I can't help but feel that the Covid-19 epidemic is underrepresented in the daylogs. So here's an update on what's been going on with me.

After a panicky shutdown in March, the schools opened with lots of fancy modifications in August. First, students all got devices so that they could work from home, and students were given the option of being 100% remote students. Many families took this option, requiring that the school not only dedicate some teachers to remote classes (easily planned for), but that special education staff figure out how to split their caseloads without dedicated remote teachers. This has been a logistical nightmare, but was significantly lightened (and made more frustrating) by the number of parents who decided that 'remote school' meant 'no school', but didn't want to mess with the paperwork to officially home school.

Then students who did want to come face-to-face were split into A week and B week; on their off week, they were remote students. Many parents decided that off-weeks were school-free weeks.

Then the school day was shortened by about two hours. This was done in part because teachers needed the extra planning time to make video lessons for their off-week students, who did not get a designated remote teacher for their off weeks. Also, this means all the special ed and teletherapy sessions had a time slot that existed and was protected, which was nice... but not long enough.

So then we got virtual Mondays, which is just a nice way of saying school is optional on Mondays, and will be held over Zoom.

Then we eliminated A and B weeks, so all kids who did come to school came both weeks. At the same time, social distancing requirements were reduced from 6 feet to 3 feet, on the theory that the virus had suddenly gotten much lazier.

And maybe all of that should be a footnote, because lord knows it's not interesting, but that brings us up to this last week, when the number of identified Covid-19 cases in the school suddenly bounced up (from three the week before to 15), and the number of cases of "oh it's just allergies" went through the roof.

Which brings us to my non-news: on Wednesday last week, my student intern spent all day working with kids, and I spent all day also working with those same kids. On Thursday she, being way more responsible than the average school employee, noted that she had some mild symptoms and got tested. As you may have guessed, she tested positive. That evening I got a call from the principal letting me know, and asking me for a list of all the students we had worked with. Since we had done a bunch of screenings, I had to go to the school and pull all the names, the principal then had to call all the parents of kids who were deemed an exposure risk, and that was that.

Well, not quite; obviously, the intern is on sick leave. I got tested and it came back negative. No kids showed clear symptoms, so were not required to be tested, so weren't. While the parents were notified, none of the kids' teachers (or classmates) were.

This is a bit worrying, as a handful of kids were noted, by me, to be comparatively high risk of exposure (and therefore, also high risk of being the source of the infection), as they have a lot of trouble keeping their masks on. One of those kids I had to do an assessment with on Friday, during which he sneezed, coughed, and left disturbingly sticky hand-prints on the plexiglass barrier the school has provided us for exactly this reason. He has no fever, so he's officially not a Covid concern.

I have since been working with -- and sometimes fixing the masks of -- kids who were out for a day because they had the sniffles, kids who put everything to their face, kids who refuse to wear masks (autism is not a pandemic friendly condition), and kids who touch their mask constantly... and teachers who think that noses are optional mask real estate, and believe that you can't catch Covid from someone you like (and of course they like their kids!), and teachers -- college educated, Covid-trained, full-grown, and (presumably) human teachers -- who think that it is acceptable to pull down their mask and lean in specifically when they are talking to you, as long as they pull the masks back up quickly afterwards.

I am torn between being convinced that I will catch Covid, because how could I not, in this environment, and being convinced that actually, humans don't understand the germ theory of disease transmission miasmas and I will be the only one not to catch Covid, because I do.

We are somewhere close to one year into this pandemic, and America is entering what is being called the 'third wave', in which more people than ever are learning that they are not as hygienic as they imagined. We are, again, hitting record numbers of new cases, the hospitals are, again, being overwhelmed with people needing ICU ventilators, and many people are, still, ignoring even the most minimal safety guidelines -- the minimal guidelines being all the government is willing to suggest.

The good news is, social distancing means more time for reading, noding, and cooking, and I wasn't emotionally invested in those 300,000,000 Americans who don't understand germs, anyway.

On last night's thoughts before going to sleep


Tem42 says:

I can’t help but feel that the Covid-19 epidemic is underrepresented in the daylogs.

Had I known about this, I wouldn’t have tried to rush my thesis last year. I’ve been practicing social distancing since April 2019. Initially, it was to present a “complete” project by July. Then it was to show that my “complete” project wasn’t complete, but had unsolved problems, hopefully to be solved as a PhD student. Then they rushed everyone to finish everything before the institute had to go into lockdown and then…

I haven’t talked about my life during the epidemic because on the outside it has looked almost the same for the past 18 months or so: typing in front of a computer day in and day out. The major difference is that I’m now unemployed and can’t go out to blow off some steam/disconnect. But it’s the same.

Had I known, I would have done something different. But that is irrelevant, this world is the one I live in: looking for a stable job, stuck inside a small house, trying to get through a day at a time, a task harder than it may look.

I’m tired.

Of not doing anything, but also of keeping up this house as a contribution of sorts (since I am not contributing with money, I need to pull my weight in other ways).

I’m tired of no jobs available and I’m tired of the same job openings popping up time and time again for people and employers with a long history of fraud.

I’m tired of god knows how many outgoing emails. I’m tired of the large majority that never replies back and I’m tired of the odd polite rep that thanks me for my submission, but it’s not the right fit.

I’m tired of saying that yes I’ve always wanted to work at a funeral home and a power plant and a distribution warehouse. I’m tired of hiding the fact that my not having a job should count as some reason for wanting to work in your enterprise.

I’m tired of saying that “I love working in groups” because that’s meaningless without context. I’m tired of hiding the fact that my “working in groups” has involved anywhere between 3 and 100 people. I’m tired of hiding the fact that some of the best places I know have banned your radical brainstorming idea. I’m tired of saying that my entire academic career is built on mostly working alone and then showing up with results with other people to discuss what we’ve done so far, instead of trying to see into the future.

I’m tired of trying to guess what exactly do you mean with “leadership,” “stress” and “groups.” I’m tired of trying to adapt my own ideas to what a disembodied HR rep wants to know. I’m tired of saying that yes, I can wait on hold until you solve whatever came up.

I’m tired of hiding my experience, which tells me your constant state of “unexpected hours” means you—or someone in the organization—doesn’t really know how to manage people, time and resources.

I’m tired of coming up with the buzzwords you want, and I’m tired of trying to guess just how much to masquerade my self so that you can fill your form.

I’m tired of saying that I do know how to write and I’m tired of saying that my English certificate is old because no one has actually asked for anything newer. I’m tired of hiding the fact that the TOEFL is shit and you wanting me to have it shows how little you know about really using English. I’m tired of saying that my attending 3 international conferences should count for something. I’m tired of reading your obviously machine-translated emails and I’m tired of reading your English “phrases” that tell me you don’t even know how to use idioms in our native Spanish.

I’m tired of it all.

I have privileges that I cannot deny, and the first one is that I have economic and material safety to whine.

That doesn’t make me any less tired. But it makes me not want to write (or think) about it that often.


I spent my entire day playing chess, trying to beat the chess engine at a certain difficulty level. I couldn't beat it. I'm hoping I can improve just through sheer practice, studying tactics seems like it would be a lot of work. I resigned from an online game today and my rating went down by 30 points, which doesn't please me too much but that's legitimately how ratings work. I've been messing around with Lucas Chess a bit and it's really quite powerful, I honestly don't understand how it's free. It has dozens of chess engines (including Stockfish 11), lets you configure the depth, and you can play presets that pit you against opponents with certain ratings. It also lets you configure every element of the GUI (colors, arrows, pieces, etcetera). It has a bunch of stuff in the trainer mode, I'm pretty sure it takes PGN files as well.

Otherwise, I didn't get much done today. I have a rough draft to finish and two peer reviews to submit tomorrow, as well as an exam that I haven't yet studied for. I was way too ambitious with my paper and I have 4/15ths of my planned material finished and it's a few thousand words long. I'm trying to be concise but I simply chose way too much material -- I decided to outline the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius chapter by chapter, all the main points and ideas. I'll probably rush it for the rough draft and then fill in the content this upcoming week.

In other news, I messed up an oil painting that I've been working on for the past year or so. Majorly ruined it, threw out a lot of progress. I'm waiting for it to dry so I can paint over it. Sigh.

I've been looking into getting a job in processing insurance claims; evidently there are jobs in that regard that are entirely work-from-home (not most, and not many, but more than a few.) It makes a decent amount of money, too -- more than minimum wage, evidently. I just don't want to have to be on the phone a lot. I'll take what I can get though. I need money. The required skills are "computer proficiency", which I know for a fact I outclass the average random on by a hundred percent. I can type fast, I know all the keyboard shortcuts, etcetera.

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