Websites, Storytellers and Dry Stone Walls

Here are a few random thoughts that have been in my morning notes the last week or so.

  • Websites are to display a storyteller’s humanity not to provide the end product – the story.
  • I no longer refer to myself as a writer.
  • Instead, I’d put “Storyteller” on a business card. When you use words, images, audio and video, you’re well beyond just writing.

And how, dear reader, would you define yourself in a more positive way?


Dry Stone Walls

I build dry stone walls as a hobby and they’re a permanent and very real, solid weight. They’re much more satisfying in a way that a website will never replicate. If I were a few years younger, I might have pursued this more seriously rather than as a hobby. I’m not particularly good at it but I do enjoy it immensely.

One of my dry stone walls around my garden

The objective is to care, and care deeply about at least a few things in your life.

The Imperfection of the Net

Six months after my death, the majority of my work for the past 25 years will be electronic chaff.

Stoicism helps. I read “The Daily Stoic” every morning as I’m drinking my tea or coffee.

Questions, Questions, Questions

One question I’m dealing with as a creator right now – I have a massive electronic “trail” of content sitting online. Do I backdate and improve it or do I simply let it go and move forward in new ways. (Not only this site but my gardening site has hundreds of posts that need updating, repairing.)

Does the backdating and improving provide value both to my readers and to myself?

I’m leaning towards simply moving forward.

Got an opinion? Tell me below.

Reading The Books I Collect

One of the things I do is collect books. We’re talking lots of books. Thick books, skinny books, hard cover, soft cover, really, really old books and just-published best sellers. 

Books. Lots and lots of books.

I collect them.

Note, I haven’t read them all. In fact, there are hundreds of books on my shelves I haven’t read yet. For example, I have 56 Hardy Boys and 50-something Tom Swift Jr books I haven’t read but collected because I read them when I was younger – much younger.   Did I mention Churchill’s five volume,”A History of the English Speaking Peoples” or Durant’s 10 volume “The Story of Civilization”?  Hoagland’s “1000 Years of Irish Poetry.”  Or…

You get the picture I’m sure. And I haven’t even begun to mention the gardening book collection. My 100-year old, antique books were used for background research for my award-winning “Gardening Wisdom” book but then ignored. I won’t even suggest I should read the 4-volume RHS ‘Dictionary of Gardening’  that was a standard pro-level reference before the Internet. 

I Retired Earlier This Year

I happily built stone walls, gardened and did a few other projects this past summer but then fall rolled in and winter – quite naturally for Canada-  has followed.

And Covid.  Well, there’s little need be said about this except we’re continuing to self-isolate and wait for a vaccination. As seniors, we’re in a high-risk category so we’re being particularly careful. (Update: we’re both vaccinated now)

Instead of Driving South, I Went Looking For Projects

I thought I might do some stone carving and I’ve messed about with some tools and stone getting back into the hand-eye coordination necessary to use carving tools. But you can only chew up so many big stones and spend so much time out in an unheated garage. Plus after farming and running a nursery for years, early rising seem to be a feature of my current life.  To be frank, I now prefer to drink my coffee, make some notes on the computer rather than wander outside in the dark to minus-forever temperatures so I can cut up half-frozen rocks. 

But then, in reshelving a small book, I realized I’d quoted from it but hadn’t read the entire thing.

“Wait a minute,” a small voice in the back of my head whispered. “Wait a minute.”

The Short Version Of Starting Reading Seriously

I decided I’d take a day to read the book. And I did. And then my winter project appeared in one of those flashing thoughts you need to grab on its way through your head before it disappears into the ether.

I’m going to spend some serious time reading or rereading my library.

There’s no chance I’ll get through it before next spring but what a challenge and opportunity.  I have the books. I’ve ordered extra bookshelves to get the stacks off my office floor and I’m retired.

The current plan is to write a few words, carve a little stone and read as many pages as possible.

It’s an experiment but what a joy to realize the objects of my collecting obsession will now become part of my inner life as well as decorative objects on a wall.

Damn, who thought you could read the books you collect?

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Do You Know How Good Your Supplements Are?

Are you as confused about effective supplements? And your health? And do you really know how good your supplements are?

The honest truth is that I don’t know enough myself. It’s a confusing subject and my primary research hasn’t reassured me at all.

You see, there’s so much marketing and self-serving bovine excretia flowing over our media, the average person hasn’t a prayer of understanding or keeping up with the data flow. I know when I decided to lose weight and improve my diet, I immediately felt lost and completely out of touch. There were so many “helping voices” out there, I surely didn’t know where to turn. Or, frankly, in which direction to turn.

This information will be a work in progress. Much like ourselves I note.

Consider it a snapshot of the current state of the art and as I learn more, I’ll update right here. Simply understand, as I said above, it’s a work in progress.

I wanted to get a snapshot of the industry before I began so started searching around on random topics.

It wasn’t pretty.

For starters, the industry is a well-protected one with significant Congressional support in the U.S.

A Time Magazine article said:

“1994 law, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which prevents the products from the scrutiny and approval given to other drugs. “I could pretty much create something this afternoon in my kitchen and sell it and not have to do any kind of testing ahead of time,” author Catherine Price” 
You can read the Time article here.

Price wrote a book outlining the industry and its “issues” here on Amazon

OK, but what about the size of this business?

Well now, we run into a few problems getting numbers. There are a multitude of small companies promoting products that fly totally under anybody’s radar. And the industry itself got into a “PR war” between two competing groups arguing whether the industry was a 12 Billion or 37 Billion.

But those numbers dwarf in comparison to the 278 Billion projected for 2024 by Globe NewsWire.

What we can agree on is this is big business.

But It’s All Safe. Right?

Well, here we go again. If you note the U.S.A. regulations above (the largest consumer market for supplements) there are no testing requirements as there are for other foods. As long as you make no outright medical claims on the label, you can sell it as a “dietary supplement”.

And the FDA said

But There Must Be Controls On Production

Well not that I was able to discover. In fact, one of the things I discovered was that you could start your own supplement company quite easily. And if you don’t know how to do this (yet) you can take a course here on Udemy


One of the most famous author/podcasters Tim Ferriss (The Four Hour Workweek etc) got his start this way. He formed a company, sold it and funded his empire.

And celebrity endorsements are legion. Here’s an interesting report on which celebrity is endorsing which product and data about the product.

Speaking of sports celebrities and products

Consumer Reports magazine reported in March 2012, “We’ve had more than 400 recalls of spiked products since 2008,” says Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s division of dietary-supplement programs. Most were marketed for bodybuilding, sexual enhancement, and weight loss.” That, by the way, was in 4 years.

Are you confused yet? Or a bit hesitant to take a look at your own supplements?

I am.

I’m starting to investigate and research every supplement I’ve read about or take and will report back to you on some of the more interesting information.

Interested in what I write? Click here for updates when I post something new.

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