June 29, 2023

Dumb Consumer Item Of The Month - Extreme Tourism

Pity the poor billionaires for whom the pleasure and thrill of money hoarding ceases to turn their crank.

When 100s of billions of dollars is no longer enough, it is time to go extreme.

Tourism, like everything else, has gone extreme so as to cater to those with lots of money, but not much else. 

Witness trips to the top of Mount Everest. Or almost space. The South Pole. Storm chasing. Swimming with dolphins... or sharks.

One extreme experience sold to people with extreme money and expectations is in the news right now.

If you are a big time consumer with a spare $250,000 dollars, you can purchase a trip to the bottom of the ocean.

And the bottom of the ocean means  3600 meters (12,500 ft) below the surface where the wreckage of the Titanic rests.

It takes 2 hours just to drop down that deep, and long before you get to the bottom, the sun's rays have penetrated as deep as they can.

The bottom is cold and in complete darkness. And I imagine very lonely. 

In other words, the perfect vacation, unless it turns out to be a one way trip.

You may not come back from an extreme experience, but if you do, imagine the bragging rights you would have.

That alone would be worth a cool quarter million dollars. 


Apparently the Titanic tour did not have a rescue plan. That is how foolhardy this extreme tourist offering is, but like the billionaires say, "if it isn't dangerous, it isn't an adventure."

Since the bottom of the ocean is such an uninviting environment, if you get in trouble there is little to nothing that can be done except kiss your imploding butt goodbye.

Perhaps this blog needs a Deadly Consumer Item of the Month series.

Cars would be in there for sure (40,000 deaths per year in the US alone). 

There would be some cross-over with this series of posts since a consumer item/service can be both dumb and deadly. 

And often is.

It is easy. Just say no to dumb ideas and lousy, deceitful, dangerous products and services. 

Some day it could save you $250,000 dollars.

And your life.

June 27, 2023

Power To The Pedal

One hour of pedalling this generator yields 24 hours of power for your home.

I like being self-propelled, and have enjoyed riding a bicycle since I was a little person. I like it as much today as then, and it remains my favourite way to get around.

I am interested in anything pedal or leg powered. It makes a lot of sense.

Arms are good, but legs are so much more effective at getting things done. 

Our lower extremities are 3-5 times stronger than our arms, and they have better endurance as well.

As it turns out, we can power a lot with our legs. 

Some examples of devices, besides transportation, that could also operate using human energy are: 

- coffee grinder

- generator

- flour mill

- turntable, printer or anything that can be hooked up to a small cycle generator.  

- water pump

I can see myself getting exercise on a leg-powered generator, and charging my whole-house battery system at the same time. 

In a centralized grid-based for-profit monopoly energy structure, making your own power is a revolutionary act. It helps us reduce our dependence on a sick and dying system.

Plus you get muscular legs. I'm going for thunder thighs myself. 

Also, researchers have found that muscle fitness as measured by leg strength is strongly associated with an improved rate of ageing in the brain.

We love a high tech solution, like mining lithium to make batteries to build electric cars, but good old low tech leg power is hard to beat.

And if it is good for the brain, too, I'm in.

Power to the people... and their pedals!

June 24, 2023

First Day of Summer

Pink lady's slipper along a creek near our home.

On the first full day of summer I celebrated with a bike ride to some of my favourite places in the woods near home.

As usual, I took some photos to share with Linda since she is unable to join me.

In this post I share a few that she particularly enjoyed.

A painted turtle basking in the sun in the middle of the path I was riding on.

The new, fresh growth is abundant and crackling with life.

Waterfalls are beautiful to see, have potent health benefits,
and make one happy to be alive.

"Trees are "social creatures" that communicate with each other in cooperative ways that hold lessons for humans." - Suzanne Simard

The forest is my sanctuary. 

Our time on this earth is brief, as is summer in the north.

I spend as much time as I can in natural areas around our home in the summer. I am fortunate in that I have a large selection of primo rides and hikes right out my back door.

For this I am grateful.

Linda hopes you enjoyed her curated photo gallery of my solstice celebration ride.

Happy summer. 

June 21, 2023

Favourite Free Finds

There have been many things over the years that Linda and I have acquired for free, which is the best possible price to pay for anything.

When we lived in a housing coop 20 years ago, there were a couple of Free Sheds in our little community. Anyone could drop stuff off, and/or pick stuff up. 

The two of us managed one of the sheds. We kept it tidy, and rotated items out that weren't moving to be donated to outside agencies.

The Free Shed was an excellent method for transfering/swapping amazing amounts of goods from households that didn't need them, to households that did. 

No fuss, no funds changing hands. No one getting ripped off. No greed, only generosity. 

We got a lot of free stuff that way. 

One thing we got that we still have and use often is a universal lid that fits of a variety of sizes of pots and pans.

I have always been amazed at the things I have seen, and acquired, without cash.

A few of our other finds come to mind.

- a pizza pan saved from the metal recycling bin of our apartment complex

- two pairs of returned brand new leather hiking boots that Linda got when she worked at the member's service desk at Mountain Equipment Coop

- an old Chevy van given to us that we drove for the next 10 years

- Linda's wheelchair was procured for free

There's so much free that if you are not careful it can be too much of a good thing.

Stuff is stuff, even if it is free stuff, and clutter happens whether you paid for something or not.

Sometimes you can't even give stuff away.

Kale can be like that. And zucchini. And clothes. And toilet seats (although we got one of those free, too).

Most other stuff you can move through the no money economy eventually, whether you put it out at the curb with a sign on it, or list it in the free section of Craigslist.

What are your favourite free finds? 

How about favourite things you have gotten rid of by giving away for free?

When Linda and I moved out of our housing cooperative we had a Free Yard Sale because we had too much stuff for the Free Sheds.

Everything in our yard sale it was the same price - $0.00 dollars. 

It was a popular, effective, and fun way to unburden ourselves from unwanted things.

Getting rid of stuff always feels good, whether you get money for it or not.

June 19, 2023

The (Fake) American Dream

The biggest fake out of all? The American Dream.

"And then we woke up - it was all a dream."

I wonder when a majority of captured consumers will do this.

It would be wonderful if we recognized the futility of maintaining the illusions of "Western Values", and saw that the promises made to the people in the social contract were a fabricated lie from the beginning.

Will parents and teachers in the future tell the story of how we threw off the yoke of mandatory working and buying, and government overreach?

"And then, after years of having our trust repeatedly broken, and the promise of a better future being denied, we awakened to the endless lies."

What they promised was all a dream, and a bad one at that.

But we are awakening now (different from "woke") to the fact that it is indeed impossible to buy happiness, and that we would be better off dreaming a different, more simple dream.

The new dream?

Enough for everyone in a peaceful global environment of maximum freedom and cooperation.

In other words, less retail therapy and dependence on a sick and dying system, and more autonomy and working together.

We can make that the new new normal, and toss the old new normal the psychopaths are trying to build back post-plandemic.

No thanks. 

We have our own dream, and the power to make it real.

June 16, 2023

Fake For Sale

"You," he said, "are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world, and that, I believe, is why you are in so much pain." 
- Emilie Autumn

The biggest problem we face today is the ignorance of the fact that we live in a fake world. 

Consumerism is fake. 

Fashion is fake.

Politics is fake.

Finance is fake.

Education is fake.

Health care is fake.

Democracy is fake.

Our whole capitalist consumer reality is fake, fake, fake.

And now it is fumbling.


We will not be free of the ignorance that retards our progress as individuals and communities, until we get rid of our artificial lives.

Becoming more aware of ourselves and the natural world, helps us overcome and rise above the human contrived plastic fantasy that has taken over, and has led to so much pain. 

Kuei-shan asked Yun-Yen,

"What is the seat of enlightenment?"

Yun-yen said, 

"Freedom from artificiality." 


- Kuei-shan (771-854)

Leading a simple life eliminates the unessential in order to focus more fully on the essential.

In other words, it helps us eliminate artificiality in order to focus on what is vital and real.

Less stuff - more real.

Henry David Thoreau wrote of exactly this saying that he went to the woods to 

"suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms..."


I propose a boycott on fake.

We need a routing of all that is not life, drive it into a corner, and see the beauty that is left.


June 14, 2023

Clothing Repair For Dummies

Replace missing button with a safety pin.

My sewing kit is small. So small that it fits into a plastic container that used to have dental floss in it. A tailor I am not.

But I do what I can to keep my small, functional wardrobe wearable for as long as possible.

As a result, I could write the "Clothing Repair for Dummies" version of the popular series.

Here are some recent examples from our research in the Not Buying Anything Clothing Repair for Dummies Workshop. 

Pull button through button hole.

Lose a button? Safety pins are an alternative that can work. 


Or permanently. 

I am an experienced clothing repair dummy, so it's mostly permanent in my case.

Repairing a plastic collared shirt with a stick-on patch.

Tear in your 100% polyester shirt? 

I used the must have item from every Macgyverer's toolkit - duct tape - to fashion a repair.

I rebranded a small strip as an Easily Applicable Adhesive Patch. 

Results may vary, but why not try it if it extends the usefulness of something? 

Easily applicable adhesive patch placed on the inside torn section of shirt.

Wearing a hole in the heel of one of a pair of cotton socks presents a challenge.

It's a small flaw to doom a pair of otherwise wearable socks to the rag bag, or compost.

Don't throw that pair of socks out yet.

Turn that sock frown upside down.

I discovered the easiest "just for dummies" fix ever.

Flip the sock over so the hole is at the top. On the top of the ankle the sock wrinkles and closes up. 

What hole?

On your heel, where all the action is, you are covered.

Not really a smile. More like a smirk.

I will learn to sew and do my own repairs the way they have been done for thousands of years. 

It would also be good to have a sewing machine, and know how to use it without losing a finger.

Until then I will continue to use the NBA approved dummy method, and look forward to upgrading my tiny sewing repair kit, and the skills required to use it.

Having a repair issue with with a "fibre and textile material that is worn for style, safety, and protection from the elements"?

Want to fix it properly and are not sure how?

Learn more at this iFixit Clothing Repair page.

June 7, 2023

If Not Buying Anything Was A Reality Show

Fill this space with the basics for living. Free stuff only. That's the challenge.

If Not Buying Anything had a reality show that I produced, it would go like this.

Contestants would be couples, preferably with simple living experience.

Teams would be given similar empty living spaces, say around 92 sq m (1000 sq ft.). Their task would be to acquire all the basics to furnish and live in their space.

Here is the twist - it would all have to be done without buying anything. Only free stuff.

So, dumpster diving, free stores, cruising back alley garbages, picking up curb side stuff with a "free" sign on it, the For Free section of places like Craigslist, and whatever (legal) way one can get the things they need without money.

The basics list would have to be brainstormed, but obvious things would be on it, such as cookware, a bed, table, chair or chairs, small wardrobe, etc.

My suspicion has always been that one could probably outfit an entire apartment or house with everything one needs from free sources. 

Teams would be given a certain period of time to complete the task, and the show would highlight the frugal methods used by each.

While the declared winners would have the most complete set-up in the time given, when we nurture our inner creative frugalite, everyone wins.

What do you think? Shall I sign your team up? After I find some backers, the casting call will go out.

I think it would go over rather well at this point in time, and much better than re-runs of Lifestyles of The Rich and Famous would as we potentially slip into a Greater Depression.

If this happens, a lot of people will be looking to up their game in the "making do with less" category.

The Not Buying Anything Challenge reality show will be required viewing.

Alternative show name: Lifestyles of the Frugal and Fabulous.

June 5, 2023

Digital Detoxing In Nature

Since publishing my last post I had a spontaneous digital detox. It happened quite organically, and I just went with it.

The start of my sreencation was the beginning of a nature immersion.

I planted seeds in our gardens. Peas, carrots, beets, dill, coriander, basil, nasturtiums, pole beans, bush beans, and kale.

I went for hikes and bike rides. On one ride I came across a painted turtle on the trail. I helped it off to the side where it wouldn't get run over. 

I went fishing for the first time in over a decade. And was successful while doing catch and release angling.

I am learning more about natural food sources around our home, like spruce buds, wild strawberries, and fish. 

This is because someone in our comments section recently reminded me of foraging. Thank you!

Even at home there is always nature close by since we live in a rural location.

All kinds of wildlife visits our yard. 

The most notable would be great blue heron, eagle, a kestrel taking a run at a hummingbird at our feeder, and a porcupine that wandered into our yard and stuck around for an extended visit.

But the best was our first coyote sighting in the yard since moving here in 2014. 

Not our photo, but this is exactly the hunting behaviour we witnessed.

While we watched, the coyote hunted mice and voles at the bottom of our back yard close to the forest edge.

This beautiful wild animal pounced several times in the tall grass. Its tail wagged. After it caught and ate a mouse it smiled. 

I smiled. 

My ten day digital detox/nature immersion was all so... real. 

And true, because nature never lies.