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I have some free space for Ask Black Witch, I’ve gotten nothing but dumb questions recently. But as for current protests against the usual plague, anti-Blackness, some free tips:

No matter what, wear a mask.

A) Black Blocs are useful because the usual historical reasons

B ) There is still a viral plague outside, you don’t need the coronavirus on top of the usual plague. Not all racists wear badges, some wear scrubs and white coats.

C) Masks can be modified or specialized against tear gas, the internet is packed with tons of resources, as well as historical information

D) Don’t wear glaringly unique masks if possible. You’ll get targeted first.

 

Social distancing is still important

A) Again, you don’t want to catch a viral plague on top of dealing with the usual plague. Again, not all racists wear badges, some wear scrubs and white coats

B ) Bigger looking crowd, less dashing into each other when riot cops dart into the crowd, and harder to corral – you definitely want to stay out of holding cells and jails, especially during a viral plague

C)  Easier to stay relatively safe when you have at minimum a 6 ft bubble to make quick decisions in, and see around you

 

Gloves are nice

A) You will be touching countless surfaces, not just your sign. Riot shields are probably not sanitized so in efforts of not getting binked by one, gloves are useful in case you have to grab or stop one

B) Better grip is always great

C) Easier to clean up and take off when need be. You can’t take off your skin but you can take off gloves

 

Alcohol in a med kit

I’m never going to suggest drinking – drinking is bad for you, especially in a plague (that one-two punch of suppressing your immune system and your sense of judgement is not a good idea). But it is useful for wounds and quick sanitation, among other historical protest uses.

 

For fellow Black folks, my core readership:

 

For everybody else:

Because you guys forget the most

I have recently gotten a virtual reality system. Why? Because I always wanted one and the idea of quarantine weight was getting to me. After having a horrid experience with Vive (they would tack a steep price on air if they could), I got a Windows Dell Mixed Reality system. It is plug and play for my laptop (which is a gaming laptop, procured specifically due to being VR ready and with a glowing keyboard) and, so far, does everything I want a VR headset to do and at the fraction of the price of a Vive. I despise Facebook so Oculus is an automatic no.

The vast majority of games I have is through Steam. The average price of VR games on Steam is either $10 or $20. Unfortunately, most of the games have White hands, which I dislike. I’m Black, I want to be Black in the virtual world, as well. The hidden tag line of VR should not be “You can be anything you want to be … as long as you want to be White”. So games that had White hands, I avoided (if you are a game creator reading this, let me put it this way: You lost money). Games that had robot hands were fine as long as the game was not leaning to any other race (meaning your options were to be White or be a robot).  So I needed the option to be Black or equal robotic/non-human hands for everyone.

I have a slew of VR games, including historical games (what it was like to be a German coal miner, experience the 1943 Berlin Blitz , the works of Dali, etc – it would be nice if there were more reflections of women and PoC for history and art) but these are the games I really like listed below.

Show It 2 Me

It is a stunning rave-type game that is filled with color and sound. Techno-electronica, I love everything about the game. The falling knives, the lights, the fast and vivacious imagery, everything. There is no point to the game except to dance and have a good time. It’s a sonic party and nothing else has compared to it. Available on Steam for free. Watch me derp about and mostly draw hearts.

Dancing Arrow

I honestly call this game “Korean Beat Saber” because that is exactly what it is, Beat Saber but in Korean. I can be a bit contrarian at times and this is one of those times. I like the idea and look of Beat Saber but it’s too popular for me. And you can’t even add your own music like in AudioShield. Dancing Arrow is very similar to Beat Saber in that you have to make slashing motions in dictated directions to the beat of a song but that’s about it. You don’t have to duck or dodge obstacles flying your way because there aren’t any, which is great for me. Just slash the beats and that’s it. And it is cheaper than Beat Saber at $9.99 on Steam.

I took a video of what it looks like in the game. The sound quality is far better than what was captured on film. I don’t super suck at it so yay.

One caveat – Just about everything is in Korean. The menu, the selection options, everything. I can read and understand Korean so it’s fine for me. If you can’t, go with Beat Saber. I think the interface is relatively straightforward but, again, I know what I am looking at. I don’t know about those who hardly know a word of it.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait. I found the language options, it’s buried in the settings and in Korean, so you still kind of have to know Korean to navigate it. So English is possible, you just will have to dink about a little bit.

AudioShield

This is one of the first VR games I ever bought. It looked a lot of fun and I was right. Unlike Dancing Arrow/Beat Saber, you punch the beats with your shields instead of slash them. It is a different experience. I can use my own music, which I really like. Here is a video I took doing “Revolution” by P.O.D..

I aim to do whole albums but the movement will tire you out by song 5. That a good thing, I did get it to get fit, after all. AudioShield is $19.99 on Steam

Plannes

It is an intergalactic squash game. I didn’t want a racket game that was normal because it would bore me so much. And if I am bored, I’m not going to play. I had Space Badminton but this is much better. The virtual play space is in an enclosed space so I that made for a more thrilling game for me. The controls are just like rackets, even if I press a button accidentally, nothing happens. Some games have not considered that part yet, which is annoying.

There are different kinds of rackets, including mahou shoujo (magical girl) ones.

Rackets!

I like the mahou shoujo ones most. They deliver fast balls and are cute. You go planet to planet and play ten games per planet. Here is a vid of one game I played on the Sweets planet using the Stun Rackets.

Available on Steam at $14.99

Path of the Warrior

This is an Oculus game so it is not available on Steam. I got it through the cross platform program Revive and it is a great game for me to practice my Wing Chun, mainly the rolling punches. There are cheaper VR brawling games but this was the only one that had the ability to be Black so I went with it.

 

She still looks off but at least she’s present and she’s shown front and center

 

It’s a fun game but I probably would be benefited with leg tracking but that’s me. It works fine enough and the waves of enemies will tire you out if you’re not used to having a lot of endurance. It will tucker out your arms. I wish it had a better save feature because it sucks going up the level and having to leave the game for whatever reason and have to start back at the bottom again.

 

 

 

It’s been about three or so months since the US was hit with this plague virus. China has had its reactions (could have been a lot better; next time believe your doctors & scientists, not everything is a pr opportunity), Korea has had its reactions (This is what “handling the problem effectively” looks like). The US has had its reactions (This is what “Let’s try stupidity, it’s what we’re great at” looks like. And knock off the “blue is for heroes” bullsh*t, give out hazard pay and adequate, free healthcare). And countless other nations.

Many people lost jobs, have been affected or infected, died, the lot. The plague would probably not be such a major bother if there was actually a decent response to it. For example, Korea never had a lockdown. But many people in the US had “coronavirus parties”. One nation is slowly opening back up, holding concerts and sports practice, the other is whining far beyond reason about why they still have to stay inside their house … because they don’t stay inside their house and hold coronavirus parties.

I have been staying home (then again, I’m a homebody and I rather keep my distance from people even when there isn’t a rampant pestilence haunting the streets and boroughs) and spending my time 3D printing masks because I have a 3D printer and managed to find free cads online (3dprint.nih.gov). I have modded a couple cads because the designs had a good idea but kinda had a residual glimmer of suckage remaining (weren’t for wider noses, different faces, etc). I also invented a elastic strap for my usage because I like using thread and fiber feels better than unbreathing elastic.

 

A decent mask I didn’t have to mod (outside of sizing) and fairly easy to scale for custom sizes. The whitish strips are my design and the threads are hand braided. Both mask and clasps are on the 3D print site.

 

Another mask I did was printed in flexifilament, TPU material. It is a bit of a pain because I dislike printing in TPU, it has wisps while printing and after production is annoying. But it is useful due to its squishy nature.

Fits well, just need to mod where you put the filters because of how the slots are designed. The original maker made them for cotton rounds but there are a cavalcade of issues with that

Woo. These are two of the several versions I have made. I use activated charcoal wipes as filters because they work in virus containment.

Also, many states are starting to open back up again, for economic reasons. Bad reasons but economic reasons. Here is the thing: a lot of states are still on the ascending part of the graph as far as “flattening the curve” is concerned. What this means is that we are not doing a great job, at all. Open states means increased transmissions, which has happened countless times everywhere across the globe. Everywhere where there is opening up, there are increased infections. Even Korea had a brief spike but because they’re on it, they quickly managed to tie the spike of cases to a bunch of clubs in Seoul’s Itaewon District and shut all of the clubs down. Actually, clubs were forced to close all over the nation of South Korea because that was the smart thing to do. Daegu, the province where the first flare of cases occurred wasted no time shutting theirs down when they heard what happened in Itaewon. Are club attendees bummed? Yes. But the privilege of dancing poorly to a BTS song over watery speakers is not enough justification to let another major wave rip through Korea. And because they have testing so widely available, the South Korean government has been insisting that if you went to a club in Itaewon recently, get tested – no matter if you have symptoms or not. Here’s why: One person was an asymptomatic “super spreader” (meaning they shed off viruses a lot more than the average person) and in one night, visited five clubs. Dozens were infected. Actually, almost one hundred. All because of one person’s club hopping while they were blithely unaware they were carrying the plague. And this was after Korea spent very careful consideration about opening back up after having super low numbers (I am talking one or two new cases a day, if nothing at all). The USA is not doing this. No real, careful planning. No addressing spikes (the USA can’t even manage not having 1-2 new cases in an hour, let alone a day), no free, unfettered access to testing, nothing that is going to really help mitigate the virus. No state should be opening up until it is definitely established that Americans can maintain social distancing and other virus abatement measures. There have been coronavirus parties. It is beyond obvious that Americans can’t.

If you can stay home, even after your state opens up, stay home. If you can’t, wear a mask (at all times), wipe down everything and keep everyone at a distance. Someone sneezes in a room? Try to stand back even further. There is no vaccine but there are plenty of people who are very happy to sacrifice lives for selfish money reasons.

Remember, if you can’t purchase a mask, make one:

 

 

If you can, it is most important to stay home. Just stay home and wash your hands.

If you are in the US, stay home.

I had a different post but it is indeed a pressing matter to discuss the fact the US is slowly opening up in the middle of a rampant plague.

Here’s the kit and kaboodle – actually, let’s start from the basics:

Right now, on American news, there are constant reports of “we will never get transmissions to zero, might as well try the best we can with what we got”. Basically, when it comes to “flattening the curve”, the word around is that it will never be an actual curve but a floating line with a hopeful bump in the middle.

Meanwhile, in S. Korea:

This was reported May 6, 2020. They have had several days of zero new cases by now, as of date of this post.

This is what their graph looks like, obtained by Google by simply searching “Coronavirus in S. Korea” (you can also do the same for every country and state).

Graph goes up to May 14, South Korea has had 17 new cases on May 17, yesterday. Please note that the number is spiraling back downward.

You can see S. Korea is over their curve and pretty speedily, too. They never had a lockdown and they were informed/got the virus on the exact same day as the US. They were aggressive about testing, contact tracing and social distancing. Still are, too. They only got a recent bump (which the US would have ignored completely if it were here) where it went from 2 cases to 12 overnight because a bunch of clubbing in Seoul district, Itaewon. That small spike caused all the local Korean governments to shut down their clubs in totality, because no one wanted to be the new hot spot after Daegu, the initial hot zone for Korea. The height of the bump was 39 cases in one day and it hasn’t reached that number since. Yesterday, May 17th, S. Korea has had 17 cases. Basically, Korea is currently experiencing their second bump and what a pebble of a bump it is! All because of doing all the right things: aggressive testing, contract tracing, effective social distancing, better healthcare system.

Inb4 “South Korea has less people than the USA!”

Insert China, who has 1.4 Billion people. The most populous country in the world, literally holds 1/5th of the world population. And ground zero for the virus, they have been battling the virus since November, where they started out by making every bad choice you could think of (not listen to the scientists, ignore facts, stoke fear/place blame on outside sources instead of focus on problem). Now, since partly removing head out of derriere, China has been experiencing low numbers, like Korea.

Added scribble to illustrate curve, graph goes up to May 14. China has had 7 new cases on May 17, yesterday. Please note the near flat line.

Inb4 “These are Asian countries. No one from the West.”

Firstly, because the West is filled with pretty disgusting people (man, do we like that word to describe other people and places, might as well apply it here), there is a reason the Black Plague shredded Europe despite starting in Mongolia. Ditto with the Spanish flu (fun fact, despite being called the “Spanish Flu” because it was believed to be from Spain in 1918 – the first known case was on a military base in Kansas, in the United States of America. Does the nation ring a bell?) But because I like stats, let’s continue with Germany, a Western nation.

 

Graph up to May 17

Germany is driving the struggle bus just a little bit but hey, that’s a curve. They got the virus a little later than other nations and still handling it well. Not as well as Korea but well.

And here comes the United States:

Graph goes up to May 14. USA had 19,731 cases on May 17th, yesterday. This is not improvement.

There is no curve. At all. We are not at the end of anything. Above are three different nations who have had the same virus and radically different graphs from the US but similar to each other: they all have visible curves. They also have better healthcare systems.

The US has been severely lagging behind testing because we A) don’t have enough and B ) think tacking a staggering medical bill to one is a great idea. This means that there are way more people with the virus than this graph shows – and that is very alarming.

Also note that we have a towering number of deaths. More than any nation. The number of dead people we have aligns with the number of Covid-infected people in all of China. A bigger nation than us in a variety of ways, especially in population numbers.

And that’s not even acknowledging the fact all the other nations have a pretty close gap between “Confirmed” and “Recovered”. Then there is the US, which has a gigantic gulf of space between “Confirmed” and “Recovered” This means people are not bouncing back from the virus. Especially not at a satisfactory rate.

 

The numbers don’t lie, news and politicians do. Here’s the thing: Summer is pretty much cancelled, no one should be going out and socializing or anything. We, the US, do not have the tests, the health infrastructure, the leadership, nothing. It’s not impossible to beat the virus, several nations are in the process of doing that. This is just garden variety American stupidity driving the wheel. Just stay home if you can, wash your hands, maintain social distancing and know that we are still in the middle of a plague.

Yeap, world still dealing with a nasty virus. I’m in the US, where we (predictably – have you seen our healthcare system?) are the worst hit. Here are some more facts to help keep you hopefully at bay of the virus.

Masks: Wear one. Not surgical ones, though, unless you are a healthcare worker. Here is a how to guide from the CDC about making a mask out of a bandanna and hair ties.

Social distancing: Keep doing it. Most droplets from your mouth goes about 3 to 6 feet, un-masked. Here is a vid from Japan that explains why social distancing and masks are useful, to prevent possible spread

Now, the Rumor Mill, because that can be a deadly virus in and of itself.

I have heard some absurd bull, some personally and some that other friends have told me they heard themselves. Let’s break them down.

Contagion, the movie, is accurate!

I’m so glad I watched that movie for free, I’d want my money back. Heck, I want my time back. Ye Gods, that movie was horrible. Fishbourne was in it, which was nice but you could see him in The Matrix and have a better understanding of what’s going on – and a better watching experience.

There are so many inaccuracies, I’d have to do a Let’s Watch to go over all of it, I’ll probably live stream that if so because it would be a waste of space on my recorder otherwise. Maybe I’ll live tweet it, that would probably be better. Yeah, livetweet since I have not used my Twitter (@thisblackwitch) for hardly anything useful in a while. The bits I will cover here –

    • The CDC does not handle everything. Dr. Fauci, the guy you been seeing a lot and sounding sensible, is from NIH, not the CDC. Dr. Fauci is the director of NIAID (NIH shoves NI in front of just about everything. It’s their thing, the thing they do). NIAID stands for “National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases”. In NIAID, there is a section for Emerging Infectious Diseases/Pathogens, listed under “Biodefense”. Unless you are germaphobic or with a germ/clean focus of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, give their page a read.
    • The Yellow Peril in this movie is astonishing! It pretty much yokes Asian people (mainly Chinese and Hong Kong people) with “virus/contagion”. Which is super funny for a movie made by mainly White folks to say – because of their collective European heritage. Europe is commonly yoked to The Black Death/The Plague because of how nasty it knocked out the European population (estimates range from 1/3 of the population up to 60%). Everyone else nearby was also affected but not as bad – because Europe pretty much wasn’t too big on cleanliness (no, really, there was a Christian medieval belief that the Christian god would not like you since dirt comes from the soil, which comes from god and to wash it off was to rebuke god – if you’re cross-eyed reading this, imagine the look on the faces of the Jewish and Muslim populations in medieval Europe who heard this first hand … and went back to washing their hands and feet for religious practice and thus didn’t suffer nasty outbreaks). Back to the the virus at hand, virulent racism – I mean … nah, virulent racism because that’s a pretty fatal strain that makes the Coronavirus look like it shares a death rate with the common cold in comparison. Yes, the Coronavirus was spotted in China – this means the virus could have been seen anywhere – but that does not mean China is a hot bed of disease no more than England or France is a hot bed of bubonic plague. Though, it is a tad funny seeing Europe being classic racist douche to China – and, oh look! the coronavirus is hitting them worst than it did China. History really does like going in circles, huh? Posies, anyone?
    • There are so many inaccuracies! I am going to most likely suffer watching this movie on the day this post comes out and live tweet, because the movie is trash and I need to express why in absolute detail. Everyone: A fictional movie is not a documentary.

“5G cause Covid-19”

Bruh.

What?

What the fu-

HOW?!

This is literally how I imagine the conversation goes

There is no outstanding – or standing, for that matter – correlation between the 5G cell phone network and the SARS-Cov-2 (the coronavirus). First of all – SOUTH KOREA WAS THE FIRST NATION TO GET 5G A LONG TIME AGO. They been had it for the longest time. They got it April 3rd, 2019! A year ago! South Korea is NOT China! If 5G started Corona, then how come:

a) It didn’t start in South Korea?

b ) It didn’t start a year ago? Corona was spotted in roughly November by the Chinese populace.

c) Everyone was and is basically fine during EDGE, 2G, 3G, and 4G, which are all existing networks?

d) The symptoms are focused on respiratory illness, not brain or blood contamination if it was “waves”?

e)  The virus is not affecting populaces only in and around 5G networks?! T-Mobile has a 5G map, give it a gander and cross-reference it with CDC interactive coronavirus map. Note the difference? 5G isn’t everywhere, but the virus is.

None of this makes sense! And it is concerning that people are burning down cell towers. Which knocks out communication services for people all around, which is dastardly important, especially at a time like this. Don’t torch cell towers.

Coronavirus was made in a lab in China/the US!!!111!!11!1!!1!1111eleven!11!111!!!!!1!!! ZOMGZ!!!!

No. No, it wasn’t. First of all, if that were true, it would suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck to be that guy right about now because congrats, you literally screwed your own nation and everyone else. Public health-wise, economy-wise, to release an uncontrollable virus is very unwise. No one is willing to murk their career in such a glorious, you’re-probably-going-to-die-a-lot-sooner-than-you-think-because-angry-mob-and-death-penalties fashion. No one.

Second of all, the Chinese government didn’t even believe and tried to silence/discredit their own virologists when they said, “Uhhhhhhhh, there’s a virus around. A nasty one, people really should know about it. A lot. It legit looks like SARS but not? Do something???” Yeah, I doubt it was made in a Wuhan lab. If it were a bioweapon, the China would be free and clear from the virus, not turn into a hotbed that also caused social turmoil because Chinese government leadership, local and beyond, horded masks and meds for their own and not the populace. Riots broke out over there because of this exact fact. Yes, China has a marked history of murdering its own residents to keep a certain status quo – Tienanmen Square massacre and The White Terror are good examples – buuuut this is definitely different. And inb4 “China murders its own people? Man, I’m glad I’m American!”: Google “Black American History”. Nooooothing but state-mandated death that literally stretches centuries from the start of the nation to now that ranges from garden variety bombings and murders to systemic conditions.

Speaking of the US (because I heard this one a lot from folks in China on the Chinese social media I’m on), we screw over a lot of nations, not just China. Though the US and China are geo-political rivals, they also are big trading partners. One nation tanks and the other goes with it. Also, this “US made coronavirus in a lab to infect China” nonsense came roughly around the same time the Chinese government was discrediting their own scientists. Because you have to remember, Chinese media is heavy with propaganda, there’s a spin story behind just about everything. The narrative of “The US made a virus to kill us, the Great Chinese Nation” is a useful one, because Chinese media is very commonly “Us against the world”. They literally start their history to 70 years ago, not the 5,000+ years they already have on the clock. The Chinese media also said America had over 100,000 deaths back when the US had no corona cases at all to when the US only had 8 cases total, not a single fatality. Even now, as of posting time, there are only a little over 39,000 deaths in the US from Coronavirus. My friends in China were writing to me asking if there was a big ol’ death bed here back when we weren’t even struck with the virus yet because of how pervasive the incorrect news was.

Always check your sources. The virus was not made in a lab. If you see virus cabinets, that’s because scientist need them to create vaccines. You can’t make a vaccine for a virus you don’t have a pure sample of. My only issue with that is simply I’m against animal testing, I support stem cell research and advanced technology.

Drink water/exercise/pray/stick a blowdryer in your face – that will kill the virus!

None of those things work. Just wash your hands and stay away from each other. Osmosis explains in their April Corona update why these methods work. As well as why the US is sucking at them. (Seriously, why are people throwing coronavirus parties?)

 

 

Long story very short: Wash your hands, wear a mask when you’re out and about, keep your distance and stay inside. And stop hoarding toilet paper, it’s not bird flu.

Here is a nifty Social Distance Bingo board:

Since I only just came back, I received no questions. Not even stupid ones, which is nice. Instead, I’m going to post a vid from Osmosis that talks about Coronavirus (covid-19) from a science-y, animated perspective. Basically, how it started (with bats, just like SARS – because it is related to SARS), how it spreads (droplets from the mouth), why we have the social distancing we do (droplets can go 3-6 feet, so everyone should stand 6 ft apart), and other really useful detail in easy-to-understand language.

 

And inb4 “A witch is talking about modern medicine? Lol”: Modern medicine started in potions and herbal work. And a virus is not a metaphysical entity, it is a physical entity. Also, just because I said medicine started in herbal work, please do not assume that the random internet herbalist who stock pile sage like mad but still have lay-man’s knowledge of general health (a dedicated and decent herbalist should have a background in: botany, biology, chemistry, bio-chemistry – and that’s the short list) is just as good as going to an actual doctor.

Yes, modern medicine has a horrific track record when it comes to race and medicine that more than effectively persuades people, especially in the Black community, to not want to come near a doctor or a hospital because you’re not sure if you’re getting someone with functioning capacity of empathy for random humans, even ones that do not come in shades of White, or a person who seems related to Jigsaw from the Saw movies, ethics-wise. And, chances are, you’re more likely to get Saw than kind-person. This alone can keep people out of the hands of doctors, but still, it is better at least try to find a facility – not necessarily a hospital, but even a drive-thru testing place (if one is available, the US is not Korea, after all) – than to put your health in the hands of someone who possibly doesn’t even know how viruses exist.

So stay home, try to get tested and wash your hands.

(I always think of “My Sharona” when I hear about the coronavirus)

So, you’re probably home right now, going stir crazy or catching up on your video games/movies/books/etc. I’m stuck home as well.

Yaaaaaay, three months into the new decade and we already have a literal plague. At the start of the last decade, it was a major terrorist attack (in the US). It seems the current millennium is very bad at starting decades on a good foot.

Since you most likely have nothing better to do, let’s talk about the coronavirus. Because, fun fact: I work at NIH, which stands for the National Institutes of Health. I’m not a doctor or health professional, just a preservationist technician that likes to skulk about them for their candy. (I did the same when I worked at the Library of Congress and NIST, smarties tend to have bountiful snacks). If you think you’re getting bombarded with coronavirus (also called COVID-19) updates, imagine what my NIH inbox looks like since they are one of the many health institutions at the epicenter of all this. I mainly trust what I see from NIH over the news because, well, NIH is supposed to be one of the sources the news are supposed to be getting their info from.

Let’s get started with a funny video by Wavetro that is the basic run-down of what you should and shouldn’t do. Caution, there is swearing.

 

Okies! The basic gist:

  • Please wash your hands – hand sanitizer is not as effective as you think against viruses (they are generally pitched as anti-bacterial, not anti-viral, yes, there is a difference) – and wash them thoroughly
  • Avoid touching your face the best you can, germs can easily be transmitted through the mouth, nose and eyes. The average adult touches their face 30 times in an hour
  • STOP HOARDING TOILET PAPER AND MASKS – it’s not dysentery and the masks keeps germs in not out. Wear them if you are sick, not as a replacement for washing your hands. Plus, if you are not used to wearing a mask, it will make you touch your face more. Health professionals and patients need them most!
  • Social distancing is to avoid transmission spikes, the less people spend time with each other, the better it is. 6 feet or more is optimal. Staying home is even better, especially since asymptomatic people seem to be spreading it more because they have zero idea they have it.
  • Do not panic-purchase and if you are a seller, do not price gouge (seriously! That’s super unethical and very against the law)
  • Wash your freaking hands
  • Sneeze/cough into your sleeve, not your hands

I always think of the scene from The Bernie Mac Show when it comes to germs transmission. It’s from the episode titled “Now you got it”, starts at 3:26:

 

 

It’s a great episode, I recommend watching it. Also, this is why everyone at NIH, the CDC and everywhere else sounds like this:

Complete with the shrill voice

 

So please, stay yourself in the house. Let’s stifle the spread of the virus and it’s not hordes of toilet paper you need, just wash your hands and sneeze or cough into your sleeve. Here is an actual poster I took a picture of at NIH:

No The Arts! because I have been busy fixing my 3D printer. Received one question but it was trash. This means another Black Witch free space.

I shall grace you with “Parole de Chat”, hilarious French cat videos

I love watching these.

I also grace you with a strutting fashion kitty.

The Lull of the Trickster

I have noticed something recently. Perhaps it’s my curated online experience, but I noticed that trickster entities have gotten a bit of a boost in pop culture popularity over the last few years. For example, Loki (due to Marvel), Anansi (due to American Gods*), and in general culture (I guess in pop witchy culture) there is a charm to having “trickster vibes”.

This is all really sweet and cute. It’s nice that different entities are having their fun in the sun. Including ones to literally invented the concept of giving others the shaft – or, if they’re bored, make you give it to yourself.

Trickster entities can be useful. In some ways, they are startlingly honest and to the letter. The problem tends to be that you don’t always know where the honesty lives and which letter they are sticking to until the very end – usually after the trick is over. Trickster deities are clever, that’s their thing, but they are not for newbies. The biggest fumble I seem to be informed is that people summon and get surprised they don’t get what they expect.

What I mean is they summon Anansi, expect to see Orlando Jones. Who is an actor. A great actor. But still, not a trickster deity. Also, the allure of a trickster entity is fun looking, because who doesn’t love a good prank? Watching one play out, I mean. Most don’t like to be on the receiving end of one.

It’s too easy to rattle my cane and go “stay away from those tricksters, you whippersnapper!” Sounds haughty and such. There are people who work, pray and practice with trickster entities – “entities” because not all of them are deities, they could be spirits, sprites or other beings as well. Because these entities are part of life, not something to throw away or ignore. However, working with them is not easy. They will teach you lessons, important ones, but it can really sting. And if my inbox shows me one thing, the average person hates when the cosmos goes “lolz” at their expense.

If anything, it would probably be better to say to have some experience under your belt before working with these types of entities. At least enough so you know when it’s time to say “enough”. And to know that you can’t just outwit a trickster. I get those in my inbox as well. Letters along the lines of “Wanted something, asked a trickster to do a thing for me, tried to cheat the trickster because I never intended to pay/think this would work/assume there would be backfire, trickster cheated me instead – how could they?!”. Usually sent by newbies.

Trickster entities are important, they teach you lessons – usually hard lessons and with very little padding. It doesn’t matter how thick skinned you are, how unruffled you believe you can be – they can find a slip in the armor and make it seem like a planet could fit through. However, they’re also remarkably tricky. It really is astonishing how many people forget this exact fact. “I made them promise to keep their word” never works, but I have heard this one. At least twice.

So, I think its nice that more entities and deities besides the usual roster are being picked and worked with but a good tip: If you learned about them from comics or fiction, maybe do some research first. Because what you see is not going to be what you get.

 

 

 

*Yes, I’m aware of the recent issue about American Gods and how they unfairly booted Orlando Jones. I loved him on MadTv and Everybody Hates Chris

I got sucky questions so I am doing a Free Space.

I don’t have a lot for free space, to be honest. I have been up for a while so my brain is still running on half-speed.

I also have been playing a lot of video games since I got the new computer. What I have been playing so far:

  • Let it Die
  • Felix the Reaper
  • The Sims 4 (with a major bevy of mods)
  • Dead By Daylight

I plan to get Tekken 7, especially because they have the character, Leroy Smith. What I find charming/funny about this character is:

a) they are a Wing Chun fighter, I have been doing Wing Chun for over a decade now (thirteen years, I think?) and it is rare to find Wing Chun fighters in video games. I only know two games with Wing Chun, Tekken and an indie game called Shaolin vs WuTang vs The WorldShaolin is a really good game, I recommend it. Insanely technical and true to each style featured.

b ) Leroy Smith is Black, I think the only people I have ever known personally who practiced Wing Chun were Black. All my teachers (who are also on the Wing Chun family tree under Grandmaster William Cheung), the vast majority of my classmates, just about everyone. If they weren’t Black, they were Asian. I remember only meeting three to four people who didn’t fit this profile in the ten plus years.

c) I am totally tickled that Leroy Smith is practically one of my teachers (sifu). My original sifu is a Black man with dreads (not white – though, the years are indeed passing so there are teeny slips of gray) who has a pitbull. I will never not find this uncanny accuracy hilarious.

d) The Wing Chun is accurate. Tekken 7 level accurate (meaning, they have to throw in some flair) but accurate all the same in performance and function.

I always like playing fighting games that reflect styles I have practiced but the added representation is a brilliant bonus.

On the subject, I’ve been training others (honestly, one or two people) in super basic Wing Chun for free – it’s so I can have some exercise and I have a lot of LGBTQIA friends so it’s a win-win. They learn how to unhinge some harassing transphobe or homophobe’s jaw in the most painful way possible, I get to shed some calories while keeping pizza in my diet. Plus, I will never miss an opportunity to trash-talk women self defense courses. Because they are total trash. Teaches you nooooooooothing except how to be a better victim. Almost wholly inapplicable in actual altercations and if the woman paid for it, a complete and total rip off.

I know this because:

a) I’m a woman, I have been in several of these classes for this very reason alone. Even after I tell people “I can break someone’s arm in three places, I’m good.” At this point, I just collect the free whistle and try to not play on my phone. There was the one time I did drift into a karate self defense class taught by a karate teacher at an anime convention but that was because I saw a couple cute guys go in so my goal was “Procure phone numbers” – mission unsuccessful because all the karate kids boppled around me the second they figured out I knew Wing Chun.

b ) I always ask folks I teach if they took a self defense class and if so, follow up with a request to see if they can break out of a basic wrist grab. They are always astonished I grip tight (just like what would happen in real life) because the classes don’t teach that and only a small fraction actually know what to do.

c) Most of the classes are taught by men so it’s just over complicated movements coupled with victim-blaming flavored “don’t get raped” tips. The one class I ever saw taught by a woman, I got chucked out because she said I was “showing off”. I saw a girl literally spin herself into a chokehold with her own arm in effort to get out of a wrist grab, it was a feat to behold. I had to help so I showed a super simple movement. That’s declared as “showing off”. What I remembered, the teacher had a watery voice the entire class that sounded like she was on the verge of crying and whenever there were men in the room, she was really subservient. Ineffective teachers, basically.

I could go on forever but that is a smidge of my soapbox.

Back to video games, I really like how things are different. Games have a very, very long way to go when it comes to gender and race. And at least a solid 60% of the time, it looks like they don’t try, which leads to weak or repeated storylines as well as super predictable outcomes.  I stick with a game when I can make characters that look like me, which is what I really like about Let it Die. They have Black men and women as characters. With realistic hairstyles.

The games I have been playing recently are all games that are centered around death engaging and fun. I love the concept behind Felix the Reaper, his dances are wonderful and the soundtrack is great. Let It Die has a great soundtrack as well. Dead By Daylight is fun when I’m not sitting in the lobby forever. At least when I see racist names, I know who I’m murdering first and several times. Plus hook camping them, because I deserve to see the character suffer as they squirm to their eventual sacrificial death. As for The Sims, mods help Maxis be what they struggle to become themselves: great. How a Black child from two Black parents can come out with a slender nose and straight, blonde hair is beyond me but, hey, Maxis will make it happen.

 

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