Think Your Web Browsing is Really Private? Think Again

How anonymous is your private web browsing? I thought I had all the reasonable requisite Add-ons to keep me fairly anonymous on the Web. Then I read a comment in an article about a file named: ‘machine-id’ which holds all the data about the computer I am using. Machine-id is present on a Windows and Linux computers. It is around in some variation on a Mac, but not as easy to locate.

What this little file does is make your a single computer unique on the ‘Lan’ it is set up on. This information may extend out into the internet to your provider, and perhaps beyond, but in my limited searching, I did not find any reference of that happening. This is called from my understanding…get ready…”Fingerprinting”.

However this made me curious. What else is going out, while I am browsing the web, thinking I am wisely protecting my privacy? I can’t say I was surprised, but a truckload of information is sent to each and every website that is visited, even this one I am guessing, though I never see it.

If you look at this screenshot, Firefox.jpg, you will see the information every web site sees. The list is long, and the shot is clipped to only the top portion, but you get the idea of how privately you browse the web as an average user. Web browsers may as well include a picture, home address and phone number too, as far as privacy matters go.

I thought I was fairly anonymous on the web…

Contained in Firefox browser directory, and likely whatever browser you choose to use is a file called HTTPS. Now this is a really slick little file that works with web sites you visit. It stores the data you see which tells Firefox any site listed in the file can only be accessed using HTTPS at the beginning of the url for a ‘secure’ connection. If HTTP isn’t at the beginning of the URL string, you can’t connect to the website in question. Sounds great, I feel so much better….

The problem with this file is, you can delete the contents and save it as a blank file. Get on the web and surf to a few sites, and you have a long list of sites, including some you did not access and can not visit! Return to a website, and the string contents change My question is, with this file blank, I do not seem to have any problem accessing a website. Why is it needed except for tracking purposes? I think it uses information from machine-id, but I’m not really sure. Monster Cookies anyone?

HTTPS. Just a helpful little file

I never payed attention to the private browsing option until now. The results are disappointing if you think you are really getting private browsing. This is beginning to look like a bad take of, “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”. All that happens in private browsing is the information normally stored on your computer about your browsing habits is not collected. To the sites you don’t want the world to know you visited, your browser sends the same information it always does. In essence, your family or Boss may not know where you browsed, but everyone else does.

If you want to see this in action, here are two links which collect all the information possible from your computer.

My Browser Info

Panopticlick from Electronic Frontier Foundation

After a quick search, I found a new well thought of web browser named, Epic Browser. It has a slick little VPN feature that really does erase you when you are on the web. I only played with it long enough to verify it works. With the VPN switch turned off, Epic transmits the same information as other browsers. With the VPN switch activated, it’s like being on the onion network with a tor browser. Maybe it is?

If you are serious about your privacy, but not too computer savvy

Which brings me to the Operating System Tails. Tails is so paranoid about privacy it only runs from a USB stick, and does not access any hard drive on the computer on its own. Tails uses the Tor browser and the Onion network. I really prefer using Tails when I want to surf about things I don’t want attached to me like, “How do you get Hemorrhoids”, or some such. You can browse with confidence knowing in your using the best privacy no money can buy when you are on the web. Below is a screenshot of how the sites see me when using tails. This isn’t a how-to about tails, but the web is almost your friend and will lead you to the Tails website.

The most online privacy no money can buy.

The information above is what I was able to find in about an hours worth of searching. Initially I was shocked to see what information about myself and my computer was giving away. After a short amount of time, I became angry, that so much information is built into the system by default. I did learn I don’t need to feel bad when a web site wants me to accept cookies. Websites already have more information than they need.

In wrapping up, I hope you have a better idea of your “privacy” when browsing the Internet. If you want to learn more and perhaps get involved, the, “Electronic Frontier Foundation” is a great place to start. EFF has been around since at least 1990, decries the lack of privacy in the digital age, and fights for our digital rights.

Here is the Electronic Frontier Foundation link:  Electronic Frontier Foundation check them out. They do a lot for you.

A Few Thoughts on Three Arch Child Distributions

I never had the desire to install Arch Linux from scratch. When I started with Linux, I installed Suse Linux using 3.5” floppy disks. I didn’t like it much, as I thought the mousing was too, “Precise” for me back in the day. Well, it is a long time since those days, and I have done so many installs and added software to them, it no longer gets me excited.

These days, most Linux distribution’s, mainstream distributions anyway, are becoming so plain vanilla, there is little need to start from bare bones system and build it up for home desktop use. Which brings me to the Children of Arch Linux. I have installed and used Arco Linux, Antergos Linux, and Manjaro Linux over the last few months.

I think I can safely write, these distributions have more in common than they are different. Each distribution is rock solid, as stable as Arch can be, and they each pretty much give me the desktop and looks I want. Arco Linux is different, in one of the its purposes to grow the user. By growing, I mean installing different desktop, adding programs, etc. Arco Linux is a great little distribution as is, if you do not wish to take it any further, or if you wish even better with video support (videos) to increase your Linux skills.

Antergos Linux shines in what it offers in the desktop realm. They have enough desktops to choose from upon install, that every user should be able to find what suits them. If you want to explore desktops, an Antergos is the way to go. If you try a new desktop and do not like it, just another desktop. Antergos has been tested with each of the desktops it offers on install, so one of the desktop choices should please just about everyone.

Manjaro Linux, with its new release, 18.xx, is a winner by a printer in my book, when compared to other Arch Children distributions. What sets Manjaro Linux ahead of the pack for me besides delivering a painless install, is my Brother Printer installed without a second thought, straight from the system settings. No more downloading Brother printer drivers from the Brother website and doing a manual install. I had given up on ever seeing such a smooth Brother printer install with Linux. I own a Brother MFC-L2707DW printer, if that is any help to you.

Manjaro Linux takes Best of Breed!

One rather unfair criticism I read about Manjaro Linux is terminal opacity. If the opacity of the terminal bothers you, click on settings as make the terminal as solid as you wish. I would think, if you are considering Arch or a Child of Arch, this would not be an issue for you.

Arch and Children of Arch have some serious side effects you may wish to consider, part of the Arch lineups dark side. Updates are fast and furious, you need some high speed bandwidth or you will reach new levels of frustration. Of course you may selectively choose to install only certain updated programs. Secondly, if you stray too far from the main road when installing programs you may find your favorite program needs some tender loving care. I had two programs, one of which refused to load, and the second refused to quit. Manjaro at least, has a pop up asking if you wish to terminate the program. You may also go through the terminal.

If you have installed a few Linux distribution’s and feel a little bored or daring, Give one of the Children of Arch a spin. Unfortunately, it is looking like you may still get a little bored with either Antergos or Manjaro. Depending on your pain tolerance, boredom is a good thing when using Linux. While Children of Arch distributions are a ways from being a beginning Linux Distribution, they are a long way from the expert level installation requirements of Arch Linux itself. If you can install Ubuntu Linux, Children of Arch Linux distributions are not out of your reach.

Change What You Eat, Get Healthy – Final

We will start off with foods you should be eating daily. Types of foods may vary by quality of what you can afford or what is available, but it is important to include as many of the high quality foods as possible.

High quality foods are powerhouse foods. They have the most benefit per ounce, benefits being nutrients your body needs, fiber, or healthy fats. Eating the correct type of fat is very important, but secondary to fat itself. You need about 30% fat by calories in your diet to be healthy. Fat also keeps you warm and feeling full.

When it comes to vegetables, color is most important. The more colors you can eat daily, the better you will feel. When the choices are available, eat orange, green and red vegetables. Here are some of the best examples:

Cooked vegetables: Yams, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Beets, Tomatoes, Greens, Carrots and Peas for example.

Raw vegetables: Tomatoes, Peas, Broccoli, Romaine Lettuce and general Greens for example.

In general vegetable are only limited by what you choose to eat. There are very few bad vegetables in general.

In the winter, you want to eat more root vegetables, and in the summer more above ground vegetables. Root vegetable examples are yams, carrots, potatoes. Any vegetable where the part we eat grows in the dirt underground.

In the summer, you want to eat more above ground vegetables. Above ground vegetable examples, are tomatoes, peas, green beans. Any vegetable where it is picked from a plant and not dug up,

Common nutrient poor foods: Iceberg Lettuce, Bread, Flour Tortillas, Most White Potatoes, Rice, Milk.

Shrimp and Lobster for some people raise Cholesterol, so do not eat them often.

Really Bad food choices: Butter (more than on bread, in oatmeal, or on vegetables), Candy bars, Soda of any type, Fruit Juice, Grapes, white potatoes. The reason these are bad, is they are all very low in nutrients (vitamins and minerals), and very high in starch and/or sugar.

Here is a short list of do’s and dont’s for eating:

1. Don’t only eat low or no fat foods

2. Eat real food, not processed foods

3. Don’t eat food you don’t like

4. Very little Grains, Potatoes, Sugars – Honey is sugar.

This may sound really confusing, but it will become easier as you get used to eating better. If you pay attention to how you feel, you will find you feel better and you won’t want to eat junk foods.

Think of a plate divided into four. You can label them 1, 2, 3, 4 and it doesn’t matter which one you call number one. When you start to cook, or put food on your plate, this is what you do:

1. This is the section for meat – beef, pork, chicken, fish, eggs. The piece of meat should be about the size of your palm. Some type of meat or eggs should be eaten with every meal.

2. & 3. This is the section for your vegetables. Any vegetables are good, cooked or raw. No potatoes here.

4. This is for your good carbs: Cooked Yams (mashed or cut into pieces), oatmeal (cooked or granola, Red or Yukon Gold potatoes – NOT Plain White potatoes like Idaho potatoes for example, Squash.

4. You can substitute fruit if you want in number four. Fresh fruit, no juice. Melon of any type that is non-gmo or organic, Strawberries, Blueberries, Kiwi, Bananas, Watermelon, Apples – Gala or Honey Crisp, Peaches, Fresh Cherries, Figs & Dates (a small amount), Raspberries, etc. Little or no citrus fruits as they are high in sugar and low in nutrients. Keep the peelings on if peelings are normally eaten.
Vegetables and Fruits – You can buy fruits in two ways: 1.) If you buy fruit that is peeled, like bananas, it doesn’t matter if they are non-gmo or organic. Pesticides sprayed on is thrown away with the peel. 2.) Apples, pears and such, because you should eat the peel, should be organic or washed in cool water and dish soap before eating if not organic.

Snacks – Whole nuts, Apples, Pears, occasional Banana and oranges, Mango, Plums, Cherries (limited), etc. Notice these are not sugary fruits like pineapple. Dark semi sweet Chocolate is an excellent choice, and recommended these days. No more than two ounces per day.

Healthy Food is usually more than food in a bag, paper wrap or a to go container

Now let’s discuss what else you need:

Oil – Olive, Avocado or Olive & Avocado mixed. Nut oils are healthy, but expensive and must be refrigerated. Corn oil is generally unhealthy

Morton iodized salt – Sea salt, I found out, lacks iodine which we all need. In the early 1900’s in the U.S, people died from lack of iodine in their diet.

Whole pepper and a pepper grinder. Some spice companies sell an all in one, this is what I use.

Garlic Powder – not garlic salt

Any other spices you like.

Cooking choices – A lot of people like to fry their vegetables because this is how Chinese food is cooked. Chinese Restaurants fry vegetables because it is the easiest, fastest, and fairly cheap. The best way to cook vegetables is steam or boil them. Vegetables are healthiest when they are cooked, but not soggy.

Meats are healthiest cooked the same way. Of course steamed meat is not very tasty. Simmering/boiling meat is healthiest, followed by baked, and fried is last. BBQ’ing meat is okay, but they have found that BBQ meat can cause cancer over time if the meat is burned or crunchy. This usually happens by trying to cook BBQ meats too fast.

General: You want to eat four cups vegetables every day to be healthiest. You also may get an upset stomach or diarrhea if you suddenly start eating four or more cups of vegetables right away. Here is a plan for this:

1.) Week one goal is one cup vegetables, one cup root vegetables, and one cup fruit each day.

2.) Week two goal is two cups vegetables, one cup root vegetables, and one cup fruit each day.

3.) Week three goal is three cups vegetables, one cup root vegetables, and one cup fruit each day.

4.) Week four and beyond goal is four cups vegetables, one cup root vegetables, and one cup fruit each day.
Eat more soup. Vegetable soup with beef or chicken is very filling, and quite healthy. Soup is a good way to use a lot of vegetables. If you want to make stew, use corn starch instead of flour to thicken it. Put about a tablespoon of corn starch in a shallow bowl. Add some cool water to make it runny. Stir it in when soup or stew is simmering. Keep stirring for about a minute. Repeat if needed, until you learn how much you need.

Eventually, you may get to the point where the idea of eating a certain vegetable makes you want to gag. This is normal, and a very good thing. It is your body telling you that at last, you have enough vitamins and minerals and do not need to eat a particular vegetable.

As you pay attention to your body and what it wants, you will know when you want to eat a particular vegetable again. Just don’t confuse, your body not wanting something with you not wanting to eat it. You must think of your body like a car. It needs good gas and quality oil. If you don’t put gas in your car, it stops running, if you stop adding oil, it breaks down.

Especially starting out, you may find you don’t want to eat certain foods. For example, you don’t want to eat more vegetables. This is normal too. Change is difficult. Stick with it. You are changing your eating habits, and it takes time. Usually around three weeks before it becomes the new normal.

You will notice after about a month, some foods lose their appeal. For example, you might really like Little Debbie snack cakes, and as time goes by they aren’t as good as they used to be. The reason for this is junk food companies are really sneaky.

A lot of junk food has vitamins and minerals in it that we all need! Because the average person’s diet is so poor, junk food replaces vegetables as the main source of vitamins and minerals. Our bodies are interesting. For example, if you do not eat enough salt, (about 1/2 teaspoon a day if not doing heavy labor), but you eat bacon that is cured with salt, your body will crave unhealthy amounts of bacon because salty bacon is your bodies only source of salt.

Be aware of any cravings you have now. If it is for a certain junk food(s) you find yourself eating daily, your body is lacking in nutrients that the junk food is supplying! You body will crave all kinds of fatty unhealthy foods if they contain something it needs to function.

Water is the best drink. Of course most people can not live on water alone for a drink. Green Tea, Black Tea Coffee are okay, with coffee falling in and out of the good for you drinks list. “Sobe” type drinks if low or no sugar are okay. Soda Pop and especially Diet Soda is horrible for you. Fruit drinks and juices are really flavored sugar water and should be avoided, unless they are melon juices. Diet soda is thought to destroy essential microbes in your intestines.

Speaking of Microbes and Biome. Microbes and Biome are what make your intestines work. We each have about three pounds of them and they number in the billions. You got your first Biomes from your Mom when you where born. As you change what and how you eat, your microbes and Biome will change slowly. It may seem like you have really sunny diarrhea, but Biome change out and flush is what is really going on. This may happen every couple of weeks, and is normal.

A month from now, you can check to see if you are eating correctly. Get the inner pot from a crock pot with a lid from Good Will. A normal size crock pot liner. You should fill this with vegetable scraps at least once per week, of you are eating really well. This is compost and you can start a compost pile with it, if you wish. If not a gardener will be happy to have your vegetable scraps.

Finally, we live in the real world. Some days, someone will serve you cake, a donut, cookies, etc. Unless you want to punish yourself, go ahead and eat it. Draw the line at Soda of any type. Pay attention to coffee. Black coffee tends to make people feel, ‘hungry’. Put a little cream in your coffee to cut the acid.

If you “have” to eat pizza, tortillas, Mexican food, sweets, or other unhealthy foods, put them in a food schedule. Say Saturday is your day for Mexican food. Monday you eat some candy bar you really like. Thursday is pizza day. The only thing you want do when eating these foods, is eat them as early in the day as possible, and do not over eat. Food like these are treats and not everyday foods with the exception of Mexican food. Eat them at lunch time and limit the fat content in your dinner.

Mexican food can be made at home in a healthy way. Most of Mexico is proof of this. Use healthy low fat meat and very little cheese. Make re-fried beans just mashed beans with no oil. Limit beans and rice to less than 3/4 cup each. Use corn tortilla instead of flour tortilla.

Change What You Eat,…, Get Healthy Part 2

Here is a short list of great foods for you if you want to eat the healthiest foods. You will notice there is no corn, wheat, or rice. Grains aren’t all that great for people with slow thyroid, and many people general.

Preferred Vegetables (High in Fiber, you need lots of fiber). In general, the darker the color, the healthier over all.

Acorn Squash – I eat it in the winter with a little butter and Brown Sugar
Asparagus
Beans – Lentils, Pinto – limited amounts
Beet Greens – Pretty Good, I like them (boiled)
Beets – canned
Bell Peppers – Any color
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts – Boiled or baked
Butternut Squash – Great with cinnamon
Cabbage – Boiled or steamed, or coleslaw
Carrots – Cooked to reduce sugar content
Cauliflower – Broccoli’s brother
Celery – Adds good flavor to soup/stews
Chili or other peppers
Collard Greens – I get them canned, they are usually better – Turkey flavor is good
Eggplant
Green (Snap) Beans
Green Peas
Kale – Smoothies or add to Salad
Lima Beans
Nuts and seeds – Sunflower, Pumpkin, Almonds if fresh. No more than an ounce a day
Okra – Not breaded and deep fried
Onions – green, white, yellow, or purple
Parsnips – Taste a little like radishes. I like them sliced and pan fried
Potatoes – Yukon Gold, red or purple only, leave skin on
Pumpkin – Canned or baked – Great with cinnamon
Rutabagas – I grew up on these, cut like potatoes, boil and mash or not
Snow Peas – A little expensive
Spaghetti Squash – bake and you have spaghetti noodles
Spinach – Cooked to get at vitamins and nutrients
Sweet Potatoes
Swiss Chard
Tomatoes
Turnips – I like these too, cut like potatoes, boil and mash or not
White Mushrooms – Probably all mushrooms
Yams – Boiled (Great with cinnamon) or fried
Yellow Beans
Zucchini

We may not need winding, but we need good food to run at our best

High Fiber Fruits

Apples – Gala or Honey Crisp
Bananas – Can constipate some people
Oranges – Navel with the biggest belly button you can find
Rasberries
Strawberries

Lean Beef Cuts

Extra Lean & Extra Expensive

• Bottom round roast and steak
• Brisket – Dry or Lean
• Chuck Tender Roast
• Eye of round roast and steak
• Flank Steak
• Ground Chuck – 80% lean or higher
• Grass Fed ground beef – Expensive
• Sirloin tip side steak
• Top round roast and steak
• Top sirloin steak
• Top Round

Chicken

Turkey – Ground turkey and Yam Hash – Yum!

Fish

Lean cuts of pork – center cut pork chops

Change What You Eat, Add a Few Minutes of Exercise, Get Healthy

I wrote this up for someone who wanted diet and exercise advice as they are feeling lost.

These next posts are a compilation of what I wrote and think I understand about eating and exercise. These posts were private correspondence with someone with a “Slow Thyroid”. I thought I would also share my thoughts with you. I’m not a doctor, or expert in this field. Nothing is original, and is only what I find works best for me, when nothing else has.

All rightly then! I think I have written down enough to get you going in the right direction. Besides doing some reading however, you will want to come to a few realizations, and you will want make some life style changes. Nothing really big, but very important.

First off, your weight. A sad but true fact about body fat, is the older you get, the harder it is to lose and keep weight off. If you think losing weight may be hard now, wait until you are fifty, it is almost impossible. Second, there is no magic pill or gym routine to make those pounds fall off. It can happen through a combination of eating correctly and getting some exercise. You will have to decide what you think about this part as you are in charge of you.

Next, because you have low thyroid action, your metabolism works slowly. I don’t know if your doctor explained anything other than a one minute explanation. I don’t really think it is slow thyroid, it’s just what it is called. When you think back through your Mom and Dad, their parents, and their parents, going back as far as you want, their life was way different than yours is in 2019.

Before the 1900’s, people didn’t always have access to a lot of food. They didn’t go to the fridge and get something to snack on, or open a cupboard door and pull out some chips to go with a bottle of beer. There wasn’t that much food around. When there was food, due to harvest time, slaughtering a barnyard animal, or hunting, there was no refrigerator to keep it in. Put simply, food was scarce.

All through the last thousand years, your ancestor’s (and mine) body’s learned to be more efficient with food. Their bodies with each hungry generation, learned how to get more energy with less food. Think of their bodies as car engines. The cars that guzzled gas and got ten miles to the gallon didn’t last. They were phased out because there wasn’t enough gas (food) for them to be successful.

Those cars that could get thirty or more miles to the gallon, well they had enough gas (food) to survive and thrive. When you came along, your body was so finely tuned, if you were a car you would be getting forty miles to the gallon! But you didn’t know that until the doctor told you, and your eating habits were already in place. Eating as a car getting twenty-five miles to the gallon instead of the forty miles per gallon is hurting you. Kind of like putting high octane gas in a subcompact. The subcompact doesn’t gain weight, but the extra money spent on gas is wasted. Because you are human, you put on weight eating extra food.

The good news is you don’t need to eat less or go hungry. You just need to modify how you eat and how much. All you need is cheap gas (lower calorie food). And one more little tweak… For the next six months or so, you want to walk at least twenty minutes after every meal. It’s not that hard. Lucky for you, most people with weight problems, do not have a clue how to eat right. You will after your done reading.

So feed your body lighter food, and your body will thank you for it, and it will lose weight. It wants to get back to a normal weight, as I’m sure you have noticed by how you feel, compared to how you remember feeling. Eat like you are a lightweight sports car, and not a semi-truck. Both you and your body will be happier!

Eating and exercise is always a hot topic.

So, besides walking at least twenty minutes after each meal, there are some simple and quick exercises that you can do to both help get you fit again, and improve how you feel throughout the day. They take about seven minutes a day, when you reach the correct amount of exercise.

1. Squats ~ Goal for one minute, plan on ten seconds starting out.

2. Mountain Climber (partial Burpee movement, no pushup) ~ Goal for one minute, less than thirty seconds starting out.

3. Jumping Jacks – Goal for one minute, thirty seconds or less starting out.

4. Palm down Plank ~ Goal for thirty seconds, plan on about ten seconds starting out.

5. Clenched Hands Plank ~ Goal for thirty seconds, plan on about ten seconds starting out.

6. Left and Right Side Planks ~ Goal for thirty plus seconds each, plan on about ten seconds or less for each side starting out.

7. Lunges ~ Goal for one minute, less than thirty seconds starting out.

I find simply standing with my arms at my sides for a few minutes after I am done with these exercises feels really good. I think it lets the muscles relax and form into the shape they should be in rather than the lazy way I have stretched and contorted them into with my bad habits.  Let me know how this works for you.

It doesn’t hurt at all to do some walking. You should aim for about fifteen miles a week. You might even do HIT Walking. HIT Walking means you walk for say two hundred yards, and then run as fast as you can for up to thirty seconds – no more. Then you go back to walking until you get your breath back, then sprint for thirty seconds. Repeat the run and walk with no more than three to four flat out runs. This is one of those things where doing more doesn’t help, and may hurt. Finish with walking the rest of your walk.

Next post will be a quick list. Eat all the vegetables you want, and don’t be scared of the fruits on the list.

The third post will be a more in depth explanation of what and how to eat, and why. You can be successful with this, feel better and eat as much as you want, just differently. It’s all up to you from here on. If you want to feel better, lose weight and look better, give this a month. Everyone can do something for thirty days can’t they?

You can do it!

Customize Products You Use – Life Hack

I get really excited thinking about idea! It started sometime last month. I was making chicken and rice soup for dinner. As the soup was almost done, I was thinking how nice I can add ingredients and spices to have the soup taste exactly as I want.

Most of the meal I cook taste exactly as I want, but the I never thought past cooking. About a week later, I was making myself some coffee. I had two bags of coffee I enjoyed and would switch off coffees every other day. French Roast today and Colombian Coffee tomorrow. This is when I had a flash of an idea.

You too can remix your coffee, shampoo and lotion for the results you want!

If I enjoy both of these coffees separately, what would happen if I combined them? So I did. I made myself coffee using both a mix of both coffees. The result was coffee much closer to what I wanted in my perfect cup of customized coffee!

A few days later while in the shower, the next customize idea arrived. I have this organic scalp condition. I got it from rinsing off many years ago in a lake in full algae bloom. I know it is organic as it would almost go away, and then over a few days it would be back with a vengeance, breaking out all over my scalp.

Last month’s outbreak was particularly bad. I use two different shampoos to control it. One is a medicated shampoo and the other a Tea Tree Oil shampoo. Both work, but not well enough to ‘cure’ my scalp problem. In desperation, I went to the Internet to find a shampoo recipe I could make at home that would do what I wanted. As I read different recipes, noting the most popular ingredients two things became apparent.

I could make a homemade shampoo for half of what it costs off the shelf. I could not find ingredients in small quantities or cheaply. The cost of the ingredients to start making cheap shampoo were expensive en mass and bulky. It was also questionable if the ingredients had a long enough shelf life to be useful.

I decided for a few days to mix both my shampoos and try them out. It worked so well, I combined them in a fifty-fifty mix. It has been three weeks now and my scalp problem has been solved. Gone is my repeating cycle of recession and outbreak.

I am not sure what I will customize next. Maybe body wash or skin lotion. Without thinking about it before, I already use mixed laundry soap and simple home cleaners, which give better results for a lot less money. For example, a little de-greasing dish soap and a little bleach turn cheap laundry soap into a world class product. The same idea applies to floor cleaning. A little cheap cleaner with a little de-greasing dish soap makes the kitchen floor cleaner for less than buying a brand name product.

Possibilities are there to make your own custom mix for your needs. If business can mix ingredients five-hundred gallons at a time, I know I can make my custom mix at home combining a few cheap products into my world class product.

One caveat, read and heed labels! When it comes to combining cleaning products, use care in what you mix. Some common cleaners and ingredients sitting in your kitchen and laundry room when mixed can have disastrous results.

Mix discreet ingredients with cleaners only after searching the Internet for compatibility and then only in a very small quantity. The last thing you want is to burn your hair off, bleach all your laundry white, melt your flooring, create toxic gas or a dangerous chemical reaction next to your face.

Do not attempt to mix Toilet Bowl Cleaners! Some Toilet Bowl Cleaners if mixed with other products will cause toxic gas or other very serious chemical reactions! Do not attempt to mix them. Read labels.

Combining lotions and shampoos are one thing, cleaners of any type should be only mixed with extreme caution after determining if they can be combined. Read all labels and precautions. Stick to skin soap, shampoo, and lotion and you should be okay. A trip to the emergency room for chemical burns definitely offsets all benefits gained from experimenting.

New Years 2019, New Not Improved

A New Year is once again here. Without trying, we start to stress and worry about the changes we are going to inflict upon ourselves. In the end, we will end up a year form now, fairly close to where we are in the moment. Unless of course we really make an effort to go through the investment of creating a new and improved model of us. Not an easy undertaking, as the most of the world does not want us to change and improve.

This year instead of regurgitating some words that are pretty much what I have felt over time about the New Year, I provided four links to what I have written in the past.

In the interim, my best for you and your journey through the New Year. I hope you make the changes you think you want to make, and you are pleased with the result. If I may make a small suggestion, decide to make changes that make you a better you, not a changed you. These changes tend to be more permanent and pleasing.

New Years Coming

Improving the New Year You

What New Years Resolutions

New Years Worthwhile Resolutions

Of course, you can just search, “new years”, or “resolutions” on my blog search.

Happy New Year!

Flow with, don’t fight the New Year

Guide to a Better Life

I heard and read about a book, mentioned now and again, “A Course in Miracles”. I never read a lot about it, passing references. A few years ago, I found, “A Course in Miracles”, in a local bookstore (yes, we still have a few here), but it was way more than I wanted to pay for a [unknown] book. Especially a book that was more merely mentioned than written about. So I forgot about it as other ideas and things caught my interest.

As one of the laws of, “The Secret”, made itself apparent, I found, A Course in Miracles”, this week, in its original plastic wrapping for a whopping $3.49! Needless to say, I decided I could spend that little on the book, and if I didn’t like it, I would not feel bad about it. I found a surprise inside, it is the latest edition, lucky me. I must be ready for the information it holds.

A Course in Miracles, is a hidden gem of a book. Recommended reading if you want to improve your life.

The book is divided into three parts, Text, Workbook for Students, and Manual for Teachers. I started reading the Text portion, intending to follow up with , “Workbook for Students” section. After a few days reading the Text, I was hooked and decided I can read the, “Text” portion and complete the, “Workbook for Students”, section at the same time.

I have read some of the Text and completed the first two lessons. The, “Workbook for Students”, at least the first two lessons, which is all I have done so far, are intended to hit you in the forehead with a baseball bat. Anyone who has not gone through this process in a different setting, will be thrust into a challenging, new and exciting mindset, about the world in which we live.

Each lesson takes two one minute periods per day. I can’t speak to the rest of the lessons yet, but each objective in the first two lessons is straight forward, simple to understand, and simple to do. There is a warning or disclaimer before the first lesson, that some of the lessons may be something your disagree with and other warnings along this line. You are asked just to do the lessons as written, without agreeing with them or liking them. No one else is needed as I understand, so the lessons should be easy to complete, two minutes a day for a year, or longer if you like.

In short, the lessons are not to be a drain on your time, but may rock your world, so to speak. The first two lessons have rocked mine, already. I am already familiar with the first two lessons, so I thought they would be more an affirmation or reminder for me. Yet I found myself having new, almost foreign understandings of some past life events. I am not sure where this paradigm shift came from, as the first two lessons are not new for me, and are general, but they made radical changes in my seeing certain past and present life events all the same.

I am not sure my description of , Text, in, “A Course in Miracles” does the book justice, but I will give it a shot. I have only read a part of the Text so far, so my comments are only from that small part. The text, if read slowly and with thought, is very enlightening. I have learned in a few days reading the full circle of some of the things I am able to accomplish, which I won’t bore you with as they belong in a different setting.

Up until now, I was aware I accomplished these things, but lacked the understanding of why. Probably a poor analogy, but think of ‘discovering’ you are a natural athlete in a sport, but you never tried before. I feel like this in some areas of my life from past events that improved my life. Through some unknown process changes happened, but I could only a guess as to why, and the structure behind them.

In just a few short paragraphs during my browsing, the process is explained and those loose ends which I could only guess at, I now understand more fully, though not completely. Subjects are blocked out, and stay on subject with little sidelining. Much better than a talk I never made it though on, How Judges Think.

As of this post, after only two lessons, I recommend, if you find an affordable copy of this book, “A Course in Miracles”, and start reading and doing the lessons, your life change in ways you never imagined.

More Than a Dollar

This post is a ‘clean’ post. However the content is not for children…

Something strange happened today. I went to a local mall to eat Chinese food. I was alone. To get where I was going from where I parked, I needed to walk through a store. As I walked, there on the floor was a semi-crumpled crumpled bill laying on the floor.

Of course I picked the bill up, hoping it was a twenty, but it was only a dollar. Being in a generous mood, I held the bill in my hand as I walked. I walked on perhaps another thirty feet, outside the store and into the mall proper.

Found a dollar

When a dollar isn’t really a dollar.

There was a bench, and sitting on the bench was a Father with his perhaps four year old Son playing on the floor. I walked up to the Father. I asked him, not looking at the child, “I found this on the floor, would your Son like to have a dollar bill?” The Father said, “No thank you”. I said, ” I found it on the floor, right over there (pointing)”.

It took a second or two for ‘No’ to register in my brain… I found this absolutely astounding! What was the Father thinking? Why would he decline free money? I was completely at a loss. I put the bill in my pocket, walked over the cafe, ordered and ate my dinner.

As I ate, I pondered these possibilities. 1.) The Father was not white. Did he think I thought he was broke and needed money? 2.) For whatever reason, the Father was offended by my offer of money. 3.) The Father, in a pedophile-phobia mind set, determined I was a pedophile, and by giving him a dollar bill to give to his son, his son would somehow become infected or targeted?

As I pondered these three possibilities, I though perhaps numbers one and two were possible. Perhaps the Father was offended by my offer for whatever reason. I thought number three was so far out there, it could not possibly apply. After eating I was to meet some people for coffee.

As the coffee clutch conversation slowed a bit, I brought up the situation at the mall, and the rejected dollar bill offer. I asked the group what they thought the reason was? To my surprise, the unanimous vote was the Father determined I was probably a pedophile! I was and am absolutely amazed this was not only the majority opinion, but the only opinion!

I can not make the jump from offering the Father a dollar bill to give to his Son, is any way related to being a probable pedophile. Even if it were possible, how does giving the Father a dollar bill effect the Son and his safety? It’s now, a few hours later, I still can not make that leap of thought. I only spoke to the Father, and offered the dollar bill to the Father. I simply can not make the jump, as to how the pedophile idea was the uniform conclusion.

I think this must be a brain virus in action. Too many generations of being told to fear, Chester the Molester, or the Man in the Van. Any thoughts?

Magic Compost Pile

I have come to think of this little dirt pile as my “Magic Compost Pile”. It started life out about four years ago as what was purported to be, horse manure. The only thing it had in common with actual manure, was it had particles of straw no larger than one-quarter inch.

Over the years nothing grew in it, or on it. I was starting to wonder if I made a mistake bringing it home and planting two snowball bushes at its foot. This summer changed all that.

I collect vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds and anything else compostable in the crock pot insert shown in the picture. It’s maybe a gallon in size. It was taking forever to fill it, before I went on the Whole 30 diet. Since then and changing a little to the paleo Diet, it is filled about once a week to week-in-a-half.

I have another ‘heavy duty’ compost pile that is slowly working its way through collected bags of leaves. Leaves are not unless they get a lot of help, quick compost material here in the southwest. I have lots of time, and am not in a hurry. I let it do its thing, though I add something every once in a while.

I did not want to go through the work of trying to dug through leaves and twigs to deposit my vegetable scraps, so I decided I could do worse than trying to turn the dead horse manure into something useful. That turned out to be an awesome idea. Every gallon of vegetable scraps, tea bags, etc, added over the summer was gone in a few weeks. All that I find are an occasional tea bag tag.

Some of the seeds from different fruits started to sprout, so I dug little gallon size holes around them. In late August, a yam plant poked itself through the compost pile. Some other seeds sprouted as well. Yet the majority of what went into this little pile was gone so quick, I thought an army of rodents were showing up at night and having a feast.

I started carefully smoothing the top layer, and would go out each day and look for digging, or tracks. There were none. The only thing unusual about the process I think is odd are the kitchen scraps. In the summer, by the time they make into the pile, they smell like vinegar, and have a green fungus going to town in the material. It also sort of plops into the hole as a fused piece.

I doubt this amazing compost speed will carry over the winter. As you can see the pile is only a few feet tall at best. It is against a west fence wall, so it does get light most of the day. With the summer temperature in the mid nineties, it probably heats up much more than it would on its own.

As I was adding another gallon of kitchen scraps today, I thought I talk about this mighty little compost pile while I think of spring just around the corner. I got the idea of using a crock pot insert from my post on pot composting. I haven’t used the pots last summer as everything I added to the pile was eaten so quickly, it almost seems like magic. If you look at the categories, I have links to other compost posts under gardening.