Aging Parents

In December last year I agreed to travel to Winnipeg to accompany my dad to the hospital for his surgery for hernia. He had the operation in January. It disrupted his routine of visiting mother in the nursing home for a few days, but he was back at it. He realized that his needs to visit and be with her had been putting a strain on his family – specifically my sisters, who had been picking him or taking him home. He agreed to apply to be placed in a nursing home – on strict condition that it would be the same home as mother. He was surprised when his application was approved quickly. He had been underestimating his frailties.
He moved when a room became available. He is on the same floor in a different wing. He visits mother and tries to anticipate her needs and wants, and to provide care that the staff can’t provide. This tires him out, because his ideas of what she needs and deserves are not the same as everyone else’s, and he reacts to her smallest gestures. As her behavior is impulsive, this can be frustrating for him. He says he is happy. He is busy with his efforts to help mother. He turned 80 in June. I visited at the end of June.

2008 is over, Hallelujah

My story about my musical year starts with a short term obsession about a song.
The CBC broadcast a story about the popularity of Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah in Britain on the National (TV news) on the Friday night before Christmas. The CBC was interested because the writer was a Canadian. The story was that two different versions of the song were topping the British charts in the week before Christmas. For the last few years, some kind of Christmas themed piece has topped the charts. There is no Christmas list as such, and the charts continue to track the popularity of modern popular music in Britain, on sales.

Continue reading

2008 Rides

08-02-24Y25.4Overcast, turning to sunny. 10 degrees, windy. VCKC via Goose & Selkirk, then along Gorge and Hillside to Foul Bay, Fairfield, Cook Street, Beacon Hill.
08-02-28Y13.6VCKC, via Goose & Selkirk. 4:45PM ; return 7:15PM. Cloudy, 6-8 degrees.
08-03-02Y29.4New ramble to U Vic area. Beacon Hill, Fairfield, Rockland, Cadboro Bay, U Vic circle, Gordon Head, back by Shelbourne, Cedar Hill. Started sunny, turned to thick cloud. Under 10 degrees, cold strong winds.
08-03-16Y50.6Galloping Goose to Happy Valley and back. Mainly cloudy, about 8 degrees, brisk south winds a factor in Colwood and on the return.
08-03-29Y9.7GO Center on the Selkirk Water at 12:30; return at 4:30. Cloudy, 6 degrees, rain squalls. 3 hours of paddling too.
08-03-30Y13.3VCKC. Sunday AM, DB Launch. Cloudy, cool, showers.
08-03-31Y14.9VCKC with side trip to GO center. Sun and cloud, 7 degrees, windy.
08-04-05Y17.1Sat AM. To VCKC, return via Canadian Tire on Douglas, Cook Street Village. Cloudy, windy, temp around 10 degrees.
08-05-04Y50.6Goose - Lochside to Michell's farm at Island View, across Highway 17 into rolling terrain - East Saanich Road, Keating Cross Road, and Oldfield to the Beaver/Elk Lake park, and along the lakeside trail. Then west and south on Wilkinson across to the Interurban. Down to Tillicum, Gorge Road and Hillside to Cook, home. Mainly sunny. 14 degrees, windy.
08-05-05Y12.8VCKC. Sunny, light cloud, 14 degrees at 6:00 pm. Windy. First evening ride in shorts
08-05-06Y12.8VCKC. High cloud, clearing. Windy. 15 degrees at 6:00 but dropped fast before the trip home.
08-05-08Y12.8VCKC. Light cloud. 14 degrees.
08-05-18Y44.1To Mt. Douglas by Cook & Cedar Hill, Lochside to Michell's Farm, back home. 18-20 degrees, high cloud, windy.
08-05-25Y89.6Sidney. U Vic, Mt. Doug, Elk Lake, Keating Cross Road, E Saanich R to Airport, Beacon into Sidney (50 k.). Lochside with detours through Central Saanich. Sunny most of the day, negligible cloud, 20 degrees. Pretty breezy. East north east when I started. East south east after the airport. Got it coming and going. Ran out gas around 85 k. Didn't plan to go that far with the trails, rough asphalt and wind but it felt good.
08-06-01Y51.2Sunday 7:30 AM start to minimize sun and wind on a 30 degree day. Cadboro Bay Road, Mt. Douglas, Cordova Bay Rd to Mt. Sayward, Lochside and Hunt to Michell's Farm (31 k) and back by Lochside. Wind increased with heat.
08-06-04Y27.7Cool, windy – gale force on the water. Downtown, Fort, Oak Bay & Foul Bay to U Vic, back down FB to Oak Bay, around Victoria Golf Course, McNeill & Richardson back to Fairfield, then South Park and back home to James Bay.
08-06-08Y58Through Oak Bay – on new streets like Musgrave. Emerged on Lansdowne, ground up to Cordova Bay Road. Turned at the Golf Course. Down Cordova Bay (haven't done that since last spring due to road work – all fixed now) and across by Arbutus. Grandview etc to Mount Douglas, then Lochside trail to the soccer pitches. Turned on Hunt and went through Hunt Valley (Central Saanich), to Michell's Farm. This added a couple k of asphalt, skipped some gravel. Across by Keating Cross Road to Brentwood Bay, along West Saanich Rd. to Interurban, Tillicum, along Selkirk and Craigflower, Bay St. Bridge downtown and home. Sunny when I started, cloudy most of the ride. Windy – beat up by 40 k. headwinds on east and southeast headings vis. West Saanich, Interurban, Tillicum.
08-06-15*RR59.5Winnipeg. Sunday AM. Manitoba Marathon day. Along Maryland, Wellington, through River Heights to Waverley Heights, along the Lyon Parkway to the Assiniboine Forest, Charleswood, Roblin at the Perimeter out to Headingley into a strong northwest wind. *Mike, Steve, Clint, Tony
08-06-16*RR32.4Winnipeg. St. Mathews to Berry, North to Red River College, Brookside Boulevard to Oak Point, across and onto Burrows, and east across Winnipeg from Tyndall Park through Garden City and West Kildonan to Main, over the Redwood Bridge, through Elmood Cemetery, across the Louise Bridge and the Riverfront developments to the Forks, Assiniboine Avenue to Osborne, Westminster Avenue to Sherburn. *Mike, Steve, Tony
08-06-220Sunday. Driving home from Winnipeg.
08-07-13KA85.5Sunday. Sunny, windy day. Out to U Vic and Mt. Douglas, across by Royal Oak to West Saanich Road, out to Brentwood Bay, some zigs and zags, basically Mt. Newton Cross into Saanichton, then north to Panorana Rec at McTavish, along Lochside back to Mt Newton, across the Pat Bay and through Central Saanch to Island View, then across the Pat Bay again to Lochside. Coffee at Michell's Farm (62 k). Through Hunt Valley to avoid the gravel on the trail, back to Lochside and one Lochside to Royal Oak, Blenkinsop etc to Cook, down to Beacon Hill. I was bonking at about 60 k but had to come back into the wind. I am a better man for it but tired.
08-07-20Y67.1Sunday, cloudless sunny day. Windy, with strong sea breezes from the south and east. A straight run out the Goose to Rocky Point Road and back. I was aiming for some shade and some brush to cut the breeze. Partial success. Dusty, the trail is gravel from about 14 k out to the turnaround and back. I had a major session with the chain cleaning fluids and tools on my return with the chain rings off to remove dirt and wax and dust. I have taken to White Lightning – run that and wipe the excess off in a shop towel. Good for a century or more, self cleaning.
804.4Total to last date

Toshiba Satellite A200 without Vista

Over the last 6 weeks I spent more time than I want to think about trying to get a new Satellite (Model A200, or A200-03V, specifically PSAE3C-03V08C) to run an alternative OS to its pre-installed Windows Vista. The laptop was attractively priced, perhaps because it was pre-loaded with Vista, as much as the fact that it was being cleared out for newer models. I think these models were engineered for XP and thrown on to the market with Vista drivers when Microsoft terminated its OEM licencing for XP installations, forcing computer manufactures to pre-install Vista.
Given the resources of the system – processor and memory – it falls short of what it seems to take to run Vista, and running Vista has other drawbacks.I wasn’t sure about changing to XP although that is the route I took in the end. One problem, for me and many users is having to buy XP off the shelf. There is a cost factor, and even if I had owned a valid working copy of XP, I needed to get working drivers for the hardware in the Satellite to complement the install set and complete the installation. Another potential problem is losing the recovery functions that Toshiba builds in with its HDD Recovery Utility.

Continue reading

MT 4.1

Back in January, I ran the upgrade to Movable Type 4.1. The developers made a number of moves to make MT more attractive to personal users including changes to let personal users migrate from Word Press and to port Word Press Styles to MT. The management of pictures and content has become easier with the ability to upload and manage “assets” and then use the assets in the blog.
I haven’t used it much. I have been busy at work, and spent more my personal time reading and pursuing other things.

Ribbons are Nice

Jennie Bristow, reviewing Sarah Moore’s Ribbon Culture for Spiked, nails the self-obsessed culture of advertising one’s moral quality by fashion accessories. Her review is called Untying the ‘ribbon culture’. The moral virtue of wearing ribbons is to show awareness or solidarity with a group of victims. Being a victim has become a way of attracting attention, building political support, explaining the lack of joy in one’s life, and selling media product. Cry, cry, cry. Frank Furedi’s column about faked victim memoirs, History-as-Therapy, complements the ribbon piece.

Corn is not a Vegetable

Reuters Science News has a new story today reporting that the genome of maize has been sequenced, which reminds me that corn is a grain. It is a starchy carbohydrate. Like rice and wheat it could be cultivated to produce an abundant harvest that would feed villages and cities. It was a miracle food. It has been developed into a fertile, abundant and cheap, food resource. This has presented a business dilemma and challenge for farmers, food processors, distillers, and business people. How much corn can people be led to purchase and consume?
It turns up as an ingredient in processed goods. Michael Pollan provides an interesting and informative explanation of modern corn, corn farming and industrial food processing in The Omnivore’s Dilemna.
In the grocery store, it is presented identifiably in ground corn flour (grits, meal, polenta), as the main ingredient in corn chips, and as a fresh, frozen or canned product. In its raw forms, it is a nutritious and tasty item. It is a starchy grain, though, not a vegetable. Corn chips are fried or baked flat breads or croutons, made of starch and fat, just like potato chips.
A meal of meat, potatoes or rice, and corn, has protein and two kinds of carbs. I was looking at the labels on the (Green Giant) frozen foods in my freezer. Corn has over 150 calories in a 3/4 cup serving. Peas have about 90 calories for that size serving. Beans have about 35 calories. Mixed vegetables with corn, peas, beans and carrots are marked at about 70 calories.
I like corn. I plan to keep using corn as a occasional treat – corn on the cob is wonderful. I think it is a staple, but I have to think of it as a starch course like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice.

In Defence of Food

In Defence of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto has received favourable reviews in the LA Times and the Sunday Times (of London), and is a bestseller at this point in time.
Michael Pollan is an experienced journalist and writer. He reviews a fair amount of history and science in a short book. He tries to talk about food from a common sense perspective. He is cautious about food science, which is often bad science. He is skeptical about anything the food industry, nutritionists and journalists say about food. All too often, claims about food are made to sell new kinds of processed foods, or to sell books, diet plans, supplements and fads.
His advice for eating well, to avoid malnutrition and obesity is: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” His idea of food is something pretty close to the original plant or animal – fresh, dried, frozen – cooked at home, not processed at a factory. Don’t buy or eat processed and packaged things that claim to produce health benefits or weight loss. If you want to avoid obesity, eat less.
Pollan is an advocate of a natural diet, organic produce and Slow Food. He described the Western diet as a disaster, and cites the studies of people who return to a traditional diet from a Western diet. He says that there are many traditional diets incorporating indigenous resources and cultural traditions – and all of them are healthier than the Western diet, which manages to produce malnutrition and obesity at the same time.

Continue reading

2007 Rides

I started this log in April . I missed notes on my rides in January, and my notes on the rides in February and the first half of March are vague.
07-02-25Y20.0Evening ride. Dallas, Foul Bay Road to McNeill, Oak Bay Marina, back on McNeill to Rockland, downtown.
07-03-06Y22.0Evening ride. Dallas, Foul Bay Road to McNeill, Newport, Golf Course, Rockland, downtown.
07-03-11Y30.0Sunday morning. Dallas, Foul Bay Road to Oak Bay, Golf Course, Rockland, downtown.
07-03-14Y22.0Evening ride. Dallas, Foul Bay Road to Cadboro Bay Road, Uplands, Cedar HX, Cedar Hill, Cook, Dallas.
07-03-18Y24.6Sunday morning. Cloudy and looking grim, about 8 degrees. It became sunny later in the day. Downtown, Johnson Street Bridge, Galloping Goose to Glen Lake crossing, return on trail, turning at junction onto Lochside to Quadra, down to Beacon Hill, Dallas.
07-03-21Y24.6Evening ride. Cloudy, light wind. Dallas and Beach to Oak Bay, Lansdown up to Cadboro Bay, Hillside, return down Foul Bay, downtown by Blanshard.
07-03-25Y47.6Sunday morning. Sunny, 9 degrees, windy. Dallas, Prince George, Beach, Caddy Bay, Mount Douglas, Royal Oak, Lochside, Gorge, Hillside, downtown by Blanshard.
07-04-06Y72.2Good Friday. Late morning and afternoon, to Sidney by Uplands, U Vic, Cadboro Bay, Gordon Head, Cordova Bay, Sidney. Caffeine and carbs at Starbucks in Sidney. return by Lochside Trail. Sunny, 20 degrees. Moderate North west wind. My first ride in shorts this year. Worried about aggravating carpal tunnel, I wore a wrist brace for the first 25 or 30 km.
07-04-08Y42.5Sunday, 8:30 AM. Beacon Hill, Cook-Cedar Hill, Royal Oak, Elk Lake Park, Interurban to the Galloping Goose Trail along Douglas, north to the Old Island Highway, then east and south into Esquimalt, along Craigflower, Johnson St. Bridge. Cloudy, humid, 12 C. Brisk south-east wind. The hills on Craigflower were harsh, given my fatigue.
07-04-15Y68.1Sunday, 10:00 am to midafternoon. Sunny turning to mixed cloud, 12 degrees, brisk SE winds. Cook Street & Blenkinsop to Royal Oak. Elk Lake Road, along the lakes on a trail. N. On to Saanichton. Wallace to Brentwood Bay. Wallace, West Saanich Road and Interurban Road. Break Robin's Donuts, Saanichton.
07-04-20Y36.3Evening ride. Scattered cloud, Foul Bay, Cadboro Bay, U Vic, Mount Douglas, back by Blenkinsop, Maplewood, Cook.
07-04-22Y77.9Sunday morning, overcast, patchy cloud, 13 degrees at 10:00 AM. It became sunny and warmer. Wind shifted from east to south east during the day. I started downtown, into Esquimalt, along Craigflower to Helmken, up Interurban to West Saanich, into Elk Lake Park and along the lake. Out of the park, north on Oldfield to Keating Cross, through Central Saanich to McTavish, across to the water, Sidney, back by Mt. Newton Cross Road, Oldfield, Old West Saancih, Royal Oak, Lochside Trail. Pictures at Gorge, Sidney, Blenkinsop Lake.
07-04-22Con'd. Some of the asphalt in Saanich is worn, pebble protruding to 1 cm. Oldfield and Wallace are rough. Keating, East Saanich are smooth. Bike lanes and shoulders have gravel and debris. I notice more glass than last year. The trail by the lakes was wide, pretty good but a few rocks and roots hiding in the shade. On the return, along the Galloping Goose I ran into Randy, Barry and Liz who had cycled from Barry and Liz's house off Royal Oak to go to Victoria's Chinatown for Dim Sum.
07-04-25Y40.0Evening ride. Out to Mt Douglas.
07-05-21Y75.3Sunny, mixed cloud, 15 degrees. Strong east and southeast winds. Out by Dallas, Foul Bay and Cadboro Bay to U Vic, Arbutus and Cordova Bay to Mt Douglas, across Saanich by Royal Oak, to West Saanich Road. Then along West Saanich to Old West Saanich, up the hill and into the valley, throught the farm land by Oldfield, Keating, East Saanich, McTavish, Lochside Drive to Sidney. Coffee at Serious Coffee in Sidney at about 45 k. Back by Lochside Drive, Lochside Trail, Galloping Goose to Johnson Street Bridge and downdown. Bonked on the trail. Leg cramps. Not enough water. I have been out of action with a cold.
07-05-27Y51.2Sunny, mixed cloud, 15 degrees. Windy. Out by Galloping Goose to Veteran's Parkway (Langford) back to Helmken, north on Quadra to West Saanich, and Royal Oak. Across to Lochside and back in to City.
07-06-18Y29.0Sunny, 14 degrees. Strong southeast winds. Out by Dallas, Foul Bay and to U Vic, Finnerty to Arbutus, back by Cordova Bay Road (noted north bound lane torn up for construction from Cordova Village up to Cedar Hill X Road) to Lansdowne, out to Beach, Down to the sea, Hollywood and Dallas.
07-06-19Y28.4Dallas-Hollywood (a stretch of Hollywood just west of Foul Bay has been torn up) Foul Bay etc.
07-06-250.0First dragon boat practice. VCKC LocoMotion team. Practice every Monday and Thursday evening and Saturday morning until the Festivals August 11 and 18.
07-07-03Y34.4Sunny, warm. Basic Foul Bay to McNeill, Beach and Cordova to Mt. D. Noted Hollywood resurfaced, very nice new asphalt. Back by Lochside. (bugsplats on sunglasses in the cuts from McKenzie down to the Gorge, annoyed with clueless bladers).
07-07-1035 degrees today. Stayed home and drank beer
07-07-10Camping at Comox Fairground. Vancouver Island Musicfest
07-07-15KA100.6Cloudy, a little over 20 most of the day. Some sunny breaks. Sunscreen. Saanich-Sidney century. I averaged 22.5 which is about 10 percent better than the GY. I had a few stretches where I was able cruise at 25-27 kph, sometime 30 k on level ground. I have to tune the front shifter so that it doesn't rub when I get into the lowest gears on the back wheel.
07-07-220.0Getting ready for company.
07-07-290.0Rain in the forecast. Worked at home.
07-07-31Y51.1Sunny and warm, 24 degrees. Started as a Mt. D. Run. Went north on Lochside Trail to Michell's Farm at Island View Road (30k), then returned by Lochside to Johnson Street. Victory lap on Belleville and Dallas around the edge of James Bay.
07-08-06KA100.6Sunny. 25 C. Winds from the east and southeast. 15 kph, but 15 -20 knots near the water in the PM. Wind was a factor around the airport, and exposed southward parts – waterfront, ridges. Saanich-Sidney century.
07-08-11Dragon Boat Races at GO Center, Selkirk Water.
07-08-18Victoria Dragon Boat Festival. Victoria Harbour
07-08-20Y32.5New route. Douglas & Quadra north to McKenzie, Lochside Trail into Saanich until I turned around.
07-08-26Y29.9Basic Mt. D, return by Lochside.
07-08-28Y28.9Dallas, around Oak Bay, Lansdowne to Cadboro Bay, Foul Bay, Dallas, circuit of James Bay.
07-09-02Y43.1Cloudy, near 20 C. Humid. Left at 3:30. Supposed to rain, but didn't. New route. Up Cook to Hillside & Gorge Road to Admirals, crossing to the Galloping Goose. N to the Victoria General at Helmken, NE by Wilkinson to the Royal Oak junction. E by Royal Oak to Lochside, back via the trail.
07-09-03Y65.4Cloudy, windy, cool. Some fog patches on the strait. Left at noon. Some light drizzle on the way back, home before the rain got serious. New route. Foul Bay & Richmond out to Cedar Hill X Road, Shelbourne to Mt. D., Royal Oak and Wilkinson to the Victoria General, Galloping Goose out past Langford and the Luxton Rodeo grounds, back by the trail. Side trip into Royal Roads U grounds. Amazing. And coffee at about 45 at Tim's in Langford.
07-09-10Y36.5Sunny, warm evening. Downdown, Lochside, out and back.
07-09-24Y70.6Sunny, 15 degrees; Windy. Lochside to Sidney. Coffee at Serious. Return by Lochside to Royal Oak. Interurban to Tillicum, Gorge Road to Admiral's Road, Esquimalt Road to Johnson Street, Wharf & downtown.
07-10-04*34.8Winnipeg, Evening ride, Harte Trail & Charleswood. *Mike, Steve, Tony
07-10-07*44.1Winnipeg. Bird's Hill Pit. *Mike, Tony