- George Carlin
I couldn't agree more.
For as long as I can remember, I've always been a heavy reader. I'd read novels, I'd read magazines, I'd read articles on everything under the sun on the Internet. Why do I do it? Because I enjoy it, but also because I like to learn new things. I am not one of these kind of people who is perfectly content to do the same old stuff every day for the rest of your life. I'm always trying new things. I read about new programming languages. I read about new operating systems. I try new operating systems. (Hell, I tried OS X as an experiment, and now it's the only OS I use at home!). I studied how to play guitar. I'm studying how to play the piano. I'm studying the Spanish language trying to learn to become bilingual. Will I ever be a master guitarist or pianist? Probably not. Will I ever become fluent in Spanish? Maybe. Maybe Not. It's the effort that I enjoy. I love looking at musical notation and understanding what all those little lines, dots and squiggles mean. I love listening to people speaking in Spanish and actually understanding some of what they are saying.
I've long believed that you need to exercise your mind just as much as you need to exercise your muscles. If you don't exercise your muscles, they get weaker until they eventually atrophy and die. The same goes for your mind. If you don't exercise your mind, your mind gets weaker and eventually atrophies (Alzheimer's). This is especially true as you get older. I think this one one reason many old people develop Alzheimer's. They retire, and stop working. This means, they stop using their minds. Their minds atrophy and eventually it reaches the point of no return. I'm sure you've heard the stories of people in their 90s who still work and are still as sharp, mentally as ever. My father is 74, he still works, and he is a very intelligent guy. I intend to be another one of those 'annoying' old people who is still sharp as a tack in his old age. I don't intend to let my brain wither.
The linked article describes in detail some of the toxic substances in Diet Coke (and other diet sodas). This is why I don't drink diet sodas anymore. It's a very educating read...
Ok, I'm feeling a lot better. The cold or whatever it was that I came down with last Thursday has been gradually going away. I'm mostly better now. I still have the sniffles, but other than that I'm OK.
Time to get back to some blogging. It's been a very interesting news day...
For the last three days, I haven't been feeling so well. Ever since Thursday, I've been feeling very tired and sluggish. I've also had a nonstop runny nose. I very rarely get sick. This is probably my first real sickness all year. Thursday it was the worst. I went to work, but the entire day I was feeling so sluggish and lacking of energy that I seriously considered going home at lunch and just sleeping. I didn't though... I 'toughed it out'. Friday I was a little better but still not up to speed. I did end up going home a little early from work though. Today I'm still feeling sluggish, but I'm hanging in there. It sucks to be sick on a long holiday weekend.
This sickness was one of the reasons I haven't seen the new Pirates movie yet. I was going to go see it at the 8pm show on Thursday night when it premiered, but I wasn't up to it. Friday I didn't go either. Today I actually did go, but by the time I got to the theater, I was trying to buy tickets for the 4:30PM show... $9.50! I decided not to see the show for $9.50. I'll go back tomorrow and catch an earlier show for cheaper. Since when does a friggin' 4pm show count as a night show?? Sheesh. They charge night prices for any movie after 3pm now! It's no wonder Hollywood is having so much problems! Noone can afford to pay that kind of money to see a movie every week! It's at the point now where it's cheaper to buy the damn DVD for $15 once and let your whole family watch it, rather than pay $9.50 for every person, plus popcorn, drinks etc. Is the 'theater experience' really worth this kind of money? The only reason I still see movies these days is when I can get in cheaper - matinees or the 'student discount' (even though I haven't been a student in 15 years! :) And to top it all off, you have to play $9.50, plus sit through 20 minutes of previews and commercials. Hello! I paid the admission cost so I wouldn't have to see the friggin' advertising! It's not like the theatre isn't making a fortune of the $4 soda (maybe 10 cents worth of soda), and the $5 popcorn. Grumble, grumble. (Maybe I'm just cranky because I'm sick...)
Today I donated blood. Well, that's not really accurate. I actually donated only red blood cells. This was the first time I'd ever donated just red blood cells, as opposed to whole blood. It was an interesting experience.
The reason they only wanted to collect red blood cells is apparently because they have a shortage of them. They told me that when you donate whole blood, it gets split up into its separate parts into 4 different bags. This means that once you've extracted the red blood cells from the whole blood, you really don't have much blood. So, rather than donating whole blood and filtering out the red blood cells at the end, they simply collect only the red blood cells.
They do this by hooking you up to a machine that basically pumps out your blood, filters out the red blood cells, then replaces the missing cells with some saline solution and pumps it back in. I was expecting two needles in my arm. One to pump the blood out and one to pump the blood back in. It turned out it was all done through a single tube. It would just pump the blood out for a while, then it would stop pumping out and switch to pumping it back in. I was watching this tube gradually switching back and forth from red to clear. It was kind of neat to see.
I donate blood pretty regularly. I don't mind needles. I usually donate every two months, which is the normal minimum time between donations of whole blood. This time, however, they told me I had to wait four months before donating again. This is because when they filter out the red blood cells, they are taking out a larger volume of blood, so it takes the body longer to rebuild it's supply of blood.
This really sucks.
For the last two days, I've been heading by the gym after work in order to get a workout in. Both days, the entire parking lot has been full beyond capacity. There was literally not one stinkin' parking place anywhere. In fact, they were so low on parking spaces there were at least a dozen cars or so that made their own parking spaces by parking on the grass, etc.
It's kind of hard to get a workout in if you can't even park your car! Sheesh.
A few days ago, I wrote about my little experiment with trying to solve this problem I'd been having with really dry skin on my hands. I finally figured out that it was the hand soap causing the problem. I should have figured this out long ago. After all, the problem is only happening on my hands, and what do I put on my hands a lot every day? Soap! In retrospect it should have been obvious. Well, I'm now in day six of the experiment and I think I can safely say that the hand soap is the cause of the dry skin. My hands have not been in this good of shape in years! The soap is the cause and the dry skin is the effect. Now this is the way health is supposed to be done! You cure the cause of the problem, not the effect.
Some months ago, I had gone to the doctor and showed her my dry skin on my hands. She gave my hands only a passing glance, told me I had Eczema, and told me to buy a hand cream for my hands. This was utter bullshit. She only glanced at my hands for a few seconds at best and made a judgement based on that??? What she should have done is asked me some questions like, "What do you do with your hands?" "What kind of soaps do you use?" "Do you use a lot of chemicals in your work?" These kind of questions would indicate that she is looking for the cause of the problem. Instead she offers me a 'solution' to the effect - the dry skin. This does not solve the problem! When you give someone a pill (or hand cream) you are essentially masking the effect, but not curing the cause! That pill/cream is only going to 'cure' the problem as long as you keep using it. It is not a cure. It is simply hiding the problem. Had you spent the time to find out the cause of the problem, you could cure the cause of the problem without any pills/creams. I essentially cured myself of Eczema, not by using a cream, but by removing the cause of the problem. Then my body healed itself at an amazing rate. Doctors only know how to give you drugs. These drugs merely mask the effect, and don't cure the cause. This is not a cure!
People, if you have a health problem, the solution is not to take a pill or use a cream for the rest of your life. The solution is to find the cause of the problem. If you eliminate the cause of the problem, you eliminate the effect.
If you have migraines, do some reasearch into what causes migraines. Then do whatever you can to eliminate the cause of the migraines. If you do this, your migraines will be mysteriously 'cured'. You have just cured yourself. The alternative is to spend the rest of your life buying expensive migraine drugs that will only mask the migraines, not cure them. These drugs will also damage your health further.
If you have trouble sleeping, the solution is not to take an expensive drug every night for the rest of your life. The solution is to take an honest look at yourself. What do you eat and drink in the evenings that could cause you to have trouble sleeping? Try changing things around. Try not eating or drinking certain things for a few days before you go to bed. See if it helps. Experiment. If it's something you eat or drink, then by process of elimination, you'll eventually discover what it is. Then, once you figure out what it is you eat that causes you to have trouble sleeping, then just stop eating/drinking it! There, your sleeping problem is solved. You can throw out all those expensive damn pills and never need them again! Maybe you simply can't sleep because you aren't getting enough exercise. So try going to the gym in the evenings and using the treadmill for a while. Wear yourself out. Come home, take a nice relaxing shower and hit the bed. You'll be out like a light without any damn pills.
Cure the cause, not the effect.
As you may know from some of my previous blogs, I've had a great interest in natural products lately. I've been eating 100% organic food almost exclusively for months now. I have to say that I love organic food. You never realize just how bad regular food is until you try the healthy stuff. I swear, I can taste the chemicals in non-organic food now! I've also been up to some other experiments lately when it comes to natural products...
The information I have been reading suggests that the flouride they put in the public water supply is actually a toxic, cancer-causing chemical. I was rather skeptical of this since everyone has always said that flouride is needed to strengthen teeth. Based on my experiment here, I'm beginning to believe that flouride is bad for you! For the last 6 months, I have been brushing my teeth with non-flouride toothpaste. 99% of all toothpastes contain flouride. It's not easy to find ones that don't. If you go to Whole Foods Market, you can find some. Make sure to read the labels carefully to find ones that don't contain flouride. After 6 months of 'denying' my teeth the flouride they supposedly require, I can honestly say, that my teeth are in better shape without the flouride. Back in my flouride toothpaste days, I regularly had bleeding gums. Now they never bleed. Obviously, this means that one problem has gone away, solely due to the switch to non-flouride toothpaste. When I changed the toothpaste, that's all I changed. I still use the same toothbrushes, still brush the same amount of times, still brush the same way etc. The toothpaste is all that's changed. And it's helped!
I've also been taking showers using a shower filter for the last 6 months or so. Why? For the same reason I'm using non-flouride toothpaste - To eliminate toxins in the water. Flouride is a toxic chemical as is the chlorine they use to purify tap water. Would you drink a bottle of bleach? I think not. The chlorine in the water supply is obviously not as concentrated, but over time it adds up. Has this change helped me any? I'm not entirely sure, though I don't have any complaints. You can find show filters at Home Depot or Lowe's.
I drink at least a gallon of distilled water each day. Often a lot more than that. Why? Distilled water is about the most pure water you can get. It's water and NOTHING else. Isn't mineral water just as good? No, since it has minerals and likely flouride and chlorine in it too. Same with tap water, same with 'drinking water'. The distilled water tastes a bit different from regular water. It takes some getting used to, but onc e you do, it tastes fine. Has this helped me? I don't know, but it certainly doesn't hurt.
All Natural Hand Soap
For the last two days, I've been trying to only use all natural hand soap whenever I wash my hands. This includes at work and at home. How do I handle it at work? I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at my desk (which is just alcohol). I use the bathroom, rinse off my hands and then use the sanitizer rather than the soap. Why? There is a very good reason for this experiment. For a long while now, I've suffered from a really bad case of dry skin on my hands. It gets to the point where my hands get so dried out they crack and bleed! I could never figure out why this was happening... It was my one last annoying little health problems. I recently read that the sodium lauryl sulfate that is is most hand soaps (and deoderants, and shampoos) is known to cause skin irritation and dry skin. So I replaced the hand soap in my house, along with the shampoo and body soap, with all natural versions that do not contain sodium lauryl sulfate, to see if this helps. Granted I've only been doing this for two days, but I am already noticing that my hands aren't as dry and seem to be getting softer. This test may, in fact be working. I'm going to continue this and see how it goes.
No more milk
I drink very little milk these days. I used to drink two glasses of milk with my breakfast every morning, as well as a couple glasses every night. I was easily polishing off 2 gallons of milk a week. Now I buy 1 gallon and it's likely to expire before I drink it all. Why? I've read that drinking milk can be bad for your health, so I'm trying to live without it. These days I have a big glass of distilled water with my morning organic oatmeal and organic banana. Whether it's helping or not, I don't know, but I'm going to stick with it.
No more diet sodas
Diet sodas are extremely addicting. I am certainly addicted to them. I have read that diet sodas are extremely bad for your health and in fact contribute to making you fatter! For the last two days I've been avoiding diet sodas. I would go out somewhere during lunch every day specifically to buy a Diet Coke and drink it. Add to that the 1 or 2 cans of Diet Coke at work and the Diet Cokes in the evenings if I go out to dinner and I was drinking a lot of this stuff. I've managed to avoid them for two days straight. That's a big acomplishment for me. I'm going to do my best to maintain this. I am really beginning to notice the addiction to them based on my thoughts during the day. "Ok, it's lunch time. Where am I going to get my Diet Coke today?" "Hmm, 3pm, time for a Diet Coke." Not to mention that the free refills at most restaurants and fast food places means that whenever I eat out, I often go through at least two 32 ounce cups of the stuff. Bad, bad, bad Rick! These last two days it has been really tough fighting the addiction to this stuff. I have to conciously stop myself from going for the "Diet Coke" dispenser every time. I've replaced them with regular non-diet sodas lately. These are still tasty but don't have the addiction affect. Some of the stronger regular sodas, such as Mountain Dew tend to give me a stomach ache. This is another way to discourage myself from this stuff. If it makes me sick, I won't drink it! Maybe I should start up "Diet Sodas Anonymous"...
I will continue my experiments and let everyone know what happens.
The linked article talks about how vegetables today are not as nutritious as they were 50 years ago.
Why? Too much pesticides and too much geneticly engineered plants! Eat organic produce!