Forty-Ate

We are now two days out from the AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab, which I got on Thursday at 8:30am. Last night, I noticed that tap water was tasting different for me, and wondered what that meant. Happy to report it does, in fact and in actuality, mean something.

Something meaningful.

I mean…

I mean…

It means that this:

Shrimp and orange pepper tacos with white peach balsamic dressing

Tasted like this:

Happy breakfast

You know, once I had breakfast sitting one table over from Oprah Winfrey. I was in Santa Barbara for the film festival with some friends, and while I can never afford extravagant dinners when I travel I’ve long since realized it’s much easier to afford extravagant brunches pretty much anywhere, so my friends and I went for one.

Brunch was at the Bacara Resort which is now the Ritz-Carleton Santa Barbara, which is no doubt just as lovely now as it was back in the early 2000’s. Egrets in the herb garden, surfers on the beach, sea air and ocean views and peace and quiet and celebrities in neutral cashmere at the next table hoping to god you don’t bug them. I had, if memory serves (which for once it does because I’m back on the ginko biloba) the shrimp and mango salad and fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. It cost $45 with tip, and it was absolutely worth every penny. It was both the most expensive and the tastiest brunch I’ve ever had.

Until today.

These perfectly ordinary tacos I made for breakfast today tasted better. Frozen shrimp, leftover cut orange peppers, week-old hearts of romaine, WASP-made tortillas, and store brand peach and white balsamic salad dressing, and honestly one of the most intensely pleasurable things I’ve ever put inside me. Why is that?

Because jab, that’s why.

Loss of sense of smell and/or taste is a well-known symptom of the Covid-19 virus. That’s not in dispute. What IS in dispute (but I know who’s going to win this fight in the coming years, once all the data is collected and analyzed) is whether or not vaccination restores that loss, or even adds a metallic taste.

From what GAVI says about the way the virus interferes with the way salts interact with scent sensors, it seems natural that the metallic/mineral flavours in the water were the first thing I noticed once the vaccine got a good foothold and started kicking viral ass. It took till today for me to notice a difference with the flavour of food, but I really do, and my sense of scent is keener than it’s been in more than a year for certain. Yesterday I put on a sweater I hadn’t worn in a couple of weeks, and I noticed the scent of perfume on it, loved the perfume, and was able to pick it out from my (maybe 18 or 20 bottles) collection.

And man, if I thought breakfast was good, lunch, Possums, lunch was fucking orgasmic.

Behold the most pleasurable single physical experience I have had since March, 2020.

Hey, it’s been A Year, okay?

That is leftover cold chicken on a toasted poppyseed bagel with mustard (the basic bitch kind), mayonnaise, and salt and pepper. And it was orgasmic. And about eight hours later I can still smell the chicken on my fingers, and I’ve washed my hands four times.

That, if I recall, was a bagel too
That, if I recall, was a bagel too

Before you ask, no, the chicken leftovers weren’t so old they were smelly. And I didn’t put them anywhere interesting with my hands. I’m just an extraordinarily great smeller right now.

Now.

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s possible this is psychosomatic (which is different from Not Real). And I know that the plural of anecdote is not data (even if nobody seems to know who said it first). But anecdotal evidence from medical and scientific professionals I’m in touch with has begun to show a pattern: if you had the virus, and you get the jab, your symptoms are very mild compared to the norm, and you may notice a return of smell and taste. And I’m pretty sure I had Covid-19 back in March of 2020, and possibly again in the fall, when I was sick for four straight months.

And I’m noticing that yes, there are flavours in my mouth even when I’m not eating, which is consistent with a return of long-lost senses.

Basically those flavours are always there; any lover will tell you that you have a particular taste. And the reason we don’t notice these flavours most of the time is, after a certain duration of a particular sensation, our brain goes, “okay, that’s enough,” and shuts down the receptors that are getting that message. It’s like if your ex constantly texts you with unproductive statements, you block the number. If the messages don’t come in for a year, you might unblock the number, and the ex can get through again and because you’ve been free of it for a year it seems THAT MUCH MORE intense.

So that’s what’s going on in my mouth right now.

As for other symptoms/side effects, I feel just fine today. The persistent post-nasal drip that I’ve been complaining about for literally more than a year is gone. GONE, possums. GONE.

My resting heart rate, which is normally between 59-62 beats per minute, spiked to 70 yesterday, but it’s at 69 today and on its way back down, and that might have been a response to the Tylenol and one beer I had. Had a slight headache when I woke up which dissipated over the day, and my jab arm feels a little bit bruised and stiff, but I have quite a burst of energy today. The Sister, who has a biology obviously very similar to my own, is a day farther out from her AZ jab and it hit her very hard. Today her injection site is a large red welt, whereas when I went to photograph mine and share it with her…

I couldn’t find it.

I also have a kind of mental clarity that is new to me, at least recently. Remember, I’m still recovering from a traumatic brain injury four and a half years ago, but I do feel particularly bright today. That’s the exact word, “bright.” Everything is a little lighter, everything is a little less effort, everything sparkles a little bit in comparison to three days ago. If that’s psychosomatic or not, I’ll take it. There’s writing to be done, Possums!

Justin Trudeau in the spotlight

The Sparky Covid-19 Briefing Bingo

Welcome back, Possums, to the Zoolander and Friends hour. As you can see we’re continuing our unspecified, guess-if-you-can arbitrary narrative framing device series. First we were Happy, then we were Heavy Metal. Now, Sparky. Possibly even electric! Like that one annoying light switch that hums angrily and occasionally snaps at you when you turn it on.

And you, Dear Readers, turn me on.


This is Sparky D’s world, and you’re living in it

Oh, oops. Sorry, wrong video. This is the one with our ensemble cast, even if they’re not here yet, fifteen minutes into the scheduled briefing. Lyrics SOMEWHAT different from the above, and, honestly, could really use a good backbeat to give it a bit more energy. Although it turns out that today’s briefing DOES have a lot of zip.

Neoliberalism: PoweredByOptimism™

On Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discusses the federal government’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic. He is joined by federal ministers Patty Hajdu (health), Anita Anand (public services and procurement), and Dominic LeBlanc (intergovernmental affairs), as well as Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, and Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer. They discuss Health Canada’s authorization of the use of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. This is the first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for use in Canada, and the fifth COVID-19 vaccine that Health Canada has approved.

And our briefing cards are here and NO I didn’t get you a new one because I didn’t expect another briefing this week, silly me.

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Erin O’Toole’s Vaccine Claim Doesn’t Check Out

Greetings to our international readers: today’s post is a deep dive into Canadian federal political communication.

Sorry, eh!

You’ll recall, gentle reader, a couple of short weeks ago, the claim of Conservative party leader Erin O’Toole to have spoken to the “CEO of Pfizer”. This did not happen.

Let’s go back to the beginning: on January 20th, the CPC called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to speak directly to the CEO of Pfizer.

“Next week Canada will receive zero doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Yet, Justin Trudeau hasn’t even called the CEO of this vaccine manufacturing company.

“Describing this as a failure of leadership is an understatement. While leaders of allied countries have had over a dozen calls with this critical vaccine partner, Justin Trudeau has failed to act.

“Vaccines are critical to reopening the economy and securing jobs for Canadians. This lack of action by Justin Trudeau shows that he is failing to make vaccinating Canadians a priority.

“I am calling on Justin Trudeau to pick up the phone and call the CEO of Pfizer. This must be done now. Canadians can’t wait.

CPC press release, Jan 20

Trudeau did, in fact, speak to the CEO of Pfizer within 24 hours, and I confirmed this with Pfizer. That’s when it gets weird.

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White Zombie

The Covid Briefing Bingo Zombie

It me, kittens.

It.

Me.

Here we are again, at the quite civilized hour of slightly after 4:30pm, and while I feel the Covidian ennui which shall forever scar this year in memory, I also feel seen. They finally moved the briefing to a time I won’t sleep through it. Although it doesn’t mean I feel less than zombie-like. It is 2020, after all. Vitality would be positively inappropriate!

I am but a child of my time, as was the Prince of Denmark. He was VERY 2020, was Hamlet.

Today’s briefing bingo is brought to you by the Bela Lugosi movie White Zombie, and it’s a cracking good ‘un! The very first Zombie movie ever, and still one of the best. The sound effects of the scene in the sugar mill alone will chill you to the core. The heroine is a complete dip, it must be admitted, and so is the hero for the first third of the film, But so were most people back then. The acting is very good indeed, with multiple memorable characters and the direction and script top notch.

From the YouTube notes: The first zombie film… ever! Bela Lugosi stars, in arguably his best performance next to Dracula, as Murder Legendre, voodoo master and keeper of the undead. Madge Bellamy, Robert Frazer, John Harron and Joseph Cawthorn co-star. Directed by Victor Halperin. Followed by the Lugosi-less “Revolt Of The Zombies” (1936). The film “White Zombie” and related promotional materials are public domain.

And for those who are still playing, rather than merely reading these commentaries, here are your game cards:

And our zombie-less (unless you count jaded civil servants in the background) CPAC video, which YouTube tells me currently has 107 viewers staring haplessly at a desk, an empty chair, and a row of carefully arranged Canadian flags.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with reporters on Parliament Hill following his virtual meeting with Canada’s first ministers. Health transfers and vaccine distribution were on top of the agenda. The prime minister also provides an update on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic. He is joined by Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, as well as Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, and Major-General Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada and head of the country’s vaccine distribution efforts. Health Canada announced the previous day that it had approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine and Canada’s first shipment of doses is expected to arrive the week of December 14. An initial batch of up to 249,000 doses will arrive before the end of 2020.

Shout-out to the reporter reading an actual, physical newspaper while waiting for the briefing. Way to fly the flag!

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Trudeau Anand Fortin Covid Briefing Dec 7

The Covid Briefing Bingo of Dorian Gray

Good evening, kittens. We would have been here for you in the morning if only the government website had shown today’s briefing on Trudeau’s schedule at 4am, which it did not. We checked. We checked at 4am, we mean, not that the briefing was at 4am, although they all look like morning people to me. We wouldn’t put it past them.

We are trying, my friends, trying hard not to take it personally, and we’d like to thank the person in Hamilton who called a wrong number and woke us up in time to do the briefing, but as we did not know it was happening, we simply cursed Hamiltonians generally and went back to sleep.

But we are here, now, adequately caffeinated and with a cup of tea by our side (second person plural, singular side; we are all on the same side now, aren’t we?). Mango green tea, to be specific, because we have to be specific, because we have a word count to hit,

We are Professionals.

Yeah Bela could get it.

Today’s briefing is named after the 1918 Bela Lugosi film The Picture of Dorian Gray, a Hungarian adaptation of the original English. Oscar Wilde had only been dead 18 years at that point, which is rather mind-boggling if you think about it. That would put him at 2002 relative to right now. History is freaky, kittens. History, my friends, is a total mindfuck.

Bela played Arisztid Olt, who was Lord Henry Wotton in the original version, and a perfect character for a character actor like Bela.

Lord Henry is a man possessed of “wrong, fascinating, poisonous, delightful theories.” He is a charming talker, a famous wit, and a brilliant intellect. Given the seductive way in which he leads conversation, it is little wonder that Dorian falls under his spell so completely. Lord Henry’s theories are radical; they aim to shock and purposefully attempt to topple established, untested, or conventional notions of truth. In the end, however, they prove naïve, and Lord Henry himself fails to realize the implications of most of what he says.

Sparknotes

There’s no full version of it on YouTube that I could find, but here are some stills:

But enough preamble! you are probably shouting. We know your type: the type who is always clicking the Skip To The Recipe button and bypassing the blogger’s wandering, pinot-tinged reminiscences of their completely unique, white suburban middle-class childhood. The type that wishes there was a Cliff’s Notes for The New Yorker.

We ARE in a mood lately, aren’t we? We shall cease abusing the faint remnants of our blog readership and get to the actual briefing. Yes, I’m stalling.

Well kittens, in case any of you are playing #BriefingBingo you can mark your “Technical difficulties” square because my computer is NOT cooperating today. Stand by.

Here are your cards, including the shiny new 7th Gen card from last Friday:

And here is our video, again from CPAC:

At a news conference on Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic. The prime minister is joined by Anita Anand, the federal minister of public services and procurement, Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, and Major-General Dany Fortin, the new vice president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada and head of the country’s vaccine distribution efforts. In his remarks, the prime minister announces that Canada has signed an agreement to receive early delivery of up to 249,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine. The first shipment could be delivered as early as next week, contingent on Health Canada approval of the vaccine. Vaccination could begin within one or two days after delivery. These first doses will be distributed to 14 sites across the country. Canada’s agreement with Pfizer calls for up to 76 million total doses of its mRNA vaccine candidate.

And here is your Full Text of the Remarks (not including the questions from the press). Every now and then I think I could just transcribe it but A) then I wouldn’t be able to livetweet it B) the PMO staff eventually get it online within a calendar day or so C) I’m lazy af.

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