Pick-A-Day

May 2020
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Whatchamacallit 65: Doosan Professional Baseball Club Towel

Doosan Professional Baseball Club

In early April 2014 I visited Seoul, a city that I can easily imagine living in. I’ve actually visited the city twice.

I’ve told any number of people that if you told me today that I would have to move to South Korea tomorrow that I would say, “Wow – that will be challenging but doable.” The other half of that observation is that if you told me that tomorrow I would be moving to Japan, a wonderful place to visit, I would say, “Wow – do I have to?”

But that is a digression: this is about the Doosan Professional Baseball Club Towel that I have hanging in my hallway – such an awkward name, when they go by the name Doosan Bears in colloquial terms.

I went to the game with two college students who were practicing their English – which made the experience more fun. (As I recall, they did not pick up on the fact that I like boys and thought that I was admiring the cheerleaders – the truth was I was still taken by the absurdity of the circus that is attending baseball in Asia.

Remember, I said “cheerleaders” – what baseball game has cheerleaders? Certainly none in America.

The towel hangs right below my Hiroshima Carp towel – so I see it frequently, thus a small trigger taking me back to Seoul and the good times that I have had while visiting there.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 64: Statue of Nessie

Nessie

Back in 2013, after visiting the Shetland Islands, we headed to Inverness.

Our first stop, Loch Ness, to see the Loch Ness Monster. We ended up lunching at The Dores Inn before wandering around and visiting Steve Feltham, the Nessie Hunter.

Amazingly, I actually saw Nessie that day – through my camera. Unfortunately, I never really got a quality photo of her, which is a disappointment.

However, I bought the above trinket version of Nessie – it sells for £22 with UK shipping today – so I’m guessing that if you bought it there, it would be a flat £20? Not sure. But of course I bought mine in 2013, so you can make whatever adjustments you want to the potential pricing.

The statue sits on the shelf behind my couch – a fun reminder of Scotland.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 63: Bo Innovation Menu

Bo InnovationBack in April 2014, while in Hong Kong, I went to my first Michelin three-star restaurant – Bo Innovation.

It was a treat – and the most expensive meal of my life up and to that point – for our travels.

Looking at the menu, which I had framed and is now on display in my kitchen, reminds me of the trip and aspects of the meal.

First, there is the obvious correction to the menu: when they gave us the printed menu as a souvenir, I pointed out that one of the wines was listed twice, even though the accompanying wine-trip had resulted in a different wine with each course. They hand wrote the correction.

Second, it evokes the feeling of the dinner: we took an elevator up to the restaurant and were seated outside – it was vaguely rainy outside – maybe more drizzling. My impression is that we were seated outside yet with covering? It was alongside a railing because I remember leaning over the railing and looking at people eating in other restaurants that were lower – both physically and in the global rankings.

Third, I no longer remember each of the courses in detail – I remember that some of the courses had unique textures – going by name, I would guess the Molecular course, xiao long bao. There’s a vague recollection that I liked the blue lobster course – I wish I had taken better notes – or written a blog entry about the visit.

The menu hangs on my kitchen wall, so I see it whenever I have spare minutes while cooking.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 62: Wyoming Whiskey

Wyoming Whiskey

Wyoming Whiskey is a (relatively) recent addition to the small distillery scene and, to the best of my knowledge, the only (legal) distillery in the State of Wyoming.

Given that I have much affection for Wyoming (despite its strong Republican leanings), I keep my eye out for cool, albeit unusual, Wyoming products – and when Wyoming Whiskey appeared on the scene, I tried to buy it.

After their first release, I was in Wyoming and nary a liquor store had a bottle in stock – I was out of luck.

Eventually I got my hands on this bottle, from batch 18, bottled on November 25, 2013.

It returned with me to Berlin and, at some point, I opened it up and poured myself an appropriate serving.

I found that it tasted, to my uncultured, inexperienced, palate, like paint thinner.

Thus, I haven’t really had more than a couple of samples – although one of my friends has told me that he finds it pleasant. I’d give him the bottle, but I want the bottle – so he drinks it when he visits.

I am not alone in my impression that batch 18 is disappointing. Although arriving their conclusions with differing, more expert, logic, the Whisky Jug said:

However, despite some good stuff possibly coming in the future the current (Batch 18) stuff just isn’t up-to-snuff. It starts out decent, but quickly turns into a bourbon flavored mineral water.

Interestingly, there is a relationship to my previous whisky Whatchamacallit, the Maker’s Mark – Although he does not appear to be listed on the Wyoming Whiskey website, in that era the product was made by Steve Nally, who previously had spent more than 30 years at Maker’s mark.

I have no idea what the current product is like – this bottle was so unimpressive, at least for me, that I haven’t had the urge to buy another bottle.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 61: Baking is gay

Baking is gay

I realize that I am a difficult person to buy presents for – I have a quirky sense of humor that is hard to define and understand.

The above is a present that one person got right: my baking is gay tea-towel.

It’s utterly ridiculous, yet perfect.

Rather than actually using it, I’ve hung it in my kitchen, where it amuses me endlessly while I wait for water to boil, pasta to cook, the washing machine to finish, or whatever.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 60: Wartburg etching.

Wartburg

I acquired this little etching (it is 10 x 10cm; 4×4 inches) shortly after moving to Germany in 2004. Oddly, I did not blog about my trip to the Wartburg.

This was acquired after I realized that I wanted to buy pictures representing the places that I was visiting but before I realized that I should only buy pictures that I actually like, pictures that capture the place in a way that brings deep meaning to me.

However, this one is not bad – it’s an original etching (it says so, right on the sticker on the glass) by König. I have no idea how much I paid for it, but given its diminutive size and my (lack of) money in that era, it had to be less than 10€. It came framed.

This etching triggers many positive memories: the Wartburg was the first touristy thing I did after moving to Weimar. It was an hour long train ride from Weimar to Eisenach taking the Regional Express – There was some kind of ticket that one could buy to go from Weimar to Eisenach and back in one day – maybe it was a HopperTicket, but the names of these products have faded from my mind now that I live in Berlin and rarely leave the city limits. I most assuredly took this adventure on a Saturday or Sunday, waking (relatively) early in order to maximize time in Eisenach.

The Wartburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – there are many reasons for this, but in my mind, even though I’m an atheist, the most important reason is that this is where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German, thus making it accessible to the common man.

Even I understand the revelatory importance of this event.

In my apartment, this sits just inside the door.  It fits my neighborhood: my nearest U-Bahn station is Eisenacherstrasse – named after the city that is home to the Wartburg; and Wartburgstrasse is nearby – named for the imminent location.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 59: My Coffee Table.

Coffee Table

Back in 2012 I bought a new couch – getting rid of the two couches that had come to dominate my living room while being simultaneously ugly and decrepit.

With a new couch came the need for a coffee table – and I can tell you that I spent a great deal of time looking at coffee tables. Lots and lots of them. I haunted Berlin’s furniture stores – finding ugly coffee tables, big coffee tables, and none that were just right.

It was a frustrating search – and time consuming.

Eventually one of my colleagues suggested Dielerei – a Berlin-based custom furniture website/man who makes furniture out of old Berlin floorboards.

I contacted him, asked about getting a custom-made coffee table — 100cm x 40-45cm x 40cm – and was quoted 350€.

This was, for me, a reasonable price. I had been looking at coffee tables for weeks and had seen how expensive they all were. However, I still have a crystal-clear memory of telling one of my other friends how much I was going to pay for the coffee table – he was appalled. So, I suggested that he look at the price of coffee tables online: after about 5 minutes of looking furniture store websites, he turned to me and said, “I’m in the wrong business.”

This coffee table is, hands down, my favorite piece of furniture: during home office times, it is essentially my desk, sitting at the exact right height for working while sitting on the floor.

I love it so much that I hope that Dielerei will build me more furniture one day.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 58: A Perfect Pair

A Perfect Pair by Sebastian Lamb

This is one of my prized pornographic novels – “A Perfect Pair” by Sebastian Lamb.

I bought it in Portland, Oregon, at Counter Media, which, sadly, no longer exists. Counter Media was located quite close to Powell’s (still exists) and carried a wonderful variety of progress/queer/strange/new/used books.

The story in this novel is about incestuous twins – but that is not why I love the book. Rather, I love the book because of an incredible offer made in the introduction. They aspired to greatness:

HIS 69 paperbacks are designed with the male-interested reader in mind, and we at Surree Limited Inc. want to make these novels the perfect reflection of what you, our readers, desire. Your comments and suggestions, and any other sexual matters of concern to you, are therefore solicited IN ABSOLUTE AND STRICTEST CONFIDENCE, in our attempts to give you exactly the type of book you wish to read. You need not even sign your correspondence to make it a valid consideration in the editorial process

We therefore urge you to write us, in exact detail, about the types of books and situations you wish to read about. Not all letters can be answered due to the amount of mail, but all letters and comments are considered when making editorial decisions. No matter is too complex to approach us with, and noting is too difficult for us to attempt… but only you can do it, by communicating with us, and only if you take the time to write us with your specific requirements.

Every single time I read this, I laugh. I can only imagine how often the guy who opened the mail laughed his ass off.

See also: Before Nifty.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 57: Kent Monkman print

Kent Monkman: The Artist

I’ve blogged a lot about Kent Monkman – he is, hands down, my favorite living artist.

His work speaks to me on a fundamental level – and I can still remember the feeling I had as I walked into the Canadian artists gallery of the Montreal Museum of Beaux Arts back in August 2014. There was this massively large Bierstadt – yet not Bierstadt – on the wall. It was “The Trappers of Men” – a terrific and wonderful reimaging of one a well-known piece of art.

I’ve planned trips around seeing Kent Monkman’s work – in Toronto, in Montreal, in Kitchener, Ontario, in New York City, and in Paris, to name most of my stops.

Every one of these trips have been rewarding.

I acquired the above etching in the summer of 2016 – it was a reward to myself for having completed something really, really difficult (not to explained on the blog, sorry – but the reward was well earned).

As listed on Kent Monkman’s website:

The Artist Etching
$700.00 CAD
Copper Plate Etching on Acid Free Paper
Paper Size: 11″ x 15″
Plate Size: 8.5″ x 7″
Edition of 100 + 5 AP
2016

The Artist etching is hand signed and numbered

$700.00 (unframed)
2016

The etching is sold out – and the price went up. I paid CAN$600 for my copy (number 3!) – after picking it up at the customs office, I took it straight to my favorite framer, got it frame, and hung it (plus a companion etching) on my bedroom wall.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

Whatchamacallit 56: 100% Kona Coffee, Peaberry.

100% Kona Coffee -- Peaberry

For quite a few years I was a coffee snob – at home, brewing and drinking only 100% Kona Coffee.

It started during my trip to Kona, Hawaii in 2014: the first morning, I was drinking a cup of 100% Kona Coffee when I stopped, turned to my travel companion, and said, “This is the best cup of coffee I have ever drunk.”

Leaving Hawaii my suitcase was filled with several different bags of coffee – which I drank back in Berlin. At that point, every trip to the States became a coffee run: I would order several bags of what became my favorite.

Yes, I would order 100% Kona Coffee, Peaberry, Whole Bean, to be shipped to whatever hapless relative or friend I was visiting, then stuff them into my suitcase and bring them back to Germany.

However, I quit drinking coffee in November 2018 because it was fucking with my sleep too much: I am incredibly caffeine sensitive and drinking coffee anytime after 10:00 would result in me staying awake way past midnight.

Quitting was the most expedient thing to do – plus it saved me a lot of money and space in my suitcase.

Since then I have had three or four cups of coffee, all strategically drunk on days when I needed to stay awake – like my first full day in Québec last September: I needed to drive for 8 hours to get to the start of my real vacation. Waking up early, strategically drinking a cup of coffee, and getting in the car – I only need to stop to go – and I went.

I realize that I could go with decaf coffee – but what’s the point?

Currently I drink fruit juice in the mornings, then switch to water. Occasionally I drink wine or beer in the evenings – sometimes even cocktails.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.