Saturday November 1st 2014
I slept eight hours again last night.
Nobody appeared at the door last night. Trick or treating has died out here in the country. Older kids go to the nearby towns and parents take the young kids to a few friends' houses and that is about it.
The weather now is predicted to be on the cool side. Halloween is always a watershed date in Central Alberta. Before Halloween, weather is typically decent, but after, the snow comes and with it some bitterly cold days.
Today does not look like a nice day to be outdoors.
At 1500, it is dull and raining. I see a muskrat swimming in the pond. I don't know how many there are now. Maybe there is just the one. I know there were two at one point, but now I only see one whenever I look.
I just finished washing down the shower. It has been bothering me more and more as its walls slowly acquired a soap scum build-up and recently the base started to mildew in one corner. There were still spots where my bare feet had left beeswax on the floor last summer.
It takes almost an hour to do the whole job, and I suppose it would be faster if I did it more often, but I have been putting the job off. I must have cleaned it last summer before the memorial, though, so it has really been only three months since the last cleaning.
I have some daily shower spray that I have employed at times, but it is a nuisance to do after each shower and it is easier just to do the whole shower when needed. I think that I should do this job monthly, though. Too much scum accumulates over longer periods. After all, I was away a lot over the past two months and still had a lot of cleaning to do.
I did some vacuuming, too. I don't know where all the dirt comes from. It seems that I vacuumed a short while ago. Maybe all I did was think about it, but I'm sure I vacuumed in the past two weeks.
At 1715, I drove to The Mill to meet up with Fen, Maddy and Lorelee. The roads were slushy with wet snow, and heavy, wet snow continued to fall as we drove to Rick's for his going-away party.
The party ended around 2200, and we drove back to The Mill, then I dropped Betty off and continued home.
By then, the roads were becoming treacherous and I could feel loss of steering from time to time as the front wheels slipped, then regained traction. This is not a good feeling and is often experienced moments before a trip into the ditch. I reduced speed drastically.
All this is a strong argument for avoiding cruise control in slippery conditions and points to how a cruise control can cause sudden and uncontrollable disaster on slippery roads. Late model vehicles my have a skid override built in to detect skids, but some may not, and older models definitely do not.
I arrived home safely, watched an episode of Suits and went to bed.
There are similarities between Suits and The Good Wife, but the people in Suits are less believable and likeable than those in The Good Wife and I am finding that the plots are less nuanced.
Television is for appearing
on - not for looking at.
Sunday November 2nd 2014
I slept eight hours again last night. This morning, my bedroom clock showed 7 AM, but the growing light outside suggested that it was later. My clock is a Sony and automatically adjusts for Daylight Saving Time (an oxymoron of the first order) and had automatically set itself back overnight.
Looking outside, I see we have an inch or two of snow.
Discussion continues in the forum. I spilt one topic as it had morphed into a discussion of what topics interest beekeeping conferences and to what is the make-up of such audiences these days. It all originated with my surprise at finding that I had misjudged an audience I addressed at a provincial conference in B.C. a month ago.
I don't know what to make of this. Today's world is fast-moving and the expectations and needs of the beekeeping community are changing rapidly, as are the demographics of the audiences.
Information -- and misinformation -- that was difficult or impossible to find in the past is available at anyone's fingertips anywhere and any time in seconds. Audience members can be fact-checking the speaker's comments in real time while sitting in the conference and looking up questions to ask or communicating with critics.
Is it time to overhaul our assumptions about such events and to overhaul our conferences and presentations in content and structure?
Maybe the real topic is how beekeeping has changed in the past decade and whether bee extension has kept pace with and adapted to technological changes. Of course, we know it has not.
* * * * *
Today is the Swalwell Fall Supper. It is scheduled from 1100 to 1400, so why it is called a 'supper' is a bit of a mystery to me. Anyhow, I plan to go, but now, at 1025, with a half-hour to go, the electricity just went off in town, so I wonder how things will work out.
After a half-hour, I called the power company and learned that it is just our town that is out, and a technician is on the way as of 1031. It is a twenty-minute drive from Three Hills, so the earliest we can expect resumption of power is right about now. Of course that would be if he finds the problem right away and the fix turns out to be minor.
My cat is fascinated by the woodpecker that has been working the side of my house the past few days. The bird is clearly visible through the windows, sometimes sitting right on a window frame, and of course a bit noisy. I think he is eating houseflies that have gathered there for whatever warmth they can find as the season winds down.
* * * * *
I decided to find out why my phone is taking foggy pictures and cleaned the lenses on the outside, then found that the dirt is inside, under the outer glass cover on the rangefinder lens.
I cleaned the inside with a Q-tip and the camera is fine again, for now. This won't last, though. The glass back I bought cracked shortly after installation and I damaged the NFC chip, so this time I ordered the entire back. I hope it stands up to use. I love this phone, but its back covering is tender.
I've had this camera for a year and a half now and never used a case or screen protector. On close examination, I see tiny scratches on the glass, but nothing serious -- except the cracked back, and that hardly matters. It is mostly annoying. When I had the lenses and screen under the microscope, though, to check for dirt, I did see a few microscopic scratches on the camera lens, so wear does occur. At some point, I suppose it will matter, but cell phones are almost a disposable product these days. Besides, they can be repaired. I see I can buy the entire phone front assembly, including the display, for $55.
* * * * *
The power came back on after about forty-five minutes of outage.
Fen was going to come to Swalwell for the "supper" at noon, but her staff didn't show up and so she decided to stay home to clean the tanks. Shortly after texting me about that, she texted that Maddy is driving Bert to the hospital, so it turned out to be a good thing they stayed home.
I went to the hall and had my lunch. The power failed again during lunch but the emergency lights and a backup generator kept things running just fine. "Supper" was good.
Now I am back home, wondering how Bert is.
* * * * *
Now I know a bit more. He spent the night at a Calgary hospital. We had texted him from the party and he had been okay at the time, but must have gone in later. Apparently they released him and he drove home, but then felt unwell and called for a ride back to hospital.
* * * * *
I decided to check for flights to Grenada from Calgary It appears at first glance at least that they are double the cost of flights to the BVIs. Hmm. This will take further study. I thought saw better deals previously, but this time I used my phone...
* * * * *
I had promised myself to set up the treadmill Orams gave me, but allowed myself to get distracted by getting Amazon Prime working. All this is due to my apparent addiction to The Good Wife. Once I reached the end of season four, Netflix had no more to offer, but Amazon prime has season five
I signed up for a free one-month trial, but had to arrange to connect through a US IP to use it. So, I reactivated Express VPN and connected my laptop to the TV with a long HDMI cable I bought some time back.
Sunday night was probably the worst time to test this out. My my Internet was very sporadic, running at 1 Mbs with some halts, and the VPN server I chose seemed to be clogged. Nonetheless, I manage to watch an episode. I really, really need to get some exercise, however.
Laughing at our mistakes
can lengthen our own life.
Monday November 3rd 2014
After several nights of excellent sleep without CPAP, I decided to use the machine last night and slept fairly poorly. I'm wondering if CPAP does me much good since my AHI is usually around one, and five is the threshold for sleep apnea.
I do, in fact, have sleep problems and congestion sometimes but it seems that this happens episodically and is not a constant. It comes and goes. The CPAP machine did seem to help earlier this year, but now seems to actually interfere with good sleep.
* * * * *
I see one of my Christmas cactuses is blooming again. It has bloomed several time this year. I think that the cooler temperatures in the house when I go away may trigger this phenomenon.
* * * * *
I had a nap, then went for a walk. The afternoon was pleasant and snow was melting, but due to the DST change, I was out an hour late and the day was ending, so I did a few little things, then went in.
The railway crew were down again in the afternoon with the track leveling machines (right).
I can tell when the tracks are getting bad from the sound and vibration of trains passing, and they were getting noisier lately.
The spot right in front of my place seems to be a soft spot and they have to level the tracks here quite regularly. At one time the locos used to shunt here at one time when there was a triple siding and I suppose the constant vibration over many years turned the clay under the roadbed to jelly.
One machine rakes the roadbed rip-rap onto the ties and the other lifts the rails and ties a bit and shakes gravel under, then compacts and re-tests. The result is a perfectly level and firm track that allows the trains to run by almost silently.
After supper, I took out my AR.Drone and finally got around to installing the parts I bought two years ago. I had run it into a tree one time too many and a shaft broke.
Once I had the drone assembled, I discovered that the battery is dead, totally dead, it seems. I had let it go flat and sit for two years and the battery is toast. Now I need to get a new battery.
Genius may have its
limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.
Tuesday November 4th 2014
I'm going to Three Hills today, I think. I could go to Calgary instead, though, since there is a Bluewater Cruising meeting tonight.
I need dog food. The bag is empty as of today's feeding, and I need to go to bank. It is 10% Tuesday at the IGA, but I hardly need any food. Maybe Calgary will be my choice.
I have to go to Calgary tomorrow, too, and Drum as well, so I will be putting on the miles. Good thing gas prices are down. Calgary, for an eye exam, and Drum for a travel consultation and inoculations for travelling to the Caribbean.
In the forum today, there are good photos and discussion about how bees will chew wax foundation if it is left on hives when there is no flow.
* * * * *
Against my better judgment, I had grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, and of course, I was tired after. I decided I had to either lie down and have a nap or get active. I went outside and walked around. I looked at the bees and I looked at the forklift.
I see the bees propolized the pillows down for a really airtight seal. Do the bees know best? Good question. I am seeing a fair bit of condensation up on the pillows, but no water running out the doors. Note the water droplets on the pillow in the picture at left.
On some of the hives, also I am seeing some unfinished frames in the top boxes. That is not a good thing. I'll wait until a cold morning and just lift the unfinished boxes off, hoping the cluster is somewhere below. If that is the case, I'll just keep the extra supers in storage if the hive still has two or more boxes.
Then I started the Toyota to check the wipers. They had quit the other day and still were immobile, so I started searching for blown fuses. I finally found the culprit, a 20 Amp fuse, and changed it. The wipers work. It turns out this vehicle has three separate fuse boxes!
My boat purchase in Granada seems to be proceeding. I have mixed feelings.
I researched a part for my old Grand Caravan online and, on a hunch, called the local parts dealer and discovered I can buy it cheaper at the NAPA down the road than on either eBay or Amazon or even in the Big City (Calgary and area). That swayed me and I drove to Calgary, picking up the part along the way.
I stopped at Costco and bought an audio strip for my TV, a zooming and panning IP camera, plus dog food and a roast for Thursday.
Along the way, a shudder developed in the van and I suspect a CV joint in the front end. The shudder has come and gone in the past, but was very persistent today. I may have to change a CV joint before I drive this van musch more.
The BCA meeting was at 1900 at HMCS Tecumseh. After the recent incidents in Ottawa, added security was evident. The presentation was about four guys sailing a catamaran from the Canary Islands to Barbados.
After, I drove home and installed the audio strip and watched an episode f "Suits" to check it out. By then it was almost 0100.
Every person takes
the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.
Wednesday November 5th 2014
I awoke at 0700, had breakfast, and am now off to Drum. I'll take the red van since the Toyota has a vibration.
* * * * *
At the Drum Health Care Centre, I spent an hour with a nurse, having a travel consultation, then received three shots of various vaccines and boosters, appropriate to the Caribbean area I plan to visit soon.
From there, I drove to Calgary. My timing was good and I made my eye appointment with a half-hour to spare. Everything checked out fine.
Next, I waited around for several hours while Bert was being discharged from the Foothills and drove him home, stopping to fill prescriptions along the way.
We had supper at The Mill, and I drove home, watched some video and went to bed.
Where we have strong
emotions, we're liable to fool ourselves.
Thursday November 6th 2014
Another week has passed. We have our weekly supper here again tonight.
It's windy today, with a Chinook blowing through. I'll spend the day indoors most likely as I have lots to do: cleaning, laundry, organizing, and monthly bill paying.
I bought a new wireless IP camera the other day and found time to hook it up this morning. It's a D-Link DCS-5010L. My older D-Link camera is fixed, but this one pans and zooms almost 360 degrees. Amazing.
There is activity in Honey Bee World Forum these days and the topics are quite interesting. I don't have time to participate right now, but the regulars are covering things nicely. Feel free to drop by and post questions.
Anything I have to say on these topics is probably somewhere back in the thirteen years of my diary already, but when I have time, I drop by to add a word or two. I always read everything posted.
There were just four for supper of us this week. Everyone else was busy.
After everyone left, I loaded the dishwasher and watched video for forty-five minutes.
A man with a watch
knows what time it is.
Friday November 7th 2014
It's Friday again already. Another month has passed, so I have books to do and bills to pay.
Maybe I'll fly my kites today. Gusty winds are not the ideal for kites, however.
As it turned out, there was very little wind, so I did not get out the kites. The day was mild and calm, so I did, however, rewire the trailer plug on the red van and replaced the blower control resistor. I tried to track down the source of the wind and road noise on the drivers side, but had no luck. I'll need to have someone drive while I listen with a hose to my ear. I've been meaning to do that for three years now. Here is my history with that van.
I spoke with my boat broker and am beginning to wonder if he really has what it takes as a salesman.
I find I have very little energy lately. Going out an being active feels good, but I don't have a lot of ambition. I was much more inspired and energetic back in August. I wonder what has happened since then.
My helper is coming over at 1630, so maybe we'll get a few things done. The ashes need shoveling and drums need emptying.
Drama is life
with the dull bits cut out.
Saturday November 8th 2014
We're expecting snow again tonight and temperatures down to minus twenty-three by Wednesday, so I am spending more time outside.
I went out an my intent was to work on the forklift, but I realised that I have to do something with the pool before freeze-up. Well, maybe not, but I figure I should drain it or clean the leaves out, so I cleaned the leaves out and plan to cover it -- anything but work on the forklift. I have a mental block against that job.
I also picked up the garden hoses and other items around the yard and anyhow, there went the afternoon.
I've mentioned my drone here previously and that it has been on the shelf for two years after an unfortunate brush with a tree. I repaired it, but found the battery was dead and cannot be charged, so I ordered a battery, today and will be flying the drone again whenever the battery arrives from China.
During a break from outdoor work, I downloaded and played with an AR.Drone simulator app, ARDrone Sim. While waiting for the battery, I'm finding that the app is almost better than the real thing. For one thing, I am gaining far better understanding of the controls and maybe I won't crash it quite as often when it comes to real world flying.
I watched another episode of The Good Wife and one of Suits. Maybe it is just me, but both of them seem to be getting weird. Of course, such entertainment is just that, entertainment, and quite contrived. These dramas only make sense as long as we are willing to suspend our judgment (interestingly, suspension of judgment is essential first step in being hypnotized) and once the spell is broken, we say that the show has "jumped the shark" -- pushed our credulity beyond its limits.
There is absolutely
no inevitability as long as there is
We received a couple of inches of snow overnight and the thermometer registers minus 9.6 this morning with a high of minus ten predicted.
I have decided to get more exercise, but got off to a slow start this morning. After updating the diary, I played with the drone sim app a bit, posted briefly in the forum (pretty lame post), and ordered several 100-ft siamese cables for my surveillance cameras on eBay. I need longer cables due the size of this place. I have cables running around on the floor because they are not long enough for indirect, hidden routing.
Somehow four hours passed. Next, I'll go down to the gym and assemble that treadmill.
Nope. Email came in and I got busy organizing a BCA event with Nigel Calder this coming April.
We have over six inches of light fluffy snow so far today.
Other distractions came along, but by late afternoon, I got around to assembling the treadmill. That took an hour or more since the holes did not want to line up for the bolts, but I got it done.
I started up the treadmill and it ran a few moments, but gave error 66, ran a bit more and quit with error 11.
That was enough exercise for me, I went back upstairs and had supper.
After, I decided to go east for a week to see Mom. I haven't been down since September and that was a very short visit.
Usually Aeroplan offers nothing at all attractive in nearby weeks, but this time I found some good flights and booked them. That cost me $175, but to book the same flights would have cost me $1500 on such short notice. The best price, with fourteen day advance purchase, is about $750.
My plan brings me home after midnight on the 21st and allows me a few days before going to Aliso Viejo for Thanksgiving. It also lights a fire under me to get things done now. I have been busy doing nothing for weeks now, but now I have to prioritize.
At any rate, I expect that this trip, assuming that it goes reasonably well, will be beneficial.
Something else that is useful for depression -- or just general everyday living -- is to remember to be "mindful". It is easy to fall into doing things by rote and being somewhat numb and unaware. Mindfulness is the antidote.
Looking back, and reading through my diary a bit, I see that I have totally forgotten some of the things we did in the past several years. I was there and did things, but was not relaxed enough to actually be there it seems.
Speaking of black dogs, here's a black dog that can cheer us up.
Ski hills open this weekend. I'll miss the opening, but I plan to get out more than a few times this winter.
He who will not reason
is a bigot;
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