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No Fair!

Posted 2009.09.24 15.22 in DID, Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

It’s not fair! I took my cryptospam. I had a rest yesterday. I haven’t had nearly as much extra large extra strong coffees. Why am I still dizzy and befuddled?!

About the only improvement from yesterday is that my eyemuscles have stopped convulsing. But I’m still feeling twitchy and my eyeballs are still itchy. Gawd I hate that!

And another thing – how is it that minutes and hours take forever, but actual weeks and months go by quickly? Something is really messed up with the way time works. Somebody should look into that, do a study.

Pet Peeve #16

Posted 2009.09.03 15.57 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Getting a voicemail like this: Hello, this is XXXXX, I have some questions about YYYYY please get back to me.

Or getting an email like this: Hello Stephanie, I have some questions about YYYYY please let me know when would be a good time to discuss. Sincerely, XXXXX

Do you see the problem with both of those scenarios? Incase anyone reading this is one of the people who do this, let me tell you the problem.

If you have questions, ask them! Don’t just tell me that you have a question, tell me what the question is!

In either of the scenarios I described above, the person has just wasted some of both of our time. Now I have to write them back or look up their number and call them back, just to I can ask what the hell they wanted to ask me in the first place. Why do people do this? Is it a control thing?

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Daylight Savings Time – or Devil’s Time?

Posted 2009.03.11 0.00 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Just when I was getting used to it being light out when I woke up in the morning, they go and change the time zones on us. Throws my circadian rythms all out of whack, and I have enough trouble sleeping as it is. It’s even worse since they tinkered with the time a year or two ago – now standard time is only like 4 months long and savings time is 8 months? What the hell? Why not just shift everyone by one time zone and call it a day?

I didn’t even know the time had changed this year – the clock in my bedroom updates automagically thanks to the WWV broadcasts, and so does the big clock in my livingroom. The computers all update themselves too. Appearantly so does my cellphone and PDA. So I didn’t know the time had changed till I was talking with my sister and she mentioned it – here I thought I had slept in an extra hour, because when I got up on Sunday it was an hour later than I usually wake. But no it was me getting up at the normal time and the clocks all changing while I’m not looking.

To be fair, they didn’t all change. The teeny clock on my thermostat didn’t, but I never look at it. And the clocks on my stove and microwave are always wrong anyways, so I never look at them either. (The stove always has something whacky going on, like 5 3/8th hours fast or whatever and the microwave is just always…12:00 12:00 12:00..)

Of course, Monday morning I found out that one other clock didn’t get updated – my alarm clock. So I was an hour late getting out of bed — or more accurately, I woke up at exactly the same time as always, it was the rest of the world that was an hour fast. This was a good thing though because I couldn’t sleep Sunday night. Couldn’t sleep last night either – I had some down-time between about 6 and 8pm, then was wide awake till 2am. So even though I remembered to set my alarm clock, I was still an hour late this morning because I was able to sleep through the first hour of noise.

Oh and one other clock that is being obstinate – the clock in my car is *supposed* to automatically update, but it didn’t. So I switched it to manual and set it myself. And 5 minutes later I notice that it has switched itself back to automatica *and* switched itself back to the standard time. Dammit. I know what’s up with it though – it’s running some flavour of windoze and bill-knows-best. So my car will stay on Eastern Standard Time until it feels obliged to change itself.

Personally I’d like to just abolish this whole time change nonsense and be done with it. For that matter, everything’s global anyways, so my 9:00 is less relavent because then you have to coordinate what time zone everyone else is and try and figure it out. Maybe we ought to just all switch to UTC. Just have a standard global time standard that doesn’t bounce around from season to season.

At the sound of the tone, the time will be 14:19 Universal Coordinated Time.


What happpened to January?

Posted 2009.02.02 1.00 in DID, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Just realized that it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. Another long dark stretch where there wasn’t anything fun to talk about. I’m still on the crypto-spam but it’s not doing anything. I thought it might have been, towards the end of December, but now I suspect that what I thought was the drug working, was actually just me feeling good because the side-effects were finally ending.

I feel like my life has become a soap opera, and I’m not even one of the important cast. I’m just a reccuring character, who’s name they show 5 minutes into the episode, after the first batch of commercials, after the guest stars.

There’s lots of soap-opera-ish stuff going on all around me, but I’m not directly involved in any of it. Nonetheless, every aspect of my life is affected by the antics of the major players.

My part is also one of the ones that the directors feel is safe to cut, especially if some major drama is required – it’s the sort of role where you’re familiar enough to the regulars that there’ll be a sufficient amount of emotional return if the character gets axed, without having to risk one of the stars.

So that’s where I am right now. Not popular or important enough to spin-off and get a life of my own, stuck in a recurring bit part in other people’s soap-opera drama.

Alexander and Me

Posted 2007.05.28 0.00 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

The telephone. I hate it. Ok I don’t hate it. But I don’t love it either. What I really hate is the telephone answering machine. But that can’t exist without the telephone. I also hate how the telephone and its infuriating ringing tries to demand instant attention.

When I’m in the middle of something, and the phone rings… I’m in the middle of something. Why does the phone expect I should drop everything and come running at its beck and call. You know, if you have company over and you are talking with them and the phone rings, they get sort of uncomfortable and anxious, if you don’t answer the phone. Some people are physically disturbed by a ringing phone, like they MUST answer it.

You know why this is? Because we were CONDITIONED at youth to respond to a bell. School, anyone? Blasted bells, we’ve been conditioned like Pavlov’s dog. We MUST PERFORM when the bell rings. And the blasted telephone and its infernal bells, tries to demand our attendance when it rings.

You know what I hate? When I’m at a retail store, there at the counter to buy something, and the clerk puts ME on hold because there’s a phone call. I’m a real live person, who has travelled bodily to their store, money in hand, and yet I must wait quietly while the lazy SOB on the telephone gets priority treatment. Why? The telephone rang its bloody bells! Bells aside, the clerk could answer the phone and put the caller on hold to finish transacting business with me, but that would imply they broke their childhood conditioning. Far be it from any child to heed the schoolbell but ignore the teacher ringing it.

Ok, so what, right? I hate the telephone, what to do about it?

Well, I made a decision. I went back in time, to confront Mr. Bell, and try to dissuade him from inventing the blasted thing.

Yeah, that’s right. What I did was, I travelled back to early 1875, and tried to intercept Bell when he was on his way to visit Joseph Henry (then director of the Smithsonian Institution).

The problem was, I was never much of a student of modern history, math has never been a great strong point, and sometimes I get really worked up about an idea but I kind of play fast and loose with the details and hope things will just work out.

So, what happened? Well first off, I got there late, missed Bell before the meeting, but got to him afterwards. He was already pretty fired up, and wasn’t really interested to listen to what I had to say. In fact, I will go so far as to say he was pretty insufferable. Then he got a little pushy with me, at which point I finaly lost my patience and, well, I kicked Mr. Alexander Graham right in the Bells. Having got his attention for a few moments at least, I gave him a good talking to, then beat a hasty retreat.

Now of course, you’re all looking around and calling bull-$#!t because there’s still telephones everywhere.

Yes, this is true. I concede that I failed in my attempt to make the telephone not exist. However — I will claim a small victory in that very few telephones today use actual bells any more. Most of them beep, whistle, sing, bark, or buzz, in order to get peoples’ attention. So at least the Pavlovian conditioning we have from elementary school bells, is less of an issue when dealing with the telephone. Oh, and one unexpected result — the audio quality of telephones today is atrocious. There’s even an audio term for it “telephone quality” (as opposed to “CD quality” for instance). Telephones used to be as clear as crystal, as if the person were actually there speaking to you. Now, you can clearly tell you are talking through wires and tiny speakers. Never saw that coming.
Further research has revealed that Bell’s phones were in fact of such low audio quality, that most-insufferable so-called inventor Edison was able to lend a hand at improving the sound quality. If my meddling was responsible, then I do apologize Mr. Bell – the thought of that hack Edison finding some excuse to lay claim to some part of your invention… is most unfortunate.

I suppose if I’ve learned anything from all this, it is that it is actually harder than I thought, to alter history.

One of the latest designs in spoken-word telephony


Posted 2005.10.12 11.13 in Hobbies by Stephanie


Signal Mechanical Alarm, ca 1960s, 1st Moscow Watch Factory, USSR

Signal Mechanical Alarm, ca 1960s, 1st Moscow Watch Factory, USSR

In early 2005, for the first time in five or six years, I was in the market for a time piece. I wanted something interesting, with character, something a little unique. Definately not digital. No plastic.

My search initially led me to a very nice Citizen Eco-Drive. But it was out of my price-range — about $500. I then turned my eye towards mechanical watches. No quartz, no battery, no solar. My budget was too tight for anything new and current — fashionable new mechanical watches are very costly — so my attention turned to the vintage section on eBay.

There, I came across an inexpensive ‘vintage’ watch from the 1980s – that happened to have been made in the U.S.S.R. That began my love and fascination of Soviet timepieces – which would be a webpage all its own – so for more info on Soviet/Russian watches, just see the links below.

Quickly I found myself with a small collection of Soviet watches. I then realized they would need service sooner or later (like cars, mechanical watches need to be properly maintained). When the watches themselves are so inexpensive, it didn’t make sense to pay high prices for professional service – yet the watches are good quality and will need service. So there was only one logical solution.

I proceeded to start teaching myself watchmaking.

Learning & Research

Movement Caliber 10BT, 1951, Bulova Watch Co., Swiss

Movement Caliber 10BT, 1951, Bulova Watch Co., Swiss

The internet can be a great resource, if you know how to search and where to look. Suffering from chronic insomnia helps too. Insomnia, and an obsessive-compulsive need to always learn new stuff.

I started finding websites of watch enthusiasts, amateur watchmakers, and watch manufacturers. I started reading everything I could find on the subject. I would read and re-read things, memorizing parts, draw sketches of wheel trains and motion works. I found a few horological forums, and read all the posts and articles I could find about watch making and repair.

Along the way I came across the TimeZone Tool Shop, an online store that sold watch parts and watchmakers’ tools. They sell the kits that are used in the TimeZone Watch School. I immediately ordered the Level 1 kit, along with some other watch parts, and got to work. I must admit, although I have heard a lot of good things about the TimeZone Watch School, I have not yet enrolled. I keep planning to, but then I keep thinking I’d rather spend the money on another Soviet watch, or some more tools or watch parts. I will definately do it sooner or later though. If not the Level 1 class, then certainly the Level 2.

Without taking any courses, or buying any books, I have managed to teach myself enough just by reading (and reading, and reading) as well as getting helpful advice from some very kind people in the forums. So far I have repaired a faulty day-date mechanism in a Soviet watch, replaced a broken mainspring and bridge in a 1950’s era Bulova, and started designing & building my own watches.

My Home-Made Watches

These are my home-made, custom designed watches. Watches in this section are ones I have designed and made entirely by myself. Either for my own enjoyment, or as gifts for friends or family.

My first self-made watchSM #1

Swiss Automatic ETA 2836-2
Hour, Minute, Seconds, Day, Date
Hour & Minute hands; Pink (Orange Glow)
Case Specs:
36mm diameter (excluding crown) x 42mm long; 11mm thick; 18mm lug width; all stainless steel, mineral glass crystal and display back. Crown 5.5mm. Water resistant to 3 atmospheres.
My first watch project. A fairly simple assembly of off-the-shelf parts, but a good learning experience and fun to make. Plus, nothing beats wearing your own watch!


My one-handed watchSM #2

Swiss Mechanical ST-96
Hour only
Case Specs:
36mm diameter (excluding crown) x 42mm long; 11mm thick; 18mm lug width; all stainless steel, mineral glass crystal and display back. Crown 5.5mm. Water resistant to 3 atmospheres.
I’ve seen a couple one-handed watches elsewhere on the internet, and I thought they were really unique and interesting, so I decided to have a go at it myself. My interpretation makes the watch as simple as it can get – it tells you nothing but the time.

Resources / Links

Vostok Amphibia Mechanical Watch, ca. 1980s, Chistopol Watch Factory, USSR

Vostok Amphibia Mechanical Watch, ca. 1980s, Chistopol Watch Factory, USSR

General Information Links
Alan’s Vintage Watches
Christophs Watch World
TimeZone Watch FAQ
The Watch Guy
WatchUSeek Articles
Educational / Watchmaking Links
Per’s Horology
TZ Watch School
Soviet / Russian Links
Andreas Ulbrich’s Komandirskie site
Mark Gordon’s Russian Watches Collection
Michele Cuoccio’s Russian Watches Website
Russian Watch Forum at WUS
Forums Links
Poor Man’s Watch Forum
TimeZone Forums
WatchUSeek Watch Forums
Commercial / Shopping Links
Dashto Horological Supplies
Jules Borel & Company
Mark II Watches
Otto Frei
RLT Watches
Somal Canada
Time Zone Tool Shop