10K a Day During Covid Shut-In

I thought thirty days of 10,000 steps a day would be a lot of commitment. Turns out, it was not difficult at all. The benefits are amazing though. In thirty days, I have lost ten pounds, several over all inches, and my blood pressure dropped twenty points. Oh, and I have some ocean front beach property for sale in the middle of New Mexico.

In the real world, ten thousand steps a day is not really a challenge. The reason is, there is little else to do. I have lost a few pounds, but I doubt that was from walking an additional four thousand steps a day. I think it has more to do with no place to really eat at except at home. Other than that, the only real change is walking ten thousand steps a day makes sleeping more normal.

With little exercise, and I do not know if this is universal, I start to get cranky. I am tired early in the evening, but I wake up, wide awake at three or four in the morning. Neither of these is fun. Especially the cranky part. You know how it is, you know you are irritable, yet it seems so much easier to go with the flow, than it does to watch what I say.

One thing I do miss however, is the gym. I was going to the gym three to four days a week for weights and HIT on a stationary bicycle. Between the two routines, I was feeling really fit and healthy. For me there doesn’t seem to be a good home replacement for the gym.

Hill I wish I could walk up every day!

Walking up and down a small mound of dirt is poor replacement for a real hill.

I walk swiftly up the small hill by the walking track, but it is at best thirty feet of hill. So it’s walk swiftly up, walk slower down, swiftly up, slowly down. It helps but is not by any stretch of imagination, repetitions of thirty seconds fast and slow on a stationary bicycle provides. Nor is exercising around the house nearly as effective, as the weight machines I alternate each trip to the gym. So life is what it is.

On the bright side, I feel like a child again with more enjoyment in doing nothing. Computers and the Internet fill otherwise empty space in my daily routine. When I was small, we lived way out in the country, and my closest playmate was over a mile away. I couldn’t go alone to play until I was almost nine years old because of the distance. So I had lots of time growing up to enjoy my own company and learn how to stay occupied.

60's computers

If you weren’t an engineer, you never saw or touched one











As for the thirty days of ten thousand steps a day? I am still out there walking almost every day. New Mexico in the spring, besides being very dry, has a lot of high pollen counts, and lots of strong wind. So some days, I do not want to go out and walk. Walking along, blowing my nose every hundred yards from pollen, is not my idea of a food time. I can say however, we have some young artists, who have painted half the rocks in the area. So there is lots of encouragement, and some enjoyment of the artwork while walking.

This time of shut in has been a real transition from life at high speed. What helps me is I grew up with no Internet, Computer and a phone I wasn’t allowed to touch. For me this is like a blast to the past, with more benefits. I hope you are out getting some walking or running every day, and are finding a slower life is not a bad thing.

Freedom from Unwanted Plastic Wrap Cling

This is a little post about Plastic Wrap. If you are like me, you end up fighting with your plastic wrap more often than you simply use it as intended. In the past if I wanted to cover or wrap something bigger than a can or glass, it meant tearing off a piece of plastic wrap, pulling it apart from itself and hoping it stays opened and apart until I wrap whatever I am wrapping.

Last week, I had this epiphany. Like all good ideas, it works wonderfully, and using Plastic Wrap is not longer another frustration in my day. The picture is not very self explanatory, but the best I can do, only having two hands.

Save yourself the headache of Plastic Wrap clinging to everything except your container.

















Here is what you do:


Find a plate or bowl as large or larger than what you are wrapping or covering.


Pull a small portion of Plastic Wrap loose from the box.

Grab the plastic wrap and the plate or bowl together and pull the plastic wrap across the surface.


Tear off once you have the size you want.

The Plastic Wrap will more or less stay attached to the clean plate or bowl, and you can simply turn your plate or bowl upside down over your food and press the Plastic Wrap down to seal or wrap your food.

The hassle of a tangled mess of Plastic Wrap is now a thing of the past!

Adding Choice to Linux Color Schemes

Choice is what Linux is supposed to be about. You may do things your way. You may add this, or take that away. You have your choice of desktops, You can make your Linux bloated, or you can make it lean and mean. Some important choice is missing in many Linux Distributions.

Unless you are new to Linux, there is a commonality among most major Linux Distributions. Let’s see how much Distro hopping you have done while using Linux, and after we are done I think you will agree with me, Linux has a huge Achilles Heel.

Desktops are plain vanilla across most Linux Distributions whether you use Cinnamon, Fluxbox, flwm, FVWM, GNOME, i3, IceWM, ion, JWM, KDE, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, Openbox, WMaker, Xfce, they mostly look the same with exception of color from major Distribution to major Distribution. Snooze.

Want to try a short Linux theme color quiz?  Good. Here we go.

1. Which Linux Distributions use a blue theme?

2. Which Linux Distributions use a green theme?

3. Which Linux Distributions use a brown theme?

4. Which Linux Distributions use a black theme?

5. Which Linux Distributions let you easily make changes to your desktop colors?

6.Which Linux Distributions have Icons of more than one color?

When is the last time you looked at your Desktop and thought, ‘Wow, I like this’?

Imagine going to purchase a kitchen appliance. There are five brand names that all have similar appliances. How about buying an automobile. Every base model is more or less the same as another brand’s base model, Imagine a world, if no matter what you wanted to buy from underwear to Automobiles, every company had their own pet color? And buying from Ajax Appliance means your new appliance has a blue stripe around the top surface?

I think you get the idea. Here we are with Linux, where we can have it our way, as long as we want one set color theme. Of course, there are downloads and various options to change your desktop, sharpen it up, or make it look different, and possibly, unique.

Unfortunately the newer Linux user is busy learning Linux basics. They may not know or know how to add desktop effects, or make what should be simple changes. If your Linux Distribution has a blue theme, is there any real reason, why you have to continue to look at a blue themed desktop if you want to change the color? What if you really dislike blue, or brown, or green, or red, or black.Ditto for other main Linux Distribution colors.

Linux in general is becoming plain vanilla, most of the larger distributions only have color themes to differentiate themselves from other large plain vanilla distributions. The days, of really having any real differences in implementation or speed of your favorite desktop are gone.

If your favorite Linux distribution uses one of these desktop environments (DE). More likely than not the DE is no faster on your Linux Distribution than it is on most other Linux Distributions. With the exception of perhaps Mint Linux, which makes all DE’s conform to the Mint Linux idea of the perfect DE, they all look more or less the same in one Linux Distribution as in another.

What got me thinking about this is I am back to playing with Makulu Linux. I find Makulu Linux a breath of frsh color in a color challenged Linux world. If you want to read a well written review of Makulu Linux, you can find it here:

MakuluLinux Flash 2020 Could Be an Xfce Desktop Game-Changer

Makulu Linux, daring to be different

Makulu Linux reminds me of what Linux used to be. Makulu uses color, color, and more color. Whether Makulu Linux is faster, slower, or just as fast as the Linux Distribution you are using right now, is a moot point. Makulu Linux developers are not afraid to be different,

I have a computer with a graphics card capable of displaying more than 16 colors, I don’t need all my icons to look the same as the other 50 plus icons. I like color, and I enjoy the creativity Makulu Linux takes in their product.

Color! Who would have thought!

If you are not afraid of diverging from the main five or six colors of the main Linux Distributions, Makulu Linux and other smaller distributions are game changers. With that being said, not all smaller Linux Distributions use or access repositories of tens of thousands of programs and files, twenty-nine plus thousand of which you will never use.

This is the third iteration of Makulu Linux in the last few years, and perhaps they did not get popular enough for further development, but Makulu Linux seems intent on not being another plain vanilla Linux.

Maybe the days of having Linux your way are gone by the wayside. At least you do not have to put up with being bored into mortification from four or five color choices differentiating your Linux Distribution from another Linux Distribution,

Small Home and Small Space Composting

I have been composting using different methods for several years now, starting with a basic compost pile. While the compost pile works well in many parts of the country, here in the high desert, a compost pile is not really effective. Due to the lack of rain, and lack of vegetation, composting in a pile is a lesson in futility.

I have found the lack of water, greens, and browns all at the right time to be a big problem. I can harvest weeds in the spring to feed the compost pile, but this is a short green season. If the rains do not cooperate, the greens become browns before too much happens. Through the rest of the year, it is easy to collect browns, but there are little to no greens and less water. The result is a dusty pile of material.

The simplest, most effective small home and garden compost method.

Composting in a standing barrel open at the top is slightly faster, with faster being relative. I started seeing compost in the bottom of the barrel after about a year. A year for a few shovels full of compost doesn’t really do much for anything bigger than a sandbox sized space.

I had come across and wrote a post about Pot Composting. Using four rotating pots with the oldest material in the bottom pots had some value. The link to the first Pot Composting post is here.

Pot Composting Made Simpler and Easier

The Pot Compost material never really turned to compost as we normally think of compost, but when it was added to soil, it quickly broke down. If space or lack of open ground is an issue, the pot composting method works fairly well. I used kitchen scraps however, so if you are not into peeling your own vegetables and saving anything compostable, this method may be a very slow and tedious one.

I have had the best luck, if luck has anything to do with it, using the “Trench”, or Hole Compost method. This method is usually used where there is a formal garden. In my case, I have no formal garden, but I do do have a six by three foot pile of old worn out horse manure material that turned to dirt years ago. I do not use the Trench method though as I am not that organized to track where the last batch went.

Here is what I do. I have a covered Crockpot insert in the garage to collect kitchen scrap. When the pot becomes full I dig a hole to the right of where I last dug a hole. I empty the pot into the hole. Using an old plastic cooking spoon I scrape anything that didn’t fall out of the pot. I then cover the hole up. The hole is usually about a shovel blade deep, so there is not a lot of dirt on top the material. Generally within a couple of weeks, everything has been broken down and I can not find any remains of the last deposit.

I find this method to be the most effective and simplest. The kitchen waste itself provides the water needed, and the now robust soil does the rest. Even in the middle of summer when the temperature in the mid nineties, the most recent addition is completely gone in about three weeks.

Digging a hole and dumping in the kitchen scraps takes less than three minutes. No need to fuss over it, add water, make sure there is a correct mix of green and brown, add nitrogen, or any other chemicals. Simply dig a hole, add the scraps and cover the hole up. Microbes in the soil do the rest.

Nightmares, Voices, and Visions

What about those nightmares? What about those bad dreams that are not really nightmares but close? You know those dreams that are very unsettling but did not cause you to wake up terrified? What about childhood terrors? These are not the dreams that let us wake up refreshed and rested.

Sometimes dreams are just not fun. They are at the least unsettling, and at their worst, make for a bad day or week. In the realm of ancient knowledge, there are documented records of good dreams and bad dreams. Some dreams foretell of danger wiping out a community or culture. Other dreams are prophetic precursors of something going to happen and there was nothing to be done about it.

Are all nightmares just dreams, or could they be something more?

All these dreams are real from the viewpoint of the person who dreamed them. Whether they are a child’s night terrors to a dream of our dying, they are real to that person. Someone who hears voices or thinks they are being tormented by monsters or demons, to that person those events or dreams are real.

When a child suffers from night terrors, they are not called night terrors because they are so much fun. To the Child and Adult having night terrors, they are completely real.

The situation or the monsters are as real as you or I touching our hand with our other hand. Just because other people in the room can not perceive what terrifies the child, is not any sort of proof that the terror is not real. In times past, there was a different way of managing people who heard voices, saw apparitions, or were attacked by monsters or demons.

People in this unfortunate situation were severely tortured, semi-drowned, or underwent some other punishment which would be unthinkable today. We do a real disservice when flippantly dismissing a child who suffers from night terrors, someone who hears voices or sees things the rest of us are unable to.

The idea that we are not effected has nothing to do with personal experience. Jumping off on another train of thought, it is believed that these are real happenings, and are memories of a previous lifetime or existence.

We have a silly way of managing these occurrences, either dreams, visions or auditory occurrences. We classify them as either from some benevolent higher power or they are evil. I propose we shrink these two categories and have a much larger middle ground category where we can safely store night terrors, apparitions, voices, and other things that go bump, and not necessarily in the night.

Imagine for a moment, where the state of negotiation would be if American mathematician John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics and Abel Prize winner, was either tortured, locked away or murdered?

How many other brilliant minds throughout history underwent horrible forms of punishment as a method or a cure. People did not quit hearing or seeing things. If they survived their torture, they learned to lie convincingly, so it did not happen again. Most of us are just like them. We have nightmares, seen visions or heard voices. We are smarter than we were centuries ago. We have learned not to talk about them.