What Goes In the Recycle Bin?

This is why I don’t sweat it when considering what to put into the recycle bin:
It’s sad but something like 10-20% of items put into recycle bins is actually recycled. So I figure it’s best to only spend the time and thought putting items I think will have a greater chance of being recycled into the recycle bin.


I work in person and we all wear masks all day every day. When we finally stop wearing masks, it’s gonna take me a year to stop gesturing with only my eyebrows and hands, and yelling at people because I can’t frigging hear myself.

Twitter’s 5G Microchipping COVID Extravaganza

(via Twitter directly)

Twitter now won’t warn, hide, or remove wackadoodle COVID conspiracy theories.

Thanks Elon?

The Most Abigail Video

I give you the most quintessential video of Abigail ever! She is just 2 1/2 years old in this video and she is ROCKIN’! I see how the other kids are just barely aware of what’s happening and she is completely full of life; she is flailing her arms and legs and still fully keeping her balance! And that smile is to die for! That’s my girl, Father’s Joy!

Crossposting to Mastodon

Want to follow my posts on Mastodon (a new social network)? Here I am! Find me as @gadlen@sfba.social or here https://sfba.social/@gadlen

I post my blog here and crosspost it to Twitter, Facebook, and Mastodon. Though I post a lot more family pix on Facebook.

ISO Manufacturing And Order Tracking System

Can you help me find a manufacturing and order tracking system for my organization? We’ve got several projects (including the cool art coasters below) that are being designed and manufactured in-house by our students. I expect we’ll have sales of something like 5-20 items per day. Any thoughts?

I’m the Production Lead at Autistry Studios, a day program for autistic adults working toward independence!

Gallagher The Comedian Passed Away

Gallagher, the watermelon smashing comedian, passed away just a few days ago (via).

I was tremendously lucky to see him perform live in 2006. That performance was an invitation to enjoy and fall in love with chaos, an energy that I embodied for many years, having recently changed my life by moving to the Bay Area.

12 AA Battery Tray

Here’s a 3D printed AA battery tray I made that I’m happy with. I couldn’t find it to buy, so I made it on my 3D printer.

Batteries are easy to drop into place and pick up, they don’t roll around at all in their trays or in the drawer, and I can stack batteries on top of them neatly. My friend Devon had printed several versions of battery holders for me a while back and they were pretty good, but what I really wanted was THIS. So I made it.

Designed in TinkerCAD. The 12 batteries each sit 0.5mm apart in cylindrical nests at a 1 degree angle which gives the bottom an attractive design on my FDM printer.

12 AA Battery Tray.stl (zipped)


McSweeneys is the best


I get up at 4:30 a.m. for some pre-dawn food prep. Today, it’s my turn to bring a snack and read a story for my son Ash’s preschool class. The school does not allow nuts, dairy, eggs, sugar, or any pro-oxidant fruit. My snack will be simultaneously nutritious, allergen-free, and appealing to three-year-olds—something like dinosaur-shaped muffins that taste like rainbows but are made of steamed arugula.

While the muffins are baking, Ash wakes up. He is in a great mood after an uninterrupted twelve-hour slumber, eager for another day of joyful learning. He transitions through every part of the morning routine without complaint or delay, and we arrive at school precisely in the middle of the allotted five-minute drop-off window.

The school day starts at 8:45, but snack and story time is not until 9:20, which is the perfect amount of time to not be able to go anywhere or get anything else done. I twiddle my thumbs in the school parking lot for thirty-five minutes before heading inside to hand out muffins. On my way in, I pass the volunteer sign-up sheet for next week’s book fair and put myself down for every open timeslot.

After five minutes of reading to my son’s class, I’m off to work. I am a freelance neurosurgeon, the only job that is both well-paying enough to afford $30,000 in tuition and flexible enough to deal with all the school holidays. School holidays are the three months of summer, plus a week each on Indigenous People’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Presidents’ Day, and Easter. The school is also closed for all federal and state holidays, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Diwali, Lunar New Year, Eid al-Fitr, and seven staff-learning Wednesdays.

At 9:58 a.m., my phone alarm rings. I abruptly leave in the middle of an exam for a patient with intracerebral hemorrhaging, as I have something much more important to attend to. Registration for the preschool’s summer camp (which takes place eight months from now) opens at 10:00 a.m. sharp. If I do not sign up by 10:02, all the spots will be taken and I will have no childcare that week. Or worse, Ash will be stuck doing the inferior leaf collage crafts instead of the coveted Stegosaurus hand-painting crafts, and I will have ruined the magic of childhood for him.

With the summer camp spot secured, I return to my patient with the bleeding brain, who has been kind enough not to code blue during my absence. As a working parent, I’ve learned to be super-efficient with my time, so I also manage to squeeze in a seven-hour spinal cord surgery during the thirty minutes I have before school pick-up.

Today is a regular Tuesday in the middle of a normal workweek, so of course, it’s early school dismissal. I chat with the room mom while we wait for our kids, and she persuades me to help with the school bake sale this weekend that I didn’t know was happening. (Shame on me for not reading the twelve-page weekly emails more carefully.) Luckily, my schedule is wide open at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday for some baking, so I agree to bring six dozen kale triceratops brownies.

This afternoon, there’s a parent-teacher conference. The students aren’t allowed to come along, but no problem; it’s super easy to find a responsible adult who is free at 2:00 p.m. on a weekday for a babysitting job that lasts half an hour. (That’s how long it takes me to get to and from the school and have a twelve-minute chat with the teacher.)

During the conference, the teacher mentions the school’s upcoming silent auction. Since I have nothing else to do for the next twenty weeks, I volunteer to chair the planning committee. This year, the school is raising money for a toddler makerspace. It will be fancier than the lab at my hospital responsible for testing monkeypox samples.

After the parent-teacher conference, I take Ash to the art store to buy craft supplies for a family tree project that was assigned today and will be due tomorrow. We only need two popsicle sticks, but the smallest quantity the store sells is a bag of five hundred. I put the other 498 popsicle sticks in a storage box that also contains 96 cotton balls, 997 plastic yellow beads, and a pair of Uggs I purchased last week because we didn’t have any empty shoe boxes at home to send to school for a different craft project.

Ash and I sit down at the kitchen table and get to work. I make the family tree project, dinner, and some notes about a craniotomy I’m performing tomorrow. Ash makes velociraptor noises.

After dinner and bedtime stories, I grab the car keys and a large Thermos of Red Bull. Tonight, I’m making the five-hour drive to my aunt’s house in Ohio to pick up an heirloom family album. That way, when I return home at dawn, I can cut up vintage 1930s photos of my grandfather into apple shapes to finish Ash’s family tree homework.

Before I leave the house, I ask my spouse to check on Ash’s baby sister, Willow. Willow’s our second-born and not old enough for school yet, so we don’t care about her as much. Still, it would be nice if someone could make sure our six-month-old has been fed and changed at least once today.

3D Printing Things

I’ve had a lot of failures but I’m starting to get some successes 3D printing things.

At Autistry, I’ve successfully printed:
– Playing card holders for people that have trouble holding cards
– Scrabble racks. Our set only had 4 racks (which is typical) but we wanted to have 5 and 6 player games!
– A replacement piece for a game of Perfection
– Replacement pegs for a Solitaire game. I designed and made the piece from scratch, measuring the piece with my caliper
– Several types of fidgets for students. None have been winners with my students yet but my daughter likes these joystick ones.


I designed and printed a lampshade. Except for all the glare I got off this lamp, I really liked it. I bought it from Ikea, knowing that I’d probably have to modify it. I’m pretty happy with my mod!


I figured out how to make super-cute, custom soy sauce bowls, but I can’t figure out how to make them food safe :-(. In the image below, I’ve got a lithophane I made at ItsLitho with a frame and negative image. I could have printed it larger but this tiny one totally proved the concept. Except that 3D printed items aren’t food-safe, partially because of the plastic, but mostly because they’ve got all these little holes in them that can’t be easily cleaned. I’ll look into using 3D printing to create lost wax castings or embossing but it may be too much of a bother.


I’m very happy with the AA battery holder I designed and made for my battery drawer! My friend Devon had printed several versions of battery holders a while back and they were pretty good, but what I really wanted was THIS. So I made it! That feels pretty good and darn it if it doesn’t do it’s job perfectly. AA batteries are easy to drop into place and pick up, they don’t roll around at all in their trays or in the drawer, and I can stack batteries on top of them neatly.


I made a big impact on my daughter’s Halloween Odd Squad Agent costume, I made a custom badge with her number on it, and painted it very nicely! A neighbor gave us their child’s old homemade costume, complete with jacket, red trim, red tie, and nicely made Investigation Unit pin! The whole family was really happy with the results!


I’ve finally got making lithophanes dialed in. There were lots of little issues: the filament I was using initially was too dark, I had trouble with adhesion, some software snags, but now it works pretty well. It’s a bother that the 5 1/2″ by 5 1/2″ image below took 20 hours to print. That keeps the process firmly in the forever-experimental realm. When I first saw a lithophane, I thought the glow of the image was just magical. After trying to make so many of them, I’m a bit meh’ed on them.


I’m trying to make my battery holder into a snap-together modular system. Darn it’s a pain to dial in the snap-fit! Here are a couple fails, I’ve got many more! How would you snap 2 long pieces together end-to-end?


And look Maura, a turtle!