March 2020

I’ve successfully avoided an evening of just eating an entire loaf of Como bread by putting frozen potatoes, squash, Brussels sprouts, and chicken onto the stove.

Time for another round-up of what’s been piling up in my RSS and newsletter readers over the past day or so while I’ve somewhat lost my ability to focus or function properly.

David Iscoe:

One thing that I always remind myself is that in a world where most people die, the story of the protagonist is not our story. We’re almost definitely among the masses of people who are swept aside in the wave of whatever comes next, and outside the pages of the books. It’s human nature to look at sweeping historical events, whether past or future, fictional or nonfictional, and imagine ourselves to be the heroic exceptions. But it’s math that we’re generally unexceptional, and at the very least any exceptionality is due more to luck than anything we can control. Any character who survives many close calls probably doesn’t if you put them in those situations again.

Nolan Gray:

At first glance, it might seem like efforts to block potentially life-saving public health screenings and complaints about community character have little in common. But in both cases, the formula is the same: Whether out of an understandable fear of the unknown or a selfish desire to shift the burden elsewhere, local impulses are given veto power over broader social needs. Under normal conditions, the inability to constructively manage this means higher rents. In a public health emergency, it could be lethal.

Judd Legum:

The Brennen Center, a non-profit dedicated to the democratic process, has created a framework for nationwide voting by mail. First, it would not replace in-person voting. The option for in-person voting would be maintained for people who “do not wish to, do not know how to, do not have access to, or cannot use mail voting.” But by offering vote-by-mail to all Americans, it would make polling places less crowded and safer for those that do show up on election day. The Brennen Center also recommends shifting polling places from senior centers and other locations that serve people at high risk from COVID-19.

Masha Gessen :

The social fabric is being torn in unprecedented ways, owing to school closings, a widespread shift to working from home, social distancing, sheltering in place. Whereas we used to share dozens of experiences a day with friends, acquaintances, and strangers—from riding the subway to working in an office, standing in line at lunch, going to a concert, eating at a restaurant, chatting to an Uber driver—many of us have been reduced to sharing only isolation and the fear of chance encounters, if either of those can be said to be shared.

The latest word from the Oregon Health Authority is that “Federal stimulus payments […] will not affect OHP eligibility. They will not be counted […] when members report a change in their household”. Now I just need a ruling on SNAP benefits.

I’d considered The Rise of Skywalker for tonight since there’s nothing of television but then realized I’m saving it for when my Sprint rewards re-up on FandangoNOW so I don’t have to spend any money on it at all.

I’m struggling to embrace the irony that reading Mike Monteiro’s Ruined by Design on a Kobo will be a somewhat less than enjoyable experience because he only made it available for Kindle and so I had to run it through a conversion program that doesn’t quite understand chapter breaks. Does this make his book ruined by design?

Anyone have ideas why my Baseus wireless Bluetooth earbuds have started turning themselves off at random intervals? This includes when they are fully, freshly recharged. My sanity requires that these things work properly.

Whatever week of the pandemic this is, it appears potentially to be the one where I have a hard time not just going back to sleep in the morning, and where I lose interest in food. This observation sponsored by the breakfast drink I had at 11:45am.

I’m in my second year living in St. Johns and twenty-third year living in Portland. I’m in my fifty-first year of being alive and my fourth year as a diagnosed autistic. I’m in my third year of trying to figure out my health — my lymph nodes remain a question — and my second year of trying to find a psychoconsultant both knowledgeable about adult autism and covered by my insurance. I’m in my first real year of a return to blogging. I’m in the second successful month of my first-ever experience taking medication for anxiety. I’m in my nth year of not feeling like much more than a failure and a fuckup. Like everyone else, I’m in whatever week this is of a global pandemic.

Well, this is two nights in a row now that hitting “Post” on Micro.blog sent the post into the afterlife, never to be seen on earth.

Well, I think the plan to install a screen door is a bust. The nonstandard dimensions of my doorframe make installing a 32”x80” door a non-starter, and none of the ones even remotely within even the outside of a prospective budget are safely trimmable to a size that would fit. Once again, I forget that I am not supposed to get my hopes up for things.