Be sure to bring your towel!

Towlie would make a good facemask, no?

I was watching the 7p newscast supplement on WUSA. They were interviewing a restaurant owner who was worried about reopening. Her staff would be wearing masks, but the customers wouldn’t.

Let that sink in for a moment.

People eating in a restaurant aren’t wearing masks.

I was kind of going for a corollary to Davy Crockett’s Not Yours To Give. Freedom to live, work, worship, and so on, is also not yours to take.

Again, Saturday

Seems like this is when I’m writing. There’s not a lot to do, really; what can you do?

The news cycle this week has been dizzying. I had Sarah watch one particular commentator’s take on the dismissal of the Flynn case. I don’t agree with the guy on many, nay most, things, but he laid out the disclosures in a pretty straightforward fashion.

It’d be amusing watching the respective approach to what government(s) are doing. Lots and lots of emphasis on what the President is or isn’t doing, and barely any attention to government messed up the testing.


Other stuff I was going to write about:

  1. In a bit of nostalgia, and I’m sure if you look, there’s many links here (which I’m too lazy to expunge), but I decided to see what’s going on over at a place where I used to try to help, AltDaily. Broken Tribune.co redirect. Seeing that does make me a little sad, but that does reinforce the tagline here. If I ventured into the sewer that is Facebook, I’d find more that a few friends who were involved with it.
  2. Speaking of social media sites, I’ve been playing a little with Locals. I also have an account on Minds, but I’m not sure what to do with it. But back to Locals, I’m following four channels at the moment — Dave Rubin, Bridget Phetsay, Andy Ngo, and Michael Malice. I pay varying attention to these four, but I was curious after hearing Bridget’s adoring review (probably with Rubin on her own show). Some of the content looks interesting, but you do have to pay for a lot of it. Same goes for one of Ngo’s efforts, Quilette, and The Fifth Column. My friends over at Mouthy Broadcast also do some things with one of the donation sites where you can see exclusive content. I’ve been avoiding that particular site for a while since they started making editorial decisions on folks’ content. (Sorry for going full RMS-information-needs-to-be-free, but…) On the site, you have to pony up to like/share/comment on posts. I definitely understand it, but I was totally broke for so long, and I’m accustomed to getting free-of-charge content free pretty much forever. Would I start paying for podcasts? I doubt it. Do I buy things from companies that advertise on the pods I listen to? As sure as my ass is in a pair of underwear I heard advertised on one of them.
  3. COVID-19 has delayed my infusion by a week, and I’m getting kind of crabby with as fatigued as I am.
  4. One of the other things I added to my already-full pod queue is Filmphoria. I heard him on with Robbie Bernstein on Run Your Mouth. I think I bought one of the host’s sweatshirts, too. So I had an odd craving for Jiffy Pop popcorn. The stuff that’s in the Smartfood bag has placated me. Sorta.

So, stopping again. Too much rambling. Whatever. It’s what I do.

Sunday Morning Locking Down

Nod to a Drunk History episode where they were talking about the song. Trolling through stories on Fark, while listening to “Run Your Mouth.”

One headline kinda touches on what I was trying to get at yesterday.

Texas is making reopening difficult through incredible regulation.

If I owned a theater in Texas, I’d probably just assume stay closed, rather than having the agents groping people coming in the door.

Of course, if they’re noble civil servants, of course they wouldn’t do anything improper.

so they choice is deal with that nonsense, or just not open on my own accord.

But it’s far better to have the government force me to open or not.

Awesome.

No thank you. Again if it makes me a bad person, I’m okay with that; let people be free.

Adjustments

I’ve had a few since this whole “shelter-in-place” stuff started.

On the bright side, I did know that today is Saturday, something I almost missed last week.

Things that have changed for me:

  1. My one day per week in the office has been moved to remote. I’ve been to Georgetown twice. Once for an MRI, which I basically remember nothing about thanks to medication to stop my twitching. I went back a little less than two weeks later to get Tysbri. On the Tysabri visit, I stopped by their shiny new outpatient lab to get some blood drawn. To enforce social distancing, they had something like two-thirds of the seats taped off. I did note, however, how incredibly polite the staff were. I mean, the folks in the CRU are great all the time, but people in other parts of the hospital actually stopped to find out of the guy with a cane needed help finding something, or getting somewhere. I went in and out by taxi, trying to steer clear of people who might have COVID-19 I spent the ride in speaking to the taxi driver with a shaved head, and the similarly-shaved lab tech about
  2. I need a haircut. Bad. I think I’m going to take Robbie The Fire‘s lead, and just go ahead and go with the shaved look. I think I need to get the probably 3/4″ growth I’ve got gone before I go in with the Harry’s.

I will say that I feel a lot better today than I did, say, Tuesday. The medication is kicking in thankfully.

Self-quarantine

From informational; it might cause anxiety. That was part of the scattered message I got from this podcast this morning.

Part of what the psychology professor there had was this idea of limiting your intake of information to avoid the mental anguish new information might provoke

What. The. Actual. Fuck?

I did have a medical provider who told me the same sort of thing.

How can you even live in that sort of world/

That there are people who do might actually cause more anxiety for me than the change in “decided” facts.

No, information comes in, and you adjust based on that new information.

This is even more true when you have notable hosts, who’ve been demonstrably wrong, are worried that the audience doesn’t trust them. Oh, I don’t know? Or, maybe?

But back to the pod, the suggestion was that taking in new information constantly causes anxiety.

This is just completely incomprehensible to me.

Whenever I’m working on an argument, I do tend to dislike using the comparisons to cars or food. I understand that it’s probably lazy, but most people can comprehend the two ideas of driving a car, or cooking something. But, back to the examples I don’t like; does glancing at the speedometer periodically give you nightmares? How about looking through the oven window to see that the cake isn’t burning?

Incredible.

Subsequent things on the playlist, like the Reason Roundtable, quelled the disgust a bit.

Am I nervous about COVID-19? Yes. Am I nervous because I consume a lot of news? No.

Would I be better off if I was ignorant of the reasons for all the things that are affecting normal life?

No.

Even moreso when you consider that I’m on immeunosuppressants, and am at a greater risk of getting sick.

But I also know that the chances of me dying, even with my chemically-weakened immune system, is pretty low.

Assuming a 10% infection rate, and a 2% death rate, I’d be looking at a 0.2% chance of dying from the disease.

That I’m not anxious about that probably means that there’s something wrong with me.

Listening to the podcast only reinforces that. I’m messed up because I’m not that freaked out.

Okay.

So I should stop from taking things in because I might be freaked out?

How do I fix that?

Also, I should be trusting Chuck Todd, because not doing so is dangerous.

Again. Okay.

It takes a lot to really get me spun up.

Sunday Night

Up late doing work. It happens. I did get a little teed-off about one of these tell-everybody-you-can-think-of emails from one of the other techs.

He said I was ignoring text messages.

Were you sending them to my old number?

Oh.

But an officious email to everybody will cover up for the problem existing between the keyboard and chair, no? PEBKAC.

Otherwise, I’ve been abusing myself by watching Chuck Todd, and, on one of his gusts’ recommendations, NextDoor.

MSNBC might well be a bigger danger to society than a politician who decries “fake news,” Upchuck.

This is somebody who’s been saying that people who don’t trust people like him are dangerous. 1, 2, 3, 4.

Because I’m a bit of a masochist, I have been trying to watch his show lately. One of his guests, the just-as-Republican-as-Bill-Weld David Brooks, mentioned Nextdoor.

Later in the afternoon, I got an email message talking about how MSNBC and change.org were working on a petition to get everyone a COVID-19 test.

Really? Seriously?

Then these old, rich, white folks were telling me exactly how I should handle the situation. No, that’s okay. I’ll let my docs at Georgetown to dictate.

Sorry if that makes me dangerous, Upchuck.

Bad News Repruhshent

I am back in Tidewater, visiting my recuperating mother, and my grandfather who came up to visit.

It is strange being here, certainly.

I’m also prepping for Shmoocon next weekend, and tying up loose ends from yet another rebuild on this server.

I can’t find a lot of what I wrote between 2015 and 2o18.

I have SQL dumps that I can pick through, but I really haven’t had the energy or patience to do it.

I am still trying, too, to really pull out everything I’d put in for a job search during my periods of unemployment.

I really do love where I work, now. I wish I was healthier so I could move off on to something they’re doing that’s different than what I’ve done since 2005.

I got distracted just now by a friend on Facebook appealing to the usual sources for fact-checking before posting of stories.

Um. Okay. So only check facts from sites that are biased as hell before you share something. Perhaps SPLC should have been on that list.

It did distract me from something else I wanted to talk about the Apple backup story.

At first, I was disturbed by this, what with AG Barr’s misguided attempts to have backdoors engineered into encryption.

That, of course, was a bit of a knee-jerk response. I’d missed the part about these backup sets being store on an iCloud Drive.

Wanna keep shit suparsekret? Encrypt it yourself, and store it on physical media under your control.

Yes, that Apple made the decision after FBI pressure bothers me, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is technically-possible to keep whatever it is you have from prying eyes, government or otherwise.

That is a unprofessionalism!

Title is the exasperated utterance from a shady recruiter who called back a few minutes after I’d told him that, no, I wouldn’t be working for him, or his shady client.

Let’s recap the timeline.

Monday I got a call from a recruiter about a position not terribly far from me.

I told him, we’ll call him “Recruiter A,” my two requirements:

  1. I am not doing the contract-to-hire (or not) thing anymore, and;
  2. I am finished with work for the Federal Government that’s not on the General Schedule (so as a Federal employee)

I’ve told my current boss that my current role is the last one I will take in support of government as a civilian. Unless I’m laid off, I will. (And if I am laid off, I will see about returning to my last position, as I really loved that organization….)

I listened to his spiel on how that, no, this wasn’t a government gig, and it was in support of a commercial one who weren’t doing government work. (Given that the company is German, that I said, “spiel” is mildly amusing….) I finally got him off the phone after I told him I’d email him my CV when I got home.

I got home Tuesday night, and was a bit exhausted; travel takes a lot out of me these days.

Wednesday, I sent Recruiter A my latest Ops CV. Almost simultaneously, I got a phone call from someone I thought was Recruiter A (we’ll call him “Recruiter B”). The area code, and first digit of the numbers were exactly the same. The voices and accents were nearly identical.

I told him that I’d just sent him my CV. Recruiter B seemed surprised about this, and wanted to know information about my experience, which I thought I’d already given (to Recruiter A).

Recruiter B offered even less information on the position than Recruiter A, and was rather curt when I didn’t express the excitement he thought I ought to have.

We went talked about salary, the same discussion I’d had with Recruiter A on Monday. The salary range was unchanged from the discussion I’d had on Monday. The salary was less than I wanted, but still acceptable for something outside government. After going back-and-forth, I finally assented to him submitting my profile to the client.

About five minutes later, still fuming over his tone, I sent an email to Recruiter A, thinking he was the one I just got off the phone with, saying that, no, I didn’t want to move forward.

Recruiter A called me back in tears, saying that, no, he hadn’t just called me. Uh, so with whom did I just speak?

Regardless, I wasn’t interested anymore.

Thursday I got a call from Recruiter B. Uh, I thought I told you I wasn’t interested yesterday? I’m still not interested. I don’t care that you’ve already submitted me to your client; I won’t be working there.

THIS IS A UNPROFESSIONALISM!

So are you.

And I would never work for a company that hired you.

But my bigger message, aligning with what I wrote a few months ago, for so many things you can leave. I’m not playing this game anymore. Despite the newly-elected politicians’ desires to control me, I choose to be free.

I am not going to work for a company that doesn’t provide benefits. Even if Medicaid For All (yes, it’s Medicaid; some doctors will refuse to accept the artificially-low reimbursement rates, and will just choose to quit), I’m not doing this anymore. If you want to have full control of my time and effort, you’re going to give me paid time off, paid holidays, and a 401K match. No, I’m not going to do it temporarily. I refuse.

I do kind of feel like I should call and apologize to the guy I made cry. Maybe I will.


Update: I did call,a nd said pretty much what I said here.

I am not going to do this anymore.

Feeding My Compulsions

Yesterday, I pretty much wrote my prompts for next month.

Yes, my doctor says it’s a compulsion, but I think it’s okay. I did resist doing it over the summer this year, so that’s a start.

I plucked a few entries from my past I’m going to revisit for this year.

Below is one of them.

One of the things I am surprised by, however, is that some of this stuff isn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.

I was in a bad place there for a few years.

Certainly I’d be justified in pointing fingers, but it’s over now.


Describe your most recent doctor visit. I’m specifically looking for the one(s) you see most often.

I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking when I wrote this prompt. Maybe I should have consulted my calendar before i wrote.

My two most-recent visits were with specialists. One to replace the folks likely responsible for my two hospital stays this month. The other was to see what’s going on with something else in my messed-up body.

I guess my most recent medical visit was with my longtime dentist. I’ve been seeing the guy pretty much continuously since I was in high school. My medical issues have definitely included attack on my teeth; he’s been helping keep me sort of functioning. Yesterday’s visit was for a cleaning. I have to get an extra one each year because my disease modifying drug affects my oral bacteria. That said, no cavities!

As for regular medical stuff, I’ve been seen at Ghent Family Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School since the day that I had the MRIs that led to my diagnosis.

I should probably write a counter to this lousy Yelp review. They’ve been great for me, especially last year when my oh-so-wonderful Healthcare.gov plan wasn’t accepted by the two specialists I’d been seeing.

Dr. Robert Newman is my primary care physician. He helped find new specialists, including my new neurologist, Dr. Kuczma. I also have to tip my hat to Dr. Thomas Grant, who has looked after me for several years at EVMS.

My last visit was with a resident at EVMS (who I’d link, but I can’t find her bio right now….Dr. Jodi Newcombe). I was there to follow up with them after my second hospitalization, and to get a prescription refilled. She was one of the residents I recommended to my wife after the one she’d been seeing left. My wife ended up with the other one, who’s since left for a fellowship, but she went with me to my last visit with Dr. Newcombe. “I like her!”

I do normally end up seeing a resident when I’m there; that’s what the clinic is for. At the same time, part of the reason I decided to go there is that when I was looking for regular medical care, I had no idea what the fuck was wrong with me. At a medical school, there should always be more than one opinion.

Sometimes, though, I do think the professors take some sick sadistic pleasure in sticking a rookie resident with me.
“Do you have x or y?”
“Yes.”
“Well, which one?!”
“Both. Depends on the hour. Check my record; I have multiple sclerosis.” “Oh.” brow furrow“OHHHHH.”

As I said, I went as a followup after my hospital stay in October.

It was also an opportunity to get my flu shot. I don’t know if there’s some academic group that gives them brownie points for handing them out, but I’ve gotten the flu shot every year since I’ve been going there. Magically, I’ve not gotten the flu. It’s like it works or something.

My wife did get the flu last year, so she got hers on the last trip, too.

But the way the clinic works, you’re seen by a resident, then normally the supervising faculty member, like Grant or Newman, comes in to check over whatever the resident did.

Occasionally, they’ll change things. This past spring, I managed to fall getting off the bus. Validating gravity’s function – it’s one of the things those of us with perpetually-numb feet and vertigo issues do. The resident wanted to send me for a bunch of X-Rays; the faculty supervisor came and checked me out, and decided against it.

Yes, I was sore for a long time, but I’ve recovered. Lasting soreness implies I’m getting old or something.

Monday, I’m going up to see if I might be an appropriate candidate for studies at Georgetown.

I did a study on some thing that didn’t work, previously. This failure pretty much made me swear off serving as a test subject, but I am intrigued by this, and think Georgetown might be one of the places on the East Coast where they might try it. I also have zero reservations about using my own cultured stem cells.

We’ll see how it goes.

Fall Into Fall

I started writing this a few weeks ago, but never got around to completing it.


The last time I wrote, I was complaining about recruiters.

They’ve not stopped. Friday afternoon, after a morning with my counselor (is that what I should call her?), I swa my Tysabri infusion delayed again.

Following that infusion, I was supposed to stop by a former company for a chat. I’d not received a calendar invite, and I was going to have to miss time at work on Monday, so I didn’t dig terribly deep.

That’s rescheduled for later.


Given that I have my next infusion Tuesday, and the reschedule was for five weeks later, I guess I started writing this probably the week after Labor Day. (For anyone reading overseas, Labor Day is the US version of May Day; we don’t really like Socialism, despite what you might hear on the Democratic presidential debates. Heya, hipster Socialists, the state is cancelled.)

Otherwise, November is close at hand, so today I’m starting to gather writing prompts for next month

Yes, I’m going to do that for the tenth year, despite my psychologist’s identification of it as a compulsion.

So much in my life these days revolves around identification of the various “problems” I have. See the bit about the writing compulsion. Oh well.

We are getting very close to moving. I’m excited to be closer in to a city. It’s been too long. I should also respond to a personal email that’s been languishing.