Hobbyist insistence on tailored products?

I also find this point interesting. I find it similar to people who “micromanage” their food orders, for example. An overly complicated Starbucks drink, a thousand questions and substitutions and a lengthy conversation before ordering anything at a restaurant, etc. It does seem like an attempt to assert control. Also perhaps the sensation that these choices define who you are and your personality, and a lack of confidence that there is “anything there” if you don’t spend time on these choices? Perhaps I’ve gone off the deep end on the psychoanalysis.

As a cyclist it does seem like there are different categories of interest in hobbies. I think some people really like the minutia of the hobby: so agonizing about the right equipment, oil, etc. is part of the hobby and something they enjoy. Whereas other folks might just like riding their bike: there’s some degree of picking the right equipment for the job but the task is considered a necessary evil and not something that is enjoyed in itself.

I’m definitely the latter: I recognize there are certain things that can improve my cycling experience and will begrudgingly spend money on those. But I’m not gonna like it and consider it a chore. Although I will admit I’d probably just buy the bike specific lube, mostly because putting any additional thought into what substitutions are fine is more costly to me than just buying the stuff from the bike store. If it was a non-negligible cost over the long run I might put more thought into it.

^ Same.

It’s easy to get carried away. Anyone get into home theater when it was in its infancy? I let myself get semi-brainwashed for a hot minute before I came to my senses. Gawd forbid you have cables other than Monsters or an all-in-one out-of-the-box surround sound “kit”.


My favorite has been Monster cables for digital signals like HDMI. Point out to someone that they just blew a LOT of money to get a cable that literally can’t make a difference in picture quality unless there’s some kind of intereference*, and watch them mentally spin out trying to rationalize it.

  • Basically if a digital signal is being received adequately, it’s going to be as good as it can get; the quality of the cables is immaterial, since it’s zeroes and ones, unlike analog, where the cable can make a difference. Of course, if there’s some sort of interference causing problems with the digital signal, that’s something else, and a poor cable can contribute to that. But in general, as long as the cable meets the spec, you’re going to be fine, regardess of how swanky or low-rent the cable is.

My ex-husband with a master at this. And I do think it was about control and also about, in his own mind, being “special.” Coffee with cream, no sugar, wasn’t unique enough for him. It had to be freshly brewed – he’d ask how long since it was made and if it was over 10 minutes, he’s insist they make a fresh pot. It had to be cream, not whole milk or, heaven forbid, 2% milk. It went on and on: no tomatoes on his burger, not too much mayonnaise, real cheese not cheese-food. I get that some people have allergies or food hang-ups but I’d seen this man eat anything and everything at home, including tomatoes and plenty of mayo on a burger. It was like he just couldn’t bear to accept what was standard and good enough for the hoi polloi.

I’m not sure exactly which you’re looking at- but I know that some of the baby “distilled” waters are actually labeled as “purified”.The labels say it’s distilled and then minerals are added back for taste (actual distilled water doesn’t taste good) - and they often have added fluoride as well. The distilled water you find in the grocery/pharmacy aisle has no minerals and is meant to be used in irons , CPAPs or other appliances.

The grocery section has gallon jugs of distilled water, purified water, and spring water - all of which sell for eighty-eight cents (except for a few months ago when the price went up temporarily). The baby section sells, I believe, gallon jugs of both purified water and distilled water, both for over a dollar. I’ve never raised a baby so I don’t know what kind of water you’re supposed to use for them. But it is the same water they’re selling in another part of the same store for a lower price.

Interesting fact; pure water (the kind of stuff you might find in a lab) is extremely dangerous and can do you serious harm if you drink it.

Of course nothing will happen to you if you drink a glass of distilled water (and it doesn’t taste “bad”), but that does not mean it is OK to chug gallons of it. In fact, you can fuck up your electrolyte balance and die from drinking enough tap water as well.

I should say you’re nuts if you eat or drink anything in a lab. If you want some sucrose in your coffee, keep an original sealed bottle for that purpose in the break room, don’t go sampling the lab chemicals.

A related thing is seeing highly-specific products that are really just simple chemicals. Go to Home Depot and note all the various products for stump remover, drain cleaner, concrete cleaner, and so on. Often these are just basic chemicals in a colorful container: potassium nitrate, copper sulfate, sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, etc. Many of which you can get more cheaply by buying the less-specific container.

Of course, that requires extra knowledge. So arguably, what you’re paying for is the expertise in telling you that chemical X is suitable for said application, and some degree of recourse in case the product screws up whatever you were trying to use it for.

I have actually had problems with cheap 99 cent HDMI cables you get from discount stores in the past but those always seem to have to do with fit and fitting, the HDMI signal would flicker between on and off randomly on those cheap cables, but paying $20 for quality HDMI cable really isn’t that big of a deal. Spending over $25 for it though is.

C’mon guys - my golf swing depends on the shirt label.

Valvoline? Valvoline? What is wrong with you? You should only ever put Castrol in any vehicle you care about. And you should change the oil every 50 miles. If you don’t, you might as well set the care on fire and walk away. :laughing:

There’s another sub-species in the cycling world that many of you are familiar with: the Weight Weenie. Their raison d’etre is to shave every possible gram off of their bikes.

And the degree to which they can obsess and geek out is truly breathtaking.

A former co-worker of mine was a nationally ranked cycling beast. The one time I brought up the concept of weight weenies, his reply was concise and pithy:

“Take a shit.”

Yep. There are sites where one can look up the weight of every possible component, to the gram.


Me, I have to ride my bike to work later today. I’m going to bungee a U-lock to the rack, carry my laptop and some other stuff, and also a jacket because it will be cooler when I come back tonight. A few grams one way or the other really won’t make any difference.

Also, gotta put some 3-in-1 on the chain.

I don’t know much about sewing machine oils, but I’ve had my gun out shooting when the temperature was down in the single digits Fahrenheit. I doubt that quilting machines are expected to perform in those kinds of weather conditions. I’d want to look up some specifications before assume it would function in cold or hot conditions.

Amateurs. They left off a couple of critical components. This is rotational mass, people.
Valve stem nut (Presta) 1.10 g
Valve stem cap (Presta) .27 g

Marcus Cole is my prophet on this issue. The universe is just generally unfair and hostile for no good reason.

Heck, the brand Monster Cable, period. Even in analog applications the price differential was mostly about marketing, relative to any other cable of the same material and gauge.

See … some of you people are just plain nuts.

In college, I bought my first pair of Litz oxygen-free (cartridge-to-tonearm) headshell wires.

After moving on from that setup, and those wires, I utterly cannot listen to music without being vexed by the intrusive burbling noise* of the signal being transmitted through all that execrable … oxygen.

Maddening, I tell you. Maddening !

*such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton

I thought it was that Quaker State and Pennzoil had wax in them because of the crude oil they were refined from… (it’s “paraffinic crude”, as opposed to asphaltic or napthenic crude)

How many gun oils actually give any specs either? Hoppe’s oil is actually thicker than sewing machine oil. My ancient bottle of Castrol synthetic gun lube has no specs, and nor do my bottles of Break-Free or Rem-Oil. I suppose you could argue that Break-Free is better, as it has to meet whatever that Mil-Spec is for lubrication, which presumably has low-temp performance included.

That’s my point- unless you’re using Break-Free for the reasons I mentioned, you’re going on blind faith that something labeled as “gun oil” is prima facie going to be better than say… 3-in-1, sewing machine oil, hair clipper oil, paper shredder oil, or something more generic like this Starrett Mineral Machine Oil, which is marketed for just about anything.

The thing is, all of those things are pretty much the same- they’re light machine oils without much in the way of additives.