$1,000 Bottle Stopper

Last night, as I was closing a bottle of bubbly with a Zyliss bottle stopper, the shaft broke.

The compressed rubber bushings released their energy downward, sending the shaft into the bottle at a high rate of speed.  The sudden intrusion excited the sparkling wine.  The stimulated liquid did all it knows to do–it lept from the bottle.  About five ounces all told bounced off the ceiling and then rained down on the counter and the laptop on the counter (Lacey was trying to show me cute pics of dogs cared for by her friend Kim).  Had the $3 stopper contributed to the ruination of a laptop, transforming a failed $3 gadget into a $1,000 bummer?  Lacey turned the laptop upside down to drain the liquid from the keyboard.  About an ounce came out.  She also forced a shut down and removed the battery.  We left it upside down overnight to dry.

At first I blamed myself for the mishap.  Operating the cam in the stopper expands the rubber bushings in the stopper to seal the bottle.  Operating the cam with the stopper inserted in a champagne bottle was hard because the opening in champagne bottles is smaller than the opening in wine bottles (the glass is thicker to withstand the force of sparkling wine).  The bushings can’t expand as far as they would in a bigger opening of a wine bottle, so the compression is greater.  I was careful, though, and it seemed to work.  For a time, anyway.  In the end, only 30 days since purchase and after about five uses, the load was too great for the thin plastic shaft.

As I laid in bed wondering whether I had just cooked our laptop, I thought about it some more.  We bought the stopper for use in champagne bottles.  You don’t really need a stopper for wine, as you can just replace the cork for short term storage.  I’d guess most users buy these things to try to preserve bubbles in sparkling wine.  The manufacturer should have anticipated this use.  They could have made two sizes.  One for champagne and one for wine.  Not enough profit in that, I suspect.  Shame on them.  Update:  Zyliss has a five year warranty on most products.  After I sent them an email with an image of the broken stopper, they replied the same day saying a replacement is on the way.  Useful only for still wine, but hey–at least they are sending a new one.

This morning I reinstalled the battery into the laptop and, happily, it fired right up (and even opened the facebook page with the dog pics).  As it warms, I am getting a whiff of sparkling wine.  Much like I did for years when I fired up my motorcycle.  I think I have told this story before, but it makes sense here.  Once I carried a case of red wine bungeed to the pillion seat.  Unbeknownst to me, as I made my way home, a couple of bottles broke and wine leaked down the back of the motorbike and onto the muffler.  The wine baked onto the heated steel and I never did get it off.  It was a pleasant way to be reminded of a mistake made long ago (I had the case on its side so that the bottles pressed against themselves when under compression from the bungee net and faced with rough roads–should have transported the bottles in the upright position).  I sold that motorbike six years ago, but now I again have in my life a warm wine reminder of a new mistake (shouldn’t open or seal sparkling wine without a towel over the opening–used to do this, but got cocky as years of trouble free openings accrued).  Enough.

I have worn one pair of Swrve shorts every day all summer long.  Just love them and take them off only at night to sleep and one day a week to wash them.  That’s a lot to ask of one pair of shorts (and a lot to ask of my partner), so I invested in four more pair.  They arrived yesterday.  All my favorite colors!  

I’ve liked their products since I was introduced to them at my friend’s store in Portland.  Good materials, construction and design.  Liked, too, that they were made in America.  And they last!  A year or so ago I noticed on their site that some of their stuff was being made overseas.  If my memory serves, only the black label stuff was being made here.  I forgot that as I was placing my order from Ben’s.  When I checked the tags of the new pair, I find two of the three cotton pair were made in America and one was made in Pakistan.  Same shorts.  Different color.  Even different amounts of stretchy stuff.  

The tie on tags for the three cotton pair all said 2% lycra, but only the sewn in inner tags on the two American pair said 2% lycra.  The inner tag on the Pakistani pair said 7% spandex.  Sloppy.  The light grey plastic pair were made in China.  Huh.

As I check their site today, the home page says “swrve makes stylish urban cycling apparel, including knickers, shorts, shirts, jackets and more in downtown Los Angeles.”  True, but not the whole truth.  They make stuff in LA, but not all their stuff.  The page for the cotton shorts I got, under the details and specifications tab, says imported.  My guess is the two USA pairs I got were just older stock.  That a company is committed to USA manufacturing doesn’t mean they will stick with it.  There is probably a story there.  I doubt they are getting mad rich.  Probably doing what they have to do to pay their workforce–maybe even provide healthcare.  I kind of wish they’d tell the story.  Assuming there is one there.  Moral is, if you care about where your stuff is made, you gotta check each time you order.  Again, enough.

Powered through a couple of gallons of pickles already, leaving three gallons.  We get credit for one.  The second is with Lacey at a pot luck picnic for enjoyment later today.  Real progress, as the cucumber vines are all but dead.  I’ve survived another season.  Tomatoes are still going strong.  I’ve saucified all I can stand, so it is time for a new approach.  I think I will start drying some in the oven.  Should be fun.  Next up, cabbage for sauerkraut.  When will it end?  Uncle!

Happy Friday!  A pretty day ahead.  I should go be in it.


8 responses to “$1,000 Bottle Stopper

  1. I have a pair of Swrve knickers that I really like. Looking forward to wearing them when the weather is cooler.

  2. Check out Outlier if you haven’t. Made in NYC out of the best materials. I’ve had Swrve stuff and while it’s good, it’s still made out of the same stuff regular jeans are; the Outlier stuff is made of water resistant, breathable Schoeller fabrics. Sorry to sound like an ad but I love it. http://www.outlier.cc

    • Wow! Very cool! I hadn’t seen this stuff. Thanks for the tip.

      The new Swrve shorts I bought are stretchy cotton and nondescript nylon, but the Swerve shorts I have been glued into all summer are made from Schoeller. Very comfortable stuff. The only plus for the cotton is its silence. When I pedal with Schoeller shorts, I get swish swish sounds with each turn of the pedals. Not a problem in traffic, but when I am lucky enough to be pedaling on an empty road, I place a big premium on silence.

      Thanks for writing in. Take care!

  3. I have learned to make sure to finish the bottle and thus not have a need to store it. 🙂
    (Love your blog, second time I commented in ~7 years.)

  4. Sorry pal, read your story ish. And thought what a complete tit sorry pal.w

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