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77.71 Walnuts
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77.71 Walnuts


1558. from 2018.06.25

6-2-5.  The day the North Koreans stormed across the DMZ in 1950.  Three years before the Armistice ended the hostilities but not the Korean War.  Years of bombing and artillery left both sides with few standing building.

Maybe Trump and Kim can finally come up with a peace treaty.  I doubt Congress will go along.  We need to remove ourselves from trying to dominate Asia.  I lived in Korea for 7 years, 2.5 working at the Embassy.  I speak the language.  I still don’t know what the two sides will do.

Today begins my 100 Day Gong where no TV is in the picture.  I will free up about 5 hours a day I formerly used for watching recorded shows.  At least I won’t have to listen to idiots mispronounce the name of the NK capital city of Pyongyang.  It’s not hard to pronounce, so I don’t know why they don’t say it correctly.

100 days without television will turn out to be the hardest thing I have done since I lived in Mukho, South Korea (now Donghae City) during my first year of Peace Corps.  Mukho, sometimes written Mugho, was a dirty port city famous for 1,000 squid boats.

If you can imagine hillsides covered in clothesline which hung drying squid instead of garments, you might be able to understand the smell.  Add coal dust from ships being loaded, and you get a dirty smell.

I’m sure it’s a hundred times cleaner today.  The government long ago combined a couple of towns to create the new city.  The mountains go right up to the beach in the East Sea (Sea of Japan).

One thing they have now is ferry service between Russia, Korea, and Japan which started in 2008.  That would have been amazing in 1975.  The DBS Ferry currently transits between Donghae, Sakaiminato, Tottori and Vladivostok.

Enough about Korea.  It has been a part of my life for over 40 years, and I have a love of spicy food and an ex-wife to prove it.

The Gong is about me.  I am getting too old to let any more life get taken by my own bad habits.  I am out of shape.  My teeth are a mess.  And my vision is at risk.

The light at the end of the tunnel is damned bright.

~ Chaz


Hobbes reminded us that life was "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short".

I know what he meant.  As blessed as we are to live in this day and age of abundant food and resources, somehow we still have to overcome being human.

As much as I blame relatives for getting old and sick, my current situation is my fault as well.  I miss my Dad who died 11 years ago.  At the end, he was legally blind (macular degeneration - wet kind) and had Alzheimer’s.  

Talk about a shitty combination.  Your brain is turning to mush, and you have no visual stimulus to remember people or faces.

All I can say is that I am grateful that the nursing home did not last too long, and he did not get mean as so many Alzheimer’s patients do.  His body just forgot how to function.

No one knows for sure what causes Alzheimer’s.  Doctors don’t know for sure until they slice up your brain at autopsy.  Heredity may be a factor.  So every time I forget a person’s name or when I have an appointment, I panic.

It’s an evil disease.  I don’t think I would ever take my own life, but if I develop ALZ, I might reconsider.

(For those of you who are wussy victims of life, this is article not medical advice.  Grow up.  Grow a pair.  And take responsibility for your lives.  But just to keep web nannies happy, here is a medical disclaimer - that applies to this article.)

Another sad factor is that we don’t know what we can do to prevent the disease.  But that takes me back to my Gong.

Alzheimer’s disease is now being called type 3 diabetes.  I always knew that diabetes causes everything, but we don’t know exactly what causes diabetes.

As part of my Gong, I am going to a pure vegan diet.  I am already doing one, but I sometimes include some rice and white potatoes and other troubling foods, however vegan.

To control and reverse diabetes, diet and exercise are key.  The same vegan lifestyle should help prevent heart disease (my father had 3 heart attacks and open heart surgery).  It won’t cure anything, but it can’t hurt.

My problem is that I really don’t like salads.  I can force myself to eat them, but it’s medicine, not cuisine.  I often take nutritional supplements to make sure I get sufficient vitamins and minerals.

What I have found is that soups and roasted vegetables can be the mainstay of my eating plan.  I especially like vegetable soup and tomato soup.  Vegan versions can be found in any grocery store making it easy to grab a snack when away from home.

For raw food advocates, my diet won’t work.  I can’t eat enough raw foods to get enough protein and calories.

One thing I have gone back to is making my own plant-based protein shakes.  Pea protein I think is favorable to soy, but soy is not as bad as some gurus make it out to be.  We ate it daily in Peace Corps days.

I sometimes buy ready made vegan protein shakes, but mine are better.  I use the protein powder, cashew milk, coconut oil, cinnamon, and half a frozen banana.  Fast and easy.

Instead of a full size blender, I use a cheap personal blender (around $15) which is fast and easy to clean.

I must have 3 or 4 of these things at different places I have lived.  You can make the shake and drink from the blender.  It even has a travel lid.

Another advantage of the shakes is getting more protein and calories quickly and easily.  If you eat a raw food diet, you may find yourself getting bored crunchy on lettuce all day.

But who knows?  You’re not me.  I can tell you that if you do choose to go vegan, you will probably feel better.

~ Chaz Lamm

1560. Correcting Course

Every time I vow to reinvent myself, or I set up something like this 100 Day Gong, I overestimate the value of the plan.  If life ran according to our plan, we would only have to be concerned with the starting point - our own New Year’s Day.

 Robert Burns:

“The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.”

Our lives are exposed to constant turbulence.  We fight fires at home and in the workplace.  We deal with unforeseen storms.  We underestimate the need for correction and depend on unreliable planning.

As I get older, it seems I’m taking more hits to the chin.

There is no master plan to life, because we don’t know what threats will come our way.

If you grew up in a small village in Bangladesh in a poor farming family, your threats are real.  Disease.  Bad weather.  Failed crops.  No money for anything beyond survival.

Planning to leave your village and go to Harvard Medical School is not in the cards.

Even at this level, planning is suspect.  You plant corn and plan to harvest your crop in a couple of months.  You fertilize with night soil, but the rain is late.  And the bugs are hungry.  You water the crop by hand and kill the insects.

But the final yield is not up to you so much.  You control the beginning - how much seed you plant and when - but much less until harvest.

Your best life plan is only achieved via constant readjustment.

Why do we resist correcting our plan?  Why are we reluctant to constantly reinvent ourselves?

Simple.  Every piece of repair in a flaw in the system.  Our plan is a failure, so we must be failures too.  Plans are a dime a dozen.  Planning, and correcting course, is everything.

It’s all about giving up a plan set in stone for repeated replanning.  This is why gyms get rich on January 1st and why patrons stay fat and out of shape.  Even the Constitution needed Amendments almost immediately.

Why do we do this?  Because our school systems set us up for failure.

We go to school.  Memorize facts.  Pass tests.  Get good grades.  Awarded diplomas and degrees.

Maybe at a time when before the Internet, having facts stuffed in your brain was a good base for gaining a good job.  Instead of being a shepherd or farmer or factory worker, you could now be a doctor, lawyer, or businessman.

Jobs are being automated faster and faster.  The connection between a college degree and gainful employment is disappearing.

When I was in college over 40 years ago, accounting was one difficult profession.  Even low level accounting like H & R Block stuff.

The first HP scientific calculator cost over $400, which would be like $4,000 today.  Engineering students learned COBOL and fought for 30-minute slots on the mainframe computers at 3:00 in the morning.

Current students are in a system that trains them for jobs that don’t exist.  I imagine the perfect jobs for millenials have not been invented yet, because no one has tweaked the system sufficiently to make these jobs happen.

The best paid plans are an illusion.  Say you plan to become a truck driver.  Pays well.  Especially for long-haul drivers of 18 wheelers.  

We have about 1.8 million truckers in the U.S.  At this time, engineers are testing self-driving trucks in Nevada.  Before long, truckers will only drive to and from the Interstate to the delivery destination.

Humans still do a better job on that detail work.  Skilled manual labor is hard to automate.

But don’t expect the majority of these long-haul jobs to stay in place.  You need a plan B.

Think about customer service.  If the task is easy, like finding a specific person at a company switchboard or directory, you are likely talking to an IVR.

And hating it.

On corporate websites, you often have to search hard to even find a customer service number.  Many companies want you to email or use a popup help box.

Every task a machine can do saves the company money.  Computers don’t get sick, take vacation days, or plain fail to show up for work.

So plan your life.  Plan your career.  But plan to make constant changes including your entire career path.

~ Chaz

1561. AI and WS

A walkabout is a rite of passage for young aboriginal men in Outback of Australia.

In our modern city life in other countries, it’s been adapted:

For a Walkabout Solopreneur, we have to go even further and embrace technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Part of my journey is to reacquaint myself with much about blogging and Internet marketing, and to ferret out the income strategies that work today.  I don’t believe I am using AI properly to advance my WS life.

I think each WS needs a personalized algorithm for making a splash on the Internet.  Unique content.  Monetization.

Many IM gurus are coming up with content curation and even content generation software programs.  So far they are not too good, but they are getting better.  I don’t think we can be totally replaced as writers, but who knows?

We make our life and work decisions based on partial knowledge.  For me, I have to test the systems I see online to see what works now.  Also, I need to know if it will work for me.

Everyone writes that the money is in the list.


But email lists only work for marketers who don’t mind writing stupid emails and pounding their list until people unsubscribe.

I recently spent a day unsubscribing from hundreds of lists and newsletters going back 10 years.  I also deleted these emails from the archive.  If I did not read them years ago, how likely am I to read them now?

~ Chaz

1562. My New Blood Sugar Control System

I am an addict.  A sugar addict.  A carb junkie.

I know how to get my sugar under control.  Walk.  Fast or eat only raw vegetables.  Lift a few weights.  Take my meds.

Still, my blood sugar goes up and down.  When I eat a baked potato or rice and beans, it jumps 200 points and does not come back down for hours.

Even though I eat totally vegan (no meat, poultry, pork, seafood, eggs, or dairy), that doesn’t mean that grains and white potatoes can’t jack up your glucose levels.  A lot of fat people gorge on cheap carbs.

(I am not a doctor.  This is not medical advice.  If you are that big of a sissy that you can’t treat your own diabetes, then read this disclaimer.  Go see your doctor and don’t bother the rest of the planet.)

My new system is simple.  When I get up, I check my blood sugar level.  (My sugar tends to go up overnight.)

If my sugar is over 120, I will drink only non-calorie beverages or water until the number comes down.  Under 100 is even better but hard for me to reach.

Once the number is good, I will eat soup or roasted vegetables surrounded by raw or cooked vegetables in small dishes like Korean pan chan.  I just sub soup or roasted veggies for the rice of a traditional Korean meal.  At this time, I also make a vegan protein shake to go with the meal.

When I’m ready to eat again, I check my blood sugar and see if I’m ready for more.

I take meds if I need them.  And supplements. I’m trying to get my body to work with me and quickly process carbs and return my body to normal.

~ Chaz

1563. Inflexibility

My Gong depends on living a life of pledges - old fashioned promises that I am determined to keep.  This is an absolute commitment to myself.  I am pledged to follow a vegan diet, write 3,000+ words per day, and watch no TV.

Staying away from the television is the most difficult.  Even with only 1 TV in the house, it’s on constantly.  In the early morning I rise before everyone else, so no problem.  When others get up, I have to move to a computer in a bedroom to avoid the temptation.

Even on this first day of the Gong, I got in 5 hours of work before anyone else was up.  And the TV was off for at least 2 hours after that.

In this case, flexibility is a trap.  I’m like an addict.  If I start watching one show, I may well watch six. Radical inflexibility is a key to achieving long term objectives.

By sticking to a vegan diet, I don’t have to make decisions.  This includes foods that are vegan - like rice and white potatoes - that don’t help me keep my blood sugar in check.  If I cut out the junk, I don’t have to make a decision.

By having too many choices, we develop decision fatigue.  Just pick up the remote control and check all of the choices of programs to watch.  You can have 200 channels and not find anything that interests you.  Crazy.

That’s why pledges are so vital.  Once you have the pledge in place, you don’t have to weigh the pros and cons of each choice.  For me, I have to eliminate grains even though they are vegan.  Eating rice and oatmeal runs my sugar up.  For someone else, grains may not be a problem.  Good for them.  My diet cannot include them.

Once your pledges become known, you gain street cred.  If you have sworn off TV, people should respect that and not invite you over to eat shitty snack foods and watch the game.

When you live a life according to your pledges, people will eventually leave you in peace.  It’s not that you are lording your superiority over them, but you demand respect for your pledges.

I respect Mormons who choose not to drink coffee and tea.  I drink coffee by the pot.  We can respect each other.  I don’t push coffee on them, and they don’t demand that I stop.

What is so hard about this concept?

We can say goodbye to the cult of flexibility.  It’s easier for me to stick to my pledges 100% than 99%.  You can’t let the camel’s nose under the tent.

~ Chaz

1564. The Universe Cares Not About You

Every safety advance in airplanes has come by failures recorded by the black box.  
With each crash, future flights become safer.

Black box thinking is a way to put your feelings and beliefs aside and accept reality.  No one owes you anything.  The world is not interested in what you think of it or how you feel.

I’m amazed at how many people with victim mentality demand their rights.  These alleged rights have to be enforced by government - police, lawyers, and judges.

Give me a break.  If you cannot make your own way, you have to radically accept reality and make corrections.  If you cannot make corrections, you just have to accept reality and move on.

No one is immune to self-deception and self-delusion.  Sometimes it’s just easier to play games inside our heads instead of dealing with harsh truths.

We have to analyze our own internal flight recorders and make corrections based on facts.  This requires radical acceptance of reality followed by black box thinking.

Self-deception is not compatible with the Walkabout Solopreneur life.  Or the Stoic life.  Accepting reality is easy when events are going your way.  The trick is to accept the negative also.

After acceptance, you have to rectify your defeats, mistakes, and failures.  If you don’t deal with reality, the universe will deal with you.  Problems are not like fine wine.  They don’t improve with age.

~ Chaz