brin-bellway asked: Yellow, but like, in a biology-field-trip way rather than a communing-with-nature way.

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brin-bellway:

andmaybegayer:

Yellow: Stand in the woods with me

I require absolutely zero prompting to stand in the woods. Although I probably won’t be standing still for very long, because I will see a mushroom or bug. And really, isn’t a biology field trip really just communing with nature on its own terms?

*

>>isn’t a biology field trip really just communing with nature on its own terms

Quite the opposite, I was thinking. Communing with nature would involve opening yourself up to it to some significant extent, which some people can pull off okay but would be a bad idea in my case given that nature and my body clearly despise each other; meanwhile, a biology field trip would involve–for me, anyway–a minimum of three (3) pieces of PPE (pollen mask, two-piece mosquito-net suit).

But I am all for learning Neat Bug Facts and Neat Mushroom Facts, just so long as none of the many, many poisons out there come into contact with me.


Tags:

#god I miss living on a planet with a fully breathable atmosphere #I was never *big* on communing with nature but my current level of cut-off-ness is excessive #(I was at a gardening class recently and the guy was going on about Mother Earth nurturing us and all that) #(and as he was talking I could literally *see* bits of toxic pollen drifting along in the air beside him) #(it would have been amusing if it weren’t so infuriating) #reply via reblog #allergies #biology #mosquitoes #poison cw? #juxtaposition

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aa49d59ecd971a3ba9bdd142e45b94af69c121f2

twitblr:

Definitely masking up post-COVID (x) {{the original link didn’t actually lead anywhere; I have replaced it with a genuine source link}}

 

juliainfinland:

Also, let’s keep having soap and disinfectant dispensers everywhere.

 

derinthescarletpescatarian:

By contrast, I’ve been getting the same number of sniffles that I do every year even though there’s no one to catch them from, which is how I learned this year that I’m not prone to minor colds; I’m prone to hayfever.

 

brin-bellway:

Huh, you’re still getting hayfever with a mask? I started wearing a mask in 2017 *specifically* to avoid pollen, and it’s been working wonderfully for me.

Have you been keeping the mask on outside, and when near front doors that people are opening a lot? Does it have a well-fitted nosepiece?

I also had no colds in the calendar year 2020. It used to be fairly normal for me to go entire years without getting sick (after I adjusted to my current microbial milieu, that is; I got sick a *lot* the first couple years I lived in Canada), but then I started working a customer-facing job where nobody else ever took sick leave and staff members were forbidden from wearing masks, and I went from a cold every 1 – 2 years to a cold every few months. Getting rid of that damned fast-food cold rate wasn’t worth what it’s cost, but it’s a very nice silver lining.

(for anyone who finds my rate of colds bogglingly low: I’m guessing the two big components are “trained myself out of touching my face in public when I was a pre-teen, and always wash my hands upon returning home” and “rarely travel”, in that order)

I didn’t even used to do any anti-airborne measures†, just anti-fomite. I plan to start wearing a mask in indoor public spaces from October – March or so each year and on public transit year-round, and it’ll be very interesting to see what that does to my baseline cold rate.

(also, on a broader scale, it will be interesting to see if COVID-19 vaccines grant any cross-protection against cold-type coronaviruses)

†Except in extreme situations like “on an airplane two seats away from a coughing dude”. Guess who didn’t get sick until an incubation period *after* the rest of her family? (unfortunately there’s only so much you can isolate from people you’re sharing a hotel room with)

 

derinthescarletpescatarian:

I very rarely wear a mask. I hardly leave the house and when I do, almost nobody wears masks here because there’s no covid in my state outside of the quarantined medi-hotels for infected international arrivals; we just sanitise, social distance, keep records of where we go and get tested any time symptoms show up so that when it does show up, we can respond before it’s got more than a couple of people. The distancing and group size limits are enough that basically nobody’s getting colds.

My probably-hayfever is very mild and isn’t debilitating at all (which is probably why it took me so long to notice); I just get a sniffly, runny nose so I haven’t bothered with any pollen precautions. They’d be more annoying than just living with it.

 

brin-bellway:

Fair enough, I suppose.

When I started wearing pollen masks, my only symptom was mild sore throats. The main problem I was having was that pollen attacks felt exactly like…well, the onset of a cold. *Physically* the sore throats per se weren’t a big deal, but I hated never being sure whether or not I was coming down with something.

I’ve started getting runny noses too now, which I found even worse in that they’re impairing in their own right. Maybe I’m just more bothered by having a runny nose than you are.

 

alarajrogers:

My allergies are for animals and dust. I have pets and am far too disorganized to dust. So yeah, I’m actually just as miserable this year as I am every year, but I definitely have noticed, no colds. Runny nose and sneezing and occasional sore throat and cough… but at my age, the biggest symptom of a cold is a draining and horrible fatigue. All my fatigue this year comes from diabetes and depression.

I do think I’m going to keep using masks during the winter every year.

 

brin-bellway:

At your age? Are you implying you *didn’t* get horrible draining fatigue from colds when you were younger?

When I saw that one of the DSM rules is that in order to qualify as having clinical depression it has to be at least two weeks, I thought “ah, of course, they’re thinking of self-limiting diseases”. The last week of December, 2017, I had a cold that *didn’t* come with a transient depressive episode, and it was amazing how much less it sucked. Turns out that while sore throats and stuffy noses and coughing fits *are* pretty annoying, *most* of the badness of colds is from direct inducement of misery.

…if there are people who *normally* don’t get depression from colds, that would explain a lot about how blase they are about disease prevention.

(…“people with enough depression at baseline that colds are just background noise” would also explain a lot but in a much more horrifying way. you indicate that in at least some cases they can be distinguished, though.)

 

brin-bellway:

@rustingbridges replied: “no, I don’t feel that way. identifying a cold mostly consists of ruling out allergies and guessing

holy fuck

 

poipoipoi-2016:

Same really. 

At some point, I will give in and move to the desert but right now, the year is: 

* Mold/Dust season all winter
* Fading into OH GOD OH NOOOOOOO season as pollen season arrives and I more or less fall over flat on my ass for a month
* Summer is great except for the bit where it’s 97 degrees and going outside is hellish
* Into August/September where ragweed arrives and knocks me out for 3 days every year
* Into leaf season where it’s time to get bronchitis and pneumonia again just in time to redevelop a continuous hacking cough for
* Oh look at that, it’s dust season.  

I literally have a rule that I maintain 3 alarms and if I sleep straight through them, it’s a sick day because if it’s a choice between ragweed and getting hit by a truck, let’s go play in some traffic.  

Horrible draining fatigue is pretty normal, but trivially, if you can throw a depressingly expensive cocktail of OTC, prescription, and illegal meds at “Getting your nose the f*ck back open”, that basically goes away.  

Then of course, I’m increasingly certain I ended up with Long COVID, because I’ve had constant chest pains and shortness of breath since April, so I’m working on going remote so I can carefully maintain CO2 levels below 600PPM…. by opening a window to ragweed spores year-round.  

Ouch. Many sympathies for what you have to put up with.

Every year my pollen sensitivity NOS (the allergist couldn’t figure out what to make of me) gets worse: stronger symptoms, for more of the year, after less exposure. I hope I never end up in as terrible a position as yours, but I’m worried I might.

I also don’t get depression from pollen, but again worried this might change as my condition deteriorates. (The psychological problem of a pollen-induced sore throat is the fear from “I associate this feeling with *becoming* depressed a few hours later”: pollen currently doesn’t *directly* cause any brain symptoms.) For a cold, the depression hits before the nose symptoms do, so getting my nose open clearly isn’t enough.

What happens if you just…wear a mask all the time, taking it off only when you need to eat or drink or something? Maybe with one of those tabletop air purifiers too?

@jadagul has reported in as not experiencing cold-induced depression [link], although honestly I’m not even surprised. Like, if you’d asked me before all this “does jadagul get cold-induced depression”, I’d have said “god, probably not, *nothing* depresses that man: failing to get depressed when sick is *exactly* the kind of weird shit his brain would do”.

I have now written up a post describing what colds are like for me [link].


Tags:

#reply via reblog #allergies #covid19 #illness tw #is the blue I see the same as the blue you see #oh look an original post

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aa49d59ecd971a3ba9bdd142e45b94af69c121f2

twitblr:

Definitely masking up post-COVID (x) {{the original link didn’t actually lead anywhere; I have replaced it with a genuine source link}}

 

juliainfinland:

Also, let’s keep having soap and disinfectant dispensers everywhere.

 

derinthescarletpescatarian:

By contrast, I’ve been getting the same number of sniffles that I do every year even though there’s no one to catch them from, which is how I learned this year that I’m not prone to minor colds; I’m prone to hayfever.

 

brin-bellway:

Huh, you’re still getting hayfever with a mask? I started wearing a mask in 2017 *specifically* to avoid pollen, and it’s been working wonderfully for me.

Have you been keeping the mask on outside, and when near front doors that people are opening a lot? Does it have a well-fitted nosepiece?

I also had no colds in the calendar year 2020. It used to be fairly normal for me to go entire years without getting sick (after I adjusted to my current microbial milieu, that is; I got sick a *lot* the first couple years I lived in Canada), but then I started working a customer-facing job where nobody else ever took sick leave and staff members were forbidden from wearing masks, and I went from a cold every 1 – 2 years to a cold every few months. Getting rid of that damned fast-food cold rate wasn’t worth what it’s cost, but it’s a very nice silver lining.

(for anyone who finds my rate of colds bogglingly low: I’m guessing the two big components are “trained myself out of touching my face in public when I was a pre-teen, and always wash my hands upon returning home” and “rarely travel”, in that order)

I didn’t even used to do any anti-airborne measures†, just anti-fomite. I plan to start wearing a mask in indoor public spaces from October – March or so each year and on public transit year-round, and it’ll be very interesting to see what that does to my baseline cold rate.

(also, on a broader scale, it will be interesting to see if COVID-19 vaccines grant any cross-protection against cold-type coronaviruses)

†Except in extreme situations like “on an airplane two seats away from a coughing dude”. Guess who didn’t get sick until an incubation period *after* the rest of her family? (unfortunately there’s only so much you can isolate from people you’re sharing a hotel room with)

 

derinthescarletpescatarian:

I very rarely wear a mask. I hardly leave the house and when I do, almost nobody wears masks here because there’s no covid in my state outside of the quarantined medi-hotels for infected international arrivals; we just sanitise, social distance, keep records of where we go and get tested any time symptoms show up so that when it does show up, we can respond before it’s got more than a couple of people. The distancing and group size limits are enough that basically nobody’s getting colds.

My probably-hayfever is very mild and isn’t debilitating at all (which is probably why it took me so long to notice); I just get a sniffly, runny nose so I haven’t bothered with any pollen precautions. They’d be more annoying than just living with it.

 

brin-bellway:

Fair enough, I suppose.

When I started wearing pollen masks, my only symptom was mild sore throats. The main problem I was having was that pollen attacks felt exactly like…well, the onset of a cold. *Physically* the sore throats per se weren’t a big deal, but I hated never being sure whether or not I was coming down with something.

I’ve started getting runny noses too now, which I found even worse in that they’re impairing in their own right. Maybe I’m just more bothered by having a runny nose than you are.

 

alarajrogers:

My allergies are for animals and dust. I have pets and am far too disorganized to dust. So yeah, I’m actually just as miserable this year as I am every year, but I definitely have noticed, no colds. Runny nose and sneezing and occasional sore throat and cough… but at my age, the biggest symptom of a cold is a draining and horrible fatigue. All my fatigue this year comes from diabetes and depression.

I do think I’m going to keep using masks during the winter every year.

At your age? Are you implying you *didn’t* get horrible draining fatigue from colds when you were younger?

When I saw that one of the DSM rules is that in order to qualify as having clinical depression it has to be at least two weeks, I thought “ah, of course, they’re thinking of self-limiting diseases”. The last week of December, 2017, I had a cold that *didn’t* come with a transient depressive episode, and it was amazing how much less it sucked. Turns out that while sore throats and stuffy noses and coughing fits *are* pretty annoying, *most* of the badness of colds is from direct inducement of misery.

…if there are people who *normally* don’t get depression from colds, that would explain a lot about how blase they are about disease prevention.

(…“people with enough depression at baseline that colds are just background noise” would also explain a lot but in a much more horrifying way. you indicate that in at least some cases they can be distinguished, though.)


Tags:

#reply via reblog #illness tw #covid19 #is the blue I see the same as the blue you see #allergies #depression


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aa49d59ecd971a3ba9bdd142e45b94af69c121f2

derinthescarletpescatarian:

juliainfinland:

twitblr:

Definitely masking up post-COVID (x) {{the original link didn’t actually lead anywhere; I have replaced it with a genuine source link}}

Also, let’s keep having soap and disinfectant dispensers everywhere.

By contrast, I’ve been getting the same number of sniffles that I do every year even though there’s no one to catch them from, which is how I learned this year that I’m not prone to minor colds; I’m prone to hayfever.

Huh, you’re still getting hayfever with a mask? I started wearing a mask in 2017 *specifically* to avoid pollen, and it’s been working wonderfully for me.

Have you been keeping the mask on outside, and when near front doors that people are opening a lot? Does it have a well-fitted nosepiece?

I also had no colds in the calendar year 2020. It used to be fairly normal for me to go entire years without getting sick (after I adjusted to my current microbial milieu, that is; I got sick a *lot* the first couple years I lived in Canada), but then I started working a customer-facing job where nobody else ever took sick leave and staff members were forbidden from wearing masks, and I went from a cold every 1 – 2 years to a cold every few months. Getting rid of that damned fast-food cold rate wasn’t worth what it’s cost, but it’s a very nice silver lining.

(for anyone who finds my rate of colds bogglingly low: I’m guessing the two big components are “trained myself out of touching my face in public when I was a pre-teen, and always wash my hands upon returning home” and “rarely travel”, in that order)

I didn’t even used to do any anti-airborne measures†, just anti-fomite. I plan to start wearing a mask in indoor public spaces from October – March or so each year and on public transit year-round, and it’ll be very interesting to see what that does to my baseline cold rate.

(also, on a broader scale, it will be interesting to see if COVID-19 vaccines grant any cross-protection against cold-type coronaviruses)

†Except in extreme situations like “on an airplane two seats away from a coughing dude”. Guess who didn’t get sick until an incubation period *after* the rest of her family? (unfortunately there’s only so much you can isolate from people you’re sharing a hotel room with)


Tags:

#reblogging from this link of the reblog chain partly because I didn’t like the later bits #and partly because Have You Heard the Good News of Our Lord and Savior Pollen Masks #reply via reblog #illness tw #covid19 #allergies


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disabledprincesses:

Dr. : do you experience any of these (Covid) symptoms?

Chronically ill people:

017267abbfb158d06930275c25dd6b667c0c5e24

Tags:

#fortunately Canadian quarantine laws later added a pre-existing-condition exemption #(although thanks to my pollen issues being degenerative I *still* ended up #calling off sick for two days for what turned out to be a new pollen manifestation) #((lesson learned: pinch your masks shut *very* tightly! tape them if you have any doubts! #autumn pollen will get in through the slightest crack and it will fuck your shit *up*!!)) #(((it sure is convenient though that COVID and pollen take the same primary preventative treatment‚ very efficient))) #even after it stopped being Literally Illegal to show up to work while having an allergy attack #I still really didn’t want to deal with confusion/uncertainty about what I had (including internal uncertainty) #not counting commuting I’ve spent…maybe two or three cumulative hours outdoors this entire year? #(although really I suspect most mask ”failures” back in the day were actually from not wearing a mask at work) #(which is no longer an issue and I will *never* let the franchise owner take my mask away from me again) #((I’m glad I finally consulted my doctor about options in November 2019 even though I haven’t really been able to follow up on it properly)) #((I have official medical records dating back to before the pandemic #indicating that I require a mask in areas with sufficient air mixture with the outdoors!)) #((*suck* on it Meta-Boss!)) #anyway‚ I’ve noticed my co-worker with the chronic cough #(who‚ perhaps not unrelatedly‚ is also my only co-worker who seems to genuinely give a shit about the plague) #has not coughed in my hearing once since he returned to work in May #but he *does* clear his throat a lot more often #I infer that he is consciously suppressing his cough so as not to freak people out #tag rambles #covid19 #allergies #illness tw #in which Brin has a job

cbfcc894f73fd5e4d03c7752919ac83789831d11

lifehacksthatwork:

So simple yet so effective!


Tags:

#the nosepieces on both of my masks are starting to wear out #a couple weeks ago I started taping them shut with bandaids on this post’s advice #it’s working great and I want everyone to know about this method #illness tw? #covid19 #allergies #the more you know #(I’ve already shared this tip with one receptive-looking customer and she called it ”brilliant”) #(I hope she makes good use of it)

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maryellencarter:

brin-bellway:

maryellencarter:

so like. there’s this budgeting thing called the 50/30/20 method. apparently it is popularized by elizabeth warren? the idea is you spend only 50% of your budget on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings or debt reduction (after counting all minimum payments on your current debt as part of Needs).

So I know my bills take up more than one of my 2 paychecks a month. (I ignore the occasional third one for budgeting purposes till it rolls around, so I don’t overbudget for months that don’t have one.) So for curiosity’s sake, I broke down my entire budget into Needs, Wants, and Savings, then did percentage math at it.

For this purpose, you count your non-tax payroll deductions, like healthcare and 401(k) contributions, as part of your income and expenses, but you don’t count money that goes away as taxes. So the budget starts off with putting 401(k) contributions in Savings and healthcare deductions in Needs. Then you start listing off shit like rent, utilities, car expenses…

Right now, while I’m still catching up on a bunch of my COVID-deferred bills and loans, my Needs come out to about 74% of my income. However, my Wants are very minimal: I have my massage subscription and tip, I’ve budgeted for fast food or takeout maybe 2-3x a month, and I pledge to one Patreon at the $1 level. All together, my Wants are about 6% of my income, leaving the requisite 20% to go toward reducing COVID debt for now.

However, once my COVID deferrals are all paid off, my Needs go down to about 67% of my income – and this is with generous projections, like at least one specialist copay every single month and gasoline if we ever start driving again. My Wants stay at about 6%. So I could either use the other 27% for savings and debt reduction, or I could stick with the recommended 20% and have 13% of my budget for Wants.

And I’m like… this is so much money. This is $150 just unallocated *after* going out to eat at least once a month and keeping my massage subscription. That’s… I do not know what else I would want. I could buy my entire wardrobe at LL Bean. I could have a massage every single week. I could eat at a sit-down restaurant every week. I could buy the newest and most expensive iPhone every single year. I could buy a brand new American Girl doll every month with money to spare. Like I couldn’t do all of those at *once* obviously, but that’s with just 7% of my income by this method of reckoning.

Like, if I somehow did make twice my Needs expenses after tax. That’s not impossible; I’d have to make a little under $33k a year, or a little over $2700 a month, which would be about $17 an hour excluding taxes. I don’t expect to get there at my current job in the near future, but it’s not astronomical.

But like, at that point I’d be saving about $545 a month, covering all my Needs expenses, and I would have *over eight hundred dollars a fucking month* to spend on Wants! Like… jesus fuckwaffles. How would I… I could buy a new one of my current phone every single month and have money left over. I could go to one of those black-tie restaurants that are like $100 a plate *twice a week*. I could not only move into a bigger apartment but hire a maid service to clean it. I could buy every single book I’ve ever read in short order and pay to store them all. I could live on like… caviar and avocado toast.

Hell, even if my living expenses were somehow miraculously reduced and my Needs were only half of my tax-excluded pay *now*, I’d be living on a little over $1000 a month, saving about $400 a month, and trying to figure out how to spend $600 a month on Wants. How… I don’t fucking know what else I could want. I’m not used to having money to spare. It’s weirder than winning the lottery, even, because it’s just like… it’s not enough to go “I will pay off all my friends’ student loans and buy a condo!” but it’s enough that I’m like “Do I just… put all 27% of my income in savings? Do I save for a car? Pay off my student loans? Invest for retirement? Am I fundamentally missing something I should be wanting?”

That sounds like a sign that 50/30/20 isn’t for you.

A lot of budgeting methods have this…maybe not “problem” exactly, but this thing where they’re clearly aimed at people who start with an entertainment budget of “everything after necessities” (or in many cases even higher) and negotiate *downwards*, which makes the methods a bad fit for people who start with an entertainment budget of zero and negotiate *upwards*. I guess the people spending money they don’t have on things they could do without are the ones most in need of frameworks, so the frameworks are designed for them. Getting *down* to 30% is a good start for people who were previously spending *more*.

Personally, I do struggle to wrap my head around things that draw a bright line between “wants” and “investments”. Sure, there are *occasional* items–like restaurant food–that are just wants and not also investments, but by far the most common reason for me to want to buy something is because I think it will leave me better off in the long run. I have a long list of things to save up for, and it’s all stuff like “house repairs” and “things that give you a leg up on Vimes Boot Theory” and “retirement funds” and “hedging against the future being wildly different from the present, such that normal retirement funds don’t cut it [link]”.

I think it’s important to bear in mind: given how weird your life is in general, and in particular the fact that your ability to work has a history of fluctuating erratically, saving is even more important for you than for most people.

There’s a concept called “self-insurance”. (…actually it turns out that there are at least *two* similar-but-not-identical concepts called self-insurance, and the Wikipedia article is about the wrong one. Investopedia [link] has the right idea.) You, in particular, *really* should get disability insurance if you can possibly manage it, and while third-party disability-insurance companies *exist*, you’d have to file claims (during the periods of time when you are least capable of filing claims!), and take the risk that whatever shit happens to you next won’t technically be disability by their standards, and operate under rules designed to let the insurance company turn a profit. (The house always wins.) Ideally, then, what you’d want is to instead save up enough in the good times that you can cover the bad times yourself.

(For example: you mention you’re digging your way out of COVID-related debt. My brother was temporarily laid off in the spring, and because of [glitches in the hastily-expanded Canadian welfare system] was unable to receive any kind of unemployment payments in time to actually help him with it. But he had lots of money in his savings account, and he used some of *that* to cover his bills until the restaurant re-opened. Now that he’s working again, he’s replenishing it; in the long run, he plans to save up enough for a condo.

(We not-quite-joked that if the glitch had to happen to *someone* at his workplace, it’s good that it happened to him: his co-workers spend all their money on booze and weed and wouldn’t have been able to handle it. His co-workers, meanwhile, not-quite-joke that they should get him hooked on something so they can drag him back into the crab bucket.))

Yeah, idk if I’m just not looking in the right places, but the budgeting advice I can find all seems to skew really strongly toward “quit your starbucks habit! cut off the cable channels you don’t watch! do you really need a cell phone?” rather than like… you know, “I was raised on 3¢ a chore, I have absolutely no idea how financially healthy people cope with having discretionary income and I want guidelines”.

My priorities are different from yours obviously, but yeah, my list of things to save up for (other than straight-up debt reduction, which is a big one) are things like “new orthotic shoes” and “when my car breaks down again”. Freedom, essentially. Transportation is big for me, even though my current place of residence has by far the best public transit system I’ve used outside of Washington DC. (Buses every 10-15 minutes? Wtf is this sorcery?) Maybe moving into a ground-floor apartment eventually so I can stop carrying groceries up the fucking stairs, but I’d have to afford to pay movers because I can’t physically get my loveseat down the stairs by myself. And when it comes down to it, I kind of prefer not having to actually move everything.

I actually have disability insurance through my work, and then I managed to completely space on it while I was out on FMLA and didn’t realize I had it till I was back to work and scrutinizing my pay stubs – I thought I’d opted out of it last open enrollment. So I never got as far as finding out whether a depressive collapse counted as disability, or whether I could have filed a claim or anything. :P So yeah, with open enrollment just around the corner again, I am pondering whether to keep paying the approximately $15/paycheck toward disability insurance or not. I haven’t used my dental or vision insurance yet either but I keep meaning to… it’s just that for all I’ve lived here for over two years, I still don’t know things like “where is a good dentist”.

(My eyesight varies wildly with my diabetes. When my blood sugar is under control, I don’t seem to need glasses. When it’s out of control, I see so badly that I didn’t realize there were artificial cobwebs all over the call floor my first Halloween at this job and just thought my vision was inexplicably foggy in addition to being unfocused.)

I like the idea of having retirement income, and of employer matching, but yeah, the way my life tends to go, and especially with the way I burn out at irregular intervals, I’m honestly not sure when or whether the whole “tax-advantaged” thing (which I will freely admit I don’t actually understand) outweighs the benefits of cash on hand. Right now, my plans go approximately as follows:

* Catch up on car insurance payments before the new policy starts in November and stacks on top of my deferred balance.

* Pay the CPAP mask bill that went to collections like a year ago and I haven’t had the spoons or the money to get it out yet, also buy a new CPAP mask as this one is becoming elderly and I’m having to kludge it back together when the plastic pieces break.

* Pay off the cell phone deferral early just for the hell of it because I should have the money and it’ll drop my bill by $20/month. (I already finally got my employee discount applying so I’ll be down to like $35/month for unlimited data with no hotspot. God, the ability to *not* need hotspot is such a weird luxury…)

* Pay back @camshaft22 for loaning me like three months’ rent over the course of the pandemic. If all my budgeting is correct I might be able to do that by January.

* Assuming 2020 has not yet exploded in my face too disastrously, build up that emergency fund everyone talks about. This comes after the COVID debt because being able to sock away $400+ a month will be very encouraging for me at that point. Right now my savings is just, I’m manually doing the thing where you round up each purchase to the next dollar and put the change in savings. It’s… complicated, because my savings account takes several days to process a transfer from checking once I request it, so e.g. right now I have no less than five scheduled transfers, each under $1, requested as early as Thursday night, which are not going to process until Tuesday at the earliest because of Labor Day. Once I get the car insurance paid up, which is the situation with a definite time pressure, I might start rounding up to the next $5 mark if I think I can afford it. I know in the olden days, just having each purchase rounded up to the next dollar could wind up bringing me like $26 in savings a month, but I think that’s when I was like buying snacks from the vending machine and stuff.

* Once I have an emergency fund, find out what the deal is with my credit cards in collections and pay them off. There’s one I would have sworn I paid but my credit reports all still show it derogatory.

* Then it’s a decision between “Save every possible penny for a car made in this millennium that has not been totaled, before my current car explodes irreparably” or “Try to get my student loans out of default while also saving at a slower rate for a car, so that if my car explodes before I can buy a new one out of pocket, I might have a hope in hell of getting a car loan that’s not completely horrendous”.

Of course, the downside of this is if my car explodes *before* I have an emergency fund, I’m in trouble. Again. :P October has that third paycheck though, so it’s really tempting to put the whole bloody thing toward debt reduction and knock some of these out of the park.

>>(Buses every 10-15 minutes? Wtf is this sorcery?)

*impressed whistle*

>>FMLA

*googles*

I was about to say “holy shit, why can’t *we* have something like that”, but then I looked closer and it has so many exceptions that for all I know we *do* have an analogous law, and I just haven’t noticed because it would never come up in real life. I’m glad you managed to actually get caught in that hole-ridden safety net.

Our 2019!unemployment-system, because it makes the employer pay extra into the system every time they allow you to go an entire week without work, has the emergent effect of *banning unpaid sick leave*. Well, you can have up to six days at a time of unpaid sick leave, but of course that’s not enough to get over a cold.

(I am very glad they scrapped the idea of returning to the 2019 system in September, because the 2019 system *encourages* the spread of disease and that is the *last* thing we fucking need right now. Meta-Boss has, at least twice, coerced me into returning to (customer-facing!) work while still having coughing fits† because he didn’t want to eat the fine for allowing me to become technically unemployed (even though I wouldn’t have bothered actually applying for unemployment, knowing I would be returning to work in another week or two): I often wonder how many cases of illness can be traced back to the existence of the Canadian unemployment system. Between that and how hard it is to get them to actually give you any money, I think we’d be better off with *nothing* than with the 2019 system, especially with an active plague but even with just (“”just”“) baseline colds and flus.)

>>I haven’t used my dental or vision insurance yet either but I keep meaning to… it’s just that for all I’ve lived here for over two years, I still don’t know things like “where is a good dentist”.

God, I’m so looking forward to having dental insurance††. I’ve been paying for vision checkups††† out of pocket because it’s just ~$150 every two years, but in theory dental is about that much every nine months. I haven’t had a dental checkup in two years, and the previous one was three years before that, and also I’m tired of every little toothache being like “is this it? is it happening? is today the day my wisdom teeth become an emergency?”.

(several of the things on the List are dental-related, and originally some of them were high enough in the priority order that we would have reached them by now, but we are postponing all non-urgent in-person medical care and *especially* stuff where you physically can’t wear a mask while you’re doing it)

And yeah, one of the many benefits of a stable housing situation is that I’ve long since found local medical providers I like. Now it’s just a matter of being able to afford the money and disease-risk to go see them.

>>I’m honestly not sure when or whether the whole “tax-advantaged” thing (which I will freely admit I don’t actually understand) outweighs the benefits of cash on hand.

Might be good for you to talk that over with an American finance nerd. I could talk your ear off about Canadian investment accounts, but the American situation is not perfectly analogous.

(Definitely look into what the early-withdrawal penalties are for various account types. One of the Canadian ones has almost no withdrawal penalty (there’s no fine, and you only have to wait until next year before you can put it back), to the point that it’s very feasible to put money into it knowing you’re going to need it again. (*I’m* not allowed to have that one, because the United States government hates me and wants me to suffer, but it *exists*.))

>>Then it’s a decision between “Save every possible penny for a car made in this millennium that has not been totaled, before my current car explodes irreparably” or “Try to get my student loans out of default while also saving at a slower rate for a car, so that if my car explodes before I can buy a new one out of pocket, I might have a hope in hell of getting a car loan that’s not completely horrendous”.

Yeah, cars are tough. Car loans are Not Done in my family, but we’re torn between “spend ~$6k on a *somewhat* less shitty car to tide us over until I start working full-time and can afford something better” and “jump straight to the ~$14k hybrid we really should have in the medium term (while we wait for full-electric hatchbacks to [be remotely affordable + have a range capable of New York trips]: currently you can have at most one of those things)”. A 14k car would wipe out an uncomfortable amount of savings, but likely have *much* lower maintenance costs than a 6k.

(Of course, summer is ending (= broken air conditioner is ceasing to matter for another year) plus we’re still not driving much, so “keep using the beater until I start working full-time” might also be a workable option. But my parents occasionally make noises about maybe returning to delivery driving.)

†And of course masks were *also* forbidden back then, because in the Old Times they signalled (in this case correctly, but anyway) having a cold and the *appearance* of sanitation is far more important to Meta-Boss than actually *being* sanitary.

††not covered by government between the ages of 14 and 65, and maybe not rich children either

†††not covered by government between the ages of 20 and 65, unless you have a degenerative eye condition (diabetes counts!)


Tags:

#and because people are constantly opening the front door and letting in pollen #I used to get a lot of sore throats from the no-masks-allowed policy #I wasn’t confident that wearing a mask at work would be enough to stop it but now I know from experience #if I’m still working there after the vaccine #I’m gonna show up in a cloth mask with ”pollen mask” written on it and refuse to take it off #”it’s a disability accommodation” #”give me any paperwork you need me to fill out for that and I’ll fill it out‚ but I am not taking off this mask” #venting cw? #(the before-times Canadian unemployment system fills me with rage) #((for that matter the United States tax code also fills me with rage)) #((but y’all knew that one already)) #adventures in human capitalism #in which Brin has a job #illness tw #poison cw? #covid19 #reply via reblog #medical cw #our home and cherished land #home of the brave #allergies #long post

90377:

Memories of April 2020 by 90377
Instagram | Etsy Shop


Tags:

#…so uh I’m *strongly* legally discouraged from going outside more than the absolute minimum #(legally I have to treat every allergy attack like it might be COVID-19 and go into full lockdown for two weeks) #(surgical masks aren’t always enough even when you can get them and cloth masks are untested and presumably even less perfect) #I think I’m starting to go a bit astronaut #plants #covid19 #allergies #(every year it gets worse‚ my ability to just go enjoy the outdoors ever more restricted) #(I’d wondered what the escalation would be this year‚ hoped that #perhaps the allergist I would visit in January would help me *de*-escalate instead) #(but there was nothing she could do for me and I guess now I fucking know what this year’s escalation is) #tag rambles #(P.S. over dinner today Mom told me the forsythia in the backyard is blooming) #(and I should go appreciate it seeing as how it was my idea in the first place) #(so after posting this I went and opened up the back door to look at it) #(I held my breath) #(and when my lungs began to burn I shut the door again and quickly walked away)

judiciousimprecation:

Saw a lady on the bus wearing one of those fancy one-way valved n95 masks, and I tried to figure out why I felt so much irritation with this random stranger.

Obviously the majority of this was just that I was envious she either got ahold of masks before they went out of stock everywhere, or paid a ridiculous price for them, but also I realized, those valved n95 masks are like the exact opposite of regular surgical masks, courtesy-wise.

The surgical masks mostly just block the wearers sneezes and coughs and reduce the amount of infection they might spread, while not doing much to prevent inhaling germs. They are a device which protects bystanders much more than the wearer.

The n95 masks meanwhile, theoretically block all germs from getting into the wearer (modulo proper use), but the one-way valve means unfiltered breath from the wearer makes it back into the atmosphere, thereby blocking way less of the germs they might be exhaling. Thus the valved n95 masks do absolutely fuck-all for bystanders. Fuck you, I got mine

 

etiragram:

Your attitude surprises me. This person is not doing something wrong. Consider the universe where they covered exactly the same route, but without the mask. In that universe, they risked everyone else they came into contact with as much as they did in this one, but also incurred additional risk themself. And in this world, if the mask made a difference, they have reduced the probability of hurting other people by becoming an extra node in the transmitting network.

Feeling irritation with this person for protecting themself without addition protection to others is in some ways akin to feeling irritation for wearing a seat belt. And there’s an aspect to it that’s pretty similar to “How dare this person do the same thing many other people do, but incur fewer costs for it”.

In my opinion, the only thing they could be said to have done wrong is in buying up a scarce resource that some people say medical professionals need far more, but only if they believed they were making more people worse off somewhere and still chose to buy it.

 

judiciousimprecation:

Te be clear, I fully acknowledge that my attitude toward this person was irrational, and I think part of the reason the experience stuck with me was because I was confused about why I was feeling that way. I tried to touch on that in the second paragraph but I definitely could have been more clear that I don’t really endorse it.

I think, having grown up in a country where wearing masks is not a normal thing to do even when (avoiding being) sick, seeing someone wearing a surgical mask tickles the (entirely unendorsed!) “this person is wrong for doing a weird thing, shun them” and normally I compensate for that by reminding myself “no, it’s cool, they’re probably doing it as a courtesy to others, cut them some slack”. Without that loophole it’s much harder to shut that part of my brain up.

I still think there’s something interesting to the “keep everyone else from getting sick” vs “keep only myself from getting sick” dichotomy (oh no, is this prisoner’s dilemma?), and I’d be incredibly curious to see what a statistical toy model looks like where half the population gets ingress-only masks or egress-only masks, but in retrospect I definitely leaned too hard on the “people wearing valved respirators are jerks who care about no one but themselves” angle

Back before COVID-19, I bought a valved mask in significant part because I figured signalling “this mask is for my protection, not yours” would make me look like *less* of a jerk.

(‘I’m not going out in public while sick, I promise! I’m just highly sensitive to pollen! I’m not dangerous, please don’t be scared!’)

Turns out the valve was a weak point and the mask failed almost immediately. Mom wants to try tinkering with it and seeing if she can repair it, but I’m probably back to surgical masks for the foreseeable future. I was already worried that I was going to scare people who saw me take off a surgical mask on my way into the restaurant and then go and serve them food, and that’s probably even *more* of a concern in the midst of a plague.

>>I still think there’s something interesting to the “keep everyone else from getting sick” vs “keep only myself from getting sick” dichotomy (oh no, is this prisoner’s dilemma?)<<

The impression I got reading your OP is that the reason it was bothering you is that it *wasn’t* prisoner’s dilemma, that she *could* have protected herself *and* others (with a non-valved N95) but instead chose to protect only herself, sacrificing others’ *safety* for her *comfort* (slightly less restricted breathing, less foggy glasses if applicable).

(this is speaking about the hypothetical world where your intuition was justified; in the endorsed world she may very well have had access to valved N95s but not non-valved)


Tags:

#reply via reblog #illness tw #covid19 #allergies #anxiety #in which Brin has a job

That post about writing motorcycle scenes I’ve been meaning to write

prettyarbitrary:

Riding a bike is one of those things that’s a very physical experience, so if you haven’t ridden, then there’s a lot you will naturally not be aware of.  I love motorcycle scenes in stories, but over the years I’ve noticed that scenes written by non-riders almost always make the same mistakes.  They’re ubiquitous in fact, to the point that if you haven’t been there to learn the contrary yourself, it’s natural to assume that’s how it actually works.

The first thing to know about motorcycles is that when driving, the motorcycle performs as an extension of you.  It’s almost cybernetic, the way your mass and balance fuse with the machine’s, the way it transmutes your sense of your surroundings and the surface you’re driving on, and the sense of the bike itself and how it’s performing.

Most notably, the driver’s center of gravity becomes the central steering mechanism.  At speeds faster than around 10 mph, the driver steers primarily through shifting their center of balance.  If you want to turn left, you lean your body left.  You’re actually tilting yourself and the motorcycle to take curves and corners.

When carrying a passenger, then, the passenger needs to shift their center of gravity along with the driver’s.  It’s like taking the ‘follower’ position in partner dancing.  You lean WITH them; not less, because then your weight counters theirs and they end up not turning (which can be highly bad if, say, the road does not go that way), and not more, because then the bike could tip right over.

Being a good passenger on a bike is not a huge learning curve for most people, but there is a learning curve.  And some people have more of a knack for it than others.  Some people are natural back-seat drivers, for whatever reason overly pushy, eager, demanding, or determined that they know better than you, and have a habit of making it hard on the driver.  I’ve had people tell me they hate riding pillion even if they’re good at it, because they don’t like how out-of-control it feels.  I detest it myself, in fact; I’d far rather be driving, and it’s a constant struggle for me to just follow along and behave myself.

This means, though, that carrying a passenger who weighs significantly more than you can be a tricky business.  I weigh about 110, and when carrying a rider weighing significantly more than that, it’s awfully easy to crash if the passenger tries to back-seat steer.  (A way to mitigate this, especially for new passengers, is to simply take 15 minutes or so to bump around quiet local roads at low speeds so that the driver and passenger can familiarize themselves a bit with minimal risk to themselves.)

Now, undoubtedly the #1 most-committed mistake I see from almost everybody who writes about motorcycles (and for that matter, a lot of unsuspecting new passengers try it in real life) is the ‘wrapping arms around the driver’s waist’ business.  It’s so common that this line is practically required by law when somebody’s writing a motorcycle scene, but seriously:  DON’T DO THAT.  <–The all caps there is not for shaming; it’s for emphasizing the safety issues.  It’s not only uncomfortable for the driver, it’s potentially dangerous.  It makes it hard to steer, hard to breathe comfortably, and easy to get jerked off balance and into a crash.

In a similar vein, holding onto the driver via grabbing their clothing is ill-advised.  This can lead to getting jerked off balance, having seams dig in painfully, and being choked by fabric.

What to do instead:  The rider sitting pillion should brace their hands on either side of the driver’s waist.  

I know, if you’re in it for the sexual tension, this sounds less sexy, but I’m here to tell you that’s a filthy lie.  A passenger who’s sitting properly is basically molded onto the driver’s back.  Riding with/being a passenger on a bike is a startlingly intimate experience.  There’s a lot of trust and teamwork involved, which takes place at a kinesthetic level.  It feels a lot like dancing, as I said before, or maybe partnered sports, where the collaboration is happening at a physical, bone-deep level that often skips right past the conscious intellect.

Now, sometimes (you may’ve seen this on the road) you’ll have passengers who prefer to hang onto a part of the bike–bits of the frame, maybe, or a ‘sissy bar’/seat back sticking up from the back.  It’s not uncommon, but it’s a bad habit because the passenger is never quite as in-tune with the driver this way, and if something happens–a tire slips in a puddle, for example–their weight moving in the wrong direction can end up jerking the bike out of the driver’s control.

Another thing I see a lot of writers do in stories that doesn’t work in real life:  unfortunately, helmets are NOT easily swappable.  They’re designed to clasp the head; a well-fitted helmet should not move on your head at all, even if you shake your head hard (though it also shouldn’t be tight enough to exert uncomfortable pressure).  A helmet that fits loosely is useless at best and dangerous at worst.  One that’s too tight is either painful or doesn’t go on at all.  It doesn’t take much difference in the size of two people’s heads for one person’s helmet to not fit the other person properly.  (And even if they’re the same size, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be comfortable for more than short-term wear, but hey.)

Also, the stupid things are ridiculously expensive–especially the full-face models–so most bikers aren’t lucky enough to have a bunch of extras just laying around.

Another tip, both for writing and riding: riding pillion on a sports bike (those sleek ones where the driver’s crouched and leaning forward like a race jockey) is a miserable freaking experience.  On a lot of models, you’re perched up there on something that barely counts as a seat and leaves you constantly feeling like you’re about to slide off the back; your legs are pushed up into a crouch; you’re hunched like a monkey over the driver; and possibly you’ve got a scalding-hot muffler pressed up against your calf.  

(Pro tip: if anybody ever invites you for a ride on their bike and you’re wearing shorts, pay attention to where the muffler’s located in relation to the foot pegs.)

Now, what is it about motorcycles that makes some of us bikers go into a lathered-up frenzy at the idea of riding?  It’s because it FEELS SO DAMN ALIVE.

Look.  It’s like…life these days is, well, canned.  We spend a lot of our time in pods–houses, cars, subway trains–breathing tinned air, walking around on pavement or carpet…  But when I’m on a bike, it’s me and a 360 degree panorama of the world, and there’s nothing between me and it.  Some people get off on the risk of that, but for me it’s a matter of immersion.  When I ride, I can feel the cool humid air rolling down from under a forested hillside.  I can smell the road dust, the oil, the exhaust, the herby scent of weeds and wildflowers on the roadside, the river I’m driving near, the shady scent of a forest, the roadside fruit stand…and I’m not talking in that wafty, broken-up way you get if you roll the car doors down.  It’s like driving into a wall of scent, crashing through one bubble after another of temperature changes and smells and sounds and sights, and I have this bike underneath me that’s rumbling and vibrating and moving like it’s part of me, and it’s just the most powerful sense I’ve ever had of being in charge of my own life and not hiding from the world.  I can see it, and it can see me, and yeah, that’s a bit dangerous, but it’s also real.

God, that last paragraph particularly gets to me, as someone with an [airborne environmental sensitivity NOS that is apparently not technically an allergy] [link].

I fucking *flinched* at the description of the scents of the outdoors, because to me those scents have come to mean “your mask seal has failed and you’re gonna be paying for it later”. I miss outdoor scents, but I’ve also grown to fear them.

That paragraph is even better at expressing the intertwining of realness and danger than OP intended.


Tags:

#interesting #the more you know #motorcycles #reply via reblog #tangents #allergies #(haven’t found a better tag yet)