Thursday evening.

My campaign to popularize “happy Thor’s Day” is still ongoing, though with limited results. A man needs a hobby, eh?

Coming back to the real world after about 90 minutes of random feel-good hypno files, stirring awake in a dark room, reminds me ever so much of working night shifts in a Reno casino in my early twenties. Wake up and truly start your day when everyone you is already ending theirs. So strange. There are only so many combinations of physical stimuli, and eventually your mind will start combining similar experiences despite them being very different memories. Or maybe my subconscious is so starved that it’s actively cannibalizing its own archives. Either/or. Heh.

About 12 hours from now, I will have received my first dose of an experimental covid vaccine. There’s no live virus in it, of course, and it might not ever work. (There is, in fact, a 33% chance that it’ll be a placebo.) Or maybe it will work, and I’ll develop at least a bit of immunity. Online, more of my old friends back in the States are bragging about having received their second shots. I’m happy for them. I really am. More and more states are announcing that, just like Alaska, they’ll start offering vaccines to anyone over the age of 16 starting in April. (Nevada, Rhode Island, others.)

Such a strange dichotomy. Canada was objectively safer than the US during the first year of pandemic. We had plenty of outbreaks, but nowhere near as bad as in the States. And now that vaccines are out, the US has it better. If I’d gotten my PR by now and been able to travel freely… Oh well.

In covid news, the US is finally getting off its ass and sharing the vaccines it’s not actively using. The bad news is that it’s the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has shoddy results among folks over 65, doesn’t protect against the South African variant, and may or may not give you fatal blood clots. The US stockpile of the AZ vaccine is allegedly dozens of millions of doses. It’s not authorized for use in the US because the clinical trials had all been done outside the country, and the US trials are still ongoing. (It sure would be nice if they “shared” the Pfizer vaccines Canada ordered last year instead…) So far, it’s sort of a large but symbolic gesture: Canada will get 1.5 million doses and Mexico will get 2.5 million. (To be fair, Mexico’s population is three times larger.) The understanding is that later in the year, if/when both Canada and Mexico have a surplus of vaccines, we’ll give as many back to the US.

Ontario’s premier, Doug Ford, did his best imitation of an abused dog adopted from an animal shelter by calling the US “Our greatest partner, greatest trading partner, greatest friend in the world. That’s what true neighbours do, you help each other out in a crisis.” That’s quite the contrast to his earlier pleas to get in a truck, drive down to Michigan, and get the pre-ordered Pfizer vaccine from that factory and into Canada. On the balance, this is net positive news – I just can’t stop wondering what would happen if the South African variant were to sweep through Canada after most Canadians let down their guard and return to their normal lives. It’s unclear whether AZ can prevent hospitalizations or deaths against that particular variant, and even so, Canadians would receive just one measly dose each (followed by the second one about four months later), so even the official study results will be a bit too optimistic for what will happen here.

I have a very rich imagination. Even so, I never imagined I’d sign up for a clinical trial for an untested vaccine (because my measly single dose wouldn’t get here for several more months), nor that I’d end up in the middle of a country-wide experiment with questionable vaccines. Life is just full of surprises. Heh.

Stay healthy, my friends.