29 April 2011


[Please indulge me in a bit of superficiality admiration of female beauty this evening...]

You all know how I feel about Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan on Mad Men. But what about the other ladies on the show? Elisabeth Moss (Peggy) is cute, and I guess I think of her as a little more of a serious actress, maybe because she's been in London doing the Lillian Hellman play The Children's Hour during the show's hiatus. And January Jones (Betty) is certainly pretty, but something about her doesn't quite do it for me—it may have something to do with the coldness of Betty's character.

But you know who's seriously hot? Alison Brie, who plays Trudy Campbell. You'd be forgiven for not noticing this, given that her character only appears once in a while, and in the constraints of 1960s fashions and hairstyles. But if you happen to watch the very funny NBC comedy Community, where Brie is a series regular, then you've probably noticed it too.

Exhibit A: these two stills from next week's episode of Community (which is the first half of the two-part season finale, and a sequel of sorts to an absolutely epic episode from last season about a campus-wide paintball tournament).

Exhibit B: this photo shoot (and accompanying interview) from last year in Complex magazine. See what I mean?

28 April 2011

The Natural

It's cloudy outside and has been threatening to rain all day, but now that we're about to roll into May, which will certainly end much warmer than it begins, the men's magazines say it's time to break out the white pants, particularly white jeans.

I came around to white jeans a couple of years ago, though I much prefer off-white, cream, or "natural" to white. I found an inexpensive pair at Target and have worn them to work and on a few social occasions. The only thing I didn't like about them was that the leg openings were too wide. 9" works best for me with most pants and jeans, but these are 9-3/4", which easily gets floppy. I'm not sure it's worth it to have them tapered below the knees, but I could at least ask Mr. Lee what it would cost.

Meanwhile, though, I found another pair last year on eBay. They're Polo, exactly like the blue ones that I've searched for and acquired over the years, only off-white, and the leg openings are the right width. They were too long, but that was easily fixed by the tailor.

They go with pretty much anything, though I think they look best with a colorful button-front shirt such as a madras plaid or a bright stripe. Also, you need to think about what shoes you'll be wearing. It's probably better to stay away from boots or black shoes, anything too severe; you may see that sort of combo on a fashion-show runway, but it will almost certainly not look as good out in the real world.

I would humbly suggest a loafer or plain-toe lace-up in saddle tan, which is a good warm-weather choice for work outfits, or you could go with a pair of white or tan suede bucks, which are versatile and have had a resurgence in popularity. For nonwork settings, it's hard to beat a pair of classic canvas sneakers like Jack Purcells (you can find a good piece about canvas plimsolls over at Put This On).

27 April 2011

Steamed T

Sure, it was nice that it was sunny and warm today, but I didn't appreciate getting on a bus when returning from a lunchtime errand and feeling like I'd walked into a sauna. Is it possible for a bus to be that warm and the driver not to notice? He must have been as uncomfortable as everyone else. At least when I got to Wellington on my way home, the driver had the AC on.

26 April 2011

The Ratings Game Has Changed

I've been a big fan of the TV series Fringe since it premiered on Fox in the fall of 2008. It's about a small team attached to the FBI that investigates strange happenings at the... outer edges of scientific reality. (See what I did there?) Yes, it does sound a lot like The X-Files (another show I loved, and stayed with until the end, at least two seasons past when it should have concluded) and for most of its first season it was a lot like The X-Files, with standalone "monster of the week" stories mingling with a larger story arc.

But at the end of season one, the show finally arrived at where it wanted to be all along, and gave us its big revelation of a parallel universe right alongside our own. The two worlds are very similar, but different in ways large and small. (One touching detail: in the alternate universe, 9/11 never happened and the World Trade Center towers remain standing. Also, Eric Stoltz held onto the lead role in the Back to the Future movies.)

At the end of season two, with a small but loyal audience and the knowledge of a third-season renewal, Fringe made an extremely bold (by episodic TV standards) move, swapping the two versions of the main character into each other's alternate universe. (Eventually both of them were able to get back to where they belonged.) Furthering this bold gambit, this entire season has played out in both worlds, with stories alternating back and forth while building to an inevitable clash between the two worlds, that supposedly only one will be able to survive. There are two episodes left in this season.

The reason I'm even bringing this up, since it's fairly unlikely many of you are fans, is because Fringe has become something of a "little show that could." Last season and the first part of this season, the show aired on Thursdays at 9, when my DVR was recording CSI and The Office, so I had to either catch recordings of the show when one of those other shows was a repeat or wasn't on, or (more frequently) watch it on Hulu. (I could have swapped out one of those other shows, and in hindsight maybe I should have.)

Then Fox announced it was moving Fringe to Fridays in January. Fridays have not been kind to network TV shows for 15 years or so—not so coincidentally, right around the time Fox moved The X-Files from Fridays to Sundays. Now able to record the Fringe episodes, I made sure to watch them, knowing that networks now look at the numbers for DVR viewing of shows within the week after they've aired, and factor those into a show's overall ratings. I figured I was doing my small part to help Fringe get renewed for a fourth season.

And it did in fact get renewed; it was announced a month or so ago. Yesterday there was an article in the New York Times about how DVR viewing of TV shows has altered the playing field for marginal series like Fringe. Sure enough, the article cited statistics showing that DVR viewing of Fringe in the week after episodes aired boosted its ratings by almost 50%, making it the show with the highest percentage of added DVR viewers this season. (I imagine the tally for online viewings must factor into this in some way as well.)

Obviously this doesn't mean that all borderline shows will get renewals, but if you're a DVR user and care about a show that's "on the bubble," make the effort to find time to watch it each week. It could make enough of a difference to keep it on the air.

25 April 2011

Grooming Garage: Smell Nice

There isn't a lot of middle ground when it comes to wearing fragrance: you either like to, or you don't. If I'm going to work, I don't like to leave the house without it, because you never know when you may be involuntarily squashed against someone on the T, and I'm horrified by the thought that I might smell bad to a stranger, especially during the warmer months. (It's this same reasoning that drives my effort to have mints or Listerine strips on me at all times.)

I generally don't have any interest in department-store stuff, though I have owned and worn Aramis Life and John Varvatos. For the last decade or so I've worn Banana Republic Modern off and on, which you can find these days only at BR outlet stores. I have no idea why they choose to sell it this way, but when I'm near an outlet store I usually grab a bottle or two. I also recently finished a bottle of Burt's Bees men's fragrance, which is distinctive and quite pleasant-smelling. (The Mrs. says it has a licorice note, and I think she's right.)

When I went to New York a few weeks back, one of the places on my list to visit that day was MiN, an eclectic apothecary/fragrance store that opened about a year ago on Crosby Street in SoHo. I accidentally overlooked it when we were there in November, and during the interim I read about a fragrance from Spain that I wanted to sample. It sounded like something I would like, and it's available from MiN's web site, but I couldn't imagine buying a fragrance without smelling it first.

It's called Alvarez Gomez Madrid, and it smells predominantly like lemon. (There are other fragrance notes, but I'm not good at articulating that sort of thing; you can read about them here.) The company that produces it is over 100 years old, and its products are all-natural. This sort of fragrance works well for me in the summer, because it's fresh and not at all perfumey (probably my biggest gripe with mass-market fragrances).

Even if you aren't interested in smelling lemony, MiN is still very much worth a visit. They carry a number of uncommon (and generally much more expensive) fragrance lines from around the world that are not as well-known, such as Acqua di Parma, Penhaligon's, and Santa Maria Novella, as well as several skin and hair care lines (including their own house line), razors, hair brushes, candles and home fragrances, and other sundry items of the sort you might expect to find in such a store. I recommend stopping in next time you're in New York.

And if you happen to end up standing next to me on the T this summer, I'll be the tall blond guy who smells like lemons.

23 April 2011

This Week in Awesome (4/23/11)

I know yesterday's late post was kind of lame, but I didn't want to have yet another Friday pass without posting something. I think maybe I need to come up with a regular Friday feature that forces me to concoct a piece each week. Anyway...

Some of my coworkers (and, to be honest, myself) are what would be considered word and grammar nerds. (It goes with the territory of working in a publishing environment.) Among the things we like to read to sate this interest is the blog After Deadline on the New York Times site, which examines grammar and usage issues within the paper's content. Some of you won't care about this at all, others will groove on it—so be it.

Have you ever wanted your own tartan? Now you can create one. (Suits + Boots)

If you've ever been to San Francisco you no doubt noticed that most houses have their garages underneath, primarily due to space limitations. Buildings that predate the automobile were not built with garages. But for almost any problem, there's a solution if you have the means. (Gizmodo via Jalopnik)

For those of you who are celebrating, Happy Easter. Here's a humorous clip to get you in a candy-eating mood. (Videogum) And if you enjoyed that, here are a bunch more like it. (Dangerous Minds)

22 April 2011

Setting the Table

Easter isn't a major holiday for my family, but we still go to my mother's in Rhode Island for dinner. A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my mother on the phone, and she said, "I don't think I'm going to make a ham this year."

I was thrilled, because no one really likes ham all that much. So I asked what she was planning to make. She said, "Chicken parmaesan." Good answer, mom.

In the morning I have to get up and head down the street to the Italian deli, and wait in line for some arancini to bring with us. We also went to Trader Joe's tonight for wine.

The most important thing about celebrating holidays: you should spend them with people who are important to you, and you should eat and drink well. Salute...

21 April 2011

Music: Response

Cool article in Tuesday's New York Times about the scientific underpinnings of how and why music provokes an emotional response in our brains.

20 April 2011

Phone Freedom

Many people have given up their home phones, choosing to have a mobile as their only phone. I am not yet at the point where I'm willing to do this. If I were younger I might feel differently, but I prefer not to have certain types of calls come to my cell phone, things like doctor's office reminder calls, stray telemarketing calls, etc.

And while I want to maintain a home phone, I don't want to have to pay a lot for it every month. Back when we used to live in Somerville, we had a traditional landline through Verizon with additional charges for long distance, until the cable company made phone service available and offered a bundle discount since we already had TV and internet service through them. I think that ran about $25 a month plus taxes for unlimited local and long-distance calling.

[Generational-change aside: the concept of "long distance" and the associated charges seem like such quaint anachronisms now, but I can remember when I was in college how the long-distance rates went down after business hours, and again at 11 pm. My mother used to call me every Thursday night just after 11.]

When we moved five years ago (what?) I decided I could get a home phone line cheaper, and I signed up for VoIP service (phone calling using your high-speed internet connection, but not supplied by your internet provider) with Vonage. At the time they offered an unlimited plan for $25 a month, but they also had a plan they didn't publicize as much: 500 outgoing minutes a month for $15, plus unlimited incoming calls. With taxes it was still under $20 a month, and we didn't make enough calls to worry about ever exceeding the allotted minutes.

But the fees crept up gradually, and then a couple of years ago Vonage raised the cost of the plan, and before I knew it the monthly charge was back up to about $26. I was considering getting rid of the home line, but I didn't really want to. I thought about Skype and Google Voice, but wasn't thrilled with the idea of having to sit at the computer to talk on the phone, or that the computer had to be on to receive an incoming call. (Correct me if I'm wrong about that last part, but I think it's the case.)

Then I heard about Ooma. Ooma is a VoIP service with a difference: you buy a hardware box for around $200, and thereafter you pay no monthly costs except taxes (which Ooma is required by federal law to collect) of around $3-4 a month. You can make and receive unlimited calls in the US (there are additional charges for international calling, but that's not an issue for us). The hardware has the voicemail/answering machine integrated right into it. At the rate I was paying, Ooma will have paid for itself in less than a year.

Ooma will try to sell you a "premier" level of service for $10 a month, but unless you require a second line or some other esoteric features, you don't need it and you're not required to take it. I was able to get the hardware at Costco for $180—the best price I'd seen for it anywhere—and was able to keep our number (there was a $40 fee to port it from Vonage, or I could have opted to get a new number and not pay the fee). Call quality is as good as, if not better than, the Vonage service, and if we move I can just reestablish the service at a different address.

This is not a sponsored post, and I'm not being paid to write about or endorse Ooma. I'm offering it as a suggestion if you want to keep or restart home phone service without another bill to pay every month.

Back to Normal

So Monday's little work-at-home drama spilled over into yesterday, with various behind-the-scenes machinations leading to me spending about an hour late last night making stuff live on the company's web site from home, hence the lack of any noise from over in this general vicinity yesterday.

But that's all behind us now, and I now know that if I need to work on files at home, I should make copies of them and bring them with me. The rest of the week will be normal and highly mundane. I'm really fortunate, because my job so rarely causes me any stress.

18 April 2011

Working from Home

I usually take today off, since it's the only holiday I don't get through my employer, and I have an aversion to the kind of crowds the marathon draws, and I have to pass right through that area to get to work. But then I looked at the calendar and realized my monthly deadline was tomorrow.

I guess I'm normally a bit further along in my process, but I got caught a bit behind this month, so there was no way I could take today off. Then I realized I could work at home, which would be kind of like a day off, except I would have to concentrate much harder than I usually do when I "work at home." In other words, today I would need to really work.

And I did. I accomplished everything I needed to, except when I got to the end and started to upload all the files to our database thingy, the files wouldn't upload. I tried several times with several different files, but it wasn't happening. This creates kind of a domino effect, because the files have to be in that database in order for something else to happen overnight, and that has to happen so I can go in on the 19th of each month and make a bunch of stuff live on our web site.

So lucky me, I now have to email our marketing partner and explain why the database sync won't happen overnight. It isn't really going to affect anything too terribly, but it's just not how I would prefer to do things. I thought today was going to be relatively easy, but it turned out to be complicated. Looks like I should have just gone into the office.

16 April 2011

This Week in Awesome (4/16/11)

Sorry about being absent yesterday—something unexpected came up at work.

Fellow Bostonians: a new way to check on how the T is running. (Universal Hub)

Also, a slightly more nostalgic view of the T, through animation, in the form of an inbound B line ride along Comm. Ave. in the 1960s. Several other good clips here as well. (YouTube via Universal Hub)

The parade of ridiculous but real products continues: the Slobstopper, which is basically a bib to wear while driving. Seriously. (Consumerist; see their story here.)

And finally this week, a new fragrance just for city dwellers. (Funny or Die)

14 April 2011

American Rags

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the sage advice was given to always carry a towel. I find a bandana to be nearly as useful and a good deal more portable. In summer it's an absolute necessity for wiping sweat off my face and neck; it can be handy for wiping stuff off my glasses; and when on the T it's a polite and somewhat more sanitary way to muffle sneezes.

So I try to keep one in my bag. I have a bunch of them in different colors that I've acquired over the years, and they last a long time. Eventually, though, they do start to get threadbare and need to be replaced. All my bandanas have a little "made in USA" incorporated into the design, usually in the lower right corner. But when I went looking for bandanas at Target a while back (you have to look around, but you'll find them near the socks and underwear), I noticed that they said "made in China."

What, we can't even make bandanas anymore? I thought it must be possible to still buy made-in-USA bandanas. I checked that sketchy army-navy store in Downtown Crossing, and the ones they sell are also made in China. I bought a couple of them, but they were terrible. The fabric was rough, and didn't soften with washing the way my older, American-made ones did. In fact, after a few washings the edges started to fray and unravel. I threw them away, wishing I hadn't wasted the $2 each on them (more on principle than because of the actual outlay).

I checked a couple of work-clothing sites I remembered from a few years ago, when I was looking for a Dickies canvas jacket, and found nothing. Duluth Trading used to sell a bundle of half a dozen bandanas, but they no longer do. I even tried a site that sells biker boots and leathers; they now carry high-tech, synthetic, sweat-wicking 'do-rags. Progress, I guess.

A google search led me to two sites, Wholesale For Everyone and Tan's Club, where you can buy bandanas by the dozen or individual pieces. I ended up ordering from WFE, because their shipping was cheaper and because, as I added individual bandanas in different colors to my shopping cart, a quantity discount took effect, lowering the total cost of the order slightly.

It seemed kind of silly to me to have to pay $6 to get a few bandanas shipped from New Jersey, but with the quantity discount the total was around $20 for eight bandanas, which isn't really much more than buying them in a store, and they're American-made. Including the ones I have that are still in usable condition, I should be set for a long time.

13 April 2011

Tempting Fate

Yesterday all my T rides were very crowded, but on my way to work I was lucky to get a seat on the Green Line at North Station. A few stops later, while reading my paper, I heard a man's voice say, "You're pretty brave, drinking coffee on the T without a lid on your cup." I looked up and saw an older woman who had just boarded the train, clutching her Dunkin' cup.

I thought to myself that "brave" was probably not what the man really meant. I'm not sure why someone would attempt to do this; perhaps she wanted or needed to drink the coffee quickly, and with the lid on the cup it was too hot? My brain is resistant to further speculation.

A stop or two later the person sitting next to me got off the train, and of course and the woman with the coffee took her place. I glanced over and saw that her cup was still about 3/4 full. I figured it was safer for her to be sitting down, but I was still just a sudden deceleration away from possibly getting that unlidded coffee dumped on me.

The woman with the coffee asked me if I was getting off at the next stop. I replied that I still had some way to go. She offered that she was getting off at the next stop. I nodded and returned to reading my paper. We pulled into Arlington and she got up and made her way out. Crisis averted.

12 April 2011

It's Toast

Someone just annihilated the toaster oven in the kitchen at work. I came back in the building from getting my lunch, and I could smell the burned smell all the way at the bottom of the stairs (our office is one floor up). Then I went into the kitchen to fill my water bottle, and got a good look at it. It's amazing it didn't set off the smoke alarms; the front of it is seriously charred.

I seem to remember the same thing happened around three years ago, and they threw the thing away and got another one. But why do we even need a toaster oven? Who's making toast in there anyway?

11 April 2011

Bargain Alert: Cheap Jeans from Lands' End Canvas

I thought I was done buying jeans for a while, but lately several of them have been feeling a little loose in the waist. This makes no sense, as I have not been on a diet or anything; in fact, given the time of year, I would have thought it much more likely to have put on a few pounds during the winter, resulting in my jeans fitting a little snug.

A couple of them were a little big in the waist to begin with, and I'd hoped to accomplish a small amount of shrinkage through laundering, but it hasn't happened. Lands' End Canvas is currently having a spring sale, and their jeans are on sale for $29, which is about 40% off their normal price. Yesterday we went to the mall because I wanted to try them on in the store to see how they fit before ordering. To my surprise, the jeans were 60% off at the store.

I tend to forget that Lands' End's retail presence in Sears stores frequently has sales and promotions separate from those on the web site/catalog, and vice versa. Also, sometimes the discount offers I receive via email are valid only in one or the other; sometimes they are valid on regular LE merchandise but not Canvas, or vice versa. You really have to read the fine print carefully, which is frankly annoying.

I've moved toward slimmer-fitting jeans the past couple of years, but it isn't always easy to find jeans that are cut slimmer but aren't low-rise. (For the longer of torso, it matters for sitting comfort and shirts staying tucked in.) The Canvas "straight fit" jeans are somewhat trimmer than jeans from the regular LE line. They also offer them in a slim fit that's a bit too slim for me, but might work for others.

The tradeoff for getting a higher discount at a store is that the store I went to was only carrying three of the colors/washes available, whereas the web site has seven. I went with the basic, unmolested "rinsed indigo" finish, though I was hoping to find something closer to a medium indigo blue to wear during non-work times. But $20 was too good a price to resist, and since I now know how these jeans fit, I will probably order another pair in a lighter finish from the web.

The fabric is reasonably substantial and feels like pretty standard denim weight (I'm not going to geek out on ounces per square yard, because I don't know it and I'm not that much of a denim freak); I suspect they will need a couple of washings to soften a bit. Because these are dark, unfaded denim, there was a label attached about the dye that suggested washing them before wearing and washing them separately (which to me means "only with other jeans") to avoid dye transfer.

There was other Canvas merchandise at 60% off; this probably varies by store. (Yesterday I was at Northshore Mall in Peabody, MA, but in my opinion the men's Canvas section at the Sears in the Burlington Mall is somewhat larger and better-stocked.) There was also a clearance rack marked $6.99 which had mostly shirts in size small, but who knows what you may find at your local store?

10 April 2011

This Week in Awesome (4/9/11)

Don't know what came over me—the entire weekend is a blur...

Watch this news anchor convince his coanchor to lick an iPad while on the air. (Boy Genius Report)

This site is nothing more than a collection of screen captures from movies showing (often extremely unrealistic) computer screen interfaces. (Videogum)

Another person with a great deal of time and patience has created something wonderful. (BoingBoing via The Hairpin)

And finally this week, Billy Crystal and Rob Reiner are in a meeting to pitch an idea for a sequel to When Harry Met Sally, but it ends up in a somewhat different place. (Funny or Die)

08 April 2011

One More

I have a late update to the black plain-toe lace-up shoe choices. Red Wing has added this black "Postman oxford" to their heritage line (I thought it included only boots). These shoes are made in USA and are available for $220 from Nordstrom.

But there's one thing about them that would be a definite deal-breaker for me: the wedge-style sole. I didn't notice it at first, and there's a good chance it would go unnoticed by others, but I just have an extreme dislike for how this type of sole looks in profile, regardless of the color of the sole or what type of shoe it's attached to. If that sort of thing doesn't bother you, these look like they would be pretty comfortable.

07 April 2011

The Alden Aura

For some time, I've been looking for a pair of black plain-toe shoes something like these. I was after a slightly clunky look with nice rounded toes for plenty of room up front, which I think looks pretty cool when paired with darker jeans (and can of course be worn with many other types of outfits).

Seems simple enough, right? But most of what I came across was either cheaply made, or didn't offer wide widths, or was too tapered at the front of the shoe. I could have just bought the Brooks Brothers shoes, but I was also trying to avoid spending $400 (and the BB shoes don't come in wide anyway).

Other options include the Allen-Edmonds Leeds, which runs $550 in shell cordovan but $325 in regular leather, still a bit more than I was hoping to spend. I wanted the shoes to be USA-made if possible, so that excluded the Florsheim Kenmoor, which at $225 seems a decent value (the wingtip version has been quite popular with budget-minded trad bloggers) but is made in India.*

I decided to broaden my search to consider vintage and more recent, gently-used shoes. This would give me a better chance of finding American-made shoes, but meant I would have to more wary and vigilant to avoid buying something that was the wrong size, or simply buying someone else's junk.

I'd been half-seriously looking for a pair of Aldens on eBay and Style Forum for a couple of months, but not really expecting to find any, as the Aldens that come up for sale in my size tend to be styles I'm not interested in. But a couple of weeks ago I spotted an eBay auction for black plain-toe Aldens, and they were the shell cordovan version in my size, wide width. I love Aldens, but they're pricey, and I hadn't even bothered to consider shell, as it's much more expensive than calfskin.

They were a variant of the style, with rubber soles instead of the more common double-layer leather soles, which may have made them of less interest to other potential bidders with whom I share a shoe size. I ended up winning the auction, and even with the shipping, the shoes cost me less than half of what a new pair would cost. They arrived on Saturday, and I took a quick spin around the house in them. They were the right size and fit well. The leather has a natural luster, making the shoes look like they have been highly polished.

Yesterday I wore them to work for the first time. I had a slight problem with the back of the left shoe biting into my ankle (I may be able to fix this with some moleskin), and I'm considering trying a pair of insoles for some extra cushioning, but otherwise they felt good. I'm hoping these can become long-term shoes for me as I try to transition to buying better-quality shoes.

*Re: the wingtip comment—I got that wrong. There is a wingtip version of the Kenmoor, but the shoe I meant to reference is the Veblen, which at $160 is even lower-priced than the Kenmoor, and can be purchased for around $135 with the use of a coupon code. A Goodyear welt on a shoe at this price is unusual, plus it comes in six colors. Too bad I have no interest in wingtips...

06 April 2011

A Touch of Color

We usually have some sort of decoration on the front door. When we got married, a friend of the family who had grown up with my sister made us a beautiful decorative wreath. We had it on the door of our Somerville place for years, and unfortunately it faded from the sun, and stuff started falling off of it, so when we moved we didn't keep it.

One year, in lieu of an evergreen Christmas wreath, I bought an artificial holly wreath. It stayed on the door for months, long past its intended decorative period. Last fall I was stuck wandering around a craft store while the Mrs. picked out fabric, and I ended up buying a fall wreath that was on clearance. After Christmas, I took down the holly wreath again and the Mrs. suggested we needed some other sort of non-fall, non-Christmas decorative item for the door.

A few weeks ago she was at another craft store, buying yarn for crochet, and came home with this:
It's a little different from what I was expecting, but that's good. Now that winter is really gone, it's nice to see this flash of colors when I come home from work.

05 April 2011


Why does my dishwasher gel have a "best if used by" date? What would happen if it was past the date and I used it anyway?

04 April 2011

Wrist Wants

I haven't bought any watches in a couple of months, and there's nothing on my immediate radar, which is just as well. Last July, though, I wrote about a Tudor watch that is not for sale in this country and that I'll likely never be able to afford, and at the time I was considering inaugurating a series on watches on my wish list.

I never followed through on that, partly because doing so is somewhat depressing, but I just looked through a slide show (don't you hate these blatant attempts to drive up page views?) of watches shown at the 2011 edition of the Baselworld trade show in Switzerland (where the Tudor was introduced last year) and there were a couple of watches that spoke to me. One is not realistically attainable, but the other is completely affordable.

Breitling has been known for some time for big, studly watches intended for divers, pilots, and the like. But along with a new movement for certain models that was designed and is being built in-house (as opposed to purchasing a movement from an outside supplier), the company is introducing some decidedly more low-key designs that are reminiscent of vintage models. This one in particular, the Transocean, caught my eye:
If you've read my watch collection posts, you may recall that I have a particular affinity for watches with "cross-hair" dials. This type of understated style looks like it could be from 1965; in other words, it's timeless, and will remain that way (though in keeping with modern watch trends, the 43 mm case size is somewhat bigger than watches typically were in the 1960s). It will be available with either a black or white dial (the white is nice, but the black is killer), but unfortunately it's going to retail a bit north of $5000, so it will have to remain on the "if I ever win the lottery" list.

At the other end of the spectrum, I also like Timex watches for their simplicity, durability, and low cost. Timex started a line last year called Originals that borrows design elements from the company's rich half-century of heritage (and got them into some higher-end department stores). For 2011 they will be adding to the line:
Inspired by a 1960s dive watch, this watch looks both retro and modern at the same time. I love the chunky numerals on the dial and the red accents. At a list price of $85, I'll be grabbing one of these as soon as they become available. I don't care for the "rally" style strap (me not liking the strap a watch comes with—what a surprise!), but I think this would look great on a bright red strap, making it a perfect watch to wear during the summer months.

(Images borrowed from Gilt MANual.)

02 April 2011

This Week in Awesome (4/2/11)

Was something going on yesterday? Everyone was acting kind of weird...

This guy asks authors to autograph their books with an insult to him. (The Hairpin via Flavorwire)

Here's a kitchen tool for the more precise-minded among us. (BuzzFeed via The Hairpin)

Very funny comics from The Oatmeal.

Some web addresses flow nicely; others maybe should have been reconsidered. (Meme Base via The Daily What)

One of yesterday's best gags. I know a number of people, including some without children, who would buy this. (ThinkGeek via Cult of Mac)