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[personal profile] petermorwood
While Sharper Image existed, I used to spend too much quite a lot of time with my nose in their catalogues. I can't recall ever buying anything, mind you, and often wondered why anyone would actually want some of the nonsense on offer. A bit like Skymall catalogues, in a way.

The various websites for Manufactum are a bit that way too, although with a lower "who'd want that?" response and a much higher rate of "I'd love that but ouch!", though NB the UK and International ones are very watered-down, a bit like US site ThinkGeek versus UK site I Want One of Those used to be. They've grown more similar, but there's still a caffeine-in-everything section in one and a bar-and-beer section in the other. Guess which? (The B&B features a Thing I have lusted after ever seeing one in the possession of Constable Haddock of the Ankh-Morpork Watch at last Discworld con: a sensibly-sized hip flask.. Tee hee.)

Lots of the stuff Manufactum sells is equally practical and handsomely designed, just very expensive. Anybody want to buy a Morgan 4/4 1600 sports car from an on-line catalogue store? Manufactum can accommodate you. (I thought it was a model at first, but the tag of €43,850.00 corrected this misapprehension.)

That's where I saw this amazing piece of stuff, which looks more like a movie prop than anything real. It could be at the back of a Titanic-era boiler-room set and not look out of place.

There are other variants, one where the burner is built into a cooktop, another which exchanges the upper oven for a stone-filled storage heater. An additional photo for that one shows it built into a wall-unit, but those who delight in rivets would just leave the works on display for all to admire.

I'd say it was cool, except that's hardly the right word for a heater. Don't park the Zeppelin too close...

Date: 2011-04-13 02:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] particle-person.livejournal.com
I'm a former Sharper Image reader too. They used to sell an electronic organizer with lots of buttons called The Wizard, and eventually I got one. As a bit of junk, it was a decidedly AWESOME bit of junk, and just what I wanted at thirteen. It also played a Tetris-like game called Hatris in which you stacked falling hats. This was inexplicably addictive. Many study halls ("free periods" intended for homework, meaning they were not, in fact, free) were spent more productively on Hatris. The business-like demeanor of The Wizard reassured teachers that work was getting done, and in a pinch The Wizard became a calculator, which is the sort of magic you expect from a toy with that many buttons.

Date: 2011-04-13 01:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petermorwood.livejournal.com
Diane reminds me that she at least bought something from SI - a pair of "over-glasses", sunglasses big enough to wear over ordinary specs - and once reminded I wonder how I forgot! They were mirrorized blue with an android-y appearance; a friend commented that all they needed for completion was a row of red LED chase lights pulsing back and forth on the brow-band like a style-conscious Cylon.

Is this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharp_Wizard) the Wizard organizer in question? If so, I see what you mean by businesslike! It looks splendidly techie, and though nowadays the average Casio wristwatch is probably smarter I can't see one of them fooling a teacher for a minute.

Date: 2011-04-13 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] particle-person.livejournal.com
That's the line. Mine had a horizontal orientation like the one below, but colored black to indicate that this was a serious gadget for business people who wouldn't be caught dead playing a game as silly as Hatris.

Date: 2011-04-13 03:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petermorwood.livejournal.com
Or more correctly, "who didn't intend to be caught playing a game as silly as Hatris..."

Appearance is everything, camouflage doubly so. :-)

Date: 2011-04-13 09:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] burntcopper.livejournal.com
I'm staying away from giant hip flask since it's longer than most of my skirts and would not accessorise well.

:sigh: what's annoying is my current one's got really badly dented and I need to but a new one. But ooo, cooking thingy. oh my.

Date: 2011-04-13 02:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petermorwood.livejournal.com
If/when you buy a new flask, make sure of two things: (1) that the cap has one of those shackle thingies to prevent it getting lost, and (2) that the flask has adequate capacity. It always surprises me how thirsty one's friends can get once they realise you've got a flask and they don't.

The most flasks I ever saw in one place was at a wedding in Northern Ireland; groom was a school and Uni friend or mine, bride (and bride's family) were one of the weird killjoy Presbyterian sects in which Ulster abounds. Advance warnings of a dry wedding proved correct - the happy couple were toasted in orange (of course) juice - hence the presence of all those flasks.

The clergyman had the unmitigated gall (enough to divide into three parts) to use the "Marriage at Cana" as his preaching text - good grief, if he disapproved couldn't he have chosen something else? - and took it upon himself to change the correct quote "They have no wine" to "supplies were running low."

At which point someone in the congregation (never discovered, though much sought - and not me!) said in a small but clear and carrying voice: "What, no Twiglets?"

Except for the preacherman and the bride's family, who sat like they were sucking lemons, I don't think that chilly, cheerless church contained so much laughter since it was built.

Date: 2011-04-13 02:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] burntcopper.livejournal.com
I made the mistake of introing people to elderflower liqueur last dwcon. trying to get it back was difficult. especially from Rob, assistant to Silas T Firefly.

Date: 2011-04-13 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petermorwood.livejournal.com
I think I had some of that. In fact I know I had some of that.

And it was Yummy.

Digression... Long ago, I got seriously into photography, courtesy of the school Camera Club and a gross of time-expired Ilford FP4 monochrome film.

At that time we still lived in The Old House, which had a real attic, a real cellar - and four floors between them, all connected by carpeted stairs I had to vacuum every Saturday with the Big Nilfisk, supposedly made of aluminium but really made of lead, most noticeably by the top of the eighth flight of stairs.

Anyway, I set about fitting up the cellar as a darkroom, and that's when I found a half-dozen bottles of Granny's home-made elderberry wine, which had been quietly maturing there for twenty years.

Rather than getting disgustingly sloshed in the usual underage drinker way (I was about 14 at the time) it lasted me almost 6 months; partly because with Granny being long dead I knew I wouldn't get any more like it (aww, sweet), and partly because I also knew that if I did anything silly it would be confiscated and the cellar would become the Forbidden Zone (heh, crafty). None of that happened.

And on the palate of memory, it too was Yummy. :-)

Date: 2011-04-13 04:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mhaithaca.livejournal.com
I love that story! Also, flasks, though I was sad to discover the snazzy-looking Star Trek flask I purchased last year isn't liquid-tight when in checked luggage aboard a plane. I bought it to replace the one I've had to retire, now that it's been autographed by JG Hertzler. I don't want to risk the autograph by carrying the thing around.

Sharper Image used to have a couple of stores, mostly in high-end mall settings such as the upscale portion of Quincy Market in Boston. You could actually try all of the fancy gizmos and improbably expensive furniture you'd been eyeing in their catalogs. I imagine they could sell one massage chair and pay the month's rent.

FYI, the vukitoss comment above is spam.

Date: 2011-04-13 04:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petermorwood.livejournal.com
I suspected as much, just hadn't got round to checking; thanks for the confirmation. As you can see, vukitoss has been Dealt With - banned from comment, marked as spam, smacked on the wrist and generally got rid of.

Strange thing about the story - whoever said it knew absolutely that "Twiglets" automatically sounded funnier than "crisps" or "peanuts" (though I have to say that "wot, no pork scratchings?" would have been funnier still, for all sorts of reasons.

Mmmm, Pork scratchings...arrrgg (Homer Simpson drool.) More on them another time.)

It means I have my suspicions of who it was, but they've never admitted it. It also means that several people still think it was me, which it wasn't, and even if it was I wouldn't admit it either; retribution for Saying the Wrong Thing lasts a long time in Northern Ireland... :-/

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