Back in 2017 one of the ladies at Red Blossom Tea chastised me for not using a tea scale. I went home and ordered an American Weigh Scales SC-2kg, which measures up to 2kg with 0.1g resolution. It seemed adequate for the task, and compact enough that I wouldn’t mind it taking up a little room in a drawer if I ended up not using it frequently.
At the start of 2020 I decided to become an adult and begin to measure all solid kitchen ingredients by weight instead of volume, so the SC-2kg began to see much more frequent use.
That went along swimmingly for about a year, until the beginning of 2021 when I became curious about the accuracy of the scale. Nothing in particular prompted this curiosity. I just enjoy knowing that the tools in my life are both precise and accurate. As helpfully explained by LabBalances, there are a number of different scale calibration systems in the world. All of it is overkill for use in my personal kitchen, but I decided to look into the OIML-M1 class from the International Organization of Legal Metrology.
The calibration procedure for the SC-2kg requires 1kg and 2kg weights. I found a good deal on a set of 2kg, 1kg, 20g and 10g OIML-M1 certified weights on eBay. According to OIML-M1, a 1kg calibration weight must be accurate within 50mg. A 2kg calibration weight must be within 100mg. That’d get me a pretty accurate bowl of rice.
When I received the weights I found that the SC-2kg reported the correct measurement for all 4 calibration weights. I also tried the calibration weights on my MyWeigh UltraShip Ultra-35, which is the scale I’ve had kicking around since 2009 for measuring backpacking gear. It only claims to have 2g resolution up to 1kg, and 5g resolution up to 16 kilograms. I found it to be accurate within its claimed resolution.
So all of this was for naught. Both of my scales were already accurate and not in need of calibration. But I really enjoy having these OIML calibration weights and knowing that my measurements conform to the standards of the universe.
All of my sharpening supplies live in a box in a closet. Out of sight, out of mind. Once I moved the strop to a place where I see it every day, I began to use it much more often – both for kitchen knives and pocket knives. Frequent stropping keeps the knives in better shape, and reduces the frequency with which they need to be sharpened.
the Intersection (Superflux, 2021)
Pilotpriest scored, directed, and wrote Come True under the alias Anthony Scott Burns. This is the first feature length film of his that I’ve seen. His previous short works include a Tron sequel and, with Ash Thorp, Lost Boy. Both are excellent. Come True follows a teenage runaway who joins a sleep study at a local university in order to have a place to sleep, and proceeds to awaken some sort of demonic universal id. It is full of neon and moody lighting and retro tech and hex dumps and I loved it. I think of it as a sort of Strange Days by way of Stranger Things. There’s not much dialogue, but I thought the lead actress did a great job of selling the character’s path from confusion to discomfort to terror.
Makeup and Vanity Set, using the nom de guerre Matthew Putsi, scored the third season of The Girlfriend Experience. The show follows a neuroscientist hooker who uses her sex work experience to help build a manipulative artificial intelligence. It is quite weird, but I enjoyed the aesthetics of the show. Reviewers seem to criticize it for feeling very cold and sterile and antiseptic, but I think that fits with the theme of sex-divorced-from-emotion. I enjoy my tech-noir, and this is that. It felt somewhat Gibsonian. I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn at the end of the show that Huburtus Bigend was orchestrating things. The score, as expected, is excellent.
Over the years I’ve developed a small toiletry kit that satisfies the needs for my every day ablutions. I carry it in a small Mountain Laurel Designs Cuben Fiber Packing Cube (the same model pouch I use for my EDC tool kit). There’s some crossover between this kit and my first aid kit, but that is to be expected. Health and cleanliness are closely related.
If I know I’m going to be gone overnight, I’ll grab another MLD cube that I keep packed with a toothbrush, a small bottle of toothpowder, and floss. If I know I’m going to be gone multiple days, I’ll add a bar of soap and shaving supplies. The following is just what I find it worthwhile to carry in my backpack everyday.
I use hand sanitizer infrequently, always preferring soap and water, but it is still a critical tool to carry.
I carry hand sanitizer in a 15 mL Mini Dropper Bottle with a Streaming Dropper Tip. I don’t have a specific product recommendation here. My all time favorite hand sanitizer was the All Terrain Hand Sanz Gel. It was effective, did not dry out my hands, and did not stink. But I went through the last of my stash last year, and the product has been discontinued. Next I went with Elyptol, which has an EWG rating of 1, but the eucalyptus scent is too overpowering. If they made an unscented version I’d buy it. Currently I use Pipette, which has an EWG rating of 1. It leaves a bit of sticky residue behind, but otherwise seems fine.
These days it seems like everybody carries hand sanitizer, but few carry soap. I don’t get it. Soap is pretty useful stuff to have when out and about in the world. A good, versatile soap will clean tools, clothes, and body.
Protecting the meatsuit from ambient radiation is important. For much of the year my sunblock goes untouched, but if I take it out I’ll forget to put it back in when the seasons change. Or I’ll find myself on a snow field and think “Gee, it sure would be nice to have some sunblock right now.” It’s easier to just leave it in the kit year-round.
I use Thinksport SPF 50, repackaged in a 15 mL Mini Dropper Bottle with a Streaming Dropper Tip. I have also carried it in screw-top capsules, but I’ve found that the plastic containers can be cracked and the tin containers can be dented such that they become difficult to open. So I’m back to using dropper bottles, despite them being impossible to clean out. Thinksport has an EWG rating of 2.
I rarely have a problem with chapped lips, and thus rarely use lip balm as a moisturizer. My only interest in lip balm is as sunblock.
I use All Terrain Lip Armor SPF 28. All Terrain has been steadily discontinuing all their best products, including this one. I recommend stocking up. This product used to have a high EWG rating, but it seems to no longer be listed.
Before I started dosing myself with omega, a good skin balm was critical to keeping my hands operational in the dryer months. Now its criticality is diminished, but I think it is still important tool to address small cuts, scrapes, burns, and bites. Balm is best thought of as an artificial scab: it encourages healing, and provides a protective barrier. A good skin balm coupled with some soap, clean water, and bandaging material is going to take care of the vast majority of minor first aid issues. (Throw in a syringe and some steri-strips, benzoin tincture, and a semi-permeable dressing and the world is your oyster.)
climbOn is my favorite skin balm. I find it to be highly effective. It is available in two scents, both of which I find unoffensive. Most important for something that is to be used on the hands, it does not feel greasy. I hate applying a balm on a finger and then feeling like I’m leaving residue on everything I touch. climbOn does not have an EWG rating, but its ingredients are few, easy to understand, and food-grade.
I carry the 0.5 oz climbOn Lotion Bar. I generally find that my happiness is inversely proportional to the amount of cardboard in my life, but I make an exception here. The tube is a more convenient carry format than the old tins.
I have tried using (non-SPF) lip balm as skin balm, since the form-factor of lip balm tends to be great for EDC, but I’ve not found any lip balm that I like as much as the climbOn skin balm. (I have tried the climbOn lip balm and do not like it for this application.) The stuff made for lips tends to have a softer consistency and be too greasy for me to want to use on hands. A good skin balm, however, is perfectly serviceable as a lip balm if you’re not looking for sun protection.
As previously discussed, I carry 2.5” Westcott Titanium Scissors.
I carry the titanium version of Uncle Bill’s Sliver Grippers. Tweezers are something I almost never use, but when I need them there is no substitute. The titanium offers no functional advantage over the stainless steel variant, but titanium is cool.
But I’ve become quite smitten with Ringke Silicon Cable Ties. Unlike hook and loop, they don’t stick to things that you don’t want them to stick to. Most importantly, they are easy to open and close while wearing full-fingered gloves. This makes them great for cables you carry around while out and about in meatspace, such as earbuds and power cables. I’ve only been using them since July, so I can’t speak to durability, but I see no reason they should not satisfy in that department.
For thicker cables that need to be restrained with a bit more vigor, I am fond of the new Voile Nano Straps.