Favorite Soaps and Men’s Grooming Products

I started buying my own soap and toothpaste as a kid off the internet when investigating ways to stay as healthy as possible. Buying fluoride free toothpaste was my first purchase and back in 2007 there were not as many companies manufacturing it as today.  Also I started to purchase natural Dr. Bronner’s soap. It is now 10 years later and I now have favorites in the natural soap and grooming market!

Body Wash and All in One Soap

Dr Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap

Dr Bronner’s is a great soap for everyday use. It cleans great, requires very little to build a lather, and leaves skin free and clear of chemicals. I found this product early and continue to use it today.  Walgreens has even started to sell this product in their stores.

Shampoo

REF (Reference of Sweden) 551

When I don’t shampoo with Dr. Bronner’s this is my favorite shampoo. It is packed with natural oils and cleans great leaving hair shiny and nourished. It is fairly expensive however and can only be found at salons.

Bar Soap

Nubian Heritage Indian Hemp and Haitian Vetiver Bar Soap

This soap is very soft and smooth. A great change from Dr. Bronner’s on occasion. Lathers great, cleans great, and leaves the skin moisturized. It does not strip your skin of their natural oils like most mainstream soaps. It doesn’t leave a film. Just a smooth lather that works great.

Toothpaste

Himalaya Botanique Pomegranate Neem Fluoride Free Toothpaste

Finding an awesome natural toothpaste was not as easy I hoped. I went through many brands over the years such as Jason’s, Nature’s Answer, and Tom’s. None of them had the clean mouth feel and taste that I enjoy. This toothpaste blew me away. Its clean mouth feel and fresh taste keeps me buying this brand. It is made in India. The tube seems to last forever as well due to the small amount required for brushing.

Razor and Shaving Cream

Dollar Shave Club 4x Razor

This is a great razor from DSC. The club is a subscription which delivers a new pack of razor heads every month. Durable and the 4x razor heads shave close and smooth.

Dollar Shave Club Dr. Carter’s Shave Butter

This ‘shave butter’ is so smooth! The 4x razor glides and shaves perfectly with this product. It is a very buttery feel that applies great with very little product. The after-shave feel is great and soft. I recently have started to use this product and am hooked.

 

Those are all my current favorites. I hope you try some out. Please comment if you have any recommendations or if you ended up trying one of these! Enjoy!

Manjaro Linux Distribution and Cool Applications

Manjaro is a great rolling release distribution based on Arch Linux. Arch Linux built a great community and repository started in 2002. It has grown over the years and Manjaro is an awesome newer distribution which builds in an installer and some nice features which make for an easier installation. Rolling release means you always have up to date software.

One of the best things about Arch based distributions is the Arch User Repository. This repository contains PKGBUILD scripts which install a plethora of software not in the repositories. You can use AUR helpers to install from AUR easier.

Steam now runs on Linux. Games such as Counter Strike and Cities Skylines run great on Linux. There are lots of games supporting it coming out every day because of Steams support. This used to be the only problem with Linux but now with top games coming out on it there is nothing to complain about.

LibreOffice 5 is very high quality and can easily replace Microsoft Office on all platforms.

OwnCloud is a great web application that runs a cloud storage system. There are clients for all platforms and the linux sync client works great to my shared server.

Try Manjaro yourself by burning the image to a disc or USB key. It can revive older computers and make your new computers even faster.

Download Manjaro

My Story Modding Xbox 1st Generation Consoles

Installing a modchip into Xbox (first generation) was a blast. You could boot up custom software and play games that were copied. My favorite software to use on it was Xbox Media Center. When I first started modding it was called Xbox Media Player. It is currently called Kodi and runs on almost all platforms. I setup a Linux file server running Ubuntu to share Music and Movie directories throughout the house to our 2 modded Xboxes and computers.

Xbox Media Center

I modded about 5 Xboxes with Team Xecuter Modchips like this one:

Xecuter 3 Modchip

The TV show The Screensavers on TechTV segment with Kevin Rose introducing the audience to Xbox Modding got me interested. I researched it heavily mostly on Xbox-Scene, an internet community for Xbox and modding.

The skill I needed to learn to do this was fairly advanced soldering. You need to install a pin connector and solder the pins to the board. You also need to solder a tiny wire to a tiny point on the back of the motherboard. I screwed up a couple Xboxes by rushing and shorting something out by soldering two pins together or something like that.

You could find needed software in torrent form or on an IRC FTP site called #xbins.

This was a fun hobby as a young teenager was a fun community to be involved in.

6 Portable Music Devices I’ve Owned

 

Portable CD Player can’t remember model

Fun to listen to music anywhere with CD clarity. It was clunky and you have to worry about disc skipping! Great memories.

Sony Minidisc MZ-N505

Minidisc was awesome, the little discs held 1GB of data or 80 minutes of audio. These little discs were very durable and didn’t have skipping problems. The battery life of the minidisc player itself was good as well.

Dell DJ

This was Dell’s first attempt at  a portable music device. It was put together fairly well by Creative technologies. This was my first portable mp3 player with a hard drive and rechargeable battery. It was great having 15+GB of music at my fingertips. Using scroller got annoying when going through large lists of music however.

iriver iFP-380T

A sporty flash based small mp3 player. This was good for working out or riding my bike with it.

iriver H320

My favorite mp3 player. This 20GB color screen carbon fiber beauty even could run a Linux based firmware called Rockbox. Rockbox was fun to use. You could also put a Korean based firmware on it to play videos. There were very few portable digital video players out there at this time. It felt cool to do that at the time but the screen was low res for that.

Apple iPod Touch 32gb

This is the only Apple product I ever owned. It was a good display of the iOS advancements going on at the time. This was right around the time the iPhone got huge. Browsing the web on it over wifi was possible and fun. The quick interface and quality touch screen made it fun to use.

How can Austrian Economics create a Utopian earth economy?

A world economy based on Austrian economics principles would immediately start a permanent trend of productivity, growth, and savings.

A world austrian free market economy would have such little capital misallocation that the world would look like a Utopia. The four essential pillars of a free market are

1) Prices that are freely set by producers.

2) Profits that flow from the difference between the price of a product and its cost to produce.

3) Competition that is unhindered.

4) Private property rights that are inviolable and protected by commonly understood law.

The government regulated markets we live under now cause inefficiencies and capital misallocation across the whole supply chain. Economic regulations on the market by government costs US households $1.863 trillion dollars annually.  Amounting to $14,974/year per household. These hidden taxes are constantly growing and draining the capital from production. No regulation on economic activity is the solution. Taxation would not be tolerated in a austrian market economy as well. Taxation is funded via government force and creates no benefits.

When all prices signal 100% organic human action, supply and demand will always be the most efficient.

Efficiency is the path to Utopia.

Books to understand Austrian Economics and Markets

The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek
Man, Economy, and State by Murray N. Rothbard
Human Action by Ludwig von Mises

Open Source Communities

Open source means everyone has access to the workings of the thing at hand. I’ve learned from some of the best open source software communities with a little bit of politics sprinkled in. Some of the ways I was able to participate was through IRC, online forums, Wikis, and local Meetup groups. Most of the projects I enjoy to learn using these resources had to do with Ubuntu 5.04 (Warty Warthog) – Ubuntu 10.4 (Lucid Lynx), and Ron Paul’s campaign.

IRC

Internet Relay Chat is where the efficient people hang out. If you want an answer to your question, you first have to ask a good question. That’s probably because most times in an inactive room you’ll be talking to a scripted software robot that tells you what you want to hear. This chat protocol is used heavily by Software projects, to get feedback and help users.

To use IRC you first have to find out what Server the software or Hillary Clinton is using to host their channel. A lot of software channel’s are hosted on irc.freenode.net . My favorite client is HexChat.

Connect to that server. And join the #channel.

Online Forums

Forums are a good way to get more information about any topic. Pretty much any hobby or topic you can think of has a prominent online forum destination. Just do a google search for forums + your topic. Done. To search only a specific forum for a topic using google, use this:

site:http://forumsite.com Build an airplane

Sites like Reddit and StackOverflow are similar to traditional online forums but are based on a voting model to push things to prominence.

Wikis

Wikis are self explanatory if you know what Wikipedia is. However you probably didn’t know that successful projects all have their own ‘Wiki’. Internally to share information to maximize productivity, or externally to allow collaboration among its users with developers, and other users.

Local Meetup Groups

http://meetup.com is a good place to find groups of people meeting up around a topic. Ron Paul’s 2008 Campaign was fueled heavily by a decentralized meetup ‘army’ and I learned much about what inspires and motivates politically. Volunteering for Ron Paul and learning about Freedom and all the different arguments was fun and I still enjoy following the happenings of Ron Paul vs Government.

Trip to London, Ontario, Canada!

I wanted to take an adventure so I drove my Chevy S10 from Chicago through the Detroit Canadian government checkpoint and into Ontario. I left downtown Chicago early in the morning and got on the road. The drive is a little less than 8hrs which is part of the reason I chose London.

Getting through the checkpoint was a first time experience for me and I ended up pulling into the semi lane which was pretty funny. The government worker was sitting in a booth above my car roof (semi window height) and she bitched at me for not being in the right lane. I told her that I have never been through a border crossing in my car and she calmed down, at least I hope.

The next step after giving your papers is a full vehicle search. The officers searching seemed to enjoy the mess in my car. After the search you head into the immigration office. They want to make sure everyone has available funds and that they had legitimate business in Canada. They seemed curious if I knew anyone in London and also they had no idea what AirBNB was. I was then interviewed because growing up, being a pretty heavy duty libertarian, I wound up with some silly victim less, non-violent charges on my record. The Canadian Immigration officer was very respectful and cute, she could tell I was not a miscreant. I got a yellow slip after the interview clearing me to drive into Canada.

The highway from Windsor, ON, to London, ON (Highway 401) is very well maintained and is pretty much a straight line making the drive very easy and quick seeming. The speed limit is very low considering the quality of the road but traffic seemed to ignore that mostly and kept a quick pace. On the highway I was passing up a bigger Chevy on the highway with guys about my age and I blew them away with my 4 cylinder which they seemed to enjoy.

The AirBNB room I booked for a week was on a large rural property south of Highway 401. The home/estate was added onto in the late 80’s to accommodate medical travelers as London has a big hospital. My hosts David and Roma-Lynn were extremely polite and a joy to interact with. Here is the AirBNB listing

The downtown of London was much more vibrant than I expected. I did not realize that London was like this before I went to check out downtown. The first place that I went to check out was Milo’s Craft Beer Emporium. This was where I first realized how nice Canadian’s are. Two employees both wrote up lists for me with places to check out during my trip. Also, the patrons at the bar were also a joy to talk to! I met a nice couple who was curious why I chose to go to London and had a fun positive conversation with them.

I slept comfortably all nights in the AirBNB room and woke up everyday wondering what I would check out next. The morning after arriving I wanted to check out the Ontario coastline of Lake Eerie. That led me to a town called Port Stanley, ON which is about 40 minutes directly south of London. I walked around the main section and checked out a coffee shop and art galleries. I purchased a print at the Art Emporium gallery which has a very nice display of local artist’s works.

On the drive back to London from Port Stanley I took a different way which led me along the coast line and down a gravel road parallel to Lake Eerie. This a picture I took about 5 miles east of Port Stanley:

My hosts told me to check out a town called Sparta, ON which was a former Quaker town. There I walked into another art gallery which ended up being very rewarding. The art gallery was Peter Robson Studios and I met his widowed wife Eleanor who was very nice. She is keeping his art gallery alive and making sure that it will stick around for some time! She was a very energetic lady and I didn’t even realize that it was her husband who did all the art when talking to her in the studio. I walked out with some small prints, onto the next town!

The next stop was in St. Thomas, ON which is a fairly populated ‘suburb’ south of London. I stopped in a St. Thomas Roadhouse Bar and Grill for dinner and sat next to the regular barfly townie. He was hilarious and we enjoyed sharing our perspective of each of our countries. I think his name was Tom. I asked what his favorite place he’s ever been to in Canada and he mentioned Banff National Park. That is now on my to-do list as it looks absolutely amazing, check it out! The food at the Roadhouse was extremely good and the Molson beer was sufficient. I didn’t realize that Molson had merged with Coors in 2005.

Drove back to London to hit the hay after the Roadhouse and woke up on Monday and tried to do remote work on the poor internet connection. That didn’t work so well. On Monday I picked up some groceries at Farm Boy which has some pretty high quality produce and meat. I was very surprised at the quality of food on average in Canada. It was better quality at every establishment I bought food in.

During the middle of the week I tried to do work during the day and once that was done explored the area. One other notable trip was the London Archaelogy Museum. I got a first hand look at the Native American artifacts that have been found over the years and on the site of the museum which was a prominent native settlement with up to 2,000 natives at one point.

The Lawson site is a 500-year-old Neutral Iroquois Village situated on a flat plateau overlooking Medway River and Snake Creek in northwest London. Prehistoric Neutral Indians selected this location for its defensible characteristics, access to water, and proximity to a wide variety of animals, fish and wild plants. The site is 5 arces in size and was occupied by an estimated 2000 people.  Three-quarters of the Lawson site remains covered by trees and is undisturbed by previous farming or archaeological digs.

Later in the week on the best night of the trip I went to Milo’s again and met Allyson a local artist who grew up in London. She was absolutely a blast to talk to and we became friends. I opened the conversation rather brashly with a true, but insane story and she couldn’t even believe I was not from London. That was funny. She told me about her time on Peelee Island in Lake Eerie. That is another place I would like to check out! These Canadians really know how to market their country! I learned Allyson is focused on the written word and is currently doing a year long project where she designs a post card every single day. I got to see her card stash and was blown away and thought she was on to something. You can take a look at photos of her progress at LeftySmudges.com. I encourage you to do so.

Allyson told me that the Barenaked Ladies were playing next door that night and I was shocked as my goal that night was to check out some music in London. After a few beers that were very strong I went to see them by myself. That was a blast, I didn’t even realize the Barenaked Ladies were from Canada. They put on an awesome show and were very funny. The showmanship was better than the music quality although they did turn it up a notch towards the end. During the show the lead singer’s son’s came on stage and jammed with the whole band, one kid playing lead guitar and one drums. They killed it and that really motivated me to breed talented kids. You could see the joy on all 3 of their faces jamming in front of a hometown packed crowd.

Took an Uber home and that story I’ll save for later as it was absolutely ridiculous.

The next morning I drove myself to Niagra Falls which was about 2hrs east of London. Some nice views across Lake Ontario of Toronto skyline and the falls were absolutely amazing. I’ll let the pictures and video speak for themselves:

Allyson and I hung out a couple times and we enjoyed each other’s company. We have similar interests (Gardening/Blogging/Friends/Art/Etc). She showed me her Sunday breakfast spot growing up, Irene’s Seafood. That was my breakfast before the drive back and we wished each other good luck and I drove my 13 year old rusty pick up truck back to America.