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.)