Axios Will Stop Updating Its Weekly Map Tracking COVID-19 Cases Across the US
3 June 2021 | 2:15 pm

Sam Baker, Axios:

Nearly every week for the past 56 weeks, Axios has tracked the change — more often than not, the increase — in new COVID-19 infections. Those case counts are now so low, the virus is so well contained, that this will be our final weekly map.

Ever since I received both shots of the Pfizer vaccine, I’ve felt like the threat of the coronavirus simply disappeared from my life. I still wore my mask as often as I could even when those around me didn’t, but I’ll admit, within the last month, I’ve begun to forget my mask when going out, and I haven’t felt that guilty about it. Within the last few weeks at school, I carried my mask in my pocket but I didn’t wear it outside a few special occasions. In my county here in Montana, 49% of us have been fully vaccinated, a remarkable achievement considering I still see too many Trump flags, yard signs, bumper stickers, and regular assholes walking around with their MAGA hats and stupidity.

Last week, my mom called me and told me she got her first Moderna shot, and just a few days ago, my brother got the Johnson & Johnson shot. My sister has been an anti-vaxxer for a very long time, so neither her or her husband have gotten the shot. Many of my friends have received the shot, though, and I’m grateful for all them and those who have been vaccinated. I sincerely hope President Biden achieves his 70% vaccination goal by July 4th because I, like many, just want things to return to normal.

An MLB.TV Subscription Is the Best $130 I Ever Spent
31 May 2021 | 2:30 pm

Alissa Wilkinson, the film critic and culture reporter for Vox, on why baseball gave her a different narrative to follow and why she needed it:

Coming back to watching it this season feels like reinserting myself into a glorious story. I needed a reminder of where I’ve come from, and who I am, and how far I’ve gone.


Watching baseball, right now, I’m reminded of two things. This part of my life is part of a bigger story I’ve been living for a long time. And as much as I love narrative media and great stories, life is a lot more like an open-ended game where the end isn’t written yet. That’s frightening, but it’s also invigorating. A win is just as likely as a loss, and nobody loses forever.

This story resonated with me because it mirrors what I’ve been going through the past few weeks. Since I’ve found myself with a bit more time than I’m used to, I’ve decided to start following my hometown baseball team again, the San Diego Padres.

When I was a kid, all I ever did was follow the Padres. I remember I would steal every copy of the San Diego Union Tribune just so I can nab the Sports section and cut out the box score and the story to whatever game the Padres played the day before. I remember how this was one of the first uses of a notebook for me, and I loved it. I remember Tony Gwynn and Ken Caminiti and Steve Finley and Greg Vaughn and Wally Joyner and Bruce Bochy and whoever else played for them when I was a kid. I remember the 1998 season and the heartbreaking World Series sweep by the Yankees. I remember tuning into every game I could while in high school, and I remember tuning out once I got to college. Thank goodness because the mid-2000 Padres were awful.

Over the past few weeks, I started to watch game highlights on the MLB YouTube channel and feeling that spark of interest return. I love seeing the Slam Diego Padres again, win or lose, and I even started to read Kevin Acee in the Tribune again. This all feels familiar, like I’m dipping back into a narrative of my life that never ended. I haven’t subscribed to like Alissa did, but goddammit, I’ve felt like it over the past week. I, too, am feeling a bit apathetic to TV and movies, and maybe what I need is sports. Hell, I even tuned into the Indy 500 for a bit yesterday because I needed something that wasn’t TV or movies, a story to follow1 that I wanted to see through.

Part of the reason why I had stopped following sports, though, was the painful heartbreak of being a sports fan from San Diego. The Padres haven’t been to the World Series since 1998, and don’t even get me started on the Chargers. But maybe I need that heartbreak again, the feelings of ups and downs that sports gives people. Who knows, maybe the Padres have a shot this year.

  1. The story of Paretta Autosport, the all-woman crew, sparked that interest. What a good story! ↩︎

31 May 2021 | 1:30 am

I’m continually amazed at my propensity to come up with excuses. These excuses aren’t great; in fact, they’re awful, but they’re enough to keep me from doing what I should be doing, things I know that will fulfill me once I start but—oh my god why are these things so hard to start? Why is it so hard to take that first step? And why do I let myself accept these lame excuses?

I’ve come up with lists and goals and plans and anything else under the sun to just get me moving in the right direction, but sometimes I feel like they’re just an illusion of forward motion instead of actual motion. And listen, I know we’re all only human and we can only do so much, but should that be enough? And is that only an excuse? Don’t be so hard on yourself, one might say, You’re doing more than others I know. I’ve heard it before. But if that were true, would I be where I am right now? Feeling this way? Am I doomed to always feel this way?

I think so, and I don’t think so. Things are somewhat slowly taking shape in my head, and I kinda sorta know what I’m doing, and I’m like this close to taking that first step, but part of what’s holding me back is 1) time, 2) money, and 3) my own fear and inertia. I’m watching Tiny World on Apple TV+, and there was this segment in an episode that showed a praying mantis shedding its skin and coming out bigger and stronger than it was before. The metaphor is obvious. I’m in that molting stage right now, and I’ll come out of this stronger. I know I will.

And if the images in my imagination come true, then holy shit will I enjoy life that much more soon. If not, then, I guess I’m doomed to live in mediocrity forever. Either way, I’m at least okay that I’m alive to write the story, and that’s pretty cool.

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