Doing the right thing and showing up 08072020

[Tl;dr this is just a personal summation of the world events. Some of it gets lengthy and starts to rant so you might skim or skip altogether. Just a quick article push.]

Friday, August 7, 2020

This has been a busy week. Many of us are getting weary of staying at home.

I had to make a few roadtrips out of the house just to make use of this fine weather in our part of the city. It has been sunny most days, partial cloudy for a few hours but nonetheless dry. In the process of moving I’ve been looking for side furniture pieces for the house and because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the supply chain has been broken. Normally companies will ship and deliver goods back and forth easily or you can pick them up in another store in a different part of town because usually their inventory of stock is the same in many stores. But I’ve been noticing since the beginning stuff like toilet paper which wasn’t available at first is just about normal again. I saw a big supply of hand sanitizer in gel form again today and bought some even though I didn’t need it immediately. However face masks and gloves are still in very limited quantities with very jacked up prices. $14 to $17 or $18 for a tiny box or package. At the beginning of the pandemic it became a habit to check pricing on various stores like Target, Walmart, Amazon, hardware stores, outlet stores just to find products. I even checked out mom and pop stores. And sometimes I got lucky. I found a tip which was that some stores would show their inventory and show a number count when they got new inventory. Usually some of these stores were very accurate. Sometimes or quite often many of the stores no longer had accurate inventory counts.

So I learned that some gas stations, hardware stores and snack shops carry the essentials. But their price was still quite high. But it was better than panicking about having no bathroom supplies etc. There was a moment where I was shopping in the beginning of March on a mission to just simply accumulate a few rolls of toilet paper because there simply was none for a few weeks and didn’t know when the supply would come in. And you think about your family. I remember walking down the aisle, looking briefly and then grabbing a pack. A grandma and her youngin’ was there and the grandma said to her kid a few minutes later, “just grab one and let’s go.” It was that drastic back then. Thankfully things are getting somewhat back to normal in the supply chain, but not quite.

The other day I was checking for a small table online for my bedside (or porch) and couldn’t find the model at the nearby Walmart. They had an aluminum one but I remember seeing a cheaper plastic foldable one a few months back in the summer that looked neat, but I talked myself out of buying it. I finally wanted it again a week ago and went back but they didn’t have it. And put out a few inquiries to various sites and wishlists and to email me when inventory came back. And it seems these sites use this data to help know when someone needs something as the companies and stores started to replenish this within the next week. If you don’t have something now, just simply wait a few weeks and it might be there if you ask. The same thing at Target when I wanted a size that was a medium and they didn’t have it at the time, but I went back and found the right size and color that wasn’t there after checking a few stores. I ended up not getting the shirt because it was still pricier than I’d like. But this tells us that patience is important now more than ever.

At the time of this writing I also ordered some specialty lawn care items from one of the regions affected by Covid and supposedly the store is delayed. How long I don’t know. I will wait a week and check back to get an update. Hopefully the company is legit as well.

I also found that bed sheets at some stores were listed as available but after traveling to one store, the store manager told me that “whatever is there is what we have.” Another person said that the online sites weren’t real time because of the Covid-19. They listed a Full size, Queen and Twin flat sheet in white color but I only found a Full size flat sheet at the location after traveling for half an hour. It was luckily a nice day out and let me enjoy a bit of sunshine for a roadtrip.

It was unfortunate as The Taste eating and music festival in our town was postponed twice and hasn’t been rescheduled. I had been craving outdoor music and just people watching so much this year. Today I also learned that the Renaissance festival in the state also won’t be going on this year and closed due to social distancing measures. It makes me reminisce of a time when I could have turkey leg grease dripping down my hands even though it was wrapped in scalding hot foil. Or I enjoyed and shared a nice pineapple icecream dessert. A year ago during Oktoberfest my coworker posse got together and just shot the breeze and I got everyone beers and sweet almond nuts with cinnamon and we just stood and talked for hours and listened to music in the hot end-of-summer weather. This year I imagine a lot of college kids, millennials, people in our generation, or even boomers, gen X, Y, Z etc will be missing out on some of our great traditions and we’ll have to postpone some of our normal fun and cultural identity that we’ve come to enjoy. Seems like we’re trying to fill the gaps with new ones.

The Halloween Haunt at our amusement parks may not be the same. The Zoo might be opening and museums also but everyone is still masking up and told to stay somewhat socially apart and we as a society are known for wanting togetherness even to our detriment. And by detriment it means that we crave touch and being together even if it means that we have to touch and hold each other’s hands and get close briefly. Some cultures for instance during another epidemic like the Ebola virus had a cultural custom to hold and see and touch the deceased to honor them. And that was not good because it was a transmission vector. In our current pandemic, there are instances where people are doing things that if they could see how it was being transmitted, might not be so ready and willing to engage in the close activities.

An article I found on the net suggested that people are not engaging in having and creating families. I’ve noticed this in the millennial generation somewhat to be the case that we’re not the generation that wants to have our own kids maybe because we like our independence and electronics and know about contraception etc. This is compared versus our baby boomer forefather generation that was named for their famous baby boom. I’ve heard of various opinions that there’s a lot of “population control” in the media and advertisements and even that article might be pushing just one view of how the world might or could be. It is true that if you look on the internet you have to wonder: “is this another thing about control of population”?

But back to the shopping and roadtrips… I had to get out of the house away from the news and just sitting in front of the computer and phone endlessly scrolling. I needed my Vitamin D from the sun and sometimes just a drive does wonders and you turn on the radio. Today I checked out for a gallon of herbicide, and even that was running low and unavailable. I asked the clerk at the local agricultural supply store and the clerk said something to the effect of “Sorry, some person just bought the last bottle yesterday” when I asked about the two gallon version of concentrate they had. I ended up buying smaller bottles of the concentrate that I could mix up. It’s hard to find anything supplywise in these times.

A quick tip for millennial house owners:

  • If you’re in the market to buy weed killer for a specific weed such as crabgrass then make sure you buy one that is clearly labeled for crabgrass on the front of back label. In this case I found a bottle of information that had it.
  • Next if you buy a pesticide it’s a good idea to read all directions and labels. I found it useful to go to the website and download the PDF of the “label” and any available “SDS” which is short for Safety Data Sheet so that you know what precautions to take. For example if it may say not to mix certain chemicals or to wear certain PPE which is personal protective equipment and also the proper rate to mix with water if at all and also if there is a maximum threshold you can apply per year.
  • In our example: For a crabgrass weedkiller make sure you get quinclorac which you can look up on pubchem to find the scientific name which makes it easy to know what you are buying. That was you’re not spending money on several products that are exactly the same but just have a different brand name. For a crabgrass preventer you might find something like prodiamine aka Barrier, pendimethalin aka Scotts Halts or dithiopyr aka Dimension.
  • There are tons of great videos online that do how to’s. This is where I found self help, motivational videos, ideas for inspiration, people promoting their product but also providing a great service to people. And so if you have knowledge, you are an expert and maybe have a useful tip to help someone out there build the first step in gaining knowledge. They might not stop the learning step with you, but you might be the spark to get them interested in something. So put it out there.

Speaking of events this week, let’s mention TikTok and WeChat. This week, the companies got an earful from one of the leaders in a free world. A few sites have analyzed the political fallout and slow erosion or deteriorating relations in an attempt to prostrate and engage in puffery in who is the top dog and best country and has the best technology or best goods. Throughout history all nations are going to advocate that they have the best goods, produce, services for their people. No one is going to bad mouth their own stuff / country obviously. You can even find various propaganda and banned cartoons and commercials if you did a search online of videos or shared videos of such items. During the war era a lot of propaganda was pushed to denounce the enemy. Time will tell what’s actually going on or if there is security issues. Some analyst pieces point to governmental control, but that’s just the fact that all countries have some level of control. Even the people in free open democracies have control pressure being exerted on them but might not realize it.

A recent weekend program on national public radio even talked about how politics and nationalism came into play after 9/11 and found its way into the beginning of sports events and fly overs. As stated above, all countries want to have their populations love their country so much so they will have these displays prominent and up there for citizens to see easily and readily with all pomp, circumstance and pageantry and fanfare.

As another example certain styles of dress or uniforms are typical in various places. Certain tariffs, taxes and self identification methods for transactions are also needed and may have gradually been passed into law and over time people stop questioning policy until some big event happens that startles people and it is brought into the forefront of their mind. Take the phone privacy leaks, the MeToo movements and the BLM movements. These are major historical occurences that are undeniable now. You may not see it in textbooks in school because history books probably teach about 300 years of history for some countries like the Americas and then they teach some European history and also various civilizations. Other countries may have other curriculum. For example in some Eastern countries they may not necessarily automatically have a high school. Or they might have forced conscription to military service.

The fact that people are wondering and questioning various things is good. There’s a talk about censorship, shadowbanning, cancel culture that’s stuff maybe not mentioned. Hopefully one day there’s an analysis of a world and how the internet was influenced by:

  • Memes
  • Urbandictionary
  • Wikipedia
  • Social media and tech giants like the big GOOG, FB, AAPL, TWTR
  • Smart phones and privacy
  • Hacking, malware, ransomware and cyberwarfare including doxing and cyberbullying
  • Political advertisements and social media monetisation
  • Misinformation, disinformation
  • Doctored pics, deep fakes

[Tl;Dr – Just random ranting commentary below]
This is just to name a few. It got me thinking. The current year 2020 has a lot of things happening. You can’t really just turn off the news even though you want to. Every other week there’s like a mandate or an alert or warning or you don’t want to miss out on free money etc. Too many things going on. For many months there was no other headlines other than a pandemic.

Now we have some news about hurricanes and also explosion overseas in a building with subsequent protests over the mishandling of chemical inventory. But it goes to show how the last few months have had people edgy and it all worked to be a perfect storm to become a powder keg of events and catalyst for change once it people became aware that: not every one above us knows what they are doing.

[Oy, more ranting.]
That’s it. Millennials if there’s one thing that you want to remember it’s that sometimes you trust and believe what’s going on is going to work out. But other times you have to really have that “Jackie Chan whaattt face meme” thing going. Remember when you were young and realized your parents didn’t know what they were talking about? Or that you discovered Santa Claus wasn’t real? Yahoo had an article about a purity ring even just today… And it was about a disillusioned lady. That’s what 2020 is like. Everyone is a bit disillusioned. Life was going swell and then they had the rug pulled out from under them. Bam. No toilet paper in the stores. And then 14 days to stay at home. That’s it. Nope. Several months later and extended. Record unemployment and then social injustice on TV whether you believe other stuff was going on or not. Perfect timing. Powder keg. People in the streets.

And it wasn’t just in the U.S. It was shocking to see people in France and other countries etc. Painting streets. Statues. My goodness. And non-stop political ads.
Sure there are protests around the world. But this happened… And it quelled the protests in the streets… for a bit because. You know. Lock downs.

This week, a few articles stood out. There were so many to look through.
I found one by the Intercept saying that unemployment was about to become a national crisis with many not being able to recover financially and being faced with layoffs and potential evictions. Just because you aren’t experiencing it personally doesn’t mean it’s not happening somewhere to your neighbor. The article was published July 30 2020, 6:44 p.m.

The next article talked about military type equipment called Stingrays. If you have been paying attention to the protests then you know it didn’t come out of nowhere. There was a domino effect of Covid, lockdown, financial crisis and turbulence and class disproportionate inequity. And many other protesting around the world found a rallying way to clamor out and join in. It’s not really just about injustice. It’s about injustice of this virus that the people are clamoring out against. They are protesting against the virus and this misinformation and the perceived notion that the people at the top have it all together.

If you read the article on July 31 from the Intercept about “protests surveillance” and “phone tracking” you will see that it’s always been about keeping and eye on you and having a way to keep tabs on the population. Whether in France or Asian countries or even in an openly admitted democratic country. Every country has had protests and massive changes in countries. Some did it by themselves through revolution. Others changed only with bombs dropped on them. But the main thing to get out of this is to understand that people protesting means that change needs to happen. And it’s a way to grow out of, adapt, or evolve from whatever it is in the present.

Whether that becomes remote working or learning, going back to school or changing the way your business runs or does delivery or even the mascot or motto or statues you once revered, something has changed and the world is not going to stand for it any more. We can’t be looking for those supposedly nostalgic duet piano singing glory days because they are over.

Some people are worried about the above Stingrays and military style equipment being used on the people. Like mentioned before, all countries have ways to monitor people, but never has it been as transparent as it has been now with messages flying across the work or sunshining privacy and humanitarian issues. The other night I pondered the significant of mask wearing. It has massive implications for AI or artificial intelligence face recognition. Perhaps with TikTok and FaceApp and smartphones getting better at unlocking phones it was only time that we took a step back to maybe protect our faces. Yes the fact that people are getting ill is something. But with masks it’s also changing one thing. It may be slightly more difficult to make celebrity or people deep fakes. Or might be harder to recognize people. Revenge pr0n even cyberbullying or illegal doxing has been something that’s been happening in this digital age. And with young kids on YouTube and social media and sharing pictures, videos and easily moving stuff digitally it has made it so easy to find someone on the Internet. Years ago we could only do yearbook searches to look people up. Now people have online profiles, criminal background checks and dating profiles and social media sites. A person has a digital footprint they leave across the web with breadcrumbs that malicious actors could use to exploit. It can open one up to annoying phone calls to harrassment and even blackmail. Digital photomanipulation was all the rage and it now so prevalent and easy that even kids can do fake images and make people believe things. Perhaps that’s why it was incredulous to think that a hacker could breach a giant social media site last week.

Now with elections around the corner video manipulation is possible but doesn’t have to be with political ads that purposely prey and feed off of fear. Still it was just a few years ago when celebs had their phones hacked in the icloud in some even resembling and rhyming with “the happening…” in a rare event. And with MeToo and ladies with leading roles and powerful female leaders (or even just leaders in general) one could imagine deep fakes could generate a lot of embarassment. Perhaps that’s why FB and social media and these popular apps have captured media and lawmaker’s attentions because of potential havoc they could run in the wild limited only by one’s imagination.

Next article that was good was an OutsideOnline article about leaving work and following your dreams and building your own cabin. It wasn’t really a world event but kind of follows what the core of this site was and that’s following your dreams and living a good life. Even in this lockdown of sorts it’s important to enjoy as much as you can so you can stay mentally healthy and not depressed. The article is: We Quit Our Jobs to Build a Cabin—Everything Went Wrong.

Lastly this year one must not forget about the human factor. When designing a site or blog or what have you there’s a lot of emotion that happens that is not seen and sometimes hard to caputure so here’s an example of an article that got one person’s perspective. It was related to the Dayton shootings and quite descriptive. Look up online the following in most search engines and you can find the article: 2020/08/01/dayton-shootings-oregon-district-year-later/5521896002/

There are so many things happening in 2020. We’re witnessing so much history happening right now. From the oil spill in India, to unemployment in the United States, to Earthquakes in North Carolina a site called “Applecensorship” there are so many passing headlines affecting us all. There’s a theory called a Butterfly effect that what happens in one part of the world as simple as a buttefly wing happening can cause a storm to happen elswhere. Right now we’re all coping and trying to stay afloat in 2020.

Hopefully there’s enough truth out there and historians will be able to sort through the chaff that is everything. As mentioned before. There’s a lot of deep fakes and photoshopped stuff out there and not to mention misinformation. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day there was something dubbed over that’s seemingly official while people are wearing masks. Would be easy to do since you can’t see lips moving. And it might be way easier to hide someone’s identity or age and create doctored videos and pass off fake pics, pun unintended (masks… doctors, get it?) Which can be good or bad. Let’s hope 2020 happenings won’t become just a Mandela effect of collective remembrances of false imprinted memories with all the media and imagery being blasted out at us this year. Knowing a bit more what’s happening can help you cope a little better. 2020 has its sights set on you. Get back up and keep moving forward.


Author: workingstiff

I'm just your average working employee working 8 to 5 making my daily wages. I commute to work, I run the rat race and I live for my days for my next pay check. I have goals. I have dreams. And I have things I wanna do. And sometimes just can't seem to get ahead no matter how many hours I work. Sometimes I just keep my head low and do what the boss says and other times I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Comments always welcome.

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