It's been nearly a month since I've last had time to post anything here. Earlier I'd expressed hope that things would slow down and I'd have some compute cycles free to get my breath back, maybe go for a walk and do something fun. Unfortunately, as so often happens these days, that was wishful thinking. I wish that I had a lot of good news to write about, but unfortunately I don't. Just a little. If this post is going to be too much for you in your personal situation, close the tab. Seriously. If you've got your own ten pounds of coffee to drink (to steal a phrase from Spider Robinsion), you don't need any of mine.
I may as well get something good out of the way first. A couple of weeks ago we had our first post-vaccination visits from folks in well over a year. A couple of old friends came down from the Pacific Northwest for a couple of days, and it was amazing to see people up close and personal, and not have to worry about protective equipment or anything like that. It felt downright strange, in fact, but quite enjoyable.
This post is timed to go up on payday, so there's that to look for to also.
Work is still, predictably, eating me alive. Late nights, meetings upon meetings upon meetings, dealing with stuff at OSI layer 8 with limited information.. you know the drill. Since I last had time to write I've been pulling late nighters a couple of times a week. In theory, I can slide my schedule forward a couple of hours to accommodate but in practice it's just not possible when you're in meetings from 0900 until... who knows when in the afternoon every day. Plus fixing things. I'd say that I hope that things will slow down soon, but every time I say that another month seems to get tacked on, so I guess I shouldn't tempt fate. I think I know why, too.
We're well into a year and a half of the covid-19 pandemic. Most of us have been stuck at home, not really able to go anywhere or do anything, stuck in front of displays for hours on end. There hasn't been any commute to break up the monotony with a little change of scenery. Nowhere to duck out to for coffee for half an hour (hell, most of them are out of business out here). Many of us are working late nights out of necessity and we're all getting a little punchy. I think what's happening is that covid quarantine is starting to get to even the most introverted of us and we're starting to lose the thread. We're tired, burned out, and just about out of gas. This would lead to minor mistakes and bugs snowballing until they turn into something that's not necessarily a crisis but still requires additional hours of Zoom calls, troubleshooting, and playing tag on Slack. All of us need a vacation right about now but that's just not feasible.
There's a new covid variant making the rounds, B.1.617.2 or covid delta in the UK. The Pfizer vaccine (if that's the version you got) is only about 88% effective against it, and that's only if you got both doses and it's been a few weeks; otherwise it's only about 30% effective in preventing infection. The AstraZeneca vaccination is said to give only about a 60% chance of resisting the delta variant. Coupled with the outbreak at the Bitcoin Miami conference last week where some attendees flew in from countries where the delta strain is dominant, I'd give it even money that the delta variant has come to the United States.
At least my mom's doing better. She's been on and off of chemo for months because she has some stubborn little outbreaks of malignant cells ("hot spots" her oncologist calls them) that need to be stamped out before they get too ambitious. Two weeks ago she wound up in the hospital with a nasty infection that caused, among other things acute anemia and dehydration which necessitated a blood transfusion. Thankfully, the transfusion took and the infection was knocked out with an aggressive round of (probably intravenous) antibiotics, so she's doing much better.
I realized last weekend that I've been out of high school for 25 years. Fie and good riddance.
Late last week we discoverd that Ageis (SIC), whose given name was Kevin Gallagher had passed away on 5 June 2021. He'd gone off the grid for a couple of weeks but all of us do that once in a while so nobody worried overmuch until a month had gone by. Without going into a whole lot of detail a group of us got together to figure out where he lived (much to my surprise he was local - San Francisco proper), get some folks to his house, track down his landlord from building ownership records, get into his house... and unfortunately discover his body. Kevin was one of those folks in the hacker community who isn't necessarily famous but was endlessly busy because of how many activist projects he was participating in at one time. I did not know him well but we ran together during the days of the Arab Spring with Telecomix and Anonymous.
His family is grieving right now and has asked us not to divulge any more information at this time.
I don't think I can write much about it right now.