Categories
essays recommendations

Fascinating read about debutantes

I had a grandmother who was an East-coast debutante. This read by AHP places them as a societal solution and resists further simplification. Highly recommended read!

Categories
Food Random recommendations

Pistachios and cashews are gangster

Imagine yourself a sea captain, sailing from port to port with cargos of food. Which ones are a risk?

So a cargo of pistachios seems harmless, doesn’t it? It’s totally not – they can suffocate you, set themselves on fire in two different ways and might, for bonus hazard points, explode.

Cashews? They’re covered in toxic irritant irushiol, which has to be burned off before they’re safe for consumption. That’s why you’ll never see cashews in-shell.

I learned both of these and more at the latest issue of The Whippet, which I recommend to you. S/he finds interesting stuff.

Categories
Watches

More Scurfa awesomeness

My most-read post on the site is the well-named “You should buy a Scurfa dive watch.” Today, they released the long-anticipated ‘Treasure Seeker’ line for sale, and at 368UKP (~510USD) it’s one hell of a deal!

It’s more upscale than my DI-500, with mechanical 9015 movement, included bracelet & strap, ceramic bezel and much fancier dial. For all of that, the price is incredible.

They have black, dark blue, bright blue, orange, yellow and white dial versions, all with attention to contrast and legibility. For example, the white dial version has black-edged hands and markers – nice!

The bright blue is called ‘Hydra Hat’ after a piece of dive equipment, and it’s lovely. And tempting. The black dial is the only one sporting a few color highlights, which is the only complaint I can muster.

I think the other colors would also have benefited from a bit of color pop here and there. Ahh well.

Nice saturated orange.

Me? I just ordered the white dial. I think it’ll be versatile, legible and a delight to own, and Scurfa seem to hold value very well in case the 41mm / 165g is too large or heavy for me.

By way of comparison, I’ve been debating the new Seiko SNE569:

38mm, sapphire, solar quartz movement, unknown bezel (aluminum or possibly plastic, definitely not ceramic.) MSRP is around 550USD, with eBay price of $450. The bracelet has folded end links, and that plus the cheaper bezel are my main annoyances. Great watch, so-so value.

Scurfa – the watches and the values both continue to impress me. Can’t wait for mine to get here!

Categories
Uncategorized

How its made

Found via http://toolsandtoys.net/editorials/sunday-evening-link-list-august-1st-2021/ , the MadeHow site is an encyclopedia of, well, how it’s made.

And ‘it’ seems quite comprehensive. I read a bit and was impressed. No videos, alas, and no animated GIFs either, but good diagrams and no ads. Worth a bookmark.

Categories
Watches

Cool and quirky quartz Seiko

Image credit: Seiko, via plus9time

This is a watch that probably has a small audience – it’s quartz, with asymmetric day/date, which most WIS find less appealing. It’s got a bit of the high-legibility look of the ‘old man retirement watch’ e.g. Timex Easy Reader:

Image credit: Timex

In this case, it’s interesting to me in a couple of ways – it’s a tribute by Seiko of their 1929 railroad pocket watch:

Image credit: Seiko

Secondly, I actually like day/date and like how this looks on the dial. Seiko managed to just not clip the ornate ‘3’. Lovely!

Also, I like solar powered quartz. Accurate, eco friendly, it’ll have the correct time if left idle for a week or a month. Lastly, I love 38 by 9.5mm size. Super wearable.

This is arguable, but I think it’s also a Seiko version on the Tank Must SolarBeat, where Cartier carefully hid the photovoltaics inside the Roman numerals:

Image credit: Hodinkee

The bad news – as plus9time explains, this watch bears no Seiko reference number and isn’t shown on their site:

These models are produced for customers directly and are not for sale via the Seiko websites. The models have Seiko branding on the dial and case back and sometimes have Seiko style model numbers, but some models may not publicise the model number or provide the company’s own model number. Often these models are produced as a limited edition with a set number of units and other times retailers may offer the unit for presale and then once a number of orders have been received the model will then be ordered from Seiko and produced to match the demand.

https://www.plus9time.com/blog/2021/7/4/2021-first-half-seiko-releases

In this case, the vendor is ‘Japanese shopping club LightUp.’ The collaboration is to celebrate their 50th anniversary, the product page is here. (In Japanese, though Chrome does OK translating it.)

You can only get this watch in Japan. LightUp only delivers to Japan. What’s more, since Seiko won’t sell it to you, I don’t know if stalwarts like Seiya or Higuchi can get it for you either.

I begged a favor from family and they came through – the person living there will order and cross-ship it to me here. I hope it’ll be worth the expense (~$480) and hassle. Something about that dial and font, man, I couldn’t resist. Leave a comment if you order one and let people know how you did it!

The family wasn’t able, as LightUp was apparently difficult to order from. Seiya was happy to buy and ship one:

Hello from Tokyo,

Thank you for your inquiry.

This model is sold at limited stores so I would purchase it at the below shop if the estimate is acceptable.

45,000 Yen -Seiko Solar
783 Yen -- Domestic shipping fee
3000 Yen-- Shipping fee
3600 My commission 8%
1833 Yen -- PayPal commission 3.5%

54216 << Yen
US$491

I’ve had it a few weeks now and will try and post about it. It’s as hoped – low key, super wearable and I really enjoy wearing it.

Categories
e-bikes

Trekking

Adjusted the derailleur a bit. Around 1100 miles on it and very glad I bought it.

Don’t ask about the fenders. Too long of a story to type from an iPhone.

Categories
recommendations Watches

GPS or radio?

I like restraint in watch design – clarity, legibility, smaller cases that wear more comfortably. I also value accurate timekeeping. There have been some recent releases that hit that intersection nicely, so why not share in case others are interested?

Via Plus9Time, the Seiko Astron SSJ003J1:

Photo credit: Seiko

Seems to be selling for about $1800 with availability in September 2021. At nearly 2k, that’s edging into Grand Seiko quartz prices; quite a big step up from the more mature models with radio control. For example, the Seiko SBTM313:

Photo credit: Seiko

or the SBTM305, with a dial closer to that of the Astron:

Photo credit: Seiko

Solar powered, similar in size and style, but radio set (5 band) versus GPS. Sakura has them for just under $450. 1/4th the price!

From the competition, Citizen has multiple offerings. I like the Attesa line, in particular the CB1120s:

Photo credit: Citizen

That’s the reference CB1120-50F, a 37mm titanium beauty, also available with baton markers and/or white dial for about $450.

Photo credit: Citizen

That’s the AT6070-57L. Nice, and I like the day-date for everyday. Maybe 600$.

I bought the CB1120-50F above and have had it about six months; it’s stellar. Best radio reception I’ve ever seen, beautifully made and just a wonderful, zero-attention watch. It’s easy to recommend. The SBTM series is a pretty direct competitor and I find the green-dial 313 rather attractive.

At 500 bucks, you’re talking expensive quartz, with competition rampant including the Apple Watch. The 2k for the Astron is mighty hard to swallow, given the super niche differences in usefulness – the difference is being able to get time sync in places without radio reception. Australia/NZ, polar areas, South America. If you live there, probably worth it. If you live in Europe, North America, UK or Japan, why bother? Radio sync, in my experience with maybe 15 watches, gets you within 0.5 seconds and sometimes closer – as mentioned the Attesa is best-ever and dead synced to NTP, radio and GPS references.

I should also note that the CB1120s have non-standard lugs, meaning you’re basically stuck with the bracelet, which is usually a thing I consider a deal breaker; in this case I loved the watch so much I bought one anyway.

On an unrelated note, I wrote this post on my iPad, not too bad as an authoring experience so I should be able to post more often.

Categories
Coffee recommendations

My coffee of choice

Ever since the late 1990s (yeah, I know), my coffee purveyor of choice has been Whiting Coffee, in Albuquerque NM. We found it while attending UNM and have been customers ever since. I make coffee in a Bodum insulated press, and their French roast is superb for that – complex, flavor rich, light acidity and no burnt notes. And their prices have been excellent.

As a side rant, most French / espresso roasts I’ve tried are overcooked cheap beans, thin on flavor and strong on burnt. Yuck. Whiting actually has a really good South American mix of beans they use for theirs.

Anyway, until now you had to telephone them, tell them what you wanted and they’d include a paper bill with the beans. As of June 2021, they now have a website! Where you can order! I’ll save you a browse and just direct you to my favorite: https://whitingcoffeeco.com/order-online/ols/products/1-pound-espresso-french

You’re welcome.

Categories
Uncategorized

Good sunset

Categories
climate EVlife

Lithium ion batteries – state of the art

Really fantastic long-form roundup at ArsTechnica – absolutely worth your time, for cars, phones and more. As we add renewables, energy storage is necessary, so this applies there too.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/05/eternally-five-years-away-no-batteries-are-improving-under-your-nose/