Wednesday night.

Online, there are wild videos about the situation in Texas. One shows a line of people waiting outside to fill their empty buckets from a spigot. Normally, that’s the kind of footage you’d see from some war-torn country. Instead, it’s from Houston: some of them no longer have running water in their homes, while others are under the water-boiling advisory. In another world, I didn’t leave Fort Worth for Tampa in 2014. In that world, I might be standing in a line just like that one… Elsewhere, people are posting pictures of buckets filled with snow that they brought inside to get some fresh water. All of that is utterly insane.

I’m getting secondhand anxiety just reading all this news from the US, just getting updates from my many acquaintances I’d made while living in all those places. I can’t even imagine how bizarre it would be to actually live there. Just in the last year alone, there were unprecedentedly blatant police shootings, mass protests, half-assed covid shutdowns, nameless masked thugs that kidnapped protesters, equally nameless thugs with guns standing guard in Washington DC, a rogue postmaster general who actually tried sabotaging his own postal service, an election that went on for days before getting called, half a million covid deaths, the attempted coup on January 6th, and now the polar vortex that sent Texas back to the 19th century… And I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things. After all of this is over, some countries will come out with improved reputations (way to go, Vietnam!), many will be unchanged, but some will never be able to regain their previous prestige…

I may have finally acquired all eight documents I’ll need to file my very complicated taxes. (Being a Russian-American-Canadian is hard, eh.) I’ll still have to plug in all those numbers and answer a very long series of important questions, though. I wonder if I declared myself a sovereign citizen and made them prepare my tax bill for me, would that save me some headache on the balance? (Especially if I copy a certain president, hire a sleazy lawyers, and pay only a small percentage of the total. Heh.) I’m joking, of course, but I really do wish there were a much easier way to just set it and forget it – the way I think other industrialized countries do it. Oh well.

In covid news, they’re starting to organize vaccine trials on children, ages six and up. All the previous trials were on adults. In a way, we got extremely lucky that children are mostly (but not always) unaffected. If covid had affected them as severely as adults… The world would’ve been an even more depressing place, then. It’ll be months before any coherent and consistent conclusions come out of these new trials: if kids do get vaccinated, it won’t be anytime soon, and they’ll likely be at the very end of the line. Still, the more we learn about this damn thing, the easier it’ll be to defeat – here and now, as well as with all the future variants.

Stay warm, y’all.