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Friday, May 24, 2002

Garden Robot

Most of the garden squares have sprouted, but you'd think I had a miniature beaver in my yard because every day I find two or three sprouts gnawed at the based and topped over. I'm told this is the work of a cutworm and that they can usually be found napping during the day in the dirt near their latest victim, but so far I've had no luck in turning one up. So I continue re-seeding, but at this point I'm just running in circles. Perhaps tonight I'll camp out with a flashlight.

Most of my focus since I returned to San Diego has been on AI and robotics. Today I've been researching Polymer Muscles. I want to build a robot to water my garden for me. And to sit outside at night with a flashlight catching cutworms.

For the short term, I bought a garden hose nozzle-set today at Costco for $9 which I'm quite pleased with. Three quick-release nozzles, two of which are adjustable through a range of sprays, from an impressive distance-reaching tight stream to shaped sprays, mist, and shower. Most importantly, the mist setting delivers plenty of water but softly enough not to unearth small seeds. The nozzle I had before threatened to deliver my seedlings into the bushes nearby if not used with the greatest finesse.

I finally talked to Don (my step father, the internist and E.R. doc) about my face plant, and he informed me that everything I've been told to date is wrong. Generally he's pretty reliable about such things, current with the latest research. According to him, regular washing (which I've been doing) and particularly antiseptics like h2o2 (which I was told by many nurses and docs to do twice daily, but I have mostly refrained from due to conflicts with my intuition) damage the fine layer of skin that would normally form across a gap, and result in scar tissue dominating in the end. Don recommended neosporin carefully re-applied regularly without washing. He had no experience with the weird gel bandaids, but I've decided they should do the best job of creating the conditions Don indicated are ideal, so I'm being a gunniea pig and am trying them out. If nothing else, it's the only way I can think of, short of taping saranwrap to my face, of taking showers without disrupting them.

Lastly, he suggested I should monitor my temperature, for one reason or another, so I checked it this morning on a whim and it was 95.4 (digital thermometer). I'm used to my temperature being low, but not that low. Either my thermometer's broken, or this explains why I've felt so gummy-headed for a while. A little research reveals that even a degree low is documented to cause mental sluggishness, and I'm running 3.2 degrees low.

And no, it hasn't made it any easier to relate to people.

I should chart it across the day. If it's only like that in the mornings, it would explain why I'm not a morning person.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com