Tuesday December 1st 2015

Today Sunny. High minus 2.
Tonight Clear. Becoming partly cloudy after midnight. Low minus 11.

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We return to Edmonton today.

Jon drove us to LAX around eleven and we were on the ground in Edmonton shortly after 1800.  The shuttle took us to Jean's car and we were at Birch meadows around 2100.

I had considered returning to Swalwell, but everything looked okay on the surveillance cameras and the temperatures were rising, so I stayed the night.

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There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
Henry Kissinger

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Wednesday December 2nd 2015

Tonight Clear. Becoming partly cloudy late this evening. Low minus 13.

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After breakfast, I started the van, chipped off the ice and snow and drove to Sylvan, where I bought a trailer battery for the garbage haul and groceries at Wal-Mart.  I found I was relaxed enough to enjoy poking around the stores and without a dog in the car to worry about I took my time.

When  I left Birch meadows, a Chinook was blowing in.  West winds were gusting and temperatures rose to plus seven at times. By the time I got home, all the accumulated ice and snow were gone from the van.

From Sylvan. I drove to Red Deer, fuelled up at the SuperStore, then stopped at Costco to renew my membership and get a replacement card for the one I had misplaced some time ago. 

Fuel is now down to 83.9 and when we consider the points rebate worth seven cents, that takes the price down to 76.9.  76.9  calculates out to US$2.18/US gallon and compares favourably to the US$2.71 we paid in in Laguna Hills yesterday and the US$2.639 at Costco in Laguna Niguel.  Of course, in Providence RI, gas is US$2.09 today.

Although we enjoy low gas prices, they are a sign of slow times.

January WTI is $40.10 and Brent is at 42.67.

From NASDAQ.com

I don't know about you, but to me that chart does not promise higher oil prices anytime soon and when  you figure that Doctor Copper (below) does not look a whole lot happier, I'd say that things are not nearly as rosy as the MSM would like us to believe.

Both are bellwether components of our world economy and when prices are up that means that the economy is humming.  When supply overwhelms demand as we see here, and prices fall like this, look out below.

And then there is the BDI (Blue) and the CRB (yellow) below.  They both seem to agree.  The direction is down.

From Investmenttools.com

In the face of this, the Fed plans to raise rates very soon.  They have been trying to get a chance to do so for a while. They have to.  The emergency measures designed to forestall disaster are doing serious collateral damage.  They are enriching undeserving banksters and speculators while punishing savers, but the Fed is trapped at the zero bound, just as many predicted years' ago when the bailouts, 'quantitative easing' (AKA money printing) and emergency rates began.

When the Fed does manage a rate increase, it will be only a token raise and there will be a brief party, since rising rates should mean that demand for money and resources is rising, but I'm guessing the party will be short-lived because the rate rise will be symbolic only -- a desperate bluff.

Eventually, the chickens always come home to roost.

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Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1.5 tons.
Popular Mechanics, March 1949

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Thursday December 3rd 2015

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud near noon. Wind south 20 km/h gusting to 40. High plus 4.
Tonight Clearing late this evening. Wind south 20 km/h. Low zero.

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Ten day forecast

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I weigh in at 234 today, so I am gaining weight again.  That is normal for me at this time of year and also may be due to travelling and eating away from home.  We'll see what my weight settles to after a few days home.

I've been sleeping eight hours a night lately, so it seems that simply deciding to do so has changed my sleep pattern.  Although I slept eight hours last night, my sleep could have been better. 

I made chili last evening and ate some for supper. I used a new hot sauce I found while shopping yesterday.  While at Jon's, I noticed he had a variety of hot sauces and he said that he avoids the ones with vinegar as a main ingredient, so I found one that looked promising to try. 

It was tasty, but perhaps the spices affected me.  I have trouble with some chili powders (more) and wonder which ingredient others me.  I assume it must be the cayenne or the paprika since oregano, cumin, onion and garlic do not bother me.

Well, I am home again with nothing pressing and have promised myself to get the gas in and working before Christmas.  Between now and then, I also have to deliver my boat to Vancouver and at some point really should go to see my Mom.  I also have some things to do outside and the next week promises to be mild, with temperatures above freezing during the days and only occasional excursions below freezing at night.

I really must get out to the ski slopes, too.  I have a season's pass for Nakiska.

The gas project should be simple once I settle on the plan and move things out of the way.  There are some heavy windows to move and a collection of parts and electronics.

Of course, I must finish my procrastination before all.  There is skiing, the beehives still need moving and today I received an email tipping me to this book. The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science.  I checked it out and the book has nothing but rave reviews.  A magic bullet?

As mentioned here previously, I have been considering the Vipassana Meditation Centre in Youngstown mentioned to me by an old acquaintance who dropped by last summer and had contemplated going there, but I have been reluctant to attend. 

Attending the centre means committing to eleven days incommunicado. That may not be a bad thing, but for me, it is a little difficult to arrange. 

Additionally, having wrestled with dogmatists, evangelists and proselytizers in my childhood and youth, I avoid organized religion -- or organizations like Amway, which is like a religion -- or anything that functions like a religion or cult.

Having studied and practiced hypnosis and having undergone hypnosis, I am very aware of its ubiquitous presence our daily lives and the immense power of peers and suggestion. I've watched preachers, politicians, and time-share salespeople at work and am aware of my own weaknesses. I'm wise to their tricks, but am fully aware of the pitfalls letting down one's guard and of getting too close.

Attachment forms in groups and we see curious phenomena like the Stockholm Syndrome or the strange tale of Patty Hearst.  This syndrome is very real and being aware of it does not make one immune to forming attachments which may be inappropriate.  Ten days is enough time for anything to happen.

It is not that this centre is religious or deliberately exploitive  -- apparently not -- but the possibility of mass hypnosis and indoctrination, even accidental, is always present in any  such extended isolated retreat and especially where so many are wanting and expecting to experience something intangible.

Contemporary hypnotism uses a variety of suggestion forms including direct verbal suggestions, "indirect" verbal suggestions such as requests or insinuations, metaphors and other rhetorical figures of speech, and non-verbal suggestion in the form of mental imagery, voice tonality, and physical manipulation. A distinction is commonly made between suggestions delivered "permissively" and those delivered in a more "authoritarian" manner. Harvard hypnotherapist Deirdre Barrett writes that most modern research suggestions are designed to bring about immediate responses, whereas hypnotherapeutic suggestions are usually post-hypnotic ones that are intended to trigger responses affecting behaviour for periods ranging from days to a lifetime in duration. The hypnotherapeutic ones are often repeated in multiple sessions before they achieve peak effectiveness.[33]

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypnosis

So I bought the book and installed it on my phone.  That will keep me distracted for a while.   Now what about Nakiska?  Do we have enough snow to make it worth the drive?

*   *   *   *   *

This (below) came today.

George Imrie was very firm in his opinions and an interesting writer.   He had high expectations of beekeepers and never minced words.  I met him a number of times, years ago at various US meetings and always found him cordial.  We corresponded a bit.  He was in a wheelchair by then, after a stroke, but still very active.  As I recall, he had been a scientist, possibly nuclear -- can't recall.  His articles relate to Maryland, but are worth reading. 

Hi Allen -

FYI - It's taken me quite a while, but all previously unconverted issues of George's Pink Pages in my possession have been converted and uploaded to the site. Look for "New 2015" on the TOC and Monthly Index pages for these "new" issues (8 of them).




Here's a sample.  Did I mention GEORGE liked capital letters?

"Never known for being nice or complimentary to EVERYONE (like politicians campaigning for votes and money), my thoughts are to TEACH, EDUCATE, INSTRUCT, and INFORM all beeHAVERS and some beeKEEPERS the methods used to be a successful beekeeper in central MARYLAND; and hence, sometimes, I am TOUGH and DEMANDING in order to get your ATTENTION (even MAD) in order to force you to THINK. Being nice lulls you to doze or let your mind agree that everything you do is correct; but being CHALLENGED elevates your adrenaline and puts your mind in high-gear thinking.

"With that said, have you INSPECTED your bees in January? Don't give me that crap that it is too cold!


I did some bookkeeping, did some research and set the table for supper. 

Tonight, there were just three of us.  I don't know if it is the time of year or the fact we are all aging, but the dinner group is shrinking.

We had my chili and a salad, broccoli,  green beans and multi-grain bread.

Influenced by Jon's practice in Aliso Viejo, I bought coffee beans the other day, then found my grinder and started grinding coffee beans again.  I had left some ground coffee in  a canister on  the counter when I went south and when I tried it just now, it comes nowhere near the quality of the fresh ground coffee. I think the cans are fresh when opened, but quickly go rancid.  I notice the butter I left out is quite rancid, too.

After supper, we resumed work on the puzzle that was begun last week.  I've decided that doing puzzles and playing board or card games may be a better way to pass the evening than simply sitting at the table, talking.

I plan to go to the coast to deliver my boat to Vancouver and am thinking that I should do it this coming week, while the weather is mild.

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I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.
Franklin P. Adams

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Friday December 3rd 2015

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud near noon. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming northwest 20 gusting to 40 near noon. Temperature falling to plus 1 this afternoon.
Tonight Clear. Wind southwest 20 km/h. Low minus 4.

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Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

My weight is not going down.  In fact, it is going up.  I'm going to have to get serious, I guess.

Today looks like another nice, mild December day.  The days are above freezing and we have very little snow, but we have a strong breeze that can be tiring.

I started reading The Mind Illuminated. I have it on my phone and on my tablet.  Oddly, I am finding reading on the phone easier due to shorter line lengths and smaller pages.

I have just begun and so far the reading is just reminding me of things I already know.  Knowing is not the same as doing, however, and being reminded is very helpful.

I have been aware that I have been having difficulty bringing my mind to several topics that need attention and one is the heating system.  It seems my enthusiasm for these topics has been extinguished to the point where I find it difficult to approach them.  I won't go too far into how this came about, but Ellen got hard to live with after retirement and in any marriage that a person values, one learns how to get along and avoid conflict.

At this point in reading The Mind Illuminated, the main message I have gotten out of my reading is a better explanation of mindfulness and a suggestion to do 'walking meditation'.

Mindfulness is something I have been lacking lately, running from one thing to another and burying myself into activities, tasks, or the computer.

The message at this stage is to experience one's body and surroundings.  Good idea!  I think I'll go for a walk.  We'll see how bad that breeze is. 

We are under Chinook cloud, and I decided to wait a while for sunshine before going out, so I started emptying the dishwasher and putting dishes away.  'q' was on the radio and I listened to a panel criticizing how Mark Zuckerberg is giving away his fortune.

They did not seem to understand that he does not have cash and the current Facebook share price is as high it is due to limited supply for sale and confidence in future earnings growth. 

Putting Zuckerberg's shares onto the market, even if the sale were to be spread over a  year, would drive the value down very drastically.  Facebook shares are only worth what they are because more people are wanting to buy than wanting to sell.

FB PE for the trailing twelve months (history) is 107. The forward PE (pure conjecture) is 37. Earnings numbers tend to be optimistic and subject to interpretation and either number indicates the stock is at least twice overvalued when considering just the actual earnings. 

Moreover, who are these panelists to criticize?  It is Zuckerberg's  money, and he is obviously smarter than the whole panel put together.

Silliness like this is why I usually turn off the radio when q comes on.

Then Gloria Steinem came on and talked with Shad about her new book and her life.  I would not have wanted to miss that and I was glad I did not turn them off.  Interestingly, she mentioned mindfulness and the importance of home, two questions I am contemplating at present.

I almost caught up on my bookkeeping this afternoon, then walked over to the quonset yard.  I tried the mindful walking, but soon arrived at the bee hives and found things to do.

I moved a few hives and looked at things.  The wind had calmed and the sun was out.  What a beautiful day!

I like working outdoors on days like this.  The temperature is warm enough to be comfortable and cool enough that I don't overheat.  I moved things around and contemplated the various jobs that need doing.  If there were just a few tasks, I'd look forward to doing them, but looking around, I can see no end to things that need attention.

The bees were mostly settled down nicely, but a few hives were active.  Normally bees are not aggressive at this time of year, but look at my glove (right) after I disturbed a hive and moving it slightly .

My clusters are bit on the small side after the hives were drastically split this summer.   The nice thing about the EPS hives is that they need no winter preparation.  I'll leave the entrances and the front auger holes open until spring but I do need to plug holes in the backs of then hives. I see a few are open.  I don't want wind blowing through.

The lid and pillow at left are propped up to show details of the bees, the pillow and the lid.

The snow in the yard shows the visits of many animals and it is hard to guess what animals were there due to melting, but deer, some sort of canine, birds, and possibly a skunk left trails through the yard.

*   *   *   *   *

I started recording my food consumption into Fatsecret again today and see that I am eating right around the amount that would maintain or add weight, not reduce my mass.  I see I'm at 93% of the RDI that would give me a slight reduction. I'll have to start exercising more discipline again.

This is what happens to me over and over: I go on a trip and find myself in a different world and on a different schedule.  Often day lengths vary and dietary offerings are dissimilar to my home selections.   I adapt, then when I return home, it takes me time to readjust.

I had chili for supper and watched an episode of of Grey's Anatomy and one of Death in Paradise and a pilot episode of Scandal.  That is a lot of video watching and I wonder why I do it.  I suppose that one benefit is that I get to see what people attitudes are being shown as 'normal' so I don't get too far out of touch with current social norms. Nonetheless, it is all highly imaginative and bizarre if I step back and think about what I am watching.

In my lifetime, I have seen immense change in attitudes and norms.  In my youth, television and radio content were heavily controlled and 'swear words' and any hint of nudity were verboten.  Birth control and abortion were illegal. The liquor control board actually controlled liquor. Smoking was seen everywhere, indoors and out and ads suggested it was good for you.  Gambling was controlled and the only lottery people could access was the Irish Sweepstakes, sold illegally and under the table.  Illegal drug use was not widely observed.  Homosexuality was illegal, as were many common sexual practices, even in private between consenting adults.  Everyone joked about Catholic priests and alter boys, but nothing was done.  Criminals were still executed in Canada.  Aboriginal children were forcibly collected by governments and sent to 'residential' boarding schools and no one on the street seemed to know about it. Doctors made house calls.  There was no universal medical insurance.  Everyone went to church or pretended to.  Christian women wore hats in public and in church.  Marriage was the norm and divorce scandalous.  Men went to work and women were expected to marry.  Married women were expected to stay home.  Large families were not unusual.  Owning a car was not the norm.  Phones were stationary and pay phones were everywhere...

The list is a long one.  Here is a list of resources.

I am having trouble arranging the timing for delivering the boat.  Although Cooper Boating has been good in the past, they seem to be understaffed lately.  It appears I won't be going to the coast Monday.

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anything worth dying for ... is certainly worth living for.
Joseph Heller

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Saturday December 5th 2015

 Today Sunny. Becoming partly cloudy this afternoon. Wind southwest 20 km/h. High 8.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind south 20 km/h becoming light overnight. Low minus 2.

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Ten day forecast

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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I'm up at 0320 after being awake for a while.  I am quite sure it must be the chili.  Drat!  I had breakfast and coffee and am going back to bed.

I went back to bed around 0500 and slept soundly until 0845, rousing only once briefly at 0610.  Seeing as I should have been at breakfast at the Mill, twenty minutes away at 0830, I can see am not going to make it.  No sense even trying.

This morning, I weigh 232.4.  That is better.  My weight is settling down after my travels. I see I ate 117% of my RDI yesterday when everything was figured in, however, so I'll have to watch my appetite.

Today is beginning with a beautiful sunny morning.  I must get outside and do a few things before the opportunity vanishes.

We are expecting to be well above normals this coming week. Our days are currently down to 8 hours. Days will get shorter by the winter solstice, but not by much.  Our sun rises to only 17° above the horizon at noon these days and 16° at the solstice.

I spent some time crafting an email to my family offering them my interest in Pine Hill.  Neither I or my kids intend to go there and don't need the responsibility.  I'll be interested in the  response.  Sharing ownership is not a good idea IMO.

I decided to get back to meditation.  I have not done much if any for a long time and I don't really have any training.  The book is full of words, but understanding has to com e from me. I set a timer for ten minutes and found it passed in a flash.

I found myself laughing at one point.  Ten minutes is nothing.  An hour or more a day is recommended.  Maybe this is a substitute for watching video.  If I can spend two or three hours some nights watching the idiot box, maybe I have time to meditate.   The problem is that I watch video when I am too tired to do anything else and trying to meditate when tired just results in sleep.

I have been waiting to go outside, but although it is plus four, the wind is up and we are under Chinook cloud.

I did not go out.  I lay down and slept two hours, then made a vegetable soup.

I hope to sleep better tonight.

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Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Sunday December 6th 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 7.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. Low minus 1.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

In spite of being tired and uninspired, I didn't go to bed until after midnight and I slept until 0920. 

I weigh 231.0 today, so I am readjusting to being home.  According to my scrupulous entries into Fatsecret yesterday, I ate 93% of the 2300 calorie RDI designed to lower my weight. 

To maintain my current weight, the RDI would be 2900, so at 2300, the theoretical daily weight loss would be 3500/(2900-2300)=0.17 lbs or 1.2 lbs a week. 

I got to looking around to see how the 3500 calorie rule holds up over time and found this article that led me to the calculator shown at right which suggests 1765 calories a day for 180 days to drop 42 pounds, a number I picked out of the air and would mean losing a quarter pound a day or 1.6 pounds a week. Hmmm.

*   *   *   *   *

Pet Peeve Department: We see a lot about 'Islamaphobia' in  the media lately and the ignorance demonstrated on all sides annoys and saddens me greatly. 

To begin with, the term is a total  misnomer, since a phobia is "a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation" (Ref), and the term is being used to mean stereotyping and stigmatizing of anyone who might be a Muslim. 

The ignorance demonstrated by people who really should know better amazes me and he actions of a Muslim fringe is being generalized over a whole larger group.  The topic is not that difficult to comprehend.  Anyone  can learn the basics in fifteen minutes (Starting now).

1.) The Wahibi sect and ISIL no more represent all Muslims than the IRA, the KKK or anti-abortion terrorists represent all Christians.

2.) In spite of the hysteria, more Americans have been killed and continue to be killed and maimed on American soil by the 'Christian' terrorist fringe that by all actions attributed to 'Muslims', and that includes 9-11.

3.) Muslims are the main victims of terror attacks worldwide, not to mention attacks from the air by Western forces.

4.) Terrorists have come from all social and religious groups throughout history and suicide bombers are nothing new.

You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia | Alastair Crooke

Is The U.S. Engaged In a Muslim Religious War ... On the Side of Islamic Jihadis? Washington's Blog

I do not necessarily hold opinions on the matters presented here.  Facts are elusive and often distorted, but what is clear is that something is going on and the 'news' we see on MSM is a incomplete and biased sample.

One thing that is seldom mentioned and one of those things people seem to know and not discuss openly that -- as I understand it -- some fundamentalist Christian sects and some fundamentalist Muslims share a common belief in an epic battle in the Levant between invading Christians and the defending Muslims which will mark the beginning of the end of the world -- variously referred to as Apocalypse, Armageddon, Dabiq -- and a desire to bring it on.

Perhaps fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims have a lot in common.

*   *   *   *   *

I'm off to Meijers' for a birthday party this afternoon and plan to stop in Drum to pick up a few items along the way.

*   *   *   *   *

I arrived on time and we had a good visit and supper, then I headed home, arriving around 2045.  Supper was sausage, bacon, potatoes and kale and pastries, rum and coffee.  I did not even try to count calories. 


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I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries.
 Stephen King

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Monday December 7th 2015

Today Cloudy. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this morning. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 9.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low minus 6.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept maybe four hours.  At sometime shortly after four, I awoke to hear a train approaching.  It was followed shortly after by another from the other direction. Then the front door motion detection light came on. 

My guess is that a deer or a maybe a herd of deer came by, but it could have been coyotes or even a skunk.  It is warm out these nights and animals are active.  I see footprints in the snow everywhere.

I dozed a bit, but woke again and decided that sleep was not likely, so got up at 0530 and had breakfast and coffee.  Maybe I'll go back to bed in a while and see if I can meet my sleep quota.  My minimum target is six hours, with the ideal being eight.

I definitely blew out my diet last night.  The food was great and I did not hold back.  Along with three shots of rum (Ooops), I drank about five good cups of coffee with whipped cream on top.  I was not sleepy when I got home, so I researched heart matters and watched some video, finally getting to bed after midnight again.

At 0530 this morning, I weigh 235.0, up three pounds from yesterday.  That is partly due to less sleep. 

I lose water to respiration and sweating every hour I am asleep and that loss seems to amount to roughly a half pound per hour.

This morning when I  reconstructed my dinner on Fatsecret (left) I counted 1,894 calories for that one meal, everything included.

It was a great meal, but not a meal I could/should eat every day.  1,894 calories is 129 calories more than what I should consume in an entire day according to the calculator I mentioned yesterday (right) and this meal put my fat calories for the day over 53% of my total calories. I avoided the bacon grease and yet two thirds of the calories I consumed that evening were from fat.

The meal put me at 136% of my Fatsecret RDI for weight loss, and 177% of the number given by the calculator at right but surprisingly only put me about 200 calories over my Fatsecret RDI for weight maintenance.

I went back to bed at 0700 and slept until 0910.  Stepping onto the scale at 0910, I weigh 233.4.  That is how my weight fluctuates. Two hours of additional sleep dropped my weight by 1.6 lbs.  Obviously that is all water.

Interestingly, the Mayo Clinic has a different number for weight maintenance -- 2150 calories  (left).  Fatsecret says 2900 calories.  Big difference!

Dr. Gabe Mirkin on Health, Fitness and Nutrition. - Waylon Jennings’ Years of Pain
Has several great concert clips embedded.

On Sept 3, after a week in hospital, I weighed 223.4, but I weighed 230.6 a week later on Sept 11th.  I have wondered how I lost about seven pounds while in hospital -- and how I gained it back fairly shortly after leaving.

I noticed they restricted salt while I was there and found it curious.  I have read that only ten percent of people need to restrict salt and my blood pressure has not been high, so I wonder...  I have not thought I eat much salt, but maybe I should reconsider, so today I decided to Google (well, Bing actually) whether salt restriction leads to weight loss.  If so, would assume any loss would be due to fluid loss.

Here is what I found...

Sodium and Weight
If your body retains an extra 400 milligrams of sodium, roughly the amount in a gram of salt, you could carry two added pounds of water weight, according to Dr. Jack D. Osman of Towson University. Your body strives to maintain a delicate balance of sodium and water, so when you eat too much sodium it holds on to more water to offset the excess. This weight is temporary, and once sodium levels return to normal it will disappear. Drinking water can help flush sodium, expediting water-weight loss.

Restricting dietary sodium can result in loss of body water through urine as the body tries to reestablish sodium and water balance. Reducing sodium intake to very low amounts (for example, 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams daily) would likely result in a loss of about 600 milliliters (2.5 cups) of water on the first day or about 1.25 pounds (.57 kilogram) of scale weight. Over a seven-day period the total loss of water weight from substantial sodium reduction is likely to be about 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms).

Does Sodium Affect Weight Loss?
Many popular diets these days advise that in addition to reducing calories and increasing exercise you should reduce or even eliminate sodium from your diet. Excess sodium causes fluid retention, which manifests itself in the form is excess weight. While reducing calories and exercising will ultimately result in fat loss, eliminating or significantly reducing your sodium or salt intake will result in a temporary loss of water weight.
By cutting out the sodium you can initially expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds, depending on your body size. But once you reintroduce the sodium, some or all of the water weight will return. While reducing your sodium intake is a major factor in maintaining metabolism and eliminating water weight, reducing calories, exercising, and drinking plenty of water will still be your best strategy for long-term weight loss

Limiting salt and starches may also mean losing more weight at first -- but that's mostly fluids, not fat. "When you reduce sodium and cut starches, you reduce fluids and fluid retention, which can result in up to 5 pounds of fluid loss when you get started," says Michael Dansinger
Diets for Fast Weight Loss
Dansinger recommends eating a diet that minimizes starches, added sugars, and animal fat from meat and dairy foods. For rapid weight loss, he recommends focusing on fruits, veggies, egg whites, soy products, skinless poultry breasts, fish, shellfish, nonfat dairy foods, and 95% lean meat.

Here are more tips from Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, author of The Flexitarian Diet :

  • Eat vegetables to help you feel full.

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Get tempting foods out of your home.

  • Stay busy -- you don't want to eat just because you're bored.

  • Eat only from a plate, while seated at a table. No grazing in front of the 'fridge.
    Don't skip meals.

  • Keeping a food journal -- writing down everything you eat -- can also help you stay on track.

Such retention of salt causes us to hang on to as much as 1.5 litres (two and a half pints) of fluid causing weight gains of 2-3lb” explains MacGregor. “Switching to a low salt intake can cause losses of this fluid and therefore, women can shed up to 3lb very rapidly.

Fact is that I weigh roughly twice as much as many women, so I assume that the 3 lbs mentioned for a woman could be 6 lbs in my case, and that would explain the hospital weight loss!  Okay! I'm going to cut back on salt and see what happens.

At 1422, it is blowing 12-20 MPH from the west, so I have a chance to take out a kite for a while.  Good exercise!

By the time I got out there, the wind was dying, but I did get a good twenty minutes in before rolling up the kite and quitting.

I dropped to look at the North Yard and see the bees are cleaning floors on some hives.  I also see that the plugs were out of auger holes on the back, so I replaced them.  I don't know why they are out.  Could it be an animal working at the hives?  I see fairly fresh-looking skunk droppings near one hive, but it could be from some time ago.

I dragged out my kites to give them a looking over and after supper I watched a kiting video to refresh my memory.  It's time to get out the skis, too. Nakiska is open and the snow looks good.

I watched another episode of Grey's Anatomy and the show just gets more and more ridiculous, so I watched an episode of River and it was similarly preposterous.   Last night , I watched an episode of Columbo from 1971.  Maybe I'm dated, but I found it much more acceptable.

To achieve the impossible dream, try going to sleep.
Joan Klempner

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Tuesday December 8th 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming south 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 6.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming cloudy after midnight. Wind south 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming west 20 this evening then light after midnight. Low zero.

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Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I went to bed late again last night and awoke at 0520.  I weigh 234.6 today. 

I had thought I'd be on my boat on the West Coast today, but the weather on Georgia Strait is nasty and Dave reports they do not have a slip for my boat in Vancouver Island yet.

Nakiska is now fully open, I have a season's pass, the roads are bare and dry, and I'm thinking of going to the mountains to ski today. 

I don't seem to be getting much done here and I can see I am just spinning my wheels.  I am also realizing that I am spending a lot of time alone at home -- probably too much -- and need to get out more.

I see that Fatsecret thinks that four hours of skiing burns 3542 calories!  That means a pound of weight loss?  Hard to believe.  I notice that the same time on a snowboard is only expected to burn 2/3 as much energy.  Interesting.

If I skied four hours every day for a week, and ate no more or less, would I lose 7 pounds?

I see there are various estimates of calorie consumption, as well there should be.

Glamour has a calculator that distinguishes between light, moderate and vigorous.  Calorie Count offers yet another estimate, as does FitDay.  That is understandable. 

What is surprising is that these sources agree as well as the do.  One reason for that is that some or all use a common source for the estimate, the Harvard Medical School. 

(I have to ask, though, how much can we believe a Harvard paper after reading the deeply flawed Lu papers (more) on a topic we do understand?)

I went back to bed at 0700 and slept until 0920, then checked the weather for Nakiska on Environment Canada's site:

Today Cloudy. Snow at times heavy mixed with rain beginning early this afternoon. Snowfall amount 10 cm. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 8.   Tonight Snow mixed with rain ending late this evening then cloudy. Snow beginning before morning. Snowfall amount 2 to 4 cm. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low plus 2.  Wed, 9 Dec Snow ending late in the morning then a mix of sun and cloud. Amount 5 to 10 cm. Wind becoming west 20 km/h gusting to 50 late in the morning. High 6.  Night Clear. Low minus 4.

That does not sound too pleasant or something to drive four hours and 199 km each way to experience.  Rain on a ski hill tends to dampen enthusiasm and wind can make the chair ride miserable.  It is always hard, though, to tell from a forecast what it would actually be like to be there.  For one thing, the weather will be different at different altitudes.  While it may be windy and snowing at the summit, it may be calmer and raining below.

I went to check the drive and see that Google maps now maps the ski runs.

I decided against and think Thursday is more promising. 

I did various things that did not amount to much, then took out my kites and went out with the 8.5 Concept Air Smart II and flew it for an hour.  Winds, as is so often the case here were gusty and inconsistent, but I got a workout.

I've decided that I am burned out and can't find the will to complete anything, so decided to just stop expecting anything of myself, go with the flow and just do what I feel like.  I have been pressuring myself.  As soon as I made that decision, I got down to some things I have been putting off, now that they don't make me feel guilty.  People are funny that way. N'est ce pas?

 I have a bin of coal to burn and a furnace that keeps things toasty -- and has not needed attention since Maddy came over to check it and shovel ashes on the 28th of last month.  That is ten whole days, and in December, too. Life is good.

I then went in and dragged out my 13.5 Best Kahoona LEI kite (which I have never yet flown), looked it over and watched a snowkiting instruction movie. 

I know I have watched that DVD before, but parts were new to me.  I must have skipped them previously. (I hope so, or my mind is going).

I followed that with a literally brain-dead episode of Grey's Anatomy and then decided to make a vegetable stew.

I like to make a big pot of stew or soup and keep it in the fridge.  I'm not sure which it is, but I put in everything I have in  the fridge, plus diced tomatoes, canned beans and corn.  If I do it right, it feeds me for days along with the various other things I eat like salads in tortilla wraps. I scanted the salt today and I can tell.  I like salt.

I'm watching what I eat seriously now and recording everything as carefully as I can on Fatsecret.  The problem I find, however, is that nutritional profiles for many foods, including even some commercial products are not listed on the site and I have to either look them up or guess. 

Guessing can be a bit subjective and introduces the potential for cheating, but wouldn't that be like cheating at solitaire?  In fact, I know many do cheat at solitaire and other things as well, and I wonder what doing so -- or not doing so -- says about a person.

According to my Fatsecret records, I ate only 1932 calories -- 84% of my weight loss RDI -- today, and those are honest numbers.  Honest.

I see there is fresh snow on the mountain. Here's Nakiska weather again.

Wed, 9 Dec Mainly cloudy. 40 percent chance of flurries early in the morning. Snow at times heavy beginning in the morning and ending late in the afternoon. Amount 10 to 15 cm. Wind becoming west 20 km/h late in the morning. High 6. Night Clearing early in the evening. Wind west 20 km/h becoming light after midnight. Low minus 3.

Tomorrow could be a good day on the slopes.  I don't mind a bit of snow falling and 15cm (6") would make for great boarding.  With a high of plus six, though, the falling snow might be more like rain and melting temperatures could also mean that snow on the ground will be wet and heavy, so-called Sierra Cement that can sometimes stop you dead in your tracks.

I don't know about the roads, either. The trip could take ten gallons of gas and a gallon of washer fluid.

There is no disappointment so numbing...as someone no better than you achieving more.
 Joseph Heller

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Wednesday December 9th 2015

Today Becoming cloudy this morning then rain changing to snow this afternoon. Snowfall amount 5 to 10 cm. High plus 3.
Tonight Snow ending this evening then clearing. Amount 2 cm. Low minus 9.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I am up at 0600 and checking the Nakiska weather.  Gale force winds are predicted for this afternoon on the hill. Tomorrow looks like the better day. 

Here at home, wind is not even mentioned in the local EC forecast now that I have taken out my four traction kites: a 3.5 Rush trainer, a 5.5 m2 no-name, and the Best Kahoona 13.5m2.

I weigh 233.0 today, and I have been home a week as of this afternoon. At right is a chart summary of my weight over that week.

Data --Thursday: 234 / Friday: 233(?)  Saturday: 232.4  Sunday: 231.0  Monday: 235.0  Tuesday: 234.6  Wednesday 233.0

What is really obvious is that I put on four pounds on Sunday.  What is less obvious is what causes such large fluctuations and what my base weight really is.

Obviously, factors in diet other than mere calories affect weight in an enduring fashion.  I did not exceed my calorie budget by much that day, but gained three pounds overnight.

On Nov 4, I weighed 228.4 and on the 5th, I weighed 232 again.  At that time, I noted that I ate a lot of nuts.  Nuts are high in calories, but also fats and salt.

What put on the weight Sunday? My meal was high in fat and simple carbs, contained salt and nitrates, and I drank three shots of rum. 

So, was the bump in weight due to fluid retention?  I would think so. 

Three days later, I have yet to return to my weight recorded the day before the bump.  My decline in weight since that bump is on the same trend as before, so I have to conclude that the three pound gain was real!

Unfortunately, I did not keep a more detailed daily record leading up to that day or the graph could tell me more. The possibility, even likelihood, exists that fluid retention is a confounding factor in the gains and losses.  Nonetheless, except for that one event, the daily decline seems consistent with what I would expect in real fat loss from my diet calculations.

I put some pinto beans to soak last night and cooked them today.  I cooked the minimum time on the bag and they did not mush.  I'm paying more attention now and note that the bag has a BB date -- 2017 AU 06.  There were a few split and dark beans, but I saw some in a can I opened yesterday, too, so maybe the quality difference is not that great.

A friend wrote this in a note to me some time back:

Having grown up in a culture that uses beans a lot, here are some thoughts on how to make a good pot. Definitely soaking to match the initial hardness or dryness of the beans makes a big difference. Cooking the harder beans long enough, or with a pressure cooker also makes a difference. They can also be overcooked and turn into mush. There is a happy medium. Cooks in Colombia used to talk about how beans should be cooked until they release "the ink", which I think simply means that some of the protein leaves the meat of the bean and turns the broth cloudy, rather than watery. Yes, salting only at the end. People also saute onions, tomatoes, peppers, garlic to taste and add that at the end of the cook, only letting things simmer after that point to make all the flavors "marry".  And the original freshness of the beans can also make a lot of difference in taste and structure. It is hard to know how old the dried bags that we get in stores are, but I find them very variable.

I'm still figuring this out.  One thing is for sure, and that is that beans are some of the healthiest, cheapest, and most convenient foods available.

I was unclear about whether to keep the broth or not an wrote...

I have been pondering your advice.
I am assuming, then, that after the soaking water has been thrown away, the water used for cooking is kept and used as part of the meal? I have been discarding that water.

After reading various things on the 'net, I noticed that some writers attributed the gassy effects of beans to insufficient soaking and assumed that discarding the cooking broth would also be advisable.

Beans usually do not cause me any gas, but an occasional meal will, I have not figured out why.

His reply:

Rinse and clean the batch of dry bees by running water into the pot, removing the shells, floaters, dirt.
Soak overnight or less if not really hard beans, until the beans have some give.
Remove the soak water and rinse again.
Add new water and boil until soft and a bit of darkening of the water starts  (Some do a quick boil, remove the water and add water again to start the cooking).
Add sauteed veggies for taste- onions, garlic, green peppers, some even add shredded carrots, tomatoes, etc.  This in my area of origin was called "ahogao" (drowned one).  In my view the pre-sauteeing really brings out the flavors and then they can "marry" in the next step of simmering with the beans and bean broth.
Add salt and pepper, hot sauce, etc. to taste and simmer for a long time.

We never remove water after cooking, we may add some to keep things brothy, but like the cloudy broth for its taste.  Adding this brothy bean mix to rice complements amino acids and is a nice combo to eat.

It is starting to snow here now. The temperature is right at freezing and the wind is light.  I'm playing around, cooking, reading and thinking about waxing my skis and boards for a trip to the hill tomorrow.

I cooked some rice and onions and am adding them to the beans along with some mild curry powder I bought the other day.  I am leaving out the salt and I miss it when I taste the result.  Maybe I will cave?

*    *    *    *    *

I need to adjust my headlights.  They are too low.  At night on the highway, I can hardly see on low beam. 

The adjustment is easy to do and although there are specifications, I just adjust them so I can see and nobody flashes me.  (Well, maybe the odd driver.  Some people flash everybody). 

I need a tool to do the job, though, my 5mm socket -- my smallest -- was too large. Was I wrong?  Is it not a hex head?  I have not done this job for a few years.

I could not see the end of the adjuster, so I reached in and 'click', I have a close-up view.  That hex head is 4 mm or maybe 4.5.  The special tools sold for $20 have both.  I ordered a socket for both sizes.  At $3 each, why not?

Have you discovered how useful a phone is as a magnifying glass and a way to look into dark, small places where your head will not fit, but your hand will?  At left is a shot of a headlight adjuster screw, hidden down inside the front of my car. I can reach them easily, but can't really see them.

The specs for some cars say to aim the low beams down  four inches from centre line for each twenty-five feet of forward distance and that is the law in some states for all cars, but for other cars, the spec is for dead level or down a fraction of an inch at the same distance.

A four-inch drop results in low beams that hit the road 125 (20"/4" x 25') feet from the car.  That may be okay in town under street lighting but on the open road, at highway speed I am going 88 feet a second at 60 MPH and must dim at least 200m from oncoming traffic (the law says 200m, but most open highway drivers dim a mile (1600m) away and expect the same).  That effectively makes me almost blind for thirty seconds so, instead, I aim the lows level and find that nobody complains.

I wonder about cresting hilltops with oncoming cars, since one would at first think that they will be below the cutoff, but that does not seem to be a problem if the lights are pointed slightly down since the distance to the crest is almost always quite large and even a 1/4" drop in 25 feet means the cutoffs hit a level road 2000 feet (20"/1/4" x 25') away, and almost all drivers' eyes are at least three or four feet above the road surface. (All this assumes a 20" headlight height from the road.)

It's usually easy to adjust headlights.  A level pad and a garage door or wall work well as long as the car can go forward and back  about 20 feet or so without pitching or yawing.  I mark the top of the low beam bright zone on the door or wall and move the car forward and back.  If the cutoff moves up or down, the beams are not parallel to the road and I adjust until they are.

If a pad is not available, I just go out on an unused, paved road with a yardstick, turn on the lows and measure the cutoff line with the stick close to the car. I then walk away ten or twenty yards and measure again.  If the line is not clear on the stick, I just stoop down slowly while looking at the headlight until until the light suddenly brightens and measure my eye level where that transition occurs.  If that number is much lower than the first number, I raise the light...

This is not advice. It is just what I do.  YMMV.

I won't discuss the lateral adjustment.  There are two adjustments on each beam, one for , vertical and one for horizontal.

I leave the horizontal screws alone unless I have reason to think they are screwed up, say due to rust, a collision or a bad mechanic. 

Horizontal misalignment if it exists will become obvious during the vertical alignment procedure.  Both centres should move to the right a bit as the car moves back so the lights are aimed slightly away from traffic. If one centre point moves laterally a lot or the two converge or diverge, something is wrong.

My energy has returned today.  I got out my skis and am ready to go tomorrow, assuming the conditions look good.

looking at my medications, I started thinking about medications, food, beverages, spices, salt and other things we casually put into our mouths.

I take several medications now and the pills are tiny, minuscule compared to the volume of food and drink I consume in one meal, but apparently quite powerful.  With some drugs, doubling or tripling the dose can have life-threatening or lethal consequences.

Even if foods and drinks are not as potent or concentrated as drugs, maybe we underestimate their potential effects and fail to realize that even if some things don't kill or cure us, or even seem to affect us in the short run, over time, they might.

Let's start with energy content. Assuming a person drinks two five-ounce glasses of 12% wine a day, in one year that would amount to 2.75 Imperial gallons of pure ethanol, or enough to drive the 70 miles to Calgary in my van, or 1/5 of a mile each day of the year.

As for food and drink generally, my 2,300 calorie RDI calculates to 9,623,200 joules/day of energy consumption or the equivalent of 0.07 gallons of gas and, over a year, the equivalent of 20 Imperial gallons of gasoline!

A stick of broccoli is over a hundred times bigger than a pill.  What potent molecules may be in it?  What about on its surface?  We know some or maybe all or almost all of the usual constituent chemicals and what they do in a typical diet, but for any particular piece on the plate and for any particular person, we really do not know exactly. 

Everyone is different.  It does not take more than a whiff of peanut vapours to put some people into anaphylactic shock.

People worry about GMOs, but what do we know about the foods we have eaten for centuries?  Do we know what they do?  Really?   We know that some plants and foods have beneficial effects and some are harmful or poisonous, but in between is unknown territory.

My Nexus 9 offered an update to the Android O/S tonight.  That is one big advantage of using a Google device.  Prompt upgrades and patches. 

It was a big on e -- 146 MB.

There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.
Bryant H. McGill

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