Archive for the ‘General’ Category.

The Mystery Spot!

I visited The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz last weekend, some 35 years after my first visit! Instead of my parents taking me, I took my wife and daughter. It was both hugely nostalgic and and a lot of fun! Our guide, Chris was awesome!

So Many Phones

I’ve bought my 3rd phone on Swappa.com 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!

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
Recreation.gov 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!

 

 

Directions:

– 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!)

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.

Get A Pap Test

If you are female and thinking of not getting a regular pap test / pap smear, please reconsider. You already know that cervical cancer is both very common and very treatable and it has no symptoms until it has already done a huge amount of damage. The test is definitely uncomfortable. But this may help:

 

Facebook post by Verana Faye

Verana Faye, March 2, 2020 ·
This morning I went to the doctor to get a referral for a dermatologist. At my appointment they let me know I was due for a pap smear and asked if I wanted it right then and there. My initial reaction was nervousness and resistance. I have really disliked pap smears in the past and have found them to be quick, cold, and even traumatic at times. Then I remembered the article I posted recently about some practitioners at Planned Parenthood who are now inviting women to insert the speculum themselves as a gesture of autonomy and consent. I suddenly got excited and decided to ask for this.

I was greeted by a young resident who told me she would be giving me the pap smear. Within a few minutes we were talking about menstrual cups and Thinx menstrual panties. So far this was already going very differently! I then told her about the article I had read recently and asked her if I could insert the speculum myself. She was a bit taken aback, but seemed to also get excited.

“I am not quite sure how it will work, but let’s give it a try!”

I was curious about the confusion because to me it felt very straight forward, but her willingness and curiosity brought tears to my eyes.
We worked together. We took it slowly.

I told her how I wanted it to go, and she made sure all the tools were in place before applying the lube on the speculum for me. I leaned back, took a slow breath, and inserted the speculum myself. I then took another deep breath and handed it to her to complete the exam. She talked me through what she was doing. And in no time, we were complete.

I sat up and she looked me in the eye and said, “I would love to give women that option in the future. Can you give me some feedback? How was that for you? What felt good? What would you have wanted different?” I got to share. I got to talk about my experience and let her know how there were a couple of places where I would have loved her to invite a deep relaxing breath or an additional instruction or invitation.

At the end, she turned to me one last time and said, “Thank you for advocating for yourself today.”

I felt fucking powerful. I could feel her feeling powerful too. I felt us rise together in that tiny room for those precious moments. I feel so grateful for her openness and for the opportunity to work together with other women to change the way we engage with our bodies and with “standard” medical care.

Right now Mercury is retrograding over my natal Mars. This is an acute time for me to be more direct and action oriented with my communication. Though it also may be a time for heated conversation, it is also one for reform and personal and collective liberation. The planet Neptune is also in a square to my natal Mercury. This is a much longer transit, lasting several years. This is a once in a lifetime time for me to heal some old, confusing threads around communication, and how my voice impacts and influences space and spirit around me. I am so grateful to feel these influences so strongly today and for the grace and clarity with which I asked for what I needed. This has not been easy for me in the past and I bow deeply to life for the weavings and harvestings of today. ❤
Art by Amelia Rankine

Zoom Meetings

Zoom meeting are just modern seances.

 

The Best Pair of COVID Charts I’ve Seen

This is looking very good!

via CovidTrends and Google

 

The US COVID death charts are following… probably.

Bluetooth Earbud Tip for Zoom

I recently got some bluetooth earbuds for using on Zoom for Windows. Here’s a super tip

Bluetooth connects to computers 2 ways. “Headset AG” or “Headphone stereo”. AG is 2-way (the earbuds are headphones and a microphone) while regular is 1-way (the earbuds are just a headphone). The problem is that when you do it 2-way, the sound quality in both directions is much lower, telephone quality.

The tip: set ALL of your sound outputs on your computer to go to the “regular” bluetooth device and use the microphone on your laptop. Now you have great sounding wireless headphones. It can be tricky to figure out how to change all the outputs. Here are the key ones for me:

In Zoom:

I selected the Speaker “Headphones (Mpow Flame Solo Stereo)” and not the “Headset (Mpow Flame Solo Hands-Free AG Audio)”. And the the microphone, I selected the one built into the computer “Microphone Array (Realtek High Definition Audio”.

 

In Windows, Click on the Speaker icon in the tray to get this menu and…

 

then click on the correct speaker like so:

Now (hopefully!) all of your audio outputs will go to your earbuds in high quality. Enjoy the cordlessness!

 

Facebook and Imgur Fasting

I’m taking a 3 day Facebook and Imgur.com fast. Interrupting the Doomscrolling cycle will be good for my mental health.

(reminder to my future-self.. I keep scrolling, thinking I’m looking for the positive story that will give me hope and set me right. What I end up doing is building a catalog of negative stories that drive me further to look for the balancing positive ones. Hence, the doomscrolling cycle)