Monday, December 31, 2012

Wristwear of the month – Sailormade





Casual attire is what most of us prefer.  Of course, the sharpness of a good suit makes us feel confident, but when we kick back and relax we dress accordingly.  But it’s important to avoid letting casual dress degrade to a disheveled extreme.  The best dressed people I know maintain consistent elegance throughout their wardrobe.  No matter what the setting, from casual to formal, they look really good, and therefore feel confident and at-ease.
In terms of wristwear, an excellent example of this is Sailormade - specializing in wristwear that centers around a nautical theme. Think of a sailboat; not only a work of art, but also a functional vessel that can withstand the harsh environment of the ocean.  This is the sort of durable elegance Sailormade is known for.  Their primary clasp design, the brummel, is actually a miniaturization of a hardware component used in sailing.

The Camden Wrap is one of my favorites.  The polished silver finish clasp and three strand cord give it a very clean look, while still being soft and approachable.  This is the type of wristwear that will help you step up your game when it comes to casual attire.  Be well put together even when you're relaxing - try these bracelets with your sweaters, fitted shirts, boat shoes, and chinos.

Each piece in the Sailormade collection will complement your style.  The Camden wrap can be found here.
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Wristwear of the Month

As a designer, I spend time searching for new materials and keeping up with the latest in wristwear.  Occasionally, I come across some pretty cool stuff. At Riceling, my main focus is designing for men – a challenging task. In this series, I highlight the most outstanding work of other artists that I think are in line with the goals set here at Riceling.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wristwear of the month - Irving's Macramé

This month we return to Oregon, and the Portland Saturday Market – but this time for a very different form of wristwear…

Macramé has been around since the middle ages – a staple of textile, based on knots rather than weaving.  But the art form is a favorite among craftspeople of all ages.  The appeal is in complexity generated, despite the simple methods. Not tools, looms, or special equipment is needed – just skills and a ball of string.  Many people know how to knot macramé – but few do it well.  And I would say that I have now met one man who may be the best – his name is Irving.  He currently displays his fascinating work at the Portland Saturday Market.



Irving first learned from some children in Mexico who were making and selling macramé creations.  He perfected the technique and started using better materials – the results are pretty awesome.


Irving uses waxed nylon string, in various colors to create intricate designs that incorporate many unique objects, from beads to bones.  The most impressive aspect of Irving’s work is the consistency and quality of the knotting.  I have never seen tighter macramé.  Perhaps because I have spent so many hours tying similar knots, I tend to appreciate the knots themselves as much as the designs they form.


With macramé, I recommend selecting

only one or two choice pieces to wear on a regular basis.  Because we all know that too much of a good thing is, well, much less of a good thing… But the right amount in the right colors is a great look. Here's a great example.

So next time you’re in Portland, Oregon, head down to the Saturday market and check out Irving’s great work – you will be amazed.


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Wristwear of the Month

As a designer, I spend time searching for new materials and keeping up with the latest in wristwear.  Occasionally, I come across some pretty cool stuff. At Riceling, my main focus is designing for men – a challenging task. In this series, I highlight the most outstanding work of other artists that I think are in line the goals set here at Riceling.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Wristwear of the month – Recycled Leather

Ben Milam

What is better than a leather bracelet? A recycled leather bracelet.  One of the most desirable things is fashion is for your style to be an extension of yourself.  And one of the most fun things, for me, is seeing pieces that have been worn to the point they finally look like they belong on you.  That's when you become your own work of art – there is no other piece like it in the world.

Leather is incredibly suited to becoming a unique extension of you.  Think about a nice pair of shoes, or a belt, that conforms to your body when it’s finally broken in.  Well, the ingenious idea of artist Ben Milam was to take such articles of beloved leather and reincarnate them as wristwear.  An old leather coat worn through in a few spots has plenty of good leather to make into something new and cool – hence his company name, Cyclical.

Ben’s work certainly tops the charts when it comes to being cool! Ben designs leather wristwear on a huge spectrum: from bracelets I’m convinced

you could wear with a suit, to full-on pirate-style gauntlets (dagger included).  Ok, so the full gauntlets may be more than you can wear with confidence on most days, but a good, low-profile, leather bracelet is
incredibly versatile. From your business meeting, to just wanderin’ ‘round on a wilderness road, leather works all the way.

[gallery]


Where can you find these awesome works of art? The Portland Saturday market! Ben has been there for over 12 years now - but I’m sure if you contact him, he’ll let you know how to get his awesome wristwear even if you don’t live in Portland.

So, find some friends, get some breakfast at the Bijou Café, and head down to the waterfront to shop some wristwear. You might even find your inner pirate.

CYCLICAL DESIGN
benmilam1@hotmail.com
503-957-7070
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Wristwear of the Month

As a designer, I spend time searching for new materials and keep tabs on the pulse of wristwear.  As a consequence, I come across some pretty cool stuff occasionally. At Riceling, my main focus is design for men – a challenging task. In this series, I highlight the most outstanding work of other artists that I think are in line the goals set here at Riceling.

Friday, August 17, 2012

War-torn Chandelier

- A tribute to Anthroparodie - 


Just because you live in America doesn't mean you can't have the bombed-out quaintness of the third world. Carelessly assembled from scraps pulled out of the grenaded rubble of some war-torn village.  This disaster is now on sale, with a price reduction more shocking than a shell going off in your living room at 2am.


$700
(was $1,300)

Monday, August 13, 2012

The 2012 Olympics in Review

I'm the best!

For those who missed the XXX Olympiad, you’re in good company - so did I (mostly).  I didn't entirely miss the Olympics because I did watch the opening ceremonies, women’s beach volleyball, and two seconds of a women’s gymnastics warm-up session.  In case you’re wondering, the Olympics is a celebration of national good-will and equality, where countries compete against each other to dominate the games and be better than everyone else.   In this utopian spirit of all-inclusiveness, every nation in the world is represented (except the ones that nobody likes).  All the best athletes from each of these nations come from the United States, and meet in the country that could afford to host the games.  And now to summarize the results most people are talking about.
During the opening ceremonies, England’s seniors swept the medals.  Paul McCartney took gold for most enthusiastic seventy-year-old, and Queen Elizabeth II took silver and bronze for most enthusiastic octogenarian, despite that she appeared to be suffering from a nasty stomach ache throughout the entire event.

HRH at the London Games

Women’s beach volleyball took gold for best Olympic sport.  As usual, nobody had to be distracted by peripheral features of the game such as rules, score, and team rankings, because we all knew Misty and Kerri would win.  After taking gold, the US volleyball duo continued their Olympic tradition of retiring from the sport; never to play together again (unless there’s a 2016 summer games).  For those who may be wondering, women’s beach volleyball is a game invented by Mitt Romney, during his tenure as King of the Olympics, as part of his plan to make the Olympics more profitable.

In women’s gymnastics (clearly an overstatement), where high school-aged girls jump around on playground equipment now banned from public use, the USA won gold, and Russia lost with silver and bronze.  The Olympic committee tried to help the Russians feel better by assuring them the silver and bronze medals were made with just as much love, care, and equality (and besides, the gold medal is mostly silver anyway).  But no one fell for that nonsense, because everybody knows there’s only one Olympic medal worth competing for – gold.

Of course there were lots of other athletes, and every sport you can imagine, except dodge ball.

And that’s the summer Olympics, this year and every fourth year, starring Bob Costas.

In other news, Mitt Romney will lobby for inclusion of the merry-go-round as a gymnastics event, because even I would pay to see that.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Some things never change.

- Prologue –


After reading about why my friend doesn’t eat meat, I started reflecting on why I do. Like her, I make no judgments about people of either persuasion.  And we both agree about health and nutrition, at least on an academic level.  So, how we developed different eating habits seems to have very little to do with pride, health, or nutrition, and very much to do with simple disgust or fondness of what we are eating, as the case may be.

- Lecture -


Is it possible I am predisposed to want certain foods – or is it just called being a hungry man?  Ever since I was a child, I have had an urge to eat real meat – much to my mother’s dismay.  Of course, from an early age my mother could not bring herself to eat real meat, or anything that had once had eyes – much to her mother’s dismay. But, there has probably never been a child that didn’t disturb its parents with its eating habits.  In my case, perhaps my ancestral Vikings left their mark.  Maybe I am genetically gifted with the ability to appreciate meat of all kinds, even sardines (though pickled herring is a stretch).  Genetics aside however, I’m sure the Vikings, despite their rather unsavory lifestyle, had some very savory cooking techniques. Roaming all over Sweden, Ireland, and who knows where else, they had free access to all sorts of things that would be excellent BBQ, roasted on a spit because that’s the coolest way.  I imagine this BBQ included lots of beef, pork, lamb, because why would they hunt when they could just pillage a farmer’s barn.

But enough with Vikings, hopefully the majority of my relatives were honest, hard-working citizens.  The point here is: people have always needed to eat, and for almost as long have been eating meat. Even here in Loma Linda, the blue zone, the nonhippie-vegetarian capital of the world, people spend large amounts of money buying “veggie foods”, or soy and gluten based meat alternatives.

Even though I would prefer to camp at the Ritz Carlton, I can be coaxed out camping in some wilderness if it involves cooking over a fire.  You see, I get excited when I see something like, “How to cook fish on a rock,” or “cooking chicken using a primitive method.”  A few years ago I went on a church campout with my campfire rotisserie.  A friend brought a leg of lamb, and we roasted over the main fire one night.  There is nothing quite so satisfying as roasting leg of lamb on an outdoor rotisserie.  Of course, the vegetarians were not excited – but when they realized it could roast 8 tofu-dogs at a time, they were ready to patent the rotisserie as a vegetarian’s campout essential.

I live about 45 minutes from what is known as “The happiest place on earth.”  But once a year, Disneyland loses that distinction to the little farm in the Pacific Northwest hosting the Burning Beast.  This year, the feast in a field happens today, July 15, 2012.  Some of Seattle’s best and brightest chefs head out to help everyone reconnect with their primal roots in cooking.  The fires, the wood smoke, the smell of BBQ filling the valley… Disneyland is probably deserted. 

- Epilogue -


For me, eating meat is not a matter of morals, spirituality, or principal, rather it’s a matter of enjoying the culinary experience – no matter how primitive.  At the same time, it is important to be a responsible meat eater.  It is getting harder to be a carnivore – especially when it comes to seafood.  State fishing and hunting packets now include warnings about the health hazards of consuming wild game, due to chemical contamination.  It makes the Tofurky a little more appealing, but I hope there will always be ways to go outside and roast some meat on a spit - or at least order from the grill at a Ritz Carlton.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wristwear of the Month: Chainmail

As a designer, I spend time searching for new materials and keep tabs on the pulse of wristwear.  As a consequence, I come across some pretty cool stuff occasionally. At Riceling, my main focus is design for men – a challenging task. In this series, I highlight the best designs of others that I think match the goals set here at Riceling.

The inaugural entry is Anne Shirley’s chainmaille bracelet for men.


Most of us probably think of think of medieval knights jousting, castles, and motes when we hear the word chainmail.  Of course that’s expected; mail has probably been used most as armor.  But there are modern applications for the techniques of mailsmithing – one is the byzantine weave chain.  Most of us don’t fight using swards or dive with sharks, but that shouldn’t stop us from investing in some quality chainmail.


There are several specific, yet subtle, things that make this bracelet especially masculine: finish, material, manufacturing technique, and fastener.

Anne uses liver of sulfur to achieve a fabulous dark brown patina on the copper.  As it wears, in a few weeks it will look like something you’ve been wearing all your life.  That’s important, because most men like things that are casual, and things that look natural. The finish on the copper completes this look.

Copper itself is a working metal.  It’s relatively inexpensive, and it is hard to maintain in a lustrous finish.  The patina mentioned above would naturally occur given enough time.  All that means it is not associated with fancy jewelry. But that’s good in this case because this bracelet is meant to look worn, and it is meant to be worn… all the time. I mean why not? it’s indestructible.  Of course, if you must, you can order it in sterling silver (that might actually be pretty cool). But you better have money, and lots of it!

Anne has used a manufacturing technique that is timeless: forging.  Imagine a brawny cave man pounding on a red hot piece of metal.  Ok… that’s probably not what’s going on in Anne’s studio, but the technique is very similar.  She has hammered the metal by hand to give it that rustic look. This looks like you purchased it on the muddy streets of some prehistoric city. Yeah, that’s what a man would wear.

The hand-forged toggle/clasp is also timeless.  Before cool new technology like zippers and snaps, people used buttons.  This is essentially the same thing – ancient, simple, and awesome.

So, this piece of man jewelry is perfect because you can wear it on the trail, in the gym, or at a nice restaurant in your suit. It just shows there’s a bit of ancient adventurer in each of us.

If you feel extra tough she also makes a couple heavier versions.


 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I got henna on my shirt! (In other news: a cure for cancer, and the world is coming to an end)

As some of you may know, and most of you probably don’t, henna is a plant-based method of applying temporary tattoos. It is a very strong dye, and is often associated with East Indian cultures. The problem is: it dyes your clothes almost as well as it does your skin. So when the wet paste is applied, you must be placed under general anesthetic to prevent yourself from accidentally rubbing your newly tatted appendage all over your fine clothes (…where I messed up). This may explain why traditional East Indian garb is so ornate –you’d never see a henna (or curry) stain in a million years on that pattern.

Now, if you’re like me, you have a beloved garment dying in your arms… ok bad pun. And in your mind you’re wringing my neck saying, “Knock it off with the prose, and tell me how to fix this wardrobe tragedy!” … ok fine - be like that. Here it is: according to the infinite wisdom of YouTube, a wash (not soak) with warm water and laundry soap (scrubbing the stain with a toothbrush) will remove henna. I can confirm this. Another source, from the great bank of truths that is the Internet, suggested a soak in milk as a last resort. But, I got the henna out with warm water and laundry soap, so I soaked my breakfast cereal in the milk instead…

There you have it: a simple and effective way to bring the sunshine back into your life, or at least your favorite shirt. And in my case, the shirt was a light blue and white stripe – if it works for that it’ll work for anything.

And now, I have urgent YouTube research to do on the behavior of unicorns – it might lead to a cure for cancer.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Medical School Exam Question...

...or the way it appears to me in the heat of the moment.

1. A 28yo female patient presents with nausia, vommiting, shortness of breath, a whole bunch of other seemingly irrelevant signs and symptoms, and a panel of lab results almost as long the NBME list of normal values. She tells you she has been doing some things, for a period of time in the past, that might help make sense of her present situation, if you read my mind. This patient’s condition is best represented by which point on the above graph:
A
B
C
D
E
F
G




    Answer Key

1: You should have read my mind. Or at least your 600 page syllabus.

Happy Easter! The Ultimate Medical School Lecture.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Robot Update #3 - The Final Chapter





And now, the final installment of our continuing saga known as the Robot Updates.

We last left our hero fighting zombie batteries. There were the batteries, quite dead, but wreaking terrible havoc on the project. Well, a lot has happened since then. Sparing you the boring technical details, I will simply start by saying we successfully completed the project and published it in the Journal of Orthopedic Research, and everyone lived happily ever after.

Now for a flashback to some highlights. Once we resolved the battery issue we could manually program the robot using the build-in keypad. But that got boring pretty fast, so we bought some software that allowed us to run the robot from a computer and control it with other software we wrote. We also installed a three-phase power converter so we could plug the robot into any old wall socket; just like a computer. That capability let us take the robot to other labs on campus for use in other projects. It was even used as a prop in a University of Oregon TV commercial.

One project we used the robot for was a comparison of two 3D motion capture systems. One was an infrared type (the same type used to make CG charters like Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean), and the other was a magnetic system. The robot provided accurate, reproducible motions for comparison.

Another project was my masters research. I wanted to compare peoples' ability to remember where their arm had been after they moved it themselves, or after the robot had moved it for them. We came up with a way for the robot to attach to a person's arm using a wrist band. Then the robot moved their arm around. We had to write a lot of software to coordinate the data collection equipment, the 3D motion capture equipment, and the robot. But in the end we were able to collect data and write up an article for the Journal of Orthopedic Research. If you want to read more about it check out the article.

Since then, I graduated with my masters degree and moved to Southern California for medical school.