Mask Mandates Make Many Mad

The past week or so has been a busy whirlwind of life getting in the way. Busy at the office. Busy with schoolwork. Busy at home. So some things just had to go to the backburner, like posting a blog. So here we go, back on the horse…

As much as I’ve been trying to pull away from social media lately, we’ve found ourselves watching The Circle on Netflix. It’s a social media game show in which the contestants never meet each other face-to-face during the game. They only interface through the Circle chat function and have to play games and such along the way. It’s sooooo cheesy and terrible, but a train wreck I can’t help but watch.

Other shows we’ve been watching lately are Ted Lasso, Great British Baking Show, Only Murders in the Building, and Brooklyn 99. Now that all the streaming services are releasing shows once per week, we can’t binge on any new shows anymore. They have to be previous seasons or older shows. **sigh** #firstworldproblems

Timely too that the week I’m writing about us bingeing The Circle (a social media-inspired game show), Facebook and Instagram had an hours-long outage. I didn’t even notice because it was the middle of a work day, but apparently Twitter had its largest audience since the service started. Social Media is such a huge part of our lives. I really struggle balancing using it to keep in touch with family and friends online with *not* overindulging or getting caught up in real or imagined drama.

Speaking of drama, I’m going to get political for just a moment. I recently read an NPR story about the U.S. hitting 700,000 COVID-19 deaths. That’s more than the population of Boston. That’s distressing and staggering. I’m vaccinated and I wear a mask. Vaccinating myself was an easy decision because I have to go into the office regularly and will interact with other people. I wasn’t too worried about any medical side effects from the vaccination because I know the technology for the mRNA type vaccines has been in development for 30 years and COVID-19 vaccine studies for FDA approval were already underway before it was given emergency status. I also wear a mask because it’s SUPER easy to do and protects me and others around me (in case I’m the one carrying the disease). That’s it, no drama … I just do what I see as the right thing to do for my health and safety as well as the society I choose to live in.

So then I watch videos like this person running around the streets of San Francisco, name-calling, yelling, and doing whatever he can to invoke a reaction (and maybe spread his views?) and I get angry. It takes no effort at all to do nothing. It takes very little effort to go get a free vaccination. It takes hardly any more effort to wear a mask around other people. It takes a LOT of effort to film yourself shouting at the top of your lungs being an asshole to your fellow human beings. To borrow a phrase from conservative culture … “if you don’t like it here, leave.” Frustrating and angering.

Song of the Week

I’ve been watching videos of popular YouTuber Davie504 lately. He’s an Italian Bassist and his videos are usually challenges to other people or featuring other bassists. Every once in a while he’ll showcase his skills and I really liked this one.

Security Tip of the Week

Texting (SMS) is NOT secure. Did you know that a hacker has access to most of our text messages for the last five years? Yup, even texts through Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. Think about the things you might have sent to somebody in the last five years. Password? Social Security Number? Favorite pet’s name? Anyway, somebody might have that text in a database somewhere. So how do you fix this issue?

Use a communication method that has end-to-end encryption. This ensures that only you and the person/people you’re talking to can see the messages you’re sending. Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp, even iMessage all have end-to-end encryption as an option. Texting (or SMS) is NOT encrypted, is insecure and easy to hack or spoof.

The “best” option is Signal because it has military grade encryption (set as default), is open source, and the app has lots of features for the user. Unfortunately, most of the people I know don’t use Signal. Telegram and WhatsApp are decent options, but end-to-end encryption isn’t default, so make sure you turn it on in the settings. And remember, WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, so they’re going to collect everything they can about you. iMessage would be a last resort because the entire ecosystem is closed, your backups are NOT encrypted, and it’s only available to Apple users. Oh, and iMessage is vulnerable to hacks too.

So yeah, I guess I’ll see you on Signal or Telegram, right?

For a Laugh

Love this clip from a couple years ago. The performers are from The Play That Goes Wrong, one of my faves. And they don’t disappoint.

Stuff I’m Reading

I started reading “People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent” just over two weeks ago. Progress has been slow either because #school or I’ve been too tired to make much progress at night. Still, it’s an infuriating and inspiring book. Infuriating because you’ll re-read all the laws, policies, and greed that have shaped the economy we’re living in now. Inspiring because the second half of the book is all things that can be done to keep us a strong Capitalist society while still taking care of people. I’m nearly done and quite enjoying it.

I saved a few articles I need to read/process too. Like this one about TikTok users copying what stocks Congresspeople trade … and they’re doing pretty good! I also saved Rolling Stone Magazine’s updated 500 best songs list so I can refresh some playlists. I started answering the questions on this list to determine if I’m suffering from “Soft Suburban Dad Syndrome”. I didn’t have to get far down the list to not like the answers I’ve been giving.

Which is why the wife and I started running again. Just a mile per day (ish). The goal is to run 31 miles in the 31 days of October. We’re a little behind because #life … but we’ll complete the goal.

This post has been day 42 of #100DaysToOffload

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