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Winter is here, even if the official start is over a month away

Sunday November 10th 2013
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I slept well, having had the foresight to buy an anti-histamine/decongestant along the way and to take it before bed.

Today is sunny.  Jean and Chris have gone out for a ski.  I am watching over the kids and the dogs.

It's been a lazy day.  We sat around, had lunch, then Jean, Nathan and I took a stroll down to the water and back.  The ice I saw yesterday on the Lake has broken up and blown into shore, making a rough margin about 100 yards across near shore.  When the Lake freezes, this will make skating and driving on the Lake difficult if it does not blow to another shore before freeze-up.

I had bought two network cameras to experiment with for home monitoring, and we played with them. They seem to work fairly well -- much better than the cameras I tried previously.

Mid-afternoon, Zippy and I left for home.  We stopped at Wal-Mart in Sylvan Lake along the way.  Years ago, we used to spend weekends in Sylvan, but in recent years, I have not been there except to pass through.  It is surprising how the town has grown.

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
 Henry Ford

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Monday November 11th 2013
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I'm hoping to get some deskwork cleared up today.  I began with troubleshooting an problem with audio feedback.  After some time of playing around I realised that the problem was that the camera web page opens the microphone when it is running.  When listening to Internet radio on the same computer, the speakers feed back to the mic.  Normally, the mic is off.

I slept reasonably well last night. I'm still experiencing some allergy, but the medication is helping.  I am finding my breathing is depressed after sleeping a few hours, so I still suspect my diet and peppers are high on the list.  The other suspect is tomatoes. 

I have found that although most tomatoes do not bother me, roma tomatoes and some tomato sauces have given me problems in the past.  Recently, I began making beans stews with canned tomatoes as an ingredient.  That could be it.  I also am growing tomatoes in the house and have been eating the fresh tomatoes.  There a re three varieties and one of them may be contributing to the problem.

I have also been using spices like oregano and a curry mix I bought recently.  Here is a note a friend sent on such matters:

I read some of your diary today have some thoughts.

" canned tomatoes, beans, the curry power I recently bought, or another spice"

My guess is your trouble was with the tomatoes and/or curry if it is a mix, not the beans. If the curry is a premix or paste it has capsicum in it. Capsicum and Solanum vegetables are nightshades, not the same nightshade as common nightshade, belladonna, that will kill you if you eat to much. All food nightshades contain some level of nicotine in them, not that that is the only problem a person can have from them, they have a combination of things that can cause symptoms or health problems.

Capsicum and Solanum plants/foods include hot sauce, pimentos, peppers, paprika, eggplant, tomato, white potato, prepared mustards, many seasoning rubs, and the seasoning mixes of pre-made sausages and bacon, the list goes on and on. Try to avoid both capsicum and solanum in your diet for a few weeks (it may take longer than weeks). If you feel better you will know one or the other is bothering you. Then you bring back one item at a time, over the course time to figure which you must avoid.

Straight yellow curry, not a pre-mix spice or paste, is a plant in the Aster family so that should be fine. Also cumin is a good spice and is from the carrot/parsley family so you may be fine with that too.

People with nightshade sensitivity can have a whole list of problems insomnia, inflammation in joints, weakness, headache, drowsiness, nausea, bloating, vomiting, dry mouth, constipation, muscle pain, bone pain, eczema or other skin problems, and problems with an metallic taste in their mouth. It is really a long list and a strange list with so many ways a body can react it almost makes you think it is not true.

I know about nightshade sensitivity because I have two siblings with the problem. They both exhibit different symptoms and they both have different vegetables and spices that trigger the symptoms.

Think about eliminating these foods and see how you feel. I hope you get this email before you go grocery shopping, no peppers or tomatoes for salads, use grapes, apples, nuts, cheeses to make up the difference. If you can eat curry powder (with no additives) you can make an excellent dish from beans, canned pumpkin, chicken or vegetable broth, onions, yellow curry, cumin, garlic, put some diced chicken in it or other vegetables what ever you want. You can still eat tasty food but avoid nightshades.

Yes, tomatoes and peppers are known issues for me at times, but the interesting and challenging aspect is that not all peppers and not all tomatoes affect me. 

The curry powder I bought has coriander, fenugreek, turmeric, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, celery seed, bay leaves, nutmeg, onion, cloves, ginger, and cayenne pepper.  I can see that the black pepper, the ginger, and the cayenne could be problems.  I noticed that had a reaction quite soon after using it, but nothing extreme.  I'll have to stop using some of the less familiar spices I have been playing with and go back to plainer bean recipes. 

The night congestion and sleep problem has been going on for several weeks, so may be the canned tomatoes.  I have been using them longer than the new spices.  I have been using more black pepper lately and I have been aware that it tends to slightly paralyze me when sleeping, so I'll have to cut back on it.

I made some real headway with the deskwork today and worked into the evening.  I finally got around to billing my website clients.  That was long overdue.

I had intended to get some exercise, and went to the gym downstairs in the morning and looked at the treadmill, but did not use it.   I notice my legs are getting a bit weak from so much sitting and need to walk more.  Skiing will help, but I need to get into better shape regardless. I went outside during the day and unloaded the van and walked around, but was not inspired to look at the bees.  I understand that tomorrow should be warm and I have some deskwork that I have put off that will take days.

My intention has been to set up some video to watch to relieve the boredom of walking on the treadmill, but have not settled on a plan.  I have a number of entertainment devices, including an old 27 inch TV and DVD and VCR players as well as my phone, and two tablets, but am still planning.

I'll sleep when I'm dead.
 Warren Zevon

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Tuesday November 12th 2013
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Although I did wake up with congestion several times during the night, I did get eight hours of sleep, and awoke refreshed.  The antihistamine/decongestant is not strong enough to overcome whatever is causing the sinus problem, although the drug seems to reduce the problem. 

Sitting up helps and I wonder if the problem is GERD, which was a problem previously and seems to bother me in winter.  GERD can cause sinus congestion, cough and hoarseness.  I took some GERD medication last winter, but found it caused me to be short of breath on exertion. 

I also wondered if I had an h pylori infection and saw a doctor at one point, but the problem went away with spring.  Drugs are the last resort.  I prefer to find behavioural solutions.

How is GERD managed? 
From http://www.noseandsinus.com/postnasal.html

Life style and dietary changes: Don't drink alcohol, and don't smoke. Both nicotine and alcohol irritate the stomach and increase acid production. Also,

  • Avoid clothing that is tight around the waist -- corsets, belts.
  • Avoid bending over.
  • Lose weight.
  • Raise your head when lying down. This is best achieved NOT with pillows, but by raising the head of the bed by 6 to 8 inches. This can be done by sliding blocks under the legs at the head of the bed or a wedge under the head of the mattress.

Dietary modifications: You may wish to avoid coffee and tea, carbonated beverages, alcohol, fatty fried foods, spicy food, citrus fruits and juices, tomato juice, orange juice, and grapefruit juice, tomatoes, onions, peppermint, spearmint, chocolate, cheeses, and eggs.

Avoid large meals, especially in the evenings. Do not lie down right after eating. Allow three to four hours after supper and lying down. Make the mid day meal the heavier meal of the day and eat small, well-balanced meals.

I can see why I had trouble last night, maybe.  I ate that quiche which is white flour, lard, shrimp, eggs and cheese.  White flour I know is a problem beyond small amounts, but eggs and cheese? 

I don't drink juices, but have been drinking Diet Coke and I do drink lots of coffee, but usually earlier in the day.  I have an orange every morning, too.  I did not have wine or other alcoholic drink last night and it made no difference.  I figured the bland supper would be the ticket, but did not count on the potency of the quiche.

I have spent a lot of time today digging into this since I have to confess  this condition is beginning to worry me.  Here is the best material I have found so far other than dietary advice. 

The reason it has begun to worry me as It has gotten worse lately, to the point where I woke up at least 10 times the other night and, after an initial three-hour sleep, was only sleeping in twenty-minute naps.  I'm beginning to think this condition is life-threatening. 

The link above describes my condition well.  I assume I sleep well at first since my reflux takes a while to cause irritation as my active day is vertical and gravity clears my respiratory system and allows it to recover.  When I lie down, stomach contents leak and rise up causing irritation in the lungs and sinuses.

What exactly to do, I don't yet know.  I suspect I have sleep apnea to some extent as well.  That concerns me as these conditions can be deadly in several ways.  I think I'll start with diet and not eating in the evening.  This gives me an excuse to cut back on alcohol as well.

A sleep doctor was interviewed on Calgary CBC the other day and I had taken note.  Today I phoned and made an appointment to see him ten days from now.

Meijers came for supper.  We had steak, carrots, broccoli and squash.  I confess I also had four (five actually) glasses of red wine during the meal and after.   So much for self-control.

After my company left, I cleaned up and watched Netflix for an hour. I'm now down to the last two episodes of Engrenages again.  They added a new season and I've now watched most of it    I made sure I did not eat after the meal and took tan Allegra-D on what should have been an empty stomach, then went to bed at ten.

I'm increasingly thinking the problem may be a combination of GERD and mild apnea, exacerbated by diet and lack of exercise, so am trying to become aware of any reflux.  I noted some reflux until bedtime and during the night.

When you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.
 Friedrich Nietzsche

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Wednesday November 13th 2013
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I have an eye appointment in Calgary at eleven this morning, so have to leave by 0930.

I slept two or three hours and woke up, had a sip of water and went back to sleep for a while.  I have some congestion, but not as bad as sometimes. The third time I awoke, I took two Benadryl and went back to sleep. 

For some reason, two Benadryl usually will give me four hours of uninterrupted sleep.  I surfaced a few times before morning, but slept fairly well and awoke rested.

Here is an email I received today:

Allen, I see that you are, by trial and error, trying to establish what food and drugs suit your system.

My wife and I just got results back from this company: http://www.23andme.com

This provided a lot of information, and while it might not provide you with the exact data you are interested in it might be enough to allow you to make some better inferences as to what to try.

The data is fascinating to each of us because it is so personal (me, me, me!) and it is amazing what they can draw from a small amount of spit.

 For example: You can learn where your oldest male ancestor originated from, whether you have a copy or two of the "fast twitch" gene that helps sprinters, or are predisposed to COPD.

Before she bought the kits for us my wife did a good look online and saw that this company seemed to provide the best value.

Part of the way they build their base is to draw survey information from their customers, but you are not obligated to complete it, and you will get data whether you spend time on their survey or not.

I think that young people would get best value from this information as they have more opportunity to adjust their lifestyle than those of us who are past 50.

Thanks for that note.  There are a lot of options these days that we did not have a decade ago.  I recall investigating this company a number of years ago, but did  not act.  I even have a login if it is still valid.  At the time, the system seemed a bit undeveloped, but I am sure it has advanced a lot since then. Maybe I should act on this idea.  What do I have to lose?

I tried my old username and password and got a "not known" message, so I guess they clean out their inactive memberships fairly often.  What the heck, I ordered a kit, but it came to $160 when the shipping was included.

Now I have to get going if I don't want to rush.  When I go to town, I like to do some errands along the way and on the return trip.

Costco is on the way to Calgary, so I made a brief stop, but realized time was getting late, so I hustled to the eye appointment.  The exam took all of ten minutes as all they did was check the pressures.  They came out to be 15 and 16, which is just fine.

I drove back to Costco and bought a WD TV Streaming Media smart TV box to use with the treadmill and also bought an 8-camera surveillance system.

I bought two cameras the other day and have been playing with one, but cannot get a signal to my phone when I am not on my home wi-fi.  I'll probably return them.  At right is an image taken in low light.  These network cameras work in total darkness, but the image improves, becoming coloured and higher quality in brighter light.

On my return, I did the dishes, then went out to look at the bees.  First thing, I installed the new battery on the forklift and replaced the battery I had borrowed from the old red 4X4.

Then I lifted lids on the hives that I brought up from the South Yard last month.  They are the worst hives and I figure that looking at them will give me an idea what kind of winter success to expect. 

They don't look too bad and I expect about 20% loss in that bunch if the winter is not too harsh.  The bees in most hives are all up top already, so I should heft them to check weights but I don't expect they are too light.  I lifted some into place earlier on.  I may have to feed in late March or April, though.

I'm feeling quite ambitious this evening, and much better than for a week or more.  With any kind of luck, I'll sleep well tonight, but I am feeling a bit of heartburn and burping a bit, so whatever upset my digestion is still bothering me and may wake me up again. 

We'll see.

The instinct of nearly all societies is to lock up anybody who is truly free.
First, society begins by trying to beat you up. If this fails, they try to poison you.
 If this fails too, they finish by loading honors on your head.
 Jean Cocteau

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Thursday November 14th 2013
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Just after midnight, after sleeping two hours, I awoke once and then slept four hours straight, with dreams, and awoke refreshed and uncongested. I got an early start, rising at 0430.

I think I may have broken the code.  The problem appears to be GERD.  With that suspicion in mind,  I had a light supper last night.  In fact I just ate some turkey and drank a cup of coffee, then ate and drank nothing until bedtime, except sips of water.

Before bed, thinking that if acid reflux is the problem, and that Pepto Bismol might sooth the stomach, esophagus, etc. I took a shot of Pepto Bismol on the chance it would prevent reflux and the resulting congestion.  It seems to have worked.

I did not take any antihistamines, decongestants, etc. or drink anything alcoholic yesterday.  Coffee is one of the things that is expected to cause stomach upset, and will keep a person awake, but late in the afternoon, I sometimes find I'm tired and a cup of coffee gives me a lift.  Sometimes coffee actually helps me sleep.

I realise I cannot take Pepto Bismol every night.  For one thing, that would lead to bismuth poisoning, but using it helped in the short term.

As for various foods and spices, I know that some do lead to problems and will be careful.  Alcohol and coffee to excess definitely lead to upset.  Some spices are worse.

Another thing to watch is my habit of drinking coffee hot enough that I could not hold a finger in it for more than a moment.  For some reason, my mouth can tolerate hot food and drink, but I wonder about my esophagus and stomach.  Scalding the throat could lead to the kind of problems I am experiencing.

I wonder about beans and lentils, too, as they do cause gas that has to get out somehow and there are only two routes for escape.  Since stomach contents leaking or being forced up into the throat and then into lungs and sinuses (GERD) while sleeping seems to be the problem, gas pressure in the digestive tract is probably not a good thing.

Associated with sinus congestion other problems like loss of the sense of smell and  also plugged ears can occur from the reflux.  I experience all of these.

Anyhow, enough of that for now.   Today I have lots to do and I feel like doing it. 

  • Set up the TV downstairs for the treadmill
  • Add pillows and another brick to the hives.
  • Paperwork and filing
  • Housework & laundry
  • Study and set up the surveillance cameras
  • Make supper for company

Over the years, I have spent many, many hours writing articles for BEE-L, and at various times moderating the list in an attempt to prevent ramant or subtle personal abuse, however, I have finally decided that BEE-L is wasting my time.  Hoping for improvement is futile.  Only a few participants are actually interested in exchanging information.  For others, it is a chance to play games and exchange subtle and not so subtle abuse.

In fact, I have been taking stock and wondering  whether I have learned anything at all in the past year from participating in BEE-L, and increasingly decided I have not.  The one thing I learned, and not for the first time, is that BEE-L will never get better and never again  attract the bee scientists it was originally intended for under present management.

I have to give up.  In spite of encouragement and assistance, the owner will never be able to learn how to recognize abuse, or learn how to  use the available LISTSERV features.  The archives will never be cleaned up and compacted to make them more searchable even though I did a pilot project to determine feasibility.

BEE-L will just go on trying to be all things to all people and as a result, be mostly useful as entertainment for the bored.  BEE-L moderation will continue to make the errors that have caused it to be blacklisted by the ARS and most career scientists, beyond a few brave souls.

This morning, after several hours at the desk, reading and catching up, I began examining and setting up the WD TV Live Streaming Media Player I bought at Costco yesterday. 

While at Costco, I had looked at 32" smart TVs for as low as $335, but decided to buy this gismo and use it with one of my old 27" analog cathode ray TVs.  It cost $87, so the decision was not easy as this is just an add-on for obsolete technology.  Those old TVs weigh 60 lbs or so, and the plan is to use one in the gym where I will want to move it around, so it will have to go onto a cart.  Another minus is that today's video is typically formatted for 16:9, not 4:3, so the 27" TV acts more like a 24" flat screen display.  Anyhow, that is what I decided to do, even though the flat screen alternative would have been much more lightweight, more portable, and had a larger display.

I got the media player hooked up to the wi-fi and it updated twice, then I was able to watch Netflix on an old TV in the gym.  in the process, while experimenting, I discovered that the WD TV will work with a computer monitor that has composite video or HDMI and speakers.

I also found a pair of wireless earphones and set them up to use with the system.  I have quite a few sets of phones, it seems.  I've collected quite a lot of stuff over the years.

I also noticed that the media player has some advanced networking capabilities for sharing media over a local network, but that is a task for another day. 

Although networking devices to share media across the network is increasingly popular, I have never investigated it more than superficially. 

I'd like to have a PVR, and understand that a Windows computer can do that job.  Setting up must be fairly simple, but I am not sure where to start.  I played around with the idea a while back, but got nowhere.

I did some cleanup in the gym while I was down there, but still did not get around to actually using the treadmill.  By the time I finished that and a few other jobs, the day was bright and warm, so I took out four drums of ashes and began on the beehives.

It was 1500 by then and I was running out of time as Fen, the girls and Elijah were coming for supper and I had a roast to go into the oven and a meal to prepare but I did manage to look at a few more hives and add more pillows under the lids. 

In summer, I only use one pillow, but in winter and spring, I use three or four. Top insulation is the most important insulation for wintering and spring build-up.

At 1630, I went in and began supper.  The group arrived at 1845, and brought Bert along as well, so we had six for supper.  I had cooked a 5 lb leg of lamb , carrots, cabbage, and rutabaga and we had a shrimp quiche and tossed salad as well, with fruit and ice cream for dessert.  Interestingly, cabbage is a seldom served, but any time I cook cabbage, it is the one dish that is empty when the table is cleared.

I am working myself up to having large suppers again.  We used to have "The Usual Suspects" over regularly.  I enjoy making big meals and the cleanup after, but we cut back a lot in the past two years.  Our group has aged somewhat as well.

Everyone left around ten. I finished cleaning up and called it a day.

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
 Arthur Schopenhauer

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Friday November 15th 2013
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I'm up at 0345 today and feeling fine.  I had a bit of congestion, but it was not too bad.

I'm going to write less about sleep, etc. and get on with other matters.

It seems that overcast skies are expected, but also that the warmest we will see is around the freezing point.  It will be my best opportunity to finish the bee tasks before colder weather and more snow.

I stroked three items off the list yesterday, but four remain.

  • Walk a mile on the treadmill
  • Add pillows and another brick to the hives.
  • Paperwork and filing
  • Study and set up the surveillance cameras

Well, I am not entirely finished mentioning sleep.  At 0345, I had had about five hours of sleep at most.  Although I was not especially tired, at 0510, after a cup of coffee, I went back to bed and slept another three hours making a total of eight.

Sleep is important.  As people age, the tendency is to sleep less and not as well, but the need for sleep does not necessarily diminish. The results of reduced sleep, regardless of age, can be confusion and ill health.

This pattern of shallower and interrupted sleep seems to be almost universal and could even have historically conveyed an evolutionary advantage to families with that characteristic.

Humans need to sleep soundly and for about eight hours, but are vulnerable while asleep.  The survival of younger family members is crucial for survival of the family, but older, post-reproductive members, while often being useful, are less essential. Families with old folks awake and alert or sleeping poorly have a sentry while the others are in deep sleep.  Snoring could make that person a decoy for predators.   Dogs serve a similar purpose, and to this day are kept in country homes as they naturally keep vigil at night and guard against interlopers.

Regardless, those of us who tend to awake before sleeping the full quota have a choice: either lie there trying to sleep or take pills, or get up and try again later.  Afternoon naps are a common way of making up the deficit, but the other solution is to go to bed a bit early, plan on waking up and spending an hour or two awake, then going back to bed.  That plan has worked for me for decades.

Looking outside at 0900, I see that snow is falling.  Now, I am going to walk a mile on the treadmill.

I did my mile and watched part of an episode of "Lie to Me" while I walked.  to reduce the boredom. The old TV was quite fine with the WD TV unit, and quite watchable even at a distance of twenty feet.  I'll make the unit more portable shortly, so it will be closer.  The audio was pretty bad, though, and I don't know if it is the media device, the TV, or the headphones.  I'll have to experiment.

I was planning to go to Calgary tonight for a Foothills Association of Cruiser Sailors meeting, but the weather looks iffy.  There is a snowfall warning for tonight. It is snowing now, at midday, and I am wondering about going outside to work on the bees.  I'm thinking I'll leave the pillows and bricks for another day.  I'm still catching up with my books.

I spoke with the crew maintaining Cassiopeia and they say the work won't be done before I come back from American Thanksgiving, so I don't have to worry about going to Vancouver in the near future.

The forecasts did not improve, so I decided to skip the meeting and stayed home.  By bedtime, light snow was falling but the storm did not materialize, here at least.

 For every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, neat and wrong.
H. L. Mencken

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Saturday November 16th 2013
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 WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT         

I slept well last night, surfacing only twice and awoke at 0630.

As of this morning, the storm still has not come to Swalwell.  We have perhaps two inches of fluffy snow.

I may have been wise to stay home, though.  Here is a road camera shot taken last night taken near Calgary.   For some reason, I am not finding live webcams today.  The websites keep changing.

With a new web search, I did find a live Alberta road camera page. The storm seems to be happening west of here.

Jean & family and I were planning to go to the Red Deer Ski Show, but with the snowfall increasing and predictions of wind, prudence suggests we forgo the highway journey.

Seeing as it is a dull day, I went back to bed for an hour.  I'm still catching up on sleep. 

Now that the sinus congestion problem seems to have receded, I am thinking that it came from spices, plus, perhaps tomatoes, plus snacking in the evening before going to bed.  I am growing tomatoes in pots inside my south windows and was eating a few every day or two.

Every so often, too, I forget previous experience and drink increasingly hot coffee, and also eat food that is too hot. The mouth can get used to heat that the rest of the body cannot stand and I suspect that hot food and drink may scald my gullet and affect its functioning until it heals.

So much for that.  Today I am back to the various home activities, beginning, I suppose with a walk on the treadmill and a turn at the elliptical machine.

The elliptical machine provides  a real workout for the leg muscles.  I am noticing my thighs are growing weaker, and I need to build them up.  Snowboarding and skiing will help, but I need to have a solution to maintain my condition.

Although I could probably walk all day on a treadmill, I don't last long on the elliptical machine.

The elliptical machine was broken down for quite a while, but I see I fixed it a while back (and forgot I did) and I have only to mount the monitor unit -- if I can find the screws.

The grandkids were staying in the gym last summer and each time they visit everything gets moved around.  They are very creative and build forts out of the boxes in storage, chairs, couches, blankets, mattresses, and the cans, bottles, etc. in the recycle pile, plus my exercise equipment.  I really need to clean and tidy down there.

I cleaned up my browser bookmarks this afternoon, then set up the new Lorex® ECO 16-channel 1TB DVR with 8 High-Resolution Night Vision Cameras

This afternoon, I decided that I am fed up with Maxthon.  As much as I have loved this browser for years, they have abandoned many of the features that made me choose MyIE2, the original Maxthon, and Maxthon is slightly buggy.

Before Maxthon, I used Opera, and today I decided to try going back.  I had tried going back once before, but missed the super drag and drop in Maxthon and a few other things like control of whether links open in new tabs or not.  These objections have been overcome now, I think.

MyIE2 (now Maxthon) pioneered many, many of the features that we now take for granted like tabbed browsing, but the others have caught up IMO.  I don't care for Firefox and all its disruptive updates.  Chrome is pretty good and customizable, and gets some of my usage.   Internet Explorer is clunky IMO, and Safari works, but offers no special advantages.

Over the years, beginning in the early nineties, my main browser choice migrated from from Lynx, to Cello, to Mosaic, to Netscape Navigator, to Internet Explorer, to Opera, to MyIE2, to Maxthon, and now back to Opera.  I continue to use the others as secondary browsers as well.

A browser changeover is not simple if I want to keep my favourites.  I have about 2,000 sites saved, so I did the conversion and import, then reorganized them.  This is a time consuming job, but always interesting, as I have many projects on the go at any time and some are in stasis.  Going over them reminds me of things that have slipped my mind.

One task I need to get back to is a new heating system.  I have researched that problem many times, and never quite managed to complete the task as I tend to be a perfectionist and recursive problems require going around the same problem a number of times.

The technique I use to solve many complex problems like installing new heating in this huge old building is successive approximations.  Basically, the method involves doing some research, then outlining a reasonable solution, then comparing that solution to the research results, researching deficiencies or doubts, unknowns and  alternatives further.

This cycle repeats until further research does not add anything new of significance.  At that point, the solution is analyzed for practicality and accepted or rejected. So far, I have not been able to find an optimal solution that has proved to be achievable without creating new problems.

Searching 'successive approximation's' also brings up interesting articles relevant to training dogs (or cats), working with other people, and bringing up children.

Setting up the camera system took two hours or so and it seems to work well, but now I have to install the cameras.  There are eight and they all require running wires. 

The system is not for security so much as to watch over the furnace and the house temperature.  It came with 8 cameras, so I suppose I will set most of them up.  I'll have to figure out what to watch.  The coal bin, of course, a thermometer, and the ash level, then maybe the outside doors, the driveway, and the living room.  After that, maybe I'll point one at the apple orchard to watch the deer...

After that, I finally went down and walked my mile.  I always feel great afterwards, but always hate to begin.  The video idea has some difficulties.  I had walked a quarter mile before I managed to get the video going.  The WD TV takes time to initialize, then Netflix is slow starting.  A mile only takes me 12 minutes.

I know no way of judging the future but by the past."
Patrick Henry

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Sunday November 17th 2013
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Weather Network: Sun. Afternoon: Cloudy periods, -11°C - Feels like -16, Snow: - Wind SE 10 km/h

It is minus nineteen point nine outside at 0800 and we have almost a foot of new snow.

Elijah is coming over to work at 1100.  I hope it warms a bit by then. We have to blow the snow before the drifts harden too much. 

Minus seven (or eleven depending on the forecast source), the predicted high is tolerable, but minus twenty is too cold for comfortable snow blowing.

There is no wind right now and still air makes the job more pleasant than a breeze.  Any wind tends to blow the snow back on the operator, so I have a choice: go out now in the cold or wait until it warms and the wind comes up.

Here is some interesting reading watching:

As soon as the sun came up, I went out and cleared the main driveway. The snow is knee-deep and the tracks I made yesterday going to Elliotts' had hardened, making the job more difficult.  Fresh snow is easier to blow.

I quit after an hour and a half.  Elijah came a while later and did the steps and the back yard.

He worked two hours and then I went out and did another hour and a half on the blower.  The driveway is completely clear now.  I like to clear it before the drifts harden.  What is shown at right is a small fraction of the total area we cleared today.

Blowing is the best solution here because plowing raises drifts on either side of the drive that cause the centre to drift in again right away.  The swaths act like snow fences and stop snow right beside them.

Three hours of wrestling the blower through hard drifts gave me a good workout.  That's more exercise than I have had in a while, and I enjoyed it.  In the past, I worked hard all day in bee yards or spend entire days windsurfing in high winds and big waves.  Both of these activities are very physical.

It seems that workout made it hard to fall asleep.  I went to bed and then got back up and watched some TV.  I was  sleepless, but bored, until almost midnight.

I don't watch network TV often.  I prefer to watch Netflix since I have control over the content and when I watch, but once in a while, it is interesting to watch what is on.  Besides, the Internet was down for a few hours.

Tragedy is when I cut my finger.
Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.
 Mel Brooks

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Monday November 18th 2013
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It's minus seventeen at 0730.  I'm slightly sore today from wrestling with the blower yesterday, but it is not too bad.  I'm told that a bit of soreness is a good thing as it indicates that I am building those muscles.

What did I do today?  Web browsing and reading, did laundry, watered plants,  repaired  and adjusted heat registers...  That's about it.

After supper, I went down to the gym and did a third-mile on the treadmill, five minutes on the elliptical, the same on the rowing machine and then worked the rubber band a bit and lifted a few weights.  I'm surprised at how quickly the strength comes back to the legs.  A little exercise gets them working again after too much sitting.  It feels good.

I need to do this in the morning to set me up for the day.

My advice to you is get married:
 if you find a good wife you'll be happy;
 if not, you'll become a philosopher.
 Socrates

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Tuesday November 19th 2013
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It's minus seventeen at 0520 again today.  I had a good night's sleep last night, with only a little congestion.

We have been running below normal temperatures lately and I can't recall when we have had this much snow this early in the fall.  Environment Canada thinks we will see plus nine on Sunday, but the Weather Network says minus one.

  Temperature Normals: Max: 0°C,  Min: -11°C 
  Sunrise: 07:59, Sunset: 16:38 

We now have just over eight hours of daylight.  The sun's maximum will be 19 degrees above the horizon in Calgary today.

It is hard to believe that it is just over two weeks since I returned from the coast.  The contrast between being on the boat and being here on the prairie is extreme.  Cassiopeia has maybe 300 square feet of interior space, and this old school has 8,000 square feet.  The boat is humid, the house is dry. 

Sub-freezing temperatures are unusual on that part of the coast,, but normal here at this time of year.  Today will reach plus seven Celsius in Vancouver and minus fifteen here.  The Lower mainland area seldom has snow.  We have a foot at least on the ground and double that depth in drifts.

The snow has drifted on the driveway again, so I went out and cleared the drifts.  If I let them harden more than they have, snow blowing will be difficult in future.  It took and hour or so and was slow since the drifts were rock-hard.

The back yard remains to be done.  I keep it open so the coal truck can get in.  I am expecting a load this weekend.

Joe and Oene came for supper.

Wise men make proverbs, but fools repeat them.
 Samuel Palmer

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