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I call this, "Glowing with the force, and swallowing strands of plastic beard, while keeping my grumpy Luke scowl." Punk Daenarys Targaryan in the back there.   Spoiler alert: she's my

So, this happened yesterday. Here are the happy couple in the Gothic Hall in the Oud Stadthuis in Brugge.  Lovely day.   

TM and I had dinner with db and Pigkilla, here in Honolulu! Good food, good conversation, good time had by all.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not good with birthdays, and I have one coming.

 

So as I feel in debt to the G board, I'll leave one of those unpleasant but absolute true stories which is simply weird.

 

When I was about 11 (+-1..2) I would watch television long after normal bedtimes, as my parents let me.  I got to see a lot of MASH as it originally aired.  

 

This is where it gets weird.  At that age, MASH ended, and I remember watching Alan Alda in a sitcom, something like House Calls, but I could be wrong on that.  But I was young, sitting in front of the tv, and noticed some sort of mark on my stomach.  So I picked it.  Gross.  And kept picking it while thinking about doctors on the television half hour.  That and as I now remember, martinis and open operations.  I picked the mark next to my belly button so much, not yet realizing this wasn't good, that a mark is still there till this day.  I think my parents watched and said nothing, at least as I remember it.  They might have stopped me once, but maybe not.  It's slight, but real.  And then I saw some sort of news show on hernias, when I was at that age, about the lower intestines poking through the stomach area or something, and the whole thing freaked me out.  But I never asked my parents.

 

Oddly enough, at an older age, when I got to the TO science center with school, the initial washrooms on the tour were closed, as I walked into one, and someone had attacked them with crap, literally, all over the place.  (And I always see that area on news shows that go to the initial area around this.)  And I care about the exit store, which sells science products.

  

So, Alan Alda means something to me, as the mark is still there, with helicopter sounds, bodies coming in, and flipping martinis, with open operations.  Peace, war.  The number.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I spent 90 minutes in a car with a coworker that is now in confimement, waiting for the PCR test result of her son, as a friend of his tested positive and they spent two hours playing in the same room last Saturday.

 

It creates a certain worry to be linked, still by an uncertain chain, to a positive case. Protocol here right now requires that I confine myself if she tests positive, except to go for my own tests, and meanwhile to live normally, if this can be called normal. 

 

Risk is quite low. We did not sing or shout or cough. We did not spend time face to face. We kept a well put mask in good shape on. In my estimate the risk of a car accident was higher than contagion. But it is clear what stays in my mind.

 

If there are no strong lockdowns I will probably make my first trip abroad (to Milan, Italy) in October. Depending on the plane experience and risk, I am really thinking of going to Venice afterwards, to enjoy the city in partial solitude. And then avoid my parents for a month, which is not easy, living in the same city and they needing help often...

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Egads! I took an antibody test at random this week, but mostly just because it was free, it's for Science!™ and the testing site was like 6 blocks from my house so it only took about 20 minutes including bike time to do it. I guess I get the results sometime later this week. The .mil is ridiculous in that they keep getting outbreaks but never actually tell anyone who may have been involved in them… so you hear 2 weeks later that 3 students in a class all got COVID and are in quarantine now and you're like, "did I bump into them in the break room that week?". A marine I watch on scope is in 2 week quarantine even though she took a COVID swab test and tested negative basically "just because" and since a bunch of her squad got COVID as near as I can tell too. 🙄

 

In other news, got an award from my company for a little VR project I did, which was cool. And after 2 weeks vacation, it's hard to get back into the swing of things again, lol. It's Thursday and I'm finally able to fall asleep before 5am at least so my schedule is coming back around.

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I have not yet taken a PCR test, though I have taken a couple of antibody tests (negative), plus the one I get when I donate blood (every three months). However my wife has been tested twice already (both negative) because she developed asthma last year and usually has digestive problems, so she always ticks several boxes in the symptom quizzes. 

 

Our company support a professorship at the University, and I am part of the steering committee, so we have our fist meeting since January. Discussing grants, science promoting activities, courses and conferences. And possibly a meal all together, which will be a trial. On one hand trying to give a feeling of normalcy. In the other a risk, even putting five people in a twelve seat table. 

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So far I've only eaten outdoors when meeting people, which I figure is going to be my modus operandi for the foreseeable future…

 

Although, speaking of which, I did actually meet up with someone for lunch today for the first time in forever. She's a friend off Periscope and I did her a favor while she was gone to her family's cabin over the summer and went over to her house and moved the cable modem and wifi router to the front of the house where the B&B is. Free lunch, wheee!

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today is a bank holiday in scotland. fairly localised and limited. it is raining and there isn't a lot to do. it is weird, ending up sitting in same space i work in, not working.

 

my car has been largely off road since the lockdown. managed to get it moving. but the inaction hasn't helped. got tyre problems, battery now flat. think i may be drifting towards selling it and not buying something for a while. what is point of car that is going to sit there, when we can't go anywhere? essential for getting to work, only way i can get to work, but until then, kinda stuck.

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I still go daily to work, and for most uses we prefer to go by car than by public transport. Getting in a bus or a tram is stressing right now. Doing more urban driving than before, and that way we really notice the benefits in consumption of the hybrid powerplant. 

 

My boss of 22 years died at the beginning of September. Lung cancer, a clear consequence of 40 years smoking. As this is a family owned company they try to fit his son in the position, but it is difficult, and the core team we are all still shell-shocked. Working in automatic is OK, as we have been a team for eight years (those are the "new" guys and gals), but when we have to stop and decide, or explain why we do things the way we do, it all falls down.

 

My mother has the same cancer*, but as she is 83, nobody dares to give a time estimate. It can be ten months or ten years. She does not fight it, and we just try to be with her within the limitations of COVID, as she is at extreme risk in case of pneumonia. Choices, and the delayed effects of smoking.

 

*Small-cell lung cancer, a typical smoker disease, in her case twenty five years after she quit smoking (but she smoked for forty years)

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Of course, one of the problems I have at moment is: what happened today? I got up. Ate breakfast at desk. Worked. Had lunch. Worked. Ate dinner. Read. Went to bed. Same as yesterday. Same as tomorrow.

 

Some days are tough. Some days I sleep badly. Some days are fine. The days are much of a muchness.

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So far I've spent like 10 hours in the actual office this week. With maybe 2 more to go on Friday. Probably had contact with about 8 different students, a couple ed techs and various and assorted AF personnel, but I just keep washing my hands after we share computer keyboards or mice and I go back to my desk. So far, so good apparently. My COVID antibodies test came back negative from a week ago.

 

Tucson now officially had the second driest monsoon season on record sine 1895. And we're 10 degrees over usual temps for this time of year too. Luckily, I did spring for AC 2 years ago, so working from home is comfy, but it's a bit crazy to have to keep watering my cactus to keep them from dying… On the bright side, at least the smoke from the fires in California has dissipated somewhat, thank god.

 

Oh, and a really good friend I made off Periscope a couple years ago got immensely triggered 3-4 months ago by an event we were both involved in, and now claims that whenever we interact, she completely doesn't trust me. Since this is all basically stuff out of her personal background that's causing it, I finally had to give up and just tell her that whenever she got therapy and got over it, I would still be around but having her angry and distrustful of me in all our interactions now due to stuff that is out of my control was causing me massive stress too and I couldn't take it any more. Muted her on all social media, and we'll see if we ever interact again? Good times…

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Last Sunday was my birthday, though I invited only my parents, as the COVID rules capacity for our flat is only 4 people. Will see how I celebrate with others, as the weather starts to turn into autumn and spending long periods outside becomes more complicated. 

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Happy belated birthday! 

 

I've seen my parents 3 times total in the last six months, my oldest brother and his family twice, and my other brother and his family just once. No other family beyond that.

 

All of our days are very much the same, we don't have a car and are avoiding public transport so we've barely left the city. It's a drag, but it'd be more of a drag to get seriously ill...

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Rules keep morphing here, at moment pretty much not allowed to have anyone in anyone elses's home, with £1000 fine per person if rules broken. Can meet one other household in bar/restaurant, can't car share. So social stuff is difficult.

 

Caught up with friends for coffee/dinner on Sunday. Which remains odd, and mixed feelings about it, but...

Dad's birthday today. As I say, I have mixed feelings, but folks have been going out for lunch a couple of times a week. Partly it is a mental health thing. A difficult balance, between safety and breaking. So I took day off work, too parents out for lunch.

 

I have something like 3 weeks holiday left, but increasingly nowhere to go. Guy who does same job as me, there are only 2 of us, he tends to take every Monday at this time of year. So I'm testing taking every Wednesday. Can't decide if that is inspired or just fucking stupid. We'll see...

 

ONS have been doing additional local testing for Covid, as supplement/alternative to the regular testing. I see some folk saying their numbers are more reliable. They were looking for folk in our area, so they were here yesterday, and I got a test. Which I've agreed to do every week for a few weeks, which I guess gives some reassurance. We'll see...

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Thanks, Wanderer.

 

I understand the stress with the parents. In my case, additionally, my mother says that she prefers to die if we do not go visit her. Clear emotional blackmail, but with lung cancer, a big aneurism and an ossified heart valve, she could really kill herself almost by thinking about it. Only her naturally low blood pressure keeps her going...

 

We canceled our first business trip in October to another country, Italy. Maybe in November. We are doing some inside Spain, however. Got a couple of documents saying we are an essential industry and that we need to travel. I also have one to Brussels in November that probably will be canceled this week. This is the period for fixing prices and targets for 2021, and many purchasers prefer the direct talk to the virtual. So we get strange situations, such as meeting in the parking for the company, or in a restaurant (that usually was after the meeting, not the meeting).

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My parents are still in pretty good health, so they're not that at risk. But still we're trying to be careful. I think it might be harder for kids what would normally have bigger celebrations for things like birthdays, communions, etc... 

 

Now is REALLY not the time to go to Brussels @Psychophant! I'm supposed to go into the office to clear out my desk at some point (the office is moving to a smaller, cheaper location); but I'm putting it off as long as I can because the prospect of an hour train ride and going through crowded locations like train and metro stations in Brussels sounds like a terrible idea. 

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Good to see you, Colin, even if there is not much to tell.

 

The Brussels meeting, as expected is now fully virtual. I am doing some traveling, but only inside Spain, and by car, avoiding public transport for long distances. A real setback for sustainability, but the risk otherwise is too high. 

 

Tomorrow we go to our favorite restaurant for my birthday. The tables were already at a safe distance before COVID, but we will miss the banter of the sommelier. Spendng what we can to help them survive this period, it is not the kind of place you can get take-away. 

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