Month: October 2014

Friday, 31 October 2014

09:06 – I’m playing around with a $25 Sony digital voice recorder I just received from Amazon, trying to develop the habit of taking notes with it as an aid to my failing memory. At age 61, developing a new habit is difficult.

I tried doing this 10 or 15 years ago with an Olympus digital voice recorder, but I was never able to get the habit established. That’s because for the first 35 years of my life I could depend absolutely on my memory. I never had a phone/address book, because I never needed one. I never took any notes in school from kindergarten through grad school, because I never needed to. Then one day when I was 35 I had a new experience. I realized that I’d forgotten something. I had to look up a phone number that I should have remembered. That was disturbing to say the least.

Over the last 25 years, it’s gotten worse. The problem is all with short/medium-term memory. I still remember, for example, the phone number of Connie Stewart, a girl I called one time when I was in sixth grade. But I find myself losing track of short-term stuff. For example, as I’m writing I may decide to look something up on Wikipedia. So I start Firefox, which brings up this page. There are new comments, so I read them. I then close the browser, having forgotten not just what I wanted to look up on Wikipedia, but even that I’d intended to look something up on Wikipedia.

But old habits die hard, and my habit of never writing anything down was established over 35 years of my life so it will take a concerted effort to develop the new habit of using the DVR to make notes to myself. I suppose I shouldn’t complain. As bad as I think my memory is now, it’s still probably in the 99.9th percentile, not just for people my age but overall.

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Thursday, 30 October 2014

10:44 – Work on the prepping book continues. I haven’t posted any draft chapters to the mailing list yet because I changed the way I’m doing things. Originally, I had 30+ chapters stubbed out and intended to post each of them as I finished the first draft.

That turned out to sub-optimal because of the way I write, which I should have realized in the first place. Having 30+ chapter documents active makes it too hard to keep track of what I’m doing and where. The book will actually comprise three major sections: The First 30 Days, The First Year, and Long Term. So I now have only three documents, one for each of those sections, and I can jump around in each as I think of things I want to include. So the upshot is that things are currently a complete mess, and certainly not ready for anyone to look at. But this is the way all of my books have been this early in the process, and I should have known that this one would be no different.

One thing I do need to do soon is run some of this draft material through Amazon’s CreateSpace formatter. If there are going to be problems with formatting, better I know now so that I can fix the problems early rather than waiting until the first draft is complete and having to reformat all of it.

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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

09:21 – The other night, Barbara and I started to watch season 6 of Sons of Anarchy. I’ll watch it with her, one episode per evening maximum, but I sure wouldn’t watch it if she didn’t want to. The violence is graphic and gratuitous, and the producers are apparently so proud of it that they replay the particularly gruesome scenes during the intro of each episode. I mean, how many times do we need to see a nurse being stabbed in the neck with a sharpened crucifix and gushing blood all over the place or a guy biting his own tongue off? In the first episode, Winter Ave Zoli’s character appeared after being beaten and tortured so badly that I didn’t recognize her. Yes, the show is well written and the acting is excellent. The same was true of Breaking Bad, which we finally gave up watching because of the explicit violence. I don’t consider myself to be a wimp, but neither do I consider watching gratuitous violence, even simulated, to be a way to relax in the evening. Particularly when that violence is so often directed against women.

I need to finish building some science kits day, after which I’ll spend most of the rest of the week working on the prepping book.

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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

08:52 – Mornings have been getting chillier around here, with overnight lows often in the 40’s (5 to 10 C). The weekly forecast in the morning paper says our low Saturday will be 31F (-0.5C), our first freeze of the season.

Kit sales have slowed way down, as expected this time of year, and will probably remain slow through late November. Then they’ll pick up in December and into January as people buy kits for Christmas and the start of the new semester. As usual, we’re trying to maintain a month’s worth of all kits in stock, which this time of year is a total of only a few dozen.

I just ordered a fresh supply of antibiotics for biology kits yesterday from a veterinary/pet supplies vendor. As I was checking out, a message popped up asking me to provide my email address (which they already had) in return for a 10% discount on my first order. So I entered my email address and answered the question about what I was interested in (dogs, sheep, cattle, horses, fish, and chickens, which is what the antibiotics I ordered were intended for). During checkout, I kept expecting them to give me a coupon code or just enter the 10% discount, but when I clicked what turned out to be the last “Continue” icon, I got a screen thanking me for my order. Hmmm. So I called the 800 number and told the lady what had happened. She applied the code on her end.

As we were talking, I noticed on of those “you might also like” items for ivermectin, an antihelminthic. Colin gets ivermectin in the form of HeartGuard to prevent heartworm. The stuff is prescription only and isn’t cheap, so I asked the lady if they did the same thing as our current vendor, faxing in a form to our vet to get the prescription. She said they didn’t sell anything that required a prescription. I mentioned the ivermectin, and she said, “Oh, that’s for horses. No prescription necessary.”

Colin gets one HeartGuard pill the first of each month. Each pill contains only micrograms of ivermectin and costs $6 or $8. So I checked the ivermectin offerings at this new vendor. They had one item for $1.99, a syringe tube of oral ivermectin sufficient to treat up to 1,250 pounds of horse. Hmmm. Assuming the canine and equine doses are similar by body weight, that’s about 18 doses for Colin, or roughly $0.11 per dose rather the $6 to $8 per dose. I mentioned this to Barbara last night and she said NFW, we’ll continue buying the $6 or $8 per pill stuff for Colin.

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Monday, 27 October 2014

08:49 – I see that New York’s governor has been forced to back down from enforcing a 21-day quarantine on people who return from Ebola-infested areas because this nurse is whining about her civil rights being violated by such “inhumane” treatment. In my opinion, they should air-drop her back into West Africa. Without a parachute. I see that Obama isn’t hugging her.

Work on the prepping book continues, as does work on the new science kits, as does work on building inventory of current science kits.

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Sunday, 26 October 2014

10:27 – We’re doing the usual Sunday stuff. I need to fill a couple more batches of bottles so that I can build more biology kits tomorrow. Otherwise, I’m writing.

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Saturday, 25 October 2014

08:58 – Border Collies really are nearly as fast as Greyhounds. Whenever I release Colin from his leash, he immediately runs home at top speed, grabs a stick from the front porch, and then lies in the front yard waiting for me to get there and play stick with him.

This morning, I paced off 200 meters, turned him loose, and started timing him. It took him 13 seconds to cover the 200 meters. That translates to 55 kph (~35 mph), versus a bit over 60 kph for racing Greyhounds. Not bad, particularly since Greyhounds are pure sprinters, while Border Collies are actually Marathoners. It’s not unusual for a working Border Collie to run/trot/sprint 50 miles or more per day. Even counting hall ball indoors, though, Colin is lucky to get a mile or two per day.

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Friday, 24 October 2014

07:57 – Once again, someone who was known to have been heavily exposed to Ebola has been allowed to enter the US and wander around freely, potentially infecting others. This time, it’s a doctor who’d been working with Ebola patients in West Africa and was then allowed to fly home to New York City and go about his business for several days, riding the subway several times, going bowling, going out to dinner, and so on. NYC health authorities have said frankly that there’s no way to trace all of his contacts because there are so many of them. Just great. And, of course, the doctor has now been diagnosed with Ebola. At least he isolated himself once he noticed symptoms. Let’s hope that’s enough.

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

07:45 – The morning paper ran the headline of the century this morning: Reynolds snuffs out workplace smoking

How bizarre is it for a tobacco company to ban smoking in its own facilities? It’s as if–to name two other industries that North Carolina used to dominate and that the federal government has pretty much destroyed–furniture companies encouraged their employees to stop using furniture and textile companies encouraged their employees to stop wearing clothes.

Oh, RJR will still have designated smoking areas and allow electronic cigarettes facility-wide, but even so. I remember the good old days, not long ago, when visitors entering the RJR Headquarters Building were greeted by signs that said “Thank You for Smoking”. One was not just allowed but encouraged to smoke anywhere in the building: offices, conference rooms, bathrooms, elevators, and so on. It was a much more reasonable time. It’s obvious that the anti-smoking nazis have won. Even in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for heaven’s sake.

10:35 – I’m sure it will come as a shock to everyone who knows me, not least Barbara, but I’ve decided to cut way back on my consumption of Coca Cola and Sprite. Not for health reasons, but for dietary reasons.

Over the last decade or so, I’ve gradually eaten less and lost weight. The days when I routinely ate 3,000 to 3,500 calories a day without gaining weight are long gone. I’m not sure what my total daily intake is now, but I’d guess probably between 2,000 and 2,500 calories, of which probably 1,200 are in the form of the high-fructose corn syrup sugars in soft drinks. So, instead of drinking two liters or more of soft drinks per day, I’ve decided to substitute two liters of beer, wine, and scotch per day.

Only kidding. I don’t really drink alcoholic beverages, other than a beer sometimes when we’re out to dinner with Paul and Mary. Actually, I’m going to start drinking more coffee, which I drink black, and tea, which I drink with about 1.5 teaspoons of sugar (~ 15 calories) per cup.

In March, WHO reduced its maximum recommendation for sugars from 10% of daily calorie intake to 5%. Not that I pay any attention to WHO. Even the 10% was ridiculously low. But I’m currently at probably 50% to 60%, which doesn’t leave all that much room for calories from protein, fats, or other carbohydrates, so I’ll probably shoot for reducing that to maybe 25%.

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