Tag Archives: time

The Six-Dollar [American] Watch

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Those of you who’ve been reading here a while might recall the soul-searching I had to do when my Timex Expedition wouldn’t belly up to the bar after the batteries went dead and I tried replacing them.  That poor old watch breathed its last.  I figured I’d be replacing it, but what with heart attacks and one thing and another, I didn’t.

Instead I picked up a digital watch at Dollar Tree for a buck to hold me over until I could decide whether I was going to live long enough to be needing a $25-$30 watch until the batteries died.  No point putting out all that money for extra watch a man wasn’t going to live long enough to look at the full $25 worth.  Or more.  Hell you can’t take it with you.  It’s like buying new underwear, if you’re me.  When your life is on a short leash you debate hard with yourself whether these jockey’s can’t be stretched long enough to hold out until I croak.

Aesthetics gradually rolled over me with that dollar watch.  Damned thing had a stiff plastic band that raised welts on my wrist and I’ve really never been able to make my mind absorb the numbers on a watch without any damned hands at a quick glance.  I have to squint and study on it to figure out where the hands would be if it were a real watch.

So last year at Andrews, Texas, while my bud Eddie Brewer was being host for the RV, the cats and me while I awaited the pleasure of the VA medical folks, I spang went to a discount-type store in Andrews and found myself a $6.00 [American] real watch with hands.  Figured I couldn’t die until the VA got around to telling me why I was going to, and it might take a few more bucks of watch to outlast them.

That was about this time last year, got myself a nice $6.00 watch with a leather-looking band and a quartz movement.  That watch saw me through some damned difficult times I can tell you. I spent last Christmas in the parking lot of an AutoZone store in Big Spring, Texas, digging through the dumpster and admiring the life left in that new watch.

When the store re-opened after Christmas my brake master cylinder arrived, I installed it using tools I got out of their dumpster, and trucked to San Angelo.  Where I suspect I had another heart attack in the WalMart parking lot, but nevertheless trucked back to Gale’s.  All this is probably written up here in the archives.

Then the Kerrville, Texas hospital.

More damned needles, tests, hospital beds than a person has to put up with if he’s only relying on the VA for his health care.  Those damned private medical facilities get downright enthusiastic when it comes to poking and prodding.

Anyway, after the hospital in Kerrville the watch was still working, so naturally I had to try to stay alive, which didn’t seem all that likely if I didn’t take some sort of decisive steps to outlast the damned watch.  I could barely stagger up the steps into the RV and out again to pee.  And I was worried about the cats being stuck inside if I croaked and nobody found me for a few days.

So I headed for Kansas during the coldest weather in living memory in Texas and it was no slouch in Kansas, either.  Made it north of Dallas, checked into a motel to croak or whatever.  But the damned watch was still running and Jeanne’s sons came down, drove me up here.  Coldest damned road trip I recall in my life except one in Korea.  But that’s another story.

So, you know the rest, mostly.  Hospitals, more VA, all the usual suspects, and that $6 Andrews, Texas watch kept on ticking.

It was the band that killed it off.  Watch is fine but the band broke up next to the watch.  I was afraid that was going to happen, saw it coming.  I even went so far as to shop around for another watch band, which would have cost double what the watch set me back.  Then I sneaked around and looked at the cost of Timex Expeditions.  And I knew in my defibrillatored heart I couldn’t outlive a damned Timex.  I had to draw my line in the sand.

Jeanne took me over to a Big Lot store, me thinking they might have something I could live as long as, and spang!  There it was.  A six-dollar [American] watch, that had the look of something that probably wouldn’t outlast me.

The lady at the register helped me unfasten all the security belts and extra packaging a person hates to throw away, but hell, damned stuff is shaped to be worthless.  I strapped that mama on, set it to the time on the clock above the register, and I was ready to rock and roll again.

Brief panic when I checked the time against my computer an hour later and it seemed to have lost 10 minutes, but it was just they had their clock set fast at Big Lot.  Those folks are young enough they don’t have any appreciation for throwing their time away fooling around with clocks.

So I’m back in the saddle.  Got me a watch I can feel confident will last me the remainder of my life if need be, without wasting a damned cent.  And not likely to put a lot of pressure on me to live past my time.

Old Jules

Got A Holiday Greeting From The Time Department

Hawaii Konate, the people who keep me posted on what time it wasn’t over the past while, what time they think it probably isn’t now, and what time they’re middling sure it won’t be in the future sent me a nice greeting by email.

The card arrived in my hotmail email box at 3:25 AM someone’s time, maybe mine, maybe theirs, maybe hotmail’s.   I’m not sure whether that picture is of something at the Hawaii site, or whether it’s wherever they speak the language at the top of the circular they send out:  BUREAU INTERNATIONAL DES POIDS ET MESURES, ORGANISATION INTERGOUVERNEMENTALE DE LA CONVENTION DU METRE. [Muddy muddy muddy etcetera]

But even if I knew what time it wasn’t in that city where the place on the card isn’t, I still wouldn’t know what that thing is they sent me a picture of wishing me a Merry Christmas.

I generally don’t like people telling me what kind of Christmas to have, but especially I don’t like them telling me how to have a whole year.    But in this instance, they did let themselves be nailed down on the thorny issue 0f 2012.  2012, unless they’re being cunningly sarcastic, isn’t a time that won’t happen.

The card didn’t come with one of the circulars they send out telling what time it hasn’t been all over the place, what time they don’t think it is now, and what time they don’t think it will be in the future.  That would be unsettling if they hadn’t gone ahead and mentioned 2012 in the card.

So maybe there was no authoritarian motive behind telling me what kinds of Christmas and 2012 to have.  Maybe they were being subtly reassuring.

I suppose it’s probably best not to try to second-guess them.

Old Jules

Simultaneity of Events – Needing some ideas

Some of you readers are a lot smarter than I am, and I happen to be stuck.  I’d be obliged if any of you can wrap your minds around this problem and tell me how to do it. 

One of the projects I work on daily involves series regularly scheduled ‘events’ happening across the world.  Every day they’re conducted at the same locations and at repeated intervals, several hundred times each day for each location. 

I know the precise geographic coordinates for the locations and the local times of the events.  But one part of the experiment requires examination and comparisons of simultanious events, say, from a location in Australia, another in NY, another in Rhode Island, to keep it simple.

But two events happening, say, in Rhode Island and New York at the ‘same time’ by the clock are actually several minutes apart.  They occupy the same time zone, but events in Rhode Island at 3PM aren’t the same events as those happening in NY at 3PM. 

But even without taking DST into the equation, events in Australia might be 15 hours and 30 minutes later by the clock to be simultaneous with New York, or Rhode Island, and only one of the two.  The event in one would be simultaneous with Australia several minutes earlier, or later, than the other.

I can calculate minute-by-minute sidereal times for each of the locations, but establishing a baseline for the relationships in terms of simulataneity eludes me.  I do all this on a spreadsheet.  I know nothing about programming computers.

I’d welcome any suggestions.  Particularly if it involves something automatic and repeatable.  It’s probably something simple, even stupid, but I’d like to get past trying to figure out how to do it and get around to actually doing it.

Gracias, Old Jules

I’ve got to get going.  I’ll be back online sometime later today.