Packing Tips & Product Review #2

It is surprisingly easy to push a duffel bag beyond the 55 pound mark and, because each flight’s restrictions are subject to the whims of the immediate employees, you never know when somebody is going to decide that your bag is too large to make it on the flight with you.  When you’re flying with more than one bag it’s crucial to have the right mix of items so that should a bag get lost you’re not without anything you need.  They say “never put all your shit in one duffel.”

This bag, the BaseCamp Duffel from The North Face, has quite a bit more interior space than the Poler Duffaluffagus (reviewed in this earlier post) and a much thicker & heavy-duty shell, which can be a bane and a blessing. You put more stuff in and you need an extra arm to carry it. Also, it’s not built for a skateboard so rolling it anywhere is out of the question. It is, however, sturdy as fuck and although it doesn’t pack down for stowing I can’t foresee it ever getting worn out from normal travelling use. It also has sealed seams and one interior mesh zip pocket.  Both great bags with different strengths.  

As far as packing goes, the clothes in this bag are ones that I generally wear less but need nonetheless.  Starting with a few pairs of shorts & jeans, topped with various t-shirts, button-ups, polos and boxers, then folded sweaters and pajamas, jackets, socks and shoes, capped off with my trusty down coat.  Click here for a full product breakdown.

Winter on the east coast this year has been between 19 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit so diversity and layering is key. The same principles apply to the organization inside because the bags are about the same shape - you build a strong foundation, alternating the rolling and folding of garments to leave spaces for putting junk here and there, pack it all in there tight and try to protect the most fragile items as best you can.

Enjoy, and travel light.

I always love to get presents and I just got a new package from the fine gentlemen at ALL OR NIL, a tony streetwear brand fresh and direct out of San Francisco.  Straight from the horse’s mouth, their designs are inspired by old school Americana, graphic minimalism, and overlooked 1990s industrial references. The boys are performing quite correctly on an independent level and this shirt garnered a lot of inquiries at AGENDA tradeshow in NYC this week. I’m personally honored to have been contacted by this brand, so be sure to check out their website and their tumblr.  
ALL OR NIL

I always love to get presents and I just got a new package from the fine gentlemen at ALL OR NIL, a tony streetwear brand fresh and direct out of San Francisco.  Straight from the horse’s mouth, their designs are inspired by old school Americana, graphic minimalism, and overlooked 1990s industrial references. The boys are performing quite correctly on an independent level and this shirt garnered a lot of inquiries at AGENDA tradeshow in NYC this week. I’m personally honored to have been contacted by this brand, so be sure to check out their website and their tumblr.  

ALL OR NIL

Packing Tips & Product Review #1

Organizing your clothes inside a duffel bag is an art form.  A lot of variables come into play, including the length of your trip, the destinations and forecasted weather patterns, your planned activities, the size of the bag & modes of transportation, and even accessibility. Each unit of luggage has to act like a cell, supporting you entirely should another unit get lost in transit but also being protective to its contents and light enough to carry in one arm. Luggage and backpacks have always been one of my favorite purchases (and not coincidentally one of my favorite categories to design) because luggage can incorporate utilitarianism into fashion and fashion into utilitarianism. Carrying a fresh bag garners as much interest as any item of clothing, as any fashionable lady can attest to.  This bag from Poler is no different.

I had a stepdad when I was younger who was a complete asshole and mentally unstable, a Vietnam veteran from Mississippi. The only thing I learned from him was how men in the military pack their bags.  Most items are rolled, as opposed to folded, purportedly to both save space and prevent items from wrinkling.  I’ve worked on it over the years and come up with a combination and an order that keeps everything protected and organized while maximizing interior volume and keeping your clothes fresh.  For the record, the contents of this bag (as mentioned in an earlier post) comprise half of my entire wardrobe and a majority of my material possessions.

I started with a single bath towel and laid some tough jeans on top, folded in half.  This lays a nice foundation for the bag’s length and width and protects the insides against spills & surfaces from the bottom.  Then comes t-shirts (strictly Polo, for the record) and underwear, each individually rolled to provide padded spaces for artifacts, electronics/chargers, cologne, etc. On top of that I lay a few button-up shirts, acting as a vertical barrier and ensuring that each item stays put. On top of that goes more rolled-up or folded shirts, a light hoodie, some tights and a baselayer.  Capping off the puzzle are some khakis, a light cotton jacket, a thick hoodie, some windproof gloves, and a tank-top - items I want quickest access to.  Click here for a full product inventory.

This new bag of mine, the Poler Duffaluffagus, has a lot of strong points.  It’s lightweight enough to pack and fold up into another bag without sacrificing much space. It has straps on the bottom to carry a skateboard, killing two birds with one stone - transforming the duffel into a rolling bag and freeing up your other hand for some other whatever.  It has hidden backpack straps built into the bottom, which are an excellent idea but unusable when a skateboard is attached.  The bag is structured in the right spots, utilizing stiff piping to add shape to an otherwise floppy material, and it has plenty of sturdy handles.  It’s also pretty minimalist on the inside.  It’s a great bag.

On top of all that, the “fuzzy camo” pattern is sick as fuck, the company is run by skaters, and the pricing is perfect.  If I could suggest amendments to the design I’d add at least one flat pocket (zippered or not) to the inside, maybe a keychain clip too.  I’d also say that the metal fasteners to which the shoulder-strap attaches are too slippery - I bought the bag about 5 days before I moved, and I could tell immediately that using the shoulder strap would be tricky.  This is a small detail but caused me a lot of stress during my trip, both when shouldering the bag and when pulling it on a skateboard through my entirely car-less trip from Richmond, CA to SFO then from JFK to Newark, NJ.  Although I plan to perform some sort of workaround for my next trip, I am otherwise completely satisfied with the purchase. It’s an excellent, high-quality and beautiful piece of luggage that shows an outstanding knowledge of the customer. I look forward to seeing what’s next from the brand.

Buen Viaje!

From Zion to Death Valley

These photos are from a camping trip I took with two friends in the summer of 2010.  We drove through the night from San Francisco, CA to Zion National Park, UT (via Las Vegas). The goal was to arrive around 8am, beating out anybody searching for a spot at a reasonable hour.  We set up camp, lied blatantly to the campground nannies when we were asked to pay for our site, smoked a joint and passed out.  

The Zion leg of the trip comprised of eating bacon-wrapped filet mignon, drinking IPA, hiking up to Angel’s Landing, riding bicycles and taking photos (digital, Polaroid, and large-format). We managed to meet three creepy girls at the adjacent camp site, we sacrificed some beers to the river gods, and vandalized the nearby parking lot - turning “Free 2 Hour Parking” into “Free 12 Hour Parking.”  We drove 3 hours into the desert wilderness, getting caught on foot miles from the car in the infamous slot canyons at the onset of a rainstorm (a la “127 Hours”). We had lunch a few times at the Thunderbird Restaurant (House of the Ho-Made Pies) and flirted with the waitresses.  They bought us beers and sat with us. I wrote my phone number on a business card I’d found for a Tantric Sex Coach (back in SF this isn’t uncommon), confidently giving it to a young employee named Aurora who’d been not-so-slyly eyeing me as she walked back and forth through the restaurant.  She never called me. 

After about a week in Utah, we left for Death Valley, CA.  It was the off season, so we once again managed to camp for free.  We hiked in the sand-dunes, took a 55-mile bike ride on 200-degree asphalt, snuck into the swimming pool daily, and listened to some sad old bastard play sad old bastard music at the local saloon. Upon arrival, I chased a big crow around the deserted site on a mountain bike, anticipating where he’d want to land and just meeting him there.  After about 10 minutes the crow grew frustrated and flew off into the distance.  After taking a drive the next day, we returned to find all of our garbage pecked through and strewn around the campsite, gaining us a stern warning from the local trooper.  The crow thought he got the last laugh, I’m sure.

On the drive from Zion to Death Valley one basically has to go through Nevada, warranting the purchase and consumption of many illicit substances.  Our particular vice this time around was fireworks.  On the last night of the trip, one friend (who is married and has a teenage daughter) grew frustrated with our lack of initiative when it came to raising hell. You see, if every day is sunny you can always go outside tomorrow.  At about 11pm in the pitch black I heard him say “Ohhhh… fuck it,” and he walked to the car, opened and slammed the trunk, returning to our campsite with this (pictured) 9-shell mortar.  It is, to the best of my knowledge, a federal offense to light off fireworks in a state park.

Even in a heavily wooded, mountainous region this particular bomb would have been seen for miles around.  In a flat desert valley it’s more like a homing beacon for law enforcement, and when it’s engaged 30 feet from where you’re sitting it feels like you’re being kicked in the chest over and over and over.  I was laying in my tent when the chaos ensued.  The trooper showed up and asked the other campers what happened.  They said with certainty that they had seen a tall & skinny young man with blonde hair run off into the bushes immediately before the explosions - not only is this untrue, but it’s a good description of the way I look.

Two of us were laying in our tents while the third friend (who lit the fuse) not only talked with the furious trooper about who could have done it, he was brave enough to help the crew find the now-smoking mortar and physically assisted the trooper in carrying the wooden-based cannon from the burn site to a nearby dumpster (it was actually pretty heavy.)  Aside from the fireworks, the entire trip cost us each about $150 in gas and groceries, so $15/day/person.  Not bad.

On the way home, the driver of the car got a speeding ticket (90mph in a 60mph zone) and we used the opportunity to ask the copper where we could find breakfast in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, when my friend went to pay the ticket online two weeks later he was notified that it had already been taken care of. Good thing we gave up those beers.

milkesdavis asked: What's your story (broad, I know, but I feel like it's an interesting one)?

I am a 26-year-old fashion designer, skateboarder and traveller.

I was born in Toronto, CAN, I am an EUR multinational and I currently live and work in NYC, USA.

I’m into southern rap & electronic music, tattoos, urban development, and foreign languages.

Thanks for following my blog.


Bon Voyage.
A friend of mine told me recently that she was going to take a long trip in February 2012, and that she’d be backpacking from Cancun, Mexico through Central America, possibly as far down as Colombia.  I was blown away.  She’d be going with a friend, but this is still a heavy trip - 4 months on the road is no joke, especially in a chaotic land where you don’t speak the native language.
I started thinking about everything that she might need on her journey, looking back on all the trips I’ve taken in the past.  Travelling in general can be a tricky thing - you have to take everything you need, and nothing you don’t.  There are things you know you’ll need, things you want to have with you, and things that you cannot foresee needing until it’s too late.  
My friend has always been good to me, so I wanted to send her off with a gift that took into account all my experiences on the road, good and bad.  I was in the middle of packing for a new journey of my own, and there were a lot of things that I knew she might need.  It started with just a knife and grew into what I consider a foolproof toolbag, taking into consideration situations one has to have been through to understand.
Each pocket in the case is crammed with certain things for a reason - on the outer face (‘T’ side) are items that are highly protective but monetarily worthless. Should some nosy bastard dip his hands into the pocket he might take something but it’s not going to really matter. On the inner face (‘A+R’ side) are items for attack - these should be kept closer to you should you need to use them quickly, and they are generally more valuable and harder to replace. The main compartment is filled with the introspective items, and the smaller interior pockets contain those things that one would use with the most regularity.
In the name of packing light, I fit all of these items into a single 15” InCase laptop sleeve. My friend’s name starts with a ‘T’ and I believe that being perceived as a missionary in a Christian land is more than beneficial.  
The items she chooses to take with her are ultimately her decision - what I aim to do, nonetheless, is impart knowledge that isn’t easily attained.
•••
• Anti Hero static beer covers - designed specifically for public drunkenness, looks like Coca-Cola. reusable!
• “Unseen New York” - photo book from 1970s, included because I was in the process of moving to NYC at the time of the photo.
• hand-drawn tattoo flash - just something pretty to look at, I’m heavily interested in this art form and I’d like to dabble more than I do.
• notebook (ruled) - there’s always something to write down, or draw when you’re on the bus, play tic-tac toe, or rip a page out to give your phone number, make a sign, draw a map, etc.
• 3 gift certificates for massage work in St. Helena, CA (Napa Valley) - for my friend, her mother and her grandmother.
• envelopes & stamps - I’m not sure if US stamps work on foreign soil but it’s the principle.  also, I’d previously used all of the Bart Simpson stamps.  sorry, I had to.
• colored pencils - to bring some light into your life.
• colored chalk - (not pictured) to bring some light into your life. X marks the spot.
• asstd. zip ties - can be used to fix a backpack strap, to hang something from a branch or bar, or as handcuffs.  these are a one-shot and must be cut off, so be certain of what you’re doing.
• lip balm - for relief.
• good fortunes, 12G shotgun shell, SKS bullet - one of the fortunes reads that “when the world seems cold, kindle a fire to warm it”… when I was a child and hunting in the frozen Canadian wilderness with my father, he showed me that in the case that you need to start a fire and your kindling is wet, you can use a knife to cut open a shotgun shell, freeing the gunpowder inside to be ignited independently of the ball bearings and plastic casing.  warning - do make sure that you cut it open and separate everything first.
• swisher sweet cigar - either smoke it as is to celebrate a good day, or split it open and fill it with whatever you prefer.
• bic lighter - fire, on-demand. this changed the course of human-kind’s journey and we take it for granted.
• new batteries - AA, indispensable. to be used with the mag-lite.
• fireworks - to be used for surprise, not intimidation.  throw them off into a crowd for fun or if you think somebody is following you, light them and throw them at the person.  always throw fireworks at the next to last second, never before nor after.
• asstd. pens, pencils, permanent markers, paint pens & microns - so that you can write on anything, anywhere.
• Opinel folding knife - as one friend so kindly said, the world’s best cheap knife.  as another friend not so kindly said, a French picnic knife.  it’s sharp as hell, small enough for any pocket, it locks open and closed, and i painted the blade gold so that it would kill monsters. (It reminds me of Link from the Legend of Zelda)
• mini Mag-Lite - I watched this fall out of somebody’s pocket as they drove by on a golf-cart on a resort island on Lake Erie (Put-In-Bay, Ohio).  These things are bomb-proof and bright as hell.
• 3 bike tire levers - 3 is the magic number.  just in case.
• sewing kit & foam earplugs - fixing a tear in your clothes, or a button, or perhaps even suturing a wound if you’re far from help. Earplugs can make a bus station or even a fully-functioning machine shop into a quiet room.  I once spent a 13 hour flight from Taiwan to San Francisco next to my mother, who was in turn seated next to a mother carrying two writhing, screaming babies in the same seat with her.  I had headphones and my mother was on the verge of tears the whole time.
• linen handkerchief - given to me by an aunt and passed down through my Polish family, its brand new but maybe 75 years old - should you need to cry, wipe your mouth or maybe sneeze while around company.
• zig zags & matches - for smoking.
• nyquil capsules - (not pictured) for when you really need to sleep.
• condoms - should you meet somebody whom you would like to fuck.  you never know.
• green tea packets - a quick pick-me-up, these will help you keep going when you just don’t have the energy.  hot water is widely available!
• spf 50 sunblock - sweatproof, perfectly tiny, and a little goes a long way.
• shoelace - indispensable. can be used traditionally, or as a belt, a hair-tie, a tourniquet, to repair a split in your jeans, or as a harness for a new pet you may find in the jungle.
• apple headphones - breaking or losing headphones while traveling is quite a painful experience. just thinking ahead, retrospectively.  
• cotton rounds - for your health & hygiene.
• emergen-C packets - no description needed.  another quick boost for energy and the immune system.
• ibuprofen - for fevers, aches & pains.
• dried chili peppers - to spice up your food, or in a tough situation you can throw them in somebody’s face (eyes & mouth) if you want them to leave you alone. I am absolutely certain this is effective, but maybe they should be ground up first.
• ace bandage - for compression or a twisted ankle. you can even wrap it around a walking stick to make a nice grip.
• generic antibiotics - you can find all sorts of reasons to take these, if you think about it. 
• molton brown black pepper shave gel - some classy shit.  tiny bottle for flying with.
• 3 playing dice (marijuana themed) - craps, cee-lo, board games. mainly, these are for winning money. buena suerte!
• asstd. bandaids
• individual flossers - dispensable and indispensable.
• glass jar - originally for marijuana, this jar (from SPARC-SF) has a magnifier on top and a rubber-sealed cap so it’s perfect for catching strange bugs. be kind.
• bar of wax - when I lived in Orange County, CA my crackhead neighbor (Fuckin’ Fred) tried to prank me by filling the padlock to my garage with wax that he’d melted into the mechanism.  enter the bic lighter. You just heat the wax for 1-2-3 seconds and insert the key. I’m not surprised a crackhead didn’t think this through. The wax can also be used to grease a poorly set door-frame, or to write a message on cement that is heat (sunlight) activated.  this stuff also smells really good.
• bicycle tube repair kit - duh.
• skinny black tie - one of the first times I hung out with my friend T, we went to a formal black & white house party.  this tie will get you entrance into many situations. I stole it off of a Paul Smith mannequin at Macy’s in SF.
• brand new socks - one of the best feelings in the world, don’t leave home without ‘em.
• keychain • fluorescent orange wristband • 3 flashing lights - my favorite keychain. the bracelet can be used to tie things to a bag or belt-loop, or to distinguish your luggage from the next person’s, or to be worn as jewelry because it’s bright and eye-catching.  the flashing lights are meant for a bicycle but when you’re backpacking, they can be used to keep track of your team as night falls. make sure the batteries are working.
• “the general in his labyrinth” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - a fitting novel to read while backpacking through Central America.
•••

Bon Voyage.

A friend of mine told me recently that she was going to take a long trip in February 2012, and that she’d be backpacking from Cancun, Mexico through Central America, possibly as far down as Colombia.  I was blown away.  She’d be going with a friend, but this is still a heavy trip - 4 months on the road is no joke, especially in a chaotic land where you don’t speak the native language.

I started thinking about everything that she might need on her journey, looking back on all the trips I’ve taken in the past.  Travelling in general can be a tricky thing - you have to take everything you need, and nothing you don’t.  There are things you know you’ll need, things you want to have with you, and things that you cannot foresee needing until it’s too late.  

My friend has always been good to me, so I wanted to send her off with a gift that took into account all my experiences on the road, good and bad.  I was in the middle of packing for a new journey of my own, and there were a lot of things that I knew she might need.  It started with just a knife and grew into what I consider a foolproof toolbag, taking into consideration situations one has to have been through to understand.

Each pocket in the case is crammed with certain things for a reason - on the outer face (‘T’ side) are items that are highly protective but monetarily worthless. Should some nosy bastard dip his hands into the pocket he might take something but it’s not going to really matter. On the inner face (‘A+R’ side) are items for attack - these should be kept closer to you should you need to use them quickly, and they are generally more valuable and harder to replace. The main compartment is filled with the introspective items, and the smaller interior pockets contain those things that one would use with the most regularity.

In the name of packing light, I fit all of these items into a single 15” InCase laptop sleeve. My friend’s name starts with a ‘T’ and I believe that being perceived as a missionary in a Christian land is more than beneficial.  

The items she chooses to take with her are ultimately her decision - what I aim to do, nonetheless, is impart knowledge that isn’t easily attained.

•••

• Anti Hero static beer covers - designed specifically for public drunkenness, looks like Coca-Cola. reusable!

• “Unseen New York” - photo book from 1970s, included because I was in the process of moving to NYC at the time of the photo.

• hand-drawn tattoo flash - just something pretty to look at, I’m heavily interested in this art form and I’d like to dabble more than I do.

• notebook (ruled) - there’s always something to write down, or draw when you’re on the bus, play tic-tac toe, or rip a page out to give your phone number, make a sign, draw a map, etc.

• 3 gift certificates for massage work in St. Helena, CA (Napa Valley) - for my friend, her mother and her grandmother.

• envelopes & stamps - I’m not sure if US stamps work on foreign soil but it’s the principle.  also, I’d previously used all of the Bart Simpson stamps.  sorry, I had to.

• colored pencils - to bring some light into your life.

• colored chalk - (not pictured) to bring some light into your life. X marks the spot.

• asstd. zip ties - can be used to fix a backpack strap, to hang something from a branch or bar, or as handcuffs.  these are a one-shot and must be cut off, so be certain of what you’re doing.

• lip balm - for relief.

• good fortunes, 12G shotgun shell, SKS bullet - one of the fortunes reads that “when the world seems cold, kindle a fire to warm it”… when I was a child and hunting in the frozen Canadian wilderness with my father, he showed me that in the case that you need to start a fire and your kindling is wet, you can use a knife to cut open a shotgun shell, freeing the gunpowder inside to be ignited independently of the ball bearings and plastic casing.  warning - do make sure that you cut it open and separate everything first.

• swisher sweet cigar - either smoke it as is to celebrate a good day, or split it open and fill it with whatever you prefer.

• bic lighter - fire, on-demand. this changed the course of human-kind’s journey and we take it for granted.

• new batteries - AA, indispensable. to be used with the mag-lite.

• fireworks - to be used for surprise, not intimidation.  throw them off into a crowd for fun or if you think somebody is following you, light them and throw them at the person.  always throw fireworks at the next to last second, never before nor after.

• asstd. pens, pencils, permanent markers, paint pens & microns - so that you can write on anything, anywhere.

• Opinel folding knife - as one friend so kindly said, the world’s best cheap knife.  as another friend not so kindly said, a French picnic knife.  it’s sharp as hell, small enough for any pocket, it locks open and closed, and i painted the blade gold so that it would kill monsters. (It reminds me of Link from the Legend of Zelda)

• mini Mag-Lite - I watched this fall out of somebody’s pocket as they drove by on a golf-cart on a resort island on Lake Erie (Put-In-Bay, Ohio).  These things are bomb-proof and bright as hell.

• 3 bike tire levers - 3 is the magic number.  just in case.

• sewing kit & foam earplugs - fixing a tear in your clothes, or a button, or perhaps even suturing a wound if you’re far from help. Earplugs can make a bus station or even a fully-functioning machine shop into a quiet room.  I once spent a 13 hour flight from Taiwan to San Francisco next to my mother, who was in turn seated next to a mother carrying two writhing, screaming babies in the same seat with her.  I had headphones and my mother was on the verge of tears the whole time.

• linen handkerchief - given to me by an aunt and passed down through my Polish family, its brand new but maybe 75 years old - should you need to cry, wipe your mouth or maybe sneeze while around company.

• zig zags & matches - for smoking.

• nyquil capsules - (not pictured) for when you really need to sleep.

• condoms - should you meet somebody whom you would like to fuck.  you never know.

• green tea packets - a quick pick-me-up, these will help you keep going when you just don’t have the energy.  hot water is widely available!

• spf 50 sunblock - sweatproof, perfectly tiny, and a little goes a long way.

• shoelace - indispensable. can be used traditionally, or as a belt, a hair-tie, a tourniquet, to repair a split in your jeans, or as a harness for a new pet you may find in the jungle.

• apple headphones - breaking or losing headphones while traveling is quite a painful experience. just thinking ahead, retrospectively.  

• cotton rounds - for your health & hygiene.

• emergen-C packets - no description needed.  another quick boost for energy and the immune system.

• ibuprofen - for fevers, aches & pains.

• dried chili peppers - to spice up your food, or in a tough situation you can throw them in somebody’s face (eyes & mouth) if you want them to leave you alone. I am absolutely certain this is effective, but maybe they should be ground up first.

• ace bandage - for compression or a twisted ankle. you can even wrap it around a walking stick to make a nice grip.

• generic antibiotics - you can find all sorts of reasons to take these, if you think about it. 

• molton brown black pepper shave gel - some classy shit.  tiny bottle for flying with.

• 3 playing dice (marijuana themed) - craps, cee-lo, board games. mainly, these are for winning money. buena suerte!

• asstd. bandaids

• individual flossers - dispensable and indispensable.

• glass jar - originally for marijuana, this jar (from SPARC-SF) has a magnifier on top and a rubber-sealed cap so it’s perfect for catching strange bugs. be kind.

• bar of wax - when I lived in Orange County, CA my crackhead neighbor (Fuckin’ Fred) tried to prank me by filling the padlock to my garage with wax that he’d melted into the mechanism.  enter the bic lighter. You just heat the wax for 1-2-3 seconds and insert the key. I’m not surprised a crackhead didn’t think this through. The wax can also be used to grease a poorly set door-frame, or to write a message on cement that is heat (sunlight) activated.  this stuff also smells really good.

• bicycle tube repair kit - duh.

• skinny black tie - one of the first times I hung out with my friend T, we went to a formal black & white house party.  this tie will get you entrance into many situations. I stole it off of a Paul Smith mannequin at Macy’s in SF.

• brand new socks - one of the best feelings in the world, don’t leave home without ‘em.

• keychain • fluorescent orange wristband • 3 flashing lights - my favorite keychain. the bracelet can be used to tie things to a bag or belt-loop, or to distinguish your luggage from the next person’s, or to be worn as jewelry because it’s bright and eye-catching.  the flashing lights are meant for a bicycle but when you’re backpacking, they can be used to keep track of your team as night falls. make sure the batteries are working.

• “the general in his labyrinth” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - a fitting novel to read while backpacking through Central America.

•••

Maui, HI - 2004

Maui is one of hundreds of beautiful islands in the massive Hawaiian Island chain.  It’s the only one that I’ve been to so far, but I was happy about everything on that trip. There’s dense population & complete solitude, fine shopping & a sugarcane plantation, endless beaches, lush vegetation and a desert reminiscent of Mars on top of a volcano next to a city. I skated the local skatepark, hiked through a rainforest, ate at fine restaurants, chased down a large turtle and an octopus while snorkeling in warm pristine waters, and I was almost blown off of a massive cliff by gale-force winds.

I took all these photos in a week of vacation and it wasn’t until going through them recently that I realized they were devoid of humans.  I was going to leave out the cat photo but it’s pretty creepy so I thought better of it.  See if you can find all the glowing Cheshire eyes in the background.

Categories: maui, hawaii, USA, travel, luxury, photography, 2004,




Worldly Possessions - One of Three - Artifacts & Ephemera
I tend to move a lot. Changing residences, in my eyes, is as easy as packing for a trip and getting on an airplane. I’ve always had a habit of living minimally as this not only facilitates a nomadic lifestyle, it allows for a level of freedom that I deserve. 
I think everybody truly deserves to get what they want, and to live the life that they dreamed of, but it’s often a double-edged sword and most folks simply aren’t willing to take the bad along with the good. A common belief is that ups can exist without downs, but experience has proven otherwise.  I’ve recently moved back to a place I never thought I would return to, for a reason I never thought I’d get to pursue, and I couldn’t be happier at this moment in time.
This capsule collection of posts is purposed to describe the few things that I do own, and where I got them and why. I have an excellent memory and everything has a story. I aim to live my life the way I want to, and to do so in the slickest way possible - meaning I want everything to go off without a hitch. Like someone bombing a hill in San Francisco, you have only a few options when you’re at maximum velocity and a new obstacle materializes - you can go over, around, or through because the idea of stopping is the scariest and most difficult. I’ve always admired ascetic monks and their principles, and I strive to paint a fine blurry line between the materialism of a modern design professional and the spiritual fulfillment that comes with living for your art. 
Since I moved to the USA at the tender age of 11, I’ve dreamed of being a professional skateboarder.  I’ve had some time to grow since then and I’ve come to understand what about that lifestyle I really desire, and most importantly why I keep returning to skateboarding as my favorite art form.
The items you see in these three posts are literally everything I own, and they were taken during the process of relocation. I’ve moved around 40 times in my 26 years, from different apartments to different cities to different countries to different continents, and back again. I am an expert when it comes to what I need and what I don’t and I’m sensitive when it comes to brands, but I maintain that it’s not for the typical reasons.  
I respect products of the finest quality, and while this usually comes with a price-tag, the logo on the packaging or the people associated with the brand can more or less suck a dick - no disrespect, but a quality product shouldn’t need an advertising campaign.  I can only afford to make purchases on occasion, so I have to know that what I’m buying will give me exactly what I need for as long as possible.  I greatly value my possessions, whether or not they are considered valuable… there are so few of them that I truly have to.
The less you have, the less there is to lose.
•••
• Martha Stewart Living hand towel - better safe than sorry. 
• New Era Yankees hat - from New Era shop, NYC. for where I’m going to.
• New Era Blue Jays hat - from New Era shop, TO. for where I’ve come from.
• Craft beanie - Originally for cycling, it fits like a du-rag and has a highly protective, windproof front panel. Also, it fits under any other cap or beanie or you can wear it by itself for that “thug tech” look.
• RVCA beanie - from RVCA shop, Haight St. SF. Summerweight & soft as hell.
• Chocolate skateboard - from 510, Berkeley CA. loose Independent trucks, 53mm Spitfire wheels.  the board is 8” wide, flat as hell, almost symmetrical and has a blunt shape. I like both the graphic and the construction a lot. (I also have a soft spot for Alien Workshop.)
• A+R cruiser board - Independent trucks, 58mm ZipZinger wheels.  This board has flat-black chalkboard paint as a base, so that you can write temporary messages on it (like your own phone number to show to girls on the street or some silly catch-phrases - my favorite is “Fuck You!”).
• Pressed & framed flowers - A gift for a girl.
• $0.75 - Three quarters, in case I need to call home.  I’m sure that payphones still exist but they’re never in the right spot.  This is symbolic, anyways.
• Brand new socks - I never leave home without them.  I once rush-packed for a week-long skate trip to Orange County and once I arrived I realized I only had the socks and underwear I was wearing.
• Nike Livestrong windbreaker - from DQM, East Village NYC. Fits under anything, packable, relatively water-resistant and can substitute for a much heavier layer in the right climate.  Its’s made of ripstop polyester with reflective trim, the purchase supports a good cause, and the cut is perfect. I left the store three times and came back three times in 5 minutes because of indecision (and the price tag) but I’ve been consistently happy with it, aside from the reflective portions slowly flaking off.
• 10Deep tank top - from Active Rideshop at The Spectrum, Irvine, CA. tigerstripe, to match my tigerstripe cargo shorts.  Ever heard of an “airplane outfit”?
• Cheap sunglasses - Much more fun to buy than expensive sunglasses, and much more fun to lose as well. When I fell recently I broke my knuckle and split open my chin, and I also lost my Ray-Ban sunglasses so this is an homage and a reminder not to drink alcohol.
• Turbo Baggage bombproof document case - custom designed. A perfect home for items like birth certificates, multiple passports, cards, checks, notebooks, stamps/envelopes, and my Square card reader.  Somebody once took my passport for a nice walk in waist-deep water, that’s not happening again.
• Throwing Stars - the real deal, although these are dull from playing inside my apartment.
• Thimble - ceramic, from Ocean City, NJ. A gift I received from a girl.
• Assorted pins - these were purchased during a military display & airship in San Diego.  one says “A” and the other has a picture of a frightened nude girl wrapped in a towel and it says “Surprise Attack!” 
• Carmex - kinda gross, but it’s good stuff.
• Spinning top - Quite perfectly balanced & made of dense metal, on the right surface you can achieve quite a nice “Inception” effect as this thing spins forever and has no distinct markings.  I found this in the gutter somewhere.
• Movado watch - A fine graduation gift I received.  I have since fallen on it while skating home from the bar.  The glass face broke.
• Apple remote - for the truly lazy geek.
• Assorted cards (credit, school ID, gym ID & gift)
• Backup Medicine (epipen, dayquil, razor blades, etc.)
• Swiss Army knife - from my Polish family… apparently a knife is a very symbolic gift. this is indispensible.
• Tom Ford “Black Orchid” cologne - from the Tom Ford boutique, Las Vegas NV. another excellent shopping experience here, not surprisingly after another shitty shopping experience at the Louis Vuitton store next door. this stuff smells like money. the shop employees here are immaculately dressed, more helpful than a server in a fine restaurant, and trusting.  I was wearing a white t-shirt, camo cargo shorts and chuck taylors that day, and I walked through LV feeling like I was being tracked by government agents.  I walked into the Tom Ford shop and went straight to the back to see the sunglasses and cologne.  the guy helping me out unlocked all the sunglasses cases for me (at $750/pop this is significant) and walked away, telling me to “have fun.”  I ended up going with this cologne after spending some time perusing, and when I told him what I wanted, he spent 15 minutes preparing a package for me that included a booklet about all their other perfumes, information about the company, other ephemera, and it was all gift-wrapped even though the purchase was for myself.  another excellent example of customer service, and another brand I am happy to be able to patronize. before I forget, fuck Louis Vuitton.
• $100 USD - the last of it.  Would you move to New York with only $100 in your pocket?
• Airport-safe liquid container - for hair grease
• Prada “Amber Pour Homme” cologne - from Bloomingdale’s, SOHO NYC. this stuff smells like summer. there’s not much I can say about Prada that hasn’t already been said before.
• Simon Says stress ball/beanbag - my half-assed attempt to rehabilitate a broken knuckle & injured hand (another result of skating home from the bar, although a separate occasion.) 
• Beaded bracelet - Blessed. I received this while visiting a buddhist temple in Taichung, Taiwan. Apparently it’s good luck, and it looks a lot like the diamond bracelets a lot of rappers wear nowadays.  win-win! xie-xie!
• E-Z-Split blunt splitter - Hangs from a keychain. Ingenious. Even cooler than a bottle-opener but not as physically necessary.
• Matches - Either for lighting that first cigarette after a long flight or for burning in the bathroom when you’re at someone else’s house.
• Immediate medicine - earplugs, ibuprofen, melatonin, claritin, dayquil
• iPod shuffle connector / Apple wall plug / Bic lighter - all white everything!
• commercial real estate analysis CDs - a gift from a friend. to quote one of the master swordsmen of the 36 chambers of the wu-tang clan, “you need to diversify your bonds, nigga.”  I mean it’s either that or keep working your job forever… So, how do you like the desk you’re sitting at?
• Western Digital external HD - design files & work, music, movies. at 160GB this shit is pretty outdated, but it’s high-quality and trustworthy.
• Rapha water bottle - from NAHBS, Richmond VA. BPA free and the classiest of the classy when it comes to cycling gear, to boot. be that as it may, Cedar Cycling is gunning for that British money.  believe that.
• Molton Brown black pepper shave gel - the only one worth shaving with. actually, one of the only men’s skin-care brands even worth mentioning. catch up!
• Apple in-ear headphones - I have broken, sweated through, worn out or lost the rubber buds to maybe 8 pairs of these in the last three years and Apple employees have, without fail, replaced each and every pair. truly a fine example of customer service, and it’s always a pleasure to spend money at this store. I always know what I’m getting.
• Glass pipe - from Shisha International Smoke Shop, West Village, NYC. comes complete with sparkles & rastafarian colorway. hella nor-cal.
• A big bag of weed - from the middle of nowhere, Humboldt, CA. buyer direct! this that good good.
• 3-piece skate tool - the slimmest I’ve found yet, although the leverage leaves something to be desired.
• Brylcreem - It smells minty, looks good and washes out in hot water.  My barber laughed when I told him I use this, he said that it was quite popular when he started cutting hair in 1952.
• Cedar Cycling stickers - from Oakland, CA. pay attention now so you can act like you know.
• “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - it’s about a man who tells a girl that he loves her, and she marries someone else.  50 years later her husband dies, and the man is waiting for her to tell her, once again, how he feels.
• DMC ruled hardcover notebook - from Westfield Mall, SF. for work purposes only.  sturdy as hell.
• Hulk Hogan bookmark - I found this in the garbage somewhere… it’s older than I am.
• Pearl Izumi “Cyclone” gloves - tactile & wind resistant.
• Individual flossers - don’t get caught slipping.
• Elephant miniature - a good luck charm from my grandmother, RIP.
• iPod shuffle - it’s OK to fall on this or scrape it, and its always nice to save some of your phone’s battery.
• Assorted pens & pencils - the staples. Everybody has their favorite pens, I believe.  I prefer Uniball Vision 0.5mm & 0.7mm over any other pen I’ve ever used. 
• iPhone 4 - Much like the swiss army knife, indispensable.
• Gillette razor - Somewhat superfluous (it’s winter in NYC and I’ve grown a beard) but good to have nonetheless.
• Colgate Toothbrush
• Nike stretch belt
• Huf belt
• Element shoelace belt
• Trojan condoms
• Personal cards (BART, debit, zipcar, health insurance, driver’s license)
• Dun.Wel leather card holder - Handmade by yours truly.  Also, one extra dollar that I found.  Every penny counts.
•••

Worldly Possessions - One of Three - Artifacts & Ephemera

I tend to move a lot. Changing residences, in my eyes, is as easy as packing for a trip and getting on an airplane. I’ve always had a habit of living minimally as this not only facilitates a nomadic lifestyle, it allows for a level of freedom that I deserve. 

I think everybody truly deserves to get what they want, and to live the life that they dreamed of, but it’s often a double-edged sword and most folks simply aren’t willing to take the bad along with the good. A common belief is that ups can exist without downs, but experience has proven otherwise.  I’ve recently moved back to a place I never thought I would return to, for a reason I never thought I’d get to pursue, and I couldn’t be happier at this moment in time.

This capsule collection of posts is purposed to describe the few things that I do own, and where I got them and why. I have an excellent memory and everything has a story. I aim to live my life the way I want to, and to do so in the slickest way possible - meaning I want everything to go off without a hitch. Like someone bombing a hill in San Francisco, you have only a few options when you’re at maximum velocity and a new obstacle materializes - you can go over, around, or through because the idea of stopping is the scariest and most difficult. I’ve always admired ascetic monks and their principles, and I strive to paint a fine blurry line between the materialism of a modern design professional and the spiritual fulfillment that comes with living for your art. 

Since I moved to the USA at the tender age of 11, I’ve dreamed of being a professional skateboarder.  I’ve had some time to grow since then and I’ve come to understand what about that lifestyle I really desire, and most importantly why I keep returning to skateboarding as my favorite art form.

The items you see in these three posts are literally everything I own, and they were taken during the process of relocation. I’ve moved around 40 times in my 26 years, from different apartments to different cities to different countries to different continents, and back again. I am an expert when it comes to what I need and what I don’t and I’m sensitive when it comes to brands, but I maintain that it’s not for the typical reasons.  

I respect products of the finest quality, and while this usually comes with a price-tag, the logo on the packaging or the people associated with the brand can more or less suck a dick - no disrespect, but a quality product shouldn’t need an advertising campaign.  I can only afford to make purchases on occasion, so I have to know that what I’m buying will give me exactly what I need for as long as possible.  I greatly value my possessions, whether or not they are considered valuable… there are so few of them that I truly have to.

The less you have, the less there is to lose.

•••

• Martha Stewart Living hand towel - better safe than sorry. 

• New Era Yankees hat - from New Era shop, NYC. for where I’m going to.

• New Era Blue Jays hat - from New Era shop, TO. for where I’ve come from.

• Craft beanie - Originally for cycling, it fits like a du-rag and has a highly protective, windproof front panel. Also, it fits under any other cap or beanie or you can wear it by itself for that “thug tech” look.

• RVCA beanie - from RVCA shop, Haight St. SF. Summerweight & soft as hell.

• Chocolate skateboard - from 510, Berkeley CA. loose Independent trucks, 53mm Spitfire wheels.  the board is 8” wide, flat as hell, almost symmetrical and has a blunt shape. I like both the graphic and the construction a lot. (I also have a soft spot for Alien Workshop.)

• A+R cruiser board - Independent trucks, 58mm ZipZinger wheels.  This board has flat-black chalkboard paint as a base, so that you can write temporary messages on it (like your own phone number to show to girls on the street or some silly catch-phrases - my favorite is “Fuck You!”).

• Pressed & framed flowers - A gift for a girl.

• $0.75 - Three quarters, in case I need to call home.  I’m sure that payphones still exist but they’re never in the right spot.  This is symbolic, anyways.

• Brand new socks - I never leave home without them.  I once rush-packed for a week-long skate trip to Orange County and once I arrived I realized I only had the socks and underwear I was wearing.

• Nike Livestrong windbreaker - from DQM, East Village NYC. Fits under anything, packable, relatively water-resistant and can substitute for a much heavier layer in the right climate.  Its’s made of ripstop polyester with reflective trim, the purchase supports a good cause, and the cut is perfect. I left the store three times and came back three times in 5 minutes because of indecision (and the price tag) but I’ve been consistently happy with it, aside from the reflective portions slowly flaking off.

• 10Deep tank top - from Active Rideshop at The Spectrum, Irvine, CA. tigerstripe, to match my tigerstripe cargo shorts.  Ever heard of an “airplane outfit”?

• Cheap sunglasses - Much more fun to buy than expensive sunglasses, and much more fun to lose as well. When I fell recently I broke my knuckle and split open my chin, and I also lost my Ray-Ban sunglasses so this is an homage and a reminder not to drink alcohol.

• Turbo Baggage bombproof document case - custom designed. A perfect home for items like birth certificates, multiple passports, cards, checks, notebooks, stamps/envelopes, and my Square card reader.  Somebody once took my passport for a nice walk in waist-deep water, that’s not happening again.

• Throwing Stars - the real deal, although these are dull from playing inside my apartment.

• Thimble - ceramic, from Ocean City, NJ. A gift I received from a girl.

• Assorted pins - these were purchased during a military display & airship in San Diego.  one says “A” and the other has a picture of a frightened nude girl wrapped in a towel and it says “Surprise Attack!” 

• Carmex - kinda gross, but it’s good stuff.

• Spinning top - Quite perfectly balanced & made of dense metal, on the right surface you can achieve quite a nice “Inception” effect as this thing spins forever and has no distinct markings.  I found this in the gutter somewhere.

• Movado watch - A fine graduation gift I received.  I have since fallen on it while skating home from the bar.  The glass face broke.

• Apple remote - for the truly lazy geek.

• Assorted cards (credit, school ID, gym ID & gift)

• Backup Medicine (epipen, dayquil, razor blades, etc.)

• Swiss Army knife - from my Polish family… apparently a knife is a very symbolic gift. this is indispensible.

• Tom Ford “Black Orchid” cologne - from the Tom Ford boutique, Las Vegas NV. another excellent shopping experience here, not surprisingly after another shitty shopping experience at the Louis Vuitton store next door. this stuff smells like money. the shop employees here are immaculately dressed, more helpful than a server in a fine restaurant, and trusting.  I was wearing a white t-shirt, camo cargo shorts and chuck taylors that day, and I walked through LV feeling like I was being tracked by government agents.  I walked into the Tom Ford shop and went straight to the back to see the sunglasses and cologne.  the guy helping me out unlocked all the sunglasses cases for me (at $750/pop this is significant) and walked away, telling me to “have fun.”  I ended up going with this cologne after spending some time perusing, and when I told him what I wanted, he spent 15 minutes preparing a package for me that included a booklet about all their other perfumes, information about the company, other ephemera, and it was all gift-wrapped even though the purchase was for myself.  another excellent example of customer service, and another brand I am happy to be able to patronize. before I forget, fuck Louis Vuitton.

• $100 USD - the last of it.  Would you move to New York with only $100 in your pocket?

• Airport-safe liquid container - for hair grease

• Prada “Amber Pour Homme” cologne - from Bloomingdale’s, SOHO NYC. this stuff smells like summer. there’s not much I can say about Prada that hasn’t already been said before.

• Simon Says stress ball/beanbag - my half-assed attempt to rehabilitate a broken knuckle & injured hand (another result of skating home from the bar, although a separate occasion.) 

• Beaded bracelet - Blessed. I received this while visiting a buddhist temple in Taichung, Taiwan. Apparently it’s good luck, and it looks a lot like the diamond bracelets a lot of rappers wear nowadays.  win-win! xie-xie!

• E-Z-Split blunt splitter - Hangs from a keychain. Ingenious. Even cooler than a bottle-opener but not as physically necessary.

• Matches - Either for lighting that first cigarette after a long flight or for burning in the bathroom when you’re at someone else’s house.

• Immediate medicine - earplugs, ibuprofen, melatonin, claritin, dayquil

• iPod shuffle connector / Apple wall plug / Bic lighter - all white everything!

• commercial real estate analysis CDs - a gift from a friend. to quote one of the master swordsmen of the 36 chambers of the wu-tang clan, “you need to diversify your bonds, nigga.”  I mean it’s either that or keep working your job forever… So, how do you like the desk you’re sitting at?

• Western Digital external HD - design files & work, music, movies. at 160GB this shit is pretty outdated, but it’s high-quality and trustworthy.

• Rapha water bottle - from NAHBS, Richmond VA. BPA free and the classiest of the classy when it comes to cycling gear, to boot. be that as it may, Cedar Cycling is gunning for that British money.  believe that.

• Molton Brown black pepper shave gel - the only one worth shaving with. actually, one of the only men’s skin-care brands even worth mentioning. catch up!

• Apple in-ear headphones - I have broken, sweated through, worn out or lost the rubber buds to maybe 8 pairs of these in the last three years and Apple employees have, without fail, replaced each and every pair. truly a fine example of customer service, and it’s always a pleasure to spend money at this store. I always know what I’m getting.

• Glass pipe - from Shisha International Smoke Shop, West Village, NYC. comes complete with sparkles & rastafarian colorway. hella nor-cal.

• A big bag of weed - from the middle of nowhere, Humboldt, CA. buyer direct! this that good good.

• 3-piece skate tool - the slimmest I’ve found yet, although the leverage leaves something to be desired.

• Brylcreem - It smells minty, looks good and washes out in hot water.  My barber laughed when I told him I use this, he said that it was quite popular when he started cutting hair in 1952.

• Cedar Cycling stickers - from Oakland, CA. pay attention now so you can act like you know.

• “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - it’s about a man who tells a girl that he loves her, and she marries someone else.  50 years later her husband dies, and the man is waiting for her to tell her, once again, how he feels.

• DMC ruled hardcover notebook - from Westfield Mall, SF. for work purposes only.  sturdy as hell.

• Hulk Hogan bookmark - I found this in the garbage somewhere… it’s older than I am.

• Pearl Izumi “Cyclone” gloves - tactile & wind resistant.

• Individual flossers - don’t get caught slipping.

• Elephant miniature - a good luck charm from my grandmother, RIP.

• iPod shuffle - it’s OK to fall on this or scrape it, and its always nice to save some of your phone’s battery.

• Assorted pens & pencils - the staples. Everybody has their favorite pens, I believe.  I prefer Uniball Vision 0.5mm & 0.7mm over any other pen I’ve ever used. 

• iPhone 4 - Much like the swiss army knife, indispensable.

• Gillette razor - Somewhat superfluous (it’s winter in NYC and I’ve grown a beard) but good to have nonetheless.

• Colgate Toothbrush

• Nike stretch belt

• Huf belt

• Element shoelace belt

• Trojan condoms

• Personal cards (BART, debit, zipcar, health insurance, driver’s license)

• Dun.Wel leather card holder - Handmade by yours truly.  Also, one extra dollar that I found.  Every penny counts.

•••



Worldly Possessions - Two of Three - Apparel & Primary Reserve
Few places that I’ve lived have as turbulent, by-the-minute weather patterns as San Francisco. I don’t believe that the weather there changes as often as is generally assumed - it’s that each neighborhood has its own personalized microclimate and since the city is small and the terrain is highly varied, you often have to travel through a handful of boroughs to get where you’re going.  Also, few people drive so you’re often outside while in transit.
One thing you learn pretty quickly in SF is to lightly layer your clothing. This enables you to go in and out of everywhere and minimizes the need to carry a bag.  Cycling and skateboarding through the city can cause you to overheat quickly, and the buses are usually busy so it’s easy to sweat even when taking MUNI.  New Yorkers think that San Franciscans dress sloppily, and they’re correct - but by that comparison everybody on earth dresses like a bum, even when compared to the bums. Be that as it may, people generally fail to realize that the climate in NYC is either hot and bright or cold and grim (humidity is most likely the culprit, though I’m no meteorologist) and you usually have a strong heads-up as to which one it’s going to be that day. SF can’t afford to really care about what’s cool in NYC (when it comes to apparel and other aspects of the day-to-day), as the lifestyles and general interests in either city differ as greatly as their respective locations on the American continent.
These clothes, which comprise one half of my entire wardrobe, are a mixture of cool and boring, technical and fashionable, and it’s all carefully curated to take me in and out of everything I do on a regular basis. Everything you see here was packed into my primary suitcase, a Poler “duffaluffagus,” which I’ll comment on in a later post.
•••
• cashmere scarf - from a street vendor in SOHO, NYC.  maybe 3 for $20? makes a great gift, doubles as a light pillow and you can use it to wrap your head and shut out the light on an airplane.
• Penfield hood - from DQM in the East Village, NYC. attaches to the Penfield coat (separate post). black-on-black tonal fern print with an ultramarine blue liner. the coat is light and warm, and down is crucial for winter.  since the hood is removable, it can be used as a personal dark-room/pillow on long flights.
• Anchor beanie - from Welcome Stranger in Hayes Valley, SF. I got a red one to keep me safe when I have to go to really bad neighborhoods.  It works.  Cool new store in a cool neighborhood.
• LRG summerweight jacket - from Zumiez, Santa Rosa, CA. has a huge multicolored embroidery on the back, of a seagull flying over an island sunset with the text “Summer is Mad Gully” yessir.  Also, this thing is falling apart. LRG is the only streetwear brand I would admit to liking, and I really like it.
• APC cardigan - from American Rag, SF. superthin, maybe cashmere? I got both APC pieces for 75% off one fine summer day.  good looks!  I was sad to see that store close.
• APC s/s button-up - see above. it’s cut a little short for my taste but it’s pretty fresh.
• Neiman Marcus socks - purple is by far my favorite color, and you can’t beat cashmere for comfort and class. the 4 C’s.
• adidas hoodie - from the Westfield Mall, SF. this is one-half of my pajamas, but it’s a multi-faceted piece.
• Banana Republic l/s t-shirt - I took a few of these from my friend’s closet while he was out of town in Australia.  thanks, dude!  I really like BR.
• BDG t-shirt - I honestly try my best to not support Urban Outfitters, as it’s clearly overpriced and I’ve seen many examples of blatant plagiarism, but this shirt has multicolored speckles on the heather grey - almost like there was confetti in the air at the mill.  I had to.
• uniqlo l/s button-up (2) - from SOHO, NYC. a great store, through and through.  multi-colored basics in smart cuts, good prices, and always a shitload of sizes. the line for both the fitting room and checkout can be painful though.
• John Varvatos hoodie - from the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas. summerweight thermal, faded & marbled purple fabric treatment. I got this right before a Carlos Santana concert, because the theater was too cold for just a t-shirt.  For the record, I used to hate this company because I was treated badly when I went into their store in South Coast Plaza (Santa Ana, CA) with a friend of mine a few years ago.  I had just started my degree in fashion design and I was showing him some different high-end shops I’d learned about, just for fun.  The employees in the store watched us like hawks and followed us around the tiny boutique, assumably because they thought we were gonna rob them in broad daylight. We should have, but it’s not worth it.  Questions went unanswered, attitude was given. I’ve been treated similarly (but worse) in the Louis Vuitton store in Union Square, SF - I would love to steal from there, especially one of those sweet-ass monogrammed trunks directly inside the door on the left.  That would be worth it, but if I had to purchase one I’d go around the corner to Goyard. Vote with your dollars.
• HUF t-shirt - from HUF, SF.  RIP.  the only graphic t-shirt I own, and it’s my honor to wear it.
• Craft l/s baselayer - from NYC Velo, East Village, NYC.  purchased for cycling in the dead of winter, it’s not the most stylish piece but technically advantageous like no other.
• Nike running tights - from a thrift store in St. Helena, CA. I put them under jeans or khakis, tuck them into my socks, and they keep my balls toasty in even the worst winter weather.
• Sun Diego tank top (2) - from Solana Beach, CA. cool little shop in a cool little beach town. 
• Polo t-shirts - available at Macy’s.  in my opinion, the classiest & cheapest way to avoid graphic t-shirts and simultaneously avoid the shitty see-through quality of every other plain-white-tee I’ve ever bought.  they look just as great fresh out of the packaging as they do covered in asphalt stains & bloody marks, and it’s hard to fuck with Polo.  they only come in black and white.  what more do you need?
• Nike SB stretch khakis - from Non-Factory skateshop, downtown LA.  Great shop, cool owner! he even had a copy of a three-year-old out of print TWS mag I’d been hunting down. These are the best skate pants I’ve ever owned, and I fully intend to knock off the fit for my own brand one day.
• Alfani knit boxers
• Alfani woven boxers
• brand new socks - these are Jerzees (from Target) and they’re shitty.  Fortunately just about anybody can afford to replace these regularly (every few months).  I much prefer Gold Toe socks.  I used to steal those from Macy’s, I had a foolproof method but I don’t care to do it anymore. nice things are nice.
• Iron Heart jeans - from Self-Edge in the Mission, SF.  SE X IH 03. I bought these as a graduation gift to myself, spent a month or two breaking them in, and then they were stolen from my workplace, along with my backpack and some of my other most favorite clothes.  My workplace reimbursed me for half of the bag’s contents, so I took the check back to Self Edge and got another pair of these (that’s all the check covered).  That was over 3 years ago and I’ve never once regretted it.  Great shops in SF & NYC, and they can help with high-quality repairs.
•••

Worldly Possessions - Two of Three - Apparel & Primary Reserve

Few places that I’ve lived have as turbulent, by-the-minute weather patterns as San Francisco. I don’t believe that the weather there changes as often as is generally assumed - it’s that each neighborhood has its own personalized microclimate and since the city is small and the terrain is highly varied, you often have to travel through a handful of boroughs to get where you’re going.  Also, few people drive so you’re often outside while in transit.

One thing you learn pretty quickly in SF is to lightly layer your clothing. This enables you to go in and out of everywhere and minimizes the need to carry a bag.  Cycling and skateboarding through the city can cause you to overheat quickly, and the buses are usually busy so it’s easy to sweat even when taking MUNI.  New Yorkers think that San Franciscans dress sloppily, and they’re correct - but by that comparison everybody on earth dresses like a bum, even when compared to the bums. Be that as it may, people generally fail to realize that the climate in NYC is either hot and bright or cold and grim (humidity is most likely the culprit, though I’m no meteorologist) and you usually have a strong heads-up as to which one it’s going to be that day. SF can’t afford to really care about what’s cool in NYC (when it comes to apparel and other aspects of the day-to-day), as the lifestyles and general interests in either city differ as greatly as their respective locations on the American continent.

These clothes, which comprise one half of my entire wardrobe, are a mixture of cool and boring, technical and fashionable, and it’s all carefully curated to take me in and out of everything I do on a regular basis. Everything you see here was packed into my primary suitcase, a Poler “duffaluffagus,” which I’ll comment on in a later post.

•••

• cashmere scarf - from a street vendor in SOHO, NYC.  maybe 3 for $20? makes a great gift, doubles as a light pillow and you can use it to wrap your head and shut out the light on an airplane.

• Penfield hood - from DQM in the East Village, NYC. attaches to the Penfield coat (separate post). black-on-black tonal fern print with an ultramarine blue liner. the coat is light and warm, and down is crucial for winter.  since the hood is removable, it can be used as a personal dark-room/pillow on long flights.

• Anchor beanie - from Welcome Stranger in Hayes Valley, SF. I got a red one to keep me safe when I have to go to really bad neighborhoods.  It works.  Cool new store in a cool neighborhood.

• LRG summerweight jacket - from Zumiez, Santa Rosa, CA. has a huge multicolored embroidery on the back, of a seagull flying over an island sunset with the text “Summer is Mad Gully” yessir.  Also, this thing is falling apart. LRG is the only streetwear brand I would admit to liking, and I really like it.

• APC cardigan - from American Rag, SF. superthin, maybe cashmere? I got both APC pieces for 75% off one fine summer day.  good looks!  I was sad to see that store close.

• APC s/s button-up - see above. it’s cut a little short for my taste but it’s pretty fresh.

• Neiman Marcus socks - purple is by far my favorite color, and you can’t beat cashmere for comfort and class. the 4 C’s.

• adidas hoodie - from the Westfield Mall, SF. this is one-half of my pajamas, but it’s a multi-faceted piece.

• Banana Republic l/s t-shirt - I took a few of these from my friend’s closet while he was out of town in Australia.  thanks, dude!  I really like BR.

• BDG t-shirt - I honestly try my best to not support Urban Outfitters, as it’s clearly overpriced and I’ve seen many examples of blatant plagiarism, but this shirt has multicolored speckles on the heather grey - almost like there was confetti in the air at the mill.  I had to.

• uniqlo l/s button-up (2) - from SOHO, NYC. a great store, through and through.  multi-colored basics in smart cuts, good prices, and always a shitload of sizes. the line for both the fitting room and checkout can be painful though.

• John Varvatos hoodie - from the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas. summerweight thermal, faded & marbled purple fabric treatment. I got this right before a Carlos Santana concert, because the theater was too cold for just a t-shirt.  For the record, I used to hate this company because I was treated badly when I went into their store in South Coast Plaza (Santa Ana, CA) with a friend of mine a few years ago.  I had just started my degree in fashion design and I was showing him some different high-end shops I’d learned about, just for fun.  The employees in the store watched us like hawks and followed us around the tiny boutique, assumably because they thought we were gonna rob them in broad daylight. We should have, but it’s not worth it.  Questions went unanswered, attitude was given. I’ve been treated similarly (but worse) in the Louis Vuitton store in Union Square, SF - I would love to steal from there, especially one of those sweet-ass monogrammed trunks directly inside the door on the left.  That would be worth it, but if I had to purchase one I’d go around the corner to Goyard. Vote with your dollars.

• HUF t-shirt - from HUF, SF.  RIP.  the only graphic t-shirt I own, and it’s my honor to wear it.

• Craft l/s baselayer - from NYC Velo, East Village, NYC.  purchased for cycling in the dead of winter, it’s not the most stylish piece but technically advantageous like no other.

• Nike running tights - from a thrift store in St. Helena, CA. I put them under jeans or khakis, tuck them into my socks, and they keep my balls toasty in even the worst winter weather.

• Sun Diego tank top (2) - from Solana Beach, CA. cool little shop in a cool little beach town. 

• Polo t-shirts - available at Macy’s.  in my opinion, the classiest & cheapest way to avoid graphic t-shirts and simultaneously avoid the shitty see-through quality of every other plain-white-tee I’ve ever bought.  they look just as great fresh out of the packaging as they do covered in asphalt stains & bloody marks, and it’s hard to fuck with Polo.  they only come in black and white.  what more do you need?

• Nike SB stretch khakis - from Non-Factory skateshop, downtown LA.  Great shop, cool owner! he even had a copy of a three-year-old out of print TWS mag I’d been hunting down. These are the best skate pants I’ve ever owned, and I fully intend to knock off the fit for my own brand one day.

• Alfani knit boxers

• Alfani woven boxers

• brand new socks - these are Jerzees (from Target) and they’re shitty.  Fortunately just about anybody can afford to replace these regularly (every few months).  I much prefer Gold Toe socks.  I used to steal those from Macy’s, I had a foolproof method but I don’t care to do it anymore. nice things are nice.

• Iron Heart jeans - from Self-Edge in the Mission, SF.  SE X IH 03. I bought these as a graduation gift to myself, spent a month or two breaking them in, and then they were stolen from my workplace, along with my backpack and some of my other most favorite clothes.  My workplace reimbursed me for half of the bag’s contents, so I took the check back to Self Edge and got another pair of these (that’s all the check covered).  That was over 3 years ago and I’ve never once regretted it.  Great shops in SF & NYC, and they can help with high-quality repairs.

•••


Worldly Possessions - Three of Three - Outerwear & Secondary Reserve
My tertiary bag (coming in hot behind a SAGxFTC backpack & a Poler duffaluffagus) is a medium-sized duffel bag from The North Face.  This is another company that I am happy to support, and I’ve even gone so far as to heavily pursue design work at their corporate HQ in San Leandro, CA.  Thanks to the kind folks there who helped me, even if nothing materialized of my applications & interviews.
This sub-sect of my wardrobe (again, one-half of the entirety) is basically the things I can do without, most of the time.  It’s currently housed at my friend’s house in Canarsie, Brooklyn, although I’ve swapped a few items out due to wintry necessity. 
That’s about it.
•••
• Crooks & Castles jacket - from Westfield Mall, SF.  a knit letterman jacket cut super-slim with a silver/black cheetah-print lining.  I normally don’t get down with streetwear and this has a huge, shitty embroidery on the entire back (a la streetwear, naturally), but it fits great and I personally can’t ever see the back of the jacket so I don’t give a fuck. It’s also an homage to the pieces of shit I went to high school with in Mississippi and California, both schools had the same mascot and the same purple & gold colors.  What are the chances?
• Penfield down coat - from DQM in the East Village, NYC. attaches to the Penfield hood (separate post). black-on-black tonal fern print with a ultramarine blue liner. the coat is light and warm, and down is crucial for winter.
• Banana Republic 1/4 zip sweater - one of the only Christmas sweaters I fuck with.  thanks, Mom!
• Banana Republic zip hoodie - for a few years after I got it, I was disappointed because I noticed the pockets on the side, along with the ribbing at the bottom and the side-seams, wearing out prematurely - large holes formed pretty quickly.  it wasn’t until I realized that the damage was from carrying a skateboard in either hand, then I started to really like the hoodie.  
• knit beanie - thrift store, San Diego, CA. thanks, Mom.
• Alfani tank-tops - wifebeaters. under a t-shirt in the summer or winter (for style or heat, either/or), or by itself in public for shits & giggles.
• United Colors of Benetton shorts - from Benetton boutique, Greenwich Village, NYC. great khakis for $20, no hesitation in chopping them when I needed a pair of shorts.
• tigerstripe cargo shorts - from Army Surplus Center in Berkeley, CA. I love these.  even with the built-in nylon cinch-straps I still need a belt (they slip, naturally) but whatever.  I’m not trying to run to anywhere, ever.
• Polo pajama pants - steezy PJs with pockets never hurt, and they’re part of an excellent airport outfit.  I like to prank my friends, either by surprising them by flying into their city and showing up at their house or by having them pick me up and I’m waiting for them wearing ridiculous clothing.  I flew to San Antonio, TX to visit a friend and he saw it coming so he waited in the car.  I was wearing a black shirt with green glow-in-the-dark skulls on it (see Juicy J in the “Stay Fly” video), these black & green Polo jammies, and some black & green Nike sneakers.  San Antonio’s airport is located in the center of several military bases, so I got a lot of weird looks - my friend was smart enough to wait in the car, refusing to come inside to meet me because he knew I was going to embarrass him.  Smart move.
• Ashbury Lil Wayne t-shirt - from Active Mailorder. it’s surprisingly hard to find t-shirts with rappers faces on them, I had to get it.
• Field Scout v-neck sweater - from Nordstrom, SF.  I had designed a sweater just like this (v-neck with a thick rib and kangaroo pocket) but it never got made, project didn’t go through.  I saw it in a store, though, 4 months later, so I copped it.  I feel good about that.
• Banana Republic v-neck sweater - from BR boutique, Herald Square NYC. I trust good merchandising when I see it - I walked into the shop and saw this sweater paired with the (following) gingham shirt on a mannequin. I was in and out in about 5 minutes.  One of my favorite shopping experiences ever.
• Banana Republic gingham l/s - see above. super slim cut, and it walks the fine line between formal & informal. I’ve worn this to interviews, on dates, holiday functions, or sometimes I wear it just to swag on em when I know everyone else is going to slack.
• Levi’s gingham l/s - from Levi’s, Union Square, SF. I bought this because I was going on a date and spilled hot-dog mustard on the other gingham shirt I was wearing (see above). The girl made fun of me a little bit for not buying a different style shirt, but I still like the shirt and I don’t talk to that girl anymore, feel me?
• UNDFTD jeans - from the UNDFTD shop, Las Vegas.  good jeans although they don’t stretch whatsoever. quite a nice shop with cool employees and a small selection of their own apparel along with hundreds of sneakers. the Silverlake shop can suck my dick, though, and I mean that.
• Alfani knit boxers
• Alfani woven boxers
• assorted socks
• Vans Era sneakers - why wear anything else? standard fare in California but in NYC they’re not as functional. wear em coke white cause they look much cleaner. I like to see them transition from pristine to polluted, coffee, beer, dirt, sweat, blood… like a tapestry to see where I’ve been walking.
• Vans Old Skool sneakers - one of the best skate shoes ever. heel bruises come easily but I don’t jump down shit. the canvas upper wears out quickly but duct-tape inside keeps ‘em going strong. I also like the AVE SK8-Lo immensely (for cushioning/tech advantages & full suede upper) but the toe blows out too quickly for me due to the shape of my foot & the shoe not matching up perfectly). The Old Skools are also easier to find.
• RedWings boots - from Dave’s of America, Union Square NYC. sturdy, warm, and long-lasting. I bought these on the same day as my Penfield coat (from Dave’s Quality Meats, NYC) and they were both $150. I realized that the charges in my online billing statement were almost identical and I tried to get my money back from both of these shops under the premise that I was charged twice for a single purchase.  It didn’t work.
• Vans OTW sneakers - a take on the half-cab, in maroon… I think these are fly as hell.  I’m not really interested in any shoe-companies besides Vans, for skate shoes or otherwise, and it’s nice to see that they’ve expanded the OTW line.  I don’t care to shop anywhere else, as most skate shoes nowadays are just variations on Vans models.  “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”  I would like to get a few pairs of those Nike SB Stefan Janoski’s, though - I see a lot of feet out there looking really comfortable, I hope mine are next.
•••

Worldly Possessions - Three of Three - Outerwear & Secondary Reserve

My tertiary bag (coming in hot behind a SAGxFTC backpack & a Poler duffaluffagus) is a medium-sized duffel bag from The North Face.  This is another company that I am happy to support, and I’ve even gone so far as to heavily pursue design work at their corporate HQ in San Leandro, CA.  Thanks to the kind folks there who helped me, even if nothing materialized of my applications & interviews.

This sub-sect of my wardrobe (again, one-half of the entirety) is basically the things I can do without, most of the time.  It’s currently housed at my friend’s house in Canarsie, Brooklyn, although I’ve swapped a few items out due to wintry necessity. 

That’s about it.

•••

• Crooks & Castles jacket - from Westfield Mall, SF.  a knit letterman jacket cut super-slim with a silver/black cheetah-print lining.  I normally don’t get down with streetwear and this has a huge, shitty embroidery on the entire back (a la streetwear, naturally), but it fits great and I personally can’t ever see the back of the jacket so I don’t give a fuck. It’s also an homage to the pieces of shit I went to high school with in Mississippi and California, both schools had the same mascot and the same purple & gold colors.  What are the chances?

• Penfield down coat - from DQM in the East Village, NYC. attaches to the Penfield hood (separate post). black-on-black tonal fern print with a ultramarine blue liner. the coat is light and warm, and down is crucial for winter.

• Banana Republic 1/4 zip sweater - one of the only Christmas sweaters I fuck with.  thanks, Mom!

• Banana Republic zip hoodie - for a few years after I got it, I was disappointed because I noticed the pockets on the side, along with the ribbing at the bottom and the side-seams, wearing out prematurely - large holes formed pretty quickly.  it wasn’t until I realized that the damage was from carrying a skateboard in either hand, then I started to really like the hoodie.  

• knit beanie - thrift store, San Diego, CA. thanks, Mom.

• Alfani tank-tops - wifebeaters. under a t-shirt in the summer or winter (for style or heat, either/or), or by itself in public for shits & giggles.

• United Colors of Benetton shorts - from Benetton boutique, Greenwich Village, NYC. great khakis for $20, no hesitation in chopping them when I needed a pair of shorts.

• tigerstripe cargo shorts - from Army Surplus Center in Berkeley, CA. I love these.  even with the built-in nylon cinch-straps I still need a belt (they slip, naturally) but whatever.  I’m not trying to run to anywhere, ever.

• Polo pajama pants - steezy PJs with pockets never hurt, and they’re part of an excellent airport outfit.  I like to prank my friends, either by surprising them by flying into their city and showing up at their house or by having them pick me up and I’m waiting for them wearing ridiculous clothing.  I flew to San Antonio, TX to visit a friend and he saw it coming so he waited in the car.  I was wearing a black shirt with green glow-in-the-dark skulls on it (see Juicy J in the “Stay Fly” video), these black & green Polo jammies, and some black & green Nike sneakers.  San Antonio’s airport is located in the center of several military bases, so I got a lot of weird looks - my friend was smart enough to wait in the car, refusing to come inside to meet me because he knew I was going to embarrass him.  Smart move.

• Ashbury Lil Wayne t-shirt - from Active Mailorder. it’s surprisingly hard to find t-shirts with rappers faces on them, I had to get it.

• Field Scout v-neck sweater - from Nordstrom, SF.  I had designed a sweater just like this (v-neck with a thick rib and kangaroo pocket) but it never got made, project didn’t go through.  I saw it in a store, though, 4 months later, so I copped it.  I feel good about that.

• Banana Republic v-neck sweater - from BR boutique, Herald Square NYC. I trust good merchandising when I see it - I walked into the shop and saw this sweater paired with the (following) gingham shirt on a mannequin. I was in and out in about 5 minutes.  One of my favorite shopping experiences ever.

• Banana Republic gingham l/s - see above. super slim cut, and it walks the fine line between formal & informal. I’ve worn this to interviews, on dates, holiday functions, or sometimes I wear it just to swag on em when I know everyone else is going to slack.

• Levi’s gingham l/s - from Levi’s, Union Square, SF. I bought this because I was going on a date and spilled hot-dog mustard on the other gingham shirt I was wearing (see above). The girl made fun of me a little bit for not buying a different style shirt, but I still like the shirt and I don’t talk to that girl anymore, feel me?

• UNDFTD jeans - from the UNDFTD shop, Las Vegas.  good jeans although they don’t stretch whatsoever. quite a nice shop with cool employees and a small selection of their own apparel along with hundreds of sneakers. the Silverlake shop can suck my dick, though, and I mean that.

• Alfani knit boxers

• Alfani woven boxers

• assorted socks

• Vans Era sneakers - why wear anything else? standard fare in California but in NYC they’re not as functional. wear em coke white cause they look much cleaner. I like to see them transition from pristine to polluted, coffee, beer, dirt, sweat, blood… like a tapestry to see where I’ve been walking.

• Vans Old Skool sneakers - one of the best skate shoes ever. heel bruises come easily but I don’t jump down shit. the canvas upper wears out quickly but duct-tape inside keeps ‘em going strong. I also like the AVE SK8-Lo immensely (for cushioning/tech advantages & full suede upper) but the toe blows out too quickly for me due to the shape of my foot & the shoe not matching up perfectly). The Old Skools are also easier to find.

• RedWings boots - from Dave’s of America, Union Square NYC. sturdy, warm, and long-lasting. I bought these on the same day as my Penfield coat (from Dave’s Quality Meats, NYC) and they were both $150. I realized that the charges in my online billing statement were almost identical and I tried to get my money back from both of these shops under the premise that I was charged twice for a single purchase.  It didn’t work.

• Vans OTW sneakers - a take on the half-cab, in maroon… I think these are fly as hell.  I’m not really interested in any shoe-companies besides Vans, for skate shoes or otherwise, and it’s nice to see that they’ve expanded the OTW line.  I don’t care to shop anywhere else, as most skate shoes nowadays are just variations on Vans models.  “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”  I would like to get a few pairs of those Nike SB Stefan Janoski’s, though - I see a lot of feet out there looking really comfortable, I hope mine are next.

•••