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Showing posts from October, 2014

Soothing Stimulants

Does "soothing stimulants" sound strange? It shouldn't--consider that ritalin and adderall (medications for attention deficit hyperactive disorder) are stimulants and that exercise can make you feel refreshed. And it works the other way, too: intense inactivity can be stressful. I've heard a few different people talk about breaking into tears on meditation retreats, along with many of their classmates. I've had a stressful few weeks, and I've found for me, there's nothing like caffeine and heavy metal to make me feel better. And I've found a music player to replace iTunes (which won't let you put in metadata) and Amazon (slow and clunky) on my Mac: VLC . It imported all the files from both music players and lets you put in data like song titles, artists, genre and album titles. It's free, too. Now I can put in the metadata for all my Japanese heavy metal and rock that iTunes doesn't recognize and won't let me relabel. Here's a

Not Only Cheaper, But Easier

A while back, I wrote about saving money on break time coffee and snacks. I haven't done very well putting it into practice. But a post by James Clear today got me thinking about it again: Warren Buffett uses a two-list system to prioritize things. Check it out --and follow the instructions. Using Buffett's two-list system, two of the goals I ended up with were taking care of myself and saving $400 more per month than I already am. As I said, I've been wanting to save money, and the system made me really focus on this. I came up with 11 money-saving ideas, six of which had to do with food. Buying hamburger in bulk. Ranch Foods Direct sells one-pound packages of 80% lean pastured ground beef in bundles of 20 for a lot less than Whole Foods. Sprouts only carries super-lean beef that's grass-fed, and it's more expensive, too.  Not driving to Whole Foods. Whole Foods is out of my way, and saving a weekly trip saves gas. Coffee at home, tea at work. Tea is fr

Want a Magazine-Style Kitchen with Plenty of Room?

I have found the secret: Get rid of everything you don't need. Everything. Toaster? Brown your grain-free bread under the broiler. Countertop can opener? Use a hand-held model--get a battery-powered one if needed. Anything that cuts things? Use a knife. Anything you haven't used in a year? Get it out of there.  Put away everything you don't use daily. Containerized clutter is still clutter. Clean clutter is clutter. Clever clutter is clutter. Get it? A block of knives, a cutting board, a coffee pot, soap, and maybe a juicer or blender should be about all that's left on your counters. Cookbooks can stay, but likewise, clear out cookbooks you rarely use. Clean it up. Now that your kitchen is de-cluttered, this should be a snap. You know how it's harder to get ready to paint than it is to actually paint--because you have to paint around things? Same with cleaning: there's nothing hard about moving a paper towel or a soapy sponge  around. The hard part is ge

When is a Farmer a Hunter-Gatherer?

When they're nomadic, even if they grow neolithic crops and have herds of sheep and goats.  Truck drivers are nomadic, too. So were my parents in the early years of the marriage. Does that make them hunter-gatherers? A word from someone who knows the difference between farmers and hunter-gatherers is here . Spoiler alert--the farmers had more tooth decay, iron deficiency and starvation than the hunters. Check out the pictures of skulls, tibias and teeth.

Feeling Good on Higher Protein

I normally gather information, analyze things and take measurements. Lately, though, things have been too hectic to go about life like a monk: a deadline at work and family issues that have been...bizarre. Let me know if you need material for a black comedy. I've been eating on instinct, and instinct has led me to eating more protein and probably fewer calories than normal: mostly black coffee, diet Dr. Pepper (caffeine soothes me), bunless burgers, a little veg, a few egg rolls (they're comfort food), and a lot of Atkins bars. No fatty sauces--they just haven't sounded good, especially in the morning. Result: I'm down two belt holes on my rain coat from a few months ago and my shoes are slightly loose where they used to hurt my feet from being too tight. Atkins induction made me feel weird for a while, and Body-for-Life made me feel great (in the beginning). BFL is much higher-protein than Atkins induction. I noticed back in my 20s that I felt a lot better when I

We're Having an Estate Sale

A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business. -Eric Hoffer Let you in? Uh, no. Image from You know how they say that criminals return to the scene of the crime? I thought it was a literary device until today. The relative who stole thousands of dollars of stuff from my mother's garage came back to take  some more, yell at the estate sale people and threaten to stop the sale (so she can steal everything in the house at her leisure, presumably). She was waiting there when Mom got there today because another relative posted Mom's itinerary on goddamn Facebook. I generally don't like open letters, but I don't have many other ways of communicating with the people involved. So here's the deal: Mom needs to have this sale. Not having it  would be about a $10,000 loss for Mom.  If anyo