Posts Below
9/21/2016 - Link: "It's Impossible to See all the Dots on this Optical Illusion at Once" (Science)
9/19/2016 - How to make Saxon/C into a PHP extension for PHP 5.6.13 in Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 (Puppy Linux)
9/1/2016 - The death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin was possibly a result of software-controlled car parts (Software)
8/26/2016 - Link: Free eBook Giveaway from Hay House Publishing (Books)
8/25/2016 - Zippable pillow protectors: better than plastic bags for organizing things (Self-Help)
8/14/2016 - Oxalates and their interference with the absorption of nutrients (Health)
8/10/2016 - Link: "A Palace Was Unearthed Where Legend Places King Arthur's Birthplace" (History)
8/7/2016 - Sandstorm (Software)
8/2/2016 - Still trying to quit tea; hoping quitting will reduce my headaches (Health)
7/29/2016 - DemExit (Activism)
7/29/2016 - Chicory and barley: reputedly good for dental health, etc. (Health)
7/25/2016 - Bash Script: flexishacheck (Software)
7/22/2016 - Teeccino: An Excellent Alternative to Coffee (Food)
7/18/2016 - Links: Free (as in Freedom), Libre, Open Source Agriculture (Food)
7/18/2016 - Link: Rosetta Stone for Unix (GNU/Linux)
7/17/2016 - International postal systems: more reasons I'm glad to be an American (Business - And Charity)
7/13/2016 - Going to try a standing desk (Health)
7/11/2016 - Dancing: probably more interesting than many other forms of exercise (Health)
7/9/2016 - Synonyms for the word "Antifragile" (Languages - English)
7/9/2016 - How to add XML and XSLT 1.0 capabilities to Perl in Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004 (Puppy Linux)

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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Link: "It's Impossible to See all the Dots on this Optical Illusion at Once"
Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
06:27:32 GMT

Science

Quite cool:

It's Impossible to See all the Dots on this Optical Illusion at Once
Sept. 12, 2016 from PopularMechanics.com


A more detailed article:

Here's why you can't see all 12 black dots in this crazy optical illusion
Sept. 13, 2016, from ScienceAlert.com


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How to make Saxon/C into a PHP extension for PHP 5.6.13 in Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8
Monday, September 19th, 2016
19:15:31 GMT

Puppy Linux

I wanted to be able to use XSLT 2.0 with PHP (my favorite programming language), so I figured out how to compile Saxon/C into a PHP extension.

According to Saxon/C's official home page, Saxon/C provides "XML document processing for the C/C++/PHP platforms", and "In particular, Saxon/C provides processing in XSLT, XQuery and XPath, and Schema validation".


I ran into a few problems trying to make Saxon/C into a PHP extension on my Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004 system, but, fortunately, I was able to solve them.

I still didn't figure out how to make all of the Saxon/C example PHP scripts work, but, 3 out of 4 work fine for me.




To compile software from scratch in Puppy Linux, it's often necessary (or convenient) to use the DevX file of development tools for your Puppy Linux.

My page of Some Puppy Linux Basics explains more about DevX files, and if you need the DevX for Lucid Puppy 5.2.8, it's available at this link:

http://distro.ibiblio.org/puppylinux/puppy-5.2.8/

If you're using a different version of Puppy than Lucid Puppy 5.2.8, that DevX probably won't work, so you should instead download the DevX released for your Puppy.

Also, if you're not using Lucid Puppy 5.2.8, please bear in mind that the instructions in this blog post might not all apply or work for you, since different Puppy Linux distros, and probably even different versions of the same Puppy distro, can differ quite substantially from each other.

And here's how to load SFS files.




Here's a list of required other software. Perhaps slightly different versions would also work, but these are exactly what I used.




The below instructions assume you already have PHP 5.6.13 and Java 1.8.0_51 installed.

Here's how I made Saxon/C into a PHP extension.


  1. Unzip the file "libsavon-HEC-setup-v1.0.2.zip" to whatever folder you want.

  2. Open a terminal window in that folder, and type this command:

    ./libsaxon-HEC-setup-v1.0.2


    That program will then give you a prompt that looks something like this:

    Enter destination path[/root/00-ApWorkspace/Saxonica/Saxon-HEC1.0.2]:

    You can press Enter on your keyboard to accept the default path, or type in a different path. If all goes well, a list of files that are being installed will be printed, and in the end, it will say:

    Saxon-HEC 1.0.2 has been successfully installed on your computer.


  3. Next, open the Saxonica folder, then the Saxon-HEC1.0.2 folder.

    There's a "readme.md" file you can read if you want.

    There's also a "php-library-module" folder, containing "saxon.so", an already-built PHP extension. It might work if you happen to be using the version of PHP the Saxon/C home page says that extension was built for - PHP 5.5.9. But, I tried it with PHP 5.6.13, and it didn't work for me.


  4. Open the Saxon.C.API folder, then open a terminal window in that folder, and type these commands. (The "phpize" command will only work if you have PHP installed):

    phpize

    ./configure --enable-saxon


  5. Here's where I had to diverge from the instructions in the "readme.md" file.

    Originally, running "make" didn't succeed for me because I had Java installed in an unconventional place, and "make" needed two Java-related files which "make" couldn't find: "jni.h" and "jni_md.h" (and probably others as well).

    "make" also needed a file from somewhere in the Saxon-HEC1.0.2 folder.


    So, to let "make" know where to find those files, I had to edit the "Makefile" in a text editor.

    In "Makefile", find line 31, which looks like this:

    CPPFLAGS = -DHAVE_CONFIG_H

    Change that to something like this (but customize it with the paths where you have Java, and where you put the Saxon-HEC1.0.2 folder):

    CPPFLAGS = -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -I/root/apbin/Java/v8u51/include/ -I/root/apbin/Java/v8u51/include/linux/ -I/root/00-ApWorkspace/Saxonica/Saxon-HEC1.0.2/


  6. Next, in the terminal window opened at the Saxon.C.API folder, type this command:

    make

    After "make" succeeds, the compiled "saxon.so" PHP extension will be in the "modules" folder.


  7. Open the "modules" folder. Then, go to wherever your folder of PHP extensions is, and copy "saxon.so" into that folder.

    For me, that folder was:

    /usr/local/lib/php/extensions


  8. Then, to enable the saxon.so extension in PHP, edit your "php.ini" file. You might have multiple php.ini files - I have one at /etc/php.ini and one at /usr/local/lib/php.ini.

    In the extensions section of your "php.ini" file, put a line like this:

    extension=saxon.so


  9. I also had to create a symlink at /usr/lib/rt/ pointing to the "rt" folder in the "Saxon-HEC1.0.2" folder, since otherwise, errors happened, sometimes with PHP, and sometimes with the Hiawatha web server (which sometimes gave me an Internal Server Error).

    In my system, the "rt" folder was in this folder, but it will probably be elsewhere on your system:

    /root/00-ApWorkspace/Saxonica/Saxon-HEC1.0.2


  10. To make sure the extension was installed successfully, you can have PHP run the phpinfo(); command to print a list of installed PHP extensions and other info.

    You can even run the phpinfo(); command from a terminal window with this command line:

    php -r "phpinfo();"


There are example PHP scripts in the folder Saxon-HEC1.0.2/samples/php. "xpathExamples.php", "xqueryExamples.php", and "xsltExamples.php" worked fine for me, but "validatorExamples.php" had an error which I don't yet know how to fix.

Also, I think I ran into Bug #2677 - Saxon/C PHP API getErrorMessage does not report useful error.

However, more detailed error messages are readable in my Hiawatha web server logs, which, on my system, are located at:

/usr/local/var/log/hiawatha/error.log


I made this little PHP script called display_last_5_lines_of_hiawatha_error_log.php to make that log easier to read in my web browser:

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The death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin was possibly a result of software-controlled car parts
Thursday, September 1st, 2016
12:14:21 GMT

Software

I was very saddened to find out today that the actor Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in the recent Star Trek movies, died possibly because of the software-controlled "e-shift transmission" in his Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was involved in a recall. He was only 27.

So, I updated this blog post again:

The "Internet of Things" and "Pervasive Computing": Some of the Worst Ideas Ever


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Link: Free eBook Giveaway from Hay House Publishing
Friday, August 26th, 2016
22:51:48 GMT

Books

I heard about this free (as in price) eBook giveaway from an e-newsletter from Hay House Publishing:

Free eBook Giveaway - Hay House

I particularly like the fact that the books are provided in a variety of formats. My favorite of the formats provided is EPUB format, which I can read in my web browser with the EPUBReader add-on for the Firefox web browser. (That add-on also works in the Pale Moon web browser, which I prefer over Firefox.)

Then, using the Stylish add-on for Firefox (or Pale Moon), I can easily change the text's color to anything I want, and give the text a dark background, which makes it far more pleasant for me to read.

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Zippable pillow protectors: better than plastic bags for organizing things
Thursday, August 25th, 2016
11:54:46 GMT

Self-Help

For most of my life, I used plastic bags and cardboard boxes of various sizes (usually overly large, heavy, and difficult to move when full of junk) to "organize" things in a mostly inadequate, chaotic way.

But, recently, I finally thought of a great new innovation - putting things inside zippable pillow protectors. I prefer pillow protectors because ordinary pillowcases often don't have zippers. And sometimes ordinary pillowcases are so nice and soft you might be reluctant to use them for storage.

Compared to noisy, unsightly plastic shopping bags or garbage bags which easily get torn and often have no built-in way to completely close them - zippable pillow protectors are quieter, nicer to look at, easily closeable, and tend not to rip.


I don't have a closet, and I don't have space in my room for a clothes rack, so, now I keep different categories of clothes in different zippable pillow protectors, which makes them much easier to find than having them in numerous cardboard boxes or a giant mixed up pile.

I haven't yet thought of or found a good way to label them, but will update this post if I do.

(Addition, Sept. 22, 2016, 10:00 PM EDT. Using safety pins, I attach small rectangular papers labeled with the bag's contents. Each bag gets two labels - both near the middle of the zippered edge, on both the front and back of the bag. I should maybe use something a bit sturdier than plain paper, since plain paper might rip easily.)


It turns out both plastic bags and pillow protectors are bad for any non-rugged dressy types of shoes, since those can easily get crushed and creased. (I was always so oblivious to fashion that I didn't realize that until this year!) And I guess any clothes you don't want getting rumpled might be better off hanging somewhere instead of crammed into a bag.

But, for most of my clothes and my more rugged shoes, pillow protectors are perfectly fine. As for my more fragile shoes, I'll just stick those in small cardboard boxes.

I want to get a lot more zippable pillow protectors to hold many other categories of stuff, like plastic bags, boring junk mail I don't feel like going through yet, old receipts, other old papers I don't really care about but don't want to just throw away, and whatever else.

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Oxalates and their interference with the absorption of nutrients
Sunday, August 14th, 2016
01:39:27 GMT

Health

(Here's my site's disclaimer again, since this blog post is about health-related topics, and I'm not a health care professional, just a layperson who sometimes takes an interest in health and nutrition.)


Since earlier this year or late last year, and also on occasion even as far back as 2006, I've sometimes had jaw aches, mostly on the right side. Fortunately, that has been scarcely bothersome at all compared to my headaches.

However, earlier this year, sometimes I mistook that jaw pain for possible toothaches in my top and bottom backmost right teeth - except usually the ache felt more spread out rather than localized to my teeth. (I was similarly confused by some sore spots on my gums which were quite probably from gum disease - but I think that's probably a problem separate from my jaw pain, since my gum issues mostly went away months ago thanks to Vitamin C.)

When I saw the dentist in February, I found out the only cavities I had were on the opposite side of my mouth, and they were all so small I didn't even need to be numbed to get them filled.

I almost couldn't believe there was nothing wrong with my right backmost top and bottom teeth. But, the pain wasn't consistent, and it seemed like drinking enough liquids and taking magnesium helped. (Taking magnesium, Vitamin C, and drinking more liquids were all ideas I found and tried on my own - none of those were suggested to me by the dentist.)


However, my jaw aches have been more of a problem lately, especially the past few weeks. Usually the effects of magnesium on me had been far more noticeable - in addition to seeming to probably reduce my jaw pain and rid me of some annoying twitches near my right eye, it made me feel calmer and better able to sleep, and it sometimes made me feel very tired if I took it anytime I wasn't well-rested.

But lately, I've been feeling like magnesium hasn't been working as well for me.

So, that made me wonder if somehow some new factor in my nutrition (or life) was making me extra deficient in magnesium.


A while back, when reading about chicory (one of the main ingredients in Teeccino, an excellent "herbal coffee"), I ran across this page which said chicory is high in oxalates and not recommended for people with arthritis or who are prone to kidney stones.

So, I started reading about oxalates, and found this page which quoted some unknown other source which said:

“oxalates strongly bind to minerals and vice versa (e.g., calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium), and reduces the absorption of your minerals as they both come out via your urine.”

And the Antinutrient page on Wikipedia also mentions oxalates.


I also somehow ran across stuff related to Vitamin C and oxalates, such as this page, which says "vitamin C can be metabolized to oxalate".

That interested me because I had started taking two 500 mg Vitamin C's per day back in April, since it seems to tremendously help with my possible gum disease.

But, I think it wasn't until the past few weeks that magnesium started to seem significantly less effective for me.

Maybe some of my ailments are side effects of quitting caffeine. It's hard to judge since I didn't carefully log exactly what things happened when.


But, my current top theory is that maybe all the extra oxalates I've likely been getting lately from Teeccino and (to a lesser extent) from Vitamin C have maybe been interfering with my magnesium absorption.

Though I've also read that even just being extra stressed out can contribute to magnesium deficiency, and that could definitely also be a factor for me.

(Addition, Aug. 15, 2016, 5:08 AM EDT. This blog post I found describes a slow recovery from caffeine withdrawal which took up to 5 months! So, I now think it's very possible that caffeine withdrawal is a bigger factor in my ailments than I realized before.

Here's a blog post by me where I've been adding updates on my efforts to quit caffeine, or at least reduce how much I consume.)


Anyway, since Teeccino lacks caffeine and thus isn't addictive, it will be easy for me to experiment at some point with temporarily abstaining from Teeccino.

And also, now that I've sampled the majority of Teeccino flavors, I'll be less likely to drink more than one mugful per day. A lot of why I drank so much was simply to try all the new (to me) flavors as soon as possible.

But, I quite like Teeccino, so for now, I'd like to keep drinking it daily, and find a good way to adjust my diet to compensate for the possibly higher amounts of oxalates I've been consuming.


This aforementioned page says near the top that "High doses of vitamin B6 may decrease oxalate production".

So, perhaps having more Vitamin B6 might help me. For years, off and on, I have been taking Nature Made Stress B (which also contains Vitamin C and zinc). But I often have neglected to take it, since it tends to upset my stomach unless I eat something soon before (or soon after) taking it. I usually don't eat a large breakfast, so I can't just take Stress B first thing in my "morning" (or whatever equates to morning for me, due to my severe sleep issues).

I'll just have to do a better job of remembering to take Stress B after I eat enough food.


I already tried taking extra magnesium. A few weeks ago I started taking Nature Made magnesium citrate (except, unlike that page, my bottle just says "Softgels" instead of "Liquid Softgels").

I got magnesium citrate because I read in various places that some forms of magnesium are better-absorbed than others.

But I was surprised at how little effect magnesium citrate seemed to have on me compared to magnesium oxide. It's reputed to be better-absorbed than magnesium oxide, and (until lately), even just 1 Nature Made magnesium oxide seemed to have very noticeable effects on me, sometimes making me feel very tired about 2 hours after taking it (unless I'm well-rested enough that it just makes me feel more relaxed and calm).

However, I started taking magnesium citrate around the same time I started drinking Teeccino, so, maybe that's why the magnesium citrate seemingly doesn't have very noticeable effects on me.


I also tried extra Nature Made magnesium oxide. At times, it seemed to do surprisingly little for me - at one point, I tried taking 3 at once, and didn't feel much difference. Though at another point, I tried taking 2 at once, and a few hours later, it seemed to make me feel crappy (literally).

So, I think maybe I'd rather get extra magnesium from my diet instead of supplements, or at least just avoid taking more than 1 magnesium oxide at a time.

I've continued to take 1 serving of Nature Made magnesium citrate daily (in my "morning", usually). But, judging by my jaw aches, I suspect I need even more magnesium than that.


Perhaps another good approach might be to consume additional amounts of other nutrients that oxalates are reputed to interfere with the absorption of.

This page suggests consuming more calcium.


And 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. "

Unfortunately, judging by this other page, Vitamin K2 sounds like it might be a nutrient which might be hard to get directly in a purely vegetarian diet. (Reminds me of the difficulties with getting some forms of Omega 3 in purely vegetarian ways.)

However, this page points out various things suggesting that it might be possible for the body to convert Vitamin K1 into Vitamin K2.

I hope that's possible, since I'm pretty fond of kale (which has a lot of Vitamin K), and I could (and probably should) eat kale more frequently.

(Additions, Aug. 14/15, 9:41 PM/12:46 AM EDT. There seems to be conflicting info on the web about whether kale is high in oxalates or not. Here's a page that says it's low in oxalates. I tried to find the Harvard data that page referred to, and found something, though I don't know whether or not that's what that page was talking about. But the file "Oxalate Content of Foods.xls" says kale is low oxalate, with 2 mg of oxalates.)

I also am fond of gouda cheese, but it's kind of expensive, and I still feel guilty about not being 100% vegetarian.


I wish I could have figured out the perfect cure(s) for my various ailments before posting this. But, oh, well.

Magnesium not having such a strong effect on me as it used to was just such an unusual difference for me that it seemed worth investigating and writing about, even though I'm not a health care professional nor anyone else who is officially licensed to come up with theories about any of these topics.

As more details come to light, I might update this post in the future.

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Link: "A Palace Was Unearthed Where Legend Places King Arthur's Birthplace"
Wednesday, August 10th, 2016
17:32:57 GMT

History

Found via the Smithsonian Magazine email newsletter:

A Palace Was Unearthed Where Legend Places King Arthur's Birthplace
(Aug. 5, 2016)

I always liked King Arthur stories, so, I thought this was cool.

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Sandstorm
Sunday, August 7th, 2016
05:05:19 GMT

Software

I recently heard about a very impressive project called Sandstorm which makes installing web apps (like WordPress or MediaWiki, and many others) as easy as installing phone apps.

Sandstorm Demo

One reason I'm so pleased to have run across this is because I had been idly wondering for years if there might be good ways to make my and others' web apps easy to install other than using a combination of my Puppy Linux Setup Kit and Astroblahhh GLMP-GTK, plus VirtualBox to make them hopefully more secure.


I don't have the expertise to judge Sandstorm's technical and security merits, but, from the perspective of a user, I find Sandstorm very pleasant and easy to use.

And, as the author of some amateurish (yet still useful at least to me) web apps (and other things), I'm definitely interested in someday seeing if I can easily convert Astroblahhh Desktop and/or the WordsPlatz blogging software and/or the Eryss astrology software and/or other and/or not yet created things into Sandstorm packages.


To my surprise, I was able to successfully do all the steps in Sandstorm's packaging tutorial while using Lighthouse 64 Puppy Linux 6.02 Beta 2!

I don't feel up to writing a complete set of instructions on how to install everything in Lighthouse 64, and it would probably be better for me to just add scripts to my Puppy Linux Setup Kit to automate most everything.

But, here are a few notes.



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Still trying to quit tea; hoping quitting will reduce my headaches
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
12:03:28 GMT

Health

Quitting caffeine has been getting tougher for me. I'm aware quitting it abruptly can lead to nasty withdrawal symptoms.

But, in my eagerness to be done with tea forever, I guess I rushed too quickly through the gradual-decrease phase and tried too soon to stop drinking it completely.

Result: headaches.


I was hoping approximately 12 ounces of tea per day wouldn't be that hard to get unaddicted from if I really tried, but, darn.

I guess I better keep quitting gradually instead of abruptly. Fortunately, simply drinking tea makes me feel better pretty quickly.

However, I no longer like the taste of tea as much as I used to, since Teeccino (which is "herbal coffee" with no caffeine) tastes so much better to me in comparison. So, I'm going to try to mixing my tea with Teeccino. (I wasn't mixing the two before because I wanted to see what pure Teeccino tasted like, and I was hoping I could quit tea sooner and less gradually.)

(Addition, 4:03 PM EDT. It turns out they both taste better separate, at least the way I tried to mix them. Maybe with effort the mix could be improved, but I don't feel like making the effort, since I doubt the mix will ever taste better than pure Teeccino.)


For many months, I had been noticing a craving to have more than just a single 12 ounce mug of tea per day. Not immediately after my first (and usually only) cup - but instead, annoyingly late in my "day", approaching my bedtime (which could be literally any time of day or night, due to my severe sleep issues).

I nearly always resisted the urge. But, maybe that craving was an indication I was even more addicted than I realized?


Even when I wasn't actively trying to quit tea, I got headaches on occasion. But, because I seldom went much longer than a day without having tea, I usually assumed those headaches weren't caffeine-related. But perhaps a lot of those headaches actually were from insufficient caffeine?

So, maybe at least some of my problems with occasional "random" headaches will finally go away once I get free of caffeine addiction.


Additions, 7:22 PM/7:46 PM. Here's an article from Smithsonian Magazine about what caffeine does to your brain.

Today it seems I mistakenly drank too little tea to totally get rid of my headache. I'm so annoyed by this I think I might go ahead and just immediately quit completely, so I can hopefully get through this withdrawal nonsense as quickly as possible.

So, I'm probably going to be particularly boring and useless for a while, since I'm going to continue mostly avoiding stressful things, and probably mostly read a lot and binge-watch Netflix and YouTube.


Addition, 8:50 PM EDT. Just found out from this page that my former usual daily tea only contains about 40 mg of caffeine per cup.

That sounds like a tiny amount. But, maybe it isn't tiny for me, since I'm only 5'4" and maybe 120 lbs. (Just guessing since I don't have a scale.) In any case, tea definitely has had very noticeable effects on how alert I am and how well I'm able to concentrate, and also tends to improve my mood.

But, the good effects don't last long enough for my liking, and I'm tired of feeling overly tired without caffeine, waking up feeling insufficiently rested, and especially tired of the possibility that perhaps a lot of my headaches are related to not drinking enough caffeine at the "right" time, whenever that is - which might be particularly hard for me to figure out due to my messed up circadian rhythms.

Hopefully the withdrawal won't last too long because I already had been working on gradually decreasing my tea intake. At the moment I'm feeling mostly OK, just tired now, probably partly because the last time I slept, I only slept about 4 hours because of a headache.


Addition, Aug. 4, 2016, 1:08 AM EDT. Spinning in my office chair and making myself dizzy distracts a bit from my headaches!


Additions, Aug. 4, 2016, 6:18/6:35 PM EDT. No headache since maybe 1:30 AM. But, I've been pretty tired (even after a long sleep), anxious, and foggy-minded.

I guess I probably am hypersensitive to caffeine, though at least I'm not so hypersensitive that I experience nothing but negative effects from caffeine. But I think roughly 12 ounces of tea per day must have been at least a little too much for me. But maybe if I simply drink less per day, that will work for me, hopefully with all good effects and no bad effects?

I got a new, larger mug earlier this year. Didn't realize that might cause me trouble. But even the previous amount I was drinking might have been too much, if caffeine withdrawal was a significant factor in a lot of the headaches I've gotten over the years.


Addition, Aug. 4, 2016, 7:30 PM EDT. I figured out that my supposedly 12 ounce mug might actually hold more than 12 ounces, since I was able to pour 2 nearly full cups of water into it from an 8.5 ounce styrofoam cup. I don't have a measuring cup, so I can't measure it more exactly, but, it now looks like maybe I had been drinking close to 16 ounces of tea per day.

Trying to quit tea has been such an annoying disruption to my life and ability to get anything done that I've decided to resume drinking tea, but from an 8.5 ounce styrofoam cup instead. I just had some and already feel a bit better.


Additions, Aug. 4/5, 2016, 7:50 PM/12:51 AM EDT. I still don't want to be stuck drinking tea for the rest of my life, so, my next caffeine reduction strategy will be to add a small amount of this Mount Hagen organic instant coffee (or this cheaper pack of 2) to my Teeccino.

I tried that coffee a few years ago and liked it a lot, so I'm guessing the flavor will probably blend well with Teeccino.


Addition, Aug. 7, 2016, 6:10 AM EDT. No headaches lately, and I got the coffee, and it's good in (or out of) Teeccino. Maybe I'm doing better overall with less caffeine, but, it's hard to tell at the moment, since yesterday, I had to wake up unusually early (for me), and didn't go back to sleep yet, so I'm quite tired now. I still feel like I want to take a long vacation from everything stressful.

Here's the most interesting article I've seen recently about caffeine and its effects:

Coffee Time: How caffeine shifts our circadian clocks.
(Sept. 17, 2015, from Slate.com)

Quotes:

"The way caffeine works on cells in the body might be different than how it works on the brain."

[...]

"jet lag isn’t just the fact that your brain is in another time zone—it’s that your liver might be in a different time zone than your brain.”


Addition, Aug. 8, 2016, 3:51 PM EDT. I don't feel perfect yet, and I still feel like I could go back to sleep again soon, but, upon waking up today, I think I felt better-rested than I had for several months. No headaches, and I feel overall calmer.

I got my new mug (which I thought was 12 ounces but actually was larger) back in February, so I guess I had been at least slightly overdosing on caffeine since around then.


Additions, Aug. 9, 2016, 3:46 AM EDT, etc. I wish I had gone back to sleep, but I didn't. I thought I felt better-rested than usual, but that feeling didn't last long.

I don't know if still having a little caffeine is helping, or making things worse. I think now that I'm so close to having no caffeine, I'll just go without it completely for a while.

I guess another possible contributor to my various ailments might be Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but, for now, I don't want to get into the details of why I think that. I'd rather focus on positive things.


Addition, Aug. 10, 2016, 1:21 PM EDT. Got a headache last night, and gave in and drank some coffee, which didn't fully get rid of it. but I'm OK now. It is definitely nice to feel like sleep is doing me more good than it had been.


Addition, Aug. 11, 2016, 6:07 PM EDT. No headaches, and my old vigor has been coming back after probably months of absence. Even though I had to get up overly early for something today and am thus tired, I still have felt better than I had in a long time.

So, maybe I finally really will try bellydancing and a standing desk sometime.

It seems like I'm OK as long as I don't have too much caffeine. So, yesterday evening and today, mostly just for flavor's sake, I put a small amount of coffee - probably less than a teaspoon - in my Teeccino.


Addition, Aug. 13, 2016, 9:46 PM EDT. Had to wake up too early for various reasons on Aug. 12th, so wasn't doing as well yesterday. Slept longer today but am not as energetic as I was on Aug. 11. (Perhaps that energy came from the small amount of caffeine I might have had that day.)

Still, no headaches. And, no caffeine since Aug. 12th or possibly Aug. 11th. I got my Teeccino Boutique Sampler on Aug. 11th, so I mostly avoided putting coffee in them since I wanted to see how they tasted without it.

Another symptom I neglected to mention, which has been a problem for maybe years now, is that I often wake up very thirsty, and this often wakes me up repeatedly while I'm trying to sleep.

And I've had some jaw pain from time to time. My current top theory on that is, maybe it's from magnesium deficiency caused by consuming too many oxalates. (Oxalates are antinutrients found in many common foods.) So I wrote a new blog post on those topics:

Oxalates and their interference with the absorption of nutrients


Addition, Aug. 14, 2016, 1:02 AM EDT. Oops, getting absentminded. Judging by what I wrote above on Aug. 11th, I definitely added a bit of coffee to one of my Teeccinos that day. So, actually, I've been caffeine-free since Aug. 12th, not the 11th.

Additions, 1:30 AM EDT, etc. Don't know when I'll feel normal again (without resorting to caffeine). But, even though I've felt tired, I still feel less tired and better-rested compared to the past several months. But I think I better keep avoiding stressful things and instead do less challenging things like reading books and watching videos.

Despite my tiredness, I've still been learning a lot from The Art of Unix Programming by Eric S. Raymond. I wish I had read that years ago.

Addition, Aug. 14. 2016, 7:20 PM EDT. Decided to probably continue adding small amounts of coffee to my Teeccino, since I like the taste, and even a small amount of caffeine seems to make me feel better and more capable of getting useful things done.


Addition, Aug. 15, 2016, 4:55 AM EDT. I found a blog post by someone who reported experiencing caffeine withdrawal symptoms for up to 5 months!

I'm actually comforted to know it can take that long, because I was worried that I should be much more recovered by now, and worried that maybe my various remaining ailments were caused more by other things than by caffeine withdrawal.

So, that helps rid me of some anxiety. I also read that muscle aches can be a symptom of caffeine withdrawal, so, that could at least partly explain my jaw aches.

That blog post's description of Month 5 gives me something to look forward to.

However, I'm going to probably slightly increase my daily coffee dosage, because I think I need a bit more to minimize my withdrawal symptoms.


Addition, Aug. 18, 2016, 9:07 PM EDT. My jaw aches have been fluctuating between being mostly gone, and still being slightly there. Perhaps magnesium, kale, ground flaxseed, and/or Nature Made Stress B helped.

The past couple days, I had to wake up too early for various reasons, so, I'm probably tired just because of that. But also, I think even the small amount of coffee I had - maybe about a teaspoon - probably made me stay awake longer than I otherwise might have.

So, I'm going to try having an even more minimal and less frequent amount of coffee, like, less than a teaspoon and not daily. My main goal is just to minimize caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

I think I need more sleep, so I don't expect to accomplish much of anything in the very near future. But, in the past few days, I made some progress with XSLT and VUE: Visual Understanding Environment. Which is actually getting me interested in learning more about functional programming in general.


Additions, Aug. 24, 2016, 3:03 AM EDT, etc. Aug. 23rd was the first day my jaw started feeling mostly back to normal! Still been tired, but that's partly because of having to wake up too early. But even so, I've still been feeling more well-rested than I did before trying to quit caffeine.

And I've even made surprisingly good progress with XSLT, though I still find it pretty confusing. But I finally did manage to extract node label data from a VUE: Visual Understanding Environment concept map!


And, I think I want to learn more about one of the most mystifying programming languages I've ever encountered - Haskell. Things that take many lines of code in other languages can be squeezed into much fewer lines of code in Haskell. Much fewer, but much more indecipherable, at least for me so far.

So, I hope to read Learn You a Haskell for Great Good! and Real World Haskell at some point. I sure hope I have the brains to learn this stuff. :-)

I guess this is a particularly good time for me to study Haskell, because if it turns out to be hopelessly difficult, I can blame my caffeine withdrawal symptoms, tiredness, etc. And if I actually do get somewhere with Haskell, I'll feel particularly pleased with myself for being able to do that despite my caffeine withdrawal symptoms, tiredness, etc. :-)


I still have been having less than a teaspoon of coffee daily, but hopefully will start skipping days soon.

I think more often than not, throughout my life, ever since I was a child, I have been regularly consuming some amount of caffeine, either in the form of caffeinated soda, tea, or more rarely, coffee.

I wonder if I was always more sensitive to caffeine than I realized? Maybe this is yet another possible cause of my severe sleep issues.

Of course, I always knew better than to drink caffeine too near bedtime. (Even as a child, I was aware that was a bad idea, thanks to being told by my relatives.) But maybe I always was so caffeine-sensitive that the sleep-disrupting effects persisted longer for me than they do for many people?

I very much doubt that completely quitting caffeine would completely cure my my severe sleep issues, since I think there were probably times in my life when I wasn't drinking caffeine regularly and I still had sleep problems. But, I'll just see what happens, I guess.


Addition, Aug. 24, 2016, 6:36 AM EDT. One difference in my life yesterday compared to all the other days I've been decreasing caffeine is that I got a lot more exercise than usual. Had to walk around a lot.

And, also, I finally tried my $10 (ten dollar) used bike for the first time since I was given it a few months ago. I hadn't ridden a bike since I was maybe 9 or something, but, it seems science was right - I hadn't forgotten how to ride.

And I even managed to avoid falling off at all, even despite zipping around a corner at slightly worryingly high speed, due to not realizing that the brakes were controlled not by pedaling in reverse, but by squeezing some things attached to the handlebars.

Should have made sure I knew how the brakes worked before I started going a bit fast, but, oops. :-) Going uphill and into some grass also helped slow me down.

Anyway, I just found it interesting that my increased exercise coincided with my jaw aches being quite reduced. Though I don't know whether or not exercise actually had anything to do with that, since correlation does not necessarily imply causation.


Addition, Aug. 26, 2016, 2:39 AM EDT. Had no caffeine from the evening of Aug. 23rd to the evening of Aug. 25th. But, it seems like I need to keep having it to avoid getting in a bad mood. So I guess I'll keep having it daily, but keep gradually decreasing the amount.

Still have been getting jaw aches. Haven't gotten anything interesting done. I actually fell asleep at an unusually early time in my "cycle", though only for a few hours. I think maybe I fell asleep because I've been eating dried sour/tart cherries, which are reputed to contain a lot of melatonin - even more melatonin than walnuts, which themselves sometimes seem to have a pretty strong effect on me, and sometimes seem to make me sleepy in less than an hour (unless I'm already quite well-rested at the time I eat them).

Earlier this evening, all my relatives (all of whom also ate those dried sour/tart cherries) also went to sleep earlier than usual, even though one had also taken a nap during the day.

I had two small handfuls of dried sour/tart cherries a few hours ago, and have been on the verge of sleep for a long time since then, though I've been successfully resisting it so far. However, I think maybe I better avoid eating those except when I really want to feel sleepy.


Addition, Sept. 4, 2016, 11:01 PM EDT. I tried decreasing my caffeine probably too soon again - a small amount of coffee every 2 days. Now I've got a bad headache, and also a cold-like symptom - a slightly cloggy nose. I wonder if it actually is a cold.

I really wish I could just quit caffeine completely and immediately, but, that doesn't seem like a good or feasible idea with these horrible headaches and inability to get much of anything done. At least my jaw aches have been pretty much gone since a few days ago.

Next, I'm going to get some small measuring spoons so I can measure more precisely how much coffee I'm having.


Addition, Sept. 5, 2016, 3:34 AM EDT. Had a small amount of coffee in my Teeccino several hours ago, and have been feeling better since then. I was afraid it might not help since I had a similar amount around maybe 6 AM on Sept. 4 and actually felt worse several hours after that. But, I guess now, maybe I've accumulated enough caffeine in my system to reduce my withdrawal symptoms.

Anyway, hopefully just measuring the coffee more carefully, and having it daily, but continuing to decrease the amounts, will help.

I haven't been totally unable to do anything lately. Until yesterday, I think I was mostly feeling OK, which I guess tricked me into thinking I was less caffeine-dependent than I actually still am.

Been glancing at lots of different legally-available ebooks via my local library website Clevnet. But, I actually borrowed then returned so many different ebooks in such a short period of time that Clevnet automatically restricted me from borrowing anything else for 7 days! (Addition, Sept. 7, 2016, 9:07 AM EDT. Seems it was only 5 days, since now I can borrow books again!) I mistakenly thought the only restriction was that you could only borrow 20 books at the same time. I don't even know where I could have found out (without accidentally reaching the limit) that borrowing and quickly returning 100 books (or whatever number I borrowed) isn't allowed.

I guess in the future, I better use the Sample feature more, instead of briefly borrowing entire books just to see if I actually want to read them.

Fortunately, I still have 15 already-borrowed books to look at. Probably the most useful ones I have are:


Addition, Sept. 9, 2016, 4:27 PM EDT. Today, I received these measuring spoons, with these sizes: "1/64, 1/32, 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 3/4, 1 teaspoon, 1 Tablespoon, 1-1/2 Tablespoon and 2"

So, today, I had 1/8th of a teaspoon of coffee in my Teeccino. Looking forward to decreasing the amount of coffee, because I've been feeling too tired again lately.

And I just got these books (among many others) today on Clevnet:


Addition, Sept. 10, 2016, 8:21 AM EDT. Been reading Adrenal Fatigue For Dummies, and that has gotten me interested in getting a blood pressure monitor, especially since this one only costs $19.99.

I've only had a very small amount of dizziness lately - just for a minute or so while I was sitting (or partway lying) on my bed several days ago or something. But maybe back in April, I remember once I felt dizzy and faint when I stood up, though that quickly passed.

Dizziness has definitely not been a frequent symptom of mine, so I'm not particularly worried about it - just curious. I've never known what my blood pressure is since I never had a way to measure it myself.


The book also suggests taking your temperature. This interests me not only because of my possible adrenal fatigue, but also because I think I've sometimes read on the Niteowl mailing list that your temperature and your circadian rhythms are related.

So, I wonder if maybe frequently taking my temperature will give me some sort of insight into my possible Non-24-hour Sleep-Wake Disorder.


I feel vaguely tired and wish I could go back to sleep, but, despite briefly trying, I wasn't able to fall asleep again after sleeping from around 8:20 PM to 4:10 AM.

But, I feel like I'm able to concentrate pretty well (even though I haven't had any coffee yet), and I managed to finish reading XSLT For Dummies. I feel like I learned a lot and am well-equipped to proceed with the little XSLT project I began days before finding XSLT For Dummies.

I don't feel very physically energetic, but I feel eager to read a lot more and quite possibly get back to my XSLT and Perl coding.


Additions, 8:40/8:43 AM EDT. Yesterday I found out that there are two new Star Trek Continues episodes that I haven't watched yet! One from May 28th, and one from Sept. 3rd.


Addition, Sept. 11, 2016, 9:29 AM EDT. Yesterday evening I had a slight headache, perhaps since I had only 1/16th of a teaspoon of coffee yesterday, but that's gone now. My jaw aches have been recurring a bit, but, hopefully they'll go away as I continue to decrease caffeine.


Being reminded yesterday of the connection between temperature and circadian rhythms made me wonder (again) if perhaps my electric blanket has been causing me problems.

Despite the hot weather, I still have been using my electric blanket all year, since I keep my room pretty cold with air conditioning.

So, since someone just happened to give me some new non-electric blankets recently, I decided to use just them. Today, I woke up around 5 AM since I finally got cold, but, I just put on an extra blanket and went back to sleep for another few hours. And I might have stayed asleep even longer, except my nice, big, heavy old keyboard (which is so old it has a PS/2 plug instead of a USB plug) fell off my bed and woke me up.

So, I slept from about 8 PM to 8 AM today! I haven't been keeping a spreadsheet of my sleep lately, because I haven't yet figured out how to make a Gantt chart (or whatever else I need, whatever it's called) using Gnumeric. So, I mostly don't have nice charts of my sleep patterns yet. (Ooh, maybe this is another thing XML and XSLT might be useful for?)


Anyway, though - I think most of the time for months, I've usually only been able to sleep a maximum of 6-8 hours and often less, which has seemed weird for me, because I used to be able to sleep longer, and it often seemed like I needed to sleep an extra amount of time (like maybe 12 to 15 hours) to make up for getting too little sleep in the recent past.

Probably the longest I ever slept was about 25 hours. I don't remember the exact circumstances or when exactly that happened, just that it was probably sometime in the past 10 years. But, I think probably I was just recovering from having been awake far too long for some reason(s) soon before that. It probably sounds unhealthy to sleep so long, but if I recall correctly, I felt much better after I did that, and I quickly and without trying got back to my "normal" (for me) schedule after that.


So far today, I haven't even had any coffee yet, but, I think I do feel more rested than usual. This seems like a pretty promising result, so, I think in addition to caffeine, I'm going to quit my electric blanket that I've been addicted to, too. :-) Should have tried that sooner.


Addition, Sept. 11, 2016, 1:02 PM EDT. This has been my most high-energy day in a long time! I hadn't even gotten out of bed yet when I wrote the preceding paragraphs.

But after getting out of bed, my increased energy was really noticeable. I actually feel largely back to what used to be normal for me (when adequately rested) - having so much energy I almost don't know what to do with it!

I have more of a spring in my step, and have been cheerfully zooming up and down stairs, and fidgeting a lot more. :-) Doing physical things seems much more effortless now, rather than a chore that I need willpower to force myself to do. And learning to bellydance seems a lot more feasible now. :-) (I actually scarcely tried bellydancing ever since I first mentioned it, and also scarcely tried my standing desk, which is covered with junk now, along with my office chair, since I usually hadn't had the energy to clean my room.)


Because of what I read in Adrenal Fatigue For Dummies yesterday, I was thinking I should try to avoid sugar more. And I was going to start that today - but I felt so much better today that I let myself have an unusually large number of chocolate fudge Pirouettes - about 12. And I still feel fine.

And now I'm having 1/16th of a teaspoon of coffee in my still not-yet-finished pumpkin spice Teeccino.

I'm so relieved. I feel reborn, or like I've youthened about 10 or 15 years. Hopefully this will last. :-)


Addition, Sept. 12, 2016, 8:37 AM EDT. Slept between almost 1 AM and almost 8 AM. I have a slight headache now, probably from too little caffeine, which I think is what woke me up.

Yesterday, I had a pretty good day, but started to feel more tired around 6:20 PM. Still, yesterday was very encouraging, and I think I still feel overall better than usual today.

But, the mental fogginess I seem to get when low on caffeine has been coming back despite my greatly increased physical energy. So, maybe I'll try a little more than 1/16th of a teaspoon of coffee. But, I think maybe I'd rather not have any coffee right now because I think I might like to go back to sleep soon.


Addition, Sept. 12, 2016, 11:36 AM EDT. Stayed awake. 1/16th + 1/32nd of a teaspoon of coffee wasn't enough to get rid of my headache, so I just took an Advil.

I think I'm going to just keep decreasing caffeine (or maybe quit it entirely), and use painkillers to deal with the headaches, since this has dragged on long enough.


Addition, 8:34 PM EDT. Without my headache, I definitely feel much better, just more foggy-minded than yesterday, and like I want to go to sleep again, but I still feel physically energetic. I suspect my sleep is more restorative now that I quit my electric blanket.

Yesterday was the most dramatic improvement I've had for months, and it coincided with me ceasing to use my electric blanket.

I'm sure reducing caffeine has helped me too, but I'm really surprised and delighted at what a difference quitting my electric blanket may have made.


Addition, Sept. 13, 2016, 1:17 PM EDT. Slept pretty well from around 2:20 AM to 9:50 AM. No headache, and I still have plenty of energy, though maybe not as much as when I had a little coffee and some chocolate fudge Pirouettes.

I suspect now that my problem probably wasn't adrenal fatigue (or maybe I had a bit of that before, but have recovered from it a lot). I think now my main problem was probably chronically poor sleep, primarily due to my electric blanket, and probably also because of formerly having too much caffeine, partly because of not realizing I had a 17 ounce mug instead of a 12 ounce mug.

And since quitting my electric blanket seemed to make such a profound difference so quickly, I now think caffeine was probably much less of a problem than my electric blanket - even though decreasing caffeine definitely seemed to help too, just not as much.

But, even though caffeine was quite possibly less of a problem for me than I thought, I'm still not eager to resume drinking tea or larger amounts of coffee. I'd rather totally do without caffeine for a while. Maybe I'll resume it someday, or use it just on occasion when I actually have a reason to forcibly keep myself awake.

But, since I'm not even sure if I ever did without caffeine longer than a few weeks or maybe months ever since the year 2000, I'm quite curious to see how life seems without caffeine.


Now that I feel so much better, I'm partway grateful for the very upsetting misfortune that happened to me earlier this year.

Before that happened, I already hadn't been at my best for quite a while, but, I wasn't feeling bad enough to seriously consider giving up caffeine or my electric blanket, and, while I was a bit worried, I rather cynically assumed maybe my tiredness was just an unavoidable part of getting older. (Or that maybe I was getting diabetes, or who knows what.)

But, after that misfortune happened, I was so upset and stressed out that it caused my tiredness to get much worse. So, that motivated me to look for solutions, got me even more interested in nutrition and exercise, and made me more eager than ever before to quit caffeine and even my electric blanket.

If that misfortune hadn't happened, it might have taken a lot longer for me to do all that, and I might have continued gradually getting more and more unhealthy and exhausted.

So... at least that misfortune had a silver lining in the end. It's still sad, but, that's life, I guess. Those were some really sour lemons, but at least this is some great lemonade, which might have changed the entire course of my life for the better, since now I have a lot more energy and ability to work on my numerous projects and goals.


Addition, Sept. 14, 2016, 1:10 PM EDT. Slept from around 1 AM to around 10:05 AM. Yesterday I sometimes felt like I was verging on a headache, but I've been fine today so far. A bit foggy-minded, but still plenty of energy.

The thing that currently most tempts me to drink a bit of coffee is, the hope of getting rid of the slight foggy-mindedness, so I can more easily proceed with my XSLT and Perl project that I've scarcely returned to working on yet.

But compared to a headache, this is scarcely an obstruction at all. I still managed to quickly brainstorm some probably good ideas for someone who asked for my feedback on something. I just feel a bit weird, and am a little forgetful.


Addition, 3:40 PM EDT. Just found this article: Vitamin C: Stress Buster

Good thing I've been taking at least two 500 mg Vitamin C's per day since last April, since judging by that article, it's possible I would have been worse off otherwise.

Lately it has seemed like I need even more Vitamin C than just 1000 mg soon after I wake up, because the lower left sore spot on my gums has been coming back. So, I'm going to take at least one 500 mg Vitamin C later in my day as well, in addition to my usual Nature Made Stress B.

Maybe I need extra Vitamin C due to caffeine withdrawal?


Thanks to my increased energy, I got a bit more creative than usual with cooking - microwaved some potatoes, then added butter, milk, and salt, and mashed it all up to make mashed potatoes. It was fairly good, though it seemed to be lacking something. Tried extra butter, which helped, and also some black pepper and nutmeg, which also helped, but I'm not sure yet what will make it perfect.

But, after eating that, I got tired. Actually, even before that, I was feeling a bit tired. I'm guessing this is probably related to having no caffeine at all ever since the morning of Sept. 12th. Still, I'm doing much better than I was before quitting my electric blanket. Even when sleepy, doing physical things now still seems much easier than it did before quitting my electric blanket.

Since I have no job or any other pressing reason to stay awake, I might just go to sleep sometime in the next few hours. Except I'd kind of like to read or something, so, that might or might not keep me awake.


Addition, Sept. 14, 2016, 7:55 PM EDT. Stayed awake to read. And decided to have 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee, since if caffeine withdrawal is so hard on me as to necessitate an increase in my Vitamin C, I think I'd rather just keep easing off of caffeine instead of completely stopping it immediately. And I feel like I'm on the verge of a headache, and would really like to get some useful stuff done.


Addition, Sept. 15, 2016, 11:43 AM EDT. I'm not sure if it was Vitamin C or the 1/64th teaspoon of coffee that made me feel a bit better last night, but something worked.

Went to sleep around 11:40 PM, and today I felt like I slept so long and well that I was surprised to see it was only 8:59 AM instead of 2 PM when I woke up. Still lots of energy.


Addition, 7:36 PM EDT. Had 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee in the morning, and another 1/64th around 6 PM since I was feeling some craving for caffeine. Tomorrow I'll probably just have 1/32nd of a teaspoon soon after I wake up, in the hope that I'll avoid craving it at any time approaching bedtime.

Haven't needed to take extra Vitamin C beyond my usual two 500 mg Vitamin C's when I wake up, since the sore spot on my gum has been OK ever since my first 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee today, though it was bothering me a little before I had that coffee.

My energy lasted a while, and I didn't feel foggy-minded until getting tired around maybe 6:30 PM. Still, didn't get much done today. I watched TV, vacuumed a room (which is something I do rarely), and read a little. And worked a little on my XSLT project - made some notes and some hopefully good design decisions, but didn't actually write code today.


Addition, Sept. 16, 2016, 1:40 PM EDT. Netflix kept me awake, so, I slept between around 2 AM and 10 AM. Slept pretty well, and still have a lot of energy, though sometimes it has seemed like I get a bit tired after eating. Actually, I'm starting to feel a bit tired right now.

But everything seems better than before I quit my electric blanket. Even just thinking seems easier than it has in a long time. So, I've been making progress with XSLT.

As planned, had 1/32nd of a teaspoon of coffee in my Teeccino this morning.

My sleep schedule has been interestingly close to normal-seeming for the past several days, since I've been sleeping at night and awake during the day. I'll be quite surprised if that lasts.

I wish I had some nice sleep charts like these for recent months so I could get more of an overview of what has been going on with me.


Additions, Sept. 16, 2016, 7:10 PM EDT, etc. Had a nap sometime between 3:32 PM (the most recent time in my web browser history before waking) and 6:30 PM. Didn't intend or plan to, but, I had no reason to stop myself when it turned out I seemed to need a nap.

Before quitting my electric blanket, I seldom was even able to fall asleep for a nap, despite frequently feeling tired enough to do so. So, I think this is probably progress too.

My lack of sleepiness definitely hasn't been lasting all day (even though physical activity still seems much easier than it used to while sleepy), and if Netflix hadn't kept me awake last night, I might've been able to fall asleep any time from around 6:30 PM onward yesterday. But it makes sense that it might take longer than less than a week of good sleep for me to recover from the fatigue (or whatever) caused primarily by my electric blanket which I got back in Nov. 2014, and my mistakenly oversized tea mug which I got in Feb. 2016, which was 17 ounces instead of 12 ounces.

And also to recover from caffeine withdrawal, which (according to this aforementioned blog post) can take 5 months for some people. And I suspect that includes me, since even though I never drank a huge amount of caffeine, I think it affected me a lot more than it should have, since I now think I am probably much more caffeine sensitive than I originally realized.

1/64th of a teaspoon is such a tiny-looking amount of coffee, and yet I think I've felt a difference even just from that. Unless it's just a placebo effect - but, even if that's all it is, fine, since I'm definitely feeling better in any case.


Additions, Sept. 17, 2016, 2:30/2:42 AM EDT. Getting sleepy again. Been watching Marco Polo on Netflix. I know hardly anything about the real Marco Polo or that part of history (though the show makes me curious to learn more).

But it's a good reminder that I definitely prefer the part of history I'm now living in. I'd probably rather live in the future (assuming things get better and more like Star Trek someday), but, at least the present seems a lot better in a lot of ways than probably most of the past.

That show reminds me of some of my notions about my past lives. I kind of hope reincarnation doesn't exist, because life can be pretty depressing at times. But, believing that I might have future lives at least gives me even more motivation than I already had to try to improve the world. And to improve myself - since who knows, maybe it's possible to carry talents into future lives.

I'm well-aware that reincarnation might not exist at all, but, daydreaming about future lives (and what I can do in the present to improve them) is a lot more fun than thinking about things in the nearer future, like turning 40, 50, and so on.


Addition, Sept. 17, 2016, 3:57 PM EDT. Slept between around 6:20 AM and 12:40 PM. Had only 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee today. Still feeling great, even without extra Vitamin C.

Today, instead of taking Nature Made magnesium citrate in my "morning" as I usually have been lately, I decided to try taking it closer to the end of my day.

Since magnesium can make me tired, skipping my "morning" magnesium might be why I haven't gotten at all tired yet.

Not much else to add, since my life is pretty boring. :-) I still am having trouble making myself do boring things like clean my room and finish my little XSLT project, but that's nothing new.


Addition, Sept. 17, 2016, 11:27 PM EDT. Today was my best day so far. Didn't get sleepy all day until around 11 PM. Though I definitely wasn't doing anything very physically tiring or even intellectually challenging today - I watched Netflix most of the day, read a little, and listened a little to an audio book.

I'm so relieved and grateful that I actually have been recovering from my fatigue! I'll never sleep with an electric blanket again.


Addition, Sept. 18, 2016, 4:09 PM EDT. Slept from around 3:40 AM to 10:30 AM, then from around 11 AM to 1:30 PM. Still lots of energy.

And I'm in an especially good mood now because I managed to get Saxon/C to work with PHP 5.6.13!

So, now I can use XSLT 2.0 with my favorite programming language, PHP!


Addition, Sept. 20, 2016, 2:04 PM EDT. Slept from around 5 AM to 12:45 PM on Sept. 19th, and 3 AM to 10 AM today. Still have had lots of energy. And, since I've read so many good things about Vitamin D, I've resumed trying to take it.

I already tried Vitamin D in the past, but, I always stopped quickly before, because it seemed like it made me feel jittery. But that could be because I wasn't aware that it might be best to have it in combination with other nutrients.

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."

I'm pretty sure I'm not getting enough Vitamin K2 from my food, but, hopefully I'm getting a lot of Vitamin K1 from all the kale I now eat, and, maybe my body is converting that to Vitamin K2, if this page is correct.

Since Sept. 18th onward, I've been taking 5 Nature Made Vitamin D3 2000 IU per day, and definitely felt more jittery in the hours afterward, until taking extra magnesium. Yesterday, I took 2 Nature Made magnesium citrates with my Vitamin D, and for hours after that still felt so jittery that I took 2 more magnesium citrates, which seemed to make it easier for me to fall asleep.


Of course, at the moment, part of my jitteriness might simply be caffeine withdrawal, since I'm reluctant to even continue with 1/32nd of a teaspoon of coffee per day. On the 18th, I had 1/32nd, but on the 19th and today, I had 1/64th.

On the 19th I got a slight headache, a lot of jitteriness (especially after the Vitamin D), and felt almost like I was starting to get a stuffy nose, but, that went away by today, even before I had any coffee. Still doing pretty well overall, but, I think I'm getting a bit of foggy-mindedness from lack of caffeine, so maybe I'll have another 1/64th teaspoon of coffee.

It's not obvious to me yet what good Vitamin D is doing me (which is another reason I never stuck with taking it), but, I'm just going to keep taking it for a while and see what happens.


Addition, Sept. 20, 2016, 5:21 PM EDT. Had another 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee. Soooo jittery! But I blame the Vitamin D, not the coffee, since before, I was perfectly fine with 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee.

Next time I take Vitamin D, I'm going to take 2 magnesiums instead of just one. Just took a 2nd magnesium now. Might take even more than that if necessary.

Also, I'm switching to Nature Made magnesium oxide, since (if I'm not mistaken), it's cheaper, and it seems maybe about as effective for me as the Nature Made magnesium citrate, which I'm running out of. I might also decrease the amount of Vitamin D.

Or, perhaps I should just go out in the sun for 10-20 minutes sometime between 10 AM and 2 PM, as the book Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin suggests.


Addition, Sept. 20, 2016, 9:32 PM EDT. Having a 3rd magnesium, since the 2nd magnesium helped, but not enough to stop me from thinking I might be better off giving up on Vitamin D supplements (except sunshine) until I've recovered more from fatigue and caffeine withdrawal.

Addition, 11:38 PM EDT. Already feeling better. But, I think I will take Vitamin D (except sunlight) less frequently and maybe in smaller amounts.

Addition, 11:58 PM EDT. Found this interesting forum discussion about allergic reactions to Vitamin D. Looks like a lot of people seem to react much worse to Vitamin D than I just did.

But, since I don't know of any definite way(s) Vitamin D has benefited me so far, and taking it definitely didn't seem to make me feel better than I felt before taking it, I'm tempted to just stop it entirely for now (except for sunlight).


Additions, Sept. 21, 2016, 2:05/2:14 PM EDT. Slept between around 5 AM and 1:18 PM. Just like the other days, the jitteriness from Vitamin D(?) completely wore off (or quite probably the magnesium eased it) by the time I woke up, and I feel fine again. Still lots of energy.

And I even woke up in time to get some sun. But, I only did that for about 10 minutes since it was boring, hot (at least in the sun), and too bright to comfortably read. And I might easily get sunburned.

I guess sitting in direct sunlight might become more pleasant to do as the weather gets cooler, but, Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin said:

"In Boston, Massachusetts, at roughly 42 degrees north, sun exposure is not sufficient for vitamin D production from November through February."

And here in Hubbard, Ohio, I'm at about 41 degrees north.


Another interesting thing that book mentioned was:

"The vitamin D formed in this way does not immediately travel through the skin into the bloodstream. This process takes up to forty-eight hours. Showering and scrubbing your skin within forty-eight hours of exposure could conceivably wash away the vitamin D on the skin's surface and prevent absorption into the bloodstream. This may be why so many people are vitamin D deficient despite hours of sun exposure. They may actually be wiping away the vitamin D long before it can be absorbed."

That problem won't affect me so much, because I rarely take showers because I rarely have to go out anywhere, and it saves money not to use so much water and heat, since my family keeps the heat turned off until someone actually needs to take a shower.

We've done this ever since 2005 when we couldn't afford to pay our gas bill for about 3 months in the spring or summer. Most of us got accustomed to usually only having cold water. (As for me, I just didn't take a shower for 3 months. :-D ) So, that company was really stupid for shutting us off, because we found we liked using less hot water and paying them less money. :-)

Fortunately, wasting less energy and water is probably better for the planet somehow.


Additions, Sept. 22, 2016, 3:09 AM/3:14 EDT. Had mostly a good day, except I started to get a headache around 6:20 PM. It temporarily went away after I had another 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee, but, the headache came back around 12:40 AM.

I don't want to have more caffeine so late in my day, so, I just had an Advil.

I wish I could figure out the perfect amount of coffee to have for me to avoid headaches (and all other symptoms) and keep making progress quitting caffeine. I don't want to be stuck having to have even just 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee per day.

Maybe a spreadsheet and some graphs would help me figure this out.


I sure hope quitting caffeine will cure most of my headache problems. It probably won't cure them all, since I'm sure many of my past headaches were probably related to insufficient nutrition, and others were likely from PMS, etc.

The symptoms of my monthly cycle - mainly the cramps - are so unpleasant it's similar to having an illness every month. But, fortunately, it's seldom bad enough after the first day for me to need painkillers after the first day, and usually the painkillers get rid of all the pain. I find it interesting how consistent and reliable that pattern has been ever since I was a teenager - in contrast with the mess my sleep so-called schedule has usually been for my whole life. The timing of the start of my cycle can be delayed a lot if I'm stressed out, but, once it gets started, the way it happens is very reliable - the first day is the worst, then it's much less bad after that.

Anyway, if quitting caffeine doesn't turn out to be a sufficient cure for most of my headaches, maybe I might as well keep having a tiny amount of caffeine, since maybe it actually helps more than it harms.


The one Advil I had isn't seeming effective enough - I'm still a bit headachy, and getting a vaguely stuffy nose, and am almost having nausea. So, I guess I'll just have another 1/64th of a teaspoon of coffee. Headaches and nausea interfere with my sleep more than caffeine does, I think.

It almost seems like a cold, but I strongly suspect it's just caffeine withdrawal and will probably go away when I have enough coffee.


I managed to clean my room a bit. Didn't do as much with XSLT as I did on 9/20 and early 9/21, but XSLT is a lot more fun to play with now that I can use it with PHP, my favorite programming language.

XSLT has been quite difficult to figure out, but, I love how it can accomplish so much with such relatively compact scripts. I'm increasingly fond of it and XML.


Addition, Sept. 22, 2016, 3:55 AM EDT. Already been feeling better for a while. Either the 1/64th teaspoon of coffee worked, or it took much, much longer than usual for the Advil to start working. Despite the coffee, I still feel tired enough to sleep.


Additions, Sept. 22, 2016, 10:27 PM/10:44 PM EDT. Slept sometime between around 5 AM to 1:30 PM. Still lots of energy, verging on too much. :-)

I skipped sunlight today. Forgot to take any magnesium, so I've been a little jittery, but not as much as I was when I took Vitamin D. To try to calm down a bit, I took 2 Nature Made magnesium citrates (which is a single serving of the kind I have, which aren't liquid softgels). Despite that, I still have been a bit jittery, but I didn't take any more, since I didn't want to possibly make myself tired.

Felt close to a headache, maybe starting around 6:30 PM, so I had 1/64th teaspoon of coffee around then, and have felt fine since then.

I've divided my time between cleaning my overcrowded mess of a room, and struggling to figure out how to do something in XSLT which I assumed would be much easier than it actually is.

None of that is very exciting to do or to write about. But, it's so nice to actually really feel like doing things again. I was still capable of getting things done before solving my fatigue (particularly if I did them soon after waking up), but, it took a lot more effort.


Addition, Sept. 23, 2016, 4:01 PM EDT. Slept between maybe 6:20 AM and 1:15 PM. Got a bit of sun between about 1:36 PM and 1:44 PM, but not much, since direct sun is way too hot very quickly, and it felt like it might be very easy to get sunburned. Too bad I don't own a bikini - then I could probably spend even less time sunning.


I guess my top goal for today should be to clean my room sufficiently so I can use my box fan again to block noise, so dog barking won't wake me up anymore, as it did today. (But at least our dog waking me up made it possible for me to get some sun at an appropriate time of day.)

And also, so I'll finally have enough space again to work on learning to bellydance, without having to stand on my bed.

But I might just go back to sleep again for a while.


Before I went to sleep this morning, I spent hours reading Dark Deception: Discover the Truth About the Benefits of Sunlight Exposure by Dr. Joseph Mercola, which is available from my local library's website, Clevnet. (So far, I only skimmed the other Vitamin D books I got from there.)

I really like that book, and I'm now quite convinced that doing something about my probable Vitamin D deficiency is worthwhile.

I particularly like the fact that Vitamin D might reduce symptoms of PMS, and also can help with dental problems. And tons of other things.


Additions, Sept. 23/24, 2016, 11:25 PM/9:15 AM EDT. Went back to sleep from around 6:20 PM to 10:15 PM, perhaps partly because of PMS (which sometimes can make me extra-tired. And the unpleasantness that follows PMS makes me even more tired). And maybe partly because I'm now trying to get by with as little caffeine as possible. I haven't had any coffee since Sept. 22nd, but plan on maybe having 1/64th of a teaspoon if I feel a headache starting.

Maybe I'm getting accustomed to lower amounts of caffeine, since I don't feel like I have as much foggy-mindedness now. I have a slight craving for coffee, but other than that, my most noticeable symptom has been a very slightly stuffy nose. And the sometimes recurring sore spot on my gums has been OK (actually absent) too.


I think I've been eating much better lately because I have so much more energy that I've actually felt like making food. Also, perhaps my appetite is better as a result of reducing caffeine. I've heard that caffeine can suppress your appetite, though there's conflicting info on the web about that, such as claims that caffeine only suppresses your appetite for a brief time.

But, if I'm somewhat hypersensitive to caffeine, then, maybe even the "brief" appetite suppressing effects last longer for me than the average person?

For many years, I often have had trouble with a poor appetite, and often ended up neglecting to eat for unwisely long periods of time. And at times I could scarcely stand to eat anything except yogurt, fruit, some kinds of vegetables, soup, milk, and/or juice (vegetable or fruit), since even the thought of other, more substantial foods was nauseating.

I often have had much more difficulty than the rest of my family making myself eat whatever food is around. And I wasn't just being "precious" or a "diva" or "picky". I think maybe in some ways I'm just a lot more hypersensitive and fragile than average, though fortunately some of that's reduced when I get adequate sleep.


Addition, Sept. 24, 2016, 9:52 AM EDT. Been awake all night. Hours ago, I felt almost like I was starting to get a headache, but that went away quickly on its own. So, still no caffeine yet. But I'm definitely feeling more foggy-minded and out of it, and definitely am craving some caffeine.

Definitely not in the best mood - I haven't even looked at any XSLT today but I still feel overwhelmed by it, and the mountain of other things I want to do which are likely to take a long time and be very difficult, especially if this foggy, out of it feeling doesn't go away soon.

Oh, well. I'll probably feel better once I make some progress. Even just finishing cleaning my room will probably make me feel better. Didn't attempt that yet, either. But, I still have lots of physical energy. Just didn't feel like doing much of anything besides reading the web.

Anyway, hopefully the longer I can tough this caffeine withdrawal out, the quicker I can fully rid myself of caffeine addiction. And hopefully Vitamin D will help too somehow. At the moment, one of the only reasons I'm staying awake is just so I can get about 10-20 minutes of sun sometime between 10 AM-2 PM.

I found a comforting blog post which says the author's migraines were reduced by 80 or 90 percent perhaps 2 months after giving up caffeine.


Addition, Sept. 24, 2016, 2:28 PM EDT. It was too cloudy to sunbathe earlier, so I got about 20 minutes of sun between about 1:05 and 1:25 PM, with some interruptions when I got up to check what time it was. It's nicer in cooler weather - 69° today. I sure wish sunburn, melanoma, and so on didn't even exist, since sunbathing can actually be pretty nice.

I found this web page a bit discouraging, since it says:

How to Engineer a Successful Day of Sunbathing

[...]

So, what does your day look like?

You awake after the greatest sleep of your life, having gone to bed at the appropriate time. This is essential for successful, safe sunbathing, since our ability to repair UV-derived damage depends on a well-functioning circadian rhythm. If you didn’t sleep well or are running on a chronic sleep deficit, you may want to hold off on the sunbathing until you get your sleep in order as your skin won’t recover as well.

So, maybe I shouldn't keep myself awake just to sunbathe. In fact, maybe I shouldn't sunbathe at all (even though, ever since quitting my electric blanket, I have been well-rested lately, despite my perpetually and possibly incurably messed up circadian rhythms). Maybe I'd be better off just taking Vitamin D supplements instead.

But, hopefully it's OK as long as I don't get sunburned.

Despite the fact that bright light is supposed to influence your circadian rhythms by waking you up, I still feel tired enough to probably go to sleep pretty soon. So, I probably will - but maybe not, who knows.


Addition, Sept. 25, 2016, 4:12 AM EDT. Slept unintentionally briefly between about 3:30 PM and 7:39 PM. Our dog woke me up. But, I actually felt (and still feel) pretty good - I haven't been craving caffeine, I don't feel so foggy-minded, and I was more excited than I maybe should be to try to read pages like this:

XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 Formal Semantics (Second Edition)

I almost dove into that, but, my family was going to watch Marco Polo on Netflix, so I joined them.

Now I'm sleepy again. But I'm feeling very encouraged by feeling so much better, not getting headaches, and not craving caffeine. Didn't expect to feel so much better so soon. Maybe Vitamin D from the sun is actually having good effects on me and my mood, without making me jittery, unlike the Vitamin D supplements. Or maybe even the supplements helped/are still helping too, in addition to temporarily making me jittery until I boosted my magnesium.

Didn't get sunburned. (I wore no sunscreen, since in addition to often containing harmful chemicals, sunscreen can block the UVB light which causes your skin to produce Vitamin D.) Will soon receive a bikini and beach towel.


Addition, Sept. 25, 2016, 1:48 PM EDT. Slept from around 5:30 AM to 12:18 PM. Better dreams than I've had in a long time. Only did a little sunbathing today, between 1:12 PM and 1:18 PM. Still lots of physical energy, but I feel like I could go back to sleep already. Still feeling pretty good overall.

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DemExit
Friday, July 29th, 2016
17:05:30 GMT

Activism

I'm unhappy that the election was rigged against Bernie Sanders, so, I'm going to participate in DemExit by exiting the Democratic Party.

I don't yet know who I'll vote for.

I recently heard that George Washington thought political parties are a bad idea in general.

And I never liked the fact that many people instantly make snap judgments and jump to wild conclusions about people and issues based on a single-word label like "Democrat" or "Republican".

So, maybe I'll just stay out of every party from now on.

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Chicory and barley: reputedly good for dental health, etc.
Friday, July 29th, 2016
13:02:44 GMT

Health

I recently started drinking Teeccino, an "herbal coffee", which got me curious about some of its ingredients, such as chicory and barley.

I was very pleased to find these articles.


Antimicrobial and anti-adherence activity of various combinations of coffee-chicory solutions on Streptococcus mutans: An in-vitro study
May-Aug 2014, from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov


The Health Benefits of Roasted Barley Tea With Chicory
June 23, 2015 from LIVESTRONG.COM


One of my least favorite things about ordinary tea (without chicory or barley) was the damage I suspected it (and/or the sugar I put in it) might be doing to my teeth and gums.

(Addition, 9:28 AM EDT: Actually, here's an article which says black tea 'combats bacteria linked with tooth decay and gum disease'. Which surprises me, since I never felt like tea was helpful at all. Vitamin C seems to do my possible gum disease tremendously more good than tea. After having tea, I was always reluctant to put off brushing my teeth, for fear that my gum soreness would come back. End of addition.)


So, I'm very happy that I was able to quit ordinary tea, and am now only drinking Teeccino, which tastes so good it made it easy to give up caffeinated tea and coffee.

I seldom drank coffee to begin with, but until trying Teeccino, I drank one 12 ounce mug of tea per day.

I like Teeccino more than any herbal tea I ever had, and more than any decaf coffee I ever had. Teeccino also compares so well to the best caffeinated coffees I ever had that I can't even decide which I like more, so I guess it's a tie. And Teeccino even makes my favorite caffeinated tea seem relatively boring and weak in comparison.

Even flavor alone would make me stick with Teeccino. But the reputed health benefits (which also go beyond dental health benefits) are icing on the cake.


Addition, Aug. 13, 2016, 10:09 PM EDT. I read on this page that chicory contains high amounts of oxalates. (Oxalates are antinutrients found in many common foods.)

So, I wrote this new blog post:

Oxalates and their interference with the absorption of nutrients

But for me, I think the benefits of chicory and other foods with oxalates probably outweigh the possible drawbacks, so I'm going to keep having them.

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Bash Script: flexishacheck
Monday, July 25th, 2016
13:07:57 GMT

Software

Here's a boring but useful enough Bash script I finished today:

flexishacheck

I made this because the not-yet-finished (nor released) renovated Apollia's Puppy Linux Setup Kit (APSK) is going to use SHA-512 checksums to verify that various files are intact, or got downloaded correctly.

Actually, if I recall correctly, the released APSK already does check the SHA-512 checksums of downloaded files. But I want the renovated APSK to be far more flexible - and flexishacheck definitely helps with that, since now I won't have to update checksum record files just because a checksummed file got renamed.

I also want the renovated APSK to be able to use other things to verify that downloaded files are intact, such as GPG signatures.

From what I understand, two different files sharing the same SHA checksum or GPG signature is supposed to be extremely rare, even if the two files are only slightly different. But unfortunately, I'm quite far from understanding all this stuff as well as I'd like, so I'm not sure how helpful (or not) SHA checksums and GPG signatures will really be. But I assume checking SHA checksums and/or GPG signatures is at least better than just blindly trusting that a download succeeded and got the correct file.

At least I've been learning a lot from my struggles to renovate APSK and understand checksums and GPG. At this rate, I don't know if I'll have APSK renovated even before the year is over, but, I'm going to keep trying.

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Teeccino: An Excellent Alternative to Coffee
Friday, July 22nd, 2016
21:32:18 GMT

Food

I sometimes run across articles which suggest that it would be healthy to give up caffeine.

I actually mostly don't drink coffee, and I only drink 1 cup of caffeinated tea per day maximum - but I'm definitely addicted. (Edit, Aug. 13, 2016, 10:42 PM EDT: Actually, I drank one 17 ounce mug which I mistakenly thought was 12 ounces.) I've tried repeatedly (though not very determinedly) to gradually give it up, but I just like the taste too much.

It's probable I'd consume less caffeine if I simply switched completely to coffee, because I only enjoy coffee which is very diluted with water and cream. (Otherwise, coffee tastes unbearably bitter and horrible to me.)

But, my goal is to mostly stop drinking any caffeine, since I think maybe I have adrenal fatigue, given that I have sometimes been unusually tired lately despite going out of my way to avoid stressful things for over a month now.


There are various non-caffeinated herbal teas I like. But, I wanted to try something totally new to me.

So, today, I tried Teeccino, which is made of chicory and other tasty ingredients.


I tried a "tee-bag" of the Maya Chai flavor. And, I liked it! I could definitely distinguish it from coffee, but it was still quite good, coffee-like, and better than any decaffeinated coffee I've ever had. (But I should probably point out that I never tried a wide variety of decaf coffee, nor even caffeinated coffee.)

Teeccino "tee-bags" seem to take longer to steep than probably most tea does. I didn't carefully follow the instructions - I stuck the bag in a cup of cold water and microwaved it, which I think worked well enough.

Rather than removing the bag, I decided to just leave it in as I was drinking it, and see how long it would take for it to get too strong for my tastes. I don't know exactly when that happened, but it seemed to take a long time, maybe over 10 minutes.

Similar to the way I drink coffee, I liked it best with a lot of cream.


I greatly look forward to trying all the other flavors of the sampler pack I got, and I think Teeccino will definitely assist me in hopefully finally really giving up caffeine, or at least drinking a lot less caffeine.


Addition, July 30, 2016, 11:14 AM EDT. Here's a new blog post by me which could be of interest to Teeccino drinkers:

Chicory and barley: reputedly good for dental health, etc.


Additions, July 23, 2016, 3:23 AM EDT, etc. The way I sweeten my tea, coffee and Teeccino is usually:

I used to be able to just use any random brown sugar from a grocery store, but I find that difficult to use anymore because the above makes everything taste so much better in comparison.


Anyway, I just tried the Chocolate Mint flavor of Teeccino. I liked the Maya Chai, but I love this! It reminds me of Andes mints in liquid form, but more subtle. I think I like it even more than hot chocolate, because hot chocolate (unless you make it from scratch) tends to be overwhelmingly sugary, and with this, I can control the amount of sweetness.


Addition, July 30, 2016, 12:27 PM EDT. By now, I've tried all the flavors from the sampler pack.

There are only 4 flavors I wasn't so fond of - Orange, Maya Chai, Almond Amaretto, and Chocolate.

But, I liked (or loved) them all, and all of them were superior to any decaf coffee I've ever had. And it turns out mixing multiple flavors together is fun, so, I might eventually buy even the ones I'm less fond of just to see if they'll taste better as components of my own custom blends.

I already got two 11 oz. packages of ground Teeccino from a local store. The store had only had 4 flavors (and only 2 I particularly liked), so I got Java and French Roast.


For me, coffee machines are too much of a time-consuming nuisance, even though I don't have a non-libre coffee machine with DRM. :-) But fortunately, a coffee machine isn't necessary to brew ground Teeccino.

On various pages on the Teeccino website (like this one), it says "The exact same Teeccino grounds are in the Tee-bags as in our 11 oz. bags." And Teeccino's website sells empty tea bags. (But I already had some of a different brand - I got 100 on sale for 99 cents from a local store.)

I considered getting a metal tea infuser, strainer, filter, or teaball. Particularly to my liking was this one (but beware of the volume in that video around 0:46 to 0:55). But, in the end, I decided against any metal tea contraption, because I was worried about things like, where was this manufactured, exactly what is it made of, how was it made, and is it really safe?


Teeccino takes minutes longer than ordinary tea to steep. I'm not sure exactly how long, but it probably varies depending on how strong or weak you'd prefer it to be. And also depending on which Teeccino flavor it is.

Filling my own tea bags was a bit less convenient and more messy than buying already-filled "tee-bags". But, I love being able to choose the amounts to put in, and being able to easily mix multiple flavors together.


In my 17-ounce mug, I like both pure Java (with about 3 non-heaping spoonfuls) or pure French Roast (with some amount less than 3 non-heaping spoonfuls, since 3 initially seemed too strong for me, though I soon got used to it and liked it anyway).

But I also like combining Java and French Roast, with 2 non-heaping spoonfuls of Java, and less than a spoonful of French Roast (since just 1 spoonful surprisingly seemed a bit too strong for my liking). And I'll be trying other combinations too.

I think maybe I'm unusually sensitive to strong flavors (especially in light of my inability to drink undiluted coffee). A former coffee drinker I know very much enjoyed an 8.5 ounce cup made with 4 spoonfuls of French Roast! (Addition, Aug. 2, 2016, 2:08 PM EDT. That person said 2 spoonfuls is just as good.)




Here is my mostly indecisive ranking of all the Teeccino flavors from the sampler pack, which no doubt will vary depending on my mood:

  1. Chocolate Mint - Still my favorite! But it seems too much like dessert for me to use it as my usual tea replacement. And also, chocolate (including Teeccino flavors containing chocolate) contains theobromine, which has effects similar to caffeine.

  2. Java - I never had real java, so I can't compare this to that. But, it's definitely good. Mixing it with a small amount of French Roast enhances it for me.

  3. Vanilla Nut - Better than all the vanilla teas I've ever had. I seldom have found a vanilla tea I've really liked. (Hedley's Vanilla comes to mind, but I don't know if that's even made anymore.)

  4. Hazelnut - Reminds me of Almond Amaretto, but somehow more agreeable to me.

  5. French Roast - Amongst all the Teeccinos (including the ones I'm less fond of), this one seems to have the strongest, most intense coffee-like flavor.

  6. Mocha - I don't remember many details about this one, but it was good. But since it has chocolate (and therefore, the caffeine-like substance theobromine), I should probably usually avoid it.


Here are the flavors I'm less fond of. They were all good enough for me to finish my cup, but I liked the above more.

However, the below might still be interesting components to mix into custom blends - so, for that reason, I might buy these too eventually.

  1. Orange - I figured this was one of the flavors I was least likely to like, because I seldom like any fruit tea. (The only exceptions I can even think of are Gevalia Ceylon Cinnamon Orange and Blackberry Spice, which I love.

    And a notable pseudo-exception is Twinings Ceylon Orange Pekoe tea - which has nothing whatsoever to do with orange fruit. It's simply a black tea - but for some years, it qualified as my #1 favorite daily tea, until I tried PG Tips.)

    Fortunately for me, it turned out Orange Teeccino didn't actually taste very orangey. I liked it a bit more than the Maya Chai.


  2. Maya Chai - I don't think I would have even guessed this was a chai if I tasted it without knowing what flavor it was. It's still good, though. But the name makes me compare it to chai teas I've had. And since I've had some really excellent chai teas, this scarcely compares at all to them.

    But this is a favorite of the aforementioned former coffee drinker I know. That person said they liked this because it's strong.


  3. Almond Amaretto. This is another flavor which the aforementioned former coffee drinker particularly liked, which I didn't like so much. The smell of this reminded me of anise, or something else I mostly don't like. (Not sure I know the correct name for the scent I'm referring to.)

    It reminded me of a weird Celestial Seasonings tea I had a long time ago called "Almond Sunset", which I also found rather disagreeable (though sometimes intriguing).

    Even though I didn't like Almond Sunset that much, it saddens me to find that Almond Sunset was retired. Yet another reason why it's better even for food and drink recipes, including tea, to be free (as in freedom), libre, and open source.


  4. Chocolate. Even though I love the Chocolate Mint flavor - for me, the plain Chocolate flavor didn't compare well to ordinary hot chocolate. Still was good enough to drink, though.


There are numerous other flavors for me to try. I'm most interested in trying Pumpkin Spice, since I love pumpkin pie, and one of my favorite teas is Bigelow Pumpkin Spice.

I'm also interested in French Vanilla, since I've had a surprisingly hard time finding vanilla teas I really like, and Vanilla Nut Teeccino was better than all of the vanilla teas I ever had.

So, I'll probably try this Boutique Sampler next.


Addition, Aug. 13, 2016, 5:36 PM EDT. I tried all the Boutique Sampler flavors. Here's my current ranking of everything, which will also probably vary depending on my mood:

  1. Hazelnut

  2. Pumpkin Spice - For some reason, I usually like most pumpkin-flavored things. I haven't had Bigelow Pumpkin Spice in quite a while, but I'm sure this Teeccino is least as good as that, and probably better.

  3. Chocolate Mint

  4. French Roast

  5. French Vanilla - Might have a stronger vanilla flavor than Vanilla Nut. I'll try comparing the two more carefully at some point.

  6. Java

  7. Vanilla Nut

  8. Mocha

  9. Caramel Nut - I'm almost tempted to put this in the group of flavors I'm not so fond of, except I probably liked it a bit more than them. Pecans were never a favorite nut of mine, even though I'm capable of enjoying them.


And the flavors I'm less fond of. They were all good enough for me to finish my cup, but I liked the above more.

However, the below might still be interesting components to mix into custom blends - so, for that reason, I might buy these too eventually.

  1. Orange

  2. Maya Chai

  3. Almond Amaretto

  4. Chocolate

  5. Southern Pecan - I wasn't sure what I'd think of this one, since pecans were never my favorite nut, but, I actually really liked this great Nuts.com pecan pie.

    Anyway, the Teeccino Southern Pecan flavor seemed to improve the longer it steeped (or the more I got used to it), but until it reached that point, I was considering discarding it. But, it somehow gradually became tolerable. So, I suspect maybe it might be good for me in small amounts as an ingredient in a custom mix.


And I finally found a flavor I found undrinkable:

  1. Chocolate Raspberry - I seldom like fruit flavor in tea or coffee, especially if it's raspberry. I'm not even very fond of most fruit pies (except pumpkin, if that qualifies as a fruit). People around me liked the smell of Chocolate Raspberry, but, I didn't even like the smell. Both its smell and taste reminded me too much of medicine. So, I had to discard it.

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Links: Free (as in Freedom), Libre, Open Source Agriculture
Monday, July 18th, 2016
14:57:07 GMT

Food

Ever since I saw the documentary Gasland several years ago, I've been increasingly worried about farms, groundwater (or any water), nature in general, and also places where people live, possibly getting contaminated by pollution from various forms of industrial activity.

And I also think it's quite distressing that unless you pay extra to buy organic food, you're stuck buying food which quite possibly had pesticides used on it, or which might have been genetically modified (GMO).

And, as someone who has at times had a rather inadequate diet simply due to lack of enough money, I've sometimes daydreamed about how nice it would be to be able to grow my own food on my own farm, or in a greenhouse, or something.


So, today, I was very pleased to run across the below links, since perhaps free (as in freedom), libre, open source agriculture will someday help alleviate some of the above problems.

This Ag Innovator Wants to Find Your Broccoli by IP Address
(June 10, 2015 from ThePlate.NationalGeographic.com)

MIT Open Agriculture Initiative


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Link: Rosetta Stone for Unix
Monday, July 18th, 2016
04:22:16 GMT

GNU/Linux

This looks useful, even though I haven't used most of the operating systems mentioned on this page:

A Sysadmin's Unixersal Translator (ROSETTA STONE)
OR What do they call that in this world?

Usually I use Puppy Linux. And, reluctantly and relatively rarely, I sometimes use Mac OS.


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International postal systems: more reasons I'm glad to be an American
Sunday, July 17th, 2016
03:37:03 GMT

Business
And Charity

Today, I received a bra purchased on Amazon and shipped from a seller in England. (Despite the fact that I like Richard Stallman's page of Reasons not to buy from Amazon).

And on the outside of the package, on a "Customs Declaration" label, was some rather personal information!

In a column that said "Quantity and detailed description of contents", it said "Lingerie" (in handwriting). And, in the "Value" column was a handwritten price quite close to what the buyer paid for this bra on Amazon.


Obviously I'm not very embarrassed, since now I'm telling the world about this by blogging about it. :-)

But still, I think it's an obnoxious invasion of privacy. Here in the USA, we don't have to list the contents and value of our packages on the outside of the package for any curious postal worker or resident of our homes to read.

At least they didn't list my bra size. :-)


Back in 2012, I received a package from a friend in Europe. That package's contents and values weren't listed on the outside - but, I was astonished when that friend speculated I might have to pay some sort of "customs" fees just to receive it.

It turned out there actually were no fees for me to receive it, but I was shocked that that's even a problem in Europe.

Here in the USA, we have nothing like that. We can receive as many gift packages as we want without being oppressed by fees.


It amazes me that oppression like that is apparently considered normal in Europe. I think it's terrible and unfair to everyone, whether poor or rich.

But it's probably particularly harmful to poor people, because if anyone mails a poor person in Europe a package of stuff to help them out, the poor person might not be able to afford to pay the oppressive fees to accept the package! And the more the package is worth, the higher the fees.


Also, I'm guessing this nonsense probably isn't any good for the economies of Europe, because it probably discourages people from buying and mailing each other gifts for the holidays, birthdays, etc. It also probably discourages people from buying things online even just for themselves.

It wouldn't surprise me to find that the USA's economy and sales of products sent via physical mail are probably thriving a lot more than Europe's economies and sales, just because of the above problems imposed by Europe's postal systems.

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Going to try a standing desk
Wednesday, July 13th, 2016
21:19:19 GMT

Health

Yesterday, in my family's basement, I was able to find an old rolling table which is tall enough to use as a standing desk for my laptops.

Why did I want a standing desk? Because I keep running into articles which suggest that standing might be healthier than continually sitting.

And it will make it easier to do a wider variety of random exercises (or bellydancing :-D ) while continuing to work on my computer at the same time.


However, here's a partly negative article about standing desks:

From Qz.com, Sept. 29, 2014 - There's a huge hidden downside to standing desks that no one told me about

So, I'm going to be careful to avoid swollen ankles. Though I think I might have avoided that without even trying, because I'm so fidgety that I'll probably seldom stand still for long at my standing desk.


(Addition, July 13, 2016, 6:28 PM EDT. Another partly negative article:

From Health.USNews.com, Feb. 17, 2015 - 5 Ways Your Standing Desk Is Doing More Harm Than Good

So, judging by that article, it seems that alternating between standing and sitting is probably better than constantly standing or constantly sitting. And also that fidgeting is good.

I'm definitely not interested in overdoing standing, exercise, sitting, or anything else. So, hopefully it will overall be good for me to get more variation and movement into my habitual routines. End of addition.)


I wonder if lying or sitting in bed is healthier than sitting in a chair all day? My computers are usually next to my bed, and I shift positions a lot more than is possible in the average chair.


Another thing I found in the basement was a nice swiveling office chair I didn't even know we had.

And it turns out that despite being 35, I still like spinning around in an office chair about as much as I did when I was 5. :-)

So, who knows how much standing and other exercise I'm really going to do now. :-)

But since I have a laptop, this chair won't necessarily interfere with my computing too much. It will at least be amusing to see how well I can program while dizzy.


My next task is to clear enough junk out of my room to make adequate room for these delights. Cleaning isn't my favorite thing to do, but at least it has more immediately perceptible good results than the average boring exercise.

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Dancing: probably more interesting than many other forms of exercise
Monday, July 11th, 2016
11:27:56 GMT

Health

Like many other computer programmers, I probably ought to get more exercise.

But most exercise sounds boring to me, or otherwise inconvenient. There's a swimming pool I could go to, and I have a bicycle, and I could always go on walks, but, I much prefer to avoid people.


So, I think what I might prefer do instead is, stay in my room and try to learn bellydancing, and maybe other types of dancing too. :-)

I don't know if dancing is the best possible exercise for me, but, no doubt anything is better than nothing, or just fidgeting and walking around my house.

And becoming a good (or otherwise amusing) dancer seems like a much more fun goal than becoming capable of performing ever-larger quantities of ungraceful, boring, repetitive exercises such as sit-ups and squats.

It might also result in some amusing videos someday. :-)


Though I actually wouldn't mind an exercise bike or a non-motorized treadmill to use while I work on my computer stuff. Then I could just mindlessly get a significant amount of exercise while I get more useful things done at the same time.

Maybe I should convert my bike into an exercise bike.

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Synonyms for the word "Antifragile"
Saturday, July 9th, 2016
20:49:33 GMT

Languages
English

Last edited July 10, 2016 at 1:05 AM EDT.

One of the best books I read in 2015 (or, ever) was Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

I was recently reminded of this book by the fact that my Toughbook CF-C1 overheated and crashed yet again. (Clearly I need to stop leaving so many web browser tabs open.)

But, at least this annoyance was a pleasant reminder of the antifragility of (and resulting from) my Puppy Linux Setup Kit. :-)


Crashes actually benefit my setup kit, because they give me some additional good reasons to stop procrastinating about enhancing my setup kit.

And, thanks to my setup kit, I'm able to recover quickly from not only relatively minor crashes which only require a reboot, but also from serious hardware breakdowns which would require me to switch to a totally different computer, which would be a far more inconvenient disruption if I were still dependent on an OS installed on a hard disk.

I can switch to another computer pretty much seamlessly and have everything back to normal in minutes. It's tremendously nicer than having to slowly rebuild a broken Windows system by manually reinstalling Windows along with all my lost Windows software.


A while back, I thought of a possibly good synonym for the word "antifragile". At least, it's hopefully clear enough if you're a Star Wars fan. But, in case it's a spoiler, I won't say exactly the word I have in mind.

This page from the Movies & TV Stack Exchange explains the famous scene from one of the Star Wars movies that made me think of this idea.


Other possible rough synonyms include phoenix-like or hydra-like.

I had trouble thinking of many more synonyms, though. Which sort of makes me wish I already automated the addition of comment sections to my blog posts.


Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

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How to add XML and XSLT 1.0 capabilities to Perl in Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004
Saturday, July 9th, 2016
19:21:33 GMT

Puppy Linux

By default, I don't know if Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004's copy of Perl already includes modules for dealing with XML and XSLT. But, I don't think it had the ones I wanted to use, so I figured out how to install them.

And I avoided using the "cpan" automated installer for Perl modules because I was using a computer I keep disconnected from the internet.

And also because I dislike package managers or any other software which is excessively dependent on internet access. Given these poverty statistics, I think it's better not to just assume the internet is constantly available to everyone who needs it. The less everyone's computing is dependent on the internet, the better, in my opinion.




OK, back to the instructions.

There was only one tricky part. I'm dubious about whether I handled that correctly, but, I'll explain that below when we reach that step.


I believe the Perl module XML::LibXSLT only has XSLT 1.0 capabilities.

I still haven't done very much with XSLT 2.0 (nor even XSLT 1.0), or Saxon-CE, but I'm guessing Saxon-CE is probably one of the easiest ways to get started doing something with XSLT 2.0, since Saxon-CE is written in JavaScript and runs in a web browser.

Many web browsers already have XSLT 1.0 capabilities built in.




There seem to be some parts of the below Perl modules which are written in C, so, I believe to install them, it's necessary to use the DevX file of development tools for your Puppy Linux.

My page of Some Puppy Linux Basics explains more about DevX files, and if you need the DevX for Lucid Puppy 5.2.8, it's available at this link:

http://distro.ibiblio.org/puppylinux/puppy-5.2.8/

If you're using a different version of Puppy than Lucid Puppy 5.2.8, that DevX probably won't work, so you should instead download the DevX released for your Puppy.

Also, if you're not using Lucid Puppy 5.2.8, please bear in mind that the instructions in this blog post might not all apply or work for you, since different Puppy Linux distros, and probably even different versions of the same Puppy distro, can differ quite substantially from each other.

And here's how to load SFS files.




Next, get the tarballs of the following Perl modules. (The version numbers are just what I used - I don't know if these specific versions are actually required for all these things to work together.)

  1. XML::NamespaceSupport 1.11

  2. XML::SAX::Base 1.08

  3. XML::SAX 0.99

  4. XML::LibXML 2.0126

  5. XML::LibXSLT 1.93




It's necessary to install each of those modules in the order given above. Do the following 2 steps for the first 4 modules above:

  1. Decompress the tarball.

  2. Open a terminal window and type these commands:

    perl Makefile.PL

    make

    make test

    make install

Or "new2dir make install" (without quotes) if you'd like to make a pet file or SFS file.


With one Perl module, there might be some annoying warning about "6.55_02" not being numeric, but since that warning didn't stop the build, I ignored it.




Now, the tricky part. I don't know if my trick really solved the problem, and I don't even know whether or not it might have created other problems. But, at least it made it possible for me to successfully run "make" on the XML::LibXSLT module.

Decompress the XML::LibXSLT tarball.

Then, open the file "LibXSLT.xs" in a text editor, and add this line below the comment section at the top:

int xsltMaxVars = 9999999;

That line is necessary because without it, the build will be halted with these errors:


But with that line, the build should succeed. So, now you can run these commands:

perl Makefile.PL

make

make test

make install


Or "new2dir make install" (without quotes) if you'd like to make a pet file or SFS file.




Now, to see if the modules are working, you'll need three things - a Perl script, an XML file, and an XSLT file.

Here's a zip file containing all 3, which aren't by me, but were slightly modified by me. I changed hardly anything in the Perl script, and all I did with the XSLT stylesheet was add a comment with a link to where I found it.

And the VUE: Visual Understanding Environment concept map file was saved by me, but its source code was automatically generated by VUE. And I had to slightly edit it because of the comments at the top which Perl disliked.

Thanks to all the authors of this code!


Perl XSLT Test Files.zip (3 KB)

All 3 files are also displayed below.



A Perl script which is a slightly modified version of this code from StackOverflow:



An XSLT stylesheet from this post on StackOverflow:



A saved VUE: Visual Understanding Environment concept map file. I had to move the comments formerly at the top (which tell you not to remove them) into a CDATA section near the top, because Perl was complaining about them.


All three files should be in the same folder when you run this command:

perl test-xslt.pl

If that succeeds, the output will be in a newly-created HTML file named test-xslt-perl-script-output.html.

Hopefully soon I'll learn XSLT well enough to figure out how to extract the node text, which is usually the most interesting part of a VUE: Visual Understanding Environment concept map.


Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

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