I’ve been dealing with utter stupidity on the part of various people on Facebook today (so much so that I finally started reporting posts and photos for hate speech, anti-vaxx information, and COVID-19 misinformation) as well as a child who woke up in an exceedingly vile mood, so I’m foregoing posting about politics this week for my Quick Takes. Fear not! The political posts will probably happen this weekend, and I’m sufficiently irritated enough to need to work my nerves.
And for my trolls, I have a new policy for this election year. Every time you troll me, I will make a donation to various political campaigns in order to make sure your House districts are controlled by Democrats, flip the Senate, and elect Joe Biden. So please, keep being horrible human beings and help me to kick out the Republican swamp creatures in DC that you so love! (It’s even better right now because there are 450% matches going on for various Democrat campaigns.) Don’t worry–I’ll email homemade honor cards to all the email addresses y’all are using to try and push comments through. 😀
Because my life involves a lot of focus and concentration these days, I’ve been watching “Live PD” to give my brain a break. Here are some lessons I’ve learned from bingeing it on YouTube.
If you’re going to traffic in illegal substances, you shouldn’t commit any traffic infractions. Seriously, it seems like one of the police officers pulls someone over for an illegal turn/speeding/broken tail light, and whoever they pull over has a meth pipe or their car smells like marijuana. Had the person not sped or made that illegal turn, they never would have gotten caught.
If you’re drunk, the officer will be able to tell. I don’t care how well you think you do at looking sober–you WILL fail the nystagmus test among the other “sobriety” tests. People invariably also seem to reek of alcohol in all of those cases.
I have nystagmus and balance issues from two bad ankles and some other medical issues, which is one of the reasons I don’t ever drink alcohol–it exacerbates them. (Any of you who have ever seen me on Zoom can tell this immediately. My sleep medicine specialist picked up on it within a second of meeting me.) If it is ever called into question, not drinking means that I can probably pass those tests with flying colors, which would *NOT* be the case after even a small glass of wine in my case.
Nobody ever does the walk-and-turn test as well as they think they did in the above situation. It would be comical if it wasn’t so infuriating that they were putting others at risk by driving drunk or high. People either stumble like mad, don’t take the correct number of heel-to-toe steps, fail to turn 180 degrees (usually just 90 degrees), or they fall while turning. Then, they act completely shocked when the officer tells them to put their hands behind their back and arrests them for DUI/DWI (depending on the jurisdiction).
You are responsible for whatever is in your car. This means that you probably shouldn’t be dating a heroin addict because any heroin in the car is your problem unless your addict partner fesses up. It is kind of interesting how many people express complete shock that they have heroin or weed in their car, especially in their glove compartment or in their back seat. Ditto with people riding with you drinking open cans/bottles of beer. You can’t have any open containers in the car, even if you aren’t the one drinking them.
Also? It’s a bad idea to dump your crack into your open soda can because it means that instead of just being liable for the weight of the actual crack, you are now liable for the weight of the crack AND the weight of the soda can (can + liquid). What was only a jail felony is now prison-worthy.
Narcan does not feel good to receive. Of the 500+ YouTube videos I’ve seen of “Live PD” on YouTube as well as the episodes I’ve watched live on TV, a couple of them have incidents where someone overdoses on heroin and has to be given Narcan to reverse it. It doesn’t seem pleasant, and I looked up what it feels like. Apparently, it’s true. It makes people feel really agitated, which is something they are using opiates to prevent.
There are people dumb enough to believe there is a difference between “driving” and “traveling”. Sovereign citizens are funny to watch because they are so convinced that they are above any U.S. laws… kind of like those idiots who stormed state capital buildings with AR-15’s to protest for their “rights”… which are more their rights to be stupid twits. (Also, those idiots with guns on their backs are not funny to watch–they make me want to reach through the computer screen and slap them upside the head a few times because their stupidity knows no bounds.)
Anyway, it’s fun to watch SovCits because you can just imagine them with aluminum foil wrapped around their heads to prevent the government from reading their thoughts.
K-9 officers are the coolest. It’s fun watching them work their dogs, and it’s always fun to watch how fast people give up once the dog appears. I have learned some cool German dog-handling commands, and the best episodes are when the dogs are let loose to go find the people.
Also? Dogs are trained to sniff out your contraband, so just give it up to the nice police officer already. It astounds me when I see people who are *SHOCKED* that the dog alerted to the weed in the glove compartment. I mean, dogs have hypersensitive senses of smell–it’s why they use them instead of cats!
The source of these Quick Takes. On Saturday afternoon, I was scrolling through Facebook and came across this picture:
I generally don’t share stuff from Occupy Democrats because while I agree with them a lot of the time and they are mostly accurate, they get really mean-spirited about things. (I will admit that my first thought when I saw the wording was that the way they worded it was a bit catty.)
However, this piqued my interest enough to fact-check it. I mean, did people *REALLY* want to do something as stupid as go near an active volcano?
A couple of important things to take away from the webinar. Steve Malone (the seismologist tracking Mount St. Helens at the time) made some points that were worth sharing.
He also made an interesting analogy with this picture here:
Scientists tend to have a lot of models and data types and inputs that they are using to try to figure out what is going on. Civil authorities who are having to make these decisions want a yes/no answer. It’s why governors who are putting their trust in scientists and medical authorities are not able to give a specific answer as to when things will go back to “normal”… especially since we are looking at an entirely new normal now!
Where I am seeing a parallel. Governor Dixy Lee Ray did sign an order to keep people out of the “red” and “blue” zones around the mountain, but she allowed Weyerhauser trucks in for logging purposes because logging was a big part of the economy. Among those killed in the eruption were members of at least one logging crew. Had it not been a Sunday when the mountain erupted, more logging crews would have been in the area, and the death toll would have been much higher. There was a volcanologist named David A. Johnston who was killed in one of the pyroclastic flows, and that was a bitter pill for the person for whom he was standing in and the UW researchers monitoring the volcano. (Johnston Ridge Observatory is named after him.)
There’s also kind of a sad story about a man named Harry R. Truman who refused to leave the lodge he owned on Spirit Lake. He became a folk hero of sorts because of it, and his body was never found. They think that he was killed in a pyroclastic flow and that his lodge and his body and his cats are all buried under something like 150 feet of ash. His attitude reminds me of some of the people protesting in states to get the economy reopened. I look at them and ask myself “why???” because what they’re doing is endangering themselves, but it’s their decision to put themselves in danger.
This kind of thing is why I’m getting so salty about those who are more concerned about the economy than actual human lives. We can take steps to put the economy back together, but we can’t bring people back from the dead. I’m hearing on my local news about states that have “reopened” reporting the highest COVID-19 case count ever for that specific day while I’m watching the curve flatten out in Washington and in my own county where we’re still sheltering-in-place. It’s a balancing act for sure, and it irritates me that some people are trying to make it into a simplistic issue because their situation is merely one of inconvenience.
A really cool story. There’s a photographer who goes to Goodwill and finds exposed film from old cameras to develop. She ended up finding some that had pictures of the Mount St. Helens eruption. Even cooler is that the grandson of the person who owned the camera now has pictures of himself with his parents and grandmother that he didn’t know existed.
1.) Both sides of my family are geology junkies. My maternal grandfather was a geology major before he had to leave college due to illness and World War II, and my paternal grandfather enjoyed the geology classes he took as general education credits. I have a cousin who majored in Geology and did graduate work in it (digging dinosaur bones in Montana and working with Jack Horner), and my parents both grew up getting roadside geology lectures from their fathers. As a result, we’re full of amateur geologists, especially on my mom’s side. (I think my mom’s family keeps the Roadside Geology publishers in business.)
2.) My entire family is from Oregon and Washington originally. This was a big deal.
3.) My mom went into labor with my twin brother and me as Mount St. Helens erupted. We were born 24 hours later. Twin births are often complicated, and mine was no exception. My brother was almost twice my size, and my heart stopped mid-birth. I required resuscitation and spent my first week of life at Stanford Children’s Hospital, 45 minutes away from my parents in San Jose, before being transferred back to Los Gatos Community Hospital for another two weeks to get bigger. My brother came home after three days. I came home after three weeks.
My family always makes jokes about Mount St. Helens and our birth. We have newspapers from Yakima from the day of our birth talking about all the ash falling. When we were 25 years old, my dad got some ash from the volcano and sent it to my brother and me. (Mine is sitting on the bookcase next to my desk.) My parents visited the volcanic monument that year and took a picture of themselves at the Johnston Ridge Observatory. My brother and I were photoshopped into the picture (along with their cats), and it was used as the Christmas picture that year. 🙂 Because of my connection to the mountain, I tend to geek out on documentaries on it at this time of year.
And yes, I did just turn 40 years old this week. 🙂 I had a quiet day, my dad made me one of my favorite meals, and my parents got me a carrot cake. We did candles and presents with my evil twin over Facebook messenger. It wasn’t what we usually do, but it was pretty fabulous.
Update on the broken tooth. Some of you might remember that I broke a tooth about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Well, word of it got to a parishioner who manages a dental office, and she offered to get me seen PDQ. I went in today, and the tooth was apparently not worth saving by root canal or crown, so I let them extract it. Getting my mouth numbed wasn’t pleasant, but the extraction process wasn’t too bad. They were able to get it out in one piece, and I got to see what an adult tooth looks like, root and all. I have to wait five weeks before they put in a bridge because my jaw needs to heal properly first.
Lessons from “Live PD” #1. If you have anything in your car and the police ask if they can search it, just confess it. The dog WILL find it, and your car WILL get torn apart. I have yet to see anyone get away with having stuff on them and the dog not finding it.
Lessons from “Live PD” #2. If a police officer turns their lights on behind you, just pull over where you (or where it is safe to do so). Do not just continue on home. They WILL take you to jail for fleeing, and the reason they were pulling you over was probably for something minor. Stopping in your driveway does not mean you are “safe”.
Washington’s stay-at-home order is being extended until the 31st, which is reasonable as we were the first hotspot and we’ve seen our curve flattening in the right direction as a result of the order. I thought I would share what is keeping me functional right now because maybe it might help someone else who is having a hard time?
Posting mask selfies. I was originally doing it to snark about Mike Pence not wearing one at the Mayo Clinic, but it has gotten to just be fun now. Having had a COVID-19 test last weekend, I will *JOYFULLY* wear masks in public for the rest of my life to not have to go through that again. Yeah, my glasses fog up, but that is so much easier than being stuck in an isolation room or being intubated, not knowing if I would wake up from sedation alive. I also am happy to do it if it has even a remote shot of protecting others from getting infected. It’s not an imposition if it contributes to public health, and I fail to understand why people are being so pissy about companies like Costco requiring masks. There are a bunch of patterns online for even us who can’t sew, and it’s a craft you can make with kids, or you can google “masks for sale in [your area]” and give money to someone who might be using this to make ends meet right now.
Volunteering for my church. Even once the state is opened up again, I will probably still have to wait a few weeks to be able to join the folks at St. Paul’s again. This is why I’m really happy that I can help make Sunday worship happen for us on Zoom, and also help make our postponed “Lenten” book study possible.
Watching YouTube. My guilty pleasure is “Live PD”. I’m sorry to admit that I really do enjoy watching being tracked by K9 officers or tased. (My cousin, who is an ex-sheriff’s deputy up here, would be rolling his eyes at me.)
Working. I am thankfully blessed with a job I can do online, so I’m working with students ~12 hours a week. I don’t have any Accounting students for a change (it’s one of my specialties), but I have gotten lent out to the entire campus, so I am working in departments as diverse as Human Services (basically, social work) and GIS (Geographic Information Systems). The reason: I’m a Microsoft specialist, and I’m apparently good at working with English Language Learners. (I love my English learners fiercely. I’ve only had two students among them who haven’t been people I want as coworkers someday, and I’m continually blown away at how well they’re doing their classes in their second or third language.)
I also have an amazing boss and really fun co-tutors. Tutor-training meetings are actually pretty fun, even on Zoom.
Reading. I was trying to bring my Target cart up to $25 so an order of cleaning wipes would ship, and I added a mass-market paperback murder mystery that looked kind of nice to it to bump my order to the right amount. I ended up reading the book in one sitting and ordered the other seven in the series. I think that what I need to get me reading again is something brainless because my daily life requires a huge amount of serious thought.
Here in Washington, we are under a shelter-in-place order until Holy Week, and it will likely get extended until the COVID-19 situation is resolved. (45’s plan to reopen things for Easter isn’t going to happen in these parts. Even if things did, I’m not resuming a normal life until *ACTUAL* epidemiologists recommend it, not a failed businessman and reality star.) I was already under a more restrictive shelter-in-place than existed before the one in Washington went into effect, so this was nothing new. Since I could probably enumerate the ways this situation stinks, I thought I would turn that on its head and talk about some *GOOD* things that are coming of this.
I’m developing an entirely new skill set. I had used Zoom twice before March 11th when I had to suddenly become a power user for work. I had never done a live post on Facebook until March 15th. I am now teaching people how to use both, and I am contributing to putting my church’s worship service online from home. (I had to make the decision not to be there in person to record last Saturday, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it was a struggle to make the decision and I cried my eyes out because it was *ONE MORE* life-giving thing being taken away from me.)
This Sunday, I get to be the “cyber verger” and do all the cueing, embedding, and unmuting when we do worship over Zoom.
I’m rediscovering the beauty of Compline. Our bishop has requested that we not hold corporate worship through Easter (and we are complying because a.) we listen to the bishop, and b.) the shelter-in-place order from Governor Inslee prohibits it), so I asked my priest if I could do Compline on the church Facebook page as a way of creating community and praying together even though we’re physically scattered. He enthusiastically gave me his blessing, so I have been doing it on weeknights at 8:30 p.m. It is my favorite of the Daily Offices in the Book of Common Prayer, so it is been fun to get to do it. I accidentally recorded it on my Facebook wall on Tuesday night, which might not have been a bad thing because one of my college friends from Intervarsity joined me. 🙂
I am getting a lot of reading done. While I do read a lot, it tends to be online things. Being “bored” has meant that I spend a chunk of my day reading on my bed with Minion on the panther trap I have for him. (It’s a quilt that he tends to appropriate from me.) I just finished Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (finally!!!), and I plan to start another book tonight.
I’m having dinner with my parents more often. We don’t eat together as a family often because my parents and I are usually doing our own thing at night, and Daniel obviously is fed by pump. (We still encourage him to join us at the table for some milk or Cheerios.) We have managed to eat dinner together twice this week, which is nice. Dad was making hamburgers for him and my mom on Sunday, so I joined them with a “tuna burger” as my mom put it. (I am pesco-vegetarian for Lent and Dad has been keeping up a steady supply of tuna for me.) Last night, I made lasagna (because I wanted lasagna, darn it!) and they joined me for that. (I currently have 7 servings of lasagna frozen for me in the chest freezer in the garage so that I can vary my diet a bit.)
I’m blessed with an amazing resource in Daniel’s teacher. Daniel’s teacher is researching every possible classroom management program out there so that all of her kiddos have at least one that works well for them. We are going to be using one called ClassDojo for Daniel as well as Google Classroom because that is what the school district wants to use. I am really thankful that she is so dedicated to her students!
I am not having to hang out in waiting rooms and exam rooms with Daniel. Daniel’s specialists through Seattle Children’s and our pediatrician up here have been willing to do phone appointments so that we don’t have to go there. It isn’t that bad of a trek to Everett where Daniel would have had a G-I appointment last Friday, but it still meant that I did not have to be up at 6 to leave by 7 for Daniel’s x-ray and 8:00 appointment.
I am appreciating Max Lucado’s “Coronavirus Check-in” videos.Max Lucado is one of the few evangelicals that doesn’t make me want to stab things. His books are lovely, and he has been putting out videos almost every day on his YouTube channel and on Facebook where he is checking in, giving a short pep talk, praying for people, and inviting people to submit their prayer requests so that others can pray for them. It’s totally not something normally on my radar, but I came across this video on Facebook and have been sharing it all over the place:
People were ripping Max apart in the comments, but it is a beautiful video because it is so true. God can deal with our frustrations, and Max encourages us to have a meltdown if we need it… but to not stay there and to come back to a place of praise, using parts of the third chapter of Lamentations as an example.
This blog’s official troll accused me of exaggerating and going to extremes after reading one of my posts where I called them out for some dangerous opinions they hold regarding some infectious diseases. It’s too bad that science backs me up and disproves what they have to say.
The title. Some of you know that I live in western Washington. This part of the state is where all the COVID-19 cases are. (There aren’t any west of Grant or Kittitas counties, so it is currently really just in the western 1/2-2/3 of the state.) King County is the most populous county in the state and has the largest city, Seattle. Thus, this is where the bulk of the cases are. We have the highest number of cases in the country (568) as well as the highest death toll (37). With all K-12 schools having to switch to remote learning for 6+ weeks, the colleges that are having to go to distance learning for the rest of the year, and all the restrictions on public events, it seems like we’re in the midst of an episode of “The Walking Dead” here.
Where to get your information. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and the president isn’t helping with this. (For those who are wondering what I’m talking about, he has made some off-the-cuff remarks that contradict what the CDC and others run by medical professionals have said about it.) Here’s a list of places to go for accurate information:
The math on this. It has been reported that COVID-19 is ten times more deadly than the seasonal flu. This is correct. The seasonal flu has a fatality rate of around 0.1% (1 out of 1,000) people. COVID-19’s fatality rate is around 1% (1 in 100 people). It is skewed a little bit here in Washington state because most of the fatal cases are from nursing homes, one specific nursing home in particular.
For more data on this in a beautiful and easy-to-follow format, click here.
How to protect yourself. This might come as a surprise, but the easiest way to protect your self is…
WASH YOUR FREAKING HANDS.
Wash them for at least 20 seconds with soap. Wash them like you just finished eating Thai food with your hands and you need to remove your contacts. Wash them like you just shook hands with the politician you hate most. Say a Hail Mary while you wash your hands. Wash them when you get back to your house after being out in public.
If you need something to say or sing while washing them other than “Happy Birthday”, you can make your own hand-washing poster using this site. Here is one with part of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. There’s also a list of hymns you can sing.
Also, stay home if you’re sick and don’t touch your face.
Telecommuting.My college had to close down all sites this week for disinfection after a positive case at a nursing home where CNA students and instructors were doing clinicals. (The staff and students were on campus last week, so the school legally needed to neutralize the risk.) Cue everything including tutoring having to be switched up to remote instruction this week! I’ve been tutoring over Zoom since yesterday, and it’s kind of a cool way to do all of this. My student(s) can share their screen with me, which makes it a whole lot easier for me to point out errors and get “down and dirty” with my Accounting students who work through an online application.
Minion even decided to “help” yesterday, so I was cuddling him during my one-on-one session with a student. Silly panther!
Social distancing. I completely understand the need for social distancing. We stand to overwhelm our health care system unless we flatten the curve in terms of risk. Still, it’s hard to have so many things like church cancelled. Physical touch isn’t even my primary love language, and I’m missing being hugged.
Faith in the time of COVID-19. If you’re like me, Sunday worship/Mass has been cancelled diocese-wide. My church is coming up with ways to livestream worship and post the basics on our website, but for the Catholics out there who are in dioceses like the Archdiocese of Seattle where everything is cancelled, here are some options courtesy of my local Blessed is She folks: