Thursday night. The 300th day of my lockdown. Yay anniversary.

So, I am an idiot… I was slowly reading my way through the book I recently mentioned (The Disaster Diaries by Sam Sheridan) when I stumbled on a strange passage. It claimed that it takes just 80-120 hours of training to become an EMT, as opposed to 1,200-1,800 hours to become a paramedic. This entire time, all these years and decades, I just assumed EMT was a fancy term for paramedic. I thought the lowest entry point into medicine included training for two or three years… Had I known that you can get in with just a month or two of training, I would have done that many years ago. Before Seattle, maybe even before college, before everything.

I want to send a note to my 18-year-old self: “Become an EMT. Buy Tesla, Amazon, Bitcoin.” I think in that alternative timeline, my other self would’ve had a far more exciting and adventurous life, one with zero student loans (which took eight years to repay) and with much greater return on investment. Heh. Well, the upside here is that I’m still young-ish – I’m 34, so a lot of doors are still open. (But really, this door would likely stay open even if I were 44 or 64.) Definitely something to consider for when I quit the rat race, spend a few years just relaxing and catching up on life, and then maybe, just maybe, develop that unnatural urge to work full-time again. (I’m guessing after about four years of procrastination.)

Speaking of ages: the landlords’ son turned 17 today. One major advantage of being a geek is that there’s always some fun stuff you can use as an emergency present. In this case, I gave the birthday boy a cool-looking piece of petrified wood that I bought from an amateur geologist back in Washington state for about $3 back in 2018. He seemed to like it. Incidentally, my landlady refused to believe I’m 34 – this whole time, she thought I was about 25. I guess there are some definite benefits when you stay out of the sun and don’t smoke!

The news today is a nightmare… Every time I check it, there’s something new and strange and horrifying. The female terrorist who got shot yesterday was a QAnon cultist. In a dark twist of irony, she’d recently retweeted a message saying that traitors deserve to be shot. That is some dark, dark humour: yet again, the bizarre twists happening in this wild story we’re all stuck in would’ve seemed too weird and contrived in a work of fiction. Three other terrorists died of undisclosed medical emergencies. (Heart attacks? Something else?) And one cop died from his injuries: a terrorist hit his head with a fire extinguisher. What an insane way to go…

Trump spent 24 hours in the radio silence mode before releasing what was essentially a two-minute hostage video where he mindlessly read out the text in front of him. He did not actually say that he concedes the election, but he did say that Biden would take over on January 20. The video was oddly spliced, as if he’d started ranting and they had to do multiple takes. And even so, he still couldn’t get it right: at the end, he told his supporters he loves them, and said that it’s just the beginning. He literally had one job, and he couldn’t even do that.

A lot of politicians, including at least one Republican congress-critter, demanded the 25th Amendment action. Pence has not complied, or at least not yet. Several cabinet members have resigned, possibly because they don’t want to have to make that choice, so they’re taking the easier way out. Reports claim that Trump and Pence stopped talking to each other after Pence certified Biden’s election yesterday. The US is ruled by petulant children. (I started typing “We are ruled” but then I remember I’m not with them anymore, and smiled.) Nancy Pelosi has threatened Trump with a new impeachment vote if the 25th Amendment isn’t enacted. I hope she does that. That would put all the senate Republicans on the spot.

In the media, some are already starting to weave a narrative that the terrorists were just some random anarchists, or that they only stormed the Capitol because they were upset by the general state of things. (Just gotta disregard all the “MAGA” and “Trump” flags, I guess.) What’s far more disturbing is the emerging picture of the police ineptitude. Washington DC is supposed to have the highest concentration of police and federal forces in the nation, yet there were none. (Some cynics on Twitter are asking why people would expect to see police and rioters in the same place; that’s like asking Miley Cyrus if she’d seen Hannah Montana anywhere, or asking Clark Kent why he’s never seen together with Superman.) Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security hadn’t done any threat assessment on the planned anti-Capitol rally.

That doesn’t explain, however, why the National Guard hadn’t been deployed when the desperate Capitol staffers called for it. That also doesn’t explain why some members of the Capitol Hill police force gently helped the insurrectionists get down the stairs when they decided to leave, or why some of them posed for selfies with terrorists, or why some of them gave those terrorists directions to Chuck Schumer’s office when they asked where it was. (Schumer is the highest-ranking Democrat in the senate.) There is footage of some cops who engaged in hand-to-hand combat with terrorists. There is also footage of some decidedly bizarre behaviour on their colleagues’ part. So far, several high-ranking police officials (sergeants-at-arms, etc) have resigned. Good start…

Right now, as I type this, there’s an emergency situation in Washington DC. A 7-foot fence (which is supposedly impossible to scale) has been set up around the Capitol, and men with machine guns (feds? National Guard?) are directing people away from it. Some fear follow-up attacks from the emboldened terrorists. Apparently, one of the laptops stolen from the Capitol contained highly classified information, and there’s a manhunt underway, as more of these terrorists are identified and named. It’s a little bit funny: since they didn’t believe in the utility of face masks during this plague, they got their faces on tape. (It doesn’t help that some of them livestreamed their shenanigans.) That makes them fairly easy to identify… One of those geniuses still had his work badge on a lanyard around his neck, and online sleuths have spent the last 24 hours identifying as many as they can. The FBI has asked for people’s assistance in identifying the traitors, and a whole lot of people sent them pictures of Trump. Heh.

There is so much going on right now… We all thought this year would be easy, or at least easier. Just one week in, and there’s already the kind of madness you’d typically only see in fringe political novels. This is insane. Absolutely, irredeemably insane. The overlap of my waking time and my screen time is more or less a perfect circle right now. (I listen to classic music instead of news podcasts when I shower, but that’s about it.) It’s strange to wonder if the world will still be the same by the time I wake up.

In covid news, there was yet another all-time-high day in the US. Either 3,800 or 4,000 deaths, depending which source you believe. The official toll in the US right now is approximately 365,000.

Stay safe, y’all.