Crapped Out

Every year around the Solstice, I buy myself something I would never buy for myself during the year. It’s not a present to myself, but more of a way to remind myself that life is for living. A little frivolity is a good thing. I live to work, not work to live, but there is a lot of life that falls outside the joys of labor. if you enjoy working, you can easily forget that there are many other things outside work that you enjoy equally. I a disciplined moderation in life helps to maintain the proper perspective.

Usually my annual indulgence is a gadget or technology item that I really have no use for, much less a need for. I have a closet full of old electronic toys. Some years I’ll upgrade something I do need to a version I really don’t need. Last year I upgraded my home PC for one with high end sound and video. I’m typing this on a high end laptop I bought two years ago at Solstice. The old laptop was fine, but the new one has surround sound and HD video! I’ve watched exactly one movie on it and never played a single game.

This year, I’m at a loss. I’ve searched around for new gadgets and nothing jumps out to me. The hot new item is the Amazon Alexa. A few people have suggested that to me. That strike me as a stupid and pointless bit of nonsense that would just aggravate me. The hip young people in the commercials strike me as the sort of people I will send to the labor camps once I’m ruler of these lands. Having the fine people at Amazon spy on me like a doting mother is not something I will ever accept.

I thought about getting a new tablet, but there’s nothing new in tablets that excites me. I hate reading books from them anyway. I tried various versions of e-readers and I just don’t like it. My 7-inch model I got a couple of years ago works fine and does what I need it to do, which is let me goof off on twitter from the couch. I also wonder if staring at tablets close to your face is good for your eyes. I notice that I suffer from eye strain if I use the thing for more than an hour. Maybe it is just me, but that’s my suspicion.

Looking around at the other tech on the market for Solstice, I get the same vibe. It’s mostly polished up versions of stuff that has been around for a while. The new XBox I see advertised looks like the old one, but in a different color. The one item that looks cool is the heads up display for exercise that you can attach to your glasses. But, I looking like a douche bag is not a good idea. if you are an elite athlete, you can do it, but otherwise guys running around with gadgets on their heads are viewed as idiots.

Part of what plagues me these days is getting old. Once a man hits his middle years, the frivolous things lose their attraction. TV people know this, which is why they target kids and women. Men will watch sports and some shows with the wife, but otherwise, older men are not into TV. The same is true of movies. Even when it comes to sports, men lose some of their enthusiasm as they get older. Again, it is why they market jersey and caps to the young guys. they have the passion for it.

That said, I’m not an acquisitive guy and I don’t place much value in material possessions. I’m not quite Amish, but I am a plain person. Possessions come with obligations and often those obligations vastly outweigh the utility of the item. I’d like a boat, for example, but then I think about the work it takes to keep a boat. It is not just the cost of it. You have to be constantly fiddling with the things. An acquaintance in Florida has a boat. A two hour ride means an hour prep time and two hours after cleaning it up and hoisting into the dock. No thanks.

The point being that owning stuff usually means taking on obligations. In modern times, that means most people have credit card obligations they will never pay down. The result is they have fewer choices in other areas of their life. This is especially true of the lower classes who lack impulse control. They see, they want, they buy it on credit without much thought about the long term ramifications. That XBox in the living room can be quite demanding when it is sitting on the Visa bill at 23.9% interest. Heroin is less demanding than the material culture of our age.

Even so, I’m hunting around for some toy to buy this year and I’m coming up empty. I wonder if we have maybe hit some sort of dead end on the gadget front. The low hanging fruit of technology was picked long ago. The mobile phone and e-mail changed our world. Angry birds on your smart phone has not changed much of anything. Most people have a phone, a tablet and a PC. Everyone has a flat screen TV and some sort of console for games or movies. On the electronic gizmo front, we seem to have hit a dead end.

That may not be a terrible thing. Looking for some sort of gadget to buy, it occurred to me that I may find more pleasure in something else. I have been talking about cord cutting for a year. I should get on with it. I’ll need to upgrade my internet from DSL to cable if I want to do on-line video. That means wiring the house, which would be a nice weekend job. Alternatively, the guy down the road is selling an old Jeep that is a project car. Maybe that’s a better use of my Solstice money. Perhaps a return trip to Europe this winter, to gloat about Trump to the Euros.

There very well may be an end point to the materialist culture that blossomed in America last century. I could just be an old man with narrow interests, but it does feel like we have all the crap we need. If so, then perhaps a return to other pleasures will be the next big thing. It would be ironic that the politics of overthrowing the old hippies, currently in charge, ushers in one aspect of hippy culture – anti-materialism. Maybe the alt-right will adopt the old hippy mantra, “turn on, tune in, drop out” popularized fifty years ago by Timothy Leary. Maybe Amazon has a book on that…

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Drake
Drake
3 years ago

I’m in a similar boat.

I’ll be working at home more next year (the CEO is moving the headquarters closer to NYC so he has a shorter commute and the rest of us are screwed). I’ve been shopping for comfortable high-quality headphones so the silence doesn’t drive me insane.

I’m actually close to having enough reward points at work to get these for free:

https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-Momentum-2-0-Samsung-Galaxy/dp/B00SJ4IQ2S/ref=sr_1_sc_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1481295154&sr=8-3-spell&keywords=monemtum%2B2&th=1

Which of course will lead to shopping for high-quality classical music.

Karl Horst
Karl Horst
Reply to  Drake
3 years ago

I use the Bose Quiet Comfort 25. These are very nice especially on routine flights and lightweight to be comfortable on long hauls. Good enough that even when sitting next to the engine in a Fokker 100 or Avro RJ100 when the noise cancelling is on all I hear is a slight hum. Keep a spare AAA batter in the carry case and they will perform very well.

Drake
Drake
Reply to  Karl Horst
3 years ago

I thought about those – but didn’t see much point in the noise-cancelling feature when I’m sitting in my silent basement office.

Jim Gates
Reply to  Drake
3 years ago

I have a pair of Grado high end headphones. Very nice but also very expensive. I bought this Audio Technica pair for work and they are almost as good. I’ve compared them to some of the ‘popular’ alternatives and these are far better.

https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M50x-Professional-Monitor-Headphones/dp/B00HVLUR86/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1481311053&sr=1-3&keywords=audio+technica

LetsPlay
LetsPlay
Member
Reply to  Karl Horst
3 years ago

I can attest that the Bose Quiet Comfort with noise cancelling feature is great. On those noisy planes, they make a great white noise that puts the irritation in the background where it belongs.

Karl Horst
Karl Horst
Reply to  LetsPlay
3 years ago

They are also handy at home when the grand children come for a visit.

PRCD
PRCD
Reply to  Karl Horst
3 years ago

The Shure in-ear headphones are way better. I’ve had both. The audio fidelity of the Bose is awful.

Jake
Jake
3 years ago

Another old retired guy chiming in. I took up the hobby of baking my own bread, specifically sourdough leavened bread. Dealing with sourdough is somewhat akin to adopting a new pet; regular feedings and paying lots of attention to proper training. Payoff is significant though, eating the best bread I’ve ever had. And a big plus to giving a FU to the food cartels polluting our food supplies. BTW, I also mill my own grain; some of the grain mills are pretty cool. Might be a useful gadget to consider.

Mumu Bobby
Mumu Bobby
3 years ago

Once you leave the ‘demo’ age range you’re dead to capitalism.

I’m not sure Corporate America sees this as a problem at all. And I’m inclined to agree – we kind of hit the ‘sweet spot’ of history (or ‘a’ sweet spot), so there’s no ‘moral’ case, and the 20 somethings are far more valuable to the corporations than the 60 somethings.

YIH
YIH
Reply to  Mumu Bobby
3 years ago

Once you leave the ‘demo’ age range you’re dead to capitalism. Bingo. Over 40 and you might as well be dead as far as ”Corporate America” is concerned. It was the main reason Johnny Carson (and 20 years later Jay Leno) were eased out of the Tonight Show – ”the audience skewed old” and advertisers hate that. Pro sports of all kinds are scared to death of the same thing, I’ve seen several articles complaining that [Pro sport] ”is not attracting younger fans”. IMHO the costs in time, money and scheduling discourages younger people from being attracted to them –… Read more »

Herrman
3 years ago

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

I’m also approaching old man status, and you’re right: stuff I used to covet has lost a lot of it’s meaning. With this blog I think the zman is planting trees. The question for the rest of us is what trees should we be planting?

Alex
Alex
3 years ago

As a guy entering middle-age this hit dead on. My wife and other assorted family members are asking “What do you want for Christmas..?” and I draw a complete blank. Maybe a few books, maybe a new USMC flag for the front yard, but I’ve got everything I need already, aside from the complete sense of alienation from our hipster society.

The guns and ammo I buy myself.

chiefIlliniCake
chiefIlliniCake
Reply to  Alex
3 years ago

Another dude in his mid 50’s here. Married for 30 years. So get this. I just saw that my wife ordered me a “23 and Me” genetic test kit for Christmas. I wasn’t peeking. I swear! But is learning your true genetic background and what disease is likely to take your ass out what every guy our age needs for Christmas? I’m pretty happy thinking I’m Irish/Austrian and not knowing when I’m checking out, frankly. And what if we find out that I’m an octoroon? Or, maybe even…a Polack? what then? This feels like messing with Mother Nature. Why could… Read more »

Guest-to-Guest
Guest-to-Guest
Reply to  chiefIlliniCake
3 years ago

>Or, maybe even…a Polack? what then?

Then you would know why you are a patriotic, entrepreneurial, adaptable, warm-hearted, tough SOB not to be messed with.

ChiefIllinicake
ChiefIllinicake
Reply to  Guest-to-Guest
3 years ago

Well played, sir!

Na zdrowie!

William O. B\'Livion
Member
Reply to  Guest-to-Guest
3 years ago

And then the Winged Hussars arrived…

Drake
Drake
Reply to  Alex
3 years ago

I usually say “ammo” but never get any.

Crispin
Crispin
3 years ago

Try a new direction. Get yourself a nice, quality Flintlock pistol kit. Like a Pedersoli – in .54 cal or bigger. Opt for the best wood they have, like maple or walnut. Take your time finishing/assembling it. Really, it’s mostly about the finishing. Brown the barrel, shape & stain the wood. All very fun. THen, study the technology of it. The history & development of the flintlock. It really is the first “modern” type of firearm, containing the priming, charge and ball as one (somewhat) weatherproof unit. They are tricky & unfamiliar to us modern types. It is a skill… Read more »

Notsothoreau
Notsothoreau
Reply to  Crispin
3 years ago

I discovered that WA state has some weird laws about black powder guns. Not sure I could handle a 54 caliber gun but it sounds like fun

kokor hekkus
kokor hekkus
Reply to  Notsothoreau
3 years ago

You could. I’ve fired black powder dueling pistols, and they have very little kick…

Brian
Brian
3 years ago

I find your piece spot on. Having just hit the mid-40+ range myself, I’m pretty much over the non-stop electronic upgrade cycle. It’s an odd thing..the more $$$ that I earn, the less I’m inclined to spend it on frivolous toys. I’ve been blessed with no less than 3 unexpected “windfall” payouts this year, and couldn’t come up with anything to do with it other than sock it away for a rainy day. New firearms — What’s the point? Have to clean it constantly and (where I live) haul it off to the range to shoot. My vision isn’t getting… Read more »

Karl Horst
Karl Horst
Reply to  Brian
3 years ago

To your point of a boat – have you considered building a cedar strip canoe? They’re are quite a thing of beauty and require a number of skills. A colleague of mine who lives at Lake Tahoe spent a summer building one and it is a thing of beauty. People were offering him twice what it cost him to build it since everything these days is aluminum or plastic.

For us old guys, it can always be donated to a youth camp if the grand kids don’t want it.

Just for reference – http://www.canoe-suwannee.com/cedar_strip_canoe.htm

Old Surfer
Reply to  Karl Horst
3 years ago

Periodically I build something out of wood, lately bows and surfboards. I enjoy the feel and it’s a good meditation. Building composite boats is fun too, but a whole different skillset.

PRCD
PRCD
Reply to  Karl Horst
3 years ago

I’m building a stitch-and-glue sailboat right now. It’s small enough that I can put it in local lakes and row it to take the kids fishing and they can learn to sail it when they get a bit older. While I’m building it, I’ve noticed that more stuff is just more time and effort managing it. I’m only in my mid-30s but have never gotten into the cycle of buying minimum-viable upgrade next-gen electronics because usually as much stuff is broken in the next generation as was missing in the previous generation.

Sam J.
Sam J.
Reply to  Brian
3 years ago

Long as we’re talking about boats look at these. Geodesic Airolite Boats. Basically a skin frame boat. I like these but you can make these things out of saplings and used billboard signs.

http://gaboats.com/

The new big bore air rifles are nice. The problem with them is pumping one up takes forever and scuba tanks and electric pumps raise the price significantly. You can get .50 cals that people shoot buffalo with. Here’ the Benjamin Bulldog .357 Bullpup on this page.

http://www.pyramydair.com/a/Air_guns/Air_rifles/Precharged_pneumatic_PCP/155/calibers_0_357

One last one. Get a subscription to Low Tech Magazine.

http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/

Member
3 years ago

Ditto here. If you don’t have a pair, consider the Bose noise canceling headphones. I really love mine, not just for travel, but even around the house. I don’t have the new bluetooth model…my wired Gen-1 version is still the best one they ever made. It actually makes your ears pop from the sound wave pressure. I got my wife the Dr. Dre Beats headphones (she calls them “Dr. Bees”, which I find naively charming), and I have to say they live up to the hype if you like good sound. I just find the Bose lighter and more comfortable.… Read more »

Horace Pinker
Horace Pinker
3 years ago

My interest in television has declined slightly over the past decade, but that’s mostly because television has improved drastically. Shows like Fargo set a very high bar and make lesser shows seem, well, lesser. My interest in movies is at an all time high. There’s great stuff out every month. The Witch is the best horror movie I’ve seen in a decade. Hell or High Water is a great southern tragedy that’s on par with some of the best novels I’ve ever read, and I typically prefer books to movies. And there’s all sorts of great indie stuff like Blue… Read more »

dave
dave
3 years ago

Sixty-nine years old and retiring next year, haven’t used television for >30 years, and we finally gave up on our local AAA ball club. The wife (of 44 years) and I are pursuing different shooting interests; she is pursuing Canon, and I’m pursuing Kimber. A great thing about the firearms hobby is that it’s easy to create one’s own ammo by following tried and true “recipes” available from any number of reliable sources. (hint; stay away from internet Rambos.) It’s not cheap, but there are MANY benefits besides exercise and fresh air. And you meet the friendliest folks on the… Read more »

Mike Gordon
Mike Gordon
Reply to  dave
3 years ago

In addition to shooting and reloading, I would also suggest casting your own bullets. Once you begin casting a whole new work opens up in front of you. As far as giving your self a gift, I find there is no better gift than a new (or perhaps old) bullet mold.

Karl Horst
Karl Horst
3 years ago

If you want to catch up on old movies and TV shows/series and want to avoid paying Netfliks or Amazon, take a look at Kodi. One of the younger engineers at work recommended it to me. I followed the YouTube video (see link) and had my PC set up and streaming in about 20-minutes.

KODI – Complete Setup Guide 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr5Mz2Yci4c

Guest-to-Guest
Guest-to-Guest
3 years ago

I am too adopting the use of Solstice in place of Christmas (the church leaders can only blame themselves for that). This is a historically natural regression for northerners anyway. On the gadget front: consider a Kodi box, or equivalent. Not to watch CNN of course, but to see what other kinds of propaganda is dished out to people around the world. The box is cheap enough to buy, and it pays itself off quickly in saved cable costs. As for material wants – I’ve mentally evolved to happily not watch much. This also helps with raising a child who… Read more »

Fred
Member
3 years ago

” The hip young people in the commercials strike me as the sort of people I will send to the labor camps once I’m ruler of these lands.” Throwing them into a camp is counter to what they need. In a camp they are fed and housed for free. One merely need cut the tethers of other peoples money and property and suddenly, quiet on it’s own, the Natural Law of God kicks in. Yes they will curl up in the fetal position for 2 days but then hunger, shelter, warmth, safety all kick in. Humans are remarkable, we must… Read more »

Member
3 years ago

I’ve gotten to point that the only stuff I want to buy is anything that will make me more self-sufficient. So this year my toy was the knife-sharpening system (professional model) from Edge Pro. I just received it and yeah, it’s awesome.

K. R.
K. R.
3 years ago

You’re done with things — it’s time to buy experiences. For his birthday, I bought my husband voice lessons — he has a secret fantasy of singing opera at the Met! — a pool pass, and two high-end cooking classes during which he makes his favorite meals. He hasn’t touched the swim pass, sadly, but loved the cooking and voice lessons. His world is a bit bigger, now, and yours would be too if you bought yourself experiences. Try a one-off experience. I looked into giving him a weekend in Santa Fe during which he’d learn to make simple objects… Read more »

Karl Horst
Karl Horst
3 years ago

If you have the money, time and access to an airfield with a flight school, get your pilots license. There is nothing else like the joy of your first solo flight and flying will open up a whole new world to you. I received my VFR-rating years back when I was in California. It’s an experience you will always look back on even if you get out of flying. If you can find a flight school with an Cessna 152, it’s perfect for learning and later renting on a Saturday or Sunday for the “$100-burger” flight. And if you enjoy… Read more »

Old Surfer
Reply to  Karl Horst
3 years ago

Once you’ve soloed, look into building your own airplane. Some kits are quite reasonable.

Karl Horst
Karl Horst
Reply to  Old Surfer
3 years ago

@ Old Surfer – If you fly less than 200-hrs a year, owning isn’t worth it. Then you have the additional costs associated with hangar rental, extra insurance, etc. There is an old adage – “If it floats flies or fornicates, it’s cheaper to rent.” Personally, I wouldn’t know about the third, but I’ve been told it is so.

Old Surfer
Reply to  Karl Horst
3 years ago

Same thing with big (30’+) boats. I discovered that I enjoyed building more than owning and I got laid a lot more with the little boats. On the other hand, I really enjoyed flying hanggliders and they were not that expensive. I’ve been thinking about a wood MiniMax as a project.

PRCD
PRCD
Reply to  Old Surfer
3 years ago

An airplane is at least 2000 hours to build. I know guys at work who have been working on them for years, even decades.

Clayton Bigsby
Clayton Bigsby
Reply to  Karl Horst
3 years ago

With my A.D.D the whole license thing wouldn’t fly… so I went all in…. in one fell swoop…. fantasy bucket list …. Flew a 2 seat P51 Mustang for 1 hour with instructor… fully aerobatically ….He does the 1st one you observe and do the next one…..rinse repeat, for an hour…. hopefully without barf bag….
No comparison….. 1700 HP swinging about a 12′ prop…. who needs little blue pills?
WOOHOO !!
We don’t need no stinking gadgets!!

Old Surfer
Reply to  Clayton Bigsby
3 years ago

On the other hand, serious OCD is a positive trait in pilots.

Clayton Bigsby
Clayton Bigsby
Reply to  Old Surfer
3 years ago

Ya…. I did actually take lessons as a young man and yes O.C.D can be the the other side of the short attention span coin…. with regard to flight I did choose to be anal about landings…. probably the bulk of my seat time after just plain joyriding…..

BTW an old surfer as well…. east coast Usa ….

thor47
thor47
3 years ago

Amazon Alexa. Wouldn’t people who buy Japanese sex robots want to chose a name?

Karl Hungus
Karl Hungus
3 years ago

Get the fukkin’ sailboat, of course. Maybe one that is all wood — that will keep you busy!

Old Surfer
Reply to  Karl Hungus
3 years ago

If you get a wood boat, bigger than a dingy, get one built in teak. Anything else will keep you entirely too busy or require stock in your local boatyard.

Member
3 years ago

Ever considered fishkeeping? You can expend lots of cash on various gadgets, accessories, fish, corals, etc. for a saltwater tank.

JohnTyler
JohnTyler
3 years ago

“………Amazon Alexa………..” I was actually given an Alexa as a corporate gift. I gave it away. What a stupid, useless gadget. But hey, like Steve Jobs said; “people don’t know what they want/need until someone shows it to them.” Of course, he was right. I saw the Alexa, tried it out, and then I knew I did not want nor need it. So ZMAN, get yourself some books you have always wanted to read and maybe splurge on a 1.75L bottle of good Bourbon. I intend to get at least some books by George Orwell: 1984 (should really be re-titled,… Read more »

JohnTyler
JohnTyler
Reply to  JohnTyler
3 years ago

OOPs !!!!
I meant the Amazon Echo.

DFCtomm
Member
3 years ago

I have a rule about hobbies. If the equipment for a hobby can’t fit into a closet, then that hobby is not for me. However, I do enjoy boating, and my advice is to either rent, whatever is available, or find a very good friend who is into boating, and willing to bear it’s associated costs and responsibilities.

Member
Reply to  DFCtomm
3 years ago

Get a Klepper folding kayak with a sail kit. Mine is 29 years old, but if I didn’t have one, I’d get one: sailing that l’il sucker at seven knots with your body beneath the water line is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Al from da Nort
Al from da Nort
3 years ago

Z Man; You should perhaps consider your social context, i.e. whether you wish to make a quasi-political statement, to whom, and whether to horrify or one-up. For example: – To one-up Lefties, fly fishing in Mongolia or wine tasting in Argentina. You don’t actually have to go there, just find out ahead of time where your acquaintances have gone and select another locale.* – To horrify Lefties nothing beats shooting sports. Range time stories are the best_! Or even better, big game hunting stories. And you don’t even have to actually go and feed the mosquitos or tsetse flies. Just… Read more »

kokor hekkus
kokor hekkus
3 years ago

This year, for a major change, I’ve asked my kids for a couple of the scholarly hardbound works listed on Greg Cochran’s website, including The Columbian Exchange….

dlsada
Member
3 years ago

Pick up a banjo off E-bay. Or a uke. Very relaxing.

Dutch
Dutch
3 years ago

There is a lot out there for us older guys. Try propagating trees and plants. Take clippings or seed pods, soak them in water, then plant them and water them in pots. Sounds dull, but it puts you in touch with the rhythms of the world. Currently propagating roses, oleander, Albizzia trees, succulents, aloes. Also growing cherry and apple trees. There is a psychic payoff in the long run. In the meantime, the Internet is you friend on exactly what to do along the way. Give them to friends and neighbors when you get too many. Speaking of the Internet,… Read more »

jack
jack
3 years ago

“The hip young people in the commercials strike me as the sort of people I will send to the labor camps once I’m ruler of these lands”

I would like to volunteer to help herd them into railway cars, but while you wait for the great day, have you considered buying a Subaru? They are about love, you know.

http://www.subaru.com/love-promise.html

Guest
Guest
3 years ago

The best thing gift you can give yourself as a man in middle-age is to commit yourself to getting (or staying) physically fit. Kids are grown and/or gone. Marriage is solid or over. You’ve probably peaked in your career so work is more about sustaining rather than building. Finances are either set or such a wreck that you can never catch up anyway. Cut your cable. Join a gym and make it part of your daily routine. If you have not spent much time in a gym in your life you should hire a personal trainer for a while to… Read more »

Con Bud
Con Bud
Reply to  Guest
3 years ago

Get a set of kettle bells or a high quality mountain bike.

Guest
Guest
Reply to  Con Bud
3 years ago

I live in Colorado and am an avid mountain biker, but there’s no substitute for spending time in the gym. You lose muscle mass and the attendant strength as you age. Biking is great for leg strength and cardio, but it really doesn’t help with core or upper body strength. A lot of my biking buddies are in fantastic cardio shape but their upper bodies are a mess and their back is weak. Not a good place to be as you get older.

Ripple
Ripple
Reply to  Guest
3 years ago

I don’t mind working out once I’m doing it but I dislike the gym atmosphere, which is oriented toward younger folk (I’m closer to 60 than 50). The crappy loud music, the bright lights, and the various narcissistic trips and weirdnesses of the people around me. Maybe I have to wait until I move to a retirement community before I find a gym that’s simpatico.

I bike regular and I’m probably in a similar place as Guest above’s buddies.

Karl Horst
Karl Horst
Reply to  Ripple
3 years ago

@ Ripple – I fully agree with your comment on the gym. My wife and I walk a great deal for recreation and exercise. She has an orbital trainer and is very disciplined in using it. But I found it a bit hard on my knees, so I picked up a rowing machine with a water tank. I am very happy with it. If you are clever, wait until early summer when many “new years resolution” exercise equipment starts showing up on Craigslist.

PRCD
PRCD
Reply to  Karl Horst
3 years ago

You can do a lot of strength training at home. If I didn’t have a platform, a rack, and 500 lbs worth of plates in my garage, I still wouldn’t go to the gym since it’s not fun. Ross Enamait and Max Shank have written and filmed many home and bodyweight strength and mobility exercises.

To Guest’s point though, I mountain bike also and the guys who only mountain bike are pretty frail and much more susceptible to injury when they crash. Weekend-warrior mountain bikers are even worse. Strength is the most general of fitness adaptations.

Karl Hungus
Karl Hungus
Reply to  Guest
3 years ago

Zman has said he lifts 4x a week. C’mon! <– voice of Gob

UKer
UKer
3 years ago

Mr Z, you still have the capacity to make me laugh out loud at unexpected times:

“The hip young people in the commercials strike me as the sort of people I will send to the labor camps once I’m ruler of these lands.”

Good ‘un, as we say in the north of England 🙂

meema
Member
Reply to  UKer
3 years ago

I was thinking the same thing – even the ‘good ‘un’ part since I am in the deep south of the US. 🙂

Ace Frehley
Ace Frehley
3 years ago

My vote for best line of the week: “Heroin is less demanding than the material culture of our age”.

Like Z, I usually indulge myself this time of year. I’m eyeballing a new scanner, but I pretty much gave up the monthly payment lifestyle about 5 years ago.

Go for the Jeep.. Gloating to eurotrash will only be fun as long as you are there, Once you get home the shine and the smirk will have worn off. (I’ve always wanted to get back to Prague but I think any victory dance there would be lost on the Czechs).

Karl Horst
Karl Horst
Reply to  Ace Frehley
3 years ago

@ Ace Frehley – Eurotrash indeed! There is still plenty of unspoiled Europe to enjoy if you’re smart and avoid the tourist traps! Some still in the west, much in the east. Hungary for example is wonderful and Budapest is still very much old-world in many regards as are parts of eastern Austria. If you haven’t driven from Trieste, Italy to Split,Croatia then you should. Much of southern Italy, from Pompeii south into the heel of Italy will keep you well away from the tourists – look up Matera. I always recommend to my friends who come to visit, to… Read more »

Ace Frehley
Ace Frehley
Reply to  Karl Horst
3 years ago

@ Karl Horst, To be fair, my Eurotrash comment was only aimed at those who would be offended by some type of Electoral victory dance. I spent a couple of weeks getting my money’s worth from a eurail pass a few years after the wall came down. Zurich, Berlin, Salzburg, Vienna (Budapest via bus from Vienna) etc. I loved every minute of it. One of these days I’ll spend some serious time over there. Exchanges rates will be uber favorable once the Union implodes.

Karl Horst
Karl Horst
Reply to  Ace Frehley
3 years ago

@ Ace Frehley – I don’t dance often, but this year have gone down into my cellar and done so twice; once for Brexit, and once for Trump. I gave a nod to the Italians – they change political parties as often as most people change their socks. Next year I hope to dance for France, the Netherlands, Norway and of course my homeland. If the elections go as I hope, I might consider remodeling the cellar with a bar, a decent sound system and a disco ball.

Recusant
Recusant
3 years ago

Get gardening!

Member
3 years ago

I scratched my head thinking about what gadgets I might want to splurge on for myself. I decided I have just about everything I need, but wouldn’t mind the following: – Large(er) computer screen (I have a 27″ screen, but it’s an offbrand; Maybe splurge on a namebrand with a slicker look); – New sound system, but I don’t have a lot of patience doing the research; – New bicycle – I hate being hunched over on my road bike; – Great quality camera – I doubt I would use it though. But at the end of the day, I… Read more »

Firewire7
Firewire7
Reply to  TempoNick
3 years ago

Here’s a fun bike. Cushy ride and good on snow, too. These are showing up everywhere in my Colorado ski town.

Firewire7
Firewire7
Reply to  Firewire7
3 years ago
Member
Reply to  Firewire7
3 years ago

Thanks – a buddy of mine who is in to biking absolutely loves the Specialized brand!

Larry Kephart
3 years ago

I do something similar every year. This year I went overboard. My collector vehicles, 1937 Chevy pickup truck, 1955 Chevy pickup truck and 1991 Jeep Wrangler Renegade are all broke. They are daily drivers when running but since none of them are currently running. I am driving a monthly rental Fiat 500 junebug. Not a bad little car but it’s an automatic and I miss shifting gears, so a week ago, I went to my local dealer and ordered a hot rod caddy. A Cadillac ATS V Series Coupe with manual transmission and more electronics than the entire space shuttle… Read more »

notsothoreau
notsothoreau
3 years ago

I have a 50 foot Aqua Home, if you need a project. Now that DNR has decided that we can’t have a dock, I have no place to put it. (You should have seen the boats the guy with the lease next to us had to get rid of. I think one was 80 ft.) I bought 2 small Kindle Fire tablets when they were on sale for $33.33. I have a Paperwhite, but I found I don’t really like to read books on it. I thought it would be less distracion, but the lack of color is a problem.… Read more »

Fuel Filter
Fuel Filter
3 years ago

You could buy a good medium-format film camera (a Hassy is the best) with some darkroom equipment (that’s were the real magic happens) and delve into the wonderful world of photography

Make some great prints and frame them for your home. Would also serve you well in your travels to the EuroWeenie cultures.

Karl Horst
Karl Horst
Reply to  Fuel Filter
3 years ago

@ Fuel Filter – “EuroWeenie cultures”…?…Do you know the difference between America and yogurt? Yogurt has culture. So I presume you are referring to the Brits who have unarmed police, soldiers who march into battle wearing skirts, and food called “spotted dick”. Thanks goodness they are an island away from the rest of Europe or their culture might just have made it over here. * poke at UKer! 😉

German culture is much more refined; beer, bratwurst, lederhosen and very fast cars – with roads without speed limits to drive them on.

Karl Hungus
Karl Hungus
Reply to  Karl Horst
3 years ago

And Beethoven!

Fuel Filter
Fuel Filter
Reply to  Karl Horst
3 years ago

“German culture is much more refined”

And muzloids everywhere raping and molesting your women and children and your police covering it up at every turn.

Yup. *So* much more refined.

You hypocrite.

Karl Horst
Karl Horst
Reply to  Fuel Filter
3 years ago

@ Fuel Filter – While thezman is out looking for a gadget, perhaps you should consider looking for a sense of humor. Lighten up my friend! Brexit happened, Trump won, things are looking up for a change.

As to your recommendation for the “Hassy” are you referring to the Swedish Hasselblad camera?

Marina
Marina
3 years ago

I noticed this recently. We have kids, so we’re always buying stuff as they grow. Then the increased wear and tear children cause to everything else in the house (my bedding and maternity clothing is literally falling pieces due to constant washing and we’re forever breaking dishes), there’s just not much we want or need. Even our daughter is getting secondhand stuff from us for Christmas. There’s more than enough used stuff in the world to keep us going, particularly for young children. My poor mother is mad I can’t give her any Christmas present ideas.

FreightTrain
FreightTrain
3 years ago

3D printer to print out AR lowers as stocking stuffers

Notsothoreau
Notsothoreau
3 years ago

My project is Harvard Classics. There are things that I want to read but haven’t gotten to yet. I don’t think I’ll read all the books. I just buy one at a time. When I finally retire, I want to study early American history and garden.

Karl Hungus
Karl Hungus
Reply to  Notsothoreau
3 years ago

you can get them all in kindle format for $2.99. Not $2.99 for each title, $2.99 for the entire set.

Notsothoreau
Notsothoreau
Reply to  Karl Hungus
3 years ago

That’s the crippled version. I wanted real books for this. I’m not going for a matching set either. I got a 1909 Volume 2 that had pages still stuck together at the top. I don’t normally write in books but think I’ll do that in these.

LetsPlay
LetsPlay
Member
Reply to  Notsothoreau
3 years ago

I looked into buying the dead tree collection on the internet earlier this year. Ebay or Amazon had some nice deals for complete sets. Still runs in the $300-$400 range though, if I recall correctly.

It is available for download from in ePub, Mobi, or pdf formats:

http://www.harvardclassics365.com/p/free.html

Notsothoreau
Notsothoreau
Reply to  LetsPlay
3 years ago

I’ve seen incomplete ones for $80. I’ve picked up four so far (I’m getting the literature ones as well). I have a copy of Great Expectations in my office. I was leafing through it the other day and realized I’ve been reading too many easy books

A.T. Tapman
A.T. Tapman
Member
3 years ago

Z, buy a welding machine, learn how to build things from hot metal. Buy a trap gun and start shooting trap at your local gun club. Learn to reload for your shotguns, rifles, and pistols. Learn to shoot long range rifle, 1000 yards, great for your concentration and control. Learn to cook, it’s fun. I do these things and find it very satisfying, all work make Z a dull boy. I do not watch TV or movies, I haven’t for 35 years, but I do troll Twitter. Life is good!

Dutch
Dutch
Reply to  A.T. Tapman
3 years ago

I have been enjoying the heck out of welding, and a lot of great stuff is getting made. Mrs. Dutch goes to the sewing place and I spend money at the metal supply warehouse.

Doug
Doug
3 years ago

What, no firearms?

Dorf
Dorf
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Sig 556

dave
dave
Reply to  thezman
3 years ago

Kimber Tactical Custom HD II. Or just for gits and shiggles, get it w/a rail.

bilejones
Member
3 years ago

No sane person should buy Alexa.
Remember the people of Amazon are owned by the same guy who owns the people of the Washington Post,
We know what their purpose is and what they think of us.

Karl Hungus
Karl Hungus
3 years ago

buy a 1/2 scale suit of armor.

LetsPlay
LetsPlay
Member
Reply to  Karl Hungus
3 years ago

for??

Karl Horst
Karl Horst
Reply to  LetsPlay
3 years ago

For this… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Slu4MgS-Rzg …but you may prefer a full sized suit of armor!

Cocklebur.
Cocklebur.
3 years ago

Purchasing a new gun always made me feel good, and if it works now it will work fine 100 years from now, so it won’t get obsolete.
Belgium Brownings and old side-by-sides warm the cockles of my heart.

MSO
MSO
3 years ago

The shooting sports offer many opportunities for growth. With a precision reloading press, Forster CO-AX for instance, you can reload the finest precision ammunition tailored specifically for your rifle for 60% of the price of off-the-shelf cartridges. Generally though, instead of saving money by reloading, you will find yourself shooting more.

You’ll learn about brass, gun powder, bullets and ballistics. The advantages of good physical conditioning will also come into play as you strive to repeatedly hit a dime at 100 yards with a good quality bolt action rifle and cartridges of your own design and manufacture.

Rurik
Member
3 years ago

Yet another old codger here, with just about everything I need to see me out the rest of my time..
I would opt for some good wine, or a really aromatic rum, or an unexplored single malt, to be sampled before I depart.
Or even better books. I favor history or serious discussion of current events. The sort of books which, even if I do not get around to reading myself, should be of value in the next century.Or another bookshelf to hold those volumes.

Malatrope
Malatrope
3 years ago

Change up the concept! Buy yourself a tool with which to make something. Quit being a passive consumer of whatever pap you are allowed to own. Buy a CNC mill, some software, and make something nobody else owns.

ShopRat
ShopRat
Reply to  Malatrope
3 years ago

I agree. I’ve been a CNC machinist/ programmer for 30+ years. You can literally make anything with a vertical machining center and a turning center. Or just a manual mill and lathe. If you can trig a right triangle and know your feeds and speeds, you won’t need software for a lot of parts. G code programming is easy .That said, MasterCam is the best for Cam.
Solidworks or Autodesk Inventor for the Cad side

allgrwnup
allgrwnup
3 years ago

I don’t care what you buy, or hobby you choose to take up….just make sure you keep this blog going. It has helped me feel sane in the past year and I surely will need your daily observations moving forward! It helps me feel not so isolated.

Blade Runner
Blade Runner
3 years ago

Dan Wesson Valor

John
John
3 years ago

I agree on the gun and H&K is an outstanding choice.

For electronics I would suggest HAM radio that is a completely new universe of gadgets and tools you have to purchase.

PRCD
PRCD
Reply to  John
3 years ago

This is a good idea. It’s probably the best opportunity for amateur science in the world.

Jewel
3 years ago

I have developed a love for fountain pens. I bought a lovely rosewood and chrome pen and the joy oh handwriting has come alive in me once more. I let my teenaged daughter try it out, The heft and solidness of the thing kept her enchanted for two hours. She spent the time writing a Christmas list. Nothing really expensive, but maybe a new fountain pen for her, too.

LetsPlay
LetsPlay
Member
3 years ago

I have an interesting side light for you. Prepping. If you take the financial situation seriously and know that it won’t take much for the supply chain to fail and everyone to turn on each other, then each person/family becomes solely dependent on any preparations they have made to take care of themselves for some unknown timeframe. And you need the ability to defend yourself and your supplies because the “unprepared” will be looking for the easy way to supply themselves … take it. But far from being a full-blown Survivalist, I am talking about learning stuff (which is really… Read more »