Saturday, May 31, 2008

kingdom of the [fiberglass eames]

one perk i have at my office is receiving the friday before memorial and labor day off. wanting to make the most of this extra day, i decided to go on a little adventure and visit a few estate sales. i never have anything specific in mind, but part of the thrill of digging among the aged eighties appliances, and worn out wardrobes, is the hope of stumbling upon some forgotten object worth something, if even to me. i do, however, tend to gravitate to objects from the 50's and 60's, with their space-aged lines, and chrome accents. like an architectural indana jones, i'm always on the quest for some elusive mid century modern relics.

the day started out fairly uneventful, finding nothing that perked my interest. after driving back from an estate sale, i noticed a tiny sign for a garage sale. not being too thrilled, i figured i might as well check it out. as i drove up, what caught my eye was on old bike, but this turned out to be only a trick. as i stepped out of the car, i noticed the bike was parked next to some really great looking chairs. from a distance they almost looked like eames chairs. not wanting to look overly anxious i meandered over. however the gentleman hosting the garage sale was keen, and must of picked up on my subtle excitement as he shouted,

"ya know those are herman-miller chairs!"

i gave an un-emotional nod of semi-understanding at the guy, but in my head i was flipping out! did i just find eames chairs at a garage sale? i looked them over, checked them out, and saw the price tag...$10 dollars each!

trying to hold in my giddiness at this point, i went and looked at the rest of the items, keeping an ever present eye on my find. looking through glen campbell records, i tried to reason with myself that this would be a good buy. i started walking back to the car, almost getting in, when i realized that i would be kicking myself tomorrow if i passed this up. i went back up, looked them over again, and then decided to make my move.

i asked,

"would you take $15 for both?"

he squinted his eyes, and looked his chairs up and down....

i, sweating ever so slightly, waited for him to make his counter-move....

he pondered more....

i sweated more....

finally his mouth started to move...

i leaned in...awaiting his answer...

he said, "sure"

i handed him the cash, ran over, replaced the chairs with a bag of sand equivalent to their weight, and swung out of the garage on my whip!

ok, so i actually just grabbed them, and loaded them into the car, but believe me, there was still a lot of excitement in it!

like most great things in life, i wasn't planning on all just sort of happened. looking back, i can see now, it's what some people like to call a "perfect storm". three large elements in my life, architecture, a love of anything vintage, and thriftiness, converged all at once to create a situation ending with me finding this architectural idol.

however the search is still on for the "holy grail" if you eames lounge chair, for under $30!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

because...getting there is [half] the fun.

last week, my family loaded up the family truckster and headed to colorado. it's been a while since we all were in the same car for over eight hours, and some may see that as something to dread, but to be honest, i was looking forward to it.

years ago, our road trips consisted of dad driving, mom reading a book, and my sister and i in the back of our station wagon. the entertainment consisted of following our route on a fold out map, waiting for dead spot in western kansas, where the scan function on the radio is unable to pick up any stations, and being the first one to see the mountains on the horizon.

this trip wasn't for a vacation, but rather to attend a college graduation, but i was still hoping for some road trip fun. heading out on this little adventure were the parents, the sister + boyfriend and myself. being a total of five adults we opted to rent a mini van for the venture. now, i'm not sure if all new mini vans are like this, but it was chuck full of gadgets that were not in our 86 station wagon. it had separate climate controls for the front and back, which would have saved many hours of bickering 20 years ago, a dvd player, with screens in the back, and satellite radio.

the future is now!

finding out about these features, we grabbed a few dvd's and headed west. not being in too terrible of a hurry, we made frequent stops. in between watching such classics as "vacation", and "planes trains and automobiles", we stopped and had lunch in a park in hays, tried to visit the 300lb prairie dog in oakley, (it was closed), searched for the most bizarre items in truck stops, and yes, still had a contest to see who could spot the mountains first.

we spent a few days in denver with the company of wonderful friends, attended a graduation that, besides a freak windstorm that stopped the ceremony, went fine, and even made it downtown to check out the denver museum of art.

the journey back was a bit quicker, however we did make time to visit the worlds largest easel in goodland, kansas that holds a huge version of on of van gogh's sunflower paintings. if you're ever in the area, it's well worth the stop. getting back into the car after visiting this modern marvel, i started thinking about the fate of roadside attractions. with cars coming equip with everything that you probably get too much of at home, i.e. endless music, dvd's, internet, along with the increasingly rising cost of gasoline, what will happen to these roadside oddities. will 4 dollar gasoline unwind the worlds largest ball of twine? will in-car entertainment eclipse the amazing feat of world's deepest hand dug well? will technology and the economy slowly dull these little gems that dot the great american road trip? were these kansas quirks solely the product of boredom and cheap gas? as we learn to be more independent from oil, will future generations learn to become more dependent with visiting these wonders only on wikipedia?

who knows....

Wednesday, May 07, 2008



my name is eric...

and i am a decemberists fan...

that being said, it makes complete sense that a couple of weeks ago i traveled up to see colin meloy play in lawrence on his spring solo tour. i was excited for many reasons. first of all, i'm a huge fan of his music. second, it was a chance to see him play a smaller venue. third, i needed something to blog about other than shoes. mostly, however, i love acoustic sets. there's something very honest about a performer with nothing backing him up but a guitar, and in this case a glass of wine, a mermaid icon named consuela, and a crystal named cornwallis.

so i called a friend of mine, a fellow decemberist fan, and we met in lawrence to see the show. on a side note, i can definitely tell i'm getting older, as i was thankful we sat up in the balcony, instead of trying to cram as close to the stage as possible with all the other hipsters, but that's neither here nor there. the opening act, laura gibson, was amazing, which set the tone for the entire night. colin was incredibly entertaining, in between playing classic decemberits songs and a few new ones, he chatted with the crowd revealing "vh-1 behind the music" style commentary on a few songs. the biggest treat however was the cover of the song "cupid" originally performed by sam cooke. it's an amazing song, with timeless lyrics that go straight to the heart.... and as far as covers go...this one was beautiful.

after the concert, having purchased the "colin meloy sings sam cooke" album, my friend and i were, back out on the street,....somewhat near....kind of the tour bus.....

as we were sitting there, chatting and discussing the fans waiting around the by the back door, colin came out. we watched them get autographs and photos taken....commenting on how star struck they were.

well...sitting there, watching this unfold....we thought to ourselves...."well he's right there...maybe we ought to just go and check it out".... before you knew it, we found ourselves in line with cd's in hand. being the last people in line, he not only signed our cd's, but chatted it up a little with us. yes....we were now star struck fans! there were so many things we wanted and could have said, but the conversation was short and sweet. but i'll tell you, i know it was brief, but he was incredibly nice. my friend and i left lawrence on cloud nine.....

"cloud nine"...who says that anymore?...i am getting old.