February 27, 2021

I think our dog would be happy to play “fetch the frisbee” forever (See attached, Exhibit A). Every waking hour for the rest of his life, he’d probably be happy to keep running after that thing and bringing it back. Makes sense; it’s in his genes… they don’t call them “Retrievers” for nothing.

As far as humans are concerned, we’re not wired to keep doing the same thing over and over. We go crazy. And it’s starting to become evident with respect to the ever-moving horizon that’d signify some sort of boundary for this pandemic. People have simply had enough. If you had to blame anything, it wouldn’t be the non-complaint mask-deriding freedom-seeking crowd; they’re not helping things, but it’s not just them that’s keeping the numbers from going lower and the rules from changing… it’s simply these new variants, and the unknown risk they pose.

A year ago, we were used to the “unknowingness” of this whole thing. We were happy to let them figure it out, and figure it out they did. What nobody was counting on were new strains that were this much more contagious. It sucks, because it’s moved the goalposts, the finish line, the end of the tunnel… whatever you want to call it. I had thought by Spring Break, we’d be back to a place of understanding that by keeping to our safe 6 or limited bubble or whatever we’d be at, things could look a little bit closer to normal than the same time last year. And they could’ve… but nature had other plans… so the ball gets punted down the field a bit further.

And… people are tired of it. Not just because the same old usual boring routine, but the uncertainty. I’ve written about it before and I’ll say it again: I’d rather be thrown in prison for an exact, known period of time… than wake up every day with a small random chance of going home… or not. It’s the uncertainty that would drive me crazy.

The unfortunate combination of Spring break in a couple of weeks, coupled with new variants may well put us back a few notches. It probably doesn’t affect the long-term that much… things will wind down on the same, relative schedule… but it’ll be a slower and bumpier path to get there. If numbers don’t soar in the next six weeks, they’re likely going to to start to fizzle out towards summer… and never jump back up… ever. Because with the heat of summer and vaccines (three to choose from, with AstraZeneca now approved in Canada) and lots of people having acquired immunity… through having had it (knowingly or unknowingly)… one could expect things to really slow down… and there’d be enough of a handle on it that by next “respiratory season”, the acute phase of this pandemic would be a thing of the past.

But, for the moment… for today… it’s frustrating. At least, with the weather getting better… around here, you can head down to the beach and play fetch… or just walk around. A bit of normalcy, but we’re all looking forward to the true normalcy, and the end of this whole thing. It’s coming… but it just might take a bit longer than what any of us had hoped for.

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January 9, 2021

There will be a slight delay in posting the pretty numbers and graphs… I haven’t been near a computer all day. This post comes courtesy of my iPhone. And the place-holder video explains why… we took the dog up to Mt. Seymour to wander in the snow a bit… so if you’re here for just the data, come back at 6pm… (EDIT: numbers and graphs are up… but the dog video stays ????) and if you’re here to read what I have to say, let’s go back to yesterday for a bit…

Like I’ve said before, I enjoy being wrong… it gives me an opportunity to learn something.

Certainly, when you post an opinion, it’s up for discussion… I’ve had a lot of contrarian opinions over the last several months when it came to my attitude towards Trump. It was much more fervent at the beginning; I’d post something negative about him, and the comments section would erupt with ugliness… as would my Inbox. I used to answer all of them, but I stopped when I learned to distinguish the difference between someone with genuine points worthy of discussion… as opposed to rabid pro-Trumpers that we’re all too familiar with now. But unless you were one of those foaming-at-the-mouth types, I’m always happy to share my thoughts.

It was a pleasant surprise yesterday to be wrong, but not be slammed by crazy people. On the contrary, the rational intelligent information provided to me by professionals, researchers, more-informed people; what a refreshing change. I’m happy to pass along what I’ve learned in 24 hours; some of it is in the comments from yesterday’s post, others came from calls and texts and emails… from people more familiar with the topic than myself.

The topic-du-hier was the vaccine, but, more specifically, the timing between the two required shots. I went off applying my experimental and empirical knowledge, and mapped it onto a subject that maybe doesn’t apply. Like I said yesterday, I’ve built IKEA furniture without reading the manual; the wooden pegs go in these holes, the round rotating fastening things obviously go in those big holes, the metal things they attach to go in these smaller holes; it’s not rocket science but nevertheless, if you do a step wrong, there’s a lot of rewinding. You may as well read the manual. Also, as per yesterday, I’ve actually landed an Airbus 320 that was way too heavy on an icy runway… and didn’t slide off the end. This was in an Air Canada Flight Simulator, not real… but the co-pilot/flight instructor next to me was saying… you’ll see why this is a bad idea.

So… as it turns out, my assumption that stretching the time between jabs being bad is… not entirely correct… it’s not a simple question of right and wrong. There’s certainly a gray area, and it looks like this…

On one side, you have Pfizer and the FDA… both of which have significant potential liability if they’re wrong. Accordingly, they can’t recommend something and stand behind it on just a whim. There’re both quite adamant: Stick to the script.

On the flipside, you have a couple of things that might make you see things differently… one are the logical conclusions based on the vast experience that exists in the field. While this vaccine is new, vaccines in general certainly aren’t… and there’s behavior around them that in this case can be assumed to be no different. The other is the frightening pace at which the pandemic is accelerating, especially in the U.S.

It’s that latter point that might be the tipping point; the staggering difference it makes getting as many first doses into people as possible. The immunity that one shot provides — enough to prevent a serious outcome (if not prevent infection entirely) means worrying about the second dose later. To that point, there’s plenty of evidence that delaying it a week does nothing to lower the efficacy… and stretching even further might have little detrimental effect. And, further to that… there’s always time in the future to fix that, once everyone has had their first shot and possibly-ill-timed second shot. Perhaps come back for a third if it’s found you really need it.

I’d certainly still prefer to do this on the prescribed and tested schedule, but now certainly understand the merits of stretching it out… which summarizes to hundreds of thousands of potential hospitalizations and deaths prevented.

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December 26, 2020

Happy Boxing Day! Now that you’ve unboxed the gifts and boxed up the Christmas, you can relax… and hopefully Santa was good to you. Hopefully you got something meaningful that’ll last a long time; some gift that keeps on giving.

You know what’s an excellent gift that keeps on giving? It occurred to me while running up and down McDonald Beach with the dog… that great dog-beach near the airport.

The people who run the airport, the Vancouver Airport Authority, have never stopped charging the Airport Improvement Fee.

To backtrack a bit… back in the early 90s, YVR realized that with the projected passenger loads expected in the future, the airport was woefully undersized. Vast improvements were needed to deal with the post Expo’86 crowds… and the ever-increasing traffic to-and-from Asia. And they needed to get the money from that somewhere, because, believe it or not, the airport gets no government money.

So, they implemented a simple AIF… a little user-fee tax sort of thing. If you were flying out of YVR, you paid $5 to destinations within B.C, $10 within Canada and $15 everywhere else. These little kiosks popped-up, and you’d line up and wait and buy a little ticket that’d be collected when you went through security. A bit of grumbling ensued by an annoyed public who felt they were once-again getting shafted and wasting time.

Not soon after, they finally figured out how to integrate the AIF into the cost of an airline ticket. No more separate line-ups… it was all transparent. And, oh, how the money rolled in. Twenty million passengers a year times an average of ten dollars each equals a lot. More than $2 billion dollars and counting.

Where’s the money going? Well, it’s gone towards building the best airport in North America ten years in a row. A few years ago, some governing body voted it the best airport in the world. The fact is, whether it’s the new terminal, the new runway, the new outlet mall or just the quiet little museum piece you get to walk through if you land at one of those distant E-gates – the trees and birds and canoe on the water thing – it seems to be money very-well spent.

The AIF was supposed to be temporary but so was income tax during WW2. So were those ugly power-towers on Boundary, north of 1st Ave.

Income tax will never go away. Neither will those towers. And probably, neither will the AIF, and I’m totally ok with that. And by the way, the AIF has changed. Now it’s $5 for travel within B.C. and $25 for everywhere else. I’m totally ok with that too.

I guess that’s not really a gift that keeps on giving; it’s not a gift if it’s being extracted from you… but let’s call it a worthwhile extraction that keeps on giving… there’s a good random thought re Boxing Day, typically one of the busiest travel days of the year… but not when air traffic is down 90%. Maybe next year there will be more excitement on Boxing Day than just taking things out (and putting things back in) boxes.

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December 12, 2020

Beautiful day plus no local numbers equals just a brief update… but speaking of local numbers, they were way up at the dog beach we always go to.

If you don’t have a dog, it’s possible you don’t even know there’s a gem of a beach near the airport. Just north of the airport but south of the river, you’ll find McDonald Beach… and, on a day like this, it’s spectacular… a view that’s obviously shared by many others, given the crowd size… both people and dogs. If you want to see lots of dogs having the time of their lives, running up and down the paths, the more than 1km of beach, the water (which is of course fresh, not salty… and rapidly running, so clean)… head on down.

And, might I add… if you don’t like dogs, don’t go there. Do not go there for a quiet picnic and expect to not get overrun by dogs. If you find yourself shooing dogs away, you’re probably in the wrong place. Also, if you take your dog to a beach or park or wherever, and throw him the ball, don’t be offended if 10 other dogs go chasing it… and telling other dogs, “Hey, put that down, it’s not yours!” is unlikely to help.

Notwithstanding those two oddities, it was a wonderful day. The place is full of friendly people and friendly dogs. And, fresh air and sunshine, two commodities that scarcely make an appearance together this time of year and should be taken advantage of… especially the vitamin D aspect. Enjoy it while you can. And ugh, just had a look at the weather for tomorrow and rest of the week. Quick… there’s still a few minutes of sunshine left… in 2020.

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October 24, 2020

No local numbers today or tomorrow… so no speculative guesses either. If the last few days are any indication, things are going to get worse before they improve… but in the meantime, why don’t we just enjoy this incredible weather… it’s a beautiful day to be outside, and if you’re wondering where to walk, might I suggest your nearest polling station to go vote, if you haven’t already done so.

Instead of fully-updated numbers and graphs (the partial one is here, if you’re interested), here’s a video of my dog fetching a frisbee… with some spectacular views of blue skies and the ocean thrown in for good measure.

Words: of some value
Picture: a thousand words
This video: priceless

In the midst of “the worst is yet to come”, there’s always some beauty to be found.

(notitle)

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By |2020-10-26T20:17:07-07:00October 24th, 2020|Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Follower Favourites, Our Dog|Tags: |5 Comments

October 4, 2020

The messaging coming out of the White House is so contradictory, it’s not even worth trying to figure it out. There’s internal disagreement with what they’re trying to say (forget the truth; that’s irrelevant – this is just about the picture they’re trying to paint). Doctored videos, pictures supposedly taken throughout the day but actually taken 10 minutes apart…. Trump hard at work… signing blank pieces of paper. He’s going home soon; he’s staying in the hospital for a while. Enough already; this isn’t news… just failed propaganda.

Does anyone remember the Soviet leaders that came after Brezhnev (and before Gorbachev)? First there was Yuri Andropov. One day he was fine; the next day, the Kremlin reported he had a bit of a cold. The next day he was dead. Following him came Konstantin Chernenko… fine one day, caught a little cold, died the next day.

We can excuse all that because that was the former Soviet Union, where there was no semblance of free press, and the only source of news came from the government… it wasn’t a question of truth. The “truth” that was rammed down everyone’s throat and expected to be accepted.

That’s not so easy to pull off these days, and it’s making the White House look ridiculous… and questioning the credibility of a number of people, including Trump’s own doctor.

No useful information emerging from there, and nothing too useful around here either since it’s the weekend. Tomorrow, we’ll get an informative over-the-weekend update – for Canada. For the U.S… don’t hold your breath.

The numbers and charts, as incomplete as they will be for today, will be posted shortly… for now, you get a picture of my dog… who also looks like he’s worried about what the heck is going on…


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By |2020-10-08T01:08:37-07:00October 4th, 2020|Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Politics, Our Dog|Tags: , , , , , |19 Comments

August 30, 2020

No pandemic numbers to update, but let’s talk about something relevant in my last 24 hours… my involvement in the World Series of Poker, which was going really well, until… suddenly… it wasn’t.

Unfortunately, that is the nature of the game, and there’s actually something relatable to the world in general, especially these days.

In tournament poker, unlike cash games, you play until you have all the chips (and win) …or you bust out with nothing. Often, in tournament poker, you’re put in a position where it’s blatantly obvious what you should do, but plain old (good or bad, depending who you are in the story) luck will have something to say about it.

Even in the most extreme and obvious cases… and here’s the math on one of the most extreme examples… things can (and do) go wrong.

Let’s say it’s just you and me battling against each other in a hand. You have a pair of Aces, the best possible starting hand. I have a 2 and a 7 of different suits, which is generally the worst starting hand. For some misguided reason, I think you’re trying to bluff me with whatever you did to kick-off the hand, so I go All-In on you, meaning I bet everything I have… not because my cards are any good, but because I think you don’t have anything that good, and as per what I wrote yesterday, this is a game of money played with cards, not the other way around. As long as you think I have something better than you, you should throw away the hand.

But instead, this scenario is a dream for you. Someone pushing All-In, while you have pocket Aces. You call instantly, and are even further delighted to see my awful cards. Here’s the math: After running 5 board (common) cards, you should win 88% of the time. I, through sheer luck, will win 12% of the time… having hit 2 pairs or 3 of a kind or who knows.

And that’s the thing… one out of eight times in that dream scenario, you will lose. And it will feel like someone sledgehammered you in the gut… and if you visit the hotel bar at any poker tournament, you will see an ever-increasing group of gut-sledgehammered people wandering in to drown their sorrows and tell anyone who’ll listen how they just got completely screwed by some idiot who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

I will spare you all the details of exactly what busted me out of “The Big One” this year, but there’s no expert that’d tell you I did anything wrong. I got all my money in with a much better hand, and the other guy got lucky. In a real tournament, “IGHN” – I Go Home Now. Silver lining of course… I already am home. And instead of having a bunch of drunk, depressed poker players to make me feel better, I have my dog licking my face.

What’s relatable? That sometimes, doing the exact right thing… doesn’t yield the results you were hoping for or expecting. You’re wearing a mask, you’re social distancing… and somehow you caught the bug. It’s happened. Bad luck. But in no way does that negate what you (and everyone else) should be doing. Knowing that sometimes things aren’t going to work out is no reason to not do the right thing in the first place.

And, for what it’s worth, there are still some smaller WSOP events I might jump into. If things go well there, I assure you, you’ll hear about it. Kind of like the pandemic… when that starts going well, rest-assured… I’ll be here to tell you all about it.

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August 22, 2020

No BC numbers, no AB numbers… no rain, no worries. No update… and no real time to write one anyway, because here’s where I am right now. ????????????????????

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August 16, 2020

Update…

Today was supposed to be a socially-distanced backyard get-together with some good friends… which went sideways shortly before they arrived, when the dog evidently swallowed a wine cork. We rushed to the vet, but the x-ray couldn’t see anything… and while they were about to prep him for an endoscopy, the friends arrived and started trying to help in crawling around the garden looking for it “just in case”… and found it. Well-chewed but not swallowed. So now we take the pup home with a huge wave of relief… and since today there are no B.C. numbers anyway, let’s forget the numbers and charts till tomorrow. Instead, you get a picture of me and this bestest boi.

 

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By |2020-10-08T01:39:33-07:00August 16th, 2020|Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Follower Favourites, Our Dog|Tags: , |40 Comments

August 16, 2020

No update for the moment (will post the graphs and data later)… dealing with a doggy vet emergency ☹️

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By |2020-10-08T01:09:47-07:00August 16th, 2020|Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, Our Dog|Tags: |7 Comments
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