Bleh

I’m just so tired of being tired. It’s been feeling lately that I have no motivation for anything, work or non-work, so I’m kind of just bumbling along as best I can. Housework and cooking and all of the other life things are being neglected more than they should. ‘Tis how it goes.

A bunch of friends have made (or are looking at soon making) changes to their professional lives, including switching jobs, switching companies, or just outright quitting and reevaluating. I feel like I’m going to have a reckoning soon, myself, that’ll force me to see what kinds of changes I’ll need to make, but because change is hard, I’m trying to postpone that as long as possible. We’ll see how that goes.

Every time I walk somewhere, it feels like I walk past restaurants and gyms and businesses that are just utterly full of people. Even if they’re not technically in violation of the (toothless and overly permissive) restrictions in place, it still feels immensely irresponsible. You don’t need to have dine-in meals at a restaurant, and you don’t need to hit a gym. Your decisions are making this pandemic worse and longer for everyone else.

Meanwhile, the government is getting their shit slightly more together, but are facing endless pressure from people who think they’re not doing enough. It bothers me in the same way that ideological purity bothers me (“Bernie or nothing!” and “M4A or no vote!”) because it’s utterly unrealistic to think that a bare majority in a sharply divided congress will be able to do all the things you want them to.

And of course the same people yelling at them now won’t vote for them in 2022, dooming us to more Republican control and more of Mitch’s graveyard for bills where those things they want won’t get done anyway!

Meanwhile Republicans are going even more on the “Trump is our savior” train, as evidenced by their votes on Liz Cheney vs Marjorie Greene. So that sort of ideological purity is going to cause more and more harm as we proceed.

Society and politics and our government are so fundamentally broken and I don’t know how we even start to fix them.

New Year’s, Life, Expenditures

life’s photo journal and stats have been updated. The 594 photos this four-month period is the lowest for any four-month period since April 2002, my Freshman year of high school (when I wasn’t carrying my camera around regularly), and is lower than the previous four months this year by 9 photos.

None of this should be too surprising, given we’ve basically been at home since March and the extent of our real-life social contact has been either brief tea-and-conversation hangouts on the porch, or walks.

In any case, work starts up again tomorrow, and it was a nice break, all things considered. Christmas featured a group Google Meet call, New Year’s featured online board games and virtual champagne toasting, and I hit all of my (honestly, fairly lofty) personal project goals for the break.

Since it’s January, I also compared 2020’s overall expenses to 2019’s. Thanks to the pandemic, my overall spending is down 22 percent, mostly in food (much more cooking at home; down 34%), travel (we had one vacation which involved a car rental and cabin instead of flying and hotels; down 98%), and entertainment expenses (we didn’t host any games or events and didn’t go anywhere with people; down 72%).

The only thing keeping the overall year-to-year drop from being less extreme was that our mortgage payments and utilities went up a bit, and account for most of my spending (70% of my [lowered] yearly expenditures this year, compared to 49% of last year’s). Like last year, the next biggest expense was food (relatively stable at 15% of yearly expenditures this year, compared to 17% last year).

Anyway. Things are uneventful. Here’s hoping the vaccine distribution really picks up this year and we can start seeing people again in the first half of the year.

Hope everyone’s doing well out there.

Star Trek and Christmas

After finishing all of Voyager a couple years back, and then all of The Next Generation earlier this year, we’ve started on Enterprise.

We’re now most of the way through the second season, and although I really like the less-polished more-modern crew, I feel like there’ve been a lot of opportunities that the writers have squandered, lately.

In particular, we just finished a couple of episodes (The Crossing and Horizon) where they had such a great opportunity to show that human biases aren’t always right when encountering new species, and you can’t just go imposing your will and ideals somewhere else. And in both cases the plots took the more stereotypical turn of “Of course human intuition about danger was right” and “Of course making changes that no one asked for ends up saving everyone’s lives”. It’s honestly disappointing, for stories that had so much great potential.

Speaking of disappointing… Christmas this year is feeling very different. Without the usual pomp and circumstance, it’s been feeling like a rather sad week. Even though I’ve known for months that we wouldn’t be travelling this year, the reality is finally setting in now that it’s three days before Christmas and we’re still at home.

So 2020 goes, I suppose.

Thanksgiving

There was a Thanksgiving! We successfully Thanksgivinged!

Which mostly means we made turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing on our own for the first time. They came out pretty well, actually. (Highly recommend the substitution of chicken broth and olive oil for butter and milk in the potatoes… healthier, and also gives them a nice savoryness.)


Life otherwise goes. I’m just waiting for the huge surge of cases we’re going to see in two weeks from all the people who didn’t have responsible Thanksgivings like we did, and wondering how I’m going to do the next grocery trip.

Election 2020?

It is currently 9 PM on Wednesday, November 4, after election day 2020. And I still have no idea what the results are, and I expect that I’m fairly alone in that regard, at this point*.

I guess I should explain.

I’m sure everyone’s been extremely on edge this year, and particularly this election, for many reasons… I think it’s not a stretch to say this is the most consequential election of our lifetimes (2020’s gotta one-up everything, including 2016).

But recently, particularly when the news of RBG’s death broke, and then more recently when ACB was confirmed to SCOTUS in her place, I’ve had what I’d probably describe as crippling anxiety, mostly characterized by an inability to work or do anything but sit around scrolling through page after page of doom.

That was despite my (failed) attempt at isolating myself from the news around the time of ACB’s confirmation… I’d avoided news sites, but enough crept through that I still got enough context when she was actually confirmed, which sent me in another downhill spiral for the rest of the night, generally gave me horrible insomnia, and bled into my mood the following day or two.

For the election itself, I decided I needed something much stronger, especially since the issues with mail-in voting meant we weren’t likely to have results on November 3 (with the senate taking even longer than that**). Much like the 2016 election, when I decided I needed to go to bed after results started coming in so I could wake up to the reality of President-Elect Trump rather than seeing it happen, I thought it would be better for my mental health if I could just receive the final results (good or bad) all at once.

So, starting yesterday at around noon, I cut myself off from anything that could possibly spoil any part of the election results or developments relating to them***. This started off fairly simply and obviously (avoid Reddit and The New York Times), but I realized it would need to be even more comprehensive, since reading anything on Twitter (election-related or not) shows a sidebar with “current news”, accessing YouTube to watch any video will show news-related suggestions on the front page, and well-meaning friends might reach out over Hangouts or Discord if the result went badly. I was even afraid (in the event of a bad result) that the ACLU would email me some words of encouragement (“We’ll continue the fight!”), so I also ditched my inbox. And a fear over the resulting ads (targeted or not) meant I didn’t want to visit even any webpage that could have even remotely political advertisements. Even things like checking stock prices (or accessing any website that includes any form of stock prices or indexes) might offer a clue to the results.

So almost cold turkey it was. In a lot of ways, it’s a repeat of my week in the cabin, with no internet access, with the biggest difference being a few “safe” websites (pretty much only Kingdom of Loathing and its forums, which seem to generally avoid any sort of politics) that I allowed myself to visit.

This is all made possible by the fact that Salesforce granted election day as a company holiday this year, and I also took today (Wednesday) off ala 2016 when I booked it preemptively in case things went south. (And then I was so glad to have the day to angst with Yubin and Max at their apartment when they did.) I’m pretty sure that any meetings at work today would have been full of election news.

So… did it work? I think it did. I slept pretty well last night (despite waking up from more than one “Trump wins!” dream). I’ve had a generally anxiety-free day and a half of playing video games and dealing with photos and having relatively normal vacation days (much like the cabin days, which were amazing) instead of doomscrolling. I’m ready to wake up tomorrow morning, pull open The New York Times, and start the process of either acceptance or celebration.

And so I sit, and wait, and hope. It’s lonely, but still worth it.

We’ll see how I feel tomorrow morning.

*Fairly alone, because I know several of my friends are doing a similar thing. I just don’t know how many of them have broken their internet/news hiatus by this point… I’ll find that out tomorrow morning too, I suppose. If this is something you can at all do given your job, I highly recommend it.

**The presidency isn’t the only thing that matters. Even if we get a Biden win, a Republican senate majority will ensure that the next 2 (or 4) years are as full of partisan gridlock as Obama’s last years were. Any hope of making real progress on climate change, or tax policy, or border policy, or true Coronavirus action, or the shitshow of SCOTUS rulings that are sure to follow depends on the senate.

***In addition to the results themselves, I’ve also been extremely anxious recently over all the news around voter suppression and potential armed conflicts and more in the aftermath of the results, and particularly Trump’s frequent statements that he might not accept the results. I figured I’d give that some time to settle down, as well, so I could learn (for example) that Sacramento was literally burnt down in armed riots or something rather than watching the developments leading up to it. I’ve watched enough depressing developments this year to last me a lifetime.

Edit: Well I was unpleasantly surprised this morning. But I think avoiding all of the obsessive result refreshing over the past 36 hours or so was still well worth it. Hopefully we’ll know results by the end of the week, although the senate appears pretty shot at this point.