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What am I Reading?

Feed Your Head

How much do you read?

I am an avid reader and tend to have 2-3 books going at a time – in addition to my all too large doses of social media and the News of the Day. Some are for fun. Some are because I want to learn something. Some to pass the time. Also in order to be sure I have something to do while in waiting rooms or lines at the store or pharmacy. I hate being caught out somewhere, bored, with nothing to do.

Feed Your HeadI saw a meme a while back that questioned how many books people have read since they left school. With a little research at Google, there was a study done noting that approximately 28% of people (I guess in the US, but it did not say), do not read any books within the course of a year (the study was done in 2015). And this was up from 21% back in 2011. Considering that I read about 40 books per year, I find this disturbing.

But more important is the question????

What do you read?

You have heard the saying, garbage in, garbage out. The question goes to what you are feeding yourself on an intellectual level. As we remember what the Dormouse said. The Law of Attraction says you become what you think. So what are you filling your mind with?

As I noted, I am usually reading a number of things. And I would like go into them, because they are fresh on my mind.

Eat Well Move Well Live Well

If you have reading Astrogardens from the beginning, you recall that I was on a cleansing diet in May. The diet basically cut out all unnatural sugar and processed foods. I did spectacularly, losing 20 lbs. But since completing it, the pounds are coming back. The authors of the diet (Roland and Galina Denzel) wrote a more extensive book about cleaner and more healthy living, which I have been reading since June. The idea is that I would really like to keep the pounds off. I am happier being a little slimmer. My pants fit. I have less joint pain. I sleep better. And I feel better about myself eating healthier food. It is more like a textbook – so I am reading it slowly.

Lost Ways

This is a book that has been heavily promoted on social media for years. The description on amazon says:

Lost Ways
Lost Ways

“The SHTF we all prep for is what folks 150 years ago called daily life: no electrical power, no refrigerators, no Internet, no computers, no TV, no hyperactive law enforcement, and no Safeway or Walmart. The Lost Ways prepares you to deal with worst-case scenarios with the minimum amount of resources just like our forefathers lived their lives, totally independent from electricity, cars, or modern technology whatsoever, which means you’ll also be bulletproof against the ever-increasing threat of an Electro Magnetic Pulse, a Powerful Economic Breakdown, Famines, and Natural Disasters.”

Decent description IMHO, especially using the SHTF (Shit Hits the Fan). I have wanted it for a long time because it is so well promoted. Maybe it is the way they introduce subjects – asking an open ended question. It is done in the same effective way as on Ancient Aliens or 48 hours mysteries. It draws you in until you can not wait to read the next line.

I have wanted this book for a long time and decided to buy it last Friday (maybe it was because I was cruising Facebook after drinking a 6-pack, but who knows). It is a little expensive ($37 plus shipping – unless I had used the special price link when you search it on google and got the same thing for $22. Oh Well. Live and Learn.) But so far, I have loved it.

Click Here to buy it if You are interested using the better price.

Lost Ways reads like the Almanac – interesting advice for living life as they did 100 years ago when you could not go down to the corner drug store and had to grow and can a lot of your own food – or hunt and be able to store it. If I was treating Astrogardens like a business, I would be able to write this off as an expense. Call it R&D. This advice is amazing and I plan to share and deep dive a lot of the things I am reading about.

Survivalist bookWhat Every Survivalist Should Grown in His Backyard

This was one of the Free gifts that came with Lost Ways. And it is a great resource. The book goes through a lot of different plants that you should consider having in your backyard that are pretty easy to grow and damn useful in a pinch.

Honestly I was just as interested in this book as I was in Lost Ways, as the way it is presented is a lot like how I wanted to write in this blog. In fact, one of the first entries is about the plant Arugula. I read that yesterday and then went out and harvested some leaves for our salad last night out of my garden.

Harry Potter

As it goes, I have read the Harry Potter each summer for the last 3 years. I have just started the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, on Saturday. Last year or the year before I also read the Screenplay book for Harry Potter and Harry PotterThe Cursed Child. I was excited for something new, but after reading it would suggest forgetting it unless you have a real jones for screenplays. It did nothing for me and the story was not as engaging as the series.

As for the Harry Potter series, I recommend it for a multitude of reasons. 1) I like to read Young Adult novels. As a copywriter, it helps with flow. YA writers tend to keep sentence structure simple and plot lines linear. For what I do, that is important and it is good to immerse myself in that style of writing. While I am at it, I also enjoy the hell out of the stories.

Also, 2) Someone else’s conspiracy is a lot less stressful that the real life crap that is going on. It is an escape from there here and now and just as entertaining as the 20 foot tall Baby Trump Balloon flying over London last weekend. Didn’t Harry blow up his aunt as a balloon at the beginning of Prisoner of Azkaban?

And 3) It provides me with inspiration. Especially now with Astrogardens. Harry faces so many of the same themes that I have begun discussing now. Government conspiracies, good and evil, Good guys vs bas actors, fake news. I would not be surprised if you hear more about Harry here. I am thinking of writing a Harry Potter themed ebook in the near future. Watch for it.

So if you are counting, Since May, that makes 11 books. And that is not counting the news on the net.

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Voting with your Wallet – Part 2

Are we in the middle of a revolution now?

Has World War 3 already started? Will we (collectively) only know about it in 30 years when we read about it in  the neatly printed government text books from our government apartments outside the government work camps we are herded into each day?

Consider what the future looks like under a controlled economy. We have been lurching there throughout the past 10, 20, 30, 40 years. And we have been voting for it with the politicians we elect, through the companies we support who provide the products and service we want to buy.

Thrive - What on Earth will it take?
www.thrivemovement.com

For me it is the fear of these institutions and the revolutions they control – The mind control and social control – that have me acting to protect the little patch of earth that I can control. Where my family resides.

So in addition to growing my own food and preparing the best I can for the Zombie Apocalypse, what can we do live in it?

A few years back (November of 2011 – I looked it up), a movie was released that asked a lot of these question. The movie was called Thrive: What on Earth Will it Take. The point of the movie (it is a documentary that shockingly haha did not get nominated for academy awards like similar documentaries by Michael More or Albert Gore) was to question the control structures of this world economy. But it does not stop at identifying the problems. They go into detail about things you can do to move forward without these structures.

PRetty often I visit their site to remind me of some of those actions.  They have a Top Ten list, which I include here, to when your appetite. If you want to read more about them, go to the ThriveMovement website.

Top Ten Actions

  1. Find Your Way to Stillness
  2. Get Informed, Speak Up & Connect with Others
  3. Bank Locally
  4. Buy and Invest Responsibly
  5. Join the Movement to Audit and End the Federal Reserve
  6. Keep the Internet Fair & Open
  7. Support Independent Media
  8. Support Organic, Non-GMO Farming
  9. Require Election & Campaign Finance Reform
  10. Advocate for Renewable and “Free” Energy
  11. Take Part in Critical Mass Actions

And as part of the theme of this post, items #3 and #4 (note if you go to the site, they will be #2 and #3 because they do not know how to number things there) discuss some very specific things you can do about what to do with your life and your money to support life where you live – in the way you want to live. Like with Banking, I bank with a local credit union. Not that I have much money, but I know that they will invest the money with local projects that support our community. No skyscrapers in New York. More like business loans for the businesses in our area.

 

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Voting with your Wallet – part 1

Like a tree falling in the forest, so are the ripples in a pond.

“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.” – Dalai Lama

drops in the oceanSometimes you might wonder if your small actions can actually make a difference. Do the choices you make have an impact outside of yourself?

Consider, this morning, I made a pot of coffee and am drinking it in my dining room. I was out already this morning, and sometimes I will stop and get a cup of coffee at a coffee shop (Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Wawa or the local coffee shop Dosie Dough). But today, it was my own pot.

For me personally, I usually drink my own coffee. I brew it very strong and I like it that way. Also, the cost per cup is somewhere south of $.10 per cup. And I drink a lot. It is a choice I make. So consider yourself. How do you make this decision each morning (if you are a coffee drinker that is)? Not everyone is as cheap as I am.

So think of the options you may have. The local gas station. Its convenient. It is on the way to wherever you are going and you need gas. The coffee is passable. Dunkin Donuts. Usually convenient. Likely to taste the same each time. Pretty cheap. Lots of options if you like specialty drinks. McDonalds. See Dunkins. Starbucks. Strong coffee. Trendy. Expensive. The Local Option. A small restaurant you may have near your home or workplace. Convenient – maybe. Friendly – hopefully.

Each option comes with its own positives and negatives. And in the end, may have a negligible effect in the grand scheme of things. Who cares what coffee you drink or do not drink. But it is decisions like this that we might want to put a little more time and effort into considering as we go throughout the day. Can each of them make a difference? Is your choice of coffee like that pebble dropped into water?

Small Choices Big Consequences

The Red Hen restaurant

Small choices and their meanings have taken a rather large part of the discussion in the National headlines this weekend. The case of the owner of The Red Hen, a small trendy restaurant in the Washington DC vicinity. The President’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders,  and her family visited the restaurant over the weekend, and were asked to leave by the owner because the owner did not want to serve someone connected to President Trump.

In itself, this was pretty inconsequential. The Press secretary had the grace to walk away and find another place to eat. And had it not been for social media, and one of the employees of The Red Hen bragging about it online – which quickly went viral, the event would have gone pretty much unnoticed. Just a business, refusing service to someone for their own reasons. But the viral nature of things has made that pebble of discourtesy seem more like The Rock of Gibraltar falling into the ocean. And the ripples will surely be felt for a while.

Why?

The actual act of refusing service and asking someone to leave should not be a consequence. No laws were broken. And from the report of the exchange from all people who reported it, from all political perspectives, though uncomfortable, did not cause much of an uproar or public scene. In our society, choices can be made. But before we make these choices, we should consider what the unintended consequences may be. Like the Tree that falls in the forest, did someone hear it? And what did they do as a result?

Did the owner of the Red Hen consider the effect of refusing service to President Trump’s Press Secretary. Could she possibly have imagined what the result of her decision would be? Did she consider that:

  • Her employee would brag about it on social media?
  • @PressSec would acknowledge that comment on Twitter and say to her over 3 million followers that she had been asked to leave because of her beliefs?
  • The President of the United States would comment about it as well?
  • Maxine Waters would use the event as a nationwide call to action to be rude to anyone associated with the President?
  • A late night host suggested that other restaurants might choose to taint the food they serve to people they disagree with – going so far as to ejaculate in it before serving it?
  • People would flood Google and Yelp with bad reviews about the restaurant?
  • Pictures of her family would be plastered all over the internet with alternating positive and negative comments?

Few people would consider that a small decision in our daily life could have such far reaching effects. The owner and her employees felt that they had to refuse service, because they did not like Mrs. Sanders, and what she represents. Itself, a small decision. But as we see, the consequences are not.

While I could go on and on about the many effects in the whole world (and I would like to because I live for that), it is not relevant to the main purpose of this article. I brought it up because, from the beginning, I started this blog and my garden this year to make a difference. The difference I hoped to make was a small one in the Grand scheme of things. It was to transform my yard into a place where I could grow healthy food for my family and share the experience with others.

It is issues like the one we faced this weekend that assure me that we should be staying closer to home – especially when it comes to food. Who knows when someone might choose to do something malicious for whatever reason. And even if its not malice. I recall stories of high school friends telling about how they would clean (or not) their fast food stores. About how they had swatted flies and served them with food. I can only hope that these were mini urban legends. But I tend to believe otherwise.

Comedian Eddie Murphy performed a Stand-up comedy movie called Delirious. He told a story about eating at a Chinese food restaurant and how people often make fun of the accents. The joke came when the waiter went in back and says under his breath, “I maka special won ton soup for you.”

This is not a new. People have been horrible to each other throughout history. But we might hope that we have evolved just a bit. Since that is probably not the case, We should start be watching ourselves when in public.

 

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Willpower – Starting Tuesday my Diet is Done!

Starting Tuesday morning I will have completed the 30 day Reset Diet I started last month (on April 29th in fact). So I will be able to eat food again. I say this to be funny because the point of the diet was to eat “Real Food” for 30 Days. It is shocking how different it is not eating food that we find at the stores and in our cupboards.

Zero Sugar

The point of the diet was to cut out all unnatural sugar from my diet.To do this means cutting our virtually ALL processed foods. No wheats and grains. No Milk. So most of my diet was Meat, Hard Cheeses (which are OK), fruits and vegetables, olive oil and butter are OK. So some of the food I could eat is incredibly decadent (3 egg omelettes with sausage or bacon), choices were often limited. And you find that all the fresh fruit and vegetables are a little expensive as well.

But, I cannot argue with the results!

20 lbs in 30 days!

I wanted to lose weight. And I did. Clothing the I had pushed to the back of my drawers and back of my closet now fits. I have to use a belt much more often with my bigger clothing. The jeans my wife bought me for Christmas a year and a half ago I can now wear. This is exciting!

It’s like Drinking from The Fountain of Youth

Joint pain reduced. Though I am unclear on the exact reason, the pain in have had in my knees and ankles is all but gone. I walk up and down the steps with ease. I get out of the car and do not feel like I am 80 walking up the walk way. I can roll around on the floor and play with the kids and not have to pull myself up using the couch. It is like drinking from the fountain of youth.

One of the symptoms that I noticed prior to starting the diet was that I was taking 2 ibuprofin almost every morning for pain. I hate being beholden to medications. So needing a pain killer bothered me.

As I found this weekend, I have unbelievable stamina. I spent the weekend plowing out my garden patches. Most of it had to be done with a shovel. My arms and shoulders and wrists and hands are sore, and I want to go to sleep early. But the job got done. And I noticed as I was digging the gardens – digging deep inside to move all that dirt – that I had the stamina to keep going.

Willpower

There are many takeaways I have from my experience with the diet. An important one is Willpower. Having the strength of will to keep on throughout the whole thing. For the most mart I did not cheat on the diet. There was one day I had to use a commercial salad dressing that had some sugar in it. Really bugged me. Some of the sausage I bought had some sugar. But I went out of my way to be sure that I was not breaking the rules I agreed to.

That agreement I must say was one I made with myself. Looking at the parameters of the diet, I also have some of my own restrictions – self imposed of course. 1) I do not eat beef, 2) I never eat anything with artificial sweeteners, and 3) I do not eat food after 8:00PM. Probably the beef issue was one that makes this diet difficult. The choices you have are limited already. And steak and hamburger are easy to cook with and easy to get while you are out to eat. Without sugar or artificial sweeteners, the only sweets I ate were fruit. That is not a terrible loss for me. But for others it could be a deal-breaker.

So where does the willpower come from? For me, I have made this type of commitment before. When I was about 23 I quit smoking cigarettes cold turkey. For nonsmokers, this may not seem like such a feat. But it was easily the hardest thing I have ever done. As I remember, it started with a commitment. One day I decided to quit. Of course, there were other factors.

It began as a bet, or more of a dare. My girlfriend at the time was going on an airplane trip and decided she would quit smoking. She said that I should too. And smoker who hears this kind of thing will usually react the same way – with righteous indignation and horror. Despite ALL of the medical and health reasons someone should quit, none of them matter to the addicted mind. There is no logic to the desire to smoke. It controls you.

She left, and I proceeded to drink and smoke throughout the weekend (it was a party weekend for some reason). I found myself waking up Sunday morning (late) having smoked my last cigarette. I did not go out and buy more, and without thinking about it, got through the day without a smoke. As I sat that night with crazy, serious cravings – and no cash in my pocket to go to the store, I thought, maybe I could do it. At that point, that was the longest period of time I had gone without nicotine. 1 day. I would see if I could make it two.

After that Monday, it became a goal. To make it through the week. I remember very little of that week, other than insane cravings. It was hockey playoffs and we went out to bars to watch the Kings. Not having a cigarette in my hand, I found other things to do with them – like drinking heavily.

Every minute of every day required willpower. Every habit, from your coffee in the morning to how you end your meals and what you do when you get in the car, you find involved cigarettes. By the end of the week (5 days clears the nicotine out of the system) I realized that I NEVER wanted to go through that again. And have held on to that fear ever since when any craving comes up.

I used that willpower has a competitive cyclist, when I would have to dig deep within myself physically during races or climbing hills.

I used that willpower each time I have been on this diet, reminding myself of my commitment, and desire to lose weight and stay with it.

And I hope I remember this willpower as I set out throughout this summer – as I really want to keep the weight off. Though I do not want the rigor of the diet, I love the results. It is a choice. And paying attention to that choice when I need to to be aligned with my goals.

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My First Mint of the Season

Spearmint picked for Tea

Last night, I picked my first batch of spearmint for the year. I am an absolute fan of Mint Iced Tea – Ice Tea in general. I drink a lot, so I am careful what it is that I am drinking (specifically that it is natural, has few calories). And my seasonal favorite is Mint Ice Tea.

As long as I have had a piece of dirt to grown things on, I have planted mint. My preference is Spearmint over peppermint, but either will do. I have found that the many varieties of mint that have been created are kind of mind blowing. The most interesting to me would be the “Chocolate Mint” variety. My mother in law found some once, but I thought it was a little weird.

My present mint patch is along the side of my house. And unfortunately it has not done so well in the past few years. I do not know if it is because I over cut it (usually 5 stems every other day). I would say it is low sunlight, but it used to produce much better. I will be looking into what I need to do with the soil to improve the yield, as I will be drinking this all summer.

Over the winter, I have looked for other alternatives, when fresh mint is not around. The closest thing to my tea is Boston’s Mint-in-Tea. I used that for a couple of years until my wife and I found something better. Just squeeze an orange and a lemon in a gallon of tea. During Mint season, I still have to make the orange-lemon for my wife (she is not a fan of Mint tea.).

 

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Vaxx or No Vaxx

/I am sharing this letter from a friend who shared it on Facebook. This is a hard subject for most to read about. But the letter brings up the points important for people to know and consider. ~andrew

 

Brilliant letter to parents from Ashley Everly Cates who also happens to be a Toxicologist.

Dear pro-vaxxer,

As someone who once believed in vaccines, who vaccinated my child, I’m asking you to hear me out.

I know you might think I am either (1) stupid, (2) uneducated, or (3) crazy. I know you think questioning vaccine safety is akin to believing in conspiracy theories. I know you are angered to think that there are people putting children in harm’s way because of the increasing rate of vaccine refusal.

✋🏻 I understand that. I 100% appreciate the fact that you care about children, that you care about health, and that you want the best for your family and for the rest of us.

I know you find the practice of vaccination to be an incredible scientific advancement that you are deeply thankful for. I know you believe in the benevolence and good will of those in the medical profession. I know you believe that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risk of harm. I know you believe that vaccines save lives, and that with them we have eradicated horrible diseases and made the world a safer place, for everyone.

 HOW truly INSPIRING and absolutely wonderful is that to believe? To believe that humans have changed and can continue to change the course of history, the threat of disease morbidity and mortality, through medical innovation? That is an incredible idea and reality that many of us REALLY WANT to believe…

How difficult and frustrating would it then be, to have those beliefs challenged? And for medical professionals, to have one of the main tenets of their profession and life purpose be questioned, and attacked?

It would feel terrible, insulting, and like all that is right in this world, everything you know that exists to protect your children, is being threatened by misguided idiots and those who want to watch the world burn. How could anyone possibly want to see polio return? Measles? Mumps? Whooping cough? To make everyone vulnerable and needlessly put in harm’s way, again?

—— I get it. No really, I do. ——

Believe me, it took years of daily research and investigation into this issue before I began to decide that the potential benefits of vaccination do not outweigh the costs. And this was *after* vaccinating my child and watching him suffer neurodevelopmental and cognitive delays. This was after we began to deal with food allergies that gave him constant stomach pain and eczema.

Let me add, that when I say the words “research” and “investigate”, I’m not talking about mom blogs or natural news websites with no sources or references for their information. I’m talking about published, peer reviewed scientific research from medical journals. I’m talking about data and records from the CDC website that you have to dig to find. I’m talking about important information about outbreaks and how to treat measles and whooping cough that doesn’t make the local or national news. I’m talking about historical records and archived articles… A significant amount of this information is behind paywalls. It’s not easily found or accessed unless you have come to learn what you need to search for.

👉🏻 I will also add that I am a scientist. Specifically, a toxicologist – someone who determines the level at which a particular substance is toxic or deadly. (Please don’t attempt to remind me that “the dose makes the poison”. This applies to substances that are not toxic at the lowest levels we can measure.) I know how to read, understand, and interpret scientific research. When it comes to vaccines, I search for proof. For solid scientific evidence. It was and still is, of utmost importance to me, to see the research, and only then, come to an informed decision. And in the end, the overwhelming amount of unbiased historical and scientific evidence – was against vaccines.

💥 I do not take this issue lightly. The debate about vaccines is so volatile, simply because we all CARE so much, about children, about our families. People on both sides of this debate – the majority of them are truly GOOD people. The difference between us is that you believe the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks. And after years of research and/or witnessing our children suffer vaccine injury, we do not. There is passion and frustration on both sides, and we are coming from the same place with that frustration. We simply disagree on how to best protect our children.

🙏🏻 What I am hoping for, is that you might just heed our warning, and make an effort to dive deep into the research on this subject. So what, you know what you know, and the entire medical system and all of these great pediatricians KNOW that vaccines are “safe and effective”. Well what if that’s not actually… true?

What if doctors never actually learn about vaccines, their ingredients, or adverse events, in medical school? What if the medical textbooks are written with an enormous amount of funding from the pharmaceutical industry? What if the CDC owns patents on vaccines? What if the pharmaceutical industry is corrupt and funds studies which conveniently stop monitoring test subjects before adverse effects begin to manifest? What if vaccines contain toxic substances at levels which can cause chronic illness when children are repeatedly injected with them? What if we are trading temporary illness for the development of autoimmune and neurological disease later in life? What if the threat and danger of these “preventable” diseases has been inflated to push more vaccines? What if these vaccines are not even truly effective as we have been led to believe and we will always need more booster shots to try to make up for that fact? What if there is evidence for all of the above, you just haven’t seen it yet?

Listen.

…If you want to vaccinate, then do so. I hope though that you might keep an open mind and genuinely take time to look into this for yourself, beyond the claims of our government and medical system which ignore or are unaware of the massive amount of evidence that contradicts those claims. Please take caution and know that I don’t do this to be popular. I don’t do this to make friends.

The only reason I speak out, is to protect my children and your children, from unnecessary harm. Truly.

With love.

——————————

Unaired interview with local news station + sources:
https://www.facebook.com/ashleynelsoncates/posts/1517419408279690

Critical Vaccine Studies:
https://www.amazon.com/Millers-Review-Critical…/…/188121740X

Conflicts of interest in medical education:
https://www.facebook.com/ashleynelsoncates/posts/1161909823830652

Corruption in scientific research:
https://www.facebook.com/ashleynelsoncates/posts/1371432082878424

#crazymothers
#revolution

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So Hows the Diet?

As of now, I am completing my 3rd week of the 30 day Real Food Reset. This is the third time I am undertaking this diet in the last 6 years, I am pretty clear on what I need to eat. Though it is not always easy.

What were/are my Goals?

When you undertake any plan like this, there have to be goals. Why the hell am I doing this to my body? To my family?

  1. To Lose some weight – I wanted to go on the diet because I felt fat. I was holding steady between 215-220 lbs. At 6’2″ tall, this does not appear bad. But I could feel it. I felt it in my joints. I felt it in my waistline. I had a number of pairs of pants and shorts that did not fit. Some of my large sized T-Shirts were tight. I had underwear that bound up in the wrong places. I wanted to fit again. Ideally, I wanted to lose 20 lbs by the end of the diet.
  2. To feel younger – I do not look my age thankfully. I was just at the Doctor’s office in March. He checked me over and stated, “you definitely do not look or have the health of a man of 50.”  So that is good. BUT!!!! Every morning I was taking 2 Ibuprofin tablets to take the edge off. I have bad knees. Walking down the steps in the morning, I was having to hold on to the railing to steady myself and to provide support for my creaking, aching knees. Some days I just felt old – too tired or too achy to want to move. I would get out of the car and feel like I was walking like an old man – stiff and limping.  I hate being tied to medications to get through the day.
  3. To be Healthier – Part of my plan with the expanded garden was to have fresh fruits and vegetables. But other times when I have grown fresh vegetables, no one will eat them. I wanted to be in the groove of things when food started coming up. What do you do when you have 50 zuccinis and 70 cucumbers sitting on your counter – across the kitchen from baskets full of green beans, tomatoes and peppers? So this is kind of a getting ready phase. I wanted to be used to eating fresh fruits and vegetables. And my recollection from the past was that I ate a lot of fresh, whole foods.
  4. Change Some Bad Eating Habits – Over my life, I have developed a number of what I would call good eating habits. They are choices I made than incorporated into my everyday diet that I believe lead to better health. These include:
    1. I Do Not Eat Beef – that is cow meat. I stopped eating it back when i was racing bicycles because it used to make me gain weight. I had tried being a vegetarian, but that lasted a month. it was too difficult to keep up with. But I retained the ban on beef. After a couple years, I lost the enzymes to digest it. So not I not only dislike the taste, but it also makes me feel ill.
    2. I Do Not Add Sugar to anything –  Coffee, tea, cereal This started back in 1985 when I went away to college. I did not want to gain the Freshman 15, so I enacted a number of rules. Sugar in the coffee was one of the biggies. And it has expanded from there.
    3. I Avoid All Artificial Sweeteners – They are bad. Bad chemicals that are bad for you. Saccharine/Sweet & Low, Aspartame/Nutrasweet/Equal, Sucralose/Splenda. I stopped these back in about 2012 for all the right reasons.
    4. I Do Not Drink Milk – Every morning I used to drink a glass of Milk and a glass of Orange Juice. When I stopped to think about it, i was adding about 500 calories to my day that I did not need. So I broke that habit. I do not have a problem with Dairy, or milk in foods. i just avoid that extra calorie bomb every morning.
    5. Eating After 8:00 – This was a tried and true rule I learned while bike racing and trying to maintain weight. Eat early enough that your body can metabolize it before bed.

All that being said I have enough bad habits.

  1. Ice Cream – I love Ice Cream. And when I want it, little things like my eating after 8:00 rule go out the door. And is one scoop ever enough? No!
  2. Compulsive Snacking– My rule of thumb is that if I did not start eating, I will not keep eating. One little bite is never enough. Chips, cookies, M&M’s, pretzels. you name it. By the time I am done, you can usually count the calories up to equal a full meal
  3. Sports Energy Drinks – I do not generally drink soda. And I never drink Diet soda. But I am drawn to sports energy Drinks. Monster and Rockstar are my favorites. But like my Compulsive habit, if I do not start, I am good. I have found that when I start drinking them, it will be daily. And I can follow history to tell me that when this “habit” begins, it will end with a total ban on my part because I have gained weight. This diet cycle proves that true again.
  4. Caffeine and Alcohol – These are not necessarily bad habits. I still drink coffee (black) like a fiend. Alcohol I drink socially – and only wine and beer. they are potentially unhealthy habits. And I list them because so many in the medical establishment say so.

RESULTS AFTER 3 WEEKS

  1. If you took the hint from the header picture on this post, I have lost 15 lbs in 3 weeks. Actually, after the first 10 days, I had lost 10 lbs. Announcing that sounded cliche last week, so I have waited until today. Every time I have been on a diet, I like to compare the amount I have have lost to a cut of meat. Because that is equivalent to the weigh I have lost.
  2. I eat at least 10 helpings of Fruits/Vegetables per day. This is major for me. Back a couple months ago, I took notice of the fact that the only thing that I could call a vegetable in my diet that day was potato chips. So for today, for example: Breakfast: Fresh salsa (Peppers, Tomatoes, Onions), Smoothie (Strawberries, Pineapple, Banana), Lunch (potato), Snack (peanuts), Dinner Greek Salad (Lettuce, Olives, Tomatoes, Onion). This is about average.
  3. I feel better. I do not have to hold the rail going down the stairs. Balance is better. No appreciable pain. No Ibuprofin every morning.

I still have another week on this diet (or 10 days). I really really really want to drop below 200 lbs.

So. If you have read this far, it is time for a little homework. What are your Good Habits and Bad Habits? If you are game, make a list. Take a sheet of paper and divide it in two. List out the habits you have that you think are healthy and unique to you. Then dig a little deeper and list the bad habits.

Is there something you think you should change?

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Mad Max Pt. 3 – What’s Beyond Thunderdome?

If you missed Part 1 or Part 2 of this series, you might want to go back and read them.

Mad Max 1 showed a world where people and society were breaking down. The people are living, but the fabric of society was ripping. The line between morals and values was blurring. And the value of life was seen as lost. You saw no bombs, but things looked bleak.

The Road Warrior made it clear that society was lost. What happens when government is no longer there for people’s protection? We see people scraping by for an existence. Joining together when they can, but relying on the good graces of others. And these ties prove to be not so binding.

The third installment, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, takes us a few years down the road from when The Road Warrior takes place. You know this first due to the fact that Max’s hair is longer – very 80’s esque. And also, the desolate desert has moved on. Gone are the recent trappings of the past world.

There is little or no traffic in the way of cars. Lots of getting around on foot or with pack animals.

And as with the first two movies, this one is packed with important takeaways that speak to protecting ourselves now.

Up Another Notch – Better soundtrack

Unlike the previous movies, the Mad Max franchise decided to upgrade with more acting firepower. Well, maybe one names actor – Tina Turner – who is more a singer. But a big name nonetheless. And the bonus was that they get Tina Turner singing the opening song. I often wondered which was the bigger draw for Tina – the chance to act or a vehicle to put out a hit song. Both seemed to work. Here is the song – We Don’t Need Another Hero:

Now you might not see the value of a good soundtrack, but that is my own litmus test. I love music. It speaks in ways that the actors, the script and the setting cannot. It set the mood. And in this case, it lived beyond the movie and helped to bring in new viewers (who were probably confused as hell trying to understand what was going on.

Additionally, the costumes showed a world without the trappings of mass production. In Road Warrior, people were wearing the clothing they got away with in the aftermath whatever apocalypse happened. In Thunderdome, people are wearing much more rag tag clothing. Its either Rags or feathers or leather or whatever people could stitch together. It is truly devolved society.

Bartertown

Bartertown

The One “bright light” in the desert becomes the shanty town city of “Bartertown” Max is led to it after his wagon (sorry no cool cars in future apocalypse world) and camels are hijacked by a flying vehicle (desert life still sucks as much as during the Road Warrior). Max follows it into the distance to Bartertown to try and retrieve his things from the thief.

Bartertown is the conflux of devolved society. People are allowed to come in if they have something to trade (and will pay for the opportunity). It shows the state of society in the apocalypse – no money, all trade by barter. It’s a come together swap meet. Max has to finesse his way in, as he has nothing to trade anymore. He offers his “skills.” He finds himself in one of those “Offers you cannot refuse.” Auntie (the punked out version of Tina Turner). And she conscripts Max to face Thunderdome – a apocalypse-day version of a Gladiator Fight.

“The Law” of the new land is one of power. Power is controlled by dictatorship by Auntie, who uses her own form of Democracy/ Mobocracy to control Public Opinion. They come together at Thunderdome – like a WWE cage-match. But its a fight to the death. The law of Thunderdome:  “Two Men enter, one man leaves.” The offer/deal Max cannot refuse is to kill his opponent. When he realizes that the brute he is charged with killing is mentally challenged, he will not, thus breaking the deal. Which brings up the next law,  “Bust a deal, face the wheel.”

Here brings in a new form of justice, where you are pretty sure this cannot be good. You see a “wheel” that is spun, like on wheel of fortune. And reading through the possibilities, there is a small chance of “aquittal.’ Though the rest speak of potential horror. Amuptation. Death. Forfeit Goods. Underworld. Aunties Choice. As Max spins the wheel, his winner is Gulag. Now what could that possibly mean.

Fast forward to Max sitting backwards on an old horse tied up. In front of the horse’s nose dangles a jug full of water. And they place a large Mask on Max’s head and slap the horse to go running into the desert – where it gets lost, keels over and dies – with Max still strapped to it with this goofy mask on.

So what does this mean to our world today? DEMOCRACY – Consider the number of times in the past 2 years our governmental system has been called a “democracy.” And people say this with a straight face, thinking “democracy” is a good thing. Their lack of understanding about it astounds me. Under a true democracy, the Mob rules. If it comes to an up or down vote, protections on your liberties are basically gone. Think of one of the most well known Mobocracy trials – that of Jesus Christ. Pontius Pilate asked the crowd who they would like him to save. And it was not Jesus, but an actual criminal, Barabas. The founders of the USA considered democracy, and chose instead to make us a republic. This gives the chance for discernment before a wild and crazy, emotional decision is made.

DICTATORSHIP – in the absence of laws, people with power (money, goods) and Charisma will rule. And it is in their best interest to rule with an iron fist. Then the rules become whatever that person may decide.

SURVIVAL – Or survival of the fittest. Consider whether you are able to defend yourself now. Are you physically fit? Are you emotionally prepared for adversity?

And what about the Children?

Now we come to the points that were actually the main reason I began thinking about Mad Max in the first place. Max is then rescued from the desert and brought to an oasis in the desert. And here are a group of Children ranging from very young to teenagers. They have been left here post-apocalypse to survive. And as a result, they have become their own cargo cult. Being young, they have just enough where-with-all to survive and feed the little ones. After that, what have they become?

After capturing Max, they introduce them to their Now. Together, they tell the story of their life, which they tell from memory around the nightly campfire. They call it “Telling the Tell.”

“We got it mouth to mouth, so you gotta listen it. Remember. Cause what you hears today you gotta tell the birthed tomorrow.”

The oldest among them act out the story – with modern props to tell the story. About Captain Walker – the pilot who brought them to safety to this place. With the use of a viewmaster camera they tell a a basic story about how they got there and what they know about their history.

It is in this story, that the true tragedy of apocalypse can be seen. What happens to the history of society. The oldest and the wisest are only as knowledgeable as who they learned from – and how much they remembered. Can they read? It is all fractured history. They take Max as the Hero of their world. He, to them, is Captain Walker, returned from myth. To them, he is the savior. To Max, they are just an encumbrance.

In the end, he steps up and is able to rescue at least come of the children. They fly out of the desert to a city, where they find themselves alone with buildings and more of the trappings of the past. Still spreading their version of the past – telling the tell.

I remember this when I am teaching my own children. Which things do they need to know first? Is it self defense? Is it survival? Is it history? The importance of freedom?

At least for now, much will be about gardening – call it survival.