Stay-At-Home Grumble

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/2.8, 1/40 sec, ISO3200
“Box Bed” Cedar Park, 2020

Working from home for the past two months hasn’t been too bad, but it seems like I live in two worlds now. There’s the stay-at-home mentality, in which life outside the door is filled with sickness, and we do most of our activities online. But when I venture out to pick up food, life seems like normal. The automobile traffic outside my neighborhood seems at pre-COVID-19 levels. Last weekend I visited the UPS store to drop off some returns, and although there were social distancing guides on the ground and signs on the tables, only one worker was wearing a mask. Outside the store, I saw people in swimsuits on their way to the lake, not wearing masks. It was concerning.

At the post office, however, everyone was wearing a mask and there was hand sanitizer for you to use. So, it’s not consistent. I’m erring on the side of caution, however, and wearing a mask. When I run, I have a mask in my running belt in case I need it, but I’m usually on the other side of the street of anyone I encounter. Earlier in the week, we had someone come to the house to service our air-conditioner, and I gave him a mask to wear. He said that some people prefer not to wear them, which I thought was not good. He was fine with wearing one though. But he sees so many strangers every day, I would think he’d want to wear his whenever he is in someone’s house.

I rescheduled my dental cleaning for two months out. I know they are taking precautions, and I want to support them, but if I can wait a bit, I will. I don’t know. It’s still a weird time, when people are relaxing their vigilance. I guess we’ll just have to give it more time and see how things progress. And try to keep it together!

Baseball On Hold

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec, ISO2500
“Dodgers Zoom” Cedar Park, 2020

We’re still unsure about the status of this season because of the COVID-19 situation, but Bay and I got a little dose of Dodgers goodness tonight by tuning into the Dodgers Zoom Party. It was nice of them to give their fans something to watch. Thank you!

Comforting Fast Food

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/2.5, 1/100 sec, ISO2000
“McDonalds Meal” Cedar Park, 2020

We rarely get fast food, but tonight we didn’t plan anything for dinner at home and when Bay suggested we get something from McDonald’s, the idea sounded really attractive. I guess it is a connection to when life was more normal before COVID-19. We ordered our food online, then I went to pick it up. The restaurant’s dining room is closed, but the drive-thru was open and there were parking spaces designated for pick-up orders. I parked in space #3, clicked on the “I’m here” option in the app, and in a few minutes, the food was delivered out to the car. Very convenient!

I don’t know if it is because of the new process that the pandemic has forced on the McDonald’s, but the food wasn’t the freshest. Everything tasted as usual, though, and after Koa put his chicken nuggets in the toaster oven, he said they were good! I guess even though we don’t go to McDonald’s often, we have our usual preferences: Mariko likes the Filet-o-Fish, Bay will get a “fancy” chicken sandwich, Koa will get the chicken nuggets, and I’ll go for a burger or some sort. It’s definitely a comfort food, and once in a while, fast food can’t be too bad for you!

COVID-19 Data for Texas?

I’ve been checking the COVID-19 Dashboard for the county I live in daily, and I’ve noticed that there have been changes to the way the data is presented. Any of the more alarming charts showing unfavorable trends have been removed, and replaced with more favorable-looking charts. For instance, today’s chart shows an increasing number of tests given (that’s good), and also shows the percentage of positive cases as a result of the testing, which is somewhat flat at 7%. (screenshot below from 2020-05-22)

However, they don’t show a chart that combines that data, which would show an upward trend.

Just 10 days ago, “Cases Over Time” was one of the charts being shown (screenshot from 2020-05-12), but has since been removed:

This chart, which shows no downward trend, is not supportive of the Texas government’s efforts to re-open the state. And my guess is that there was some kind of government communication to the owners of state dashboards to only show certain charts that support (or not damage) their cause. I don’t think this is an unreasonable suspicion given the fact that data suppression/manipulation was going on in Florida. I’m not saying the data for Texas is being manipulated, but the presentation of that data is – and in a way that supports the argument that Texas should open sooner rather than later.

I’ve found another resource for data here, and with a little digging, you can find data presented in ways that you can pick and choose to support different viewpoints. For instance, here’s a screenshot of today’s trend (2020-05-22), which is not very encouraging:

We’re not out of the woods yet, folks. We might still be lost in the middle of the woods. 😟 Please keep practicing social distancing, wash your hands, and stay home if you can!

Thunderbirds Flyover

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 26.5mm, f/9, 1/1000 sec, ISO200
“Thunderbirds” Cedar Park, 2020

This afternoon the USAF Thunderbirds flew over Central Texas to honor the healthcare workers who are on the front lines of our current COVID-19 pandemic. I was fortunate that the flight path literally circled our neighborhood (we are close to some large medical facilities) so I could watch and take photos from the street in front of our house.

I was amazed at how fast the F-16 jets were – they seemed to be a couple of seconds in front of the roar of their engines! The flyover lasted perhaps 30 seconds or so max, and then they flew off to the east to salute the healthcare workers in Round Rock and Georgetown. A very nice gesture, for sure. ❤️🇺🇸

“Thunderbirds” Cedar Park, 2020
“Thunderbirds” Cedar Park, 2020