Posted on May 5th, 2021
It's been two weeks since my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Which is to say that I am now fully vaccinated. Though with all the mutations that are happening, this could be short-lived. Right now they are saying that the vaccines do very well against the new strains... keeping people out of the hospital and away from death. Tomorrow something new could come along to change all that. In fact I would expect something new to come along and change that. This ain't over, and I can easily see how we'll need an annual booster to handle new strains just like we have with the flu shot.
In the meanwhile though? I am going to eat in a restaurant!
Maybe. I think. The plan was to go to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate my being totalmente vacunado on Cinco de Mayo... but that's looking unlikely now because I've got a list of things to do that's a mile long. But I will be eating at a restaurant that's taking proper precautions one day soon.
Preferably one that makes a mean margarita.
Just me entering Phase One of getting my life back.
Posted on May 3rd, 2021
I am at the end of my rope with the pandemic response.
Where I live here in Redneckistan, we've made INTERNATIONAL NEWS because there was a super-spreader event in the city of Republic, Washington on April 9 through 11. Now 10% of the population there has been diagnosed with COVID. And that number is sure to climb because the people who got it from the people who were at the event haven't shown their symptoms yet. That will start happening any minute now, because we just passed three weeks out. Their 25-bed hospital has been completely overrun, so patients are being shipped to other counties where they can fill up their hospital beds. Yikes.
And now I steel myself for hater Democrats to say "TYPICAL DUMBASS REPUBLICANS!" because that's always their response when something idiotic here makes world news. Except... it's not as simple as that. In the 2020 election held in Ferry County, which is where the city of Republic is located, 1/3 of the people voting there did not vote for President Trump...
Washington State is a blue state. In fact, it's one of the bluest states (if not the bluest state) across all demographics in the entire country. Most of that "blue" is on the West side of the Cascade Mountain Range, it's true, but the blue is spreading. Where I live, the vote was only 53% Trump, 45% Biden, and 2% Other. To which a lot of people across the state were saying "HALF didn't vote Republican?!? Because this would have been absolutely unthinkable even ten years ago. So when people look at idiocy in my region and their immediate response is "TYPICAL DUMBASS REPUBLICANS!"... they are thinking of the past, not the here and now.
Though the Republican demographic IS likely responsible for what happened in the small city of Republic.
There's just no sugar-coating it... the data claerly shows that the people more likely to engage in dangerous and reckless pandemic behavior are Conservatives. Though, to be honest, I don't really blame them for being ignorant as to how their actions are dangerous. I blame the "news" organizations which cater to them. When you have Tucker Carlson regularly spreading outright bullshit and lies when it comes to masks, vaccines, and COVID, well... the people who trust him as a "news" source are going to be roped into that kind of thinking. The outlet they choose to keep informed is misinforming them. You tune into a channel called "FOX NEWS" because it's the "news," and it doesn't occur to you that it's not actually reporting facts. FOX "News" lawyers infamously argued that people can't sue them for spreading misinformation because "FOX persuasively argues, that given Mr. Carlson's reputation, any reasonable viewer 'arrives with an appropriate amount of skepticism' about the statement he makes." But that doesn't get reported on FOX "News." There's no disclaimer at the start of Tucker Carlson's show letting their viewers know that most everything he says is utter bullshit. And so they continue to believe him.
This is backed up by the above-linked article in the Tri-City Herald...
"The county previously had relatively few COVID-19 cases, and many in the conservative, rural community saw mask mandates as infringing on their liberty. Less than one-quarter of the county’s residents have received a vaccine to date, according to the health district, but officials said the outbreak has increased interest in it."
Because apparently it takes hospitals being overrun and people dying to get people to start thinking seriously about COVID? Thank you, Tucker Carlson.
I've lived in Redneckistan for 50 years. I understand that things are not so cut-and-dry when it comes to the people, the attitudes, and the lifestyle here. And it's for that reason that I have always tried my very best to be compassionate when it comes to the conservative school of thought which drives our society. Outsiders judge us without knowing us... or without even trying to understand why things are the way they are here. And while I get frustrated... a lot... because of the horrific level of willful ignorance that goes hand-in-hand with a public that's been duped by FOX "News," OAN, and Newsmax, I try to keep my head and heart on track. I do not wish ill on my fellow Redneckistan residents. They are my friends, family, and community. I choose to live here, so any problems I have are on me... not them.
But it's not always easy.
And it's just going to get worse, because Governor Jay Inslee has no choice but to start phase rollbacks as COVID cases here continue to explode. And, as you can just imagine, the people who have been conditioned to hate masks, hate vaccines, and hate science, REALLY hate our governor, even though he's just responding to a problem that their actions are largely responsible for. Businesses here don't have signs saying "State Mandates Require a Mask Be Worn On These Premises"... instead it says something like "DUE TO GOVERNOR INSLEE DECREE, YOU HAVE TO WEAR A MASK! DON'T BLAME US, BLAME YOUR DICTATOR!" Which is to say that people are being conditioned to hate Governor Inslee as well.
In all honesty, I've given up trying to convince people. My voice simply cannot compete with "The News" that everybody here believes in.
All I can do is find voices of reason to listen to, try to be understanding, try to be respectful, and carry on as best I can... all while resisting the urge to run around screaming "WOULD YOU PLEASE JUST WATCH THIS VIDEO FOR GOD'S SAKE!"
Mostly because, while all of John Oliver's information is good and the way he presents it entertaining, the condescending snark in the way he presents it would not go over here well at all. And I get it. Last Week Tonight caters to a liberal audience just like FOX "News" caters to a conservative audience.
The "middle ground audience" is grossly underserved.
And so I'll just keep biting my tongue, try to convince people to trust science where I can, and go on living my life.
Such as it is in the middle of a global pandemic that's exploding out my back door.
Posted on April 23rd, 2021
Last night my web host updated PHP for my blog. Now nothing works. I'm sure it will all get figured out eventually... perhaps I'll just have to reinstall WordPress or something, but I really don't have the time to look into it right now. So I guess I'll keep writing entries and post them when I can figure out what's going wrong.
Wonder how many people will think I died because I got vaccinated? Too many, I'm guessing.
Where yesterday I had a little soreness in my arm, but was otherwise feeling great... today I have no soreness at all. It's as if the vaccinations never happened.
Except they did, which means my immune system will be up to speed to better deal with COVID in two weeks... which is May 5th, I guess. My plan is to go out and eat IN a restaurant. Something I haven't done in what... a year and a half now?
I will, of course, still wear a mask in public. Even though my immune system knows how to attack COVID, there are other people out there whose immune system is not, and I want to keep them safe. It's just a nice thing to do.
In a world where "doing the nice thing" is increasingly rare.
Posted on April 22nd, 2021
For the first dose of my Pfizer vaccine, I had a sore arm the next day that lasted around 7 to 8 hours.
This second time? I woke up feeling fine. My arm was a little sore, but not as much as last time. So instead of laying in bed playing video games all day as I had planned... I went into work. I lasted about 4 hours until I started feeling a little feverish and did a temperature check. Even though I felt fine. Even through it was obviously my immune system ramping up from the vaccine. Even though there was nothing else wrong with me... I ended up going home because my workplace has a zero-tolerance for any COVID symptoms (whether or not they are actually COVID-related). My temperature of 102º was enough to send me packing.
When I got home, I was feeling even hotter. A new temperature check had me at 104º
About a half-hour later my eyeballs started to ache... like they were being boiled out of my skull. A new temperature check had me at 105º. I decided to take a couple sleeping pills and go to bed so my immune system could do its thing while I slept.
When I woke up two hours later, my eyes felt fine and my temperature was down to 99º
And that was it.
By 10:00pm my temperature was normal, I felt perfectly fine, and as I sit here in bed typing this I can't even feel any pain in my arm. It's as if the second dose never happened.
Most people don't have any side-effects. But, for obvious reasons, the people who do have side-effects are the people who get publicized. I had a fever for two hours. Which I slept through. Big deal.
Except the actual side-effect of getting vaccinated... namely not having to die or be hospitalized if I happen to catch COVID... is the real story here.
At least it should be.
Posted on April 21st, 2021
Originally my "Phase Group" was to be vaccinated in February. Then it was moved to March. Then it was moved to April. Then Washington State surprised me by opening my group on March 31st. I expected that I would have to wait weeks to get an appointment, but managed to get shot on the same day... having no trouble getting an appointment and breezing through the mass-vaccination site with only two-dozen-or-so other cars around.
On April 15th, Washington State opened up vaccination to anybody 16 and older. I was thrilled, but worried over whether or not I could get an appointment for my second shot. Except it was a non-issue, and today was the day of my vaccination part deux.
Thank God they made Washingtonians wait weeks and weeks to get the vaccine! The demand is incredible! Hundreds of cars waiting in line! A complete madhouse — Oh... no... wait a second... I totes misspoke. I WAS LITERALLY THE ONLY ONE THERE!!! No other people getting vaccinated. Just dozens of workers and somebody getting dropped off for work...
The massive maze they built to handle hundreds of cars was laid out like a queue at Disneyland, but completely unnecessary. At least it was when I was there. Not a single other person getting vaccinated. I worked my way through the maze for checkin... I worked my way through the maze for the vaccination line... then rolled right up to the vaccination tent without seeing a single other vehicle. After immediately getting shot, I went to the waiting area where there were six other cars, whose 15 minutes were up right away so they left. And then there was only me. Before I left another car pulled up next to me, but that was it.
I don't understand what's happening. Now that Washington State is open to everybody age 16 and over, I thought that we'd be doing better than this. Maybe it's busier on the coast because nobody in Redneckistan is getting vaccinated?
We're never going to get heard immunity at this rate. A target of 95% is needed, but right now the country is just a little above 50%? Unironically, the people who seem to complain about lockdowns the most are the same people who keep the pandemic going.
Oh well. We tried. Vaccination is open. Literally no waiting.
Posted on April 4th, 2021
You may be tempted to go hunting for eggs, but hold onto that basket a minute... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Bunny! Easter was kinda a big deal for my mom. She was 100% all-in on the Easter baskets, decorations, hiding eggs, candy, Easter Bunny, and the whole bit. Because of it, I have a lot of fond Easter memories...
Meanwhile I celebrated the holiday by giving myself a terrible haircut, cleaning a little bit of my horrifically filthy house, and washing my sheets. Now I am eating Chili Cheese Fritos and drinking a Coke Zero (I think Chili-Cheese is my favorite Frito because they contain more MSG than any other snack chip). Jake and Jenny are celebrating by taking a nap. And now I think I'll call it a day. It's 10am, and I'm done. Happy Easter!
• To The Louvre! I did not know that The Louvre had put so much of their collection online. This is amazing. I wish all museums would do this...
Image © Musée du Louvre Paris
Image © Musée du Louvre Paris
Image © Musée du Louvre Paris
You can even download low-res images to make your own personal collection! Nice! Even more interesting... they are offering virtual tours since the museum itself is closed because of the pandemic. I really hope they keep this all going when we get back to "normal." Some people will never get to visit The Louvre any other way, and it's not like it will take the place of an actual visit for those who can visit in person. But anyway... you can find it all on their website.
• RICK! Oh thank heavens...
Seriously some of the smartest stuff on television. Cannot wait.
• The Poverty! I think I laughed for five solid minutes after watching this...
Soooo... guess it's a good thing that I got the Pfiezer vaccine! I now have luxury running through my veins!
• Unreal! And speaking of vaccines... I am so fucking sick and tired of stupid...
Nobody gives a shit about reality any more. They just create whatever idiotic bullshit they want to fit their narrative. And people are happy to keep listening to them even when their crap is completely debunked.
• Engineering! If you've ever had one of those paper-box beverage containers, the way they open is rather cool. As you open the lid, it cuts the seal on the container inside. I've always wondered about how it works, but never bothered to cut one open to find out. Now I don't have to...
Pretty nifty stuff!
• Paper! The U.S. measurement standards are SO stupid. Bypassing the metric system is about as idiotic as it gets. This very, very cool video explains just one of the reasons why...
One of these days I'm going to rewatch all of CGP Grey's videos from start to finish. That would be a day well-spent.
And that's all she wrote.
Posted on February 23rd, 2021
In my middle school science class one winter, our teacher had one of us run out and fill a beaker full of snow. Once my fellow student returned with the snow, the teacher started up a flame, crafted a snowball, and asked us what would happen to the snowball if he put it in the flame. Somebody raised their hand and said "IT WILL MELT!" at which point the teacher asked to see a show of hands of how many of us thought that was correct. We all raised our hands.
But the snowball didn't melt.
It did start to slowly disappear though. The science teacher then explained that this was due to SUBLIMATION... where something transitions from a solid directly to a gas. We all thought that was pretty cool.
Fast forward to this week where people in Texas are claiming that the unprecidented snowfall is fake and man-made to... well, I dunno... punish Texans for some bizarre reason...
Now, my first instinct was to think "Well, since they normally don't get snow in Texas like this, their science teacher wasn't able to provide the same demonstration that I had as a kid, so I guess this is understandable. They just don't know how snow works." I chalked it up to ignorance, and felt bad for them that concepts like "sublimation" and "soot" were absent in their thinking.
And then I actually watched the video.
"Thank you Bill Gates for trying to fucking trick us that this is real snow. You'll see it's not melting, and it's going to burn. Snow don't burn. Snow fucking melts. No water no dripping no nothing. If I put this shit in the microwave it's going to start sparking because there's metal mixed in it."
I went from feeling sorry that this woman was lacking basic science principles I learned in middle school... to feeling absolute rage.
I will never forgive Bill Gates for saddling us with the shitty Microsoft Windows computer operating system... but he is one of those rare billionaires WHO ARE ACTUALLY USING THEIR MONEY TO ACTIVELY MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE, and I am sick and fucking tired of people making him out to be some kind of evil comic book super-villain because they are idiots who don't possess critical thinking skills.
Bill Gates once said that one the biggest barriers towards having good health care in developing nations was the lack of medical records. And he's right. Because people often get displaced by famine or violence, any records that might have been kept on their medical history are often lost. And how can a doctor provide adequate care without a proper medical history? Gates suggested that perhaps medical records could be put on a tiny chip that could be placed under the skin so that these people would be able to have their critical medical information on them at all times. It was a genius solution by a smart man to solve a very real problem.
Next thing you know this simple concept which can be easily verified via a Google search becomes this sinister plot to microchip everybody so Bill Gates can track your movements. Like he would even give a shit about your boring-ass life. And never mind that everybody has credit cards and mobile phones which make tracking you a piece of cake already, the conspiracy theory bullshit is somehow what people want to believe?
Bill Gates has been using his massive wealth to invest in medical research, medical solutions, and vaccination programs in countries where vaccinations are tough to get. He does all this because he's a genuinely decent human being who wants to leave this world better than he entered it. VACCINES. SAVE. LIVES. PERIOD. and Bill Gates doesn't think that the poorest of humanity should have to go without.
Next thing you know, somebody on the internet decides that vaccines are bad despite history being replete with evidence to the contrary, the anti-vax idiocy movement is started, and Bill Gates is once again painted as a villain who somehow wants to vaccinate everybody so he can get rich or whatever. Never mind that he has so much money that he couldn't spend it in ten lifetimes... never mind that he's done his best to make sure vaccines can be had for free... the conspiracy theory bullshit is somehow what people want to believe?
Bill Gates has been an advocate for combatting climate change. A threat so serious that it is already affecting every living creature on the planet and may one day be our doom. Wanting to divest his investments from contributing factors like fossil fuels, Gates took his money out of oil companies (or whatever) and sunk it into emerging green energy development. He does this because he gives a shit about the world that his kids will be living in.
Next thing you know, somebody who doesn't understand basic fucking science can't melt a snowball with a cigarette lighter, and Bill Gates is trying to control the weather. Ironically, figuring out how to control the weather might be our only option for dealing with climate change if we've reached a tipping point where there's no fixing things. But hey... the conspiracy theory bullshit is somehow what people want to believe?
Being ignorant or uneducated is one thing.
Buying into bullshit anti-science conspiracy theories to vililfy a guy who has invested huge sums of time, effort, and money into helping people live healtheir lives on a healthier planet is another thing entirely.
I am quickly coming to understand how reeducating these people with evidence, facts, research, and logic is a losing battle. They don't give a shit about any of that. They only care about what fits their idiotic narrative regardless of how stupid and absurd. So what to do? If you can't make them see facts or reason, what's left? Tell them to go fuck themselves and move on? Maybe. But too many people are being too stupid for this to be a long-term solution. We've got people who think the earth is flat, for Christ's sake.
In chemistry, SUBLIMATION is the process by which solids (like snow) are converted to a vapor via heat. The vapor can be liquified via condensation, then turned back into a solid via cold.
Outside of chemistry, SUBLIMATION is the act of refining or purifying something to achieve a better, higher state.
I am convinced that Bill Gates has been sublimating into a higher version of humanity due to his amazing generosity and investment into planet earth and the life which inhabits it. He is what wealthy people should aspire to be.
Though why anybody would want to be Bill Gates when some willfully ignorant whack-job who doesn't know how snow works is cursing your name is beyond me. Far easier to just sit on your massive wealth and buy gold-plated toilets for your private jet collection. Sure this just keeps humanity moving ever-closer to its destruction, but at least people don't think you team up with The Joker and Catwoman to battle Batman as you try to loot Gotham City.
Posted on July 2nd, 2017
It's the Sunday before the Monday before the 4th! And there's even more to celebrate, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Wonderful! Over the decades we've had DC Comic Book heroes make their way to the movies with persistent regularity. Batman and Superman have had numerous incarnations in dozens of films... including the recent piles of shit that Zack Snyder has unleashed upon the world with Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. But what about the other hero in the DC holy trinity? What about Wonder Woman? Where's her movie? She's always been shoved aside, presumably because DC questioned whether anybody would go see her in a feature film. Heck, even Green Lantern finally got a movie back in 2011, and he's not nearly as recognizable as Wonder Woman. Everybody knows who she is.
And then, at long last, our patience was rewarded when Wonder Woman hit the big screen.
And has been completely killing it.
This week Wonder Woman trounced both Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice to become the top-earning film in DC Comics history at the domestic box office...
Stats taken from Box Office Mojo
Internationally, the film has considerable ground to cover before it eclipses Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad, but the point has been made.
It's Marvel all over again, proving that good movies with second-string characters that are faithful to the source material will be more critically (and quite possibly financially) successful than crappy movies with top-tier characters that shit all over the source material. There is a reason that these characters endure. To ignore what got them there is to ignore what people want to see.
• Flash! And, speaking of shitting all over the source material in a Zack Snyder DC Comics movie... everything that's wrong with the new costume that The Flash is sporting in the upcoming Justice League film is on full display when you look at what LEGO had to do to translate it into a minifig...
I can't even tell what the hell is going on there. The Flash is the "fastest man alive." As such, his costume has always been painfully sleek and minimal in appearance. But not now. Now they've wrapped him is laughably idiotic armor plating that makes him look anything but sleek. He's the exact opposite of sleek...
I mean, COME ON! He looks like a clunky robot with an inexplicably massive codpiece! Even more clunky and robotic than Cyborg, WHO IS LITERALLY A HALF-ROBOT CHARACTER. Grotesque and more than a little embarrassing for DC, who has had such excellent translations of The Flash in previous endeavors. Particularly in their animation department...
And even their television show...
To "think outside the box" is not a bad thing... sometimes it's critical to making the leap from comics to screen work. But what we have here is a fundamental lack of knowledge about what makes The Flash be "The Flash." Which means the Justice League movie is undoubtedly going to suck ass. What a shame.
• Balls! This past week was the 30th anniversary of Spaceballs, one of my favorite comedies...
Photo from Getty Images
Over the years there have been numerous rumors of a sequel (including this past Spring), but the only thing we've gotten is thirteen episodes of an animated series. My hope is that one of these days it will actually happen.
• Vaccinate! The amount of misinformation out in the world is horrifying. Everybody has an agenda, and you can never be sure what's behind the information you're getting. But the fact that diseases we once eradicated have come back... and come back huge... should give pause when it comes to condemning vaccinations...
Scary. Too scary.
• Hjalmarsson! Though I've found it harder and harder to keep up with hockey, I nevertheless obsessed over my beloved Blackhawks as they battled their way to the playoffs last season. That Nashville took them out immediately did not dampen my enthusiasm for the team. What did dampen my enthusiasm was finding out that one of my favorites players, Niklas Hjalmarsson, had been traded...
Photo from Getty Images
The guy was a big part of what got them to three Stanley Cup wins, so I'm understandably gutted. He would throw himself in front of the puck under circumstances no sane player would, which only made me love him more. He gave everything he had to the team, and this is a serious blow to Blackhawks hockey. Yes, I know that it relieves some salary cap problems, but I can't wrap my head around a team without Hjalmarsson there. Thank you, sir, you will most definitely be missed.
• Freedom! When you use freedom of speech to speak out on the issues that are important to you but criticize others for doing the exact same thing, you're no patriot. You're a douchebag. And speaking of... I don't always agree with Chelsea Handler, but thought this was an important message to share...
Of course, "freedom of speech" doesn't mean "freedom from consequences of free speech," which is an increasingly popular misunderstanding to have... but let's save that for another holiday.
And... I gotta be to work tomorrow, so no more bullets for you!