Wednesday night.

Am I the only Siberian who hates cold weather? I can handle it, and I know enough mental tricks to ignore it, but damn, it’s unpleasant. It’s not even the lack of sun (since I know it’ll return in a few weeks or months, once we’re past the solstice) so much as the total misery of being cold. In other words, yes, I’ve ventured outside for groceries again, and just the walk through the parking lot was miserable enough to make me wish I were in Costa Rica.

Without anything else to do (or rather anything safe to do), there’s nothing much to spend money on except for food and an occasional online purchase. Before the pandemic, I used to scoff at those little plastic packages of store-made sushi: it’d always be at least a few hours old, and cold (well, obviously), and never as good as the stuff you’d get at a sushi restaurant. But now that dining is a bad idea for five or six more months… Why the hell not? The plastic package sushi was passably delicious, considering it was the first I’ve had in about a year. I also walked past some merengue cookies and strawberry-flavoured waffles… Heh.

About 200 days or so ago, I came up with a new life motto: “It’s okay to allow yourself happiness.” I spent most of my adult life being broke as a joke, followed by instinctively living way below my means and squirreling away everything I could, being not merely frugal but stingy. For years and years. That got me to a relatively good place in life, at least compared to the rest of my disadvantaged generation, but really, one must have something to be happy about. So now I live merely below my means, not way below them. Small luxuries like a $12 package of cold sushi or a $4 package of merengue cookies… My idea of lifestyle inflation, eh.

I’m fighting the grey mundanity by streaming the first three episodes of the fifth season of the Expanse on Amazon. I wrote earlier that they like to release one episode per week, just like with old-fashioned TV shows. (And also squeezing more money out of people, since they have to maintain their membership for several months.) Once I figure out when the new episodes actually drop, that’ll be my first marker in ages to differentiate the passage of time. From one Friday to the next, or whatever day that would be.

In covid news, there’s the small stuff and the big stuff. On the small scale, I’m trying to convince my New York sister not to fly to Miami for the holidays. I think I’ve mostly convinced her, but her husband is still set on going. He knows covid is dangerous, he knows that vaccines are coming, so I guess he must really want to enjoy some sunny weather. We all do, but flying someplace with 12.8% positivity rate would be a tremendously bad idea. His flight is scheduled for Friday. I hope he cancels it.

In medium-scale news, this excellent article by Texas Monthly describes the experiences of wedding photographers. One of them didn’t find out until well into the ceremony that the groom had been diagnosed with covid the day before. The photographer ended up getting sick, but at least she got her kids out of the way and kept them safe. I’ll never be able to understand why so many people thought it was fine to have giant weddings during the pandemic. Is a non-refundable deposit really worth dying for? Some of the quotes in that article… Well, see for yourself. The whole thing strikes me as the mix of Bridezilla and Idiocracy.

And in the biggest news of them all, an HHS science adviser actually wrote down the government’s strategy, according to leaked emails: “[I]t may be that it will be best if we open up and flood the zone and let the kids and young folk get infected” to get “natural immunity‚Ķnatural exposure.” That was in the email Paul Alexander sent to Michael Caputo and other VIPs back in July. Alexander was Trump’s appointee. It’s hard to believe that Alexander would’ve come up with that deliberate strategy all on his own. That was back in July, when measures could still be taken to stop the nightmare we’re living in now, with over three thousand American deaths every day.

There’s only one key question: if Trump deliberately wanted to infect the United States with covid, what would he have done differently?

In 2016, angry mobs shouted “Lock her up!” in passionate unison, allegedly because they were so angry about the other candidate’s email server practices. Now it’s 2020, and we’re starting to see evidence that the government deliberately wanted to, well, kill people. (There is no mild or polite way to put that, sorry.) And yet I doubt any of them will get locked up or spend so much as a single night in jail. As always, I would be happy to be proven wrong. It’s beyond disappointing that whomever leaked those emails waited not just until after the election, but until after the electoral college declared Biden president-elect. Had this been leaked five months ago, then maybe, just maybe, something might have changed for the better. At least a few lives might have been saved through policy and communication changes. Yet here we are, in this bizarro world where presidents lie, where senators engage in insider training and invest in body bags, where science advisors recommend genocide of their own people.

Not for the first time, and likely not for the last one – I’m glad I left.