Experiments and randomness

I’ve been doing many things lately, but unfortunately none of them have involved writing on my blog. Now I have the pleasure of trying to sum up all of the interesting (to me, at least) things that have kept me so busy.

Personal Grooming

I haven’t used shampoo or conditioner on my hair for just over two weeks now and it’s looking and feeling great. Instead, I’ve been washing my hair with a baking soda slurry and rinsing with diluted vinegar.

I first read about this approach about two years ago, I think. I tried it back then and didn’t like the results. It was the middle of summer, I was working out a lot at that time, and I felt that without shampoo my hair was sort of greasy looking and feeling. Now that it’s winter and I’m not working out very much (which leads to other problems besides greasy-feeling hair) I thought it was a great time to give it another try.

At first I just tried using baking soda alone. I’d mix it with a bit of water in the shower then sort of pour it on my head and rub it into my scalp. After rinsing thoroughly my hair felt OK, but also sort of dry. But my scalp didn’t feel dry at all. In fact, that was something I had to get used to. I guess after all those years of washing with shampoo I had come to associate clean hair with a scalp that felt pretty tight and dry. But the baking soda and water treatment simply left it feeling…well…just clean, but not tight and dry.

The real magic came when I started adding a vinegar/water rinse. Wow did my hair feel soft and silky afterward! It took me about a week to get used to a hair wash not resulting in a dry scalp, but now that I’ve adjusted I think I’m hooked for good.

There are all sorts of “recipes” one can find with a simple search, but I just sort of wing it. I put some baking soda in a re-purposed cream cheese tub then put it in the shower. I add water once I’m in there, then stir it up with my fingers and start applying it. The vinegar/water rinse I pre-mixed in an old plastic Coke bottle that I leave in the shower.

Techie tinkering

I bought a NookColor eReader from Barnes & Noble the day after Christmas. I love reading and books, but I’ve also been trying to cut down on the amount of stuff I have in the house. That means I’ve been boxing up and selling off books, so I really didn’t want to keep bringing new ones in the house.

For the past couple years I’ve been using the library a lot to trim my book budget and minimize book clutter, but even then I’m left with the awkwardness of toting a big book with me wherever I want to read. My work bag is already full enough without adding a large hardcover to my daily load.

I knew I was ready for an eReader and I was tempted to get the Kindle, but I was seduced by the promise of greater flexibility offered by the NookColor. What do I mean by that? Well, for one NookColor reads ePub files, which are a non-proprietary format used by many different eReaders, unlike the Kindle. Libraries also lend ePub files, so I can (theoretically) borrow books from the library with my NookColor. (Licensing issues pretty much make that a once a year possibility, but at least it’s a possibility!)

NookColor had a pretty decent web browser and WiFi capability, so I could check websites as needed/wanted. It also came with Pandora and a few games loaded on it. And it could be easily “rooted,” which means it could be configured to operate as the Android tablet that it truly was. Barnes & Noble is supposed to open this device up to at least some of the apps in the Android market some day…and I was patiently waiting for that day.

I went two months with my NookColor running as Barnes & Noble intended it to. Then I decided to take matters into my own hands and “root” it the weekend before Valentine’s Day. Now I love it more fiercely than ever before. Still a fabulous eReader, but also a small WiFi tablet for at least half the price of an iPad or any other Android tablet out there. 🙂

I’ll have to write a special post about just what was involved with the process. For now, just know that I’ve spent many evenings trying out new apps from Android market and continuing to devour ebooks in the dark in bed. (One of the reasons I really like a backlit screen!)


After much deliberating and research, I took the plunge and bought round trip tickets to Madrid, Spain a few weeks ago. I leave next week, so I’ve been sort of in a whirlwind of travel preparation, including getting tickets for transportation once I get to Spain on the bus and high-speed AVE train. (I’m really looking forward to experiencing high-speed train travel!) I also have to get all my work projects in order, too, which means my free time to do things like write and read blogs has been really scaled back.

Now that I have a nifty little WiFi tablet to take on my trip, I hope to get a few simple blog entries composed while I’m traveling. The WordPress Android app seems OK, so my main issue will be trying to write with only an on-screen keyboard. In my experience, people who are hunt and peck typists aren’t bothered by on-screen keyboards, but people like me who learned to use a keyboard in the old touch-type style find it a bit difficult.

This trip will be exciting and scary at the same time. After all, I’m traveling solo and independently, and I’m not completely fluent in the language. There will be no tour operator to help me negotiate tricky situations, but I think I can manage. I’m trying to find a really good travel phrasebook/translator for my iPhone (which I will have with me, but will *not* be using data roaming), which is proving to be trickier than I thought.

One way or another, things will work out. They usually do. Besides, if I didn’t open myself up to a few challenges here and there, life would be much less fun.


8 thoughts on “Experiments and randomness

  1. Pingback: Experiments and randomness « a windycitygal's Weblog : Dandruff Answers

  2. Wow..Spain will be a nice trip after the winter we had. I’ve been majorly lacking in the fun department and even my little vacation plan turned into a big bust this year.

    This article reminds me that I need to spend some time/money on myself. I’m so proud that you are putting yourself first. I’ve just hit another major savings goal, so I should go out and get some new clothes. I haven’t bought clothes in so long and they are getting so ratty. It’s weird but when you stop spending money, after a while it gets easy to not buy anything but the basics.

    Well, at least there’s the monthly beer club to look forward to. We’re hosting tonight’s session on Stouts.


    • Mmm…beer. It’s the perfect time of year for stouts, too.

      Yes, it is easy to underspend on oneself. One of the reasons I hesitated to book my trip is that I was really getting into watching the vacation savings account keep going up and up. I could fantasize about taking a month-long cruise across the Atlantic if I just kept saving and not spending any of it. But I really need a vacation and that’s what the money is there for, after all.


  3. Spain will be awesome. I did a week alone in Costa Rica a few years ago, and while it was scary, surviving it showed me just how capable I am. You’re going to be so glad you did it.

    Thanks for the review on the baking soda/vinegar hair washing. I’ve been thinking of going that route myself and will now give it a try.


  4. Pingback: Bookish things | a windycitygal's Weblog

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