Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Trailer Trad-gedy: Bad Shirts

Alright, does anybody have octahedron dice because these shirts put me in the mood for Dungeons & Dragons. Not really.
 This bold image of the Spirit of the Forest, the Gray Wolf, makes me want to construct a 'dream catcher' out of feathers, string and beads.
Would you think less of me if I secretly would consider buying one of these?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer Junk 2012

While other people escaped to Wrightsville Beach or to cool(er) Blowing Rock or Bath in the mountains, I sweltered in Raleigh this summer while digging around for fresh junking treasures.

These 1950s signs advertising tourist trinkets bring back a lot of childhood vacation memories. -Pretty rare to find a complete set, I thought.
I have a couple of Atlantic service station signs from the 1940s/50s so I thought that this would make a good addition. Orange and blue is my favorite color combination (no, I'm not an especially big UVA fan even though my hometown is near Charlottesville). 'White Flash' was one of Atlantic's popular fuel formulations and had been around since the 1920s.
This very groovy chair looks like a prop from Space: 1999 and probably had it's share of Tang spilled on it back in the day. -Quickly wiped away spotless by Mrs. Brady, I'm sure.
Slap this 1940s lumber mill smock on and you'll instantly be able to fix your leaky tub and update your kitchen. By yourself.
This groovy little cocktail table is just swank. Pure and simple.
Although these rusty industrial artifacts resemble old milk cans, they are actually fuel cans from the 1920's. They sat in an Ohio barn for decades until they were brought to Raleigh by the original owner's grandaughter when she relocated her family to The Old North State.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Great Googie!

Char-Grill in Raleigh is an old, old burger stand started in 1959 that still manages to do things right- fresh beef grilled to perfection with the aroma wafting for blocks. There are a few of them now but they all must bow to the 1950s original downtown.
Hard to miss from the street, Char-Grill was built in the architectural style is known as 'googie.' Googie predates 'Google' by over 40 years and signifies that familiar Mid-Century roadside style dominated by rocket ship and satellite motifs that guys my age knew when we were kids.

Although the style had existed on the West Coast since the Thirties, it really went nationwide in the 1950s when the automobile left an indelible imprint on the suburban landscape. Hotels, restaurants and gas stations competed with one another to capture the attention and imagination of the car-traveling American family. Sweeping cantilevered arches, gleaming steel and flashing neon helped to lure families off of the new interstates and commercial thoroughfares. Not accepted by the purer faith of Modernist design or by the public after the 1960s, much of this architecture was demolished. But, luckily, the Char-Grill building still stands and reminds customers today of the hopeful aesthetic of yesteryear's car culture.

Also from that era, this is the gas station next door to Char-Grill.
P.S. - Just last week, the service station next door removed the front overhead lights from the 1960s and replaced it with a big shelter of the pumps like you see at most gas stations now. Just goes to show that these old treasures are are quickly going away so get out and look for them!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Reading Tutor

Recently at an estate sale, I noticed a framed picture on the wall over a couch. I liked the subject matter, so I took a closer look. The price tag said "Framed print, $45." -The only thing is, it looked like an original oil to me. The picture looked really well executed so it made sense to assume that it was a print. I removed it from the wall, took off my glasses and took a close look. Brush strokes.

I decided to take a flyer and get it. As soon as I paid cash for it, I felt buyers remorse. Was it just a print or what? Here's where I made a mistake. I had noticed a bookish, professorial picker in line and took him aside and asked him for his opinion. "This is a print with a finish applied to it to make it appear like an original." He and his wife gave me a sympathic nod and wished me good luck with it. "$45 for the print isn't bad," he said.
Trust your gut over the opinions of others. Maybe he hoped to psyche me out and get it from me for cheap. I took it home and examined it closely under a magnifying glass under good light. What do you think?

Friday, August 10, 2012

THIS is College Radio! NC State's WKNC 88.1fm

I recently had the opportunity to visit North Carolina State University's radio station, 88.1fm WKNC because I was fortunate enough to win a concert ticket give-away and had to go by there to pick up the tickets. 'My Morning Jacket' are the headliners for the show (they're great) but I'm in it for their openers Band of Horses.
This is what a college radio should be like! Larger than you would expect, WKNC is located in a student center on the campus of North Carolina State University and operates very much like a regular FM rock station- right down to serious wattage. You can clearly pick it up all the way to the beach and nearly to Greensboro and into Virginia.
WKNC is one of the premier college stations in the nation but, as is typical for NCSU, they approach it with a low-key mix of professionalism and fun. Since they are heard over 25,000 watts, WKNC DJs are given more training and guidelines than is typical with college stations.
I really like that because DJs must first be apprentices to more experienced DJs (they are referred to as 'training monkeys' during this period). Likely because of this apprenticeship, they (usually) steer clear of being too indie and, through some miracle, steer away from preaching on air or trying to be too esoterically cool (see WXYC Chapel Hill).
At the same time, WKNC manages to avoid an increasingly big problem; the corporatization or 'satellitization' of playlists. Other so-called college stations sound like just another of the many 'new rock alternative' fm stations that play mainstream corporate stuff or college music from 1991. You know, the ones who play The Red Hot Chili Peppers as if they're relevent. -Appalachian State University's station, for example, is like that unfortunately. WKNC is just right. Shaw University's station in downtown Raleigh is also good college radio for gospel, Motown/beach and blues. -I listen in on Sunday mornings to and from church!

WKNC has also been integral in spurring on a thriving local music scene. The station gives North Carolina indie bands much-needed exposure while spreading the word about live, local performances. The station has long enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with local entities like The Arcade Fire label Merge Records out of Chapel Hill, NC. The Arcade Fire has been, by far I think, the biggest popular success for the label. However, there have been many influencial, successful bands as well lesser known great bands represented by Merge and played extensively by WKNC. Some favorites include: Spoon, Superchunk, The Arcade Fire, M. Ward, The Magnetic Fields, The Rosebuds, Destroyer, Wye OakFuture Islands, Nuetral Milk Hotel and The Mountain Goats.

The Mountain Goats are one of scores of bands scheduled at Hopscotch music festival in September. The festival enjoys a symbiotic relationship with WKNC and the local music scene and is rapidly becoming a force on the national alternative music stage

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mr. Stanley Druhot, Government Surveyor

Photo credit: USGS

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sunday Cycling

I really enjoy getting out the 'commuter bike' and tooling around the neighborhood. What I especially like is the way my preferred route goes from my suburban streets to winding woodland paths to genteel estates to bustling North Hills shopping. -With leisurely peddling, I can cover all of this in under a half an hour.

Going on a leisurely weekend bike ride is pretty interesting in my neighborhood. Five minutes from great shopping lie great residential streets and the forest-like Greenway with its paved paths, bridges and scenic views.