My buddy Rob, who I’ve written about before, is only partially to blame for me being interested in watches. Back when I only had one, he was already into modding big Seiko models from the 90’s, which are gigantic metal beasts. He was working on one he wanted to give me, but all of the custom models he’d designed (he had impeccable taste) looked like I was wearing a hubcap on my wrist. He laughed and said they were called tuna cans, which seems to be a trend in watches right now.

Cigar and Watch

I’m a small guy, so tuna cans only accentuate that fact. It was years before I realized big baggy clothes (which were, admittedly, the style in the late 80’s-early 90’s) made me look like a skeleton wearing a pup tent. Once Jen and Karean convinced me to wear tailored clothes that fit my frame the way God intended, I changed up my style completely and embraced what worked. Big watches are not on that list.

Timex has been releasing new watches based on old designs for the last couple of years, and there was one that caught my eye early last year: the Navi Harbor 38mm, which looked like a nice mixture of the Ollech & Wajs diving watch I got from the Mildew House and the field watches I tend to favor. 38mm is the right case size—not too large and usually pretty thin. Most of the watches I own are 38mm or smaller, save my Hamilton and a Todd Snyder Timex I bought on discount early this year. The Navi Harbor was sold out for about a year until a few weeks ago when I got an alert that they were back in stock. With a holiday discount I got a good deal on one, and I ordered it.

While I liked the way it looked on the website, in reality it was a lot different. It’s much bigger and thicker than in the photos. More troubling, the proportions are all wrong. The bezel of the watch is very high and the crystal is raised off the watch face a lot more than I like. The lugs are placed too close together, making the strap look extra thin, and that plus the overall height makes it look even fatter than it is. I love the look of the dial and the hands, but the whole package just didn’t work for me. And the band it came with was too long for my wrist, so I’d need to swap that out almost immediately. Using the classic proportions of my current diver as a baseline, this fell completely short. So after wearing it for an hour, I boxed it up and got it ready to send back.

Date posted: June 30, 2021 | Filed under general | Leave a Comment »

I saw an ad pop up on Facebook Marketplace for some parts a few weeks ago and filed it away for future reference; as our trip to Mom’s got closer I reached out to the seller. He was in Pine City, a little south and west of Cayuga Lake, so I scheduled a visit on our way home.

The trip from Mom’s house was very pretty and one I’d never made before. We drove down the west side of the lake, parallel to the shore for 2/3 of its length. It was wild to see Aurora from across the water even if I couldn’t make anything out at that distance. We also saw several old Internationals along the way, something I rarely experience, especially up that far north.

The seller lived out in the middle of nowhere, and as I pulled up he already had the fender on the lawn and was coming around the house with a Dana 20 on the lift of a small tractor. We shot the breeze for a while, and I eventually talked him down a little on the condition of the fender; it’s got some bondo on the front edge (and a new dent, yay) and pinholes around the lip of the wheel arch. I can definitely work with it, though, and after a chemical stripping and some sanding I think I can weld the pinholes and clean it up.

The Dana 20 was less of a priority but was something I was interested in just to have a spare sitting in the garage; at some point I’ll take it to be rebuilt and sealed up but for now it’s quietly leaking gear oil on the floor of the garage. He also had a tailgate with the cleanest interior sheetmetal I’ve ever seen. Usually it looks like someone was hauling boulders around in the back of the truck, but there was hardly a scratch on the inside of this one. The outside had some rust-through though, and I’ve already got a spare in the garage, so I passed.

So now I’ve got two solid replacement front fenders, which makes me feel pretty good. Clean fenders are pretty rare on the ground so I’m happy to stock up on spares if the price is right—and they’re getting more expensive.

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: June 29, 2021 | Filed under Purchasing, Scout | Comments Off on Rural Parts Pickup




Date posted: June 29, 2021 | Filed under family, photo | Leave a Comment »

I’m up at my Mom’s house this weekend for the first time in a year, and it’s been a great visit so far. We haven’t done much other than visit and eat, and frankly, that’s OK with me.

I went into the basement to move some stuff around and look over the back corner where some water had been collecting. When I’d cleared everything away and sprayed the cinderblock down with bleach, I started sorting through stuff and making a dump pile. One of the things that I was interested in looking over were a box full of 8mm film reels that date back from before I was born. Dad left two projectors behind, a Bell & Howell and an Argus, and chances were 50/50 that one of them still had a functioning bulb. I spent some time before dinner learning how to load the Argus properly, and within about 20 minutes had a reel of our family trip across the country projected on the wall of the living room. He shot a fair bit of movie film: there are  about 20 reels in total, a mixture of 7″, 6″, 5″ and one 3″, which equals out to about eight hours of movies in total.

There are several digitization services out there, one of which is Kodak, who will convert two reels for $70. I think I might send two of the 7″ reels (roughly 28 minutes of footage) out to them and see how good things look.

Date posted: June 26, 2021 | Filed under family | Leave a Comment »

At Jalopnik, David Tracy looks at the 2021 Honda Civic, which will be offered as a sedan with an automatic transmission, and more interestingly, as a hatchback with a stick. And, I really like the look of it. The rear end doesn’t look like a dekotora truck anymore. I have no immediate plans to upgrade cars, but this is the first thing I’ve seen that makes me reconsider. Maybe when the car markets all calm down next year…

Date posted: June 25, 2021 | Filed under cars, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I was in D.C. today and figured I’d try to line up a shot as close to my office as I could with an in-game screenshot from The Division 2. I can’t go anywhere beyond the wall you see down the street, which is a bummer. They did an amazing job of getting the details as close as they could. I can’t imagine how long it took to build this game.

Date posted: June 21, 2021 | Filed under art/design | Leave a Comment »

When I first started playing video games back in 1997 with a demo copy of Marathon, I played by myself on story mode and got into a habit of avoiding multiplayer games that stuck with me for decades. Partially because I always had Macs, and even though Marathon offered a co-op mode, it was only for LAN and nobody else I knew had a Mac to play on. When I worked at the game company I played HALO at the office in co-op mode and enjoyed it immensely, but that was at a time when I didn’t own a console myself and wasn’t really interested in purchasing a gaming PC good enough to join my co-workers in overnight games of Counterstrike or Dark Age of Camelot. It wasn’t until much later that I found a cast-off Xbox at a yard sale but most of  the games were so old the servers had been shut down.

When my family sent me the new Xbox to help get me through chemotherapy I avoided online games because I really didn’t want to talk to anybody at that point and I also wanted to avoid a monthly subscription—I am, after all, a cheap bastard. But most modern games require a game pass of some kind, and when I sprung for Fallout 76 I had to bite the bullet. I’ve avoided all multiplayer until recently, but in The Division 2 I’ve reached the limit of what I can do solo before running up against missions which require a team effort to overcome.

So, on Friday afternoon I joined a mission with another player to test the waters, was matched with someone who had their microphone on. I was treated to a one-sided discussion punctuated with wet coughing while their in game character stood motionless facing a wall. I disconnected to go eat dinner but after the girls went to bed I tried again and had more success. I was  paired with two players at my level and we ran through several missions successfully. Despite all my misgivings, I had a great time. Nobody had their mic on so I didn’t need to talk to anybody, but we communicated well enough to make short work of the enemies we faced. I put the controller down at midnight, my right thumb sore, and went to bed happy that I finally stepped out of my comfort zone and didn’t get fragged by a 12-year-old named DaRk_SlAyEr_2121.

This game is really amazing to look at. It’s set in Washington, D.C. and while I know they’ve taken liberties with the scale of the city, I’ve been able to Google Streetview some of the places I’m exploring and see a pretty close  1-to-1 with real life. I’m dying to go to the block where my office is, but it’s inside a Dark Zone where players can kill each other and loot their gear, so I’m a little hesitant. Maybe at 1PM on a Tuesday before school lets out I’ll give it a try.

As of Saturday, all but four bays of the eaves are scraped and painted on the front of the house. As of Sunday, the east side peak above the new bathroom is 4/5 scraped, sprayed and painted. It was mostly direct sun all day so I couldn’t sit on the exposed roof for long, and I wasn’t interested in hanging my ass out over the backyard like Tom Cruise on the Burj Kalifa, so there are sections at either end that need to be finished. But the majority of it is done, and it looks 100% better from the road, which is what I care about the most. It’s not visible from the road but the roof up there looks like it snowed for a couple of hours. I came inside covered with a layer of paint chips an inch thick.

I need to use the roller to reach a tiny spot on the east side over the driveway but the west side of the front facade requires some more planning and construction—I’ll need to build a sturdy platform to level off the slope on that side so that I can put up a ladder and reach the last couple of bays. Pretty much everything else is done other than the shutters, and there’s no decision on color for those yet. If the weather would only cooperate…

* * *

Things in the greenhouse are going reasonably well, although the first couple of Purple Cherokees coming in have blossom end rot. I bought bonide spray at the hardware store yesterday and sprayed the leaves down in the hopes that the rest of the plants don’t suffer the same problem. Outside, the trees have been dropping tons of sap on the plastic, which has been getting filthier by the day. I put a ladder up and washed both sides, first with a mop and then with a rag to get the dirt off. The south side cleaned up better than the north, and now everything in there will get better sunlight for growing.

Date posted: June 20, 2021 | Filed under family, general, house | Leave a Comment »

After much hemming and hawing I busted out a drill and an angle grinder and set up the ammo can the way I’ve been planning since last year. Ultimately I went with my first plan, which was to bolt the tongue of the hasp to the bottom of the can and bolt the staple to the bed of the truck. This went pretty smoothly. I cut the hinge off the hasp, drilled holes in it and the can, and bolted them together after trimming the bolts to size. Then I cut a piece of steel down to boost the height of the staple and bolted that into the bed. All the bare metal got cleaned with acetone, etch primed, and painted with flat camouflage green, and tomorrow I’ll drop the can in place. All it needs then is a second lock for the bed of the truck.

I did also get a roll of heat matting in the mail last week, and I’m looking at how and when I can install some on the firewall. Poking around in front of the seats this evening, the factory insulation looked pretty good on the passenger side and terrible on the driver’s side—so I tore it out in front of the pedals.

I think the key to adding this stuff is going to be sanding the rusty spots down, hitting them with encapsulator, then cleaning the surfaces as much as possible with acetone or some other degreaser.

There are a lot of mechanical bits on the driver’s side that need to stay uncovered so I’ll have to work around those. I think the plan will be to prep the areas as mentioned above and then use some heavy paper or cardboard to template out the matting. It says all over the box “VERY STICKY” and it would be my luck to get it stuck to the brake pedal or something.

I’m first going to cut a section and do a test run on the passenger’s door first so I know what I’m dealing with. Closing that door sounds like dropping a frying pan onto a dumpster, so having the matting help with vibration will be great.

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: June 15, 2021 | Filed under Scout | Comments Off on Tuesday Tinkering

A guy bought a cheap Jeep YJ and drove it from Alaska to Argentina in 2012, and then began a tour of Africa in a different one. He put together a quick article about preparing a vehicle for extended overlanding in remote areas, where rolling up to a service station isn’t an option. His TL;DR list: Keep it as stock as possible, replace high-wear parts before leaving, know your vehicle and prep with any specialty tools you’ll need, and obviously, don’t drive it like a meathead.

Date posted: June 15, 2021 | Filed under cars, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

We enjoyed a somewhat quiet weekend with our friend Christopher visiting from New York, which meant there wasn’t a lot of movement other than switching from the living room to the porch. The weather kept flipping back and forth from sunny to overcast, but I was able to go rent a ladder from Home Depot—I have a 7′ stepladder and a 24′ extension ladder but nothing in between, which makes painting 12′ eaves difficult—and clean up the first floor trim. Then I brought the tools and a leaf blower up to the roof of the porch, scraped about seven of the bays in the eaves, and hit them with a coat of fresh white paint. Then I blew all of the paint chips off which made it look much cleaner. There are a bunch more to do but it already looks worlds better up there.

The tomatoes in the greenhouse are all looking very happy, and more of the plants are producing fruit. I’ve got to look in to proper fertilization to avoid blossom end rot and pull a couple of runty plants out to make way for the bigger ones.

Date posted: June 14, 2021 | Filed under friends, greenhouse | Leave a Comment »