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 November 2017

 

 

 

 

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Background image -- My driveway when I returned home from Mexico

 

Friday November 10th 2017

Today Snow ending this morning then clearing. Amount 2 cm. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late this morning. High minus 4.
Tonight A few clouds. Fog patches developing late this evening. Low minus 13.

Last night was cooler and I slept well.   I'm under the eight ball today.  I have to wrap things up here and check in for my flight.  Tomorrow, I'll be up at five and on the bus by seven.

I began by searching out insurance.  I have several comprehensive quotes, but am told I also need Mexican liability insurance to be completely legal. I'm looking that over.

As it turns out, I can't think of much else I need to do.

At 1120 it was 24 hours before the flight and I got a check-in reminder.  I opened the Westjet app and checked in.  When I looked at seat selection I could see I am in 6F.

Bonus!  I was upgraded to Plus.  Westjet is good to me.  I get a bigger seat and free drinks without asking.  I can use the bigger seat, but the free drinks are wasted on me. After all, I quite drinking.

I'm studying Spanish using an app, Duolingo, and it seems to think I am doing well, but the first lesson should be how to say, "Please speak slowly". 

I always think I am doing well until someone throws rapid-fire Spanish at me.  Then I am boggled, like yesterday, checking out of the port. In this town, I'm a tongue-tied idiot.  Not only that, I don't know the rules.

They say that learning a new language and new skills and learning new things is how to keep the brain active and forestall dementia. If so, La Paz is the perfect drug.  Different language, different social rules, my marine charts are almost entirely useless, and the food is different, too.

I spent the afternoon putting the boat to bed to survive my absence.  In the evening, I read and then watched some Quantico.  I've been watching this series for a while now and enjoyed it. It is not gratuitously and graphically violent and has a strong woman lead.  Although the whole idea is preposterous (of course), it is well written, well acted, and artfully layered.

I went to bed a little after eight to get sleep before and early day tomorrow that promises to be a long one.

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 11th 2017

Today Fog dissipating this morning then mainly cloudy. High zero.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. Low minus 8.

I slept fitfully, waking every hour.  I did not trust the alarms and would hate to miss the bus and the flight.

I finally got up at four, not five as planned and that was a good thing.  When I went to make coffee, I discovered that the shore power was not working.  No 110V.  I played around and checked the shore cord.  Its LED was lit.  The power had been on when I went to bed.  I know, the fan was on. 

I also heard throbbing music in the distance.  One of the things that I liked so far about this place compared to the Caribbean has been the lack of that racket all night.

After some fiddling with switches, I got the power working.  I'll have to study the manuals for this complex system.  No time now, though.  I'll be shutting everything off anyhow.

I have to be in a taxi headed for the bus station at the Malecon by 0630.  It is 0506 now and I am pretty well packed.

*   *   *   *   *

I shut down the boat and turned off the batteries, but found that the Hart Interface was still live and there was a slight draw. I wrote the previous owner to see what that is about.

A taxi was waiting at the hotel entrance and I caught a ride to the bus station, arriving over a half-hour early.  The bus left on time and arrived at SJD on time.  The trip was over mountainous roads, but the drivers are very professional and the trip is pleasant.

*   *   *   *   *

I'm sitting in the lounge waiting for boarding. In five hours, I'll be in Calgary.  The airport is very modern and small, compared to most.

*   *   *   *   *

We were late taking off.  After boarding, we had a medical emergency on board. 

When boarding, I noticed a couple, maybe seventy, who were lean, well-dressed, fit-looking and exuding the confidence of the rich. They boarded early, as did I.

We were all settled in, and had taxied to the runway and were cleared for takeoff when the crew called for medical assistance.  Several medics went forward and spent time with someone in the front row, and then we taxied back to a gate and a gentleman walked off.  It was the man in the couple I had noticed while boarding. Appearances are not everything.

From then on, the flight was routine, and we landed a little late at YYC.  As we flew out of SJD, we passed over La Paz and I had a chance to look down on the cruising grounds nearby. (Left).

During the flight, neither my phone or Windows 10 computer would run the Westjet Connect entertainment function and the tablet they lent me was having trouble with charging. The headphones were awful.  It seems my gear is too up-to-date for Westjet's entertainment system.

I passed through customs and changed into long sleeves and long pants in the men's washroom as planned, then caught the Park and Jet shuttle, cleared the snow off my windshield and drove to No Frills for a few food items.

The temperature here is up to freezing after weeks of much colder weather and there is snow, but less than I expected from reports. My driveway is drifted, but not as badly as I had expected and I drove in easily.  This car has summer tires, but my van still has studded tires on from last year.

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 12th 2017

Today Cloudy. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud near noon. High minus 2.
Tonight Clearing late this evening. Low minus 7.

I woke up several times during the night, but went right back to sleep.  I weighed a bit over 220 last night before bed and 213.8 this morning, so had a lot of water to eliminate.

BG this AM is 6.6.  Yesterday it was 5.9.  I worry a bit when I see anything over my normal of 6.2.  I am going to have to smarten up.  I'd like to see it consistently under 6.0

I've quit drinking and will have more time, I think.  Now I have to be sure to walk daily and watch my diet.  My diet in Mexico could have been worse, but, at home I have better control of what I eat.  Not drinking will have a huge positive effect I'm sure.  I've known that a long time.

I have never been so glad to be home. I have been increasingly thinking that I am away to much to keep up a place here, but it is home, and comfortable and not expensive to maintain.

I took a plunge going to La Paz and knew I was going outside my comfort zone.  It was deliberate.  What I did not know was how far outside that zone I would find myself.

All in all, though, I think the experience was constructive.

Now, for the coming weeks. I have a cardiac stress test next Monday and a trip to Los Angeles the next day to spend Thanksgiving with Jon and family. 

Between now and then I have to get the heating system under control again and catch up on things here.

It's almost noon and I've spent the morning writing email and his diary. Today is bright and sunny -- a perfect day to take out the ashes, so I shall start on that now.  It's warm out there.  I went out, brushed and scraped the snow and ice off the van and pulled six drums of ashes out and dumped them.

The day continues sunny and with snow on the ground and the leaves off the trees outside, the house is bright and cheerful.  I thought I'd feel under time pressure, but the day has felt long. All I did was the ashes and write. I'm resting and recovering from overstimulation.  Mid-afternoon, I had a nap.

I had supper and watched some YouTube videos about nutrition.  I learn a few tidbits, but the main theme of many is that everyone else except the speaker is wrong.  I found these two interesting and credible, however.

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 13th 2017

Today Mainly cloudy. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 early this afternoon. High plus 2.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late this evening. Low minus 10.

I found I was awake at 0420. Weigh 213.0.  BG is 6.2.  BP 110/66.  Pulse 56.  I drank coffee, ate some oatmeal and a half-hour later, BG went to 10.1!  I found I was sleepy and went back to bed for two hours.

On waking again, BG is now 6.2. BP is 105/65. Pulse is 52. 52 is bradycardia. That diasystolic is low, verging on hypotension. Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure (consistently less than 90/60).  The key word is consistently, I suppose.  I feel fine, and low BP is good, right?  I have an upcoming stress test with my cardiologist next week and we'll see.

At 0800, the sun is just coming up.  I'm still tired, recovering from the sun and sea and unfamiliar experiences. I may be coming down with a bug. My throat is raw and I'm fatigued.

I had deskwork to keep me busy all day, but I had a nap after lunch, then went for a hike around town, mid-afternoon.  Fit says I covered 4,985 steps and 5,240 yesterday.

I had supper, watched two episodes of Damages on Amazon Prime Video, and am off to bed early, before eight.  I'm dead. (Not literally, I hope).

I am not as taken with Damages as with Quantico.  Although the Rotten Tomatoes score is 97% and audience 93%, vs 82% and 63%, the former IMO lacks the depth and layering of the latter.  I'll see if I stick with it.  I just thought that seeing as I am paying for Prime, I should watch it.

 

Actually, come to think of it, I don't actually like any of the characters in Damages. They all seem cold and soulless, except the antagonist. How about that?

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 14th 2017

Today Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this morning. High minus 6.
Tonight Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Fog patches developing after midnight. Low minus 12.

Six weeks now until Christmas Eve.

I'm up at 0533 and feeling more energetic Today. 

BG is 6.1, Weight is down to 212.0. BP is 105/66. Pulse 54.  I'm starting to wonder if this BP device is wonky.  BP and pulse are suddenly lower than my trends over time.

I've dropped eight pounds since I arrived home Saturday night. m Eight pounds in three days? That has to be water. When I stop drinking, I always lose weight fast the first week.

Last year on this date, I had just bought another boat, Shongololo -- the trawler that sank -- and weighed 215.4.

Back then, I was still working with the calories in vs. calories burned model. I reached my lowest weight back on June 27th, 2017, at 208.

Since last fall, I have moved more to thinking that it is the types of food I eat and the timing in addition to the amount and the resulting insulin response.  The illustration at right is thanks to Jason Fung's Intensive Dietary Management.

*    *    *    *     *

Last year we did not have as much snow and I was doing mite drops.  I repeated and updated some useful information in the diary during that period.

*    *    *    *     *

I'll start the day with deskwork and then work on the bin auger and make a point of walking at least a mile.

The bin auger fell apart while I was away, meaning that Carolyn had to do some shoveling and that I have to do so as well twice a day in this cold weather.

I'm feeling better about the Mexican purchase now that I have had a chance to recover somewhat from culture shock, but I'm not feeling very sociable these days. I'm enjoying solitude more and more.  I have not felt like putting on one of my big dinners, lately. I wonder if that is healthy.

I'm also missing my dog.

Maybe the supper idea has worn off.  Last time, most of the people cancelled and I was left with too much leftover food and empty settings. The no-shows could have been just due to chance, but we're all getting older and people's focus can change.  Nothing ever stays the same forever.

I got to work on the books and then took a break and cleaned the fridge.  I see I don't need a fridge this big any more.  It is almost empty.

Years ago, we bought a separate fridge and freezer combination and that worked well until now, but maybe it is time to consolidate.

I worked on the books again and got some done before the computer froze again.  It has taken to doing that randomly.  (I wonder if the swap file is set incorrectly).

As soon as the doctor's office opened at nine, I called and made an appointment to have the stitches removed, then drove to town at eleven.  The receptionist asked me my age and I said, "Seventy-two". She smiled and said, I have to ask if people are over fifty.  What was that about? I don't look seventy?

A nurse removed the remaining stitch.  Apparently the other stitches had fallen out already.

While there, I made an appointment to see my GP in December, or rather see a locum as my GP is going off on maternity leave shortly.

From there, I went to the hospital to enquire about my shots.  I could not recall if they were up to date or not.  They were and actually I did not need the tetanus shot I got in Mexico.  Apparently I had everything done here before a Caribbean trip in 2014 and had forgotten.

Next, I stopped at the  tire shop and had my tires checked.  One was down a bit.  Then I stopped at the bank on my way to buy a few groceries. 

As much as I liked Mexico and the experience was good for me, I am happy to be back here in familiar Three Hills for a while.  A while, it will be, though, since I fly to LAX next Tuesday.  Between now and then, I need to get caught up, fix the bin auger and line up a gasfitter.

After supper, I went down and climbed into the bin, and within fifteen minutes I had repaired the bin auger.  I had known it was a bit loose before I went away, but had not expected it to come apart and be the problem it was.  I figured the weather would be typical and also that it would continue to work, but it broke down and we had a cold snap, and Carolyn had to shovel daily.

After supper, I did more deskwork, studied Spanish a bit and went to bed at ten.  The computers were downloading updates and hogging bandwidth, making doing any work difficult.

I soon found I was still awake and got up again. I finally went to bed again at midnight. Seems I am back to my normal schedule.

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 15th 2017

Today Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries this morning and early this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating late this morning. Wind southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40. High minus 3.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming cloudy near midnight with 30 percent chance of flurries overnight. Wind southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Wind becoming north 20 before morning. Low minus 8.

I woke up at 0620 and got up. Six hours is often enough sleep, especially if I have not upset my system by drinking.  We'll see.

The house was cool and I found the auger motor had failed to start. Sometimes the switch sticks. I went down and gave it a jog and put some coal on the burner. I'll have to fix that before I leave again.

It takes about twenty minutes for the coal to get to the furnace from the bin, but soon the house warmed up.

Then I checked my BG and BP. BG is 5.8. Pulse is 56. BP is 124/75 56. Weight 212.4.  Seems more normal.  I am off the antibiotics I took for the injury so maybe that is the difference.

My computers were downloading upgrades last evening, hogging my Internet connection and making work difficult.

I expected that they would reboot and install the changes overnight, but since the download was a huge update, the automatic reboot was sitting on hold waiting for permission.  That would have been nice during working hours, but I had counted on all that happening while I was sleeping, not first thing in the AM.  Now I have to wait as long as an hour for it to complete.

The other machine is still downloading and barely useable.

The computers have been acting up lately. One has frozen several time and BSODed as well. Both have had episodes of freezing for a moment and up to a minute. I hope the updates fix this. I had been considering refreshing Windows, but balked at having to reinstall all my software.  That would take an entire day for each machine.

I have been neglecting my plants for months now.  They get watered, but not moved, trimmed, or repotted, etc.  This morning, I decided to do a bit of vacuuming and got to working on the plants a bit, too.

*    *    *    *    *

I was finding Chrome incredibly slow, so when I heard that Firefox has an entirely new browser, Firefox Quantum, I tried it out and found that I could load all my settings from Chrome and also sync the Firefox browser s on various computers!

So far, I'm loving the change.  the only thing that I lost was the history and it is still in Chrome if I need it.  So far, I like Firefox Quantum.  It has great features and appears to beat Chrome hands down.

*    *    *    *    *

I noticed that the heat was off again and went down to check the auger.  The switch had not cut in again, so I adjusted the toggle pressure. I'm tidying the workshop and preparing to reassemble the snow thrower.  I took it apart last December, bought parts, then went away and did not come home until after the snow was gone.

I found I was exhausted again after supper, but went down and shoveled the ashes so I could look up under the burner to find out why the burner is throwing over unburned coal.  I suspected that the delivery end of the auger has worn enough that the coal is spilling out a smoke hole in the tube instead of being pushed up to the grate. Sure enough that is the case, so tomorrow, I'll have to build up the auger a bit with welding.  I've done it before.

I went to bed early and watched more of Damages on my tablet before falling asleep.

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 16th 2017

Today Periods of snow. Snow or freezing rain this morning. Fog patches dissipating this morning. Snowfall amount 2 cm. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40. Temperature falling to minus 12 this afternoon.
Tonight Periods of light snow ending early this evening then mainly cloudy. Fog patches developing near midnight. Low minus 15.

Up at 0630.  BG is 5.6.  Weight 212.2, BP 131/77. Pulse is 54. Is there any rhyme or reason to this? If so, I cannot figure it.  Did the antibiotic lower my blood pressure?  It almost seems so.  As soon as I stopped taking it, the systolic went up 20 points.

I see it will be plus 35 C in La Paz today with a low of 20 tonight.   Here, it is minus nine and dull, overcast and a bit foggy.

*   *   *   *   *

I have been looking over files as I try to get my computers behaving better and I am amazed at how much happened over the past year. 

One striking thing I came across was a picture of my teeth before the dental work last June, shown on the left.  I took a shot of how my teeth look today.  I lived with broken teeth for sixty years.  What took me so long? Granted, the teeth wore and drifted more in the past decade or two, but, just the same...

*   *   *   *   *

Today, I have to fix the furnace coal spill issue and call a gasfitter.  I have consulted gasfitters in the past, but now I really have to do something.  The increased price of coal is a pressure, but the need to have something that is more reliable and more understandable by the people on hand when I am away is the bigger pressure, and I am away a lot.

The reluctance to spend money and the reluctance to do something short of ideal have been holding me back as has the hope that the technology would open a new avenue.  Now, almost five years after Ellen's death, my priorities are evolving and after spending money on a boat in Mexico which does not promise a return, I have less reluctance to spend on my home.


Firefox Quantum is lightning-fast, almost the way I remember browser in the past. 

Be sure to add the Evernote Clipper, Gesturefly, OneTab, and hoverZoom add-ons.  So far I have not needed to add an ad blocker.


I should mention, too that my Pixel XL is a fabulous phone. After using pure Google Android, I would never again buy an off-brand that uses a customized Android variant like Samsung.  I have a Samsung Tablet E and although it is new, it is burdened by add-ons and the interface is altered. My Pixel XL is now up to Android 8.0.0 and the Samsung is still back on 7.1.1.


I've turned up the heat to get some extra before I shut down the burner for repairs.


I ordered this thing (left) yesterday. I am not sure what it really is, but it was cheap.

IPS SR10 Colorful OLED Smart Bracelet Blood Pressure Oxygen Heart Rate Monitor Bluetooth Alert Fitness Tracker Activity Call SMS Alert Android ios

I'll be interested to see what it does.  I got it on this website

At first the form would not accept my address data and I quit, but then I got emails nagging me to go back and finish the order.  So, I did and the form worked  I was intrigued that they followed up.  Many web order forms have error trapping that rejects unusual addresses and discourages people.  The owners of the sites never know, but this one did and responded.


I turned off the furnace and cleared the coals off the burner and examined the internal auger.  As suspected, I see that the flighting has worn off the portion that pushes the coal up and therefore it is bypassing out the vent.  Also, though, I see that the shaft that continues on to the toggle has worn thin (right) and have to decide whether to cut off the toggle and pull the auger through a bit and risk a lot of additional work or trust bit will be okay for a while.

   

The house holds its heat pretty well.  Although it is minus ten outdoors, the indoor temperature has only dropped a little after several hours with the furnace turned off.

Now, at seven PM, after no heat since ten AM, the temperature has dropped from 75F to 58F. That's not bad.  The outdoors temp is minus ten degrees C and there has been a breeze at times. My front walk drifted in.

*   *   *   *   *

I'm surprised at how much I enjoy this work.  This furnace is like a pet and I have fun fixing and altering it.  Have for almost fifty years.

I had hoped not to have to strip the burner down, but decided I must and disassembled it to get full access to the workings.  The shaft shows wear, but I don't expect it will have to serve too much longer, so it will do for now.  The auger, though has worn right down, so I cut some flighting from a spare piece of auger, set in place, held it in place with a magnet, and welded it in, then added another similar piece (not shown). 

After that, I reassembled the entire unit, set it up to run, lit the burner, and now the burner no longer seems to spill coal.

  

   

All in all, it was a steady eight-hour day's work.  Sticking my head into the furnace many many times and getting up and down, then running upstairs and down is quite a workout.  I'm surprised that when I'm active I'm not nearly as weary as when I am doing desk work..

Fit thinks I was active an hour and fifty minutes and did 5,930 steps, but my phone was on the table much of the time since I did not want to risk it doing this dirty, gritty work with chances that the phone might drop from a pocket or be bent.

*   *   *   *   *

I have always enjoyed mechanical work.  When I was younger I did not find the oils and soaps bothered my hands, but I found as I grew older that dirt, oils, grease, and the soaps needed to clean my hands after working were very hard on my skin.  It got to the point where I began avoiding getting my hands greasy and that meant avoiding mechanical work.

Some time back, I noticed that mechanics had begun wearing gloves.  I wondered about feel, as many tasks require the fingers to detect where things are, but I bought some myself.  I was surprised that the good ones are only about ten dollars or less and do not affect feeling too badly. After experimenting, I found gloves of the type shown work well. 

If I use lotion on my hands before working and use a gentle soft soap, instead of the harsh cleaners or dish detergent, that my hands do not suffer.

At 9:49 PM, I'm pleasantly tired and I think I'll sleep well tonight.

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 17th 2017

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of flurries late this morning and early this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High minus 8.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Fog patches developing overnight. Low minus 15.

I'm up at 0530. Weight is 212.4, BP is 119/69. Pulse is 57. BG is 5.7.

I noticed just before I went to bed last night that, after all that work, the furnace is still throwing unburned coal over into the ash bin.  The work was not entirely wasted, though, as I did confirm the burner is good to go and renewed the seals and I had fun doing it.

I have to conclude the cause is that too much coal is entering the auger at the bin and I need to look at restricting the amount entering.

It's minus fifteen here today, too cool for pleasant outdoor activity. I'm thinking I may work on the snowblower repair and screen the furnace auger and restrict the auger intake.  We'll see.

I just remembered that tonight is the FACS meeting,  Should I go?

I turned the furnace up and cut the coal supply to cool the burner.  I'm going to try adding a screen to the auger to contain the coal and restrict the intake a bit.

I see the stag is back in my yard again.

While waiting, I made another stew. My method these days is a little changed.  I discovered dry soup mixes.  The best contain as many as fifteen legumes, rices and grains.  With water, salt and spices, they are good on their own, but I add celery, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, corn and peas as well, plus a can or two of beans.

I decided that I needed a can of furnace cement and drove to town and back.  Maybe I just wanted to go for a drive because it turned out I did not use the cement at all.  At least I have it on hand now.  I have been using hi-temp automotive silicone, but it cannot stand the heat well. I bought new work gloves, too.  The old ones are near end of life.

On returning, I got to work.

Looking at the burner, I got to thinking.  I could simply screen the hole to stop the coal from coming out, but that could affect the smoke relief, too, and not solve the problem of too much coal for the air supply, a problem I had noticed as looked at the flames after I finished the work yesterday.  I had tried to adjust the air and found that it was already at max.

Why was coal spilling out the open top of the auger now when it had not before? Why could I not supply enough air?  I had been able to do so up until a short while ago, and had plenty of adjustment left.  Now I was at the limit. Obviously, either the blower was acting up (dirty blades?) or much more coal was coming in than in the past. the huge flame, suggested the latter.

The auger draws coal up the tube and works best when the tube is less than entirely full and in the past, the coal just went nicely past the opening without rising up and coming out, but recently, this had changed.

Obviously something had changed, but what?  Had an adjustable pulley changed pitch?  What?

Yesterday, I had opened the inspection port further down the tube and found the auger entirely filled at that spot, too.  So, I got to thinking. For some reason, the auger was admitting too much coal.

I looked into the ash sump and found more unburned coal. Screening would not be the solution.

So. I climbed into the coal bin and dug down to the auger intake where I discovered that that the split auger tubing had opened up slightly (left) and had become a scoop that was a bit larger than the rest of the tube and the auger was cramming coal into the wider opening. (Like this >= instead of like this == )Then that extra coal had to go on up the tube.

I squeezed the opening smaller and put a clamp on (right) to prevent this happening again.  I suppose some large hard chunk of coal had come up against the opening and forced the upper half up. Notice how the opening is smaller and the auger is more centered and fits the opening better in the second picture, below right.

I was going to go to FACS tonight and was counting on it, but the drive is an hour plus each way and the meeting is two hours, and tonight is also elections

Annual General Meeting
To be followed by the presentation:
Experience Sailing - Experience Not Necessary
by Nollind van Bryce

I guess I can skip it.  I need to reassemble the snowblower.  The driveway is drifted in.

I did not work after supper.  I'm tired.  I browsed a bit and am off to bed at 9:30.

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 18th 2017

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this morning. High minus 2.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low minus 10.

I woke up at 0330 and had coffee and breakfast. For some reason, six hours seems to be my normal sleep time when I am not drinking at all, rather than eight. We'll see how that settles out over time..

I checked the furnace and it is running normally. I seem to have found and remediated the issue. 

The symptoms were puzzling and the cause was not obvious. I spent the better part of two days on arriving at the ultimate solution.  I had initially assumed the larger volume arriving at the burner was due to a change in the coal delivered.  Each load is a bit different.

The real cause was detected only by focusing on the fact that there was an increased  volume of coal coming in over the previous normal, failure of initial measures to solve the overflow of coal, and logical suspicion of the remaining possible reason, no matter how unlikely.

Getting gas heat will change things a lot, assuming I follow through this time and get the job done and I think I will. I really don't have a choice.

It will be odd never to worry about the furnace or ashes or rebuilding the burner annually or semi-annually.

*   *   *   *   *

The driveway is drifted in so badly that if I did not have studded snow tires, I would not have gotten in and out yesterday.  I would like to blow the snow today if I can, but first I must reassemble the blower.

For when I am away, I arranged yesterday to have my neighbour run through with his tractor if Carolyn needs to have the snow cleared.

Otherwise I prefer not to have the plow come through since the plow throws up banks that act as snow fences on either side and gather even more snow if the wind picks up and causes drifting.

*   *   *   *   *

I bought some Spanish lessons on Audible yesterday and listened a while, but otherwise I have had enough of Spanish for the time being. Forcing myself to do anything always backfires.  I'll get around to it again soon.

At six-thirty, I was tired and went back to bed for a half-hour and slept soundly. 

These second sleeps in the morning after breakfast and coffee are sometimes the best and most refreshing, with vivid dreams and waking up ready to go. At night, sometimes I think I fall too deeply asleep and wake up groggy.  That was the case earlier this morning.

I'm looking at trawlers again.  I enjoyed Shongololo and learned a lot.  I bought that boat simply because she was already in the fleet and had antrack record of earnings. The boat was wonderful, but I have since learned that she was not the best boat I could have bought for the money. Now I have a second chance to be more selective and pick a real gem.

I'm headed down to repair the blower, then hope to blow out the driveway later. 

I missed the FACS meeting last night but got an email today from Jeff, saying my photo, submitted last year, won the photo contest and is on the front page of the website! (right).

This was a bit of a prank shot I took on the Spring Thaw cruise last year.  My crew were in the cockpit taking a picture of me at on the foredeck, so I shot back. 

There were so many more great photos, I never thought it would win a contest.  I must say though that this one was unique among many standard sorts of shots and everyone -- all the photographers in the group -- could relate to it, and I guess that's why it won. Here is the original. (left)

Well, I reassembled the blower and cleared half the drive, then stopped to gas it up.  While it cooled a bit, I started refried beans in the pressure cooker.

As I work, I keep thinking about La Paz, my boat, and my marina there.  Although my La Paz experience was stressful, expensive and strange, I keep thinking about La Paz and planning to go back. I'll spend more time on learning Spanish between now and then, too.

After lunch, a gasfitter came by and we agreed on a plan to make a start on installing gas heat.  I plan to do it one step at a time and the first step is to install a meter and a main backbone pipe with taps for future additions.

A forum reader, a beekeeper from the south who is also a gasfitter, had come by a year or three ago to discuss the project, but he has faded out and I doubted the practicality of hiring someone from three hours away to do the job.

The coal furnace is finally running perfectly again today and that is a relief.

Then I went out, filled the tank and began the second half of the job.  Halfway out the drive, the wheels stopped turning and it seems the transmission has quit. It's probably something simple, but I dragged it back to the shop, drained the gas tank again and I'll wait until it dries off to troubleshoot.  

Meantime, I'll finish the beans.  I did and they are really good, but the hot sauce I used has too much sugar.  Why do they put sugar in hot sauce???  I think I'll throw that bottle out.

My day pretty well ended there.  At three, I lay down and awoke at five. Although I was reasonably energetic in the morning, by three I was beat and I ached a bit. I had a good sleep, got up and had supper, then read all evening.

At one point, I downloaded an app that was supposed to cast the phone screen to my TV, but all it would cast was the tutorial.  I bought an upgrade to see if that would help.  It did not, so I gave it a poor review on Google Play and asked for a refund, seeing as the developer link on Google Play was dead.

I'm going to bed early tonight.

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 19th 2017

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of flurries early this morning. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High plus 3.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 60 percent chance of flurries overnight. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming northwest 20 gusting to 40 after midnight. Low minus 7.

I slept right through to five AM. I'm more energetic today, but weigh in at 216.4!  I'm up four pounds from yesterday! What happened?  BP is 134/79 (systolic is high). Pulse is 57. BG is 5.7 (ideal). Go figure.

I was feeling very tired yesterday afternoon and slept a lot.  As for food, the only change was thecup or two of refried beans I ate, and that is just beans, onion, garlic, and a little (an once in a quart of cooked beans) bacon grease, and one tbsp salt.

I'm planning to drive to Gull Lake today and stop along the way to look at a yard tractor on the way.  The tractor has a snow bucket, so maybe I don't have to worry a bout the blower right now.  I'll look at it anyway this morning just in case the problem is something simple. 

I'll also do a video of the ring drive on the furnace blower as I have noticed some irregularities in rotation. That is not unexpected since I did mess with the auger and the auger extension drives the ring.  I don't want any issues while I am away next week.

I did a video of the ring and see one slight anomaly -- one one tooth lifts the ring slightly -- but I think it is fine for now.

Weather has moderated and maybe the Chinook (Snow Eater) winds will remove some of the snow in the drive. Around here, in Chinooks snow does not melt so much as it sublimates -- going directly from solid to vapour.

At 0733, Fit says I have made 955 steps already today.  All I have done is kitchen cleanup, check the furnace, do a load of wash and walk to the bathroom and bedroom and back a few times.   Yesterday, with snowblowing and the various activities, Fit counted 6,105. The previous day, 6,190, and on days previous to that, 6,273, 6,485, 4,742, 5,250, 5,272...  Seems surprisingly consistent.

5,000 steps is about one half of the recommended 10,000 that is said to be the threshold level for maximum health benefits.

At bed time Fit counts 6712 steps.

After lunch, I drove to Jean's, stopping along the way to buy a yard tractor.  It is a small one, but has a bucket and a plow and forks as well as dual rear wheels (not shown) with calcium chloride. It'll be better than nothing and maybe just what I need.  I know it won't lift a pallet of honey, though.  It might lift three hundred pounds.  We'll see.

I arrived there and they were watching the latest version of Beauty and the Beast.  I sat with them a while and could not see any value in it and joined Chris downstairs.  I find most recent movies to be pretty lame.

We had supper and everyone called it a day quite early.  Everyone has to be up for work and for school in the morning.

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 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.

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, BOP 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 light 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 arrives in Airdrie and Mike drove me to YYC and in fifteen minutes, I was through security and in the lounge with time to kill.

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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