Coping/Brain-Cleaning Week: To-Do, Or Not To-Do?

But before we get to that… a quick note to Bruce down in Ecuador. Long an ex-pat and a key contributor around here, Bruce and I agree on many of the big points, but certainly not all.

Let me pull a comment or two from his Monday retort to set the stage.

“You will never free yourself from regret as long as you live in a country where you cannot optimize your decisions.

Underneath those decisions is a thin layer of anger for the powerless you feel, even subconsciously. That anger drives a low level of depression as you age.

This is what drives Americans to so many coping mechanisms, chemicals, and even social media.”

I respectfully disagree.

First off, few – if any – UrbanSurvival readers are angry.

Secondly, I am totally happy with George’s version of an optimized life.

Oh, sure, Bruce lives in pristine mountain air, and doesn’t have to put up with the kind of local politics endemic to rural America.

But there is a flip side. I think he is way too trusting to think recently arriving Yanks would be loved much of anywhere once global conflict or depression begins, because we do have the capability of ending conflict and most life on earth. Remember the flick (or was it book?) From the People Who Brought You Pearl Harbor. Think Americans are ugly now?

But there is a less dramatic view as well.

On Thursday of this week, I will write my morning column, Elaine will drive me to Tyler, Texas where my long-awaited second eye surgery will be done by a first-rate surgeon with state-of-the-art tools in a specialty setting optimized for George’s otimized perfect life.

I don’t doubt that some eye problems can be dealt with in Villacabamba, Ecuador. And I expect the docs are pretty good. But as good as the rising rock star of corneal and adjacent who does multiple surgeries per day and is constantly out on the edge, at conferences and at the peak of his game?

You take your docs, I’ll take mine.

That’s not entirely American braggadocio. That’s learning applied statistics.

Same thing is true of cardiovascular care. My brother-in-law would be dead except for the high quality care here in the USA.

Of course, we bitch and moan…who doesn’t? But when push come to pudding, the upper layer of American technology is really damn good.

I happen to have a couple of medical conditions (the eyes, eczema, and athsma) that really give me a very sound reason NOT to be out in the hinterlands outside America much, unless on a cruise and they have docs.

For one, I am not a native-speaker of anything but English and Morse code. As such, even if the docs are on par down thataway, the lingo gap between me and anyone else is huge – and I don’t wish to fall into “dead due to lingo gap. Just me, maybe.

Yes, Villacabamba is great and yes, the Internet is pretty good. But I bet if you had a failed implant from 25 years ago, a passport and jet ride north would sound pretty good.

So please, let’s keep a more balanced rudder about America –the concept- because as long as we still have the map, we may be able to find our way home.

I can’t speak for ALL Urban readers. But I for one feel very empowered and very good about the life we lead. Including and especially the infrastructure that allows us to remain the great country we are, inspite of the idiots we let drive the boat.

The only problem we have is said idjits tend to forget who “owns the boat.”

Try, though they do. And then along comes a Trump and Bernie year to remind them they are crew.

Brain-Cleaning: To-Do Lists

Hmmm. Write article about To-Do Lists.

1. Find articles on what steps go into a good to-do list.

2.To Do List: 4 Steps to Complete it and Get Things Done seem like enough.

3.Write down everything, group logicals and prioritize, estimate time for each task. Tick each when done…

Except no, this isn’t how I do it. Because this approach doesn’t really work for me.

So here is how I really operate:

1. Write everything down.

2.Sort out the important from the urgent and non-critical tasks.

3.Throw out everything from the IMPORTANT tasks. If something is URGENT it will eat up your time and if it is not on your important list, it is on someone else’s and screw them. Do what is important for YOUR objectives. If something is non-critical either shit-can it or delegate it. Do only BIG IMPORTANT things or you will never be a big, important person.

4.Last, but not least, look at the few items on your IMPORTANT list. Doubtlessly, some of these will be fun. And the rest will be real pains in the behind. Solve by? Take the absolute worst task that you know you will hate and figure a clever way to blow through it, do it right, and get it off the plate before anything else.

One of the characteristics of ineffective people is they work on the wrong tasks. They ignore the IMPORTANT and fill up the day with the small, but fun, idiot level tasks that you should be delegating or tossing them back on whoever thought you should do it. “WTF are you wasting my time on stupid work for, Bozo?

If you are a high value person in the organization, you will have a lot less to do and you can focus on the hard work (that you hate) but you will have time to do a good job on that and come up with alternative ways to “kill that snake.”

Tasks, you see, are like snakes. Every day, people will send the snakes to your workstation. Learn to kill as many as you can as they come in. Send back emails asking for more information about what they really want from you. Then waste as little time as possible giving people what they want.


From there, every day is usually great (and stress free) before lunchtime.

Problem solved.

Oh, if you do get fired, learn everything you can about the company you work for. Then start a competing company. If they are so screwed up and ignorant that they are focused on URGENT instead of IMPORTANT, you will eat their lunch in no time.

Dear Chinese Kit Company

I thought I would share a customer review I will put on Amazon for a 45-watt ham radio amplifier kit. The kit seems OK – and I can pretty much build and troubleshoot anything.

But I think you’ll see what I write has value – and it’s another example of how an American company really has figured a way to “do it better.” We just “LOST IT” for a while.

I received the amplifier kit in a timely manner. However, it took two exchanges with your customer service department to untangle the mess of documentation for this product.

Allow me to explain: The documentation was delivered via GoogleDrive. But nowhere was that revealed, until I spent an hour of my time sorting out how the document on GoogleDrive would not open directly. Instead, I now know that GoogleDrive docs need to be placed in a TakeOut folder which then moves to my local GoogleDrive folder.

So I got past that hurdle, but it didn’t get me to kit building yet.

I had to work through 9 documents in the Google folder in order to find the only two that matter: The schematic of the equipment (diagram) and the specifications for hand-winding the small toroid transformer forms.

I can take it from here, thanks boys.

But as an American ham, once upon a time broadcast engineer, and prince of hot solder, allow me to suggest that you take a look at some really great kits of fairly sophisticated electronics that were put out by the Heathkit company. Their manuals were absolutely great. Try the SB-220 manual for ideas on assembly and so forth.

One further suggestion (which may reduce your bill of materials cost): Many American ham radio ops have standardized on PL-259 plugs or BNC connectors. BNC is widely used and it might increase sales for you.

Last, but not least, would be an enclosure kit – with heat sink – for which I would gladly pay since I am building this unit for use with a self-contained 14 mhz 2-Watt CW transceiver.

A couple of swamping networks to drop 3 watts out from an Elecraft, Yaesu 817 or a rig like mine would be useful and a time saver.

I haven’t looked at the receive signal path through your unit, but putting in pads or space to mount an optional DPDT relay might be useful, or even better, an RF sampling switch.

Some constructive ideas, I hope you find useful. Other purchasers would likely find these very desired.

73 AC7X

Now the amazing part.

While I was 2/3rds of the way through writing this article the phone rings.

Hey George. Consigliore here.  Made it over to Dayton last weekend and may pick up a Yaesu 817…and I’m looking at buying one of those 45-watt amplifiers on eBay…what do you know about them?

OMG, are you kidding? My I-Ching Inbox seems to be working on land-lines now.

Who knew?

If such luck holds for the eye operation Thursday, I should be competing with SuperMan and his x-ray vision by this time next week.  Or not.

The two best lessons on being semi blind (20-200) so far? 

Elaine’s a fine chauffer and I am a control freak.  Couldn’t the Program-in-Chief have just put me on a distro list, or sent an email?

Write when you get rich…

18 thoughts on “Coping/Brain-Cleaning Week: To-Do, Or Not To-Do?”

  1. Hospitals in Cuenca (north of Vilcabamba) are state of the art. The University for medicine is located here. My interior designer’s uncle is the top cardiologist in Canada and had former pres. Trudeau for a patient. When my designer sent him a video of the tour of the Del Rio’s hospital, his uncle told him how surprised and impressed he was with the state of the art hospital and facilities. You may have valid reasons for choosing to stay in the US over becoming an Ecuador expat, but health care should not be one of them. Also the cost is a fraction of the US cost. One of the main reasons I left the US was to not get sucked into it’s health care system. Not all of Ecuador has ready access to state of the art healthcare, but Cuenca does. And Cuenca’s doctors and specialists get plenty of “practice.”

    • funny you say that.A few years ago I had a problem that needed a surgery that is not only extremely expensive but in the USA experimental and would require a long hospital stay..
      When getting advanced approval from our medical insurance.. I started to receive in the mail from our insurance company.. brochures on various top rated hospitals outside the usa to consider.. the difference if I had chosen to go to one of those they would pay the whole cost compared to going to a hospital in the usa.

  2. Hmmm..
    This is one of my fun, idiot level tasks that I start the day out with.
    It’s interesting and entertaining.
    I get more done on Wednesday because I don’t get Peoplenomics.
    A few years ago I enjoyed reading USA Today in the mornings. A fun waste of at least a half an hour.
    Then they raised the price from a dollar to two dollars. Bye, bye USA Today…

  3. Sure the costs are cheap NOW, but what if the US dollar devalues greatly? I highly doubt we Americans will be welcomed as big spenders then, since we’ll be just like anybody else.
    I really dont see anyplace to go. I once thought of emigrating to Australia, but after getting things in place to attempt expatriating..they were disarmed first, and then the Vaccine Nazis took over. New Zealand signed on to UN’s Codex Alimetarius, so now it’s technically illegal to have a garden (they must not be enforcing it yet). Nowhere to run from the UN Worldwide Totalitarian State, so we may as well stay here in the US.

    • I don’t see how a US dollar devaluation will effect Ecuador. The US dollar used here is just barter. They could swap it out for anything. Please explain to me how a devaluation would effect value here. Thank you.

    • What your country is going to do to you in the next two years is beyond your imagination. Don’t feel bad, its invisible from where you are, but when you talk to some older russians or Somali’s, they can see it and it scares the hell out of them.

      You want longer term? If current immigration policies are followed, in 10 years the USA will have 100 million more people than it has now, and whites will be a minority. Your failing infrastructure will not support that. No need to expatriate for a second world experience, it is forming around you right now.

  4. Thanks to Dr. Ure’s stress relief protocols, I’m pleased to note that partly due to The War of 1812, we refer to the senior “Pres. Trudeau” as “Prime Minister”.

  5. People believe what they want to believe. So I won’t try to change your mind about Ecuador. And I’m not recruiting for Ecuador by any means. The gringos could all go back and it would be okay with me. I liked it fine when I was the first and only gringo here. Actually, the most recent wave in immigrants to Ecuador are young families from Europe, not retirees from the US, which isn’t surprising given the Muslim invasion.

    But for your readers I want to point out that there is a service called gringo911 for people who don’t speak Spanish. It was first successfully launched in Panama. For $80 per year, all your information is kept in a computer data base, everything from blood type to insurance carrier, and you make one call in an emergency to gringo911 any time of the day or night. They send emergency personnel and stay on the line and translate for first responders. They call ahead to the hospital you specified in your data base, to give them all your information so that in an emergency you are admitted practically before you get there. I will have that number on speed dial, and make one call and let them do the rest, thank you. For doctor’s appointments I find most doctors and dentists speak English, but if not there are many professional translators and even medical translation specialists available. At least this is true of Cuenca, where I now live.

    Did you know that Ecuadorian insurance companies don’t have to insure gringos because they are so much sicker than Ecuadorians the same age? Gringos were bankrupting the insurance companies here. The US has the most expensive health care in the world and the most unhealthy population in the civilized world. For the record, there is more cancer causing glyphosate on the ground in the US than in the entire rest of the world combined. It’s in the air you breathe in every state that has been tested so far. It’s in human umbilical chord blood and mother’s milk. Leukemia is up in the US by I think I read yesterday 67% since 1950. When I return to the US for even a week, I spend three weeks detoxing when I get back.

    I’m not sure I “get” your reference to Jerry Della Femina’s advertising book which had nothing to do with war?? My husband and I got our Ecuadorian citizenship, should gringos be sent back during a war, since the US is the last place I would want to be under those circumstances. One only has to check out to see how that is expected to turn out. Several of your own readers have made comments to that effect too.

    I don’t know how you can say you and your readers are not angry. All one has to do is read your newsletters and the comments to know there is a lot of “hot” energy there. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. I’m thinking your friend Bruce must have touched a nerve?

    About the time that “hide under the bed” depression you talk about rolls around in a year or two, it will be interesting to see if you are still happy with your decision. We’re all trying to put ourselves in the best position for the worst times ahead. We all have to do what feels right to us, and I respect everyone’s decision. I just want to make sure the information is correct, and having never been to Ecuador, you made some assumptions here that don’t ring true to me.

    Time reveals all…so stay tuned. God bless us every one.

  6. I love the USA but I would consider living elsewhere for social reasons. Meeting a loving and desirable woman at my age is nearly impossible here but in other countries I would be highly desirable. Leaving my family and property here would be terribly sad, but being here solo is equally sad. Bruce was right in his evaluation of national constraints.

    I do think there’s no perfect country, and I do think Americans generally underestimate the level of technical sophistication elsewhere. We each need to evaluate for ourselves.

    Regardless, I want to climb Mt. Chimborazo in this lifetime!

  7. You have way too much faith in the U.S. medical system. If a person’s problem is an actual physical injury or damage, then our system is very good. But if you have an illness, chronic or otherwise, or a disease, you might be better off just baying at the moon. Whenever a pharmaceutical drug could even remotely be thought of as a remedy for your problem, you will be dealing with a system that is at least as corrupt as our political system. The object of those remedies is NOT to cure you, but to keep you alive and sick as long as possible so your tithing to the medical establishment is maximized. It’s not sick CARE, it’s sick SUSTAINMENT. I doubt that all doctors are consciously trying to rip off their patients, nor even a majority of them, but they have been so brainwashed by allopathic medical schools and pharmaceutical companies that they totally dismiss REAL cures that have been around for thousands of years. Not only that, but there’s a high probablility they’ll lose their license if they even suggest the use of alternatives. The complete Nazification (new word?) of the medical industry will be realized when Codex Alimentarius (as mentioned by a previous commenter) is emplemented here. Health care is now a BUSINESS model, as you say, and no longer relates to the Hippocratic oath.

    • No sugar shortage in Ecuador. Available everywhere. Real sugar too. Not GMO beet sugar like the US or GMO high fructose corn syrup. If Coca Cola is not being made, I consider that a blessing.

  8. Until you have actually taken a trip to one of the popular expat destinations south of the border, what you think about expatriation is exactly what someone wants you to think, and believe me, those parties do not have your best interests at heart.

    Just think of your first visit as a vacation, talk to the expats you find there, and educate yourself. Stay at least a week so you actually get a feel of the place. Be on vacation, but don’t be a tourist jumping from one tourist attraction to another.

    And George, if you hadn’t been jumping off that tractor trying to act like you were 20 years younger, you probably would not have needed that eye surgery. And for your other health issues, get them healed. Every month you do not is revenue in someone else’s pocket. And most adult asthma will have a basis of repressed anger behind it. There is an amazing array of healers in Vilcabamba, and Ecuador as well. They are not popular in the USA, note the 40 plus physicians/naturopaths who have recently been executed to suppress a cancer cure right there in the good old USA.

    Life Extension Foundation ( exists for people to find cures for chronic conditions. Who wants to live to 100 if they are not healthy? Health is not about getting sick and taking a pill to suppress the symptoms. It is a daily regimen to bring your body back into wholeness, and it takes time. LEF looks like it is pushing supplements, but trust me, those supplements do not have side effects like death as some pharmaceuticals do. You take the supplements to heal yourself, and then just maintain on healthy food.

  9. Check out May 24 on .backdoorsurvival. find
    “Practical Reasons to Learn Morse Code”
    In history May 24 1844 Samuel Morse transmitted the historic message; “What God hath wrought”. Ironically sent from Washington, DC to Baltimore. Add as an Important “To Do” list item today.
    Thank you George and Gaye.


  10. Just read “Judgement of Eve” by Edgar Pangborn – seeing clearly, and the inability to see, in a post-collapse world – as well as your interesting essays recently – got me wondering if maybe elective cataract surgery might be something to think about “while the gettin’s good”… or maybe that’s too intense a prep… My Dad (93) had his first cataract surgery last Monday, and I’ve been thinking about the temporary nature of clear sight. It’s necessary for operating a vehicle, and this distorted autocentric culture makes driving essential for most off-farm activities. Saw a neat article on NHK World about a Japanese monk driving uber for his elderly village neighbors in a town with no taxi service.

  11. …eczema, asthma and whatever chronic ailments has the umbilical cord connected to those practicing medicine – remedy exists.

    George, change your gut flora and you’ll be a new man, one without chronic dis eases created via diet… There’s a ton of info out there proving topicals work with the symptoms not the root causes, keeping one a slave to big pharma.

    — 3 links to Dr. Mercola’s many articles on the subject, whereas there’s plenty more from others.

    “Dry flaky skin and eczema are often signs of a deficiency in omega-3 fats;…
    Limiting sugar and grains, and supplementing with fermented foods or beneficial probiotic bacteria…”

    I am not interested in being near big medicine, even though emergency care can and does work sometimes. Approved drugs kill over 200,000 a year and maim millions. Even over the counter meds ruin organs and deteriorate joints. Nutrition provides the tools for healing and prevention. If food is manmade it is not natural and meant to aid good health. When processed sugar became big business illnesses for the rich shot up, dis eases such as cancer. Then when the cost of sugar came down, everyone got cancer and now worldwide because soda is cheaper than water worldwide. As a youth, John Robbins figured this (sugar) out and did not want anything to do with his father’s (Irvine Robbins) business, Baskins-Robbins fame, so he did not take it over as his father intended and it was sold. John Robbins got into health and his sick father got another 20 yrs out of life after getting sugar out of his diet, finally listening to his son about what makes good health.

    It is said, when you have your health, you have everything… :”)

  12. Sorry George, but Americans are angry, about alot of things.

    We’ve got a currency that is based on a lie, we produce practically nothing but “service”, education is becoming prohibitively expensive, insurance has become a very expensive requirement instead of an option, children are being convinced it’s okay to believe that they are something other than they actually are, energy companies have been given free reign to propagate another expensive lie (see our “need” for middle eastern oil), and if I understood the inference in a news story today, Bill’s wife may not even get a slap on the wrist.

    This list didn’t even include our government’s failure to provide a stable house for us to live in (call it immigration if you must, it’s really an invasion).

    Yes, George, we are angry and it gets worse by the day, and EcEx isn’t far from the truth when he mentions self-medication as a prime indicator of our malaise.

    Can it get better ? Yes.
    Is it likely ? Doubtful.

    Oh, and remorse and regret are signs of a healthy conscience. Living for them is a sign of mental/emotional deficiency.

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