What do we fear and why do we fear it?

With everything going off in the world lately, and especially the last few days, it is hard not to see the fear around us. Leftists fear guns. Right wingers fear being unarmed. Gay people and Muslims fear media attack and untargeted crime. Parents fear for their children’s wellbeing. Westerners fear terrorism. Animal rights activists fear for gorillas. Feminists fear rape. MRAs fear false rape accusations. Everyone is afraid.

And, naturally, when we are faced with these images and asked “Do you not fear this?”, it is hard to say we don’t. Who doesn’t fear being shot, or losing their means of self-defense? Who doesn’t fear being targeted for random violence? Who doesn’t fear for their children, their friends, their families, their pets? Who doesn’t feel scared when they worry that these things may happen to them?

But the thing is, we fear these things because we are letting them into our homes. When we turn on the news, we invite fear. When we blog about our fears, we invite fear. When we have people round who constantly argue and bring up fear, we invite fear. When we seek out negative imagery and harsh realities, we invite fear. These things are fine in moderation. But when we build our lives around watching the news, guarding against people, setting up arguments with friends and relatives and becoming a cynic, we have no time for anything but fear.

At the end of the day, your chances of being shot, having your weapons taken from you or being raped are pretty low. Most of us are fortunate to live in a world that is generous, abundant and kind. However these big, rare fears overtake us and make us put aside the smaller fears, the things which will actually change our lives. How deeply do you fear defaulting on a loan? How many times a day do you worry that you are letting your mind, body or soul waste? How much do you argue about and plan against unexpected bills, car repairs or vet costs? These are things that strike us every year, sometimes more often. Yet we give them very little thought.

Recently I have had to get a washing machine fixed, then replaced. I have had to work hard with my diet to care for the life inside me. I have had to keep the dog from poisoning itself in the garden. I have had to keep my pea plants alive through torrential rain. I have had to fight for access to my tax records. These may not be big fears for you. But they are far more likely events than dying in a mass shooting, being raped or losing your child to a gorilla. And you need to be ready for them.

Of course, it’s important to stay abreast of the news. After all, if we look away for too long these distant threats may become reality. However we also need to calculate what we fear and how much of it we let in. We ought to know what happened in Pulse night club. We ought to know what the current stance on gun ownership is. We ought to know why Harambe was killed. We ought to know whether the UK is leaning in or out of Europe. But we cannot make this information or this fear our lives. Because they aren’t.

Our lives are filled with far more wonder, far more mundane fears, far more hard graft and petty annoyances than they are with extreme violence or crime or freak accidents. So once the news is off or the article is read or the conversation is had or the petition is signed, we should be able to cast aside these concerns and get on with our days. It’s all there really is to do.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.
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New Year. New Me? New Books!

Yeah, I know I missed the Christmas rush in pushing these on you poor, unsuspecting readers.

But I HAVE actually finished the two books I wanted to finish for 2015. And I HAVE published them.

So here is my first book.

On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

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Naturally all about money. From the basics to the crazy. For areas where I wasn’t sure (sizing down shirts??? MOT???) I asked friends and relatives. Everything else is me and my insane habit of never wanting to spend.

The second one?

The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide.

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For everyone who likes the idea of my sort of lifestyle, but doesn’t know how to go about it. Or for people who hate the idea of my lifestyle, but are stuck housewifing. Or for people who are single, clueless about cleaning and sick of living in filth. Just the bare-bones basics of keeping a house tidy.

Buy them, advertise them for me, send an email asking for a free copy if you know me, I don’t mind. 🙂

TTFN and Happy Reading!

What feels best is not most virtuous.

However positive I am being, I felt this was a subject that needed to be broached.

At times like these, between the fragile state of the Middle East and Europe, the holiday season and family time approaching rapidly and waves of left wing activists trying to convince us that their next “victim” is worthy of our press attention, the mind is drawn to morality, happiness, human wellbeing and what it all means to us anyway.

And for some reason the attention seems to currently be on those things that make you feel best.

Give money to the homeless man with the dog because they might not get food this Winter.

Let the refugees in because our government caused this mess.

Invite round those relatives you hate because you’re still family and this is family time.

Do whatever makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Even if the homeless man uses all the extra money for alcohol and leaves his dog ownerless.

Even if some terrorists are hiding in the refugee crowds.

Even if those relatives start an argument that further divides the family.

Because that good feeling is what matters…

Except it isn’t. The nicest, least judgemental, least cynical action isn’t always the most virtuous. Sometimes being virtuous doesn’t feel nice.

Sometimes it means directing authorities to the man and his dog so they at least have shelter, even if they are unhappy or separated.

Sometimes it means protecting yourself and your country rather than giving the refugees a chance at your quality of life.

Sometimes it means avoiding family conflict, even if you are ill thought of for a month or if you lose someone forever.

Sometimes, the most virtuous, healthiest action hurts, makes you feel guilty, makes you sad or blows back at you. And that’s OK. Virtue won’t necessarily make you, or anyone else, happy. It just sets the world to rights.

So do right by yourself, your family and your friends. If you wish to do right by others, make them healthy, not happy. And don’t worry if the right decision doesn’t feel good. That’s not what it’s supposed to do.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

You Gotta Get A Clue.

Relationships tend to be a bit biased in terms of attention. There is always someone who gives a little too much and someone who gives a little too little. But somewhere in that many people find a balance and feel good about themselves. Most couples can at least work around this, but sometimes a couple is so uneven that one side is smothering the other.

Men who smother tend to offer large volumes of gifts and carefully planned events, they tend to shower their partner in affection and feed them as much as possible, they don’t want to leave their partner’s side.

Women who smother tend to be overly protective of their partner, get jealous of every female around their partner, display their dominance and, again, won’t leave their partner’s side.

And the interesting thing, is that these men and women don’t actually want to treat their partner like that. They feel bad about it, get stressed over it… so why do they do it to begin with?

My theory is this: they smother the way they want to be smothered.

People who smother are often insecure, have inferiority issues and are desperately in love with their partner. But because they feel like less, they are desperate to feel wanted.

Men who smother don’t want to smother. They want to actually be smothered by their partner, in almost the exact same way they deliver the smothering. They want food and gifts from their partner. They want their partner to initiate physical contact and reciprocate.

Women who smother don’t want to smother. They want to actually be smothered by their partner, in almost the exact same way they deliver the smothering. They want to be protected jealously. They want their partner to initiate rough sex and guard them from danger.

And they put on the smothering act in an attempt to give their partner a clue. They’re saying “look at this, isn’t it great? do this for me”. They believe that if they smother enough they will be smothered back and will find value in themselves.

But the thing they miss is that their partner doesn’t enjoy the smothering. Their partner generally feels overwhelmed and makes an effort never to smother them back. They make an effort to get and give some space. Which makes the smotherer feel more insecure, more nervous and more unwanted. So they redouble their efforts.

Eventually these relationships run their course.

And many smotherers eventually get a clue of their own and move onto a healthier way of displaying love and attracting affection.

But not before leaving a trail of confused, hurt and concerned ex partners and old friends behind them.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

10 Reasons You’re Told To Avoid Unmonetized Work.

Many people are unhappy to do unmonetized work. And that’s fine. It’s your choice to only do work you’re paid for and to pay others to do your unpaid work. But some people definitely get defensive and even hostile when you mention your own decision to do unmonetized work.

Whether you’re a home-maker or a community gardener, whether you’re making your own bread or building your own furniture, someone always emerges with a critical eye. Often they just feel the need to counter your points with comments about how they couldn’t possibly do unmonetized work. But sometimes when you defend your choices the critics become hostile. It becomes clear that they’re for some reason unhappy with the fact you’re doing something for yourself.

Which, on the surface, isn’t very sensible. After all, if you don’t care when they hire a gardener or buy a pie, why should they care when you trim the hedge or bake a pie?

Well here are ten reasons why various types of person may feel insulted, cheated or ostracized by your choice to be self-sufficient.

1: Greed.

The biggest one is a personal demon.

Some people are simply too greedy to do anything for free. They can’t see why anyone would or should do anything for free.

These people, deep down, see some benefits from self-sufficiency and know they have some time to put into unmonetized work. But they don’t want to.

And when they see someone work for free, it touches on a negative aspect of their own mentality. So they have to make you doubt yourself, make you admit that for them it would be impossible, anything to justify their own greed.

2: Import, value and sales taxes.

Governments have a vested interest in you not making anything on your own. When you start with simple goods the tax you pay on them is minimal. The real tax money is in luxuries.

When you make your own wine from foraged fruits, the government has no tax power over your drinks, they make no money on them. They would much rather you bought a bottle of wine at the store.

3: Power thirst.

Some people have an amount of control over you through the services they offer.

If the person presenting the critique is asking you to hire them, offering their services for cheap or for free, anything to stop you from doing the job yourself… then they enjoy having power over you.

4: Rat race.

For many everyday people, the concept of the rat race is a sort of comfort. The idea that everyone from the bottom to the top of the 99% is trapped. Nobody has a choice. Taxes are inevitable. You have no way out, even past retirement.

It can trigger a sort of envy and anxiety for some when they see that you can do your own work for free and cut costs that way.

5: Neediness and loneliness.

Similar to the power-hungry, the needy and lonely fear losing you. But they aren’t trying to manipulate you or control you. They simply fear that by changing your habits you are adopting a culture that’s too different to theirs.

These people want reassurance that they will be a part of your life even if you stop shopping for clothes and spend your evenings baking pies.

6: Products to sell.

Obviously, anyone with a finished product to sell doesn’t want you to make your own.

If someone is telling you about the dangers of home-canning or gardening, trying to dissuade you from cooking from scratch or ironing at home, then ask yourself whether they are selling the product you were trying to make.

7: Income taxes.

Of course, another way the government benefits from monetized work is income tax. When you earn money, you pay taxes on it. When you use that money to hire someone, they pay taxes on it. But if you do the work yourself then to tax money is paid on it.

8: Retirement.

Some friends and family may have concern for you if you choose to do unmonetized work. Whether it’s your only work or you also have another job, the fact that you’re dedicating hours to work that doesn’t involve money can make some people concerned for your retirement plans.

Sometimes this comes from a selfish place: they do not want to care for you. But often it just comes from confusion and concern.

9: Welfare.

If you’re doing unmonetized work then welfare becomes a hot topic.

On the one hand, if you’re not on welfare some people come to believe you are entitled to it and believe welfare would be a better option than self-sufficiency.

On the other hand, if you receive any welfare at all, other people will insist that you should spend your time working for money instead.

10: Crab bucket.

Ultimately, if you do unmonetized work you can’t be doing anything right.

We live in a culture where we are encouraged to use and consume, to earn and to spend. By stepping out of the money cycle in any aspect of your life you are defying our culture, our society.

And nobody wants their friends, their subordinates, their family or their coworkers to belong to a different society than them. Be it because of their job, their ideology or their personal demons, there are many crabs in the bucket that want to pull you back.

It’s up to you to decide what you will do.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

10 Things In Defence Of Adult Colouring Books.

Adult colouring books are a surprisingly divisive topic. On the one hand their lovers declare they’re just a bit of harmless fun. On the other their opponents believe they’re a marker of how infantile their users and our society have become.

Generally I find myself siding with the less emotional argument. Which in this case is that they are an infantile pursuit. However, this time the less emotional argument still has an emotional foundation. What emotional foundation? That we should necessarily eschew things that are infantile in favour of more mature pursuits, and that we should have a lesser opinion of people whose pursuits are not highly intellectual or explicitly adult.

And I don’t think that’s right. Because there are many reasons to engage in infantile habits and hobbies, some of them far more valid than attempting to maintain an appearance of maturity. So here are ten reasons why adult colouring books are beneficial, from least to most significant.

1: Fun.

Everyone likes to have fun in some way. The only people who avoid having fun to appear mature are those who never progressed beyond the teenage mentality that maturity is boring. Humans like to have fun. The sensation of “fun” is your body telling you that you are either learning a life skill (risky fun) or safe and secure (quiet fun). If it feels good, chances are it’s because on some level you need it. Not all good feels will be contextually appropriate, but not all of them are sinful or harmful either.

So before I address the other positive aspects of adult colouring books, I’d like to raise the first, most central point: there are many hobbies as pointless, unproductive, unintellectual and infantile as this. In fact, there are many that are moreso. If you see it as appropriate to attack colouring books, then you should probably also set your sights on video games, TV, chance-based board games, trash fiction, most films, shopping, casual blogging, social media, listening to music, etc.

2: Inexpensive.

Plus, something adult colouring has on most of those hobbies, is that it’s actually pretty cheap. The books are sometimes costly, but you can always buy printable versions or photocopy a book or find one on the cheap. And compared to a night out, a new DVD, a game, a restaurant meal or a cinema ticket, even the priciest colouring books are actually pretty cheap.

3: Motor function improvement.

In the modern world we often find ourselves engaging in repetitive motions at work. Typing, clicking, sorting, carrying, pressing buttons, steering. Most jobs are UNIT jobs, that basically means you are one tiny gear and your job is to turn clockwise until you sign off. This can actually affect your muscle memory, cause cramping of hand and arm muscles and mess with your coordination out of work, like the stereotypical powerlifter who doesn’t know his own strength. Like most fine-tuned activities, colouring improves your hand-eye coordination, your eye focus, your hand steadiness and your hand’s range of motion. You may not be an expert artist, but after a while you start using a variety of motions and techniques to get these tiny, precise patches coloured.

4: Attention span improvement.

With the nature of most modern work and entertainment, most people’s attention spans are awful. We’re used to immediate gratification, swapping from tab to tab, pausing our films and TV shows, checking social media every two minutes… Having something you can sit down to and immerse yourself in does wonders for patience, attention, comfort and general serenity.

5: Normalizes relaxation.

Between the flood of women entering the workforce, the decline in small business and the desperate need to compete in the market, political forces, companies and activists alike go on about the sanctity of work. From one extreme, where Marxists believe all your labour should be yours, to the other where Nationalists believe all your labour should serve your people; from feminists claiming that women need to work as many hours as men in the same roles, to anti-feminists claiming that women’s work is generally less useful than men’s, monetized work seems to be the only value anyone has any more.

Which means the pressure to work hard and never relax is immense. Taken to the extreme, we get the stereotypical Japanese businessman. It isn’t actually good. But most of our entertainment options are presented as social, energetic options by force. Go to a party, go hiking, do some networking, go dancing… Having a widely approved and supported hobby that is actually calm and quiet could do society wonders.

6: Brain-stimulating.

Believe it or not, your brain is very much active when you do things like colouring. By focusing on shapes, patterns and repetition we engage the part of our brains that deals with number and space problems. By indulging in bright colours we engage the part of our brains that gains pleasure from pretty things. By developing our motor skills we engage the part of the brain involved in proprioception and detailed work. By working through different colours and balancing them we engage the part of the brain that naturally leans toward creativity. Unlike zoning out to a screen or knee-jerk-arguing on facebook, colouring is actually very good for your mental functions as a whole.

7: Family oriented.

Again, a lot of modern hobbies fall short here. We live in a culture that worships the individual so much that few hobbies engage more than one or two people at a time. Reading, blogging and cooking are preferably solitary activities. Clubbing, social networking or watching TV are engaged in by everyone, but rarely together any more. Sports, shopping or games can be social but are usually only appreciated by one or two members of the family.

However colouring is actually pretty good for everyone. Those with artistic talent can draw. Those without can colour. Children get their colouring books. Adults get theirs. Sharing time and space like that, helping each other out and taking it easy could be just what your family needs on, for example, a Friday night.

8: Productivity.

I could easily list a large number of highly productive hobbies. But the most common relaxation habits among modern humans are not productive. Watching TV, social networking, playing simple games, reading trash and shopping are not productive, especially not in the way most people use them. However colouring, as we have seen, has many benefits. It is productive in that it’s actually good for you. And it’s productive in that at the end you have a completed object to show for it, which in and of itself is also rewarding.

9: Stress relief.

We’re all stressed. We work fast-paced, low-reward, high-contact, high-pressure jobs. Even if one trait is absent in your job, the other three are probably there. When we don’t work such jobs we feel stressed because we’re not doing enough. Stress relief is vital for humans to function. We’re not designed to be continually pumping adrenaline and epinephrine into our systems. We need to get some dopamine, serotonin and GABA in there as well. Otherwise you end up… well, like me. Except most people don’t need to be stuck in that sort of a loop.

By relieving stress with a simple, mentally stimulating, quiet, low-pressure activity you can make yourself better able to function at work, in your social circles and in life in general.

10: Natural creativity.

The big one. Humans are naturally creative. We want to create, to produce, to make marks and sounds and shapes. It’s what got us so far to begin with, combined with our deep curiosity.

But unless they are exceptionally talented or have the time to develop a skill, most people will never create wonderful art. There just isn’t the time, the financial incentive or the resources to make everyone a great artist. If we want to unleash our natural creativity we can write poems, compose story plots, doodle… and now we also have the option to do a colouring book page.

I personally have never had to use a colouring book. Not since I was very little, anyway. But I’m not some sort of a snob who thinks that just because someone can’t draw as well as me, they should miss out on the colouring. Colouring is fun. It’s relaxing. It’s productive and healthy and engaging. And if that’s how you want to let out some creativity, then by all means go ahead.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

What do you think about adult colouring books? What do you do in your spare time? Do you think there is ever anything “too infantile” for an adult’s hobby, if the rest of their life is in order?

Junk Food Is Entertainment For The Poor, Uneducated & Lonely.

We all know that junk food is bad for you. Even in moderation, it’s bad for you. Whatever you do, you’d be better off not eating junk food at all.

Some of us will therefore prioritize health and avoid it.

Some will indulge it from time to time, the same way we indulge alcohol or trash television.

But some of us end up consuming junk food very often, possibly for every meal, even between meals, even getting up at night to eat some.

And there is a reason for that.

It’s not just because we crave carbs, fats, sugars and salts. If that were the case, then why wouldn’t we see people eating buttered potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes the same way they do hamburgers? There are a few key differences.

The first is that fast food is fast. You can go outside right now and within 30 minutes you could be eating junk food.

Next, fast food is tasty. Junk food is carefully balanced to have the right combination of textures and flavours to keep us coming back for more.

It is also a shared cultural experience. You bond with people over food and junk food and takeout is a cultural theme.

It is everywhere. Not only is it fast, you’re very unlikely to be more than a few hours away from your closest junk food restaurant.

And finally, it’s simple. You just take the food and eat it whilst watching TV or sitting on a park bench.

Now, think about this for a moment, how often do you see these scenes in everyday life?

Parents and children silently staring at a TV as they eat pizza.

Kids going to get chips and dips together as an outing.

Families buying take-away food on a car journey.

Couples splitting a ready meal or take-away every night.

This all happens for the same reason: junk food is treated as a source of entertainment, rather than as sustenance. We don’t eat junk food to stay alive, we eat it for fun.

And when you don’t have the money, education or connections to enjoy yourself another way, is it any surprise that for many people junk food becomes just another thing to do, a source of entertainment to keep you busy until the next show is on?

TTFN and Happy Hunting.