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Converting the Sahara to a leafy refuge Sep 4th, 2010 3:01:18 pm - Subscribe
Mood | just wondering
Random Thought | Governments FORMERLY feared that they could not control forested areas

I was thinking another day about the Sahara desert, and other deserts, especially deserts not so far from a west coast. And I was wondering how they could be transformed into green amazonias covered in vegetation, and then later have old-growth trees, and canopy-type rainforests. So I came up with an idea and a theory.

And my theory was this: That a desert cannot perpetuate a forest because of the glare. The glare causes dry air. And the dry air conducts heat very well. Then greens have a hard time growing because the heat spikes dehydrate the foliage. What they need is a cuddly cloud of humidity to protect them from the noonday heat.

So I thought about the misting machines they have in the summer in theme parks, to keep the people cool. And I thought that machines like that could be used to keep the greens cool too. And I was certain that agribusiness has already been using that technology. And the next thing I thought of was canopy shade, and wick watering.

And I began to wonder, how large must a forest be (because a forest generates its own mist and humidity); how large must a forest be before it can begin to overtake the surrounding baked-clay and wilted grass terrain?

Especially if that forest is located on a west coast?

I imagined people in flip-flops and khaki shorts raising a hemp or nylon net. Planting aggressive leafy vines to cover the net and provide shade. Wick watering young trees (especially trees that pump humidity into the air). Using misting machines at edges or windbreaks. Measuring the growth (or shrink) of the forest. And finding that equilibrium point. The point where the forest could perpetuate itself.

After I thought about all that, I became certain that it already had been done. That people already knew how much forest it takes. And that the real enemy of the forest, on a west coast especially, is people: people with axes and chain saws, people with plows and hoes, people with mortar and bricks.

Can a new rainforest be started that will delve into the Sahara desert? Won't life be better for future generations on earth if greenery covers former deserts? Cannot food-producing plants be found that thrive in a jungle environment? Surely land doesn't have to be cleared to produce food for its people?

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Dear Fund Manager Mar 20th, 2010 9:38:49 am - Subscribe
Mood | animated
Random Thought | email works too

Dear Fund Manager,

It's very important to me that I don't invest my money in any companies that:

Exploit child labor
Destroy rainforest
Transact in diamonds or heavy metals
Produce or market tobacco products
Engage in paramilitary action or support
Use large tracts of land in areas where people are deed illiterate
Demonstrate putting profits before non-violence
Use imperial roughness on the locals

I definitely want to be informed of whether my dollars are going towards progress or oppression and destruction. The whole idea of the fund is that you hold my dollars for long periods of time. That's why it's super important to me to know what you are doing with them.


PS misty_rain encourages you to write your fund manager a short letter about things you care about

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From Wobbly to Fit: a personal journey of triumph and tears Dec 21st, 2009 12:40:58 pm - Subscribe
Mood | Writer's unblock
Random Thought | Check with your doctor before starting any health program, excercise program, or diet fad.

1. Walk every day.
2. Swim twice a week.
3. Train to strength, never to injury.
a. This means if it hurts, you must stop.
b. Baby your knees.
c. Protect your respiratory system.
d. Take care of anything that is a minor or actual injury.
e. Modify Modify Modify every exercise and every program to your strengths and weaknesses. Never do an exercise that hurts just because some leader said so. Modify the exercise so that you can do it comfortably. Encourage yourself that soon you will be modifying exercises to make them harder, since you are so fit the instructor isn’t even challenging you.
f. Engage in low impact exercises.
g. Start any exercise program slowly, ramping up the difficulty only after you are certain you can complete it without pain or discomfort to your heartbeat.
4. Eat raw vegetables for snacks.
a. Up to two snacks between meals.
b. A snack portion should be what could fit in your right hand if the thumb touches the first knuckles of the middle and ring fingers.
c. If desired, use one of your snacks half an hour before a meal to cut your appetite.
5. Learn the difference between gustatory and natural appetite and use it to your advantage.
a. Try eating low sodium. This will decrease your gustatory appetite.
b. Having a multi-varied meal increases your gustatory appetite. Try having potato only (no butter!) for one meal, and just beans for the next.
c. If you stay off the ketchup and dipping sauce, you’ll probably consume a lot less.
d. Certain foods like curry, or couscous with meat sauce, really appeal to the gustatory appetite. For this reason, have small portions of those foods.
e. Learn the signals of natural appetite.
f. Train yourself to stop eating when the natural appetite is satisfied.
6. Cut out Soda Pop and Potato Chips altogether, and minimize your Cheese intake.
7. Diet Soda makes you fat. Don’t drink Diet Soda.
8. The easiest place to say no is the supermarket. Once you have cheesy treats in your home, you will probably consume them.
9. Switch to whole grain foods.
10. Take multivitamins so that hunger will not be caused by mineral deficits.
11. Break the “I need you / I hate you” emotional cycle with food.
a. Realize that food is fuel, and you should only take what you need.
b. Realize that Michael Phelps eats your daily calorie intake for breakfast.
c. Realize that you are not Michael Phelps, and that you could afford to cut back your intake.
d. Find ways to find emotional satisfaction in at home activities that do not involve food. Examples may be video games, gardening, chess, authorship, or craftsmanship. (TV doesn’t count.)
12. Food is an emotional item for you.
a. Make it your goal to transition it to a utility item.
b. This (and exercise) is the one big difference between fit people and wobbly people.
13. If you feel like breaking your commitment, and you’re absolutely going to binge, eat half a banana instead. SLOWLY!
a. Cut it up into cubes and use a toothpick if you have to.
b. Once you eat the banana, take a walk. (Yes, this is absolutely necessary. Do not eat a banana and sit down again.)
c. If you come back from your walk and you still want to eat, WORK OUT. Yes, I said WORK OUT.
14. Find the after work-out buzz, and live there.
15. Eating oats in the morning does wonders for your digestive system, and your cholesterol!
16. Try eating breakfast cereal with water instead of milk. It takes exactly one week to adjust to the taste difference.
17. Once in a while, try eating with chopsticks. This forces you to take smaller bites.
18. Listen to your Coach.
19. Get a notebook and make notes. Don’t log food. Log feelings. Note tips. Make plans. Treat this as a class you have to use all your intelligence and all your faculties for. (Please take me seriously. Go out and B-U-Y a notebook specifically for this purpose.)
20. Read your notes every two weeks.
21. Take a picture of you in shorts and a T-shirt EVERY MONTH.
a. Stand in a 36” wide doorframe when you take the picture.
b. Take one picture where you are facing forward.
c. Take one picture of your profile while your back and head are pressed against one side of the doorframe, your nose and belly button pointing to the other side of the doorframe, with your belly relaxed.
d. Print the picture out in 10” size within five days of taking it. Don’t crop out the door frame.
e. Fix your picture into section 2 of your notebook and refer to your photo history whenever you read your notes and whenever you refresh your goals in your mind.
22. Understand that this is not a program.
23. Understand that you are never going back.
24. Understand that you are going to make life-style changes that will serve you for the next twenty years.
25. Touch your toes in the morning.
26. Make it your goal to be able to see your feet while standing up straight.
27. Make it your goal to be less wobbly each week.
28. Your lack of motility may embarrass you. Turn this to your advantage by making your wobbly state a motivation to get fitter and fitter each week.
29. Take a beginner class in yoga.
a. Modify everything, and have a few exercises that you substitute for the hardest ones.
b. If they ask you to meditate, meditate on a favorite scripture verse, on the names of the Lord, or on a goal that you have.
30. Dropping your knees to do pushups is acceptable. Leaving your butt in the air isn’t. Keep your back straight.
31. Yes, you have to do pushups.
32. When you set goals, make sure they are valid goals.
a. Start with a statement : “I would like to work out more.”
b. Steady your aim for precision: “I would like to swim more.”
c. Add it to your schedule: “I would like to swim for 45 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays (starting at 6:30 PM).”
d. Add a timeframe to your goal: “ I would like to swim for 45 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, (starting at 6:30 PM), three weeks of the month for “X” months… (or until my cholesterol goes down to “X” level…) (or until I feel healthy enough to play tennis again.)
e. Your goal is now clear enough, so write it down in one sentence to two paragraphs.
f. You can choose to tell people about your goal at this point.
g. You may even ask certain people to check with you to see if you are keeping your plan.
h. Use a checklist, or your calendar, to track when you actually train.
i. Write a small summary of your workouts below each month’s doorframe photo. Sample: “Walked 1.5 miles 20 times this month. Went swimming 6 times this month. Cut back my desserts to one slice of cheesecake per week. Ate only raw vegetables for snacks.”
j. Sometimes you will make a goal that is reasonable and not be motivated. You have to find motivated people to listen to, or you have to find your own reasons to be motivated. The doorframe photos should help.
k. Reevaluate your goals every month. Are they challenging enough? Are they helping you meet your objectives? Do they put you around people you want to be spending time around?
l. Do not reevaluate when you are feeling weak. Wait for that feeling to blow over before you revise your plans.
33. My favorite financial adviser says that to get rich, you have to do rich-people things, and to get fit, you have to do fit-people things. Here are some observations about what fit people do differently from the rest of the population.
a. Don’t go home directly after work. Do an activity. Key word active.
b. Eat supper some time after 7 PM.
c. If you wake up in the middle of the night, have a glass of water, and nothing else.
d. Hang around fit people.
e. Take part in a fitness class.
f. Cut out all soy-based coffee whiteners.
g. If you can, cut out coffee.
h. Drink green tea sweetened with a generous teaspoon of honey (not more than three mugs).
i. Practice what power you have over your food intake by engaging in short-term fasts.
i. Eat reasonable (medium) amounts of breakfast type food when you break a fast
ii. Drink plenty of water when fasting
j. Yes you can have a doughnut (ONCE a week !!)
k. No you cannot have five doughnuts
l. OCCASIONALLY use appetite suppressants like two pieces of salt licorice or a small dose of dark chocolate.
m. Steamed vegetables are yummy!!
n. Avoid heavily processed foods.
o. Eat lots of greens.
p. Stamina is a good thing!!
q. Volunteer to help whenever it is something physically active, like interior wall paint. ( NO MOVING COUCHES !! )
r. Organize hikes
s. Buy clothes that show your muscles
t. Get sunglasses that say: “I am fit,” or a sporty haircut.
u. Take the stairs up.
v. Take the stairs down.
w. Eat all the food in your house before you go shopping again. (Not all at once, silly billy.)
x. Use olive oil instead of butter.
y. Cook with peanut oil instead of corn oil.
z. Minimize your sugar intake.

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Cheap dates in general Nov 11th, 2009 1:32:22 am - Subscribe
Mood | capricious
Random Thought | Or pick out a nail polish together. That's really sweet too.

Go to the local big box everything store and have shopping cart races on the far end of the parking lot.
Don't scratch any cars.

Go to a nursery / garden center and pick out one small live plant. It is very romantic.

Go to the local river forks at dusk while the lights of the city come on. Snap a few photos, but be ready to jet out of there. Not very nice local usually.

Find somewhere with a ping pong table for free, bring your own rackets and balls.

Frisbee golf.

Food court !!

Local college or university has a geology collection / display.

Bring your cafe purchase to a local park.

Stroll by a duck pond... feed the ducks.


Hikes in nature. Often hiking trails are available near you.

A park near us hosts a night when people with telescopes drive out of the city and set up, and people without telescopes can chat and ask for turns looking through the telescopes.

The dollar theater lives on !!

If you live in a different state than where you went to college, find out which sports bar in town hosts all the games of your alma mater, and mix in and cheer with like-minded alumni. Bring a couple extra bucks to buy a t-shirt, if they're selling them.

Go to your local town hall or visitor's bureau, find a chatty lady, and get the scoop on free plays in the park, free concerts, free fireworks displays and free children's events.

Battle re-enactments and airshows.

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Aw-Ready Oct 30th, 2009 6:38:10 am - Subscribe
Mood | twitterpated
Random Thought | Give him the benefit of the doubt.

"So," I said to Sean. "What do the kids say now a days:"
Sean squinted. "What?"
"What do the kids say now a days?" I persisted. I say something is cool and that works for everybody forty and above. They know exactly what I mean. But if I say that to a teen or twenty-something they pull a face."
"They what?"
"You know, they look at me like I just said 'Neato, ain't that the bees knees.'"
Sean laughed. "Well," he said, "you could say, 'that's tight, yo,'"
I said I wasn't going to be saying "yo" anytime soon. So Sean said, "or we say Aw-ready."
"OK," I said. "Like All ready to go?
"No," said Sean. "Like I AW-Ready know."

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