Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Case for

Lately I've been making the rounds, trying to find a band for an old wristwatch. This is turning into a Quest.

Used to be you could get these things at the local drug store. Not any more. Target had a few but not the size I needed. Walmart the same.

If you ask why I don't just buy them online—I'd kind of like to see what it really looks like before I buy it. Some things you can buy online because it doesn't realy matter, or you know that they all look the same. But watch straps vary in color, in thickness, the texture. Most online photos just don't tell you what you need to know, ya know?

So the next level was the traditional department stores. JCPenney—nyet. Sears had them, but you had to go down into the dungeon to the watch repair guy. This reminds me that Sears is now the most eccentric department store I've been to. To find this guy I had to go downstairs, around behind the back escalator to an almost hidden hallway where the photo studio and various other shoplets are.

The watch repair guy was nice but wanted to see the watch. I didn't bring it, and besides—I know the size. Just show me what you have in black and brown leather bands. You can't have that many, can you?

He couldn't do it. No band for you.

What they really want you to do (well, the repair guy supposedly wants me to keep my old one) is to buy a new watch. The price of watches is insanely low these days. I think watches are about the same price or lower now than they were when I was a kid. Used to be you could buy a $20 watch and it looked like crap. Now a $20 watch is beautiful. I saw a few that I thought were incredible.

But I've got more watches than I know what to do with now. I don't need another watch; I need a band for a watch I already own. And believe me, it's a nice watch. I wouldn't be going through this to put a band on an old Timex.

So now my choice is either a jeweler, which will be expensive (100% pelagic sealskin! On sale for $99!), or I just have to give up and get one from Amazon for $10 and hope for the best.

Guess which one I'll be doing?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Greaseless Mechanic

Along with the previous post about DIY home improvement shows, I have the same problem with car repair shows. Used to watch them, now—forget it.

Here's how a typical car repair show goes. Today we're going to restore this classic 1961 Ford Thunderbird. First we begin by ripping out single-reservoir, shoe brake system and replacing them entirely with a brand new dual-reservoir disc braking system*. Next we're going to rip out the original 6v wiring and replace it with 12 volt*. Then we're going to tear that ancient cap 'n points distributor ignition and replace it with a brand new, high energy, distributorless ignition*. Next we remove that crap stockblock V8 which cranked only about 110 horses on its best day, and we're going to bolt on new manifolds*, intake and exhaust, add racing cylinder heads* and a high throughput custom exhaust*. Then on the inside, we're going to remove the old AM radio and place it with a state of the art HD FM, Satellite/iPod/bluetooth GPS navigation system*. We're going to fit electric windows and locks* on all our doors, and a security system with Lo-Jack.*

About the only original thing left on this "restored" vehicle will be the windshield wipers.

And all of this will be done over the course of maybe 4 half-hour shows, each about 12 minutes long after you cut out commercials, teasers, recaps and assorted other shit. They'll do it without cutting themselves, making any mistakes, finding out that something doesn't fit, that the instructions are wrong, that a part is missing, or getting a streak of grease anywhere.

Meanwhile, I can't seem to replace a blown headlight on my car without knocking it out of time.

* donated by a sponsor

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Home Wrecking

I have a weird love-hate with some of these DIY shows. I like learning how to do things; but I hate how most of the DIY shows have evolved into doing the same few things—and they're things I wouldn't do myself anyway.

On the DIY channel, which I used to enjoy, almost every show seems to take place in the kitchen or the bathroom, with a few for the garage. They mostly seem to do the same thing. Kitchen: yank out the countertop and put in a granite one. Put up that mosaic-tile backsplash. Remove the cupboards and put up different ones. In the bathroom: rip out the fixtures and put in new ones. And a tv. Always put in a tv. I always want to watch tv when I'm on the throne.

For the garage, it's always removing clutter and changing it into something else: maybe a workroom, maybe a workout room, maybe a game room. At the end it's always beautiful. But where did all that clutter go? You can't tell me that they removed 450 cubic feet of stuff out of the garage, installed three cabinets and a line of hooks to hang the garden tools, and somehow there's a place for everything and everythhing in its place. There has to be a shed in the back yard that's bursting in the seems now.

They never do the things I want to see. You know what I want in my bathroom? A urinal. Some day when I have a place of my own, I'm going to put one into the master bath. You laugh? Why? With a urinal, there's no reason to raise the seat (unless to clean it), and no middle of the night misses. You say it's another thing to clean? Yeah, but it's a lot easier to clean.

And screw the tv set. How about a real medicine cabinet? I'm not on any meds, and my crappy medicine cabinet is full anyway. You put in a few boxes of various size band-aids, some anti-sceptic, the sun block, the basic OTC meds (cough drops, pepto, antacids), razor blades, toothpaste—and it's full. And that's just me. A woman can fill a regular sized medicine chest with face creams alone.

The only show where you actually learn how to do something is on Ask This Old House. When I buy my house, I'm going to ask them to help me install a urinal.