Sunday night.

I have achieved either peak efficiency or peak laziness. (It can be really hard to tell them apart.) Instead of driving to the grocery store two miles away, I’ve decided to start driving to the store that’s literally three blocks away. It keeps the car battery mildly active, and there’s less risk of getting hit in the crazy Toronto traffic. Besides, there’s only so much food I can carry myself, eh. Ahhh, the adventurous quarantine life…

I’ve dipped into my emergency video game reserves and reinstalled CS:GO (Counter Strike: Global Offensive.) This game was released in 2000, and it’s changed a fair bit since I last played it three years ago. It features the perpetually fighting groups of terrorists and counter-terrorists: there’s essentially zero backstory, no chance to sit down and talk it out, and if you get killed, you’ll just respawn to try again next round. It’s a modern-day Valhalla simulator, just without any feasting or drinking. (You can kill chickens if you’re so inclined.) I remember playing that game in Russian cyber-cafes as a 14-year-old teen… It’s been 20 years now. So much has changed, so much has stayed the same. I wonder if I’ll still dip my toes into those highly addictive CS:GO waters in 2041, in 2061, in 2081… How different will the world be then? Either way, this game alone should help fill many weeks: it was designed to be engaging and addicting, and the occasional headset chatter of fellow players is a nice, if tiny, connection to humanity.

My favourite astronomer, Dr. Katie Mack, has replied to one of my tweets and retweeted me. Today has been worthwhile. (Well, that, and an investing-related post I made on Reddit got so many virtual awards that it’s basically a Christmas tree now. Yay social media.

In covid news, a lot of press has been about western Europe and North America, with very little coverage for other countries. That seems to be changing somewhat. This report on Tanzania paints a disturbing picture: they haven’t published covid statistics since May, there’s no testing, and their president (John Magufuli, who just won a sketchy reelection) claims the vaccines are dangerous and that prayer can cure covid. There’s much more to dig into there, but purely anecdotally, there sure is a lot of pneumonia deaths in Tanzania… Situations like this one are really skewing Africa’s true covid death toll. Earlier in the pandemic, it was a bit of a mystery why covid largely avoided African countries. Now we know it was most likely just severe under-reporting.

And meanwhile, there’s an unfolding disaster in the Czech Republic, where the covid death rate is among the highest in the world. It looks like their government followed the US closely (intentionally or otherwise): there was no mask mandate, businesses were reopened prematurely, and reactive rather than proactive measures. Their hospitals are overflowing now, and things don’t look that great. I’m not posting these things as some sort of macabre death porn: I’m doing this because it’s important to remember that even as some countries are vaccinating millions of people and aiming to end their pandemic by the end of the year, many others are still struggling to survive and don’t have much to look forward to…

Here is to a whole new month, y’all.