Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Date:     2010-09-23 11:31:13
Subject:  diagnosis & treatment
From:     Eugene Reimer <>

A correction:  the tumour I previously described as being in left kidney is really in the left adrenal-gland.  Apparently one has 2 adrenal-glands one above each kidney (

I've now seen my oncologist Dr Harding at HSC Cancer Care.  He said I have small-cell lung cancer that's very fast growing and will be life-threatening in 2 months without treatment.  It is fast growing but not well organized and thus very susceptible to chemotherapy.  Most of the symptoms of nausea, weakness, appetite loss, pain, fatigue are related to cancer.  Such tumours shrink fast with chemotherapy with about 90% improvement in symptoms - possible to have near normal life again.  However it is not possible to kill all the cancer at this stage and it will return at some point; then another round of chemo may be worth trying but subsequent treatments will be less effective and at some point it will not be.  This kind of chemotherapy is usually well tolerated but I will lose my hair though perhaps not the beard.

He recommends chemotherapy as follows:
Four cycles;  each cycle is 3-weeks and consists of 3 consecutive days of treatment followed by 18 days off.  Two drugs given each time via intravenous and process takes 2-hours or more.  The chemotherapy agents are Cisplatin and Etopiside along with powerful anti-nauseants and then each cycle is followed by 4 days of anti-nauseants and lots of fluids.  Most symptoms should disappear and I should soon feel much better.  I've agreed to the proposed chemotherapy.

I'll be going in to HSC for each of those "treatment" days.  Cancer-Care has a volunteer-driver program that costs $6 per round-trip, needs 3 days notice, and that's what I intend to use.  I'll be told by Friday when the treatment starts.

[Clarification: a total of 6 cycles has been mentioned, although with blood-tests and CT-scan plus a review thereof after 4 cycles.  Update: such tests and review were done after 2 cycles, although the oncologist expressed surprise that they'd been scheduled at that point.]

Date:     2010-09-24 11:38:58
Subject:  Chemotherapy schedule
From:     Eugene Reimer <>

The first cycle starts Monday Sep 27;  first 3 treatments are Monday 10:45am, Tuesday 8:30, Wednesday 9:15.

There are four cycles;  each cycle is 3-weeks and consists of 3 consecutive days of treatment followed by 18 days off.  I'll be going in to HSC for the treatments, which consist of getting drugs via intravenous for about 2 hours.  I expect to get there using the Volunteer-Drivers program - so far I've left voice-mail message.

Date:     2010-09-29 13:19:49
Subject:  Re: diagnosis & treatment
From:     Eugene Reimer <>

I've now finished day-3 of the first chemo cycle.  The hair-falling-out has yet to happen.  The worsened nausea is noticeable: I puked last night and twice this morning.  As James Rempel points out just because I've "agreed" to the chemotherapy doesn't mean I can't back out if the time comes where the side-effects seem worse than the mediocre life-extending benefits of such treatment.  Jim and others have suggested that I try smoking the "holy herb" for both pain and nausea and I intend to give it a try.  I'll try to get a doctor's prescription so I can smoke it legally although it sounds as though one gets better weed through the non-legal channels.


Date:     2010-10-03 17:46:45
Subject:  Re: diagnosis & treatment
From:     Eugene Reimer <>

Today is day 7 of my first 21-day chemo-cycle.  On days 1 thru 3 I get intravenous chemo drugs, then on days 4 thru 7 I take 4mg*2 of Dexamethasone.  Between day-2 and day-5 I felt nauseous and all-around miserable, and what little I ate I also puked back up.  I've also been prescribed an anti-nauseant (Prochlorperazine) to take as needed, but it seems to make the nausea worse rather than better, so I've given up on it.  Starting on day-6 I've been able to eat again and to keep the food down, although probably not quite enough to avoid further weight-loss.  Now I'm back to being reasonably cheerful as long as I'm taking the morphine.

Date:     2010-10-08 21:46:15
Subject:  Re: bad news
From:     Eugene Reimer <>

Well yes, I should remain hopeful that other anti-nauseants may be better.  Yes, please ask Will to come over some time to pick up projector, laptop, screen, etc.  Rich has amp & mike stuff BTW.

I'll also discuss handing over NOCI & Debwendon websites to Will - if that's ok by you?  I'm not sure whether I'm quite ready to fully hand over websites at present mind you, but will be pretty soon, and methinks I could easily be talked into doing it now.  However, there's also the website:  I'd like for it to remain alive for some significant period of time after I'm dead and gone.  I'm thinking of making my will so there's a bit of money to pay for the expenses involved in making that happen, and for best results 'twill need some person or some org to look after such things.  Bundling it in with and may sound weird, but the way I've got things set up with those 3 websites sharing a single webhosting package makes that seem a natural.  There were to be 4 websites, with being the 4th, but other than buying the domain-name I haven't yet made anything for  All 4 were to share the webhosting package at Host-Excellence;  the domain-names however are currently a mixed bag: 2 are from NetworkSolutions, 2 from MyDiscountDomains.  I'll be leaving instructions with the details spelled out.

Just who do I leave as the custodian in charge of a website ( that I'd like to see living on for let's say 20 years after I'm gone?  And what exactly am I leaving?  Am I leaving the privilege of "ownership" or am I leaving the responsibility of maintaining some memorial to myself?  If an org such as NOCI thinks there's value on having the ER-website around, then they might be suitable as the owners - and yet that org may cease to exist, a new crop of people may end up running NOCI and they may think the content on is entirely useless.  Close relatives are more likely to remember who I was, but I can't think of any close relative who's sufficiently web-literate to take over.  Jeez, this isn't altogether easy.  Methinks the answer may be to leave Iris as the owner, but with the proviso that NOCI forever has the right to use any of the content including the use of high-resolution copies of any photos and for free.  That gives NOCI all the rights but none of the responsibility, although when it comes to paying the modest expenses involved I'll try for wording that attempts to shame NOCI into paying them.  I could just pay up front for 20-years worth of domain-name & webhosting fees and leave it at that.  There will still need to be a technical-contact person, who would get notified by email if and when one of the outfits involved undergoes some major change forcing all the content to be re-uploaded, or moved to another hosting entity, etc.

Al or Doris Ames wrote, On 2010-10-08 19:05:

I'm sorry to hear that but who knows maybe with the new anti-nauseants we are going to get for you on Wednesday it won't be so bad. There are nice soft chairs and sofas there.And if you absolutely can't come you can be sure I will give you an unabridged report.
And that reminds me we should go and vote in the advanced polls next week, possibly on Friday and I should ask Will if he is planning to attend Members Night if he could pick up the projector, lap top, amp, screen cords whatever we need  from you next week sometime. So as not to bother you during treatment week. Are you busy other days besides Wednesday and Friday as far as you know? I should phone him now maybe and see what' happening because Johann has a bad cold and it would be best if Will or Richard pick the things up. 
How are you doing today? It was so hot we had to turn on air-conditioning for awhile. My smooth sumac tree has changed colour again and the leaves now have the beautiful transparent look of shrunken wine-coloured taffeta.
----- Original Message -----
From: Eugene Reimer
To: Doris Ames
Sent: Friday, October 08, 2010 6:40 PM
Subject: bad news

I was doing some calendaring today and have bad news:  my next chemo days are Oct18,19,20 -- ie: I'll be at my very worst on Members Night:-(

Date:     2010-10-18 14:04:11
Subject:  Re: diagnosis & treatment
From:     Eugene Reimer <>

Today was to be day-1 of the 2nd chemo cycle; however due to my blood-test showing low nutrophil count the 2nd cycle has been postponed by one week.  One side-effect is that I now expect to attend the NOCI Members-Night this Friday.

Date:     2010-10-19 13:21:
Subject:  Re: diagnosis & treatment
From:     james rempel <>

bruder reimer

flies in the ointment........
do you have a philosophical take on the grim reaper?  do you make you decision on therapy/continuing therapy on a more philosophical or emotional basis?
my sister sent me a blood tie analysis that you had done with moi.  i was trying to interpret it.  what are the notations at the bottom?  i take it that the .04 whatever essentially is an index of relative non-relatedness.

Date:     2010-10-19 14:13:50
Subject:  Re: diagnosis & treatment
From:     Eugene Reimer <>
To:       james rempel <>

My take on the grim reaper is that he/she comes for all living things.  After a living thing stops being alive comes nothing as far as that individual is concerned.  Fini, the end.  It's not the most comforting point of view, however I've been unable to swallow any of the ones that seem more appealing.

If a particular treatment option will extend my life by 100 days, but only by giving me an additional 100 days of being miserable and not giving me any more days where life seems worth living then I'll decline that treatment.  One that will give me an extra 100 days of which 90 are good days and only 10 are bad days is probably one I'll accept.  One that'll give me an extra 100 days of which 99 are bad days is a tougher one, where one needs weights to indicate the relative goodness and relative badness, but I already know enough about how miserable a bad day can be to make me think that such a 99:1 tradeoff would be a bad deal.  Some people might say that even one more good day is worth any price, but I'm more of a wimp than that.

Regarding my "related" program:  I gather your sister sent a link to http://er/genealogy/LLrelated-EugeneLouisReimer-JamesArthurRempel.txt and you're wondering what the last line [Relatedness: 61/4096 = 0.014893  (14 different paths)] means.  It's a measure of relatedness (rather than of non-relatedness), where a bigger number indicates more closely related individuals.  There's an explanation of it in http://er/genealogy/index.htm (scroll down to the "2010-Feb" heading, then to the "related.ll" heading) and in pages linked to from it.  Here's the short version:

Relatedness (as defined by Sewall Wright) is the expected fraction of their DNA that's identical by descent; for example, parent and child have relatedness 0.5, grandparent and grandchild 0.25, half-siblings 0.25, full-siblings 0.5.  Each A-to-B path through a common-ancestor consisting of N parent-child links contributes 0.5N;  contributions are summed over all such paths. 

More of my thoughts on the Meaning of Life, and the Facing of Death
Some people are surprised at how cheerful I am considering that I'm about to die at such a young age.  I should point out that for the last forty years I've been attempting to live my life as if every day might be my last.  Forty years ago after a car-crash where I'd come very close to death I made such a resolution.  So although some might think I'm dying young, the way I look at it I've already had a forty-year bonus. 

Date:     2010-10-19 16:13:42
Subject:  Re: diagnosis & treatment
From:     Nick Curry <>
To:       Eugene Reimer <>
Hi Eugene. Thanx for the note. As you know, I have first hand experience with lung cancer and understand what a miserable disease it can be.
My only advice is to  look for places that are doing research on the type of cancer / tumour that you have. They tend to have the most inovative therapies (if you care). Gail died in November of 1995 and one of the drugs you are getting is the same one she received - cisplatin - which tells you how far the research has gotten in 15 years...
Any thing I can do, please do not hesitate. If you are ok, i will also forward on to Gord, Brian, and Ross.
Keep in touch.

Date:     2010-10-19 17:05:04
Subject:  RE: diagnosis & treatment
From:     Patrick N Smith <>
To:       'Eugene Reimer' <>

I wish you the best of luck with the treatments...Ruth found that getting as much exercise as possible before and two days after the treatments really helped to reduce nausea and decrease muscle weakness over time.

I'm travelling as usual but I'm back next week in Steinbach....if there is a good time perhaps we can meet for lunch.

Date:     2010-10-19 17:27:28
Subject:  life
From:     Gord Tallas <>
Hi Eugene
Just got a note from Nick regarding your situation.  My thoughts are with you.
I've recently worked at the City of Hope here in Los Angeles, and they (along with many others) have had some startling successes.   Not sure of the exact brand of cancer but you may want to look into some trial studies.
If you want to pursue trying the City of Hope I could try contacting them and see what can be done (not sure how canadian insurance works).
Also on the plus side .. do you remember Randy Drewry?  He worked at GWL and SHL, and was at many of my parties.  Anyway his brother-in-law was very sick with a grapefruit tumor I think near his neck .. things were bleak .. but he tried so green stuff and it seemed to work .. I'll see if I can find the email on this.
I guess what I'm saying is although the docs are cautious .. there are many successes and the whole fight against cancer has made some real leaps and bounds .. who knows what tomorrow may bring .. keep up the fight.
take care
Gord Tallas Principal Jentin (714) 915-9575 (cell)

Date:     2010-10-19 18:27:36
Subject:  Re: Fwd: diagnosis & treatment
From:     Ross Peterson <>

Hi Eugene,
I am saddened to hear of your illness.  Nick, was kind enough to forward your email.

I expect that you have researched many facts, options, ......

My brother Bob, a heavy smoker was diagnosed with lung cancer (I believe it was Large Cell - Stage 4) back in 2000 and we are blessed to still have him with us today.
He managed to get on a vaccine drug trial that appears to have kept the the cancer in remission -- I also think his positive attitude has helped tremendously.

His physicians are:
        Dr Andrew Maksymiuk (oncologist – chemo & vaccine)   more informative
        Cathy Klapp Clinical Nurse for the trial
        Dr. Shahida Ahmed (radiation)

You can insist on being treated out of the Main Cancer Clinic – Health Sciences (better access to treatment resources)

Other Quality Sources of Information
        Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center – Durham North Carolina

While it will be difficult during the treatment --  keep your spirit up!
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Take care

Date:     2010-10-20 12:30
Subject:  Re: diagnosis & treatment
From:     james rempel <>
To:       Eugene Reimer <>
i guess my question is what number would indicate relative relatedness.
i have always thought that the arrival of the grim reaper at an unexpectedly earlier age would be a time for simultaneous pursuit of philosophical work/reflection as well as emotional work/therapy.

Date:     2010-10-20 14:06:20
Subject:  Re: diagnosis & treatment
From:     Eugene Reimer <>
To:       james rempel <>

Dear Bruder Rempel,
Once I have to be hospitalized I intend to post a note on the door saying "Visitors are welcome, however there are 2 house-rules: No Preaching, No Weeping - ER".

I'm baffled by your relatedness question.  Aha, perhaps the thing that isn't clear is that the last line of the output is summarizing the detailed output in 2 different ways;  (1) it states the Relatedness and gives the same number in 2 forms, as a rational (vulgar-fraction) and as a decimal-fraction;  (2) it also states the number of paths, ie: how many different ways there are of getting from person-A to person-B by following child-to-parent links from A to some common-ancestor and then from there to B by following parent-to-child links.  Does that help?

For you and me, the Relatedness is 0.014893 which indicates that we share considerably more DNA then do 2 people who are 3rd-cousins in only one way, even though we aren't that closely related, the closest relationship being 3rd-cousin-once-removed;  in fact we share DNA to roughly the same degree as do 2nd-cousins in the simplest case.

The "14 different paths" is just counting the number of ways we are related.  Each of those 14 ways has been shown in a style where the common-ancestor comes first followed by 2 columns of parent-child links to get from that common-ancestor down to me (in 1st column) and down to you (in 2nd column).  I'm being a tad sloppy in calling those "parent-child" links - what I'm showing are the "nodes" and the "links" are the invisible "edges" that connect those nodes, but then you've probably never dabbled in "graph-theory" the branch of mathematics that deals with such things.  See for an introduction to it.  I fondly remember a Computer-Science course on Graph-Theory I took as a youngster; it's a fun subject with charmingly named problems such as the "Travelling salesman problem" and the "Chinese Postman Problem", and with profound questions many of which are of interest to philosophers as well as to computer geeks.  I also took a Philosophy course called "the Philosophical Problems of Artificial Intelligence" that dealt with such questions.  Actually I "audited" that course out of interest rather than taking it and getting a grade for it (I was rather a keener in those days).

And of course the output is only as complete as the GRANDMA-database.  It is entirely possible, and indeed fairly likely, that we are related in even more ways, through other common-ancestors that GRANDMA doesn't know about.

[That distinction between "nodes" and "edges" (aka "links") may seem like trivia, however I'm coming to think it is important that it be made clear.  Being unclear about that distinction is probably why so many authors writing on the subject introduce those spurious doublings and halvings -- all because they're counting "nodes" instead of "edges" resulting in a path-length count one too high, and a "relatedness" (0.5N) that's one-half of what it ought to be.  That is, the confusion I grumble about in  I've now added a note to that grumbling as my part toward clarifying this nodes versus edges distinction.]

Date:     2010-10-27 23:40:33
Subject:  radiation doctor + chemo
From:     Eugene Reimer <>

I saw Dr Chowdhury, a radiation specialist, today.  He said my brain-scan was clear, my bone-scan was clear, that I have small-cell lung cancer which is best treated by chemo; chemo will also shrink the adrenal-gland tumour.  The pain being well controlled by morphine indicates no radiation needed.  He mentioned that if pain were a big issue after the chemo, then radiation would be considered;  he mentioned 2 other circumstances that might lead to radiation, but they seemed not to apply to me, and I missed getting notes on them.  He said radiation could well do more harm than good in my case.

He recommends Senokot-S, 2 per day at night, for the constipation.  Also prune-juice, and stool-softener.  He advises using only the 30mg-slow-release morphine, not the ordinary ones during daytime, however he seems to prefer it only for reasons of simplicity, so I'm not altogether convinced that I'll follow that bit of advice.

He said I should ask the chemo-nurse for free samples of Decadron (aka Dexamethasone), and Kytril.  I did so and she gave me one cycle's worth of Dexamethasone, and of another anti-nauseant Maxeran (aka Metoclopramide) since Kytril was not available.  She also had me complete a Pharmacare-application-form, and they'll fax it in for me.

Today my weight was 143-lb!!  My pulse was 43, the lowest reading I recall having since age 17 when low-40s was normal.  My beard-hair is also falling out, and is already mostly gone.  Not yet sure about armpit-hair, genital-hair, arm-hair, chest-hair, etc.

I've eaten nothing but a half-slice of a loaf-like cake today at 7pm, but have had a fair amount of liquids.  I puked at 11pm, but very little came up.

Date:     2010-10-28 14:29:26
Subject:  Nature Manitoba News
From:     Howard Ferch <>

That was a very nice article in Nature Manitoba News  (still having trouble getting used to the change of name).

It was nice to see you getting some recognition for your interest and work in nature.

Howard Ferch

Date:     2010-10-29 14:42:12
Subject:  update
From:     Eugene Reimer <>

My 2nd chemo cycle with the new anti-nauseant has so far gone a lot better than the 1st.  Have been able to eat more, puke less, and my overall misery has been much less severe during this 2nd chemo cycle as compared to the 1st.

Date:     2010-10-31 23:39:29
Subject:  another update
From:     Eugene Reimer <>

Friday evening I took the max daily dose of stool-softener plus laxatives;  yesterday nothing moved and I forgot to take more;  tonight my bowels finally moved, but not by enough considering it's been exactly one week since previous movement.

Last night I used the last of those shockingly expensive Kytril anti-nausea pills;  was fine this morning, but toward evening a mild case of nausea returned accompanied by excessive salivation, which has usually accompanied my nausea and has always preceded my puking, although I've also had drooling episodes that didn't lead to puking.  Looks as though I should expect to need at least 6-days of Kytril per cycle rather than just 5, making it even more costly.  I may give the alternate anti-nausea drug (freebie from chemo-nurse) a try tonight.

[That alternate anti-nausea drug was another disappointment; one more that seemed to make nausea worse rather than better, not that I can attest to its being worse than useless.]

Date:     2010-11-02 16:01:41
Subject:  Re: another update
From:     Al or Doris Ames <>
To:       Eugene Reimer <>, Iris Reimer <>

It's interesting that Metoclopramide, Prochlorperazine and Domperidone ar all dopamine antagonists but Kytril which seems to work best for you is a serotonin antagonist. 

Date:     2010-11-09 17:38:08
Subject:  Hi
From:     Eugene Reimer <>

Monday I had lunch with the Reimer-cousins at the Thai restaurant at Corydon & Wilton.  Then I had a long nap, after which I felt faint, and ended up puking.  Then I slept some more, had breakfast, slept some more, went to bed and slept some more, got up at 3pm today.  During that 24-hour period of mostly being asleep I must have slept for at least 20-hours.  I'd had several days of not enough sleep, so there was a bit of catching-up to do, but this still seems amazing.

During the recent days of irregular sleeping habits my bowel-movements have been surprisingly regular.

Date:     2010-11-11 18:49:22
Subject:  Re: diagnosis & treatment
From:     Eugene Reimer <>

The report on my latest CT-scan states that the right-upper-lung tumour has "substantially decreased in size", the left-adrenal metastasis has "decreased in size", and it mentions other problems I wasn't aware of with jargon like "is no longer appreciated" which uses "appreciated" in a sense that's new to me.  I gather it's their way of saying "is no longer noticed".

The summary:  "Marked improvement in the lung carcinoma, nodal metastases, and distal metastases".  And that is clearly good news!

I've put together a webpage which is a collection of old emails, and is where I'll be adding future updates (instead of emailing).

Please feel free to pass this on to anyone who would be interested, whom I've missed in the To-list.

PS: I've recently written a short article on QR-codes (  And I've posted a bunch of tools ( which are part of my handing over responsibility for the Nativeorchid.Org and Debwendon.Org websites to Will Milne.  Instead of just giving him a copy, I've made them available to everyone.

PS: the 2010-Nov/Dec issue of Nature Manitoba News has a Member-Profile article on me (on page-3).

[NOTE: this marks a transition in style;  the preceding was a collection of emails;  the following will be in "diary" or "blog" style.]

Mon Nov 15:
Day-1 of 3rd chemo-cycle.  This evening Kathy Norman of San Jose California and Marilynne Jackson of Winnipeg dropped in for a visit.  They're former co-workers at the U of Manitoba Computer Centre.  It was a pleasant visit. 

Tue Nov 16:
After day-1 of 3rd chemo-cycle, I awoke at 7am to puke, and that's earlier than normal.  In fact it's before my planned starting time for taking Kytril, but in future I'll also start taking it a day earlier, and start on day-1 of treatment cycle. 

Today I've been taking Kytril, and kept down the toast & eggs I ate at around 5pm, until 11:30pm that is when I puked again.

Wed Nov 17:
Day-3 of 3rd chemo-cycle.  This morning I puked immediately after taking my pills, mostly liquid with the big 30mg-slow-release-morphine capsule plainly visible and intact, so I don't think I got much from those pills.

At 3:30pm I took the 2nd Kytril for today along with a Domperidone; then at 5:30pm I was thinking of eating something, felt brave enough to try a normal meal and began nuking a frozen dinner; but while it was nuking, I had a bad case of excess salivation followed by puking -- seems just thinking about food brought on the puking.  After that I felt less brave, but did eat toast with jam. 

At 10:30pm I puked again.

Thur Nov 18:
After waking at 8:30am in order to puke, I went back to sleep, slept until noon, and then proceeded to eat normally all day with no further puking.  Hurrah, the worst part of the cycle appears to be over! 

Sat Nov 27:
I'd been planning to go to Steinbach with Iris to attend Uncle Ed's 90th Birthday / Uncle Ed & Aunt Anne's 70th Anniversary party.  However, I felt too poorly to go.  Seems I've caught a cold-virus.  That's based on coughing-fits, runny-nose, and nausea being worse than my recent usual.  Mind you, diagnosing a cold isn't easy when I already had all those symptoms as side-effects of my cancer, or of my chemo, or they could just be symptoms of body falling apart with age.

Wed Dec 08:
Today on the 3rd (last) treatment-day of the 4th (last) chemo-cycle, I had a new experience: needed to puke while getting chemo.  I had warned the chemo-nurse in time so she had supplied me with a "bucket".  (The sundial only counts the sunny hours; my diary only records the cloudy ones:-)

Tue Dec 14
I finally figured out where I'd been going wrong on the photo-uploader I've been writing.  It's to be an example for something Will Milne is considering for the NOCI website; it consists of an HTML FORM that invokes a CGI-program in bash with Apache signin-authorization and some Javascript for field-level validation; it's all very simple and yet offers many ways to go wrong. 

Wed Dec 15:
The nausea has come back.  This is mildly worrying, coming just a few days after my thinking the cold-symptoms were subsiding.  My sleeping has been somewhat erratic recently: after several days of not enough sleep, today I've been sleeping a lot.  At 3am I puked. 

Thu Dec 16
After a pretty good night's sleep the nausea continues.  So I decided to get another prescription for Kytril, and am starting to take it again.  Iris drove me to pick up the prescription and do some grocery shopping today as I didn't feel up to doing it myself. 

Fri Dec 17:
An article from Worldwatch.Org that I read with interest:  The observation about the distribution of income, that "the richest 1 percent of people held 23 percent of US income on the eve of the Great Depression, this share dropped substantially during the Great Prosperity [1947–75] falling to 8–9 percent in 1978, and it rose again to 23 percent by 2007" caught my eye.  I'd been aware that the recent trend had been toward the rich getting richer but was not aware that we'd already gotten back to historic highs in that regard. 

And I watched an old episode of Daily Planet with a piece on a made-in-Switzerland solar-powered airplane.  Not only did it get off the ground, but it had just done a 24-hour flight!  That means its solar-cells were producing enough extra energy during the daylight hours to keep it flying all night.  And of course it means carrying the extra weight of enough batteries to store that energy.  I am impressed.  Turns out the story is from July of this year which fits with the 24-hour flight being done at the time-of-year when the nights are at the shortest.  Here's a story on that flight:

[I've now got something in here other my own misery;  this is becoming a blog about everything, ie the usual kind.]

Mon Dec 20:
Today my recent nausea seemed a good deal less severe, so I tried going without the Kytril.  I had a pretty good day.  Finished up a computer-program in bash to construct a greeting-card by writing a Postscript-program that super-imposes Postscript-text on top of a raster-image (a photograph), and used it to make my 2010 e-Christmas-card.  The computer-program is here, and the Christmas-card will soon be here.  Then I made some additions to the list of recipients and emailed the ecard.  If you didn't receive it and would like to just let me know;  mind you once I've put it up then everyone will have it:-)

Sat Dec 25:
Iris and I went to Steinbach to visit Dad, and have Christmas-dinner with him.  Iris brought meat-loaf for me and her, Dad had the institution-provided meal.

Wed Dec 29:
Went on an outing to Hadashville-area with Will & Jose & Doris, with a lunch-stop at Sophies in Hadashville.  And yet I took no photos!

Thu Dec 30:
The Reimer-cousins Ron & Ralph were over for lunch.  We had take-out from Joeys Only and pleasant conversation.

Sun Jan 02:
Iris and I went to Steinbach to visit Dad.  We had dinner with him, take-out pizza for us, institution-provided meal for him.

Mon Jan 10:
Doris came over to help with washing dishes, garbage, recycling, laundry.  Then we had tea. 

Tue Jan 11:
At 11:30am today I got my flu-shot at the public health office at 614 DesMeurons in Club LaVerendrye building.

Wed Jan 12:
Today I went in for blood test at 1:00pm, consult with Dr Fatoye at 1:30pm.  Weight: 62kg (136lbs) is a loss of 5lbs since previous visit.  Bloodpressure: 95/65 is surprisingly low.  Results from CT-Scan of 2011-Jan-04: Primary lung tumor shrunk, adrenal-gland tumor shrunk, lymph nodes in chest grew slightly; lymph node swelling may be due to recent viral infection.  Dr Fatoye says I need a break to recover from chemotherapy treatments.  He will repeat CT-scan in two months and see me again after that.  Decision will be made at that time whether further treatment will be done.  Prognosis - Best-case: I should gradually gain weight, have more energy and feel better with rest from chemo treatments;  Worse-case scenario: If cancer is growing and no treatment: death expected in 3 months.  Pain in right-ankle when lying down now also occuring in left-foot; Dr Fatoye cannot explain this pain and suggests trying extra-strength Tylenol at bedtime to avoid waking up at night with pain.  He will order bone scan just in case cancer has spread to bones.  Nausea and vomiting: continue to take Domperidone as long as I'm taking morphine.  Homecare: Phone Lori (Dr Fatoye’s nurse) and she will arrange for someone to come out and assess my needs when I think it necessary;  this could also be arranged through Dr Haggard's office. 

That pain in my right-ankle is an extremely peculiar pain: it only happens when I'm lying down; if I stand up or get into a sitting position the pain will go away within one minute; in fact all that's needed is to dangle the leg over the side of the bed so the foot is below the knee and the pain will go away.  It seems a minor thing and yet it is frequently preventing me from getting a decent night's sleep so I'm looking for a solution.  This pain is peculiar in another way in that morphine doesn't seem to help with it.  Dr Fatoye has so far been unable to come up with an explanation for what might be causing this pain.  One thing occurs to me: I used to be intermittently plagued by cramps in my feet (most commonly the right foot) waking me at night, and in all the months since I've been taking morphine to deal with my cancer-related pain I haven't once had those foot-cramps; this mysterious pain could be a substitute for those cramps?  Even if that were the case I still don't know that it would tell us anything useful... 

Doris suggests this pain may be caused by Intermittent Claudication as described in

Sat Jan 15:
SNL (Saturday Night Live) did a "forget" skit that made me laugh out loud.  My mentally combining it with the recent censorship of the Dire Straights tune is what did it -- long story and hard to explain...

Mon Jan 17:
CBC is saying today is "Blue Monday" that day in the year when depression peaks.  The actual date for Blue Monday this year is Jan-24, one week from today (  That's not to say the research that went into picking the day is worth anything, because it isn't, but the picking of date has nevertheless been done.  It was done by Dr Cliff Arnall an academic with dubious credentials (at least it was published by him). 

A wonderful rant on the subject by Ben Goldacre from 4-years ago:  I especially like the part where Goldacre corrects Arnall;  Arnall has called himself a "media slut", and Goldacre points out that Arnall is a "corporate whore" instead.  Goldacre has a website with lots more more debunking of bad science.  What makes me smile is the realization that Goldacre could call himself a "media slut" and that's why he would object to scum like Arnall claiming to be such too:-) 

The Reimer cousins Ron & Ralph are here for lunch.  Ron helps with the "how related" info on the young goalie James Reimer, as described in my genealogy page.  Also, Ron recommends the Bloch translation when reading the Song of Solomon book of the Bible, which he describes as an erotic poem written from the woman's point of view.  Incidentally this book of the Hebrew Bible has been subject to dramatically different interpretations.  It celebrates the nobility of monogamous love, and yet it is sometimes attributed to Solomon a man who had seven-hundred wives and three-hundred concubines, a combination that makes me smile.  And I don't recall it ever being discussed in the sunday-school I attended:-)

Ron and Ralph discuss the Landmark EMC group splitting over an issue involving the role of women in decision-making.  I gather the dispute was about whether the ministers (who were all-male) would form the "executive" versus it being an elected body in which women are eligible to serve.  Mind you, deacons together with ministers form the "old" version of the "executive" and deacons are often couples so women were involved.

See Organized Religion.  For more information on the role of testicles in the EMC see

Wed Jan 19:
Update on the mysterious foot-pain: I've now had several nights in a row without any waking due to those mysterious pains, so I now know that the problem is not as serious as I'd feared it was. 

Sun Jan 23:
Received an unusual scam that pretends to be from James Friesen, who died 10-months ago.  It is from the email-address ( that James used until 2010-March.  He has supposedly gone to England for a seminar, has misplaced his wallet, and urgently needs a loan of $2100 to settle his hotel bill and return home.  This scam-email appears to have been sent to everyone James corresponded with by email, although sadly I've received very little co-operation from the friends of James.  Becky, sister of James, reports that she has received the scam-email and that she's the one who fell for a phishing attempt and provided the scammers with the password to James's jjfriesen hotmail-account, which is how they got access to James's emails; she has contacted Hotmail in an effort to regain control over the jjfriesen account on which the password has been changed.  I've replied to the scammer indicating a willingness to send $2100 and asking for delivery instructions which are to send it via Western Union to James Friesen, 26 Cadogan Gardens, London, SW3 2RP, United Kingdom.  And I've reported this "emergency scam" (variant of the "grandparent scam") to Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre in the hope that the scammers can be caught.

I've often wondered how it can be profitable for a scammer to obtain access to another person's email account.  It's easy to see how obtaining access to a bank-account or Paypal-account will be profitable, but how access to emails will be turned into cash is less obvious.  One possible way is by means of scams such as this one.  But I doubt that the returns will amount to very much.  Another possibility is that by going through thousands of emails the scammer will discover passwords to other accounts the person has.  However it still sounds to me as though such a scammer must be prepared to work for very low wages.  Surely there are easier ways to make a living honestly?

On 2011-01-27 the James-pretender switches to another email-address, suggesting that Becky has regained control of the jjfriesen account.  I've been receiving almost daily pleas for the money ever since asking for delivery instructions, however I've sent nothing since then.

2011-02-03: Have received no further pleas since the one on 2011-01-27;  all told there were 6 such pleas over a 5-day period.

Mon Jan 24:
I've been aware of being a morphine-addicted junkie for some time now, however I discovered a new aspect of my addiction today.  For several days I've been using slow-release morphine exclusively, due to having run out of the ordinary pills.  And the amazing discovery is that this leads to withdrawal symptoms! 

My usual pattern has been to take a slow-release (12-hour) capsule at bedtime, and to take ordinary morphine pills during the day.  For one thing, the ordinary pills cost a lot less; also with this pattern I avoid constipation.  My usual dosage:  one 30mg slow capsule for a 12-hour period;  or three 8mg pills for 12-hour period (one every 4 hours);  however, I often skip one or two of the ordinary pills in a 12-hour period, and that prevents constipation, saves money, and means only moderate amount of pain.

On occasion I forget to take the overnight pill, and that's how I have come to experience morphine-withdrawal.  This whole story may seem counterintuitive in that the usual withdrawal resulted from lack of slow-release form, and yet I'm comparing that experience to symptoms from a lack of the other kind.

I see Dr Haggard and get new prescriptions for morphine, both slow and ordinary.  In a variety of strengths to enable me to experiment with reduced dosage.

(By the way, I have been accused of being shit-obsessed;  there are polite ways to express that.)

Tue Jan 25:
My appetite is once again enormous.  The nausea is gone.  I eat like a pig today and I am proud of it:-)

Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay gets a geography lesson from a bodybuilder named Arnold Schwarzenegger (also an acter and former governor of California).  For a Canadian to need a lesson on North-American geography from a US-American would be bad enough, but from an Austrian bodybuilder!  Surely this is the funniest story involving the Canada-USA border since Stockwell Day's infamous gaffe!  However there is bathos in this amusing story.

Wed Jan 26:
A news-crawler catches my eye:  frozen dog in block of ice found on lawn in Dawson Creek BC:

Receiving a request for use of my Western-spiderwort photo leads me to reflect on conditions under which I permit my photos to be used for free, as well as those where I want money.  My previous experience is almost entirely with free usage, although I have received $250 for the right to use 5 Candidum photos in an interpretive-centre in Alberta , have received $200 from Canada-Post for the stamp that never was, have received a free calendar from a Saskatchewan organization as payment for photos, and a free book from Bill Stilwell as payment for photos.  In other words the money I've received from selling photos would not even pay for my current camera.  By the way, the fellow from the Department of National Defence who is asking is named Friesen so I want to know whether he's a relative.

Good afternoon Sean,
You have my permission to use my photo as described provided you give me appropriate credit.  Please note that it is permission to use that I'm donating, not ownership, and that I will remain the copyright-holder.  I don't see why you would need complete ownership but if you do then further negotiation and payment will be required.

Regarding "appropriate credit":  either my name (Eugene Reimer) or the URL of my website ( is enough.  Having both would be ideal if your layout would permit both without getting overcrowded, however that seems unlikely on a "pocket ID card".  The version on my website has my name on it and nothing else is required provided the name remains legible at the size you're using.

Please let me know if you need a higher-resolution copy of the photo(s).  Or if you need a copy with the annotation-text (my name and year) in a larger size so as to remain legible for the way you're using it.

Regarding your question about Single-use or Multi-use:  I'm giving permission to use my photo(s) on the pocket ID cards you mention.  Should you want to use them in another way then another request may be needed.  However I'll give you some additional permission right now:  any use in not-for-profit educational material is granted subject to 2 conditions: that appropriate credit be given, and that I be informed about the use.

Eugene Reimer

PS: I have many relatives named Friesen (see and am wondering whether you and I are related?

Research on Sean Friesen:
The GRANDMA-database (from for people of "menno" background) has six Sean Friesens with plausible year-of-birth (age);  one born in Edmonton seems the likeliest:
      Sean James Friesen I580660,  born:1986-12-09, Edmonton, Alberta;  father: James Victor Friesen, b:1957Jan04;  mother: Vicary Melanie Worrell, b:abt 1957.

That's probably the same person as in the Facebook-page -- in Edmonton;  no employer info;  middle-initial matches middle-name.

GRANDMA knows of no common-ancestor shared by Sean James Friesen I580660 and me.

Fri Jan 28:
Why haven't we heard before now that the government in Egypt is illegitimate?  I'm aware that the USA and Israel think otherwise, and that our government is strongly pro-Israel, and not altogether free of being pro-USA.  Our media pretends to be free of such bias, but appears not to be?

Trouble in the middle-east is good for the price of oil, for those of us who think higher is better.

Another news crawler catches my eye:  Toxic Waste candy recalled:

The CBC's Power and Politics inspires me to rant about Healthy-Living Vouchers.

Sat Jan 29:
After very little sleep I proceed to have a bad day.  Iris and I go to Steinbach, have dinner with dad, and stop at Safeway for grocery-shopping on the way back.  My mind seems defective, my coordination and balance seem impaired, much as if I were drunk.  At 11pm I puke.  My ability to speak seems impaired.

I call the on-call oncologist and speak to Dr Dawe, who suggests possibilities such as a brain tumor causing swelling in the brain.  We consider my going to Emergency at hospital, however my decision is to first try sleep.

Sun Jan 30:
After a good sleep I seem back to my recent normal.  Most of the things that were wrong yesterday are gone.  Only impaired speech remains.  There is also a tendency to get angry, although that's not easy for me to admit (it is, after all, always the other person's fault).  I am admitting some possibility that some of the fault could sometimes be mine, and that would be another symptom of something awry.

Dinner today consists of roast beef with spaghettini-in-oil-and-garlic.  Wunderbar!  The sirloin-tip roast from Safeway is unusually good.

Mon Jan 31:
The group called Muslim Brotherhood seems destined form the next government in Egypt.  That the next government of Egypt will be anti-US is inevitable since what they're objecting to is having a US-puppet government.  However another bunch of religious extremists coming to power is something the world would be better off without.  The Yanks have much to answer for, having twice elected Dubbya, whose "cowboy" rhetoric did so much to aid the cause of Muslim extremism.  His speeches were the best recruitment-tool the Al-Qaeda ever had.  That the Yanks fail to see this continues to amaze me.  It shows just how incapable Yanks are of seeing the world from anyone else's point of view.  This observation doesn't apply to all Yanks, but sadly it does apply to a majority since Dubbya was re-elected, by a majority.

I saw Ignatieff being interviewed on CBC-Newsworld.  He looked much improved, but it took me quite a while to figure out what was different.  The smirk was missing!!  That unfortunate facial quirk that makes him look so devious.  I'm rather proud of myself;  anyone can notice what's there but it takes a Sherlock to notice what isn't:-)

A notice in the St-Boniface Hospital advises would-be visitors to go home if having "had nausea, vomited, or had diarhea within the last 2 days".  "According to those rules I ought not to be here" I thought out loud, while reading that notice beside the elevator, after which the nice young volunteer "guide" who was leading me to the bone-scan room made a noticeable effort to stay further away from me:-)

How long until I get the results, I asked.  Answer: "Your doctor will get the results in less than one week".  I asked again in case she had misunderstood the question, but the answer remained unchanged.  She wouldn't come right out and say it, but I'm guessing she's unwilling to predict how long a lag between my doctor finding out and his telling me.  The nice young woman was a stickler for clarity, a woman after my own heart.  Mind you had I been in her shoes I would have explained the reason.

The adventures of 4 cab-trips in one day -- still to come.

When I come in through the front-door, Blackie wants out that way.  I refuse to let him since I prefer that he leave and return via the side-door, because there he can get my attention when wanting back in.  However after he refuses to leave via side-door I relent and let him use the front-door.  (From the front-door the world looks sunny, from the side-door it doesn't.)  I break my own rules in bending to his, however he has to bend to mine and eventually does by coming to the side-door.

The outrage over unwanted sled-dogs being shot and having their throats slit leaves me baffled.  Those are exactly the methods we use when killing animals for food.  Why are dogs and baby-seals sacred when lambs are not?  I briefly thought "cuteness" might be the answer, however baby-sheep are just as cute as seals and cuter than most dogs.  Dogs are sometimes pets, but that doesn't apply to seals.  Can anyone explain this notion of "humane" as applied to the execution of animals?  Incidentally when we execute a human, in a jurisdiction where that's done, then hanging is a commonly used method, and it seems no more humane than being shot.

Tue Feb 01:
Today's Trivia Question:  which letter in which Western-European alphabet exists only in lowercase?? 
(hint: it is not an accented letter;  the answer is found on this website but I won't tell you where)

Thu Feb 03:
I receive a phishing email that's phishing for the password to my email-account at, reminding me of the jjfriesen scam of Jan23.

Yesterday an 8mg dose of morphine wasn't quite enough and only lasted 3.5 hours.  Today I hardly craved morphine upon waking despite being several hours overdue for the next dose.  And I feel mildly buzzed from an 8mg dose, as though it's not only adequate but more than adequate.  Furthermore I'm still feeling slightly buzzed as though having had more than enough morphine despite being slightly overdue for the next dose - it's been 4.25 hours.  I have no idea what causes these differences in my morphine "requirements".  It surely feels as though one 8mg pill is more powerful and/or longer-lasting than another 8mg pill, and yet my guess is that the difference is in me rather than in the pills.  My guess is that the more active the brain the faster does the morphine effect wear off.

Usage-based pricing sounds perfectly sensible;  for it to be outlawed, as it presently is, sounds a lot like forcing all Restaurants to use All-You-Can-Eat pricing, which amounts to forcing frugal people to subsidize hogs.  However the opponents of UBB point out that allowing the cable and phone companies to set the limits and the overage charges allows them to completely stifle any "online" via-the-internet competition to the television-programs they're selling.  After further reading, including an email from Kip, and online articles by Michael Geist, I've come to think the opponents have a valid point.  Rather than write my own rant on the subject I advise the reader to google for Geist and UBB.  [this paragraph has changed since first written]

The price set by the CRTC at which Bell Internet will lend its "last mile" wiring to another ISP strikes me as absurd.  Imagine paying 85% of Bell's end-user-fee, adding all the internet services, adding a tiny bit for profit, and then selling this service for 15% below the Bell price.  So obviously impossible I don't know what to say.  Note that one doesn't switch away from a known brandname unless the price is better by at least 15%.

The outcry over that 85% price I understand.  The price is absurd!

BTW, the media coverage of this issue is godawful.  One godawful example:  godawful CBC example.

Fri Feb 04:
[previous items Jan29,30 updated]
Last night the black one kept me up for hours after my being ready to go to bed.  I'd let him out at 2am thinking he'd only be minutes but he stayed out until 6am!!  Then the phone woke me at 9am - the garage-door repairman.  I almost gave up on more sleep, but tried anyway, and to my surprise I slept all day, until 5:30pm.  (The "black one" or Blackie being the cat whose servant I am.)

Sat Feb 05:
Is my preference for written versus oral communication a recent symptom, and could it have been caused by a stroke damaging the left-side of the brain?  Answer: it is life-long, as a young undergraduate-student I would often read the textbook rather than attend (listen to) lectures.  Mind you, I always thought it mostly a matter of controlling the speed:  that way I can "go fast" where appropriate, or "go slow" if the material requires;  textbooks having been carefully proofread also have a lower incidence of errors, another reason to prefer them.  Obviously errors upset me more than they do most people.

In case you've never noticed English has quirky rules about how words are spelt (I jest).  Consider:  speak is spelt with "ea", whereas speech uses "ee";  an understandable difference had they different origins...  Etymologies from
speech: from Middle English speche, from Old English spræc, spæc;
speak:  from Middle English speken, from Old English sprecan, specan;

In both cases the "r" has been dropped, going from "spr" to "sp".  Both seemingly related to the Plautdietsch spräakje, German sprechen (to speak);  as well as to the Plautdietsch Sproak, German Sprache (language).

About inconsistencies that bother me:  Jack Thiessen astounds me by spelling a word as both Sprätjrüa and Spräatjrooah in the Plautdietsch-to-English and English-to-Plautdietsch sections of his dictionary!!

Sun Feb 06:
In an email to Reimer-cousins I point out the danger of blindly following "let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth" (biblical advice from Matthew 6:3 King James Version).  The use of biblical quotation in argument reminds me of my father versus the Blumenort Brotherhood circa 1958.

I cannot but admire Julian Assange.  And WikiLeaks.

Tonight I watch "History Detectives" on PBS and enjoy it immensely.  A program that's been around for many years yet has, for the most part, escaped my notice until now.

Finished a curried-chicken dish that previously disagreed with my stomach.  With no significant consequences.

Thought of the day:  we like people who are intelligent but only if they're too stupid to have noticed.

Tue Feb 08:
Photoshopping examples worth a look:  composite-animal photos.  (from an email forwarded by Barb Friesen;  the winners of a contest held by

An email from Victor Wiebe of Calgary comes as a pleasant surprise.  My "Penner cousins" get scant coverage in this blog as I so rarely hear from any of them these days.

Marilynne Jackson informs me that "night time is cat time" and advises to "aim when you puke".

Incidentally, the young fellow mentioned in install-gluescript.htm once sent me an email accusing me of cyber-bullying.  I stand by what I wrote.  While on the subject of hatemail, my Shaw Sucks rant once prompted an anonymous writer to send an email consisting of nothing but name-calling.  I have no idea what had gone wrong with him/her...  The pains that person had gone to to send it anonymously were impressive, they included the use of some 3rd-party email-sending service.

Wed Feb 09:
Dr Fatoye doesn't believe my theory about the slow-release form lasting somewhat longer than 12-hours.  After a bit of thought I realize there's no danger in trying his approach after all, even if my theory were to be correct.  Had briefly suspected that if each slow pill were to last for say 15-hours then the overlapping would somehow accumulate, but that involved fuzzy thinking.  I'm now taking a 24mg-slow pill twice per day.  So far it feels as though a 2mg-regular pill every 4-hours is enough supplental morphine.  The experiment is ongoing.

Thu Feb 10:
Blessed are they who fart silently for they shan't get caught.  See:  In praise of farting -- Guardian editorial 2011-02-09.

"The Malawi ban on farting has attracted great attention in the British press (Editorial, 9 February).  One thing that is not clear is which type of farting is forbidden.  Until recently, I thought that Arabic was the only language with two words for fart.  "Zarta" for the loud one and "fassia" for the silent but deadly type.  I am now informed that Turkish slang also has two words: "murad" and "yousef", respectively.  I wonder how widespread this linguistic richness is." -- Emeritus Prof Raymond Levy, Letter-to-editor in The Gaurdian 2011-Feb10.

Walmart underwear has the brandname .w.n.q when viewed upside-down.  (that needs a font with double-you as opposed to double-vee)

When choosing the wording for a website's Privacy Policy, I suggest making two promises: (1) that you don't and won't sell email-addresses, and (2) that you (your organization) won't send annoying emails;  describing the frequency of your own emailings is another useful piece of information.

Facebook does have a profit-motive incentive to make life miserable for those, like me, who want to use Facebook only to convey the message that "I don't use Facebook", that in order to interact with me, you visit my website and/or send an email.

Many people have wished me a happy birthday -- Facebook is good at reminding friends about such events.

Some people are pleased to see themselves quoted on my website, some are not.

Bill Reid and ï spend hours discussing the history of computing and of Will Rothney, as well as death by cancer.  Bill has offered to look after my website after my death or incompetence, whichever comes first.  I'll introduce him to Will Milne, and let them work out who does whatever might need doing.

Fri Feb 11:
Just what I don't need, another Wikipedia edit-war.  My attempt to clarify a subtle point in Sentence_spacing yesterday has been undone (by Cybercobra), so I've tried a 2nd time to eliminate some misguided speculation based on a misconception.  This is reminiscent of a similar point in the ASCII article I've had a war over, where some jerk and his sock-puppet are badly in need of more slandering than I've done until now, and I hope she reads this. 

Incidentally I was taught to use 2 spaces after a sentence, and I still like things spaced that way.  Most major style-guides these days want just one space after a sentence.  However the argument that proportional fonts have made double sentence spacing obsolete because these fonts can assign a wider spacing for terminal punctuation characters than for the other punctuation characters is fatally flawed because it assumes a character-code for Period distinct from Dot which is not the case.  I've twice attempted to make that point in the Sentence_spacing article, but it gets undone.  Looking at the Discussion page for that article shows there's already been extensive debate over that "is obsolete" wording, and I'll just bow out quietly. 

Note: this Wikipedia edit-war, my own taste in such matters, along with a bit of history has become a rant of its own.

Being out of bran-muffins for a few days had brought a return of constipation.  Hurrah, it has ended!  I have crapped!  (a new low in shit-obsessed blogging:)

First they promise to build Quebec City an arena.  Then they renege, with some twaddle about using gastax-money.  Quebec announces they're building an arena anyway despite the reneged-upon funding.  And then they renege upon the gastax too.  What manner of arseholes are they?

First they antagonize everyone, rural folks by squandering their tax dollars, those in other cities by not promising them an arena, those in Quebec City by reneging.  Then they outdo themselves by reneging on an offer that wouldn't even cost them anything.  Unmitigated arseholes is what they are.

Sat Feb 12:
Acting on a Bill Reid suggestion, I revise the "title" on each per-image webpage on this site.  I'm now using the description (from the caption) rather than filename.  It takes a few seconds to do, musing about further improvement takes hours, or rather days.  Candidates for title in per-image webpage:
SPECIES-NAME -- photo date:DATE location:LOCATION

What's needed to improve the captions as well as these titles derived therefrom is a more consistent presence of both scientific- and common-name.  Which reminds me of an unfinished project to produce a Checklist of Manitoba Flora that shows for each species the currently accepted scientific-name as well historical synonyms, including whatever the MB-CDC as well as NatureServe, Kartesz, USDA-PLANTS call it, as well as whatever common-name I know it by.  (These improvements are continued in the Feb 15 entry.)

Trouble with my Thunderbird emailer brings much grief.  Damn, I thought they'd finally fixed the "2GB bug", but apparently not.  Occurring at an inopportune time, it causes me to forget (temporarily) an email from Kip Rugger explaining the history of "UBB" -- an email that contributes to my revising my opinion (2011-02-03).

Sun Feb 13:
There's humour in the story about a frontend-loader being used to steal an ATM-machine in Montreal -- surely such innovative thinking merits a better outcome:-)

Today my cron link-checker warns that the link to Preservings is "twice broken", so I can fix it before it gets auto-corrected into a popup saying it's broken.  This gives a nice warm fuzzy feeling toward my link-checker.  As usual it leads to much swearing about senseless re-orgs, and the all-too-common failure to supply a redirect.  Why are so many webmasters so shockingly inconsiderate?  Hans Werner of Plettfoundation.Org seems a nice fellow in other ways.  (Could it be ignorance?  Surely everyone has seen a redirect happen;  5-seconds of googling will explain it;   ergo ignorance is not plausible as a defence...)

The young Canadian kid Raonic wins a major tennis tournament, although not a "major" in tennis-jargon.  He's the kid who, as you may recall, first caught our attention at the Aussie Open.

Mario Lemieux makes waves by saying he's unhappy with the violence in hockey, and the hockey pundits analyzing his remarks can only predict he will be fined for his thoughts!  Jeez, I really am the only one who is sane. 

Your query:  But Eugene, you like boxing, how can you not like hockey?
A:  Exactly!  a game of skill is something I enjoy;  boxing involves 2 skilled and willing opponents; you only fight someone your own size, and you don't hit a guy who's not looking.
Q:  And hockey isn't a game of skill?
A:  In my youth it was, but ever since Don Cherry started preaching the merits of clutching and grabbing...
Q:  Isn't there clutching and grabbing in boxing also?
A:  Well, no game's perfect.
Q:  How about when poverty forces a poor kid not at all skilled in self-defence to let himself be beat up?
A:  Who told you life is fair?
Q:  Let us get this straight:  it's the clutching and grabbing you hate, rather than the dirty cheap-shots and the fighting?
A:  Yup.
Q:  What was it you said about Don Cherry?
A:  To the extent that he has influence he also has blame for spoiling the game.

The dialog above is an example of talking to myself.

Mon Feb 14:
I get 2 hours of sleep, but then I slept for more than 12 the night before.

Ron & Ralph are here for lunch.  Ron and I each receive as a gift from Ralph a curious flashlight-pen, with a modern flashlight-bulb at one end and an illuminated pen at the other.  Just the thing for taking notes in the dark!

I learn about grandad, the "custom" knobs on his radio to enable his feeble fingers to make adjustments, and his relationship with Dr Doyle.  We discuss Joy and her financial woes, without forming a formal "plan" but with a willingness to chip in toward the aid organized by cousin Arnold.  A story that's new to me, and one that might be true, involves our aunt Trudy leaving their two young children in a park with instructions to wait for her return, which didn't happen, and ends with a policeman who, in tracking down the young girls' parents, contacts Uncle John at the school where he teaches. 

I tell them about how things were between my parents, possibly to aid my case for more "blabbing" being a good thing. 

Apparently the Tower of Siloam story teaches that death can come upon anyone, regardless of how sinful he is.  I don't know what to make of that?

St Peter hears a knocking at the pearly gates and says "Who's there?"  Answered with "It is I".  "Oh darn, another English teacher" sighs St Peter.

Jeopardy has an electronic contestant named Watson.  I don't see the program.  Hearing about it is enough for me to say that as a Turing test it fails to impress, in fact it strikes me as piss-poor, since doing well in Jeopardy is a matter of looking up trivia which is rather a trivial computer-programming task.  Calling it/him Watson, presumably for being designed at IBM's T J Watson Research Center also fails to impress:-)  In a CNET story, the reporter Chris Matyszczyk moans "why did they make him sound like Hal's diffident nephew?" and goes on to moan about the show being boring -- a question-answering/asking machine could be exciting?  If you've seen Jeopardy you'll understand why one writes "answering/asking".  I will admit that understanding the question/answer is not always trivial, but the tough ones are far between, and Watson does pretty well despite mostly getting the tough ones wrong.

Tue Feb 15:
Oda's "NOT"-insertion provides today's humour from Ottawa.  Perhaps Oda can teach us (by example:) not to appoint people by gender & ethnicity, but rather by competence with extra points given for qualities such as honesty.  (That article in a subtly prophetic tone sums up her cabinet tenure with hints of it being in the past-tense?)  Trivia: more CBC-viewers are interested in Oda than in Kate & Will!

Radiologists on average make 30 errors out of 1000 with a standard-deviation of 8;  one who makes 40 errors is discredited & fired.  Like pulling a pitcher after one bad pitch, methinks the evidence is hardly strong enough to be acted upon.  Just as flipping 6 coins and getting 6 heads doesn't prove the coins are 2-headed beyond a doubt, not even beyond a reasonable doubt, only just barely beyond a "balance of probabilities".  [research needed on the stats;  the guessing is bound to remain especially wild for the standard-deviation which is sad since the illustration would be devoid of beauty without it]

The Spanish Cycling Federation buys Alberto Contador's incredibly feeble excuse regarding a failed doping-test:  that he accidentally ingested the dope by eating a steak!  I kid you not!
(An aside: Google-News displays a seemingly trivial Lance-Armstrong cycling-related story above this major, but "foreign", one;  due to Yank-chauvinism?  or merely due to "major" being in the eyes of the beholder:)

Confusingly similar names and what to do about them:  the Institute for Safe Medication Practices notices that epinephrine and ephedrine are confusingly similar and advises us to "avoid side-by-side storage".  It's the recommended solution that gets me.  How about renaming one of them?

Ed Reimer, a Penner-cousin, drops in for coffee.  I learn some interesting history of CMU from his involvement in its formation, which as it turns out was a surprisingly lengthy process due to differences between the church "conferences" involved.  And about Dennis Koop, his nephew, my first-cousin once-removed, whom I knew in my student days (he's a mere 3+ years younger than me), who used to specialize in painting the lines on gym-floors, and has moved on to doing logos typically on gym-floors or gym-walls -- fascinating ways of utilizing his various talents in my opinion.

To my surprise my rants have been described as too subtle for offence to be taken;  apparently even in those rare cases where I try to offend I fail.  If I believed it I'd be disappointed. 

The word "offence" or is it "offense" gives me trouble (not wanting to use what only a Yank would, yet thinking the "s" variant looks right), reminding me that Canadian-English has moved and continues to move slowly across the Atlantic from Britland toward Yankland;  the all-pervasive Yank media (plus Hollywood) are gradually turning everyone, including Brits, into users of Yankisms:-)

Website updates to improve photo captions and titles (see Feb-12):
-- propogate scientific-name where known from some caption having it;
-- supply scientific-name for orchids and some other plants using the list developed for the website;
-- fix remaining CamelCase names, ie: the non-first ones that remain because my automated revising only corrected the first species-name in each caption;

I've started the above by constructing a list of (scientific-name, common-name) pairs.  I'm wrestling with strophs (aka apostrophes) today, instead of hyphens.  My common-names differ from common-names in that:  mine have been destrophed;  my Ramshead and ladyslipper have been dehyphenated;  my ladyslipper has also been destuttered (double-ess to single-ess).  Strophs are a minor inconvenience the way I do captioning, although the difficulty is so minor that I'm almost ashamed of myself for having banned them and that's how I've come to be wrestling with the question of whether to destroph or not to destroph...

The naming of plant-species on my website has another quirk that I ought to either finish or abandon:  I experimented briefly with writing English Common-names in the Latin-word-order to get names like:  Gerardia, slenderleaved;  Grass-of-parnassus, Fen;  Jewelweed, Spotted;  such names are vastly superior to Germanic-word-order names in that an alphabetically ordered list will have them grouped by genus, which is very nice, is in fact the main thing that attracts us to the use of Latin for the naming of species!  (So I contend; not everyone would agree.)  And yet in English we find it "foreign" and hard to take;  hmm, we're used to our phone-books being done that way...  However I'm also considering a switch to having Scientific-name first, in which case there'd be no reason to use these "backwards" common-names.  Hmm, the issue hardly seems important any more;  the searching tool has pretty much obsoleted the need to look for things in a list of names.

A person I won't name sends Grizzly Bear Pictures which gets me thoroughly upset, disappointed, abashed, and has me staying up much too late ranting about it.

Wed Feb 16:
My Thunderbird (emailer) woes appear not be over after all;  today I suddenly get "Unable to copy to Sent folder...Message was sent, but could not be copied to your Sent folder" while sending an email.  A "Retry?" popup offers 2 choices: OK or Cancel.  Many "OK" replies get me nowhere;  finally settling for "Cancel" also gets me nowhere;  the window-close button fares no better.  There is no way out!!  After some dozens of attempts, the message-popup does finally close, leaving me back in the Compose-window, and now clicking Send works immediately;  it does send a duplicate as I learn from the recipient: my 2nd send is at 19:14; she responds to one from 18:29 (shown as 6:29-PM by her Microsoft software) which is the first one.  This suggests that something is still awry.  It doesn't happen on the next email I send, so I haven't studied it further. 

(Telling this in the present-tense is not easy for me;  my tendency being to slip into the past-tense, to produce a mixture of past and present;  hmm, I'm trying to follow advice that goes against my nature, and am starting to suspect either it's bad advice or I'm exceeding its applicability?  At my age I'm still trying to learn how to write in English:-)  (And another thing: how to use a smiley inside parentheses is something we didn't learn in school(:-)  And yet I'm not the only person to wonder: see

Thu Feb 17:
My Thought for Today:  keeping things simple often requires that one do the not-so-simple. 

In other words:  even if something (such as a sentence or a computer-program) is as simple as it could be, after a small change is made to it, it may no longer be as simple as it could be, and one has to make further changes before it once again is.  I tried to make an example but failed to keep it simple:-)

Minister Oda remaining unfired gets more amazing by the day.  She lied, she doctored, she lied, she is unfired.  I hope we remember!  These guys have already mistreated too many women, and they wouldn't want the pattern to become obvious -- so says Allan Gregg in "At Issue"; he has a very good day today.

Turns out the "hacking" into Ottawa computers was nothing more sophisticated than someone phishing for passwords, and someone in Ottawa obligingly supplying important passwords.  CBC calls it "spear phishing" meaning the phishing email, specially designed for the target organization, appears to come from a co-worker in a position of authority.  (Wikipedia's article on phishing contains a joke involving a band Phish; such humour is out of place yet I like it, don't and won't remove it, and hope it stays.)

The average Canadian now owes $100,000 but is that inflation-adjusted?  (There's nothing newsworthy in this if the amount-owed has merely been going up at the rate of inflation.)

Latimer is still in a fighting mood.  Persistence the man certainly has.  Clearly a man who knows he's the only sane one.  (Like the pro-Mubarak minority in Egypt?)

I feel forced to point out faulty arithmetic:  in a story about the US's proposed border-crossing tax, the CBC (in the afternoon) says $5.50 times 16,000 comes to more than $110,000.  In the evening news the story is corrected, by leaving unspecified the number of crossings that had been 16,000.

Tom Harrington, on CBC-News, explains "Diminished Value", or the reduced resale-value of your car as a rarely considered "cost" of having your car be in an accident, to which I say: sure Tom, but it's hardly significant.  Perhaps I've been unusually lucky in that by getting worn components replaced by better-looking ones my car experienced enhanced-value meaning it went up in resale-value.  A few days later I see the entire report and note that he has collected several examples where Diminished-value is significant, but they strike me as circumstances that are extremely rare, so I still think of this story as a lot of fuss over very little.
(CBC-News keeps me busy today.)

In "North American Poker Tour" on TSN, a deal comes along where the two hands are 4 + 2 against 3 + 2.  (A split-pot outcome is likely.)  Contrary to the usual practice, the probabilities shown beside the hands sum to 100%.  Although showing probabilities this way is unorthodox, I prefer this method!  Hmm, I would however still like to see the probabilty of a split-pot result, and that they don't show.  The usual practice is to show for each hand the probability of that hand winning outright, with "split-pot" being a separate outcome.  Although I'm sure they're possible, I haven't encountered more than one kind of split, nor other than a 2-way split, being possible outcomes.

I'm currently rereading "Winter Frost" by R D Wingfield, and it's even better than I remembered!  It's easily the best of Wingfield's Frost mysteries.  Such is Wingfield's that Frost experiences as much in a day as you'll find in ten action-packed lifetimes without his seeming to be any kind of superhero.  They are incidentally the reason for Dr Harding's name being familiar to me.  We're familiar with "John" being the prostitute's client; in Brit-English "Tom" is the prostitute. 

Once upon a time I was a C-programmer.  These days I program in bash because with advancing age I've become too stupid to program in C.  However I have one unfinished project that includes a C-program to operate on an "MBOX" file as used by Thunderbird for each email-folder;  it's a program that I still hope to finish, and it's in C because it uses GMime, which can also be used from other languages although I'm probably too stupid for that too.

(Google is painfully slow tonight?  Nope, turns out to be Shaw that's slow.  They did warn us, but for one day hence, early on the 19th.  BTW why does Shaw seem to copy every bad idea the phone-company has ever had, such as multiple websites with different content on each so you never know where to look;  well that's certainly one of MTS's worst ideas though I'm not sure Shaw has copied that one, although they do have a 2nd name something like SJR which is confusing and finding emails from them is tough and I wish could remember why, as I'm sitting here thinking about these things while sitting and waiting and waiting and nothing is happening...  Aha we're back.)

I get angry with a dear friend on the telephone.  When I expect her to wait a whole second before jumping into a story I'm telling, apparently I expect too much.  But that is what I expect.  BTW, I have aplogozed for my anger, although unable call it unjustified, I've pointed out that the only thing wrong with her phone-calls is they're too long, not too often, that we all get stupider with age, that my condition makes me prone to anger so she ought to cut me some slack, yet nothing I say is enough;  clearly I'm being more than reasonable, ergo she wants rid of me as a friend which hurts but I'll get over it;  figuring it out is the tough part with people who are too subtle.  Coolness I expect from those whose idols I've mocked but she's not EMC (hmm, perhaps I am too subtle).  What she says would make sense if I said it - this dialog could be simple were my head an echoing-device.

I can't sleep so I rant some more.

I can hardly understand why this causes me so much pain;  one might think that such a friend one is better off without, but not so I learn.  Obviously I am a glutten for punishment.  And here I thought that only applied to other people, the masochists, the battered-wife-syndrome cases...  Hmm, I read that Freud distinguishes between "primary" & "secondary" masochism, but which kind do I suffer from?  She would call it secondary, and I would disagree, but then one has a hard time knowing oneself.  I'm rambling.  I'll stop now.

I also read: "Part of the therapy with abused children, after they’ve grown up, is to convince them that they themselves are not evil and deserving of the abuse".   (Adapted & simplified from  Hmm, suddenly some of that psychological mumbo-jumbo makes some sense.  One's state of mind makes all the difference.  Incidentally, she (the author of NeoNeoCon.Com) remains anonymous though she shows us her photo (I'm gullible enough to think it's her:) and reveals her motto: 'A mind is a difficult thing to change'.  (Note that read and read, the present and past of "to read", look so much alike that it is hard to be klar when using either.)  (Could the "it's her" phrase be replaced with "its her" as short for its subject is she/her?  Nah I'm being silly)

My 2nd Thought for Today:  you're only nuts if you think you are.

My 3rd Thought for Today:  don't expect to be thanked for pointing out a painful truth.

Blackie dislikes those static-electric sparks on his ears, yet always forgives me for doing it to him.  Cats have been compared to women but Blackie is a great deal better than a woman.

As a teenaged member of the Crusader Car Club I disliked the "Crusader" connotations.

For Ruth, my ex-wife, feminism was like a piece of jewellery, to be worn one day, hidden away the next, as appropriate for the occasion.

My 93-year-old father recalls me as a young boy being especially fond of 2 lines from Tennyson's Mechanophilus; they made a bigger impression on him than on me:

As we surpass our fathers’ skill,
    Our sons will shame our own;
A thousand things are hidden still
    And not a hundred known.
(you'll be able to guess which 2 of the 4 I'm talking about)

Sat Feb 19:
NOCI founder Bud Ewacha passed away 2011-Feb-16.  He was 77.  A memorial gathering will be held from 1-3pm on Wednesday Feb 23 at Cropo Funeral Chapel.

After napping for a mere 2 hours this afternoon, although due for more sleep having been awake for a full 16 hours, I wake with a new kind of right-ankle pain.  This time the pain continues after getting up.  My right ankle with its different kinds of pain is confusing, to put it mildly.  (My erratic sleeping patterns may well be irrelevant; the details serving only to further confuse the confusing pain-story about a confusing pain.  My too-cute-ness is becoming acute.)  The pain is much like a mildly sprained ankle.  After some 5-hours it fades away to nothing.  It's altogether rather minor, but strange, also somewhat confusing.

Ray Smith wrote to

you can give tesseract any utf-8 string for each recognizable unit that you train it with, including multiple unicodes if you want. If your original shapes/recognizable units/aksharas/syllables (call them what you like) represent multiple unicodes, then give tesseract all the utf8 for those, and it will be happy. (It currently supports up to 24 bytes of utf-8 for each shape.) It will make life easier when you want to give it a dictionary to use with the shapes, as it assumes that the words you give it can be made up of sequences of the codes for the basic shapes.
Isn't it sad to see a perfectly good mind ruined by Tesseract? 
I wonder:  is a "basic shape" the same as a "shape", or as a "unicode"?  hmm, perhaps it is a "call them what you like"?

I've noticed several examples of webpages having pictures of text (as in scanned pages), where Google has indexed them as text, indicating a great OCR-program (much better than I've been able to achieve with Tesseract).  This makes me wonder: Google is sponsoring Tesseract, yet seems to have something better??  Incidentally the user-interface stinks;  although they have it as text, they won't let me at it, so I'm unable to search it.  To see the evidence: issue the google query: Mechanophilus origin.  The image-indexed-as-text pages amongst the results will include:  The first one needs an extra click, on "View Full Article", after which we see an image that has the distortion we expect on a scanned page.  The latter two look suspiciously perfect, as in too good to be scans, and there may well be something else going on here.  Of course, Google's "better OCR-program" may consist of 3rd-world humans sitting and typing:-)

Tonight in Safeway I observe myself walking like an old man, without lifting the heel.  I still find it disgusting.  On returning home I get my car hung up on snow behind my garage;  I don't need to shovel, as I find an old bag of sand and put the sand under the driving-wheels, and yet just that tiny bit of excercise in the cold air leaves me with a frightening shortness of breath.  Darn, I'm also feeling as though I may have caught another cold.

Is Gary Bettman a developer?  He orders Edmonton to build a new arena, for no reason other than New For the Sake of New.  For fools that suffices...  Apparently you have to waste money in order to make money -- there is something wrong with us!  (We are fools, and we are wasteful for the sake of wasteful)

Newfoundland's new slogan: As Far From Disneyland as You Can Get.  I like it.

M&M's "one aisle" slogan is a subtle hint to choose food based on the number of aisles it has?

Sun Feb 20:
Today's mental-arithmetic quiz:  what's the cost of a box of 44 books at the wholesale price of $10.77 each?  44 times 11 is 484; 44 times 0.25 (or 44 over 4) is 11; 44 times 2 is 88;  so the answer is 484 - 11 + 0.88 = 473.88 (no calculator needed). 

Hmm, that method of breaking it into sub-problems worked out nicely and yet hardly seems worth talking about after all because it's only a tiny improvement over a straightforward digit-by-digit method:  44 times 10 is 440; 44 times 7 is 3.08; times 70 is 30.80;  so the answer is 440 + 30.80 + 3.08 = 473.88.

Resolving an issue of having used two different Scientific names for the same plant, is resolved with the help of Google in 10 seconds;  I reflect upon how in the old days it would've meant a trip to the University library, several reference books, a few recent articles in periodicals, and would've taken all day, approximately.  Somebody old enough to remember ought to write about "Life Before Google" so the youngsters as well as future generations can understand. 

Googling for "Life Before Google" (with quotes) finds about 36,200 results so my thought is far from original.  Mind you the top 4 results are identical (copies of the same cartoon).  Google-Images finds about 4,290 results:  16 of the top 18 are that same cartoon;  as are 12 of the next 18;  and 11 of the next 18.  Google-News finds one result.  Google-Books finds 7.  Google-Videos finds about 12 results.  To my surprise, Google-Maps even finds results (2 places of business use that phrase in their description of themselves).

Mon Feb 21:
Today I "blogged" on my facebook page, about a Facebook anomaly.  I do after all use Facebook:-)  Öba ekj bruck epost tem mien nieja plautdietscha Jesechtbuak-frind Peeta Wiens von Dietschlaund Goondach wensche  (However I use email to say hello to my new Plautdietsch-speaking Facebook-friend Peter Wiens of Germany).

Goondach Peeta,
Mie jefelt daut epost schriewe väl bäta aus opp daut Jesechtbuak schriewe, doawein doo ekj daut soo's ekj daut doo:-)
löt et scheen göne,

Google finds ZERO matches for "Jesechtbuak" and suggests that I must've meant "Jachtlak" which neither looks close nor, seeing as how it's a Dutch word (or placename) for "hunting lake", is it close.  So far, zero matches has always meant a typo.  (In this case it means there's not nearly enough Plautdietsch on the web.)

I watch curling on TSN while having lunch.  After the first end they go to a commercial, and I channel-surf to find 45, 46 also in commercials, and I settle for that awful "Worst Handyman" program on ch14, where I watch an entire 5-minute segment (what can I say, I get hooked) so I expect to have missed about half the end, but to my amazement TSN is still in the commercial-break when I get back to it.  Mind you, the end is about half over when they finally do get back to the curling.  This is more disgusting than usual.  I certainly hope it isn't the new "norm".  (Reworded as part of my ongoing excercise to write in the present-tense.)

I've always been willing to live dangerously, and why would I change just because I'm dead.  (I wrote that by accident in an email today, then found myself admiring it to the point of laughing out loud.)

Emailing keeps me shockingly busy all day, so much so that I get nothing else done:  Will & Bill on website issues;  Bill & Doris on the naming of species;  Victor looking for an old Free-Pres photo;  Iris & Joy(telephone) about Joy & curling;  Derrick and Peggy about NOCI addresses & AGMs & pizza;  the Tesseract-List insanely sends 42 emails (oops, now 49) from a two-week period although for my taste enough had been coming through;  ...  (and I've omitted some).   I excercise a moderate amount of moderation in my blogging.  One of these days I'll get back to my website improvements. 
(The searched-for photo:  date:2009-03-25;  caption:“Water rises in southern Manitoba Rolly Wiebe watches a pump...";  credit:Joe Bryska/Winnipeg Free Press.) 
(At 8am Tesseract-List UNREAD-count is 51, with oldest-UNREAD from 2011-02-08 (2-weeks old);  newest-READ:2011-02-21 09:45;  2nd-newest:2011-02-20 22:54.)

Morphine like alcohol is full of surprises, being an upper one moment, a downer the next, and we have no formula for mood-change direction over time... 

Tue Feb 22:
My crystal ball:  Revolution will spread throughout the Arab world, with each pro-US regime being replaced by an anti-US one, and each anti-US regime being replaced by a pro-US one.

Safeway Pharmacy treats me like some dangerous maniac when telling me I'm not yet allowed to renew my prescription.  This is unfair, humiliating, insulting.  They have left me feeling like crap.  Like a cockroach expecting to be stepped on and crushed at any moment.  The damage I've suffered can never be repaired!   Just because I am a withrawal-suffering drug-crazed madman desparately trying to obtain drugs is no reason to treat me like a drug-addict.

The cruelest unfairest aspect is that the screwup appears to be my doctor's, rather than Safeway's, and the reason why that's bloody awful is that makes it so much harder to fix -- it means weeks of trying to make appointments, keeping appointments, hassle in large quantities, paper-work by the ream, running around, sitting around, waiting patiently, waiting impatiently, going nuts, eating, not shitting, and so on, before there's any chance of getting the screwup fixed, and all this through no fault of mine.  It's unfair, unjust, an injustice.  Others screw up so I suffer.  I've done my part toward making this happen (it felt like more than my share incidentally), now all I ask is that other people do theirs.  But that's not how this broken system works.  The short answer is that it doesn't.  (I am feeling sorry for myself!)

Collectively they've treated me very shabbily indeed, but is there anyone to sue?  The mixup involves my only being allowed to buy the slow morphine capsules at one per day (30 every 30 days) though I need to take them at the rate of 2 per day.  Which works out very badly.  Leads to a depraved drug-deprived junkie thinking of trying the black-market.  The doctor prescribed on the basis of my preference for using regular morphine during the day.  Then a few days later the doctor "ordered" me to use only the slow capsules at 2 per day.  The problem: 2 different doctors.  Ergo the prescribing doctor has a perfectly good excuse for his part of the shabby treatment.  Safeway Pharmacy's policy that the customer is always wrong is what has most pissed me off. 

They really go out of their way to deprive opium-addicts of their junk.  And they take such delight in it.  Some sort of religious thing I imagine.  It was bad enough being a smoker.  Now I'm two kinds of frowned-upon sinner.  For me opium has replaced booze, however it's obviously a much more frowned-upon sin.  Not every pharmacist there is as bad as the one I talk with today, but she's far from the only one with such an attitude.

May have found a workaround: a previous prescription for 30mg-slow morphine still has an eligible renewal -- despite opiate prescriptions never being renewable -- and I'm trying that as a tide-me-over workaround.  The rules change every time I hear them;  the rules are so hideously complex they would drive even a young person nuts.  Pharmacists can't handle ceptin-fors;  they're only capable of simple absolute unqualified statements, which means they invariably fall a long ways short of telling the whole truth, indeed their statements are not even close to being truth whenever opiates are involved.  And I find it hard to be polite to such lying bastards and so you can see how it is that we get along so well.  One day any prescription can be renewed by telephone, the next day an opiate prescription cannot be renewed by any means under any circumstances, and when it suddenly can be after all then I bite my tongue and refrain from pointing out the contradiction.

Much later:  last night I got a mere 4 hours sleep, so I was expecting an early falling asleep tonight, but not so.  I seem to be heading for another sleepless night instead.  This prescription mixup got me thoroughly upset;  having to make do with other than the usual drugs doesn't help.  And as I've observed before:  Not only do I get more pissed-off at screwups these days but it also takes me longer to get over it.  Not that I stay pissed-off longer, it's more a matter of needing time to recover from some subtle side-effect.  What that side-effect is I'm not able to say, except that it prevents sleep.  Aha, I've got it after all: the side-effect is "smoke too much";  when I'm upset I smoke too much, smoking too much makes me feel worse;  smoking too much keeps me awake.

Wed Feb 23:
Finally fall asleep at 6am, now I'm wide-awake at 8am, and it's time to start a new day:-)  My sleep-deprivation has become serious.  I firmly believe it best to do nothing on such a day;  doing nothing being better than doing counter-productive things that you'll later need to undo.  I make an exception for eating.

I've written a quick version of the DPI rant I've been intending to write for years.

Good news: my morphine has arrived.  Turns out Safeway delivers.  By today, I'm allowed another 30 of the 24mg capsules, plus the 60 capsules of 30mg from the old prescription, and that will suffice until I next see the prescribing doctor.  Unfortunately only at 9pm, when I've just taken an 8mg-regular, so I need to stay up for another 4 hours.

Thu Feb 24:
Seven hours of sleep is a slight improvement.

Steve Reimer drops by with take-out from Baked Expectations.  Great linguini as it turns out.  I remember the restaurant fondly from some 20 years ago, but have no recent experience other than cake.  I get to hear about my ex-wife whom I've not heard from nor about in many decades.  She long ago quarrelled with most of her siblings who then lost touch with her.  They have reconnected with her recently finding her living in rural British Columbia, in or near Golden BC.  Her son Stefan, whom I remember as a young boy, is now 37-years old and is also in BC.  Steve says Ruth is bipolar, and I think to myself she's also schizophrenic.  Hmm, I don't think of her mental illness as being a secret seeing as how she had a shrink who was prescribing serious drugs for it...

Fri Feb 25:
Ahh, a full 12-hours of sleep, this is more like it.

I catch an interesting bit of As It Happens on CBC-radio.  It is about some research showing that people fond of sour beverages tend to be sour in disposition.  Good thing I've lost my taste for grapefruit-juice:-)

Today I attend the NOCI AGM.  Over pre-AGM pizza, I learn that the "note in the records" amounts to the 2009 treasurer-report being revised.  Now the only thing that bothers me is that the members aren't being told about the revision, which offends my sense of the proper way to present financial statements, as though we're trying to confuse rather than to shed light.  I thought my own methods were more clear and consistent and understandable;  mind you, no-one else seemed to understand my reports either.  And as to the members not being told:  they don't care -- so why should I?  That's why being a treasurer is such a thankless job, because no-one cares.  And Derrick certainly tries;  his pie-chart is a wonderful way to present such dry material in a visually interesting way. 

The auditor's work is less impressive with those peculiar categories, however his fee is very reasonable, and he has made it clear that he doesn't want the job.  His advice is to present a motion to the NOCI members giving them the opportunity to waive the otherwise-required audit.  Why we ignore his advice is a long story that deserves a rant of its own.

We get a new director, Matthew McBurney, to replace the retiring John Neufeld.  His credentials sound impressive and he's young, compared to most of us, so his election (by acclamation) makes me optimistic about the future of NOCI. 

The presentation is superb -- it more than lives up to my expectations, something that rarely happens when my expectations are high.  Will's photographs are superb;  Doris's narration is also superb!  I win an item in the raffle, where I get to pick the collection containing "Joy" by Peggy Kasuba (Spirit Pines Studio) that I'd had my eye on.  Also included is a curious bit of metal sculpture with an attached roach-clip by some un-named artisan, or a 3rd-world factory for all I know;  it is however an attractive roach-clip / business-card holder;  the metal base appears to be a cat by the way.  I also win the last of the door-prize items, which is less of a winner, being a plastic bottle from 4-imprint, which I'll donate for re-use in next year's raffle.  I need a box to carry home my winnings.  I thoroughly enjoy myself at the AGM.

Thought of the Day:  the best way to protect your brain is to use it.

A note on genealogy:  Derrick's ancestors include Isbrand Friesen born:abt 1740 who sounds familiar but isn't related to me.  GRANDMA shows that we each have a circa 1740 ancestor named Peter Penner.  That's the closest thing I've found to evidence of our being related though it remains a long-shot.  (I'm tempted to write "the shortest shot though far from short" -- idioms are strange things and it's such fun to mangle them:)  See my genealogy webpage for more.

In yesterday's snail-mail is an envelope containing a cheque for $157.00 from someone I don't know made out to someone else I don't know.  Turns out the envelope is addressed to 57 Sunset Blvd, and was put into my mailbox thanks to mail-carrier error.  When I first moved to this location we had a mail-carrier who screwed up in that way every other day -- one important envelope of Blue Sky Club business-transaction records never has gotten to me;  however we've had many mail-carriers since then and this is the first repetition of that sort of mistake in a decade.  There was one incident where a mail-carrier claimed to have slipped and hurt himself on my inadequately shovelled path which led to some nasty notes from Canada-Post with threats of lawsuits but I pointed out that my walk was a good deal safer than the city's and have continued in my own lazy ways with regard to snow-removal -- I believe in letting it melt in spring.  I seem to have had more than one person's share of conflicts with Canada Post over the years (smile), but I did sell them a photo for the stamp that never was.

I finally get to watch the curling recorded yesterday between Canada and Alberta.

Mon Feb 28:
Declaring Libya a "No Fly Zone":  there's much in the news about major world-leaders taking an interest in helping Libyans rid their country of shit-loving insects. 

Fri Mar 04:
Thought of the Day:  cobbling together a Watsonian algorithm to distinguish Brit from Yank usage of the counterfactual pluperfect subjunctive sounds mildly difficult.

An online ad with a sexy young adult female human wearing a t-shirt with the words "i pooped today" catches my eye and makes me lust for her shirt.  I've just bought one, in what has to be the most spur-of-the-moment purchase-decision I've ever made.  During this online purchase I ignore the feeling of doing something dangerous thinking it can be explained by the anxiety that comes from being deeply stacked, as in being in the middle of something that came up while in the middle of something else, where the anxiety-level increases with depth, and furthermore this sort of anxiety, arising as it does from a fear of memory-failure wiping out the info needed to get back to all the interupted activities, has been getting worse with the deterioration of the memory cells that's been accompanying my advancing age  (as an aside I ought to mention that anxiety also leads to a loss of moderation regarding my imposing an appropriate limit on the maximum degree of sentence-complexity:-) 

I believe I just came very close to having one of those events where with a bright flash the most intensely overloaded circuits in my brain are wiped clean, however I managed to control myself and avoided it.  Over the years I've had such several (perhaps 20) such events, typically when my anxiety-level is high due to some form of trying too hard.  I have wondered whether such an event is what's known as a petit-mal or an "absence seizure", however they've never seemed serious enough to warrant pursuing a diagnosis.  I once tried to explain these events to someone and received one of those too-bad-this-fine-fellow-has-gone-insane looks for my trouble.

Sun Mar 06:
In TSN's curling coverage, Vic is becoming the thoughtful one?  He surprises most everyone when he suggests that less-than-perfect ice-making could be used to make the game more interesting.  Complete with an auto-racing analogy where simulated rain (ie: wetting the track) has been suggested for formula-one.

My crystal ball has Stoughton of Manitoba in the Brier final against Kevin Martin of Alberta, where it shows the Manitoba rink making 100% of their shots yet losing to a less-than-perfect Alberta rink who come up with as many triple takeouts as they have misses.  The Martin rink is very good and on the rare occasion when that's not enough then they get lucky, a combination that makes them unbeatable.

Mon Mar 07:
An Aussie chap I meet mentions seeing a road-sign "Accidents are Prohibited on this Road" in India.  He just had to take a picture, he adds.  He clearly enjoys describing it to anyone he meets so I'm half expecting him to show it.  There is such an image.  And an Aussie Fringe-Festival travelogue based on it.  I have no idea which came first.  Nor what this chap's connection is to any of them.

I've been taking things too seriously.

Alberta's Kevin Martin runs out of horseshoes.  Already my prognostications of yesterday are in trouble.

Television commercials have gone back to being entertaining, sometimes even amusing.  There is a pattern:  during economic good times commercials keep getting worse, more predictable, etc.  During a downturn nothing much happens.  But when we're coming out of the slowdown then we're briefly treated to advertising made with old-fashioned values where entertainment-value matters.

Youngsters typically err by thinking newer is better, ie: all change is good;  oldsters typically err by thinking older is better, ie: all change is bad.

Tue Mar 08:
Thought of the day: improving the world frequently involves hurting one person's feelings  (for example, when improving a Wikipedia article involves the deletion of an irrelevant phrase that improvement will hurt the person who thought it relevant).  In other words, a do-gooder who shrinks from an action that causes pain is incapable of doing good.

Mar, Apr, May, June, July:
I stopped "blogging", so this page is back to being about my cancer and its treatment.  My not-blogging was to be temporary, while I concentrated on improvements to the photo-captions on my website as described in programs/sci2com.htm, but after kicking the blogging-habit (smile), I stayed away from it.  During this time I've updated other parts of my website, making new entries under Rants, Programs, and especially under Photos. 

Wed Apr 13:
My hair and beard are coming back.  I have an appointment with Dr Fatoye to discuss results of CT-scans of brain and lungs taken 2011-Mar09:  brain: no abnormalities and no evidence of metastases;  lungs: tumour is growing again.  Prognosis: Dr Fatoye said more chemotherapy is a possibility but he does not recommend it as I suffered badly from the side-effects last time.  No real treatment options are known.  Radiation may be used later to deal with pain.  Impossible to say exactly when death will occur, likely within next 6 months.

Fri Jul 29:
Had a visit from PC (Palliative-Care) doctor Dr Crawford this afternoon;  he prescribed the things PC-nurse Kate suggested, namely 2 kinds of puffer medication (Ventolin/Salbutamol & Atrovent/Ipratropium), and the super-fast-acting sublingual narcotic (Fentanyl/Sufentanil).  That same narcotic also comes in patch form (every 3 days).  After some discussion about switching to those patches, he left my basic pain-control regimen (hydromorphone) as is, although we discussed how I'd increase it a bit if needed.  My thinking: although I'd had two bad days I'm now feeling pretty darned good and felt good yesterday too, making me reluctant to fix what aint broke. 

He also prescribed a 6-day program of a steroid Dexamethasone, along with 6 days worth of Ranitidine for stomach, since the steroid causes upset-stomach in many people.  He attempted to explain in what way the steroid might help, however I didn't comprehend beyond the idea that it might do something beneficial.  He ordered from Tache Pharmacy since he's sure they'll have them in stock and will deliver today -- whereas Safeway would likely take until after the long-weekend.  He instructed them to deliver after 7:30pm tonight.  Once the meds are here I am to phone PC and a nurse will come and show me how to assemble and use a puffer.  It turns out that Dexamethasone is the drug I took during chemo, the one that comes in distinctive hexagon-shaped pills.

The side-effects of the Dexamethasone include feeling as though on speed, although with impaired brain-function.

Wed Aug 10:
Appointment with Dr Leylek, radiologist, about whether radiation to reduce tumor-size is appropriate.  My pain has been getting worse, needing ever larger doses of hydromorphone to cope (currently 54mg thrice-daily).  My breathing difficulty was improved by the puffer medication, suggesting that it's partly due to (previously undiagnosed) asthma.  I've recently begun having difficulty eating solid food, not exactly a swallowing-problem, but rather due to an obstruction.  Dr Leylek says he can see the reason: the growing tumor is constricting the esophagus.  Both the pain and the eating-difficulty should get better after radiation shrinks the tumor.  He recommends a ten-day course of radiation to start as soon as possible.  A five-day course with higher dosages is an option, but I opt for the ten-day course of treatment.

I'm informed that the marking-session for radiation-treatment will be tomorrow Aug 11, then the 15-minute treatment sessions will be daily, Monday through Friday, starting Friday Aug 12.  I think I'll be OK to drive myself to Cancer-Care for the treatments.

Thu Aug 11:
My eating-difficulty is worse, and this morning I'm unable to eat my breakfast.  Later in day, I manage to eat a bowl of granola with cantaloupe.

Had the marking-session for radiation-treatment today, where they use a green felt-pen to make marks on my torso which will be used for alignment during the radiation treatments.  The treatments will start tomorrow.  My eating-difficulty leaves me feeling weak, and I'm having 2nd thoughts about driving myself in for the treatments.

Fri Aug 12:
Had my first radiation treatment this afternoon.  My sister Iris drove me.

Sat Aug 13:
My voice had come back with the chemo treatments, now it's gone again and I can only whisper.  Hopefully radiation-induced tumor-shrinkage will solve this too.  Attended Prairie Day at the Manitoba Tall-Grass Prairie Preserve near Tolstoi today, where I met Robert of Silver Plains.  It's weird to meet someone in person whom you've only known via email.

Sat Aug 20:
Sid was here this afternoon and we had a pleasant conversation.  Tomorrow Marilynne and Linda are coming over.

Sat Oct 15:
On Oct 4th I moved to Jocelyn House. It is at the bottom of Stranmillis Ave at 177 Egerton. Visitors are welcome. Wake me up if I am dozing.

Mon Oct 25:
Free Press article about my support of the Brokenhead Wetland Boardwalk. Video of press conference.
Article from the Debwendon web site Eugene Reimer Environment Fund and the Brokenhead Wetland Ecological Reserve.

Sat Nov 5:

Peacefully this morning Eugene passed away.

For the last year he lived courageously with lung cancer.

He was predeceased by his mother Betty, he will be remembered by his father Peter K Reimer and his sister Iris Reimer. Also many friends and colleagues.

Fri Nov 11:

Celebration of Eugene's Life
3PM Thursday November 24th, 2011
Birchwood Funeral Chapel
150 Penfield Drive
Steinbach, MB