Archive for the ‘things’ Category

you game? Space 1999

Friday, January 14th, 2011

It’s Friday! Last week that meant The Six Million Dollar Man. Digging further back into my closet of obsessive collecting of 1970s TV show board games, this week I offer you Space 1999. Why? Because I can.


Object: Be the first commander to land all your eagles on your target planet.













how to be a cold-brew convert

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Who’s up for off-topic? You, I hope. My Facebook friends know me for nonstop yammering and an addiction to coffee. For some reason, my posts concerning cold-brew coffee have generated a surprising number of comments, so I thought I’d bring up the subject here.

On my recent holiday trek to the local mall of shame, I stopped by Williams-Sonoma and spied something new…

toddy cold press spotted at williams-sonoma

That’s the Toddy Cold Brew System we’ve been using for a few years now. Back in ’07, I had to hunt ours down online.

It was a New York Times article that hipped me to the bitter-free joys of cold-brew and the Toddy, although you can use a plain ol’ jar if you want. Apparently the cold-brew method results in a coffee with 67% less acid than the standard hot-brew method — you actually can taste the difference. And you don’t have to plug anything in!

Official instructions are here but I’m going to show you how easy it is to use a Toddy.


A plastic brewing container…

toddy plastic brewing container

A glass pitcher with a rubber lid…

glass pitcher/decanter

Two reusable filters (you only need one to brew, the other is a bonus)…

toddy filter

And a rubber stopper…

rubber plug


A pound of your favorite coarse-ground coffee (the coarser the grind the better, in my opinion)…

a pound of coffee

A big pitcher of water…

a pitcher of water

And a chopstick…

a chopstick

David, my kickass brewer, says it helps. Explanation coming up.


See the hole in the bottom of the brewing container?

hole in bottom of brewer

Plug it…

plug the container

Press the filter into the bottom of the inside of the container…

add the filter

Pour in 2 C of water…

pour 2C of water

Then add 1/2 the bag of coffee and don’t stir the grounds…

pour half the bag of coffee

Pour in 5 C of water on top of that and then wait 5 mins while the grounds begin to soak it up…

pour 5C of water

Add the remaining 1/2 bag of coffee and again, don’t stir the grounds…

add the rest of the coffee

As you can see, the coffee will mound up — you’ll need to level it out. This is where the chopstick comes in handy…

flatten the mounded coffee

Top it off with 2 C of water…

add 2C of water

Then leave it for at least 12 hours. The longer you ignore it, the stronger the brew. It’s a good idea to check the topmost coffee grounds an hour or two later — if they’re not wet, press them down with the chopstick.

When time’s up, position the container over the pitcher…

set container on pitcher

Quickly pull the plug and set the coffee freeeeeeeeeeeee!

pull the plug and release the coffee

When the container is fully drained, your caffeinated bliss is ready to enjoy.

pitcher of coffee to last you DAYS!

Stash it in the fridge and, depending on how much coffee you drink, you’re set for days and days and days. A pitcher typically lasts me for a full week of daily coffees.

This is concentrated coffee, so you’ll have to play with how much water (if any) is the right amount to add to a cup of concentrate. By the time I add ice and soy milk, I only need to cut mine a tiny bit with water. If I add a ton of ice on a hot day, I don’t even bother to add water cuz the ice melts fast.

you game? The $6M Man

Friday, January 7th, 2011

In my very first post last February, I showed how our entire household is a maze of boxes and piles awaiting an actual remodel. There are things in those boxes I haven’t seen in three years, including my inexplicable collection of ’70s TV show boardgames — still haven’t decided if I’m keeping those, although I guess they make sense in a ’70s house.

This week I pulled them out to appreciate their cheesey goodness and will now share one with you every Friday until I run out. Ready? Let’s start with The Six Million Dollar Man…


Object: Each player controls a bionic man — but only one is the real Six Million Dollar Man. The first player to complete his four assignments wins the game, proving he’s the Six Million Dollar Man.


















6 mil 1975

Hot. I say that man is undervalued.

recently spotted

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

I seldom go shopping these days, much preferring to order from the comfort of Chez Mess when possible. On Christmas Eve, however, I had to dash into the mall, that temple of mass consumption and hideous carpeting. Last-minute stocking stuffers, ya know.

Snagged some cute vintagey card games for the kid at Restoration Hardware…

classic card games |

classic card games |

And then I spotted something interesting over in the corner…

oviedo chaise lounge spotted at restoration hardware

lounge tag

An obvious tribute to Knoll’s MR Chaise Lounge, designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1927…

mr chaise lounge by mies van der rohe for knoll |

mr chaise lounge by mies van der rohe for knoll |

Far from cheap but much more affordable than the original. Have you seen how much the Knoll goes for? A little history on the original, still in production, here.

Then a few feet away from the chaise, I spotted this…

1950s copenhagen chair at restoration hardware

chair tag

Basically a distressed leather homage to the iconic Egg Chair designed by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen…

egg chair by arne jacobsen for fritz hansen |

egg chair by arne jacobsen for fritz hansen |

Gorgeous since 1958 and still going strong. If you’ve ever longed for an Egg of your own, you’re probably well aware of what it costs brand-new. If you don’t require the original, I suppose Restoration’s version isn’t too shabby. The leather gives it a men’s club/smoking lounge kind of a look. Cuba meets Denmark?

Not the sort of thing I expect to see at Restoration Hardware, although they have added a little midcentury modern into their mostly traditional mix in the last few years. Their Modern Collection of bath hardware is about as minimal as they get. Anyway, just thought I’d share.

Still undecided about reproduction/reinterpretation vs original. I mean, I don’t like to think of myself as a total snob, insisting on an original no matter the price. Label hounds can be so irritating. On the other hand, is it asking too much for brands to come up with their own designs rather than profiting from someone else’s design? Granted, finding a way to make expensive things for less is the way of the world — it’s what makes sites like whiteonwhite so wildly popular. And I suppose Restoration Hardware’s whole schtick is “restoring” classic style to home goods. I dunno. What do you think?

30 festive things

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Guess who just came out for the holidays? No, I don’t mean Ricky Martin, silly wabbit. I mean our vintage aluminum Christmas tree, vintage Holly Time revolving tree stand and trippy vintage color wheel. ’Tis the season, homies!

Wanna join me in being a kid again? Come on…

holiday nursery rhyme girl

holiday nursery rhyme boy

holiday rocket racer

holiday italian glass foxy

holiday airplane

holiday italian glass bear and tin wind-up car

holiday row boat guy

holiday italian glass stripy tiger

holiday elf

holiday italian glass dopey cat

holiday rosie the robot

holiday glass ray gun

holiday ice cream boy

holiday italian glass dino

holiday wind-up astronaut moonrover

holiday santa

holiday italian glass flowerhead

holiday black robot

holiday tin flying saucer

holiday italian glass fox

holiday girlie robot

holiday liddle kiddles santa

holiday italian glass soldier

holiday creepy santa

holiday wind-up rover robot dog

holiday wind-up robot space cart

holiday tin tokyo firetruck and italian glass ellie

holiday wind-up handcar

holiday italian glass bowtie elephant

And last but not least, the Santa tree topper…

holiday italian glass santa tree topper

Where I find these things (in case you actually care)

eBay | The place to go when you want something specific. My favorite searches: “vintage Italian glass Christmas (or Xmas) ornament”, “vintage sputnik Christmas (or Xmas) ornament”, “vintage atomic Christmas (or Xmas) ornament” and “vintage spinner Christmas (or Xmas) ornament”. I’ve also gotten a few great vintage trees — as you’d figure, just hunt for “vintage aluminum Christmas tree.”

tin toy sites | There are plenty of places to pick up Japanese tin toys, but I tend to frequent and I gave up trying to score deals on vintage tin toys on eBay — prices are astronomical. Obviously big demand for them by collectors. Since I’m using them as tree decorations, I figure they can be repro. They all come with keys and actually wind up, spin, roll, twirl, etc. They tend to be heavy so I use fishing line to afix them to the branches.

flea markets and antique stores | Good for great old Shiny Brite decorations, felt elves and whatnot. You just never know what you’ll find.

revolving tree stands | There are new ones out there but if you want an old one, try “vintage revolving Christmas tree stand” or “vintage Christmas tree turner” on eBay. If you’re willing to pay a little more to make sure the stand will work for years to come, there are a few sites that recondition the vintage stand motors. Oak Tree Vintage is one of them. Ours was new in the box, dated 1961. Works like a charm… well, most of the time.

color wheels | eBay eBay eBay. I’ve never seen another one that looks like ours… yet.

holiday closeup on the color wheel