Thursday, September 3, 2009

back from summer!

I have returned, at least for now, from a summer full of Cape Cod, Busch Gardens, yard sales, weddings in the family, thrift stores, house updates, and in a disproportionately greater amount than any of those things combined, tons of work! Now, all of that is done, except for the work, and of course, the thrifting and house stuff doing, while a new semester of schoolwork and hobbies is tacked on. And hopefully some blogging too.

To start things off rather mildly, my intense fandom of the Venture Bros. (and its airing network) has led me to idly happen upon the inspiration for the home and research lab of the titular characters and their family, the Venture Compound, and its basis, the GM exhibit at the 1964 World's Fair. For those who don't know, this exhibit was part of Futurama II, a theme begun in the 1939 World's Fair as Futurama. In the first fair, the GM sponsored exhibit featured a conceptual glimpse 20 years into the future, including ideas for an automated highway system, actually tested by GM in 1960. The 1964 exhibit took things further; models of futuristic cities displayed with moving parts and lights, and in unusual environments dotted an electric tram tour through the facility, with various new technologies and contraptions showcasing the efficient, economic, and fantastic living habits of the world of tomorrow.

Too bad circumstances in the last 60 years prevented this future from occurring, and the irony of GM's recent bankruptcy, and the popularity of inefficient transportation is all too apparent. I want the future of Futurama!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

miniature excitement for a small price

Before my project, and to both brainstorm for it and satisfy my online shopping urges, I bought miniature pieces of furniture for around $12 on ebay from a vendor in Hong Kong. 

This credenza is... a dream. I joked to a co-worker that I could maybe, given extraordinary time and effort, construct an accurate, functional, and life-sized likeness using a new phonograph, but I'm sure it won't happen anytime soon if it does.

The TV is also very cool - when I move into a place with more space, like a house, I imagine the furniture that goes in there will be a bit more like this - more space suggests an attempt to fill it, rather than create it. The little cardboard person, as well as the others in the next pictures, were created by another co-worker, and currently reside in our workplace.

This sewing machine seems maybe a bit dated compared to the legsed (yeah I just made that word up) TV and credenza... oh well it's still cool.

The asian origins of manufacture account for the low table, kanji, and sushi, but not necessarily for the boozed little dudes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

kitchen takeover

So since the end of exams, craigslist has begun to intrude into the kitchen. In the last week, amidst cleaning the whole upstairs, we found a little bit more space, and motivation, to continue to clutter our lives with more awesome stuff.

Pictured: Dimensional Plastics Corp. Table and Chairs set

These are excellent! Dimensional Plastics was apparently (according to the internets) established in 1956, as evidenced by the cheesy and easy to google Krinklglas (i'm not entirely sure what it is, other than an interesting compound and the company surrounding it). either way, Dimensional Plastics at some point between 1956 and probably the 70s apparently made the components of a table and chairs set.

These things are great - the chairs are shaped wood and upholstered vinyl on a metal base, and the table is a delightfully patterned plastic surface on a matching base.

Also recently acquired, but not as of yet mentioned, is a set of three tables - one low coffee, and two mid-height end/side tables - all McCobb-ey knockoffs.

Here the coffee table amidst clutter, 

Here one of the sides. This one has slightly sturdier legs than the other, but, of course, that circular stain. Still probably keeping it. These tables conjure the image of McCobb's planner series:

They're certainly not as valuable, but they look great, and I love them. 

In other news - one of the classes I recently finished called for a final project - a book - to be produced; the point of the class was to deconstruct the traditional identity of what one normally takes to be a book - a codex with pages containing information - and to study the categorization of information throughout history, and the development of literature as a result. My entry consisted of the metaphysical location of the production of a story - the forum where stories take place... for me. So I made a room, symbolic of maybe a place in my imagination, and of course it had to be a little stylized.

Inside the room I placed words and phrases on wiry bases that sat pretty much anywhere - they were interchangeable and malleable, making the whole thing a little interactive... really the relevance is the fact that I kind of want a room with some of these features in my real house.

AJ pointed me in the direction of the table and chairs set, as well as helped me out with the miniature room - the clock and pillows are hers. More to come soon.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

long time!

Now that exams and the month or so leading up to them are all finally over, I have time to relax a little bit, and maybe write on some of the things I've come across since last I posted.

Acquired recently from a local thrift store and left sitting on the floor in the last month as things cluttered up from the projects and studying we've both been working on - discovered a few days ago as we therapeutically cleaned everything that had amassed. Currently occupying the center of a thrifted McCobb knockoff (but vintage) coffee table.

AJ's Mom's old hair dryer - though I haven't observed it yet, I'm convinced AJ takes naps in this thing. It works, and is original from a very long time ago. Accompanying it are some luckily acquired and incredibly intact bowling shoes from yesteryear.

And last but not least, for this post, because it's late and I'm tired, is the recently acquired set of hairpin legs for an upcoming project (bed? couch? record bench? who knows). I apologize for the quality of this picture - it's from my phone, as many of the pictures on this publication are, and it will continue to be a significant source for them until I get an awesome camera. Under the hairpin legs is an oh so coincidentally placed copy of atomic ranch... you should really check it out, there are great stories, ideas, and perhaps most importantly, vendors for new, reproduction, and vintage items that you're guaranteed to be interested in if you've read this far.

Monday, April 6, 2009

today for $25

Not too shabby for $25. Picked up by AJ today from a craigslist posting. There was another one similar to this, but painted purple, with strange moulding on top, and four times the price... She obviously found the better deal.

As you can see, cool little tapered legs bring this thing off the ground, giving the room a little bit more visual floorspace. Or something. More on this later. "Dixie" is printed on the inside of one of the drawers, I'll have to look that up (a google search seems to suggest a vintage manufacturer).

Such a find! and perfect for the bedroom. So far, the desk and this dresser have each only cost us $25, maybe a third will indicate some sort of weird trend regarding furniture purchases around here. Who knows?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

the greatest era

...Well, maybe that's a little subjective, and especially dependent on a mood at any given time...

But either way, I can't get Pandora out of my head. Have you, like me, accidentally avoided the repeated suggestions of friends to visit that site until now? If so, perhaps the unlikely empathy will lead you to new discoveries in musical taste. Currently, I'm trying to pinpoint the genre, or one of many artists of this next one, so that I can try to get a Pandora station out of it. You'll get the gist once you see the video. By the way, above is Glenn Miller and some of his buds, my current favorite station is one based off of Moonlight Serenade.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

some new ideas, thrifts

So, reading someone else's blog about their amazing mid-century house gave me some thoughts about my own living space, most importantly, providing me some of their ideas for storage. 

I have a vertical three-cubby shelf like this one at the bottom... after some hairpin legs and a seat pad on top a la AJ, we'll have a records bench!

Now to make an Eames recliner and rocker! Just kidding. These shelves are pretty incredible, and pretty simple too, If for some reason the ESU doesn't end up in my house, something like these will.

Saw this beauty at the thrift store yesterday, if I sewed or AJ didn't already have a sewing machine, I probably would have gotten it. That logo on the center:

Pretty snazzy. More to come soon, maybe if we clean our rooms I'll be motivated to get some living space pictures up, or maybe the pictures will be a motivation to clean my room, who knows. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

the esu for you

Recently a friend of mine and fellow enthused with things mcm, suggested to AJ that we try to make an ESU- Eames Storage Unit. Now while I don't think that it would be the perfect thing to solve my personal storage dilemma (I'll explain in a bit), I think the sheer simplicity in design and ease to craft make this project perfect for myself and other poor mediocre retro crafters with only hand tools.

The Good:

Excellent about the ESU are several key things... First and foremost its ease to craft. The exposed structure and simple, boxy lines make it easier than Ikea, and really lend themselves to what feels like early sixties classy, artsy office decor. Google would have used them if it had offices in the sixties, it might even sport them currently. Also, as much as I hate to say that the brand name adds to the value of the product, the very fact that "Eames" is attached to the design makes it that much snazzier - this is something that has been created for and accepted by the worlds of mid-century modernism and industrial design. It might go without saying that the benefits of modular furniture are apparent - theoretically, the storage unit could be built (or ordered in sections) to your liking, made to occupy any space anywhere and serve virtually any storage function, including, but not limited to, open cubbies, sliding doors, drawers, and full shelves.

The Bad:

Authentic (not necessarily vintage, but licensed) Eames Storage Units cost from $450 to $3000, which given the simplicity of design, seems completely outrageous to me. The products from that specific store,, aren't even original - they did not come from the sixties, they are manufactured currently. This price is off the wall! The average vintage Paul McCobb desk (pictured and described in an earlier post), my most desired piece of furniture from the last three months, in good shape costs about $500. The Eames Desk from the ESU, new and not original, costs $1622! I don't get it! Anyways, enough about the cost... regarding the design - as I said earlier, The ESU would go perfectly in a mid-century or even current simple, classy, well-designed office setting, but my two rooms in the house I rent aren't really the places for it; given the opportunity to snag a second-hand McCobb bureau for the same price, I'd probably pass up the ESU any day.

Despite these apprehensions towards this thing, I think the good outweighs the bad, and the Eames Storage Unit is beckoning. With Doddie, the gentleman who suggested we consider this project, and myself, I wonder how much effort it would actually take to put together something that looks like the real thing...

So far, the project list seems like it'll include:

- steel corner stock
- wood cut for various functions
- relatively thick wire
- nuts and bolts
- drawer sliders
- paint in cool colors

It should be noted that everything on the list is easily available at any of our nearest hardware stores.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Picked this guy up today from craigs, a GE Trimline 500, about which I know little more, besides the fact that it works, with a little bit of fuzz - I don't really know what this means, but I'll probably take it somewhere to get the needle replaced to see if it improves any. It folds up into a suitcase kinda carrying thing! The woman from whom I got it had a wolf and eagle window tint on her car's back windshield, and a skateramp in her backyard! Her and her boyfriend (husband?) were really nice. Now to build a stand for this?

hardware store

The most recent payday I went to the closest thrift store to try to find something, anything, interesting, and after I found nothing, went to the hardware store, not really expecting to find anything there either. After some wandering around though, I found these small circular tapered legs, and after some more wandering, right next to them (I had to wander before it was pointed out to me) I was directed by the store staff to angled mounting plates... for under $24, I got four angled, tapered legs, wood glue, a wood saw, and a ceiling hook.

I wish I took before pictures for this project, but alas, I didn't. Picture, if you will, an average Ikea desk, with one drawer to the right of where you'd sit, and a pull-out keyboard platform under the main desk, the whole thing rectangular. I removed the keyboard platform and drawer, and sawed off the desk from the drawer section to the right. This revealed a nasty looking side section from where the main desk and drawer section separated, so that side became the new table's bottom. On it I found the center, drew some lines to the corners, and installed these legs angled outwards from the center.

The whole thing was way easier than I thought it'd be. The fact that the legs weren't stained worked out in this case because the wood on the desk was so light, although next time I use some, and there definitely will be a next time (they have longer and shorter lengths of legs), I'll probably stain them. This worked out perfectly for us, because the desk was inherited from an old roommate, and was just taking up space in our extra room. 

I honestly spent forever looking for these online, thinking for future crafts I'd have to rely on hairpin legs; don't get me wrong, I think they're excellent and I am definitely using them in the future, but one style could certainly become overwhelming, and in their case, costly. Especially for me. Cause I'm poor.

Finished project! Now if only I had $1500 to drop on a predicta.


The original desk looked like this one without the hutch on top.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

the crux

The crux of crafting crazy creations is ultimately their cost... I can gaze all day into the depths of my imagination, but actually creating usually costs money, which is hard to justify while saving for school next semester, auto registration, tools, occasional thrifting, etc...

But I did find an image of a Herman Miller for George Nelson hairpin bedframe which gives a little bit of a perceivable goal for the bedframe project:

And just so you know, its that Miller for Nelson teamup that produced the action office desk, pictured in the first post with the rolltop and coolness...

Friday, March 13, 2009


So I realize last post had "crafts" in the title, but didn't really mention any - here's what's happened so far, along with a list of things to do:

This lamp is mostly Target bath mat, give or take a few vegetable strainers and pieces of white paper dangling from a hanging track light.. but it works pretty well. another blurry picture:

This one was pretty cool, because I didn't even have to do anything to the bath mat for it to be awesome - it's like Target made an awesome thing and shoved it in a corner. Honestly, this was one of two things that looked like they were trying to crawl out of the way.


Despite my blurry photography, you can see how cool those legs look. Another of the desk making Stanley uncomfortable:

The privacy screen in the back is just leaning there; the wood screws instrumental in securing it to the desk have been lost (probably by me), and I haven't gotten around to getting new ones yet.

Here, a little box conveys a hypothetical giveaway package of the first night of an idea that might not remain hypothetical forever - check out keep me for updates. Curious about how the box opens? or maybe what a human hand looks like?

AJ totally made these for a class she took last semester, inside the little kit are fabric swatches, small sewing tools, buttons, and informations. Speaking of AJ crafting, check this out:

Made from what I think at one point might have been part of a cutting board, or maybe a wooden base or stand, with wallpaper, a teeny balsa wood frame, an old found advertisement, and ink illustration. Pretty neat, and I've been meaning to post it somewhere sooner or later. More crafts to come, including, but not limited to:

A bed frame (queen size)
A tv stand
Storage (a big bookcase would be great, but not just for books)

Aiding me on my journey is the local hardware store where I'll be getting wood and wood tools, some very excellent hairpin legs from, and some pretty overwhelming inspiration, namingly seeing the way-too-out-of-my-league predicta remakes, and the frequently featured in Urban Outfitters crosley radios.

mcm crafts, geekdom

This desk was one of this year's coolest finds so far... we were looking for a McCobb kind of desk, but in addition to not really being able to find one easily attainable or not outrageously expensive, we abandoned the search of local antiques stores and went to one of the local thrift stores to maybe improve our spirits. Honestly the only reason I know who that guy, Paul McCobb, is or what kinds of desks he made is because I google imaged "mid century desk"  and his name popped up as the designer of what I was looking for. Anyways, we were at the thrift store, my girlfriend AJ and I, and while looking around at the weird things on display, began to look at the displays - they all seemed to be tables below hip height with huge tablecloths on them, and interesting legs underneath. Curious, we began to lift up the cloths to find a bunch of gems - boxy curvy art decoey desks, big heavy metal but moderney desks, and after inspecting almost all of them, finally got to the one above. As a reference, I'll provide an image of the McCobb desk we were originally shooting for, in the context of someone else's life:

As you can see, the simple asymmetric design, tapered legs (long angled and short center-placed ones), and easy, pleasing lines all add up to an excellent piece of furniture. A piece of furniture that retails at artsy modernism stores for around $1000. 


So back to the thrift store - AJ and I found the desk - the first one, with easily acceptable departures from the McCobb goal, for $25. And it looks great! To its left, by the way, and for purposes of reference, is a Burke chair, and above it is a big sewing and pattern making table.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


The House on the Rock is a roadside attraction in Wisconsin that sports a wide variety of automated instruments, themed rooms, authentic and reproduction trinkets, epochs of American culture in design and display, and serious amounts of weirdness, built, not surprisingly, on top of a gigantic rock formation on a hill. Its purpose was supposedly to spite Frank Lloyd Wright, but is regarded as one of the more interesting and unique roadside attractions in the country. I found out about it by reading Neil Gaiman's American Gods, which was amazing (you should also read his other novels... I keep trying to get AJ to read Anansi Boys), and a huge hypothetical roadtrip designed to encounter tons of bitchin' roadsides would absolutely include this one.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Taking a week off the show is probably a healthy move on the producers' part... either way, the fact that AJ's re-watching the show from the beginning right next to me is scratching my brain's guilty pleasure bug bite. Too frequently the problems of the 815 survivors seem like trifle conflicts compared with the content of the series in the current season, flashbacks take up half the episode, and of course Locke... the hatred for that guy is renewed - and I have only his stupid decisions and annoying faith to look forward to in the upcoming replay of the series; I mean seriously, the guy has to be murdered in order to redeem himself. It just makes Ben seem that much cooler. Although I didn't like seeing Abbaddon die like that, I hope he comes back.


Monday, March 9, 2009


Recently I watched the movie "The Objective" online... 

**Spoiler Alert**

Seriously though, in the movie a group of dudes go into Afghanistan in 2001 under military circumstances to recover a cleric who has information - information on, what we eventually learn, Vimanas, ancient flying objects with a great deal of power, attributed to legends and not-necessarily-historical manuscripts. 

Above, a scene depicts an artist's rendition of "flying shields," what legends say Alexander the Great encountered once or twice during his conquest of the world. The first time, and more popular legend, his forces were attacked by two of these things while trying to cross the Jaxartes River, and as a result were delayed by a day in fear of the encounter. The rumored second time he encountered the shields occurred during his siege of Tyre - people like to think he was unable to penetrate the nigh-impenetrable island fortress and that these "flying shields" vaporized a section of the walls allowing him entrance, but it's a matter of historical record that he built a gigantic bridge to the island from the coast, using materials from the ruins of the coastal Tyre, constructed siege engines, and commissioned fleets of boats to finally capture the strategic naval hub, and prevent resupply of the Phoenician navy.

Anyways, in the movie, these things are antagonistic to the group of military guys and the main cia guy, encountering them a few times, vaporizing members of the team, appearing and disappearing into thin air, and are somehow mysteriously connected to the region; the movie alludes to a massacre of british troops (the 44th regiment of infantry) in 1844 (i think?), referred to as the "Hill of Bones." The guys encounter a weird ancient hermit wearing a uniform from the lost 44th regiment, and find out later that he speaks with weird ethereal ghosty bad guys with swords... The cia guy, after suffering the loss of the entire military unit assigned to him, ventures out into the desert, after discovering the hill of the "bones" legend, and discovers an oasis - and the dead leader of the military group of dudes. The desert seems to toy with him by fabricating the sound of an approaching rescue helicopter, and then making hundreds of illusions of the rescue flair that he sends up in anticipation. He collapses with frustration, and is awoken by the cleric he was sent to find - in a sort of astral crazy lighted dream sequence, except its not a dream, its real. And the guy touches his head, and he's delivered what can only be interpreted as divine knowledge (not divine like the God most of the world believes in, but divine like secrets of the universe). And that's basically the end, barring the scene where he's apparently been recovered, but is in quarantine, and under observance by a "special group in the company," FLOATING!

It should be noted that he was fooling around with one of these at various points throughout the movie:

little weird ufo bird things from South American pre-Euro-incursion civilization that look suspiciously like flight-capable modern airplanes.

First day of blog, first day of lake

If only I had a garage, then everything from this photo would be mine...