The summer of 2012 was one of the hottest seasons ever throughout the United States. Whether we face the same braising this year remains to be seen, but we plan on being prepared. These relatively simple tips to increase energy efficiency should keep you cool and help your wallet stay fat and fluffy this summer season.
Keep the chills, lower the bills
Time to hit the deck
Spring doesn’t really exist anymore. The belief that a season actually occurs between that last dumping of snow and when your smartphone weather apps start to sweat is mythical at best. What we get now is essentially a two-week meteorological reprieve during which we need to squeeze three months’ worth of work. To make sure those precious days aren’t squandered, we’re dishing out the goods on how to git ‘er done so you can make the most of this summer — and it starts with resealing your deck.
Only good things in store
A decent drink can be hard to find, especially when you’re at home. For the do-it-yourselfers who would rather the “do” simply be mixing the strong stuff with the not-so-strong stuff, we’ve compiled a list of the top five mixers you can find in your friendly neighborhood high-end liquor store. All you have to do is add booze, ice and maybe a wry wink as you drop in the cocktail straw.
Smoke some grass
Though you might dream about dropping lotto-winning cash on a pimped-out riding mower, the truth is that you don’t need to spend more than $2k for a mower that you can captain with pride. Whether you plan on doing your best Bill Murray (Caddyshack, not Lost in Translation) impression on your own personal links, or hope to trim a more modest green acres, we’ve got the riding mower for you.
The Heat is On
Grabbing the tongs, stoking the coals and biting into a lightly charred piece of meat is and always will be a shared summer pleasure. That doesn’t mean everyone knows how to do it right. To teach you how to truly master the grill — or even just to bone up the old pros — we’ve compiled a list of 10 grilling tips (along with notes from Russ Faulk of Kalamazoo Grills) to make your sizzle entirely satisfactory.
Confirm your searing desires
Summer is bearing down fast, and no man passes up the opportunity to get outside and burn some meat (ok, and perhaps a vegetable or two). It is, simply, an integral summer experience, whether enjoyed in the backyard, at a tailgate, in the campsite or on your tiny urban front step.
My dad had a saying: “When it’s burning, it’s cooking. When it’s black it’s done.” This might explain the lack of repeat visitors, but maybe it was the limited tools he had to work with that contributed to his cynical approach to backyard grilling. With any of the 10 excellent grills here, you’ll not only find the right one to suit your particular needs — everything from searing steaks, to cooking a pair of burgers, to smoking an entire pig — you’ll guarantee a line around the block for your ‘cue, and a long list of friends who won’t stop asking when you’re having them over again.
Poring over coffee's simplest method
Occam’s razor: A philosophical principle suggesting that simpler explanations tend to be better than complex ones. It has broad application, from medicine to ethics to proofs of the existence of God. Now if we apply the razor to our morning coffee, as the thinking men of Gear Patrol are wont to do, we can scrap our fancy drip machines and super-automatic espresso makers and still get a world-class cup of coffee without doing much more than pouring hot water over coffee grounds. We’ve assembled a pour over kit with all the basics to get you started — at a very affordable price.
Get to Work
A man’s desk is his life. It’s where he does his work, pays his bills, keeps his keepsakes, composes his words and his thoughts. It might be the most intimate piece of furniture in the house — it’s where one is most fully alone, and where, tethered to an often unassuming 50 square feet, a man can finally get down to business. That’s why finding the right desk is so important. Fortunately, plenty of bespoke furniture makers sell gorgeous, modern workspace options. We’ve narrowed down the field with this list of great contemporary desks at a variety of sizes, styles and prices.
The Tale of the Tape
Since 1963, we’ve enjoyed six generations of the Corvette and five versions of the Mustang. Nine different Presidents have called the White House home and we have listened to vinyl give way to tape, CDs and eventually the digital download. We’ve also had 50 years of the Stanley PowerLock tape measure, a product that has clearly stood the test of time and continues to enjoy its reign at the top.
Bring the heat
Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet is the Bentley of the grilling world, so when their Chief Grill master and VP of Design Russ Faulk offered to sit down with us to talk about a new Pizza Oven he’d developed, we brought a bib and hot pepper flakes. Find out what makes his latest pizza oven rig so special in our latest edition of Breakdown.
While every man hankers for a tractor to motor around the yard, not every lawn is of a size to justify a riding mower. For the middle ground between a farm and a weed-whackable urban postage stamp, the Husqvarna AWD Push Lawn Mower ($500) is a great choice. I took the bright orange cutter — just released this month — for spin and found “push” mower to be a poor descriptor.
The American dream in the post Gangham-style age has changed significantly from the days when success was defined by a white picket fence, a Suburban in the driveway and a front porch swing (at least in some parts of the country). Mississippi-based designer and craftsman Andy Hilton decided to re-invent the traditional porch staple as a modern and versatile fixture for the next generation of homeowners.
Cree LED Light Bulbs ($10+) are the best things in lighting since the Almighty started a sentence “Let there be…” Their three selections, in 40-watt, 60-watt and 60-watt “daylight”, range from $10-$14 dollars a pop, offer incandescent-like lighting rather than the tepid glow we’ve come to know from other “green” bulbs, are dimmable and save 84% more energy than said incandescents.
The Desk Warrior's Best Friend
Touch screen interfaces are verging on honorary appendages, and our daily physicality has evolved as a result. Nowadays, we’re Strunching. The Gesture chair by Steelcase is purpose-designed to support all of nine new Steelcase-coined postures (like the “Strunch” and the “Smart Lean”), which are the result of a global study on how the body behaves when interacting with modern technology.
Ensuring your scotch survives, even if you don't
The fine single malt makers at The Macallan have teamed up with Oakley to create a limited edition box set and spirits container packed with enough raw masculinity to rob the entire Expendables cast of decades of sequel paychecks. While the traditional groomsmen pleaser is designed to serve as a portable and discrete vessel for drinking on the go, The Flask is a boldly designed, laser welded masterpiece whose material spec sheet reads like the space shuttle’s.
Better, faster, stronger
You’re not the guy who has a frequent buyer card at Sears, so you can’t always find the perfect tool in your less-than-organized garage. Perhaps a versatile multi-tool would be your best ally. Multi-tools have been around for twenty years, and they’re not going away anytime soon. Today’s multi-tools are better than ever, with innovative designs that are only limited by the imagination. If you’re wondering what all-around multi-tool to purchase, we have five of the best full-sized multi-tools on the market today.
We Don't See Nothin' Wrong With a Little Bump and Grind
You like the line at your favorite coffee shop? Ok, besides the cute barista, you can do better: start by grinding your own beans, then check back with Gear Patrol for other suggestions for stepping up to the big leagues. The journey from coffee hack to ambrosia connoisseur begins with freshly ground java in your French press, drip, or espresso machine. A quick primer first, and then on to our top 10 picks.
A Scout is Trustworthy
When it comes to home security, there don’t seem to be many options between expensive monthly-fee security systems and keeping a pump-action under the bed (note: don’t do that). The Scout Home Security System ($120+) utilizes wi-fi and mobile connectivity to meet somewhere between safety and affordability.
Old School, High Quality, No BS
In the constant pursuit of a high-quality, stylish lifestyle, it’s understandable that we men may stray from the path a time or two — a truck stop frozen burrito here, a discount-grade pair of white socks there. Most times, though, we regret purchasing shoddy products. Owen & Fred, The Store For Men is a response to just such disappointing gimmickry, providing the superbly crafted choice for everything from dopp kits to ties to kitchen accessories and all the rest.
Better your inner barista
Let’s face it: the average North American spends less time contemplating the beans behind his morning motivator than it takes his barista to scowl disapprovingly. To open his eyes and shed a little light into those dark waters, the GP team delves into the differences between single origin and blended coffees. Our goal? To arm you with information on micro-lot farming, blend aging and why that cup tastes the way it does. It’s all about being informed and maximizing enjoyment in your every-morning drink. So put on your scholar cap, pour yourself a cup and read on to explore the methods used to turn those remarkable beans into a masterpiece.
Bursting Your Bubble
SodaStream teams up with the Korean electronics giant to integrate their automatic sparkling water dispenser inside the Samsung RF31FMESBSR 36-inch Four-Door Refrigerator.
The Prohibition Kit by Francesco Morackini is provocative project that’s designed to help home hoochers mitigate the risk of discovery by “camouflaging” a small-scale still as everyday kitchen objects. Specifically, the all-copper setup splits into a watering can, fondue stove, cooking pot and fruit bowl while not in use for home-made lightning.
A stagger on the wild side
For the connoisseur of fine spirits, the dabbler of craft brews, arcane wine regions and exclusive distillations, we’ve got a read that’s a cat of a different feather. Twisted like a mixed metaphor, Alt Whiskeys: Alternative Whiskey Recipes and Distilling Techniques for the Adventurous Craft Distiller ($30) offers the experimenting distiller some whiskey recipes that step past the fringe.
This faucet really blows
There are more inefficient and grosser routines in life, but washing and drying our hands has that certain je ne sais quoi — the feeling that there must be a more sensible, genius solution on tap somewhere. The genius solution comes courtesy of the folks at Dyson; their Occam’s Razor solution is the new Dyson Airblade Tap (call to discuss pricing), a hyper-efficient washer/dryer faucet combo.
Take it outside
Music lovers don’t want to be tethered to an indoor system — loud enough to be heard outside is too loud for inside — but even “outdoor” systems rarely last long out in the wet and cold. Bowers & Wilkins AM-1 exposes your music to the elements with impunity, thanks to a durable, weather-resistance speaker enclosure.
Burn the lamp at both ends
Melatonin is a hormone produced inside the brain that helps regulate sleep. It essentially burns away when light enters the eyes; when there is no light it builds up in your noodle and you snooze. Good taste is something the regulates the aesthetic appeal of your personal environment; the more good taste you have, the more friends you will have. What we’re saying is, it’s time to ditch the lava lamp and invest in the Satechi Smart LED Desk Lamp ($100).
Rack 'em up
Indoor bike racks come in all shapes and sizes, most of them trending toward “modern chic” or “classic natural”. Some just look like ugly contemporary sculptures. The Make 001 Bike Rack ($180), first product of fledgling design group Make, combines the best of both worlds with an unpresumptuous shape and clean design.