Pandemic Diary: November 8th, 2020

Insomnia is gonna kill me (Photo by Megan te Boekhorst on Unsplash)

The New York Times absolutely hit the nail on the head with a Nov. 6th article titled Canada Hasn’t Slept Well Since the U.S. Election (archived version). Catherine Porter wrote:

It was Robin Williams, of all people, who coined the phrase that I’ve heard repeatedly in Toronto over the past few weeks [about Canada’s relationship with the United States].

“You are like a really nice apartment over a meth lab,” he said during an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit in 2013.

I’ve read it on Twitter. I’ve heard it while standing in a socially distanced line on the street. And most recently, it kicked off the main editorial in one of Canada’s national newspapers, The Globe and Mail.

It’s been hard to concentrate up here, with all the noise on the other side of the border. First, the coronavirus got way out of control down there. Then there were the Black Lives Matter protests and the counter-protests. Now, do I have to say it?

Tuesday’s election has caused people around the world to fidget.

Canadians have been ripping their cuticles off.

I’ll admit it; when I first heard the news that the news networks had called the U.S. federal election for Biden/Harris (when the state of Georgia first tipped over from red to blue), I felt as if a great weight was being lifted off my shoulders. I actually sang and danced in my apartment. It was the happiest I’d felt in months.

Photo by Evan Vucci, Associated Press (source)

U.S. politics aside, things have pretty much gone from bad to worse here with respect to the coronavirus pandemic here in Manitoba. The city of Winnipeg went into emergency, code-red lockdown this past Monday, a move strongly urged by Winnipeg doctors. The lockdown was extended to the large area of southern Manitoba between Winnipeg and the American border yesterday.

And Manitobans are not very happy with their premier (the Canadian version of a state governor), Conservative party leader Brian Pallister, for his mishandling of the coronavirus crisis here. He has been plummeting in recent opinion polls for his misplaced priorities (such as pouring money into a “Manitoba is reopening” advertising campaign instead of expanding COVID-19 testing centres and providing N95 masks and other PPE for front-line healthcare workers). He recently asked Manitobans to cut down their personal contacts by 75% this month, a request to which I snarkily tweeted in response:

Premier Pallister wants us to associate with 75% fewer people during the pandemic. I’m quite willing to associate with fewer Pallisters, to do my part. MANITOBA IS A CLUSTERFUCK. DO YOUR JOB, MAN.

The most heartbreaking thing about this pandemic is the toll it is taking on seniors personal care homes and hospitals here in Winnipeg, where there have been serious outbreaks and numerous deaths. CTV News reported:

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, said outbreaks have been declared at The Pas Homeless Shelter-Oscar’s Place, Maplewood Manor in Steinbach and at the St. Norbert personal care home in Winnipeg.

Each site has been moved to red or critical on the province’s pandemic response system.

Roussin also provided an update on some of the hardest-hit facilities throughout Manitoba.

Parkview Place has a total of 147 cases, 36 which are staff and 111 residents. There have also been 23 deaths at the care home.

Maples Personal Care Home continues to struggle with cases, with 176 in total being reported. The cases include 55 staff, 121 residents, and nine deaths.

Victoria General Hospital has 67 cases, which is broken down into 34 staff, 33 residents, and five deaths.

There are 141 cases at the Headingley Correctional Centre; 29 are staff and 112 are inmates.

And I have been holed up in my apartment, working away on various projects. Thank God this week and next week are vacation; I’m exhausted and I desperately need to recharge my batteries. I’ve essentially been working nonstop (days, evenings, and weekends) all of September and October at my full-time paying job as an academic librarian at the University of Manitoba. But the worst is over now.

Between the coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. election, this has been a rollercoaster week. I have been sleeping very poorly as a result. I went to bed at midnight last night, slept fitfully for only a couple of hours, and got out of bed again at 2:00 a.m., to do what I do lately when I can’t sleep: clean through my main Second Life avatar’s inventory (I am now down to just over 234,000 items). I’ll go back to bed when I feel tired, and try once again to get some sleep. Insomnia is gonna kill me.

God, what a week. I may yet decide to pull out my Trump Baby avatar for a final “victory” lap of Second Life on January 20th, when Donald Trump officially gets booted out of office, whether he likes it or not (here’s a handy, live countdown clock to that blessed event).

Believe me, I am feasting on the schadenfreude!

Bye, Felicia!
This cartoon by Canadian political cartoonist Michael de Adder pretty much says it all…I still vividly remember Trump having peaceful protesters tear-gassed just so he could strike this photo-op pose with a Bible in front of a church near the White House (blogpost).

Stay sane and stay healthy!

Why I Love Anderson Cooper

(Yes, I know, totally blog, my rules.)

I have always loved CNN news anchor (and my future husband*) Anderson Cooper, that sexy, silver-haired fox who weighs in here on Donald Trump’s dubious claims that he has been cheated out of re-election:

*He just doesn’t know it yet.

Editorial: Staying Off Social Media and the News Media for the Next Little While as a Self-Care Activity

In the inevitable hand-wringing political thread over on the official Second Life community forums, I wrote:

I have decided that this is the perfect time to stay off all social media and all news media for a few days, BREATHE, and focus on cleaning through Vanity Fair’s overstuffed inventory. So far I have thrown out about 30,000 items. 

On top of everything else, my location has just enacted an emergency, code-red coronavirus pandemic lockdown. I believe the ancient Chinese curse goes something along the lines of “may you live in interesting times”. I am awaiting the locusts.

As a Canadian, I have absolutely ZERO control over that happens in the three-ring circus currently taking place south of the border, and frankly, checking my social media and news media regularly to see what’s going on is doing nothing but increasing my anxiety and triggering my despair and depression. Enough.

So I continue with my task of cleaning up Vanity’s oldest inventory items, all the while coming across such lovely vintage items as this beautiful system-layers-and-flexiprims outfit by Fancy Fairy, which I had completely forgotten I owned:

Faerie Queen Valentine Outfit from Fancy Fairy (includes the wings):
still holding up very well after more than a decade!

The Fancy Fairy store has since left the Second Life grid, but you can still browse through all the lovely merchandise available in their SL Marketplace store. Remember, there’s still a place for older, high-quality system-layer-and-flexiprim apparel in your Second Life wardrobe, with the added benefit that they are often reduced in price! For example, you can pick up a very similar fairy outfit for only L$100.

Stay strong, stay healthy, and stay sane in these trying times! May you find escape, solace, and flow pursuing the hobbies and pastimes which make you happy, and visiting with friends in your preferred social VR platform or virtual world. It’s not wrong to take time for yourself to safe-guard your mental health in these crazy-making times.