CHONGQING, CHINA, September 5 – Falling Through the Fog

 

Saturday, September 5 – Falling Through the Fog

By Jorah Kai CHONGQING, CHINA

It’s a good thing I’m pretty sure time isn’t linear, because if it were, I’d be working too much. But if it is a knotty ball all happening at once, then all the jobs I have now make up for some of those years I was blissfully struggling in the music business or possibly even for my later years that I hope to involve more relaxing and less mutant cannibal sport hunting, but hey, really, whatever. I managed to get Sunday off this year, and a day off is a lot better than nothing. 

My sister Nunich once told me: “Ask yourself how can I make myself better, my life better, the world better? Ask yourself these questions and whatever your answers are, every day, do those things.”

Kai and his friends at the gym
Kai and his friends at the gym

I’m trying to take it to heart. Every day I go to the gym to become stronger, I read to become smarter, write, and I teach to become more helpful and possibly in a literary sense, immortal. I hope the teaching and the writing, and being more active in environmentalism will make the world a little better. Every day I try to cram as much work into as short a time as possible, so I can be creative, make music, write novels, spend time with family, walk, eat good food, hug my dogs, sleep well, even watch crappy movies and play a weekly tabletop RPG game with my friends. I feel like this is a recipe for a good life.

An example of the junk food I am actively trying to shame anyone I can into canceling is this fructose abomination: plastic packed fruit. It’s grown in Argentina, packed in Thailand, sold in America. Imagine the wasted resources and earth killing carbon used to harvest fruit in south America, send it to Asia to wash, cut, and pack it into water in single-use plastic cups and then ship back to America to put on shelves and sell to lazy people who would rather wreck our planet for every human and animal than literally wash and cut up their own fruit. Slurp, slurp, and now it will sit in the earth for 1,000 years. Seriously, if you see someone pick that up at the grocery store, slap it out of their hands and call them a world raping piece of trash for me (but do it nicely, no need to be rude). The only way it’ll stop is if we stop buying it.

Some Quebec parents were in court today, arguing that they should have a right to distance education during a pandemic. Premier Legault fired back that due to a shortage in teachers, the province cannot have teachers teaching both in the class and online. If only there were a device that could record a class and make it available on the internet… what would that be? A camera? A cellphone? A YouTube account? Oh well, let the kids die, right. He can’t think of any other option.

My old friend, Mimsey Demon, laughs and says, “They can’t use youtube for Quebec education’ cuz it’s not called ToiTube.”

Indeed. #languagepolice. I see so many examples of us not learning from each other. In Mexico, 1) they recognize this is a real danger to kids 2) many families don’t have wifi/internet at home — problem? No. all schools are closed, and they are broadcasting teachers on public tv by grades for kids. Why don’t we see that and think AHA if Mexico can do it…Canada and the US should be able to also? In so many situations, I’ve seen science take 4-6 months to make it from my desk to widespread consumption and understanding and discourse in the western world. People are just so reluctant to change their ways or go out of their way — even if it means saving their families and friends from sickness and danger. 

Dr. Tam, Canada’s top doc, says: “wear a mask with any new sexual partners that aren’t in your bubble” – great medical advice to control pandemic spread that people openly laugh at as absurd. Hence the disconnect between what people should do and what they will do. Hence the continued spread, lockdown, and fatalities as we head toward the fall.

“Two weeks into college, students must quarantine in dorms after many test positive for COVID-19.”

So college is back, and after the “totally unexpected outbreaks,” (eye-roll) they are opting to quarantine students in shared dorm spaces. 

“So quarantine… in small rooms, having to leave it to use a bathroom shared by many other people, or to go get food (which will frequently be because they can’t cook and store it there),” said my friend Mimsey Demon. “Oh yeah… that’ll be effective. Jesus, just put them up in a hotel with room service or something.”

Yeah, it’s literally way worse than those laughable cruise ships in terms of a tidy quarantine situation. It’s so dumb. And then people will get sick, and some will die (either the students, or maybe their family and friends or the college employees… who knows) and I’ll end up looking like the biggest jerk of them all because I’ll be screaming “I told you this would happen” when they all try to pretend it’s a tragedy no one could have predicted. Post-COVID syndrome severely damages children’s hearts says a report by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. We really aren’t giving this the proper gravitas it deserves, and our failure in many countries both to properly respect the novel nature of this pandemic and take responsible action will have dire consequences.

On the plus side, two of my friends gave me some encouragement that all this work meant something, at least to them. As the news breaks in Canada that Vitamin D might help to avoid a bad case of COVID-19, my friends remark that I’ve been talking about this, and publishing it in my diary for 5-6 months already. “Thanks to you, Jorah, I have been taking Vitamin D this whole time. Now everyone is going to go crazy for it. Better stock up. There a reason why my bubble has not gotten sick, that’s because of all the great advice you have given me. Thanks again, and thanks from my tight-knit bubble as well.”  My friend Alison took it one step farther, “Dear Kai: Those of us who live because of you won’t forget when we need a new world leader. I am completely dead serious. You gave me the information to be a meme. I would not have been able to keep calm no carry on without your plethora of info and your time-traveling abilities.” World leader is not on my list of to-do’s, which for a Leo is a sign of growing grace and humility I think, but I do really appreciate that I’m not just shouting into a vacuum. I am really glad that my family and my digital tribe are safe.  

Speaking of digital tribes, a virtual burn is happening these days, but I am too busy living my real life to spend the week there. Still, I hope they’re enjoying it. I can imagine many more virtual festivals, concerts and gatherings will be the norm for a while. I hope they can improve the GUI and experience.

My friend Tim is mad that all these schools are blaming the students for being human. “All of these universities opening up, getting a ton of cases, then blaming students for it are just shirking responsibility.

In a college setting, it only takes one person making one mistake to spread the virus everywhere. “Our students turned out to not behave with 100% perfect adherence” is not a real excuse; it’s an admission that the administration failed in their basic duty to consider variables and provide safety. Blame admin.”

I feel we are doing this across the board, taking the best possible cherry-picked scenario and barely planning to deal with that, and are totally stunned when things go sideways. 

Trump has a new COVID, Czar. A scientist to replace Dr. Fauci? We wish. No, he’s a fool off fox news who knows nothing about science. His plan? Literally, do nothing. Let it burn through America with no protection or slowdown or containment measures and let 2 million people die. Herd Immunity or Homicidal Maniacs at the Wheel? You decide.

Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/01/trump-coronavirus-millions-saved-160814

“What would have happened if we did nothing?” the President asked Tuesday night, mentioning it twenty times in 24 hours. Like many of Trump’s rhetorical questions, he had already answered it — millions would die. Don’t judge him on the horrific 200,000 dead on his watch. Rejoice that he hasn’t killed 2-3 million yet. Still, he’s thinking about it….(2.2m was the government’s latest upper-end estimate of how many Americans might die if nothing were done to prevent the disease’s spread — no social distancing, no business closures, no banning of mass gatherings). “I thought about it,” Trump conceded. “I said, ‘Maybe we should ride it through.'” Ironically, that’s about the number of Americans that he lost the last election by. Coincidence? Or something worse? Winter is coming, and you either win the throne or you die, according to Game of Thrones. Let’s see who does the winning, and who does the dying.

COVID-19 numbers are falling in some states, others are still rising, but that’s if you can even believe the data after the White House decided to circumvent the direct route of hospitals to CDC and become a ‘reliable intermediary and curator of statistics’ – we all screamed bloody murder when it happened. Still, now we accept their data as data, without so much as an eye roll. I think the human mind can only conceive of some much lying, nonsense, and bullshit, and we are definitely redlining and over our heads.

Coronavirus live news: ‘practically all schoolchildren’ likely to catch COVID, says Madrid president. “At some point, we expect them basically all to catch the virus.”  

After months halted, the recently resumed new Batman movie stopped production again after star Robert Pattinson has been confirmed to be sick with COVID-19. Director Matt Reeves has said the film has remained unchanged despite the numerous production halts, and I’m hoping they can finish it soon and in good health.

So Shaolin casually admitted she’d lost her sense of smell. It’s been a few days since she can smell the food she’s cooking, the essential oils in our humidifier, anything. She blames the AC — a totally Chinese idea that makes no sense to me, but considering we haven’t had any cases of COVID-19 in CQ for months, she would literally be the first in 35 million people in 5 months, and we haven’t left town.. so…. Hoping for the best. It is an odd symptom, though, and if we were anywhere with an outbreak, we’d be rushing to get tested. I will remain on high alert.

“(Dr.) Pepper went on to say that “sewage surveillance is a leading indicator” because “you can detect the virus in sewage seven days before symptoms appearing.” It gives you “seven precious days” to institute mitigation, intervention, quarantine, contact tracing, lockdowns, etc, when you detect a blooming (pluming?) cluster and outbreak. “I think about a week in the US is probably equivalent to 20 or 30,000 cases,” he said.

 Well, any responsible school, school board, corporation, business, large community, etc. could be tested regularly and know before people become symptomatic (possibly even contagious) and “nip outbreaks in the bud” — this kind of thing is 100% IMHO what we should be doing. If we don’t take full advantage of this, it’s a huge missed opportunity and blood on the hands of our paternalistic, inept leadership. All we could do is parade this information in front of them again and again until they hopefully get tired of looking foolish and incompetent and do something reasonable (for a change).

Occasional teachers worry about working in multiple Hamilton schools during COVID-19. I have friends who are substitute teachers. Like the outbreaks in nursing homes from workers working in multiple centers, they worry about getting infected in one school and bringing it to another. Yeah, that is a worry. If COVID-19 outbreaks occur in schools, substitute teachers will help spread the virus.

And what’s up with face shields? First of all, way less safe than goggles. 

Secondly, steampunk teachers are a huge missed opportunity for 2020.

World’s fastest man hosts big mask free birthday- Usain Bolt may be the fastest man alive, but not as fast as COVID-19, I say. 

He deserves it! Says Cliff.

That’s racist, I scream back. Cliff is so white he makes mayonnaise look spicy, but then I wonder, is it racist for him to criticize Bolt, or me to assume the criticism is based on Bolt’s skin color? Now that’s a problem, so I dig deeper and then clarify: You are obviously prejudiced against very swift people by that I mean. Cliff laughs. I laugh, walking around my tower, chuckling like a mad wizard, as I tend to do now and then, making the locals look up in alarm and suspicion. What is it I do up here? What is so funny? Life.

“Drug suspect offered July plea deal if he would admit/accuse Breanna Taylor part of ‘organized crime syndicate.’ They’re literally trying to find anyone willing to shave off jail sentence for implicating Breonna Taylor as a criminal so they can retroactively justify police murdering an innocent front line worker and citizen in her bed. It’s not working. Don’t forget.

FBI investigating pilot’s reports of mysterious jet packman – is this Franky Zappata from France? We saw this guy in Marseille last summer for Bastille Day. Shaolin went wild — I’ll have to get us jetpacks one day when we’re older. He crossed the English channel this year too… busy guy!

Nestle exits the bottled water business in Canada after heavy criticism. Hell yes. To hell with those corporate baby killers.

“Dr. Ashleigh Tuite, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, said that the decision not to approve at-home test was a “paternalistic” move from Health Canada and indicated a lack of trust in the public.

“I think throughout this pandemic there’s been a lot of pushback where, in terms of interventions that could help, they were seen from the medical community that the public wouldn’t know how to use it properly,” she said.

Dr. Tuite said that the same kind of reaction occurred at the start of the pandemic with regards to masks when medical experts were concerned that people were not going to put their masks on and take them off safely, or that they would touch their faces more. Those concerns “have not borne out,” she said.”

Totally. It’s sad, really. Lost opportunities. It didn’t have to be this way. Public health experts criticize health Canada’s decision not to approve at-home testing— They refused an option for take-home tests (saliva), which also would have eliminated cross-infection from having a bunch of sick people in one area- for the same reason, they told people not to wear masks. They’re paternalistic and think people are too stupid to protect themselves. Canadian diet association also issued a press release saying a good diet and proper vitamins have no bearing on the immune system, and you cannot “tune your immune system” with adequate rest, healthy food, and supplements. It’s like they’re trying to kill anyone stupid enough to believe them. ?

I’m delighted, so many of my friends are watching Cobra Kai these days. Not just because my name is on their lips but 2020 Ralph Macchio is inspiring, and the reboot all these years later is welcome and pleasant, warm and wholesome. It’s smart, and in Trump’s age, I’ll take any smart I can get. Life moves pretty fast, but we have lifetimes and reincarnations and come back from oblivion decades later to make our mark in a way no one could have ever predicted. 

Do you ever prepare for SHTF? How? Stockpile food, water, medicine? Sweat it out at the gym daily, building muscles and stamina? Outside of the US, where “stockpiling guns” is not a reasonable ‘hobby,’ what’s in your kit? I have a solar USB charger, but I’d like a better, more powerful solar charging option. I have some basic gear for chaos/anarchy/zombies but nothing fancy… a couple of custom Damascus steel knives, baton, brass knuckles, nunchucks, some tactical gloves, and clothing with lots of pockets and cut/tear-resistant, quick-dry, and waterproof/anti-bacterial/quick-dry clothing, and silver socks, you know, to kick a werewolf in the mouth. The basics. My one regret I missed off Kickstarter? The beanie helmet. It’s a beanie hat for snowboarding, etc., but when you hit something hard, it congeals and protects your noggin. I think it’s just so hot most of the year where I couldn’t justify or imagine wearing a beanie, but if I ever get a good whack to the head, I’ll wish I’d been wearing it. As an aside, I think it’s worth stating on the record that unlike my wife’s opinion that “I’m not good at saving money,” I would rather say that I have many priorities that aren’t commonly shared but might come in handy one day. Such as ‘all the money I wasted on masks’ over the past few years, but when there was a global mask shortage in 2020, I had a collection of fancy anti-virus gas masks, respirators, and reusable face masks ready to go.

My teaching kit is a bit different. Due to the fact we are five months without community transmission (but must remain vigilant), we do not wear masks or goggles in the classrooms unless we are unwell (have any cold symptoms). That said, I often wear glasses to protect my eyes. I also have a revere ion air purification pendant I wear around my neck that supposedly ‘traps airborne particles,’ making them heavy and falling to the ground. It may not be strong enough for a pronounced effect, but I’ll take any effect I can get, and even if it is that of a talisman and wishful thinking, it might give me a better rest, and my body can do the rest. I also have a pocket USB HEPA air purifier and ionizer that I put on the desk in front of me. Ionizers and electrostatic purifiers can be effective at removing small particles, such as bacteria, from the air. They may be less effective than mechanical filters at trapping larger particles such as dust and dander, making them less helpful to allergy and asthma sufferers. A two in one sounds like a good deal. I also keep masks very close by. If I feel unsafe, too crowded, or come to a class where many students are coughing and sneezing, I can choose to mask up. I also keep the doors and windows open, as ventilation is quite essential.

The other day I got a new supp in the mail: Super Sayan God Mode pre-workout formula. I used a spoon of it in a shaker of water and hit the gym, and an hour later felt like a butterfly flapping against the window, utilizing every machine at once as I flittered around like a madman. At that moment, I would have felt much more at home at a UK Drum and Bass party with some glow sticks and a wicked sneer. Respect the scoop size. I feel like this applies to many, many aspects of life.

So I’m back to school, and full of gratitude for the serendipity doos of my life. I started the week on August 31, so Monday was an extra prep day. I confirmed my ‘offer’: M-W on campus A and Th-Fr on campus B, and they were surprised, as they hadn’t remembered that, so they scrambled to redo my schedule and as a result, I ended up teaching Tuesday and Wednesday (4 and 5 periods respectively) and have Thursday and Friday off to relax as they try to figure out my campus B schedule still. So the first week back is a whopping 9 40 minute periods over two days. Yet, after 5 in a row Wednesday morning, my voice was a bit husky- I need to reel in my enthusiasm a bit as I build up my vocal stamina again, but I was happy to have the rest of the day free after lunch to go to the gym and relax. It was the first day with fresh water at the pool, and I had the whole lane to myself, listening to the RZA’s guided exploration and just flowing, breathing, and swimming. It was a ‘shoulder day,’ and I upped my weights from the previous week on the seated bench, which feels like real progress. In a world where leaders lie, and the media is just a point of view, these little dense balls of mass that grow in size and weight are some of the only objective truth to be found. I’m glad I’m getting stronger. Winter is coming. When life gets hard, I get hard.

That’s no joke.

Happiness chems and how to activate them:

Dopamine: the reward chemical. – completing tasks and goals – taking care of yourself, – eating yummy food, -celebrating

Oxytocin: the love hormone – playing with babies, dogs, kittens, holding hands, hugging loved ones, compliments

Endorphin: the pain killer – laughing, – exercising, – dark chocolate – essential oils – watch a comedy

Serotonin: mood stabilizer – meditating, running, sun exposure, walk in nature, swimming, cycling

We should all try to do 1-2 of each every day 🙂 I try to hit the full list if I can. It’s working for me. It might work for you, too.

On a positive note: The Russian Vaccine seems to be working, and Chinese media is reporting we will have ours by Chrismas – how they get administered and how many can be made a year becomes the next issue, assuming they work and are safe. Eight billion doses in a few weeks, all for an affordable price, would be great.

 

Falling through the Fog is the third collection of Kai’s diaries for the year 2020, documenting the COVID-19 pandemic. Kai shares his diary with iChongqing, and you can read him directly at www.theinvisiblewar.co