COVID is still here.
Tens of thousands are hospitalized with it and hundreds are still dying every day. Which is a vast improvement over where we were, but it's also frightening that it keeps mutating into new strains that keep this plague ongoing. The good news is that the most recent booster is still effective enough to be worth getting, providing added resistance to these new mutations.
Which brings us to this video.
Horrifying. But also riveting.
This is a good time to plug one of my favorite books of 2022, Immune by Philipp Dettmer If you haven't read it yet, it's worth your valuable time.
It's the middle of a 3-day weekend, but I won't let that stop me... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• There Be Dragons Here! We're three episodes into House of the Dragon and I'm fairly impressed. Not so much for the show, which is okay and I'm certainly enjoying it... but because anybody who has read Fire & Blood already knows what becomes of all these characters, and that's kind of exciting. At least we think we do. Heaven only knows that they could change events in order to drag the show out and have it end in a pile of shit like Game of Thrones...
In the books... this period in Westerous history which culminated in the disastrous "Dance of Dragons" war, was actually quite cool and interesting. If they stay faithful to it, the HBO series could have a great ending. If not? Well, strike two, I guess.
• POWERRRRR! In Amazon's absurdly expensive competition for the above, The Rings of Power, we've returned to Middle Earth (last seen in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy). While watching the first two episodes, I was confused. What in the heck is this supposed to be? We're in The Second Age, which is fine... but it's not feeling very "Tolkien." Nor does it seem to be coming from The Silmarillion (Tolkien's book of stuff that happens in the First, Second, and Third Age). Sure, you've got Elrond and Galadriel, but not in a form that they're recognizable. At least not to me...
Not knowing what to think, I ran to Google to find out. Turns out that Amazon didn't buy the rights to The Silmarillion at all. All they got were the books which have already been made into movies, including the appendices, which is where the concept for Rings of Power came from. But the actual story? Pulled out of their asses. The show is visually stunning. The acting is great. And the story doesn't suck. I will absolutely keep watching. But, it's like, WTF? You would think that the Tolkien Estate would want for the series to be close to Tolkien's vision as possible. But I guess not. Money speaks louder than Elvish, I guess.
• GAH! MY GOD! WHAT DID HAPPEN TO MEN?!??? (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@chris_wells_ #stitch with @tre_valley ♬ BIG MAD - Ktlyn
I've heard this so many times in my life. "WHAT'S HAPPENING TO OUR MEN?!" It's such a laughable question to be asking. Harry Styles doesn't represent "all men" any more than a landing craft full of men during (assumably)
• Booster for my Booster's Booster Booster! The minute it's available to me... "If you have had your primary series, with or without any number of boosters, you are eligible to get a bivalent booster this fall, as long as it has been at least two months since your last COVID vaccine."
• ZOMFG!!! I do not even know how to respond to this (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@fulldanfisher #stitch with @proudviking2 i dont get it and i love mayonnaise for life #fyp #mayonnaise #prisonlube ♬ original sound - Dan Fisher
Now, I love mayonnaise. It's one of my most favorite foods. No stupid-ass "factoid" like this woman is spinning would make me reconsider. Which is why I'm sharing this, because Dan Fisher's measured response is all that needs to be said.
• Your Sexism at Work! Yeah. Not enough people are talking about this: Grey hair: Fine for George Clooney but not Lisa LaFlamme?
• Food! GAH! I AM IN LOVE AGAIN! This woman’s cooking TikTok is the best thing on the internet right now (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@abir.sag Replying to @Krami lulu Maltese Pastizzi 🇲🇹#malta #🇲🇹 #pastizzi #abirzkitchen ♬ original sound - Abir el saghir
Seriously, go watch her videos. She's absolutely lovely, has amazing recipes, and her videos are wonderfully entertaining.
• Safety. A quick and important read if you own an iPhone: How to Hard Lock an iPhone to Prevent Unauthorized Biometric Access (I don't know how this works on an Android phone, but you should find out if you own one).
See you in seven.
Yesterday I got a notification that I was now eligible for a second Pfizer Booster. A booster for my booster, I guess. Now, I am 1000% in support of getting "touch-up" vaccinations as efficacy fades, so there was never a question as to whether I was going to do this... I was just waiting for the word to be given.
The minute the text arrived, I went rushing to my local County Health website to make an appointment. Only to find that I didn't need an appointment. This didn't shock me, because all three times I went to get vaccinated, there was hardly anybody there.
What did shock me is that they are only offering vaccinations one day a week. Every Friday from 10:30 to 4:30.
I thought that surely there would be a line if we're down to one day a week... but nope! There was one guy who had already got his, and once he left I was alone.
Interesting to note that I only had to wait for five minutes after this time.
Didn't end up turning into a lizard person this time (again, darnit!), but there was some good news. Zero side-effects...
And so... until next booster, I guess.
We’ll crap. Guess I have to go into the office...
Kinda weird to be rooting for a positive COVID test. Oh well. I didn't want to stay home and play video games anyway.
No word if I'm pregnant. I guess I should have peed on it?
The snow's a meltin' and Spring is on the way, but don't get too excited... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Mo Betty! Thanks to Brandon from One Child Left Behind fame for this absolute gem of a video featuring a story with both President Obama and Betty White (and, no, you don't have to be a fan of Barrack Obama to enjoy this)...
It's just amazing how many amazing Betty White stories are circulating out there. She touched a lot of lives.
• Abbot! Who is watching Quinta Brunson in Abbott Elementary? Genius. The show shining a spotlight on what teachers are facing in the school system... but it's a comedy which has jokes that really hit perfect. Plus it has Sheryl Lee Ralph, whom I adore in absolutely everything she's ever done... and she is a frickin' star in this show. Could not be more perfect. This part had to be written for her. Or maybe it wasn't and she's just that flawless an actor...
You need to watch this on ABC, Hulu, or ABC.com.
• Husbands! TikTok is a 100% bizarre place because you just know that half of it isn't original. So many times I'll see something I like then find out it was lifted from somebody else and wasn't credited. Take for example this one, which I loved because it's kinda hopeful for the future (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@thatk1da_en #duet with @matadornetwork u never know#gay#fyp#funny#cliffjumping#wow#foryoupage ♬ original sound - scalar quantity
But then you learn that he actually copied it word-for-word from another creator (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@timjohns_ #duet with @matadornetwork ♬ original sound - scalar quantity
Which was addressed in (you guessed it) yet another TikTok (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@timjohns_ #duet with @thatk1da_en ♬ original sound - scalar quantity
It's like... on one hand... that's pretty shitty. But, on the other hand, it did lead me to the original guy's TikTok, which I now follow, so I dunno.
• Nightlife! I am trying my best to burn through as much Netflix as I can before I discontinue monthly service due to yet another rate increase. Right now I am binging Midnight Asia and it's absolutely wonderful...
I've experienced the nightlife in Tokyo and Seoul many times... and the show absolutely does them justice. I am not as familiar with Bangkok's nightlife, but it's a fun episode too. The other episodes are Mumbai, Taipei, and Manilla. Three cities I've never been to, but now I want to visit..
• Jacket! Whenever I see BOYCOTT! messages on my Facebook timeline, I usually take a pass. I just don't care. Dig deep enough and all big companies are likely trash. It's the reason for the boycott that interests me. Tucker Carlson is big mad that he's no longer sexually attracted to Green M&M because she isn't wearing high heels any more? Hilarious. The fact that people are boycotting M&Ms over Tucker Carlson wanting to fuck a piece of candy is epic. Then today I see Carhartt being boycotted and I'm like... "Their clothes are great... and they last a while because they're tough. Why are people boycotting them?" The answer? This private company is electing to have a vaccine mandate in order to keep their workforce safe. And I'm like WTF? I thought it would be because they encourage employees to kick puppies or something awful. Personally I applaud them for the move. Must make people a bit more comfortable to work there knowing a co-worker has less a chance of being a petri dish mutating a new strain of COVID. If you don't want to get vaccinated, you can just get a job somewhere else the same way you would if they started mandating a new uniform you hated. Simple. So I was like "I wonder if there's something I want to buy there? A new jacket maybe? I've been wanting a new jacket!" So I ordered one. — Sadly, they didn't have the style I liked in the Carhartt Brown color, because that would have been awesome. But even the black one has a nice-sized logo on the pocket. Looking forward to being screamed at the next time I go to the grocery store. "YOU SHOULD BURN THAT JACKET! DO YOU SUPPORT VACCINE MANDATES BY THE GUBERMINT TOO?!?" Not usually, no. But I'm so fucking tired of this COVID shit that I'm ready to change my mind, and if everybody got vaccinated so the shit would stop mutating unchecked then maybe it would finally... finally... end.
• LOLZ! The funniest thing I've seen all month (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@dr.jon.l Day in the life according to the comment section #ivermectin #doctor #funny #teamhalo #covidvaccine ♬ original sound - Doctor Jon
• LOLZ2! The second funniest thing (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)....
@dr.jon.l Reply to @dr.jon.l Another day in my life according to the comment section #doctor #funny #teamhalo ♬ original sound - Doctor Jon
And I think that's enough for my Sunday bullets.
I wonder if people like Candace Owens who makes money by selling lies and propaganda to people give a shit that they are literally killing people by spreading misinformation.
Obviously they do not. Because if they start telling the truth, their legions of followers will abandon them for another mouthpiece to fit their narrative and the money would stop pouring in. And it's all about the money at this point. There are mountains of data about the pandemic. We've been living with this shit for two years and few things have been studied more thoroughly than COVID. Yes, it's still relatively new and is mutating constantly, but the fact that it's everywhere means that there is an overwhelming amount to real-world cases to study.
Which is why the anti-vax contingent has had to resort to lies and misinformation.
It's all they have (here's a link for the video if TikTok is being a dick)...
@drsiyabmd No, the CDC did not admit what you think it admitted 🤦♂️ #covid19 #covidvaccine #cdc #teamhalo ♬ original sound - Dr. Siyab, MD
I had more than a few people tell me that the vaccine would kill me after I got my first dose. I was called "stupid" after my second dose, because I was "a puppet of the liberal agenda." Which makes no sense, because if your agenda is to kill all the people who follow your agenda, YOU WON'T HAVE ANY PEOPLE LEFT TO FOLLOW YOUR AGENDA! (which makes Candace Owens even more of a puzzle to me... eventually President Trump climbed onboard the vaccination train because his followers were disproportionately dying, so how many people have to die before she does the same?).
And yet here I am. Still alive. Vaxed, boosted and anxiously awaiting the next booster so I will be better protected against Omicron and whatever the hell the 'rona mutates into next.
I thought for certain that after the vaccines had been available for a year people would see that they offer good protection from, you know, dying from COVID and stuff, because there would be data out there to support this (not to mention all the vaccinated people still being alive). But the data doesn't have a fair shot at reaching the people who most need to hear it.
All their getting is Candace Owens, et al.
Which I guess means that people who believe in science will keep fighting to live by wearing masks and getting vaccinated... and those who do not believe in science will eventually see through the lies and choose to live... or end up dead.
Let's go Darwin, I guess.
I take no joy in saying that, believe me... there are people I care about deeply who are in the anti-vax camp... but at some point I'd like life to return to some semblance of normalcy. How else is it going to happen?
UPDATE: Candace Owens is now suggesting that Bob Saget died because he got vaccinated. Apparently the piles of bodies dead from COVID are anecdotal or an outright lie by "Big Pharma," but a single death by a famous person is probably vaccine-related. So, yeah, we're never getting out of this pandemic, are we?
I'm still buried in snow, but Blogography will carry on... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Return! Okay... we already have a contender for Most Remarkable Story of 2022: Abducted son finds family by drawing map of village he last saw aged four. His hand-drawn map is remarkable considering is was made from memories of 30 years ago. And then there's another layer of remarkable coming from the fact that people were able to help him find his original village by looking at his map and remarkable because he was reunited with his mother...
"Abducted in 1989, Li was sold to a family in Lankao, more than 1,100 miles away. Child abductions are common in China and Li was probably taken because the family wanted a boy."
• Aliens! A big surprise last television season was Alan Tudyk in Resident Alien. They really went for the jugular with the concept, which is based on a comic book series I liked. Now season two is imminent...
Looking forward to it, Dr. Vanderspeigle!
• Lara! I passed on the Tomb Raider reboot because it didn't get a terribly good reaction. But it was on sale a while back, so I bought it. Finally got around to watching it and I really liked the film! Some of the reviews I read said that the actor playing Lara was wooden and boring. And I'm like... did we watch the same movie? I thought she was excellent. Though... Angelina Jolie has this wry delivery with a hint of amusement that worked so well in her two Tomb Raider films. I just wish she had better stories to work with.
I hope that the sequel manages to get made! (UPDATE: Apparently it's in active development, COVID-willing, and will be titled Tomb Raider: Obsidian! Nice!
• Free Ride! Okay, this is pretty great...
My favorite part of visiting Costa Rica (after the natural beauty of the country) was the sloth sanctuary that we got to visit. They are such remarkable creatures.
• Hole of the Tiger! ZOMG! Lego made the Year of the Tiger piece anatomically correct! Kinda. Still a few things missing, but... nice! (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
@hollyonfilm This LEGO Tiger is the best thing that will happen in 2022 don’t @ me #lego #yearofthetiger #legotiktok #newyear ♬ original sound - holly
And, yes, Survivor's Eye of the Tiger is playing through my head right now.
• Paid! Yesterday I needed to make bread because my sourdough starter hadn't been used in almost two weeks. But I forgot that I had used the last of my yeast last time. And while I could make sourdough bread without it, I didn't want this to be an all-day affair. Then something weird happens. I didn't think "I better make sure that I grab my wallet so I can pay"... instead I think "I better make sure that I grab my iPhone so I can pay with Apple Watch." And since Washington State hasn't done a damn thing to start implementing digital driver's licenses, THEN I think "I better make sure that I grab my wallet in case I get pulled over." I truly long for the day that I don't have to carry a wallet at all. But I'll probably have to move to a more forward-thinking state than mine so that's actually possible. Because knowing how utterly incompetent Washington State legislators are at moving anything forward except higher taxes... digital driver's licenses ain't happening here any time soon.
• COVID? Last Friday I was going to take a third COVID test just to make sure I wasn't carrying 'rona to Christmas (my previous two were negative)... but then I woke up that morning and smelled the horrendous dump that Jake took and figured I'm probably good. Though the smell was so bad that I'm guessing it could break through even COVID loss of smell! If anybody else wants tests, I've been ordering directly from iHealth Labs... which has a CDC-recommended antigen test available. They are running behind on orders right now (not surprising) but they do eventually come. Omicron may be "less bad" than Delta (except for young kids, apparently), but it is still causing hospitals to fill up (even in my local hospital, they're recording a rise in admissions), so it's nice to know if you should isolate. Fortunately data suggests that the vaxed adult population has been able to avoid hospitalization (for the most part) even though the current vaccine wasn't designed for it. Really, really hope that they offer up an Omicron Booster soon. That will better prepare our bodily defenses against what gets mutated into next (Lord help us).
And that's all the bullets I can muster this fine Sunday.
2022 may be feeling even worse than 2021, but I'm still spitting out those bullets... because an all new 2021 RETROSPECTIVE Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Pizza! As anybody who's been reading Blogography for any amount of time knows, I've been searching for a decent frozen pizza for decades. And in 2021 I've finally found one. It's Red Baron Fully Loaded Five Cheese Pizza!
The sauce it great. The crust is amazing. The amount of cheese is a little excessive, but perfectly acceptable. Put it all together and it's the best frozen pizza I've ever had. With a caveat! As good as it tastes fresh out of the oven, it tastes horrible once it's gone cold. And reheating it in the microwave or oven does not bring it back. I've been sawing them in half and cooking only half and a time so I can eat the remainder at its best as well.
• Potato! As somebody who loves fries, I usually end up making them from scratch out of freshly-cut potatoes that I soak, pre-cook, freeze, then fry to get the best tasting ones I can get. But that's a horrible amount of work. So whenever I see a new frozen fries product, I give it a try. Usually I spray them with oil then put them in the rotisserie basket of my air fryer and they turn out okay. But in 2021 I discovered "McCains Quick Cook Fries." And they are a world different from anything else on the market...
The secret of the reason they cook "quick" with no flipping is that they are coated in oil. This is not a new trick. Ore-Ida did this years ago. But, for whatever reason, McCain's fries taste far better. Even though they do lie about the timing. Even when I preheat my oven, it takes closer to 20 minutes than the 13 minutes they advertise to get perfectly-cooked fries. Usually I don't bother to preheat. I just put them in and set the timer for 25 minutes. Bliss. Their crinkle-cut fries are so good that I'd rather have them that restaurant fries. Possibly even more than my own hand-cut fries! A half-bag is the perfect serving size for me and I anticipate eating a lot of these things in 2022.
• Sustained! I have been really trying to minimize waste more in 2021, recycling whatever I can and eliminating disposable plastics from my life. It's the least I can do, even though it's a ridiculously small dent in the amount of pollution produced (corporations are vastly more responsible than individuals, but convince people it's not their fault). One of the bigger steps I took was to stop buying Saran Wrap (plastic wrap). I used to go through a couple boxes every year, but the one I bought back in March will hopefully be my last. I've also greatly reduced the number of plastic bags I've been buying. My favorite replacement is "BioBag" products which decompose quite quickly in a landfill. They're expensive as hell though, so I've also brought "brown paper bag" sandwich bags for regular use...
They work great! But I also buy Reynolds wax paper bags for things that get sloppy (like the veggie burger with extra mayo I eat on my morning commute!). Or when I'm out of brown bags (like I am now). They have little stickers to keep them closed, which probably makes them bad for the environment, but they are fun to pack for lunch....
Wax paper doesn't biodegrade like raw paper (or BioBags), but it does biodegrade better than plastic. And uses more natural materials, so I'm chalking that up as a win (even though I'm trying to use them less and less since biodegradable bags are better). The best solution seems to be using glass containers with plastic lids which you can wash and reuse for years, so I've bought more Pyrex as well. Maybe one day they will come up with lids that aren't plastic but, in the meanwhile, they have lasted me over a decade so far, which is far less than if I were using plastic bags.
• Apples to Apples to Apples! This past year was a tough year for me financially because Apple ended up getting so much of my money. But boy was it money well-spent! My new iMac M1 is a (relatively) inexpensive Mac that flies through even my most demanding work. Despite it being on the low-end of the spectrum, it's the best desktop Mac I've ever owned. Then I traded in for the iPhone Pro Max 13, which is the best phone I've ever owned (and the heaviest). Then I traded in for the MacBook Pro M1 Max. Legit the best computer I've ever owned. And my favorite. Not even a contest...
It is ridiculously fast and powerful, has incredible battery life, and is an absolute joy to work with. THIS is the kind of "pro" computer Apple should have been making for the past decade instead of the form-over-function bullshit they were married to. The weird thing is that this MacBook is still really beautiful despite being constructed for function over form. Yet "curviness" was more important than power to Apple for a decade, so that was what we got. Blergh. Hopefully they won't slide back to old habits. The wild acclaim for this computer by pundits and customers alike should tell them they are finally on the right track.
• Travel-less! It has been genuinely strange going from dozens of trips each year to zero in 2020 and one in 2021. Unless some miracle cure arrives which eradicates COVID from the face of the earth, I'm expecting the same for 2022. Because right now I have no plans to go anywhere. But still, that one trip I did take during Delta but pre-Omicron reminded me of what "normal" is like. Even though I was masked most of the time...
So maybe after they announce a fourth booster I will make a trip just to remember what "normal" used to be like? If I do, it will probably be a trip to San Francisco because that's where my tattoo artist is, and I've been wanting new ink for years now. Fingers crossed.
• Kitty! Once again the thing that saved me in 2021 were my cats. Even at times when I was at my lowest and didn't care about myself, I always cared about them. In 2021 Jenny learned to manipulate me better than in previous years, coming up with an entire menu of meows and behaviors to get what she wants. Jake and I have conversations now. He meows (or tries to) and I meow back. Then we go back and forth for a while. I have no idea what I'm saying, but it must be interesting enough to him that he feels a need to respond!
• Betty! I'm still crushed. I've been avoiding social media and the news so I'm not seeing news about her death over and over. What a shitty end to a shitty year.
• Boosted! I've had people sneer at me for getting boosted, saying that the COVID vaccine obviously doesn't work if you need to get a booster... "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? GET BOOSTER SHOTS FOREVER??" And the answer is yes. Fuck yes. Because there are mountains of data showing that staying current with vaccinations vastly reduces incidents of serious illness, hospitalization, and death. MOUNTAINS OF DATA! So give me all the shots. This is no different than getting a flu shot every year. Except COVID mutates so fast and the vaccine is so new that we may end up getting two boosters a year instead of one. As the science gets better, the boosters will get better. Eventually we may even have the option for a combo flu/COVID booster, and I will take that shot. 1000% I will take it. I have faith in the science which has given us so much. There's a learning process which goes along with scientific research, and I am happy to be a part of it. I have cats to take care of, after all.
So... yeah. Not a lot else happened in 2021, so I guess that's it. Pizza, fries, sandwich bags, Apple stuff, one trip, cats, the passing of a legend, and COVID. Not a banner year, to be sure.
Time to start those post-holiday blues... because another all new and delayed Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Happy! I watch a lot of TikToks. Like a LOT a lot. And though I've seen some really good ones this past year, I think this is the one which has stuck with me the most (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...
It's not always an easy journey, but it really does get so much better. #grateful #myfamily #gaydads #fyp #itgetsbetter #gay #comingout #pride #love♬ Paradise - jason_gibbs
It's so important that kids see something hopeful at a time when they may be struggling. This doesn't just apply to LGBTQ kids, but any kid wondering if there's a place for them in this cold, cruel world.
• Dino Brau! And then there's this bit of TikTok science fact which everybody should know...
#stitch with @rainbowfrogbiscuits it doesn’t take much training to be able to do this yourself #dinosaurs #dinofacts #misinformtion #acedemic♬ original sound - The Kamoka
I mean, come on.
• It Ain't All Fun & Games! The sad truth in a single TikTok...
How Joe Manchin Killed Build Back Better (and why Biden let him) ##biden ##joemanchin ##buildbackbetter ##democrats ##politics♬ original sound - BreakThrough News
In the end, this is most politicians, alas.
• HRC Down! VERY sad to learn that the Hard Rock Cafe Oslo has closed. That was a darn good cafe. It's also where I met up with fellow blogger Karla before exploring the city!
For those of you who can't read Norwegian fluidly like myself (and Google Translate, of course!) it says "End for Norway's only Hard Rock Café — Hard Rock Café on Karl Johans gate in Oslo has its last opening day on Saturday. Thus, the only Norwegian branch of the international restaurant chain disappears.".
• COVID Electric Boogaloo! Omicron was just becoming known three weeks ago. THREE WEEKS! And look where we're at. It's the dominant strain of COVID now. Hospitals begging people to stay safe and get vaccinated, and their pleas being ignored. Well, I can only guess that Christmas will result in another explosion. What's it going to take for people to get serious?
• If You're Not a Rocket Scientist! I mean, it's just willful ignorance at this point...
@justlydeserved Reply to @mr_play90 Do not pass go, do not collect $200. #getvaccinated #covid #covid19 #vaccine #covidvaccine #covid19vaccine #science ♬ abcdefu - GAYLE
And speaking of which...
• Again! Looks like they finally found Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen after he's been missing for weeks. Or found his body, that is. This is the same genius who wanted our governor to be fired because Jay Inslee enacted mask mandates to keep us safe during these trying COVID times. Maybe if he had gotten vaccinated and masked-up in El Salvador, he wouldn't be dead now.
No more bullets this year. Sorry. Something to look forward to in 2022, I guess?
I was told that I would "probably die in 6 or 7 months" after I got my first COVID vaccination.
Well, as of today it's been 7 months. Apparently I'm going to need all your thoughts and prayers to live through the night. Though since I went back for the second vaccination and went back for a third time to get a booster... maybe I don't deserve to live?