Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On The Road To Recovery

There has been a serious lack of blog posts for the Metiki of late. Sadly, the Metiki has been sitting parked waiting on repairs. Although I'm a serious car lover and possess much car knowledge, mechanics are not my strong suit. This is way beyond my very basic mechanical skills. Finding a good mechanic was my first hurdle. The last repair shop I used when I went to get the brakes done was very slow and charged an exorbitant price. I will not be using them again. Through some recommendations I found a new shop which specializes in the repair of British performance vehicles. Now the Metiki does not exactly fit these parameters. First, it's technically an 'American' car. Second, it is in no way, shape or form a 'performance' vehicle. Metropolitans were designed in the U.S but built in Birmingham, England at the Austin factory. It has mainly English parts; Austin engine, Lucas gauges, etc. It was sold in the U.S. under the Nash & Hudson brands. It is only 53 horsepower but again sports an 1500cc Austin engine. So my pick for a mechanic leans toward someone with experience working on similar vehicles.

So The Metiki made it's journey to the shop. Hopefully the repair time will be quick and I'll be back on the road next week. I'm very excited to get to drive it again. The cooler weather is here & car show, cruise-in season is in full swing.

I have such grand plans for this blog and places to go in The Metiki. However, mechanics seems to be working against me for the past year. I've barely been able to keep it running for more than a month or so. Considering the age of the car and the fact that most every engine part is original, I should not be surprised by the repairs needed.

I've owned the car for over 8 years now and have been debating about selling it. But I have such affection for this car, I could not bear to never drive it again. I grew up around classic cars. We always had two or three cars in the garage; '67 Corvette, '69 Camaro, Impala's of various years, '69 Coupe de Ville, the list could go on and on. The design and style of cars from the late 1950's has always fascinated me.During the 1980's when old cars were not cool, I was obsessed. I had pictures of Impala's on my wall next to posters of Duran Duran.  There were so many modern & space-age influences put into these pieces of machinery. You may never be an astronaut but you could feel like one driving a 1959 Impala. The impossibly long fins on these vehicles served no purpose. You would not go faster or drive smoother because your 1959 Cadillac but you would look cooler. I miss fins, chrome, pastel car colors and plaid interior.

I have decided not to sell the car for the moment. I will hopefully be up and running within the next week. I hope I still have a few readers of my silly little blog.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Rumbler Round Up

Saturday, Secret Agent Man & myself hit the road to points north. Normally a biker mecca, the Annual Rumbler's Car Show as held at the Iron Horse Saloon in Ormond Beach this year. This location is actually an ideal spot for a hot rod show. Built to mimic an old West Town, it boosts multiple bars, stage, shops, vendor booths and even a tattoo shop. There were well over 200 cars & bikes providing a diverse arrangement of hot rods and customs.

The Iron Horse is great to wander through, cars were tucked into every nook & corner. Every turn and under every shady overhang had another great car. We wandered, visited with friends, sampled homemade rum from an unnamed source, and did a little shopping. I bought a cool DeTiki "Tiki Gardens" purse. Tiki Gardens was a South Seas Polynesian Theme Park over on the west coast on Indian Shores Beach in the mid-sixties. Sadly, like many other fantastic shrines to tiki it is no longer standing. However, this purse feeds my love of vintage Florida kitsch. Also pictured is the absolutely amazing freshly carved tiki I won in the raffle. It was a bountiful day for this Metiki Gal.

Slip & The Spinouts provided live rockabilly for most of the afternoon. Hats off to them for performing in this heat. I haven't seem them play in over a year - they are a tight trio with a great line-up of rockabilly classics and a little Johnnie Cash thrown in. On a side note, Slip has the best sideburns in the state - truly a work of art.

After enjoying the music and shopping, we really dug into the cars. We were an hour and a half from our home turf. The array of fresh cars we had never seen was fantastic. I love to see all the custom touches on these rides. An abundance of automotive genius was put into these classic rides. The crowd favorite was The Matador, a 50+ year old custom that was recently refreshed. It had so many groovy space age mods. The seat rests looked like rockets.

One of the highlights of the show was watching all the cars drive in. It's so neat to see a row of hot rods sitting in traffic. The custom bikes were also a treat. I can imagine the Iron Horse is truly a house of debauchery during Bike Week.

I found many tiki items on the cars but this was my favorite, the spark plug metal smoking tiki. I looked at those metal tikis at a swap meet in Daytona and passed them up. Now, I could kick myself.

The flat black militia of hot rods was running very high at this show. Love the old school look; flat black, a little chrome, white walls and a little bit if red on the wheel. Classic formula that works every time!

We finished out afternoon watching the awards and Pin Up Girl contest. All the gals did a great job on stage. Loved hearing about the dream vacations, although I did chuckle a little when listed hers as North Carolina. I guess to each her own.

This was a great show. I've been to all the Rumbler's shows for the past several years, I remember it at Cowboys & Bruce Rossmeyer's in years past. The Iron Horse was by far their best show yet. The quality of Hot Rod & Custom shows in this area is sometimes lacking. If we could have a show like this every few months, I would be in heaven.

This was an A+ car show day - a little alcohol, some tiki, great rockabilly music and a heavy dose of good old hot rod lovin'. Keep those tiki mugs filled with high octane fuel and be on the look out for The Metiki Gal.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Filling up the Space

Saturday in August in Florida, think a steam room at a spa and up the humidity just a tad. That is what we were faced with. Despite, this sultry weather, I was ready for a little shopping. Secret Agent Man & myself hit the shops early. Our first stop was Out A' Space, my favorite little MCM store here locally. They were having a sidewalk sale. We cleared several items on the sidewalk immediately and ventured in the lovely air conditioned store for a few more finds. Secret Agent Man picked up a space age lamp which was immediately spirited away to his base camp. I didn't even get to take a picture! I scored a beautiful little wicker & metal chair for such a bargain I cannot even repeat the price. A bamboo shelf was added to the pile. Pained bright red, it will eventually be primed and repainted. The remainder of the items were a plethora of monkey pod. Two pineapple bowls, one giant sized and the other a mini, two sets of tiki forks and spoons, a stunning salad bowl with a tiki hut sign, hibiscus bookends and a fierce tiki-monster head. It was like Christmas in August for me.

Almost forgot to take the 'Before' pic of the chair.

Monkey pod Heaven!

Tiki forks, salad bowl , champagne glasses and one unmarked tiki mug.

Close-up of design on Salad Bowl.

Bamboo Shelf, soon to be repainted.
Set of Vintage Paint by Numbers purchased on an earlier trip to Out'A Space.

After piling the car with our great finds from Out 'A Space, we headed down the road to our favorite thrift stores. I was in the market for some glassware. I needed some champagne glasses and wanted a decorative set of 'On The Rocks' glasses. The champagne glasses were easy to find at just a quarter each. But the glassware at both shops we hit were very slim. I wonder if people are donating less or if more people are buying secondhand. Either way, I am sure more people are finding the value in thrifting. Aside from the glassware I found a vintage Waring Blender Cookbook copyright 1955. It has a great recipe for Mexican meatloaf you mix in the blender (Yum, yum!) and a section of drink recipes. The cover has great graphics also. I later found two vintage trashy paperbacks.They're not really pulp fiction, both are from the sixties. The covers of both are lurid and very salacious though especially considering when they were published.

I've already started reading The Tattooed Rood, it's quite the epic. You may be wondering what a rood is. A rood is a crucifix. From as far as I have read, the character is going to end up getting a rood tattooed on his body during the Spanish Inquisition. I'm saving Master of Falconhurst for a good rainy day. There were ten cents each. Who knew such fine examples of literature could be purchased for so little?

We finished up on day lunching at out favorite little Thai restaurant then home for a little nap, This was an A+ Saturday for thrifting finds. Below is a pic of the repainted chair that now graces the music corner of my bedroom.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Beachcombing from the Kitchen Counter

Sunday and no plans. What's a girl to do.........experiment with a new cocktail! Left to tidy the Metiki abode alone, I decided to make things interesting by mixing a new cocktail while doing my cleaning and laundry. I had obtained a vintage version 3rd printing of The Official Mixer's Manual circa 1956 several months ago from our favorite used bookseller, Al. He is located in Downtown Melbourne & has a fantastic selection of used books. If you can make it through his political ramblings and manage to agree with him on a few points, you'll have a great chance of getting a generous discount on his books. The 'Official Mixer's Manual has a small section of  rum cocktails. This is not surprising given that during the 1950's Rum had yet to enjoy it's heyday. By far the largest section in this book is for Gin drinks. I'll leave the gin for a future post. Today, my taste buds were craving a well-made rum drink. Secret Agent Man and myself went to a local chain steakhouse of down under fame last night and ordered their premium Margarita sans salt in a pitcher. Looking forward to the warm taste of Grand Marnier, I was sorely disappointed. We received a 'mini-pitcher' of a fruity orange juice flavored syrupy concoction that tasted nothing like a Margarita. It was two-thirds ice and barely provided us with 3 full on-the-rocks drinks.

Sad Aussie Margarita.....establishment unnamed.
Since my cocktail craving was left unfilled last night, I paged though my lovely drink book searching for something to satisfy and entertain me. It did not take long, on the first page of the rum section I found the Beachcomber. I love orange liquor and am always willing to try some thing new.I had recently purchase 03 by John DeKuper & Sons premium orange liquor. It is made from Brazil's exotic Pera Oranges. I'm all for an exotic moment while in my yoga pants swiffing the dog hair from the floor and washing Secret Agent Man;s Hawaiian shirts. You have to make your exotic moments even if you've not been whisked to Bali carrying only a bikini and a cocktail shaker by a handsome man with a British accent . Okay more on that fantasy in a later post also.Back to the Beachcomber. I gathered my ingredients and started mixing.

I substituted the 03 for the Cointreau even though I did have it sitting in the Metiki Bar. I also realized I did not have a proper cocktail glass, quell horrors! I will rectify that on my next thrift store run. I used a animal print martini glass instead - not good for photographs but thoroughly enjoyed by this Metiki Gal. This is a splendid easy to make cocktail with a great bang of orange liquor  flavor.
The blender did not do a satisfactory job of crushing the ice so I reverted to my vintage Ice-o-matic to chop the ice - it takes a little muscle but is worth the effort. Crushed ice makes a cocktail exponentially better. I cannot pinpoint why but I love it and will tear my rotator cuff to accomplish a pile of crushed ice for a cocktail.

This completed product of the Beachcomber was most yummy. So much so that I soon fixed my second one. Then the frenzied cleaning began - no room or corner was safe. I even vacuumed the tracks of my sliding glass doors. I think a new trend should start. Forget cocktail parties, we need to have cocktail cleaning sessions! I now have clean floors, four loads of laundry are done and dishwasher is loaded and running. But the best part is now I have time to enjoy a third Beachcomber with Secret Agent Man!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Return Trip to Out a Space!!!

Despite a very hot and humid morning Secret Agent Man & myself headed out early for a little thrift store shopping and a visit to my fav MCM Store locally - Out a Space in Eau Gallie, FL.
We hit several thrift stores first hoping for some good finds. The thrifting gods were not with me this morning though. I could not find anything not even a lonely tiki fork! Secret Agent Man made a few scores - a book about what to do in Maritime Emergencies on a Yacht & a vintage trivet from the Greek Isles. He has yet to obtain a yacht but it's good to be prepared and it did have how to communicate in semaphore. This is always handy.

We preceded into Out a Space in downtown Eau Gallie. The store is garnering a lot of local attention for it's funky selection of MCM furniture. The selection of vintage lamps is fantastic. However, I found the jewelry display case in the back of the store today, something I had overlooked on my earlier visit. I saw a cute vintage watch, several cute costume jewelry earring sets and a few bracelets. But it was the selection of cuff links that really caused excitement.

Secret Agent Man's Space Age Pic on Mirror find from Out a Space!

Lee West Stereo Egg Chair & Ottoman at Out a Space.

Cuff links were a staple in men's clothing for decades. A good suit was not complete without cuff links and a tie tack or tie pin. I remember my Grandfather had a large collection from his early days of working in Manhattan for Merrill Lynch. They have fallen out of fashion lately but even women can make use of cuff links in their wardrobe now. I've had a jeweler reset my favorite cuff link of my grandfathers into a necklace pendant. You can also have them made into earrings or put them into a ring mount. Anyway, with this in mind I found several beautiful sets of cuff links at Out a Space.

After much deliberation, I decided on the set of Jade Buddha Cuff links. I left the Tiki God set behind and even now I as type, I am debating on going back and buying those also. I think I'm going to have the jade cuff links made into earrings and the tie pin set into a ring. All were priced at great prices for quality vintage pieces.

After our shopping excursion we made one last stop at our local liquor store for some Metiki Bar Supplies. I have not blogged about my fantastic little home bar set-up called 'The Metiki Bar' yet. I'll save this for a future post - but above are the makings for Ti Punch & a few other bar goodies. I purchased a bottle of Boodle's Gin - this is what Travis McGee drinks aboard The Bused Flush While lounging on the yellow couch with Meyer. More about him in future posts also. Lastly is the Campari - this classic Italian Spirit is used to make Negronis. All in all it was a bountiful Saturday morning.

Until next time keep your tiki mugs filled with Ti Punch and be on the lookout for the Metiki Gal!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Micro Road Trip

This weekend I found myself passenger on a mini road trip to Flagler Beach about 2 hours north of Melbourne. This lovely beach town was definitely out of the Metikis driving range but I happily ensconced myself as passenger in the fully outfitted storm chasing vehicle of my friends George & Chris. We did not chase any storms but Chris' attention has constantly drawn away from the road and up to developing cloud cover. She was pining for a good lightning storm as we drove up I-95. Luckily, we had clear weather. Our first stop was at out friend Tom's home tiki bar - The Blowfish Bar. We enjoyed two different fabulous Mai-Tais Tom mixed  and wonderful food Pat, his wife, had cooked.

As the evening drew near, we relocated as a group to Juilian's for a little tiki atmosphere and dinner. This is a classic restaurant in cool vintage A-Frame style. 
While the tiki finds were very slim at Julian's, they do have one the most beautiful Hawaiian murals I've ever seen.
I also found an interesting Witco African Queen carving. Not exactly tiki but a cool find none the less.

This proved to be a great little road trip. Good friends, good drinks, good food & great tiki decor! Not bad for a Saturday night.

I promise the Metiki will be back on the road soon cruising Brevard County. The weather here in Florida has been a little warm and rain a bit too frequent to take the Metiki out. Until next time - keep your tiki mugs filled with Tiki Tom Mai Tais and be on the lookout for the Metiki Gal!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Collecting Kitsch - Giant Tiki Forks & Spoons

Several years ago I stumbled upon my first set of giant wooden tiki silverware. They were dumped in a corner of a dusty thrift shop and probably forgotten. I grabbed them and gladly paid my three dollars for the set. This was the start of my collection, I now have multiple sets and a number of odd forks. I try to never pay more than five dollars for the set. I wanted to display the entire collection on one wall but did not want to simply line them up row after row. I think I achieved an artistic display of a most kitschy item.

They reached their height of popularity in the late sixties and early seventies. No trip to Hawaii was complete without bringing a set of these babies back! The set below even has "Hawaii '73" carved into it. I can just imagine the fantastic vacation this set commemorated.

These giant implements are much maligned by serious tiki collectors. Many have extremely crude tikis carved into them. No great skill or talent was used to carve them. They are viewed as being the 'junk food' of tiki collecting. Tiki in look but not spirit. I disagree. They are a great large size item to use when decorating and can fill up a wall in a way tiki mugs cannot. I embrace them with a sense of humor. They serve no use or purpose other than a decorative role. I also love the hunt when walking into a thrift store to find them. We recently saw a set in an antique store for fifty dollars - talk about a profit margin! I think these classic items of decorative kitsch deserve to be respected and loved. So the next time you head into your local thrift store buy that silly silverware and hang it on your wall with pride right next to your favorite tiki mug.

Until next time, keep your tiki mugs filled and be on the look out for the Metiki Gal!!!