Sunday, October 2, 2022
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Social Cookies

If you visit very often, you might notice a link in the main menu above that says and points to Social Cookies.

Social Cookies is essentially a social networking platform. Very plain, non-intrusive, and light. Not an ad server like Twitter or Facebook. A simple place for our friends and neighbors here in Montana to socialize without all of the noise.

… with the public setting you are visible to everyone else on the platform and not the internet at large … with settings set to private, you are only visible to your friends and followers on the platform … same goes for your blogs & groups.

… When you join, you’ll notice that things like birthdays, gender, phone, and location isn’t required … you are who you are because … you know … people.

The big guys like Twitter and Facebook claim to be all “inclusive” on their platforms, but then turn around and pigeon-hole people into little tribes that are anything but inclusive. They use things like gender and age, to cite a few, to pit people against each other and this ought not be … we’re all here and we all should be free to talk to each other without the big internet interests of the day interfering.

You don’t need an app for this .. simply bookmark the web address to the start screen on your phone and you’re done.

I’m tired of these so-called apps as well. If you can’t write a platform that works just as well on a phone as it might on a PC, well .. then I’m sorry for you. An app is just a fancy way to sell you a link. Linking the site to your home phone screen is just as effective and doesn’t cost you anything. You never know just what kinds of data collection scripts are written into an app anyway, and at the end of the day, though the so-called app is free at the app store, you’ll always end up paying a price anyway for all of the data collection that’s going on on the back-end of the app, so why not be certain of your privacy by just bookmarking the web address to the home screen on your phone.

The platform itself won’t be wholly supported by ads like the big boys are, so you won’t have to be too concerned about looking at stuff you aren’t really interested in.

The platform is pretty much intended to be a private alternative for our friends and neighbors here in Montana.

The data belongs to you exclusively. If for some reason you decide that this platform isn’t for you, then you’ll be able to download it before you close your account.
Data from closed accounts will be purged, so be sure to collect it via download before you leave.

Any questions?

Simply leave them in the comments below and I’ll jump right up to answer them.

Thanks for the read

Happy Trails

Your children need Self-Care too

Guest post by Anya Willis

Today’s kids have a lot more on their plate than their parents or grandparents did. Technology has helped them to connect to the world in ways we could never have imagined. But that comes with a price, too, since they seldom have downtime. They are always connected, always busy because having all that content and connections in the palm of their hand is almost irresistible. It’s a double-edged sword that is overwhelming many of them.

Find Fun Activities That Help the Whole Family Unwind

• If your children are carrying a lot of stress, it’s up to you as their parent to help them learn how to reduce that. It starts at home, where you and your family spend most of your time, so be mindful about putting your kids first, no matter how busy your days become. Carve out time to connect with your kids and do something fun, and look for opportunities to make memories together.

• Good old-fashioned board games like Monopoly and Scrabble never go out of style, but the store shelves are filled with a lot more your kids might want to try instead. Take them to your local Target or WalMart, and let them pick out one or two so they’ll be more likely to enjoy your family game night.

• A family outing to a ball game is something everyone can enjoy. Either go to your local stadium or turn it into a weekend getaway if you don’t have a local team.

• Outdoor activities are the ultimate unplugging family activities. National and state parks offer family passes and have designated free-pass days throughout the year. If you don’t want to invest in all the camping gear you’ll need for extended camping trips, AFAR notes that it’s possible to rent a lot of the more expensive items like tents, sleeping bags, and cooking gear.

• Set up some fun and exciting art and crafts projects for your kids. You can even take the fun outdoors! That allows kids to get messy with their work, plus they can connect with nature. It’s a win in all regards.

Create a Stress-Free Home

When your home is a stress-free zone, it’s not only good for them, it’s good for you too. If you find your family is arguing too much, that the kids are whining and complaining unreasonably, your home could be one of the reasons it’s happening. Try some of these tips to get rid of any bad vibes in your house that can be causing problems.

• Get rid of clutter. It may take a day or a couple of weekends to get rid of the things that you no longer need and are just taking up space. If you let the kids participate and even offer to hold a yard sale where they can set the price on the things they want to sell, it’s more likely they’ll want to finally part with that video game they no longer play.

• Take the family out for a plant-buying trip. Let the kids choose the one they’ll want to be responsible for. HGTV points out that plants are a great way to teach responsibility and allow them to have a non-virtual project that is theirs alone.

• Gear up and go on the road for a Sunday drive. Trusted reviews help you buy with confidence, whether you bring along a wagon to tote kids through a local park or need a backpack to stash their favorite toys and snacks.

• Going to the library together is a way to remind you of how much they were important to you when you were young and a chance to introduce them to all that libraries have to offer besides books, which they may be reading on electronic devices. While you’re there, check out a book on how to decorate using the ancient philosophy of Feng Shui. Shop for some crystals and let them choose one based on the energy they give off.

• Bring your lawn to life and with healthy green grass, and encourage the kids to play in the yard. A carpet of green is easier on knees and joints during rough-and-tumble activities, plus it’s a great way to avoid dirt and mud when the kiddos really get playing hard. If you haven’t done so for a while, aerating the lawn works wonders. Look for aeration companies near me and check trusted reviews to hire the right contractor for the job. Make sure you talk with at least a few pros, and get any pricing information in writing.

Model Stress-Free Living at Work and Home

Get rid of your own stressors. If you’re stressed at work, it’s almost a certainty that you’re letting that stress filter down to your children. Here are some ideas for reducing workplace stress:

• If you have a project looming that you’re procrastinating getting to, tell yourself you’re only going to spend five minutes on it. Those five minutes may be just what you need to show you that you can do it. If not, at least you’ve got five minutes of that chore done.

• Take time to stop and eat and drink. Keep healthy snacks nearby to boost your energy levels and keep you from crazing coffee and sugar in the mid-afternoon.

Follow these tips to prioritize your kids and guide them on their self-care routine, and don’t forget to take care of yourself at the same time!

sourced by Anya Willis:

Anya Willis is a mother of three and has been a yoga instructor for the past 12 years. For most of her childhood Anya struggled with her weight. She was a bookworm since the moment she could read, and had zero interest in physical activity. In school, she was bullied because of her weight, and it wasn’t until she took a yoga class in college that things started to change. She fell in love with how yoga used her whole body and mind. For Anya this was the catalyst she needed, she found a new interest in her physical health and started striving for a healthier life. Reflecting on her younger years, Anya became passionate about kids being active and healthy.

Learn more by visiting Anya at https://fitkids.info/

The new F-150 Ford Lightning

While walking around the Montana State Fair on Friday, I happened across the Ford Motor Company display booth where they had the new Ford F-150 Lightning on display.

Base price for one of these beauties is $40K .. The unit shown here has a starting price of $70K.

Though these EV’s (electric vehicles) are somewhat extremely impractical for our Montana weather and year ’round road conditions, I thought that it would be nice to get one.
Besides the fact that I’ll be able to go from zero to the 4th of July in 2.0 seconds, I think it might look just damned good sitting in the driveway.
We’ll be building our new house in 2023, so I’m planning on having a charging station installed right in the garage.

At a charging station:
120 power takes 26 hours to charge.
220 power takes 18 hours to charge.
You can get the charging time down to 12 hours if you have a 220 charging station installed at home.

Many Montanan’s don’t see EV’s (any EV’s) as being such a good investment, but given for the sake of sheer novelty, it will do the trick if you feel like showing off to all of your buddies. As far as a charging station being built right into the garage? Well, let’s just say that it would be a major selling point should we ever decide to roll this property over at some point in the future.

The price for charging depends solely on the company supplying the power and can range per kilowatt hour (15 cents to 30 cents).

Our Son was pretty impressed with it as well. He sat in the driver seat and checked out all of the gizmos and gadgets (see the video below).
He has his eye set to driving something like this to school eventually, and with good insurance, I don’t see a problem with that.

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The truck weighs in at 2K more pounds than our current F-150 does, and the battery range isn’t exactly something to write home to Mother about either at right around 250 miles. Ford has another add-on battery available that has a range of about 150 more miles.

According to the Rep, battery replacement currently for this particular rig is right around 15K. The price for the replacement battery may or may not change going forward depending on the markets and just how badly we might have pissed China off on any given day.

The F-150 Lightning is pretty bad-ass, but it does have it’s limitations just so’s you know. I already know where the electricity comes from for charging, so I’m not going to sit here and B.S. anyone about my trying to save the environment. EV’s are a novelty item that’s not too unlike the Volkswagen Thing, or the Dune Buggy you built on your living room floor back in the day. EV’s are here and they look cool, and are the latest addition to many of our already well recognized play things. Trust me on this. The folks in Bozeman are spending twice the amount of money on things with a whole lot less coolness factor than the Ford F-150 Lightning has, and they seem quite happy about that.

College finance and the crushing debt that goes with it

These days, primary school kids, as early as even the 4th grade, are seemingly hounded constantly about going to college when they graduate high school.

By the time they reach high school, these kids are so stoked about going to college that they’re willing to sign on the dotted line without so much as even a passing glance at the total, very real, economics that surround that dotted line.

College is in for the long game when it comes to their bottom line. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be pressuring kids, as early as the 4th grade, to begin preparing for college.

In the 90’s, there was the American tragedy of graduating kids from high school that couldn’t read. These days we’re facing another American tragedy — Graduating kids from high school that don’t know anything about finance/economics.

Economic illiteracy reigns supreme in a nation that encourages crushing debt. You aren’t ever going to move ahead in life until you have a bunch of stuff that you’ll never own.

Teach any kid that can rub two brain cells together basic finance/economics in high school and this whole student loan fiasco would simply disappear.
Kids are smart, but they can’t make truly informed decisions if they’re ignorant to the realities of finance. Informed decisions don’t do anything to further the cause of higher educations bottom line, so primary and secondary education conveniently dismisses curricula that involves finance. If I didn’t know better, I’d have to say that there are some pretty strong connections between the lenders and higher education.

When I went to college I very quite nearly starved to death. My job didn’t involve picking fly poop out of pepper for $2.65 an hour at Safeway, but it was close — I worked split shifts at Sambo’s washing dishes and cooking. After Freshman year in the dorms, I got a studio apartment and paid $40 a week in rent. It was outrageous. How in the sam hell was I ever going to survive this. I didn’t have the so-called luxury of getting a student loan tailored to fit my lifestyle complete with deferred payments that included accruing interest during the deferment period. Maybe it’s just as well that I didn’t, because in hindsight, my degree was the very most expensive worthless piece of paper I ever bought, and there it sits, in the drawer, along with the nail clippers and a half used tube of chap stick. In hindsight, I would have been dollars ahead by getting a free paper sack at the Buttery Foods checkout line.

Most kids that graduate high school are already broke even in spite of the fact that they might have a job, and still, here they are, being bullshitted into believing that getting that $130K (+ accruing rates of 3.22%-13.95% fixed) degree is going to land them in the upper echelons of great power and wealth, when in reality all they’ll end up with is a $45K job schilling for the state (in some assigned department), or in a worse case scenario, not getting any kind of job short of flipping burgers at McDonald’s because their chosen field of study has left them in a market so saturated that the coveted job won’t be available for at least 20 years or even ever. In the meantime, here they all are, having to deal with the crushing debt of all of that accrued interest.

Though my degree be fairly worthless, all was not lost. I’ve taken certain elements of my college education and applied them to industries that didn’t require a degree, and I’m quite pleased at the over all end results. The days of having to turn my tired eyes in reference to what was hanging on the wall are long gone.

I don’t think that kids these days are truly aware of college finance and the crushing debt that goes with it. Deferment on the principle but not the interest is the man that stands behind the curtain pulling all of the levers and pressing all the buttons.

So what causes a kid to willingly (short of being ignorant of over all financing to begin with) agree to the predatory lending practices of college financing so eagerly? We could look at the ostracizing nature of ones peers when they learn that one doesn’t plan on going to college. We can also look at the $55K a year teacher that has no desire to move beyond such a low pay scale. We can also understand that “looks” are 90% of the sale. If it doesn’t look good, then we don’t look good. Go along to get along … and so it goes and so it goes and so it goes.

When I tell my Son’s high school teachers that we are considering trade school, they turn me off like a light. I suppose that’s fine. This whole town is chocked full of C+ average people that get on quite nicely that never went to college … many of them make twice to three times the money than a BA would and they’re pretty fine with that.

My opinion of the student debt crisis in this nation is such that says, any institution that promoted a deferment program that didn’t also include interest in that deferment should have to eat the so-called cost on their own. The student should be able to just walk away from the note free and clear without it reflecting badly on their credit score, and the government should stay the the hell away from paying off any of these types of loans.

It would be a win/win for the student and the taxpayers, and a wake up call to the lending institutions that didn’t already do the right thing to begin with.

E City Snowflakes

There’s a new blog in town, or at least, a new blog to me, called What The Funk.

I just discovered it this morning while I was reading The Flathead Memo by James Conner (an old favorite of mine).

Evidently What The Funk is sort of a counter to the E-City Beat, in that it appears to be a polar opposite in it’s thought, technique and writing style.

Opposing views in our fair community isn’t really anything new at all.
Back in the day, on another now long gone blog that I had, Mayor Dona Stebbins came in and commented on some issue of the day and other more well established bloggers in the community lost their ever-loving-freakin minds over the fact that she commented on my blog and not theirs. (these people were more interested in themselves than they were in the community they claimed to support)

Though I’ve never protested anything … like ever, I don’t see a problem at all with protesting. Evidently, our dear friends over on the Democrat side had decided that protesting during the 4th of July parade was the thing to do, and they did it.

The guys over on the E-City Beat side took up issue with what happened at the parade …

“… common sense and discernment are in very short supply with local Democrats.”

Lacking common sense and discernment? Really?
Dehumanizing your opposition is a tactic that says more about you than it does about your opposition.
As sovereign individuals it’s important to remember that there are always going to be those who don’t necessarily share the same views.
Elected City officials need to represent the entire community — not just the parts of a community they like or otherwise happen to agree with. As a presumed City official, you don’t get to decide who might be lacking common sense and discernment as it might relate to your own personal world view.

The fact that nobody Boo’ed the so-called protest during the parade is telling.

The rhetoric that sometimes goes on between our local blogs would look a whole lot different if all of a sudden there was an ordinance against someone expressing their views during a parade.

Neener-Neener-Neener will never win the day in any argument, but yet here we are.

I do Twitter … and short of this blog, Twitter is about the only cyber socializing I do.
I have a ton of left leaning friends over on the Twitters, and when I posted the video I took of the 4th of July protest during the parade (see below), it was met with just one like, and a comment to the effect of, “Thanks for posting this”.

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The video didn’t appear to be well received by my friends in Bozeman, Missoula, or the Flathead. Maybe they’ve got bigger fish to fry, I don’t know.

If you feel the need to protest, then knock yourself out. Nobody should be telling you when and where to protest. If you feel strongly enough about an issue, then just jump up and get it done. I’ll sit on the sidelines and cheer the freedom you have to being able to vent your grievances in the public square.

So a protest happened at the parade. No biggy. Girls and women all dressed in “black” marching with signs, exercising their constitutional rights.
I was somewhat disappointed at the visuals though. The color black is all fine and well and all, but I somehow feel that dressing in everyday clothing would have probably gotten the message across much more effectively in that not all of our girls and women wear black when they visit the clinic.

Also, the Democrats in Montana should really try to not let just one cause get in the way of their over all messaging. Focusing on only one issue during an event that the whole community is involved in may, in the end, do very little to advance the platform as a whole.

I don’t have any particular view when it comes to Abortion other than to say that the government needs to get completely out of it. Right, wrong, or otherwise, there should be no laws or regulation either for or against it. Let the doctors and the women they treat handle it and call it a day.

Stop in and give these blogs a look when you get the chance.

You can catch up with Jasmine here: https://wtf406.com/

You can catch up with Rick here: https://ecitybeat.com/

Thanks for the read

Happy Trails

Ride the trails with me over on the Twitters https://twitter.com/Cookies_Cowpies/ – It’ll be a blast