Thursday night.

My aspiration to eat healthier took a nosedive today: stayed up working a little late than usual, which really cut into my exciting grocery-shopping plans. I ended up dashing to the drugstore a block away to buy a frozen pizza instead. Apparently, at some point last week a lot of my suburban neighbours put up Christmas lights. Given the absolute lack of variety in my life at this moment, I felt like a medieval peasant tripping on acid in a 3D IMAX theater as I just stood there and glared at those decidedly average flashing lights. Heh.

Also, one of my nascent lockdown hobbies just crashed and burned as well: here I was, lounging, minding my business, reading old issues of The Walking Dead comic on Comixology while taking French DuoLingo lessons in between the issues… (As one does.) And then I hit the paywall. It turns out their so-called “Unlimited” membership is not unlimited after all: even though a comic series might have the Unlimited tag on it, that only applies to the first 30% or so of the issues. After that, you’re expected to pay up a lot more money to continue reading. That’s a scam. A bait & switch. False advertising. Comixology is one of the subsidiaries of my company, and I’m frankly appalled and ashamed of sharing a business umbrella with them.

And yes, sure, the subscription is only $6 a month, but even so, that’s $72 a year, and that’s the price of a really nice dinner, or a few great e-books. (Not to mention you won’t get the old bait & switch treatment from your favourite authors.) So hey, if you’re a comic book fan, or know someone who is, avoid Comixology at all costs. I get that my blog, with its 10 readers a day, is not exactly the world’s greatest platform, and that using it to criticize a giant site like Comixology is like throwing pebbles at a skyscraper, but still: if even a single person heeds my warning and does not join them, if I hurt their business even a little, it will have been worth it. (Besides which, I plan to keep this blog up and running for decades. Pretty sure I’ll outlast those jerks. Mwahahahaha!) Lessons learned: always examine every so-called unlimited deal under a microscope before you commit. This will not help my trust issues in the slightest, but hey – it’ll make even better at my job.

On the upside, my favourite epidemiologist, Dr.Eric Feigl-Ding, liked one of my tweets today. (I criticized the lackadaisical pace of the Paris Accords, with their 2050 net zero emissions goal.) On the balance, social media has not made the world a better place – but it also gives you a chance to gain the momentary attention of one of your idols, if only for a tiny bit. That’s something that doesn’t have any counterparts in real life, not unless you attend a convention featuring them as the guest of honour. (And yes, there absolutely ought to be Comic-Con conventions for epidemiologists and other badass scientist super-stars.)

In covid news, the US has set a new and disturbing record: 3,157 covid deaths yesterday. That’s 21.3% higher than the previous record: 2,603 deaths on April 15th. That’s a higher death toll than 9/11. The official covid death toll in the US is now 273,799. I think back to the early days of this plague chronicle, when the death toll increased by several hundred each day, and damn… This is madness. The worst part is that it’ll get a whole lot worse before it gets better. The US Thanksgiving (as opposed to the Canadian Thanksgiving) was only a week ago: those who caught covid during that long weekend have probably started showing symptoms right around now, give or take a few days. There’s always some lag between infections, symptoms, hospitalizations, and deaths. The Thanksgiving’s impact isn’t even hitting those daily death totals yet: that’ll start showing up within the next two or three weeks. As bad as the death toll was yesterday, that had already been built-in even without the 48 million or so Americans traveling to see their families… The dark winter is here.

Stay isolated, folks.