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Welcome to the personal website of Andrew Turnbull. This outpost features tons of stupefying and trivial things pertaining to various and diverse interests of mine. Chances are, if there's something I know about or like that doesn't much other representation on the 'net...there's a bit of it here.

April-June 2021 Archive

28 May 2021

Cities are more than faceless amalgamations of streets and buildings: They have individual personalities, and these personalities influence the health and character of the individuals who live and travel in their limits. David of Otherstream once compared them to romance partners: You can visit them, you can collect them, you can cultivate relationships with them, and they can be either one-night flings or partners for life.

If they were incarnated as people, who would the cities of my life be? *sigh* Let me disclose that I haven't had much luck with either.

  • Morgantown, West Virginia: An insolent fratbro who spends all his time drinking, playing video games, and harassing minority groups for the lulz. You call him out on his obnoxious behaviour, and in response he verbally assaults you.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: The fratbro's first cousin, who you were always leery of and never asked out on a date because you figured he had the same personality. But it turns out he was fine all along, and you now spend your nights wondering about the relationship you never had.
  • Manitowoc, Wisconsin: A childhood best friend who you once admired and felt a camaraderie with. She invites you into her home, and you oblige...only to discover that she's "discovered" Jesus in the interim, and now spouts vile white-supremacist, anti-gay, anti-abortion, and anti-intellectual screeds every moment you're near.
  • Madison, Wisconsin: A well-meaning but hamstrung partner who's exhausted by work, never has time for love or sex, and is under the yoke of his ultra-controlling, abusive family.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: A long-distance relationship that perseveres for years and years, then unexpectedly collapses in a heap the instant you start thinking about engagement plans.
  • London, Ontario: The person who gave you the most enriching, emotionally fulfilling relationship you've ever had. You wished that the relationship could have gone on...but he didn't have a job, he couldn't chip in on bills or expenses, and you couldn't afford to keep it going much longer.
  • Kitchener and Hamilton, Ontario: London's slightly dorkier older brothers, who have similar personalities. You'd like to get to know them better...but they don't seem interested in socializing or dating.
  • Toronto, Ontario: The attractive poster boy who purports to offer everything you could possibly want, but who ignores your texts and ghosts your OKCupid messages.
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba: That person you had a one-night stand with half a decade ago. You've heard that he's fallen on hard times, and you can't find his phone number.
  • Thunder Bay, Ontario: Your current steady partner. He's kind, honest, and financially responsible...but also a bit dull, and insists that it's healthier to live in a cabin in the wilderness than in the big city.

19 "What month is it again?" 2021

Spring has sprung...and as was the case a year ago, we seem to be locked in a dimension where time has no meaning.

Some threads of the season:

  • George Floyd's killer is guilty. Of all counts: Second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

    This is welcome news...but I feel a conflicted mix of emotions. Police departments continue to be unaccountable entities that wield disproportionate power and engage in systematic violence against black and indigenous persons, in Canada as well as America. This hasn't changed. And no matter how positive the verdict is, nothing is going to bring George Floyd, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony Robinson, or hundreds upon hundreds of other unarmed black victims of racist police violence back to life.

    But for once...actions have consequences.

  • For some time, I've wondered how many decent people have bailed from the Christian pews in the years since a sadistic, orange-haired fascist became the de facto world leader of their religion. Now the numbers are in from the ol' U. S. of A., and they couldn't be starker: 1 in 5 church members stopped being members between 2014 and 2020. Bear in mind, the same decline happened in six years that took six decades to happen from 1940 to 2000!

    Just a line graph, a-pointin' down

    And that's not all: Non-church members are now a majority in the United States, for the first time in history! This is excellent news. And if I hear another comment about how "Church is good, you need church to have a community:" Churchgoers voted for California's Prop 8 amendment by an 84% supermajority; Prop 8 support was directly correlated to church attendance, and no small number of voters cast their votes for the bigoted amendment specifically because their priests and pastors told them to. It was the same for Wisconsin's equivalent, 2006 Referendum 1...and I have no doubt that my churchgoing relatives in Wisconsin (none of whom have ever denied or refuted their culpability in my presence) voted for that. And any place where "community" is codependent with churchgoing (i.e., southern West Virginia) is going to be a place where my life is a living hell.

  • Good news: All adults in Ontario are now eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine! Not-so-good news: The official booking site requires a health card, which temporary residents (i.e., me two years ago) don't have. Also not-so-good: The booking form itself. I speak from personal experience here.

    Attempt #1: I fill out all the fields, click through all the steps, only to be presented with the words "Unable to book an appointment - please contact support." Oh, sure. Very helpful!

    Attempt #2: I switch browsers, and retrace my steps again. (Any reason this couldn't have been a normal POST form that worked on everything back to Netscape 3?) This time I get as far as the "Choose a date and time" prompt, but every single date on the calendar through to the end of the year and beyond is greyed out. Are they really booked to oblivion, or is this another technical problem? I bet on the latter.

    Attempt #3: I go through the motions one more time, and this time I'm allowed to actually choose a date. Success! I end up taking the earliest times available: 9 June for the first shot, and 29 September for the second.

    Considering that it takes about 2 weeks after the second vaccination to build full immunity, this means I won't be able to feel at ease until mid-October at earliest; while the leaves are falling from the trees. That's 19 months from the day the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Nearly two years, down the drain. But at last, the end of the tunnel is in sight.

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