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Sunday, 15 October 2023


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In fact, I've got a pool question! Well, a pool shed question. I remember your insulation guy saying that you'd be able to heat it with a match. Did that turn out to be the case? Rack 'em up!

I ended (after you revived) my own watch 'enthusiasm' for vintage mechanical watches at six, which is about four too many. They range from a $30 Russian diver to my latest, last and most expensive acquisition, a Hamilton Pilot Pioneer reissue (at a substantial sale price). I'm not into bling of any sort, but each of them (particularly since they are of small case size) is a jewel-like piece of mechanical wonder with its own particular 'personality,' most with past lives from previous owners. Ridiculously enormous watch sizes are finally starting to come down now- I wonder how many owners realize all the empty space they contain inside...

Re watches. I'm with you on solar quartz watches. May I point out one more feature that I have come to love that can be found at relatively low cost on some Citizen solar quartz models. Saphire glass. This is usually found on much more expensive watches. It makes a big difference in keeping the faces clear and without scratches. I especially like it when teamed with their light super titanium cases. Whatever they do to make the titanium "super" makes the cases more scratchproof as well.

This post feels like you're out of the molasses, having been there myself, welcome to momentum:)

The things you love, in addition to making you happy, can free your mind up to use them more effectively. I was somewhat scandalized that the work I was shooting with an eBay-special Kiev 60 was miles better than when I used a Hasselblad! After the Kiev's shutter exploded, took me several years but ended up with a Pentax 67, which apparently was what my heart truly desired. What a beauty.

On the subject of food, there is something very freeing about having a repertoire of dishes that fit one's own taste and dietary needs.

I cannot recommend Food Wishes highly enough. Chef John shows how to cook dishes in the most repeatable style anywhere. Want to know what the food looks like when it's not quite done, and then when it's ready? He shows you. That weird step that feels wrong, but is actually normal? He calls it out. I have learned so much.

And, as always, enjoy!

I had a (brief) watch enthusiasm, about eight to ten years ago. This was for watches from Christopher Ward, a UK company which imported mechanical watches designed and made to their specification from Swiss components, including movements. The two I bought were not, at that time, too unreasonably-priced, but I see that the successor models have at least doubled in price. They've moved firmly into the luxury good market.

But I'm an Apple fanboy, and the announcement of the Series 5 Apple Watch with its always-on display killed my interest in anything else. Yes, there are annoyances - having to keep it charged is the biggest - but I relish the way it's linked to the whole ecosystem, via the iPhone. I bought mine four years ago, and I've only just started getting 'battery service required' messages. That's OK - those mechanical watches also needed servicing every few years, too. I can't see enough difference between my Series 5 and the current Series 9 to make me want to replace it, so I shall have the battery service done and hopefully get to enjoy it for another four years.

Re cameras and watches - both lifelong passions of mine - I have come to the expensive realization that you can select them from pictures or reviews but you only bond with them through use. I have owned and used most of the Nikon setups of the last 4 or 5 decades but they were never more than tools for me. Some were incredibly effective and gained my respect but I never really found a camera that I bonded with until I tried the Lumix GX8. Probably some combination of form/function/size but don't try to apply logic here any more than you would to the selection of a life partner. Some things just work for you.
Having been though the Swiss "chronographs" (their term, not mine) and still valuing them in my little collection, the perfect watches for my daily use is the Casio AE1500. It's essentially a G-Shock with much larger digits in an overall smaller package, a 10-year battery, and more comfortable than any other watch I've owned. It is the Casio in one color or another, that I reach for every morning. Oh, and they cost about $20 if you shop carefully.

Get an Apple Watch to monitor your Afib. There are too many benefits to list, but both my cardiologists recommend it. And it does other things that keep the iPhone in my pocket, and my health awareness active. Granted, it only has one ECG sensor vs. 9 or more at the med office, but it’s sensitive enough to provide a range and generate reports for your doctor.

What the world actually needs is a mirrorless B&W camera, that way you cannot see colours in the EVF even if you wanted to. One of the advantages of mirrorless is to see a histogram BEFORE taking the picture, which is actually when you want to see it, so why not go the extra step, all B&W from viewfinder to file. Technology can deliver this now, so why would you not use it. I understand that old time pros can visualize B&W, good for them, they can keep doing that if they want to with the K-3 monochrome, nothing stopping them.

Mike - maybe give Apple watches a try? They are as accurate as anything, of course, but their real selling point for me (and, ahem, people of a certain age) is the ability to just tap the watch and leave yourself reminders/alarms so you're not writing notes and forgetting things.

I had a decades long mechanical watch "enthusiasm" but I now pretty much wear my Apple watch esclusively.

Sorry to hear about your troubles.

I found a link on the Seiko site and it looks like your SNE031 is still available [ https://www.seikowatches.com/us-en/products/discovermore/sne031p9 ] (hopefully at a lower price elsewhere!)

My SNE039 is still running well and accurately. Maybe your rechargeable battery isn't holding a charge.

Those SNE0xx models are pretty much ideal. Small enough, but legible. Accurate and sturdy enough for everyday use, unless you work in a tough environment. Thinner than most solar-powered watches too.

I'm just waiting to see what other shaving stuff you purchase. One razor and one brush? To paraphrase the Lay's potato chip slogan, you can't stop at one. You'll probably want a stainless steel razor, fancy brush, nice lathering bowl, a nice assortment of different soaps, etc. G.A.S.!

Sorry to hear that Casio took away functionality from your Oceanus.

How well will my old double edge razor blade sharpener work with those platinum blades? Is pretty good with the old Gillette Super Blue blades.

Finding the old tried & true OD Green wind up watch from the VietNam day is getting more difficult all the time. Just not that many around and decent wind up watches are apparently not big sellers now.

On Pool - I get more than I need reading Kirk Tuck...

Re: Coffee - don't know if you ever tried roasting decaf beans - but the Behmor (I think that's the roaster you had - I have one as well) is pretty well behaved with roasting decaf.

Caffeine and I had to part ways decades ago, not for heart reasons, thankfully. True, decaf can never reach the highest levels of quality of regular beans. All methods of removing caffeine from green beans, including swiss or mountain water process (the only one two should ever use) still degrade the beans a bit.

And of course, that rare, low volume estate batch from whatever favorite cooperative in Ethiopia is never going to be offered in decaf. :-(

Still, my home roasted decaf is leaps ahead of almost anything I can routinely buy elsewhere and puts CharBucks and their ilk to shame.

Not that you need another distraction or reboot of a hobby ...

I just retrieved a foot-tall stack of prints from storage to pick up the editing where I left off five years ago. Feels good.

Fortunately, the razor seems to have sold out.

After being a die-hard street and documentary photographer my whole photography life I started my first 'real' hobby in January 2021. I'm 64 so having a hobby was all new to me - before it was all about 'serious photography'. Canon released a 'cheap' 600mm f11 lens and I thought it might be nice to have - my longest lens before that was 300mm. It was also cheap. So I started practicing on the birds in my garden and found it was quite difficult to get a decent shot - they move all the time and fly away on a whim! Soon the birds in my garden became too familiar and to find more and new birds I visited the largest urban nature reserve in the world ( not sure if this is true) - Rietvlei Nature Reserve - a mere 12 minutes from my home by car and before I knew it I was hooked. So now I visit Rietvlei 2-3 times a week and all my holidays are scheduled around bird photography... In the meantime, I 'upgraded to an Eos R7 and an 800mm F11 - because with birds 'you can never have a lens that's long enough'. My life list stands at an embarrassingly low 268 and it's getting more and more difficult to find new birds, but I only count the ones I have decent images of. To put it mildly, I'm a slightly obsessed bird photographer. My website ivanmullerphotography.com has a collection of my bird and other photography endeavours.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I also love watches - but I only have one - and I was quite chuffed to find that Kirk Tuck's hero, Henry White in the Lisbon Portfolio wears the same brand as I do, a Fortis! I have the 'Flieger' version - very plain, not too accurate but that's what I have...

Sorry to hear about your watch troubles. The problem with solar and kinetic watches is that the capacitor/battery will fail. Sometimes prematurely, but eventually they all fail, and when that happens they may be harder to open up for repair than standard quartz watch, so they are not the forever watches that manufacturers will have you believe.

https://adventuresinamateurwatchfettling.com/2023/03/20/the-last-watch-i-would-ever-own-citizen-promaster-pmt56-2731/ (amateur watchmaking is also a hobby)

I have come to think it is less hassle to just get a standard quartz watch and change the battery every few years. Non-smart watches with app support I would also avoid. I've been eyeing that Casio, but decided against based on size (long lugs) and not really needing the sync-function.

My philosophy for watch collecting would be fewer but better watches. Those cheap novelties add up in cost, money that could go into a more significant piece. Everyone can decide for themself what is the ideal collection size, but watches that sit in a box are sad

Eh, quartz watches... My smartphone satisfies with critical accuracy. My automatic dive watches are for fun (and reasonable accuracy, when treated right).

Mike, why not try your tea with lime juice rather than lemon? I find it particularly perfumed!

I am not surprised when you lost interest in the quartz watches. Accuracy is one thing. Having to repeatedly change batteries is another.

Purely by chance my dalliance with watches started and ended in roughly the same time frame as yours. I think you and I have similar taste in watches. I considered buying the same Oceanus but instead opted for a titanium quartz Seiko.

The watch obsession can easily get out of hand, for a few reasons. Watches are one of the only cultural sanctioned pieces of jewelry that men can wear, and they happen to have the practical benefit of giving the time. The barrier to entry is low. There's a watch for everyone, from cheap and cheerful Casios to the Veblen goods produced by the Swiss. Finally, it's a low commitment "hobby". Unlike a camera you don't have to learn how to use a watch, you just wear it.

I had to pump the brakes on my own watch enthusiasm when I found myself shopping for watches when the one I had bought was still in transit to my home.

Surprise by the coffee test. Wonder it is a general issue as I drink every day at least 1 cup of home made espresso.

You wrote -
"My mission is to amass 12 recipes for meals I like and can cook, so they can go into rotation"

What would be even better is to learn how to cook various *kinds* of things, various cooking techniques. Then you could cook a wider range of meals with less stress by substituting ingredients but using the techniques you already know. Just like with photography - when you learned to read the light you could take pictures without constantly referring to a light meter.

"I might even take a cooking class"

Do it. Sign up today. You will benefit in multiple ways.

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