Look at what popped up on Barnfinds.com this morning: a 1966 Chrysler 300 convertible the same color as Bob’s. From what the commentariat says, it’s in rough shape (it’s in Louisiana) and probably worth nothing more than parts. This one is red over white with a white top, and features a 383 with air conditioning. I’d prefer having A/C, but the white upholstery and top look pretty lousy to me.

Date posted: September 13, 2022 | Filed under cars, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Fucking hell. Amazon apparently canceled Paper Girls, even though it was a hit with critics. I guess they didn’t meet some kind of viewer metric. They say they’re shopping it around to other streaming services; I hope to hell they can find a new home for it.

Date posted: September 12, 2022 | Filed under entertainment, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I got an email a couple of weeks ago from Vaer, the folks who made the Field Watch I’ve been wearing for most of this year. They send me a newsletter once every couple of weeks, which I usually don’t read, but this one was a little different; they were offering a deal for owners who’d previously written a review of their watch tied to the opening of their Amazon storefront. They basically dangled two watches in front of me for a sizable discount and expected me to just walk away.

I was ready to, honestly, but when I realized that one of them was a diver offered with a 38mm case size, I got very interested. It’s a solar-powered automatic with a black face and bezel, and from all the pictures I saw, I thought it looked pretty good. They have a couple of other bezels I like just a smidge better—but the more I went back to the open browser tab, the more I liked it. I figured I’d try it out and if it wasn’t to my taste I’d send it back, so I clicked the button.

In the flesh, it’s a very nice watch. It’s taller than my Ollech & Wajs—the Timex I tried was the same height—which has been taking some getting used to. All of the other watches I own are very thin, with the exception of the Todd Snyder Timex, which is also the widest in diameter. This sits up on my wrist, but the relationship of the bezel to the crystal isn’t as severe as the Timex, and the proportions are more carefully considered. The diameter is perfect. It fits the size of my wrist without feeling like I’ve strapped on a dinner plate. The movement is silent and fluid.

I was on the fence when I first unboxed it. I thought it was too tall. I hemmed and hawed and finally showed it to Jen for her opinion. She immediately liked it. She commented that she likes my field watches but said looks like an adult going-to-town watch, which I agree with. She thought I should keep it, and so the decision was made.

One thing that definitely needs to happen is a replacement watchband. The two Vaer shipped with the watch are chunky and, to be honest, pretty ugly. The strap shown on the O&W is my current favorite: a mustard-yellow NATO strap that’s got a light pattern and looks great on both this and the field watch. I need a couple of 20mm pins and a new band.

And clearly, I’ve got to have the crystal on the Ollechs & Wajs polished or replaced.

* * *

My Airpods Pro have been making terrible crackling noises for the last couple of weeks, something I didn’t notice until I was in the Scout listening to a podcast with noise cancellation turned on last weekend. Once I heard it I couldn’t not hear it, and I realized it was worst in my left ear. I made an appointment at the Apple Store and stopped in Friday morning to have them look things over. The tech verified they were covered under the replacement program, took them in back, tested them, and returned with two new earpieces (I get to keep my beat-up case, sigh). I know I’m a low-key Apple fanboy, but it’s service like this that keeps me loyal.

Driving to and from St. Mary’s County yesterday, I wore them almost the entire day, and I’ll say this: the difference was astounding. It could be the old ones were very broken, or they put new firmware on my replacements, but the noise cancellation was ten times better and the sound was improved.

Date posted: September 11, 2022 | Filed under apple, watches | Leave a Comment »

Looking for information on how to defrost the IH fridge, I stumbled on a YouTube channel run by a guy who does restorations on old appliances and other antique stuff: Vintage 55 Restorations has a bunch of interesting topics to browse through.

Date posted: September 11, 2022 | Filed under appliances, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I’m sitting on the couch in the living room with a very discouraged Hazel curled up next to me, listening to the rain fall outside. She went out for a very quick pee and came right back up onto the porch to be let back inside. The girls are still abed, and Bella is in the hall crying to be let in the bedroom, but aside from that it’s quiet.

I drove down to St. Mary’s yesterday to spend some time with Bob and continue demolition on the guest bathroom. After ensuring he’d eaten breakfast and taken his morning pills, I dragged my tools upstairs and commenced to cutting the remainder of the concrete into smaller chunks I could pry out with a bitch bar. When I’d hauled all of that downstairs I pulled up the tarpaper and surveyed the damage to the subfloor: it was rotten mostly between the toilet and the shower, with some intrusion into the center of the floor. So I cut a 48″x32″ section out of the center, went to Lowe’s for some wood and Panera for some lunch, and fed the both of us. Then I cut the wood down in the driveway, added a port for the toilet pipe, and laid it in with some 2″ screws. With the hole in the floor covered, I finished removing wallpaper and got the whole room cleaned up.

The floor will wait until the shower guys finish their work (they’re cutting everything out and replacing it as part of their contract) and then I’ll piece in the rest of the floor before laying tile board down on top of it. In the meantime I’ve got to clean the walls up, use some mud to smooth them out, and put a coat of paint on them.

After cleaning things up, I packed the truck, made sure Bob had everything he needed, and beat feet for home. It was supposed to rain as soon as the sun went down, but all I hit were some sprinkles 20 miles from home. The truck continues to run smoothly and reliably. I even enjoyed a working heater valve and a headlight knob that doesn’t fall off in my hands anymore. It’s the little things.

Today’s plan is to take things easy. I’ve got a few small things to accomplish around the house but I plan on watching a little football and generally relaxing.

Date posted: September 11, 2022 | Filed under family | Leave a Comment »

I had a bunch of time on Labor Day to fart around, and after a leisurely start in the morning, I got to work on the windshield project. The first part was sanding the chassis encapsulator drips off and prepping the surfaces for primer. I started with the back and worked my way over to the front, polishing everything with 1000 grit sanding blocks. After the majority was covered I used seam sealer on the top and sides, closing up the areas where pinch welds were all that IH used, and let that sit.

The next big question, based on the plan, was: how easy is it to swap out windshield frames? I’d pulled a whole frame off a truck back in 1999 or so, humorously enough right up the road at West End International, but I don’t remember how easy or hard that was twenty-plus years later.

The frames are built with two braces on each side. The braces mount to the top of the cowl with two bolts and a third on the passenger side to adjust up or down. The A-pillars are built with access panels to reach each of these bolts, but it’s a lot easier to see and adjust things when you can reach them, and for that I figured the fenders might have to come off. I’ve never had the fenders off this truck or Chewbacca—I’ve probably pulled ten different fenders off of other Scouts in the past, but not the two I actually own. I had no idea what to expect. There are somewhere between twenty to twenty five bolts that hold each fender in place, and all it takes is one frozen bolt to ruin an afternoon. Knowing that I was probably doomed at the beginning, I got the impact driver out and started working. And to my shock and surprise, all of them came out with little to no problem.

Actually getting the fender off took a little doing—the space between the door and fender is small—but when I figured that out I could see what I was dealing with. The well at the bottom below the kick vent was full of twigs and leaves; I’ll have to vacuum the other side later this fall. Somebody had gotten in here and hit everything with POR-15 or some other encapsulator, because it’s all in excellent shape. The inner fender is relatively solid except for some rusty spots in the front corner, so I’ll have to repeat this process and hit it with encapsulator.

What I found was that I can’t really see much of the bolts or their mounts from the front side, and there isn’t much gained by pulling the fender at all. The only advantage would be to hit the back sides of the bolts with PBBlaster, something I forgot to do before I rehung the fender.

I did, however, spend time doing something completely useless: I pulled two of the spares off the wall in the garage and hung them on the outside of the truck for shits and giggles.

Oddly, I’m not that upset with how the white fender looks! I don’t think I’d ever paint this truck white, but it’s got an interesting appeal. I wonder if my opinion would change if I hung one of the red doors on it instead of the purple.

It was due to rain in the afternoon, so I got things put back together quickly, finished sanding the windshield frame, and put everything back into the garage. I decided I’d stick with the current paint theme and keep the new frame red, so the color I chose is Chrysler Flame Red, which is close enough to what I’ve already got.

After Amazon dropped off the paint, I sanded the frame once more, wiped it with a tack cloth, and prepped it for paint. I was thinking Flame Red was going to be light and bright, like IH Red, but it appears to be a lot brighter than I was bargaining for. After one coat from the Duplicolor and some quick sanding, here’s how things stood:

I’m considering covering this with International Red, which has more blue and isn’t quite as bright. I’ve got a can of Ace implement paint, basically made for covering scars on farm equipment, and I’m thinking I’ll sand the Flame Red smooth and put a couple of coats of this on it, because I like the color much better.

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

Date posted: September 11, 2022 | Filed under Scout | Comments Off on Windshield Update

Going back in time, I realize that I’ve either partially or fully renovated five bathrooms in my life. I’ve done everything from demolition to plumbing to laying tile, and I’ve hit many pitfalls and unexpected setbacks with each one. The whore-pink tile in our house in New York was held in place with chicken wire and cement. The floor of the jacuzzi room in that same house collapsed under me while I was demoing it. The bathroom in my rowhome was built with cardboard scraps and kindergarten paste. Almost all of them have featured leaky plumbing, substandard wiring, or rotten wood. Bathrooms are great gaping maws of money and time, and it is never an easy decision to plow ahead with a remodel unless one is independently wealthy and able to live in one of one’s other mansions while the plaster dust flies. I’ve never had that luxury, so I’m used to shitting in a bucket and showering with a garden hose.

It was, then, with some trepidation that I agreed to help my father in law rehab his guest bathroom. His house was built in the late 70’s, with all of the positives and many negatives that implies. The bathroom hosted five teenagers and shows every battle scar—it’s a miracle it hasn’t fallen through the ceiling, frankly. At some point in the distant past he got in there and pulled the tub and vanity out, and then stalled on the project. It’s been like that for years. A few weeks ago he informed us that he’d agreed to have a company come in and quote on a new bathtub, so we were sure to be on hand when the salesman came to look at it. At first we balked on the quoted price, but then deciding it wasn’t a bad idea to have them do the hardest part (the tub and surround), we signed a contract and made a plan to handle the rest ourselves.

I’d already wrapped up a bunch of other smaller projects in the house, so it was easy to pivot to demolition last weekend. I brought a bunch of hammers and chisels and saws, and had chipped all of the tile out in about an hour. Underneath that was a poured slab of 1″ concrete directly on top of the wood subfloor, which was, predictably, rotting. I was able to chip out two sections that had already cracked, but my attempt to cut through the remainder with a fiber-based wheel only created clouds of noxious dust. I backed off and let things settle, then started spraying the walls with wallpaper stripper. By about 4:30 and one run to Lowe’s I had all but two small sections offf the wall and ready for scrubbing.

This coming weekend I’m returning with a steel cutting wheel and an angle grinder, and I hope to have all of the concrete out as well as the subfloor gone. It’s going to make a mess but there’s no other way to make progress, so there it is.

* * *

Sunday was a recovery day, for various reasons. The highlight was waking up slowly and taking the family down to the Farmer’s Market for some coffee, empañadas, fresh produce, and some delicious ginger-cardamom lemonade from the same guy who sold us smoked trout. The girls made a side salad and steamed corn and we had that for dinner on the front porch, under the breeze from the fan, and it was fantastic.

Date posted: September 6, 2022 | Filed under family, house | Leave a Comment »

Owning an antique vehicle requires keeping a number of lists. There’s the standard to-do list; there might be a list of parts sources, a list of trusted mechanics, maybe a mileage or expenditures list, and several how-do-I-do-this-again lists. I’ve got all of these plus about twenty more, and one of them is the why-did-I-forget-about-that list. This list contains all of the dumb little things I should have handled ten years ago when I first got the truck, or stuff I realized was broken years ago and have never gotten around to working on.

One of these forgotten things popped up last night on my way home from Southern Maryland last night. I had the top down and was driving home at freeway speed around 9PM in shorts and a T-shirt. Now, I’m not the biggest of guys—through some freak of genetics my BMI is still exceptionally low at this age, so I don’t retain heat well. By 9:30 I was pretty chilly. I had the chance to put a long-sleeve shirt and a windbreaker on at a red light but my legs were cold. Ordinarily it would be a very easy thing to turn the heat on, right? Well, not in Peer Pressure.

See, the valve controlling the heater core has been almost frozen shut since I’ve had the truck. I could get into the engine compartment and open it with a pair of pliers—which is how it stayed through most winters—but it’s not optimal for September days when the daytime temps are in the 80’s and the nights go down to the 50’s. Having it finally be adjustable from the cabin would be great. I drove home with a blanket on my legs for part of the drive, swearing that I was finally going to handle the situation this weekend.

I’ve had a new valve handy since I refurbished the heater core, so today I took about fifteen minutes to pull the old valve off and replace it with the new one. The hardest part was loosening the hoses from the old metal parts, but with a pair of pliers and a nut driver it swapped in pretty easily. Now the lever on the dashboard opens and closes it with ease; I should be in much better shape this fall.

Meanwhile, the Duplicolor I ordered specifically this weekend suddenly got delayed, so I can’t paint the windshield frame over the long weekend like I was hoping. I’ve got primer and sanding pads here ready to go, so I can prep it ahead of time, but I would really like to get color on it before it starts getting colder, and work toward getting the new glass installed before October.

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

Date posted: September 4, 2022 | Filed under Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on 15 Minutes to Heat

Peer Pressure has been running like a champ; I’ve taken her down and back to Southern Maryland twice in the last two weekends, riding with the top down under sunny skies, with the tunes on, and the dog dozing in the backseat.

I had a couple of hours to kill this weekend and used them to prepare the spare windshield for paint, based on my plan. I spent a couple of hours grinding as much of the remaining rust out of the visible sections as I could and then hit them with encapsulator. Then I used my can of Internal Frame Coating to cover as much of the interior as possible; I thought it might cut down on the rattling of rusty material inside the frame, but it did not. When I sat the frame on the ground to spray the second one, it dripped the material on parts I’d already sanded smooth, so I’ll have to do that again.

I’ve got to hit it with lighter primer anyway before it gets a color, so there’s more sanding in my future. I bought two cans of Duplicolor’s Chrysler Flash Red, which seems to be a lighter shade that will approximate the original IH shade of red on the current windshield.

A couple of weeks ago I sent off two packages in the mail—one to my internet friend Lydia in Austin, containing an Old Line State Binders T-shirt and a bunch of stickers in trade for the beautiful Austin Binders shirt she gave me. It wound its way through the post office and she finally got it yesterday (I was getting worried).

The second was a handful of stickers to Super Scout Specialists; they’d posted a call for stickers on Insta for the window on their front door, and in return they’d send a bunch of theirs back. I ran a new set of Peer Pressure stickers with my handle and hashtag more prominently visible and sent them off, and yesterday I got a bunch of cool stickers back from them—including a version of the famous Super Scout illustration from the 70’s. I gotta figure out where to put this one.

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

Date posted: September 1, 2022 | Filed under Scout | Comments Off on August Scouting