Sunday night. Today is the first day of the 20th quarter of my five-year plan. (I can’t help it – I’m Russian, and five-year plans might as well be part of my genetic makeup.) I started the plan in mid-November 2016, when things seemed particularly dark. So far, it looks like I’ll complete it, and likely ahead of schedule. I’ll describe it in more detail if and when that happens.

Today was the first of my highly corny themed days – the Sundae Sunday. It’s been ages since I had ice cream… When you’re on the run from the pandemic in AirBnBs, every cubic inch of the freezer is vital, and there just wasn’t that much space for sugary luxuries. I’ve yet to find a place that sells chocolate syrup (the organic food place across the street didn’t have any, and neither did Shopper’s), but strange allegedly organic sprinkles made for a fine topping.

Considering occupational dangers in my line of work and at my company (and because they require way more ingredients than I’d thought), Margarita Mondays are hereby changed to Money Mondays. Mmmm, money… Ever since moving to Canada, I’ve been procrastinating on learning about the local retirement accounts, tax incentives, etc. Come to think of it, I haven’t actually seen (nor touched) a $100 CAD bill. Huh. It’s been months since I’ve dealt with cash, so I don’t really remember what any of it looked like. Anyway, yay money.

I’m dealing with the stress of the pandemic and my work by engaging in hardcore escapism, much like I did in the past when things got too dark. After all the hiking and rockhounding I did on my vacation, the open world of Elder Scrolls Online no longer seems that great in comparison. I’ve started playing my old love, 7 Days to Die, once again. The plot is simple: you wake up naked and afraid in a world overrun by zombies, and need to assemble tools, find food, water, and shelter, etc – while trying not to get eaten. Every seven days, an endless zombie horde attacks you. Fun game. To keep the stakes high, I stop playing once my character dies. Somehow, some way, I’ve made it further into the game than ever before. I’ve just witnessed something truly horrific – zombies with suicide vests. That will be interesting. (It really does help you forget the so-called real world.)

In covid news: yesterday, FDA granted emergency approval to a saliva test used by the NBA. It delivers accurate results in a matter of hours, and can be done much less intrusively than, well, any other test their currently have. (Nasal swabs are no one’s idea of fun.) The expectation is that the test will cost $10 a pop. We’ll see how that actually plays out. If this works, it’ll be a game-changer. No more waiting for days on end, no more training covid-seeking dogs… It’s a little sad that it was the NBA that drove this change, and not, say, the CDC. (At some point, someone will explain why the hell they’d been so insistent on using their own covid-testing kits back in March.)

In somewhat covid-related news: for the first time ever, the US National Weather Service issued a “fire tornado” warning. Northern California is on fire, as is often the case this time of year, but it’s usually fire-tornado-free. The first time that happened in recent memory was 2018, in the Redding, California wildfire. Now the freak phenomenon is back. The flames are getting mighty close to my old haunt – the biggest little city in the world, Reno, NV. With the disaster season in full swing (fire tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, what have you), there’ll be a lot of misplaced people who will unwittingly start new covid clusters. Disaster management is never easy (especially under the current administration), but when you also have to keep everyone separated and equipped with masks… This might get ugly.

…I think I’ll help myself to another sundae, since the world is running a little short on good news tonight.