Saturday, January 28, 2012

100 Legendary Trunks Louis Vuitton

I’m all about the back story. The lore…the explanation…the provenance…the collaterals. It’s all kinda catnip for my right brain. One of you even defined me as “an explainer”. I’ll take that and raise it by saying that I also enjoy the “explanation”.
My mom gave me an Amazon Gift Certificate for Christmas and when I was made aware of 100 Legendary Trunks, I deemed my mama’s contribution towards the MSRP such that I would pop for the balance. And I’m pleased that I did.
It’s not just about the trunks. It’s about Paris and France and Europe and the States and Colonialism...
...and Campaign Furniture. And of course, the proverbial back-story that accompanies the trunks.
It’s about craftsmanship and a time when one commissioned their things more often than buying them ready made. I just had that experience in San Francisco...with a craftsperson who was just as passionate about actualizing for me, the idea that I conveyed with said passion.
And it’s about eccentricity and the means with which to manifest it. Custom cases for exactly twenty-four dress shirts. Certainly bespoken courtesy of Charvet, no?
It’s also about function living quite nicely methinks—with form. Why not have custom trunks made for Impressionist paintings?
Oh and it’s about texture. Provocatively tactile beyond just the original impregnated canvas with the ubiquitous L.V. brand scattered about.
Trunks for ballooning. I want to believe that Santos Dumont bespoke some of these. But I’m sure he didn’t do so for his balloons. He was too focused on performance. But I bet he had cases for his Charvet shirts.
It’s about libraries and the portability of one’s favorite books.
It’s WASPy in a Drexel-Biddle kinda way.
People who created the books we love also engaged Vuitton to assist in the carriage of their trade-tools.
The need to hermetically seal things seemed not to be a problem for Vuitton…
…“fermeture hermetique” …in South Carolina that would be … “Herman, not tonight! Put that damn thing away”.
Oh, and it’s about toys. Specifically the toy department in the Vuitton Paris store. Toy soldiers. Guaranteed to be courtesy of fellow French artisans from CBG Mignot, the oldest continuously operating toy soldier maker in the world. Napoleon commissioned little lead men from Mignot. I’m not kidding.
If lore and the proverbial back story intrigue you even remotely as much as they captivate me; go buy this book.
And further regarding why people are wired for certain things…why some of us are passionate about stories and objects that leave others scratching their heads. I did the Strengths Finder self-assessment a few years ago and I loved the way it “got” me…the way it characterized my wiring. Most all of these personality/trait assessment tools are derivatives of Jungian stuff and I’ve always enjoyed utilizing them. I think everyone should at least do the MBTI assessment.
So here’s how Strengths Finder thematically characterized me. I thought I share the themes that seem to explain why I’m so damned hooked on “the story”.
You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information-words, facts, books, and quotations-or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls, or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather, to add more information to your archives. If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. With all those possible uses in mind, you really don't feel comfortable throwing anything away. So you keep acquiring and compiling and filing stuff away. It's interesting. It keeps your mind fresh. And perhaps one day some of it will prove valuable.
You like to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public, and to write. This is your Communication theme at work. Ideas are a dry beginning. Events are static. You feel a need to bring them to life, to energize them, to make them exciting and vivid. And so you turn events into stories and practice telling them. You take the dry idea and enliven it with images and examples and metaphors. You want to divert their attention toward you and then capture it, lock it in. This is what drives your hunt for the perfect phrase. This is what draws you toward dramatic words and powerful word combinations. This is why people like to listen to you. Your word pictures pique their interest, sharpen their world, and inspire them to act.
You are fascinated by ideas. What is an idea? An idea is a concept, the best explanation of the most events. You are delighted when you discover beneath the complex surface an elegantly simple concept to explain why things are the way they are. An idea is a connection. Yours is the kind of mind that is always looking for connections, and so you are intrigued when seemingly disparate phenomena can be linked by an obscure connection. you derive a jolt of energy whenever a new idea occurs to you. Others may label you creative or original or conceptual or even smart. Perhaps you are all of these. Who can be sure? What you are sure of is that ideas are thrilling. And on most days this is enough.
You look back. You look back because that is where the answers lie. You look back to understand the present. From your vantage point the present is unstable, a confusing clamor of competing voices. It is only by casting your mind back to an earlier time, a time when the plans were being drawn up, that the present regains its stability.

Onward. Thematically.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Birthday Embarrassment...

...but not too much.
I've got two stories in mind about my San Francisco sortie. And I'm full up with all kinds of other raw-materiel for other stories...but am short on time. So I figured I'd share for now, as a placeholder, what greeted me at the post this morning. I stopped by after landing from SFO and my Cleverley bespokes awaited me...along with my birthday lead soldiers and a half price Rugby sweater. And my Bookster trousers were cuffed and ready. I'm on procurement lock down for the balance of 2012.
But the greatest gift accompanying the sartorial goodies was my thirty-four dollar electric grill. I'll kick George Foreman's a_s.
Onward. Kicking. In Cleverley.

ADG II ... from San Francisco

Thursday, January 26, 2012

San Fran Quickie

I’m trying to stay on east coast time…something I seem to manage until the proverbial “day three” of any visit. So I’ve been up at 345am which is great from a “knocking out the to-do list” perspective. However, by 5pm, my cocktail hour lucidity and general charm are pretty much gone.

My free time has been limited but I’ve had a blast attempting to take advantage of all the great options offered by scores of you. Thanks and stay tuned for more protracted drivel about my San Fran Sortie.

Onward. Rehearsing my PowerPoint jig…for my client gig.

Friday, January 20, 2012

San Francisco...Plan My Day

I haven’t had a San Francisco business meeting in a decade. Then suddenly the billable-day Gods shined on me and I’ve been sandwiched into the agenda for a conference downtown.

So here’s my question for you. What would you do/where would you go if you had one free day downtown and no rental car? Where’s the low-brow place that you’d send me for lunch? Tell me about the eclectic old vintage bookstores. Is there a museum or gallery exhibition that would be tragic not to see?

Plan my free day for me. And I’ll even take a suggestion or two for proper cocktails and dinner.

Talk to me. Butcept not about Top of the Mark, Cable Car Clothiers or Wilkes Bashford. Been there done that. And I’m not doing the Alcatraz tour  boondoggle thang.

ADG II            Traveling

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Christmas Haul

Someone asked me to weigh in on the Christmas loot that LFG and I accumulated and I figured I better get to it before the Holiday memories become even more distant. But before diving into the materialistic nirvana of our goods, let me offer up a bit of prophylactic karma. (Karma for my damn self—to shroud this “look at all the cool and expensive stuff that we got” story in hopefully, some level of social responsibility and gratitude so that God won’t slam me with another broken molar this weekend. You my friends, are responsible for your own karma depleting/escalating tactics. Shut up.)
I like stuff. But I’ve learned some tough lessons about allowing money and possessions to ride in the front seat of my life journey buggy. And…I believe that giving anonymously has more gravitas than indexing the amount you give to how prominent your name will be on the donors list or where and beside whom you’ll be seated at the charity event. But for a moment, I’ve just gotta mention what LFG and I give, before we preen about what we get.
Our charitable giving is kid centric. It’s my choice and I like the measureable efficacy of the money that’s given to a select few charities. It’s the business modelling-measure the value of the effort-consultant in me. I’m hopelessly commercially minded. It’s what I do for a living. And to that end, I like the fact that when I give two hundred and fifty bucks to Smile Train, I am guaranteed that at least one child will receive the restorative surgery necessary to literally change forever, the trajectory of their life-journey. So there are a half-dozen of those little people somewhere in the world that as a result of what LFG and I’ve done in 2011, have mouths, lips and palates that now look right and function properly. Ok, before you begin to contrive your scalding ass comments, calling me out for bragging about our charitable giving; chill out. At the risk of redundancy, I’m telling you that this little bit of giving pales breathtakingly when compared to the obscene level of getting that LFG and I experienced at Christmas.
And we love Meg Fairfax Fielding for about one point eight gazillion reasons and if for no other, we would give every year to Woodbourne. But the other reason that we always give to them is that older kids seem to get forgotten by society faster than others. It’s no secret that a healthy new-born child usually gets adopted quickly. But let a kid get a little older or have a special need or be a minority and the chances of placing them become much tougher. So I believe that places like Woodbourne are doing sublime work by creating an environment where their kids have a better chance of growing up and becoming self-sufficient members of society. LFG and I gave to Woodbourne in 2011 and we’ll do it again this year.
And finally, my business partners and I decided about a decade ago to change how we expressed appreciation for our clients. My partners and I are blessed with healthy, happy children. LFG of course, is smarter and prettier than any of them but that’s beside the point. We decided that instead of sending all of the holiday gift baskets and booze and typical loot that every other vendor and consultant also sends, we’d do something better. The Make a Wish Foundation offers, as you probably know, an opportunity for a terminally ill child to experience their dream trip, event or whatever. I can’t imagine what it feels like to learn that one’s child is terminally ill. But what I can imagine is how it feels to know that a terminally ill child will realize their wish. We send one child each year on their way…to whatever experience it is that will bring them some joy. And we make sure that our clients know that we are doing so in their honor. 
Whew, now that I’ve gotten all that karmic penance shite out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff. And let’s start with LFG. This Christmas was different in a couple of ways and mostly because LFG is older and the magic of the “throw any toy under the tree and they’ll squeal with delight” strategy is over. She wants, surprise I know, in addition to a sock monkey hat... clothes and money and gadgets. But I ended up faring rather well with my choices for her.
I’m gonna begin with the one thing that I was proudest of…LFG delight-wise. LFG tried on this cute little blazer several months ago in Brooks Brethren. It was too expensive for a jacket that even she couldn’t articulate how/when/where she would wear it. I figured that if I ever saw it at 60% off, I’d buy it for her. But from time to time, she would bring up unprompted, “that navy blazer.” And then she saw a ladies standard, less twee looking navy blazer in Brooks and said that she liked that one better.
Alas, it ain’t easy to find a navy blazer for a little girl. I tucked into J. Crew on Christmas Eve eve…the day I began my shopping this year, and saw a rack of ladies navy blazers. A nice sales lady talked it out with me and we decided that I should give a ladies size “0” a go. She said that if it didn’t work that I could return it and she’d order a “00” to try.
Folks…the navy blazer was THE hit of all the gets. LFG loved it and when I said that we could have Suh shorten the sleeves she resisted…demonstrating that she’d want to push the sleeves up on her arms. And like her tacky-a_s fuzzy daddy, she undid a couple of the working sleeve buttons.
I’m not sure why this particular gift of all things, had me bursting with pride. Maybe there's some kind of Trad neuroses bubbling up courtesy of the iconic navy blazer. Shut up.
I think that Hunter Wellies were barn mucking, utilitarian boots for generations. Not no more. They come in an array of colors and the fleece interlining socks are an interchangeable fuzzy accoutrement that just adds whimsy to the whimsical.
LFG preferred purple boots and she’s got pink and purple fleece fuzzies to swap out when so inspired.
And she loved the Vineyard Vines fleece vest and bracelet so much that we gave a similar vest to one of my business partner’s daughters.
And then LFG’s stocking began to ring. Yes, I bought her an iPhone. With very rigorous utilization criteria and consequences associated. And we allowed LFG to collaborate with us regarding what the rules should be. Before you tisk tisk and eye-roll over this one, hear me out. LFG already had a cell phone in her back pack for emergencies. She already had an iTouch for games and Apps and all the other things kids do with these delightful Apple devices. She is required to give her iTouch to charity. Her old cell phone is now obviously, shut off. Her mother and I have full access to her passwords, her emails and her texts. And on a selfish note, I can now call her and text her without having to undergo the hit and miss triage/middle person process of calling her mother and seeking telephone access to LFG that way.
So as always, it was a good Christmas for LFG.

And the obscenities don’t end there. For I was extry prone this year to practice a few highly skilled tactics myself. First, I did the “buy one for them and one for me” gift strategy. Next, I did the “tell them exactly what you want so that you don’t get shitty gifts” thing. And the outcome was perfect.
I love one hundred year old lead soldiers but I’m also a huge fan of how Bill Hocker of Berkeley California interprets the old ones. His story, not only about how he came into creating these contemporary versions of antique toys, but about the people he employs to help him, is a great one.
And so I got the Hocker Boer War Observation Balloon and another grouping of his little lead men.
Fuzzy Dog sweaters from J. Press are nice but they are so darned thick that unless it’s twenty degrees, my a_s tends to overheat in them. But I’m really digging the less expensive, thinner version that Rugby offers.
And of course, my Hulme leather Gladstone bag from Sterling and Burke is stellar. The jury is still out on how well it’s gonna work as a carry-on. Stay tuned.
My Anglo American tortoise sunglasses frames served me well for over a decade. And I decided on my Gotham stopover the week before Christmas, to replace them with an updated, lighter colored tortoise version. Same size, same everything. The guys at A.R. Trapp just popped my prescription lenses into the new frames and bam.
Uncle Alan Flusser bestowed upon me yet another pair of his bespoke Poulsen and Skone shoddings from thirty years ago. Sublime.
Drakes scarf. Yep…that rounds out my Christmas loot for 2011.
Oh, and I almost forgot the most intriguing find that I gifted myself this Christmas. It was absolute serendipity that I was offered these four large scale, hundred year old Georg Heyde lead soldiers. They are rare to the point of virtually unobtainable. I’d only seen one of these size soldiers one other time before. And you don’t even want to know what the tariff was in these four musket-damn-teers.

I’ve gotta close this drivel and get back to writing stuff that actually pays wages. I think that perhaps now you see why I took the time to drone on at length about giving…before crowing so much…about getting.

Onward. Having gotten. And now giddily prepping for an LFG weekend.