If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed.
If you do read the newspaper, you're mis-informed. – Mark Twain
(Any guess on his take on cable news and social media?)
It’s unlikely any of us know the truth of what happened this month. I do not know. I am highly skeptical that any member of the public knows and I am highly certain that the more certain a person is that they know the less likely they do.
Before your certainty shouts me down, please review some background.
In 1987 I left employment of 17 years duration at a paper mill owned by a multinational corporation. I went to work for a family business in Alberta to be involved with the design, construction and operation of a market pulp mill. Early in the operation of that mill the effluent make-up was approaching the limits of the environmental operating permit. I knew what would happen with my former employer. They would keep operating, keep pouring stuff into the river, bluff their way through and pay the fine if necessary and that only after as much stalling as possible. While I worked for them I had seen them fire their environmental compliance officer for doing his job. Classic shoot the messenger behaviour.
My new employer did things differently. The mill shut down before exceeding any limits, fixed the problem and started back up never going outside the permit.
The mill was located around two hours from Edmonton. The two Edmonton daily newspapers both had articles about the event. The staid, respectable, paper of record got most of the facts wrong. The slightly disreputable tabloid with its page 3 girls got most of them right. Who woulda guessed? Hardly anybody. And on the next article on the page in either of them how would you know if they got that one right? Outside of any direct knowledge of the subject and the event covered, you wouldn’t. That’s the basis of the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect described by Michael Crichton. You see total nonsense put forth in areas of your own expertise but then illogically accept what the same source has on world affairs, politics and other topics outside your realm.
Therefore, since I have no first-hand knowledge I’ll go back to puttering in the woods and not post anything inflammatory which means nothing. There’s already more heat than light out there.
My new employer was a keeper. I stayed with them 18 years. When I gave them three months’ notice of my early retirement in 2005 they offered me some tempting bribes to stay, but it was time to try a few other things. The day after I retired we were volunteering at a kids’ camp and kept busy with all sorts of things until the year of Covid.
Back in the 20 Acre Wood
Snow came. The snow blower got its first workout. I had jacked up the frame or jacked down the shoes to the max depending on your perspective. If you are going to blow concrete driveways to the bare concrete you adjust to an 1/8” gap on the scraper plate. I went with ¾”. This left a bit of a layer of snow on our driveway, but didn’t fling any of the driveway gravel into the bushes. Or windshields. Or windows.
I learned that a three stage blower leaves a bit of a strip of snow beside it flung there by the front auger. You choose your direction of travel so you are sucking up those strips each time not laying a new one parallel to the last one. I did all the driveway and left part of the parking area. The next day I moved a bunch of the parking area snow into a pile by shovel and then flung it into the bush with the snow blower. That was the last time I did that. The shovel picks up rocks. The rocks then get picked up by the snow blower. “Duck!” None of the rocks jammed and broke a shear pin. Some days you are more lucky than smart.
For a deep look into snow removal options check out this web page. The site answers dumb questions with real physics. Warning: it can turn into a black hole for time.
With the cold weather the "Squirrel Slammer" bird feeder Canada LinkUSA Link gets a work out from the Chickadees, Sparrows and the colourful Pine Grosbeaks. It says it is squirrel proof, but that must be for eastern squirrels. The tiny squirrels around here are too light to trigger the gate, even on its lightest setting and lubed well with silicone lubricant. Moving the feeder too far from a launching pad seems to handle the squirrels. Thirty inches from the nearest branch works.
I was a skinny kid. Then I got sick and wasn’t allowed in sports for years. For a couple of years I hardly attended school. When I was in school I wasn’t allowed out for recess. My vile tasting medicine was mixed with milk and scoops of chocolate Quik. After a couple of years of that I was fat and pretty much stayed fat until I was 21 years-old and 212 pounds. Then with a starvation diet and a job that involved a lot of physical activity I got down to 164 pounds. I didn’t stay there. My weight crept up. Over the decades it was a slow, deformed sine wave with a 254 high point shortly before retirement and 170 about five years after. In May 2019 I cried Mayday when it reached over 230 again and did something about it. Mostly. When we got back from Nicaragua last spring and went into quarantine I was 187. That was then. As you might have observed in last month’s lumbering photos, Covid eating habits haven’t been kind to my waist. Wait! You mean all those “healthy” peanuts could do that? Looks to be so.
Well to make a long story longer. Orange man may be the new black but November is the new Mayday. Every day in Nicaragua I wet my Keto Stix Ketostix (Canada Link)Ketostix USA) and adjusted my diet to keep them purple. I wandered away from that this summer but have gone back. Maybe permanently. We’ll see about that. Another thing that is different is every day when I weigh myself I don’t just enter the number in the weight app. I text it and the keto stix result to an accountability buddy. He is not required to cheer or scold the results. The point is just to know that tomorrow I have to send a text.
A few weeks in it seems to be working. Buddy has started sending his results back. We are both losing weight.
Where will it all end? Who knows? What I do know is that I am determined not to yo-yo my weight again. Losing weight has always been simple for me. Not necessarily easy, but simple. I must have lost over five hundred pounds if you add it all up. However as of November that’s a net loss of only 14 pounds in 52 years taking into account all the weight I’ve gained back. It can’t go on. It won’t. Decision time has arrived.
So what’s the plan?
My plan is to slowly get down to a healthy weight and stay there. For me I can lose weight on a keto diet without being particularly hungry. The Dukan diet worked for me but the amount of protein concerned me long-term. This, by the way, is entertainment. Laugh at the chubby guy fumbling in the dark. It’s not advice. Work that out with your medical professionals based on how your body works.
To stay in ketosis requires virtually no sugars or grains. This is a clue to me.
A lot of things are digital. True or false. Yes or no. Cigarettes and alcohol are digital. You don’t need them. You can just quit. Alcohol may be okay in moderation. Kudos to those with that temperament or biology. Within the limits of not being a stumbling block to one’s brother, moderation with alcohol is Biblical. Wouldn’t work for me.
Food is different. It’s analog. It needs to be metered. There’s the joke about the guy who had his horse almost trained not to eat and it died. You can’t decide not to eat. You have to decide with each opportunity both whether to and how much. Back to keto. If I don’t need sugar or grain, why not make the one-time, digital decision to quit them? That’s part of the plan. You are never tempted to eat cockroaches. Once you declare something a cockroach equivalent for you why would you eat it?
The rest is to weigh myself everyday forever and put tighter limits on trigger points and react quickly on a daily basis like it mattered. Because it does.
I had the keto flu a bit worse than usual this time of going into ketosis. I read something on-line that it is related to dehydration and salt loss. It advised drinking a cup of bouillon or two a day. It worked for me. Do your own research. If you can’t trust the media to always be accurate don’t trust your health to random strangers on the Internet.
We had a skittish stray cat come around for a few weeks. I put food out for it. It skittered away and disappeared for at least an hour if we opened the door. It had a right to be skittish around here. Cats don’t do well with the coyotes in the area and the Canada Lynx on the property. It stopped coming around. I left the food out but it was only being eaten by the whiskey jacks so I went to town and bought a cheap R/C Car like these: Stunt R/C Car (Canada)(USA Link)
I would put the dish out and then watch through the window. When the whiskey jacks showed up and got close to the food dish the R/C car would scare them off. They would try different tactics to outwit the car. When the deck got icy and the car was less controllable it got put away for the winter and the food went to our daughter’s cat.
We have been getting about an hour’s walking in each day. Mostly on our paths but occasionally on the grid road when there is no wind. We start with ten minutes to the north edge of the property where I bucked up some deadfalls. It takes fifteen minutes to bring two pieces of firewood back each day on the sled. They are stacked closer to where they will be split next summer. We spell each other off pulling the sled.
Books of this Month
Lots of books this month. With the colder weather we are inside more, plus I was better about taking cover pictures of each book I read. Didn’t miss many this month.
James Altucher had Ken Follett on his podcast. He noted that people would say to him that they hated history in school but could hardly put down his books and really enjoyed his presentation of history. I started with Pillars of the Earth, Canada LinkUSA Link ,a book about building a cathedral. It won’t be the last of his I read.
I bought and read a trilogy by Thomas GibbonThomas Gibbon (Canada)Thomas Gibbon USA Link a few years back. I bring them up because I keep remembering them and it will be easier to find them if they are here than if they are piled with the entire Kindle selection in my library. They are based in Israel, England and the United States and involve some science fiction energy and warfare inventions with some politics thrown in. The feel good part for me is that in Britain they go full French revolution and guaranty that over 10,000 judges and politicians, etc. will not be able to slither back into power. It’s fiction. I think it was Mark Twain who said that fiction is harder than real life because it has to be believable. You would have to read these books to decide if they are believable to you.
Agent of Time: A Time Travel Thriller (In Times Like These) Canada LinkUSA Link by Nathan Van Coops is part of a time travel series that shows up for cheap or free on BookBub. I enjoy them.
Lightwave: Clocker (Folding Space Book 1)Canada LinkUSA Link by AM Scott. This was free on BookBub one day. It is first in a series. I get a lot of these, start some and finish a few of those. Occasionally I will buy all or part of the remainder in the series. I finished this one but didn’t buy more. If it comes up as a deal for you, you might try it. Everybody’s tastes differ.
I read The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a HatCanada LinkUSA Link by Oliver Sacks. Lots of peculiar stories of actual human behaviour. Glad I was not one of his memorable patients. Or a patient at all for that matter.
The Perfect WifeCanada LinkUSA Link by JP Delaney is a psychological thriller with twists to the end. He keeps you guessing. Usually wrong.
Brave New WorldCanada LinkUSA Link by Aldous Huxley sure seemed different from the same book I read in high school. Memory is a funny thing.
Credible ThreatCanada LinkUSA Link by J.A. Jance, blends current sensitive issues into a whodunit theme. Well played.
I pre-ordered Gary Taubes new book The Case for Keto.Canada LinkUSA Link He does the research and makes sense of it so you don’t have to.
High LatitudesCanada LinkUSA Link by Farley Mowat who wandered around Canada’s North a while back, but still interesting. I enjoyed it while learning a bit.
The latest Jack Reacher book, The Sentinel, Canada LinkUSA Link was co-written by Lee Childs and his son Andrew. Andrew has written several books under a pen name. I have ordered a couple.