Saturday, July 31, 2010

Article on Polish Prison Tattoos

Really fantastic article and slideshow on turn of the century Polish prison tattoos that have been, shall we say, "removed from their original contexts" and preserved.

Preserving the Criminal Code @ FOTO8 via Morbid Anatomy.

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Manly Post

My grandfather used to say that a man is not fully dressed without his pocket knife. I've been carrying this old one of his for about ten years now. I never knew my grandfather in any meaningful way because he died when I was too young to remember much about him, but he left literally boxes of amazing old tools and other grandfatherly stuff that helps me connect with him.

I don't spend a lot of time actively thinking about being a man, or doing manly things. I don't normally walk around thinking, "Damnation, I sure do like being a man!" and then go off looking for someone to wrestle. I only do that maybe once every couple months. Tops.

But yesterday I was cleaning and oiling my knife to put it away for the month of August (I'll be out of town all month and can't bring it on the plane), and I started thinking about that sentiment of my grandfather's. Carrying a pocket knife is probably the most manly thing I do, but I rarely think about it, and I doubt if more than a couple of people even know I do it.

I know I'm looking at the past through rose-tinted glasses a little bit here (something a historian isn't supposed to do), but it makes me wonder if our culture has lost the quiet, understated, and dignified idea of masculinity that my grandfather and his kind knew. The kind in which a man wasn't fully dressed without his pocket knife, but didn't have to go around bumping chests, slamming brews, and revving engines all the time to prove his manly worth.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Junior Toy Corp. Tricycle

Somehow this escaped posting in the earlier vacation photos from Oregon. Spotted this awesome vintage tricycle at an antique store in my home town of Silverton. I bet there used to be a headlight, or at least a really cool reflector.
Check out that fender! 
Junior Toy Corp., Hammond, Indiana

Precious Cargo

Just mailed off two copies of my book manuscript to my editor. Woot!

Plant To-Day!: War-Era Food Posters

An excellent and extensive online exhibit from the collections of the National Agriculture Library.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is This a Bike Blog?

Okay, so I just changed the header image to a photo of me working on a bike, and the category with the most posts is bicycles, but is this a "bike blog"? It surprises me when I come across this blog on other bloggers' links under categories like bikes or bike blogs, but maybe it shouldn't. I do talk about bikes a lot, but I also post recipes, photos (not of bikes), essays, history-related things, and utter miscellany. In fact, my whole point in starting this blog was to have a space to write about all kinds of things, including but not limited to bikes. I suppose I should embrace the label, but I'm ambivalent about writing a "bike blog" again. I guess if you want to call it a bike blog, though, you can.

Image: Magritte, The Treachery of Images (1928-29)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Easy Banana "Ice Cream"

Saw this on BoingBoing the other day and it sounded good, so we tried it tonight. It's basically just a blended banana. No dairy, no nothin'. Just a banana and some honey if you want. It's not exactly like ice cream, but as my wife said, it's somewhere between ice cream and gelato. I think it's more like custard, actually.

So here's the recipe: cut a banana into chunks (we used two bananas) and freeze in a covered container. Put the frozen banana chunks into a food processor or blender (we only have a blender and it worked fine) with a teaspoon of honey and whatever else you want to add to your "ice cream"; we added five or six raspberries for color. Blend until you've got a consistency like soft ice cream or a dense custard (see photo below), then scoop into bowls (you'll need a long spoon to retrieve the goo if you use a blender like we did). It's a satisfying dessert and for the extremely minimal effort, very well worth it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vacation Photos: The Ol' Homestead

Most of our time in Oregon was spent relaxing (and working) at my childhood home outside of Silverton. We take pretty much the same set of photos every summer.

One of the pansies we planted for our wedding four years ago, and which have since gone feral.
The Ol' Homestead, a.k.a. Sheep Creek
Up the road.
Up the hill.
These California poppies are a relatively new arrival in all of the local ditches. Johnny Poppyseed must have visited recently.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Vacation Photos: Rogue River/Crater Lake

After basking in the goodness of Portland, we drove down to the Rogue River in Southern Oregon to spend a night camping with some friends driving up from San Francisco on their way back to Washington. The campsite was amazing, but it had already been claimed by 5 million mosquitoes, a fact that did not become apparent until it was too late. After a night of mosquito swatting and realizing that two people can not, in fact, sleep comfortably in the back of a Subaru Forester, we headed back home with stops at Crater Lake and at Toketee Falls in the Umpqua National Forest. The scenery and the friends made the 40-something (not even kidding) mosquito bites well worth it.

The Rogue Rover at Natural Bridge Campground

The campground was originally established by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s; many of these original stoves are still around, although most are not in useable condition.

Farther down (up?) the Rogue River.

Crater Lake looks just like in pictures, only way bigger.

An extremely leaky wooden aquaduct at the Toketee Falls trailhead.

Toketee Falls

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vacation Photos: PDX

So I wasn't so good with the blogging while on vacation, which didn't bother me one bit. Surprisingly, the Interwebs didn't implode without me checking them every day, and I also didn't go into a trembling, weeping fit just because I couldn't waste half my day fiddling around on the computer.

So anyway, I'm going to parse out my vacation photos over a few posts. First up, our 24-ish hours in Portland, including a really kick-ass wedding, reconnecting with good friends, and drooling over the bikey goodness that is PDX these days.

Yup, on-street bike parking. Sigh.
Just for you.
Is that a porteur rack I spy? And inverse levers? A bike after my own heart.
Oh Portland, I like you.
Bike box! They really do exist.
Wedding site, Cathedral Park, under the St. Johns Bridge
Black/white makes terrible photos look artsy.
The groom spent part of the morning after his wedding showing us his chickens.
Good haul.
A very early Columbia; note foot rests on the fork.
Tiny little rod-brake tricycle.
The Michelin Man of your worst nightmares.

Friday, July 2, 2010

DRFN on the Road: Orygun

Starting tomorrow at an unholy hour, we'll be heading up to my homeland for a couple of weeks, with stops in Portland and along the Rogue River in the southerly Cascades near Crater Lake. The majority of the time will be spent on the Ol' Homestead outside the boomtown of Silverton. I'll try to post some photos as we go, but it may be sporadic or even not at all. I'll try, though.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Not What You Think It Means

Another funny one outside of Jefferson Elementary in North Park. There are a bunch of these on the fence around the playground, and now that school is out for the summer, I can take a picture without getting arrested. Obviously kid-created, but I'm curious about the adult who said, "yeah, that's what respect is, go ahead and put that one up."