Review of Outback Trading Men’s 1497 River Guide UPF 50 Waterproof Breathable Outdoor Cotton Oilskin Hat: Bad

The hat smells of… I can think of no better description: hot asphalt. I wrote to the company who responded “Yes, there will be a slight oily smell and feel to the hat. This will fade over time with exposure to sunlight and the elements of nature.” It is horrible, like wearing a tiny bit of a skunk on your head. I’ll stop noticing the smell for a while and then turn my head and think, “What the hell, why do I smell asphalt?!”

Every time I touch the hat, my hands get oily. It’s like the “oil” in “oilskin” was cheap lubricating oil.

Well, after a month… 1 week of full-time wear, 1 week sitting outside in the sun and rain, 2 weeks sitting out, it still smells of asphalt and makes my hands oily.

Don’t buy this hat.

AGM Lead Acid Battery Charging

Just leaving this here for the 35 AH AGM lead-acid battery I use for my CPAP.

Charge State
13.5 full charge (2.25 per cell)
12.5 66%
11.5 33%
10.5 flat (1.75 per cell)

2.0 nominal voltage
2.4 full charge
2.25-2.30 float, don’t overfloat AGM!
1.75 flat
200 discharge cycles total
via Battery University

So Many Phones

I’ve bought my 3rd phone on in 3 weeks. I’m kinda over it. But third time is the charm, right?

My old phone, a Pixel 2 had this one quirk that I didn’t notice for the longest time: the audio on recorded videos is very quiet. EVERYTHING else works and I couldn’t find a fix for the audio problem so… buy a new (to me) phone!

Pixel 4… I realized it didn’t have fingerprint unlock, only face unlock. Face unlock doesn’t work when you’re wearing a mask and… ugh, I would much rather that the phone unlocks when I push the magic button and not when it sees my face.

Pixel 3… the top speaker didn’t work. So I could do everything except take phone calls with it. So, a smartphone that did everything except “phone”.

Pixel 3… third time’s the charm, right?

[Update 5-2-21] [Sad Trombone] The third phone is a fail. Some kind of image stabilization problem when recording videos. Blah! Calm continues to be a magical reprieve from the difficulties of the world. It’s so simple. People show videos of what it looks like out the window of their home. This morning I was welcomed into someone’s home in Brazil, heard birds chirping in Russia, felt the buzz of street traffic in Palestine, and whiled away the time listening to cicadas in Texas. The most magical thing is that in all these videos, nothing happens.
The site is free. I’ve chipped into their “buy me a coffee” jar.

Camping & Hiking Resources

We visited Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks over spring break, taking a Moterra luxury camper van.

Here are some camping & hiking resources we used
Gypsy Audio Tours – We really enjoyed hearing the audio tours while driving through the park, even multiple times.
National Park Service individual park guides, good for finding the main attractions
– National Park Rangers. Go to the Information Booth at the entrance to the park and ask questions of these flat-hatted fonts of information and good vibes find national park campgrounds and activities
National Park Service app, find National Parks

We heard about these resources and will use them next time
All Trails find trails
The Dyrt find campgrounds
Campendium find campgrounds

Hard Boiled Eggs in a Pressure Cooker – WIN!

Using my new pressure cooker method, hard-boiled eggs reliably come out of their shells without damage! Before I discovered this method, about 1 in 5 eggs had unsightly tears and 1 in 20 eggs got so chipped and torn, they were essentially unusable. Unacceptable!




– Add about 1 cup of water and up to a dozen large to extra large eggs to the pressure cooker.
– Cook eggs for 1 minute at high pressure (it takes a few minutes to get up to pressure), then let them cool in the pressure cooker naturally at least 7 minutes and up to… I dunno, I’ve left it for 15 minutes and the yolks were only slightly green.
– Put straight into an egg carton and into the fridge to cool for use later.

This method reliably avoids:
– undercooking (the yolk being soft or gooey)
– overcooking (the white being hard, the outside of the yolk turning green)
and most importantly…
– sticky shell (the shell sticking to the white so hard that the white tears when shell is peeled off)

It is a joy to peel them every time! It is still helpful to peel under running water to wash off tiny shell fragments, but not required.

My pressure cooker is a Fagor Lux Multicooker. The manual says it runs at 9psi. Your pressure cooker may be different. For example, the Instant Pot reportedly runs at 15psi, but then I’ve also heard Instant Pots cook slightly slower than the Fagor Lux. Whatever! Experiment a little!

I’ve tried a lot of saucepan timing and temperature methods that kinda-sorta-sometimes work. I tried ice baths before and after cooking. I tried using vinegar in the pot which sometimes helped but wasn’t reliable and boiling vinegar makes the house smell funny. Different pressure cooker timings work but my 1 minute pressure / 7 minute cooldown version is the easiest, most reliable so far!

Thank you Gail for giving us the Fagor Lux pressure cooker!

It’s weird, I don’t remember having this problem when I was younger. Maybe it’s a localized Bay Area chicken problem? I wouldn’t think so because in recent years I’ve had the problem with several different brands of eggs, fresh eggs, older eggs, even fancy organic pasture raised not-debeaked hormone-free etc… etc… eggs. But when we hard boil them in a saucepan, we reliably have 2 out of 12 eggs be a horrible, messy failure! But no more! I am in pressure cooked hard boiled egg heaven!

(This is something of a repost, but my updated method is so much better that I had to share!)

Prosodic Stress

I’ve always been bothered that English writing has no great way of describing prosodic stress. I only learned that term today but I’ve understood it for decades! What is “prosodic stress”? I’ll borrow from Wikipedia which has a nice definition and example:

I didn’t take the test yesterday. (Somebody else did.)
didn’t take the test yesterday. (I did not take it.)
I didn’t take the test yesterday. (I did something else with it.)
I didn’t take the test yesterday. (I took one of several. or I didn’t take the specific test that would have been implied.)
I didn’t take the test yesterday. (I took something else.)
I didn’t take the test yesterday. (I took it some other day.)

Sadly, italics and bold usually come off as gauche, similar to how red circles get overused in memes.


Thanks to Tom Scott’s Why Shakespeare Could Never Have Been French video for teaching me the term!


Whatcha Doin?

A friend asked what I’ve been up to…
I’m still being an occupational therapist for WCCUSD. Mostly at Murphy Elementary in El Sobrante. Working from home is, as they say in the business “challenging” for a variety of reasons. Growing up my 6 year old daughter is a thing. Staying at home, away from the pandemic for the last year is a thing.

MPOW Bluetooth USB Dongle

Just got an MPOW Bluetooth USB Dongle, Model BH519A
It does Bluetooth 5.1. :-)

There’s no manual for it, just drivers on the site

Mpow Flame Solo Wireless Bluetooth Eardbuds

I got a pair of Mpow Flame Solo Wireless Eardbuds, model BH503A recently. I’m really happy with them!

Here’s the Mpow Flame Solo User Manual

I did a comparison recently between them, Tozo T12, Jabra Evolve T65, and Anker Soundcore Spirit X, and these came out on top!

Main features:
– $40 inexpensive on Amazon
– They “just work”. It has taken a little effort to figure out how to switch between my now multiple audio-out options on my computer, that isn’t the fault of the earbuds. Syncing is easy, turning on and of is easy.
– audio quality for music is nearly as good as my wired earbuds, I use them for music and Zoom sessions a lot
– The over-the-ear design means they stay on my head and I don’t have to rely on squeezing the earpiece into my ear to stay on (like the Tozo T12)
– The volume and sound response (highs vs lows etc) is sometimes a little bit less than my wired earbuds. But, as Ultron said as he prepared to destroy earth, “I got no strings on me!”