Stuff from April, 2010

This is the archive of tumbledry happenings that occurred on April, 2010.

Practically Making It

Every time I think I’ve got the dental school thing down, I just get crushed flat by something going wrong. Lately, it’s been these practicals. We’re trained to cut teeth to very stringent guidelines — previously, we were simply graded on the degree to which we met these guidelines. NOW, we only pass if every single aspect of our tooth cutting meets a clinically acceptable standard. Otherwise, we fail: one failure requires a make-up… two failures and, well, I’m not sure.


The Buddha

A quote from poet Jane Hirshfield in David Grubin’s film “The Buddha”, on PBS:

No matter what your circumstances, you will end up losing everything you love, you will end up aging, you will end up ill. And the problem is that we need to figure out a way how to make that all be all right.

Usain Bolt, Esquire

Biography of Usain Bolt, Mutant:

When the other men reach their top speed, their limit, Usain Bolt continues to accelerate. By the fifty-meter mark, he has caught up to the leader. By the sixty-meter mark, a noticeable gap has emerged between him and the rest of the pack. By the seventy-meter mark, he is covering more than twelve meters of ground — about forty feet — every second, a pace faster than the speed limit for automobiles in most neighborhoods. Nobody has ever moved this fast before under his own power. Usain Bolt’s top speed is simply significantly higher than anyone else’s, ever.

Orthognathic surgery

Professors at the dental school are telling me I should get jaw surgery now, because it’s cheaper while I’m in school (anything less than $25,000 is… cheaper). They’re telling me I could lose my teeth. School says I can’t remember enough, that I’m not coordinated enough, not disciplined enough. This is the first time they’ve said I’m not put together correctly.


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Centric Relation

Today I learned that love is an action, but centric relation is a feeling.


Paul Graham, on Taste:

… if something is ugly, it can’t be the best solution. There must be a better one, and eventually someone will discover it.

The good writing just doesn’t stop:


Don’t Choke

Jonah Lehrer follows up on his recent Wall Street Journal article with some helpful information about how to not screw-up when the quality of your performance is important. For many people, this would be in a competitive sports-type situation. For me, it’s in the area of cutting teeth for a grade. Here’s an excerpt from Lehrer’s article Don’t Choke : The Frontal Cortex:



Farmville is even more of a bummer than I’d originally thought. Cultivated Play: Farmville:

The most important thing to recognize here is that, whether we like it or not, seventy-three million people are playing Farmville: a boring, repetitive, and potentially dangerous activity that barely qualifies as a game. Seventy-three million people are obligated to a company that holds no reciprocal ethical obligation toward those people.


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Lawn Chairs Aren’t Just That

Mykala and I went on a weekend quest for lawn chairs. But, after watching The Story of Stuff on Friday, (which seeks to illustrate the wasteful, unsustainable, dead-end process generating the crap we buy) — we were less than enthusiastic about purchasing crap. You start to think about the stuff-making process. Oil that can’t be replaced is drilled for plastic. Raw plastic is shipped around the globe in container ships, which spill millions of pounds into the sea. Floating on the water, plastics follow currents and congregate in focal points the size of states. The oceans are trashed, the resources exhausted. Even worse, people are trashed. The latter is a contentious, ongoing issue. In this article about Chinese workers assembling Microsoft products, Chinese factories sound unbearable:


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Guy in the Library

I just have to write this right now: there’s a guy in the library who comes in here and just sits there and burps to himself. I mean COME ON. This is bunk. He needs some medication, or to NOT EAT before he comes in the library. Luckily, I’ve got Jónsi rocking on the iTunes, so the burps just barely penetrate the heavenly, joyful melodies I’m enjoying. Here, try the song Hengilás.

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Bumper stickers

Bumper stickers: I might agree with you, but you’re still annoying.

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Pollenocalypse 2010

This year is apparently pretty unusual for pollen. Pollen Aplenty Triggers Allergy Explosion - NPR:

In Atlanta, a recent pollen count registered 5,733, the second-highest level ever. The usual bar for high pollen levels is set at 120, so hitting the thousands is pretty much through the roof and to the the moon.

The End of Second Year

I do not think I have ever been this excited for a semester to be over. It is with profound exhaustion that I welcome our 3 weeks off before we begin treating patients. I just found this out: we had 29 credits this fall, and something similar this past semester. The dental school crams a lot of learning into second year: I talked to a professor who graduated in the 1960s, and he said it has just always been like that in school. Glad to hear I have company. Anyhow, my first clinical case is a complete upper and lower denture for (not simultaneously, of course, since we haven’t the chops yet); and I am extremely excited. To think I’ll be practicing my skills at bringing people back into dental function again; making their lives and chewing abilities better, getting them out of pain. I’m so excited to put push hard against the limits of my abilities and, in doing so, improve my clinical skills, knowledge, and judgement.


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Continuing the “words whose sounds and/or connotations I hate” series with this gem of an entry: “foodie”. Hate that word.

Any words you guys hate?

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Nursing Bobcats

Zoe the domestic house cat will be nursing three baby bobcats. Freakin’. Bobcats.


After a few weeks, the animals will be released into a specialty habitat, according to the article on this rather unique matter. Zoe is one brave kitty cat:


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