Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ski Reality

You know how a new car depreciates the moment you drive it off the lot? And how you can save a bundle by buying a low miles car? Really, the same thing happens with skis. New ones are crazy expensive. Powder7.com makes lightly used demos available to you at a small fraction of the "R" word--retail. Their cost to ship--$29.95--is very reasonable, or, if you live in, or can swing by, Lakewood, Colorado, you can pick your skis up and save the shipping. I just acquired some Dynastar Legend 8000s from them; Jordan promptly answered my email asking for recommendations.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Gun Dog Door

Thrilling name, eh? Only thing better might be "Top Gun Dog Door." And maybe this is. To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, perhaps you have "Old dogs/New dogs/Lame dogs/Crude dogs" and maybe that crew has not been able to master dog doors you've tried, or maybe they have destroyed flimsy plastic frames. Or the racket they make going through the door may have caused you to question whether you were really getting a net benefit. Well, the doors of gundoghousedoor.com may be the solution to your problems. They are built to withstand a Riot on Dog Cell Block 13, and are easy to install and quiet in operation. Photo shows Nellie the basset busting loose. (All my dogs are thrilled to be considered "gun dogs.") One caution: the tolerances between the flap and the frame, while acceptable, are not as close as the web site might lead you to believe.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Work on Surviving the Apocalypse: Minimalist Getting off the Grid

You've heard about "getting off the grid," which has always suggested massive arrays of some capital-intensive thing like photovoltaic cells or wind farms. But there is a simple, elegant, inexpensive way to do minimalist grid-evasion. How about a small, light, well-made radio that can run--a long time--on a few turns of a hand crank that also powers a built-in flashlight, emergency blinker, and siren, and also charges cell phones? The sound is remarkably rich, volume impressive, and there are a ton of cool case options. LL Bean

Friday, May 05, 2006

Work on Your Hair: Robocut

I think infomercials are great: they linger in the memory even better than a Werner Herzog film. For many years I have been haunted by: 1) moronic hair cuttists who ask you all kinds of questions and then ignore the answers. My favorite is "How do you want the back?" I have never seen the back, thank you very much. And even a cuttist to whom you return will ask the questions again, and who knows if they will do as well as they have previously. 2) an infomercial for Robocut.

This, so the story goes, is the brainchild of an HP engineer who had my kind of complaints. It involves whirring blades (!) that are kept a strict distance away from your scalp and brain pan by plastic attachments. Hair is drawn up to the whirring blades by a vacuum cleaner (I could not make this up) and then cut hair is drawn into the vacuum cleaner. It is claimed that any cut is possible; Reality Man can only vouch for the "all one length" cut, which can be achieved in a minute or less. Hahahahahahaha. The picture is of the way the unit over my toilet sees me. (No, I'm not doing that. The bouffant look is courtesy of the air drying provided by my new electric scooter, about which, more, later, probably in a different place.) The cost is probably comparable to a couple trips to the cuttist, with tip. The savings in time and aggravation: priceless.

Work on Your Pet: Boomerang Tags

You may enjoy "driving" the pet tag engraving machines at the big box pet stores, but beyond immediate gratification, what have you got? A thinly-engraved, thin tag of some metal or other that quickly either becomes unreadable or just plain tears off. Give Boomerang Tags a try. Choose from a variety of sizes, materials, colors, and shapes--I chose medium red plastic bones, and they're cool, very easily readable, and, we're told, unbreakable. The price you pay--very reasonable--includes postage, and the tags arrive in a few days.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Work on Working on Other Good Stuff Web Sites: Uncrate.com

I'm sure you'll stay loyal to Reality Man, but once you've checked out Uncrate.com, you'll probably cheat on me a bit. More of a consumerist thing, they openly admit they're out to show you cool ways to blow your rent money. But you'll always be true to me, baby, in your fashion--won't you?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Work on Your Body: Cross Terrain Skis

You weren't expecting that one, were you? But you do cross country ski, don't you? And you have been...inconvenienced, shall we say...by the inability of your double cambered skis, however edged--think Fischer Europa 99s--to turn--on hard pack or powder--control your speed, do anything? Well, the New Age is here: Alpina Cross Terrain skis. They're fat, steel-edged, with as much side cut as a super model, and about 3/4 of their bottoms are fish scaled for climbing without fussing with skins or wax. They also are on the short side: mine are 168s, I think. Team them up with Voile Heavy-Duty Mountaineer Bindings and a three pin boot with some authority--say Rossignol BC x9--and get ready for an experience that combines the religious with the self-confidence of Donald Trump. You'll turn and brake with authority and precision, and you probably will not miss the skinny double cambered guys in any situation. And, once again, you're almost sure to pay less than Reality Man.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Work on Your Head: Reading Glasses

If you're like me--and you aren't--reading glasses have gone from being an amusing intimation of mortality to an absolute necessity--crippling not to have. You're probably also not like me in stuffing them into the front pockets of pants. Many a cheap pair has died this way. But expensive pairs are, well, expensive--and then you have to take care of them better and grieve their loss, when they, like sunglasses, ride off into the sunset. But going into your local discount--or even book--store for readers has possibly left you feeling faint and nauseated. Allow American Reading Glasses to come into focus. Four pairs of black horn rims to make Elvis Costello weak with envy for $12.00--that's no misprint--including postage. You will probably pass over the lifetime guarantee offered for merely paying $3.99 p&h for a broken pair as being infra dig. (I'm trying out a badge-holder from a trade show as an alternative to the in-the-pants approach. Stay tuned.)