Anger Over Response and Handling of Covid-19 in the U.S.

I don’t understand why Trump needs people standing around him wishing a foot or two? What kind of message is this sending to People? The message I see, is Trump has other things on his mind than Covid-19. Everyone is doing a, “wonderful” job, “wonderful” people, sounds like wonderful bullshit.

According to news I heard, the first identified case of Covid-19 happened long before the Centers for Disease Control on January 20, 2020. The very first case, a young man with no ties to anyone traveling, and eight more people to follow were discovered by a Doctor in Snohomish County, Washington on or before December 2019.

The Doctor was silenced by her superiors and finally by President Trump as the administration dragged its feet (according to what I heard), and pretended for weeks everything was fine. Now the country is almost out of control with over 20,000 cases of Covid-19 in New York alone.

The hype about testing. All the testing in the world is not going to cure anyone of Covid-19. All a test will do, is tell the lab, and then your doctor if you test positive for the virus or not. It has no effect on your or my mortality.

Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the United States and head of the U.S. Public Health Service made an announcement on Monday, the 23, that the Covid-19 pandemic may not peak in the U.S until May or possibly later.

Why is Trump ignoring what his content expert is telling the country? Why is Trump even considering allowing businesses to open in a perhaps three weeks?

Sanitizing your home. Obviously you do not have Covid-19 in your home. If you did, and you are practicing self quarantine, you would know by now. All the hype about sanitizing your home and how to do it is just that, hype. You are in your home, you are staying away from people, no virus is sneaking in. The virus is not alive.

Use your Brain first and then your Feet for Covid-19

Magic pills. As of this writing there is no pill or concoction that will keep you from being infected or cure you of Covid-19.

Every Hoarder should be ashamed of themselves. All Hoarder’s have done was make it very difficult for people who live paycheck to paycheck to find and buy the basic items for cleanliness.

Trump finally got around to passing a law allowing for prosecution. Another example of too little too late.

Too many people are acting as if they are ignorant of the pandemic. At the parks, I see people gathering on the walking paths, talking, oblivious of the people who are out walking or bicycling. Step off the walking paths if this is you.

People meandering through the grocery store in an effort to stay away from home as long as possible. If this is you, make a list, fill it, and leave.

Keeping a six foot distance does not mean, ignore. You can smile and talk to strangers. Keep a respectful distance when you are out and about.

Over Exercising is not doing you any good. As Madonna said in her tweet yesterday, Covid-19 is the great leveler, it doesn’t care about you, me, or anyone else. Hurting yourself trying to get in shape (again) is not going to save you. Do you really want to go to any hospital right now because you hurt your self exercising?

In closing, we have to use our brains first and our bodies second. Covid-19 is a killer, plain and simple. Think about what you are doing, both inside and outside your home, like the panel on the ATM machine or the Card Payment machine as examples.

Traveling in the Time of Covid-19

I have been on the road for three and one-half weeks. During that time, I have flown to Washington State, Drove a U-Haul from Washington State traveling south and east to a small town in South Carolina, then drove back to my home in Albuquerque.

Quite a bit of travel in a few short weeks. But nothing compared to the real road warriors, our Truck Drivers! Without these folks driving to every nook and cranny in the United States and beyond. Despite the scared yet pathetic hoarders, we would be naked and starving, unable to take care of our basic human needs.

Driving over any Interstate Highway, and especially coming from one of the coasts, it is obvious how much our nations Truck Drivers do to keep our country running. For example, Apples from Washington State are driven down to the Florida State and unloaded to take on a load of citrus fruits for Washington. And so on and so forth, everything we need and take for granted. I will end this portion with a call out for our Nation’s Truckers! Give them a smile if and when you see them.

Washington State, which is racked with this new sickness, was in my short time there, a mixed bag. Depending on age, and perhaps education, different views on all aspects of this pandemic can be seen in a single afternoon, if one is daring enough to leave the house. I have no doubt that is how we are, wherever we live.

Empty roads to roads shared with Semi Trucks

 

Depending on where you live in the world, you are giving more or less attention and are better or poorer prepared than we are in the States as we stumble along in semi denial. There are a few people in charge who are obviously in a different reality and have different priorities than caring for the public good. However there are State Governors and small town councils who are taking this pandemic with seriousness and appropriate action.

Personally, I think our situation is a blessing in disguise. Families are forced to spend time together instead of inhabiting the same home, and leading disparate lives. We have time to explore our spirituality and look deep into our beliefs and thoughts. I went out walking in the park today, physically distant from others, and it was a pleasure to see people outdoors as a family.

I received texts and phone calls from my neighbors asking after me, and offering any help or support as they may be able to help with. What more can one possibly expect from neighbors? Neighbors are in many ways, extended families. What happens to a family in many neighborhoods is known and and effects friends and neighbors alike.

Moving back to spirituality, this is a good time to really think about what you believe and why you believe it. Some decades ago, I found myself in a position of knowing without a doubt, that everything I thought I knew to be true was not only incorrect, but was/is part of a massive effort to push beliefs that grossly falsehoods.

In light of inspecting the falsehoods and misdirection that made my belief system, I was moved from being asleep to alive and awake. I hope this quarantine period, moves others to reflect, and have the courage to admit their beliefs too are wrong. I hope they find their way on the path to truth and a more meaningful life.

After being in half the states in the U.S, in only a few weeks, I have seen people showing immense courage and empathy. People willing to feed me, rent me a room for the night, provide gasoline, coffee, and snacks. Some of these people have no choice, they need to work, no matter the risk.

Other people, either through instinct or altruism, are out there making other peoples lives better and helping folks like me get to where they need to go. My heart goes out to the probably millions of people who went to work, to find out they are now unemployed. Several industries we took for granted are now, idle, maybe never to recover.

I hope you are able to make positive changes in your life, and practice whatever form of spirituality which is important to you in the coming undefined period of time. One good thing about a pandemic, is getting through one, and learning “I” can’t do it alone. Surviving a pandemic takes all of us, “We” is in and “I” should be forgotten.

This has been a rambling and perhaps incoherent compilations of text, parading as paragraphs, and put together as a post. I have so many people to thank for getting across country twice, and getting me home safely. There are so many good people out there, no matter where you live.

Mice in the Garage, DYI Live Traps

When I went into the garage, at times I could hear slight noises. It almost was the sound of dried leaves rustling. Because it is windy here, I was thinking it was the air movement through the garage, as it is not sealed due to the garage door. Over time the sounds became more frequent. I determined there were mice taking up residence in the garage.

I went to one of the greatest how-to sources in the world (YouTube) and searched for, “DYI Mouse Traps”. There are so many people with videos it was almost overwhelming. I modified the search to, “DYI Live Mouse Traps”. This brought it down to a reasonable amount. I started watching videos only to find some of the YouTube creators have their own Mouse Trap channels!

This was certainly better than any television, and the creativity was certainly inspiring. I was confident that in a few days, I would have built a trap, caught the mice and been done with everything mouse related. Little did I know. It appears, eight the Mice here are a lot smarter than some of the Mice the video creators were using.

Watch some videos video and watch the mice almost run to get into the trap. I suppose if they were hungry enough they would almost run to food, knowing they would be let go shortly. The mice here did not appear to be so desperate. I built a simple bottle trap, put some sunflower seeds in and waited. Days gone by and no mice. I decided, the Mice didn’t like the smell of the bottle, so I made a second trap out of a plastic milk bottle. Now with two traps, surely something would happen.

Day one led to day two, which led to week one. I guess the Mice were not that excited about sunflower seeds. I then added peanut butter. Rinse and repeat. Oatmeal must be the key. In went the oatmeal in both traps. No Mice. I wasn’t catching or seeing any mice, so I thought it was my imagination. After looking over the more protected shelve areas, the evidence appeared. Mouse droppings.

Easy to Make Mouse Bottle Traps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some droppings were near the bottles, but they did not have any interest in the buffet. I watched more YouTube videos. DYI Live Traps run the gamut from simpler than the Bottle Trap, to quite sophisticated. They all seemed to be using peanut butter, and having good results – they caught mice.

I came across two older videos which was only a minute or so long. I wish I had saved them, so I could give it a call out. The first was a trap with a cake pan and a L shaped piece of wire. The wire held the cake pan up on one side. The other end of the wire held some bait, once again peanut butter (I think). The second video was shorter than the first, and it was a Man who seemed to be having the same problem I was having, empty traps.

He said, someone told him the secret was using chocolate for bait. He said Mice could not resist chocolate, and went crazy for it. What did I have to lose? I found a large pan in the garage. It was a monster, about eleven inches around, heavy aluminum. I also found part of an old coat hanger.

I made the coat hanger into a very relaxed and modified L shape. It was short on the small leg, and longer on the tall leg. I doubled over the end to have a spot for peanut butter and sunflower seed. Every day the peanut butter and seed were gone, but the pan did not drop. I did not understand this at first, as it was very hard to balance the pan and get it to stand correctly.

The pan is very heavy and mice are very light! How obvious now. It would take a mouse the size of a squirrel to trip the trigger and make the pan fall. I looked for a lighter pan, and found a bread load pan. I made a new trigger from lighter wire, and put more of U shape in it. At the bait end, I doubled it over and put a small sliver of wood to hold more bait.

I used chocolate syrup and sunflower seeds for bait. The syrup was not viscous enough to hold the seed, and it fell off. Well, a little peanut butter wouldn’t hurt. Changing to a lighter bread pan and using chocolate syrup was the magic combination. The Mice could not resist.

Easy and Effective Mouse Trap

I thought there were perhaps two Mice in the garage. The first day, I caught two Mice. The second day, I caught two more. It seems Mice can hide their presence well. Going into the garage, I can hear slight noise from two different places, so I am expecting to catch at least two more mice.

I am using old cat litter buckets with lids to put the captured mice in. When the pan is flat on the shelve, it is time to move the captured Mouse from the pan to the bucket. I place the un-covered bucket in a large trash can to prevent escapes. I then slide a heavy piece of cardboard (about three-quarters of the size of the top of the bucket) under the bread pan without allowing any space between the cardboard and pan.

Placing the bread pan and cardboard into the litter bucket, I tilt the far side of the pan and cardboard down into the bucket. I then lift the pan and listen to the mouse scratching trying to remain on the card board – which is a losing battle. After a second or two the mouse falls to the bottom of the bucket, runs for cover under the crumpled newspaper without any thought of jumping out. Now I simply slide the bucket lid back into place.

One of the videos I watched said Mice are very good at finding their way home, and need to be let go at least one-half mile away from where they were caught. There is a park about that far away with shrubs and such, that looks like like good mouse habitat, so that is where I let them go. I lay the bucket sideways on the ground, remove the lid, and tap the bottom of the bucket. If that doesn’t work, I carefully reach in and pull back the newspaper. As soon as they see daylight, they run a little slower than the speed of light for cover.

One Mouse Trap maker on YouTube thinks these Mice rarely survive in a new habitat. I like to think, at least they have a chances and if they do not survive, they contribute to the food chain, which is probably what would have happened if they were living outside to start with.

Blocking Ads, Protecting Privacy

I was surfing the web last week when I hit my advertising limit. It was brought about by what was at first a unobtrusive little square ad for a mans wallet. How it came to be attached to what I was surfing for is a mystery. A small wallet ad, is what sent me on a search for a whole new level of ad-blocking.

It was at first a small perhaps almost two inch by two inch ad. After a some web pages, I realized this little ad was following me from web page to web page. The ad placement was subtly changing. The ads location initially starting in the top right corner towards the top center of every web page.

Then the ad became more obnoxious. The little brown wallet, in all its two inch by two inch glory, started shifting from side to side. A web page or two later, and it was quivering right in the top middle of the page. Finally, when I reached the point of enough the ad had morphed from quivering to shaking to traveling around the page top third of a new web page.

Enough was enough. I decided in that moment, I have had it with advertising on web pages. Well, almost. As I changed from whatever I was surfing for to looking for ad blocking, I came across a blog that shared my feelings about ads. The owner stated that on his blog, advertising was limited to a banner on the top of the page, with no more than 140 characters. In my anti-ad state of mind, this seemed more than reasonable.

The result of about 20 minutes on a web portal. 203 ads and 9 invisible trackers trackers blocked.

The next day, I opened my web browser, the articles it collects on its main page seemed to be at an all time high. Usually there seemed to be three to six articles waiting for me. Today there was twelve to fifteen articles waiting. I looked at a few I was interested in, and realized they all contained ads. The article started out like any typed article found in a word processor. After a few seconds, ads started popping up running the gamut from barely noticeable to overwhelming.

This from a web browser, who claims they want to make the Internet more usable. It seems they found a way to capitalize on ads from those companies that pay to be shown in the browser. Whether this is true or not, is unknown, but in my new view of hating ads, it felt more true than not.

I added my favorite web blocker to my browser. I had not really noticed before, but there were ads present while using it. My favorite ad blocker seemed to let ads through. I went to their web page to investigate. I found that even feel, ‘some ads, are acceptable, depending on their location’. That wasn’t enough for me, I wanted all ads gone.

I read about a hardware fix called a Raspberry Pi running a program named, Pi-Hole. After reading about the Raspberry Pi, I decided to give one a try, as they are fairly inexpensive, and sounded like a lot of fun if ad blocking didn’t work out. So I purchased a Raspberry Pi, added Pi-Hole, changed my router settings as suggested, and off I went into the wild blue world wide web.

Creeping through the web, would be an accurate description. I was amazed over the number of web pages that were being blocked due to advertising. I felt waves of relief! Finally, I can surf the web ad free. I did notice a few ads slipped through, but they were well behaved. Some time later I noticed it felt like three-fourths of the web had now become non accessible. Looking for particular information meant, clicking on ten links to find all ten links were blocked by Pi-Hole.

This was ad blocking taken to the extreme. I shut down Pi-Hole and went back to a browser add on solution. After some trial and error, I have ended up using my favorite web browser with two Add-ons. The first is, “U Block Origin”, which can be reviewed on Wikipedia as its web pages are blocked by U Block Origin. U Block Origin I read in a review, stated that there was no good ad. My type of ad-blocker.

The second add on, I mentioned in a previous post, is Privacy Badger. Privacy Badger by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, blocks invisible trackers and gets smarter as you use it. The Electronic Frontier Foundation itself has been around almost thirty years and, bills itself as, “… a champion of user privacy….”, among other things.

These browser Add-ons have slowed loading web pages down as most ads are blocked from showing on the screen. How slow depends on how ad saturated the web page is. Even web portals are brought into line. You can check them out by clicking on these links:

UBlock Origin  and  Privacy Badger

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UBlock_Origin and https://www.eff.org .

A Different Slant on New Years Resolutions

This is different slant on New Year Resolutions. Instead of making a few vague rules about what you want to do different, I offer a change to a more fulfilled life. If you are happy with your life, I do not think you would be here wondering what I have to say. Welcome.

I am happy and content these days, living my life mostly in the moment, but I worked hard to achieve this state. I thought writing about my path may help you improve your life. Of all the lessons I have learned over my lifetime, there is one lesson that is bigger than the rest. That lesson is, we are more alike than different. The way I was and the who I am now is something people before me and people after have done and will do. You can do it too.

If you see yourself in what I write below, be patient. Know your life will change, and you will find happiness and contentment. If nothing I write below relates to your life, know that for many people, loneliness and despair is their normal life state. Reach out and touch them. They want you to see them.

Be part of the world, it is easier

Isolation can be overcome, you can do it.

It happened to me either one New Years Eve or possibly New Years night many years ago. Maybe it as early as Christmas. It certainly wasn’t later than the first week of January, as I would have my emotions under control [again] by then. This particular incident happened sometime after one in the morning, probably after two. My days and nights ran into one another in those days. Living life slowly and relaxing was for other people.

I was living out west, in the mountains. From a good vantage point, it was possible to see more stars than could be counted in a lifetime. I was walking home late at night, down a dark street. I didn’t have a car. The little town I called home didn’t have lighted streets.

Walking home, this night for some reason was different. Everything I looked at was overly sharp and vibrant. This time of night my world and thinking should have been cloudy and hazy with loosely construed thoughts. I looked up and saw a sky full of galaxies, millions of stars. I was alone in all of it. I was separated from everything and everyone. Family, friends, people in general lived in the same plane as me, though in a different dimension. We inhabited the same space separately, or so it seemed.

I remember looking to the sky that night and thinking, ‘if I could go to anyone of those living stars, I would still be an outsider, on the outside, looking in. I felt I didn’t have anything in common with the smallest speck of dust, or any of the people who cared about me and were my friends. I couldn’t have a heart to heart talk with them as none were close enough for me to confide in them. Most of all, I never felt happy and normal like people around me seemed to feel and act.

That period of my life happened so many chapters ago in my book of life, I can no longer feel how invisible I felt; how alone, how distant. When I think about my life back then, it feels like it was someone’s life I have memories from. It isn’t the me. These days, I am content. I am happy, almost abnormally so. Yet, I can’t think of single event in my life I would go back and change, because changing anything might change who I am now, I really like who I am now.

I also know that feeling so distant and separated from everything isn’t unusual. What was different for me, is I didn’t know other people felt the same. We are all very good actors. I did believe with certainty, and outside of rational thinking, there was a life ahead of me much better than the life I was living. I only had to go forward with my life and find it.

I held on to that belief through those years of my life. I watched a few friends and acquaintances destroy themselves and their lives, and the lives of those closest to them in the process. Drinking, drugs, loneliness, depression, most made it through, but a few gave up and selfishly cashed in their life. I was lucky, I, “Kept my eyes on the prize”, to almost quote a line from an old hymn.

I still have difficulty with too much idle chatter. I think more varied thoughts than most people around me. I wonder about other realities, the universe and everything in it. I think about the future and the past. The visible and the invisible.

However, I have lived a mostly honorable life. Though I may have been lost longer than I should have been. I now make my life fun, only now not at other people’s expense – that was a hard lesson to learn. People weren’t real to me, and their feelings didn’t matter to me. I wasn’t mean or vindictive, I just could not relate closely to people and their problems.

Of course I did some things I shouldn’t have done. I hurt people that didn’t deserve to be hurt. I intentionally hurt people I thought deserved to be hurt. I hurt them not knowing they were already damaged beyond anything I would ever do to them. In those early years, I lived with one way relationships, my way or no way.

I lived each day one step from letting the worst of myself lead the way. Preferring to having the best of myself shine through and lead the way. Now, “Life is good!”. I hope I don’t get sued for that comment, I hear the phrase is copyrighted, but it is the best and simplest way to say it.

I am here now, and I am better than I have ever been before. I have left most of my bad habits behind me. The few bad habits I have left, I will have forever. I made through to the other side of life, and you can too.

If you see yourself in what I have written. If you feel you have reached a point where you can’t go on anymore; If you feel so distant, alone and forgotten that you will never be found, take this on trust, life will get better and you will come to love yours.

Isolation happens on the inside and radiates outward. We isolate ourselves without realizing it we have shut everyone out. After a time, we forget we had human connections. Family, friends, people in our life, people we meet all care about is, and give us exactly what we project out.

People will sense our isolation and project it right back to us, because isolation is what we are putting out there. We humans have a polished expertise. With laser focus, we reflect back to the people what we see in them. If you doubt this think of the homeless. How do you think of them?

If you feel isolated and alone, people in your daily life will help you feel more isolated and alone. If you feel like you aren’t understood, (this is normal sometime), you think people do not understand you and your life, be patient. Live life your way, and don’t expect or need anyone to understand you. This is your life, be selfish with yourself. This is something you have to work out on your own time frame. Give other people the same leeway and respect, they have their own problems they are dealing with.

If you are like me, and like to think about serious things, do not expect people to want to talk about them with you. We are all trying to pursue a state happiness. Lighten up and talk to people on their level. Practice makes perfect. You may find you enjoy it and are good at it.

If your dress is unusual or unique, how many people do you see each day like you? How many parents with their children do you see looking like you? How many financially successful people look like you? Zero? If this is you, there are two real choices for you. Change your dress and try to fit in, or find somewhere to live where everyone else is more like you.

If you are looking for a friend or partner, it really helps to ask yourself, who are you trying to attract? Do you want a flakey fly by night friend or partner because they can relate to you in the moment, or do you want someone who will make you life better for years to come, to make you proud, and be a good parent to your future children. Life is not a movie fantasy.

What feels better to you, being alone and refusing to change, or starting to build a life you will be happy with and proud of? I am thinking you want most of what you see going on with people around you. You want real relationships, and you want to be happy too.

I started my journey with a few words written on a piece of paper pinned to the wall, placed where I would see it most of the time. Those letters were: IGTDSBIGTBSF. Quite a handful, and I would always get a questions about it: “What does that mean?” I would say, “I’m going to die someday, but I’m going to be somebody first”. Obviously by my choice of wording, I didn’t feel like someone back then.

I refused to keep the same behaviors I was comfortable with, because they hadn’t done much for me over the years. I thought any change in my behavior was an improvement over my old behaviors. Change came slowly, good change, healthy change. Life got better. Life became great!

The world is far from perfect, but the world of all is a lot better than living life in a world of one. Your life will get better, if you only let it. Let people in, listen to them, and be empathetic when they tell you their problems. Be their friend, and let them be yours.

Get out there and talk with people and find common ground with them. They need you, and you will find you need them just as much. Just don’t expect any one person to be your everything, be happy for the part of your life they fill, more people are on the way, as long as you are willing to let them in.

You will find the hollowness you now feel will slowly retreat until one day you realize, a new kid lives on the block. The old you is a vague memory. And you will wonder if that was someone else who inhabited you body and lived your life all those years.