Disaster Hack: Prepping Your To-Go Kit for an Earthquake or Fire

Receiving an “If you have to evacuate” email from Senator Skinner made me consider more seriously “What if there is an earthquake or wildfire? After all it’s 2020!” Since I’m not traveling due to COVID, I took my Osprey travel backpack and my eBag carry-on and filled them with necessary items.  Below is a list of what you can consider to put together for an emergency evacuation.

To-Go Kit

  • solar hand held portable radio w/led light
  • emergency sleeping bag (mine came with a whistle)
  • small flash lights
  • headlamp
  • first aid kit
  • fire proof bags & document holders
  • batteries (aa & aaa)
  • germicidal water purification tablets
  • soap bars
  • paper & pen
  • contact list incl phone numbers & email addresses
  • liquid soap
  • ziplock bags
  • trash bags
  • toilet paper
  • sharpie to write your name on belongings
  • travel toothbrush & toothpaste
  • shampoo & conditioner
  • razor
  • gloves
  • jeans
  • long sleeve cotton shirt
  • jacket
  • rain jacket
  • wool socks
  • change of undies
  • yoga pants
  • floppy hat
  • face mask
  • glasses
  • sanitation supplies such as hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, soap and disinfectant wipes
  • feminine supplies
  • sleeping bag
  • travel pillow
  • sleeping mat
  • rope
  • duct tape
  • charging cable for cellphone
  • portable cellphone battery pack
  • cash because credit cards may not work due to lack of electricity
  • water: one gallon a person, per day (three-day supply for evacuation, two-week supply for home)
  • copies of important documents (birth certificates, licenses, insurance policies)
  • back-up of computer files on external hd
  • three days of nonperishable food – high energy foods such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars and trail mix
  • all-purpose knife, scissors and non-electric can opener

Apps You’ll Want to Install on Linux/Ubuntu/Xubuntu

tl;dr: Type sudo apt-get install followed by the name of one of these apps to install it:

gedit, rar, libreoffice-common, vlc browser-plugin-vlc, mplayer, audacity, inkscape, youtube-dl, gparted, id3v2, lame, regexxer, gnome-do, udisks, terminator, arora

For example, to install Inkscape type:

$ sudo apt-get install inkscape

Before you go crazy installing apps

In case you missed my last blog post, the first thing you need to do is make sure your system is up-to-date with the online repositories by running the following command:

$ sudo apt-get update

Once you’ve done that, you are good to go and can start installing apps. Below is a list of the best apps to install on Xubuntu/Ubuntu/Linux. They are all free. Big hugs to open-source engineers!

For most of the apps listed below I explain how to install them via the terminal. A shortcut to open the terminal is ctrl-alt-t. Once it’s open type the command that you see in the grey box. Lets get started.

Sublime Text

Sublime Text is an open-source GNOME text editor.  It includes tools for editing source code and structured text such as markup languages.

$ wget -qO – https://download.sublimetext.com/sublimehq-pub.gpg | sudo apt-key add –
$ echo “deb https://download.sublimetext.com/ apt/stable/” | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/sublime-text.list
$ sudo apt-get install sublime-text


gedit is another open-source GNOME text editor.

$ sudo apt-get install gedit

Mozilla Firefox

There are many reasons to use Firefox as opposed to Chrome.  For one, it’s a browser and simply a browser.  It’s run by a nonprofit organization and isn’t out solely to make money.  It embraces the open source mindset, which is the main reason to install Linux in the first place.  It cares about user privacy.  Also, Firefox is better for battery life.

Install Ublock origin, which is a Firefox plug-in that blocks tracking and ads.  It’s open source.

$ sudo apt-get install firefox


Rar is like a guy slut. It unzips everything it can get its hands on. For example, it can decompress CAB, GZIP, ACE and other archive formats.

$ sudo apt-get install rar


Calibre is a powerful and easy to use e-book manager.

$ sudo apt-get install calibre


VLC is an open-source cross-platform multimedia player and framework which can also stream audio and video in a number of formats.  VLC offers support for advanced subtitles, full SSA compatibility, multi-track audio and playback speed control.  It rocks!

$ sudo apt-get install vlc browser-plugin-vlc


A powerful screenshot tool, which not only allows you to take screenshots, of any part of screen, but also allows you to edit the captured image, adding text, hiding private content by pixelating, and upload an image to a hosting site.

$ sudo apt-get install shutter


Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics editor that can be used to create and edit vector graphics including illustrations, diagrams, line arts, charts, logos and complex paintings.  It’s the open-source equivalent to Adobe Illustrator.

$ sudo apt-get install inkscape


GIMP is a free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, converting between different image formats, and more specialized tasks.  It’s the open-source equivalent to Adobe Photoshop.

$ sudo apt-get install gimp


YouTube is… Shit, if you don’t know what YouTube is you need to get out from under that rock.

$ sudo apt-get install youtube-dl


LibreOffice is an open source office suite forked from OpenOffice.org, which I actually like better. But the developers dised it. So LibreOffice it is. The LibreOffice suite includes programs for word processing, spreadsheets, slideshows, diagrams, drawings and databases. It’s the free version of Microsoft Office and even opens Microsoft generated files.

$ sudo apt-get install libreoffice-common


Skype can be found in the Canonical Partners repository, which makes it possible to install it without downloading the package from Skype.com.

$ sudo dpkg –add-architecture i386
$ sudo add-apt-repository “deb http://archive.canonical.com/ $(lsb_release -sc) partner”
$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install skype


Simplenote is the best note-taking app for Linux right now. It provides all the features that a modern and professional note-taking app must have. This how it becomes the best Evernote alternative app for Linux. This simple and elegant app is designed and developed by the same company who developed WordPress – Best Blogging open source platform, Automattic, Inc.

Download it at simplenote.com.


FileZilla is one of the best and secured FTP client for all the major platforms like Linux, Unix, Windows, and MacOS. It supports large file transfers. There are lot more intuitive features available like bookmarking, drag-drop support, transfer queue and site management.

$ sudo apt install filezilla

Kupfer (optional)

Kupfer is an interface for quick and convenient access to applications and their documents.


Audacity (optional)

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use it to record live audio, record computer playback, convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs, edit WAV, AIFF, FLAC, MP2, MP3 or Ogg Vorbis sound files, cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together and change numerous effects including speed or pitch of a recording.

$ sudo apt-get install audacity

ID3v2 (optional)

ID3v2 is a tagging format for MP3 files.

$ sudo apt-get install id3v2

LAME (optional)

LAME is a high quality MPEG Audio Layer III (MP3) encoder licensed under the LGPL. That sounds really complicated, right?  Simply, it is considered the best MP3 encoder at mid-high bitrates and at VBR. I feel so geeky even copying and pasting this paragraph. On a more serious note, it is an encoder for MP3s. It turns .wav files into .MP3. .wav is always the middle man.

$ sudo apt-get install lame

mPlayer (optional)

MPlayer is an open-source media player. I like this explanation on ubuntuforums.org as to how it is different from VLC:
“I use both. Mplayer on my Mythbox since Mplayer can use CoreAVC which allows for multi-core video decoding, great for 1080p. I use VLC to play videos on my desktop. Mplayer seems to be like a swiss army knife, as in can do almost anything if you know how, and VLC is a normal knife, it is simple to use, but doesn’t come with a toothpick.”

$ sudo apt-get install mplayer

gParted (optional)

gParted is a free partition editor for graphically managing your disk partitions. With GParted you can resize, copy and move partitions without data loss.

$ sudo apt-get install gparted

GNOME Do (optional)

GNOME Do allows you to quickly search for many items present on your desktop or the web, and perform useful actions on those items. Wikipedia says “like other application launchers, it allows searching for applications and files, but it also allows specifying actions to perform on search results. GNOME Do allows for quick finding of miscellaneous artifacts of GNOME environment (applications, Evolution and Pidgin contacts, Firefox bookmarks, Rhythmbox artists and albums, and so on) and execute the basic actions on them (launch, open, email, chat, play, etc.).” So that’s it in a nutshell.

$ sudo apt-get install gnome-do

udisks (optional)

udisks is an abstraction for enumerating block devices and performing operations on them, such as creating file systems or mounting.

$ sudo apt-get install udisks

Terminator (optional)

Terminator is a GPL terminal emulator. It’s an efficient way of filling a large area of screen space with terminals. Basically, you can have multiple terminals in one window and use key bindings to switch between them. This is one my smart computer friend, Super K, says to install.

$ sudo apt-get install terminator

regexxer (optional)

Straight from SourceForge.net, regexxer is “a nifty GUI search/replace tool featuring Perl-style regular expressions. If you need project-wide substitution and you’re tired of hacking sed command lines together, then you should definitely give it a try.” Do what they say, mate.

$ sudo apt-get install regexxer

Arora (optional)

Arora is a cross platform web browser built using Qt and WebKit. It is what my school runs their knowledge base in.

$ sudo apt-get install arora

Python3-tk (optional)

This is for people who are running an app that my school offers because it needs python3 and tinkter.

$ sudo apt-get install python3-tk

zsh (optional)

The Z shell (zsh), according to Wikipedia is “a Unix shell that can be used as an interactive login shell and as a powerful command interpreter for shell scripting. Zsh can be thought of as an extended Bourne shell with a large number of improvements, including some features of bash, ksh and tcsh.” My friend Super K says “ditch bash and go to zsh!”. I do what he says. If you are curious how it works, check out this YouTube clip. I say it’s optional because it changes the terminal a bit.

$ sudo apt-get install zsh
$ sudo apt-get install git-core

According to this article on Github, you need to take further steps to get zsh to work on Ubuntu.

The article recommends you do this to install zsh:

wget https://github.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/raw/master/tools/install.sh -O – | zsh

Change your shell to zsh:

chsh -s `which zsh`

And then restart:

sudo shutdown -r 0

Note that when I tried this, it gave me an error. I ignored the error and it worked.

fasd (optional)

If you use your shell to navigate and launch applications, fasd can help you do it more efficiently. With fasd, you can open files regardless of which directory you are in. Just with a few key strings, fasd can find a “recent” file or directory and open it with command you specify.

Here are two references to check out:

Google Chrome

Installing Google Chrome is a little bit different. First you need to download the .deb file on Google’s site and then install it from Ubuntu’s Software Center. Here’s how.

1. Go to google.com/chrome
2. Click Download Chrome
3. Choose either 32 bit .deb (for 32bit Ubuntu) or 64 bit .deb (for 64bit Ubuntu)
4. Click Accept and Install
5. Download .deb file to a folder (Downloads is the default folder)
6. Open up your Downloads folder
7. Double-click the .deb file you just downloaded
8. This will launch Ubuntu Software Center. Click Install

Apps to download from the Ubuntu Software Center

There are some apps that are easier to install via Ubuntu’s Software Center. For example, Dropbox, FileZilla and Stellarium are the few that I prefer to install using the instructions below.

1. Click on the Xubuntu icon on the top left of your monitor
2. Choose Ubuntu Software Center.
3. Search for the app.
4. Click on the app’s image.
5. Click Install.

And there you have it. The most useful apps to run in Xubuntu/Ubuntu/Linux!

Craigslist Hack: Selling a car on Craigslist

There are a couple things I didn’t read anywhere on the internets about selling a car on Craigslist.  Here they are…

  • If you are a member of AAA, they can handle the transaction at a local office, free of charge.  They offer the same services as a DMV without the lines!
  • The pink slip is the title.  You do not need both.
  • You don’t need to take the license plate off when you sell the car.
  • The buyer pays for a smog test.  I went to the place where I last had a smog test to ask for the certificate and was told the certificate is only valid for 90 days, even though smog checks are required every two years.

Posting an Ad on Craigslist

You should easily be able to shoot 24 good photos of your car. Here’s how we recommend breaking down your shot list:

One overview from each angle of the car; think front profile, rear profile, side profile (times two), a 3/4 shot from each corner.
Detail shots of any exterior damage and a shot of the wheels and tires showing about how much tread is left on the tires.
Photos of the front and back seats, the dashboard, and the odometer showing current mileage.
Open the hood and take an overview photo.

Documents to complete (if you are not an AAA member)

The seller submits a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability to DMV within 5 days of releasing ownership of the vehicle, trailer, or vessel. The Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability may be filed online at www.dmv.ca.gov/online/nrl/welcome
To process an NRL, you must have the:

  1. License plate number
  2. Last five digits of the vehicle identification number
  3. New owner’s name and address

The Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability relieves you of responsibility for parking and/or traffic violations and civil or criminal actions involving the vehicle after your date of sale. Your name, however, will not be removed from the DMV’s records until the new owner submits the vehicle title to the DMV for transfer of ownership, and pays the appropriate fees, and completes all transfer requirements. This form should be submitted by you directly to DMV; if you give this form to the new owner, the new owner may never submit it to DMV on your behalf.

Finalize the Sale of Your Car

Once a sale has been agreed upon, you’ll need to finalize all the paperwork. If you accept a cashier’s check, go with the buyer to his or her bank to get your money. When payment has been completed, you’ll need to:

* Complete the bill of sale.
* Sign over the title.
* Fill out the Release of Liability.
* Submit this form to your state DMV if required.
* Provide warranty documents, if applicable.
* Provide copies of maintenance records.
* Be sure to black out personal information to avoid identity theft.
* Include any additional transfer paperwork your state may require.
* Hand over the keys!

Don’t forget to remove your vehicle from your insurance policy.

When can I turn the vehicle and keys over to the buyer?
You may safely turn the vehicle and keys over to the new owner when you do all of the following:
* Provide the buyer with all the appropriate documentation, signatures, and certifications noted in this brochure.
* Submit a completed Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability to DMV.
* Receive payment from the buyer.


Will I have to pay for anything after I have sold my vehicle?
All of the transfer fees are the responsibility of the buyer.

Should I keep any papers after the vehicle is transferred?
Keep a copy of the completed Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Rideshare Driver Hacks: Picking up Uber/Lyft riders at the airport

If you end up dropping someone off at or near the airport, it’s beneficial to go to the TNC lot and wait for a rider. Here are some things you need to know.

First, the app will tell you that you need to leave the airport to receive rides. Head to the designated TNC lot to be put in a queue of available drivers. The one at SFO is currently off the Millbrae exit. As of Friday, it is going to be off the San Bruno exit.

Once you get to the lot you will be out of the airport range and will be put in a queue to pick up a rider. IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not set your destination. If you do, you won’t be put in the queue and will not get a rider. If you have your destination set, remove it via the app. Then you will see the number of cars waiting ahead of you. That’s how you know you are in the queue.

There are porta-potties in the parking lot. The one for men is really gross. They know that and provide one just for women. You have to ask the guard for the key.

When I arrived to the lot, the Uber driver app said there were 150 UberX cars ahead of me. I thought I was going to be there forever but the line moved relatively quickly. It took 28 minutes to be connected to a rider. Luckily the rider was going in the same direction I wanted to go. (You never know at SFO which direction you will be taken. You could end up in the South Bay, North Bay, East Bay, SF or ???)

The app will tell you which parking garage level and zone to drive to. I simply followed all the Uber and Lyft cars from the TNC lot to the garage parking lot and then drove to the appropriate zone. It takes about 10 minutes to get out of the Millbrae TNC lot and to the parking garage. So it is a good idea to send a text that says something like “Hi! Due to traffic, it is going to take a little longer than the app suggests. See you in about 15 minutes!” This is important because riders could get angry otherwise, as the app tells them you will be there in 4 minutes. (Thank you Lyft driver in the TNC lot for telling me this.)

Once you have your rider(s), head out of the parking garage to the freeway. It’s streamlined and easy peasy.

If you are not a Uber or Lyft driver yet, be sure to use an invite code when signing up. The reason is that you will get a BIG bonus when you do. Here are invite codes for Uber and Lyft:

Lyft: ANNEMARIE869065

Rideshare Driver Hacks: Read this before signing up to be a driver for Uber or Lyft – Get a bonus and more

If you want to start driving for Uber and/or Lyft, here are a few tips.

First, go to their website and sign up.

IMPORTANT: When you sign up, use an invite code. When you do, you will get a BIG bonus. Here are invite codes for Uber and Lyft:

Lyft: ANNEMARIE869065

It takes a few days for Uber & Lyft to run a background check and approve you as a driver.

You can download the driver app, which is different from the rider app.

Renting a car through Uber or Lyft

If you don’t have a car or don’t have one that qualifies, you can rent one through Uber or Lyft’s app (once you are approved as a driver). There are a few things to know about this.

Uber will not accept a car rented through Lyft’s program. Lyft will accept a car rented through Uber’s program. So if you plan on driving for both of them, rent a car from Uber.

Uber has partnered with rental car companies. The main two are Hertz and Fair. Depending where you live, it might take longer to get a car from Fair. I’m in the Bay Area and waited 2 business weeks, called in and wasn’t given an ETA or even where I was in line. Because I wanted to get started, I cancelled my reservation with Fair and went with Hertz. I rented a car from Hertz (via Uber’s Driver app) and had a car in 2 days. It was a smooth process to sign up, get the car and drive away.

Hertz’ policy is much more flexible than Fair’s. You rent by week and can cancel at the end of any week.

You will get a reminder text from Uber asking to renew your car. Within three clicks, your rental agreement is renewed for the week.

As of June 2019, the weekly payment for renting with Uber is $214. You have to pay a one-time only refundable deposit of $200. The weekly payment for Fair is ~$30 less.

If you drive 80 trips for Uber, you will earn $125, which can be used towards the rental car payment. If you drive 90 trips, you will earn $185. If you drive 145 trips, you will earn $265. I have no idea how one can possibly do 145 trips in one week. If you do it, let me know.

When I rented a Hertz car through Uber’s program, I received the welcome package from an Uber employee who is stationed at Hertz. Included in the welcome package are stickers, information about driving, best driving hours, etc. Ask for an airport certificate so you can do pick-ups and drop-offs at the airport.

Add rideshare protection to your automobile insurance

When you rent a car through Uber and/or Lyft you will get the necessary rideshare auto insurance. If you are using your own car, you will need to add rideshare protection to your auto insurance. This will cover the gap while teh app is on but no riders are in your car. USAA offers rideshare protection for $26.99 every 6 months (or $4.50/mo). You only need to add this to your insurance policy if you have purchased or leased a vehicle. If you have rented a vehicle, you don’t need anything extra.

Tax deductions

You’ll want to use an app to track your miles for tax deduction purposes. I use Stride Tax. Here is my referral link: https://stride.app.link/jviC2B5fJX.

Download the app and sign up. When you start working, click on “Track my miles.” When you are done, click that you are finished for the day. When you are done, the app will give you an amount to deduct.


Here are a few accessories that are worth getting. You’ll be taken to Amazon via my affiliate link.

Phone Mount

I have a phone mount that goes on my window. My phone overheated. So now I understand the importance of one that goes on the air vent. This one is a good buy and works well: Kenu Airframe+ | Vent Car Phone Mount.

Charging Cables

It is a huge plus to have charging cables for all types of devices!!! This is the one I got: [2 Pack] USB Charging Cable, 4 in 1 Multiple USB Charger Cable Adapter. I rider called it an octopus of cables. Not a bad description.

Audio Cable

I keep my radio on AUX and when young people come into my car, I ask them if they want to listen to music. I’ve listened to a lot of disco!!! Here’s the audio cable I got. 6 feet is a long cord and guaranteed to go to the backseat: CableCreation 6-Feet 3.5mm Braided Audio Cable.

In-app navigation system

Consider setting Uber/Lyft’s in-app navigation system to Waze. The default app for Uber doesn’t always get directions right.

Mark favorite spots on Google Maps

When I’m starving in the city, I want places I can go to fast that I know are going to be good. So I researched all the good sushi restaurants around and put them as my favorites in Google Maps. I did that with cheap gas stations as well. I also do that with places where there are a lot of people and head there when I get taken to a quiet neighborhood.

Hacks for making more money with Uber or Lyft

When I first started driving for Uber I was averaging $21/hr.  Then I did a couple things to increase my average to sometimes as much as $37/hr.  The main thing is that I started driving during the morning and evening promotions.  I’m not a morning person and end up getting out around 7:30 am or 8:00 am.  It starts slowing down around 9:30 am.  But if there is a run to the airport or a lot of little rides while a consecutive promotion series is going on, it adds up.  So in 1.5 hours, I can make as much as $75.  Not bad.  The same goes for the afternoon.  I start at either 4 pm or 5 pm and to until 7:30 pm or 8 pm.  If there are surges on top of the consecutive trip promotions, it adds up quickly.  When it starts slowing down, I log out and call it a day.

Bay Area drivers need FasTrak

If you live in the Bay Area, you are going to want to make sure you have FasTrak. If you already have it and are renting a car, call them to add the license plate number. FasTrak’s phone number is +1-415-486-8655.


I enjoy driving wayyyy more than I thought I ever would. It is getting something moving in me that was previously stuck. Plus, I love meeting new people and seeing new places.

Again, you will want to use invite codes to get a bonus when you sign up to drive for Uber and/or Lyft. Here are codes you can use:

Lyft: ANNEMARIE869065

Wait to sign up until you are serious about driving. Because they will give you a bonus for driving 300 trips in 90 days.

Happy driving!

Travel Hacks: Osprey Farpoint 40L to Bali & Australia: What to bring and how to pack your Farpoint40

I just got back from spending one and a half months in Bali and Australia.  I lived out of my Osprey Farpoint 40 liter backpack and loved loved loved it (after I managed to figure out a system for packing it)!!!

Below is what I brought and how I packed it.  There are a couple things I had no idea about, which I’ll give you tips on below.  And, there are a few things I purchased which were a really good idea.  The links to them are below.  They are affiliate links so I get commission if you buy them here, which I’d totally appreciate.



If you have any questions, lmk.

I hope you have as great of a time traveling as I did!!!



(Shelley Beach overlooking Manly Beach.)


Before you pack, consider this…

So, here’s the first thing you need to consider before piling a bunch of things into your Farpoint… If you plan on having it as a carry-on, the weight limit is 7kg/15lbs.  Mine weighed 20 pounds so I zipped up the straps and sent it on its own as luggage.  It ended up getting along well with the big suitcases and boxes.  They didn’t smush it. Whew.

If you end up meeting the weight requirement, the containers for your shampoo, conditioner and lotion can’t be over 3.4 ounces/100ml.

Packing the Farpoint is wayyyy easier if you use packing cubes.  The ones that fit perfectly are the eBags Slim Packing Cubes.  They come in a pack of 3.  I have other packing cubes but these eBags Slim ones are really meant for the Farpoint.


Aside from my Farpoint, I couldn’t live without my Outlander 20L Waterproof Backpack.  The size is perfect and it feels really great on.  It is extremely lightweight yet really durable.  It fits perfectly under the seat of a scooter (in Bali you will want to rent a scooter to get around.  They are only $4 a day.) and are truly waterproof (it rained a day in Bali and nothing in my backpack got wet).  At the airport, I wore my Farpoint on my back and my Outlander on my front.  It was perfect.

Necessary purchases…

Initially I bought one Master Padlock for my Farpoint.  Later, I decided to get another one.  The reason is that there are two important compartments in the Farpoint backpack: one for your computer and one for your clothes.  I kept my backpack locked at the airport and in hotels.

My friend let me borrow his travel adapter and I ended up getting one of my own.  This Travel Adapter has 4 USB ports AND is a power adapter for UK, EU, AU, US and 150 other countries!  If you go to Bali and Australia, you will need something like this because they have different power outlets.

When you are not near a power outlet, this small candy-bar sized Anker Portable Battery Power Bank is a necessity.  I charged my phone a lot with it because Google Maps eats up a lot of battery life. The bigger Anker portable battery power bank is a bit heavier but it lasts longer (I used it tenting for 2 weeks and didn’t need to charge it the whole time I was out.)

My friend turned me on to Bendedetta The “Best” (Organic) Deodorant.  After hearing it worked on her husband and teenage son, I had to get some.  It even works on stinky meeee.

During my travels, I kept my passport and wallet in an RFID blocking neck wallet.  My digital nomad friend recommended that I get one.  I was resisting a little because I didn’t want to look like a tourist but honestly it is a crafty thing to have.  I’m glad I got it.

I got a travel-sized laundry bag, which really came into use.  I thought it would be too small and it was perfect.

Optional purchases…

I bought two pricey items and am sooo glad I did.  One was a Kobo Clara touchscreen e-reader and case.  The reason I chose Kobo as oppose to the Kindle is that I didn’t want to be locked into Amazon’s system.  I downloaded a whole bunch of electronic books (.epub) before leaving and they were so very easy to put on my Kobo.

The other item I was really super happy to have was my Sony Cyber-shot HX80 compact digital camera. It took amazing photos!  Totally beats the photos I took with my iPhone.  The zoom capability is phenomenal and as prints the photos look beautiful.

Practical things to pack…

Havaianas flip flops are always a good idea to pack.

I would never ever leave home without my North Face Thermoball puffy jacket.  It is light weight and doesn’t take up much space in my backpack, yet it kept me so warm at night.  I also packed my Marmot Minimalist rain jacket, which was a good idea because I was stuck on a scooter in Bali during a rain storm.

Packing Thermasilk long underwear is always a good idea.  Especially on cold nights.

My guy friend said pack Imodium softgels so I did.  Luckily I didn’t need them.  Grapefruit Seed Extract kills everything so I always carry this wherever I go.

Soap.  (They didn’t have any at the place where I stayed in Bali.)  Rope & pins for drying laundry.  Small bungee cord. Duct tape.  (I didn’t pack any but needed it twice.) Small keepsake bags from Diaso to put things like a travel toothbrush, toothpaste & dental floss in.  A drain stopper.

Items for girls…

I like having a scarf to keep me warm in air conditioned airports.  This scarf comes with a zipper pocket to store items like your passport or wallet.  While I didn’t use the pocket, I loved the look and feel of it.  A lot.

To keep the sun from burning my skin, I bought a travel sunscreen pashmina cotton scarf.  Not only was it totally soft and comfortable, it worked when sunny and rainy.  It kept me cool and warm.  I loved the size ~ and everything about it really!

In Australia, the summer sun is really intense.  I bought a wide-brimmed foldable sun hat and love it!!!  It’s actually really cute.  And I like the strap because when the wind blew hard, the hat stayed on my head.

If you are a female and prone to UTIs, try D-Mannose by Now.  I didn’t need it on this trip but one of my friends did.  It took care of her UTI in two days.  She took 3 capsules 3x a day.

The list…

Osprey Farpoint 40L Backpack

eBags Slim Packing Cubes

Outlander 20L Waterproof Backpack

Travel Adapter

Master Padlock (buy two for the Farpoint)

Candy-bar sized Anker Portable Battery Power Bank

or Anker portable Battery Power Bank

Bendedetta The “Best” (Organic) Deodorant

RFID Blocking Neck Wallet

Travel-sized Laundry Bag

Kobo Clara Touchscreen E-reader and Case

Sony Cyber-shot HX80 Compact Digital Camera

Havaianas Flip Flops

North Face Thermoball Puffy Jacket

Marmot Minimalist Rain Jacket

Thermasilk Long Underwear

Microfiber Travel Towel

Travel Toothbrush & Toothpaste and Dental Floss

Pantene Pro-V Travel Size (dump out their smelly stuff, rinse it out and fill with your own)

Drain stopper (My sister says “it’s handy for hand washing in a sink or tub when a washing machine isn’t accessible or you just need to wash one or two things.“)

Imodium Softgels

Grapefruit Seed Extract


Daiso is the best place to go for cheap bags to put loose things in.  Pantene Pro-V Travel Size offers the biggest sized travel containers that are just a tad under 3.4 ounces.  Empty out the smelly Pantene product and put your own in.  Always travel with GSE.




Building Evaluations: Assessing a bedroom for a cancer patient before surgery (case study)


A client just got diagnosed with breast cancer.  She is purchasing a new bed for the room she will be moving in.  Before she does, she wanted to make sure the room was energetically okay and that the bed wouldn’t be on a noxious zone.  This is the bedroom she is going to stay in during her recovery.

Luckily, the room turned out to be A-okay.  The electromagnetic field (EMF) readings indicate there are no major frequencies in the room.  And, the earth line crossings are in optimal places away from her head or body.  The most noxious area of the room is in a corner that we had already discussed putting a plant in.

During the assessment we felt an area where she could rest peacefully.  And how she could let go in this room without having to worry about anything but recovering.




Building Evaluations: Assessing a newly purchased home (case study)

Clients of mine just bought a 4-bedroom, single-family home and hired me to assess it for geopathic stress zones.  They are planning to gut the inside but wanted to know what I felt before signing off on the architect’s plans.

One of their main concerns was the bedroom.  They want to find a good place for the bed where it isn’t on any geopathic stress zones.  This is important for good sleep. It is also really important for health, particularly because the husband has heart problems.  The less stress his heart is put under, the better for his overall wellbeing.

Below is a photo of the earth lines in their bedroom.  Where the horizontal and vertical lines overlap is an earth line crossing.  There are three shown in this photo. It is important not to sleep on a crossing.  And, in this man’s case it is important not to have an earth line running across his heart.

An interesting find was an energetic wall in the room, labeled #1 in the photo.  It is not an earth line but felt like one at first.  Also, there were mucky spots in the room, which I labeled as #2.  These spots ran in a line and felt like water could be flowing beneath the house.  The wife had been sleeping on this line and I recommended that she move the bed over a bit.

One comment about the overall house is that it felt separated into three parts:  1. pool table room & front room 2. kitchen & living room 3. bedrooms.  There wasn’t a meeting point so it felt like if the husband spent more time in the pool table room and the wife spent more time in the bedroom, for example, they’d be living separate lives and not able to feel one another.  This could potentially lead to marital problems.  I spoke with the architect and she is planning to redesign the house so it doesn’t feel disjointed.  She is also taking into consideration other findings from my home survey.


What to do after installing Xubuntu / Ubuntu / Linux

You just installed Xubuntu / Ubuntu / Linux on your machine. Now what?

The most important thing is to update your system via the apt-get update command in your shell. The reason is that you need to keep your system up to date with the latest packages.  I’m going to explain how to do this using Xubuntu as the sample operating system.

I’ll also tell you how to change the size of the terminal.

How to update your system

1. Open your shell/command prompt

a. Press ctrl-alt-t. Or you can click on the Xubuntu icon on the top left and choose Terminal Emulator.

2. Update

a. In the terminal, type sudo apt-get update.

$ sudo apt-get update

b. Press Enter.

See what happened below when I typed apt-get update instead of sudo apt-get update?  I got a “permission denied” error.  To fix it I included sudo before the command. Sudo means Super-User DO.  This tells the system “you will do this because I said so.”

c. Enter your password and press Enter.

d. Watch Xubuntu update like a speedy mofo…

3. Upgrade (optional, not recommended)

If you want to upgrade, type sudo apt-get upgrade.

$ sudo apt-get upgrade

I don’t recommend upgrading, as it is better to replace the whole operating system than patch upgrades together.

How to change the size of the terminal

a. Press Ctrl + Alt + t to open a terminal.
b. Go to Edit -> Preferences.
c. Click the Appearance tab.
d. Set the default geometry. I set mine to 165 columns and 40 rows.
e. You can also make the font bigger here.

extra somethin’-somethin’: wget

You can use the wget command to grab files from github and other locations if you want to use scripts that others have created.

How to create a bootable thumb drive with Rufus to install a program or operating system like Xubuntu / Ubuntu / Linux

The DVD I had to install Xubuntu wasn’t working.  So I was forced to learn how to create a bootable thumb drive.  Honestly, I avoided learning this forever because I thought it was going to be complicated.  It’s not! Now, while I explain how to create a bootable thumb drive / USB for Xubuntu, these steps can be applied to any program you want to install.

Before installing Linux on your computer, you should note:

Installing Linux on a machine that’s pre-installed with Windows voids the factory warranty. Therefore, you should create a recovery USB right away. That way if you experience any problems, you can reinstall Windows without having to buy a reinstallation USB (~$70) from the manufacture.

In Windows, ask Cortana how to “create a recovery USB.”  Your system will start the Recovery Drive and then ask you to insert a USB stick.  It has to be 8 GB or more.  The process takes about 30 minutes.

1. Download the ISO

a. Download a mirror from xubuntu.org/getxubuntu. This is the one I downloaded → xubuntu-20.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso.  It’s version 20.04.1 of Xubuntu.

Here’s how the difference between amd64 and i386 was explained to me:

“Amd64 means you can use more than 3.25GB of RAM. I386 means you are limited to 3.25GB of RAM. For Linux, it’s recommended to use AMD64 (unless your computer is over 5 years old…).”

2. Burn the ISO to a thumb drive

Use Rufus (only works in Windows), or another free app like Unetbootin, to burn the ISO to the thumb drive.  Since the title of this article is “How to create a thumb drive with Rufus” here’s how it’s done with, well, Rufus…

a. Download Rufus from https://rufus.akeo.ie. It’s free.

b. Insert your USB stick into the computer.

c. Double-click on the Rufus executable file.  (rufus-2.5.exe in this example)

d. Rufus will populate the fields.

e. Click the bootable disk icon.

f. Select the Xubuntu ISO file and click Open.

g. Now we are ready to rock & roll.  Click Start.

h. Click OK when this scary message appears.

i. Unless you have something special on your USB stick, click OK when this threatening message is displayed.

j. Kick it until Rufus is done doing its thing.

k. Move to step 3 once it’s done.  It will say “Ready.”

3. Boot the computer from the thumb drive

a. With the USB in, turn on the computer and press F12.  If F12 doesn’t work, try holding down the F2 key first and then power-on the computer. If that doesn’t work, Google “how to boot from a thumb drive.”  Include the make and model of your computer.

b. Choose the option that says boot from USB and click enter.

4. Install Xubuntu

a. Arrow down to “Install Xubuntu” and press Enter.

That’s it!  You are on your way to installing an awesome operating system!

extra somethin’-somethin’: Dual Boot Windows & Xubuntu

Here is an awesome website if you want step-by-step procedures on how to create a dual boot of Windows and Xubuntu:  http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/dual-boot-windows-7-xubuntu.html