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 November 2017

 

 

 

 

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Background image -- Looking down as we descended to LAX. Smog is in evidence today -- and a dirty window.

 

Monday November 20th 2017

Today A few flurries ending this morning then mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 except gusting to 70 at times early this morning. Wind becoming light this afternoon. Temperature falling to minus 14 this afternoon.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 20. Wind chill minus 27.

I slept well and awoke at six.

I'm at Jean's.  Chris and the kids were off to school at 0730, leaving just Jean and me. We went for a walk with the dog, down to the beach and back.  The wind was nippy.

I have a stress test today at 1430 in Red Deer.  Before that I have some shopping to do. After that, I have arranged to have the tractor delivered to Swalwell, and will meet the seller and drive together to Swalwell.  That simplifies things.

I did some shopping for groceries, which was minimal as I am leaving tomorrow.  At the SuperStore, I stopped to look at the crabs.  I don't know what to think of such strange critters. Or what I think of banding their claws.

Where I sail, people scatter crab traps all over the bottom anywhere it is shallow enough and is likely to harbour crabs.  The traps are attached to ropes attached to small floats that sit on the surface so they can be found again and hauled up, checked, and emptied regularly.  Apparently, it is normal to catch a few crabs quite quickly, like in a day. 

The floats are a huge hazard for passing boats and we have to watch for floats and dodge them as the lines will wrap around props and stall the boats, which then either must be towed or have someone go under with a knife to free the prop.

Next, I got some cash at the bank and went to the hospital for my stress test.

On the treadmill, I reached the required 85% target rate and quit at the point. 

I could have continued a bit longer but found the incline at the higher settings uncomfortable on my feet and legs.  A stair stepper would have worked better for me. 

I have a treadmill, but seldom use it. Maybe if I did, I would have found the incline less uncomfortable.  Nonetheless, I was starting to breathe heavily and was not far from the point where I would take a breather if climbing a real hill.

The cardiologist and the tech spoke a bit and I heard that there were some 'changes' (I assume in the waveform) but they agreed the changes quickly corrected, and when they were done consulting, the cardiologist said that although I am obviously at higher risk than someone with no history, there is no need for doing a stress test next year and that we should concentrate on continuing to reduce risk with the usual approaches.  I don't need to see him again unless I have an event and to see my GP, which I am already scheduled to do in December.

That was a relief.  I had been afraid he would alter my prescriptions, even a little, and that would render my condition "unstable" for travel insurance purposes, even if he reduced the dose or announced that I don't need any pills!

Travel insurance will not cover any pre-existing condition which has not been 'stable' for three or six months and a heart event is tops in my worries when in the USA, as the US is known for astronomical fees for things that may be quite cheap elsewhere.

I asked the tech for a copy of the traces since there are good resources online to interpret them and the doctors never tell all they know, but she checked and said, "Not allowed". Heck, after all it is my data.  Doesn't anyone else ask for a copy?

Sean delivered the tractor and saved me a lot of hassle.

At the end of the day, Fit says I did 7,408 steps.  Could be true.

I have yet to pack, but at 2037, I am tired and will go to bed now and get some sleep.  I'm planning to be up at three to get ready to leave at seven for my flight at ten. 

Getting up extra early is smart since I could awaken to discover fog and that would slow the 60-mile trip to YYC a lot and I'd find I would need to leave extra early.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Tuesday November 21st 2017

Today Cloudy. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 13. Wind chill minus 25 this morning.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of ice pellets this evening with risk of freezing rain. Temperature rising to minus 9 by morning.

The alarms went off at 0300 and I snoozed them.  I don't normally do that because I usually wake up before they go off.  Today, I was in a deep sleep.

Minutes later, I got up, weighed myself and made coffee. Weight is 216.8, BP is 132/81. Pulse 54.  BG is 6.0.

Seven hours from now, I should be on the ground at LAX.

There is no sign of fog.  Good.  Next I have to pack, tidy, shovel ashes and leave for YYC.

I went downstairs to check the furnace and shovel ashes before leaving and found that the breaker had tripped and the bin auger and furnace room lights were off. Odd.  I could find no reason and after resetting the breaker, things ran normally.  Nonetheless, I have to be careful to check the cameras twice a day -- I do anyhow when away -- and be prepared to alert Carolyn.

I shoveled the ashes and everything looks good down there.

At 0645,  I drove out of the driveway. Temperature was minus sixteen. At 0735, I arrived in Airdrie and Mike drove me to YYC.  Fifteen minutes later, I was through security and in the lounge with time to kill.

*   *   *   *   *

I walked out into a warm day at LAX and waited until Jon arrived.  We drove the 405 to Alsio Viejo and arrive mid-afternoon. 

Katrina texted for a ride and we drove to the gelato shop in Laguna where she works after school. The shop is run by family friends and I was treated to samples of many flavours before settling on pistachio and peanut butter.

We returned to Songbird Lane, had supper and then Jon and I went to Costco. Steph went to Stater Bros.

On returning, we all sat around and watched Daddy Daycare. The reviews aren't great, but the flick was a hoot and it was obvious everyone had fun making it. We all enjoyed it.

I had been up since two, local time, and went to bed at nine.

Fit says I did 8,721 steps today.  It's possible, I suppose.  Airports involve a lot of walking.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
 George E. P. Box

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Wednesday November 22nd 2017

Today Mainly sunny. High plus 4.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Low plus 2.

I'm up at 0700.  The others are still sleeping.

Everyone was up by ten and it is a lazy day.  No school, no work.

Just after noon today I received the new Canadian registration for Charlotte Alane by email.  The new name, Baja Magic was approved, so that is the name from now on.  Now it is just a matter of having the renaming ceremony and some final paperwork. 

I looked up renaming ceremonies and think it's over the top and that I'll do my own version.  For that matter, I didn't rename Shongololo and she is now resting permanently with Davey Jones.  I renamed Just Do It! without any ceremony or fuss and that worked out.

In the afternoon, Jon and I went to the local Fiat dealer to see about a deal on the Fiat 500e model advertised.  Basically, what is advertised is a three-year lease on a $31,000 electric plug-in for $79/month.

Too good to be true?

We test drove the car and it is a beauty, then went in to see about signing a deal, and that is when we found out that the salesman had lied to us about the actual costs even when asked directly.

We had been told upfront that in addition to the $79/month, there is a $395 charge when turning it in at the end of lease and an upfront payment of $2,500, but the $2,500 is rebated by government as an incentive to buy electric. 

We were aware of the the $2,500, and had been told about it again three times when we enquired about exactly what was to paid upfront, however, at the last minute, when sitting down to sign, were told there is an additional $1,000 (non-refundable) upfront to establish the lease.

That ups the net cost by 50%. We walked.

Back home, the ladies are making apple pie for tomorrow and we are watching Trading Places. I've seen it before, but it is a fun film. Made in 1983?  Seems like yesterday.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Thursday November 23rd 2017
Related image      US Thanksgiving     Related image

Today Increasing cloudiness. A few showers beginning late this afternoon. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light near noon. High 9.
Tonight A few showers ending late this evening then clearing. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light after midnight. Wind becoming west 20 gusting to 40 before morning. Low minus 1.

Weather is warm at home -- plus six -- and wind is expected, so the snow will be melting fast.

I can see that a lot has gone already and since the warm spell is expected to last until I get home, I expect most of the snow will have gone by then.

Here south of LA, days are hot -- 86F is expected today -- so Jon runs the air conditioner. I find the house chilly. I'm sitting outside in the shade and I see it is 28C right now.  Perfect!

I see it is currently 28C in La Paz at the moment, too.

*   *   *   *   *

It's nine-thirty now and still I am the only one up. I've been up since seven or so.  Today is Thanksgiving and the pies are ready.  The turkey is thawed. and ready for the oven.  We'll eat in the late afternoon.

*   *   *   *   *

By ten everyone is up and the bustle begins.

*   *   *   *   *

Looking at the camera first thing today, it seemed that the bin auger was fine, but later I could see it had failed to start and the main auger was already showing, but now was really exposed.

Carolyn had already figured that out and is going over.

Mid-day Jon and Steph's friends came over to visit and stay for the dinner. 

Around four, we had the usual: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato, apple pie, pumpkin pie...

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Friday November 24th 2017

Today Cloudy. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this morning. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40. High plus 4.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Wind becoming west 20 gusting to 40 after midnight. Low minus 6

It's cool in the house.  Jon runs the air conditioning to cool the house in expectation that the day will be hot.  I'm up at seven and catching up on things.  I have a load of email.

I subscribed to the La Paz Gringos list on Yahoo! and at first there was nothing, but today, there are about ten messages covering everything from where to find lemons (scarce here), a ladies meeting, and a piano concert to news that there were there were 25 murders in the last week in La Paz.

The murders apparently gangs related, but also, more alarmingly, Silvestre de la Toba Comacho, president of the State Human Rights Commission of Baja California Sur was shot down on the street. 

"Armed hitmen intercepted him in his vehicle and shot him. He was between calle Luis Donaldo Colosio and bulevar Forjadores, in La Paz". 

Hmmmm. It all seems to be between Mexican factions.  I don't hear anything so far about problems for visitors.  Tourism is very important to the economy of the city and the gangs alike.  Just the same, people worry.

I guess I need to plan my winter, starting with my Sudbury trip for Christmas.  That is the main constraint, other than the furnace project and the annual Vancouver Boat Show.  I also want to get to La Paz for at least a few weeks.

The furnace replacement is getting to be more and more pressing.  Yesterday the bin auger quit again.  It blew the breaker the morning I left, but ran fine after a reset. However, yesterday, it repeatedly blew the breaker and had to be unplugged, meaning Carolyn has to shovel coal.  I assume a motor bearing went.  It was noisy for some time.

I booked flights to Sudbury and back for Christmas today.  I plan on spending only one week there at that time and intend to go back in January or February.  I plan to fly from Edmonton a week ahead and fly back on Christmas Day. That way, I visit Jean and Chris at Christmas as well.

At this point, I have had enough problems with heat in the Old Schoolhouse that I need to get a reliable source before I can plan to be a way very long.  In the past several winters, I have been away as long as two months at a time, but I doubt I can risk that this year until I solve the issues with heat at present.

I did not go anywhere today.  Jon lent his track to friends and by the time they returned it, the day was getting on.

After supper, we watched Undercover Grampa. The flick got seriously low ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, but we enjoyed it.  It was not at all what we expected at the beginning.

Later, I watched part of a Longmire  episode before bed.  I was surprised recently to discover new episodes of Longmire on Netflix, but hear that the series has been canceled for keeps after season six.

*   *   *   *   *

From a reader:
Coal....looking at Youtube Wabash Cannonball (Johnny Cash)...black, thick smoke.

I took the coal burner SS Badger across Lake Michigan...dirty black smoke.

So....is your snow black? Is it smoky as in the videos of old factories? Does the coal type make a difference? Coal heat is unique and well...I would like to see a picture of the smoke just to have a real view of coal. Is is dusty or gritty black outside the house? Do others in town heat with coal?

What is it really like to heat with coal? Do neighbors hate you because of coal.... or is coal really not as bad.

Well, I live hundreds of yards from anyone and for that matter, I and I am the closest to the source and seldom smell any smoke.  The coal I burn is low quality, but my system burns it efficiently and the smoke is grey and almost clear except if the fire has not been burning and is starting up. 

When you see black smoke like in the picture, that is a sign of inefficient burning and in the case of these two locos, they are accelerating and on a grade, so a lot of fresh coal is being thrown on the fire, either by the fireman with a shovel, or in this case, by the mechanical stoker. New coal is catching fire and burning inefficiently. 

A good coal fire with proper air/fuel ratio gives off very little smoke. Once it gets burning properly, there will be much less smoke.  Although newer designs don't do this as much, diesel engines billow black smoke when accelerating, too.

At Pine Hill, the family cottage in Muskoka, coal-fired steamers used to go up the River past us several times a day.  As they were just pulling out of Port Carling and stoking the fires for the journey up the Lake, the smoke was black and it did leave a black dust on the white railings over time.  When returning, running on embers, there was little smoke.  Those days are long gone and the only remaining steamer has been converted to diesel.

There is a bit of soot and stray ash visible on the snow around my place during melting periods, but not much, and it is not as noticeable as the yellow spots created by the bees.

My stoker ensures complete burning and the smoke is clear most of the time.  The exception is when the burner has been off for a long time and the flame has died down to coals.  On cool days, the water vapour in the smoke looks like white smoke.

As far as I know, nobody cares what I burn except me but I am moving to gas, simply for the convenience and reliability.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Saturday November 25th 2017
One Month until Christmas!

Today Mainly cloudy. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this afternoon. High 6.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Low minus 6.

I woke up at three and was not getting back to sleep, so got up for a while and took the opportunity to catch up the diary.

I checked the weather at home and the furnace auger and all is well.  The temperature is mild and one time in weather like this, I had forgotten to turn the furnace on when leaving home and the temperature in the house had not dropped noticeably for three days. I check regularly on the surveillance cameras.

I think about La Paz a lot, especially as I am still in the process of finalizing the boat papers and markings and have to stay on top of that. 

Going to La Paz, where I had never been before and had no clear visualization in advance, the strangeness and incomprehensibility of the place, the boat buying process, and the heat, day and night, was a real stress and shock in many ways. Overdosing on margaritas twice while there was partly a result of that stress -- and a cause of more stress.

I have a poor sense of time and looking back, I am trying to figure out how long ago that is now. On checking back in the diary, I see that the second time was November 3rd, so, as of today, I have quit drinking for three weeks.  I had wondered if quitting would be difficult, but so far, I have not missed it a bit.  I had wondered how I might be tempted in social occasions, but so far, no problem.

I figured that quitting might improve my sleep, reduce allergies, and clear my mind, but so far I notice little difference.

I have three more days here in Aliso Viejo before I head home on Tuesday. 

This visit has been quieter than past Thanksgivings.  The kids are older and trips to the beach and playgrounds no longer appeal. I have yet to see Kalle.  He is at his Mom's and apparently has CFS or something of the sort.

I did not rent a car, so am a little less free to come and go although there are two vehicles sitting at the curb most of the time and the keys are on the counter. Somehow, I am less inclined to go places, so far at least.

We all piled into the Denaldi and Katrina drove us to Chuck-E-Cheese. She is on a learners permit and Jon is coaching her. Brandon had wanted to go to Chuck-E-Cheese, but the girls are teens now and have outgrown that sort of thing.  They made faces when we mentioned the idea, but consented to come along. As soon as we got there, though, the girls jumped right in an had a great time. I bought the two-pizza package and that got us enough ply points to keep the kids busy for a half-hour.

Jon and I bought groceries and when everyone was ready to leave, we all drove back to Songbird Lane.

I had a nap.  The rest of the day was casual and we plan to go to the beach tomorrow.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Sunday November 26th 2017

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming south 20 km/h late this morning. High 8.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers late this evening. Wind becoming southwest 40 km/h gusting to 60 this evening then west 20 gusting to 40 overnight. Low minus 3

Today is cloudy and cooler.

I'm up earlier than the rest again. They worked on the jigsaw puzzle until midnight, but I went to bed around nine.  I'm wondering whether the trip to the beach is still on as the weather has changed.

At home, the weather is mild and should be when I get home on Tuesday.  I have not planned any trips until Dec 18th when I go to Sudbury for Christmas. That gives me about three weeks to get the heating system under control.

If the weather holds, maybe I'll even look at my bees and perhaps give then a shot of oxalic acid vapour.  I did notice some DWV in one hive earlier.  I know it is late to treat, but any little bit helps.

For Christmas, I have to remember to ask people not to spend more than a token amount in gifts.  I don't see the point in buying a lot of stuff, much of which the recipient does not need or want, but for which the recipient must thank the donor. It is a huge waste.

As much as I enjoy shopping, I hate shopping for gifts.  I know it is a waste and trying to guess what people want or could use is a mug's game.

Even gift cards are often not used and the only benefit goes to the store that sells them.  I still have money on Canadian Tire and Tim Hortons cards I got last year and a hardcover novel I have not even cracked open.

At ten, Jon and I drove Katrina to work, then went to the beach for a stroll with the dog.  Daisy loves the beach and at this time of year we can let her run free, although we were accosted by the lifeguard when we got to Main Beach swimming area and had to leash her until we were back up the beach a ways.

   

The day is cooler and overcast, but at 65F, the air and water are the same temperature.  As we drove back up the canyon, the sun came out and the afternoon will be sunny.

I'm on the patio, catching up on things. 

For one thing, I am going over the equipment on Baja Magic. I took pictures before I left.  Now I am wondering why I have three battery chargers and two desulfaters.  Oh, now I see. One charger is the alternator regulator, another is for the 110 Volt shore power cord, and one is for the solar panels.  Hmmm. And one charger has a built-in desulfater. 

Okay... I wonder how they all get along.  When I left the boat with everything turned off, I stills aw some current and had get the former owner to disconnect the batteries from everything except the bilge pump.

I spent the afternoon and evening at the keyboard doing research on Baja Magic's electrical system since the various devices are quite confusing. I was pretty confused by the time I had researched each device and  read all the manuals, but I am sure I'll have a better notion when I get back on board.

Jon put on Hot Tub Time Machine and he and Steph and I watched it. I really don't know what to say about it other than that it was pretty terrible on many different levels, but I made it all the way through.  It wasn't the worst movie I have ever watched, but it is definitely in the running. I won't waste any more words on it.

Even with the walk on the beach, I am not getting much exercise here. Fit says 2,864 today and going back, 1,771, 1,667, 2,665, 2,629, and 8,721.  8,721 was the day I flew in from Calgary and I probably had put on 2,500 before i left my house, packing and running around that huge place.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Monday November 27th 2017

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Clearing late this afternoon. Wind becoming west 30 km/h gusting to 50 this morning. High plus 3.
Tonight Clear. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late this evening. Low minus 8.

Today is cooler here in Aliso Viejo.  A high of 65 is expected and there is light rain, predicted to end by ten.

This my last day here. I fly out tomorrow just after noon and will be home by supper with any luck.

At home, the weather is around freezing and I see most of the snow has gone. (left)

*   *   *   *   *

My day at the keyboard began with a BSOD on bootup. 

The BSOD was not entirely unexpected as I had set up verifier.exe to run last night and then decided I was too tired to continue at that time and shut down.  Verifier was set to run at next bootup and bound to BSOD if something misbehaved, and something did.

Verifier is a built-in Windows diagnostic tool tests all the drivers to see which one causes random BSODs. When it finds one, it BSODs and creates a minidump for diagnosis purposes, but Windows will just reboot, BSOD and reboot until verifier is turned off, which is hard to do if the machine is in a loop. The solution is to intercept it and use safe mode and/or the cmd prompt to reset verifier.exe or restore to a point previous. 

I did the latter and the machine is running, but I have yet to read the dump and pinpoint the culprit, so in the meantime, I could crash at any minute.

I rebooted several times and then found that the system had not saved minidumps, so I had to go into the system settings and enable minidumps and repeat the verifier run.  I found that the best way to run verifier is to type verifier /standard /oneboot at a command prompt. The oneboot option prevents the looping, but is not offered in the GUI version.

Then I ran Bluescreen Viewer, a free download.  A screen like the one at right highlights the suspect drivers. In this case, a Microsoft kernal driver is implicated, but the prime suspect is the third party driver and maybe it is impacting the kernel driver.  Nonetheless, the kernel driver was installed Oct 24th with a recent update and perhaps it is flakey, too, or just interacts with the third party one.  I've disabled the third party app, and I'll see if I have any more BSODs.

It's now ten and the sun is out. I've troubleshot the BSOD and done some correspondence.  What next?

Uptime is now 1:22 since the repair and no BSOD.  So far, so good.

I took Daisy for a walk, then after a while, Jon and I drove to Frys, a large electronics store.  We spent over an hour looking at things, but bought nothing and returned to Songbird Lane.

Arriving back, I received a message that the gas permit is now issued and the gasfitter can begin anytime.

The Thanksgiving leftovers are almost gone, so we had a more normal supper: salmon, broccoli and rice, then Jon and I went o see Kalle, who is staying with his Mom lately.

On returning home, I watched Longmire, then went to bed around eleven.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Tuesday November 28th 2017

Today Increasing cloudiness this morning. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 6.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. Clearing before morning. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late this evening. Wind becoming west 20 gusting to 40 overnight. Low minus 2.

I'm up at four.  Today I fly home at 1250. Jon will drive me to LAX and I should be landing at YYC at 1654. I'll have a cab waiting and be shopping in Airdie shortly thereafter, God willin' and the cricks don't rise.

The day promises to be warm at home and expect the snow will be almost gone.

This morning, I turned off fastboot and shut down then started up and turned it on again. Hard to say for sure, but this computer seems much faster after the various things I've done recently, and so far, since dealing with the third party driver, no BSOD!

I went back to bed for an hour and slept well. When I got up again at seven, everyone was up and shortly after, the kids were off to school.

Jon dropped me at Terminal 2 at LAX about two hours before my flight and about six hours later, just before five, I cleared customs, stepped out of the Calgary terminal and got into my waiting cab.

To pass the time on the flight, I watched several episodes of Lethal Weapon, a more or less harmless cop comedy action & adventure series on Westjet Connect.

In Airdrie, I started the van and drove to the SuperStore where I discovered I did not have a loonie to claim a cart.  I used a basket and bought fewer items than I would have if I had a cart.

Arriving home, I turned up the furnace and unpacked, did a wash, and watched more of Lethal Weapon, this time, on Netflix.

I went to bed around ten.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Wednesday November 29th 2017

Today Clearing this morning. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40. High plus 5.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind west 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 7.

I slept well -- seven hours -- only waking up once during the night.

Today I weigh 218.4, BG is 6.1 and BP is 127/81. Pulse 53. As usual, my weight is up after travelling and flying.

Today I have to fix the bin auger and get serious about the natural gas installation.  The bin auger job involves removing the electric motor and either replacing it or changing a bearing.  The gas installation job means days of research and also some cleanup.

I spent the day catching up at the desk, then went to town do do a few chores. 

After supper, I tackled the bin auger. The electric motor bearings had gone bad and although I can and will change them and keep the motor for a spare, I bought a new, smaller. lighter replacement this afternoon and installed it instead.  The job took several hours and now, the furnace is completely automatic again.

I watched Lethal Weapon again and went to bed at eleven.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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Thursday November 30th 2017

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light near noon. High 6.
Tonight Increasing cloudiness late this evening. Low minus 8.
Fri, 1 Dec Clearing in the morning. Wind becoming south 20 km/h late in the afternoon. High plus 2.
Night Clear. Low minus 12.

I slept well again.

The warm spell continues. Plus five is predicted today with an overnight low of minus eight.

We can experience a wide range of temperatures at any time of year here in Central Alberta.  Anything between the upper and lower bands on the chart are possible.  The line in the centre is the average and the lines above and below them are the normals.

So, although we can expect  a normal high of minus five and  a low of minus fifteen on this day, there is a reasonable chance we could see plus fifteen or minus forty, if history is any guide.

Of course, the history consulted above and below covers only a recent period of less than a half-century.  In the fullness of time, one would except that the extremes have been exceeded in recent past centuries and will be again exceeded in coming years.  Something to think about, but a topic that people avoid.

Consider the year without summer. That event happened only two centuries ago, -- about the same time that we were just managing to get railroad trains to safely and reliably achieve twenty miles per hour.

Also consider the Maunder Minimum

The chart above is from 1971-2000.  The table below is more recent: 1993-2016, but over a shorter timeframe.  Perhaps all we need is a major solar or volcanic event to hit the extremes.

Highest temperature (1993-2016): 14.4C2002 Lowest temperature (1993-2016): -26.8C2014
Greatest precipitation (1993-2016): 1.0 mm1996 Greatest rainfall (1996-2005):0.3 mm1999
Greatest snowfall (1995-2006):2.3 cm1997 Most snow on the ground (1995-2002):12.0 cm1996

A readers may probably guess, I am procrastinating at the moment.  I really should get going on the heating system. 

I have to figure what appliances I need and where they should go, even if they won't be installed immediately, then map out where the main backbone should run through the building. 

I friend wrote from Colorado:

"The bee scene here has been a bit disappointing- did not get the growth and splitting of colonies planned.  The lack of water except in irrigated areas and harshness of winter is a challenge.  I do think based on observations through a year's cycle that with some sugar syrup feeding at key times I can do better as pollen availability seems to be good.

Here is an article of interest that has always intrigued me and which might have some relevance. 

It deals with the influence of humidity in the hive on brood rearing and I always think of it when beekeepers recommend extreme hive ventilation, something I always condemn except in the heat of summer when flows are on. 

The idea that ventilation should be enhanced comes from hot, humid areas where increased airflow can be very helpful, but has no place in northern beekeeping IMO.

Beekeepers should note that in nature -- in New York State at least, and according to Seeley -- bees tend to select cavities with small entrances.

Also, of note, is that if the ambient exceeds 35 C, then air entering the hive will be above brood temperature and thus challenge the bees to maintain control of the nest conditions. A lot of water will be required.

The humidity effect as stimulus also explains why the bees go wild and heat up in wintering buildings if water gets in under the door or leaks in somehow and raises humidity.  One of the secrets of running a successful indoor wintering is maintaining low humidity until brood rearing is desired and low humidity comes automatically when the outdoors air is cold.  However, humidity rises on warm days and if the building humidity rises too early in spring, can cause overheating of the building, excess feed consumption, and wear an tear on the bees.

When wintering in buildings, brood rearing is undesirable as it can result in overheating and wears out the bees prematurely.  Hive density in such buildings is such that control of temperature could become impossible if the hives all became overstimulated.

The difference between the usual wintering practices and Pirker's is that he had low hive density in small buildings and no need to remove the hives and set them out before the days get too warm, if ever.

Normal practice requires setting hives out in spring before warm weather, often in snowy yards and leaving them subject to the vagaries of weather.  Pirker's are protected from the extremes possible for outdoor hives. Hives taken out of wintering buildings could suffer brood chilling and loss when set out if they happened to have a large amount of brood, encouraged by the artificial indoor conditions.

The humidity effect may also explain why getting hives up of the ground for wintering results in better outdoor wintering success.  The air near the ground is damp and also the snow lingers longer on the doorsteps.

I knew the author, Henry Pirker.  He was a commercial beekeeper in Northern Alberta, northern Northern Alberta in fact, almost up in the NWT. 

One thing that must be understood is that his hives had large stores of diverse pollens due to wild country nearby.  Attempts to duplicate his methods where pollen is scarce or poor quality might not be as successful.


Enough of that.  I really must get to work.

I went down and took out two drums of ash and brought in extra drums. I want to be sure the coal furnace continues to work and that there is room for ash if I find I am away for two months as happened several years in the past.

Next, I shall get to work on the plans.

I wrote to my contacts in la Paz to see if I can trace down what is happening in terms of finishing the documentation  for Baja Magic.

I now have all the papers except one and getting that I left that with a local there recommended to me by Tom.  After some chasing, I found he has gone to Tijuana for a week or so and not told me.  I'm still none the wiser.  I'd like to get this done so I can have the graphics on the boat updated.

The gasfitter wrote several times, negotiating the best time to do the work.  We settled on Tuesday morning seeing as I have a doctor's appointment Monday morning.

I made more refried beans and went downstairs to the shop to start cleaning and worked until about 2030.  I need to clear a path for the pipefitter and that is the first step to getting my mind back on the heating job.

At 2030, I figured it was time to quit for the day and decided to update the WordPress experimental file I had installed long ago.  I did, but then could not remember the admin login and blew it away, then replaced it with a new one.

I tired of playing with it by ten and and went to bed. After fifteen minutes I realized I was not sleeping and got up again.

It's eleven now and I'll give it another try.

After another ten minutes, I realized that a mild allergic reaction to the dust in the shop was keeping me awake, took two Benadryl, and went to sleep.

A good scientist knows that science is not a democracy, that scientific truth is not determined
by a show of hands, and that consensus and authority are there to be challenged, not to be
accepted without question. -- Dr. Frank Schnell, PhD.

All models are wrong but some are useful.
George E. P. Box

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