Friday, December 30, 2011

Doin' lines at lunch, part II

(For Part I, click here.)

Crystal Mountain

Hers - tight turns right. His - big turns left.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Go-To-Hell" is Risky Business

Richard Westall's Sword of Damocles
Maybe because it's because I live in the sartorially-sheltered Northwest (we do have either mountains or water on every side), but I only just came to understand the phrase "go-to-hell" [insert article of clothing here].  Examples, "I wore my 'go-to-hell palm tree belt' from Eliza B last Friday," or "Did you see his 'go-to-hell' corduroy holiday pants last night at the Christmas party? What a chump."

castaway clothing

Well, I love this term and shall use it regularly. I believe it aptly conveys the spit & vinegar attitude one must have, at times, while trying to cultivate his or her own look.  Tweed & Velvet posted an excellent piece on the very subject (outclick here.) I can't tell where the writer is from in looking at his profile, but I highly suspect he is not a Cascadian. Therefore, I offer my own humble, Pacific Northwest perspective on going to hell with one's clothing.

The author is reminded of the dialogue between Joel and Miles in 1983's Risky Business.

Joel, you wanna know something? Every now and then say, "What the f**k." "What the f**k" gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future."
Say "what the f**k."... If you can't say it, you can't do it.

I know that the hair of the horse is thin and the sword sharp, but I would risk its peril to know what it's like living in an area whose people clad themselves as colorfully (and quirky) as they really want to be. 

So Go-To-Hell Seattle, Go-To-Hell Portland, Go-To-Hell Vancouver... and say "WTF!" It will bring you freedom, opportunity, and a brighter future!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

On Hating Walmart and Other Ruminations

Hating Walmart is not a new concept. Their treatment of suppliers, employees, and the towns and environs in which they operate haven't earned them too many accolades. Yet, business classes across the land caution students not to rush to judgment. Much may be learned from Walmart's business practices and much can be learned from observing their typical store patron.

Our former Dutch foreign exchange student asked me if we could really get bananas, paper towels, shoes, and guns in the same store, to which I shamefully had to reply, "Yes."  I mean, I've heard of lawyers, guns, and money, but WTF?! And then she also asked if there were whole supermarket aisles dedicated to breakfast cereal, to salad dressing, and to frozen pizza. Alas, I had to say "Yes."

People of Cascadian Walmart (use extreme caution)

I thought that by being a "Host Parent" to an exchange student, I would get to play tour guide for ten months or try out some parenting techniques on her, so that when my own daughter reached that age, I would have an idea of what works and what doesn't. I had no idea that on Day One of her living in the USA, I'd have to go into how having an infinite amount of choices is, in part, what it means being  American, and that if one doesn't have the discipline to manage the choices, financial (and other forms of) ruin could be right around the corner.

Often called "The Disease of More" (see The Paradox of Choice), this disorder has the basic premise that if we had to chose between three of four similar items, we would be much more happy than having to choose between five and fifteen items. I believe this is why authentic preps tend to gravitate to the same disciplined style and quality brands. Be it via "nurture" or "nature", we have transcended the need to chase fads, to want what's new, and other compulsions which we think will make us relevant to society.

Now if you will excuse me, I have some men's style blogs to peruse.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Duck Head Heading West

Since I grew up in the South, or is it the Southwest, or is it the Southcentral? STOP. Since I grew up in Texas (technically a "Southern state") I know Duck Head. Based in Tennessee, Duck Head  is widely recognizable by Southerners as THE prep brand where quality and value meet. In this case, I don't throw the word "prep" around loosely.

I was first introduced to Duck Head in the mid 1980s, while attending  Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas (just call it "Jesuit".) I was a wide-eyed Freshman clad in my khakis, loafers, white oxford cotton button down, tie (Full Windsor, please), and navy blazer. So were the other 200 entering Freshman.  We all looked alike and that was the point. But it didn't take long to learn to play in the margins and thrive in the gray area. Those of us with a unsuppressable streak of individuality looked for brands which complied with the school uniform, yet set us apart.  Duck Head was my brand. At first, it was all about the logo of a duck's head above the left rear pocket, but then it was clearly about the fit. These babies fit perfectly! And they were much softer than khakis of similar style and higher cost. 

Alas, since graduating from high school, and thus, not having the daily need for wearing khakis, I lost touch with DH.  My moving to the Pacific Northwest didn't help keep the brand present of mind either, as Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder didn't sport them. 

It was not until Red Clay Soul did a piece on this most hallowed of brands did I awake from my cryogenic sartorial slumber. ("Thank you" RCS). After seeing that posting, I rushed off to order a pair of the plain front khakis, a polo, and a cotton cap.  I wanted to ease back into it and see what, if anything, had changed over the past few decades. I was not disappointed. The pants fit and feel better than I remember, and here's a tip - if you are an odd size in the waist like me, order up to the next even size. After washing and drying the heck out of them, they will turn out perfectly. The polo has nice "longer" short sleeves - something I like - but if you are one of those chaps who enjoys showing off "the guns" - proceed with caution - you may not have the room with these sleeves. And the cap is perfect for that trip to the hardware store, to the coffee shop, or out to the grocery store for pre-game party supplies. 

So my advice to any Cascadian prep or any of my pals from the old school who are reading this, click over to and order some swag.  Start with the khakis. They will only set you back $29.99 - very little risk there and certainly less risky than wearing those g'awful Dockers you know you have. If on the outside chance you feel funny pioneering this classic Southern brand here in Cascadia or any other region in which you dwell, save them for the weekend.  They're more comfortable than jeans and they have more pockets than that polyester track suit you wear when no one's looking.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fly fishing

Yakima River - Cle Elum, WA, USA

Air temp: 30° F. Water temp: 33° F 

"The fish got lucky."

Cascadian preps love fly fishing because we love sporting brands such as Orvis (waders & boots), Patagonia (down jacket), and Eisbar caps. We also love fly fishing because it takes the type of patience, skill, and artistry not found in the crude camps of the bait fisherman.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Different [Preppy] Drummer

In Mark Twain's 1897 travelogue, "Following the Equator", he begins with his maxim, "Be good and you will be lonesome."  Now, I'm no English professor (yet), but I take that to mean that if you are well-behaved and tend to conform with the mainstream, you might not be too popular.  In fact, you might be viewed as a one dimensional bore. And that to do things a little differently - to PAVE the road less travelled - you stand a chance to live a better life - rich with a multitude of friends and experiences.

I couldn't agree more.

One thing I've attempted to do in The Cascadian Prep "blog" (really "experiment") this past year is to approach things a little differently than the majority of my Cascadian cousins; to challenge the norm, and, at times, to admonish the mainstream. I have done this all with tongue planted firmly in cheek. And I have done this, hopefully, with a "prep twist." I love "prep" because it's what I grew up with and I'm proud of my upbringing. So naturally, it's the sensibility I've sought in the lovely Pacific Northwest for the past 12 months.  Well, I have been disappointed with what I've found... the hipsters who wear fancy-stitched jeans, untucked dress shirts and black (always black) Euro-trash shoes have really dug in here, as have the hoodie & backward-hat wearing, skater shoes set. "Northwest Prep"... Cascadian Prep may just be for blogs.

I think it boils down to pride - pride in oneself and pride in where one was born and raised. "Original  Prep" (New England) and "Southern Prep" are as distinct and full of pride (not vanity) as their regional dialects and accents. Both of these parts of the country have rich history and deserve to be proud of their traditions. Cascadia, on the other hand, is a region with unparalleled natural beauty, but no distinct regional dialect, accent, traditions or hometown pride... NONE.

So I think to myself, we must be patient; we are the new kids on the block, after all. These things take time; give it another hundred years. But until then, don't be "good". Be a little uncommon... be a little unexpected... be a Cascadian prep!

You Are A Tourist [in your own town] - DCFC

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lowell's, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA, USA

Lowell's at Pike Place Market

Lowell's - 2nd floor where the "tourans" are less present. Find your self here. Not a bad place to contemplate all manner of things. Since this is supposed to be a prep-themed blog, I was wearing Sperry Top-Siders, L.L. Bean ragwool socks (gray), Boss jeans, Orvis viyella shirt, Henri Lloyd vest, Castaway Clothing jacket. Not a bad kit, if I do say so myself. Totally lost on the crowd, however.  WTF Cascadia?!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Double Life

How very simple life would be
If only there were two of me
A Restless Me to drift and roam
A Quiet Me to stay at home.
A Searching One to find his fill
Of varied skies and newfound thrill
While sane and homely things are done
By the domestic Other One.

And that's just where the trouble lies;
There is a Restless Me that cries
For chancy risks and changing scene,
For arctic blue and tropic green,
For deserts with their mystic spell,
For lusty fun and raising Hell

But shackled to that Restless Me
My Other Self rebelliously
Resists the frantic urge to move.
It seeks the old familiar groove
That habits make. It finds content
With hearth and home - dear prisonment,
With candlelight and well-loved books
And treasured loot in dusty nooks,

With puttering and garden things
And dreaming while a cricket sings
And all the while the Restless One
Insists on more exciting fun,
It wants to go with every tide,

No matter where . . . just for the ride.
Like yowling cats the two selves brawl
Until I have no peace at all.

One eye turns to the forward track,
The other eye looks sadly back.
I'm getting wall-eyed from the strain,
(It's tough to have an idle brain)
But One says "Stay", and One says "Go"
And One says "Yes" and One says "No"
And One Self wants a home and a wife
And One Self craves the drifter's life.

The Restless Fellow always wins
I wish my folks had made me twins.

by Don Blanding

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Doin' lines at lunch

Nijo's, Pioneer Square, Seattle

Like "preppy", sushi is trendy. Also like "preppy", sushi has staying power.  Long after the conveyor belts have stopped serpentining through the strip mall sushi restaurant, authentic sushi bars will be patroned by authentic sushi lovers and those of the authentic prep variety. Until that time....

(By the way, despite what the photo above shows, I am not a proponent of hiding the taste of fish in wasabi (or green mustard), pickled ginger and soy sauce. That is akin to putting A-1 or ketchup on your $50 bone-in rib eye. Come on Cascadia! We have more fish than we know what to do with, so it's up to us to lead the way. Dump the condiments in Elliott Bay, the Willamette River, and Burrard Inlet !)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Musical Evolution of a Transient Prep


but a few shows I went to in the 1980s


and a few from the 1990s

The Internet and barcoding killed the "ticket stub" in many cases.  A pity. But, I guess sentimentality is overrated.

Monday, October 17, 2011


[huh-zah] originally a sailor's shout of exaltation, encouragement, or applause. Perhaps originally a hoisting cry. (1573) 

With Summer fading into the half-light of Fall and madras giving way to viyella, it's time to get the reading lists together. Here are a few "shout-outs" to sailing-themed, non-fiction books I've enjoyed reading over the past few months.  Hit me with an email or comment if you have recommendations! Please note, I try to read only non-fiction or "classics"... oh, and the articles in Playboy.
  • My Old Man and the Sea: A Father and Son Sail Around Cape Horn, by David Hays and Daniel Hays
    • A New England father and son sail around Cape Horn.
  • The Bounty : The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty, by Caroline Alexander
    • A true(r) account of Captain Bligh and the allure of Tahitian women.
  • The Motion of the Ocean: 1 Small Boat, 2 Average Lovers, and a Woman's Search for the Meaning of Wife, by Janna Cawrse Esarey
    • Cascadian author(ess) and hubby sail around the Pacific (a fun read).
  • Sailing with Vancouver: A modern sea dog, antique charts and a voyage through time, by Sam McKinney
    • Late Cascadian author retraces the footsteps (wakes) of Vancouver's circumnavigation of Puget Sound.
  • Unsinkable: A Young Woman's Courageous Battle on the High Seas, by Abby Sunderland and Lynn Vincent
    • About that 16-yr old girl who attempts a single-handed trip around the world.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

There's only two things I hate in this world...

1) People who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and
2) The Dutch.

(OK, I jest, but I do love this line from Austin Power's Goldmember (2002))

What was suppose to be a 10-month long cultural exchange experience, turned out to be a 3 1/2 week American vacation for our Dutch Foreign Exchange student.  It seems that homesickness got the best of her. My family is grateful for the experience, albeit short, because it brought us closer together. This was a trying experience for us all.  The student was on an emotional roller coaster half the time - going from being amazed at American high school football to being depressed about our food, our time spent in cars, and our amount of choices for anything.

Walking into any American supermarket and seeing entire aisles dedicated to breakfast cereals or salad dressings was a little overwhelming for her. Telling her that "Yes, it's true.  You can buy food, shoes, motor oil and guns in the same place" was a reflective moment for me. "Thank you, Walmart."

The Disease of More - see "The Paradox of Choice" has a basic premise that if we had to choose between three of four similar items, we would be much more happy than having to choose between five and fifteen items. Perhaps. But I think 'mericans are quite good at choice management. Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I like watching "Inside the Actors Studio", sometimes I prefer "Inside Edition".

And then there's the discussion we had about 'merican teens' (18 yrs +) ability to vote, smoke, go to war, but not drink alcohol. Wow! I'm not really sure what to do with that one. Lucky for me I have a 7-yr old daughter, so I have a few years to get my spiel together. It had better be water-tight or she will see through it just like the other 20 million teenagers in America do.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Note for my Absence

Day 12 of 300 days of having a Dutch Foreign Exchange Student living on our house. I will return to these pages as soon as things settle down.  Future postings will surely include my reflections on the questions I have been getting from a 17-year Dutch girl - subjects which include America, Cascadia, and preppiness.

Walmart patrons, Advocates of the current US drinking age,  and NRA members watch out!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Here is a church. Here is a steeple. Open the doors. Hey! Where's all the people?

The Church at Roche Harbor

I like church, but I do not go regularly.  Apparently here in Cascadia, neither do many of my fellow citizens - at least not the ones from the cities and close-in suburbs. (Click here and here for anecdotal evidence of that.) The further-out suburbs and exurbs... now, that's a different story.

I grew up in the South/Southwest part of the US - the buckle of the Bible Belt - as a United Methodist.  I went to Episcopal schools from K-8, and Jesuit Catholic school from 9-12. I have a good working knowledge of the Bible and many denominations' views on things.  In general, I believe that the coffee and cookies in the church basement all taste about the same, that is to say, a bit stale, a bit bitter, but always a little sweet.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington, USA

Roche Harbor is a prep's paradise.  One must take a plane (preferably float plane), ferry, or private boat to get there, as it is in an island chain ("The San Juans") between the large Vancouver Island and the Washington mainland.  It may be the one place in Cascadia where embroidered shorts, "red ochre" shorts, seersucker pants, and all that other prep regalia are NOT given a second look.  Ahhh, to be back in one's spiritual homeland. Birding and general naturalist activities are strongly encouraged here. Mac's Field Guide to the Gulf and San Juan Islands is sold in virtually every country store, marina, and activities shop. Roche Harbor even has true presidential credentials - Roosevelt (Teddy) slept here!  With whom, I am uncertain, but I'm sure it was a rough ride.

If you visit, you must attempt to stay at Roche Harbor Resort. It is not inexpensive, but it is worth it. Stroll the grounds, play tennis, swim in the heated outdoor pool, meander the boat slips, imbibe at the Madrona Grill, and play bocce ball (I prefer pétanque.) Do this amongst the well-educated, well-clad and well-heeled without seeing black "Tap Out," Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), NASCAR, or Harley-Davidson t-shirts anywhere.  

On our annual visit last week, we were upgraded to the Quarryman Hall Deluxe Suite, since our stay the year prior was disrupted by an out-of-control late night wedding reception. Needless to say, this upgrade has ruined me... the bar has been raised as has the room rate. Ah, but it will be worth it.
view of the marina from the room

Quarryman Hall
Madrona Bar & Grill and McMillin's Dining Room
a 7-yr old bocce prodigy
(Should I tell her I'm closer? Nah!.)

The author in poolside repose wearing tired
Tretorns and J. McLaughlin swim trunks

True Cascadian colors - green and blue

Roche Harbor on San Juan Island - a true Cascadian, Northwest, and American Treasure!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Send... Help... Fast

This is what we're dealing with here in Cascadia. Don't buy the starving artist bit this Seattle (Kirkland) band wishes to portray. They're from the Seattle-area's "Eastside," which is to say the east side of Lake Washington, which also is to say the well-monied side of the city. Home to more Bourgeois Bohemians (BoBos) than a Franco-Czech Chambers of Commerce convention.

Increasingly popular Fleet Foxes

(I hate that I like their music.) Watch the video and ask me about the goats.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a Suburu Outback - "Dear Jesus, Protect Me From Your Followers."  That's the way I feel about the die hard fans of The Dave Matthews Band (DMB).  For starters, they have that oval sticker on the back of their Suburus, Volkswagens, and vintage Volvos, which simply states "DMB."  Then there are those who have to make the annual pilgrimage to The Gorge at George, Washington to watch ALL THREE NIGHTS of his three night stand.  WTF?!

It's not that THE Dave Matthews is a bad guy (a real good family man living in Seattle, Washington, I hear). I mean, he writes OK music and has very good musicians making up his band, but when did Phish or Widespread Panic give up the throne of "Hippie cum yuppie jam band," "BoBos in Paradise group," or "I only smoke dope once a quarter festival"?

I think the whole thing is just DuMB. And even though DMB is an adopted darling of Cascadia, I hope I don't see any burgeoning Cascadian preps at his next gig!

The Gorge at George, Washington, USA

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

"Take the Adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes! Tis but a banging of the door behind you, a blithesome step forward, and you are out of the old life and into the new! Then someday, some day long hence, jog home... when the cup has been drained and the play has been played, and sit down by your quiet river with a store of goodly memories for company."   -  Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

The cabin (rented for "business") on Coeur d'Alene River

The view from the cabin

In the summertime, CdA is popular for golfing, fishing, and general boondoggling. Last week, this Cascadian prep did just that - golfed for pike and fished for golf balls. I've never been very good at either. Now boondoggling - there's something in which I have great skill.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Family's Dog

Today our beloved 12-year old Black Lab left for the happy hunting grounds, or more appropriately, "that beach in the sky."  Thank you for the happiness you brought to our family. You will be missed!

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." - Dr. Seuss

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Feria de San Fermín (in Cascadia)

In honor of the annual event in Pamplona, I whipped up a nice Spanish paella last night. As usual, I imbibed throughout the whole process and forgot the peas! Nonetheless, it turned out to be a fantastic dish - the color, aroma, and taste of saffron is one of my favorites.  So, too, is Rosé...

Last Night's Paella

No, we didn't have the traditional Albarino or a Rioja Blanco to compliment the dish, so we made due with this nice French (Rhône) Rosé.  We don't get too uptight about that kind of stuff - mixing countries of origin and cultures at the same time. We are American, after all, and, as such, are used to bastardizations borrowing the best from what any particular culture has to offer. (If mixed breed dogs are better, why can't the same theory be applied to food?)

The accompanying wine.
I say don't limit yourself! Leave all that pretentious BS at the door.  You just might get gored if you don't.

"This wine is too good for toast-drinking, my dear. You don't want to mix emotions up with a wine like that. You lose the taste."
- Chapter 7, The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Seattle Icon of Epic Proportions

The Location: Lowell's, an iconic restaurant in Seattle's Pike Place Market.
The Inspiration: The Epic's "Fuzzy Photos from Great Bars."
This Afternoon's Drinks (at least a few of them):

"Mi Novia" (muy, muy caliente)

Douglas Fir Eau de Vie

Naughty Nellie Golden Ale

Whether you live in Seattle or not, The Pike Place Market should always be on your hit list.  Aside from the expected excellent seafood markets, bakeries, cheese mongers, cafes, etc., there are the unexpected things and places which really make it shine. Locals and tourists collide, mingle, smile at each other and it's all good. Shopkeepers are genuinely friendly and don't seem to be there just doin' another shift. We are all happy to be here. Lowell's is great because it has three floors of seating all with epic views of Elliott Bay, West Seattle, and the Olympic Mountain Range. Note well: the bar is on the second floor and the best time to go is any late afternoon.  Ask for Nick.

Hip Hip Chin Chin! Signing off for a week - Happy Fourth of July!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Boom Boom Bow

Almost one year from today, we will set sail out of Victoria, British Columbia for our  approximately two week voyage to Maui. Four of us on a 36-foot boat and the Pacific Ocean. I am looking forward to the total media purge, the inability to yield to the calling of my favorite blogs, the inability to write blogs, and the knowing what it's like to see nothing but water for days upon days. I'm told that you cross over out there, mentally, and that there is no going back. Like Cortez, I just might have to "burn the boats" when I get there.

The Race (held bienially)

The Boom

The Bow

"Seven Seas" by Echo & The Bunnymen

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Preppy Pajama Poseur

The Urchin of Venice
I was forced to watch "The Tourist" the other night.  Mrs. Cascadian Prep brought it home to watch - not for the story, but for it being set in Venice. My parents had just returned from Venice and it had stoked MCP's interest.  (I don't have an interest in Venice anymore than I have an interest in any over-touristed, smelly town. Trieste... now there's a town.)

Anyway, Johnny Depp spent considerable time running along Venetian rooftops in his "jammies."  It was at this moment that I realized I didn't have any official pajamas in my wardrobe... just the typical boxer/t-shirt set-up. Also, realizing that our family would be hosting a female exchange student soon and that I probably shouldn't be gallivanting through the house in such unsecured raiment [read "eminent wardrobe malfunction" here] I set about procuring a real set of PJs. 

The author's first set of real pajamas in two decades.

I landed on these from Lands' End.  And in the spirit of going big or going home, I got the double monogram - one on the shirt, one on the pants.  When I came downstairs in them to show off, MCP rolled her eyes so much and with such vigor, I thought she was having a seizure. That's fine.  She can harsh the PJs and harsh the double monogram, but we'll see if she ever gets to wear them now.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Seersucker in Seattle - GTH Pants?

For God's sake, when does it end? It broke 70° F here yesterday, so in a rapturous moment of summertime cheer, I busted out my Jos. Bank blue seersucker pants. I snuck these new babies into my closet, right under the nose of the Mrs. I found that when I procure new garb, if I can sneak the package off the front porch, get it out of the plastic bag and into my closet undetected, I'm home free. Well, not this time.
"When did you get those?" she asks wryly.
"Oh, I've had them a while. They've just been in the back of the closet." I reply.

"First with those red pants, now with the stripes? Can you say 'mid-life crisis?'"
"No!  I can't say 'mid-life crisis' and I won't, I won't, I won't."
An LA stomach with an Oakland badonkadonk

The rumpled writer in repose

I have to admit, I do, at times, resent living in a region where seersucker pants and jackets are as uncommon as the Oregon Spotted Owl, but come on, why should the South and Eastern Seaboard have all the fun?  And as far as the West Coast goes, California probably encourages seersucker to be worn to their famous garden and poolside parties. So WTF Pugetropolis?

That's OK, I'm wearing them anyway, but I probably will wait until the temperature hits the upper 70's/low 80's, when Cascadians are whining about how oppressively hot it is.  I will wear them when my fellow citizens are so tired and rundown from the heat that they can't muster a smirk or laugh. And if they do manage a chiding laugh, I will respond with a laugh and remember what that favorite of all seersucker-wearing icons - Mark Twain - said. 
 Against the assault of Laughter nothing can stand. - Mark Twain

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. - Mark Twain