January 31, 2013


Oil! One of the most fascinating industries in the world. It has started wars, won wars, re-drawn national borders, dictated geo-strategy. Over the past 40 years it has "catapulted states heretofore peripheral to international politics into positions of great influence" (ref). It has industrialized nations, created unfathomable wealth for individuals, companies, and countries. Oil is, by all accounts, currency, and its intoxicating effects have caused the rise and fall of some of history's most notorious.

For a brief stint in my career I was making biannual trips into Central Asia. Baku, Azerbaijan was our springboard, where at night the sky glowed orange from gas flaring off across the Caspian. Driving out of the city, along a ridge overlooking a sea of outdated oil pumps that still managed to produce, the story went that on his birthday Hitler was given a cake decorated with a map of the Caucasus; he took a piece marked Baku, and of course Russia would be his undoing. 

Indeed, history follows this industry across the globe, and everywhere has its stories...

The Central Library is hosting an exhibit in February about the early years of exploration in Mexico. Stop in for the opening reception next week and say hey. 
opening reception / Monday, Feb 4 @ 5:30p / CENTRAL LIBRARY GALLERY / 600 Soledad

Three must reads for anyone even remotely interested in the topic: The Prize (Yergin... and the source for that quote up there); The Big Rich (Burrough... should be required reading for Lone Star State middle schoolers); and Private Empire (Coll... if given the chance to look up her skirt, take it).

January 18, 2013

Antes de morir quiero _____

So, what do you want to do before you die? That’s not too invasive, right? Just looking for a little insight into why you think, perhaps, the life you’re living is incomplete. But don’t just tell me. Need you to write it down. On this big chalkboard.  Sure, anonymously, but publicly. That there… that’s a contract. With yourself. Don’t matter who sees it. You see it. Now, go on and get your shit done.

(from me. to me. a week before my 35th birthday)

January 10, 2013

Buy American Handmade

It’s A Newman and I recently stopped by Noah Marion Quality Goods to see what he’s been cutting up, to have a bourbon, and to check out the space he co-habitates with Revival Cycles (custom and vintage motorcycles) down in Govalle. It was, you know, just some dudes doing their thing in an unassuming warehouse that smells like leather and gasoline, cranking out handmade products for customers who are passionate about the things they own and who want the same passion from the artisans who’re creating these things. Not a bad spot to get some shit done…

"SN" - numero uno recipient of custom embossing

18 years ago I pulled a new (and my current) pair of Red Wings out the box. They were.. virgin.. in their smoothness. Almost too new to wear; if you've ever bought 'em you know what I mean. Nearly half a lifetime it's been and I'm still breaking them in, which is the reason that I continue putting off the purchase of new ones, having neither the patience nor the occasion to do again what took so long to do the first time.

Noah Marion doesn't put much stock into this line of laziness. In fact, the man has built his business around a personal mantra that runs counter to the very idea that this process - of making something uniquely and perfectly your own - should only happen once.

Since 2006, Noah has been "designing and handcrafting products for the design-conscious individual" meant to age organically and last a lifetime. His veg-tanned leather goods are truly one-of-a-kind; how they get to be that way… that’s the part he outsources. His stuff is beautiful in its unfinished-ness, simplistic in its functionality. Making it one’s own is as much a part of the process as constructing the product itself. The first scratch’ll kill you, sure, but now you’re on the road to patina. And that, my friends, is just what I think Noah had in mind. 


All photos ('cept the first one) via: It's a Newman.

January 8, 2013

... then there's those desperate times

rooms by the hour | bring your own sheets | ranch motel

January 3, 2013

Cool Days. Hot Nights.

suggestive | however you like it | hotel havana