An Actual Party of Death, Now

It’s genuinely astounding to me. The GOP messaging machine has for decades done a fine job at making poor and middle-class white people vote against their own economic interests through the clever use of aspirational messaging and veiled racism, but the fact it is now actively working to kill off its base by extending a pandemic — and the base is loving it — really feels like a floor. What else can you do, once you’ve killed off your base? The phrase “eating your seed corn” is made for moments like this.

(Via Whatever)

Funny this article showed up in my feed right after I posted this.

Personal liberties -vs- public health & safety

Which is more important: personal freedoms or the health and safety of the country?

(Via the Poynter Report)

I act toward health and safety. That should surprise no one. I cast a critical mind to how I define both personal freedoms and health & safety – and how it is defined by various governments.

Today, here are my thoughts:

  • Mask mandates are “a matter of health and safety” and not an infringement on personal liberty. It is personal safety for the wearer and those around the wearer.
  • I endorse requiring vaccinations except for those with a medical exemption.
  • Individuals have a right to choose not to get the vaccine, but they don’t have any right to be around anyone else and put others at risk, vaccinated or unvaccinated. This includes religious and parental opt-outs.
  • I support state and local governments requiring masks.
  • I support employers requiring workers to get the vaccination.
  • I support businesses refusing service to the unvaccinated, but would prefer they use 2020 approaches to serving the unvaccinated via methods like on-line ordering, contactless curbside pickup, and outdoor seating.
  • I support banning the unvaccinated traveling by airplane or mass transit. Masks for all should be mandated.
  • I support sporting events and concerts barring the unvaccinated. Indoor events should require masks.
  • I support every school’s right to require students to be vaccinated in order to return to campus. There should not be a parental “opt-out” where the child gets to attend school and events if they can be vaccinated but don’t. Younger kids should be masked at all times. Parents who exercise their opt-out bear the financial and educational burden of their choice.
  • Federal, state, and local governments should not interfere with how schools deliver education to students when public safety is an issue; banning remote learning is short sighted.
  • Regular COVID testing is not a replacement for masks and vaccinations.
  • I support a federal vaccination registry with a strictly limited scope and oversight by an independent ombudsperson.

As always, I reserve the right to change my mind on any of these based on new empirical information.

Brain grinding & other ailments

Not my brain but a good representative image
The Fight You Don’t See – Rhoneisms:

All of these happen. Daily. Often, many times a day. I’m pretty sure no one around me can tell. Most of the time no one is around when they occur.

And, I know I’m not alone. I know from speaking about it to other mental illness survivors that it happens to them too. Maybe not exactly the same things or thoughts but similar enough to let me know I’m not alone. These are the types of things we deal with while getting through every single day of our lives. A battle so many wage. A fight no one sees.

So, this month especially, take some time to simply be more aware of this. Just based on the numbers we know, you have someone in your life who, like me, is living with this. Living like this. Maybe that is you. Every single task, choice, decision, effort, and breath is happening with things like I described above also going on.

See them.

The three scenarios Patrick describes are me, err, mine. He describes his as The Piggyback Guy, Churchill had his Black Dog, and mine is like a orangutang that sits heavy on my chest when I’m laying down or has his long arms (sometimes he uses his legs, orients himself hind end up, and it’s stinky).

Categorized as health

Mask Policy

Paul wearing a mask
Here is my current approach to masks and general public health things.

※ I am not yet vaccinated as of 210606 but my veins yearn for that sweet, sweet elixir.

※ Science changes as new data comes in. I reserve the right to change any and all of the below based on that.

※ This post will move to a page.

In all contexts

If I am mandated or asked to wear a mask, I will wear a mask.

If I am ill, I will wear a mask.

If I am on public transportation, including private conveyance, I will wear a mask.

If I’m around anti-vaxxers – of any stripe – I will wear a mask.

I will carry a mask with me at all times and probably have a few spares littered about my person/car/everyday carry.

If I am asked to wear a mask and, for some reason, I do not have one, I will happily leave to go get one.

If a place or person mandates that no masks are allowed, I will exercise my freedom to go elsewhere. I reserve the right to comment about where masked people are not welcome.

Gloves, hand sanitizers, and other surface measures are performative hygiene. I will not do those things unless asked or required to do so.


I will not wear a mask … mostly. If it’s a dicy environment I’m masking up.


If I am in exclusive company of vaccinated people – COVID and flu and the usual battery, I will not wear a mask.

Otherwise, I will wear a mask.


My time in South Korea, and my time in Japan to a certain extent, taught me that masks are polite. In the before times, people who were ill or were around people who were ill would wear masks. On the trains and subways on any given day, 5-10% of the people might wear a mask.

I acknowledge that wearing a mask all day long takes getting used to. They’re hot. They’re not comfortable, especially if you have a beard that you like and don’t want to remove.

If the discomfort of wearing a mask is the worst thing in my day, I’m living a good life.

I do not feel/believe/think that my civil liberties are violated by wearing a mask, but I don’t measure such things by how many droplets my respiratory system can expel onto other people. Other people get certain unalienable rights like “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” just like me, and my unrestrained viral-teeming respiratory droplets might impede someone else’s.

Categorized as health

KR dating, contract tracing & Clubhouse

Somewhere between distance, intimacy: Love in the time of coronavirus:

Nearly 80 percent of singles aged between 25 and 49 stopped looking for romance since February last year, according to a May survey by the Korea Development Institute’s School of Public Policy and Management. About a third of them cited the coronavirus as the prime reason.

The pandemic has raised the stakes for falling in love. For one thing, it means risking one’s health.

On top of the threat of catching the disease, for Park [Sara], what prevented her from “putting herself out there” was the horror of her pre-diagnosis itinerary being alerted to all her close contacts should she get infected.

“Imagine having to explain to contact tracers you might have caught the coronavirus from a blind date or something,” she said. “I would be mortified.”

(Via Korea Herald)

Imagine, indeed. There is a different cultural dynamic in Korea, but I’m sure this would cause anxiety for singles in other places, assuming contract tracing is a prevalent as it is here.

All is not lost. Many singles are doing what I did (very successfully, I might add) last summer: hopping on dating apps. One big, surprising change to my approach:

As mingling in the real world is stunted by social distancing, virtual dating is booming, with Millennials and Gen Zers flocking from platform to platform in the hopes of finding new love. The hot app at the moment is Clubhouse [emphasis mine], according to Yeo Hyun-min, a developer in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, in his mid-20s.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, the social audio app brims with blind date sessions where people “check each other out” and if things work out, eventually hang out offline. The chat’s moderator plays matchmaker and invites some of the listeners as speakers. They are given about 30 seconds to introduce themselves, including what they’re like as a romantic partner.

That is a great Clubhouse use case! I wrote about my indifference to the app and lamented the lack of a killer reason for it to remain. Maybe it transitions to dating?

Where to Start When You Want to Optimize Your Health

I’m working on improving my health. Lifehacker has what I think might be a useful post:
Where to Start When You Want to Optimize Your Health:

Exercise, any kind
You can run, lift weights, do yoga, take classes—there are tons of options. Any exercise is better than none, and if you’re feeling out of shape, try doing a little more than whatever you’re currently doing.
A healthy week’s worth of exercise should include:
Some cardio
Some strength training
You might be a runner who gets in a few quick strength sessions, or a lifter who hops on the rower for a little cardio once or twice a week. Or maybe you play a sport that gives you a good mix of both in every practice.
If you’re new to everything, explore until you find something you love.

Here’s the problem: there is no form of exercise that I love.
I’m someone who played three sports in high school, played a bunch of intramural at uni, and even played soe semi-organized soccer and hockey (ice and roller blade) as an adult. I like to hike. I like to swim. I like to bike. I will lift weights or use a machine. I will hop on a treadmill.
Love enters into none of my exercise equation. I’ve never experienced any kind of “high” from exercise or sports. I even ran cross country for a hot minute in high school and stopped because it was such a slog and boring.
More sleep and less garbage food & stress – those I get behind whole heartedly.

Categorized as health

Outage Notice

Starting Saturday 16 March 23:00 JST, my body experienced an outage of my lower back. Several appointments were canceled or rescheduled until service is fully restored. I am continuing to work on restoring normal operations via:

  • Stretching
  • Beginner yoga posses
  • Hot baths ~ 40 degree C
  • Laying flat on my heated floor
  • Ibuprofen

Service currently operates at about 80% of normal.
Root cause analysis is ongoing. However, the triggering event may not be known with certainty. Strange body contortions while carrying a shoulder bag in a very crowded BOOKOFF in Akihabara is considered most likely.
Preventive maintenance and resiliency of operations planning is underway. These measures will include:

  • Stretching
  • Yoga
  • Core strengthening

These measures are more critical than ever as the infrastructure, currently at version 46.02, cannot be replaced.
This outage is unrelated to the nose pimple pictured above, which is resolved.
This outage is also unrelated to the vision degradation last week. That maintenance should be completed 20 March between 14:00 and 21:00 JST.

Categorized as health