A few weeks ago, I bought isopropyl alcohol to clean my skateboard bearings. Beijing is a very dirty, dusty city, with chronic sandstorms blowing in from the Gobi and down from Siberia. The dust gets everywhere–it is much more work than I think it is worth to try and keep the dust off of everything, which works out great for me, because Scott doesn’t follow the same logic. Therefore, I get a pretty dust-free house with little to no effort on my part. Win for me.
The dust and grime mean that skate bearings with a normally 3-month lifespan last four to six weeks if you are lucky. Which is why they need to be cleaned. Bearings are best cleaned with mineral spirits, but failing that, isopropyl alcohol will work just fine. So I bought two bottles of 95% isopropyl.
Unfortunately, I have still never cleaned my bearings. Instead, we used the alcohol for this:
I justify this egregious risk to person and property (and feline) by pointing out that I had to see if my remote flash triggers and shutter release worked well together. Buying cheap Chinese camera equipment can sometimes turn out to be cheap and crappy, so what better way to test it than by lighting your hands on fire and taking long exposure photographs of it? (For everybody who’s interested, 17-55 f/2.8 IS, 3 second exposures, 580EXII at 1/64 power triggered at the beginning of the shutter release.)
Ironically, the next day we checked our mailbox and found an ad for an emergency repelling rope anchor installation service. I guess in China, when apartment buildings catch on fire, the best (and coolest) way to escape is to grab your rope, attach it to your installed rope anchor point, and repel down the building. That’s the theory anyway.
Some things about China are so cool.