The Sunset Years

I was flying to New York a recently, and one of the designers at AdamsMorioka gave me a DVD she thought I’d enjoy. I can’t recall the name, but it was a 1960s movie about a women’s motorcycle gang. It was funny in the way really terrible films, like Showgirls, are. Everything was fine until the rape scene in the women’s prison. It took me a couple of minutes to recognize that everyone around me on the plane was looking at my computer in horror. I had accidentally been watching soft-core porn in the American Airlines Business Class cabin. Bad form. I turned it off, and wondered if it was illegal to watch porn on an airplane.

Reading material is potentially as dangerous. The person next to me is always pretending to stretch so they can see what I’m reading. I should bring Devil Worship: Simple Satanic Rituals, but they are usually history books like Accommodating Revolutions: Virginia's Northern Neck in an Era of Transformations, 1760-1810. Other passengers have groovy magazines like Dwell, or Wallpaper. I don’t understand these. There are lots of people living barefoot in houses with plywood cabinets. I bring Sunset magazine.

I love Sunset. If you live in the American west and enjoy gardening, you get Sunset. I love the how to projects, and the affordable, and sensible good taste. But, I especially love the logo. For a time, Sunset took a slight detour, but under Mia Daminato they’ve returned to the classic script. Too often recently, organizations abandon a beautiful mark in favor of something with chrome and highlights. Sunset’s decision to return to the 1937 logo is smart and brave. I also like that the covers have used beautiful photos of Lake Tahoe, or a picnic. Nobody is offended when I pull Sunset magazine out of my bag on an airplane. That’s better than leaving an issue of Juggs on a plane (true story via my sister-in-law, an American Airlines flight attendant).

The Hallways of My Mind

The happy hall of different colors

As we've previously established, I'm not particularly good about sitting still. I try to sit by the pool and read a magazine, but after 5 minutes I notice that the patio needs cleaning, or there are weeds in the cacti garden. When it rains, I'm forced to find things to do inside. Fortunately, the work never ends. I have a dark hallway in my house that bugged me since we bought it. It's an interior hall and perfect for attacking someone if you plan a mugging. I tried painting it white and this made it seem like being in a dark hallway in a mental hospital. Then I found an article in a 1965 Sunset magazine that gave tips on brightening up a house. "Try painting each door a different color," was a small throwaway piece of text.

What could be better? This would take hours. Each door would need to be taken off, cleaned, and painted. And I would need to buy several cans of paint, and rewash the brush for each door. It turned out to be a larger undertaking than I imagined, but idle hands are the devil's playground.

The dark mugging hall

The many colored doors after

in process

Brighter, happier hallway

More hallway

The Blue Door