Thursday, July 25, 2019

Do You Know Your Source?

This blog is about engaging with life and feeling positive, realistic, and happy.

Twisted systems are the opposite of that.   Twisted systems are bloated, lethargic bureaucracies that waste life and cause insanity, and self-respecting human beings try to avoid them.   So what does one do when a twisted system dishes out more punishment than one wants to accept?   One sidesteps the system, goes around it, outside it, goes above it or below it.

If you live a conventional life, it might sound lonely or risky to step outside the box of a familiar system, even when the system has inflicted plenty of pain on you.   On the other hand, if you live an unconventional life, you probably already know plenty of people who manage quite well without the system.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

My first business card

Fresh out of school and going to work as an engineer.   Every corporate office worker needs a business card (don't they?) . . . .   This was mine.   

photo of Christy's card
photo credit: Josy Welty
Stanley Consultants, Inc employed about 400 people when I worked there.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

The Indulgence of Washing My Hair: Part II

. . . . continued from The Indulgence of Washing My Hair: Part I

The Second Oil ~~ Second Scene:  Anointing

Well, I made a lot more of the second oil than I needed.   After all the roots, scalp, and tips were oiled, I went back over them and oiled them again until they were well-oiled.   Then I stroked the remaining dry hair with oiled fingertips until all the hair from root to tip was oiled.   Still more oil left, so I saturated the roots, scalp and tips.   Still plenty, so I did an abhyangha, oiling all my skin from forehead to toes.   Oiled all the rough or dry parts a second time.   Still some oil left, but I figured I'd had enough.

Anointing took about an hour.

A complete oiling limits some activities.   The bathroom was a bit warmer than the main room (60 degrees) because I ran the ceiling heater.   That matters because temperature determines how many clothes I like to wear.   Clothes tend to absorb and hold oils against laundering, so I preferred to stay in the bathroom where it's warmer and I didn't need to wear clothing.

Blogging while soaking with oil doesn't work ~~ computer is in the main room and I didn't feel like moving it.

My hands were oily ~~ so no reading books, no writing notes.   Traces of oil can dissolve inks.

What to do . . . what to do . . . .

I figured since I started oiling an hour ago, that might be enough time for the roots and scalp to have received enough benefit.

The First Rinse and the Second Rinse

I rinse first with cool water to wet the hair thoroughly.   I think it may help distribute the oils more evenly while leaving them in the hair.   Clean, gentle water is important: by the time the tap water leaves my tub faucet, it has been filtered twice for chlorine and by-products.   Chlorine and its by-products are among the harshest things to punish hair with.

I rinse second with the warmest water my scalp can stand.   Hot water melts and carries away some oils and dissolved solids from the hair and scalp, and distributes the remaining oils/fats/waxes more evenly.

I also rinsed my skin with warm water. 

Shampoo (Shikakai)

I must have mixed a lot more shikakai than I needed.   After applying it liberally everywhere from root to tip, there was still some left.   So I smeared it all over my skin except around my eyes.   The moistened powder was pleasantly rough and seemed as if it would exfoliate skin.   Recommendations are to let shikakai sit on the hair for about 20 minutes and up to an hour.  I wrapped my hair in a loose twisted strand, wound it into a loose bun, and clamped it up on top of my head.   I didn't use the plastic grocery bag as a cap after all.

This was the first time I tried shikakai on my skin, and I was unsure of how long to let it set.   After debating about which to rinse first, hair or skin, I rinsed my skin first and then scrubbed with a sisal cloth.   Fresh, fresh, fresh!

The Third, Fourth, and Fifth Rinses

I hoped the shikakai had enough time to do its job.   I unclampled, unwound, and unfurled my hair to prepare for rinsing.   I do all water work under the tub faucet, head upside-down.

The third rinse (first rinse after the shampoo) is hot.   I start rinsing at the tips and gradually work up the shaft to the roots.   After I've rinsed thoroughly and there seems to be no more shikakai anywhere, I stand up and squeeze water down the shaft as if I'm milking the length from head to tip.

The fourth rinse (second rinse after the shampoo) is cold, rinsing until the hair changes from a warm temperature to cold.   Same pattern of rinsing from tip to root.   Same pattern of squeezing from head to tip.

As I squeezed the cold water down the shaft, I realized I'd forgotten to prepare the Fifth Rinse.   So I stepped out of the tub all wet, filled a repurposed plastic water bottle with cold water from my drinking water filter and squirted one full squeeze of lemon juice into it from one of those refrigerated yellow plastic lemons.   Back to the tub to pour lemony fresh rinse water over my head and down the length of hair, replacing the neutral pH of tap water with the lower pH of lemon water.   Again, same pattern of squeezing water down from head to tip.


A big fluffy towel wraps around like a turban, arranged with just enough towel on the left side to catch the long right side of the towel in the wrap.   I (probably somewhat unnecessarily) squeeze the wrapped towel a few times, thinking that I'm pushing water into the terry fibers.   Then I unwrap it and turn it to the other side and the other end, so the driest part of the damp towel is around the back of my head and the damp end hangs long.   Wrap it up and tuck the end under the back.   I think wrapping twice allows twice as much water to escape from hair to towel.

The End

And that's the end of this hair-washing experience!   Rinsing, shampooing, rinsing, and wrapping took about an hour, which included shampooing, rinsing, and scrubbing my skin.

The Bow

After sleeping on it, I concluded that I did NOT let the shikakai set long enough.   My hair is still oily the next day ~~ smells nice, feels healthy, but quite oily.   A very wet look.   One might even say "slick".

The Encore

When I have time, I'll go through all of Part II here except for anointing, since I still have plenty of oil in my hair.   That encore would entail two rinses, a good long shampoo, three more rinses, and a wrap.

Friday, November 01, 2013

The Indulgence of Washing My Hair: Part I

So I'm home on Halloween night washing my hair.   Washing my hair doesn't always take all night, but tonight I'm doing the long, indulgent process and during intermissions between acts, I'll tell you all about it.

First I'll explain that my hair measures at least 51 inches from the hairline at my forehead to the tips behind my knees.   I didn't measure the longest of the fairy tale ends (the wisps that trail even longer).

Prelude: Massage

First, I just finished a deep scalp massage for blood and lymph circulation. That took about 10 minutes.   Using my fingers to gently push together from opposite directions, I aim to push the skin away from the skull, which allows blood and lymph to fill the space between.   When your skin is tight against your skull, it squeezes fluids away from the roots of your hair, starving your roots.   Your healthy scalp will have some room to move around like the hide of an animal, and will allow your hair to grow thicker and stronger.

To continue the massage after my break for blogging about it, I'll focus deep massage on the hairline around my face and the top of my head, and then exfoliate over the rest of my scalp.   During this phase of the massage, little flakes start falling, and I want to put those flakes in the sink or tub, not my carpet or keyboard.   I use my nails very lightly to exfoliate the skin (and not scrape unnecessarily at the hair itself) until I don't see any more flakes dropping. 

The massage and exfoliation I've described so far, along with the brushing in the next step, enhance the health of your scalp between washings.   Brushing and washing are not all that great for hair ~~ manipulation causes damage.   It's been 19 days since I last washed, and it could go a few more days without much trouble.

Stimulating!   That took about 5 minutes.   I put extra attention around my face and top of my head because the skin is tightest there, and thus, that's where thinning happens first.   Now I'll use my brush with wooden bristles to detangle, distribute scalp oils, and stimulate the scalp again.

Ahhhh!   Only a few minutes to gently separate the tangles and stroke from root to tip a few times until the scalp feels satisfied.

Foreplay: Search and Destroy

Next is search and destroy: find and slice off damaged ends with my sharpest scissors.   I keep a scissors only for hair so it doesn't get nicked or dulled by other objects.   To expose the damage, I separate a lock of hair and twist it into a loose strand.   Twisting releases the ends of individual hairs from the lock and they stick out from the strand like bristles of a bottle brush, making them easy to see and slice off.   Again, I want these in the sink, not my floor, so off to the bathroom I go.

Before I settle down to search and destroy, I mix some shikakai powder with filtered water to soak and become a paste.   Later, this will do the job of shampoo.

Found less damage than I had anticipated: it's been several months since the last s&d mission.   Seven locks of hair averaged about six minutes per lock.   I took breaks between locks to prep and eat a snack.

Brushing out the twisted locks is the reward for a search and destroy mission.   The brush glides through my hair easier now . . . ahhhhh.    

Time to change my shirt from a pullover to a button style so I don't have to pull a shirt over my hair after it's oiled.    In the summer, I do this in the nude and don't have to worry about clothes.

The First Oil

I applied a special castor oil treatment that I cooked up last summer and stored in the fridge.   Castor oil is heavy and sticky and goes on the scalp to nourish the roots and improve hair growth.  I warmed about a half-tablespoon measure of the oil, and applied it to my scalp with my fingers.   It took about a half hour to part the hair, touch oil to the skin and rub it in, part the next spot, touch oil to it, rub it in, in dozens of places until my whole scalp feels lightly oiled.   I did that treatment while bent over at the waist with my hair hanging in front of me to the floor.   Then I gathered my hair and clipped it into a bun to roost on my head as I type this blog and fiddle around with oils.

The Second Oil

Now I'll mix the oil for treating the hair and lifting the castor oil.   I could have done this at any time, but I hadn't decided what to use.  

The coconut oil is STIFF, and I guess that's predictable since it's only 60 degrees in the room.   I have not yet turned on the heat for the winter.   Started with coconut oil and added some ghee for the cholesterol which is good for hair and skin.   Added some borage oil and a little argan oil.   Heating a little on the stove as I type this.   I'll add drops of carrot seed essential oil and geranium essential oil.  I use all organic oils so I feel good about letting it soak into my skin.

Smells nice.   Now I'll put this on my hair, bit by bit, starting at the roots and working some through to the tips.   The most important parts are the scalp, roots, and tips.   I don't need a soaker, just want the feeling of moisture.   This is messy and little drips of oil drop to the floor, so I'll do it in the bathroom.   I have a plastic grocery bag ready to use as a cap when I'm done.

. . . . continue with The Indulgence of Washing My Hair: Part II.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Take a stand (literally)

Belmonte music stand (5051)
As part of reorganizing my space, I put my laptop computer on a (very) sturdy music stand so I could stand at it while surfing the web.   Sitting has poisonous effects on one's physiology, and standing helps posture (if one practices good posture while standing).   Pain is one incentive: poor posture invites pain; good posture relieves pain and stimulates energy.   Another key difference is lipase activation.

I like the effects so far: less sedentation; more stir.

OGM: Wonderful day to be alive

It's a wonderful day to be alive ... and it's a really good day to hear your message!

Emulsifying mocha

I have been experimenting with emulsifiers lately.   For my mocha, I like honey better than lecithin for smoothing the texture.   Just a bit, a half teaspoon in a big mug, makes a difference.   Probably less than that would work, but I love a sweet mocha.

Wafers of cocoa butter
The mocha needs an emulsifier because I've been using cocoa butter instead of dairy cream or some other emulsified fat.   I wonder why everyone doesn't use cocoa butter:  it works SO WELL in coffee, cocoa, or mocha.   It's about 2/3 saturated fat, 1/3 monounsaturated fat ~ this unrefined butter of cocoa is so much better than a pasteurized dairy product.

I twist apart a wafer and use about 1/3 to 1/2 of it in a big mug for smooth deliciousness.

* I just measured "big": 16 ounces.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm the 0%

I must be one of the 0%.   Not in the 99%, not in the 1%.   I know how to do math, and there is no room left for alternative opinions.   The 100% live in a black-and-white world.   No room for me in that world ~ my world has colors and shades.

OccupyWallStreet raised my suspicion from the beginning, but it was a fuzzy suspicion until I found a fact to back it up.   What I found is that the 1% and the 99% have a lot of common ground.   Both groups are confused, misguided, and deceived, and so they have been for many long years.   They are ironic partners in their debacles.

It's so provocative, isn't it?   The groups pretend opposition;  we watch the reality show unfold, sometimes photoshopped, sometimes not;  people pretend that something could change as a result.   But nothing fundamental will change as long as fundamentals stay buried under the same confusion, deception, and faulty advice that caused this trouble to escalate.

The problem is that some people ~ the 100% ~ think there's a free lunch out there, and by god, they've got a right to eat it.   They have advisers and commentators and Congress and the president, and even bloggers (!), telling them, "YES!   There IS a free lunch out there and it has YOUR NAME on it!!   Now go out there and get it before this offer expires!"

Take the 99% back to 1999, for example, when Congress passed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.   (Note our own Congressman Jim Leach's name in the title of the bill.   Wikipedia says, "The legislation he [Leach] is perhaps best known for is the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, one of the seminal pieces of banking legislation of the 20th century."   The final bill passed in the Senate 90-8-1 and passed in the House 362-57-15.   

Not much controversy there.   The bill had widespread support; it was veto-proof.   Not that Clinton wanted to veto it: it finally had the provisions that he and the Democrats had been arguing for.   From a New York Times article published at the time of the bill's passing, 

But the White House . . . had its own ideas about community lending.   It wanted the legislation to prevent any bank with an unsatisfactory record of making loans to the disadvantaged from expanding into new areas, like insurance or securities.
Now, in this particular situation, an "unsatisfactory record of making loans" does NOT mean that the bank made too many risky loans.   It means just the opposite: the bank didn't make enough loans to the disadvantaged, meaning those people who were more likely to default on the loan.   In order to qualify for the advantages offered by the change in the legislation ~ that is, to keep up with the changing landscape in banking, investment, and insurance ~ banks would have to make enough risky loans to create a "satisfactory lending record".   

So they did.   They made risky loans.   They created "satisfactory lending records".   

Whatever else you might think of them, the people running our banks, investment firms, and insurance companies are not stupid.   They are creative and adaptable.   So they applied their creativity and they adapted to the new game ~ the game that had over 80% support in Congress plus the support of the president.

They put the toxic assets (the risky loans) into derivatives and sold them.   Why?   Because they could.   It was legal.   Nobody told them they couldn't.   

When you've waded through multi-hundred pages of documents, you might figure that lawmakers put everything they wanted into the law, right?   Lawmakers have the power to outlaw anything they want to: they can just add another hundred pages onto their bill.   And they have the power to make the rules of the game.   The new rules didn't outlaw new derivatives ... so ... what's a creative, adaptable financial player to do?

Play the game.

Almost never is the bureaucratic game accused of being logical or moral or fair, and this was no exception.

So the new financial institutions made loans to people who couldn't afford them.   Those people defaulted on the loans.   The house of cards tumbled down and a lot of people at the middle and bottom got hurt.

Here's one thing I have a problem with.   A whole bunch of people got loans who otherwise would not have.   You'd think they'd have gotten what they wanted: a chance to make it work.   Risky, yes, but they wanted that chance.   That's what Clinton and the Democrats in Congress said they wanted for the disadvantaged ~ a chance they wouldn't otherwise have.   So are Clinton, the Democrats, and the disadvantaged satisfied?   No.   They wanted a FREE lunch.   Not a risky lunch, not a toxic lunch, not a lunch with a price.   Only a FREE lunch would satisfy their appetites.

Here's my second problem.   The protestors, the 99%, are all up in their self-righteousness and moral superiority, but I'll bet you could dump a truckload of money in front of them and tell them, "No law against you taking that money," and they wouldn't walk away without stuffing their pockets full.   Why ask where it came from?   Hell's bells, it's money, and it's legal to take it.   Only a fool wouldn't, right?   People do it all the time.   They take money that has been taken from someone else, and don't think twice, because it's legal.   In fact, it's encouraged.   In fact, sometimes nearly impossible to avoid having money put in your pocket that's been taken from someone else.   Money redistribution is so deeply engrained in our culture, people hardly notice it.

Self-righteous, morally condescending people annoy me.   

I wonder what their story is, what they're hiding.   In this case, when it comes to a free lunch, the 99% are as greedy as the 1%.   Common ground.

There's a third thing that bothers me.   This mess is being blamed on deregulation of financial services.   It wasn't a deregulation.   It was a REregulation.   Multi-hundreds of pages are not needed to deregulate.   A single page can take an old law off the books ~ that's deregulation.   Multi-hundreds of pages are needed when you have a whole new set of regulations that need to be spelled out in detail.   The banking fiasco had absolutely nothing to do with a free market, because the market was very tightly bound in a straitjacket of multiples of thousands of pages of regulations.   We need a new name for these horribly UNfree markets.   Bound markets?   Markets de Sade?

Back on November 8, 1999, as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act was being considered as a reregulation of the Glass-Steagall Act, Ron Paul reminded Congress of his one-page bill to repeal Glass-Steagall.   He explains his opposition to Gramm-Leach-Bliley in about ... one page.

Which brings me to the Republicans.   No, not Ron Paul.   I mean the Republicans who wanted to deregulate (cough) financial services by writing a ton of new regulations instead of just repealing the original regulation (Glass-Steagall).   From the same Times article

For more than 20 years, Congress has tried unsuccessfully to rewrite the nation's financial services laws and repeal Glass-Steagall, particularly as many other industrial nations had no similar restrictions on their banks.   But until recently, the three main industries affected by the legislation -- banks, securities companies and insurers -- had competing interests and were able to lobby any legislation to a standstill.

That all changed in recent years as the lines between the industries began to blur and it became more broadly acknowledged that a deregulation of financial services could be beneficial to insurers, bankers and securities firms alike.   Once the three industries rallied around the legislation, they became a formidable political force, raising millions of dollars for lawmakers and pressing both Republican leaders in Congress and the White House for new legislation.

"Bidding opens for Section 104A, Paragraph 2, Clause iii, at $100,000 for our initial bid.   I see $200,000 from the lobbyist for Citibank, $220,000 from Goldman Sachs, any more bids for Clause iii?   Going once, . . . "

Having met Jim Leach ~ grandfatherly, intent on integrity ~ I have some doubts that he intended to set up a crash.   He probably thought he had tied the straitjacket tight enough to stop movement but loose enough to allow breath.   That's what everybody wants in our regulations, right?   Other lawmakers I'm not at all sure about.   The legislation they passed did not reflect informed and judicious care about common sense or decency, and definitely not the Constitution or liberty.   Well, maybe Congressmembers were confused, misguided, and deceived, and have been for many long years, along with the 100%.   Common ground for more and more . . .

*   *   *
I admit my fascination for the amazing adaptability of financial wizards who maneuver around the tons of regulation in their field.   It's the kind of fascination I have for cunning, dangerous, and unpredictable animals.   I have no patience, however, for their conscienceless decisions.   With all their tremendous intelligence, they could do better than rapaciousness.   They could remember that just because a free lunch is offered doesn't mean they have to eat it.   In fact, since the markets suffer too much bondage and discipline, they could find a different game to play.   They could invent a new game ~ a really fun one ~ instead of just playing along with someone else's tired old twister.   The smarties who came up with toxic derivatives do NOT get a pass for their behavior.   A stare, maybe, but not a pass.

The smarties could start a new game, but I guess I don't really expect them to look much further ahead in their lives than their next quarter, maybe their next fiscal year.   Not unlike the disadvantaged borrower, who looks as far ahead as the next paycheck, maybe two.   Gee, another common ground between the 99% and the 1%.

That leaves it up to you, dear readers.   You need to come up with a new game, one that works for you, and stop playing the other guy's game, because that guy wrote the rules to help himself, not you.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

OGM: Love to hear your voice

[ italics are whispered ]

I  ~ love ~  to hear your voice tickle my ear, so leave a message.