Towse: views from the hill

October 29, 2008

Etsy :: Oven Mitts

Filed under: culture,shopshopshop,writing — Towse @ 1:20 am

Etsy :: Oven Mitts

The perfect gift for your literary friends … with a warped sense of humor.

October 8, 2008

Laughing Squid has something for you.

Filed under: election2008,shopshopshop — Towse @ 4:31 am

Powazek has a t-shirt you might be interested in.

August 18, 2008

I am one vote. T-shirt from

Filed under: politics,shopshopshop — Towse @ 7:01 pm

I am one vote. T-shirt from

June 24, 2008

PopCo, Stuff and Uncrate

Filed under: books,culture,life,shopshopshop — Towse @ 11:45 pm

Finished PopCo while I was away.

Like The End of Mr. Y, this Scarlett Thomas book had a to-me sympathetic main female character who roamed around in her head and jumped from subject to subject and landing pad to leaping-off-point in a manner I’m quite familiar with. Thomas’ heroines remind me strongly of Cayce Pollard, the heroine in Gibson’s Pattern Recognition.

The books are filled with consumer culture, philosophy, and weird, quirky bits of trivia. PopCo specifically has enough code breaking arcana to keep you going for a while. Alice Butler, the main character, creates sleuth kits for kids for a megacorp called PopCo (#3 in the world after Mattel and Hasbro) and finds herself stashed away in a corporate getaway with other PopCo creatives, tasked with finding a brilliant product for the teengirl market, which is notoriously hard for toy companies to crack.

I took pages and pages of notes of clever phraseology and references I had no clue to (the Riemann Hypothesis, the Voynich Manuscript), book titles I need to check our bookstash for (and buy if we don’t have a copy) (Secret and Urgent: The Story of Codes and Ciphers by Fletcher Pratt) and more.

Thomas even gave a brief explanation to another character of how public key encryption works, an explanation my aunt Ethel would be able to understand!

Is this really the way toy companies are run? Is marketing really as cynical about tapping into the pocketbooks of teens and pre-teens as the book suggests? Could be.

I try not to buy stuff I don’t =need=. This book made me even more aware of how you, me, and Mr. McGee are sold to.

Witness: Uncrate | The Buyer's Guide For Men Talk about cool stuff you don’t really need!

We won’t even begin to explore Archie McPhee and Things You Never Knew Existed.

I received an offer in the mail the other day. Because I’m a special person (because of my W subscription? because of my ZIPcode? because of the stylish, fashionable things I buy at the Goodwill?), ELLE offered me a year’s subscription (normally $48! or something close thereto) for only $8!

Well, hey, yes! Of course, they’d love to have me on their subscription rolls.

But we talked about our dear mailman and all the mail he has to bring down the steps and then up our stairs to our front door. And then we talked about the bags of recycle we have to take down our stairs and up the steps to the recycle bin on Montgomery. And we decided that I didn’t really need ELLE that much.

We aren’t getting a stimulus check from the government. No manna from heaven $$ for stuff. I guess they figure we stimulate the economy as much as we ever will.

The younger niblet, who is doing his Peace Corps stint until June 2010, got his check, though. We’ll put it in his bank account and maybe he’ll be able to tap it at some point if he is in desperate need for something while he’s there. At least it will still be available when he comes home.

Somehow I think his check would go a lot further there than it would in San Francisco. Be more appreciated too. Somehow I think there’s less “stuff” where he is and more “Do we have enough food for dinner and breakfast tomorrow?”

June 3, 2008

10 Unexpected Costs of Owning Things

Filed under: life,shopshopshop — Towse @ 6:40 pm

10 Unexpected Costs of Owning Things |

I know this is true.

The hundreds of magazines I recycled last weekend? I know I probably would’ve never found time to read them. I know more come in every day. I know I don’t need all the books I have. How often do I listen to a given CD?

Do I need my stuff?

But the thought of giving up my stuff gives me the shivers.

Bit by slowly bit … maybe.

May 22, 2008


Filed under: culture,shopshopshop — Towse @ 7:16 pm


Life, love, everything shoe.

April 3, 2008

from Eames to civets

Filed under: shopshopshop — Tags: , — Towse @ 8:03 pm

from Mixed Use to Kopi Luwak.

Mixed Use, a fun shop on Union at Grant that sold used everything from Dooney & Bourke bags to fur coats, to men’s cowboy boots, fifties furniture and Scandinavian bookends at prices too high for my Goodwill sensibilities, closed up at the end of the year.

The store had a diverse collection of things for sale and was a wonderful place to poke around in but, as I mentioned, I never bought a thing there because I’m a thrift store girl at heart. I can get the D&B handbag that Mixed Use was selling for fifty dollars for fifteen at the Goodwill, ten dollars if the store is having a “30% off anything with a blue price tag” day. Plus no sales tax at the Goodwill. Oh, yay, Goodwill.

Granted, Mixed Use had the crème de la crème of secondhand stuff. No need to hunt pearls in thrift store oyster beds. But, for me, the hunt (and the successful pearl capturing) is the fun of it. (“Like my Ferragamo shoes? $6 at the Goodwill!”)

The store’s location on Union, a few buildings east of Grant, might’ve also been a factor in its demise. (I’m sure my not buying things there wasn’t.)

Shops on Grant between Broadway and Fillmore have problems attracting a customer base. I’m not sure what the solution is. Mixed Use was not even on Grant, but off Grant and being off Grant — on a stretch of Union that usually only neighbors walking home and hardy hill-worthy tourists use — had to have effected its walk-in business.

Despite the sign down at the corner of Union and Grant directing people up the hill to the shop and good writeups in the San Francisco mags, I was usually the only potential customer in the shop those times I popped in to see what they had in their inventory. Their problem was their location. They would’ve done much better in Polk Gulch. Or Union Street in Cow Hollow. Or down on Fillmore. Their problem was there were no other nearby nifty little shops to attract like-minded customers.

I was sorry to see them go.

Who would brave the space next?

We noticed new signage last month. A new tenant had opened shop at 463 Union Street. The windows are still papered over but his nibs was able to pick up a brochure when he walked by the storefront the other day. Will this business make a success of the space?

Kopi Luwak Trading Company

Hm. Phone and email orders only at this stage.

Maybe that’s the ticket: not depending on walk-in customers.

November 3, 2007

The Consumerist: Shoppers Bite Back

Filed under: blog,culture,shopshopshop — Towse @ 6:40 pm

Entertaining blog with news tidbits.

The Consumerist: Shoppers Bite Back

You can find such gems as a post about Batter Blaster:

Occasionally we see products that make us wonder how we got to this late day without them. “Batter Blaster” (which is pancake batter in a Cheese Whiz or Redi Whip bottle) is one such product.

Will we be buying this? No. Are we happy the it exists? Yeah. Actually, we are.

I think the product’s an abomination (How hard is it to add water to your Krusteaz mix?) but about half the comments are in a “hell-yeah, I’ve been waiting for something like this” vein.

September 17, 2007


Filed under: life,shopshopshop — Towse @ 7:25 pm

A Paul Graham essay on Stuff. (something I know something about)

Another way to resist acquiring stuff is to think of the overall cost of owning it. The purchase price is just the beginning. You’re going to have to think about that thing for years—perhaps for the rest of your life. Every thing you own takes energy away from you. Some give more than they take. Those are the only things worth having.

I’ve now stopped accumulating stuff. Except books—but books are different. Books are more like a fluid than individual objects. It’s not especially inconvenient to own several thousand books, whereas if you owned several thousand random possessions you’d be a local celebrity. But except for books, I now actively avoid stuff. If I want to spend money on some kind of treat, I’ll take services over goods any day.

Comment tail has some added goodness.

via ev

Current to-do list includes

*Clean up old junk
*Minimize new stuff

June 2, 2007

[URL] San Francisco Herb Co.

Filed under: food,San Francisco,shopshopshop,URL — Towse @ 7:13 pm

As mentioned in the post immediately preceding this one, I came across the San Francisco Herb Co. today while searching for a source of Long Life Tea (my supply being about four mugs-worth from the bottom of the bag).

San Francisco Herb Co. is local. The 26K sqft warehouse is located at 250 14th St. The small retail operation at the front of the warehouse is open M-SA 10-4.

San Francisco Herb Company provides Wholesale prices on the highest quality culinary herbs and spices, extracts, teas, dehydrated vegetables, nuts, seeds, botanicals, essential oils, potpourri ingredients and fragrance oils.

You can browse through the available stock, which is sorted into the following categories:

  • Herbs and Spices – Baking
  • Herbs and Spices – Botanicals
  • Herbs and Spices – Miscellaneous
  • Catnip
  • Green Tea and Other Bulk Tea Products
  • Dehydrated Vegetables
  • Essential Oils
  • Extracts
  • Fragrance Oils
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Potpourri – Ingredients
  • Potpourri – Pre-Mixed
  • Potpourri – Recipes
  • Spices
  • Spice Blends

The bulk of their business is mail order. The online catalog is worth a look. I’m planning a field trip to the retail outlet. Soon.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress