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.