Sunday, November 23, 2014

Progress report...

Progress report...  Working in the snow and just barely freezing temperatures turns out to be not too bad at all.  I got a lot done today, and I'm back on track to make the trip back to Jamul in time for Thanksgiving.  Hooray!

The first thing I did today was to fill the trench over the water pipe to a depth of 2 feet.  That took from 7:30 am to 3:00 pm.  It wasn't physically difficult, as the tractor did nearly all the work – there was about 6 feet of trench I had to do by hand, but the other 250' was all with the backhoe.  I had to jump on-and-off the tractor a few hundred times, to switch back and forth from driving to using the backhoe.  That turned out to be just enough activity to keep me warm.  I got wet later in the day, and that chilled me pretty thoroughly – but a 15 minute break in the nice, warm house cured that.

At 3:00 pm I went to work laying the two network cables in the trench.  I had to shove them through the hole Jim J. drilled in my basement wall on Friday, then unspool the rather tight coils for 220' along the trench.  I left plenty of slack so the dirt under the cables could settle and move the cables without breaking them.  That whole job only took 45 minutes.

Then I spent an hour shoveling, filling the hole next to our house's basement back up.  I don't want it to freeze there, because our water supply enters the house right next to where we dug the hole.  I got about 3' of dirt in there, roughly a cubic yard of wet, mucky, heavy stuff.  By the time I was finished, I was drenched in sweat and very hot.  That was a big change from just a few minutes before :)

I called my builder (Jim J.) tonight to verify that we were in sync.  He's planning to be here in the morning to lay down the gas pipe.  With any luck at all, that means I can completely fill in the trench tomorrow afternoon.  Then on Tuesday all I need to get done is to place the transformer foundation – and I'll be finished with everything that must be finished before I leave for Jamul.

When I looked out the window this morning, I wasn't at all sure I'd be able to get anything useful done.  I was far too pessimistic – it turned out to be rather a good day to work!

Welcome home, soldier!

Welcome home, soldier!  I've posted quite a few videos of dogs welcoming their soldiers home.  Here's one showing cats.  Not quite the same vibe, eh?  We have both dogs and cats in our household, and my homecomings are definitely dog-centric: I'll be mobbed at the door by the pooches, while most of the cats either just ignore me, or head for the hills.

On the other hand, we've had some cats who behaved more like the one in the video at left.  One of our current cats – little Maka Lea – will come running over to me, trying without much success to push his way through the mob of dogs to greet me...

We aren't what we eat!

We aren't what we eat!  That's the conclusion of this study, the most recent of a bunch of recent studies that are overturning what decades of nutritionists have been telling us is health eating.  A diet heavy in fat – even saturated fat – is not what drives up fat levels in the bloodstream.  It's carbohydrates that do that.  Dr. Robert Atkins and Gary Taubes were right all along – perhaps not on the mechanism (the jury's still out on that), but at least on the “carbohydrates bad, fat good” thinking.

If you're interested in the story of how the nutritionists got things so badly wrong, I recommend The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, by Nina Teicholz.  Not only is the direct story interesting, it's a terrific and detailed examination of how science in general can fail.  I saw many parallels between the ways that nutrition science went horribly wrong, and the way climate science has done so.  When I finished reading this, I had an urge to go make some egg salad (eggs, mayonnaise) with bacon – but not in a sandwich (bread is heavy with carbohydrates), just in a bowl.  But then I remembered how poor a record nutritionists have in general.  I think I'll stick with my own personal diet: anything I want, but all in moderation...