San Bernardino Mountain Project

A Worthwhile Mountain Project 

Finally managed to accomplish the beginning of something worth writing about.

The project: about 5 years ago I bought a couple of relatively small lots of land at auction in the San Bernardino Mountains. One was $2,700 and one was $1,500. The more expensive one had large trees and paved road frontage, with power. The slope, however, is extreme. Almost impossibly so. The second lot is accessible through some very rough dirt roads which have gotten only rougher with the recent extreme weather over the last few years.  This second lot, however, is at least on somewhat less of a slope.  At this point, the lot is accessible with a four-wheel drive vehicle.  Because of a recent slow-down of work, probably due to COVID-19, and also the happy accident that we purchased a Jeep which could access the more remote lot, it was a perfect time to start to do something worthwhile.

The original plan: a circular concrete slab supported by concrete posts, about 16' in diameter, upon which we would construct a yurt, or perhaps simply a Souix-style tipi - or, even, a Mongolian style bell tent.

Why concrete?  Two reasons:

1. Fire, the risk of which will probably only increase with time.

2. More difficult to destroy/steal/dismantle. Certainly not worth the trouble.

After a couple of days of progress, and speaking candidly with the resident hermit (a fascinating guy named only "Mohawk"), I am now leaning toward a wooden deck or at least some type of material that is far less lightweight than poured concrete slab.  Mohawk's opinion is that the locals would leave alone something that was fully constructed, particularly if I used a healthy amount of glue to fasten all members and used coated nails instead of screws, so disassembly would be much more trouble than was worth it.  As for the fire - well, I'll probably trade the risk fire against the reality of transporting over 140 x 60-pound bags of concrete up a 40-foot hill to the site, and also the fact that building a deck will take me about two days max, whereas a 16' poured concrete slab, elevated would be a much more significant project.  And after the two days of progress shown below, I frankly question whether I have it in me physically to accomplish such a task.  And finally, it appears that most of my kids, unfortunately, have no interest in helping - which is mostly my fault for not raising them a certain way, I suppose.  But I digress ....

The Progress:

        The project started by loading up my father-in-law's truck with some materials, such as 11 X 90-pound bags of Quikrete, 5 concrete deck pier-blocks, five 8" tube forms, 5 X 40-pound bags of 3/4" gravel, 120 feet of 3/8" rebar, a concrete mixing pan, a bunch of tools and 4 X 5-gallon buckets of water (in case the nearby stream was dry.)  

This actually proved to be way too heavy for the truck - with passengers, about 1700 pounds on a payload capacity of 1175.   So I transferred about 600 pounds of material to the Jeep, and ended up with a two-vehicle caravan as shown below.

I pretty much fell in love with this Jeep over the weekend. In suburbia, it's silly. In the mountains, it's entirely appropriate and eminently useful.

Lisa and two kids (Sully and Ellany) would drive the truck, and would follow me in the Jeep, which was too maxed out for passengers. We would park the truck before the road became impossible for two-wheel drive vehicles, and then ferry the material through a series of trips to the site.

This worked out as planned, and it took the better part of the afternoon just to move the material from the truck to the site itself.  After we took a quick spin on some mountains roads with the Jeep just for fun, they took the truck back home and I settled in for the work.

Phase 1A: Selecting the Site

There is a lovely small copse of young cedar trees on the southern border of the lot (which, by the way, is a suburban-size 50 X 80 ft heading straight up a grassy hill), and at first I thought I would set the deck among those trees, but after sampling the soil adjacent, which proved to be an excellent decomposed granite, and also considering the amount of work transplanting those cedars would be - I elected to plan the circular deck adjacent to the copse, as shown below.

This is a plan for a supported circular deck on a fairly steep but not impossible slope.


Phase 1B: Digging the post holes:

I figured one 8" pillar in the center of the circular deck, plus four more in each quadrant should support the load, whether I used concrete or wood. I first marked the deck using a center pole and walking in a measured circle with marking paint as shown below.

Here the diameter is marked. You can get a sense of how steep the slope is by comparing the tent to the jeep in the background.

Here are the 5 post holes, marked where they were actually dug, and with the footing blocks placed.

Phase 1C: Setting the Pier Blocks

Each one of these post deck-pier blocks were set on 4-6" of 3/4 inch gravel. Since they had steel tabs for 4"X4" wooden posts, I decided to use those tabs to fit three 6-8 ft 3/8" rebar pieces tied together with wire in order to at least reduce the possibility of sheer between the base of the tube and the block. (I know, the better design is one solid piece of poured concrete for footing and tube, but that would have been another 6 X 90-pound bags and I just didn't have the capacity. I'll do better in Phase 1G, as mentioned below.)


Three pieces of rebar fastened to the top of the Pier Block before sliding the tube onto the block.


Phase 1D: Setting the Tubes and Ready to Mix

With two of the Pier Blocks sleeved and leveled carefully (this was actually more difficult than I imagined - using line levels and stakes across the entire diameter of the circle just didn't match up and test out accurately enough with the piers. So I just decided to level each pier relative to each other as went along) I was ready to mix and pour the first two!

Two piers are leveled with each other and ready to be poured. The length of the rebar is in case I decide to actually use a concrete poured slab in which case the bars would be bent to 90 degrees and meet up with each other across the span of the piers.


Phase 1E: Hand Mixing the Concrete

This really brought back some great memories of the early 1980's when I apprenticed myself with Michael Carroll who at the time was scraping a living as a stonemason and occasional assistant to his septuagenarian stepfather, a brick and block mason of about 50 years. Michael preferred working in stone, but even when we had those types of jobs we had to mix plenty of concrete and mortar, and often it was by hand. What a difference in mixing concrete at age 20 vs. almost 40 years later...


I'll gratefully take any small amount of shade when mixing concrete by hand.

Phase 1F: Filling theTubes

The problem with mixing concrete is that there's a time constraint. Sure, you can add some water to buy you some time, but you can only go so far with that. You have to mix the concrete in small enough batches, but you don't want the concrete you have poured to solidify before you add another layer.  This, of course, is far less of a concern with 8" tubes, but in projecting the logistics onto the 16' slab, it becomes daunting to even consider. First, the only way to do it would be to drag a mixer and generator up the hill. This would be then followed by 150 or so 60-pound bags of concrete - or perhaps sand, portland cement, and perlite for a lighter mix. Even so, the sheer logistics of it give me pause, to the say the least. I suppose bringing up three or four day laborers - the guys who hang out in the early mornings at the lumber yards across the street might work ... but not so well with COVID-19 among us.   Anyway ... 


A completed pier.

After about 14 hours of work with just a few short breaks, I managed to complete three of the five piers. On the advice of my son, Sully, I'm going to add two more outside the diameter of the deck to extend the deck for a place to sit outside the Yurt/Tipi/Bell Tent. This is especially attractive because there is a nice territorial view looking down the slope, across the road and toward the stream, which is close enough that you can hear the stream running at night when falling asleep. 

The drawback is that an apparently obnoxious vagrant showed up to camp out near the stream, and stayed months, dragging in about eight truckloads of trash and strewing it all over the place.  The resident hermit, Mohawk, says this is nothing new and he has made maybe 200 trips to the dump over the last 10 years. I offered to help clean it up.  He says he is waiting to make sure the guy won't come back. Anyway, once it's cleaned up the view will be really nice.

This is where the project stands now (except all of the posts are done - it was dark by the time I finished and couldn't take a photo)  with a return planned for "Phase 1G" which is the completion of all of the posts. I will likely pour those posts all in one, instead of using the pier blocks.

Phase 2

So once all seven posts are completed, I will decide whether to attempt to pour a 16' wide round concrete pad suspended on the posts, or just build a deck out of some wood/alternative material combination. Something tells me that it will be the latter.


 Regarding the complete absence of writing in these pages, I attribute it to the fact that there are only so many writing minutes in the day for me, and for the last three years they have been taken up with writing 200-1500 word responses to Opinions in the NYT, as well as responses to the responses. Sometimes I'm posting 20 or more a day.

Bill Scott would have loved that forum, because it's an entire community with various actors, similar to the community of about a dozen obsessive letters-to-the-editor writers in the Middletown Times Herald Record in the 1970's/80's. In this case there are dozens of repeat writers. My sport, I guess you could say, is to relentlessly push back on the more egregious supporters/apologists of the current administration. So if there's an excuse for an absence.. there it is.

Bye for Now, ICO 41

For six months, I managed to produce a weekly podcast  (ICO 41)  that analyzed crypto-currency and blockchain projects from the perspective of techology and business.  Then I took a break for a few months to build some software for the space, (KryptoTrak)  and then I returned to the podcast for an episode or two ... and I think I'm done for now.

The thing is, I still really believe in the underlying technology.  It can and will undoubtedly help to mitigate and maybe even solve a lot of problems, like the "unbanked," destitute countries that can barely support a banking system, outrageous transaction fees by financial institutions, as well as obscure and unfortunate phenomena like the Incels vs. Sex Workers war, where women (mostly) are being forced off payment platforms like PayPal and others, thereby preventing their ability to scrape by in this new economic Age that practically makes the Gilded look like a commune:

However, I originally started the podcast because I was fascinated by the phenomenon of the Initial Coin Offering, where idealistic engineers sidestepped the traditional fundraising method of prostrating themselves at the court of Silicon Valley Venture Capital and begging for the favor of an audience ... and a few million as well to get started with their idea. Instead, they appealed directly to potential investors using the issuance of a crypto currency, more often than not based on Ethereum, and collected billions of dollars without a drop of VC money - at least in the beginning. Now, of course, the majority of investment in successful ICO's is from "whales," thereby turning on its head the idea of an egalitarian and decentralized investment profile.

And it was indeed fascinating, especially in 2017. Some projects, like Lamden and a few others seemed laudable and sincere, but most turned out to not be that way at all.  Many turned out to be outright scams, and even those that were probably not outright scams seemed to be just skating the edge of sincerity. And as I attended conferences, where I got to meet at least some of the representatives of some of these ICO's, it became slowly obvious to me that there was a deep current of fraud and cynicism running through the whole space.  

It's not like I had a LOT of exposure (for instance, I wasn't unfortunate enough to be trapped on a boat with them for four days), but I had enough to sense it. 

Presently, with the crash of Bitcoin, as well as various SEC enforcement actions against some of the more egregious ICO's, the ICO market has dramatically slowed.  This is probably a good thing.  There is no reason I can think of for what amounts to a software project to be funded in the tens of millions ( or hundreds ... or even billions ..) of dollars.  Hopefully, now that saner times may prevail, sincere and hard-working people will be able to raise adequate funds, instead of amounts that are so high that greed is the inevitable result. Maybe we will start to see grass-roots projects appear to solve real problems, instead of a gold-rush mentality rife with ridiculous projects designed to do nothing more than part stupid people with their money.

This is all leading up to the point that I'm pretty much done with ICO 41.  I plan to do one more episode to say goodbye and thank the listeners.  Am I done with Crypto and Blockhain?  No. First, there are projects that are NOT ICO's, like Raven, which are awesome. And I'm still fascinated by it on a technical level, and honestly if an application comes up where it would make sense, and which I can create some software that actually solves a real problem, then I may even launch a project of some kind myself, if only to prove that it can be done without millions of dollars. But as to "studying" the phenomenon, I don't see the point of giving it any more attention than it already has, through the huge network of "ICO Review" sites, YouTube promoters, and the bizarre fringe.  

One great thing that I found out about myself, though, was that I LIKE the broadcast medium.  I understand how much fun my father must have had, and what must have attracted him to radio in the 1960's.  

Bitcoin, Ethereum, the Blockchain and Initial Coin Offerings

Over the last year I have become completely and utterly entranced by all of the things listed in the topic of this post.  I first began to think about it about a year ago when I watched a documentary on Decado about Bitcoin, coupled with the (even then) sky-high valuation of the currency, and finally in conjunction with a remorseful memory back in 2011 when a tech friend asked me if I had explored Bitcoin and when I answered that I had not, he looked surprised and asked "Why not?"  Which is a question that continues to haunt me today.

But I've never been any good with money anyway, so I shouldn't be too surprised. I have, however, been pretty good with technology, and that's what I currently find so fascinating with this set of topics. Bitcoin, the blockchain that it is developed on, then the innovation of the Ethereum platform and finally the recent spate of initial coin offerings where companies with little more than a 25-page whitepaper are sometimes raising tens of millions of dollars in literally a few hours. All fascinating stuff.

For the first few months I read and read, and then began to talk about it.  After awhile of that, it became apparent that I was annoying people a little bit, so I decided to explore the possibility of an outlet and settled upon the Podcast.  Mainly, because I like to talk and tell stories.  I decided to focus on a single Initial Coin Offering each week, and I figured I would have about 40 minutes of material to talk about each week - and so "ICO 41" was born.

It turns out to take a LOT more than 41 minutes to produce a 41 minute podcast, but I have to say I have enjoyed just about every minute of it.  I believe I may be conducting my first interview next week. When I first conceived of and chose the podcast avenue, I had ideas for an interview-based podcast, but my current situation doesn't permit the logistics of conducting scheduled interviews, so I opted for the weekly monologue.  I'll start to work in interviews as I find the time.  Meanwhile, no matter what happens with it, it will be a fascinating journey. I'm glad that I settled on the podcast concept because I can share what I'm learning with more than just the people I run into on a daily basis - now I can leave them alone.  The best thing about a podcast is that you can press a button and pause the host. Not so easy to do that at a dinner party.

Rhincodon typus

We are now happy to know that in mid-May, Los Tiburones Ballena can still be found behind the house. This morning, around 8:30 AM local time, the water just north of El Mogote was flat calm like an Adirondack Lake, practically. As a result it was quite easy to notice offshore about forty yards, the two telltale fins, about nine feet apart, gliding through the water in the most relaxed way imaginable, the tailfin sweeping lazily in a six-foot arc from side to side, and the dorsal lifting slightly out of the water with each sweep as the giant fish moved ahead in about four feet of water. I have seen and swam with these animals in this very water and I can tell you from experience that the pectoral fins would be lightly dragging the smooth bottom, kicking up clouds of light brown sand.

There was only a lone kayaker out there, and he didn’t even seem to notice the huge fish, as he was facing the other way.  However, if nothing else changed, in about six minutes the kayaker would get a nice surprise as the shark would pass him within a foot or so.

I had to get back to work so I couldn’t follow up on that encounter.  It’s nice to know that these fish are not gone for the season, despite the recent tour operators’ posts on FaceBook – “Last chance to see the whale shark before November!!”

Anyway … the main goal right now is to somehow mitigate the sadness of leaving this place. I suppose the knowledge that it exists, and the ability to imagine quite easily a trip here and there to revisit will help.  And to know that before long, it will be possible to make this or some such place like it (although that’s pretty rare to find, I think) an extended home … that should be enough.  As well, and more importantly and sustainably, the internal reminder that there is beauty and peace to be found everywhere, because peace, ultimately, is from within. A clear mind in crowded suburbia is better than a clouded mind in paradise … right? I’ll just keep telling myself that, but niggling in the back of my mind will be the fact that a clear mind in paradise is … well, about as good as it gets.

Jose’ Marti’

It says a lot about the Cuban people that the national figure that seems most revered and noted in even more places that Castro, Che , or any of the other modern revolutionaries was primarily a poet, philosopher and writer.

Jose' Marti is everywhere in Cuba. From the multitude of statues in every village and city, to his words inscribed on the entrances of Freemasonry lodges, we see his thoughts and advice.  Quotes like "Happiness exists on earth, and it is won through prudent exercise of reason, knowledge of the harmony of the universe, and constant practice of generosity."

What I didn't quite understand and now do, since I returned from a very brief visit there, is that the 1959 revolution that was engineered by the Castro brothers was in fact an extension of the original struggle of independence from Spain, which occurred in the latter part of the 19th century. And so we see quotes like:

"To change masters is not to be free."  Or ... more explicitly,

"It is my duty to prevent, through the independence of Cuba, the U.S.A. from spreading over the West Indies and falling with added weight upon other lands of Our America. All I have done up to now and shall do hereafter is to that end.... I know the Monster, because I have lived in its lair--and my weapon is only the slingshot of David."

There is much to see and learn about this small country, but even the most cursory visit approached with thoughtfulness and curiosity cannot fail to lead to a deep impression. I certainly came away amazed by the place. If you consider what this country has accomplished against all odds, and with very, very little help from anyone (particularly after 1993), they have every right to be as proud as I found them to be. With a literacy rate higher than plenty of industrialized nations, and yet operating on what amounts to a horse-drawn, agrarian society, the place is a delight of juxtaposition.

If you go, you should understand that you will certainly be initially viewed as someone with wealth beyond imagination and who can easily part with any acceptable fraction of that wealth in order to make someone's day just a little bit easier.  This will be true - but don't let that stop you from making a meaningful connection, because under that necessary and mercantile veneer sometimes lies a quick and honest humanistic, fraternal response.

My personal opinion based on the short but meaningful visit that I had is that by and large, the Cuban people are proud of who they are, what they have done with their country over the last 60 years, and they do not believe themselves to be political prisoners.  It would best to look very carefully at the messages you receive from those that have strong outside opinions of the place - and instead approach the country with an open mind. Make every effort to have honest conversation with as many Cubans as you can.  Then, draw your own conclusions.

Tobacco Field and Drying Hut - Vinales

Tobacco fields and a drying hut in Vinales

El Mogote

Just about seven thousand years ago the place in which we now live - the actual land mass itself, did not exist. It was formed, apparently, over about 1,000 years between 6,000 and 5,000 years ago, and started as a little nub, a "punta" on the western corner of what was then an Ensenada (a cove) across the bay from La Paz, B.C.S. in Mexico. The little punta grew, slowly, with the deposit of sand particles, thanks to a current from the north and west.  Little by little, the punta grew into a sandbar, and as the sandbar grew toward the other end of the bay, the current was then channeled and funneled around in a clockwise motion, and began to deposit more particles on the southern side of the sandbar, thus building up what would become, over time, land. Or at least very sandy land.  If you are as curious as I was about the formation of this fascinating land mass, you can read all about it here.

A few months ago I met a guy who worked for the Mexican Immigration department and because of a mistake on my part, I ended up sort of stuck with him on his 90-minute duty of monitoring traffic as is drove off the ferry from Mazatlan,  which, that morning, consisted of him chatting with me for 90 minutes about all sorts of things.  One of which was his memories as a child, where he and his buddies would temporarily hijack an old rowboat, or sometimes just wide floating boards, and paddle the 1/4 mile from town to the eastern beaches of El Mogote - just to have access to a place that was then, empty and wild.

With the exception of about 90 luxury homes, and ten large condominium buildings, four of which are unfinished and abandoned, as well as a pretty nice golf course winding through the sandy desert that is the wide, eastern end of El Mogote, and the various people here to inhabit, from time to time, those buildings, plus the people who run it on a daily basis, it is still empty and wild.

Thus we find ourselves in a place that can only be described as a sort of mini-paradise of daily circumstance that would be impossible to achieve in the United States, even if we were as rich as the people at places like Emerald Bay in the former county in which we lived, where houses like the one in which we live now, in the same proximity to salt water, cost far more than $10,000,000.  This is because even there, as well as in places like Malibu, you cannot walk down to the beach at 8 AM and literally see NOT ONE PERSON for eleven miles of beach, with crystal clear Sea of Cortez water gently lapping the shore. I don't care how much money you have.  You just can't.

And so we know precisely how ridiculously lucky we are, and while we may not always succeed, we  have the intent, every day, to make the most of these moments that will not be able replicated anytime soon, since nothing lasts forever, and certainly not this kind of thing.

Every day something appears that is a small miracle of beauty, and since I have always wondered what it might be like to live right on the ocean, and now I know, it is every bit as amazing as living in the woods, because the sea, like the forest, is alive with wonder. For instance, one day about a month ago, there appeared just after high tide, a one-meter wide, 1+ mile long and two-inch deep ribbon of tiny slimy living things, which, upon investigation, turned out to be half-inch, young California Sea Hares.  When touched, these creatures exuded a purple dye, although that didn't stop us from shoveling hundreds of handfuls back into the water in a sort of silly, futile attempt at saving a tiny fraction of what had washed up and would end up drying out and being pulled into the sea, dead, at the next high tide.  This was almost certainly a natural event, and not the result of pollution, but me not being a marine biologist, it will go down as just a simple mystery and memory.

That's just one thing. A couple of months ago a couple of us happened to be sitting in the back patio and spotted a strange fin making its way laterally in front of us, about 20 yards off shore.  Most definitely NOT a porpoise. We dragged the kayak down quickly and easily caught up with the creature.  Quite the opposite of the tiny sea hares, this proved to be an 18-foot fish - twice the size our our kayak - a whale shark.  It was fairly easy to keep up with, as it swam slowly around the shallow water with its impossibly wide mouth open, to trap the tiny things it eats. A spectacular event, with its constellation of white spots in its ridiculously long back, almost touching the bottom of our kayak.  It seemed entirely oblivious to us - or perhaps simply unafraid.  What, precisely, could hurt such a creature in twelve feet of water?

One would think that it would be an absolute no-brainer to simply stay here, indefinitely.  It is by no means impossible, but not likely.  Simply because there are other forces at work.  Kids, in their development, and no matter what age, need social interaction with others outside the family. As broken and disappointing as is the American education system, there is something to be said for children going to a classroom filled with other kids where language is no barrier, and friendships can develop, as well as daily, social interaction of a wide variety, good and bad, can be practiced, unconsciously as a muscle would be by a simple daily walk or swim. Just last night we saw a great movie that portrayed this concept in about the best way I have ever seen out of Hollywood.

Knowing that this situation is temporary has a good affect, though.  At age 55, we know very well how fast a single year goes by, and thus the incentive is to make the most of every amazing day.  The other great benefit with this experience is that we will, at some future point, remember that this is possible to engineer, even if not here. Whether it be here in this strange place, or another, provided there is life left in us, there is nothing to stop the pursuit , and thus the attainment of a daily existence such as this.


There is some disagreement as to whether an individual can change.  There are some who believe that there is a core set of behavioral “settings” practically hard-coded in an individual, and that to go up against those factors is a monumental task, often doomed to failure. And that the closest those behaviors are to the human fundamental systems – let’s say “eating” for one – the harder it is to make significant changes. I would agree with the concept that it is more challenging to change those types of behaviors, but I would disagree that it’s practically impossible.

If we take eating, which is a good example on a lot of levels, and we look at the number of systems that have been developed to help people overcome unhealthy eating habits, we have to conclude that this is one tough subject.  No question.  And yet, strangely simple things sometimes happen – perhaps anecdotal, but actual nonetheless.  I offer my own humble experience.  A story.

After the age of 40, maintaining an optimal ratio of body fat, overall fitness, and good nutrition became more challenging.  This definitely had to do with the fact that at around that time I quit a very physical lifestyle (working in Alaska on fishing boats) and went full-time into IT, but it also had to do with aging, I’m sure.  Getting married, having kids, slowing down.  Less hormones, etc. etc. I’m sure this is no surprise.

Because my wife is in the fitness industry, I had access to both methods and information to mitigate this, but it was still pretty tough – somewhat of a struggle.  Never more than 15-20 pounds overweight, but like millions of other non-starving people, I felt the need to try out some “systems” to keep myself in check.  While most of these worked in the short term, none of them worked in any kind of permanent fashion with respect to behavioral food-choice changes.  After even a month or so I would slide back into habits that were simply not that great for me, and I would creep back up to a place where I felt uncomfortable.

This last cycle was the worst. No desire to exercise, about 22 pounds overweight, eating poorly, sleeping worse, and beset with strange symptoms of digestive distress, etc. etc.  I was sick. I decided to break down and see a doctor.

I’ve had some trouble over the years consuming medical care.  I never really found a consistent medical professional who took a holistic approach and who was as reluctant to prescribe medication as I was reluctant to consume it. This time I vowed to find a holistic doctor, but when I visited the website / database of my insurance provider zero results for holistic/alternative/naturopathic were returned.  In Southern California?  How was this possible. A quick call revealed, simply, that my insurance plan didn’t cover that kind of medical care.  I toyed with the idea of paying retail – which I did a few years ago .. and instead decided to try something slightly different.  I made use of the database to search on things like strange languages – I reasoned that if a doctor spoke something like Urdu, he or she might have a slightly different approach.  Was worth a try, anyway.

So, I picked from a set of about four doctors within 10 miles of my house who spoke interesting languages – chose the first one.  “Dr. Jay Amin.” When I showed up at his office – I asked for nothing more than a complete physical examination – I was ushered into a waiting room.  I looked up, and saw a shelf of proprietary nutrient supplements with the brand “Ziolife.”  I pulled a large red bottle of liquid from the shelf and read – echoes of Dr. Bronner and Bragg from way back when were sparked.  I liked what I read. It was possible that maybe I had found my doctor.

Turns out  that, like the Matrix, there is a “Blue” and a “Red” bottled product.  I took them both home.  Drank an ounce in the AM, and and ounce at night. Did this for a about a week, and in that time began to see a fairly profound difference. Slept better. Had more energy in the AM.

About 10 days later, I got the results from the blood work.  The PA casually explained that I was “pre-diabetic” and that I should “pretty much cut the carbs.”  I knew this , and over the years had done various iterations and permutations of the Atkins/Lindora concept.  This time, though, no “system.”  I just stopped eating carbs.  Within reason.  I ate some – enough to keep my energy up, and I believe that perhaps the ingestion of the Ziolife supplement may have had an effect that mitigated the desire for carbs – I’m not really sure if that was it, or if it was the better sleeping patterns… in any case, this was the easiest change I’d experienced.  The pounds started to slip off me.  Within 3 months I lost 19.5 pounds.  Had tons of energy, actually felt the desire and ENJOYED (first time ever) working out.  For some reason I don’t have a desire for bread, for pasta, for milk (not that there are carbs there, but I have always loved lots and lots of milk … which is probably not so great at my age) , and no desire for anything with sugar in it.  And I grew up eating every night a “goodie” – even when were our most poor, like in 1969 when were were on welfare, we always had room for a Twinkie or whatever at night.  Nothing now, and no desire for it.

It’s a bit odd.  I don’t really have an explanation for it.  The only thing I can say is that the only difference between this experience and all of the other times I have tried various systems is that this time I’m using, with great consistency, “Ziolife’ – morning and night. And I don’t miss.

So … there you have it.  A story about a guy who just kind of changed the way  he approached food and thus life.  So yeah, it’s possible, even when the factor is as fundamental as how we obtain the substance that keeps us alive.

David Bowie

Alas, no time to write at length about Mr. Bowie.  I think I speak for more than my own generation when I say that David Bowie will be missed.  And, I think it’s true to say that if one is measured in the amount of influence they have on the thoughts and actions of others, David Bowie is up there.

I grew up with a wide range of friends – ex-NYC Irish transplants, Marxist Intellectuals who-later-turned-special-forces-and-vanished-under-mysterious-circumstances, down-home rural near-appalachians, junior rock-and-rollers, whatever the hell I was … we all loved Bowie.

Good-bye Mr. Bowie … and all the others that you were.

Writing, finally, because it's better late than never