Random thoughts, dubious rants, curiosities and worthy citations on the media, politics, marketing, music, inanity, and animals, among other things. Words and pictures and stuff, mostly from south central Wisconsin USA
I'm not entirely sure what led to my desire to have an over-sized black-faced watch with a rubber wrist band. Perhaps it was that this high school neighbor kid (that in hindsight I kind of crushed on) had one. Or that it just looked cool. All I really know for sure is that I had a little kid's Timex and I wanted something more, I don't know, adult.
My parents didn't disappoint. On August 11th, 1970, they gave me this Caravelle diver's watch, just like I had wished for. I was ecstatic. It was so cool, and it was exactly what I pictured when I asked for one. It's a wind-up, and I only bring it out on my birthday. And goddamn if the thing doesn't still keep perfect time after all these years.
It's scratched, the band is pretty worn, and overall it looks kind of tired. No matter. This watch, $39 at the time, has held up. I wore it every day all the way through college. It shows up in family and yearbook photos. It's probably the most treasured thing I have from my childhood. The local jeweler here tells me that the Caravelle brand is still made by Bulova, and that he can restore it if I want him to. I don't. I like it just the way it is.
Of course, there is a dark side to this story. This watch became the first of well over a few hundred watches I have owned since that time. I have a kind of watch obsession. A compulsion. An addiction. Whatever you want to call it, I have a shitload of watches. I usually wear a different one each day. Some, over time, have been pitched or packed away. But the current rotation has maybe 50 that all work and are all pretty cool in there own way. Tom thinks I'm nuts, but I just like watches. Cheap ones. Gaudy ones. Precise ones. Just about everything except for over the top expensive ones. No need. There are so many reasonably priced cool watches that the gold Tiffany watch I received as an award at work 20 years ago never comes out of it's box.
So, yeah. Today's my birthday. If you are still trying to decide what to buy me, you can't go wrong with a watch.
Out of Carroll, Iowa comes the story of two would-be robbers who seemed to be without masks. But they had a black permanent marker.
Matthew McNelly and Joey Miller, c'mon down! You're on the national news wire for being complete dumb-asses! Your mothers must be so proud of you. And it's a pretty safe bet that you won't be getting those Mensa certificates anytime soon.
"They were being dumb and, combine that with alcohol, and it was the perfect storm," Carroll Police Chief Jeff Cayler told CNN.
"I've been chief here almost 25 years, been with the department 28½
years and I've seen a lot of things that make me laugh and weird things
but this was probably the best combination of the two -- strangely
weird and hilariously funny all at the same time."
It was just past noon, and I was heading from the communications building over to the Union for lunch. Passing through the courtyard next to the humanities building, something in the bike rack caught my eye.
Is that a Schwinn Collegiate? Why yes it is. And for what was likely a 40-year-old bicycle, it was in remarkably good shape. The chrome fenders still shined and the rims were rust-free. It appeared to have the original reflectors and color-matched seat. And it had a pair of shiny metal baskets over the back wheel. Save for being gold instead of green, it was exactly like the one I had when I was ten.
Yes, I was a dork who had a bike with big metal baskets. The epitome of anti-cool. And when the bike racks at school were crowded, it was had to fit into a space. And while all the other kids had Schwinn Varsity bikes, the ten-sped with the drop handlebars, I had my five-speed Collegiate with baskets. I needed that dorky version because I had a paper route. On days like Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays when the Chicago Tribune was thinner, I could do my route in one load. The baskets couldn't handle the bigger days' editions in a solo mission, and forget about Sunday. But that bike with the dorky baskets was key to me having more spending money than my grade school friends.
I remember that the bike weighed a ton compared to today's bikes. Steel construction... solid and built to last (as was evident today). A tank on two wheels. That was back when Schwinn bikes were made in the USA and were by far the best known and most popular bicycle on the market.
Schwinn is still around, sort of. The company went through a bankruptcy or two and ultimately the brand was tossed into the Pacific Cycle portfolio. Now made in China, the bikes are but one of many parity brands, and the once-powerful Schwinn dealer network is a shadow of its former self. But they still make the Collegiate. It sells for about $500.
Having a job that paid real money in fifth grade... cool. Five-speed bike with upright handlebars and big metal baskets... so not cool. But it's a fun memory nonetheless.
[Calistoga CA] The wine country in Sonoma and Napa counties is
beautiful. With our trusty rental car, an iPhone and a Blackberry, we
figured we didn't need GPS or a map. While we're not lost, as we've
been here before, we are learning how quickly one becomes dependant
when every car one owns has a GPS in it.
The wireless phone works, to a degree, but it needs cell towers to
triangulate a location. Not a lot of towers out here. Tasting wine
doesn't exactly sharpen one's own internal compass either. Not wanting to
drive back the exact route in reverse when we return to San Francisco
after dinner, we fell back on that low-tech standby: a map.
How 20th century.
Since dinner here in Calestoga will include more wine, a map is
probably worth the cost of a latte (the new universal cost-comparative
standard it seems.)