Pandemic Journal, Day 465

We made our first visit to Costco in a very long time this morning so that Diane could get her Hepatitis A vaccination (I decided to wait until after I’ve finished with at least the first round of my new medications – and maybe I’ll find the missing vaccination card and not have to do it at all!).

While she was waiting at the pharmacy, I wandered through the warehouse picking up the other items we needed. It seemed strange to find that they had ample supplies of toilet paper, facial tissue, and paper towels – and there were even a few food samples on offer (in wrapped paper bags, not open on a tray). The selection of SD cards was more limited than before the pandemic, which was disappointing (I didn’t want to buy 256GB cards with Nintendo characters on them). And we wound up not visiting the wine isle after all; by the time Diane had gotten her shot (every step of the process seemed to need a long wait), we were ready to go home.

Last night, when I saw the Strawberry Supermoon, I knew I had to take a photo of it. I don’t have a tripod, so I had to do a hand-held exposure. At first, I left the camera on automatic, and it decided to take a 1.3-second shot – the Moon got completely burnt out, but you can see the power lines in the photo! (All photos in this post have been cropped, of course.)

1.3 seconds of the Moon

I put the camera in manual mode and set it for 1/2500 and got this photo – not bad, but much dimmer than the real thing (I tried slightly faster shutter speeds and got significantly blurrier images).

Moon at 1/2500 second

I brought it into Lightroom and bumped the exposure by 4.1 f-stops, put the contrast all the way up, reduced the highlights, boosted the shadows, reduced the whites and the blacks, and used the dehaze filter at full power to get this photo, which I put on Facebook last night:

Manipulating the brightness

But bumping the exposure and especially the shadows had brought out all sorts of random photons that the camera had seen in the black part of the sky; the speckled effect was interesting, but not quite what I wanted. So this evening, I went into Photoshop and got rid of everything but the Moon itself – and that’s the photo at the top of this post.

My cousin raised an interesting question of Facebook after I posted the photo with the speckles – was it still a photo of the Moon after I did the manipulation, or was it “my personal computer art work”? I think it’s a photo – but I did definitely have to give the camera some help!

Shabbat Shalom!

Pandemic Journal, Day 464

It was another busy medical day today. Our chiropractor returned from vacation, so we made sure to get to his office early to avoid having a long wait, and it worked.

I had an appointment with my allergist at 11am and got there right on the dot. They’re still adapting to their new electronic medical record system, I guess, because I didn’t get called by the receptionist until 11:30 and didn’t get to see the nurse until 11:55am – and the doctor was still working with the previous patient. But when he finally got to me, he spent a long time with me (close to an hour). He looked at my CT scan and wasn’t surprised by what he saw – infection, fluid where there should be air, and other issues; he even showed me what he was seeing.

At the end of the appointment, I had prescriptions for prednisone, an antibiotic (Biaxin), and an antihistamine (Atarax) to help me sleep when the prednisone kicks in. Somewhat to my surprise, CVS was able to fill them all by dinnertime tonight, so I’ve already started on my new regimen – it’s complicated enough that I made a spreadsheet to keep track. And I decided I’d best put off my Hepatitis A vaccination until after I finish the prednisone (and maybe the Biaxin, too – I’ll be taking it for a full month).

If I’m testy for the next couple of weeks, I’m blaming the medications!

Artichoke Thistles

Pandemic Journal, Day 463

Diane and I want to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A before we go to Africa this fall. She definitely needs the first shot soon (and the second shot after we return); I’d rather avoid unnecessary shots.

I’ve made two trips to regions which have a high Hepatitis A risk – Brazil in 1993 and China in 2005. There was no vaccine available in 1993, so I went to the Santa Clara County Travel Clinic and got a gamma globulin injection; I also avoided uncooked fruit and vegetables like the plague, even though they looked delicious and I was staying at a five-star hotel.

In 2005, I think I got the Hepatitis A vaccine before my trip, probably at the Travel Clinic, but I can’t find any record of it. I can see the immunization record card in my mind’s eye, but I can’t find the real thing (nor a copy of it). My doctor’s office shows me getting a dose of the vaccine in 2006, after the China trip, which would give me lifetime immunity if it was my second dose but is useless to me if it wasn’t.

The Travel Clinic has been closed since March of last year, so I can’t check to see if they still have my records, so I guess I’ll get the shot anyway. Costco offers the vaccine at a reasonable price, so we’re planning to make our first post-pandemic in-person visit to Costco this week. I expect we’ll visit the wine aisle as long as we’re there, too!

Sunset cloudscape

The weather today was very pleasant, though we’re in for a hot weekend. I enjoyed the cloudscape on our evening walk, too.

Pandemic Journal, Day 462

SPOILER ALERT — If you are only part-way through the first season of Ted Lasso, stop reading and come back when you’ve finished the season.

I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, which was named after Richmond, England, so I had a little bit of extra affinity with AFC Richmond while watching Ted Lasso, and I was sorry when they lost the last match and were relegated. I’m looking forward to the next season to see if they can get back to the top rung.

I also play trivia in Learned League – I’ve spent the last 10 seasons in Rundle A (the top level of five). Yesterday was the last day of the season; I was sitting in 24th place and looking at relegation. I could avoid it if I had a better result than the person ahead of me – so naturally, I wanted to win. I was disappointed to only get 4 of 6 questions right, but I had hope – and when I woke up this morning and checked the results, I was happy to find that I’d won. So had the guy above me, so I got relegated anyway.

But there was something curious about my win – my opponent had NO correct answers, after getting all six right the day before. A zero match day is very unusual in an A Rundle – it usually happens if someone is expelled for cheating, withdraws, or dies. And when I looked on the Memorial Wall, my opponent was newly listed there.

Being relegated was much less important after seeing that news.

Pandemic Journal, Day 461

I had fewer emails today touting Prime Day bargains than I’ve gotten in previous years, but the ones I got were effective. I bought an additional Amcrest webcam for about half the price of the ones I bought at the peak of the pandemic; I also bought a 60-watt Anker power brick for my laptop to take on trips, since it’s significantly smaller than the Apple brick.

I was tempted to buy other power supplies, but when I looked through the gadget bags, I realized two important things:

1) I didn’t need another power supply
2) I didn’t need the Motorola G6 phone I’d gotten to use as a Google Fi hotspot, especially since Motorola had stopped providing updates for it, even security updates.

I found a place to send the phone – 911 Cell Phone Bank; they’ll either provide it to someone as a no-cost emergency-only phone (all cellphones can call 911, even without a SIM) or recycle it. They even paid the postage to send it to them!

I’ve been noticing an interesting batch of flowers every time I’ve driven past Lester Square (a small strip mall near our house) so I walked over there today for a photo. I may have been a day or two too late to get them at their peak, but it was a lot cooler today than over the weekend – much more pleasant for walking than it was a couple of days ago.