January 2018: Cozy Waffles, IRB Nightmares, and Looking for Nature’s Lost Signs


Dealing with an IRB (internal review board) is just as painful as everyone says it is. This past month I began my research project, a requirement for our oral surgery program. I spent several hours on filling out forms, waited two weeks for the required signatures, and strolled into the IRB office with a completed application: seven different worksheets totaling nearly 40 pages. That’s when I was told that they no longer accept hard copies and that I need to scan each page in for submission. Ugh. There’s a hilarious account of an IRB nightmare that sheds light on the inefficiency in the system over at Slate Star Codex that’s worth a read if you’ve ever gobeen lucky enough to deal with your institutional review board.


Current Projects

Scrimshaw, a way to while away hours on a ship in the bygone era of widespread commercial whaling. Scrimshaw artists originally carved designs into whale teeth, which they subsequently stained with India ink to create stunning black and ochre images. It can also be done with most kinds of bone. I’m trying my hand at an aquanaut image that I drew myself, scanned, shrunk, printed, and copied onto a bone-handled knife–no endangered whale bits on my conscious–and have since carved. It’s a work in progress. If you’re interested in trying it, I got this kit that includes the knife, a primitive carving instrument, and the India ink used in the good ole’ days from Mollyjogger’s.



I’m a nature geek, which is the only way I can explain my interest in a natural navigation book by a UK author, The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs by Tristan Gooley. It is entertaining and humorous in a British sort of way, but I can only recommend it if you think you would like the idea of backpacking, river rafting trips, hunting, or fishing expeditions. I’m interested in all of the above and love the idea of finding my way in the world without a cellphone tower nearby. Still, I recognize that it’s a “lost art” for a reason.


Stroopwafel, the delectable Dutch coffee or tea-topper. I don’t mean to take the magic out of it, but it’s two thin, crispy waffles with caramel in the middle that fit perfectly on top of a mug. The Danish term “hygge,” roughly meaning “cozy,” has gotten a lot of attention recently. I can think of nothing cozier than a gooey, caramel-y waffle and a cup of steaming joe. I found them at World Market, but they’re also available at Amazon. The thought that they world’s largest retailer could soon drop them off with a drone makes them slightly less hygge-y.



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