Pandemic Diary: April 2nd, 2020

Quarantine is the cultural appropriation of depressed people.

—Comment from a recent Reddit post on r/Coronavirus

Today has been one of those days where, as the day wore on, the more anxious, depressed, and angry at turns that I got. It didn’t help that I swore I would stay off Twitter and Reddit today (I was up till 1:00 a.m. last night reading through my Twitter feed, which at this point is 80% coronavirus-related experts.) You can imagine how well that resolution went.

It didn’t help that this morning I posted a musing to the r/Winnipeg subReddit community, about how the coronavirus pandemic was like a 6-to-18-month blizzard that we all had to get through, all isolated in our homes at the same time, venturing out from time to time in the storm to clear the spaces around our doors, but basically hunkered down at home. Everybody stuck at home, but going through the blizzard together, pulling together and helping each other get through this.

I got a bunch of ignorant comments and I finally yanked my post this evening, angry at the world, and angry at myself for letting some social media trolls get to me. I should know better by now at my age.

And fucking Jared Kushner dispensing pandemic advice at today’s White House press conference shit-show (which of course I heard about through my Twitter feed) just about finished me off. I’m not sure my blood pressure can take any more of this. And we are only at the first million cases of COVID-19; what is the rest of April gonna look like? May? June? July?!??

I am so completely and utterly done with this day. I am popping a couple of Lorazepam with my chamomile tea this evening.

Please, stay home. As I have already said, with my underlying health conditions, if I get COVID-19 I am a sitting duck. Flatten the curve.

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The New York Metropolitan Opera Is Streaming Encore Presentations for Free This Week

If the relentless drumbeat of coronavirus hews is givng you the blues, why not treat it with a little opera?

Starting yesterday, Monday, March 16th and running through to Sunday, March 22nd, New York City’s Metropolitan Opera (which has suspended all its live performances due to the pandemic until March 31st) is offering a different classic opera encore performance every day online for free!

Their press release states:

A day after canceling upcoming performances due to concerns around the coronavirus, the Metropolitan Opera announced that it would stream encore presentations from the award-winning Live in HD series of cinema transmissions on the company website for the duration of the closure. The new offering will begin on Monday, March 16 with the 2010 HD performance of Bizet’s Carmen, conducted by Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and starring Elīna Garanča in the title role and Roberto Alagna as Don José.

All “Nightly Met Opera Streams” will begin at 7:30pm EDT and will remain available via the homepage of metopera.org for 20 hours. The homepage link will open the performance on the Met Opera on Demand streaming service. The performance will also  be viewable on all Met Opera on Demand apps.

“We’d like to provide some grand opera solace to opera lovers in these extraordinarily difficult times,” said Met General Manager Peter Gelb. “Every night, we’ll be offering a different complete operatic gem from our collection of HD presentations from the past 14 years.”


Here is the schedule (opera glasses are optional!):

Monday, March 16 – Bizet’s Carmen

Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, starring Elīna Garanča and Roberto Alagna. Transmitted live on January 16, 2010.

Tuesday, March 17 – Puccini’s La Bohème

Conducted by Nicola Luisotti, starring Angela Gheorghiu and Ramón Vargas. Transmitted live on April 5, 2008.

Wednesday, March 18 – Verdi’s Il Trovatore

Conducted by Marco Armiliato, starring Anna Netrebko, Dolora Zajick, Yonghoon Lee, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Transmitted live on October 3, 2015.

Thursday, March 19 – Verdi’s La Traviata

Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, starring Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Flórez, and Quinn Kelsey. Transmitted live on December 15, 2018.

Friday, March 20 – Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment

Conducted by Marco Armiliato, starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez. Transmitted live on April 26, 2008.

Saturday, March 21 – Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor

Conducted by Marco Armiliato, starring Anna Netrebko, Piotr Beczała, and Mariusz Kwiecien. Transmitted live on February 7, 2009.

Sunday, March 22 – Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin

Conducted by Valery Gergiev, starring Renée Fleming, Ramón Vargas, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Transmitted live on February 24, 2007.

The Metropolitan Opera, New York City

Housekeeping Note: Theanine’s Guest Editorial on High Fidelity

Just tidying things up… (photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash)

Just a quick housekeeping note.

Last December, Theanine wrote a detailed, insightful analysis titled High Fidelity—What Went Wrong? on his Medium account. I liked it so much that I asked permission to repost it as a guest editorial to this blog, and Theanine graciously agreed.

However, it can be difficult to keep two versions of any document properly synchronized, and Theanine has asked me to remove the copy on my blog, and point back to his Medium blogpost instead. So this morning, I have done so.

The stub of the original guest editorial on my blog now redirects readers to Theanine’s original Medium post.

It is an excellent write-up, and if you haven’t read it yet, go over to Medium and do so, thanks!

Google AdSense Follies (Part IV)

Well, it would appear that Google AdSense’s automated checker has flagged yet another couple of blogposts that (gasp!) show partially naked avatars.

The offenders are these two blogposts, which, as you can clearly see, show no “Adult: Sexual Content” at all, which is what they were flagged for:

I find it bemusing that the algorithm flagged these posts now, a full year and a half after they were first published. (What, just catching up now?) Apparently, “some advertisers are choosing not to advertise on your page because of issues relating to some of your content”.

So it would appear that I have to, once again, self-censor pictures that should have passed muster in the first place. I could request a review, but I already know from past experience (here, here, and here) that they’ll just get flagged again by this stupid, overly-sensitive algorithm.

Even worse, I am completely unable to even access the policy violations using my Google AdSense dashboard via any web browser on my desktop computer. I actually have to load them up on my iPad to actually find out which blogposts tripped the censor-bot. (Pain. In. The. Ass.)

*shrugs* WHAT-ever. So I lose a few pennies of ad revenue. I’m sick and tired of playing this ridiculous game of Whac-A-Mole.