Sunday night.

The designated cheat day – still staying roughly within the calorie target (gaining weight is hard!) but without a care for the macros. In layman’s terms, that translates to a large pepperoni pizza, a can of coke, and some fruit thrown in for good measure. Life is pretty good, eh.

I haven’t met a whole lot of new people in 2020, so I’m making up for that by killing time on Twitter and Reddit. The latter, in particular, is probably the closest thing to a hivemind I’ve ever seen: millions of people, lots of ideas and viewpoints, bizarre posts and hilarious comments produced by the most bored minds of our civilization. Sometimes there are some interesting ideas – the one I recently noticed was “the sober October.” I’ll give that one a try. (This entire blog series is the direct result of folks on Reddit suggesting to keep some sort of personal log.)

I blogged here before that my preferred stress relief method was cider, with the designated Thirsty Thursday each week, but that doesn’t quite scale. If anything, we’re only at the end of the first act of the pandemic. There’s a lot more stress, and death, and bad news, and horrifying headlines yet to come. I’m not sure there’s enough cider (or boxed wine, for that matter) to process all of that – and if there is, I somewhat doubt my body’s ability to metabolize all of it. So until November 1, I’ll give it up – as well as my preferred brain-booster, ginkgo biloba. (I’ve been taking it for over a decade, and it does wonders for getting ye olde neurons firing.) Nothing but tea, black coffee (only with breakfast), multivitamins, and the vitamin D supplement.

I’m curious what it’d be like to get my brain and body as close to their baseline, unaltered state as possible. The way it had been before my move to Seattle, before joining the rat race, before everything… Just like my one year of funemployment after university, when I was staying afloat with random gigs, had no defined schedule, and happiness consisted of a pot of coffee and a bag of delicious local doughnuts with a detective novel on a papasan chair, from dusk till dawn while the desert’s heat slowly waned and enveloped me…

Life might never be that simple again, but at least I can remove some complications.

In covid news, there’s a very interesting declaration signed by hundreds of epidemiologists – the Great Barrington Declaration. It was signed a week ago, on October 4, and it’s a bit controversial. Their main point is nuanced: lockdowns are only good if you intend to buy time to improve the medical system; they should not be used as the main mitigation measure. An interesting viewpoint, but not an extreme one. (The declaration refers to missed childhood vaccinations and cancer screenings, mental health toll, etc.) However, things escalate rapidly from there. The declaration states that herd immunity is achievable, and that they want to “allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.”

In other words, it completely discounts the existence of long covid and wants to send everyone back to work in hopes of achieving herd immunity, which in itself is not a sure thing. (That sure sounds like, “Sorry about your permanent lung damage, guys, but we need Walmarts to stay in business.”) Go read the full text yourself – it’s only a few characters. It doesn’t help that among the many signatories are random folks like massage therapists, hypnotherapists, and, apparently, “Mongolian khoomii singing” specialists. (The Guardian did some digging.) Some of the signatories’ names are hilariously fake, like Johnny Bananas. It’s unclear whether the declaration’s authors trolled the public by getting signatures from random people, or whether they got counter-trolled by online pranksters. In this post-2016 world, there are trolls everywhere, and it’s hard to tell them apart.

Even more interestingly, aside from the whole “we’re very smart – please go get sick so the economy gets better 🙂 ” request, the WHO has just stepped in to support the declaration and oppose the lockdowns. Dr. David Nabarro made very similar points (without directly referring to the declaration) and criticized the lockdowns on the economic grounds without mentioning their life-saving aspect. 2020 is a strange year… There are no villains or heroes, no black and white: everyone is equally morally ambiguous, and no one can be fully trusted. The WHO is shady and not particularly trustworthy because of their earlier refusal to declare pandemic, their odd refusals to say anything bad about China, their persistent sidelining of Taiwan, and being more focused on the economics rather on the health aspect of the biggest pandemic since 1918. Don’t know about all y’all, but I’ll ignore the talking heads and just keep up my little lockdown – now with less cider and more tea. Stay safe and cynical, compadres.