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Zaphod's Zeitgeist
Location: Potato


Post by DerGolgo » Sat May 23, 2020 2:40 am

Corocalypse Day 73.

I made this, to illustrate how my day began.

Woke up with another visit from the flu-like fairy. Bit of a temperature, extremities and joints hurt. Headache is a given, of course.

Besides that. The situation here in potato.

Radio reported that this year, most of the asparagus will remain unharvested. Despite special dispensation for harvest workers to come in from Eastern Europe, they ain't coming. Apparently, not just Poland reacted in a timely fashion, and they have had better numbers across the EU's cheap-labor-dispensery. So harvest workers are staying at home, for fear of catching the Covid here.
On the initiative of our minister for agriculture, volunteers for harvest work were signed up among university-students. Reports make it sound like unpaid volunteer work. Romanian harvest workers can, afaik, be paid Romanian minimum wage, while just hiring those students would have entailed the German minimum wage.
However, since the unis are spinning back up, these volunteers are no longer available. Those workers who aren't going back to their studies are needed desperately for the strawberry harvest.

Iirc, there have been notable outbreaks among meat-packing-plant workers, both here in potato, and in the US.
And I just realized a scary possibility there.
We all recall the news of domestic cats, dogs, and at least one bloody tiger at a zoo in NY tested positive for the COVID-19 pathogen. These animals were, apparently, all infected by their owners/handlers. Reverse zoonosis.
Among humans, something like 50% of the infected have no symptoms at all.
So. Even if neither cows nor pigs shed a single virus particle through their airways.
They could still have plenty virus particles in their bloodstream. I'm not sure anyone is taking blood samples from livestock. I am fairly sure that, in the meatpacking industry, workers are exposed to the blood and guts of the animals they butcher. The kind of safety to avoid that would make the PPE used in hospitals look like entry-level. After all, in hospitals, they generally try to keep all the tissues, and the blood in particular, inside the patient. While butchers don't.

UPDATE May 24: one of my Facebook friends actually seems involved in the meat-inspection/animal-health racket. Pigs and chickens have been blood-tested for the COVID-19 virus. All negative.
He couldn't, however, locate any such data for cows.

If there were absolutely anything to be afraid of, don't you think I would have worn pants?

I said I have a big stick.

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Zaphod's Zeitgeist
Location: Potato


Post by DerGolgo » Sat May 23, 2020 3:01 pm

Something I had omitted earlier.

When I went to a doctor's appointment yesterday, I came by what is probably the city's biggest bicycle store. Big sidewalk-level showroom, the kind of place where RUBs (fun fact: RUB is also the initials of the university I attended) might lay down 5 grand on a super carbon-fiber and unobtanium bike, which they will never ride to fully exploit the anything. And at the same time, the place were junior gets his first grown-up analog cycle.
When I came by that store yesterday, I was a bit astounded. There were maybe 40 people waiting in line to get in, they had marked safe distances with tape on the ground, they had flipppin' crowd control.

Bicycles are BOOMING.
People are understandably wary of riding public transit. Perhaps they have no car, or they have nowhere to park it where they work. But whichever it is, the pandemic is getting butts on saddles.

Just for perspective. Thursday was a holiday, and yesterday was consequently a "bridge day", so commuter traffic would be a chunk less than normal. While fewer still would commute by public transit simply because their place of work hasn't reopened yet.
But you'd expect some people on a tram on a busy line.
When I was on my way home from a grocery walk (I don't fucking run for fucking anybody) yesterday, I boarded a tram. One of the busiest lines in the city, and I got on at a place where usually many people get on. And these aren't like small trams.
2020-05-23 23_52_40-Datenblatt_Stadler_Variobahn.pdf - Waterfox Classic.png
These trams have a nominal capacity of 184 passengers. 56 seats, including folding seats, and 128 places in standing room, assuming four people per square meter. That's 10.76 square feet, squeezing four people in there would need Japanese platform "assistants", with the gloves and the pushing people onto the train.
Still, I'm sure I've seen and ridden on these trams with at least 130 people aboard.

Yesterday, in rush hour, busiest line, busy stop.
Three people got on, including me.
Of course, the tram didn't just materialize out of thin air. It has been picking up passengers at earlier stops.
Yeah, sure.
Except it hadn't.
Half the street the tram follows was locked up with traffic jams. Not as bad as pre-pendemic bridge day, but bad enough. People where rushing that hour. Just not on public transit.

One measure that everyone in the biz seems excited about is "pop up cycle lanes". Multi-lane streets loos a lane, that becomes a cycle path as part of the COVID-19 measures. Or a street with only one lane per direction might loose the parking spaces between the lane's edge markings and sidewalk.
An older and a middle aged lady, the latter subsequently having a discussion with the driver, via interocm, which isn't supposed to be used while the tram is moving. She had no ticket, see, and she had planned to buy one from the driver, which hadn'r worked out.

People seem to be groking the idea, and the quick, unbureaucratic manner in which those paths are implemented.
Sure, some dildos who are proud of their performance airfilter and only buying 103 octane gas (yes, know, but that's what it says on the pumps.). They are already crying into their brillcreme, complaining about how they are being punished for driving a car. You know the drill. Yes, that drill.
I mean, FFS. If anybody should be all for more bike friendly cities, it should be that lot, shouldn't it.
You can never get rid of streets and roads. Even if you could get a hover conversion on your DeLorean done over the weekend. There must be a place for your flying car to land, you need streets to turn isolated houses into a neighborhood, and roads that connect that neighborhood to the nearest city.
So if, even before the hover technology becomes available. Every fella on a bike is just about one fewer car on the road. Fewer cars on the road, that's what most enthusiastic cagers want. Finally drive like the TV averts had ever promised. Have the open road (almost) all o themselves. There will be delivery trucks, etc. But those should be automatic, and very safe on the roads, avoiding confrontation as well as possible. Anyone who still drives their own cage is likely an enthusiast, someone worthy of sharing the road with.

I'm drifting in and out of consciousness as I type this. My meds have kicked in, a eaääy sküoädte Godfd nigh.
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If there were absolutely anything to be afraid of, don't you think I would have worn pants?

I said I have a big stick.

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Zaphod's Zeitgeist
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Post by DerGolgo » Thu May 28, 2020 10:30 am

Turns out my recurring flu-like symptoms may be a side effect of one of the many medications I'm on.
And it took my GP three or four attempts to pronounce the potato for "hypersensitivization".

If it was an infection, it was gone yesterday, when the blood sample was taken.
If there were absolutely anything to be afraid of, don't you think I would have worn pants?

I said I have a big stick.

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Zaphod's Zeitgeist
Location: Potato


Post by DerGolgo » Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:31 pm

Been a while since anything got added here.

Interesting news today.
See, in March, the parliament of Hungary passed a "state of emergency" and "emergency powers" act that's basically a full-on fascist-despot enabling-law. Letting Victor Orban rule Hungary by decree until he drops dead, and possibly beyond that.

Now, that emergency powers act was repealed.

I google around, at least one german source had reported that this vote to repeal the emergency powers act was taken at Orban's own request.
He, or his office, maintains a bunch of extra powers that will let him fuck with the press, and exert special powers of various sorts. But the rule-by-decree he got in March, that ends now. Parliament voted with no abstentions and no votes against that this shit is done. Orban's government still has to officially declare the state of emergency to be over.

Still. Despots giving up their enabling acts. Even just letting the legislature assemble to vote on that. Not the usual stuff.
Orban's party has a 2/3 majority. And they all voted to take back the special powers, so he pretty definitely didn't tell his party buddies to keep the despot-party going.
If there were absolutely anything to be afraid of, don't you think I would have worn pants?

I said I have a big stick.

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Location: NoVA


Post by Jaeger » Thu Jun 18, 2020 6:07 am

Yeah, I noticed this thread went quiet.

Honestly, there are only so many ways to say "this sucks" until it's wearisome. I expect most (all?) of us recognize that the shit isn't over and won't be for quite some time.

I'm glad to see nobody's posted up "yeah, I got it." Closest I've had here is a friend down the road who appears to be past the worst of it but is still recovering from the Plague. It's been close to 3 months she's been dealing with it, I think. She still has chest pain, shortness of breath, headaches, brain fog... not fun.

We are trying to figure out how to deal with this longer term now. I can't keep my kids cooped up and isolated all goddamn summer. I think we're going to try to "quaran-team" with a couple of other local families we trust so the kids aren't completely stuck.

And yes, the political news seems to be overcoming the plague news -- for obvious reasons. That said, the plague hasn't gone away... the same way Flint, MI still doesn't have drinkable water.

Bigshankhank wrote:The world is a fucking wreck, but there is still sunshine in some places. Go outside and look for it.
2018 Indian Scout -- "Lilah"

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Yap. Doomed for all eternity.
Location: Indy


Post by red » Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:07 pm

We're about to see another wave due to the reopenings and people becoming lazy with precautions. I still wear a mask, sanitize, and keep the kids home. We're gonna let our oldest sleepover at my mom's place. She's religious about mask wearing and my step father is the lead wrench turner for a Triumph shop so he has minimal contact with humans.

I'll be WFH until December at the earliest, probably spring to be realistic. Sprung for a standing desk to save my poor back.

Had a teammate get infected, was hospitalized for about a week. Plus a local FB motorcycle friend got it. He's an older dude but managed to make it through.

Really curious how they're going to handle school this coming year. Since our youngest is just in preschool, my wife may just keep her home. She's too little too follow precautions reliably.

Weird times man. Stay safe.
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Location: belgium


Post by xtian » Thu Jun 18, 2020 10:18 pm

I had an interesting social experience last month. As soon as it was allowed, I took the bike out with a couple of close friends, people I spend my holidays with every year since decades. it was saturday. I was then on medication for some guts problems that echoed something I had two years ago, but cured after a week of strong fevers and pain. We officially didn't have the right to meet, or stop, just ride, so we only stopped twice in discreet places and kept our distance, everything was still closed anyway.
That evening i began to do what I think was an allergic reaction to the medication, and the next morning, I had turned into a bloated purple pizza. mild fever again. I called my doctor on tuesday, he had no clue, so he ordered a covid test, just in case, there was just a test center opening down the street (and free, god damn north korean cubanese socialist oppression) . I told my friends, just to make sure they didn't have any symptoms, and warn them that I had to wait 2 days for my results but that it would surely be ok
That didn't went well. they fucking figuratively locked my outside the mall out there with the zombies. I was flooded with messages treating me like a traitor, a possible menace, like I had endangered them (she had to resume work at her school the next week) by not telling them I had covid, and I should have told them, and they felt betrayed. I told them it was just an extra safety measure, that I didn't have symptoms, there was 0.01% chance that i had it, and even then, another 0.01% chance that I passed it and they should be reasonable, to no avail.
The test turned out negative of course, it only took 8 or 10 days of 22 hours of sleep a day before I turned back to my human appearance, I met my friends for more rides,
but i'm sure the idea of false negative is still on their heads and in mine is how quickly that shit can destroy our social fabric.
I'm not really from around here.

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Zaphod's Zeitgeist
Location: Potato


Post by DerGolgo » Fri Jun 19, 2020 12:59 pm

Things being as they are, my mother has no desire to spend 1½ hours on trains to go deep into the Rhineland, where my sister lives, and my nephew is celebrating his 19th birthday tomorrow. My mum is 80 in August, and apart from going to the cemetery to take care of my father's grave, she only leaves the house to take out the trash or putter about in the garden. She's got neighbors getting groceries for her, etc.

So the idea was that, if my mum felt up to it, she would drive, and I would provide moral support from the passenger seat. Along the Autobahn, which on a weekend is pretty easy going (trucks over 7.5 tons are prohibited on weekends), 45 minutes in the slow lane.
My mother decided she wasn't up for the drive, and I wasn't going to push her.

My problem: y'all have read about the flu-like fairy visiting me one day at a time. And after taking a break for some weeks, it came back at the top of this page (or the last, I don't know, top of page 7, 'bout three weeks ago).
Today, my neurologist and pain therapist suggested that stuff might indicate an immune deficiency. Because I don't have enough fucking problems.

I had to call my nephew. I haven't seen my sister or her family since February, I miss the lot of them, but the plague is the fucking plague, and when a dude with not one but two medical licenses (neurologist and psychiatrist, pain management on top of it all, damn overachiever) suggests I might not have a defense against the plague, that's that.

Because my neurologist/pain-therapist suggested that I should get tested for some things to rule in or out an immune deficiency, I went and hit up my rheumatologist's office, about three minutes on foot from my neurologist's office.

A different problem had been why that rheumatologist had tested me for the everything. Most of which twice in one week, 2nd time was about a week before the most recent occasion of the flu-like fairy farting in my face
Did you know that some people suffer from "cryo antibodies", which are exactly what that sounds like - antibodies to cold. Those things can fuck shit up if you have them and you get a chill. I don't have them, thank goodness.
Getting tested for them was creepy, though
I had to go to a laboratory, no appointment needed. They had special stuff in the "breeder cabinet", and had to take two samples with a very specific interval. The creepy bit was that the lab technician had no idea what all that was about. Only that she had to hurry to get the samples back in the breeder cabinet.
The printout of the test results was one line for each thing that I had been tested for.
Two pages of A4. Narrow margins. 12 pt., single-spaced.
And the only abnormality found therein was a vitamin-D deficiency.
I already take 9 medications spread over 17 pills and "as needed" numbers of liquid opioid drops every day, and now I have to take a vitamin D pill, too.
Once every two weeks, so that's maybe tricky because it's spaced out that far. "20,000 units" per pill, whatever a unit is, and the pill is actually just a tiny little ball, goes down easy. My neurologist suggests I should take it every week come winter. I'm not sure he appreciates how much sunlight I manage to avoid. Vitamin-D values get checked up on September 11.
I had to fill out a fucking Corona-questionnaire just for picking up a printout!

So gonna find out next week whether that remarkably detailed testing my rheumatologist had done included the stuff my neurologist wants tested.
If there were absolutely anything to be afraid of, don't you think I would have worn pants?

I said I have a big stick.

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Zaphod's Zeitgeist
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Post by DerGolgo » Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:54 am

So, yesterday.
Started with my quarterly appointment with my pain therapist, then raiding my rheumathologist for my test results, and just handing them in.
Hygienic like crazy (yes, I do dispose the rubber gloves, that's why I'll rarely wear fewer then three on top of one another, so as to always have a clean glove to go to. And if you say that is weird, I must assume your physical form was replaced by a shapeshifter trying to be you, but who obviously doesn't know me.).

And then I spoke to my mother and, subsequently, to my nephew, see above.
And realized I had forgotten to pick up his gift (Netflix voucher, year after year, don't at me).
Nearest source for such: grocery store around the corner.
While there, kept all distances, etc., etc.
Then I as confronted with my smack.

I get home, I put it in a letter to my nephew, and went to the little post franchise across the street. Wearing fresh gloves.

So, you know where this is going, and what happened this morning. 38.2°C (and it really does feel like 311.35 K).


If there were absolutely anything to be afraid of, don't you think I would have worn pants?

I said I have a big stick.

Magnum Jihad


Post by SECO » Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:04 am

Xtain, dergolgo, feeling for you guys. Hope your practitioners can figure out your ailments.

This covid has definitely screwed things up. In March, my wife and I went to Denver for an overnight, that was just before the Governor locked the State down. In April, the wife's preacher had stayed home sick from services. He then self quarantined, got tested and diagnosed with covid two weeks later, so he had to endure house arrest close to a month.

Once he got the diagnosis, he informed the congregation. By that time (late April), most of the city buildings were closed, my wife being a librarian, was forced to stay home (drove her nuts, she drove me nuts) because they were deemed non-essential. With the remote chance she had been exposed, my supervisor at the powerplant made me stay away from work for a week in early May. We were both asymptomatic.

The news droned on about staying indoors, while saying UV light kills it in less than a minute. I didn't stay in the house, spent a lot of time getting bikes running, working on building my welding truck, different projects out in the glorious sunshine.

Living in a rural area has perks, no Karens to scream at me for working out in my yard/drive.

Kinda nice now that we're able to dine in places now. I'm not a social person, but the not being able to see people from around town was starting to get to me.

My problem is now, I'm pretty sure most everyone around here has had it, and is asymptomatic or had a mild case. I don't want to get tested and have to undergo the 2 week self quarantine waiting for the results, then if positive (even tho my exposure may have been 2 months ago) have another 2 weeks of quarantine. Does that make any sense? I'm not even sure the test is for this particular strain, or for the broader spectrum of Corona viruses/sars.

I do snus, and they say that nicotine blocks the receptors.

Then there's the whole no mask, N95, ok bandanas and buffs are ok fiasco. It's my understanding that it's in micro particles exhaled from the lungs, that hang in the air. The simple act of breathing spreads it, then it hangs in the air. While suspended in the air, it can enter through the eyes and mucous membranes. If it's in micro particles, then simple cloth masks aren't going to cut it, and one needs to wear a low micron respirator (vapor mask), googles and ear muffs to keep it out of mucous/lungs.

IMO, locking the planet down instead of just the vulnerable, has prolonged the time it will be around.

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Post by DerGolgo » Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:05 am

So I spoke to my neurologist today, about the hundreds of test results I had conveyed from my rheumathologist, and about my idiosyncratic symptoms (fever, for one day, one day after shopping excursions).

My neurologist is an over-achiever (has two medical licenses, not counting his specialty qualifications), and was able to deduce from the pile of ostensibly unrelated test results that I may have a significant B12 deficiency.
Which might be so bad, it depresses my immune system, explaining why excursions for provisions are followed by a day of my body fighting something.
It might also be depressing my brain and nervous system, explaining feelings of lethargy. Quite frankly, all but two of the 17pills I'm taking every day (8 meds, spread over 17 pills) have lethargic side-effects, and one of those two is just to keep my stomach acid in check, so I'm skeptical on that front.

But hey. With any luck, this explains it, I get prescription-only B12 megadoses or some such, and will suddenly Hulk out with all that extra anti-lethargy (I will not call it "energy". My studies of engineering and of physics had been doomed to fail, quite frankly, but there is only so far I will debase fundamental concepts of physics. Chemistry, which I also failed out of, sure, debase away, plenty of acids to deal with, but not physics, no).

Before I can set up an appointment, I must be fever-free for three days, and today is day three. Wish me luck.
If there were absolutely anything to be afraid of, don't you think I would have worn pants?

I said I have a big stick.

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