March 24th, 2020

A Quiet, 40th. Birthday Weekend

For starters, I can't believe that I'm old! Yes people, I'm now 40! Can you believe it? I still can't believe it, and I'm the one who's 40. So anyway, how did I end up celebrating this milestone? With the current circumstances of COVID19 going on right now, I'm rather surprised at that, a lovely celebration I ended up having, despite having to stay indoors and isolated. The celebrating over the weekend anyway, as my roommate and I did order out via DoorDash back last Tuesday, for fear of nothing being open by the weekend, and I already talked about that in a prior entry, so won't repeat that here, but as for the actual weekend of my birthday, the fun started late on Friday night. My roommate Celeste did a special show on 98.6 The Mix, the Internet radio station where she broadcasts, where she dedicated that week's edition of Flashback Friday, the program she does, to my birthday. Looking back at requests I submitted through her request page when she broadcasted at The Q Online, she found nearly every request I sent in, between November of 2018 and August of 2019, and played them in chronological order, as much so as she could remember. She even included seasonal requests, like Christmas songs that I either requested during the 2018 holiday season or during the month of July in 2019, when she did Christmas in July on The Grab Bag, which I thought was cool, since I'm one anyway, to play Christmas music, all year round, whether it's Christmas or not. The show wasn't restricted to just those requests I sent in eons ago. I was able to send in requests during the program, and other listeners submitted requests as well. She also did the usual segments where her echo dot participated, and this show was an interesting one, because she demonstrated the ability to create, edit, and remove custom routines you set up in the Alexa app, and even showed off a new routine she created while on air. I had sent in so many requests, that on top of those requests, as well as new stuff that came in, voice breaks, etc. the show ended up lasting a total of 9 hours in length! Celeste and I were tired when it was all said and done, as even I couldn't fall asleep, the music was so good, but we both had a blast, and we'll always have the archive to look back on in years to come. I'm even listening to it via Winamp while I type up this entry, if that's saying anything right there. And if you yourself would like to check out the archive, while it's available on Celeste's podcast page at the time I'm posting this entry, it won't be up there forever due to space limitations at that location, so if it's months or years down the road by the time you read this, if you're interested in having a copy of this archive, please just ask me for it, and I will be happy to share it with you.

While she was on the air, shortly before 4:37 AM Eastern on Saturday, March 21, 2020, which would have been the exact time I was born, as I was born at 1:37 AM Pacific Daylight Time on March 21, 1980, she bought me my birthday present. An iTunes e-gift card for $40.00! As she explained in the little note in the body of the email message, "Here's a dollar for every year you've been alive. Happy Birthday!" I've since added the gift card to my iTunes gift balance, giving me plenty of money to purchase movies and stuff in digital format, as I already had a bunch of money in there, thanks to her Valentine's Day gift of a $200.00 iTunes gift card she purchased for me back in February of this year. After she got off the air shortly before 8:00 AM in the morning, we had some breakfast before passing out. I had some doughnut holes, 2 cherry poptarts, some of my can of pizza flavored Pringles, and some grape juice to drink. Afterwards, we both took a nap, awakening in the afternoon, where I had a snack of a bowl of Froot Loops and a glass of water. Still feeling sleepy, plus it was quite cold that day, as the heater wasn't working, I curled back up in bed, doing another one of my favorite hobbies, that being, sleeping of course, only awakening a couple of times to take care of something on my laptop. I should also point out when I awoke on the afternoon of my birthday to have a snack, I was awakened to a really cool wake up call on the echo dot that lives in the bedroom slash studio. Celeste and I have custom made wake up routines set up on Alexa, and Celeste did a really cool one for waking me up on my birthday. Apparently, I was the captain of Apollo 18, and Lady C was at Mission Control in Houston, giving me the official wake up call that is really given to the actual astronauts out in space, including the local news from earth, and some music, as well as a lovely birthday message. I loved it so much, that I had Celeste help me make a recording of the wake up call to be preserved in our private conversation on WhatsApp, to have forever. Anyway, while I spent the majority of my actual birthday, either listening to Celeste's special radio show for me, or sleeping, I really had some fun the following day.

On Sunday morning, when I realized that Celeste had been passed out for over 12 hours, I had it be my turn to wake her up, with one of my custom made wake up routines for her. I was inspired by a parody of one of my favorite Billy Joel songs that had recently been turned into a parody concerning the Corona Virus, to wake her up to the original by Billy Joel that the parody was based off of, with amessage instructing her to go make us food. She didn't waste any time making us food, she prepared what we would have had for dinner on my actual birthday, had we not slept for so long. I had 2 corndogs, a bowl of barbecue potato chips, and a Coke to drink, while she also had a Coke to drink, along with some strawberries dipped in melted chocolate, and some beef taquitos, originally planning to dip them in cheese sauce, only she took one bite of the cheese sauce, dumping it out because the jar had been in the back of the fridge for over 6 months, making it not taste so good. I'm not a sauce person anyway, but hopefully she learned her lesson, and at least she didn't suffer from food poisoning as a result of that little incident. After the belated dinner, I was in the mood to watch one of my favorite movies of all-times, Apollo 13. However, Celeste hadn't seen it before, and really wanted to watch it in descriptive, which at this time, the only version we've been able to find of that movie with audio description included was on iTunes, so Celeste rented her first movie on iTunes, only costing her a total of $3.99. I tried to get the file to play on her desktop, but no matter what I did, I couldn't get it to play, so in the end, she hooked up her iPhone XR to her desktop computer speakers, and streamed the movie, post getting the descriptive track turned on in the settings for TV under the Settings app on her phone. She enjoyed it very much, and even I got a lot out of the movie that I had missed the other times I had seen it, as that was my first time watching it with descriptive. Some confusion was cleared up for me in terms of what happened in the car on the way to the launch sight, and I better understood what was written on a note that was written in the film, thanks to having the audio description. Celeste even commented how it was nice having audio description when Apollo 13 launched, as it was very visual during that part, so I could see how somebody who's not as familiar with space travel who can't see the screen, might get confused and lost without having the audio description there to help them follow that portion of the movie. It was fun, and I'm glad we got to watch that together.

After the movie ended, I was starting to get hungry, and on Friday, both, Celeste and myself received text messages stating that Liberty Pizza was open for carry out and delivery, to call them directly to place an order. Craving some pizza, I did just that, and they answered. I ordered a medium pepperoni pizza, an order of curly fries, and 2 twenty ounce bottles of Pepsi to drink. Because this was my belated Birthday dinner, my roommate and best friend Celeste not only went down and picked it up, but she paid for it too, which I thought was sweet. Even her mom has been very understanding in this difficult time. She offered to have us come over for a birthday celebration at her house, but understood when Celeste explained to her that I wanted to stay home and isolated, decreasing my chances of catching the Corona Virus, and Celeste's mom even offered to pay for our dinner. We had enough money on us at the time to pay for it, so to keep her safe, as she's of the age with the highest fatality rate when it comes to catching this disease, Celeste and her mom worked it out to have her mom pay her back later on when things calm down, and any type of birthday celebration I'm going to do with her entire family, has also been post poned until things calm down as well. Anyway, our dinner from Liberty Pizza was delicious, and I couldn't have asked for a better ending to a quiet birthday weekend. I then passed out early that evening, not awakening until Monday morning, and as I sit here, remaining in isolation, I can at least look back on my birthday weekend, with a smile on my face. Thank you Celeste for making it so special, in tough times like this, she knows how to make me smile, and for that, I'm grateful. Now I hope and pray that if we continue to remain isolated, I can be around to turn 41 next year, but perhaps Celeste and I will be able to go out and do something special outside our tiny mansion next year on my special day. Only time will tell, but for now, I'll be glad I made it to age 40, and continue doing what I've always done, with that being, living my life, one day at a time.

Corona Virus Update

Here's another Corona Virus update for all of you guys. I promise, I'll do my best to stay calmer this time around, but it's actually starting to feel real to me now. On top of the fact that the entire states of New York and New Jersey are on lockdown, over 10,000 cases of COVID19 have broken out, in New York City alone! That's just, insane! On top of that, the 2020 Summer Olympics have been officially post poned to take place in the year 2021, and the thing that really hit home for me, was learning this morning post awakening, that the Valley Plazza Mall in Bakersfield, California, has officially closed as of Tuesday, March 24, 2020. I knew it was only a matter of time, before this day came, as the mall isn't an assential service that needs to be open right now while we all do our best to remain isolated and stop the spread of this virus, but the fact that I have a lot of memories of shopping at that mall with my sister, and spending hours in the Apple Store there, just knowing that it's closed indefinitely at this time, is something I'm still trying to wrap my head around at the moment. the mall out where I'm living now, that being, Berkshire Mall, in Lanesborough, Massachusetts, closed down last year in April, for reasons unrelated to COVID19, but perhaps that was a sign of things to come? We didn't know that at that time, but who knows. Target and Regal Cinema Berkshire Mall 10 remained open post the closing of the mall, but I'm pretty certain even those two places are now closed as a result of COVID19, I don't even have to look. I just hope this whole thing passes soon, not just because there are things I want to go do when the weather warms up, but simply, for the future of this country! Business and organizations are going to suffer financially, and it's just, awful! Pretty much, everything I can think of has been stopped as a result of the virus, at the moment, I'm just waiting for all service on Amtrak to come to a screaching holt, and for both, the national NFB and ACB Conventions to be canceled for the summer of 2020, being post poned until the summer of 2021. Everything's going to take me a year longer to complete, and it's just, crazy that we're having to go through this at all! Please, if you're reading this, please, do us all a favor. Stay home, stay isolated, and do your part, in stopping the spread of COVID19. If you don't, our futures of socialization, going to gatherings, attending school, and pretty much, anything you can think of, will be at stake, and forever changed, and who knows who's next on the list to catch this virus. I still have yet to know anybody directly who has been infected with COVID19, but it's only a matter of time, before the wrelm of possibilities, won't be far fetched, and I only hope and pray, that nobody I know, catches this virus. And if you do catch it, I pray you get the medical help you need. I've seen so many reports of people being turned away, simply because they don't have health insurance. It's crazy, and ridiculous that while our country claims to have the best health care possible, when I read posts like that, about how poorly people are being treated, when it's clear they have Corona Virus symptoms, I shake my head, shrug my shoulders, and wonder just how wonderful our health care system, really is. I already hate going to the doctors just for an annual physical, and only go to the doctors when I'm in severe pain, or I'm in a position, where I'm going to need their help to live normally again, such as, being in too much pain to walk for example, and I can give that example as I was in that position once, a long time ago, but I hope and pray that I don't end up a victim of this virus. That's why I'm doing my best, to do my part, by staying indoors, and remaining isolated, until this Corona Virus pandemic, is under control and things start operating like normal again. And well, I believe that's all I have to say for now. Rest assured, this isn't the last you've heard from me, but I hope in another month or two, I'll be able to look back at these posts and say, "Thank goodness that COVID19, is now screwed."