When I create a T-shirt in GIMP, I have been saving the file, then exporting it, then going back to the original, changing the text color (so it will stand out better on a different color shirt), then saving that, exporting it, rinse and repeat. Today I saved the file, changed the color, saved it again, then rinse and repeat. What a difference! No chance of accidentally overwriting a file with the wrong color in the title, much faster, much easier. Biggest difference? When you change the color, and then export it, it does not go with the last title you used for that color. Oh, no. It reverts to the last title you EXPORTED! Thus you have to change the title every time you export the file. If you save all the files first, then just open, flatten, and export, you never have to change the title at all on any of the exports. Less work, lower likelihood of overwriting a file, and much easier to keep track of where you are! Little things mean a lot in GIMP and other similar programs!
If I had any money right now, I would be celebrating!
Walk into doctor's office.
"Close the door," he says. I'm thinking, "uh oh, bad news."
"You want to know what we found in your second prostate biopsy?"
So I say "What?"
"NOTHIN'!" is his response.
"Your cancer's not growing, your PSA is up marginally. That means we wait a year before we even check your PSA, then unless it doubles, we wait at least 6 months to do another biopsy. Your cancer is not growing. If it gets to the point where you only have ten years life expectancy, we stop this watching your cancer completely, because it won't kill you."
Guess I need to get started writing my prostate health book! All of those supplements I have been taking must have done some good. When I heard that my PSA number had gone up (which I heard when I went in for the biopsy itself last month) I was actually worried that the cancer was getting worse. I was hoping for good news today, but did not really expect anything this good. My naysaying doctor won't ever admit that supplements could be responsible for my cancer disappearing, but then, no doctor would probably ever agree that a prescription for Metoprolol could have caused the cancer, either, and I am one hundred per cent convinced that it did. First, there is the proximity. I had no issues with my prostate at all. No going to the toilet several times a night, no serious sexual problems, no nothing. I get this prescription after I showed up in A-Fib one day, and within weeks, I have major problems all known to be prostate-related. No erection, no ejaculation, frequent urination, etc. I cut the Metoprolol dosage in half, and then in quarters, finally told my doctor to put me back on Atenolol, and he had no problem with that. (They had discontinued that drug after they couldn't find my pulse one day. Well, gee, doc, I am here, I am walking and talking, and feel great, I would assume that I do, indeed, have a pulse....) I also told my doctor that I wanted them to check PSA levels. They had been doing that regularly, and then they stopped doing it. They checked it, it was up, they checked it again in 30 days, and it was up again, so they scheduled a biopsy, which found prostate cancer. I then went a record of 128 days without an ejaculation. I started taking Saw Palmetto, which is common herbal that helps the prostate, and in particular, makes it smaller. After the biopsy found cancer, I started researching, and took Dandelion Root Extract, Selenium, and later, Turmeric, and sporadically some other stuff said to be good for the prostate, or to fight cancer. Now, some of these things have no upper dosage levels--they are strictly vegetable in origin. Others, like Selenium, are actually poisonous (that's a heavy metal), and so after researching it a bit, I cut that dosage in half, and increased the Dandelion root, and the Turmeric. I then tripled the dosage I was taking of Dandelion root, which was already at two capsules a day. One Canadian study about this had people taking a freeze-dried tea that was said to be six to ten times more potent (concentrated) than what you could buy in stores. The tea also acts faster. I also am certain that those people were taking more than one cup of tea per day, not sure how much more. But anyway, I could theoretically up the dosage to 30 or so capsules a day, but that would get very expensive. So I have been taking six caps a day. I also now understand that Turmeric becomes more bio-available if you take some pepper and olive oil with it. I may try to work some of that into my diet somehow. But I am convinced that these supplements do work, and that they are the reason for the good biopsy results I experienced. A couple of the things I take come from Lucky's market, and the rest from Wal-Mart. I kind of trust Lucky's more, but I can't afford to buy everything there! Since the Metoprolol also is known for unintended weight gain, and I gained back 30 of the 40 pounds I had recently lost, I am also taking Apple Cider Vinegar, Garcinia Cambogia, and green tea extract, in an effort to bring the weight back down. And I occasionally take grape seed extract, and pumpkin seed extract, and I try to eat a lot of red grapes--about one cup has as much Resveratrol as three glasses of red wine. And I take Omega 3 fish oil, several vitamins, Cranberry extract, Garlic, and a few other things--all in all I spent about as much on supplements as I do in cat food--at or above $100 per month! But I am convinced that the supplements are working.
I will start working on the book as soon as I iron a few things out in the Tee shirt Business.
We have decided that after more than two years in this business, we should know enough to publish a book on publishing. In addition to the book, we will have a membership website, thinking about $30 per month, may go up or down a bit from that, though. The website will include videos of John going through the whole process of creating, publishing, and marketing a book, from mindmap to marketing. It will include formatting, and show actual videos of negotiating the websites of all of our suppliers, including Amazon, CreateSpace, Smashwords, PublishDrive, Draft2Digital, and Lulu. This will become a top priority over the next few weeks. First, though, we have to get that new office built....
Less than halfway through the month, two more sales yesterday, royalties now at $51.55 so far this month, so it is already my best month ever, within a couple of days of being exactly two years into this business venture. HOW TO BUY A CAR Without Losing Your Shirt is ranked #11 in one category, 27 in another, and 55 in a third and is well below 100,000 overall in the store, while PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPOSITION, which came out October 1st, is ranked 107th in one, 161 in another, and 412 in the third one and better than I might have expected overall. I have now started advertising through AMS, Amazon Merchandising Services. It's a pay-per-click ad, with a bid of 25 cents per click, but they have been charging me a lot less than that, and apparently the charge is based on the keyword that the customer clicks on, and how well it merges with your book. So far, they are claiming 2 paperback sales and 2 eBook sales for Photographic Composition as a result of that ad, with an ad spend of $5.08 and gross royalties of $17.40 against gross sales of $47.96 for PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPOSITION, which had zero sales before I started advertising it. The ad spend for the CAR book was $3.54, against gross royalties of $10.70 and gross sales of $19.97. Organic sales were somewhat higher, at $44.94, but that was the first book I published two years ago, and has four 5-star reviews. So the advertising has been a success! I don't consider ROI in terms of gross sales, like it is normally calculated, by the way. My royalties are what matters to me, particularly, since I tend to sell more paperbacks than eBooks, and the royalties are a whole lot lower percentage on paperbacks than eBooks, especially since Amazon has shut down the CreateSpace store, so they take 20% of every sale, in addition to the profit that their own division makes on printing the book. In fact, until the last sale, the CAR book was barely holding its own against ad spend, and I was thinking of halting that campaign. But as long as the book AT LEAST covers the ad spend from the royalties, it can't hurt to run the ad, since it gets more people to notice my book. So while Facebook ads have not been at all successful for me, the Amazon ads have been indeed. I initially ran a two-week test ad, and then copied that and changed it to continuous run. I am told, by the way, that some people are getting in the 400% to 1600% ROI range on Amazon book advertising, and I am getting nowhere near that, and of course, I consider the standard ROI spec to be useless, because you can get over 100% ROI, (that's against gross sales) and still be losing money based on royalties. But against royalties, I am getting over 300% on one book, and close to that number on the other one, though as I noted, those figures change greatly with every sale, and until that last sale I was considering dropping one of the campaigns. Hope you find this information useful, fellow authors.... Check it out at www.cpubfl.com, where you will find links to all resellers for those books.
While doing a little housecleaning the other day, I came across a tattered copy of the ABATE Of Alachua County Newsletter from May of 1994, which I edited. I browsed through it, and found this, which, given the current state of our government, bears consideration. I wrote this shortly after returning from my mother's funeral--and I should note that my father had followed the best legal advice he could find, when he structured his will, which would have divided the six-figure estate equally among the three of their children on the passing of our mother, and then Medicaid changed the rules, that enabled them to force their way into our trust funds, to deplete them, before they would start paying for her care, because she had control over them until she passed. You have to keep up to date on legal matters like that, or our government, particularly when control is in the hands of the republic party, will invade your estates.
THE RIGHT TO LIFE
by John Waaser
I recently made a trip up north to bury my mother. Spare me the condolences. She had Alzheimer’s Disease, and had been in a nursing home for four years. Before that she had alienated almost everyone who knew her by making false accusations of one kind or another, probably due to paranoid delusions brought on by the disease. There were only a handful of mourners—seven family members and about the same number of folks from her old church—including a couple of “professional” mourners, like the local insurance agent, and the soloist from the church choir. Her care had reduced a 6-figure estate to just about $10,000 in the four years she had been in a home. As my brother so aptly put it, “I mourned the loss of my mother four years ago. There’s no mourning left now.”
Yet we prevent Dr. Jack Kevorkian from assisting people with their own suicides, and we outlaw the act of suicide itself.
On the trip, while passing through South Carolina, I saw at least two people riding sport bikes without helmets. One was bent over on the ragged edge, racing around a traffic circle, and had a color-matched helmet strapped to the back of his bike. Yet our benevolent government would like all states to pass helmet laws, in order to prevent motorcyclists from killing themselves. We hear a lot these days about the “right” to life. But is life really a “right?” Those who espouse this concept really seem to be considering life more as a “duty” than as a “right.”
If life is really a “right,” and not a “duty,” then it must go hand-in-glove with the right to terminate that life—whether it be with the assistance of someone like Dr. Jack Kevorkian, or by riding a ZX-7 at the ragged edge around a traffic rotary in Spartanburg, without the comfort and protection of a high-quality helmet.
I had my first return visit for review of my prostate cancer, which was to include a review of my PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) numbers, and a DRE (Digital Rectal Exam). Since I have been taking fairly large doses of Saw Palmetto, Selenium, and DRE (Dandelion Root Extract), I was hoping that the PSA would be down around 1.5 or 2.0. Instead, it was up from 4.8 to 5.37. The doctor explained that they would not be concerned unless the PSA doubled within 12 months. Saw Palmetto will do nothing for cancer, I know, but it sure improves the SYMPTOMS of prostate issues. For a 75-yr-old man, my sexual performance is up to at least very much normal, and the doctor had told me that Saw Palmetto would lower the PSA. That rise was therefore disappointing. As he pulled out from the DRE (Digital Rectal Exam), I asked "SO, is that the prostate of a much younger man?" He seemed surprised that I would ask that, and said "Yes. It was very small." (The prostate tends to grow, beginning at puberty or thereabouts, and continues to grow for as long as we live, and when it is large, it creates problems with erections, with urinary tract issues [having to pee altogether too often], and other areas.) For him to remark on how small mine felt was a very good sign. We have now set an appointment for my second prostate biopsy, in six months. I shall increase my intake of DRE (Dandelion Root Extract) from four to six times the normal dose. The doctor assured me that Selenium does nothing for my prostate, which flies in the face of internet wisdom--apparently high levels of Selenium are not associated with people who have prostate cancer, which likely means that high levels of Selenium in the blood deter cancer from forming, but may not be curative where cancer has already formed. Still, it can't hurt, right? Then he said that Dandelion Root Extract, while it anecdotally cures cancer, has not been proven to do so. Well, in Petri dish tests, it has killed 100% of cancer cells, with ZERO damage to normal cells. He dismissed that by saying "that's in a Petri dish." He dismissed the ongoing Canadian test of Dandelion Root Extract (actually tea, and it is made from freeze-dried roots which are then ground into a powder, and said to be 6-10 times more concentrated than what we can buy in the store.) He said that it had not proven anything yet, since it is an ongoing test. Well, I have some confidence, and there is apparently ZERO evidence of any harm from taking these supplements, even in larger doses than normal. I shall up my intake of Dandelion Root Extract, and likely Selenium as well. We shall then see what happens to my Gleason Score next April. It is now at 7. If it, and/or my PSA level, goes down, I will consider it a success for the herbal remedies. Note that while we have decided to observe my cancer with no medical interference, for the time being, if there is any chance that commonly available herbal remedies can be helpful, I would appreciate knowing about it from my doctor! Instead, I had to look it up on the internet. One of my FB Friends has a neighbor who has just been diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer, and basically been told to go home and die. Since Dandelion Root Extract is anecdotally effective against that, I think he should try it, but my FB friend does not want to get his hopes up(?)! I would want to know about anything that offers hope, in his circumstances. My doctor thinks that prostate cancer is caused by our diet of fatty red meats, but I eat very little red meat, really--mostly chicken, and some fish, and I take fish oil supplements in large quantity, since I discovered that they helped with my Sciatic nerve pain (they are a strong anti-inflammatory). I blame my own prostate cancer on a prescription for Metoprolol which they gave me when I showed up one day in A-fib. That drug should be pulled by the FDA. The list of side-effects on the internet is huge, and I had had issues with many of them. The VA had it on record that I had just lost 40 lbs. Unintended weight gain is a listed side effect of that drug. I gained back 30 of those pounds, and now have lost about 20 again. Depression and suicidal thoughts are also among the listed side effects, and the VA has it on record that my doctor once thought I had made suicidal remarks, so he put me on an anti-depressant That would be a DAMNED good reason to not give me that drug. Metoprolol also causes very bad sexual side effects, which can be depressing. And oh yeah, it is associated with prostate cancer as well. As soon as I noticed the sexual side effects, I demanded to be put back on Atenolol, which they did on a reduced dosage. (At one point, they had a problem reading my heart rate, and thought it was too slow, so they instantly cancelled my Atenolol).
At any rate, expect my Prostate Health book to hit the shelves soon after the end of June, 2018. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men, and usually because it is not caught until it jumps to other nearby organs. Men should get regular physical exams certainly by age 50, including PSA screenings, and when they notice sexual side-effects, that is a good sign that there could be prostate problems, either BPH (a non-cancerous enlargement of the organ) or cancer. Men are apparently too private to talk to a doctor about such matters, and that is what leads to prostate cancer being the second largest cause of cancer deaths (behind lung cancer) among older males. When caught early, as mine was, 99% of men live at least ten years, and my estimated lifespan without treatment, was 20 years. This is why my doctor said it could be 20 years before we would know if my herbal treatments were successful! I hope to have a definitive answer by the time my book comes out!
I have been picking up a copy of BOOK PAGE at my local library lately. I decided to see what it would take to get them to review one of my books in their magazine. They "do not give review consideration"...to books that are self-published or not published by a major book publisher. Excuse me? They are missing out on some of the best work in the reading world, and some of the most cutting-edge work being done in the publishing world. I was shocked and very much angered that they are so dismissive of the fastest-growing form of published work. I shall stop reading their trash immediately!
I had been led to believe that one of the things a charge controller does is to divert excess energy from the battery in order to avoid overcharging the battery. This is apparently not correct. There is, in fact, a "load" output from the controller, but this appears to be for truly minimal current, and it comes on at too low a voltage to be protecting the battery from overcharging. And it remains turned on until the battery is essentially dead. It is mostly suitable as a night light for your battery box, And, especially with multiple battery systems, you will be running an inverter, to produce 110 volts AC, or even 220 volts AC current, in order to power household appliances. This means that the inverter must be powered by a heavy gauge wire, directly from the battery bank, not from the "load" output on the charge controller. Also, and even more disturbing, the charge controller will allow the battery to march on down to about 10.5 volts before shutting things off. Yet most of the smaller inverters will shut down at about 11.5 volts! I suspect that anomaly is because those inverters are designed to work with automotive batteries, not deep cycle batteries that you would use on a solar system. For instance, my current inverter was specifically sold by a music store, so bands could set up their amps and do parking lot gigs, powered by their van battery. They want you to be able to get one more start out of the battery after the inverter shuts down. So this is not really well suited for a solar system, even a small one like phase one of my solar system. They should make some smaller inverters that are specifically designed for solar systems, or that can be switched between automotive and deep cycle batteries. All of my recent battery chargers have a switch to go from automotive to deep cycle batteries. there is no reason at all why an inverter should not have a similar switch!
Hey, everyone, Jay here. John has invited me to Casa John for the winter, to assist with his new solar energy project, and he was willing to let me author the book about it. Like I needed any incentive to spend the winter in Sunny Florida! There will be lots of bench racing--like, "Do you remember the time Jody Nicholas dropped the Gold Star on the last lap at the old public road course at Belknap Park in Laconia? Got back up without stalling that thing, and got past the Harley that passed him while he was down, and won the race!" But then, there will be times when we remember Rusty Bradley throwing away his Kawasaki and his life on the first turn at Daytona in 1970, or those Prime Rib Fridays with Steve and Melissa McLaughlin, before Mel died of cancer. So there will be heavy doses of Smutty Nose Porter or Kraken Cuba Libres to go along with the bench racing.... Anyway, tentative release date for the book is February first, but there is actual solar energy in use now, at least enough to keep those Smutty Nose Porters cold in his tiny refrigerator.... Here is the cover for the new book (just to prove it is not a pipe dream):
It's not finished by any means, but the backyard desk is now fully functional, and I am about to enjoy a cold Goose Creek IPA from my solar-powered refrigerator. A small fan keeps me cool and blows away the mosquitos. The inverter just shut off, although the solar panels are still pumping out a little juice, just not enough to keep up with the demand with everything running. I will be adding another battery on Tuesday, and another solar panel in a couple of weeks, then may add another battery or two. This is totally doing solar on a very low budget, but it will provide enough power that I can build phase two, a 10' x 12' shed that will hold 15 panels when fully populated. For now, I have to disassemble some things that are not fully screwed or glued, in order to build a lockable door for the battery compartment, then everything goes back together after next Tuesday, as the final completion. I can then charge all of my devices, and commence phase two of my solar project. I expect to have the book available for purchase, or at least as a pre-order, by February 1st.