Wednesday night. Today was my 34th birthday. I broke a very long-running annual tradition – so old that I don’t even recall when I started it. Each year, I go to Denny’s and get their free birthday Grand Slam meal. The coffee isn’t included, of course, but it’s still a hell of a deal. (Followed, of course, by a big tip.) I’ve done this for many, many years… Alas, with this pesky once-in-a-century pandemic, going to a diner is not really a good idea. I’ll raincheck myself and grab that Grand Slam (though no longer free) when I eventually get the vaccine. Another thing to look forward to, eh.

On the upside, I had my first birthday celebration in over decade, I believe. (I’m not big on parties.) Had a nice socially distanced meal with xgf: she baked a cute cake, prepared a pizza, made a wholesome birthday card, and then we played the same old video game we’ve been chipping away at this whole time. Her birthday is in a few days, so I’ve already got something neat for her: there’ll be a backyard party (just as socially distant) for myself and her two closest friends. These two tiny back-to-back birthday parties will likely be the social highlight of my year, not counting the work conference in Nashville back in January.

On the Trump-loving side of my family (in New York, of all places), my step-nephew (in his 20s and fully Americanized) decided to go to Miami to party it up. He’s going with his friend’s family: the family claims they all had covid in April and tested positive for antibodies. They believe it makes them immune. My step-nephew has no antibodies, but he might have an irrational belief in his immortality, like all young people do. My sister (his step-mom) has some health issues, so things would not go well if she got exposed to the virus…

There’s just so much we still don’t know. Either it really is possible to get reinfected just months after recovering, or there’s no good way to truly determine when someone is fully recovered. (Both possibilities are equally terrifying.) Or perhaps all the divergent – and ever-diverging – strains of the virus are sufficiently different that the antibodies of one strain might not work on the others. We just don’t know, and it’s really rather infuriating, intellectually speaking.

In covid news – future historians really won’t believe most of our pandemic stories. Florida’s Marion County sheriff Billy Woods has banned masks for his 900 employees and visitors. He claims he thought of that for two weeks, decided that there’s just as much “evidence” against masks as there is for them, and made an executive decision, while allowing a handful of exceptions. (Mostly when deputies respond to at-risk groups.) The sheriff is the epitome of the “Florida man” trope. Somewhere, at least a few lawyers are already cruising for clients who would sue him for exposing them to the virus. (Unless, of course, some national legislation forbids such lawsuits, which would be interesting to observe from very far away.) My best bad guess is that the sheriff is looking to launch his political career with this insane stunt.

In every zombie movie ever made, the most irrationally acting person is still far more rational than some of the authority figures we see around us. There’s some interesting commentary from the creators of the 2011 Contagion movie: they claim the things happening right now never would have been added to the film, especially the part about the erratically behaving president. Back then, they couldn’t have possibly predicted that a real-life president would tell Americans to inject bleach. Heh.

Speaking of… Another Florida man and his son got caught in Colombia after their fake miracle cure (just bleach, basically) killed seven people in the US. The profiteer used to refer to himself as an archbishop of a cult-sounding little church. That part, at least, isn’t stranger than fiction: in World War Z (the book, not the terrible movie) there was profiteer selling placebo anti-zombie pills during the early stages of the worldwide outbreak.

I’m more than a little worried about the rogue sheriff’s county. The greatest manager I’ve ever had lives there now, in the city of Ocala. Florida is a covid hotbed at this point, and things are likely to get even worse, especially with such militant stupidity among its elected officials.

The annual Perseid meteor shower was tonight and last night. Xgf and I stepped outside when it got dark, but there was too much light pollution. We each made a wish on a passing satellite instead. Here is hoping…