Towse: views from the hill

July 1, 2009

The Uniform Project

Filed under: art,culture,shopshopshop — Towse @ 11:38 pm

The Uniform Project

Brilliant idea.

The Idea

Starting May 2009, I have pledged to wear one dress for one year as an exercise in sustainable fashion. Here’s how it works: There are 7 identical dresses, one for each day of the week. Every day I will reinvent the dress with layers, accessories and all kinds of accouterments, the majority of which will be vintage, hand-made, or hand-me-down goodies. Think of it as wearing a daily uniform with enough creative license to make it look like I just crawled out of the Marquis de Sade’s boudoir.

[via Teapots and Polka Dots]

February 26, 2009

Playmobil Security Check Point

Filed under: culture,shopshopshop — Towse @ 8:47 pm

[via a Kelley Eskridge blog post]

Playmobil Security Check Point

Customer reviews take the cake.

I was a little disappointed when I first bought this item, because the functionality is limited. My 5 year old son pointed out that the passenger’s shoes cannot be removed. Then, we placed a deadly fingernail file underneath the passenger’s scarf, and neither the detector doorway nor the security wand picked it up. My son said “that’s the worst security ever!”. But it turned out to be okay, because when the passenger got on the Playmobil B757 and tried to hijack it, she was mobbed by a couple of other heroic passengers, who only sustained minor injuries in the scuffle, which were treated at the Playmobil Hospital.

February 2, 2009

An Extraordinary Home. Single Family located at 601 Dolores Street, Mission Dolores, San Francisco, California

Filed under: real estate,San Francisco,shopshopshop — Towse @ 9:15 pm

An Extraordinary Home. Single Family located at 601 Dolores Street, Mission Dolores, San Francisco

1910. Former church. Now SFH. Check out the photo gallery. What parties I could have! I’d have room for all my books and more! Seismic retrofit. No longer on the City’s Unreinforced Masonry Building list.

Formerly the Golden Gate Lutheran Church, this stunning Gothic Revival style building is now one of the most extraordinary and largest single family homes in San Francisco. This one-of-a-kind property features an enormous living area that includes the original sanctuary with soaring, coffered and hand-painted ceilings, arched windows framing Dolores Park as well as most of the original stained glass windows, custom mahogany wood finishes, four wood-burning fireplaces, a new chef’s kitchen and a spacious dining room. The Master suite level features a marble Roman tub room, dressing room and incredible 360 degree views from the tower meditation room and deck. The home includes an expansive ground floor level that could be used as exhibition space, recording studio, gym and/or home office. There is also a garage that accommodates 4-6 cars.

Room for my books!

Be still my heart.

This is why every once in a blue moon I buy a Lotto ticket.

Oh, my. …

$9,950,000 but I betcha they’d take $9m if I were paying cash.

Update: Looking at what he paid for it less than two years ago, back when it was a church. Yes, granted he did the transformation to SFH, reinforced the masonry and added all sorts of stuff, still …

December 27, 2008

A philosophy of life

Filed under: life,shopshopshop — Tags: , , — Towse @ 2:49 am

Had a nice long, ranging chat with Hermon Baker when I stopped in at Yone Beads on Union on my way back from the library and further places afield. (Complete list of stops and purchases on the day after Christmas: Cost Plus: nothing. Even at 75% off there was nothing there I needed, but seems I needed a couple small, blank canvases and a sketchbook (all on sale — total price <$10) at Artist & Craftsman Supply on Columbus.)

Baker and I talked about life and warm beds, the weather and the tiger sculpture that’s allegedly over on the Greenwich Steps. I need to go over and see if I can find it. One of his earlier customers hadn’t been able to. We wondered whether it had already been removed.

We talked about the year ending and his negative view of “top ten” lists for the year. Life is not a competition, he said. We shouldn’t be ranking this or that as on or off the top ten list for the year. Winners or losers. Top ten or not. Don’t.

I left the shop with two beautiful beads I will find some use for and something to think about.

December 21, 2008

Costco chicken from the roasting spit

Filed under: food,recipes,shopshopshop — Towse @ 9:31 pm

On Tuesday, when I was fasting and girding my loins for the prep mix I needed to drink, his nibs was at work. He stopped at Trader Joe’s and Costco on the way home for milk, eggs, gas, things we’d run low on before we left town.

At Costco, he bought a rotisserie chicken — $4.99 — something we’d never bought before. He needed something for dinner because he knew I was fasting and wouldn’t feel like cooking, and he didn’t want anything complicated. Roast chicken sounded good to him (and smelled sinfully delicious to my poor fasting self when he arrived home with it). He said the rotisserie chicken shelves, usually filled with packaged roasted chicken, were bare and a line of people (young, old, moms with kids in tow, more) waited for the butchers to take the roasted chickens off their spits and packaged them up.

Tuesday night he had roast chicken for dinner. Wednesday night we both had roast chicken for dinner. Friday night I stripped meat off the chicken carcass and legs and made chicken pot pie for dinner, setting aside enough white breast meat for two sandwiches or another meal.

Friday, while the pot pie was baking, I broke the chicken carcass into pieces and put it and the wings and the leg bones whose meat I’d used in the pot pie into a pot. Added chopped fresh garlic, ground pepper, chopped carrots and chopped onions. Covered just barely with water and let it simmer. After dinner, I fetched out some of the bones and picked the meat off, then threw the bones back in and set the pot to simmer some more.

Let the pot cool overnight on the stove. Yesterday afternoon I picked the bones out of the cooled broth. All the meat had fallen off the bones and the broth had thickened due to the collagen in the bone-ish bits. I took the hand blender and swirled the broth and chicken and carrots and onions and garlic into a thick soup and put the soup back on the stove to heat up. Meanwhile, I minced up a few cloves of garlic and browned some button mushrooms in butter and half the garlic. Tossed them into the soup. I snapped some green beans and cooked them in butter and garlic for a bit and tossed them (still crisp) into the soup. Added some hot curry powder and some fresh tarragon I fetched from the deck while we were giving the architects the grand tour.

Had the soup for supper with dead easy garlic Parmesan bread:
Slice four pieces of sourdough bread.
Lightly butter one side of bread.
Finely mince two garlic cloves. Sprinkle minced garlic on bread slices.
Top with shredded Parmesan cheese.
Broil until cheese melts and turns golden brown.

What’s left to eat from our $4.99 roasted chicken after one dinner (Tues), two dinners (Wedn), two potpie dinners (Fri), two soup dinners (Sat)?

What’s left is enough breast meat for two sandwiches or two dinners and enough leftover chicken pot pie for three-four dinners.

Maybe those $4.99 roasted chickens from Costco are a better deal than I realized.

November 28, 2008

Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede

Filed under: life,news,shopshopshop — Towse @ 5:04 pm

Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede.

Is Black Friday worth it? Do you really need this stuff on sale? Are you really saving enough money to make all this worth it?

Maybe it’s just that I am not a fan of large pushy crowds, but I decided that getting up in time to stand in line at Cost-Plus to be one of the first hundred through the doors for a 7 a.m. opening, which would score me a free pretty little glass Christmas ornament and a chance for a huge prize, was just not worth dealing with people in mind of a Black Friday deal.

Some stores opened at 4 a.m. Macy’s opened at 5 a.m. Other stores had midnight madness sales. People left their family Thanksgiving dinners early to stand in line to score deals on stuff.

More shopping news:

Gabrielle Mitchell, 28, from Rockville Centre, was out at the stores in Hicksville at 3:45 a.m. waiting for them to open. Almost four hours later, she said she had spent more than $1,600.

But did she need the stuff she spent money on? Does it make her happy? Does it make her happy even through the paying of the bills?

For me it’s much nicer to stay home today and read the paper back and forth over breakfast with his nibs and let the glow of family Thanksgiving keep me warm on a grey day.

Dinner tonight with friends. Money will be spent not for durable goods but for transient pleasure.

And no one dies.

November 25, 2008

The Dunlap Question

Filed under: life,people,shopshopshop — Towse @ 12:04 am

Item listed in an upcoming Sotheby’s auction.

Item: a sheet of paper with the header, THE DUNLAP QUESTION, with typed questions and scribbled answers from F Scott Fitzgerald. (est: $8-$12K)

The basic question is followed by questions that refine the basic question and answer.

You make a quick survey of your whole life, remembering all your pains and all your pleasures, the humiliations and triumphs, the regrets and satisfactions, the miseries and the happiness. Then suppose you are compelled to make the following decision, with no alternative?

1. Live through your whole life again, just exactly as before, with no opportunity to better it by your present experience, or

2. Die instantly.

Which would you choose?


Interesting question.

The person posing the questions: Gilbert Seldes


I’m still pondering.

November 16, 2008

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge

Filed under: art,shopshopshop — Towse @ 1:58 am

You’ve been saving your pennies, being frugal as can be, waiting for a buying opportunity in this depressed economy.

Here’s your chance.

Sotheby’s auction in New York. “American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture”
Wed, 03 Dec 08

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge. The Poker Game.

Estimate $200-300K.

One of many he painted in his lifetime:

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge was well-known in the Rochester area of New York for his paintings of anthropomorphised canines surrounded by the trappings of successful middle-class life. Typical subjects included the all-night card game, a trip to the ball park, commuting to work and even arguing a case in court. A great deal of attention is paid to the dogs’ clothing, details of their surroundings and to a humorous variety of facial expressions. Cigar companies, the artist’s first customers, printed copies of his paintings for promotional give-aways, but the printers Brown & Bigelow made Coolidge’s dog-genre familiar to the general public as advertising posters, calendars and prints.

Estimate $200-300K.


November 13, 2008

This is our moment. This is our time.

Filed under: art,culture,election2008,San Francisco,shopshopshop — Towse @ 9:23 pm

I’m a huge fan of Paul Madonna and his ALL OVER COFFEE work in the Sunday Chronicle.

Got this note from him today (that would be me and the zillion others on his e-mail list):

I’ve had an overwhelming response to this week’s “Obama:Progress” All Over Coffee piece. Since the original sold within the first few hours it was published, (including a backup waitlist) I decided to make a fine art limited edition print of this particular strip to honor this momentous time in history.

The full-color print is 16×22 inches, signed and numbered in a limited edition of 100, at $195 each. Produced by the fabulous printer SF Electric Works, these prints are of the highest quality.

Follow this link to both view and order.

If you missed Sunday’s Madonna, check it out. If you don’t know ALL OVER COFFEE or Paul Madonna, check him out.

November 11, 2008

A reminder: Click to Give @ The Hunger Site

Filed under: culture,nonprofits,shopshopshop — Towse @ 6:38 am

Click to Give @ The Hunger Site

from the site: The Hunger Site launched in June 1999 as the brainchild of a private citizen from Indiana, with the purpose of helping to alleviate world hunger by using the Internet in a creative way. A simple daily click of a button on would give funding — paid for by the site’s sponsors — to the United Nations World Food Programme.

In its first nine months, the site funded more than nine million pounds of food for the hungry — an astonishing feat. Eventually the site became too large for one man to manage, and in 2000 The Hunger Site was sold to, which today operates as the GreaterGood Network family of websites.

The shopshopshop portion of this site is superb as well. Very cool stuffs for those friends and family for whom a gift certificate to Olive Garden just won’t do. Cheap shipping deals too.

Go there and check it out.

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