Tuesday night. When you exercise at home, the hardest part is getting off the couch.

I’ve slept on my decision to shave the Apocalypse Beard, and decided there’s no sense in prolonging the inevitable. Before shaving it to a far more respectable-looking Van Dyke, I took a few high-resolution pictures and recorded a video for my future self. When some older and wiser version of me entertains the idea of growing a beard at some point in the distant future (probably a year from now, give or take), hopefully the video will dissuade him. Oh well, that was a fun quarantine project: at least now I know what 149 days of facial shrubberry look like.

I’ve found out that I’ll end up making the big work-related roadtrip after all: to Ottawa and back! It’s roughly a 10-hour roundtrip, all for the sake of customer experience, since that’s the fastest and cheapest way to get something from point A to point B. I’ve already mapped the route and loaded up on podcasts. (Sean Carroll’s Mindscape podcast is amazing.) I’ll get up earlier than usual tomorrow, but it’ll definitely be worth it. Before the pandemic, this sort of customer-obsessed adventure would’ve made for a merely great story. These days, it’s a great story and probably the most exciting thing that will happen to me since my July vacation. (Which, as you recall, I spent roadtripping and gem-hunting around Ontario.) This October is remarkably warm, but it’ll snow soon enough, and then long roadtrips won’t be as safe… Gonna have to make the most out of tomorrow’s trip.

In covid news, Ireland is going into a strict six-week lockdown starting tomorrow night. Most retail stores will be closed, folks won’t be allowed to visit each other’s homes, and there’ll be movement restrictions – no more than 5km (or 3 miles) away from your home. Police checkpoints on the roads will help enforce the rules. Public transit will be capped at 25% capacity. The one small upside is that those who lose their jobs will get weekly unemployment payouts. The lockdown is supposed to last until December 1, but some lockdowns in other countries have been known to get extended… If all goes well, they’ll be able to enjoy their December holidays with far, far lower virus levels.

It’s interesting that the sort of strict lockdown Ireland is about to kick off is far above and beyond anything we’ve had in the US and, to a lesser extent, Canada. (Some Canadian provinces had road checkpoints too.) Most US/Canadian initiatives were well-intentioned but not nearly as strict as this: even now, if you don’t like the rules in your local municipality, you can just drive a few miles out and enjoy your freedom (from common sense, presumably). A guy on local social media claimed that his brother-in-law drove an hour outside Toronto just to enjoy a lunch out on the patio. I hope that two-hour covid safari was worth it. I’m not sure how people would handle it if an actual Irish-style lockdown were implemented nationwide: Canadians would probably politely protest; Americans would likely start trying to kidnap and kill more public officials, as they do. What a fascinating time to be a fan of both politics and epidemiology, eh.

And now, off to bed, to get all the zzz’s for tomorrow’s big drive. Stay healthy out there, folks.