Howdy Traipsers,

A new experience for me this week: jury duty. I spent two days going through jury selection process for a trial. Sorry, can't talk about the salacious details.

I found the process a) fascinating and b) rather intense. The questions they ask people in front of 100 strangers are personal.

This time around, the judge excused me from duty. I'm relieved since the trial is scheduled to last an entire month, but also looking forward to doing it again and getting selected for a shorter trial.

This week’s newsletter:

Does universal basic income work, DIY oil change win, doing it for the exposure, and energy sonification.



P.S. $100 says the drone pilot from this amazing video flythrough of a bowling alley is getting buried with job offers.

My new job as rookie courtroom sketch artist. Socially distanced jury duty, party time.

Does Universal Basic Income (UBI) Work?


There's lots of UBI discussion these days. New York City's front-runner mayor - former prez candidate Andrew Yang - is talking about a $1 billion experiment that will reveal a lot.

On a smaller scale, what happened when the city of Stockton gave no-strings-attached money to struggling individuals? People bought… DRUGS! FERRARIS! TRIPS TO MEXICO!


Researchers at the University of Tennessee and University of Pennsylvania concluded that this sample group saw many benefits, including helping people get better jobs, better living situations, and improved self-worth. There was no evidence of increased drug use, gambling, joblessness, or other concerns expressed by opponents of UBI.

From The Atlantic writeup of the experiment:

The best way to get people out of poverty is just to get them out of poverty; the best way to offer families more resources is just to offer them more resources.

(Don't) Do It For the Exposure

It’s funny: once you have an audience online, companies try to send you stuff. For example, back when I was on Instagram, a company offered me "free" bike wash and chain lube. All I had to do was post 6 times on Instagram and mention it in 3 stories.

In other words, sell my soul and annoy my followers for something worth $15.99. UM, NO.

Which brings me to this The Oatmeal comic (see below). Don’t sell yourself short, my friends. Charge people for work you do and be proud of it. Exposure doesn’t put gas in your van or pay for student loans.

DIY Oil Change Win

The cost for a professional oil change for our Sprinter van is a stratospheric $300. Apparently, they rebuild the engine while they’re at it?

Sure, DIY has downsides. All that oil pouring on your face, cat and driveway isn’t fun. But what if there’s another way?

Get a Fumoto valve and banish stupid oil drain plugs from your life. New oil change process: connect tubing to the valve, open valve, fill container. Drop off container at any auto parts store. Laugh at expensive oil changes.

Takes less time than the drive to/from a dealership, costs far less, and you get to be a DIY badass. Wish I’d known about these 15 years ago. (Here’s the valve for Sprinter vans and a video tutorial.)

Assorted kewl stuffs

-What if home appliances indicated their electricity usage by the sound they produced? Bird calls when the microwave is on?


-I’ve seen this hilarious DIY tapestry a few places this week. My favorite tapestry was the Die Hard reference, “Yippee ki yay, thy fornicator of motherhood.” (Oh Bruce Willis, those movies were so good.)

-Whoa, people can take simply mind-blowing photos. Check out the 2021 National Sony World Photography Awards .

From the archives: Escaping to Belize's Half Moon Caye

A few years back, we spent Christmas with Chelsea's family in Belize. To parrot the oh-so-punny line from tourist t-shirts, it was Unbelizable. Grooan.

One major highlight: the five days we spent on Half Moon Caye. Birds everywhere, including red-footed boobies and frigate birds. Even I, non-bird watcher (and therefore black sheep of Chelsea's family), found it amazing. Here's the blog post con muchas fotos.

(Fun fact: many Belizean's first language is Kriol, not Spanish. Also, I just learned Kriol is the modern spelling of Creole. Good to know.)

Half Moon Caye.

Thanks for stopping by Traipsing About! DIY that oil change, create a tapestry, and just say no to "free exposure."

This week's quote from Ryan Holiday's Ego is the Enemy reminded me of my days casting about creating a string of (mostly deceased) businesses in my 20s. It wasn't until I focused, invested in the necessary skills, and buckled down that I gained traction..

Passion typically masks a weakness. Its breathlessness and impetuousness and franticness are poor substitutes for discipline, for mastery, for strength and purpose and perseverance. You need to be able to spot this in others and in yourself, because while the origins of passion may be earnest and good, its effects are comical and then monstrous.
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