Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Tired of being Angry, Tired of being Sad, Tired of being Tired. Just plain tired!

Even thinking is difficult these days. so I have avoided it. I feel too much like the little boy in the picture, all huddled up inside my brain. My inbox and FB newsfeed are full of too many articles to even read all the headlines. And most make me angry or sad. I am skipping about 75% and that still leaves too many. I haven't started drinking yet and don't intend to other than hard cider after my walk.

Heather Cox Rischardson's Letters from an American ( is a good summary of each days news. Saves me reading a lot of articles. She writes it every night before she goes to bed, sometimes at 3 am. She is an American political history prof. 

I also follow the statistics, knowing that from some countries they are not very accurate. funny how authoritarian governments are like that. These are the links I use: . Data is in table format, with charts for total cases and total deaths in either linear or log format. Countries are listed and linked for details. USA also provides details for states. charts data by country and also America by states, in linear or log. It also charts both countries and states by population. Very useful for visual comparisons.

America took 25 days to go from 100 cases to 100,000 and then 32 days to go from 100,000 to 1,000,000. It took 31 days to go from 100 deaths to 10,000 and 25 more days to reach 60,000.
Canada took 26 days to go from 10 cases to 1000 cases but only 12 days to go from 1000 to 10,000 and 27 days to go from there to 50,000. It took 27 days to go from 10 deaths to 1,000 deaths and a further 13 days to reach 2850 deaths. Ukraine took 18 days to go from 10 cases to 1000 cases and will reach 10,000 cases by the end of this month or 27 days.. It took 17 days to go from 10 deaths to 100 deaths and 14 more days to reach 250 deaths.

The problem is that confirmed cases are a  function of testing per population which varies from country to country and state to state. Deaths are also a function of testing and do not necessarily include people who died at home or even in hospital untested. Comparisons of reported deaths from all causes compared to expected deaths as per long term data, revealed more than double expected deaths in BRitain of which less than half were counted as Covid-19 deaths. Depending on how they are calculated, death rates are all over the map.

Countries are gradually opening up and whether we get second waves or not will be interesting to see. Reasons for opening up and who is going back to work is rather fascinating if one has a morbid sense of humour. States that are opening up are making sure that white collars who can work from home continue to do so while the low paying jobs must go back to work so that they stay off unemployment insurance. The disease is a Republican's wet dream as it kills poor and blacks at a 2:1 ratio with elderly and preexisting conditions making up the majority of deaths. Workers in health are just collateral damage.

The one bright spot in my day is walking the dogs on the backroads. Lucky is 8 months old, 75 lbs and has far too much energy. I keep him on a leash. Volk is an old hand at this and as long as there are no chickens or cats, heads us up and we follow. Lucky loves Volk and tries to copy him which wears me out. Drag me, stop and sniff, drag him then he drags me, stop and sniff. Repeat constantly.

I have a number of walk routes that go 3, 4 or 5 km and have added to make it 6 km the past two days. I kind of power out about half way but it is atleast a challenge. Now to work up to 7 and 8 km. I hit the edge of town but do not go into it. There are a few pedestrians and cyclists but a German Shepherd on a 10' leash is a good distancing tool. He is friendly but people don't take chances. Yard dogs are annoying as they bark constantly when we walk by. Everyone has a 6' to 10' fence and a dog. Sometimes the dog is small and yappy, others have big guard dogs that spend their life on chains. I hate that. There are a few feral dogs but they don't bother us.

Volk hates our neighbours dog, going back years. Ronald is a big dog, on a chain by the fence. Volk runs up to the fence and barks and snarls at him. Last night Ronald was out on the street. Volk took one look at him and ran into our yard. I laughed.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Paskha (Easter) Traditions and other things

Sunday is Paskha, Orthodox Easter. There are certain traditions that go with it. Like Family Gatherings which will not be the case this year, but other traditions still carry on.

Thursday is cleaning day. Clean house, clean body, clean heart. Since we could not hire our usual cleaning lady, I did the vacuuming and some dusting. Tanya damp mopped and more dusting.

Friday is baking day. Tanya swore she would not paint eggs this year nor make Paskha bread. She did both. Fifteen eggs (?) and 3 large, 4 small Easter bread. We also made 4 loaves of banana bread and two pans of Mexican corn bread. She sent baskets of stuff to Andrey's family and to Lina.

Today Tanya is back gardening, mostly watering as we are so dry. The winds which stop only at night suck the moisture out of the soil and fill the air with dust. Strong winds also reignited the fires in the Chernobyl area two days ago and they are burning out of control again. The pollution in Kyiv makes it impossible to go outdoors or open windows.

The fires were deliberately started, possibly with malicious intent. That aspect is being investigated by the FSU (Ukraine's CIA). There are other malicious activities ongoing as well.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate (UOCMP) has been an unofficial arm of the Kremlin's war on Ukraine. The Pecherska Lavra, a UNESCO site, is controlled by the UOCMP. It is a hot spot of coronavirus, with many monks and staff testing positive and two deaths reported. While the Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) has been fully cooperative with the Ukrainian government's stay at home orders, the UOCMP has not. Even though in Russia the ROC is encouraging people not to attend services, in Ukraine the UOCMP is deliberately undermining the government's attempts to halt the spread. There was a large gathering at the Pecherska Lavra last Sunday and another is expected this Sunday. This is simply to impede the control of the virus in Ukraine and inflict disease and death.

We will have a feast tomorrow, even if there is only the two of us. Tanya has the menu planned. I am going to attempt scalloped potatoes with ham, just to add a bit of Canadian to it.

Zhovti Vody is shut down from noon today, no stores, no taxis, nothing. People are being urged not to attend Easter services, to avoid congregating anywhere. Next week end is Memorial weekend when people traditionally visit the graves of loved ones, some even traveling long distances. One hopes that the visits will not all occur on Sunday but be spread out over several days.

Now I need to walk the dogs. My excuse to leave the yard and wander the back roads. A 75 lb German Shepherd pup on a 10' leash is a useful distancing tool incase I meet pedestrians.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Remembering the Farm - This Old House

The house in which my father was born and in which our family lived until the late 1960's was built in about 1910. My Grandfather purchased the farm which included the relatively new house in 1914, the year he and Grandma got married. It was a basic two-storey 14x28 box with a lean-to kitchen and store room on the north side and lean-to front porch on the west and a dug out root cellar.

Downstairs was an L-shaped living-dining area and parlour, with stairs going up and under them, down to the root cellar. Upstairs had two bedrooms, a large one on the west and a small one on the SE corner, along with a hallway and a closet with a toilet and honey bucket, vented to the chimney. A stove pipe from the space heater in the living room came up through the floor and provided heat to the west bedroom where we kids slept. The parent's bedroom was unheated and on a cold night with a SE wind was also unliveable.

My father also slept in the west room as a boy. Bedbugs were a major problem in every house in those days and his bed and bedding had been taken outside to fumigate one spring while he slept on the floor. While he slept one night, a ball of lightning came in through the roof and went out the west window, shattering both and leaving his bedding full of scorched splinters. If he had been in his bed, it would have killed him. Fortunately it did not start the house on fire.

Initially the house was heated by a coal and wood space heater in the living room and a coal and wood cookstove in the kitchen. Eventually both were replaced by fuel oil burners. The house never had water or sewer installed. We got electricity in the spring of 1953, the year I started school.

The house was 2x4 frame construction, sided in shiplap and had no insulation. The last years we lived there, you could see daylight through a crack in the wall under my brother's bed.

In the early 60's my mom's father bought and paid for the moving and much of the renovation of an old house in good condition so his daughter would have someplace decent to live. Renovations were completed for a move-in in the late 60's, where my parents and younger siblings lived. My brother is living there now.

Dad tore down the lean-tos and the chimney finally toppled but the main box is still there, though the stairs have collapsed. Instead of burning the place, my brother is determined to save it for some reason and has reshingled half the roof.

When the house was new. It never saw another coat of paint.

My grandmother standing by the front yard c early 1940s

My grandparents standing by the front gate c late 1930s

My father standing in front of the old house c 1990s

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

RIP John Prine 1946-2020

Turned on the computer only to read that we lost John Prine to Covid-19. Here are a few of my favourites in his memory. It is a sad world out there.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Performing an Appendectomy by Phone

Usually I like to repair my own software problems if I can. I had one of those system maintenance software program for years. I like to experiment. Thomas Edison method - if this doesn't work, try that. It's how I learn.

I have learned not to experiment.

Things got so bad, I finally called up my long time Tech Support guy and friend in Delhi to bail me out. I found him years back using something called UpWork ( You enter your problem and indicate what type of consultant you need and see who answers. After several false tries, I found this person who actually knew his stuff, was patient with my idiocy, and kept me going. Even when I don't need him we keep in touch once in awhile, using Skype messages.

We connect using TeamViewer which allows him to take over my computer and fix stuff while I watch and pray. What I hoped would be a couple hours turned into a four day marathon. Apparently the system maintenance software can cause more problems than it fixes. So he started cleaning up the system. About two hours in, we lost the wifi connection. TeamViewer doesn't work without it. Dell's built-in wifi never did work (you can check it out online if you doubt me) so I use a Micro TL-Link USB connector.

Using Skype on my mobile, we performed surgery by remote. Try this and send me a picture. Ok, try that and send me a picture. Microsoft troubleshooter was less than useless as it kept feeding us a red herring. TL-Link driver may be corrupted. We found and downloaded to my phone an updated driver which took forever. It wasn't the driver. We quite and would start again in the morning. Once he hung up, I went back to Thomas Edison and found the problem, though I have no idea how. Accident.

Next day he got the bulk of the clean up done and went to look for the malware that had infected my chrome web browser. I use Malware Bytes Premium anti-malware and it kept the Chrome malware at bay, blocking attempted outbound ever few minutes but I ran searches and could never find the source. The Tech set up a custom search using Malware Bytes and after grinding for 3 and a half hours it found 13 serious problems. Once it started, we signed off and let it run. When it finished I quarantined the problems and we started again the next day.

We eliminated the Ad malware that Malware Bytes identified, saved the bookmarks, deleted Chrome and ran Kaspersky. Kaspersky ran for 5 and a half hours, searched 1.2 million objects and came up clean. The Russians ought to know how to make anti malware as it seems to me they made a great deal of the malware. We let it run and went about our business.

Next day we connected again and reinstalled Chrome. (Home free! Not so fast, my boy.) I said I am going to promote you on my blog (these days he can use more work). You have a blog? Yes, here is the link. Bang. he got the warning notice on his screen that had been plaguing me for 6 months. Was Blogger infected? Not necessarily.

The correct address for my blog is which I never realized and for Lord knows how many years have been telling people it was with a www.  Normally the server would simply redirect a www address to the correct address and all would be well but not anymore. What it does on your screen if you do the www address I don't know but when you do it, on mine it freezes the link I have open in Chrome and issues the following warning, believing that someone is trying to impersonate me. Since my Tech cannot access the Blogspot server, he can't correct this.

We got that sorted out and a few other glitches mended and called it a rough four days. I figure he never charges enough so I pay him like he was Calvin's babysitter so he will still work for me. If you need some clean up on your computer, let me know and I will message you his contacts.

I did ask if he could do a full clean, maintenance and replace the printhead on my printer but he says his technology isn't up to that yet.

Note, please check and see that you have the right link address for my blog. Get rid of the www.