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Haight Street Preacher

Neither Jesus nor his lamps find welcome among the junkies on Haight.

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In 2018 I upgraded my razor to a Feather AS-D2.

I mentioned back then that I liked the Feather blades in the AS-D2, but that they provided fewer shaves than the blades I used in my old Merkur razor. This raises the cost-per-shave. I just today threw away the last Feather blade from the box of 100 that I purchased with the AS-D2. That box cost me $26 and lasted me roughly 1300 days. Call it maybe $7.75 per year. I shave with the same soap I use for washing hands and body, so the blades are my only recurring expense specific to shaving.

Feather Manscaping

I remain pleased with this setup.

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Titanium Fuel Transport

Last January I bought a pack of generic stretch silicone lids. My hope was that one of the sizes in the pack would fit my 16 year old Snow Peak Trek 700. One did. This turns the mug into an excellent fuel transport container. It’s kind of a poor man’s Vargo BOT 700.

Rando Supplies

  • Snow Peak Trek 700 with Silicone Stretch Lid
  • Snow Peak Trek 700 with Silicone Stretch Lid

I have filled the mug with water, installed the silicone lid, flipped it upside down, and left it standing overnight. In the morning there were no leaks. I’m still hesitant to actually transport liquids using the lid. Mostly because the silicone is extremely thin, and I’m sure it is going to tear eventually. But if you’re into cold soaking food on the trail, and don’t want to carry a dedicated jar, I think this could be an attractive option. For leftovers, it’s perfect.

The lids I bought are no longer available, but there is certainly no shortage of equivalents floating around on Amazon-AliExpress-eBay. Based on the number search results, my impression is that China is drowning in silicone stretch lids.

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Natural-Born Cyborgs

For what is special about human brains, and what best explains the distinctive features of human intelligence, is precisely their ability to enter into deep and complex relationships with nonbiological constructs, props, and aids. This ability, however, does not depend on physical wire-and-implant mergers, so much as on our openness to information-processing mergers. Such mergers may be consummated without the intrusion of silicon and wire into flesh and blood, as anyone who has felt himself thinking via the act of writing already knows. The familiar theme of “man the toolmaker” is thus taken one crucial step farther. Many of our tools are not just external props and aids, but they are deep and integral parts of the problem-solving systems we now identify as human intelligence. Such tools are best conceived as proper parts of the computational apparatus that constitutes our minds.

It just doesn’t matter whether the data are stored somewhere inside the biological organism or stored in the external world. What matters is how information is poised for retrieval and for immediate use as and when required. Often, of course, information stored outside the skull is not so efficiently poised for access and use as information stored in the head. And often, the biological brain is insufficiently aware of exactly what information is stored outside to make maximum use of it; old fashioned encyclopedias suffer from all these defects and several more besides. But the more these drawbacks are overcome, the less it seems to matter (scientifically or philosophically) exactly where various processes and data stores are physically located, and whether they are neurally or technologically realized. The opportunistic biological brain doesn’t care. Nor – for many purposes – should we.

Andy Clark, Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence

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On Hojicha

I pedaled over to Japantown a couple months ago to restock rice and umeboshi. While there I visited ChaTo, a tea shop I had heard about but never been to. I had a craving for genmaicha, which I was sure they could satisfy (they did). But the real victory of the day was leaving with a bag of their Sumibi Houjicha. This is my new favorite tea.

I’ve previously mentioned my fondness for kukicha. Kuki means stem or twig, cha means tea, hoji means roasted, sumibi means charcoal fire. So kukicha is tea made of stems instead of leaves. It can be roasted or not. I like it roasted, which seems to be more common on this side of the Pacific Rim. Sumibi hojicha, then, is a charcoal roasted tea. It consists of 60% stems and 40% leaves, so it isn’t a pure kukicha. Instead it is a blend of kukicha and sencha. Most hojicha, I’m told, is made using bancha, which is harvested later in the season and considered a lower-grade leaf. Sencha is the premium early harvest stuff. The sumibi hojicha has a great smell and an amazing taste. The roasting gets rid of most of the caffeine. If you like kukicha, I bet you’ll like this stuff.

ChaTo also sent me away with a sample of their Houjicha Shizuoka, which is lighter in taste (but darker in color) and very sweet. I like it as a cold tea, but the sweetness of the tea tastes wrong to me when brewed hot. I recommend sticking to the sumibi.

Sumibi Hojicha, Hojicha Shizuoka, Eden Kukicha

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Link Log 2021-09-03

The Street Does Not Really Exist: Fashion & the Metaverse

If you can accept that we’re already steeped in the metaverse, that our bodies remain in the physical world while our brains are increasingly minding a digital life… then it only follows that there needs to be some type of protocol to establish ownership, goods, and property in cyberspace. The apt currency to trade in this galaxy of virtual worlds are crypto[currency] coins like Bitcoin, Cardano, and Doge… Planet Earth has been slow and cautious in accepting Jedi cash, so in the metaverse, NFTs are commodities and utilities to spend cryptocurrency and accrue value with digital investments. Even my grade-school sons appreciate how a fist full of Robux (Roblox) or V-Bucks (Fortnite) enhances their life over a $20 USD bill at Target.

Worn Out: Tech elites’ supposed indifference to fashion is a contempt for the commons

Like its disdain for fashion, tech’s myopically optimistic take on the metaverse exposes its contempt for public space. What companies have touted so far is an effort at, in Merchant’s words, “creating and uniting more immersive digital environments in which entertainment might be consumed and work carried out – and advertising displayed, workers surveilled, and branded NFTs and loot boxes sold.” That is, the “metaverse” serves as would-be branding for this more robust facsimile of public space where a broader range of social expression can be more readily captured and monetized. Instead of a departure from atomized, feed-based social media, this version of the metaverse aspires to be its apotheosis, an environment where “presence” itself is proprietary.

What Was California?

The state is on fire, and the CEOs are pushing mindfulness on their employees while presumably both buying their own bullshit and also preserving enough old-fashioned practical rationality to keep their “minds on their money” as well, and on the escape pods they’ve constructed to evacuate them to New Zealand, should that become necessary… What is interesting about Facebook mindfulness, or Berkeley Bayesianism, or Stanford Girardianism, is not the content of the claims, but the illustration these provide of the longue durée dynamics of California history: a history of vapid curiosity, always skimming just over the surface of a process of immeasurable destruction.

Mercury isn’t named Mercury because it’s fast

Ancient astronomers had no way of measuring Mercury’s real orbital speed. They could only observe its apparent motion. And while Mercury bounces from one side of the sun to the other more frequently than Venus, their apparent speed isn’t much different.

Chinese Mercenaries in Africa

China wishes to maintain a discreet military presence in Africa and avoid at all costs being seen as a new colonial power. The [Private Security Companies] may be the tool it needs to prevent the defense of its citizens and assets from forcing it into military interventions that, for the time being, remain out of its reach. But it is to be feared that the increase in military aid and private security may lead Beijing to move away from its principle of non-interference.

Underground Military Production In Gaza: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

While using existing old weapons and ammunition in the 1990s [Hamas] also had an urgent need to obtain weapons to arm their partisans, whose numbers began to increase daily. [The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades] found they had nothing to arm their men with except for a few old weapons – the most famous of which was the “M/45 Carl Gustaf” 9×19mm submachine gun (from which they later copied the operating mechanism from to produce their improvised Carlo SMG, this also indicates where the Carlo took its nickname from). From these humble beginnings, the Qassam brigades quickly began to think about manufacturing their weapons.

SF Bay Transport

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Optical Support Kit

I use an Ultralite Sacks Trail Wallet to carry a few items that support my Rudy Project Rydon eyewear. I have six or eight of these simple cuben fiber zippered pouches floating around for different uses, either from Ultralite Sacks or Zpacks.

Optical Support Kit

I’ve previously mentioned my infatuation with the ImpactX2 Photochromic Laser Red lenses. These remain my lense of choice 99% of the time. But sometimes I want a polarized lens (such as when on water), or one with lower light transmission (such as when the sun is low during the equinox), or one with higher contrast (such as when on snow), or one that is not photochromic (such as when in an enclosed vehicle for an extended period of time). All of these conditions are satisfied by the Polar3FX brown lenses. I carry these in the wallet inside of the small microfiber lens pouch that Rudy provides.

A microfiber bag is useful when I want to put the Rydons inside my pack. The bag doesn’t provide any crush protection, but prevents the lenses from getting scratched. I use the bag that came with my old Revision Sawfly optics.

I also carry a full-size microfiber cloth. This is the same large model I use to protect my laptop screen. It is slightly redundant with the microfiber bag – both can be used to clean the lenses – but I find the larger size of the dedicated cloth useful.

There’s enough room in the wallet to store my Cablz retention strap. I have kept this attached to the Rydons most of the time since purchasing the strap last year, but if I remove it, it goes in the wallet.

The wallet can fit a 5ml spray bottle filled with ROR. That’s not something I carry around on a daily basis, but I’d consider tossing it in for an extended trip.

As you may have gathered, one of my pet peeves is dirty optics. I want to protect my corneas from UV radiation and impact, but I also want vision that is high definition and high fidelity. The Rydons, coupled with this small and lightweight kit, support that objective.

Optical Support Kit

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