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A guide to help the average man... look less average

Stendig Calendar

Mark Kwak

There's something in my room that I absolutely adore, yet at the same time it couldn't be more boring. As you can probably tell from the photo above, I am talking about my wall calendar.

Oh but worry not, this is not just any ordinary calendar, it is of course the infamous Stendig Calendar. Not only does it have a truly unique design, going from black on white to white on black every month with elegantly drawn numbers, but it is absolutely HUMONGOUS. Normal calendars are what, 12 inches by 24 inches at the most? The Stendig is a whopping 3 feet x 4 feet in size. It dwarfs all other calendars I've seen, and does it brilliantly.

Frankly, I'd say it's more artwork than a normal calendar, but all the more reason I'm a fan of it. Once a month is finished, you can use a page of the calendar to draw on, use as decoration, or whatever your heart desires.

Not much more costly than other calendars out there ($38 vs ~$25) but if you have a super boring blank wall in your apartment/home, I'd suggest picking one of these bad boys up.

Too cheap not to use

Mark Kwak

If you've ever thought about taking up bartending or mixology as a hobby, I highly encourage you to take the leap. I'm not a bartender but I do have an interest in making cocktails and at the very least, it helps you catch up with old friends and practice some hospitality.

As a result of this hobby, I've been able to acquire a bunch of fancy schmancy glassware to serve my drinks in. Every now and again, a friend will ask for my recommendation on what glassware they should purchase if they were to start making cocktails themselves, and I always point them to small mason jars.

Look at that - 12 for $7. Can't get cheaper, cooler, and more durable than that. Plus you can use them for beer (see pic), wine, water, etc. I even use mine as a piggy bank for change. Before venturing into the land of Nick and Nora, Schott Zwiesel, etc. go with the tried and true Ball mason jar. They've been cool for a while and will likely remain so for some time.

Playing Vinyl - Rega Planar 3

Mark Kwak

I am an audiophile. The first step towards recovery is admission, right? Just thinking back- it's quite sad how much time and money I spilled into this hobby of high-fidelity audio. Believe it or not, I used to buy, sell, or trade at least 3 headphones a week for almost a full year before I realized I was going a bit crazy. And we're not talking iPhone earbuds, we're talking $2,000 headphones. Pretty insane for a college kid with no income.

I scaled it down for a while as I was happy enough with my headphones and speakers setups (plural on purpose), but living in San Francisco got me really thinking about the piece that has always been missing from my high fidelity audio setup. Vinyl.   

Thus, I recently bought myself a little present. The Rega Planar 3 turntable. For those in the know, this is quite a legend of a turntable, one that's been around for many decades. This is Rega's newest 2016 edition of this popular turntable, and I found a deal that I just could not say no to. 

Beautiful, huh? So far I love it, and it's really got me enjoying music again. Went out on craigslist, bought a bunch of old records, and have been enjoying that amazing sound quality only vinyl can provide. I won't get into the "does vinyl sound better than CD/MP3/etc." debate, as I think there are benefits and cost to all formats, but I can say the tangible element of setting down a record on a spinning turntable is quite rewarding. 

In case you think it's a waste of money to spend this much on a turntable, I do have some recommendations at the lower price levels. Take a look at the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC, Denon DP-300F (get the upgraded ortofan stylus if you can), and of course the legendary Technics 1200 Mk2. You'll need to find that last one used. 

What have I been digging?

Mark Kwak

It's been a blue moon and a half since my last post, and fourteen blue moons since my post previous to that. For the past year, I've really lowered Simpler Man as a priority in my life and though I am truly sorry for those who have tried to continue following me, I hope you understand that life can sometimes just gets in the way.

However, I do want to continue posting if I possibly can, so I'll try in baby steps. For this post, I figured I'd let you guys know of some of things I've been digging recently. Without further ado...

Patagonia Long Root Ale. Yes, Patagonia makes beer now. Apparently it saves the world too, though let's be real, I don't really feel like I'm saving the world by drinking beer. Well, maybe the world inside my head? Overall, great tasting beer, but too expensive for what it is. $10 for 4 cans! 

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Japanese Whiskey. My interest sparked a while back when Yamazaki won best whiskey in the world with their Sherry Cask Whiskey. So which one did I get in this picture? Well, none so far. But I did get a chance to taste a couple in the recent weeks. Ultimately, I'd like to know what I'm getting myself into before committing to a whole bottle. My favorite so far from my tastings? The Nikka Yoichi. Unfortunately it's a cool $82. 

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Leica M240. Wondered where these pics came from? From my new toy- which cost me an arm and a leg. And another arm. Yes this picture is black and white, and the camera looks like a film camera, but it's actually a color digital one. The last sentence makes me sound like a poser but I swear to you the camera's actually quite well-reviewed. Anyhow, this will NOT be the last I talk about this particular item, but thought I'd share.

Where have I been?

Mark Kwak

 That's a Baracuda G9 Harrington jacket in case anyone is curious.

That's a Baracuda G9 Harrington jacket in case anyone is curious.

Hi guys,

It's been a really long time, and I'm so sorry for that! If you're still with me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

For the past eight months or so, I've been working on a exciting project that has been a dream of mine for a very long time. I wrote and directed a short film called Rules of Exchange - a suspense/thriller about a negotiation gone bad. Unfortunately, with only so many hours in a day, it was at the cost of updating Simpler Man. Perhaps since the film is now completed, I can get back on the horse!

If you are or have been curious of what I've been up to, here's a way to support! (October 6, 2016 edit: we succeeded with the Kickstarter campaign!) Hopefully it's a piece of work you really enjoy.

Brooks Brothers Black Fleece

Mark Kwak

 Source: HypeBeast

Source: HypeBeast

One of my favorite clothing stores in the world is Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers. Why? Because Thom Browne is one of my favorite designers, Brooks Brothers is one of my favorite clothing stores, and the two are married in this collection.

The semi-annual 50%+ sales, the high quality fabrics, wonderful customer service, and classic American design also contribute to my love for this brand. I will admit that most of what they sell in their stores I would never wear in public (I mean the patterns can be downright ridiculous), but their basics - like a white oxford shirt or navy blazer - are sometimes unbeatable at sale prices.

 Source: Wearethemarket

Source: Wearethemarket

Unfortunately it was announced late last year that the collection won't be renewing for another season. Seems like Thom Browne and Brooks Brothers couldn't get an agreement going, as outlined by this NYTimes article. The physical stores will also be shutting down after this month, though it's only two stores in total - one in New York and one in San Francisco.

So if you like this brand or want a taste of it before it disappears, check out their online store. Everything is 60% off, and I would recommend you pick up a couple oxford shirts or ties while you can. They won't be restocking.

Man I love suits.

Mark Kwak

I was looking through one of the old Gear Patrol GP100s (take a look at 2015's version here if you haven't checked out the GP100 before) and saw a suit by Jack Space on there called the Benton.

Frankly, I don't know much about this suit, and it seems like the line is already done for, but the search for this suit lead me to a cool video that I wanted to share with you all. Nothing mind-blowing or earth-shattering about it, but it just made me want to buy a suit... See for yourself:

Man, do I love the sound of a crisp suit being put on. Anyhow, on with your days gentlemen. Oh and may the force be with you... Always.