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Articles on this Page
- 02/22/16--09:00: _12 Things You'll Be...
- 02/22/16--11:00: _The Magic Highball ...
- 02/23/16--10:00: _Dudes and Decor: An...
- 02/23/16--13:00: _A New House Gets a ...
- 02/24/16--07:00: _8 YouTube Accounts ...
- 02/24/16--12:00: _How to: Make the Ul...
- 02/24/16--13:00: _Home Gym DIY: How t...
- 02/25/16--09:00: _How One Woman Makes...
- 02/25/16--10:30: _How to: Make a Styl...
- 02/25/16--12:00: _The 100 Best Places...
- 02/26/16--00:00: _Make This: Homemade...
- 02/26/16--08:30: _Good Books and Wher...
- 02/26/16--12:00: _How to: Update Your...
- 02/29/16--07:00: _How to: Make a DIY ...
- 02/29/16--09:00: _The Library that Ke...
- 02/29/16--13:00: _7 Great Sports Movi...
- 03/02/16--07:00: _How to: Make a Six-...
- 03/02/16--11:00: _Blow My Mindsday: M...
- 03/02/16--13:00: _How to: Build a Hom...
- 03/03/16--07:00: _Upgrade: You Need a...
- 02/22/16--09:00: 12 Things You'll Be Happy You Started Today
- 4 oz of mixer
- 1.5 oz of spirits
- Gin and tonic [garnish: lime]
- Whiskey and Coke/Jack and Coke
- Seven and Seven (whiskey and lemon-lime soda)
- Vodka tonic [garnish: lemon]
- Whiskey and ginger ale [my favorite, pictured]
- 02/23/16--10:00: Dudes and Decor: An Interior Design Primer for Guys
- 02/23/16--13:00: A New House Gets a New Workbench
- 02/24/16--07:00: 8 YouTube Accounts That Will Teach You How to Fight
- 02/24/16--12:00: How to: Make the Ultimate Version of Fried Rice at Home
- 02/24/16--13:00: Home Gym DIY: How to Rehab Your Rusty Weights
- 02/25/16--09:00: How One Woman Makes Prosthetic Pinkies for Ex-Yakuza Members
- 02/25/16--10:30: How to: Make a Stylish DIY Brass Chandelier
- 02/25/16--12:00: The 100 Best Places to Eat in America [According to Yelp]
- 02/26/16--00:00: Make This: Homemade Skee Ball Game
- 02/26/16--08:30: Good Books and Where I Read Them
- 02/26/16--12:00: How to: Update Your Old Speakers by Simply Replacing the Foam
- 02/29/16--07:00: How to: Make a DIY Daily Travel Tech Organizer from an Old Book
- 02/29/16--09:00: The Library that Kept Shackleton Sane while Stranded in Antarctica
- 02/29/16--13:00: 7 Great Sports Movies...That Are Really About Something Else
- 03/02/16--07:00: How to: Make a Six-Pack Craft Caddy or Project Organizer
- 03/02/16--11:00: Blow My Mindsday: March 2, 2016
- 03/02/16--13:00: How to: Build a Homemade Lathe from Scratch
- 03/03/16--07:00: Upgrade: You Need a Quality Set of Shades
- Maui Jim Olowalu $275: I have sported Maui Jims for almost 10 years, and they are some of the very best out there. Great for driving and water, the hinge-less design is a bit strange to begin with but you won’t find a lighter, more comfortable frame. The lens to side connection has been known to fail, but it hasn’t happened to me yet.
- Native Sanitas $150: I have only had these for about 4 months, but they’ve really become a favorite set for me. The forward styling, light frames, and crystal-clear lenses are amazing, and they just look great. I’m impressed with how the styling looks just a bit classic, but still has the patterned design to fit comfortably with just about anything I’m wearing.
- Revo Classic Square $90: These glasses aren’t the lightest, or the clearest, but I still love to wear them when I’m dappering up. The thick black frames and mirrored blue lenses add a bit of heft and brightness to the duds, and folded up they fit easily in a chest pocket.
What were you doing a year ago? Do you remember what you were doing that day? What if that day, you started something great that changed your life for the better? Here's your chance to start something new.
A year goes by really fast. With so many things on your "one day" list, why not start a few and see where the year takes you.
1. Plan an annual trip -Take the time to hash out a trip with friends in advance and it tends to happen. Prices are lower, the significant other's are more amiable, and it's just blocked out on the calendar much easier. A few years ago, I went on a memorable trip to the snow with a few of my friends. That trip made a huge difference for so many reasons. There's something important about taking some time to unplug and re-connect with some good friends over food, drinks, and a bit of outdoor fun.
2. Start a savings or retirement account - Stuffing away a bit of cash is never a bad idea. You never know when a stash is going to come in handy. The easiest way to do this is to open up a savings account and automatically draft off a bit each month right after the paycheck clears. I read about this simple habit in a book called "The Richest Man In Babylon" and it's come in handy more than once. Start it today, and see how fast it adds up.
3. Make a list of 12 people you want to take to coffee - We never seem to take the time to connect with friends the way we really want, but that can change with a bit of planning. Take the time to write down a list of who you want to have a conversation with over the next year, and get them on the schedule for a quick cup of coffee. By the end of the year, you'll have a dozen quality connections you would have missed out on.
4. Start an exercise routine - Take control of that waist before it's too far gone. There are so many ways to get your heart rate up, so find one that works for you and carve out the time to make it happen. Almost six months ago, I started getting up an hour earlier to make the mornings less of a rush, and the benefits have been amazing. I work out for 30 minutes a day and I look better, feel great, and the days start so much better now.
5. Upgrade that wardrobe (1 major piece a month)- How much different would your closet look with 12 new, well-fitting items hanging in it? Commit to replacing 1 item a month with a high quality, well fit piece. I started with a few pair of slacks, four shirts, vest, two ties, and three pair of shoes. Spaced over the year it was affordable, and gave me time to figure out what worked for me.
6. 12 pre-planned dates - This is for all of the connected men out there with a wife or significant other. Life happens too fast and before we know it half the year is gone. Take the time today to plan out a night out per month doing something memorable. I started by looking at the local theater performances and buying tickets in advance. A big bonus was the fact that we got exceptional seats and advance prices are some of the best.
7. Take a class - I've taken my fair share of school. But there are a few things I still want to learn. The benefit of taking a course on your own, is that you learn something you want to. Find a welding course, or a pottery class, or learn about astronomy or history. When you take the class for the fun of it, grades come easier because you're learning for the right reasons. By this time next year, you'll have fresh knowledge, new skills, and likely a few new friends as well.
8. Earn and extra 5% income with a side hustle - It's not hard to find a side job that adds a bit of extra coin to your wallet. Figure out how to make something people want to buy, and sell it on etsy, craigslist, or to the shop on the corner. It takes a bit of hustle, but it's a quick way to get a raise.
9. Start a guys night (every 2 weeks) - Just like the annual trip, getting the guys together for some poker, movies, or just drinks can happen with just a bit of planning. Find a night that works for you and put it on the calendar, then invite your friends. It has to be dependable, and reliable to take off, but a few month down the road it's a night you'll look forward to.
10. Register for a race (5k, 10k, 20k, half, marathon) - I know, running is a horrible experience for most of us. But there's something about committing to an event that gets you inspired to dominate it. I promise you that there will be a moment about 60% through that will feel like there isn't enough air in the entire world to catch your breath, but then you'll push through and hit that runner's high across the finish line. Also, it's a fantastic way to burn off a few pounds. If you're body just can't handle running, sign up for a bike ride or long distance swim.
11. Start a morning routine - Like I mentioned earlier, I started a morning routine about a six months ago and it has made an incredible difference. I get up an hour earlier to work out, eat better, and actually wake up before life starts to rush in. It's important to take the time and after a few months, I highly recommend that you skip the snooze button and hit the floor running.
12. Commit to eat at least 1 meal right - I'm not saying you have to ditch the burger, but take the time to eat right at least one meal a day. I started eating a good breakfast as part of my morning routine and I feel better. Think about it, 30% of your meals done right is a big deal.
So take the time to find just a few things to start today to make a massive difference in your life a year from now. Let us know how it goes, and anything you think we should add to the list!
They say if you learn just three chords, you can play a million songs...
The same is true for the class of mixed drinks called a highball. Many of these classic combos are just known by the name of the ingredients - gin and tonic, rum and Coke, and the like. They're a huge hit at get-togethers and parties, because they can be easily built without any special tools barware (i.e. no shaking), and folks can stick with the same spirit and change up the mixer for a little variety throughout the evening.
And the cool part? Most of these have the same recipe, the same ratio of ingredients. So much that most modern cocktail books don't even include them in the listings.
Next week, we'll be sharing ten must-remember highball recipes that every guy should know, but to get started, just memorize this golden standard:
The standard highball formula is the starting point for all of those "______ and ______" drinks:
For less experienced drinkers you can go with just one, or for folks who ask for it, a full two. But, this is the golden ratio for many starter highballs, and allows you to experience both the character of the spirit and the flavor of the mixer fully.
Learn it: So, here's what I recommend: get out a measuring cup or a jigger, or a shot glass, cause fun fact: a shot glass = 1.5 oz. See? It's a serving. Pour in 1.5 ounces of a spirit (or you can practice with water) into an 8 oz rocks or old fashioned glass (those juice glasses that came with your set are likely 8 oz), and see what it looks like in the glass. Note how long it takes to pour, and how high it comes up the sides of the glass.
Then, pour it back, and try it again. Test yourself. Pour from the bottle, and stop when you think you're at 1.5 oz, and then measure it. Repeat until you've nailed it. (Get some of those spouts if you like. They're fun). If you spend five minutes on this for only one day, you'll have mastered it for life. It's a visual you won't forget. Then, just apply to the specific drink.
Step One: Pour 1.5 oz (a jigger, a shot) into an 8 oz rocks glass.
Step Two: Fill the glass with standard ice cubes, and swirl the glass to make sure they'll stay in.
Step Three: Then, fill the glass with your mixer of choice. You can measure this if you want - four ounces is a half cup - but 95% percent of the time, with the ice and spirits, you'll get exactly the right amount. Amazing, huh?
Note: There is a speciality piece of glassware called the highball glass, and it's around 10 oz. It's not the same as a standard "tall" or Collins glass, but frankly, I don't have any and I suspect you don't either. So, do procure some if you can, but building the drink in an 8 oz. glass and not needing to measure works for me.
Then, use the magic formula to make all kinds of highballs. Here are some classic combos to start with:
And...as they say, the list goes on. Go and experiment, and tell us what highballs you like best!
For more on highballs, check out our latest free download, complete with recipes: 10 Highball Recipes Every Man Should Know
We all know the stereotypes for the ways guys "decorate" their spaces: outdated recliners, a nest of media and electronics cables, and movie posters tacked to the walls. Nobody's impressed by that...not even your buddies who sit in the chair, watch and play the electronics, and like that movie. But there are plenty of opportunities to make any space feel both masculine and personalized, without feeling like a dorm room.
Designer Brian Patrick Flynn sat down with fellow interior stylist Danielle Colding to discuss decorating for guys. Danielle's tips are all about integrating the things you love and need with classic, heritage items that will never go out of style. She's a fairly high end designer, so there's not of ton of money-saving advice here, but it's a great primer for thinking about centering a space around investment pieces.
Check out the results of their convo at Brian's site, FlynnSideOut - About Town: Dudes, Decorating and Danielle Colding
ManMade reader Alan recently bought his first home, going from a one-bedroom apartment in a busy urban neighborhood to a three-bedroom house just south of downtown Portland, gaining lots of space and a new sense of quiet.
On the top of his list for the new spot? The same as many a ManMade reader: a new place to work on his own household, creative, and DIY projects. First step - a new workbench in his new garage to provide a solid surface to bang around, and keep his tools organized.
The new workbench would be the starting point for a bunch of my other projects this year so it made sense to tackle it first. To start I combed through Pinterest for the best workbenches and looked for modifications that I would want on my workbench. Even though the perception is that Pinterest is only good for weddings, crafts, and food recipes, there is a ton of great content there for woodworking and workshops and is perfect for visually searching. I decided to base my design off a simple Family Handyman design and then customize it to make it longer, more durable, and add more storage.
The top consists of a double layer of MDF, laminated with glue and held together with short screws for a secure bond. There's a nice little cut out in the base shelf for a stool, and some cool features, like a "sweep hole" cut out for easily getting dust and chips into the garbage, and, of course, a bottle opener. I like that it's a great garage design, intended for all sorts of household tasks and repair projects, as well as leather and paper crafting, some light woodworking, and the like.
Check out the full build process on Alan's Medium post - My First Side Project of 2016: Building a Workbench
We're definitely not advocating violence, but there are lots of good physical and health reasons to know how to think quickly on your feet. Plus, it's a killer workout. Who's in better shape than boxers? Ranging from your basic on how to throw a punch to more complicated martial arts and military take-downs, here are 8 YouTube Accounts That Will Teach You How to Fight. With unique advice from multiple experts, you can consider this your own DIY fight training regime.
Although it might be awhile 'til you're fighting multiple attackers on a high-speed train with a bullet hole in your chest.
Fried rice is a comfort food in almost every Eastern culture where rice is a staple, and the styles vary widely among traditions cultures. But if you ask me, one cuisine has nailed it above all the others; and its version isn't just a way to use up leftover rice. It's a reason to make a huge pot of rice in the first place.
I first learned about Indonesian fried rice, nasi goreng, in one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, James Oseland's Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. I have an unabashed love of Southeastern Asian cuisine in general, but I especially love going beyond the standard Thai and Vietnamese to learning about new ingredients and techniques not found anywhere else in the world. Ever heard of daun salam leaves? Candlenuts? Holland chiles? Read this book.
I have made countless dishes from that book, karis and stews and Nyona pickles, but the one I return to again and again is the nasi goreng. I almost have it memorized, and so, even though I don't have the book on me currently, I can tell that Danielle Chang's version, from her new cookbook Lucky Rice, is going to taste delicious.
Nasi goreng begins with a flavorful paste of chiles, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, and shrimp paste (a key Indonesian ingredient), that's fried and cooked with the leftover rice, eggs, an Indonesian sweet soy sauce called kecap manis, and topped with flavorful aromatics.
If you've got your wok technique down, this is a great way to implement your skills. And if you've never made anything like this, this is definitely worth expanding your repertoire.
I'm making rice tonight, which means this tomorrow. You should too.
Danielle Chang's Nasi Goreng[DesignSponge.com]
Looking to stock up that home gym with some used weights? Here are a few tips to rehab a set of rusty, used dumbbells into something that fits right into that garage workout space. I picked up a few pairs of weight off my local Craigslist page a few week ago. If you've ever bought dumbbells, you know how insanely fast it becomes way too expensive. So when a rusty, pitted set came up, I checked them out and got them cheap thanks to their relatively poor condition. But a bit of epoxy and some spray paint made them look and feel new enough to find a permanent spot in the home gym. Here's what I did:
1. Assess the damage. Most weights are built to last, but years and moisture can wreak havoc on their appearance. Look hard for cracks in the welds or weights that will compromise the integrity. If you find these issues, move along; they're not worth dropping on your head during a workout. Minor pitting and even rust holes can be repaired, and I'm going to show you how.
2. Clean them up. A wire brush and some sandpaper cleans the surface enough to make paint adhere. I scraped off all flaking paint, and sanded the sides with 80 grit paper on my multi-tool. I then used a wire brush to get off stubborn rust pitting and dug any dirt out of the holes. A quick wipe down with water got them ready to repair.
3. Fill the holes. I mixed up 2 part 5 minute epoxy to fill the holes on one weight, and used J.B. Weld 2 part epoxy for the others. This was to see what mix was most effective. The 5 minute was much faster setting, and filled the holes nicely without shrinking. The JB Weld took longer to cure and shrunk a bit leaving a divot I had to fill with more material. Note: both were used only as a filler material, not an adhesive to hold anything together. Please don't JB Weld a structural part of the weight.
4. Lightly sand and paint. I lightly sanded the epoxy surfaces to make them a bit rough, then sprayed them with Rustoleum spray paint. The key is to spray a few light coats to layer it well for coverage and durability.
5. Finishing touches. I sanded the numbers down to contrast and make them easy to see, then sanded the center grips to get the grip back so sweaty hands can still hold them tight.
Overall, it was a fast and easy way to pick up some beat up weights that look good in the home gym. Necessary? Probably not, but I was getting tired of looking at the beat up rusty weights every morning so it was a simple fix to keep my sanity intact just a bit longer.
Next step is building a rack to get my growing collection of fitness gear off the floor with some reinforced wood shelves.
Ritualized finger-shortening, or “Yubitsume”, is the ancient tradition of cutting off the end of one's own pinky finger just above the joint to atone for mistakes. Traditionally this was done on the left hand making it harder for the culprit to wield a katana properly; the ritual was then so eagerly adopted by the Japanese mafia that ex-mafia members have an incredibly hard time re-integrating into society due to the stigma against their obvious deformity.
Meet Yukako Fukushima, a prosthetics maker, who has made hundreds of fake pinkies over the past decade for ex-yakuza members looking to escape their gang-related past and find regular jobs. Fukushima’s fingers cost an average of 180,000 yen ($1,594), but she provides many of the ex-yakuza members who are in dire financial straits. She makes regular prosthetics as well, but the story of the men who come in seeking her specialized talents is one you won't soon forget.
I feel like I start every post that deals with an awesome DIY lighting project by confessing how much of a sucker I am for awesome DIY lighting projects, but, for goodness' sake, I'm a sucker for an awesome DIY lighting project. This one comes from online shop One King's Lane, and the finished product is one of the better I've seen recently:
Not bad, huh? I love the brass and the exposed bulbs, and you could easily take a similar approach to customize your design to fit your style. Check it out:
A Stylish Solution: Brass Chandelier DIY [One King's Lane; photos by Jason Hamilton]
Most men I know are pretty committed Yelp users. If you're checking out a new place without recommendations from friends, or in a new town or neighborhood, or have a craving you just gotta satisfy, it's an ever-reliable resource of aggregated information to help you decide. I've even used it for things like finding a good local dentist...
But now Yelp has put together their list of places that every man must try in their lifetime based on the community of opinionated commentators for the 100 Top Places to Eat in America. Here are the top ten:
1. Porto’s Bakery & Cafe (Burbank, CA)
2. Cheese Board Pizza (Berkeley, CA)
3. Paseo (Seattle, WA)
4. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que (Kansas City, KS)
5. TKB Bakery & Deli (Indio, CA)
6. Gary Danko (San Francisco, CA)
7. The Morrison (Los Angeles, CA)
8. Mama D’s Italian Kitchen (Newport Beach, CA)
9. Franklin Barbecue (Austin, TX)
10. Marukame Udon (Honolulu, TX)
Looking for something fun to fill that unused corner of your place? Make this skee ball game and take up the space in style. Most people have a closet full of board games no one plays. It's a place where we gather games then forget they're there. Here's a project to make a skee ball game that won't be lost in the closet, and will definitely make a night with friends a bit more interesting.
The project takes a bit of layout, planning, and plenty of pretty unique cuts. But with a bit of careful marking, it's a project that's within reach.
The thing I like about this project is how the background workings are pretty simple and easy to follow without complicated mechanisms or levers.
Take a look at the whole project write-up here, and we want to see pictures if you plan on making this game table for your space.
Every book you read leaves two stories with you; the story told in the book, and the story of its reading. Here are some of my favorites:
The Caine Mutiny, by Herman Wouk – sprawled atop luggage in train walkways on overcrowded passenger cars, traveling through Europe with my dad the summer I was seventeen. Pulitzer Prize-winning World War II classic about a sane man trapped in an insane system. ( Buy on Amazon, $12.89 )
It, by Stephen King – by flashlight, tent-bound, terrified, on rainy afternoons during my first trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, when I was thirteen. An evil creature assumes the form of a clown and goes on a once-every-twenty-seven-years killing spree. Chilling genius. (Buy on Amazon, $7.91)
On Walden Pond, by Henry David Thoreau– mostly just skimming, beneath Sather Gate, at the University of California, Berkeley, to get closer to a girl I liked, who sang in the a capella group there most afternoons, when I was 19. I don't remember her name, or anything about this book, but she had very long, blond hair and light blue eyes. (Don't buy it. When you find it waiting for you on a dusty shelf somewhere, you'll know it's time to read it.)
The Mysterious Island, by Jules Verne– in the back of our 1991 Dodge Caravan, lying on suitcases and rolled up sleeping bags, watching cars go by in the fog, on our family road trip around the Great Lakes. Five Union soldiers escape a Confederate prison in a hot-air balloon, then crash-land on a weird (mysterious, even) island in the South Pacific. (Buy on Amazon, $4.86)
Clan of The Cave Bear, by Jean Auel– on the sun-warmed, time-worn cobblestone beaches of Hollow Rock, Lake Superior, waiting for the horseflies to blow away in the breeze, so I could make a little rock pillow for my head, and take a nap, age 25. It's Neanderthals vs. Cro-Magnons, in this thrilling tale of love, family, and adventure. No seriously, kidding aside, it's a great book. (Buy on Amazon, $8.99)
What are your favorite books that are inexorably linked with a particular moment in your life?
A fine pair of audio speakers is a common sight at a secondhand store, but, of course, there's a reason the original donor got rid of them. Perhaps it was a failure in the wiring (easily fixable), a distaste for the 80s faux wood laminate case work (um...paintable?), but most likely, it's a simple aging and drying of the speaker's foam that amounts to poor sound quality and projection that caused the speakers to be tossed. If that's the case, there's a simple, affordable fix to get them back in hi-fi quality and pushing the air with whatever tunes you pump into them.
Usually, it's simply the edges of a tweeter or woofer that fail, and the cabinet and cones in fine shape. So, Instructable-r Andrea Biffi came up with a clever solution to bring them back to life for a mere $15.00.
Get the full how-to at Instructables, and rock out! Re-Foam Your Old Speakers
In our elementary school days, packing your bag was easy: books, folders, pencil, lunch bag, done. But, as grown-ups, especially for those who work in a non-traditional office setting, making sure you have all the goodies you need for the day or a work trip can be tough - do you have all the right power and syncing cables for your devices? Do you need your laptop, or would the iPad suffice? Did you pack the headphones with the microphone so you can hop on that call at two? And, is this a camera day or not?! There are even days when I'd love to get out of the house and work from the coffee shop, but packing and double checking becomes a task unto itself, and I'll just end up working from the dining room table.
So, I'm pretty excited by this idea of storing all those necessities in a single place, especially one so neatly organized that you can be sure to note when a cable or power supply is missing.
And, the best part? This project is one you can make yourself and customize to your needs, but flexible enough to adapt as you items change and update.
This project can be sized up or down and customized in many different ways — the best approach is to gather all the tiny tech things you travel with and see how much there is. After that, it’s just a bit of snipping, sewing and gluing, and you’re on your way to a clean, organized carry-on. Enjoy!
I see all kinds of cool projects every week that inspire me, but this is one I think I might actually execute for myself. Brilliant.
DIY Project: Vintage Book Travel Tech Organizer [Design Sponge]
If you've ever entertained the question of which books you'd take to keep you sane on a deserted island, you'll want to check this out. Ernest Shackleton and his intrepid crew set out to explore Antarctica only to be stranded for 17 months with endless hardships and yet they lived to tell the tale. Shackleton himself was a big reader and often encouraged his crew to pour through his personal library that he'd brought along as a way to stay sane in the dark months of immobility. Eventually the Endurance sank and the men were only able to take a couple that they could carry, and the rest of the library was lost, until now...
The famously haunting photos of the expedition were taken by Frank Hurley and only recently restored by the Royal Geographical Society in London, with the surprising result that people could now read the titles of books on the shelves that kept Shackleton's crew in their better minds through the insanely arduous period. In addition to such classics as the Encyclopedia Brittanica and The Brother's Karamazov, Shackleton also had some masculine poetry framed on the wall such as Rudyard Kipling's "If."
I'd love to hear what makes the top cut for your deserted island literature in the comments. Personally, I'd go with A Complete Works of Shakespeare (or just Hamlet if that's cheating), the Bible, and Hemingway's For Whom The Bell Tolls. What about you?
Jesus taught in parables, and Polonius advised his king "by indirections to find directions out." One of the best things about revisiting classic sports movies as an adult is suddenly realizing all the incredible themes and lessons that were way over your head as a boy, but you likely absorbed through osmosis. Whether you’ve never seen these films or can practically do them as a one-man show, here are seven classic movies about sports that are really about something else…
Field of Dreams: Fatherhood
“If you build it, he will come,” says a mysterious voice on the wind to Iowa farmer, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner). What follows is an iconic saga of family and Americana as Ray transforms his cornfield into a fully functional baseball field in the conscious hope that it’ll bring Shoeless Joe Jackson back from the dead. Under the surface though lies a heartwarming and heartbreaking tale of a modern man’s struggle to understand adulthood and connect with the dreams of his lost father and the simultaneous idealism and compromise of his father’s generation. The movie unfolds like a pastoral fable and never ceases to bring the tears a-flowin’.
Remember The Titans: Racism/Acceptance (duh)
Nothing pastoral here. It’s grit and racism in this small town true story of 1971 and the undefeated high school football team that fought each game to overcome the hatred surrounding their recently integrated high school. This one is pretty obviously about something besides simply winning the championship, but it set the bar for modern sports movies by overtly taking a thematic stand on something greater than football. If you were alive if 00’s, you must have seen this movie and would recognize the majority of the high school players for their now-famous careers (Ryan Gosling, Wood Harris, Donald Faison, Kate Bosworth, Hayden Panettiere).
Bull Durham: Manhood
What begins as a story about the “religion of baseball” unfolds to be a tale about manhood in this unique romantic film. Kevin Costner stars (yet again) as veteran catcher Crash Davis who’s been hired to mentor hotshot pitching prodigy Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) and help mold him into major league material. In the meantime there’s a fantastic love triangle thanks to Susan Sarandon that makes this film a great one to share with a lady. Perhaps the most memorable scene is Crash’s speech to Susan Sarandon about what he believes in (and thereby what kind of man he is), although I also think this sceneis a great second place as well.
The Natural: Integrity
Based on Bernard Malamud’s 1952 novel (albeit with a markedly different ending), The Natural tells the romanticized tale of Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) on his interrupted quest to become “the best there ever was.” Generally considered to be the best baseball film of all time, the film is an American tale of one man’s struggle to stay true to his dream for himself despite stacked odds and being surrounded by soul-corrupting evils. It’s exciting to watch an Hobbs’ perspective through the movie as it’s rare to see a character with such thorough self-knowledge. Also needing to be mentioned is the films spectacular cinematography (by Zooey Deschanel’s father) and an Aaron Copland-esque score by Randy Newman. I envy people who get to see this movie for the first time for all of its feel-good sports moments.
[N.B. I’m a firm believer in viewing the original cut of the film since the Director’s Cut includes flashbacks/forwards that take away from the power of one of the film’s most jarring and shocking scenes. Trust me.]
Rudy tells the true story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, a hopelessly small and talentless young man who dreams of playing football for Notre Dame. Throughout the film you watch Rudy face setback after setback, as he struggles to keep the faith alive to achieve the impossible for himself. Aside from stirring montages and one of the most emotionally fulfilling third act payoffs, one of the best scenes features this confrontational speech from Rudy’s janitorial boss played by Charles S. Dutton.
In contrast to Rudy’s moral of perseverance, Rocky is much more about resilience – simply working hard enough and having enough guts to stand tall at the end of a truly impossible fight. When a down-and-out nobody is given an impossible shot at the boxing heavyweight championship of the world, Rocky Balboa knows he doesn’t stand a chance. Nevertheless, he brings the heart one could hope for in this stirring story of resilience. It takes guts to make a film in which the hero doesn’t win, and it’s all the more charming when you know that Sylvester Stallone wrote this Best Picture winner that later spawned 5 sequels with a new spinoff just about to begin production.
It’s been said that there are only two types of stories in the world: a hero goes on a journey, and a stranger comes to town. I can’t think of a more emblematic film for the latter sentiment than David Anspaugh’s 1988 film Hoosiers. Everything changes for the lone town of Hickory, Indiana when a blunt coach (the stellar Gene Hackman) with a mysterious past tries to lead the high school team to the state finals in 1954. The tale (loosely based on a true story) tells an uplifting story exemplifying the importance of fundamentals in everything while also asking important questions about manhood. Can you escape your past? Can a lost man be redeemed? How much good can a flawed man still do? Not to be missed is one of the all time best performances by Dennis Hopper as the town drunk and father of one of the starting players.
[I’ve now wasted so much time re-watching clips from every film for this article. I regret nothing.]
Maker and craft book author Shawn Gascoyne-Bowman came up with this clever way to keep track of those various projects-in-process: create a reusable "caddy" from a bulked-up six-pack beer carrier. Shawn suggests creating some permanent organizers for sharp or rigid objects (scissors, pliers, craft knife, etc) with some "tall boy" beer cans, and using a grommet to make a dispensing hole for yarn, string, or wire. I also imagine reinforcing the inside corners and dividers with some duct or gaffers tape could make these last longer.
I love the idea of a row of these lined up on a work bench or table: one for electronics/soldering, one for printmaking and stenciling, one for knitting or crocheting, etc....
Get the full how-to - an excerpt from Shawn's book "Beer Crafts: Making the Most of Your Cans, Bottle Caps and Labels" - at Craft Foxes:
Each Wednesday, I post some of my favorite can't-miss links, images, and otherwise mindblowing goodies from across the web.
This is the Minotake bamboo spatula. It's amazing, and a good reminder that there is always room for more good design in the world, even on products that have been made and used for thousands of years. The series was designed by Makoto Koizumi and made by Japanese bamboo artisans Kohchosai Kosuga. Yours for a very reasonable $33.
Apparently, 90% of the world's huge variety and species of apples are descendants of only two trees in Kazakhstan.
Homemade. Cocktail. Machine.
Oh, and speaking of cocktails, it's basically spring, right? Time to put away the whiskey and get out the gin again? I think I'll start with these Cucumber Mint Coolers from HeatherCristo.
Cool bedroom idea. Simple softwood plywood sheet for a headboard with a little bedside table shelf built in. Just attach an industrial-style lamp right to the wood, and hit the sheets.
There's nothing more impressive than walking through a man's workshop, seeing the cool projects he's working to bring into existence out of nothing, and then realizing that even his tools are made from scratch. I can only fathom the satisfaction and forward momentum one must feel when beginning a hearty new endeavor and seeing the fruits of your past creative labors supporting you in the process of new creation.
To that end, check out this hip lathe Matthais Wandel designed and built in this engaging YouTube video, and then check out his full set of plans and try it out for yourself! Also, his website is organized pretty well and is worth clicking through if you have the time and are looking for some weekend projects to try.
With spring around the corner, and plenty of sunlight in our future it’s time to take about those glasses. Sure, cheapo glasses served us well in our 20s, but now we’re responsible enough to get a bit more sophisticated. Here are a few reasons to upgrade those shades. I remember the first time I realized that quality lenses mattered. I was sitting at a cliff-side café overlooking Napili Bay on the far Northern side of Maui. Baking in the tropical sun was all I had on the agenda and I was soaking it in. As content as I was staring out at the crashing waves, I couldn’t help but notice how happy the man at the next table was as he gazed out at the shimmering water. Breaking the silence, he said “want to see something amazing?” then handed me his Maui Jim sunglasses. I replaced my gas-station glasses with his on the bridge of my nose, and a whole world opened up in front of me. The polarized lenses cut directly through the glare and I experienced a completely different view. A dozen of sea turtles were dancing in the waves, effortlessly surfing just below the surface through the bright green waters. That single experience turned me on to quality lenses in an instant, and solidified the difference that a bit of quality makes. If you’re ready to make the leap to a quality set of shades, here are a few tips on what to look for:
The Technology: High-end sunglasses use multiple layer lenses, with polarization sandwiched in to block out the harmful UV radiation from the sun. This protects those domes and results in less fatigue over the course of the day. It also cuts down on squinting which is where those wrinkles are coming from. Cheaper brands only put a single layer of protection in and spend much less time on the lens construction. So even though they’re both labelled “polarized” there really is a difference. The finish on a quality set of lenses is much more precise, resulting in a clearer set of glasses without distortion.
The Materials: Durable sunglasses just look better. The finish holds up better over time, and lighter more comfortable materials make all-day wear a better experience. The hardware and detail work is also much more durable so hinges and rubberized areas still look good and function well years down the road. The manufacturers are also sticking around, so replacement parts are much easier to come by when the need arises.
The Fit: We’ve all done it, squinting in front of that tiny gas station mirror to see how they look on our face. The fit is just a bit off, and we’re suddenly aware of how one ear is a bit higher than the other. As simple as it may seem, the fit makes a difference, and upper end sunglass manufacturers take the time to get it right. Look for a set that doesn’t pinch at the temples, rides well on the bridge of the nose, and are wide enough to keep the sun off when it’s shining from the side.
My Favorite Sunglasses:
Now that you know, it’s time to start looking around at a set of glasses you’ll have around for a bit. Take your time and let us know what you get when you make the leap to step your sunglasses game up.