Food, covid-adjacent

Grabbed a coffee and muffin while out walking, and found an out of the way outdoor place where I could unmask and eat without being near anyone else.

It was WEIRD.

It felt like I was getting away with something.

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I mean, I haven’t eaten at a restaurant in nearly a year. Not even outside on a patio. This is the second time since last March that I’ve eaten anything away from home except the occasional travel mug of coffee in the car, when I’m actually going somewhere farther than the grocery store.

I’m not used to it anymore!

…this used to be normal, and now it’s not, and the fact that it’s not normal is weird too.

I think the last time I ate at a restaurant was when I went out to lunch with some co workers the first week of March, and we were talking about whether we wanted to switch to working remotely early, before the order came down. Cause we all knew it was coming sooner or later.

And as it turned out, all of us who were there ended up doing just one more day onsite. Two of us switched early voluntarily, and I got the flu & didn’t recover until the office closed.

At least, I thought it was the flu. The symptoms I used to determine it wasn’t Covid have since been found to be associated with Covid too, and I had a long, lingering cough after I’d otherwise recovered. And while my wife didn’t get the full on flu symptoms, she got the lingering cough too.

Whatever it was, I isolated right away and we didn’t give it to anyone else.

I guess at this point there isn’t any good way to tell. And it probably doesn’t matter anymore either.

Anyway, it’s weird to think that even though I still have the same job, I’ll never go back to that office again. The lease expired last month and they decided to move to a new location once onsite office work is actually a thing again, and the new building isn’t ready yet, so they packed everything into storage.

I guess it would be different if I’d had a chance to grab some key items and/or clear out the clutter on my desk (at least now I know I don’t need those hand written notes after all), which I would have done if I hadn’t been sick when the work-from-home order came down. But as it was, I just had my work laptop at home and that was it.

Expanded on K2R

fan conventions, covid-adjacent

And there’s the official WonderCon@Home announcement
https://www.comic-con.org/wca

Sounds like they’re still hoping to do San Diego in-person. We’ll see. Well, other people will. I’ve already read the Last Stand of the California Browncoats.

And Long Beach Comic Con’s website’s back online, which is a good sign. I guess it was just bad timing as far as when I happened to look.

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fan conventions, covid-adjacent

WonderCon’s website still shows dates for March, but I don’t think there’s any chance of holding a convention in Anaheim that soon, and I wouldn’t go even if they did.

They also haven’t been selling tickets. I’d guess they’ll announce soon that it’s been cancelled again.

I doubt July will be feasible for San Diego, either. And SDCC feels unsafely crowded in *normal* years. Even in the best-case scenario, my anxiety would go through the roof.

Fall, maaaaybe. Depending on how well the vaccines ramp up and how bad the variants get.

Long Beach was scheduled for September, but their website’s not responding. I’m a bit worried that as a smaller con, they just aren’t able to keep the business side of things intact for two years without events.

So it’s looking like another year without going to any cons. Maybe just as well – I’m sure I’ll have to ramp up my sense of what size crowd feels ok anyway.

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I like Minecraft Earth, but it didn’t quite hit its stride before the pandemic…

I like #MinecraftEarth, but it didn’t quite hit its stride before the pandemic, and didn’t adapt as well as Pokemon Go has *to* the pandemic. I mostly stopped playing after I hit the level cap because gameplay was still too awkward, and it wasn’t *enough* fun to overcome that when I didn’t have a goal to work toward.

So while I’m sad that it’s shutting down later this year, it’s more “what could have been” than wishing I could keep playing it.

https://www.theverge.com/2021/1/5/22215253/minecraft-earth-closing-down-june-2021-microsoft

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Adventuring in AR is the obvious highlight. The main problems are that (1) it requires space, which not everyone has right now, and (2) you can’t choose the *type* of adventure when you activate one, only the complexity. So you’re never sure if you’re going to get a puzzle, a battle, or just a lot of blocks to mine.

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Build plates are a cool idea, but the space is very limited, and actually building them in AR is awkward. Sometimes I think it would’ve been nice to be able to build in standard Minecraft UI, then play them in AR. Plus when the pandemic hit, that ruined the plan to let you share the build with other players.

I ended up mainly using build plates to farm. It’s cool that you can, though! Crops and trees grow, you can milk cows, shear sheep, etc. All on your dining table!

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Good on them for releasing the rest of the finished-but-unreleased content, discounting what’s there, and giving us time to play the new stuff before shutting down. Plus transferring purchases and character items to Minecraft proper.

https://www.minecraft.net/en-us/article/minecraft-earth-coming-end

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Les Mis, history, slavery

Years ago I saw a mention of Les Misérables being popular with Confederate soldiers, who were nicknamed “Lee’s Miserables.”

Even though the book is about why you shouldn’t treat people horribly even if they’re on the lower rungs of society.

Even stranger, the rare times America is mentioned, it’s to condemn slavery.

It turns out there was an 1863 edition published in Richmond that “fixed” the “Yankee” translation from the year before.

JFC

https://www.jstor.org/stable/3040282?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents

They claimed they were trying to fix up some of the idioms, but decided while they were at it to remove all the abolitionist references, insisting that the anti-slavery remarks were somehow off-topic for a book about *European* oppression.

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Expanded on Re-Reading Les Mis

Yesterday: Talking about cosplay ideas for when we can finally go back to comic conventions….

Yesterday: Talking about cosplay ideas for when we can finally go back to comic conventions.

Today: “L.A. Comic Con says it is moving forward with its plan to hold an in-person convention in December”

OH HELL NO

I don’t care if they’re limiting it to 10% of capacity and requiring masks. Knowing what we know now, December is going to be way too soon.

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Honestly I’m not surprised that of the various LA-area cons it’s them that wants to jump the gun. (As the article points out, there’s no provision in the state’s reopening plan to re-allow conventions even in the least-restricted tier. Which LA County definitely isn’t in now, and I wouldn’t count on it getting there by December.) They’ve always struck me as kinda snake-oily.

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Admittedly it’s been years from the worst, back when it was Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo and they had a reality show on SyFy, but still…

Planning a convention for the middle of winter during a pandemic when there’s no provision for actually *holding* a convention within public health regulations? Might be a new low.

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Follow-up

Interesting point about Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda: for the most part, MS doesn’t care what …

Interesting point about Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda: for the most part, MS doesn’t care what hardware you run their stuff on, they just want you to buy the software. So it’s less likely to be about trying to gain Xbox exclusives and more likely to be about getting more games for Game Pass.

https://www.theverge.com/21449178/microsoft-xbox-bethesda-zenimax-media-acquisition-xbox-game-pass

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It reminds me of a blog post I read a few years back comparing the core business of various major tech players:

Apple sells hardware, and they sell software & media to give you something to do with the HW.

MS sells software, and the HW is to give you something to run their software on.

Google sells ads on services, and provides HW & SW to connect to those services.

Amazon sells stuff, and their HW is a way to sell you virtual stuff.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20131030165516-1269-waterworld-the-right-way-to-think-about-the-battles-in-mobile

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And that’s why, for instance, you can run Gmail on anything, MS Office on almost anything, but the main Apple program that runs on other operating systems is designed primarily to hook you up with an iPhone (previously an iPod).

It’s an older post and predates the rise of smart speakers, but it still fits remarkably well. Remember how the Echo originally was mostly a way to place orders through Amazon?

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Coin shortage update: Bank is back to rationing quarters…

Coin shortage update: Bank is back to rationing quarters, only exchanging one roll at a time. Landlord is *finally* looking at switching the laundry room to a card system.

A coin shortage seems oddly specific, and the first time I encountered the limit, I wondered if people were deliberately hoarding them. Then I saw an article pointing out that it’s simpler than that: people just aren’t out spending cash, so coins aren’t circulating and aren’t making it back to banks.

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I assume the laundry machine service charges more to rent the debit card systems. Every big apartment complex I’ve lived in used one, but the small building I live in now has been quarter-based since we moved in.

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Back to the coin thing, though: I was reading that some restaurants are doing things like offering a free bag of chips or a free soda instead of change when people pay cash, because it’s easier to restock chips than coins.

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Oh hey, here’s Forbes back in July saying Well, actually, it’s not really a coin *shortage*, it’s a *circulation disruption*.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/advisor/2020/07/20/is-there-really-a-coin-shortage/

And yeah, at a high level, you need different strategies to resolve an actual shortage of something vs. a distribution issue. But down at the “I need clean clothes” level it doesn’t make a lot of difference.

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Minecraft Betas & Microsoft Store Gripe

Try out snapshots in Minecraft Java Edition:
– change the version in the launcher
Go back to stable:
– same

Try out betas in Minecraft Windows 10 Edition:
– Log in as someone Microsoft knows is an adult
– Sign up for Xbox Insider
– Sign up for the Minecraft beta
– Update your MS apps
Go back to stable:
– Leave the beta
– Back up your save files, are buried deep in a hidden folder with cryptic names
– Uninstall Minecraft from EVERY LOGIN on the computer
– Reinstall Minecraft
– Restore your saves

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As near as I can tell, the Microsoft Store will only download the application if it’s newer than a version that’s already on the computer. So if the beta is newer than the stable release, and the beta still exists somewhere on the computer, it’ll just use that one instead of re-downloading it.

replying to brion:

No kidding! I haven’t dug into the inner workings of the windows app store, but it really seems like something that came out of the mobile/console ecosystems. Plus it’s never clear how much is installed per-system or per-user, as this beta fiasco showed!

I’m just glad I’d already found out that uninstalling the app deletes all your worlds before having to uninstall it on the kiddo’s login.

Come to think of it, it’s inexcusable that there is literally no way to reinstall a borked copy of the game and keep your potentially *years* of progress on a world without manually digging into $homedir\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalState\games\com.mojang\ and making a copy of your saved games before you uninstall it.

Something like “Saved Games” for saved games would be nice!

Expanded on K2R

OneDrive is still trying to connect to the old extra account…

Oh yeah, OneDrive is still trying to connect to the old extra account that I deleted every time I restart this machine. Let’s see if I can tell it to stop doing that….

NOPE! You can uninstall it completely, but if you want to tell it to stop connecting to one of several accounts, you need to LOG INTO THAT ACCOUNT FIRST.

Yeah. The account that doesn’t exist anymore.

*sigh* At least it’s only a problem when the system restarts & I have to close the extra instance of OneDrive.

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AHA!

The main answer didn’t help, but further down in the thread, it turns out there is a ResetOneDriveApp.command or ResetOneDriveAppStandalone.command hidden in the Contents/Resources folder of the OneDrive app package, which you can find by right-clicking on the app and choosing Show Package Contents.

It completely resets the OneDrive config, so you need to set up sync with the account that *does* still exist, but that’s both easy and fast.

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/all/remove-additional-onedrive-account-on-mac/80a39bfd-91b5-41f2-a34c-0d28d08bcae0

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Thinking about individualism in its healthy & unhealthy varieties

Thinking about individualism in its healthy & unhealthy varieties.

Healthy: *If* you can take care of something yourself, do it, so you don’t have to rely on someone else to do those things.
Example: I’ll make my own masks out of material I already have.

Unhealthy: Don’t ask for, accept, or offer help, because if you or the other person can’t do it on their own, they’re less worthy a person.
Example: Why the fuck should I wear a mask to help someone else?

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I think it was the early 1980s Flash Gordon movie that opened with the villain …

I think it was the early 1980s Flash Gordon movie that opened with the villain hitting buttons on a dashboard that were each labeled with a different disaster, like someone hitting a sound effects board except it was things like earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.

I kinda feel like “Murder Hornets” is another button on that patch board.

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FWIW, Smithsonian has a more measured take:

“No, Americans Do Not Need to Panic About ‘Murder Hornets’”

“The Asian giant hornet, seen for the first time in North America in 2019, is unlikely to murder you or U.S. bees, according to Smithsonian entomologist”

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/invasion-murder-hornets-180974809/

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Covid, personal speculation

With more symptoms being added to the list, I’m beginning to think I should have gone in for a flu test when I had the flu at the beginning of March. At the time, chills, muscle aches & headache (and lack of coughing) seemed like a clear “not covid” indicator, and I figured as long as it didn’t get bad enough to see a doctor, I’d stick with home care.

Probably wouldn’t have been able to get a covid test even then, but at least I’d know for sure whether it was the flu.

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This was a week before CA started locking things down, so I’d been out during the week leading up to it, but as soon as symptoms appeared, I isolated myself. I mean, I didn’t want to give anyone the flu either.

But yeah, it made for a weird week to be home sick with something else & read about Italy’s cases exploding & WHO declaring a pandemic and watch as CA started shutting things down.

I got sick in what used to be “normal” & recovered in pandemic lockdown.

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This is fascinating: A college theater production of a rarely-performed classical Greek tragedy was interrupted …

This is fascinating: A college theater production of a rarely-performed classical Greek tragedy was interrupted by the pandemic.

It’s been transformed into a one-night only automated performance featuring video clips of the actors (each sheltering in place at home), collected by TikTok and iMovie and assembled by the director to be shown in an empty theater.

No one on stage. No one in the audience. A tragic story no one will see.

#theater #drama

No one will ever see this play, and no actors are coming either. But the show will go on.

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#iNaturalist’s City Nature Challenge for 2020 is underway! Join the project to photograph the wild …

#iNaturalist‘s City Nature Challenge for 2020 is underway! Join the project to photograph the wild animals, plants, fungi and other lifeforms you can see around your home or neighborhood (depending on how far you can roam in your area) this weekend.

(And yes, you can obscure the location info. When I’m at or near home, I mark a wide circle around a major intersection AND choose the “obscured” option which further hides it from anyone but project admins)

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020

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Seeing a lot of these signs in front of restaurants

Seeing a lot of these signs in front of restaurants when I go walking in the neighborhood.

Most people have been really good at maintaining social distancing while out. The group in the distance seemed to all be one family.

Except for runners. Runners passing me from behind (where I can’t see them to move out of the way myself) have a 50/50 track record of dodging around vs. just zooming past at a distance of a foot.

kelsonv: Seeing a lot of thes

On Photog.Social

This bike path was closed…

This bike path was closed in response to too many people going outdoors to the same places, creating the crowds that the closures of bars, restaurants and retail stores were trying to avoid in an effort to slow the virus spread. It doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to keep six feet apart along most of it. It runs through a fairly wide greenbelt under those transmission towers. Only two short sections have fences along the sides (as seen here) to block off a landscaping project. Which is probably on hold now.
This bike path was closed in response to too many people going outdoors to the same places, creating the crowds that the closures of bars, restaurants and retail stores were trying to avoid in an effort to slow the virus spread.

It doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to keep six feet apart along most of it. It runs through a fairly wide greenbelt under those transmission towers. Only two short sections have fences along the sides (as seen here) to block off a landscaping project. Which is probably on hold now.

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