They have a ton of cds and records in a very small space, and a fairly comprehensive collection (though, of course, typical used record store rules apply. Which is to say, the only stuff they have is that which other people apparently do not…). The best thing about this place is the wicked cheap prices, you can get most any cd for under ten dollars, and the records are an even better bargain. They were also selling little packs of 5 cd’s wrapped up in white paper for 1$ (and I believe 7 records for 1$). Of course, you can’t see which cd’s it is that your buying, if your in the mood for a little bit of excitement, they’re fun at the very least.

Lame Duck Books

My absolute favorite book store in the world. Off of Mass Ave. just south of Harvard Square, they have an absolutely world class selection of books in English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, and a few others to boot. If you are ignore the fact that it’s a recession, these guys carry first edition copies of books by authors such as (in case you might have heard of them) James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Friedrick Nietzsche– you get the idea. Oh, and did I mention most of those first editions are signed? The best part is that the proprietor (a truly fabulous individual) is always eager to show off the collection, so even if you don’t have an extra 20 grand in your pocket, you can still check out some of the most incredible books you will ever see. Of course, they have a great selection of used books of sightly less scholarly interest, but still, don’t walk in if your not willing to drop at least $50 on a book. For the bibliophile in your life, the one who will love you forever after you get them something from this gem.

Magpie

One of my favorite places in Davis Square, they have one of the better collections of the aforementioned “cool shit” in town. Of particular note are the great t-shirts (for both men and the ladies), some awesome posters and postcards of Davis Square and Greater Boston, and these super cool blank journals that are made out of re-purposed library books. They’ve got lots of great little things, and most won’t quite break the bank (though, they will, of course, come closer to that then you’d like).

So there’s a few little ideas to get you started heading into the last shopping weekend before the holidays.  I’ll be finishing up back here in Albuquerque though, so expect a South Western version of the previous post (or something like it) in the soon.

We are both recovering from this years epic Thanksgiving, Kyle by committing some violence on scenery, I by channeling my lethargy into grad school personal statements. I am always struck by the slightly ridiculous nature of a specific day marked by the consumption of obscene amounts of food (a little wasteful, no?) – however, we are lucky enough to have a fairly tight-knit and loving family, and this was the first holiday in many, many years that our whole extended family was able to come together and share stories, quality time, games, and, of course, food.

We were out in a painfully quaint* part of Cape Cod near Orleans, which was calm and quiet and nautical. The food was all home-made and amazing, from Kyle’s mozzarella, shrimp and artichoke casserole to the amazing spread of antipasto to the sweet-potato rolls made by yours truly + SO, from our cousins seasonal fruit dressing to our grandmothers onion pie, from many different pies to rocking traditional green bean casserole, topped off (of course) by brined turkey in a bag. Holy crap.

We did manage to do some non-eating things. Many games of Ticket to Ride: Europe were played, as well as more wordy/partyish games. Many walks were taken. We also managed to get out to Provincetown to take advantage of the end-of-season sales, which were truly amazing. I picked up a fantastic enameled ring from Century, and Kyle did some scarf shopping at Marc by Marc Jacobs. Of course there’s a Marc Jacobs in P-town. Also, more good food.

Since the economy out there goes by the tourist season, everything is pretty much shut down from December through April – so going in November to do some quality shopping at deep discounts (50% in my case, and most stores were offering at least 10-30%) isn’t that bad of an idea for Boston locals.

Now I’m disappearing into application land for a bit. I hope that everyone managed to have a warm and happy Thanksgiving, and best of luck keeping sane through the next month!

*I’m a city boy at this point, sorry!

Threadless is having their holiday sale! Great graphic tees from 5$ up. I personally own a number of threadless shirts, and they are (a) comfy (b) sweet and (c) good conversation pieces at parties. Check it out if you haven’t gotten it around to it yet. Looks like I’ll have to search to see if anythings left in my size…I’ve had my eye on this shirt for a while, but it’s already sold out of medium!

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