Does Invisalign Build Character or Make You Lazier?

Day 14 of 30 of Writing Challenge

I’ve had Invisalign since March of this year or 7 months. The first few weeks of Invisalign was the most difficult time for me to get accustomed to them. The biggest surprise to me when I first got them was how I needed to have parts of my teeth shaved and also needed to have attachments glued on to my teeth. My dentist neglected to tell me any of this when I went in for my initial consultation. I thought I’d get some clear mouthguard things, easily pop them in my moth, and a few months later my teeth would be perfectly straight. Instead I was shocked when they started gluing this attachments to my teeth and using a circular drill to shave off parts of my teeth to make more room for the eventual movement that would be happening in my mouth.

Aside from the drilling the hardest part about Invisalign was getting used to the pain and new routine. I was accustomed to my teeth not being sore and when I got my first few trays and experience pain when eating it shook up my worldview. You would think I would be used to handling the pain since I had braces as a child, but the body doesn’t really remember the actual pain just the fact that it hurt. This pain definitely wasn’t as bad as braces as I remember when I would get a new wire (which happened every month) that my teeth would be sore for 3 or 4 days afterwards due to the wire pushing in my teeth. Here I still had a similar pain, but an added new one. When I have to eat I have to take off the trays. The first tray I got I had issues putting in and taking the trays out. Added on top of that difficulty is the extra pain that I experienced when taking off a new tray. It felt like I was pulling my teeth out. In addition because my teeth hadn’t yet fully adjust to the shape of the new tray everything was sore. Now it’s not so bad as I’ve gotten better at taking them off. However, I still dread switching to a new set of trays (that’s when the pain starts).

The other part that was hard to adjust to was just the routine of taking on and off my trays. I’ve become more anal about my tooth care since getting Invisalign. The thought of eating food, not flossing or brushing, and putting the trays back on didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t want all the food remnants to be trapped in by the trays thereby allowing bacteria city to grow. Because of that I make it a habit to floss and brush my teeth after eating and before I put back trays back on my teeth. When I can’t brush I floss. The annoying part about this ritual is that it’s kind of time consuming to do this after every time you eat something. I learned quickly that snacking wasn’t worth it. Now I eat about 2 meals a day. Partly this is because I get to wear my trays longer (which makes the correction better faster), but the other part is I’m lazy and don’t want to go through flossing and brushing just to eat one gummy bear.

Eating out is definitely more annoying than eating at home (mostly because I have access to my toothbrush). Even more annoying are multiple course meals. I like to eat my main dish and be done with it. However with Chinese wedding banquets where they have like 12 courses it drags the meal on forever which puts me in limbo on whether to put my trays back in or not while waiting for the next course. There were issues I never really thought about before getting Invisalign.

Sigh. The things we do for vanity.

Day 8 of 30 of No Internet News Challenge

Had a debate with Eric on whether Twitter counts as news as sometimes I click on people’s links to stories. It’s definitely a grey area.

Entrepreneur Fun: Getting Rejected from Y Combinator

Day 13 of 30 of Writing Challenge

This post will be barely readable thanks to the bad habit of writing when I’m tired and ready to go to sleep. But as I’ve promised to write everyday for 30 days I’m fulfilling my obligation…to myself. I normally have such great ideas and topics to write about, but I can’t think of much so I’ll just write about getting rejected by Y Combinator.

For those of you who don’t know who Y Combinator Google them. In short they make your entrepreneurial fantasies come true. Have you seen the movie the Social Network? Getting into Y Combinator will make  your company famous and wealthy beyond your wildest dreams (and of course you will get lots of sex in bathrooms). Also if get selected into a Y Combintaor class you get a $150,000 prize (aka a convertible note). So in addition to having sex in bathrooms you get a boatload of cash. As you can imagine everyone and their mom want’s to be part of “Y Com”.

Yes, this means that myself and my mom have applied to Y-Com. I think I’ve applied at least twice now. And both outcomes were the same. Rejection. No sex in bathrooms.

Am I bitter about not getting in? Not really. The first time we applied our application wasn’t that strong. The second time we got rejected (which I just found out about today) we knew it was a long shot. After all, we do run and operate an adult website. And of course anything that has to do with sex is evil, dirty, and wrong. Could you imagine what Demo Day (Y Combinators day where the class presents to investors so they can scramble to stuff cash in their pockets) would have been like if we had gotten in? Vaginas and penises everywhere! Yeah, it was a longshot for us to apply. But I figured why the hell not? Maybe they’d like to try helping out a company in a different industry…and something different for a change. If anything I’ll just assume Paul Graham looked at our application and looked through some porn on our site. Hope you enjoyed it Paul.

Luckily the application didn’t take too long for us to put together (maybe that’s why we didn’t get in!). So there’s always next time. Maybe that will be my next challenge. How many times can we repeatedly get rejected by Y Combinator? We’ll see you next time PG.

Good night.

Day 7 of 30 of No Internet News Challenge

Still in my blissful ignorant state

If Smartphones are So Smart Why Do I Have to Force Quit Applications

Day 12 of 30 of Writing Challenge

This is more of a rant on Android than it is about all smart phones in general. I know people are normally pretty entrenched in either the iPhone camp or the Android camp. As a user of both iPhone (iPhone 3GS) and Android (MyTouch 4G – my current phone) I can say that iPhone is heads and shoulders a above Android in terms of a  better phone experience.

The iPhone not only looks good as a phone, but it’s intuitive to use. Apple made it easy to setup mail, text a friend, add a contact, etc… The user interface is top notch. Android on the other hand is a clusterfuck of icons and “widgets” which vary depending on what flavor of Android you have and what carrier you are on. When I first got my MyTouch 4g I started seeing these cryptic icons along the top tray of the phone’s screen. I understood the battery icon, cell phone signal icon, etc… but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what the other random icons were and more importantly I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of them. At one point i got so frustrated I started just rubbing my fingers all over the screen until on accident I figured out you can drag that top part down to see the most recent apps and also “clear notifications.” Just not intuitive at all. I don’t like having to use the Rosetta Stone to translate how to use my phone.

The other thing that was annoying was how to copy and paste phone numbers too dial. Let’s say I found a phone number through the Yelp app or from a web page page. I can copy the phone number, but then when I go to paste the number to dial I find that there’s no way to paste it in. Retarded.

My biggest gripe about the phone is the fact that every so often I have to reboot the phone because it’s slows down. The phone does a poor job at managing memory. Unlike the iPhone which manages which apps are opened and what happens when you switch to other apps Android keeps everything opened. Over time things get bogged down and really slow. Often times I’ll have to force quit these applications or dig through a task manager to stop different services which are taking up resources. Some might say that’s not a big deal, but the bigger issue I have is WHY DO I EVEN HAVE TO FORCE QUIT APPS? It’s a frickin’ phone. I’m not looking to carry a full functioning PC in my pocket. Do I have to run defrag as well?

Don’t get me wrong. There are certain things I like about the phone and Android:

  • Google Maps / Google Navigation
  • Google Voice Integration
  • Wifi HotSpot
I think that’s it…In the end if T-Mobile ever carried the iPhone (that worked with their data network) I probably would switch to it. Until then I get to enjoy my portable navi device.

Day 6 of 30 of No Internet News Challenge

The Next Three Days Movie Review

Day 11 of 30 of Writing Challenge

This is going to be a crappy movie review of the Russel Crowe movie “The Next Three Days.” The main reason why it will be crappy is I only watched like half of the movie. Sandy was watching the movie on Netflix and I happened to jump into it in the movie.

The movie stars Maximus, the chick from Jack and Miri make a porno as Maximus’s wife (we’ll call her Miri), and their kid played by a child actor who I could have sworn was in some horror movie about a kid who was possessed by the devil (I can’t remember the name of the movie, but it had a picture of this kid on the movie poster looking possessed, I’ll refer to him as Demon Spawn).

The movie starts out with Maximus and Miri at a dinner party with another couple. They are all laughing it up until the woman whose part of the other couple starts coming onto Maximus (after all he is Maximus). Miri gets all pissed since this girl is obviously hotter than she. It looks like they are going to fight, but Maximus breaks up the fight. As they’re leaving the party Miri is still mad that hot chick made advances toward Maximus. This scene is used to establish that Miri is hardcore…and add credibility that Miri could be a murderer.

After this part I zoned out for about half the movie.

When I returned to Maximus is trying to figure out a way to break out his wife who went to prison for murdering his boss. Using his Maximus skills of cunning he devises a kick ass plan to break out Miri (who we still don’t if she’s truly guilty or innocent). First he robs a meth lab. He tried to spare one guy, but as this is Maximus death and destruction followed. He needs money when he breaks his murderous wife out of the country (his salary as a community college teacher is not so good). After he gets the money, he plants some fake lab reports that says his wife is more sick than she really is. This causes the prison to immediately transfer her to the hospital. At the hospital he breaks Miri out by sneaking into her room and pistol whipping one of the guards in the face. He then manages to get out, pick up Demon Spawn who was at party a the Zoo, drive to Canada, and get himself and family to Venezuela. Meanwhile the cops chasing him thought he was going to Haiti. Maximus wins.

Overall the movie kind of stupid, but at least Russell Crowe was in it. The movie did make me think. If you break someone out of jail who turns out to be not guilty could you still go to jail?

2 thumbs down for movie. 2 thumbs up for Crowe.

Day 5 of 30 of No Internet News Challenge

What in the world is going on out there?

I Suck at Speaking Authoratively

Day 10 of 30 of Writing Challenge

I’m not sure the exact name for it. I call it speaking with authority. These are the times you need to speak in public, on camera, in a small group. It’s when eyes are all on you and you are doing more monologue than conversation. Recently I was invited by Docstoc to participated in their Expert Video series. This series is where they invite different business owners and thought leaders to share their expertise on camera. They record around 10 clips each around 1 to 2 minutes about topics the speakers have experience with.  They then post the clips on YouTube.

I was nervous since this was my first time doing something like this. It also didn’t help that I had brainstormed a random list of topics the day before. Luckily the director / producer of these clips helped flesh out better talking points for the ideas I had brought in. When I first started filming my clips it didn’t feel very natural. I wasn’t sure where my eyes should have been looking. I felt like they were looking all over the place. I was told not to look at the camera and instead I was angled off to the side where I could look at a monitor for talking point cues. Anyway, it was awkward talking to a screen. I felt like a crazy person.

Not knowing where to put my eyes was not what bothered me the most. What bothered me more was my performance. I felt like I was just rambling (which is kind of how I write!), I didn’t like the sentences and phrases I used, and I didn’t speak with authority. The director even pointed this out to me. How by saying words like “hopefully”, “maybe”, etc… that I didn’t sound like an expert. I agreed. But the tough part was even knowing not to use the words in the flow of speaking on camera I stilled used the words. It was as if the words were ingrained in me. Part of my essence.

This got me thinking. How does one get better at speaking with authority. It’s not that often that I get invited to tape “expert clips” so outside of that what steps can you take to 1) Choose better words when speaking under pressure and 2) Not ramble and use string along good phrases and sentences? Speaking off the cuff (which is what we had to do for these videos…I didn’t have anything written down) is tough!

I’m always impressed by clear confident speakers. The ones with the silver tongues. For me I feel like there’s a big disconnect between my brain and my actions. Just as with writing I know the thoughts in my head, but when the execution part comes (the actual writing or actual speaking) that’s where I flounder. In my head I picture myself delivering filet mignon, but what I end up delivering is raw ground beef.

Writing is different than speaking. With writing you have this magical eraser, the backspace, to erase from history poor word choice, grammar mistakes, or poor sentence structure. That is if you don’t like something you can just erase it. However, with speaking you can’t backspace away your flubs. Even though speaking and writing are different, I can’t help but think that if you can write well than you should be a pretty good speaker. In the end the speaking and writing accomplish the same goal-getting what’s in our heads out into the world.

Part of me hopes that by writing more that I’ll be able to improve my speaking skills in addition to my writing skills. If all it takes is practice to get better how do we practice speaking? If no one invites you to speak in public or for a series of videos how can you get better? I’m thinking video blogging or just video taping yourself speaking about some random topic is probably a good way. I think I might give that a shot. Do I smell another 30 day challenge around the corner??

I’m tired…as usual. Good night (or really I should say good morning).

Day 4 of 30 of No Internet News Challenge

You know how people go on fasts to cleanse their bodies of toxins. I feel like that’s what I’m doing now.

Patent Reform Act Reforms Nothing

Day 9 of 30 of Writing Challenge

My recent soapbox issue is the state of software patent law in the United States. Most of it stemmed from a This American Life news story that investigated “When Patents Attack”. In others words when people and organizations use broad weak patents to extort money out of companies. The whole thing upsets me.

As much as the state of patent law upsets me , today I had a glimmer of hope that things were moving in the right direction. I saw a comment about the Patent Reform Act that Obama had signed and passed in September. The comment didn’t say much, but from the name alone I believed in what Obama had once sold me on, “Hope.” After all patent law is pretty shitty now and any act to reform it would be a positive thing, right?


Things took a quick wrong turn the moment I googled “Patent Reform Act”.  The first result to show up reads:

“Mostly pointless patent reform bill goes to Obama for signature”

“Mostly pointless”? That doesn’t sound very promising. It turns out this act is pretty pointless. Actually it’s dreadful, unless you are a rich and powerful company. The “reform” is two fold. The first change is granting patents to the first person who files the patent application as opposed to the first person to invent. It used to be the other way around. The original law was there to allow someone who had already invented something to be able to claim a patent rather than letting another individual see his invention and then decide to patent it himself. The original law sounds pretty smart. However, the new reform flips it around and allows the first person to file the patent (and who is granted the patent) to call dibs on the patent. Who does that benefit? Big companies who have the money to hire patent attorneys to file patents all day long. Who does it hurt? Everyone else.

The other major change presented in the reform act is the ability for the USPTO to set their own fees. Before only Congress could set their rates, but now the USPTO  is free to raise their rates (because why on earth would they lower them).

No where in the Patent Reform Act does it address outlawing the use of software patents. That’s the kind of reform I’m looking for. But of course it’s no surprise. Too many companies with lots of money don’t want the status quo to change so they send their lobbyist off to DC to make sure things don’t change…or change in ways to benefit them. Obama sold me on his “Yes we can…change” platform, but I’m not liking the changes I’m seeing. Looks like more of the same.

Reasonable patent laws seem like a pipe dream. Depressing.

Day 3 of 30 of No Internet News Challenge

I feel myself slowly being disconnected from the world. What will I do if I can’t keep up with the Kardashians!?

Need to Go to Bed Earlier

Day 8 of 30 of Writing Challenge

I think I need to change up when I write my posts. I like to write at the end of my day. So far I’ve stayed true. The only problem with doing it at the end of the day is that it’s 5AM in the morning and I’m pretty tired by the time I try to write. I’m sure I had some good ideas to write about, but for now I’m just going to talk about how tired I am.

This is going to go in my hall of fame for lame posts. I spent the better part of today learning how to program. I’m tired. Goodnight.

Day 2 of 30 of No Internet News Challenge

No clue what’s going on in the world right now… Crowdsourced Assassination

Day 7 of 30 of Writing Challenge

I was talking with my roommate today about how upset I still am about the state of software patent laws. Specifically I’m pissed that companies like Intellectual Ventures even exist. Their entire business relies on having more money and more patents than the people they shake down. They don’t succeed by innovating or producing a great product. They win by by having more money than the people they sue, who don’t want to undergo a costly legal battle.

I started thinking of potential ways to combat an Intellectual Ventures type business. One way requires I be rich. If I was rich (like a bazillionaire) I would hire a massive force of offshore writers. I then would train them on how to write software patent applications and then I would proceed to generate as many broad inane patents as I could. This way I can cheaply amass even more ridiculous patents than they have. Then I would sue them into oblivion.

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A New 30 Day Challenge: Saying NO to Internet News

Day 6 of 30 of Writing Challenge

I’ve decided to stop reading or consuming internet news for 30 days starting from today. For me this means no Hacker News, Digg (not that I read it that often), Reddit, Huffington Post, The Awesomer, and what the hell, I’ll throw random Youtube videos in there as well. These site while in small doses seem like harmless time wasters often end up sucking me in for longer periods than I want. I’m taking a break from Facebook (2 month hiatus) so why not see what happens when I cut out these websites? Will I become stupider? Will I become more productive? I’m curious to find out.

I’ve set a personal goal to spend the next 30 days learning Javascript and improving my CSS skills so I figure by cutting out those other time distractions I can fill it with these learning activities. It’s probably over ambitious, but somehow I have a knack for setting unreasonable goals. Maybe in some sadomasochist way I enjoy the pain failure brings? Or I just lack lack good execution. Either way, we’ll find out and I promise to report back my progress.

As an aside there’s got to be some rule out there which only allows you to do one 30 day challenge at a time. Now there are 2 challenges that I have to keep track of. It’s a good thing I’m writing this stuff down.

Day o of 30 of No Internet News Challenge

Why I’m Taking a Break from Facebook

Day 5 of 30 of Writing Challenge

About a few weeks ago I made the choice to deactivate my Facebook account for 2 months. Half of it was on a whim, but the other half was out of curiosity. I wanted to see if I left Facebook if I’d miss it.

Let me clarify and say that I was never addicted to Facebook. I was relatively casual with my usage. Facebook always has been my CNN for friends; meaning, I read status updates like I would news headlines. Since the advent of the FB news feed I used it more for consumption of friend info rather than using it to engage in any meaningful communication. If anything it seems Facebook just made it easier to stalk people.

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