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I find it ironic that humans are the only animal ‘lucky’ enough to walk upright, when so many suffer from lower back pain. I’ve got a slightly bulged disc in my lower back that was diagnosed in 2007. I've been through the whole process: X-Ray, MRI, pain medication, and physical therapy.

Some people suffer from lower back pain due to an injury or accident, I believe mine is mainly due to bad posture and lack of exercise. I seem to go through cycles; one week, I’m doing push-ups and sit-ups, my back feels great, and I start slacking on the exercise. I get lazy. Then the pain comes back and I start doing push-ups again. Rinse, lather, repeat.

To the right, you’ll see the chicken coop that my wife and I built ourselves. We’ve been working on it over the last year or so, making adjustments and enhancements, so I want to write about what we’ve learned. We refused to spend hundreds of dollars on just their coop so we got some free pallets from down the street and scavenged for scrap wood.

I’ve suffered from seasonal allergies for over 15 years. When I was a teenager, I had prescription-strength nasal spray, eye drops, and pills (Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra). All of these were somewhat helpful in addressing the symptoms I encountered: sneezing, itchy, puffy, watery eyes. When it got bad, I would rub my eyes so much that they would swell shut.

On Health, Honey:

A few years ago I started paying attention to eating healthy foods (non-GMO, organic, that sort of thing) and one of the topics that came up was that of eating local, raw honey to combat seasonal allergies.

Friday, 05 December 2014 17:34

Product Review: Berkey Water Filter

We have been using our Royal Berkey Water Filter for 10 months now, and I wanted to post some quick feedback.

Where we live, most of our neighbors have well water.  Our place is one of the "lucky few" to have city water.  So, when people used to come over and drink our tap water, they usually made "that face."  They tasted the chlorine right away.

Friday, 05 December 2014 17:03

Why I Switched to Prepaid Cell Phone Service

I recently switched my cell phone plan over to a prepaid plan after learning that standard cell phone contracts in the US (post-paid) are extremely common, while in Europe, prepaid plans dominate.  

I did some math to find out why all the fuss...

Sunday, 02 November 2014 07:22

[SOLVED] Cat Pees Outside the Litter Box

I just got done reading another thread online about people discussing having their cat put to sleep because it pees outside the litterbox, and had to share my insight.  We've been around the block with our cat's "marking" issues... when it started, we had a contractor at the house every day (building our bathroom) and we figured the cat was simply stressed out because her safe zone was violated.  We bought different litter boxes, cleaned them constantly, tried different litters... none of this worked.

When we first brought her to the vet, she had 'crystals' in her urine, and we switched to a higher quality food, designed for urinary tract problems. 

Then, we tried spraying "something" that makes the cat think that she already marked that area (according to the vet)....

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 14:33

My PGP Key

Background:
In order to allow for safer electronic communication, I've finally set up my own PGP encryption for sending email. 

Don't ask for your privacy. Take it back.
"Mass surveillance is illegitimate. I'm taking steps to take my freedoms back and I expect governments and corporations to follow in my footsteps and take steps to stop all mass government surveillance."

Below is my PGP Key...

I've been using this particular setup for a while now, I've had the GeekDesk for over a year, and the Aeron chair for 5 months.  My favorite part is, as you can imagine, using them together.  I've got a bulging disc in my lower back, so I figured there'd probably be a lot of people who are looking for relief for similar types of issues.

Update Summer 2016: If you are researching a standing desk to alleviate lower back pain, please read my recent article describing my initial chiropractic visits!

Update 9/19/16: I recently helped a client get their Geek Desk set up and rearrange their office, and I have another testimonial to share:
"I just wanted to send you a note to thank you for telling Michael about your desk, and for helping him to get his new desk, and all the computer stuff hooked up!  Without you, he would not have this new chance at less back pain."

We have been using our Napoleon 1402 wood-burning insert in our home for over 1 year and 7 cords of wood.  The stove is able to heat our entire home (~1800 square feet) down to about 30 degrees (F); below this, and the propane needs to kick in to help out.  The stove typically runs at between 300 and 500 degrees (F), and we leave the blowers on high at all times.

Overall, very happy with the stove.  We had it cleaned and the flue liner did not have any "bad" creosote in it, meaning that the insert kept burning at a high temperature and stayed fairly clean.  About once a week, I open up the damper and let it get nice and hot for an hour or so... just as a maintenance thing.  Here is a photo of inside the firebox, after removing the baffles.  You'll also see that some of the bricks were cracked, probably from trying to cram logs in that were a little too large (16" firewood is what you want with this particular stove).

I'm a firm believer that you can learn something from anyone.  So last week, when I had the opportunity to discuss a web site project with someone, I decided to hear him out.  After talking with him for 15 minutes, I realized that this was a startup that I simply wanted nothing to do with.  Here are a few "common sense" things to keep in mind when trying to raise capital through venture capitalists (aka angel investors):

  • "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman."

    "The most important political office is that of the private citizen."

    - Justice Louis D. Brandeis