Are you thinking of traveling to see people this Christmas? Are you thinking of driving or flying or taking a bus somewhere?
If so, I have a tip for you:
You are not immune to catching COVID, and you are especially not immune to spreading it to others, even if you don’t have symptoms.
The rules apply to you, just like they apply to everyone else. Do. Not. Travel.
Does it suck? Hell yeah it does. I haven’t seen my mom since the beginning of January, whereas in a normal year I would have seen her at least once over the summer and would probably be visiting her right now.
But it’s worth it to know that I’m choosing to actively try to prevent the spread of COVID by staying home. It’s worth it to know that I’m not going to inadvertently give my mom COVID and possibly cause harm to her or anyone else due to my inability to suck it up and not travel.
Is your family worth it? Are your friends worth it? Of course they are. But if you’re planning on traveling to visit them, you’re not treating them like they’re worth it.
So this nightmare of a semester is finally over.
Teaching online is…not enjoyable. I miss actually getting to see and interact with my students. I feel so disconnected from them and I feel like I’ve been absolute crap at my job this semester, even though I’m really trying to do the best I can given the garbage circumstances.
It’s so demotivating, and now is not the time to become demotivated. It’s also SUPER FREAKING FRUSTRATING that the first “real” (non-spring/summer) semester of my tenure-track position has been marred by online nonsense, and it’s even more SUPER FREAKING FRUSTRATING that my first actual course coordinating assignment (next semester’s STAT 213) will be during an online semester rather than a “normal” one. I feel like no matter what I do, I won’t get to show my true ability to coordinate effectively, especially since everyone is new to online teaching and there are so many things that can go wrong.
But the main thing? I miss my students. I miss actually teaching them in person and feeling like I’m making a difference in their learning. I’m definitely not getting that vibe this semester and it’s destroying my soul.
So very demotivating.
And just for clarification, I’m not blaming the U of C for any of this. They (at least the Math/Stats Department) did the smart thing by making all the courses online this semester and next, especially with how Alberta’s crashing and burning COVID-wise right now. It just…sucks.
So remember a few months ago when Alberta was still doing quite well pandemic-wise? New daily cases were in the 100-200 range, hospitals weren’t overwhelmed, and people were generally still following the “don’t be a moron” way of life as far as dealing with COVID?
Yeah, no, that’s not happening anymore.
New daily cases jumped into the 300s; nothing was done. New daily cases jumped into the 500s; nothing was done. Now they’re regularly above 1,000, closer to 2,000 (in fact, Alberta holds the daily new case record for Canada). And guess what? Very little is being done.
We are the only province without a province-wide mask mandate.
Only recently have those in charge shifted from “educate people about COVID safety” to “enforce the rules with fines” – something I thinks should have happened from the start of all this.
People are gathering in big groups indoors and out.
There are anti-mask rallies being held in Calgary.
Space in hospitals is running out rapidly.
It’s quite frightening.
Is it a coincidence that the most conservative province is having the biggest issue with COVID right now? No, I don’t think so. Kenney is more concerned about “tHe EcOnOmY hUrTiNg” than saving peoples’ lives. Guess what? It’s not people going into grocery stores/small businesses/etc. that’s causing the main source of spread. It’s morons gathering indoors without masks. Surely that can be better monitored without damaging the economy.
It’s so damn frustrating. Those of us who are being cautious and following the rules are continuously getting screwed over by the idiots. Not to mention, I don’t know, all the people dying or having long-term effects from the virus.
Is this what it feels like in the States?
I miss my mom.
I miss Moscow.
I miss my office.
I miss campus.
I miss teaching in person.
I miss Market Mall.
I miss Anytime Fitness (even though I went there like five times a year, haha)
I miss public transit.
I miss long weekend walks with my husband.
I miss Westbrook Mall and the walk up there.
I miss disliking crowds of people because people annoy me rather than because I’m afraid they’ll infect me.
I miss the comfort of knowing I could travel to and from the US without any huge issues.
I miss pre-COVID normality.
I’m sure everyone else is feeling similar sentiments, but it’s US Thanksgiving today and I’m bitter about the fact that I won’t get to see my mom in a month like I normally do each year so you get to hear my whining.
Sorry not sorry.
Six-digit daily case counts in the States? Yeah, sure, why the hell not.
That is absolutely terrifying, America. I feel like it’s right on the verge of being past anyone’s control and the only way it’s going to slow down is by just chewing through the whole US population.
But Canada isn’t doing all that much better. Here’s our second peak going strong:
Alberta, specifically, has really dropped the ball. We were in new daily case numbers between 100 and 200 for the longest time, then things jumped up to the 500s a few weeks ago. Yesterday? 800 cases. Today? 1,441 cases. People keep gathering and are apparently not staying home when they’re exhibiting COVID symptoms.
Why is everyone so freaking stupid and selfish, I don’t understand.
Like, I get the whole “pandemic fatigue” thing, but holy hell. If people just calmed their tits for like TWO MONTHS and isolated as much as they could, we could probably cut this thing down significantly.
Why is that such a hard concept?
UGH I AM SO FRUSTRATED WITH THIS WHOLE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
I want to know if this countdown was manually modified as COVID developed or if it had been left alone and happened to coincide with all of this nonsense. Because if it was left alone…wow. Good predicting.
I don’t know if humanity will be ravaged by COVID, but it’s definitely messing us up.
But I guess we’ll have to wait another month or so to see if we get ravaged.
So has anyone else’s dreams been reduced to COVID-related stuff only? ‘Cause mine sure has hell have (at least the ones I can remember, of course).
It’s like every night there’s some other depressing or horrifying dream about COVID. Mostly involving something happening to my mom.
I’m convinced my brain is trying out coping mechanisms in my sleep but keeps botching them and making things worse. It’s like that dream about the Beirut explosion. I think that was my brain trying to get me to forget about COVID momentarily but decided to END THE EARTH INSTEAD.
I hate it.
So we are definitely in the “second wave” of COVID up here. It’s a bit scary because Canada was doing quite well as a country through July and August, but cases are spiking again nonetheless.
I guess the comforting thing (if you want to call it that) is that the second wave seems to be happening in almost every country that appeared to have the virus under control, so at least we’re not an outlier as far as that pattern goes. I mean, it could be worse, right?
(That, of course, is the US)
Canada did really well squelching the first wave. I hope people take this second wave just as seriously.
Edit: okay, just for funsies, Canada has had a total of about 197,000 cases and about 9,800 deaths. That’s about 0.52% and 0.026% of the Canadian population, respectively. The United States has had a total of about 8.1 million cases and about 219,000 deaths. That’s about 2.5% and of the population and 0.067% of the population, respectively. I’d say that’s a decent difference, especially in the percentage of cases.
I hate how this virus has turned some people into “OMFG THE US IS A COMPLETELY WORTHLESS COUNTRY THAT HAS NEVER CONTRIBUTED ANYTHING TO THE WORLD EVER!!!!11!!11”
Just because the United States is in Hell Mode right now does not negate the good things that have come out of the country. Also, a big reason for the US being in Hell Mode right now is how polarized the country has become. Posting stuff like this to Facebook/Twitter/whatever will either a) ignite people who agree with you and make them even more “everything about the current US is awful” or b) incite people who disagree with you and make them even more “everything about the current US is amazing” and both of those outcomes will make it harder for anyone to actually make any meaningful changes because the more polarized people are, the harder it is for them to agree to anything that doesn’t pander to every aspect of their polarized view.
I mean, obviously this is just my opinion, but it seems…irresponsible. The last thing we should be doing right now is trying to further polarize the country. I don’t think it’s the solution.
Of course. At least they weren’t the only ones to get it. Or the first.
Hopefully those that have it will only have mild symptoms and will recover fully!
United States, get your shit together.
I completely understand the extension on the US-Canada land border closure (AGAIN) and I fully expect it to be closed at least through the end of the year, but it still sucks, yo.
I mean, since I’m a US citizen I could go down there and visit her, but when I came back up here I’d have to quarantine for 14 days. I don’t know if I’d have to quarantine when I got to Idaho?
And since I’m a Permanent Resident of Canada, she could technically come up here to visit me, but she’d have to quarantine up here for 14 days.
So not super feasible.
It just sucks.
Today, Alberta led the Canadian provinces and territories in new active cases of COVID-19. How many new cases did Alberta have?
That’s a good sign, I think. I mean, the province leading in new active cases sucks (especially since it’s only the fourth most populous province in the country), but the fact that it’s leading with such a relatively “small” number is good.
So here’s an interesting ranking of US states and Canadian provinces/territories. Want to see how your state/province/territory is doing with COVID compared to all the others? Take a look. Alberta’s not doing too great compared to the other provinces/territories, but is doing pretty well compared to most states.
Edit from November: yes, this thing keeps updating and I didn’t take any screenshots of it when I originally posted it, so there have been some changes. However, in general, the provinces/territories are still doing quite good compared the states.
Anyway, check it out. It’s interesting
Using the “99% of people who get COVID don’t die!” as an argument for it not being a serious illness is really, really stupid. Sure, if you get COVID, you probably won’t die. But so many people are reporting other issues post-COVID – some of which may be lifelong complications – that it’s ridiculous to discount those things.
I hate this black and white “it’ll kill you or it won’t, and it probably won’t, so you’re fine” nonsense. If I got COVID and ended up with a long term effect of not being able to walk for more than 10 minutes due to not being able to catch my breath, I would wish that it would have killed me. I can’t live without my walks.
And the fact that those possible long-term side effects aren’t even being considered by a lot of people is really rage-inducing.
Just…UGH I’M MAD.
Thanks to COVID, I haven’t been in a mall since I got my hair cut at Market Mall right at the start of all this (mid-February I think). And man…I miss malls.
That might seem like the most frivolous thing to say, I know. People are sick, people are dying, people are losing their jobs and businesses, and I miss malls?
Malls aren’t just OMFG SHOPPIGN!!!!!!!!1!1! for me. They represent normality in a lot of different ways. My dad and I always went to the Palouse Mall on Saturdays. He’d give me $20 and an hour to go wander off and spend it before we met up again and went home. When I moved to Vancouver, I made malls my destinations on my walks (which started my “Canadian Mall” series on my blog) and would always take the bus back home. In Calgary, malls have still been a common destination on my walks, especially North Hill, Brentwood, and Market Mall. And, of course, walking to Westbrook Mall is my absolute favorite walk in the whole city.
So yeah. Malls have always been a big part of my life, and not just for the shopping aspect (in fact, most of the “shopping” I do at malls is at the grocery stores, haha).
So I guess when I say “I miss malls” I’m really just saying that I miss normality. But saying “I miss malls” makes it more concrete.
Take a look at these two different graphs of daily cases of COVID-19.
Which one is the US? Which one is Canada? I’ll give you one guess.
Even with the population difference, Canada is seeing much smaller rates than the US. And we’re flattening a lot more. Will we spike again? Probably. But I don’t think we’ll spike to the extent the US currently is.
Hell, that isn’t even the second wave in the US. It’s still the first wave. It just picked up a lot of momentum.
That’s terrifying. Are you all terrified down there?
Edit from December: *sobbing noises*
For me it’s The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights.
Do I still love it? Absolutely. It’s a five-star (and the first five-star since my Decade of Music project ended).
But I discovered it right at the end of March of this year, which was when COVID was starting to really hit Canada. The U of C had moved to online classes and I spent a lot of my free time watching the news (bad idea, I know) and seeing the daily cases climb, not knowing how bad it would get.
And now whenever I hear this song (especially the first few bars, for some reason), I get that little twinge of anxiety that I associate with the start of the pandemic in Canada.
So that’s great.
Did COVID ruin a song (or songs) for you?
Let’s talk about online teaching!
So U of C shut down in-person classes (and campus in general) in mid-March last semester because of COVID. I won’t be teaching again until summer, but I am doubting that classes will be in person by then. Hell, classes might not be in person in the fall, either.
I ended up using my laptop in its “tablet mode” to finish out the remainder of last semester, meaning that I used it like a tablet to write out all my notes while I dictated and recorded the notes/dictation, then uploaded all the recorded lectures to YouTube. This worked okay, except doing 50-minute recordings made my laptop super hot and I don’t want to demolish it during summer, where I’ll be teaching back-to-back two-hour classes M/W/F.
So I decided to get all fancy and bought a Wacom One tablet!
I’m scared to open it ‘cause it was super expensive and I don’t want to break it, but I’ll have to test it out before summer to make sure it actually does what I need it to do. Namely, I’ll need to be able to write in OneNote on my little note packet PDFs and record the tablet screen while doing so.
Edit from a few weeks later: okay, yeah, this is going to work really nicely I think. The tablet reads as another monitor to my computer, so when I’m lecturing through Zoom, I can “share screen” my tablet and whatever window(s) I have open on the tablet screen show up to my students and get recorded.
Edit from summer semester: this works amazingly! I love this little tablet. Definitely a worthwhile investment, since fall will also be online.
I ran 10 miles today!
In completely unrelated news, Alberta published its “here’s how we’re going to re-open the province” plan. Let’s see what we’ve got.
May 14 sounds awful soon for some of the “Phase 1” items. Farmers’ markets? Hairstylists/barbers? Daycares and summer camps (even with limited occupancy)? That seems…frightening. Hopefully enough people share my same sentiment so that these places won’t be overrun by peeps. Or maybe they’ll push it back.
Also, movie theaters in stage 2? And schools, even with restrictions? Oofs.
And I might just be missing it, but I don’t see anything on there about universities. Who knows when that nonsense will reopen.
I’m glad there are no set times on stages 2 and 3, at least. I think Alberta has done a really good job of dealing with all of this; I just hope they remain as cautious and health-focused as things start opening up and the economy starts chugging again.
We don’t want to have to do all this again in a few months.
This is scary. Compare this to a pic of this website that I took back on March 26 (almost exactly a month ago).
Too bad I didn’t have Canada on that first screenshot. We’ve shot up quite a bit, too, but not nearly to the extent that the United States has.
And some states still want to start opening things back up soon, huh?
Perhaps this will all be over by the time I post these blogs and this website will either be defunct or just a memory of this rough time, but until then, here’s a world map of COVID-19 cases.
Y’know, in case there’s anyone out there who hasn’t seen this yet.
United States, you need to chill.
So is anyone else experiencing some serious COVID-19 symptoms that are completely psychosomatic in nature?
I sure as hell feel like I am.
I feel like I’m coughing more, even though I know I’m not.
I feel feverish, even though I’m not. I take my temperature like seven times a day and half the time my temp is below 96 degrees (I’m a lizard).
I feel like I’m having trouble breathing, even though I’m not. I can take deep breaths without struggling, I’m not wheezing or feeling a rattle or anything like that. And I’m pretty sure I couldn’t run seven miles if I was having actual breathing problems. I think part of this “symptom” is that when I’m working at home at my desk, I hunch over way more than I do at my office desk, which makes my lungs feel a bit more compressed.
But yeah, fun times. I’m pretty sure I’d actually be someone who showed no symptoms if I ever did get the virus, ‘cause that’s just how it would be.
Hey friends in the United States, is it as bad down there as the news is making it sound? ‘Cause it sounds pretty bad.
Obviously no one is really focusing on Idaho; how’s Idaho? Is everyone walking around in fear of getting the virus? Is Gritman overwhelmed? Are people protesting the shelter-at-home orders to get back to work?
Obviously Canada is getting hit by this as well (just like the rest of the world), but I think the biggest difference between Canada and the US as far as how this is being handled is in how it’s become such a political thing in the US whereas up here, we haven’t politicized it.
At least, not nearly to the extent that the US has.
Like…the crisis is being dealt with despite political differences up here. Political differences are not being deepened by the crisis. Again, at least not to the extent that they are in the US.
It’s interesting and weird and scary.
And this is going to sound really stupid, but I feel guilty for not being in the United States. I feel guilty for living in a country that seems to be handling this quite well while like 99.8% of all the people I’ve ever cared about are getting traumatized by the Trumpster Dumpster and his complete incompetence. It sounds scary down there, and I feel guilty for not having to share that scariness, if that makes any sense at all.