Archive for December, 2020


I have been doing a lot during my impromptu break. Mostly VR games, eating, and general “we’re still in a pandemic, everyone” stuff.

I still have been looking at decent media, though.

2 Ants, 1 President
The humor reminds me strongly of Cannon Busters, though this indie animated series on Newgrounds is roughly the same age, of not a little older.


Josh Johnson
He is a remarkably funny comedian with a humorous podcast. His humor is really tame and calm. Hailing from Louisiana, he talks about his life experiences and muses about the silly things he has gone through.



Meet Me @ The Altar

I’m always looking for new music to listen to. I saw this band on my editor’s Tumblr* [link] and gave it a listen. They have a very Pop Punk sound, similar to early Paramore. I really like the visuals and it is always great to find Black bands in Rock

 


*I also have been doing creative writing: MultiMindPublishing 

We are in our tenth month here in the US of Covid 19 lockdown and it has officially been a whole single year that the Coronavirus has been on this planet.

Can’t say that I’m thrilled.

The US is the worst stricken nation on the planet for Covid-19. (China is also quite possibly nasty-struck based on their ratchet human-rights & human welfare track record buuuuuut they cook the books too much to make that solid determination. Bad enough one can’t even search about the coronavirus online without heavy censorship over there). America is doing poorly for the same reason China didn’t kick off to an amazing start: Terrible government leadership, misinformed populace, and more terrible government failures that were and are due to being image-conscious instead of pandemic-conscious. No one cares about your reputation if everyone is dead all around you, including you. That and both nations seriously should not kid themselves over image: Both America and modern China have a solid reputation of being awful, from rampant human rights violations (from police black sites in America to concentration/death (read: organ harvesting) camps in China of Falun Gong and Uyghur (Xinjiang) people) to invasive technology (Project Prism, Homeland Security & the NSA in the USA and literally the entire Chinese tech infrastructure). Maybe it would be better to worry about reality and not fantasy.

Off that little soap box, there is an old phrase: “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”. Meaning: it is better to do a little to prevent a problem than need to do a lot to fix it once it strikes. I always prefer preventative measures over reactive measures for any and everything, simply because it is usually easier to prevent problems than it is to fix them. In this situation, it is much, much easier to prevent getting the coronavirus than actually dealing with it. At least the prevention measures won’t kill you. Covid can. 

Here is an overview from Osmosis about the current treatments of Covid-19:

These treatments are also, by the way, very potentially costly. Plus, you sincerely have no idea if you are getting “bed rest” covid or “death bed” covid. That is one wheel of fortune you do not want to spin. 

Also, even though I am a Pagan/witch blog, I’m not going to recommend any herbs, oils or spells – because absolutely none are necessary. Anyone who says different is trying to make you spend money and there are definitely a lot of nefarious opportunists who only care about “collecting their coin” and taking advantage of a scary situation. Those folks deserve to catch the coronavirus, no one needs greedy people in a pandemic and it isn’t like they deserve the air they breathe. If you contract the Coronavirus, you need actual doctors, not snake oil charlatans out trying to make a buck. 

Oh, and full disclaimer: I work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the library. Woo, information.

 

Let’s start with the basics:

  • Wear a Mask
  • Keep Your Hands Clean
  • Social Distance (6ft/2m, no closer)
  • Stay at Home, when/if possible

 

It is remarkably stupid that the idea of mask wearing in the US is “political” but hey, Americans tend to be stupid, why battle that stereotype now?

Wear a Mask – a cloth mask, a disposable mask (put in a trash can, not on the ground). Anything made of cotton weave or better. The reason masks were touted as “not necessary by the general public” at the start was because not a whole lot was known about Covid-19 in the beginning and our data was coming from a national government that literally edits out whole history-changing massacres that happened on live television if it doesn’t make them happy – even to the point of banning the candle emoji when the anniversary rolls around. So, that means a good chunk of the data was quite a bit misleading. That and the US was (and still is) quite unprepared for the virus, as it pertains to masks and proper equipment for actual doctors and nurses so public health officials wanted to prevent a bank run on masks that would leave medical professionals super S.O.L. – now medical professionals are just plain really S.O.L., which is not much better. Wear a mask, plain and simple. It won’t kill you but the coronavirus certainly can. Also, handle your masks by the loops, not the front. The front has what is called a “viral load”, meaning if you were exposed to the virus, it is on the mask and not in you. That is also why it is important to wash your masks regularly, so you don’t risk transferring the virus to yourself while handling your mask. 

Keep Your Hands Clean – Wash your hands with soap and water. Soap pops the lipid (fatty) defense layer of the coronavirus, killing it on contact. Thoroughly wash your hands, front and back and frequently. If you are somewhere where you genuinely can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of 60% or above. I personally never go under 70-75%, frankly. But wash your hands, first and foremost.

Stay at Home – Some can’t do this because they work essential jobs such as in grocery stores (who should be receiving hazard pay) or are at risk of losing their homes because of terrible American social care infrastructure that shouldn’t exist but if you can stay home – stay home. It is insidiously moronic to tell one another “stay safe” but not “stay home”. If people aren’t being social butterflies, Covid-19 can’t take flight in the communities. Do not booze up and especially stay away from drugs – you don’t need anything marring your judgement and chemically suppressing your immune system. Putting yourself at better risk of catching the Coronavirus isn’t going to help your situation much. If you live with others, try to wear a mask around them. 

Social Distance – Keep 6ft away from each other. This is to prevent the spread of droplets that come from your nose and mouth, especially if you are not wearing a mask (you should) or if your mask is not as protective as you thought it was. The Coronavirus spreads through the air, mainly through the nose and mouth. Stay away from each other. If you can’t (you should), at minimum wear a mask. But seriously, stay away from each other. If you have to go somewhere, use this handy dandy site to figure out what your risk is, Safer Covid – My Risk. And make sure you fill it all the way out. It covers everything from pumping gas to going to events. There is even a “custom” section for places and events not covered. 

 

Always a convenient reminder

And let’s crack out the Social Distance Bingo Board!

 

What I have gotten on mine:

 

 

Woo, fun for everyone. 

Dealing with the Coronavirus is tough but mainly because not everyone is doing their part. If people simply wore masks more, cases would drop almost overnight instead of spike to the moon. These measures certainly are not a violation of any human rights, civil rights or constitutional rights. Being told to stay home and wear a mask is lightyears away from being at Masanjia, Auschwitz or Manzanar. It is a major concern, public health-wise, that as many people should participate as much as possible. It is going to be a remarkable long time before a safe vaccine comes out and there is enough public trust to use it. There is already concerns of a “Trust Gap” from Black Americans, Latin Americans and other groups of Americans that were inhumanely treated like guinea pigs for the past two to four centuries by the American medical system and still face prejudice in medical care to this very day. Huh, it’s almost like treating whole groups of people like Jigsaw from the Saw series for several generations has a weird knock-on effect during times where trust is most crucial. Odd. 

Wear a mask and don’t simply “stay safe”, practice social distancing and clean your hands.

 

Wow, I have been gone for quite a while! Since August! It was completely unexpected, I was snowed with endless responsibilities and also had to move (which is harrowing in normal circumstances, multiplied further in a pandemic – which we are still very much in, by the way). I have been a bit active on the other branches of Black Witch, such as Tumblr and Instagram.

My Insta probably looks drastically different from what I usually talk about here because I use it to show my more tech-laden stuff since I am mainly self-taught in making technology and suches from scratch. It’s mostly my 3D printings and pictures of my cat. Or both.

The Black Witch Shoppe has been closed since the start of the pandemic and will still remain closed until the pandemic is over. Which is probably going to be for a much longer time further but I rather not put my health or the health of others at risk just to mail things out. That says nothing about how shabby shipping is nowadays because we’re in a pandemic. Global plagues can do that to global shipping infrastructures. Besides, I have mostly been spending my days 3D printing masks because I can – and because I still can not easily get Takuya Angel’s masks. I have been pining after his masks since 2011. Even a pandemic will not lower the price. But it will make shipping harder.

One day, super-expensive vis-kei face mask. One Day.

I have recently made an electrified mask. It is “electrified” because there are operating fans, on/off switches, and it powered by rechargeable cell phone batteries. It also has huge P100 3M filters because Covid is not the only thing I don’t want to expose myself to.

That is prototype #1, the next is going to have more mods. Probably a filtered exhaust valve and definitely putting back in a voice amplifier. I originally planned to have it on the first prototype but I derped so much, I decided on dual fans. Plus, I thought I could be heard just fine. I can – in quieter places. Others will still try to draw themselves close so time for an offensively loud voice amp! The kind that will deafen anyone within six feet of me.

I basically have spent time basically living in a pandemic, which is its own type of stress. I have learned that making 3D printed masks for others is tough because you have to shake people down for their measurements. So many people think of 3D Printing as what they see in Watch Dogs 2 and forget that, no, I still need their input. Custom fitting is a little harder in 3D printing than with cloth masks because it is supposed to be super exact to your face (unless you print in flexible filament, then it just has to be plain exact). So there is that. And these are the usual 3D printed masks, not my electrified one. That is, so far, going to be just a one of kind.

Also, I have recently guested on the Burn Out Brighter podcast, where we talk race, gender and video games. I derp aplenty.

Burn Out Brighter, ep. 66 – “Chatting with Black Witch”
Also, check out Burn Out Brighter other episodes

Some of my audio is mottled (my mic and wi-fi, I’m sure) and some audio did get dropped due to tech mishap but it was a good show altogether. Lemme clarify some parts that did get tech-dropped that I can remember:

  • Shinoda, I don’t remember talking about the Linkin Park Beat Saber pack but Joe Hahn has posted a brief vid on his instagram of his wife playing a song on the newest Oculus. (Also, I know Lupe but I have only met Mike Shinoda)
  • I played Street Fighter 4 with Lupe Fiasco when he was on tour in Pennsylvania. I won one round and the entire experience was a good experience. The “I shall shade in private” is mainly about gaming, because we both like gaming.
  • The podcast is hosted out of South Korea, that is why I occasionally say Korean words (and usually the English word afterwards). When in Rome, everyone.
  • A good chunk of the silences are my connection dropping out on my side
  • Lupe didn’t go to the Baltimore Book Festival (I did try to get him to go but his record company chunked up his day), I just picked up a bunch o’ stuff for him from there and hung out with him at one of his Baltimore events (it was an album signing for Food and Liquor 2 at Soundgarden, a record store)
  • A good chunk of the News part did get lost, it was mostly about the pandemic. Mainly the differences of responses between different nations (US, Korea & China) and I shared my experiences from one of my friends who is born and raised in Wuhan and how they saw the pandemic back when it was simply “hey, there’s a new bug going ’round. I hope I don’t get sick, I have so much to do”, basically the usual chatter that happens when the weather gets colder. That and “Don’t believe everything that you breathe, especially when it comes from the CCP”, which is about how the Chinese government did a super disservice to their own population by trying to hide that there was a terrible virus going around and locked up one their own doctors, Dr. Li Wenliang (who eventually died of covid himself). And how Korea has been doing a marvelous job
  • “You didn’t make him [Marcus from Watch Dogs 2] half-Black” bit was partly was cut out. Usually video games would make a PoC character usually be “half White/half-other”, especially Black characters. It is only really recently that now games let characters not be forced into Whiteness somehow enable to be considered “more human/relatable”. That is where the “White Man’s Burden” quip comes from, that to be “human”, the character needs to be at least half-White. Which is remarkably awful but that’s what game makers thought for the longest time (and still try to shoe horn).
  • P.O.D. has yet to put out something for VR music games but there is at least a glimmer of interest there. (I’m workin’ on the guys, give me time. Lol) but Linkin Park has (for at least two VR games, Beat Saber being one of them)

I hope that I’ll be invited back for another show, I had a lot of fun!

 

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