During a phone interview with The Arizona Republic yesterday, I discovered that the state's unusual little Bead Museum, which boasted a reportedly world-class collection of ornamental roundness, was shut down last year. And it reminded me of my own brief, and fruitless, visit to the establishment during one of my research trips for Weird Arizona.
Turns out, the museum wasn't much interested in my interest in them, but I used the opportunity to write a little something about them anyway. However, the resultant pair of articles, a spotlight piece and a personal account of my visit, which I wrote together in 2006, were never published. So, in honor of the now lost assembly of orbs, I present them here. ... Continued
So, for the last few months I've been working to upgrade the Roadside Resort, and today it's finally live!
I've completely rebuilt the back end from the ground up, eliminating a lot of the clutter and hacks that prevented me from updating the site as often as I'd like.
I've also updated the photo gallery to something that I hope is a little cleaner and more user-friendly. I'm also working on uploading a backlog of roadside photography that I've accumulated over the years.
Plus, there are plenty of other little changes and features that have been added in that should make the whole site a bit nicer to navigate. For example, registered users can now subscribe to comment threads to keep up with any discussions they'd like to follow.
I'm sure there are a few cracks still to be filled in, but have a look around while I smooth things over. If you find any errors of quirks, please let me know.
The Holga, an inexpensive film camera introduced in the 1980s, has developed a somewhat cult following due the wonderfully unpredictable exposures resulting from its cheap construction. And now industrial designer Saikat Biswas would like to bring the little hobby camera into the digital age.
Biswas's design, which is just a concept for now, is beautifully simple, and aims to retain the inexpensive form factor that makes the original Holga, and similar "toy cameras," so popular. The lens remains plastic, the controls remain few and fully manual, and the overall construction is intended to be less than refined so as to retain the original's beloved distortions and ability to be easily modified.
And just to retain the surprise and delayed gratification that come with the original Holga's film format, Biswas has eliminated any preview screen, so you don't know what you've got till you download your photos later.
I just returned from my annual winter campout this afternoon and found that one of my fellow campers had already sent me a link to what has to be my dream accommodations for next year's outing: a stunning rendition of an Airstream trailer with an interior that harkens back to the best of the Space Age.
The trailer is the result of a collaboration with architect Christopher Deam, who brought Airstream's signature "silver bullet" exterior to the inside, constructing nearly every surface with anodized aluminum. The final product is a beautiful cross between classic aircraft simplicity and space-capsule aesthetics.
Sadly, it's only a concept model, so even if I could afford it, I wouldn't be able to get my hands on one. But here's to dreaming.
Doing who knows what, I stumbled across this wonderful excerpt from a 1970 issue of the British magazine Drive, chastising trailer designers for the garish colors in which they choose to paint their products.
The author recommends ditching the drab colors that he calls "depressing as tombstones in a dog's graveyard," and offers a few guidelines, as well as some distinctly '70s palettes.
Reader Don Hulen recently sent me an e-mail letting me know he and his partners have just established a brand-new roadside attraction in the World's Largest Toolbox.
Located in La Porte, Texas, just southeast of Houston, the newly remodeled building dates back to the 1950s when it served as a local watering hole. Today, it's a hardware store, which has just been made over with scale latches and handles. In addition, Don says there are plans for a giant handle on the roof.
La Porte Tool Box held its grand opening on November 11. It's located at 111 S. Eighth Street.
I can tell you from experience that it takes a lot of research and planning to find out just what lies along a particular route that's worth making a stop for. But OnTheWay, a new trip-planning website, is set to relieve detourists of some of that work.
Enter a starting location and a destination and, using Google Maps, OnTheWay will point out what's available along your given path.
Unfortunately, the database doesn't appear to be all that robust, and the site is lacking a host of useful features, but this is one site to keep an eye on for any avid road tripper.