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Embrace the Experiment

Today, while scrolling through Facebook, I came across a post from one of our local news channels, warning that local health authorities were re-instituting some COVID-19 restrictions due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Failing to learn from the past, I delved into the comments where the topic of vaccines arose. One clever user, who was obviously more in the know than the rest of us, asked why anyone would subject themselves to an experimental treatment. For the sake of this blog post, I'm going to grant our Facebook Ph.D. their premise that those of us who elected to get the mRNA vaccine subjected ourselves to an experimental treatment. Indeed, wise Facebook user, I did get the experimental treatment, and I'd do it again… and again, and again! Aside from not wanting to die, or even get ill, from COVID-19, I did not want to spread it or possibly cause someone pain or death. Instead, I wanted to be an active contributor to the demise of SARS-CoV-2, to the
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Blue Lives Shattered

Gee whiz, it turns out that  Blue Lives Matter  is a crock full of bullshit. If it wasn't clear from the beginning, it should be abundantly clear after the events of January 6th, 2021. White, evangelical conservatives embrace law enforcement only as a tool to maintain and reinforce the foundations of white supremacy upon which our country rests. When law enforcement officers are oppressing those who threaten their privileged existence, blue lives indeed do matter. The thin blue line, however, was breached on January 6th, 2021. Those who, until that day, proudly and vociferously backed the blue, instead viciously attacked the blue and hurled accusations of treason at the officers standing in the way of white supremacy. In the blink of an eye, blue lives stopped mattering.

Google Home Mini: a Glitch

Recently, my first-generation Google Home Mini started “glitching” when I would issue a request to it. Immediately after I made my request, the device would freeze for about five seconds, respond indicating that there was an error, and finally, instruct me to try again in a few seconds. Needless to say, I found this highly annoying and set out to find a solution. After some searching, I found an answer on Google's support forums that looked promising. I had recently set up a mesh network at home, and specifically remembered enabling IPv6. Unfortunately, it appears the Mini doesn't play well on Wi-Fi networks with IPv6 enabled. I disabled IPv6, restarted the Wi-Fi network, and rebooted the Mini. It's been smooth sailing since. I hope this helps anyone else dealing with this highly frustrating issue, and also serves as a reference for me the next time the problem occurs! Please note that I'm not a computer guru, and can't offer suggestions for how to disable IPv6 on

Unmasking My Mask Problem

I like to think of myself as a caring person, and attempt to behave compassionately towards others. Sometimes I fall short in that effort, but failing is what humans do, and successful humans learn from failure. I'd like to discuss what I believe is one of my more recent failures, and what I've come to learn about what's behind it. When the masking guidance and mandates first dropped, it short-circuited me. I reacted in disbelief, anger, and refusal to enter places that required masks. Masking was a simple act that was both scientifically and morally justified. I wondered if I really was a decent person, or if this reflexive pushback was just uncovering undiagnosed sociopathic tendencies. I started to wonder if my outward behaviors of positivity and kindness were just facades that I'd constructed around a dark psyche. Given the rhetoric surrounding mask-wearing, which can — as far as I understand — be reduced to “you're a monster if you don't do this,” it was ha

The Shameful COVID-Shamers

I've been careful during the past year, or so I tell myself. I've followed the health safety guidelines, and have avoided restaurants, crowded indoor areas, and have worked from my home office the entire time. As much as I hated the necessity of masks, the science was too clear to ignore, and so I begrudgingly wore one to avoid giving people a virus that could kill them. For the most part, I kept to myself about people who viewed the last year differently, but was absolutely frustrated with people who didn't seem to think the virus was a serious threat to public health. I worked hard to refrain from judgment because I know what it feels like to be judged, though I did find myself occasionally dropping a “covidiot” bomb. One thing this pandemic has revealed is a certain nastiness in people, and I'm not just referring to the so-called “anti-maskers.” The behavior of the deniers and anti-maskers has been abhorrent and not something I condone. I'd also be remiss if I di

Information, Vaccine Hesitancy, and Other Gripes

Public health officials are doing us a disservice by telling us that even after we are vaccinated, we still have to keep taking the same precautions. For people who might be on the fence about the vaccines, or are getting on with their lives just fine amidst the pandemic, this kind of rhetoric isn't a great motivator for people to get the vaccines. If nothing's going to change, why bother? I empathize with this sentiment, because I feel this way, though I have every intention of getting the vaccination as soon as it's available to me. I like data. In the right hands, it's a useful tool for decision-making. I am certain public health officials have metrics they're monitoring in order to establish a rough timeline for easing restrictions. Sadly, they aren't sharing that information freely with the public. Instead, they advise us to continue taking the same precautions for an indefinite amount of time. People aren't dumb, and they know how to read data. It woul

If Trump is Acquitted, Blame Democrats from the Clinton Impeachment?

There is some truth here , and as much as I thought the Clinton impeachment was a partisan attack motivated by a desire to destroy the Clintons, the senate at the time decided that Clinton's misdeeds were not worth a conviction. The author is clear that the subject of today's trial differs significantly from that of Clinton's, and Trump's transgressions were much, much more of an existential threat to the Republic. It doesn't mean, though, that Clinton's actions weren't criminal. I find the premise that things would go differently today if the senate had convicted Clinton to be flawed. Perhaps things would be different, although I am highly skeptical that Republicans today would act with honor. They've shown their disdain for precedent many times in the past five years in their pursuit for power, even brazenly abandoning rules that they themselves set. I support this impeachment process unequivocally as an American and a nearly lifelong Democrat. In a pe