After about 45 weeks of almost flawless fitment, my Invisalign trays started to get out of whack at the end of last month, specifically the top sets. Usually they go in with a nice satisfying click as they fit around the little nubs glued to your teeth (the trays need something to grab onto), but mine weren’t clicking. The tray was hanging down more and more to the point where I couldn’t wear them during the day because they gave me a horrible slobbering lisp. I checked in with the orthodontist, they rescanned my upper and lower palate, and I picked up two new boxes of trays the other day. When I put the top set in I got the click and they fit perfectly. I put the newest set in Tuesday night and I can tell they’re now working on moving my premolars outward to continue making room for the front teeth—which are almost straight—because the premolars are sore as shit. I’ve got about 30 weeks left in the series, which will put me somewhere around the end of the year for a straighter smile.
This Christmas, instead of an electronic gadget or a computer accessory, my wife gave me something I can tinker with for hours without a keyboard or a power strip. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play guitar, and now I have no excuse not to try. Thanks, baby.
Back in the late 1990’s, when the web was alive and open and could be anything you wanted it to be, there were a handful of writers who started keeping journals online, and small communities formed around them, and their numbers grew. The best of these became daily stops during my morning coffee, and I found enough inspiration in their ability to code their own sites and write so well that I started this site—halfassed, really, hiding out as a secondary link on my primary site for a year until I got enough nerve to buy a boutique domain. Some of these folks hung it all out there, writing about every feeling and experience they had, and they gathered audiences around them to share their experiences. They also attracted haters who threw bricks and perfected the art of shitposting. Most of those pioneers are gone now, their domains shuttered, but a few old-school bloggers are still out there.
One of the originals, Dooce, died by her own hand yesterday after a long struggle with depression. She was a singular voice, who wrote with cutting humor and heartfelt tenderness about her kids, her dog, her husband, and life. In the early days I remember her comments section as a supportive place where friendships were made and she often responded to her readers. But she also took a lot of shit for her site. Whole websites were created just to attack every post. Her site had fallen off my regular reading list a decade ago or so when her site became mostly about sponsored content; the ad landscape was changing and she had a family to feed. She was still posting occasionally, and apparently her viewpoint over the last couple of years was transphobic and ugly, which was a shock to learn about.
Whatever the case, I consider her one of the primary influences for starting this site and my striving to be a better writer. I’m terribly sad for her and her family.
My brother in law and I drove down to Bob’s house on Sunday to install a new bathroom vanity, and I was glad for his help. It’s not heavy but it’s bulky, and having two people to get it up the stairs, into the bathroom and over the toilet to fit in the corner was super helpful. 1970’s bathrooms were made for hobbits, I think. We had to return the original sink that had been delivered with a giant chunk broken off the backsplash, and were able to exchange it with another off the shelf. Then we spent most of the rest of the day chasing plumbing fittings down. His house seems to be nonstandard in all the most annoying ways; by the time I had the sizing sorted out it was 5PM and the standard-sized reducer we found to go on the paint waste pipe didn’t fit the P-drain kit we’d bought—which claimed it would fit anything. Good times. So we contented ourselves to cut and fit some kickplate, swapped out the original plug with a GFCI unit, and measured for a new medicine cabinet.
Renie, you will be glad to know I’ve figured out the notification preferences out for my AirTags. There’s a handy little setting to specify not to be notified at certain locations—so I’ve got notifications off for when I leave the AirTags and all my other location-aware devices at home, for example. Down at Bob’s on Sunday, the tag I put in my messenger bag worked exactly as advertised when I left to go to the store. So I’ve got three of them activated and serving different purposes, and I have an idea for the fourth.
For the last three weeks I’ve been battling a weird form of insomnia. For my whole life I’ve been able to go to sleep almost anywhere, and make it the whole night through, even when I’d have to get up to go to the bathroom. But lately I’m waking up at 3, sometimes 4AM and I’m unable to get back to sleep. My mind is off and running, and I’m working through problems and issues from the day and I can’t calm it down to return to sleep. I might doze off and on until Finn’s alarm goes off—this morning I had a pleasant dream where Emma Watson delivered a pizza to our house, and I sat down with her and had a wonderful conversation about shooting the Harry Potter series with her even though I’d never been there or knew her—but more often than not I’m just awake. I don’t drink caffeine after 11AM anymore. I’d spent a good part of the day running up and down Bob’s stairs. The previous day I was on my feet for 14 hours straight. Something is clearly going on with my brain or my metabolism; I just haven’t figured out what.
In this article, Stephan Ango writes about the strategy of hybridizing vs. specializing: focus on being a generalist and bringing multiple pursuits together to find unexpected connections vs. focusing completely on one career path.
Having a wide base of skills with one or two specialties gives you more tools in your toolbox — more ways to solve problems.
As an unintentional hybridist (illustrator, designer, game designer, coder, front end developer, videographer, photographer, carpenter, teacher and contractor) I can now maybe claim I had this brilliant strategy mapped out for my whole life, or I can admit that I have the attention span of a moth. Whatever the case, I do see how this mixture of pursuits has helped me think beyond just that of an illustrator (which is what it says on my diploma).
I had my final welding class last night, which consisted of a final test and open lab night. I haven’t studied for a test that hard in decades. It was on all four processes we learned, and because each one is fundamentally different there was a lot to cover. Plus, there were welding symbols and basic diagrams to memorize. I found a bunch of online quizzes offered by Miller that I used to go over the basics, and spent my time on the train to and from DC to review the textbooks. My score was an 84, and it would have been higher if not for a bunch of SAT-tricky true/false questions toward the end. I actually aced the welding symbols and diagrams sections, which made me happy.
So now I have a basic understanding of welding, but need to get time with some equipment and practice. I would have already signed up for the intermediate MIG class, as that’s the one that translates best to automotive work, but I’ve got other bills to pay right now and I don’t have a welder of my own yet.
On the bench downstairs I have the Carter AFB carb from the Chrysler 95% rebuilt—I just need to put the linkages back on. With the videos I followed, the whole process went very smoothly, and any questions I would have had if I’d done it on my own were answered pretty quickly. So the plan is to head back down on Sunday with the battery from the Scout, some 50-1 gas, a fire extinguisher, and some other small parts, and get the yacht ready for a test-fire. If I can get it lit off from the carb and running, the next step will be to drop the fuel tank and either have that cleaned or replaced. While it’s up on jack stands we can run it with the rear wheels off the ground to see how the transmission works. And if that all looks good, then it’s on to a basic brake job.
© 2022 Bill Dugan