Happy New Year, the World is Ending

I started writing this back in January, right after Kobe Bryant died. Much has changed since then.

2020 started with an impeached President, dire climate warnings, and the death of a beloved basketball star. It can only get better from here. [UPDATE: actually, it can get a lot worse.]

I read this article imagining that the world population finally gets its shit together in the next ten years. It shows how, with radical (though very doable) change, we can make our quality of life so much better than it is now. Also, I found two articles dealing with possible cures for cancer. One comes from T-cells that latch onto cancer cells — and only cancer cells — while the other comes from a man’s very aggressive T-cells, which have shrunk life-threatening cancers in his system and rendered masses that should be cancerous, non-cancerous.

With John Bolton’s “bombshell,” the Republicans might actually have to follow the Constitution and the rules of a trial and actually call witnesses [UPDATE: not happening because Republicans have had all their spines removed, minus Mitt Romney). I’m not holding my breath that two-thirds of the Senate will vote to remove him, but anything is possible [UPDATE: also not happening]. Hopefully Pence also gets caught up in this scandal and is removed. More likely is that people who usually don’t vote in elections get so pissed off that they vote in this next one and remove all Republicans from power [still waiting on the update for this one, but their handling of COVID-19 is making this scenario look more and more likely].

MARCH 2020: I wasn’t sure how to proceed with this post after the Senate didn’t do its job and remove a criminal President from office (nor censure him), but then a pandemic came along. Gatherings have been limited since last Wednesday. I’ve been out of a job since Friday the 13th (they closed the theaters where I work). Restaurants and bars have been closed since Tuesday, except for take-out and delivery.

I’m in the middle of writing diary entries about the approaching pandemic, and if it gets worse, I’ll have even more time to write about it. In the meantime, here’s what supermarkets around here look like:

At a local Safeway on Tuesday of last week
At a local Fred Meyer late last week.

Grocery stores and hospitals seem to be on the front lines of this pandemic. Many stores have reduced hours, and/or offer senior-only shopping hours early in the morning. If we’re really 10 days behind Italy, a complete lockdown (or as close as can be mustered) might be in our future — unless our experiments with social distancing and hand-washing work. Some people are paying attention, but looking around Seattle, I see many people who walk around as if invincible. Even if the symptoms of the disease are mild (and mild only means “no need for hospitalization”), having any kind of flu (particularly one that could lead to pneumonia, which could lead to death), is not something I want to risk, even if I’m young and healthy.

But there is hope. Helpers are everywhere. For cinema staff who were furloughed along with me, our GoFundMe campaign raised $20,000 in less than two days (and it’s still going). People I hadn’t heard from in ages offered aid, advice, and empathy. I received texts and messages from so many people that first weekend that I spent most of that Friday and Saturday crying at their generosity.

Also, while COVID-19 is much worse than the flu (for starters, there is no vaccine or cure), it’s not as bad as the Black Death (which wiped out almost a third of Europe) and it isn’t targeting young, healthy individuals, like the second wave of the Spanish Flu did (though the mortality rate is about the same). Maybe, too, people will realize that healthcare should be a right, not a for-profit business, and people who are trying to profit off this tragedy will be thrown out of Congress. Maybe we’ll start taxing the rich more so that we can have emergency funds stowed away for these types of emergencies, rather than send people a one-time payment for less money than most of them pay for rent. Finally, at some point, this virus will be beaten by herd immunity and/or a vaccine. In fact, I hope this disease is a death-knell to the anti-vaxxer movement.

I leave you with this: one of my friends decided to play all 24 studies in J.S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 as a Lenten project. She began posting videos right before COVID-19 jumped to American shores. As a balm to the daily updates of death, infections, and incompetent leadership, they are essential listening. Enjoy.

Follow Kristina Lee on Youtube for more: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCchfWQB20iXHsXdjtmjxn2g/playlists

My New Year’s Resolutions

At the end of 2010, I wrote a blog post emphasizing what to look forward to on my blog in the new year.  I’m not going to do that this year.  Instead, I will list some of my resolutions for 2012.

1.) Be kinder

Now, people who know me will say that I’m kind enough and, in fact, make all of them look bad.  I say nonsense.  While a college student, I used to offer my umbrella to people when it was raining.  True, they were all beautiful blonde women instead of homeless men who mumble to themselves, but that is besides the point.  The point is that, if I see someone getting drenched, I will be more proactive in offering my chivalrous rain deflector to them this year.

2.) Be more confident

This one I have been working on for years.  Some things, like my obvious talent for writing, don’t need an ego boost.  Others, like pretending I’m at peace with the universe, require more effort.  This is why I had my mom buy me a Zen desk calendar, which emphasizes that it’s the same you from last year, so resolutions are pointless.

3.) Throw out full of shit Zen calendar

4.) Write more

This may be the one that gives me the most trouble, unless I say, “Fuck it!” and stop collecting money from unemployment, which would no longer necessitate my having to make three job contacts a week, which would then give me more time to write.  Then again, I doubt my salary working at a movie theater, awesome as it is, will allow me to comfortably indulge in my practice of jetting off to some foreign location whenever I get sick of the banality of life.  So, I guess the contacts are a necessity for my future financial success, in addition to my immediate sustainability.  Plus, I’m pretty damn good at procrastinating when I have free time.  Maybe I just need to suck it up and stick to a writing schedule.

5. Always do what I am afraid to do (to paraphrase Emerson)

This would involve, among other things, dating.  The last time I had a proper date, I wasn’t living in Seattle.  Nor the U.S.  I’ve gone out, one-on-one, with women since then, but there was never an inkling on my part, or on theirs, of it being more than a friendly get-together.  And no, you don’t want to know what my longest relationship has been.  Let’s just say that Michael Fassbender’s character in Shame had better luck with relationships than I’ve had.

6. Live for adventure

Included in here is my attempt to travel to a friend’s wedding.  In Japan.  Where I will be the only non-Japanese person there.  That way, I also get to fulfill resolution #5.

7. Be more committed to learning foreign languages

I know some French, some Japanese, and a little Chinese.  This year, I plan to become more serious about the first two and study what I’ve been taught of the third.  Once I get my own place, I also need to get serious about practicing my clarinet, which is currently sharing space with a bunch of other crap in my parents’ house.

8. Read more

Maybe this should say, “Read less online articles and more books.”  I also want to take more advantage of the library in this regard, once I’ve gone through the myriad titles that I’ve bought and haven’t yet cracked open.

9. Get out more and do stuff with friends

I did well last year in getting out of the house, but I must do more of it this year, and find a way to balance it with more writing and reading.  Also, I need to do more stuff with friends, which means I need to acquire more friends and guilt others into including me in their activities.

10. Finish my novel and (hopefully) get it published

Doable if I stick to #4, and with Amazon offering self-publishing services, the second part is doable, too, especially if writing query letters makes me want to kill small goats and sacrifice them to the typewriter god.

11. Acquire a new hobby

This might involve increasing the frequency of something I do little of now, like sketching, or it might involve doing something I’ve never thought of attempting, like hunting for Sasquatch.

12. Take care of myself physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally

I could do better on all of these aspects in 2012.  Physically, I need to get away from my computer more and spend less time sitting.  Mentally, I need to challenge my brain with more complex things to read, rather than weening it on scraps of knowledge.  Spiritually, I need to find my center.  Emotionally, I need to be able to feel my emotions, and those of others, acutely, while not letting my emotions control me.

13. Regain my childlike wonder of the world I live in

In other words, read more nonfiction about the world around me, be more observant in my daily interactions with the universe, and dare to dream more in my writings.

14. Write more blog entries, and more regularly

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with resolution #4, except that it’s specific to my blog, where long entries about movies I saw at a festival long forgotten prevented my posts from being more regularly posted at the end of last year.

15. Catch up on my diary entries

While my blog posts are stuck in one movie festival, my diary entries are stuck in the one before.  Speaking of which, I have to catch up on labeling my photos, too.

16. Wake up and go to bed earlier

Possibly the most difficult item on my list to accomplish, since I’m a night owl and my new job at a movie theater is going to make it that much more difficult to go to bed early.  Early morning appointments, such as tutoring and WorkSource related stuff, helps the waking up earlier part, but no such luck for the going to bed earlier part.  For example, I’m writing this post right now instead of sleeping.

17. Become truly self-sufficient

Eventually, I hope to no longer need food stamps, unemployment checks, or money from Mom and Dad in order to survive out here in Seattle (though Mom and Dad are still welcome to send me money). Preferably, this will occur before the world ends on December 21st.  Otherwise, I’ll be pissed.