Archive for May, 2020


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.

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