Tuesday night.

I’m ending this day with less blood than I started it with, and with the uncanny sensation of knowing what my blood-brain barrier feels like. In other words, I had my initial screening for the vaccine trial. The blood filled multiple vials, and the nasal test was apparently mandatory, to reassure them that their newest guinea pig does not, in fact, already have covid. Heh. And here I thought I’d go the entire pandemic without having the edge of my brain scraped… If you never experienced that sensation, good for you – I hope you never do. If you did experience it – how weird is it, huh? Why the hell would we even have receptors that far up? Ye gods, that was such an unsettling sensation – and there’s nothing you can do to take your mind off it. Logically, I knew that I wasn’t harmed, and definitely wasn’t harmed permanently, but it just felt so… wrong.

Anyhow, I’ll get the first of this experimental vaccine in 10 days, next Friday. They’ll keep me around for an entire hour just to watch out for any side effects and/or superpowers. Should be fun. It was also equal parts sad and pathetic how excited I was to have a tiny short conversation with the receptionist dude and the doctor dude. It’s been so long… On my drive back, when the sun was fully up, I had my window down and my mask off. It seemed safe – a way to enjoy some fresh air at long last. Next thing I knew, a maskless construction worker got right in my (equally maskless) face to tell me I had to make a U-turn due to some construction. That was the first time I actually came face to face (with no masks) with another human being since I left my landlords behind almost two months ago. It sure would be ironic if after all these precautions, all these months, I catch covid due to a random encounter with a maskless worker. Heh. I know I talk a lot about my zombie video game, but come on, that was a classic zombie scare jump-scene right there.

The world is starting to recover a little… S&P-500 is about 20% higher than its highest point just before the pandemic. I think a lot of that is driven by the overvalued tech sector. Almost a year ago, I sold all of my Amazon stock and invested the proceeds into the most covid-battered stocks out there. I set my sell price for each stock using the same formula: their highest point in Q1 2020, just before the pandemic, minus 5%. (No need to be greedy, eh?) The rationale was that once they get that high up, the economy will have recovered. Most of them aren’t there yet, but they’re getting there. ADS (Alliance Data Systems) is a company specializing in loyalty cards, among other things. Today, the ADS stock price missed my target by just eight cents. That was pretty funny – I’m sure it’ll get there soon.

Speaking of stops, that mad legion at r/wallstreetbets finally succeeded in getting Gamestop’s stock price back up again. It rose up past $100 last week, briefly kissed $200, bounced up and down, and closed at $246.90 today. Gotta say, that’s impressive and I didn’t see that resurgence coming. Good for them, eh. As for me, I’ll have to start stockpiling cash for what I expect to be a pretty high tax bill in the coming weeks. (And it’ll be higher yet next year, once I have to pay taxes on my Gamestop earnings.)

In covid news, a very macabre success story from the US: for the first time since late November, the daily covid death toll is below 1,000. According to this article, 749 Americans died over the course of 24 hours. Once upon a time, that would’ve been a tragedy. Now, just a year after the virus appeared in the US, it’s good news. Who knows, maybe someday the States will celebrate fewer than 100 daily covid fatalities.

In other covid news, there’s a vaccine war between Italy and Australia. (If you had that on your 2021 bingo card… Well, you got a very weird bingo card, what can I say.) As near as I can tell, the sequence is this. Australia ordered AstraZeneca vaccines. Australia defeated covid. Italy did not defeat covid. AZ vaccines got approved. AZ’s facility in Belgium had manufacturing issues. The EU didn’t get all the AZ doses they ordered due to manufacturing issues. AZ decided to send the ordered vaccines to Australia, as per prior agreement. Italy blocked the shipment, got the European commission to back it up, and caused an international scandal. (One of Italy’s arguments basically comes down to “we need it more than they do.”) Australia is being a good sport about it, saying the block won’t impact their vaccine rollout. However, Germany is warning Italy and the rest of the EU that their decision to “tear up the rulebook” could have serious and wide-ranging consequences down the road. When even Germany tells you that your foreign policy might be a little bit too aggressive, you know you probably made several bad decisions. Heh.

And now, time to catch up on all the sleep… Good night, y’all.