Stuff from May, 2010

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

Prince of Persia

Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia; I don’t see it, but I could be convinced. We’ve either got a “Pirates of the Carribean” level triumph, or a “Troy” level failure. I don’t think there’s any room for the movie in between.

Watch the preview.

Almost There

In anticipation of being done with second year (one final left — tomorrow), I’m working on something completely outside of my usual routine. I’m excited about it. I’m inspired by it. I will not rest until it is beautiful.

To that end, there’s a long way to go (it’s ugly right now).


As of 5 minutes ago, I turned in my final case study for physical evaluation II, and I am DONE WITH THE MOST DIFFICULT YEAR OF DENTAL SCHOOL. WOOOOOO!

Never thought I’d get here, frankly. And yet, it’s a beautiful 68° in May, I’m on break for a few weeks until I start in clinic, and life is grand.


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Dark Coffee and Taste

Made in USA, by Paul Graham. His point: we make things fast, other countries make things well. These two positions both have advantages, depending entirely upon the industry.

Cars aren’t the worst thing we make in America. Where the just-do-it model fails most dramatically is in our cities— or rather, exurbs. If real estate developers operated on a large enough scale, if they built whole towns, market forces would compel them to build towns that didn’t suck. But they only build a couple office buildings or suburban streets at a time, and the result is so depressing that the inhabitants consider it a great treat to fly to Europe and spend a couple weeks living what is, for people there, just everyday life.


Kristof on Catholicism

Kristof has recently written a great column on the Catholic Church.

It’s because of brave souls like these that I honor the Catholic Church. I understand why many Americans disdain a church whose leaders are linked to cover-ups and antediluvian stances on women, gays and condoms — but the Catholic Church is far larger than the Vatican.



Wikipedia explains the Dunning–Kruger effect:

Across four studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd.


Fruitcake Dashboard

I really really love my wife. When she pulls up the dashboard on her computer, there is a fruitcake widget. 3 years ago, she downloaded it in honor of her computer’s first Christmas. We had been interacting with the dashboard widgets, including the whoopee cushion one, and we sat there for a few minutes trying to click the right part of this fruitcake-in-profile. Then, we realized that the fruitcake doesn’t do anything. It just sits there. Like a fruitcake. A big, heavy, dense fruitcake… that never expires. So that’s sitting there, and every time I see it, I’m happy.

Irony of Satire

The Irony of Satire: Political Ideology and the Motivation to See What You Want to See in The Colbert Report

… there was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements.


Lightweight Lifestyle

Lightweight lifestyle, or, what hiking teaches you about life:

This principle is not easy to see in our modern culture, where success is generally viewed as proportional to the value and quantity of one’s possessions. Society percieves the owner of a big house which can hold more possessions as more successful, when in fact he may be held in bondage by high house payments, taxes, utilities, repair costs, and a general lack of freedom. In an ever-increasing need for protection he acquires security lights, burglar alarms, double locks, fences, and moves into a subdivision with a locked gate. He pays large insurance premiums so he can afford to replace everything in case all his protection doesn’t work.

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Sugar Drinks

Harmful Drinks in America, 2010. Rockstar Energy Drink sugar equivalent: 6 Krispy Kreme originals.

Radiolab: Limits

Radiolab: Limits (April 16, 2010). WOW. Mykala recommended I listen to this, and it has been far too long since she did so. Last night, I finally listened to the episode and it was amazing. I loved the part about the “central governor” theory — that there is a part of our minds that works all the time to tell us that we’re tired. You go running: central governor says “you’re tired”. And it’s not like a little itch you have to scratch — this is convincing, all-encompassing, total-body exhaustion. When you feel this, you apparently have between 25 and 50% of your reserve left.


Today’s Activities

Today I cleaned all the moldy grout lines in our shower with Soft Scrub® and a toothbrush. Mykala made sure I took off my sweatpants (my only pair) before I bleached them along with the grout. Today I swept the tree pieces off of our deck. We sat outside, soaking in the perfect temperature and filtered sun. Today I saw a woman taking a walk with an IV while smoking. I then worked out for 2½ hours — this means that I am finally getting back into legs, which brings me joy. Today, Mykala and I had a wonderful day.

Feist on Sesame Street

Sesame Street: Feist sings 1,2,3,4. I think this is really good.

Eating Together

Family dinners are extremely extremely important. I haven’t always thought this. In fact, I’ve usually considered food to be simply a necessity for living, nothing more. I dislike eating out in a mindless pattern (and I had better start to cook or train the cat to do so, lest we exhaust my wonderful wife, our only cook). On the contrary, I really enjoy eating out and trying new things… when there’s no obligation (perceived or otherwise) to eat the whole thing. My ideal dinner would be sharing a bunch of newfangled dishes at a restaurant… my nightmare is receiving a huge plate of something I feel obliged to consume. I have this problem where I think “all or nothing” re:the food on my plate… it’s easiest for me to eat all of it or none of it. It is supremely difficult for me to eat a little, unless my mono-food voraciousness is held in check by social obligations to my fellow diners. Hence the sharing.


Sleep-Exercise-Mind Connection

Does Exercise Help You Sleep Better? has some pretty strong things to say about the link between sleep and exercise. A quick summary: there isn’t a link. This is my favorite part:



Just got done reading Atul Gawande’s book Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance. First off, it’s a fantastic title: it reflects the simplicity of Gawande’s language and the complexity he manages to express with those words. The book explains how, through “diligence”, “doing right”, and “ingenuity”, surgeons can improve. The anecdotal essays are fascinating and well-written… and the ideas are inspiring. The idea is, the greatest gains we will see in the delivery and efficacy of healthcare lie not in the raw advances in science, but in the persistent, thoughtful efforts of those “on the ground” fighting the same problems every day. Here’s a bit where Gawande describes the thinking of a surgeon turned malpractice lawyer:


Just Your Ordinary Banjo Magic Act

Just got done reading Steve Martin’s autobiography Born Standing Up. Given his immense success (45,000+ attendance at his concerts at the height of his career), his look back was remarkably down-to-earth. His descriptions of his early career, is humorously self-effacing—just like his stand-up. You don’t get the sense that he is writing to brag about what happened — it’s a lucid, funny, reasonable description of exactly what it takes to become a really really popular entertainer. There’s a picture toward the end of the book (at the height of his stand-up success), showing him from behind, walking toward a massive audience and wearing his King Tut headpiece. It’s perfect because (1) it’s a fantastic photograph capturing a moment in time and (2) the text surrounding the photograph describes how Martin felt, essentially, trapped in a wildly successful act whose contractual agreements he felt compelled to fulfill. His phrase “professional ennui” was perfect.


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