Monday December 1st 2014
This is our last day here in Aliso Viejo. It's 0822 and nobody is up, so I am wondering if K & K are going to school after all. I've been up for over an hour.
There was talk of going to Sea World today. The drive down there and back tends to be stop and go early in the morning and around suppertime, so if we go, it will be around mid-day. Without traffic, the trip is only an hour and a quarter. I see it is mostly cloudy and 68 degrees in San Diego.
As it turned out, we went to Knotts' Berry Farm. By the time I figured out the tickets for Sea World and parking, the cost came to almost $400 and I figured that we would only be there for four hours, tops -- and have to fight traffic both ways. Besides, the day was cool and breezy and such a day might be better spent inland.
The kids rode everything from gentle rides to the Supreme Scream. I went on a few, but as much as I love roller coasters, I was not in the mood for roller coasters today. Nobody was up for the Xcelerator, though. I was a bit tired and had a dull headache.
I sat for a while at an outdoor cafe and observed the people walking by.
The Park closes at 1800, but we were done by 1745, so we walked back to the car and drove back to Songbird Lane.
All in all, we had a great time and were home for supper at 0800.
It is the final
proof of God's omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us.
Tuesday December 2nd 2014
Today, Mckenzie and I have to leave here by about 0930. We fly at 1343, so should be at LAX by 1143. Two and a quarter hours should be enough time to drive to Inglewood to drop the car and get to LAX. The maps say about an hour, without traffic, but who knows for sure what to expect.
We left at about 0915 in pouring rain headed for the car rental return. We encountered only one slow section along the route and returned the car without a hitch. Then we realised that we were an hour early and walked over to the nearby JITB for a second breakfast.
It was still raining, when we we caught the shuttle to the airport. arriving at our gate two hours and one minute before the scheduled flight.
Our flight was delayed an hour, but we boarded and were out of customs at YEG by 1920. I slept for the second half of the flight, so time passed quickly.
Chris was waiting for us in the hall and we drove back to Birch Meadows.
I was too tired to watch video and went right to sleep.
The skill of
writing is to create a context in which other people can think.
Wednesday December 3rd 2014
This is not the warm weather EC predicted a week ago. See Rick Mercer's take on EC's forecasts. Notice how the current forecast (above) promises a warming five days out. Look at the forecast from a week back. Today is the 'Wed' at the right end of that strip from the past (below).
Chris and Mckenzie are off to school before 0700. Jean and Nathan are home for the morning. I'll be leaving before lunch. Things look bright and sunny at home.
I drove home, stopping on the way to buy groceries and also a portable power pack for my phone to replace the one I left in my van in Ontario.
Along the way, I stopped briefly at The Mill and then came on home. Everything is looking good.
It was a bright, sunny day -- the kind that make winter living here in the north tolerable and even attractive. I would have liked to be outside, but had a job to do for friends that kept me at the computer.
Most human beings
have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.
Thursday December 4th 2014
I was up at 0535 and turned on CBC Radio Two. The topics were depressing, so I turned it off again.
It's good to be home. I have some catching up to do today and company for supper tonight.
The first task is deskwork. Then I have to reassemble the reverse osmosis filter.
I drank some tap water and decided to kick the RO filter job to the top of the list.
I wound up welding the defective piece with a soldering tool. The repair is makeshift and I hope it works. Welding solved the pinhole leak, but it took me a while to finally get a shark bite seal on the tubing. These quick-connect fittings can be troublesome, even when new, but as they age, they get fussy.
My cat did not make the job easier. He took advantage of my vulnerable position on the floor to crowd, purring, in front of me everywhere I was looking, but I got the job done.
These days I am contemplating what I want to do for the next five years. I have received some advice in the forum and appreciate it.
Ever since border closure, the authorities and the apologists for trade restriction have used the health of bees in Canada -- however few or how many are left in any particular operation after our winters -- as the major argument for forbidding the importation of packages from our natural supplier, the continental USA.
Additionally, slim fears of Small Hive Beetle (SHB) and Africanized Honey Bees (AHB) have been mobilized to to fortify their disingenuous and self-serving FUD campaign against importations.
These fears have been used in a deliberate and successful programme to divert attention from the real issue: economics. Misdirection of attention is the main secret behind magic tricks and the central mechanism used to manipulate populations by astute politicians.
The second item of interest is Medhat's article concerning bee health. The entire point of the article only makes sense if you are willing to accept that bees should cost twice in Canada what they do on the south side of an imaginary line along the southern edge of Canada.
The third item is that the Commission has decided to look for outside help to keep the website up to date since the series of beekeepers who were supposed to be maintaining the site have proven over and over that they are either not able to do it, or not able to deal with lack of timely co-operation from the office.
This never had to be, and hiring outside help will change nothing. The problem is lack of content and clear direction. I should know.
I started an ABA website back before anybody knew what a website was or how important it would come to be. I asked for guidance and contributions and nobody could decide anything. Further, I was asked to take the site down because the board and office wanted control and needed to think it was their idea.
They registered a domain, put up some lame content on a site that never approached what I had built for them. Although maintaining site content is a trivial task these days, requiring office skills of the same order as letter writing, the ABC business manager is unable to do the job, but wants control. Each successive webmaster starts off with enthusiasm, then gives up, and the site grows stale. Then the process repeats.
ABC can hire a webmaster, but the simple fact of the matter is that the webmaster will be exactly where I was almost two decades ago: without material or authorization -- and no clear vision, direction, or co-operation.
Let's face it: running a website is dead simple, but few organizations can do a good job of it. Too many cooks. Too many egos.
* * * *
I was meaning to get more done today, but here it is -- 1445 -- and I have to start supper soon. We're up to minus three outside and the sun is shining. I think I'll have a stroll, then make supper.
* * * *
I did not get outside, other than to test the snowthrower. On my way out, I realised that I had not completed that job and that I'll need it soon. I figured the fix would take minutes, so I cleaned the main jet and screwed the carb back onto the engine. A quick test showed that the problem remained, so I pulled off the carb again and blew it out with compressed air, reassembled it, and put it back on again.
When I connected the fuel supply, gasoline spurted out everywhere and I realised the needle valve was not sealing. On disassembling the carb again I discovered that I had blown out the needle seat. The seat is a tiny neoprene donut and I had no hope of ever finding it on the floor, so I gave up until I can get a part. A call to Three Hills located one, so I should have it tomorrow night.
I then made supper and seven friends arrived around 1800.
We had a good visit and everyone left at 2100. I cleaned up and watched video, then went to bed at 2400.
I destroy my
enemies when I make them my friends.
Friday December 5th 2014
I woke up at 0555 this morning, feeling great. I've been dreaming lately, perhaps because I have been taking ibuprofen occasionally for a trigger thumb and some slight join pain recently. Ibuprofen works well for joint pain, but tends to cause some strange dreams before waking.
Jean said the other day that she, Chris and the kids are going to Banff today to pick up skis they leased for Nathan, and then to Nakiska for some skiing. I may join them. We'll see. I have a season's pass, so my only cost is the two-hour drive -- each way.
I'm home now. I drove to Nakiska, leaving at 1100, arrived there at 0320, met up with Jean and family. I skied about 10,000 vertical feet in two hours, with a twenty-minute timeout for a beer included.
Not all the runs are open yet, but the skiing was excellent. We burned up the slopes. Now I don't feel quite as old as I did this morning, but I wonder how I'll feel tomorrow. I pulled a few Gs with these old legs today.
This was Nathan's first time on real skis at a real ski hill. His mom spent the whole time with him, except for the last runs. She has the patience of Job. Of course she is a level two instructor who taught ski kindergarten at Sunshine a time or two, so she has to. (I was only level one and never taught kids other than my own). Chris spelled her at the end of the day so she could catch a few runs.
I left the hill at 1600 and drove home, stopping at Airdrie for groceries. I arrived in Swalwell after 1930.
To have a right to
do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.
Saturday December 6th 2014
I got up at 0615 this morning, wondering if I would be stiff and sore from skiing and I don't seem too bad. Walking down stairs is the acid test on the day after skiing and when I tried the front stairs, I found that, yes, I did stress some muscles.
That's good. This is how muscles build up. As they say, "No pain, no gain". Interestingly, my trigger thumb seems to have cured itself.
We are now looking forward to a week of milder weather, including -- if the weather guessers are right -- a stretch of days well above freeing. Maybe I'll get some outdoor work done, and maybe I'll go skiing again. I should wait a day before doing so, though, to let my legs recover. The skiing I did yesterday in two hours was more than a lot of younger people do in a whole day and one fifth of the biggest day I ever did, the 50,000 vertical feet required to earn the gold pin at Norquay.
I received a text last evening that I can expect a load of coal this afternoon. Everything is ready, except that I need to move the bee truck out of the way.
On the road, I listen to Audible talking books, and my most recent series has been The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World, a fascinating and listenable series of lectures. In one of the lectures, Alexandria was mentioned, and also the fact that the city is submerged under the Mediterranean. (The city was only rediscovered in the 1950s!)
Anyone who has even a smattering of education in history going back further than the year 1800, knows at least a little about the many, many civilizations that have been ended by climate change, going back as far as 10,000 years, a time when the seas were reportedly 130 feet lower than today and the evidence of the travels of the Vikings and other seafaring peoples who ventured far and wide during some of the warm periods, then withdrew during the colder times.
Granted some submersions were caused by earthquakes and land subsidence, but as many cities as were submerged, an equal or greater number were abandoned or destroyed by the upheavals, encroaching deserts as the glaciers receded and rivers dried up , and troubles brought on by drought or cold periods.
Here are some interesting links. Enjoy.
I drove over to find some empty drums for ashes and took a look at the hives. I see the birds have been enjoying the dead bees around the hives and that some small animal has been walking along in front as well.
Skunks should be hibernating by now. Maybe it was a cat looking for mice.
Cool Stuff: Do Crows Mourn Their Dead?
The coal came.
A coupla months in
the laboratory can save a coupla hours in the library.
Sunday December 7th 2014
My legs are still a little sore from skiing on Friday. This is nothing unusual after the first day out for the year.
On this day in 2013, it was minus thirty-seven. Right now it is minus three. We have wide variability in weather here. The present forecast, if it holds, promises ideal winter weather for outdoor work, and for skiing in the mountains although the prairie ski hills like canyon will lose much of their snow.
I gave up on Mouse Without Borders a while back due to the fact it crashed some of my programs randomly when I copied images, and went back to using Synergy to run my various computers with one mouse and one keyboard.
Installation went flawlessly on both the machines I am currently using. The only tricky part was that I had to use the Windows task manager to stop the existing instances of Synergy since Synergy was already running on both machines and files in use had to be replaced.
Speaking of mysteries, my phone still has issues with Lollipop and Lollipop is still sufficiently new that I am not finding solutions when I Google my issues. The issues are fairly minor and do not much impact my use, but annoying.
Looking back to this time last year, I see that I left BEE-L about this time in 2013. Reading through, I also see that many things that seem far in the past happened only twelve months ago. This has been a long year.
Bingo! I solved the Google Play problem on my Nexus 4 that plagued me after the lollipop OTA upgrade. I Googled the problem and finally found that the solution was to disable Google Play Services, clear the cache and re-enable it. Now my location services work and so does Google Play. These were the only real issues I encountered and they seem to be solved.
Most folks are as
happy as they make up their minds to be.
Monday December 8th 2014
Here we are. It is December the 8th already.
Time files and I still have no plans for Christmas. I have a number of options, but have just come home from several travels and am enjoying the warm weather and prospects of going skiing. In fact, I was thinking of going skiing today, but want to do some work around the yard while it is warm. Maybe tomorrow.
That used up a few hours this morning and it is probably a total waste of time.
I see that several regulars responded and in depth, and that AHB and SHB are not considered to be problems.
I'm glad I did not go skiing. I was suddenly tired mid-morning and lay down for a one-hour nap. Maybe I just got up too early today, or maybe I have a bug.
The day is dull and foggy. Temperatures are hovering around minus ten C. Visibility is poor and I can hardly see the railway tracks from here.
Samsung cell phone batteries are in the news lately and it seems to be only Samsung. Samsung claims the battery in the latest report was not their original battery, but the owner claims otherwise. ...And I was thinking of buying the Galaxy Note 4? (I still am). Be careful out there!
It was covered with hoar frost and the rain meter basin was full of ice, so I can see why it does not always tell the truth. I changed the cups and put it up on the peak of my house this time (right).
It had been on a garden shed until now, but I feel that the location was sheltered from prevailing winds and not always giving accurate reports. Of course the new location is better, but not perfect. It is only a foot above the roof and in summer deciduous trees will cause turbulence.
Never underestimate the power of ignorance
Today promises to be warm. It is plus three here now.
Nakiska promises to be very windy. I'll put off the skiing for another day.
With these warm temperatures, they'll be losing snow, however and unable to make any, so I wonder how it will be in a few days.
I see the winds have been gusty though (right) and prefer a steady breeze. I wonder if it is just my location here and if the winds are steadier on hilltops. I'm watching to see if the wind steadies out. It seems to be.
I went out in the backyard and flew my 5m2 Albatross kite, the kite with handles instead of a bar. It was one I have wondered about since it gave me a hard time last time out.
I wondered if it was somehow damaged from crashing although I could not see any issues, but my session with the little two-line trainer kite in California must have taught me something. I was I was able to fly this one well today and I had a good session before the wind died. Windspeed now reads zero.
The wind came back up and I went back out to fly kites again and drove around looking for a better spot. I tried the dam, but it was calm, being fairly low. I then went to a field at the crest of a hill and flew the 5 metre kite with some success, but found it would barely launch, then be ripped from my hands. The problem was that I was over the hill crest and the wind up twenty feet was much stronger than on the ground.
The kite also does not de-power smoothly and it seems it either pulls hard or drops from the sky with little control in between. It is a cheapy kite that I bought by accident on eBay, but I would have hoped to find it more controllable.
Last night I tried to watch "Tears of the Sun" on Netflix and gave up. I'm getting tired of fiction and decided tonight I'll watch kite videos on YouTube instead.
The statistics on
sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some
form of mental illness.
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