June 28, 2011

The State Of Train Travel In America

What you picture in your mind:

What you get:

This is also your toilet. It is also about 3 inches from your head. 

June 27, 2011

Smell Like A Million Bucks, Spend Far Less

Now, I don't want to ruin my carelessly cultivated internet reputation as a woodsy gourmand, but I must digress into the world of finery here for a moment because I am compelled. Whenever I visit friends and I see a bottle of those horrible Euro bodysprays sitting on the sink, a little bit of me dies. Those horrible sprays smell like wrung out German underpants in the worst way. They scream to all those in nostrilshot "MY TASTE EXTENDS ABOUT AS FAR AS MY ARM IN THE DRUGSTORE. DISREGARD ME IF YOU CAN SMELL ME!"

The larger point here is that cost and accessibility are ostensibly the biggest excuses for those not trying a little harder -- hell, it doesn't take much effort at all -- and as such, I'd humbly like to provide some options for those wanting not to smell so...sophomoric.

Firstly, we have what I consider to be my favorite: Florida Water from Lanman And Kemp. From what I understand, it's the American version of Eau de Cologne and in contrast to its French counterpart, it happens not to smell like unadulterated ass. Our yankee version is very versatile, simple, and it comes in a massive bottle so unless you're showering in the stuff, it'll last forever. It is, admittedly, more of a summer scent though with some citrus and spice thrown in there for good measure. I've worn it in the winter and it does well, but it definitely hits its stride in the height of the summer. Oh, yeah, did I also mention it's less than five bucks.
Probably about $3.00 with shipping on Amazon. Buy.  

Next up we have Lilac Vegetal from Clubman. Yes, Clubman of you dad's golf club locker room fame. But not that horrible green bottle of crap that smells like grandpas. No, this stuff's a bit more complex and and less grampsy. It still has that smell of antiquity without smelling "old." Don't fear the flower in the title. If a woman smelled you, she wouldn't be able to say "Oh, Lilacs!" It's more earthy, but it's definitely a little floral so if that's not your style, then we might have some other choices here.

About $9.00. Buy

So far, we haven't yet broken the ten dollar mark yet (so you really have no excuse, ever, to be wearing the eurosprays). This next one is a bit pricey at a whopping twenty bucks. We've got the C.O. Bigelow Barber Elixir Green no. 1582. It's a little harder to get a hold of but you can't go wrong by going to the source. Bigelow Chemists on 8th ave in Chelsea or over the internet. It's a very clean, dry smelling fragrance that won't overpower. It's got hints of vanilla and spice, but you know, in a masculine way not a holiday latte way. 

$19.50 at Bigelow. Buy

This last one tops the cost scales, but is still nowhere near the price you'll pay for say, Creed or Hermes. Now, if you can afford one of those, go buy some. But if you can't part with the better part of a benjamin for some smellgoods, then a good bet is Verdon by L'Occitane. Now, I know what you're thinking. Yes, it's L'Occitane and yes they have stores in malls. That your girlfriend/wife/mother shops in. But these companies like L'Occitane and Crabtree and Evelyn have that one mens shelf, and usually the stuff on it is worthwhile. This stuff smells pretty athletic, but think more post-Petanque rather than post-pumping iron. 

Direct from L'Occitane or in one of their bazillion stores for $35. Buy

The following honorable mentions are only mentioned honorably and not as part of the whole big round-up as they get closer to "real" cologne prices. They're still on the cheapish side, but certainly not drugstore cheap. To that end, I really like Eau Sauvage from Dior. It's timeless (been around since '66), and can be pulled off by the right man in any season. It's citrus with a bit of herbs and...something else. Something astringent, but not too much so. It's advertised at about 50 bucks, but keep your eye out as most duty free shops will sell it for about 40ish or less even depending on where you are and what size they have.

Sephora for about $54.00 if you can't get to a duty free. Buy.

Finally, there's Lacoste Essential. It's a "real" cologne and costs basically real money, but again, it's not the most expensive cologne you can buy and smells pretty damn good. Not over the top. It's got enough class that you can wear it to work or to the bar without smelling out of place. Nothing says "I'd rather be jagerbombing" than an overdose of Acqua Di Gio at the office. This is not that. My only beef with this stuff is the spray volume is MASSIVE so it goes pretty quickly. Just a heads up. The smallest bottle is only about 40 bucks, but if you like it, you'll run out inside of three months. Buy the big one.

Sephora for $69.00. Buy

June 22, 2011

Davie McPhail

I know 99% of the internet doesn't give a fig about the vagaries of the preoccupation that is fly fishing. And of that 1%, probably 7% really care about fly tying but if you ever find yourself wanting to watch a real craftsman at work, have a look at his videos. Here's some of his work:

These colossal Atlantic salmon flies are kind of out of my more trouty purview, but he ties basically everything, and ties it perfectly. All dictated to you in a calming Scottish brogue. Personal favorites:

June 21, 2011

Summit County, CO and Spring Skiing

Back from Colorado a week and a half now and I'm missing it already. After my epic stint bumming around San Antonio with new friends, I headed for the cooler climes of Summit County for some fishing and spring skiing. The fishing was terrible, probably because I'm a terrible fisherman, and as I don't care to remember getting skunked when I do, I didn't take any photos of it. What's below is Denver to Lake Dillon to Arapahoe Basin to Breckenridge to Vail to Denver. In 48 hours. In a RAV4, which might be the all time worst excuse for a 4WD vehicle of all time. Underpowered beyond belief. As you'll see below, I made sure I punished it accordingly by basically detonating the contents of all my luggage inside of it.

And we're off again

9000 ft. 

Mountain dinner. Mountain House Lasagna. Not terrible. 

A little postprandial reading before my day of not catching fish 

The view out my window

Mountain sunsets are better than any beach sunset in the world. 

Heatwave back home, frost on the windshield. Why don't I live here again?

Lifties know best. And so does 10Engines. 

Take that!

And that!


I love this sign at the top of Loveland Pass

A-Basin. First chair. Yeah yeah I know you're supposed to wait til later in the Spring. 


A beer at 11:00 at 11,000(ish). 

Bottom of the Cornice. Getting a little too soft. 

If only I could fit this in my pack...

Note the binding cupholder. Clutch. 

Knicks. Knacks. I love it all. 

Inflation's a bitch. 

Sleds and life mags. 

 An entire train car that'd been transformed into one of those Tibetan shops so prevalent in ski towns

It'd just been sold for $900

General Store, Frisco, CO

Bavarian affectation in Vail, CO. The most ridiculous place on earth. 

Coming soon: a single malt whiskey that I was far more psyched about, but I bought some Bourbon anyway. 

Passenger has a coke, driver has a BL. Like I said, Vail is ridiculous.

June 12, 2011

San Antonio, Redux

Given that my vocation has me visiting San Antonio on a semi-regular basis nowadays, I figured I'd stop visiting the same four places whenever I was in town and defer to a higher authority on all things San Antonio, Mr. Amatourist himself. The man is a host to rival all hosts, and may very well be the nicest man alive and I'm not joking. Not even a little. Now, the only real problem with that is that he's set an insanely high bar for himself the next time I come to town. Free bars of gold? Human flight? I'm counting on it.

Our first stop along the way was the grand opening party of the Ocho Lounge which we later discovered, after being offered about seven free drinks, that we had unknowingly crashed. After the final gratis margarita was downed, we parted and I had my orders for the following day: go to Gwendolyn.

A very cool hotel. Gives you the feeling Larry McMurtry's going to jump out from around a corner.

Around this unassuming brick path...

Awesome atmosphere, cool people, and free drinks.

Gwendolyn, The Old 97's and beers deshabille, after the jump.