Tuesday night.

I miiiight be starting to fill the boredom abyss with some online shopping. In the local geological Facebook group (can you tell I’m a nerd?), someone posted breathtakingly beautiful pictures of a potassium hexacyanoferrate crystal. Turns out, he grew it all by themselves, though he did say it’s hard to get the exact mixture and conditions. I went ahead and ordered a bottle of potassium ferricyanide: it’s usually a niche chemical for photographers, so the delivery might take a while…

Growing crystals is a weird hobby: you get better at it as you go along, but a lot of is luck, and you absolutely have to be patient. I tried it for a while a few years back, but patience wasn’t my strong suit back then. Then again, I’m even worse at taking care of plants or yeast starters (rest in peace, Clint Yeastwood), so growing a little crystal bro is probably the least harmful option. Who knows, maybe I’ll finally create something beautiful.

The polar vortex is hitting the US even harder than I’d thought… Like many others, I’ve only just learned that Texas apparently has their own power grid, one that’s not connected to the rest of the country. Combine that with good ol’ deregulation and lack of extreme weather preparations, and that’s a really bad situation. Millions are without power due to rolling blackouts. One of the two reactors in a Texan nuclear power plant had to be shut down, possibly due to the cooling system’s water line getting frozen. I’m trying not to read the articles that merely list everyone’s misery (that’s a rather macabre type of clickbait), but just the headlines are disturbing… Failing hospital equipment, people having to burn their possessions to stay warm, etc. How many compounded systemic failures can civilization take?..

At work, there’s some excellent news at long last. It should become official in a couple of weeks. Until then, it’s just quiet celebration. (Incidentally, my emergency mini-bottle of champagne had just 2.2 glasses worth. They ought to make 3/4-sized bottles, eh.)

In covid news, Ontario’s premier Doug Ford is in hot water yet again… I keep forgetting to mention this, but through it all – the lockdowns, the restrictions, then more lockdowns – Ontario’s workers had no paid sick leave. If you think you have covid, then your choices are to stay home and lose money, or to head to work if you’re feeling lucky. In a TV interview earlier today, Ford said that paid sick days are a “waste of taxpayers’ money.” He lied about (or sincerely failed to understand) the federal program called Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, claiming reinstituting Ontario’s sick days would be redundant. CRSB reimburses people for lost wages after they get diagnosed with covid. It does nothing for those who show early symptoms that might not be covid. The locals are less than excited about today’s display of his leadership, to put it mildly… It will never cease to astound me how someone like him got elected.

In slightly lighter news, this is pretty funny. My best friend’s younger sister (they live in the US) switched to online classes a year ago, and transferred to a small college in Portland to finish her degree. She never visited the campus in person, and after that college ran into some kind of trouble, she transferred again – this time to Idaho State University. She’ll graduate in two months, having never actually set foot on that campus. The in-person graduation ceremony will be her first time visiting that university. That’s pretty hilarious, and I’m sure there are many others in the same boat. By the end of this, the pandemic will have lasted at least four semesters: millions of college students will be affected one way or another. My own college years were extremely unremarkable (nerd, remember?) but I’m sorry that so many others won’t even get a chance to enjoy that part of their life to the fullest. What a strange world.