Innocent mood

Cat

I took Merry in to see the Vet yesterday because she was clearly not well.

She has been losing weight lately anyway, but she was miserably sick over the weekend, and off her food for the next couple of days. Also, even when I finally got her to start eating again, she was very listless and restless as if she could not get comfortable. Clingy too. She would come in and yell at me every few minutes for attention. I suspected that her thyroid problem had come back, but my bigger fear was that her kidneys had failed.

It turns out I was right and wrong.

Merry

Her thyroid issue had returned, and since we already had one taken out (and the other appears to have migrated from her neck), she will need medication for the rest of her life to keep that in check. The bigger issue was her pancreas, though. Based on the tests, she either had pancreatitis, or pancreatic cancer. One is treatable, and the other is fatal.

The vet said that an ultrasound would give a better idea of which one it was, but they don't have an ultrasound machine. He assured us that even then, it made it more of a 60/40 thing than 50/50 based on the blood work. The other option was to treat her for pancreatitis, and if it started to clear up, then that would rule out cancer.

We left her at the clinic last night and they started her on a drip.

The vet called about an hour ago to let us know that she was responding well to treatment. He said, "She's much more alert and active today, and she's even starting to cop an attitude, so she's obviously getting better."

I'm going to swing by this afternoon with her favourite blanket, and with luck we'll be able to bring her home tomorrow.
  • Current Music
    Alice Cooper - Be My Lover
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    ,
Grawky Mood

My rant for the day

I grabbed this post off of Reddit this morning. I've seen similar posts, but this one really encapsulates the feelings of a lot of ER nurses these days. Their well of empathy has run dry, and they are burning out in droves. Not only are many of our ICUs clogged with easily-prevented COVID patients, but we're losing capacity everywhere as nurses and other staff get burnt out and leave.

Nurse Rant

I read a thread on a nursing subreddit a couple of days back, and it was not an uplifting experience. Unsurprisingly, the same people who embrace antivax sentiments are also bad patients; abusive, demanding (especially demanding dangerous, debunked treatments) and uncooperative. The thread was littered with depressing observations from RNs. One that really stuck with me was, "One of the dubious benefits of the Delta variant is that they tend to die faster." -- It meant there was less time to get attached to a patient and get your hopes up.

Nurses have run out of empathy because almost all of the people coming in now have refused to get a safe, effective vaccine. Instead, they show up at ER - often long past the point where they should have gone to the hospital in the first place - and just expect the hospital to perform a medical miracle. That's the way it works, right? You ignore all of the preventative steps you could have taken because when you show up at the hospital, knocking loudly at deaths' door, the doctors and nurses will all gather in a meeting and finally agree to try Dr. Schnizzle's controversial treatment. In the next scene, the patient is seen up and talking, and everybody is congratulating the doctor.

In reality, the people go through a cycle of ups and downs. Their blood oxygen level stabilizes, and they get sent home with a bipap, only to crash and get readmitted a day or two later. The nurses have to deal with people bargaining and begging with them until they are mercifully sedated and intubated so that they can spend their last couple of weeks slowly wasting away.

I'm running out of empathy too - especially with the "vaccine hesitant". You don't have a valid medical reason not to get it. I mean, you might, but that would put you in a vanishingly small group of the population. You don't have a valid religious exemption for it - you're hiding behind your religion like a shield to avoid doing the adult thing. You don't have a valid scientific reason to be hesitant either - you are simply hiding behind bad science like a child hiding behind dad's leg when mom tries to give him a Tylenol for his fever.

"It was developed too fast."

No. No it wasn't. They simply completed the work they started decades ago when they began working on a vaccine for the first SARS outbreak in the 90s. This isn't a new vaccine, it's the completion of an old one.

"It uses unproven technology."

No. No it doesn't. The fact that we have this vaccine proves the technology. This is why they spent years sequencing DNA and perfecting the technology that allows them to program the mRNA generators to churn out the sequences that would generate spike proteins. They've been working on this for decades specifically so that they could start producing things like vaccines in weeks instead of years. This is the culmination many years and many billions of dollars in research. This fast turn-around was the whole point.

"It hasn't been tested enough."

Over six billion shots have been given out so far. How big a test group do you need?

"We don't know the long-term effects."

Yes we do. Vaccines have been around longer than you have. You get the shot, it triggers an immune response, and trains your body to fight the disease when it sees it again. Other having the technology to produce it faster, there is nothing different about the way this vaccine works.

Anyway, that's my rant for today.
  • Current Music
    The All Seeing I - Walk Like A Panther
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Kinda bleah mood

Ugh

I fell down a rabbit hole this morning of reading stories from RNs who have been dealing with this pandemic since the start. A lot of what they had to say was downright depressing. Many of them are looking to get out of the field.

They talked about how even if people survived their hospital trips, they often left with PDST, or so badly damaged that they would need years to recover -- if they ever fully do. Some survivors sent home with bipap machines are slowly wasting away because they're terrified to remove the masks for long enough to eat.

A couple weighed in that one benefit of the Delta variant is that people tended to die faster, so you didn't have as much time to get attached to them.

Others mentioned that one big difference in the past year is that early on, most of the people in the hospital were there because they got infected by careless family members. Now, it's almost all self-inflicted.

People - especially on the political right - are fond of posting those meme charts of survival rates. I'd like to see another chart of people who "survived", but will never be the same again.

Also...

We got some northern lights activity last night. I'm told they got much more interesting a couple of hours later, but it was already past my bedtime when I took this shot. Shortly after I snapped this, they faded to the point where you would not know there was a display at all unless you looked really hard - the kind that barely show up on a long exposure.
Aurora

Also also...

I guess I need to stop putting it off and call the vet. Our cat has been sick this weekend. She seems to be feeling a bit better today - and she's eating again - but she's been losing a lot of weight anyway lately, and kind of on/off food lately; one day she'll clean her food dish, the next day she'll barely touch it. I'm hoping that it's just her thyroid acting up again, and that it can be treated with medication. I have a sinking feeling that her kidneys might be failing, though. Merry is not exceptionally old as cats go, but she's nearing the end of her warranty period. =(
  • Current Music
    The Clash - Should I Stay or Should I Go
Just Chillin

Foggy morning ride

We woke to a fairly thick fog again this morning. Sensing that it would probably burn off fairly quickly, I put on pants, grabbed my camera and hopped on my bike. atara was impressed that I got out the door before I had even made my first coffee of the day.

The fog was burning off visibly as I rode, but I managed to make it to the park while there was still enough to get some decent pictures.

Although I worked it to look like the park was empty aside from me, it was actually overrun. This just goes to show how one can completely change the narrative of a thing with selective editing. The bit of fog adds a touch of magic to the woods surrounding the witch's hut.
Foggy Morning

I had to wait so long for the queue of people taking selfies on the bridge to clear that I was afraid the fog would burn off before I got a picture of it.
Foggy Morning

I like how the maple trees don't turn all at once. The mix of red and green on this one makes it more interesting.
Foggy Morning

One of the nice things about being married for awhile is that you can get away with things that might have raised questions earlier. For instance, yesterday afternoon...

Me: (sitting at my computer) Is it okay if I order a bunch of cannabis stuff online?
Her: (obviously not really listening) Sure, whatever.
Me: W00t! (orders some gummies, CBD gels and a vape cartridge).
Her: (when the courier shows up with a box of goodies) Wait, what's all this? What all did you order?
Me: Just pretend it's Rastafarian Christmas.
  • Current Music
    KONGOS - Take It From Me
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    ,
Kinda bleah mood

Musings

There are things that I miss from before the pandemic.

One might think that that I miss being able to go places without wearing a mask. Seeing movies in the theatre. Dining out without having to show my vaccine passport.

But those are all things I can deal with.

What I really miss is my blithe faith in humanity. I miss the feeling that we could all come together to overcome a real crisis to our people. I miss when people didn't simply accept the death of hundreds of thousands of people because they didn't want to take simple, free measures to stop the spread of a virus.

Anyway...

We are having freakishly warm fall weather this year. That makes sense, since we broke heat and drought records this summer. Our weather services are saying that there is a lot of residual heat in the ground and lakes that will keep us warm through much of the fall.

We woke to a fairly thick fog this morning, and I decided to take advantage of the warm weather to ride my bike up to the park and get some pictures in the fog. Sadly, by the time I had some breakfast and got on the road, the fog was visibly lifting as I was riding. Still, I managed to capture the last wisps of it in this shot.
Ducks

As I was leaving the park, my knee1 was really starting to bother me, so my plan had been to head home. As I was nearing the house, though, I was feeling a bit better and decided to head to the park at the south end of our street instead. Normally you would see downtown from this angle, but there was still enough residual fog to obscure it from view.
Bridge

I really like the way this one turned out. Between the last bit of fog in the distance, and the contrast of my bike against the cheery fall colours, it is a striking shot IMO.
Bike

1Ah yes, my knee. I either tore or sprained something in it a couple of weeks back. For the first few days, I could barely walk. Even now it hurts to walk, but it's more bearable. The part that sucks is that it hurts when I lay down to sleep because it's lateral pressure that causes the most pain, and I tend to sleep on my side.

On the plus side, I discovered that riding doesn't hurt it that much because there is almost no lateral movement when I am peddling a bike. To that end, I have been getting out to ride as much as I can since I'm not getting in much walking these days. The knee is improving every day, but it is still not at 100%. We're planning to take in the big farmers' market tomorrow, which should be a bit of a test for it methinks.
  • Current Music
    The Cure - Fascination Street
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Please Sir May I have Some More

Close scrape

I was just sitting back down at my computer at 8:55 this morning when my calendar popped up a reminder that I had a dental cleaning scheduled for 9:00.

I took a sip of coffee. "Well, that's not going to happen now, is it?"

I knew that I had an appointment coming up, but I'd thought that it was closer to the end of the month. Also, they always text out automated reminders a couple of weeks, and again a few days in advance.

I called their office to explain that I probably wouldn't be there on time, and the receptionist assured me that I did not have an appointment for this morning, but she agreed that it was odd that I'd have set a reminder, so she put me on hold and did some digging.

It turns out that the hygienist wrote today down for my next appointment, but it never got entered into their system. Fortunately, they'd scheduled somebody else into that slot, so she wasn't standing around waiting for me. Earliest they can get me in is the end of October. No biggie, I guess. Might mean a bit of extra scraping when I finally get in there, but I'm not having any dental issues at the moment.

While I'm tangentially speaking about health issues, I seem to have somehow buggered my right knee. It has been bothering me for the past few days, and is getting progressively worse. It hurts as if I overextended it, and it feels like if it's not swelling now, it's on the verge of doing so. I'm taking it easy and trying to rest it, but if it doesn't start clearing up in a few days then I might need to hit up a walkhobble-in clinic and get it checked.
  • Current Music
    Daniel Tidwell - Rondo Alla Turca
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Bork Bork Bork

Breakfast of ... dang! Mushrooms would have been good in this too!

We fended for ourselves for breakfast today. As atara was reheating some leftover pancakes, she mentioned that there was some cut zucchini in the fridge that I might find a use for.

I immediately wished that we also had potatoes so that I could do up a breakfast hash, but another idea came to mind when I spotted the half-a-tomato I had left from sandwiches the other day.

I grabbed one of our deeper frying pans, poured in a bit of olive oil and then cut in a whole yellow onion and let that start cooking down. While that was doing its thing, I crushed and sliced up a couple of garlic cloves, and cubed the tomato from the fridge and another whole one.

When the onions were just starting to turn transparent I tossed in the cut zucchini and covered it for a couple of minutes to let it soften. When it looked like it was getting close, I added a touch more oil and then stirred in the garlic and cooked it until it smelled really good.

While I was in the mood to use up old ingredients, I squirted in the last from our open tube of tomato paste and added a shot of each of harissa and anchovy pastes. I stirred that over medium heat for long enough to cook off the raw tomato flavour, then added the diced tomatoes.

I spiced it up with salt, pepper, a dash of nutmeg, oregano, some chilli flakes, and a good helping of chilli powder. Once those all had enough time to get to know each other, I dumped in a can of black beans - liquid and all.

Which made the whole thing a bit too soupy.

It tasted okay, but still seemed to be a bit lacking, so I poured in about 3/4 cup of frozen, mixed vegetables. When it was still a bit too soupy after that, I threw in a good handful of almond flour to help thicken it (and to try and use up the almond flour before it goes rancid).

I grated in a few tablespoons of sharp cheddar and splashed in a bit of lemon juice to finish it. I am quite pleased with the results of something that I was making up as I went.

Breakfast

It was even better topped with a fried egg and a side of tortilla chips.

We went out for our first real public outing in over a year and caught a baseball game last night. Since they were only letting in people who had proof of full vaccination, we decided that it was an acceptable risk.

Take me out to...

Our team lost by a one-sided score, but it was nice to get in a night out.
Judgmental Mood

Sometimes I peek...

One of the people whom I no longer follow on Facebook (she's an old family friend, and while I keep her in my friends list, I've blocked her feed) posts nothing but memes and shares. "I'll bet only 1% of you have the GUTS to share this." While some of the memes she shares are racist, or worship the police, the majority are about how the world would be a better place if we would all just prayed more. Rather than just ignore her, part of me wants to weigh in and ask why she bothers to pray.

I know that she'll just get defensive and have no good answer if I do, but sometimes I want to jump in and say, "Exactly what are you hoping to achieve by praying?"

I don't mean that in the "there's nobody at the other end to hear you anyway" sense of the question (though that's another issue unto itself).

My thinking is that praying to ask for stuff displays a remarkable degree of hubris. This person has also posted memes about how God has a perfect, immutable, inscrutable plan. Everything that happens does so because it is part of that plan. If something good happens then praise him because his plan is good. If something bad happens, well, obviously some good will come of it because it's just part of his plan and everything happens for a reason.

So... God always follows his plan, good or bad.

This gets back to my question of why one would bother to pray, or at least be arrogant enough to expect any change in results from praying. If God has a perfect plan, then he is going to follow that plan regardless of any petitions you happen to send his way through prayer.

I remember a preacher I heard a few years back talking about how God answers every single prayer he receives, but that sometimes the answer is, "no." He explained that God has a perfect, immutable plan and that sometimes he has to say "no" to a prayer if it doesn't align with his plan.

This makes sense - sort of. If you pray and ask for something, he will grant it only if it aligns with his plan. In other words, he will only accede if it was something that he was already going to do anyway. This means that if you hadn't prayed, the results would have been the same.

If he changes his plan to answer your prayer then his plan wasn't perfect. Expecting God to fulfil requests is founded on the tacit belief that God's plan - and by induction - God himself is imperfect.

I mean, I'm not saying that people shouldn't pray. I'm sure if God exists, he likes to know that his creations are thinking about him. Asking him to change things, though, is the height of arrogance. It's a way of saying, "Hey God, I know you've probably got a reason for killing millions of people with this new virus, but take it from somebody who knows better and maybe consider ... don't?"
  • Current Music
    LCD Soundsystem - Dance Yrself Clean
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Crashing Mood

To quote The Chambers Brothers...

Time has come today.

My little saga started when my phone chimed with a reminder that I needed to remember my daily picture. I have my calendars and reminders synced across devices, so my computer should have been reminding me as well.

About twenty seconds later, my computer finally chimed in with its reminder. Twenty seconds isn't that bad, right? It still annoyed me, though, because both devices are supposed to automatically sync their time settings with online time servers, so at worst they should have been a second or two apart. It occurred to me that it was possible that they both polled their reminder services at difference times/rates, but with my desktop computer's spotty relationship with time servers, I was pretty sure there was an issue with its internet time sync.

I opened up my time settings and noticed that it had been the better part of a month since its last successful sync with the windows time server. I told it to manually sync, and as I half-suspected would happen, it failed with an error message stating the the process had timed out.

This started a process of swapping back and forth between the time settings, and the old control panel where I tried a number of different time servers. Every one of them either timed out, or complained that they couldn't find a time server at the other end.

Then I noticed that the changes I made in the control panel were not transferring over to the Windows 10 time settings.

That's when I started editing the registry, adding time servers and setting the defaults there.

Then I began stopping and restarting services.

And editing policies.

And modifying services.

And trying different time servers.

I finally got success with this:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>w32tm /debug /disable
Sending disable private log command to local computer ...The command completed successfully.

C:\WINDOWS\system32>w32tm /unregister
W32Time successfully unregistered.

C:\WINDOWS\system32>w32tm /register
W32Time successfully registered.

C:\WINDOWS\system32>net start w32time
The Windows Time service is starting.
The Windows Time service was started successfully.

C:\WINDOWS\system32>w32tm /config /manualpeerlist:"3.ca.pool.ntp.org" /syncfromflags:manual /reliable:yes /update
The command completed successfully.

C:\WINDOWS\system32>w32tm /resync
Sending resync command to local computer
The command completed successfully.


As an added bonus, I'm syncing with a Canadian server now, so I get proper metric time. Huzzah!

We finally managed to get the family together out in Victoria to hold a proper service for my brother. My sister-in-law dedicated a memorial bench to him up at Whistler, but it will have to wait for my next visit to the coast for me to check it out. I only had a rental car for the Victoria leg of the trip, and I depended on transit and friends to get around in Vancouver.

I still get corporate discounts at the old CP hotels in Vancouver, so I stayed at the Pan Pacific this time out. I got a nice view of the eastern harbour from my room.
Seabus at dusk

On my last day there, the skies closed in and it rained. Since most of my plans for that day had involved walking around town, and I had already checked out of my room and put my bag with the raincoat in storage, I decided to just buy a day pass and ride transit for a few hours. The rain let up to drizzle by the time I got to the north shore, so caught a shot of the sea bus disappearing into the fog.
Sea Bus
  • Current Music
    I Mother Earth - One More Astronaut
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Judgmental Mood

Vaccinations

I don't believe in mandatory vaccinations. I am angry at the amount of misinformation being spread about the vaccines for the current pandemic, and I wish nothing but ill on the people who wilfully promote the malicious lies about the vaccines for political and religious reasons.

But I don't want to live in a society where somebody is forced to take a vaccine they don't want under threat of violence.

On the other hand, even if fear and ignorance stops one from getting vaccinated, they need to understand that their right to refuse does not come without consequences. Communities of people who remain unvaccinated by choice become Petri dishes for mutations in the virus. Their refusal affects more than just themselves. They endanger people who who are too young to be vaccinated, have compromised immune systems, or cannot get vaccinated for legitimate medical reasons. They can also breed mutations of the virus for which the vaccines are less-than, or even entirely ineffective.

I am fine with putting reasonable roadblocks in front of those who wilfully remain unvaccinated. There are those who rail against it, claiming that we would be setting up a two-tier society where proof of vaccination would be required for entry to things like sporting events, some forms of travel, schooling, access to government offices, some employment and the like. I'm okay with that. People who refuse to accept treatment to stop the spread of this deadly disease are not a protected class. If we become a two-tier society, it's because a group has actively chosen to join one of the tiers.
  • Current Music
    Steely Dan - Do It Again
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