Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts

I recently came across a fine bargain for a Charles Tyrwhitt shirt.  The deal is a new Charles Tyrwhitt shirt, from a selection of several hundred patterns and colors as well as a free tie and free shipping for $39.50.  I am not affiliated with Charles Tyrwhitt in any way, but this is an awesome deal!  I have come across a number of Tyrwhitt shirts in my thrifting adventures, and I always grab them, because they are very popular and high quality.  I decided to take the plunge and ordered a white "oxford" shirt with standard button cuffs in their "slim" fit.  I also ordered a navy tie with small polka dots and grabbed a pair of silk knots for my Turnbull & Asser shirt.  The grand total: $45.50.

I patiently waited for the items to arrive, and after about 7 or 8 days, the package showed up.

The tie is a fine silk, and fairly slim.  I left the tags on, but plan on wearing it for my next formal obligation.

I prefer button cuffs, as they are more appropriate for my station in the business world (a grunt) and a white, business shirt one of those staples you will always need as many as you can get!

A nice Tyrwhitt touch, complementary bronze collar stays.

The fit is pretty good, although the shirt could definitely use a good pressing.  Here I am with my new Turnbull & Asser tie, and a pair of charcoal wool Zanellas.  Please excuse the douchebaggy face, caught myself mid blink!

Here are the silk knot cufflinks with the aforementioned T&A shirt, a Paul Stuart tie, and the same Zanellas, a little untucked, but I am pleased with the links

Received a catalog that is pretty tastefully done and highlights the collection.  I enjoy those farthing cufflinks in the bottom photo, definitely on my list.  The Ben Silver catalog arrived on the same day and is fantastic as well!


Walking Dead Season 2 Recap, Mad Men & Game of Thrones Forthcoming

In my opining on the written word earlier this month, I mentioned how books, specifically fiction novels, were being replaced by television series.  Grantland talks about the Golden Age of television this week, claiming Mad Men to be the last series of the age.  I do not have cable, but I still manage to follow a number of quality series, and I much prefer watching them sans commercials, which are quite annoying on the AMC shows.

Walking Dead season 2 recently wrapped up, with the group leaving Hershel's farm in a state of duress.  Rick Grimes had to kill his best friend Shane and as he let out in the season finale, he felt he had to do it, even though I am sure he believed there was another option.  This signifies a change in Rick's character, and him saying that this is no longer a democracy foreshadows a much colder and crueler Rick to the one we've seen trying to push democracy and equality in spite of Shane's Machiavellian views on the world as they know it.  The group is right on the brink of discovering a large new community and Andrea has already encountered a new character, who has some serious blade skills and what appears to be two zombie pets chained to her back.  I am looking forward to season 3, and hope that the in-fighting and bickering will be outweighed by zombie killing action in the forthcoming episodes.

Mad Men is in my top three favorite shows all time, following The Wire and The Sopranos.  I really enjoy the character of Don Draper, who is really only a character created by Dick Whitman.  The fact that Don works in advertising, selling a false image, is all too ironic, considering what he did in his past life.  With the passing of the real Don's wife and Dick/Don marrying the French-Canadian secretary and a new advertising agency being formed, this season holds a lot of surprises.  Will this be the season everything is revealed and Don falls from grace?  I look forward to these well-crafted episodes and can't wait to dig into the first episode now, which just finished downloading.

Finally, Game of Thrones first season was excellent, lots of intrigue, an abnormal story twist, a broad range of excellent characters, and great production means a quality show.  I am a huge science fiction book fan, and the Game of Thrones is adopted from George Martin's book series, which are considered the best science fiction books out there, although they are very long and the plots are quite circuitous.  I look forward to Arya and Tyrion who are very unique and intriguing characters, and can't wait to see the fight between House Stark and House Lannister.


Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning

Tim Tebow is now a member of the New York Football Jets

Peyton Manning is now a member of the Denver Broncos

Sean Payton is suspended for a year, a pretty harsh penalty for the bounty scandal.


Summer in March

I have been thoroughly enjoying the record breaking heat here in New England, with temperatures in the 80s, and its only mid-March!  I enjoyed spending the last weekend with my family, and my beautiful wife, Marina, has been on spring break this week as well.  This means lots of great home-cooked meals, walks, and just a better vibe at home, without the stress of schoolwork hanging on her shoulders. 

We have been playing tennis lately, as she has taken it both beginner and intermediate classes at her school, and has taught me the basics as well.  I just recently ordered a Babolat racquet from Ebay, although used I am happy to get a "tweener" racquet that I can use for at least a year or two!


I also have been able to pick up two great ties from Ebay, a Turnbull and Asser for $8 and a Vineyard Vines for $16, both bargains!

I enjoyed a few beverages this weekend.  Blue Hills Brewery's American Bitter was pretty decent for $8.50/growler and the Sam Adams Spring Mixed 12 pack was solid, for the few offerings I had tried so far.  The Mighty Oak was not my favorite, but certainly not terrible.  I had my brother pick up a 750ml bottle of Bulleit Bourbon on his way back from New Hampshire for $25, saving $7 off the retail price here in MA/CT.  I enjoyed this bourbon a lot, and I hope to continue tasting more great brown spirits!

Hiking up Tuckerman's Ravine at Mount Washington the weekend after this coming one, should be a good time!


Supreme x Comme des Garcons

Supreme released a collaboration today with Rei Kawakubo's Comme des Garcons.  The collab consists of a shirt, camp cap, hoodie, box logo tee, and two styles of Vans.  The shirts and camp caps use a university stripe fabric design, complete with the usual CDG tweaks.  The box logos are all done backwards for this collection.  The tee and hoodie are polka dotted with the famous Supreme box logo.  The collection was released at retail outlets today, including online where I was able to snag a box logo tee.  I put it up on Ebay right away for an absurd asking price and was able to sell it rather quickly.  Did some quick research on the buyer, and they are a close relative of someone who is extremely famous.  Let's just say the shipping address is a $60,000,000 villa in Beverly Hills, pretty amazing.  Check out the pictures below.


2012 NCAA March Madness

March Madness is upon us.  The two play-in games, which NCAA officials want to call the first round.. are happening this evening.  Both of these future 16-seeds are going to face quick exits in the real first round on Thursday/Friday... so why even bother?  At the office, and around the country, brackets are being filled out at a rapid pace.  My final matchup consists of the fairly mundane Kentucky v. Ohio State. This is unlikely to take place, since they are both high seeds and John Calipari's revolving door (Kentucky basketball team) is probably not going to compete with some of the midmajors like Baylor and Creighton who have a lot of seniors and continuity.  The whole country is going to be watching the tournament, and I can't wait for all the hoops action.  Here are some of my thoughts for the tournament.

UConn backers surround me at work.  Although they had a decent run in the Big East tournament and are the defending champs, I am expecting an early exit, possibly at the hands of higher seed Iowa State that many people have UConn penciled in beating.

North Carolina has the easiest 1 seed path to the final four, their conference is the weakest: Georgetown, Temple & Michigan as high seeds are a lot easier than any other conference.  Michigan State led by Tom Izzo is a bit of a suspect 1 seed, and I think they will have the toughest time making it to the final four.

My underdog picks include NC State who had an amazing ACC tournament, beating Duke, and just looking great.  They are an 11 seed, but I think they can ride the wave into the later rounds of the tournament.  I am looking for Louisville to have a big year and hopefully come out of Michigan State's bracket, after winning the Big East Tournament.

I predict Syracuse to lose in the Final Four.

For those of us who care about our environmental impact; Green NCAA March Madness.



Apple's news conference today was in regards to their newest member of the iPad family.  This 3rd generation iPad will have an increased processor, better screen, and better camera.  They are simply improving the product, there is no major addition that is needed at this time.  Tim Cook talks about being at the forefront of the "post PC" effort and I think this is important.  I have mentioned it before, but I think my current Mac Book Pro is most likely the last laptop computer that I plan on purchasing.  I bought it in 2009, but it is still in good condition and working fast enough, I don't need the additional power.  My next internet device will most likely be an iPad like tablet in 2014-2015. Things will have improved to the point where I may not need my laptop form factor anymore.  $499 for the cheapest model, available 3/16/2012.


Review: Blatant Brewery IPA & Session

Blatant Brewery is a new contract brewery from Massachusetts.  The head brewer used to work at both Mayflower Brewery in Plymouth and Offshore Ales in the Vineyard.  He also runs the new Amherst brewpub High Horse.  They brew their ales at Just Beer in Westport, MA, which is the same location that renowned Pretty Things Brewery uses.

I had recently wrote about Blatant in my post on the new microbreweries in Boston.  At first they were sold as draft-only, which made it a little more difficult to acquire, especially living in northern Connecticut.  Luckily, Blatant did its first run of bottling recently and bottled its two primary beers: Blatant IPA & Blatant Session.  My wife was recently picking up some Nugget Nectar for me and I had to told her to take a gander for bombers from Blatant, as I had seen on the interwebs that they were starting to hit retail locations.

The packaging looks great.  The labels are simple and the Blatant Exclamation Point logo is blatantly (*had to) displayed in contrasting colors on the front.  There is just enough info about the beer on a side panel without writing a short story like some other breweries. (not mentioning any names, Stone)  Competitively priced at $4.95/bomber at Russell's in Amherst.  This is within my $6.50/bomber daily drinker limit, so that is always a positive!  My only concern with packaging is the lack of a bottling date, although the brewer addressed that on the Beeradvocate forums.

Blatant IPA.  Hoppy beers are my favorite style and I don't get caught up on the IPA/DIPA/Imperial Amber/American Pale Ale distinctions.  This beer will not be confused for a DIPA, but it is certainly very passable.  A huge factor in IPAs is there freshness, and I mentioned Blatant did not use a brewed on date for their first batch.  Luckily, I knew that these bottles had just been released, and the guy at Russell's told my wife that it was the first day he had put them out for sale.  This beer was extremely fresh, the hops were teeming out of my tulip glass.  The whole beer was dominated by the hops, and that's just how I like my IPAs.  I wouldn't change a thing about this beer and it is good for what it is trying to be: a local, fresh, affordable, hop-forward IPA.

Blatant Session.  Some may be wary of shelling out $5 for a bomber of 3.9% ABV beer, but that's asinine to me, and the session beer culture of the UK backs me up on this.  You pay for flavor, regardless of the ABV content.  ABV should not be seen as your measure of value in a beer, or you are better off picking up some non-branded spirits.  This beer is a light colored, light bodied beer, but it is an ale not an adjunct lager.  There is tons of flavor packed into this light beer.  Surprisingly, this reminds me of Samuel Adams Noble Pils, I assume because of the similar hop profile.  Although this is clearly and ale and the SA a pilsner, they are both crisp and refreshing.  Depending on your views on session ales, I think this is a great deal, especially for those of us trying to lose weight, without compromising on beer quality


Celtics beat Knicks in OT!


I know that the other day I wrote a blog post panicing about my beloved Boston Celtics.  They are now on a four game win streak in which they have competed ferociously in all games.  KG looks rejuvenated and strong.  Pierce is making it happen.  Rondo is giving his big middle finger to all the trade rumors.  Tonight, he notched his second triple double since the all star break, with the ridiculous stat line: 18 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists, last time a player did that was Magic Johnson in 1983 with 17 rebounds and 21 assists, pretty good company!

How can you trade that guy for anything other than a star??  Why do you even trade him at all?  He's young and hes hungry.  It's going to be pretty lean without KG and Ray, but if the Celtics can pull in a scorer and a rebounder to replace those two guys, then they will compete again before Pierce retires.

I realize I am doing a complete 180* and although the Celtics are looking good in the past few games, they are not out in the clear.  The Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls are looking gargantuan in the East.  The Celtics have a 76ers, Trail Blazers, Lakers, Clippers Warriors stretch coming up, 4 out of 5 of those on the road.  This should bring them back to earth unfortunately...

Finally, nice purse Lebron LOL


Review: Jolly Pumpkin La Roja

Jolly Pumpkin is one of my favorite breweries.  I would drink it more often if not for the prohibitive cost.  Obviously their sours can not compare to Cantillon or Drie Fonteinen, but they are no joke either.  This beer is a Flanders Red, which is not supposed to be as cloyingly sour as a kriek, gueuze or lambic.  JP refers to this beer as an "Artisan Amber Ale Aged in Oak Barrels."  The bacteria and yeast are added to the barrel and then aged for awhile, at a certain point in time, multiple barrels are blended and then bottled individually.

This beer is a beautiful dark red color.  I poured it into my Leffe chalice, and a small, quickly dissipating head.  The smell is very complex and inviting, and has the typical vinegary (in a good way) smell that you expect in a "sour" beer.  Taste is equally complex.  Not extremely sour, but the funky Jolly Pumpkin essence is there.  The dark ruddy red colour so typical of Flanders Reds like Rodenbach is my favorite aspect of this beer.  It is 7.5% alcohol, and as such is not a beer you want to pound.  I sipped it over an hour while watching the Colbert Report and Daily Show.  Great beer for a Thursday night.


Opining on the Written Word

A recent post by TED regarding the Kindle sparked my brain to think about the future of literature  I had also discussed Amazon's forthcoming retail outlet, which had prompted me to also consider this.  I have written about books many times on this site, as they are a personal passion of mine.  I love both the literature as well as the actual experience of reading the book.  I am interested in a iPad or Kindle in the future, but this would only be for mobile reading and the ability to carry multiple books at once.  I have tried e-books in the past and always felt something was missing.

I feel my opinion is important and valuable to this discussion, because of my age.  I am 24 years old, and many of my peers do not read for pleasure at all.  Thanks to the fantastic technology that provides us 24 hour news coverage, a variety of television programming, movies, music and social media, literature lacks the exclusivity to a captive audience that it once had.  Books are a time-consuming process especially compared to other forms of media.  A movie is long if it takes 3 hours to watch, and a television show is crammed into 19 minutes (Yes Entourage, I am looking at you!).  In comparison, a book can easily take a week to digest and oftentimes is full of above average vocabulary and a lack of visuals which makes it more of a mental chore.

For all of these reasons, I believe that literature will have to adapt, and may in the short term struggle.  It is going to become a specialized market, not dissimilar to theatre, which was a major draw back in the day, opera, and a number of other leisure activities that have fallen behind the times.   The TV networks have supplanted our need for a book series with well made shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Luck.  All of these shows are intricate and sometimes command multiple viewings.  The episodes are long enough that they can be digested for a period of time and discussed on the internet and at the office.  Everything about books takes too long.  It takes too long to read the book, you can watch an episode of Breaking Bad in an hour, and a season within a month, if you are trying.  Thanks to streaming video this is possible anywhere on the globe!  It takes too long for the next book in a series to get to market and requires a lot more physical production in the printing of the book, while an episode could essentially be released to the web and available instantaneously.

My generation simply does not like to read in the universal sense that our forefathers did.  We are a now nation, with 140 character limits on Twitter, and status updates on Facebook.  Epic books can be well over 500 pages in length!  This is not to say a phenomenon like Hunger Games, Harry Potter or The Da Vinci Code can't become mainstream, but how many of your friends and family will never read the book and "just watch the movies"?