Monday night.

Well, this was exciting. Today’s 90-minute orientation call with the local search&rescue group was probably the first even since August that really broke up the monotony of my new Groundhog-Day-like existence. They had my full and undivided attention, eh. Their team is small (just ~60 rescuers) and scrappy, and does only 8-12 missions per year. That’s quite different from my old crew in Seattle, who had over 600 members and did hundreds of missions per year. Still, that’s a great way to meet likeminded cool people – and I love their occasional missions to hard-hit foreign countries like Haiti or Cambodia (or Florida) to help with disaster relief.

One major downside: I’d have to become a permanent resident to actually join them. The same PR process that was supposed to come to fruition about a month ago. I can still sign up and hope the magic piece of paper makes its way through the bureaucratic maze by late May, but if it doesn’t… Well, I’d have to wait another year to join this quaint little band of badasses, but more importantly, that’ll be quite a blow to my big plan for this year. The only way to win is to keep playing, to wait until the very end of May, and then drop out if I don’t have my residency – but that’d also result in maximum disappointment. The only way is forward, I suppose.

Today is the first of March. Folks online are posting memes congratulating each other on the one-year anniversary of the two-week lockdown. Heh. Bitter humour is just about all folks got left these days.

In covid news… Damn it all to hell. There’s a lot of US/Canada news, and none of it is good. To start with, first British Columbia and then Ontario said they’ll increase the delay between the two shots of mRNA vaccines not just by weeks, but by months. Their new best bad idea is to make the gap four months long. Four goddamn months… The craziest part is that there is no clinical data to show that the first shot’s immunity stays high and strong for months. The only peer-reviewed paper I found was this one: it acknowledges there’s no hard data, but says that to vaccinate the most number of people, the gap should be increased to five weeks. Everyone is citing this paper without reading it as they argue for a gap that would be 12 weeks longer than that. Ye gods.

I’m not the only person that dislikes this proposal. Mona Nemer, Canada’s chief science adviser, reacted with “WTF? WTAF?!” Of course, she put it far more politely: “I think that it’s possible to do it. But it amounts right now to a basically population level experiment. And I think it needs to be done as we expect clinical trials to be carried out.” In other words, no bueno. One shot is better than no shots at all, but when there are pictures of happy-go-lucky Americans getting both shots three weeks apart at drivethrough centers… Technically, Trudeau’s promise that every Canadian would be able to get vaccinated by September would also work if they finished vaccinating you in January 2022. Heh. I don’t yet know how or when, but at some point this year I’ll engage in vaccine tourism to the US – or to any foreign country that has enough for its own people and would give the rest to tourists. I’ve given up a year of my life: even if I give four more months after the first shot (whenever that may be), there’ll be no guarantee it’d be as efficient as two shots three weeks apart. Getting a less-than-perfect result based on wishful thinking and zero clinical data is not my end goal.

One caveat, as always: there’s a chance Canada won’t let me in without my PR. The rules seem a bit ambiguous on whether you can fly back with mere work permit, and Canada is where I keep all my stuff… So much hinges on so little.

The Biden administration said neither Mexico nor Canada will get any vaccines until more Americans are vaccinated. Just as I figured. The really shady part of this, ethically speaking, is that the US also prohibits private companies from fulfilling previously placed orders: not a single dose is leaving the country. I wonder how much that’ll affect the US-Canadian relations in the future, or if people will even remember that far back. (If/when the US decides to start sharing, that might erase all the old memories.) And Canada’s Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is not recommending the AstraZeneca vaccine to folks over 65, citing insufficient data. It’ll be up to the provinces what to do with it, but this is another complication.

In non-US/Canadian news, there’s a bit of a scandal. Frontier Airlines Miami-NYC flight got cancelled because a group of passengers (who happened to be Hasidic Jews) allegedly refused to put on masks. The airline claims that was multiple adults. The adults in question claim it was just a few little children. There are no videos of the actual incident – only of the aftermath. Unless there’s a video recording from the plane’s cameras (and I don’t think those exist), this will turn into a very ugly he-said-she-said incident. The Anti-Defamation league is already calling for an investigation. This probably won’t be the last incident of its kind…

Good night, y’all. Save a couple vaccines for me, would ya?