Archive for November, 2020


Plague diaries, Day 259

Black Friday night.

My landlords decided to celebrate the end of the first lockdown week by inviting some friends, who are very definitely not part of their household. Smooth, guys. Real smooth. Judging by the noise, it was about three people, probably the same ones that come over every other week. It’s reasonable to assume that the guests are still staying safe and careful, but these are not reasonable times. Human nature being what it is, just about everyone else is probably doing something similar, even though the public health authorities specifically asked not to socialize with people from other households. Oh well, gotta feed that pandemic somehow, eh? Most people never think something bad would happen to them: only to some abstract “others.”

If foresight and strategic thinking are gifts, I’d like to return mine, please and thank you.

There wasn’t a whole lot of interesting stuff on sale this Black Friday. In terms of physical stuff, the only thing I got was a Fire TV stick from Amazon. In terms of non-physical stuff… I got a bit carried away and got 71 ebooks. The upside is that they cost me just $68 altogether. The secret is this page over here. It lists every Kindle ebook on Amazon, and at any given moment, thousands of them are free. (Authors run temporary giveaways sometimes; even if 5% of authors do that at any given time, that’s still a lot of ebooks.) The link already has two filters: four stars or higher, and ranked by price, starting with $0.00. Just click on your favourite genre on the left, et voila! – hundreds of free books to choose from. You can thank me later.

Some of the ebooks I downloaded are pure brain candy (science fiction… so much science fiction), some of them are entrepreneurial, but most are reference books. After all the exorbitantly expensive textbooks back in college, the best way to feel like a millionaire was to enter a thrift store and browse their fine selection of used textbooks, knowing that none of them cost more than $5. See it, like it, buy it. With that collection of free ebooks I discovered… That’s really rather remarkable: an entire shelf of college into textbooks available for free. I look forward to eventually devouring all of them.

I might end my health experiment a week from today, and get back to (moderate) consumption of cider and what not. Over the past few weeks, there were some significant positive milestones I passed but didn’t properly celebrate like I’d promised myself I would. To remedy that, I’ve acquired six bottles of champagne earlier today – to celebrate the past successes, as well as those that will happen soon. I know this is a plague year. Is celebrating macabre? Maybe, a little. But it’s a small and much-needed island of normality amid this crazy storm. There always must be something to look forward to: the light at the end of the tunnel, a promise of glory, or just a small treat to celebrate a milestone.

Speaking of which: the more I think of it, the more I’m convinced there’s no future for the cruise industry. I know, I know, I wrote that I invest in them. That is no longer the case. Even if vaccines get distributed to all the oldest (and most cruise-loving) people out there sometime around December-March, it’s more or less guaranteed that the hundreds (thousands?) of cruise ship workers won’t get theirs. Ditto for those, like myself, who won’t get their vaccine until much later. A single cough, and… If you also consider that a lot of normally cruise-friendly countries would not like to get potential plague ships docking at their shores anymore… Well, things will be pretty dicey. I don’t think they’ll get back to normal at any point in the first half of 2021, or maybe at any point in 2021 at all. Some of those companies might survive, but they’ll make for shitty investments. Their stocks will likely rise a bit, but I expect them to inevitably crash once the implications of the new reality sink in. As always, I admit I might be completely wrong about everything. Meanwhile, I’ve rerouted the money from my cruise stocks into five underpriced S&P-500 companies in the energy sector. They have some doubling potential, or at the very least 20% within five months. (The entire energy sector hit the rock bottom in March when the world shut down.) We’ll see.

Huh. Didn’t mean to babble quite so much.

In covid news, now that mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are awaiting emergency approval, logistics is the name of the game. There’s a lot of speculation as to how the rollout will work, when, how, and who will run it. In Canada, the effort will be spearheaded by Major-General Dany Fortin, apparently a highly experienced leader with excellent track record. In the US, their military and shippers like FedEx will distribute vaccines to all 50 days the day after FDA signs off. From what I understand, the local distribution will be run by individual states. Given how North and South Dakota have the highest covid infection and death rates in the entire world (and led by anti-science governors), I wonder if those two states will just burn their vaccine allocation in a great big bonfire simply to own the libs. There’ll definitely be a lot of variation in how different states execute the distribution: we’ll see examples of great efficiency and bureaucratic nightmares, likely at the same time.

The end is not yet here, but we can almost see it. Stay safe, folks.

Plague diaries, Day 258

Thursday night. Another day, another loonie, eh?

I’m trying not to be a full-on consumer with all the upcoming (and early) Black Friday sales, especially since I still haven’t quite unpacked all of my purchases from Prime Day six weeks ago. That said, the selection of heavily discounted e-books on Amazon is downright amazing, and I might have bought about a dozen. Some people have a huge collection of Steam games that they’ll never fully get through. I have a bunch of e-books that I might get around to reading someday in my early retirement.

Did you know you can beat caffeine headaches by adding more caffeine into your life? Stay tuned for this and more exciting nuggets of wisdom! A cup of black tea with breakfast did the trick: the headaches are gone, and I still moderately tired toward the end of the day. That really, really makes me wonder just how battered my nervous system was from all the coffee I’d been drinking… Ho hum.

It’s Thanksgiving in the US today. Some projections say that almost 47.8 million of them have traveled for this occasion. That’s a lot of new clusters… My hat goes off to everyone who sat this one out.

Playing Red Dead Redemption for the third night in a row has me quite nostalgic about the scenery (but not much else) of Fort Worth, Texas, where I spent a year of my life about seven years ago. Their downtown still has genuine old-timey buildings, there’s all sorts of folksy Wild West stuff in the tiny thrift stores, and there isn’t a single coffeeshop open after 3pm within 10-mile radius. (Or at least there wasn’t back in 2013.) The game is honest enough to show some of the racism, intolerance, and strange religion in that region – all among the reasons I left. (When I first moved there, there was an outbreak of measles at an anti-vaxx megachurch just a few miles away. Heh.)

In covid news, the US Supreme Court ruled that capacity restrictions on churches, temples, etc violate their First Amendment rights. It’s interesting that the deciding vote belonged to Justice Barrett, who got the job in the middle of the pandemic from the same senators who refused to pass a covid relief bill. (And who subsequently took a break for Thanksgiving.) I suppose the freedom of religion outweighs the freedom not to get infected by the religious in the US. One final ironic note: the Supreme Court meets remotely. They teleconference and avoid in-person gatherings because of the pandemic, all the while fighting local restrictions on public gatherings. Heh.

Here in Toronto, the BBQ saga continues. The diner’s owner got arrested earlier today. That was after the police locked the diner’s doors but let him get in through the back “in good faith,” which ended with him smashing through the internal partition and getting into the establishment. A pretty large crowd of protesters and counter-protesters yelled things like “Shame! Shame!” and “This is Canada, not North Korea!” thus confirming that we do, in fact, live in a South Park episode. The guy shouting about North Korea has no idea how good and privileged his life is: a month-long break from consumerism (while drivethroughs and take-out are available) is not quite the same as living in a shitty communist dictatorship. (Pardon the triple redundancy.)

To make things even more entertaining: a crowd of over 100 protesters marched to Doug Ford’s (the Ontario premier) home to express their displeasure with the state of things. There are lots of videos showing them in a big group, maskless, spreading their spit and possible viral loads all over the place, while the police stand by and do not give out the $750 CAD fines that are supposed to be part and parcel of the whole lockdown business. And this is only the first week… Things will get pretty fun – even more fun than Ford’s own former supporters turning on him.

Oh, and there were some irregularities in the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, so they’re embarking on a new global trial. It’s not very good optics when an Oxford professor has to state “We weren’t cooking this up as we went along” for the record. This will probably diminish the recent wave of optimism, both in the news and in the stock market, and will give anti-vaxxers more ammo.

Crazy world out there. Stay safe, folks.

Plague diaries, Day 257

Wednesday night. Halfway through the workweek already?

It seems as if this self-imposed lockdown is a metaphor for my previous workaholism. Nowadays, I’m a complete shut-in, venturing outside only once every 10 days, and doing very little aside from work and mindless media consumption. In the preceding years… Well, I’d make an effort to go to a meet-up or a party a few times a month, but it was mostly similar to this, with an occasional fun interlude. The real question is whether I can break this routine now that I’ve become aware of it after doing little else for most of the year.

The caffeine headaches took a day off yesterday but came back with a vengeance today. Well, so much for my little science experiment: I can survive without caffeine, but it’s not a whole lot of fun. (No way to tell how long the withdrawal would last.) I’m going to take things slow and treat myself to a cup of black tea in the morning, then play it by the ear.

With a whole lot of nothing going, and with the life becoming just a prolonged waiting game (let’s be honest, it’ll be more of the same until I finally get my vaccine in the spring), I wonder if I should start tinkering with my sci-fi novel again… This “Plague diaries” series alone is more or less book-sized now, and all it took was 20 minutes of writing every evening. I’m using my lockdown time more productively than some people, but let’s see if I can do even more with it.

In covid news, now that Toronto is locked down for 28 days, some local entrepreneurs are testing the limits. The big local scandal is the incalcitrant entrepreneur who reopened his BBQ restaurant for indoor dining two days in a row. (After announcing that on social media, no less.) Despite a pretty big crowd of BBQ enthusiasts, the local police didn’t give out any fines ($750 CAD per person, in theory) or take any names. They did a whole lot of nothing yesterday, and more of the same today. Local authorities charged the restaurant for operating without a license (a sizable fine of up to $75K CAD altogether) but, once again, not for breaking the lockdown rules. Both the mayor and the premier criticized the restaurant’s owner but, again, did a whole lot of nothing.

Laws that don’t get enforced becomes guidelines. Guidelines that don’t get enforced become jokes. More will do the same now, and the divide between those who follow the health guidelines and those who mock them will grow ever wider. I doubt this is a purely Canadian phenomenon. Human nature, eh?

Plague diaries, Day 256

Tuesday night.

I’m trying to use lockdown to catch up on all the lazy leisure things I never had time for: re-reading old favourites, finally playing some video games I never quite finished, etc. After turning everything upside down and failing to find the right cables for my old Xbox 360, I went ahead and bought Red Dead Redemption (aka 2010 game of the year) for PS3 instead. I distinctly remember playing but never finishing it in 2012, and it’s still every bit as good as I remembered.

The game takes place in the Wild West in 1911. I spent most of the evening familiarizing myself with controls, shooting bandits, exterminating jackalopes (bunnies with antlers), and playing Texas hold ’em in an old-timey Western saloon. Yeehaw! As extreme escapism goes, that game is pretty high up there. It cost me $30, but it’ll keep me distracted from, you know, the plague for a good couple of weeks.

Just one month left until Christmas. At this point, I can literally count the remaining business days till my staycation on my toes and fingers. So close!

In covid news, remember that giant Hasidic wedding in Brooklyn that I mentioned 37 days ago, all the way back on day 219? Especially the part where I said “That may mean they’ll abide by the 50-person limit, or they’ll use the family loophole to sneak in a few thousand of their closest friends.” Well, I hate being right… They went ahead and did it: a Brooklyn synagogue (7,000 capacity) was completely packed, and some of the videos of the event look like a covid nightmare. After publicly promising to cancel the event back in October, they spread the news in person, without any official announcements online or in print. Allegedly, the local authorities will slap the synagogue with a $15,000 fine, but that’s small potatoes – and, if anything, an encouragement to have more mega-weddings. This will not help New York’s insular Hasidic community, and the secrecy (the story just broke a few days ago) means there’s no way to do contact-tracing. That’s one hell of a way to get a super-cluster going.

Stay safe and out of secret celebrations, eh.

Plague diaries, Day 255

Monday evening. My 11th anniversary at Amazon.

In November 2009, I was broke as a joke, very close to reaching the limit on my credit card, and looking for literally any job that would take me. Nevada was the ground zero for the housing bubble, and graduating in 2008 was just plain old bad timing. I did some random gigs for a year (including three weeks as an interpreter for a delegation of beekeepers from Uzbekistan), but after a few too many flaky roommates, my bank account was near the breaking point.

The warehouse was 35 miles outside the city: I had four carpool buddies, the five of us squeezed into an old sedan. The driver wasn’t very bright. (We had to push his car to a gas station more than once.) One of the carpool buddies was homeless. Two were chain smokers. Fun bunch, though. As a warehouse temp, I used my university degree to pack boxes coming down the conveyor line. I worked long hours, packed many boxes very fast, and eventually got the full-time employment offer. After that… Eleven years, six cities, two countries, more warehouse (we call them FCs) launches than I can remember, and here I am, 11 years later: the suburbs of Toronto, Canada, working from home, owner of a very fancy job title, and one of the oldest people in the company. (The most tenured 1%, according to our internal Old Fart tool.) What a strange ride this has been…

Anyhow. The Black Friday sale is officially on. I’ve stocked up on a few dirt-cheap ebooks: either the self-published kind that never make it to the libraries or the kind that have huge queues in online libraries. (One sad side effect of the pandemic: with libraries closed, all the readers end up competing over the relatively few available ebooks.)

Ye olde caffeine withdrawal is going better, though after staying up a bit late last night, I pretty much passed out once I reclined with a book after work today. That would be a tremendously bad idea if I went on a long roadtrip… I definitely see more coffee in my future once the health experiment is over, eh.

In covid news – another Monday, another vaccine announcement. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine’s phase III data (or at least its preliminary analysis) is now available. Unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which are mRNA-based, the Oxford vaccine used the traditional methodology. (If you have no idea what mRNA means, this article is great.) Upside: the Oxford vaccine works, it doesn’t need the same ultra-cold environment as the other two, and it’s cheaper. Downside: your mileage may vary. Two full doses given a month apart are just 62% effective, but if the first dose is lower, the effectiveness is 90%. They’ll be crunching more numbers on this, but hey, any progress is good at this point.

The stock market had a great day yet again (go die in a fire, short-sellers), and my covid-battered portfolio had another great day. If not for the health experiment, I would’ve popped open a bottle of champagne, having just crossed yet another important threshold. Things are looking up. (And yes, I did just knock on wood. Heh.)

Plague diaries, Day 254

Sunday night. I’ll blink, it will be Friday night again, and I’ll be one week closer to my goals…

It finally snowed: kind of amazing that it took until the 22nd of November to do so. It’s actually been snowing all day, so there’s a nice thick layer of this white stuff all over the place. Perfect timing, since I would not want to go grocery-shopping with this white crap all over the place. In Toronto (and likely everywhere in Canada), lots of drivers don’t get their snow tires on until it’s too late. That leads to some pretty bad car accidents. I stay ahead of the curve by never taking my snow tires off in the first place. Heh.

I spent the day hate-speeding through Borderlands-3, which is complicated given the vast amount of unskippable dialogue between NPCs. (The Internet hive-mind is in agreement on this.) There was a pretty fun tidbit toward the end, where you meet an out-of-shape Jewish version of Indiana Jones, laser whip and all. Alas, that didn’t make up for some pretty bad glitches toward the end of the game. Well, at least is only cost me $20 CAD.

The caffeine headaches continue… Part of me is concerned about side effects in ye olde braincicle. The other part of me wants to see if it’ll get better in a few more days. That high-quality caffeine-free 8-hour sleep every night is hard to beat.

In covid news, Trump skipped G20’s meeting on pandemic preparedness and went golfing instead. He and his administration aren’t even pretending to give a damn about the pandemic anymore. Upside: Biden will take over less than two months from now, on January 20th. Downside: a whole lot of Americans will die due to their government’s utter inaction between now and then.

Hang in there, y’all.

Plague diaries, Day 253

Saturday evening. No work, just relaxation. Bliss.

One of the stranger (but, in retrospect, obvious) side effects of quitting caffeine: your sleep gets better, you actually get tired around 11pm, and then you don’t end up sleeping till 1pm on your day off. I actually woke up on my own at 8am today. What is this strange dark magic? (Not gonna lie, I could definitely get used to that.) This really makes me wonder just how much stress my body was under when I was downing all that coffee to stay mentally engaged (due to the lack of sleep caused by coffee, heh) and an occasional cider to stay sane. Huh.

The big lockdown in Toronto and Peel begins in about 28 hours. This weekend coincided nicely with the grocery run I do every 10 days. Even in the morning, the local supermarket was packed. There was definitely anxiety in the air as folks dashed to grab this or that. Canned soups disappeared first. Broccoli, of all things, got completely bought out. The store set up restrictions of one pack of paper towels per person, which was pretty weird, to be honest. I can sort of understand the run on the toilet paper, but paper towels? Verily, wonders never cease in this year of the plague.

I mentioned playing Borderlands-3 a few days ago. (It was my emergency-supply game, to be opened only in case of extreme boredom.) Well, looks like the developers at Gearbox lost their magic touch. They still made a ton of money from all the pre-sales, but will as many people buy the next game? Things you’d never see in videogames just five years ago: ads for expansion packs vocally engaging you as you walk past them. (“Play this fun new expansion! Just press this button to buy it!”) The writing is occasionally witty but not as filled with jokes and puns as in the prequels. One little side quest consumed about an hour of my time because there was no QA work done on the game, and a single wrong movement would throw your character into the literal abyss.

If you’re reading this in the future because you googled Borderlands-3 and the Anvil radio tower: before jumping on that damn pipe, walk to the edge, face the wall, keep pressing against the wall, and jump sideways. That’s the only way. At this point, I’m just hate-speeding my way through the game to see how it ends, and I don’t believe I’ll be playing it (or the inevitable sequels) again. Oh well, at least the three prequels still have lots of replay value. …and that right there is a glimpse into my biggest problems as I wait out the pandemic in my mancave. I know, my problems are ridiculous.

…without any new experiences, my brain is going over my catalogue of memories: old conversations, parties, trips, the paths not taken. I caught myself daydreaming how different life would’ve been if I’d dropped out of college and moved to Los Angeles at age 19. Given that I had a negative amount of street smarts, it probably wouldn’t have gone well at all (at least at first), but I wonder how that would have turned – and whether that other Grigory, sitting out his own pandemic in Los Angeles, is wondering how different his life could have been. (Bet you anything he wouldn’t have imagined my Reno-Vegas-Fort Worth-Tampa-Seattle-Toronto odyssey.)

In covid news, there’s a lot of pictures from packed airports as people in the US fly to their families for Thanksgiving. Most of them are masked, but all that shoulder-to-shoulder proximity… The post-Thanksgiving spike is inevitable. The only question is how bad it will be. (The spike in cases usually has a two-week lag, and will materialize in early/mid-December. The spike in deaths will be one week later, just before Christmas.)

And meanwhile, the poor town of El Paso, which had previously requested 10 refrigerated morgue trucks, followed by making inmates move the bodies for $2/hour, has now resorted to asking the Texas National Guard for help. El Paso is generating more of these covid horror stories than any other city in the US right now. I’m sure there will be plenty of fascinating deep-dives into the many causes of that localized disaster, but I also suspect there will be other towns in similar – or worse – situations in the months to come.

As always, here is hoping I’m wrong, eh.

Plague diaries, Day 252

Friday night. Someday, I’ll look back and mourn all the unique life experiences I gave up by hiding from the virus for almost a year of my life. Today is not that day.

To quote Rihanna, “work work work work work.” Ants make colonies. Beavers make dams. I make beautiful spreadsheets and save my company millions. My work laptop remains my sole window into the world to the point where being a badass analyst and burying my head in numbers is just my default behaviour. I’m trying to tell myself that this is different from my earlier bouts of workaholism back in Seattle, but I’m not sure I’m buying it.

Day three without caffeine: the headache is less painful now and starts later in the day, but it’s still annoying. One unexpected upside: I sleep so incredibly well now. I actually get tired by 11pm (as opposed to bouncing off the walls until and after 1am), and wow, that is some restful sleep. (For context, earlier I was up to five or six cups of black coffee each day. All the energy for zero calories!)

The landlords finally took their kid out of school: he’ll be learning online now. Not sure what exactly changed convinced them to do so, but I’m glad they came to that conclusion. Now the only two vectors are the landlady’s office job and a few guests they entertain every week or so.

In covid news, after a long and painful waiting period, Toronto and the region of Peel (aka a bunch of Toronto suburbs) are going into 28-day lockdown starting first thing Monday morning. It’s really quite overdue… The lockdown will have restrictions on non-essential shopping, indoor dining, hanging out indoors with people from outside your household, and hanging out in groups of more than 10 outside. How they’ll enforce it is a whole different question: I expect there to be a lot of anonymous calls about house parties, I guess.

The virus got to a few more VIPs: senator Rick Scott of Florida and Trump’s son, Donald Jr, both tested positive for covid. Allegedly, both are fine. Then again, given how much misinformation and outright lying there was about Trump’s condition when he was sick, his son could be in the ICU, and we’d never be informed otherwise.

In better news, the covid strain found in Danish minks is most likely extinct now. If 2020 were a TV show, the writers would be all over the place: the mink strain is yet another plotline that had everyone’s attention and then dissipated into nothing. But hey, a win is a win, eh?

And in political news, there is a very sad, very slow-moving attempted coup underway. It has essentially no chance of success, but a coup attempt is still serious business. Trump is refusing to concede to Biden and keeps flooding the courts with frivolous lawsuits that allege global conspiracies. On top of that, Emily Murphy, the GSA (General Services Administration), is holding up the transition process by not signing off on it. There is no doubt as to how won the election, so her waffling is purely political – and costing lives, since without a proper transition, the new administration won’t be able to plan the vaccine rollout. It’s anyone’s guess whether Murphy will finally fold under pressure and deign to do her damn job, or hold up this charade all the way through January… Either way, not something you’d expect to see in an alleged democracy.

Try to enjoy your weekend, folks.

Plague diaries, Day 251

Thursday night.

Is it sad that the most exciting thing to happen to me this week is my raging caffeine withdrawal? The headache isn’t as bad today, and it didn’t appear until the second half of the day. I’m not quitting the stuff for good (that’s no way to leave), I just want to make sure that I can survive without it. Treating my habits the way you would an overloaded computer: just shut down all the tasks until you’re left with bare necessities, eh. (I’m curious what effect caffeine and/or cider will have on me once I end this experiment a few weeks from now.)

Work is taking up ever more time… Still, this is my 12th peak season with the company, so very few things surprise me anymore. Even with the pandemic, this isn’t the most challenging Q4 I’ve ever seen. Just a matter of perspective: a few more weeks, and it’ll be vacation time.

Yet another new project to keep things from getting stale: I’ve started re-reading the entire Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. It chronicles the adventures of a broke wizard/private investigator in Chicago, and it’s a ton of fun. The first book, Storm Front, wasn’t his finest, but that’s the price of admission – it gets a whole lot better afterwards. Book #17, Battle Ground, came out just a few months ago, and there’ll be a few more to come. Just throwing this out there in case you’d like to experiment with some urban fantasy.

In covid news, the US is setting multiple grim records. The official covid death count has crossed 250,000. Around 2,000 people died of covid in the last 24 hours – the worst day since May. (There goes the six-month reprieve.) The total confirmed cases in the US exceed 12 million: the new 12th million showed up without much fanfare. The media isn’t splashing the 250K number all over the front pages because, well, folks are mostly used to it now… There’s also the law of large numbers at work: tell someone that 10 people died in terrible agony, and you’ll get an emotional reaction. Tell them that the death toll has gone up from 200K to 250K, and they won’t be able to visualize it, or react accordingly. We may see a day (or even more) with over 3,000 covid deaths in the US…

The CDC might be getting its mojo back, but it’s too little and too late. Their new official guidance advises Americans to avoid traveling for holidays. With Thanksgiving just a week away, though, that seems like a just-in-case CYA (cover your ass) exercise, since a lot of tickets have probably already been purchased, and will not be refunded. By this point, very few people are still on the fence.

California has announced curfew (10pm-5am) that will last for a month, from November 21st through December 21st. Considering the god-awful PR scandal involving California’s governor Gavin Newsom and his non-apology apology for dining at an incredibly fancy restaurant to celebrate his lobbyist buddy’s birthday, a lot of people online are not taking this well. This is Leadership-101: practice what you preach, and leaders always eat last. Because of that one ridiculous meal, Newsom destroyed his own reputation and will likely make more than a few people violate that curfew when they wouldn’t have otherwise. This is fuzzy math – you can never quantify just how much a single high-profile action will disrupt the system, but I’m sure this defiance will result in at least a few extra covid cases.

Stay safe, folks.

Plague diaries, Day 250

Wednesday night. So arbitrary.

Earlier in my quest to get to my baseline self, I decided to cut down on caffeine. I was making do with one cup of coffee (later replaced by black tea) with breakfast, followed by lots green tea throughout the day. Well, it turns out green tea has caffeine in it too. Ho hum. Starting today, I’m going full-on cold turkey – and ye gods, my head is killing me.

I’m pretty sure I’ve had caffeine every single day since I was a child. (Black tea is really big in Russia.) My body probably has no idea what the hell hit it: Tylenol has just barely managed to knock it down a bit. It’ll probably go away completely in a day or two: I’m curious what that’d feel like. And just because I’m human and want to have some beverages other than water, I’m going with chamomile tea, which tastes a lot better than it smells.

More phone conferences at work, and ever longer days…

In covid news, a pork processing plant in Iowa allegedly disregarded every covid safety measure, encouraged its employees to work while sick, and the plant’s management used to bet money on how many employees would catch covid. This is just so unbelievably, cartoonishly, mustache-twirling evil… It’d be over the top in any work of fiction: editors would laugh you out of their offices and readers would roll their eyes, and yet here we are. Here it is. This is our world, and the alleged events happened all the way in April. Who knows how many other heinous scenes like this took place all over the US, all over the world, this whole year. The worst part is that the wrongful death lawsuit against Tyson Foods, even if it’s successful, will not result in prison time for any of the factory’s management. At best, there’ll be some monetary compensations, and no lessons will be learned…

This virus is doing a fine job of shining light on every single aspect of humanity.