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9/19/2017 - Health diary part 2 - financial help welcome (Health)
8/8/2017 - The Piano Storybook by Shnabubula (Music)
8/4/2017 - Link: The Hans Free Electric Bike (Activism)
8/2/2017 - Link: August 21, 2017: A total solar eclipse visible in parts of the USA! (Astronomy)
7/31/2017 - CATcerto (Music)
7/31/2017 - How to compile Pale Moon 27.4.1 from source code in Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2 (Puppy Linux)
7/31/2017 - How to make YouTube HTML5 audio work with Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2 and a Sewell USB Sound Box (Puppy Linux)
7/1/2017 - Legacy code woes (Programming)
6/14/2017 - Don't Put an Air Conditioner On Its Side, Back, or Upside-Down (Science)
5/27/2017 - Various plans and projects - funding welcome (Software)
4/18/2017 - Taxation should be totally banned (Finances)
4/18/2017 - Cow milk's flavor can be damaged by exposure to light (Food)
3/27/2017 - Salty XML Transformer v1.0 (Software)
3/14/2017 - The Mad Drummer (Music)
2/5/2017 - A simple Schematron demo for PHP 5.6.28 and Saxon/C 1.0.2 (Software)
2/3/2017 - How to get the Schematron Testing Framework (stf) to run in Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2 (Software)
1/12/2017 - VUE: How to detach images from bubbles (also known as nodes) (Software)
1/8/2017 - GNU Emacs: Using helm-unicode; changing the font and font size only for helm-unicode; etc. (Emacs Lisp)
1/8/2017 - My slightly modified VUE: Visual Understanding Environment (Software)
12/19/2016 - Links: Music generated (or partly generated) by software (Music)

Welcome to Astroblahhh.Com. This site, consisting of both blog and non-blog pages, features a gradually growing assortment of miscellaneous things on a variety of topics. I, the author of most of the stuff on this site, usually go by the name Apollia on the internet.

This blog was generated by the WordsPlatz blog software, which I wrote from scratch.


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Health diary part 2 - financial help welcome
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017
13:17:10 GMT


Donations and microdonations are welcome, and might help me buy things that will help my health.

However, I often feel too stressed out to even check to see if I got any donations, and I'm afraid it will dishearten me if I didn't, so, I actually might not notice for a long time if anyone sends anything, because I have to be in a particularly good and brave mood to even check to see if anyone sent (or didn't send) anything.

Also, I still don't feel up to even checking a lot of my email, so, sorry for being so unreachable.

Thanks again to all you kind people out there. You people are among the top reasons why I still think life is worth living.

Here's my website's disclaimer. I'm not a health care professional, just a layperson who sometimes takes an interest in health and nutrition.

I'm 36 years old, never attended college (partly for financial reasons, and partly because of my severe sleep issues and shyness), and I have a GED instead of a standard high school diploma.

So, please don't blindly assume I know what I'm talking about, and please don't blindly assume that my ideas or personal health habits necessarily have any merit.

This blog post is a personal diary of how things have been going for me health-wise (and sometimes I mention a few details here and there of other things going on in my life), and my thoughts and speculations on the possible causes of my fatigue, headaches, and other ailments, and different things I've tried, or which I'm considering trying, to alleviate my ailments.

By the way, even though my severe circadian sleep issues which might be Non-24 Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder are one of the top factors that ruined my life, I have resigned myself to that probably being incurable, so, I long ago gave up on even trying to force myself to have a "normal" schedule.

I just want to figure out how I can improve my sleep quality regardless of what time it is when I sleep, and improve my well-being and energy levels regardless of what time it is when I'm awake. It would be nice in many ways if I had a predictable schedule (even if it wasn't a "normal" schedule - like reliably being awake at night and asleep during the day, or having a very reliable, predictable forward or even backwards daily shift of my sleep and wake times). But it seems totally impossible for me no matter what I do, so I think I'm better off not wasting my time, and instead working on less impossible things.

None of this blog post is intended as health advice. It's basically just me venting, mendicanting a bit by pointing out that I accept donations and microdonations, sometimes copying and pasting and/or linking to interesting health-related things I find on the web, and coming up with various (informal) theories on what ails me, and ideas of what possible solutions I'd like to try next.

Also, the details I share about myself are often not very complete, because of laziness, tiredness or feeling too bad (except often I actually write more when I'm feeling tired or bad, since when I feel good, I'm often busy with more useful and/or interesting things, like computer programming projects or reading), and because of me wanting to keep some things private. And I'm often not in the mood to write in very thorough detail about all of my thoughts on things I link to or quote.

Please be careful, please use common sense, and please don't blindly mimic me. It's quite possible that some of the things I tried, or will try, are, or will be, quite stupid. If you need health advice, please consult a health care professional.

And, if you actually get anything worthwhile out of reading this blog post, there's a whole lot more like it in part 1 of my health diary.

My other health diary blog post got so big I encountered a web error one of the last times I tried to update it.

But I had such a good day after that (when my cold was still mild), I didn't feel like continuing to post updates, so I didn't rush to create a new health diary blog post. I even got some programming done that day.

Unfortunately, my cold soon worsened quite a lot after that. And I suspect resuming having tea the higher-caffeine way I used to make it before quitting tea might have contributed to that by interfering with my ability to sleep. Another big factor interfering with my sleep has been my stuffy nose and some kind of throat issues sometimes making it more difficult to breathe through both my nose and my mouth.

I also have a croup cough, a symptom I've commonly gotten during colds since I was a child. And at times I could scarcely speak - my voice just wasn't working - but at the moment, I can speak. Had a sore throat, but it went away, then came back, and currently is gone again. And my senses of smell and taste are usually very diminished.

I got so scared about how sick I am that I resumed Vitamin D. (I had been avoiding Vitamin D in supplement form for a while due to how alarmingly jittery I sometimes had gotten a while after taking a lot of it, which made me worry that maybe I had overdosed on Vitamin D, but perhaps it was just magnesium deficiency from not taking enough magnesium along with such large quantities of Vitamin D.) Took 8000 IU of Vitamin D today (and 2000 IU yesterday), along with other vitamins.

Been eating soup with freshly-crushed cloves of garlic sometimes, though I find it tough to deal with how garlic burns my mouth, so I'm not sure I've been eating enough garlic to do me much good. However, yesterday or so, it seemed to make my gums stop acting up for a bunch of hours (not sure how many exactly). The garlic made me feel like my mouth was on fire, but after that, my gum's lower left sore spot stopped bothering me for a while.

Another thing that seemed to help was drinking a glass of milk with Breakfast Essentials powder.

And a banana/pineapple smoothie made with my nice, cheap, but still very effective blender.

I have such an aversion to plain water, and still worry that maybe I have some tendencies toward adrenal fatigue-related electrolyte imbalance. Really hoping my recent experiments with resuming caffeine aren't too hard on my adrenals.

Yesterday, I tried sitting in the downstairs bathroom with hot water steaming up the room to try to reduce my croup and congestion, but it didn't seem to do much.

Been having trouble getting comfortable temperature-wise, and even resorted to my electric blanket last sleep, which I hope was more helpful than harmful. Been fiddling with my air conditioner a lot lately, since I can't find just one setting I can just leave it at and feel continually comfortable. I keep getting too hot or too cold.

I'm a bit headachy as I write this, which I suspect is from caffeine withdrawal, so, I'm having another cup of tea now, since between caffeine and caffeine withdrawal, I'm gambling that caffeine will be less bad for me. Have only been sleeping 4 hours at a time.

Remarkably, I've still been having less trouble with my eyes getting dry or gooey lately. It seems like I don't get those problems as much when I drink tea.

As I expected, money problems are again going to stop us from getting the upstairs bathroom fixed in the near future. We have roof trouble, recently dealt with some car trouble, and we still have some refrigerator trouble.

Also, I didn't realize that there's an access panel for dealing with the upstairs bathroom's plumbing in the neighboring room, which is the room with the junk mountain in it, so, that enormous mess probably also needs to be cleaned up before we can bring in a plumber, unless I don't mind only getting the toilet and sink fixed and not also the bathtub.

But, I really want to be able to take warm baths again in a non-disgusting bathtub, and get doses of magnesium that way, since magnesium gel seems to work so much better for me than oral magnesium capsules.

But magnesium gel is kind of inconvenient (especially since we don't always have hot water immediately available for me to wash it off with, because to save money we keep our water heater turned off), and probably will be even more uncomfortable for me to use as the weather gets colder. And cold can be bad for your immune system.

So, I really, really, really want to get the upstairs bathroom fixed, so I can try taking warm baths with magnesium bath flakes or this magnesium oil.

Donations and microdonations are welcome.

Today, instead of just resting, I'm actually probably going to try to clean the junk mountain room, since we really need to fix the upstairs bathroom for the sake of my health, since I procrastinate about even going downstairs at night because I don't want to accidentally wake up my relative who sleeps downstairs, and I procrastinate about going downstairs during the day because I often don't feel like dealing with social contact, so, I often don't eat as well as I should, and I also procrastinate about brushing and irrigating my teeth and gums, which probably is not only bad for my teeth and gums, but bad for my immune system, because I have gum disease which I believe might have been partly or perhaps even mostly caused by my 3 root canaled teeth.

And back in Dec. 2016, my dentist gave me penicillin and told me there's still infection around my root canaled teeth, and even said they might have to be extracted if they flare up again. So, the idea that my root canaled teeth harbor infection is not just a speculation of mine - it's a definite fact.

I'm quite reluctant to part with any more teeth, but, I wonder if maybe I would be better off getting rid of my root canaled teeth, even though it would be more difficult to chew. I wonder if my root canals are a big part of why this cold has been so much worse for me than my other relative who got it.

Now feeling considerably better today than I did yesterday, so, maybe the Vitamin D, garlic, beef/vegetable soup, and even my caffeinated black tea are helping me, among other things, like Vitamin C, Vitamin B Complex, magnesium, etc.

This cold has been so bad that even frequent Vitamin C didn't seem as helpful as I expected it to be. But I consider that a possible clue that I really am in need of more Vitamin D, since I noticed quite a while back that it seems like I need less Vitamin C to soothe my gums when I take Vitamin D.

Also, back before I got so extremely stressed out in May/June 2016 that I eventually tried to quit tea in the hope that might ease my fatigue, it seemed like I used to need less Vitamin C to soothe my gums (and I wasn't even taking Vitamin D back then), so that makes me wonder if tea really does help your immune system.

So, I really hope continuing to drink caffeinated tea will help me more than it harms me, since I don't think my body can handle going through caffeine withdrawal at the moment, and I'm not sure I should quit again even if/when I do feel up to trying to quit, since at times it makes me feel better and more normal than I've felt in quite a long time.

Also, it seems like exercise and standing up and walking around actually helps my nose get unclogged, while sitting and lying down tends to make it worse, so, hopefully cleaning the next room will be good for me physically too, in addition to emotionally comforting me by making me feel like my hope of finally having a working upstairs bathroom again after all these years is that much closer to really happening.

I recently managed to clean my room the slight amount necessary to make my exercise bike useable again, and was very surprised that my nose unclogged quite quickly during my brief ride. (Didn't stay unclogged for long, though.)

The most fun thing I did yesterday was watch Legends of Tomorrow with my family. It took my mind off my symptoms better than anything else yesterday.

There's a useable TV in the junk mountain room, so, that will make cleaning more pleasant.

Addition, Sept. 19, 2017, 3:07 PM EDT. Didn't get much cleaning done - ended up watching Netflix, and then got drowsy. But got a bit headachy again, and not so drowsy, now that I've returned to my room.

Lately, I've actually started to develop some aversion to even being in my room, so, maybe I should move to a different room?

Ever since reading scary articles like this one, and this one which I never linked to before, I've felt rather uneasy about there being a power line(?) or something so close to my window.

But, other than all that, I'm feeling a lot better, probably due to a variety of factors, like the 8000 IU of Vitamin D I took earlier maybe finally taking effect, and the 3 grams of Vitamin C I've been taking multiple times per day. And I think Advil probably helped with my possible fever.

The headache soon decreased after I drank some milk.

Today, I figured out a much better way for me to eat fresh garlic cloves - buttering up an English muffin, microwaving it, then adding pieces of garlic to it. Chomping on the bread instead of directly on the garlic keeps the garlic from burning my mouth as much. (Fresh garlic is sometimes so spicy-hot that, for me, it's sometimes even worse than too much cayenne pepper, even though I like the taste of both.) My senses of taste and smell are still very stifled, but it seemed good.

Also, found we had a vegetable or fruit peeler. (Not for sale on that page, but the narrowest one on that page looks similar to what I found.) It made it much easier to divide the garlic clove up into easier to eat small pieces.

Very relieved that my poor sleep didn't wreck my ability to fight off a cold. Yesterday I felt so bad I was pretty scared, but today I feel like I could defeat this even if I continue sleeping poorly. And especially if I start sleeping better.

Thank goodness for Vitamin D + magnesium, garlic, Vitamin C, tea (even decaf, preferably made with the carbon dioxide method of decaffeination), and various other helpful things I already mentioned.

Addition, Sept. 20, 2017, 2:12 AM EDT. Managed to sleep longer today, sometime between around 6:15 PM and 1:40 AM. But, slept poorly, though some of my dreams were unusually vivid.

I made the mistake of leaving my air conditioner at 72 degrees, and woke up very thirsty and dry-eyed, with a headache, and my cold definitely isn't gone yet. But, since yesterday, I've had a regular cough rather than a croup cough.

As usual, plain water didn't seem to help much with my thirst and dry eyes. My banana/pineapple smoothie (which I added a bit of salt to because I was worried about possible adrenal fatigue-related electrolyte imbalance) seemed a bit better, but maybe not salty enough and I wasn't in the mood to drink something so sweet. Finally remembered I had some nice salty vegetable juice. That was good, but, I still feel kind of out of sorts and verging on a headache.

Tired and wishing I could go back to sleep, but, my headache will make that impossible. Will probably make a cup of caffeinated tea soon, but it seems like such a chore to prepare it, and I'm tempted to just drink a Barq's caffeinated root beer instead.

Maybe I should try keeping some caffeinated iced tea in my mini-fridge.

Momentarily felt kind of overheated (despite the air conditioner being at 66 degrees now), and am hungry for breakfast cereal. Fortunately, thanks to my caffeine habit, eating cereal or other carby foods in my morning is a lot less likely to make me sleepy.

It seems like I often get dehydrated when I sleep, even when I'm not sick with a cold. Wish I could figure out how to solve that - it would probably improve my sleep quality a lot.

Addition, Sept. 20, 2017, 4:15 AM EDT. Decided to just drink a Barq's caffeinated root beer. Due to my cold, it tastes different, but still good.

Rather unhappy that Great Value root beer's recipe seems to have been changed - the new package says it has 35 mg of sodium, and the old package says it has 45 mg of sodium. But, I have too much of a cold to judge if it actually tastes noticeably different from the previous version.

I don't know if it's just me, or if there's a low-sodium fad in the food industry which is making foods I don't recall having had to add salt to in the past taste under-salted to me, like Thomas's English muffins, and Campbell's chunky chicken noodle soup and chunky beef/country vegetable soup. Maybe I'm still having adrenal fatigue-related salt cravings.

I wish I could make my own root beer with exclusively healthy ingredients - organic everything, and no high fructose corn syrup or anything else bad. And no caffeine. But judging by this page, making your own root beer seems rather complicated.

Also, I didn't know there are some methods of making root beer which actually lead to it containing a small amount of alcohol! I definitely don't want even the tiniest trace of alcohol in my root beer, or anything else I consume - not even cooked foods, since cooking might not remove all alcohol.

Fortunately, that abovementioned page says "Force carbonated root beer is entirely non-alcoholic."

Anyway, now that I had a Barq's caffeinated root beer, I guess I better switch back to making tea with a custom tea bag with less caffeinated tea than a pre-packaged tea bag. That tastes better anyway (especially when I don't have a cold).

But, not really in the mood to eat or make food or tea. In fact, now that my headache is decreasing, maybe I could even go back to sleep, despite the presumably smaller than my usual morning dose of caffeine. Perhaps that's because a couple hours ago, I had a full dose of Nature Made magnesium citrate without Vitamin D. I thought maybe I still had enough Vitamin D in my body that the magnesium might perk me up (by enabling my body to make use of the Vitamin D) rather than make me tired (as I long ago noticed oral magnesium without Vitamin D tends to do to me), but I guess I didn't. Reluctant to take more Vitamin D supplements already, though - still afraid of possibly overdosing, and also, I'd actually like to go back to sleep if I can.

Still a bit headachy, though. But, starting to wake up a bit more. On second thought, no, I'm still mostly tired. I guess I could take an Advil. OK, did so.

My air conditioner started making odd crackly noises just now, so I turned it off. But my room will probably get too warm without it. I already am feeling overheated. Maybe I am feverish again. OK, air conditioner back on. It's still making odd crackly or liquidy noises sometimes. Oh, well. Minutes later, though, it sounds completely normal.

I wish I felt up to cleaning the next room. Even if we can't afford a plumber in the near future, it would be nice to know that whenever we can afford to bring in a plumber, there will be nothing else stopping us from doing so. Also, maybe I'd feel more comfortable staying in that room. It's bigger, and I'd have a lot more room in my room if I put my bed elsewhere. Maybe I should use my room as an office and sleep elsewhere.

Addition, Sept. 20, 2017, 5:03 AM EDT. Feeling unheadachy and more comfortable temperature-wise, so now in a much better mood, and getting more eager to do something useful.

Also, re-reading some of this page about theanine comforts me, and reminds me that maybe caffeinated tea maybe isn't as bad for my adrenals as I sometimes worry it might be.

Maybe next time I make a cup of tea with a prepackaged tea bag, I should also put in a custom teabag containing just decaf, so I can hopefully improve the caffeine/theanine ratio of my tea - as well as the flavor.

I'm glad I tried going back to making tea the way I always used to make it, though - now I'm even more sure I'm better off doing things differently.

Addition, Sept. 20, 2017, 10:15 AM EDT. Got sleepy again, so ended up doing nothing except reading a bit. Fell asleep sometime between 6:41 AM and 9:03 AM. Some vivid dreams, but woke up incredibly thirsty again, and my eyes I think started out dry but soon became gooey.

I wonder if maybe the new air conditioner I got last June makes it too dehumidified in here. (However, I've had trouble with gooey eyes since at least last winter, if I recall correctly.) Perhaps my usually-on desktop computers contribute to the problem too.

Too bad it often gets too warm in here without my air conditioner. And I'd be reluctant to use a humidifier in here with my computers.

I read somewhere on the web that a hygrometer is what you use to measure humidity, so, going to get this one since it's only $12.59.

Maybe the daylight is putting me in the mood to stay awake. Having a Barq's caffeinated root beer now since I don't feel like making tea yet.

Maybe I should try sleeping downstairs, like one of my relatives already does. That probably won't work for me very well during the day because of all the noise, but, might be OK at night.

There's a computer in the next room too, but conceivably it could be moved elsewhere, so I could use a humidifier in there. Or, maybe I should move the microwave out of the upstairs bathroom and use a humidifier in there, a room designed to cope with humidity.

Maybe I could even sleep in there, since no one else uses that room frequently for anything. I could clean the dust and spider webs out of the bathtub and make it into my new bed, LOL. Even without a humidifier in the upstairs bathroom, that might be better than sleeping in my own room has been lately.

Addition, Sept. 20, 2017, 11:30 AM EDT. Another good reason to sleep in the upstairs bathroom is because it's very dark in there, even during the day, since its window isn't very big and is pretty well-covered by a shade. (Here's a helpful web page about the differences between blinds and shades.)

Very curious to see if I really will get less dehydrated sleeping in there than I do sleeping in my own room.

So, I think I might really try it once I get sleepy enough. Except it might be too warm in there. But opening the window might help, especially at night.

Addition, Sept. 20, 2017, 12:42 PM EDT. I think I might get this cooking thermometer too, to help me figure out more precisely how much longer I ought to microwave things in the 700 watt upstairs microwave than the seemingly higher watt (but confusingly labeled) downstairs microwave.

I'm most interested in maximizing the amount of theanine I get. But I'm also concerned about the amount of caffeine. Given how sensitive I am to caffeine and caffeine withdrawal, I am reluctant to blindly vary my caffeine dosages very much, and really wish I had a way to know exactly how much is in all the different teas I like to drink.

Here's a research article which says microwaving improves the extraction of various substances from tea, except theanine:

"The typical household conditions only extracted 62% (61 mg/g tea), 76% (24 mg/g) and 80% (10 mg/g) of the catechins, caffeine and theanine, respectively, from the five varieties of teabags analysed. However, using microwave assisted extraction (MAE) by first brewing a teabag in 200 mL freshly boiled water for 0.5 min before irradiation for 1 min in a microwave oven (hot MAE), improved the extraction of the catechins and caffeine to 80% (80 mg/g) and 92% (29 mg/g), respectively, although the extraction of theanine was not affected."

And, judging by the marvelously detailed PDF file linked to from this page (which I previously linked to in my health diary part 1 blog post) - hot water might only be a little more effective than cold water at extracting theanine.

So, maybe I'll be OK theanine-wise using either microwave.

Addition, Sept. 20, 2017, 2:46 PM EDT. Partly cleaned the upstairs bathtub. It definitely feels too warm in that room. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to open the window, since it has these mystifying paint-covered ropes and pulleys which I don't know what to do with. So, I might not be able to sleep there yet.

Addition, Sept. 21, 2017, 2:24 PM EDT. Slept sometime between 3:40 AM and 8:48 AM in my own room. Had some fun vivid dreams. But, woke up with a headache and very thirsty and a bit dry-eyed. Fortunately, it only took a little plain water for those problems to go away, perhaps because I had forgotten to turn the air conditioner back on before I dozed off, so maybe because of that, I got less dehydrated than usual.

Despite getting dehydrated again as I slept, I feel like my cold has continued to decrease. My nose and ears are less clogged, and I still have no sore throat or croup cough.

Took 3 capsules of Testa vegan Omega 3 today instead of my usual 1, and took my other usual vitamins. I'm still refraining from having more Vitamin D in capsule form - I think it has been doing me good, but I don't want to make the mistake of overdoing it again.

I think I had two caffeinated Barq's root beers total yesterday, and no other caffeine, and not even decaf tea, but, somehow did pretty well energy-wise, despite my cold, and despite still not eating as well as I should.

I think my largest "meal" was about half a container of cottage cheese. (Ate so much of that because it was approaching its expiration date, and also because I knew I had to compensate somehow for having eaten so little the rest of my day). Improved my leftover banana/pineapple smoothie by adding orange juice to it. Also ate some peanuts, raisins, 2 packs of oats+honey granola bars, a can of decaf Great Value root beer (the old(?) version with 45 mg sodium), some milk, and 2 delicious mushroom tarts one of my relatives brought home from somewhere. I should figure out how to make those, they were really good.

Today, woke up feeling alert enough, but I'm still not really eager to do much other than sleep, or lie in bed and write this, or read. But, very relieved that I'm still recovering from this cold, even despite continuing to neglect to eat very well.

I now have a humidifier - a warm mist vaporizer, since I read that cool mist humidifiers can harbor bacteria, and ultrasonic humidifiers can spread dust all over the place. This page was helpful.

But, not going to try it in my room until I get my hygrometer (for measuring humidity).

Actually, not sure I'll try the humidifier in my room at all because it will probably make me worry about my computer stuff. Except I have sometimes read that too much dryness in the air can increase the amount of static, which is dangerous for computer stuff. However, I don't know if it's that dry in here, since I never noticed static shocks even on the rare occasions when I tried to do something about my clothes mountain, nor when I used my electric blanket recently (or any time in the past).

Still haven't figured out how to open the upstairs bathroom window. But, around 3 AM, I briefly opened my own room's big window - which was quite tough because it's very big and heavy, and somewhat inaccessible behind my cheap substitute for a window shade - taped together pieces of blank white paper, which I put up to make the sunlight a bit less bright (but no less aesthetically pleasing), so I can still look at my computers even on sunny afternoons, and also to increase my feelings of privacy, because even perfectly intact Venetian blinds have way too many holes for my liking. I wouldn't mind getting some totally different window coverings, but I'm not sure what yet.

It seemed nice outside (though a bit chilly), and when I turned my air conditioner back on, it seemed like air was being pulled in from that window, judging by the motion of my paper and tape window shade. It was very nice to get some fresh outdoor air in here, and I think it felt much better than running the air conditioner with my window closed.

But, I was still worried that too much humidity might be bad for my computer stuff, or that it might rain while I sleep, and that water might get on the computer monitor I have next to my window. And I also was worried about privacy, and didn't like feeling uneasy about the wind possibly blowing my window shade or blinds around, and having to wear more clothes than I usually do while alone. So, I closed the window after maybe only about 20 minutes.

I kind of wish I had a small tent and sleeping bag and could sleep on my house's balcony. (I'd feel safer there than in the backyard.) But, the weather probably won't be suitable for that for much longer.

I don't think the upstairs bathroom will be tolerable to sleep in until I figure out how to open the window, so, maybe I'll try that again later.

I feel even more eager than before to clean the junk mountain room. It has a nice big window like my room, and if I make that room nice enough to sleep in, then, I could finally follow the common sleep advice of using my bedroom primarily for sleep and hardly any other activities. I'm pretty sure that won't cure all my sleep issues, but I like the idea anyway.

And I'll be away from my air conditioner, which I suspect dehumidifies my room too much and thereby possibly contributes to me getting dehydrated. And I'll be able to easily open windows and run a humidifier without having to worry about it possibly harming any computer stuff.

I seldom go out of my way to try to acquire physical books anymore, since I already have so many books that if I get too many more, I could almost swim in them like Scrooge McDuck swims in money. And lately I've mostly been reading ebooks, thanks to my local libraries' marvelous Overdrive websites which legally let you borrow tons of ebooks for 21 days, at no cost.

But, the book Dreaming While Awake: Techniques for 24-Hour Lucid Dreaming was so intriguing that when I found I couldn't get many more of the author's books via my local libraries' Overdrive websites, I decided to get physical copies of them.

I already received 4 of those books before, and yesterday, I received the rest of the ones I asked a relative to order, as well as one I didn't ask for, but am glad to have too.

My cold and other things have lately distracted me a lot from the above books, but I greatly look forward to reading more in them, probably even quite soon.

I'm definitely not in the mood to write in depth about deep philosophical topics, but, I just wanted to point these books out because reading Dreaming While Awake: Techniques for 24-Hour Lucid Dreaming recently was so thought-provoking and fun for me.

Addition, Sept. 21, 2017, 3:58 PM EDT. I didn't realize small tents were possibly so cheap, like only $20. So, going to get this small red tent.

Surprisingly and pleasingly, the blue version's description says it's made in the USA. The red one's description doesn't say that, but, I'm hoping it's made in the USA too. (Addition, Sept. 24, 2017, 2:23 AM EDT. The red tent's label says it's made in China.)

I chose red because according to this page, "Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin."

Decided not to get a sleeping bag - hopefully I can just use my usual blankets and pillows.

Additions, Sept. 23, 2017, 2:39 PM/3:37 PM EDT. The sleep before last, on Sept. 21-22, I slept sometime between 10:57 PM and 8:52 AM. Not sure how many hours I slept with the air conditioner in fan-only mode, but eventually I woke up, felt too hot, saw the temperature in my room was 75 degrees, and put the air conditioner into cooling mode, which eventually cooled my room down to around 66 degrees.

Was woken by thirst at various times. But, I felt alert and well-rested when I finally got up, even though my cold seemed at first like it might have worsened a bit again, since my nose seemed stuffier. But some hours after I woke up, my cold decreased again before I even ate anything except vitamins, and I felt even more recovered than I did the day before that.

Almost forgot to mention that I slept braless that night, though more because of being too lazy or tired or oblivious to put it back on than because of the scary health reasons to go braless. So, maybe that increased my melatonin and made me sleep better. Sleeping braless is something I seldom do, but, maybe I should try it more often, since maybe it's healthier than even the loose, comfortable bras I usually wear, and perhaps my blankets, sheets and pillows sufficiently mitigate the effects of gravity.

My only caffeine on Sept. 21st was 1 Barq's caffeinated root beer, and I ate even worse on Sept. 21st than I did the day before that, so, it surprised me that I woke up feeling so alert and well-rested. On Sept. 21st, all I ate was two English muffins with butter and cherry jelly, some carrots, and some cottage cheese.

On Sept. 22nd, until around 3 PM, I neglected to eat anything but vitamins. Didn't get tired until sometime (not sure when exactly) after eating. Ate some raisins, granola bars, some Swedish meatballs, mushroom tarts, and orange juice. Later, had some milk, some Barq's root beer, some Maui BBQ potato chips, and 2 dark chocolate/peanut butter granola bars.

Did little besides reading (before getting tired), and watched TV with family afterward. Until getting tired, I felt like my mind was sharper and quicker. Maybe taking 3 capsules of Testa vegan Omega 3 instead of 1 has been helping me.

My body felt spry and energetic even at times when my brain felt sleepy.

On Sept. 23 (today), slept sometime between 1:34 AM and 9:42 AM, rather poorly, since I kept waking up because of thirst, and because I got too warm because I didn't always have my air conditioner on. Also, out of habit, continued to wear my usual loose comfortable bra, despite the scary health reasons to go braless. I still have a cold, but it still seems to be on the mend.

Was pleasantly surprised to find my gums weren't sore at all when I brushed, flossed, and irrigated today. Feeling a bit sleepy, but it's not that bad, and I still have plenty of physical energy. I feel like the big 4-capsule (8000 IU) dose of Vitamin D I took the other day is still doing me some good, so I'm not going to take more yet.

Have mostly just been reading, as usual. Actually didn't even take any vitamins yet, and all I ate was raisins so far, but, feeling OK - just hungry.

Got my hygrometer (for measuring humidity) yesterday. It seems to usually be around 40%-45% humidity in my room, with the temperature around 67-69 degrees when the air conditioner is set to 66 degrees. With the air conditioner off for hours, the detected humidity was around 47% and temperature around 76.6.

Just recently, with the air conditioner in fan mode almost 2 hours (after having been in cooling mode for hours), the humidity increased to 51%, and temperature went up to 73.2.

So, at least yesterday and today, it hasn't been as dry in my room as I thought it might be. But, the hygrometer seems to confirm my impression that my room's air is usually noticeably drier than the rest of the house. All readings elsewhere were above 50%, and to my surprise, readings sometimes went above 60%, 70%, or even 80% when I held it next to other air conditioners than mine, especially when they were in fan-only mode.

But the humidity reading always goes down when I hold it next to my air conditioner, regardless of whether it's in fan-only mode or cooling mode. (Addition, Sept. 23, 2017, 4:20 PM EDT. Tried it again recently, and the humidity reading actually went up quite a bit when holding the hygrometer next to my air conditioner in fan only mode. So, maybe the situation isn't as bad as I thought.)

Next to one of my desktop computer's vents (which is constantly blowing very warm air), the humidity reading goes down and the temperature goes up. So, my computers probably aren't helping the situation in here either.

Maybe the drier air here is better for my computer stuff, but, I think I feel better in the other air conditioned rooms, and I think maybe I'd rather get a different air conditioner that doesn't do so much dehumidification. Or, maybe I'll use my room as an office instead of a bedroom.

The hygrometer seems to adjust to big temperature changes pretty slowly, since when I went up to the very hot third floor yesterday evening, it took many minutes for the temperature reading to creep upward to a plausible-sounding number. It took so long I finally just set the device down, and came back some hours later, and saw that the all-time high temperature on the device had changed to 84.6.

But by the time I returned, that room had cooled down a bit, so the current temperature reading was something in the high 70's - still too hot for me to sleep there without air conditioning. I forgot what the humidity readings were, but, I think they were always above 50% and below 60%.

I think this hygrometer is usually faster at detecting humidity than temperature, but, it seems to work quickest if some air is blowing on it. It goes up a lot quickly if I breathe on it, or goes up or down quickly if I hold it near an air conditioner.

Finally realized that I could actually sleep in the air conditioned neighboring bedroom. The only problem with it is it's kind of gross since our cat's litter box is there. But at least it's a room with an east window, so it might be less confusing to circadian rhythms than my room and the junk mountain room with their big west windows. Both my room and the junk mountain room get the most daylight in the afternoon.

The tent actually might have arrived at the post office today, but I forgot to remind my relative to pick it up, so, since the post office closes at 12 PM on Saturday, and is closed on Sunday, I probably will have to wait at least a couple more days to get it.

So, maybe I'll sleep in the cat litter room until I get my tent, or until I clean the junk mountain room.

I wish post offices, banks, etc. were open 24 hours a day. The "normal" hours for post offices and banks to be open (like around 8 AM to 5 or 6 PM, and 8 AM to 12 PM on Saturday) are oppressive even to people without sleep issues, since anyone who has to work from around 9 AM to 5 PM doesn't have much time to go to the bank and post office. And who wants to have to wake up early on the weekend, or have to waste any part of their weekend on chores like going to the bank or post office?

I wish everything was open 24/7. It would create a lot more jobs. And if those jobs (or any jobs) were so flexible that I could begin or stop working anytime I wanted, and didn't have a quota of time I'm required to put in, there would be a lot more jobs I could handle doing.

Additions, Sept. 23, 2017, 4:49 PM/4:56 PM EDT. Another thing I forgot to mention about yesterday was that it seemed noticeably easier than usual to lift 3-liter bottles of water. Today, that seems more difficult again.

Took a full dose of magnesium citrate before sleep on Sept 21-22nd, but forgot to take that before today's sleep.

Addition, Sept. 24, 2017, 2:23 AM EDT. Without really meaning to, went to sleep for a while in my own room sometime between 5:39 PM and 9:13 PM. Woke up thirsty and too hot, since I had my air conditioner set to 72 degrees.

Anyway, to my pleasant surprise, my relative did pick up my tent from the post office, and I was able to figure out how to set it up on my own in the past half hour or so. The instructions were missing, but I found this YouTube video which helped.

I was a bit disappointed that the tent actually wasn't made in the USA - its label says it was made in China. But I still like it. It's a lot more roomy than I expected, and quite comfortable for me, since I'm only about 5'4". The only problem is, I'm not sure I'm sleepy enough to actually sleep there yet.

But, it's 62 degrees outside, which is a quite comfortable enough temperature for me.

Addition, Sept. 24, 2017, 8:58 AM EDT. It was a nice place to sleep until the sun came up. But by around 8:20 AM I was too hot to keep sleeping.

Still tired and annoyed at having my sleep interrupted. Thirsty and a bit headachy.

Also, the tent's cloth is translucent, which lets a lot of light in, and makes me worried that I might need some additional protection from the sun to avoid sunburn. I also don't feel like I have much privacy when it's light outside, or even when using a flashlight or my phone inside when it's dark.

Found a helpful Android phone app called Twilight which basically does for your phone what Redshift or f.lux does for your computer - tints the screen red to decrease the amount of melatonin-stifling blue light. Twilight optionally can dim the screen also, which is useful because even my phone's absolute lowest brightness setting still seemed too bright.

It's at least free as in price, but I don't yet know whether or not it's free as in freedom.

Maybe as the weather gets colder it will get easier to stay in the tent in the morning. And maybe once the sun isn't directly shining on it anymore, maybe I'll be able to go back in there. But, judging by, it's probably going to get much too hot.

So, I guess I could try sleeping in the cat litter room, except that's way too sunny now since the window blinds are rolled all the way up with the window cords taped up so our cat can't mess with them.

Too sleepy to clean up the junk mountain room now.

My room's humidity is currently 51% and the temperature is 67.8. Maybe I'll just sleep here.

Addition, Sept. 24, 2017, 12:31 PM EDT. Ended up staying awake because there was something on TV I wanted to watch. Slept braless and have continued to be braless because of the scary health reasons to go braless, and also just to see if I feel better in general. Hopefully gravity isn't harming them, but they don't feel bad.

Now my room's humidity is 55% and the temperature is 68.7. My air conditioner is set to cool to 68 degrees, and is in energy-saving mode, with the fan speed automatically adjusting itself as well. Seems comfortable enough at the moment.

Outside, it's 86 degrees, which definitely feels too hot for me to go back to my tent.

Asked a relative to try to open the upstairs bathroom window, but, apparently, it's totally stuck. So, I guess I can't sleep in the upstairs bathroom.

Feeling too sleepy to get anything important done, and not in the mood to clean. Probably I need to sleep longer and better. And maybe I'm extra-tired because of having done without caffeine (except for dark chocolate/peanut butter granola bars) lately. I wonder if going braless actually increases my melatonin too much?

Maybe if I stay awake long enough and return to my tent to sleep tonight, I'll end up with a temporarily normal schedule. But, I still have a cold, so, it's probably better if I don't put off sleep for such a useless goal.

Addition, Sept. 24, 2017, 1:57 PM EDT. Now that my tent isn't getting as much direct sunlight, it's almost nice to be in again, despite the heat. I might even be able to get some stuff done out there with my laptop. Except I'm still too sleepy and unmotivated, and don't want to bring my laptop out into such heat.

My room is 68.9 degrees with 53% humidity.

Addition, Sept. 24, 2017, 7:12 PM EDT. Fell asleep for a while in my room, sometime between 2:10 PM and 6:56 PM. Got thirsty and dry-eyed again, and when I woke up, I saw the humidity was 45%. My eyes soon became gooey instead, but still, I'm so tired of feeling like this when I wake up.

So, I'm going to quit sleeping in my room for a while and see if it happens elsewhere too.

Addition, Sept. 25, 2017, 10:31 AM EDT. Again tried sleeping in the tent, starting around maybe 1 AM. But, it hadn't gotten cold enough yet. I think my hygrometer said it was around 70-74 degrees (despite weather reports saying it was around 66 degrees), and the humidity was around 70%-85% at various times.

I tried to sleep, but I kind of felt like I was suffocating, so I gave up and went to the cat litter room. I underestimated how much our cat would keep me awake, so, that didn't work out so well either, even though I slept for a while (not sure what times exactly), and it was nice having our cat next to me after he settled down and stopped meowing and walking on me.

I finally returned to my tent at an unknown time. It was still dark but was getting lighter, I think. By then, it was cooler, and easier to sleep. But there wasn't much night left, so, I got woken up by the sun again, though more slowly than the day before that, so it was a bit less annoying.

I experimented with moving the tent inside, onto the mattress on the floor in the cat litter room, so I could keep our cat from walking on me as I sleep, but, Siamese cats meow a lot, so, clearly that wasn't going to help much, and I also thought he might shred the tent's cloth.

Nonetheless, while I had my tent in the cat litter room, and knowing full well he might damage the tent, I let my cat inside with me for a while, and he soon did put a few pinholes in the tent's side when he batted at a dangling strip of cloth inside the tent. But I didn't mind that much, since I think I'd like some more airflow in there anyway. And given the tent's low cost, it doesn't matter that much if it gets damaged. The tent was actually only around $15 rather than $20, since when my relative ordered the tent, Amazon gave my relative a lower price than Amazon showed me.

With all the morning sunlight, it felt too warm in the cat litter room to even try to go back to sleep, and I didn't feel tired enough, so I soon put the tent back on the balcony, and returned to my room, where the humidity is now 61%, with a temperature of 67.8.

I did get thirsty and dry-eyed sleeping in the tent, but that might mainly be because I forgot to bring my water bottle back to the tent when I returned to it after briefly sleeping in the cat litter room.

I think I also might have gotten thirsty and maybe dry-eyed while I was in the cat litter room, but I don't clearly remember. And I was so eager to go back to sleep when I went in there, I didn't check the humidity or temperature in there with my hygrometer.

Still kind of tired, and I still have a cold. I'm tempted to take more Vitamin D, but it seems to be misplaced. Maybe I better just resume caffeine again so I can function well enough to try to get my room cleaned up at least enough so I can find my Vitamin D.

Addition, Sept. 25, 2017, 1:05 PM EDT. Cleaned the junk mountain room a little. Found out my tent isn't quite as bug-proof as I'd like, since a tiny spider got in, probably through the small hole where the "door" zippers meet when the tent is as closed as it can possibly be.

Tried to poke some small holes (too small for most bugs to get in) in the walls of my tent to try to ventilate it, but, they didn't do much good. I think maybe I need a tent with more "doors" or something so I can get more of a breeze in there.

Maybe I'd be better off with this this hammock + mosquito net.

Addition, Sept. 25, 2017, 5:18 PM EDT. Getting this other tent, whose price was $27.99 regardless of whether I or my relative looked at its Amazon page. There were only two color options - blue with orange parts or green with orange parts, so I chose the latter.

It has a big window, so, hopefully that tent will be a lot nicer to be in. It's also bigger. The question and answer section of its Amazon page said it's 6 1/2 by 6 1/2 feet, with a maximum height of probably 4 feet (and lower than that in places other than the center of the tent).

My original tent's dimensions: "height of 3.50 feet and 6.25 foot x 4.80 foot". Which was already pretty roomy for me, so, hopefully the new tent will be even nicer.

I definitely like the original tent too, but it just needs a lot more ventilation. I might try sleeping in it again later, but it might be too hot again.

Despite having eaten 2 dark chocolate/peanut butter granola bars, I dozed off for a while in my room from around 1:50 PM to 4:57 PM. Humidity 46%, temperature 67.5 degrees.

Addition, Sept. 26, 2017, 1:05 AM EDT. Been tired and I still have a cold, but hopefully that will be gone soon. Didn't have more caffeine, and didn't locate my bottle of Vitamin D. Just been reading or watching TV.

I wish I could sleep in the tent, but, it just seems too warm in there, even though the temperature outside the tent seems acceptable. Really looking forward to the next tent. I hope I'll be able to use it during the day too sometimes.

Addition, Sept. 26, 2017, 9:57 AM EDT. Slept in my own room, sometime between 1:08 AM and 8:52 AM. Got thirsty and dry-eyed, and still feeling tired, and my cold still isn't gone.

Haven't been drinking tea as much lately because I've been running low on decaf, so, I hope that isn't causing my cold to linger more than it otherwise would have. I still have some decaf, but anytime I get low on something, I tend to stop using it as much to try to avoid totally running out.

Maybe I better have some caffeinated tea or root beer so I can clean my room and hopefully find my Vitamin D.

Also, I think I better just put all my clothes out of my room without bothering to catalog them in a VUE map yet, because with my energy being so unpredictable, chances are I'm never going to get all that unnecessary extra work done in a reasonable amount of time, given that my clothes have been cluttering up my room for over a month since I made a mess of them just trying to find something to wear so I could go see the total solar eclipse in Tennessee.

So, I guess I'll just put them in unsorted zippable pillow protectors and put them in the junk room, or maybe even the broken upstairs bathroom. That's an especially good place, since if it's cluttered up with my own stuff, then it won't get cluttered up with anyone else's stuff, so it will be easier to declutter when we can finally bring in a plumber.

Addition, Sept. 26, 2017, 10:03 AM EDT. Suddenly already feeling more alert, don't know why. Increasing daylight from my big window, perhaps?

52% humidity, 68.7 temperature in my room. I think it was around 49% or 50% humidity when I first woke up.

Addition, Sept. 26, 2017, 12:07 PM EDT. Got sleepy again. Will probably receive the next tent on Thursday. Will also receive more Arbor Teas soon.

My cold seems decreased, but, I still don't feel like doing anything that involves getting out of bed.

I wish I could be outside in my tent constantly, but it's too hot and sunny and the tent is too poorly-ventilated.

Addition, Sept. 26, 2017, 2:23 PM EDT. Been more alert again for a while. I think maybe I got drowsy earlier because I ate some raisins (carbs). So annoying! I think maybe I really am better off as a caffeine addict, so I can eat whatever I want without it making me tired.

So, at some point, I'm probably going to resume drinking some amount of caffeine regularly, especially after I get this organic caffeinated Ceylon black tea, which I'm hoping I'll like more than non-organic PG Tips.

Addition, Sept. 26, 2017, 6:08 PM EDT. Been feeling much better and untired, even though I haven't eaten anything yet (except my usual vitamins and the raisins I mentioned earlier), nor had any caffeine. But, still have mostly just been reading rather than getting anything done.

Addition, Sept. 26, 2017, 7:47 PM EDT. Just found out that I like pumpkin seeds, salted and in their edible shells. Hopefully that will help me get more iron in my diet, among other nutrients.

The ones I got (Goodfields brand, purchased at a Walmart) were so salty that my craving for salt seems to be totally satisfied at the moment.

Addition, Sept. 27, 2017, 8:46 AM EDT. Slept in tent sometime between 2:08 AM and maybe 8:15 AM. Being woken up too soon by the sun is as unpleasant as anything else waking me up too soon. Got thirsty and dry-eyed, too, but after drinking some plain water, my eyes are starting to get gooey instead. My right eye was especially gooey last night before sleep.

So, maybe it doesn't matter where I sleep - maybe I'm just very prone in general to getting dehydrated while I sleep. So, maybe that's the problem I need to solve somehow.

Don't know what the humidity was in my tent, since I left my hygrometer in my room. My room's humidity seems to be 54%, and it was 51% the last time I checked before sleep, maybe around 1 AM.

Even about a half hour after being woken, all I want to do is go back to sleep, even despite sunlight blasting me for a while. I wonder if the new tent will make it possible for me to stay in there for more of the day. I guess I could have stayed longer in my current tent, but, I was worried about sunburn, and knew it was going to probably get hot soon.

Addition, Sept. 27, 2017, 9:40 AM EDT. Been feeling more alert at times, but I still want to go back to sleep. But, browsing the web kept me awake.

This page says dehydration can decrease your melatonin levels.


"While many know dehydration can affect their waking hours, what they do not know is the negative effects their lack of water is having on their sleeping hours. Chronic dehydration reduces the amount of essential amino acids needed by your body to produce a natural chemical called melatonin. Melatonin is created in the pineal glands and its creation is linked to a natural circadian rhythm � that is, a normal sleeping and waking schedule. Dehydration can act as a powerful roadblock to your body�s production of melatonin, making it hard to both fall asleep and stay asleep. This means that drinking an appropriate amount of water literally affects the quality of every hour in your day."

This other page suggests sometimes drinking milk instead of plain water.


"Of course, drinking plain old tap water can help enormously � sipping 12 ounces when they�re fatigued helps almost 100 percent of women feel more energetic within an hour, according to studies at Connecticut�s Manchester Memorial Hospital. But if you�ve been physically active, consider pouring a tall glass of milk (plain or chocolate) instead. �Milk rehydrates better than water because it replaces the sodium, calcium and other electrolytes lost in sweat � and that�s key to quickly restoring your body�s fluid balance,� says Brian Timmons, Ph.D., lead researcher of the McMaster University study. �Plus it�s a great source of protein, so it can actually help prevent fatigue by keeping your blood sugar steady and your muscles well-nourished.�"

So, maybe I should resume drinking larger amounts of milk. I used to drink a lot more milk in the past, but, have sometimes been trying to avoid it for the sake of being more vegetarian. But, I always liked milk more than plain water or even slightly salted water, even back before I heard anything about adrenal fatigue-related electrolyte imbalance.

Another reason I avoided milk at times in the past several months was because I was worried for a while that maybe I was getting too much calcium, and that maybe I had hypercalcemia from too much Vitamin D from all the Vitamin D capsules I was taking.

But, now, I'm hoping that the jitteriness, excessive energy, etc. I sometimes got before (such as last May, etc.) was from magnesium deficiency from not taking enough magnesium along with my Vitamin D, rather than hypercalcemia from excessive Vitamin D.

But I don't really know what was going on - I'm just guessing. (But it definitely wasn't from caffeine, because I was strictly avoiding caffeine back in May, etc. - even chocolate.)

Also, when I was dealing with those jitters, excessive energy, etc., this magnesium gel helped me feel better fast. (Though oral magnesium capsules also helped, just not as much or as fast.) So, that's another reason I suspect those problems were mainly from magnesium deficiency.

Addition, Sept. 27, 2017, 5:06 PM EDT. Slept a while in my room, sometime between 1:12 PM and 4:50 PM. Used sleep mask, and had no idea it was still so early until I took it off. Got thirsty and dry-eyed again, but already getting gooey-eyed after drinking some plain water.

Humidity 53% in my room. Still very sleepy. Was alert for a little while before sleep, but got sleepy again after eating raisins.

At least the more I sleep, the less time there is for me to wait for my new tent. Might need to resume caffeine to get something useful done, but I'm too tired to even care enough about that to drink caffeine. All I want to do is sleep.

Addition, Sept. 27, 2017, 5:24 PM EDT. Suddenly saw my lost Vitamin E in the mess, and soon found my lost jar of nicely-seasoned Great Value peanuts too. Hoping I'll run across my Vitamin D soon.

Additions, Sept. 27, 2017, 5:42 PM/6:17 PM EDT. Found an informative but annoying list of foods that inhibit iron absorption.

Addition, Sept. 27, 2017, 6:19 PM EDT. Finally found my Vitamin D, but still haven't taken any yet.

Addition, Sept. 27, 2017, 6:52 PM EDT. Just took 2000 IU of Vitamin D, 1 capsule of Nutrigold Vitamin K2, and a full serving of Nature Made magnesium citrates (2 capsules) because this page says:

"When you're taking magnesium, you need to consider calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as well, since these all work synergistically with one another."

Also took 3 grams of Vitamin C.

So, maybe I'll start to perk up more soon. I don't feel like messing with caffeine yet. Wouldn't mind going back to sleep, but, even just the Vitamin D might interfere with that. But, I thought some more Vitamin D might be good for me, since my cold is maybe only 85%-90% gone.

Addition, Sept. 28, 2017, 12:50 AM EDT. Perked up for a little while, but got sleepy again while watching TV with family.

The weather seems much nicer tonight for sleeping in my tent. Can't wait to get the new tent.

Addition, Sept. 28, 2017, 8:30 AM EDT. Took a while to fall asleep and didn't sleep too well, and then the darn sun ruined everything. The temperature eventually got pretty cold, and I had to add some layers while I was half-asleep, but I was well-prepared with three nice soft warm robes (used as blankets rather than worn), 2 sheets, and 1 blanket. But the sun made it too hot quite fast, and also much too bright. I wish I had a thick dark curtain to hang up in front of my tent.

Will be getting the next tent quite soon, but might be too tired to do anything with it yet.

Addition, Sept. 28, 2017, 10:27 AM EDT. Got the new tent, and put it up already, which was much easier than the other tent. It was confusing at first since each tent pole was attached to its opposite end and had to be pulled apart, which I accidentally figured out.

It's bigger than the other tent, and also more opaque, so now I feel like I have more privacy. However, it still lets in an amount of sunlight I find a bit worrying when the sun is directly on it. Fortunately, it has gotten cloudier, and the temperature is comfortable.

The "window" is basically a second "door", since they seem to be the same size and made the same way, and both have a mesh covering with a zipper, and a cloth covering with a separate zipper. I can't even tell the "door" and "window" apart. Both are nice and big, so, I assume that will keep my tent well-ventilated.

I definitely like it more than the other tent. But, I'm keeping the other tent out there, since maybe I could store stuff there that I don't want cluttering up my main tent.

Addition, Sept. 28, 2017, 1:32 PM EDT. Took my usual vitamins, plus 4000 IU of Vitamin D, 1 capsule of Nutrigold Vitamin K2, and a full serving of Nature Made magnesium citrates (2 capsules). Am much more alert now.

It's definitely nice weather today for being in a tent, at least for me. Except it looks like the temperature's going to be in the 40's for part of the night, so I might need a sleeping bag soon. But, for now, hopefully plenty of blankets will be good enough.

Addition, Sept. 28, 2017, 5:04 PM EDT. Getting sleepy again, so, haven't yet managed to copy all the stuff I want to copy to my laptop so I can use it in my tent.

It seemed like Vitamin D might have helped a bit for a while, but, unlike caffeine, I don't think it rids me of the problem of carbs making me sleepy. However, I should be sleepy, because I slept so little and so poorly.

I just read a wonderful, very informative report about Non-24-hour Sleep-Wake Disorder, which was recently announced on the Niteowl mailing list.


"When allowed to sleep on their own cycle, some individuals with N24 will find relief of their symptoms of insomnia and fatigue, at the cost of the ability to maintain a schedule required for social and occupational requirements. However, some people with N24 will continue to experience fatigue, grogginess, malaise and disrupted sleep on any schedule, possibly because of continued desynchronization of their internal circadian rhythms. Recent research has documented that in addition to the central clock in the brain, virtually every cell in the body has a molecular clock, and scientists speculate that desynchronization of multitude of clocks is what underlies these symptoms."

Maybe that's what's going on with me, or part of what's going on with me. And maybe I always was like that, but I just didn't know it because caffeine did so much to improve my ability to function.

I wonder if caffeine might actually get all my molecular clocks better-synchronized with each other somehow? I feel so much better with caffeine than without it, especially caffeine plus theanine (found in tea).

Addition, Sept. 28, 2017, 11:56 PM EDT. Stayed awake because of drinking 1 can of Barq's caffeinated root beer. (Perhaps having more magnesium citrate also helped.) Been feeling much better, and like my cold is maybe 96% gone.

Still didn't get much done - read and watched TV with family. But, hopefully tomorrow I'll feel like getting more done.

It's 51 degrees outside and might go down to 45 degrees by 7 AM, according to But, I think I'm going to try sleeping out there. And because my new tent is much better-ventilated, better-positioned to avoid some sun, and the weather is probably going to be cool again tomorrow, and I might be able to block a lot of sun just by leaning a big piece of cardboard against the balcony's railing or my tent itself - because of all that, I think maybe I'll be able to remain in my tent even after the sun comes up, and maybe I'll have a better chance of not having my sleep interrupted by the sun.

My main goal is definitely not to try to correct my circadian rhythms by getting more early morning light and other daylight. I just like being outside, now that the weather is much better for that.

Addition, Sept. 29, 2017, 11:11 AM EDT. Not sure when I went to sleep - sometime after 12:11 AM, but possibly after 1 AM or 2 AM. Kept waking up, but might have slept OK at times.

The tent worked pretty well today. It got sunny maybe around 7 AM to 10 AM, but the tent's new position and nearby cardboard for shade helped, so I didn't get up until around maybe 10:30 AM.

It got pretty cold, but, my many layers of blankets and robes used as blankets worked well enough. Closing both doors also seemed to probably help (and may have boosted the humidity a lot - my hygrometer said 77% at one point). I eventually opened one door (and put up its mesh) around maybe 7 AM since I wanted more ventilation. (A possible side effect of that was, the humidity went down to around 55%.)

Fortunately, even just one mesh-covered door provided adequate ventilation, unlike the other tent. I also like the extra space compared to the other tent. So, I'm quite satisfied with the new tent.

Didn't get very thirsty until sometime after the sun rose. My water bottle was nicely chilled by the cold weather, and probably so was my root beer which I didn't drink yet.

My cold worsened a bit by the morning, but already seems a bit better again, though not quite as gone as it was before sleep. Sleeping out in the cold was probably not the best thing for my cold, but, my cold was (and still is) mostly gone, and I just was curious to see if I could comfortably enough deal with weather in the 40's without a sleeping bag. I think a sleeping bag would've been better, but it worked out OK.

Not feeling very tired so far, but I think I'm going to resume some amount of caffeinated tea.

Addition, Sept. 30, 2017, 1:41 PM EDT. I guess I might need a better microwave, because it just doesn't seem like I get as much of a caffeine jolt from tea made in the upstairs microwave. But, I was more energetic yesterday, though I was feeling a bit jittery and like I already needed even more magnesium, perhaps because of taking more Vitamin D lately.

Again, didn't get much done besides reading and watching TV with family. Moved some bags of clothes to the upstairs bathroom. Dug out some additional warm things to wear or use as blankets, and some more sheets. Still didn't get my laptop ready to use, but almost did, and organized some files on one of my desktop computers.

Going to get a sleeping bag, which oddly didn't have Amazon Prime two-day shipping, so, might not receive it until Oct. 5th.

Was reassured by skimming this article about phones and extreme cold. So, hopefully there's no problem with having my phone in my tent.

Figured out my phone's Weather Channel widget was showing the wrong info. Was able to fix that by changing to a different Weather Channel widget with a reload button, a circular arrow in the lower right corner, similar to this:

Didn't feel like going to sleep during the night, nor sleeping in temperatures in the 40's again, especially since I felt like my cold worsened a bit again - my sinuses(?) felt vaguely congested, I had a slight cough, and my voice got a bit hoarse. I almost just stayed in my room.

But, soon after sunrise, I went out to my tent, and moved my main cardboard sun shade out of the way (though I later put it back) so the sun would more quickly heat up my tent. It gradually went from around 48 degrees to 66 degrees and humidity in the 70's. And, with one door covered with mesh instead of cloth, the temperature was 62, and I think the humidity went down to the 50's.

Slept a while (though not very well) at times between 7:26 AM and 12:50 PM. Still sleepy. I came back in since I smelled smoke and thought that while I'm still recovering from my cold, I might be better off sleeping in a more predictable environment. But, maybe I'll go back for a while, since there probably aren't that many more nice days like this left in the year.

Addition, Oct. 1, 2017, 1:52 PM EDT. Slept sometime between 2:34 AM and 1:05 PM, in my room, since it was 39 degrees outside last night. Maybe slept pretty well, and started to feel alert pretty soon after waking.

Yesterday was another day of mostly just reading and watching TV with family. Made tea in the downstairs microwave yesterday. Didn't get a huge amount of energy from it, but, that made sense, since I didn't sleep very well before that. But, I definitely got some energy from that tea, and it improved my mood. Will probably have caffeinated tea today too.

Fortunately, my sleeping bag is going to be here sooner than expected - Monday. So, hopefully I won't need so many layers of blankets, etc. anymore when sleeping in my tent.

Addition, Oct. 2, 2017, 6:49 PM EDT. My sleeping bag was a tremendous and scary disappointment, because its label had a warning which said:

"CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 65 WARNING: This product contains one or more chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm."

So, I didn't even try it, and we just sent it back. I'm astonished that things like that aren't banned from being sold at all.

So, I guess I'm going to stick with regular blankets, or maybe go to a real brick-and-mortar store instead of ordering online from a page with incomplete information and no actual pictures of the product's labels.

Was in my tent most of the time between 10:49 AM and 5:48 PM, and managed to sleep there, even though it got a bit warmer than I would like, around 74 degrees. Slept OK, and didn't get very thirsty and dry-eyed, even though the humidity went down to something like 27% out there.

Tried my laptop out there for a while, but even inside the tent, around 12 PM, the lighting was too bright to use the laptop without turning the brightness up more than I wanted to, which drains the battery.

So, I guess maybe I won't be doing much computing out there, since it has been getting pretty cold out there at night, and I read that my laptop should only be run at temperatures above 41 degrees. I sure wish I had an up to date fully-rugged Toughbook - then that wouldn't be a problem.

Addition, Oct. 4, 2017, 4:56 AM EDT. There was a power outage sometime in the evening on Oct. 2nd, but I don't know when exactly, because I didn't notice it because I was in my tent.

So, that was a nuisance because I still was mostly using my desktop computers rather than my laptops, and my Puppy Linux Setup Kit still isn't renovated. But, it was less of a nuisance than usual, because I was already mostly done preparing to switch over to one of my laptops.

But, it was still such a nuisance to get my laptop set up that I didn't get it mostly done until earlier today (Oct. 4th), mostly for lack of trying, since, unusually, I took a long relaxing break from computer stuff. However, I did work for a little while on some new setup scripts on my most easily set up desktop computer, and made some nice progress.

But, it was such a nice day, I soon went out to my tent to read a paper book. Was alert, felt sharp and full of good ideas while programming, and was in a pretty good mood most of the time, probably partly thanks to caffeinated tea, despite only sleeping between around 8 PM on Oct. 2nd to sometime around midnight on Oct. 3rd, and sometime between 6:05 AM and 10:39 AM.

Later in the day, went to a couple brick and mortar stores to try to find a sleeping bag, but, found nothing acceptable, and also found out that there are laws that require toxic flame retardants to be put in camping equipment, including tents and sleeping bags. :-(

Anyway, I'm just hoping that my tent is not actually so toxic that it will harm me, since I'm probably going to keep using it sometimes anyway, until it gets too cold.

Probably too tired now to move my many blankets, etc. back into my tent, even though I think I can mostly handle temperatures in the 50's, and it warms up pretty soon after the sun rises. And now, my laptop is set up almost as comfortably as my desktop computers, and in the dark outside, I could probably read the screen easily at its lowest and least battery-draining brightness setting.

I guess if I'm still awake by the time it gets light, maybe I will move out there, because I won't need as many blankets during the day, so there will be less stuff for me to transfer from my room to my tent.

Additions, Oct. 5, 2017, 4:35 PM/6:38 PM EDT. On Oct. 4, slept inside sometime between 6:24 AM and 1:14 PM.

Today, on Oct. 5, slept sometime between 8:27 AM and 3:21 PM. Was in the tent reading a paper book before sleep, but a thunderstorm started, so I ran inside, sometime before 8 AM. I'm not sure if the thunder was much louder because I was outside, or if that was just some really big thunder, but it was pretty scary for a moment.

Have sometimes had a cough or slight congestion. Sometimes got very thirsty with dry eyes during sleep, but, maybe that's just from not drinking enough in general.

Been feeling much better and more alert and energetic overall, I think largely thanks to caffeinated tea.

Mostly have just been reading. But also have been trying out a new way of making VUE notes. Now, for various topics or tasks, I've been making two maps:

My Toughbook CF-C1 laptop's screen is definitely not as nice to look at as a monitor, but, fortunately, I can easily connect my laptop to a monitor because of my KVM switch, which also lets me share the same monitor with one of my desktop computers.

And I can make the laptop and monitor display different things (instead of just mirroring each other) by using these commands:

xrandr --output LVDS1 --above VGA1
xrandr --output LVDS1 --mode 1280x800

And it's quite relaxing to not have to worry about power outages anymore. If the power goes off, my laptop will just switch over to using its batteries.

Found out yesterday that I like the taste of 2nd flush darjeeling tea more than the taste of 1st flush darjeeling (which reminds me of a green tea).

Both seemed quite good for my mood and alertness, but I think I might have gotten some caffeine jitters from brewing the 1st flush darjeeling too long.

Didn't drink them both on the same day - I'm still limiting myself to only one cup of caffeinated tea per day.

Addition, Oct. 5, 2017, 4:57 PM EDT. I forgot to mention - yesterday, I had to pay for (which I bought years ago but still haven't started adding anything to yet), and I decided to also buy

And I just discovered that the new DreamHost parked domain page - automatically added, not by me - is adorable. :-)

That might actually be better than all of my plans for that domain. :-)

Addition, Oct. 8, 2017, 7:52 AM EDT. I feel so much better drinking caffeinated tea that I haven't had as much to vent about lately.

Been getting more done, and mostly haven't been in the mood to update this. Been reading, cleaning, and even programming, and haven't had issues with my energy at all.

Not sure it's only from resuming tea - perhaps the probably significantly increased iron in my diet is also helping, and/or sometimes having some Vitamin D and magnesium and Vitamin K2.

Not that everything is perfect. I've sometimes been quite grumpy at the remaining mess in my room, and been feeling a bit premenstrual lately, and my time of the month got delayed somehow, perhaps by my cold (which seems gone now). Not that I really mind it being delayed.

Anyway, overall, I've been feeling pretty much back to normal (or better), and also like I'm sleeping better. And have mostly avoided headaches. At one point I happily resorted to drinking a caffeinated Barq's root beer when I felt a headache approaching, and I think that may have helped avert it.

Haven't been sleeping in my tent as much, due to rainy or worryingly cloudy weather, or due to it being too warm in the day. Also, I think I like it best out there during the day, so I don't have to listen to creepy noises at night like growling cats. I think maybe I like reading out there more than I like sleeping out there.

Been reluctant to bring my laptop out there at night because the humidity goes up pretty high at night, and I've read that high humidity can be bad for laptops. Tried reading an Overdrive book on my phone (which I'm less worried about, even though perhaps humidity could be a problem for phones too), but it would have been better with a phone stand.

Haven't been watching as much TV or Netflix, but, probably the most notable things I watched on Netflix recently were a Korean subtitled movie called Vanishing Time, and a sci-fi movie called Taking Earth.

Addition, Oct. 10, 2017, 1:58 AM EDT. Was quite grumpy and premenstrual for a while, but 2nd flush darjeeling tea greatly improved my mood when I finally drank some.

Earlier, was grumpy about the mess in my room, and also about being unable to easily remove a Flash drive from my laptop because of SFS file glitches.

Spent hours trying to find a true solution, but the best thing I came up with (which was far from ideal, but I guess maybe it worked OK) was running the sync command (to make sure all files would soon definitely get finished being written to my Flash drive), waiting a while, then doing a "lazy unmount".

Then, since I was afraid some glitch(es) might happen if I plugged that Flash drive back in without rebooting, I shut down my laptop. And switched back to using one of my usual desktop computers, which lets me use two monitors instead of one monitor plus a below average laptop screen.

Managed to put most of my clothes into zippable pillow protectors, and got a lot of them out of the way.

Also realized there was enough room behind my TV and speakers to push all that stuff closer to my small window. Having those farther away makes my room feel surprisingly much bigger.

There's still plenty of remaining mixed up clutter, but it's looking a lot more manageable now, even though I still have my exercise bike in here. It's still not useable due to clutter, but, I still plan on keeping it and resuming using it hopefully soon.

Addition, Oct. 10, 2017, 2:42 AM EDT. It's foggy outside - one of my favorite kinds of weather. And it's reportedly 60 degrees, so, I think I might stay in my tent for a while.

Addition, Oct. 12, 2017, 1:59 AM EDT. Slept in tent on Oct. 10th, and also read a paper book there for a while, since it was a lovely day with a pleasant temperature. Would have slept there last night, but the weather report said it was going to rain in the morning, and it did.

On both Oct. 10th and 11th, I woke up with a slightly stuffy nose, but it soon went away after drinking a little water.

Mostly been reading, programming, or cleaning. Still been feeling premenstrual, but my time of the month still hasn't started, though I hardly mind. Also sometimes been quite irritable, when the mood-boosting effects of my tea wore off (or when I delayed having tea), and before I finished cleaning my room, which improved my mood tremendously.

As of around 12:42 AM, finally got my room as clean and organized as I intended (for now). It's actually nicer than it has ever been. My room seems bigger, but still cozy, rather than too big. I can actually walk most of the way around my bed, can use my exercise bike again, and can open my mini-fridge without difficulty. And I can even stand far enough away from my big mirror that I can see myself belly-dance without having to put the mirror on a chair.

Will now also have an easier time sorting through my mountain of clothes and cataloguing them by taking pictures of myself wearing them, and adding those pictures and other details to a VUE map.

It's a pretty comfortable temperature outside - 60 degrees. But, it might rain around 7 AM, so, I don't know if I'm going to sleep out there, because of the possible rain, and also because I'm not really tired yet. says there's fog, but outside, it appears there's not as much fog as there was on Oct. 10th. But, maybe it will improve later on.

Addition, Oct. 15, 2017, 6:07 PM EDT. Finally, my time of the month started yesterday afternoon, so, I've been extra-tired from that, though mugs of caffeinated 2nd flush darjeeling tea still helped. I also like mixing it with other decaf teas, such as 1 teaspoon of Earl Grey.

Starting on Oct. 13th, I actually have been microwaving it for 5 minutes, and leaving the tea bag in, which I'm hoping isn't too much caffeine for me. I'm doing that mainly for convenience, since the tea stays hot longer without me having to remicrowave it, and it's less of a nuisance than taking the tea bag out. But I also hope it helps me get more theanine and other healthy substances out of my tea.

The first time I did that (with a mug of just darjeeling and nothing else), I did start to feel a bit too jittery a few hours later. So, to hopefully soothe that away with extra theanine, I had another mugful of tea made with 1 teaspoon of decaf English Breakfast plus 1 teaspoon of decaf Mixed Berry, and I definitely felt like that helped.

In the past several days, have been reading, and aggravatingly, got very stuck on a programming problem for a while, but finally successfully solved that.

Actually, I just found a different, easier, but just as effective way of accomplishing what I wanted, but never yet actually figured out how to do it the hard way, though maybe I'll keep at it just for curiosity's sake.

At times, it has been surprisingly good weather for being in my tent. Was in my tent most of the time since yesterday evening until the morning, since, surprisingly, the temperatures never got below the mid-60's, and I wanted to see how long my rechargeable batteries would keep my flashlight on while I read a paper book.

I used a piece of yarn to hang my flashlight from the hook at the top of my tent, which worked better than I expected once I somehow tied it well enough to stop it from falling.

Each pair of rechargeable NiMH AA batteries I had lasted only about 2 hours in my flashlight - 4 new ones I hadn't charged myself yet, and my 2 old ones which I hadn't charged in months. Tried to charge them once they ran out of energy, but, both my chargers are slow, and eventually I ran out of batteries, so I couldn't keep reading, and I switched to an audio book on my phone instead. Fell asleep while listening to it.

At one point soon before sleep, I got afraid maybe I was seeing a UFO in the sky, since I suddenly started to see something large and bright with a weird shape behind some tree leaves which mostly hid it from view.

Got up with my phone's camera ready to take pictures (though in retrospect, a video would have been a better idea), and walked to a part of the balcony where I could see it better - but, to my relief, it turned out it was just the crescent moon.

It got uncomfortably warm and too bright and sunny in the morning, so I moved back inside to my room, and slept much better there after taking an Advil to deal with my menstrual cramps.

No problem with cramps now, though I needed 3 Advils in all since my time of the month started (though I only needed 1 Advil each time I took it). Don't know why or how my body is so reliable about usually only having trouble with cramps in the first 24 hours of my time of the month, but thank goodness I don't have to deal with cramps for 5 days.

Also got a headache on the day my time of the month started, but that might have been from thirst from sleeping in my tent in the day, when it got a bit too sunny and warm. My headache went away quite quickly after I drank some water.

Tonight, it's going to be cold and sometimes rainy, so, don't know how much time I'm going to spend in my tent.

Addition, Oct. 16, 2017, 2:54 AM EDT. A bit headachy again. Don't know if it's because of my time of the month, or, perhaps it's from increasing my caffeine consumption, and then neglecting to have tea (or any other caffeine) so far today.

It's 50 degrees outside, so, probably not going to stay in my tent much.

Earlier, when I finally came out of my room (sometime probably before 7 PM), I found that the wind had blown both of my tents around quite a bit. The green tent I sometimes stay in had been blown into a corner, even though it had a bag of books weighing it down, and the red tent (which was mostly empty) was tipped over.

But, fortunately, my tents probably can't be blown entirely off the balcony unless the railings break.

Addition, Oct. 16, 2017, 4:55 AM EDT. Feeling much better and more relaxed after tea, though still a bit headachy.

I think maybe I'd be better off using less caffeinated tea in my tea bag when I plan to microwave it for 5 minutes and leave the tea bag in.

Also, I have no way to know for sure, but, I feel like this organic Ceylon black tea (which I just had) might have less caffeine than this organic 2nd flush darjeeling tea.

Addition, Oct. 16, 2017, 6:10 PM EDT. Woke up headachy and mostly stayed headachy for hours until I finally started drinking a Barq's caffeinated root beer.

So, I definitely should be a lot more cautious in the future with the quantity of caffeinated tea I put in my tea bags.

So tired of my time of the month feeling like an actual illness every month.

Addition, Oct. 16, 2017, 6:31 PM EDT. Feeling even better already, now that I'm done with my caffeinated root beer. I probably should have just had some caffeine sooner, or at least an Advil, but, I kept hoping my headache was going to just go away on its own.

Also, it wasn't always that bad. I was able to read earlier, both library ebooks on my desktop computer in my room, and a paper book in my tent.

But, just recently, my headache had gotten much worse, and I started to feel like I might get nauseated if I didn't have some caffeine. It actually worked pretty quickly to make me feel better. And now I'm actually feeling more relaxed and almost like I could go to sleep. Except I feel like maybe I need even more caffeine.

Addition, Oct. 18, 2017, 4:14 AM EDT. Felt fine even without more caffeine on Oct. 16th.

Been doing much better, especially now that I figured out how to modify the Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2 ISO to make it possible to set the RAM disk to whatever size I want.

VirtualBox helped with that, since with that, I could test my changes in a virtual machine, without having to reboot a real computer repeatedly.

So, now I'll be able to use more of my computer's 32 GB of RAM for my own purposes, since now Puppy won't automatically sequester half of that RAM - 16 GB! - for itself.

Haven't rebooted my computer yet, because I'm not looking forward to all the not-yet-automated setup I'm going to have to do, unless I update my Puppy Linux Setup Kit more first.

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The Piano Storybook by Shnabubula
Tuesday, August 8th, 2017
18:27:46 GMT


Earlier this year, for the first time ever, I contributed to a Kickstarter campaign. It was for The Piano Storybook by Shnabubula, one of my favorite musicians in the world.

Shnabubula is the creator of some of the best, most dazzlingly brilliant music I've ever heard in my life. If you're a fan of video game music remixes, or if you've explored my astrosorted music list, then, you're probably already a fan of Shnabubula.

To my joy, I heard about The Piano Storybook in time to be one of the 100 people who contributed at least $15 in exchange for Shnabubula composing us an improvised piano song, customized according to what image(s), stories, or other requests we sent!

The Piano Storybook is now complete, and all the albums, and videos of all the performances, are going to be gradually released.

It will be possible to download all the albums from Shnabubula's Bandcamp page for free, or for any amount of money you're comfortable sending.

The first album released was The Great Flood, and you can download it from Shnabubula's Bandcamp page, or watch the performances on YouTube.

It contains the incredibly lovely song Shnabubula improvised for me, which he titled Beneath the Shimmering Surface.

For more, see The Piano Storybook's official home page, Shnabubula's Bandcamp page, and Shnabubula's YouTube channel!

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Link: The Hans Free Electric Bike
Friday, August 4th, 2017
18:05:45 GMT


Today, while googling exercise bike-related stuff, I stumbled across a news story about a bike which can produce 24 hours of electricity from 1 hour of pedaling!

Which is such amazingly good news, it inspired me to post this blog post to

The Hans Free Electric Bike

I am very interested in getting one to ride myself when they're available.

Then, hopefully I'll be able to save my family a ton of money on electricity, as well as improve my health and appearance, and help reduce pollution and slow down global warming. :-)

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Link: August 21, 2017: A total solar eclipse visible in parts of the USA!
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017
19:44:26 GMT


Just posted this on Eryss.Com:

August 21, 2017: A total solar eclipse visible in parts of the USA!

An event so rare that the news seems worth repeating here, too.

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Monday, July 31st, 2017
13:09:03 GMT


This is lovely:


by Mindaugas Piečaitis and Nora the Piano Cat.

You might also like to visit

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How to compile Pale Moon 27.4.1 from source code in Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2
Monday, July 31st, 2017
11:35:28 GMT

Puppy Linux

Several days ago, after less than an hour of trying, I successfully compiled my favorite web browser, Pale Moon, from source code, in Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2!

The reason I did that was because I thought upgrading my web browser might solve my issues with YouTube's HTML5 player not playing audio. (I was mistaken, but, I finally found a solution!)

And when I tried to simply download the latest precompiled version of Pale Moon for Linux, 27.4.0, it wouldn't run on my system because of this error. (Which also happened with at least one older version many months ago):

./palemoon: /lib/ version `GLIBC_2.17' not found (required by ./palemoon)

So, my only remaining option was to try to build Pale Moon from source code.

Since the build process was a bit more complicated than just ./configure; make; make install, and I thought I might need to know how to do it again someday, and that others might like to know too, I decided to document it.

Happily, it was a lot easier to build than I thought it might be. That was the first time I ever attempted to build a web browser from source code, and I was prepared to spend hours on it if I had to.

But, to my own surprise, it only took me about 45 minutes to figure out, thanks to various helpful web pages. And it will hopefully take much less time in the future, now that I've written this blog post, which even I will be able to refer to someday when I've forgotten most of the below details.

However, the below instructions will probably have to be modified if you don't have enough RAM, because the final /home/root/pmbuild folder on my system ended up being over 3 GB, or 3264 M, to be more exact.

And I was only able to build it there - a location inside my Puppy Linux RAM disk - because my current computer has a huge amount of RAM - 32 GB, which gives me a 16 GB Puppy Linux RAM disk.

So far, I wasn't able to figure out how to make the ./mach command build Pale Moon someplace other than /home/root/pmbuild. I'm guessing the best place to look for answers would be the official Pale Moon forum.

I also haven't tried these instructions in any other Puppy Linux, nor any other GNU/Linux. So, I don't know what changes might need to be made for other Puppies or GNU/Linuxes.

  1. I loaded the Lighthouse 64 DevX SFS file of development tools by right-clicking it and choosing "sfs_load".

    If you need a copy of the DevX SFS file, you can get it from here:

  2. I didn't have Autoconf 2.13, which is required to build Pale Moon, according to the official instructions on how to build Pale Moon in Linux.

    So, I downloaded autoconf-2.13.tar.gz from here:

  3. Then, I unzipped the autoconf-2.13.tar.gz in one of my temporary folders in my Puppy Linux RAM disk.

  4. Building Autoconf 2.13 was easy. In the autoconf-2.13 folder, I opened a terminal window and typed these commands:



    new2dir make install

    I put "new2dir make install" instead of "make install" because I wanted to make Puppy Linux .pet and .sfs installer files for Autoconf 2.13, so I hopefully wouldn't have to repeat this process again.

  5. I'm not sure this is necessary, but I moved my existing copy of autoconf (version 2.69) to some other location with this command:

    mv /usr/bin/autoconf /usr/bin/autoconf269

  6. Then, I had to make this symlink, or else the "Mach" software used to build Pale Moon complained that Autoconf 2.13 couldn't be found. This page gave me that idea:

    ln /usr/local/bin/autoconf /usr/local/bin/autoconf213

  7. Next, I downloaded the "" file from this page on GitHub:

    That file's size is about 230 MB.

  8. I unzipped "" in a temporary folder in my Puppy Linux RAM disk. (I went out of my way to put it in a path which contained no spaces, simply because lots of things in Linux seem to be allergic to spaces in paths.)

    If you don't have as much RAM as I do, you might want to unzip that folder to someplace on a physical disk.

  9. Inside the Pale-Moon-27.4_RelBranch folder, I had to put a text file named ".mozconfig" (without quotes).

    I copied and pasted the example .mozconfig file from the official instructions for how to build Pale Moon in Linux:

    But, I found I couldn't use exactly that, because the build got interrupted because I didn't have PulseAudio. And I much preferred to avoid installing PulseAudio because of its association with the infamous systemd.

    Fortunately, this forum thread gave me a clue of how stop Pale Moon from trying to use PulseAudio.

    Here's my final .mozconfig file, which you should place inside the "Pale-Moon-27.4_RelBranch" folder before the next step:

  10. I guess this is the point at which you might need to figure out how to change the default destination for the build, if your Puppy Linux RAM disk can't accomodate over 3 GB of files.

    As I mentioned before, I don't know how to do that yet - sorry.

    So, the rest of these instructions will simply assume you have enough RAM, as I did.

  11. Still in the "Pale-Moon-27.4_RelBranch" folder, I opened a terminal window, and typed this command:

    ./mach build

    Then, I just had to wait a while - 801 seconds, or 13.35 minutes. However, I was using a pretty good 2.8 GHz computer with 8 cores. So it might take more or less time depending on what you're using.

    I'm actually using a used Mac Pro from 2008, which looks like a giant cheese grater. :-) And I actually like it a lot, even though I usually prefer to avoid Apple products.

    Surprisingly, this Mac Pro can run Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2, which makes it tremendously nicer for me to use than Mac OS X Lion does.

    The ./mach build command resulted in a large folder at /home/root/pmbuild/. I forgot to check its size before running the next step, but after the next step, it ended up being over 3 GB! 3264 M, to be more exact.

  12. There was still one more build command to run in the "Pale-Moon-27.4_RelBranch" folder:

    ./mach package

    This was much faster to finish than the build, and resulted in a tarchive quite similar to the official precompiled Pale Moon tarchives.

    That tarchive was in the folder /home/root/pmbuild/dist/ and named "palemoon-27.4.1.linux-x86_64.tar.bz2".

  13. Before you unzip that tarchive and run the "palemoon" file, you should probably take the precaution of backing up your current Pale Moon profile, just in case.

    In my system, by default, my Pale Moon profile is located at:

    /root/.moonchild productions

    To back it up, I close Pale Moon, and wait a little while to try to make sure Pale Moon is finished writing any files to that folder.

    Then I zip the folder, and put the zip file somewhere on a physical disk.

    I assume backing up the folder simply by copying the folder to a physical disk might also work, though I haven't tried that lately.

  14. Now, you can unzip the "palemoon-27.4.1.linux-x86_64.tar.bz2" file to whatever folder you want. It contains a "palemoon" folder which contains a "palemoon" executable file you can simply double-click on to run.

    That will launch Pale Moon 27.4.1 with your usual old Pale Moon profile, so, you hopefully won't have to reinstall your add-ons and other customizations from scratch.

    I upgraded from Pale Moon 26.2.2, and so far, I haven't noticed any problems with any of my old add-ons or anything else, though I haven't checked thoroughly.

  15. The most jarring difference I encountered was Google not being in the search engines list by default, but that is very easily fixed by clicking the Google link on this official Pale Moon Search Plugins page:

    And while you're there, you can add a lot of other handy search engines.

I'm very happy with my Pale Moon upgrade so far. It is noticeably faster than the old version I contentedly used for probably over a year, Pale Moon 26.2.2.

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How to make YouTube HTML5 audio work with Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2 and a Sewell USB Sound Box
Monday, July 31st, 2017
08:40:30 GMT

Puppy Linux

I finally found a way to make YouTube's HTML5 player play audio while I'm using my Sewell USB Sound Box with Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta.

Previously, I simply used the YouTube Flash Video Player web browser add-on instead of struggling to make the HTML5 player work. But, that add-on recently stopped working for me in the Pale Moon web browser. I tried upgrading Pale Moon, but that didn't fix the audio either.

But luckily, after a few days, I stumbled across this helpful forum thread. Post #10 contained all the info I needed. Thanks to all the authors of that thread!

Here's what I did:

  1. To get my Sewell USB Sound Box to work, I followed my own instructions here.

  2. I opened the text file /etc/asound.conf in a text editor. (You might want to make a backup copy of the asound.conf file in case anything goes wrong.)

  3. I replaced the entire contents of /etc/asound.conf with the settings from the above-mentioned Post #10:

  4. I closed then relaunched my web browsers - Pale Moon 27.4.1 and Firefox 45.0.2.

  5. I went to a YouTube video. Both audio and video played fine!

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Legacy code woes
Saturday, July 1st, 2017
23:42:28 GMT


I've been feeling so overwhelmed lately by my Puppy Linux Setup Kit, my messy neglected websites, and Astroblahhh Desktop. Overwhelmed and stuck.

Actually, I've felt that way for years, which is probably part of why I've procrastinated so much about continuing to work on these projects at all.

But, recently, reading some articles about working on legacy code made me feel better and less worried that maybe I'm just not really cut out to be a programmer.

I hadn't realized that even much better, wiser, more experienced programmers than me can have immense trouble with this kind of project if they make the kinds of mistakes I've been making, such as trying to change too many things at once, not doing test-driven development (TDD), and overly optimistically attempting "big-bang rewrites".

Here are a couple of those articles:

The Legacy Code Lifecycle
April 25, 2012 from

How to Improve a Legacy Codebase
May 30, 2017 from

Those articles and their advice look very wise to me, not that I would know. But I'm guessing that doing even just some of what is suggested might go far better for me than doing what I've been doing.

Even though (as far as I know) I'm the only person who ever worked on my Puppy Linux Setup Kit, Astroblahhh Desktop, and other languishing projects of mine, these projects have all been through the entire lifecycle mentioned in that first article, and have long been stuck in the last phase.

In many ways, I unintentionally designed things naively and poorly at the outset. I didn't document things well enough, and I took such long breaks from working on my own code that by the time I returned to it, I had forgotten a ton of details.

And for many years, I didn't even know what test-driven development (TDD) was. I finally tried it in 2015 or 2016 and liked it, but, quite unwisely, I still usually haven't gone to the trouble lately, and I probably ought to learn more about it so I can be more sure I'm doing it right.

I'm quite frustrated that I haven't gotten much more done by now, but, I probably shouldn't be too hard on myself. If I were really a hopelessly bad programmer:

So, I'm definitely not even close to totally giving up on programming forever (though I feel very intimidated by the idea of trying to make a serious career out of it). But I think I need to be a lot more cautious and less naively optimistic than I was in the past.

The idea of releasing more of my work more frequently definitely appeals to me a lot. I've felt so guilty about not creating and/or releasing way more useful (or otherwise beneficial) stuff into the world already. And many people think sharing in-progress work publicly and frequently can result in much better software.

Preparing things for publication definitely encourages me to do a better job than I tend to do with things I don't expect to release anytime soon (if ever). Not that I don't still make numerous dumb mistakes either way, but I think maybe I make fewer dumb mistakes when I create something with publication in mind.

I sure wish I could do a perfect job on everything all the time, but, I've learned that I better not insist too stubbornly on perfection or I'll never get anything done.

Fortunately, already, without even knowing it (at first), I seem to have been moving away from the "cathedral" model of free/libre software development, "in which source code is available with each software release, but code developed between releases is restricted to an exclusive group of software developers", toward the "bazaar" model, "in which the code is developed over the Internet in view of the public".

That happened because I finally learned more about how to use Git and GitHub, so I've been sharing my work more frequently by releasing it on GitHub. Currently, that's much easier than uploading files to my own websites.

So, currently, this is the place to look for my absolute newest updates to whatever software projects:

Not much of what I've been adding lately has seemed notable enough (or easy to install or interesting or useful enough) for me to announce in new blog posts, so, I mostly haven't mentioned them here.

In retrospect, I maybe shouldn't have even announced Salty XML Transformer, because it's such a chore even for me to install, because I haven't made even my own not-yet-released Puppy Linux Setup Kit fully up to date yet.

By the way, I recently found out that ever since sometime in July 2016, the latest released version of the Puppy Linux Setup Kit (v1.1) was far less functional than I thought, because unfortunately, some of the files the old setup kit optionally tries to download are no longer available. Many went missing simply because I neglected to log into my Dropbox account for over a year, so my Dropbox account was automatically deleted in July 2016. Sorry for any inconvenience!

I probably shouldn't encourage people to use the old legacy versions of my setup kit. Certainly not yet. At some point I'm going to try to release many of my old-style setup kit scripts that I made since the last release in Feb. 2015 - but even I'm trying to get away from being stuck using any old-style version anymore, even my current best not-yet-released version.

I sure wish I could somehow gradually create a smooth transition from the old-style setup kit to the new-style setup kit I'm still trying to design and build. Or some kind of clever hybrid of the two.

Anyway, even though I'm quite tired of struggling with all these tedious legacy projects, I probably am not close to giving up yet. Or even if I do turn my attention to other things for a while, I'll probably return to them eventually.

In any case, please don't expect dazzling results soon, or maybe not for a very long time, and sorry I have been so incapable thus far of doing far more.

And I still don't feel up to trying to sift through whatever gigantic backlog of mostly spam (and perhaps some real emails) I might have gotten in the past several years, but, hopefully I'll get around to that someday. Sorry for being so unreachable.

And hopefully someday I'll figure out how to delete the literally hundreds of thousands of spam messages there are in the Non24.Com Forum without deleting any of the few non-spam messages, and also how to truly block new spam messages so the same thing doesn't happen again.

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Don't Put an Air Conditioner On Its Side, Back, or Upside-Down
Wednesday, June 14th, 2017
04:34:25 GMT


I had to get a new air conditioner recently. Unfortunately, I and others didn't notice that the new one's box said to "ALWAYS KEEP THIS SIDE UP" (the top side). So, it ended up resting on its side overnight.

I finally noticed that in the morning. I put it upright, and, since I naively assumed it having been on its side overnight probably wasn't that big a deal, we installed it some hours later.

It seems to cool my room well enough, but, I don't know yet how to judge if it's working as well as an 8,000 BTU air conditioner should in a room of whatever size my room is. And even though it didn't make any bad-sounding noises when I first started it (nor anytime after that), I started to wonder if maybe it ought to be working even better.

So, I searched the web, and was dismayed to find that putting air conditioners or refrigerators on their side, back, or upside down is generally considered a bad idea.

I'm not at all clear on what the actual scientific facts here are, like how long an air conditioner actually needs to be left upright before running it, to fix whatever goes awry from it being positioned wrong. This air conditioner's manual says nothing on the subject (unless I missed something).

However, I see now that the box says "DO NOT PLACE UNIT ON ITS SIDE. IF UNIT IS ON ITS SIDE, PLACE UPRIGHT AND WAIT 2 HOURS BEFORE STARTING." I'm relieved to know that at least I accidentally followed the latter instructions.

Anyway, just thought I'd point out my naive mistake of leaving my new air conditioner on its side, in case pointing this out might possibly rescue others from making the same mistake.

Sometimes it amazes me how much stuff there is in the world that I don't (or didn't) know the least bit about, like how air conditioners even work at all. Even though air conditioners are such a brilliant invention and definitely one of my many favorite things about our modern era.

I tried to read this very technical page for clues on how long it might take the oil in my air conditioner to settle back into its proper place after putting my air conditioner upright. And also this other nifty page, and various others.

But, I'm definitely not as scientifically literate as I'd like to be, so, the main thing those pages did for me was remind me of how much more there is for me to learn. Which is both humbling, but also rather exciting. There are probably tons of fascinating things in the universe that remain to be discovered, and it's well worth remembering that we all still don't know everything yet.

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Various plans and projects - funding welcome
Saturday, May 27th, 2017
01:28:10 GMT


Last edited May 27, 2017 at 1:45 AM EDT.

For various reasons, I have wanted for years (actually, decades) to be able to move into my own place. But, my financial problems and health problems have so far made that impossible. (Or at least, not at all realistically feasible.)

Even just having enough money to realistically be able to move out would probably improve my situation dramatically - even if I ultimately decide to stay where I am to save money.

So, if anyone would like to help fund my possible move out to my own place, or any of my other plans or projects, donations and microdonations are welcome.

I actually will probably end up staying here, but even if I do stay here, having more money will make things much better and might also help me get over my possible adrenal fatigue and possible PTSD faster.

Been too stressed out to feel like dealing with (or even reading) a lot of my email, so, I probably won't respond to messages, and might not even check for a long time to see if I got any donations, because as long as I don't look, I can maintain my hope that maybe someone has financially rescued me and I just don't know it yet. :-)

So, please don't be worried if you don't get a reply for a long time. I will check my mail, etc. eventually when I'm feeling sufficiently better.

Thanks again to all you kind people out there. Because of you, I'm doing much better now than I otherwise would have been.

I think I might actually be en route to becoming healthier (except for being older) than I ever was in the past, back when I was still a headachy caffeine addict who too often ate poorly (often just due to lack of interest in food - not always for lack of appealing food).

I still think my severe sleep issues are probably incurable, but, as long as I have sufficient energy for a good long while after I wake up, I don't mind being wide awake and energetic even at often unusual times. Fortunately, more and more lately, I've been able to feel that way despite (and surely partly because of) no caffeine.

For too much information on my health struggles, read this. :-)

I still don't yet feel up to seeking work, such as freelance work at (formerly known as oDesk). I'm not yet sure if my recently improved energy is going to last or not, and I'm concerned that feeling obligated to get things done quickly and well might stress me out and thereby harm me more than the money from jobs might relieve my stress. I'd probably feel most comfortable doing very easy, relatively mindless stuff like transcription, but the pay for that is generally so low it's probably not worth the trouble it would be for me and the time it would waste.

So, I'd much rather just keep working on renovating my Puppy Linux Setup Kit (primarily), among other things.

That (and a lot else in my life) has gotten much easier lately, thanks to the wonderful concept mapping software VUE, which I forked and modified to make it more comfortable to use as my main note-taking tool.

And the magnificent GNU Emacs and multifiles-apmod.el continue to be very helpful.

So far, I still have only read part of The Art of Unix Programming by Eric S. Raymond. But that, and doing so much with Bash scripting since early 2016, and seeing even more clearly how naive the monolithic designs of many of my past projects were, have encouraged me to improve the overall architecture of my projects by splitting things up into smaller, more independent tools, rather than having so much stuff unnecessarily blobbed together.

So far, it's looking like the core of the renovated Puppy Linux Setup Kit might turn out to be .ini files and Bash shell scripts after all, rather than PHP or Perl and HJSON. (However, I have so many old-style Puppy Linux Setup Kit scripts that I'm definitely working on keeping them perfectly useable, with some slight improvements.)

I actually probably would have used PHP and HJSON if they were available at startup in most Puppy Linuxes, because PHP is still my favorite, most comfortable language, and you can do more with HJSON files than INI files, like put in values with multiple lines.

But, I don't know of any Puppy Linuxes which have PHP and HJSON built in, and it seems unreasonable to expect users (or even myself) to compile PHP from scratch (even with helpful scripts walking users through the process) every time they switch to a new Puppy, just so the users can get on with using the rest of the setup kit.

Bash is still definitely not my favorite language, but, it's a lot better and more capable of doing what I need than I originally thought.

Here's a cool blog post I ran across a while back which shows how object-oriented programming can be done in Bash!

I suspect I'll like Bash even more if or when I build a visual programming system using my modified version of VUE as the GUI (graphical user interface), and some separate PHP and XSLT scripts to convert VUE maps (which are in XML format) into source code in any programming language I want.

Then I won't have to struggle to remember details like the rather complicated series of characters sometimes needed to refer to an array in Bash - "${array[@]}". Instead, I'll be able to just put only the array's name in a specially-decorated bubble. Then, my visual programming system will somehow know to wrap the array name with those mysterious hard to remember characters automatically when the VUE map is converted to Bash source code.

I suspect being able to rename things, hide clutter away, easily put nicely-styled comments and/or lolcat pictures wherever I want, and not have to type </> and quotes all the time, might make XSLT and XML code a lot more fun to read and easier to write, too.

At first I intended to only update my Puppy Linux Setup Kit minimally in the old-fashioned way, with more scripts in the style of the released version of the setup kit, just so I could easily get back PHP, PHP-GTK, XSLT, etc. anytime I restart my computer.

But, instead, I ended up pondering and working on the renovated design for my Puppy Linux Setup Kit, and trying to see how far I could get with just .ini files and Bash scripts. Fortunately, pretty far.

Don't know how long it will take for me to finish, but, at the moment, I'm more interested in continuing with that than with returning to trying to build a visual programming system yet. I'm quite pleased with how the setup kit is evolving, despite (and probably also partly because of) the limited tools I'm restricting myself to.

The new design is actually reminiscent in some ways of version control systems like Mercurial and Git, because repos are one of the basic building blocks of my in-progress, unreleased, renovated Puppy Linux Setup Kit, and it's going to have shell commands like "apsk init" and "apsk commit". (APSK is short for Apollia's Puppy Setup Kit.)

It won't actually be a version control system, though, since it's not going to save old versions of files, and is mainly just going to deal with the repos as they currently are. One of its main jobs will be to make it easy to locate things by nickname rather than by their filepaths. That will be quite convenient, and make it so trying to reorganize my files won't cause as much chaos anymore.

Even though it will have a variety of shell commands, it's probably usually not going to require you to open a terminal window and type in commands. One of the top goals of my Puppy Linux Setup Kit is ease of use even for non-technical people, so, I want it to have plenty more GUI (graphical user interface) stuff than the previous versions did, and prettier terminal text with customizable colors.

Anyway, I'd rather just keep working on it than try to explain everything about it, since I'm still hazy myself on a lot of details. I'm trying to get it done as fast as I can, without messing it up by being overly hasty.

Again, not sure how long it will take, since it probably will depend a lot on my future health and energy levels, which I'm not at all sure I can predict, though I seem to have been getting better lately.

Going to continue to encourage my improvement by reducing (and continuing to avoid) stress in various ways, eating better, exercising more, taking my vitamins, and doing various other life-improving things, like reading a lot, getting more organized, cleaning my room, and the rest of the house. And working on my programming projects - without overdoing it to the point where I neglect much of the rest of my life.

And, asking publicly for donations and microdonations, in addition to sometimes being truly helpful on a financial level, also enables me to indulge in the comforting, stress-reducing (and thus possibly health-boosting) fantasy that maybe someday someone (or many people) will, through their generosity, rescue me and my family from ever having to worry about money ever again.

And even much smaller amounts of money definitely helped tremendously. Thank you all!

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Taxation should be totally banned
Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
17:14:17 GMT


I'm relieved that Tax Day (which is today here in the USA) will soon be over.

Too bad it depleted a large chunk of my family's savings. But, at least we had (and have) some savings this year. But we'd have a lot more if taxes (among other things) hadn't stolen our money.

I've mentioned this before, but here again is an interesting essay (or perhaps it's actually a small book, since it has chapters) on why taxation is evil:

Income Tax: The Root of All Evil by Frank Chodorov, all in one page

You can also get it on this page in the annoying PDF format, or the slightly less annoying EPUB format.

I don't agree 100% with absolutely everything in that, but, I definitely agree that taxation is evil and does a lot more harm than good.

I hope someday all taxation is totally banned, even taxation of the rich, because taxation is extortion, and extortion is wrong regardless of whether the victim is poor or rich.

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Cow milk's flavor can be damaged by exposure to light
Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
13:47:29 GMT


I wish milk was sold in glass containers inside opaque cardboard boxes instead of in plastic jugs of any opacity. It probably would be healthier and might more reliably taste fine.

Another reason I dislike plastic (other than plastic exposing milk to too much light) is because plastic might have negative health effects.

Here are some pages about the fact that milk's flavor can be damaged by exposure to light:

What effect, if any, does light have on milk?
(July 14, 2009 from


"Milk can develop off-flavors after just a few minutes in direct sunlight or two hours of exposure to strong fluorescent light"

Consumers sour on milk exposed to LED light
(June 8, 2016, from

It's so frustrating to never know for sure if the next jug of milk I get is going to taste drinkable to me.

I've encountered this problem for many years. Certain brands of milk are reliably terrible and undrinkable to me, and the brand I usually like is only drinkable maybe 85% of the time. And I recently got two jugs in a row which tasted undrinkably bad, even though I always strive to get milk from the back of the shelf, where hopefully it hasn't been exposed to as much light.

But I seem to be especially sensitive. I was never able to tolerate undiluted coffee because of its bitterness, and I've never been able to eat grapefruits or drink grapefruit juice because they taste like vomit to me.

To my frequent surprise and dismay, usually the people I live with can't taste any problem with the milk, so they often volunteer to drink the ones I can't drink. Though on rare occasions, the problem is bad enough they can taste it too.

I already tried one brand of organic cow's milk in a cardboard carton, but somehow that tasted ghastly and undrinkable to me too, though I'm not sure what caused that.

Perhaps I should just try harder to be more vegetarian, and quit my cow milk addiction.

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Salty XML Transformer v1.0
Monday, March 27th, 2017
01:58:39 GMT


Blog post last edited April 3, 2017 at 2:23 PM EDT.

Salty is now at Version 1.2.

If you liked the Simple Schematron Demo for PHP 5.6.28 and Saxon/C 1.0.2, here's another PHP and Saxon/C-requiring thing you might like.

I just finished and released this today:

Salty XML Transformer

A crude but effective-enough way to use (or try to use) any XSLT sheet to transform any XML file or VUE concept map file.

Named "Salty" because the name XSLT reminds me of salt, and because I didn't have the energy or patience to try to make something more perfect and less crude. ("Crude", "coarse", and "vulgar" are some of the less frequently-used meanings of the word "salty".)

Anyway, it's good enough that I can now much more easily play around with XSLT 2.0 in PHP, and try to figure out how to use XSLT to do clever things with VUE (Visual Understanding Environment) concept map files.

By the way, here's my modified version of VUE again.

Someday, I'd like to update my Puppy Linux Setup Kit sufficiently to make it tremendously easier to install everything you'll need to be able to use the Salty XML Transformer and/or the Simple Schematron Demo, such as PHP, Saxon/C, etc.

But, I'm probably going to be preoccupied for a while with trying to build a visual programming system, since I think even a relatively simple, primitive one might make programming far easier, faster, and more fun.

Addition, March 28, 2017, 11:17 PM EDT. Updated to Version 1.1, which hopefully fixes the problem (at least with VUE maps) of some Unicode characters such as 🗁 being transformed into garbage characters (also known as mojibake).

Also fixed that for some but not all plain, non-VUE XML files. To avoid garbage (mojibake) output, those XML files must use Unicode entities instead of normal Unicode characters.

Also fixed a small glitch that stopped plain, non-VUE XML files from even being read.

Addition, April 3, 2017, 2:23 PM EDT. Updated to Version 1.2. Now it's possible to give Salty arguments to pass as parameters to XSLT.

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The Mad Drummer
Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
23:02:45 GMT


On YouTube, I recently found one of the best drummers in the world. :-)

His website:

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A simple Schematron demo for PHP 5.6.28 and Saxon/C 1.0.2
Sunday, February 5th, 2017
04:38:05 GMT


Today, I figured out how to use the XML-validation language Schematron with PHP 5.6.28 and the XSLT processor Saxon/C 1.0.2.

And since examples of using Schematron with PHP plus Saxon/C currently seem to be quite rare on the web - possibly even nonexistent, except for my own - I put together this GitHub repo:


I only authored the PHP script and the "" file. The included Schematron schema and XML files are my slightly modified versions of things from the the official Schematron repo.

Everything else is unmodified stuff from the official Schematron repo.

Now that I can use Schematron, I'm guessing I'm probably going to have a much easier time with all of my current and future XSLT projects.

Soon, I'll be able to be far more sure I'm generating valid VUE: Visual Understanding Environment concept maps with tools other than VUE itself. (Here's my slightly modified version of VUE.)

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How to get the Schematron Testing Framework (stf) to run in Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2
Friday, February 3rd, 2017
22:56:21 GMT


The operating system with which I accomplished the below was Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2.

I've been messing around with XML and XSLT lately, since I want to use XSLT to do some clever things with VUE: Visual Understanding Environment concept maps. (Here's my slightly modified version of VUE.)

So, I've been trying to figure how to use the XML-validation language Schematron, so I'll have a way to validate concept map files I generate or modify with XSLT instead of VUE.

In addition to Schematron, I also stumbled across some Java software called the Schematron Testing Framework (stf), which I'm not yet sure I'm going to need, but, figured out how to run anyway just in case I ever do need it.

It took me a while, but I finally figured out I needed to download some other Java software, and edit the "properties.xml" file included with the Schematron Testing Framework (stf) to tell it where to find that other software in my system.

Here's my entire "properties.xml" file:

In addition to the Schematron Testing Framework (stf) itself, I had to download the following three Java programs. I lazily downloaded binaries instead of compiling anything from scratch. (Possibly other versions than the ones I used would work.)

  1. Saxon-HE You can get the "saxon9he.jar" file you need simply by unzipping "".

    Quoted from the official web page about libre, open-source editions of Saxon:

    "Saxon-HE (Home Edition) is the open-source version of the Saxon XSLT and XQuery processor."

  2. XML Calabash 1.1.15-97. The "xmlcalabash-1.1.15-97.jar" file is an installer, which you can run either by double-clicking on it, or opening a console at its folder, and using this command:

    Quoted from the official XML Calabash web page:

    "XML Calabash is an implementation of XProc: An XML Pipeline Language."

  3. - Another file you can just unzip and don't have to install in any special place. The file you need for the Schematron Testing Framework (stf) is "resolver.jar".

    Here's the official Apache xml-commons web page.

I also used:

With everything installed and the "properties.xml" properly configured, all I had to do to run Schematron Testing Framework (stf) was go to stf's "example" folder, open a console there, and type:

That resulted in this output:

To confirm that Schematron Testing Framework (stf) was really reading the example XML files "foo-1.xml" and "foo-2.xml", I edited them, which, as expected, changed the output of the "ant" command a bit:

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VUE: How to detach images from bubbles (also known as nodes)
Thursday, January 12th, 2017
02:12:57 GMT


Last edited Jan. 12, 2016, at 2:37 AM EST.

This blog post applies to both the official version 3.3.0 of the concept mapping software VUE: Visual Understanding Environment, and my own slightly modified version. I haven't tried this in other versions.

I've been a delighted user of VUE since perhaps 2010. But it was not until the past several days that I finally stumbled across a way to detach images from nodes! (Or, as I prefer to call nodes - bubbles.)

These instructions work for me using VUE in either Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2 or Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004. Haven't tried this in Windows or on a Mac.

Here's how to detach an image from a single bubble:

  1. Drag and drop an image onto your VUE map.

  2. Right-click the bubble containing the image and choose Remove Resource (keep image).

  3. At this point, the image is still not detachable. To make it detachable, copy and paste the bubble.

  4. Unless I'm mistaken - in the original bubble, the image will still be stuck no matter what you do. But with any pasted new copy of that bubble, you can click on the image and drag it out!

If you want to detach images from many bubbles:

  1. Select all the bubbles you want to detach images from.

  2. Go to the Content menu and select Remove Resources (keep images). (Have to do that instead of right-clicking, because oddly, the "Remove Resource (keep images)" item in the right-click menu disappears when you have more than one bubble selected.)

  3. Copy and paste all the bubbles.

  4. Again, unless I'm mistaken, the images are only detachable from the pasted copies, not the original bubbles.

    You can select multiple images to drag out by clicking one image, then pressing the Shift key on your keyboard when you click the other images. Once you've selected all the images you want, click one of your selected images, then drag all of them as a group to wherever you want.

If you put an image back into a bubble, it can get stuck again, but you can just repeat the above process to make another detached, bubble-free copy. Or use the undo feature.

Happily, detaching the images makes it possible to more easily resize the images, the same way you resize a bubble. (Click on the image to select it, which makes white boxes appear at the corners and edges, which you can click on and drag to resize the image.)

I don't know if there's a maximum size for images, but, you can definitely resize them to be larger than their full size.

And using VUE's Layers feature, you can actually use images as backgrounds for anything on higher layers!

To work with layers, go to the Windows menu and choose Layers, or press Ctrl-5.

Using just the controls in that small window, you can create new layers, lock and unlock layers, show or hide certain layers, move whatever bubbles, images, etc. you want to other layers, reorder layers, duplicate layers, merge layers, and remove layers. And perhaps do other things I don't know about.

The rename-layer feature in VUE 3.3.0 - and in my own slightly modified version of VUE - currently doesn't work in Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2 and Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004, and also in a MacOS. No idea how to fix that yet, but I might try to figure it out.

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GNU Emacs: Using helm-unicode; changing the font and font size only for helm-unicode; etc.
Sunday, January 8th, 2017
23:37:45 GMT

Emacs Lisp

I recently figured out that in GNU Emacs, I was using the helm-unicode extension wrong.

After installing that, I mistakenly assumed that the key sequence Ctrl-x 8 Return (or, C-x 8 RET for short) was automatically now using helm-unicode. Then I was confused that the list of Unicode characters only had names and not the actual characters.

Finally, I figured out that C-x 8 RET was only running the command (insert-char), not (helm-unicode). (To find out what command is assigned to a key sequence or keychord, you can type C-h k, then after the prompt "Describe key (or click menu item):" appears in the minibuffer, type the key, key chord or key sequence you're curious about.)

To make C-x 8 RET run (helm-unicode) instead, I had to run this command (and I also added it to my GNU Emacs preferences):

Another useful thing to add is this code to make the font larger only for helm-unicode searches. It's code I slightly modified, most of which I originally found on this page:

If you don't have the "Symbola" Unicode font, you can change "Symbola" to another font name. Or, you can download Symbola from this page:

Unicode Fonts for Ancient Scripts

Also, here's some code I found somewhere which will make GNU Emacs display Unicode in any buffer:

The problem with using that code is, it can sometimes make GNU Emacs very slow - for example, if you do the key sequence C-h h to look at the "HELLO" file included with GNU Emacs, which shows translations of the word "hello" in many different languages.

If you want to output the entire Unicode character list as browseable, editable text in a buffer, try this. A slightly modified version of code I found on this page:

I suggest pasting that code into your *scratch* buffer. Then, put your cursor (or "point" as it's called in GNU Emacs jargon) at the end of the "print-elements-of-list" function definition and do the key sequence C-x C-e.

Then, to actually output the list into whatever buffer you're running this in, put your cursor at the end of the last line and do the key sequence C-u C-x C-e.

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My slightly modified VUE: Visual Understanding Environment
Sunday, January 8th, 2017
05:04:12 GMT


I slightly modified the wonderful concept mapping software VUE: Visual Understanding Environment to work better for me in Puppy Linux.

My modified source code is available from here:

My top goals were:

  1. To make it possible in Puppy Linux to successfully open files and web pages by clicking resource buttons attached to VUE nodes (or as I prefer to call them, bubbles).

    If I recall correctly, that already worked in Windows XP, but it mostly didn't work right for me in any edition of Puppy Linux I tried VUE in - namely, Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2 and Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004. (Except I was always able to open other VUE map files.)

    So, I fixed that, in a crude but effective-enough way. And now I can not only open other VUE maps, but do things like launch other programs and scripts, and visit web pages, just by clicking currently inconveniently tiny buttons in VUE.

    Reminds me a little of HyperCard.

  2. To make VUE visually blend in better with my preferred dark desktop theme.

I don't feel like writing in 100% thorough detail about how to compile the source code, but, one way to compile it is by using Apache Ant. (I used v1.10, and in the past, version 1.9.6 also worked for me.)

Once you have Ant installed, you can run the command "ant all" in the "VUE2/src" folder, which after about 20 seconds results in a runnable "VUE.jar" file which you can find at the path "VUE2/src/build/VUE.jar".

And you can run VUE.jar by opening a console in the "VUE2/src/build" folder and typing:

java -jar VUE.jar

It's also possible to build and run VUE using the Eclipse Java EE IDE for Web Developers Neon.2 Release (4.6.2), and probably other versions.

Eclipse also has debugging features I mostly haven't figured out how to use yet, and the useful ability to generate Javadoc pages like these.

This old forum post on how to put VUE into an Eclipse project was helpful, though I didn't follow all of those instructions. I told Eclipse to base the project on the Ant build file at VUE2/src/build.xml, and that worked fine.

Eclipse still listed a bunch of errors even after I excluded these folders using Eclipse's Resource Filters feature:


But, Eclipse still was able to build VUE anyway.

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Links: Music generated (or partly generated) by software
Monday, December 19th, 2016
13:42:00 GMT


Here's an interesting article I found today:

Deep-Learning Machine Listens to Bach, Then Writes Its Own Music in the Same Style
(Dec. 14, 2016 from

And here's an impressive example of that music on YouTube:

DeepBach: harmonization in the style of Bach generated using deep learning

I was hoping there was source code available for that software, so, I googled for "bach source code deep learning". Didn't find the above project's source code, but, I found this:

BachBot is a free (as in freedom), libre, open source project with a code repository on GitHub.

I tried the BachBot Challenge and got only 40% correct the first time, but 100% the second time, when I started listening more carefully for anything particularly un-Bach-like, such as off-key-sounding notes.

Another interesting page:

Analyzing Six Deep Learning Tools for Music Generation
(Oct. 5, 2016 from

I especially enjoyed the examples from

Two of those tracks are also on SoundCloud, which I'm assuming might have better audio quality than YouTube.

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