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Nelstradamous Predicts: Novel Disease Normality

I can’t resist calling a bold prediction. Much like the concept of climate change 10 years ago was a novel concept. Today I foresee the rise of the quick mutating disease. Diseases like the Novel Coronavirus will not need to be described as Novel in 10 years as that will simply be the implied norm.

It makes sense. The more people the faster diseases can spread and if this round is any indicator, the disease has mutated whether by chance or skill into something which in it’s nature is extraordinarily difficult to quarantine.

With the rise of humans we have several factors which will guarantee this path. First we have the slow homogeneity of plant and animal species. This means diseases which spread need to battle less and less biodiversity which is a natural defense mechanism.

Secondly, the bottom 50% of the world is quickly pulling themselves from the 3rd world to the developing world. This upward mobility is fantastic yet looking at most folks in these categories hygeiene takes a generation or two to catch on. Basics like covering your mouth when you sneeze. This means a cohort becomes well off enough to widen their radius while maintaining poor hygeiene practices while being the most likely to carry diseases from the 3rd world which 1st world immune systems are not prepared for.

Third, technological advancements in science and transportation. Science will always play defense against disease so we can rule out ever getting ahead for too long. Transportation in the other hand is becoming more democratized and cheaper than ever. If Gen X traveled to 8 countries on average and Gen Y travels to 20. Imagine the disapora once Gen Z travels to 50 or more countries in their lifetime. That type of mobility is a nightmare for disease control.

Lastly, consider the impact of population density. Modern big urban cities sustain over 10M lives. Who knows how large that number may grow to in the next decade considering all the best jobs are concentrated within major metros. Seeing the drastic measures China is taking to keep the lid on the Coronavirus, ask yourself if this outbreak occured in New York how would we contain such a problem? Its hard to imagine New York locking down via coercion and fear. It’s very un-American.

Where is the silver lining in all of this? I’d say as of now governments seem to have a pretty good handle on these scenarios. Which I’m very impressed by. Listening if his scary the Coronavirus is it is wildly optimistic to know that it’s being contained slowly and strategically. Silver lining here is human beings survival instinct needs to be tested ever now and then and this test is showing that the alert system is still fully functioning.

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Confesssions of a Sick Dreamer

There are rare moments in life when things align. For the passionate man seeking his passion, life can often feel like one big misfitting shirt or worse yet an itch he cannot scatch.

WHERE MY OBSESSION COMES FROM

For me, obsession is someting I’ve never had difficulty finding. I’m a lefty with electricity flowing through my veins. An eclectic person. And it seems once you find the edge or the fringe, it’s not all too challenging for that place of discomfort for most to feel like home for me. And the longer I stayed the more made sense. While obsession with the pre-popular nourished my soul it simultneously alienated me from the norm.

Now most poeple arrive at an obsession which is commonly held: sports, movies, music, or religion itself. For me being a contrarian runs deep in my DNA. It springs from a seminal moment when I was younger when I was asked if I was left or right handed. I didn’t know the answer because I forgot whether which word mapped to which hand. So I just held up a hand. I let fate take the wheel. I did not know I had picked the losing team. Being a lefty is choosing to be on the team that dies earlier, is fewer, and is unnaturally difficult to write with – especially cursive. And perhaps greatest of all, lets face it life is designed for righties, and rightly so. It is at the end of the day against the grain.

So a mixture of these results in a person who when looking for obsessions tends to lean towards what’s off the beaten path. My whole life the contrarian. At a certain point in my life I believed being different must be good. After all if everyone maintains the same thought that thought is yet another pebble on a mountain yet the pebble by itself carries little value other than validating that you aren’t a trouble maker.

Let us review a short list of my “Lefty Obsessions” that have capitvated me over the years: (1) floatation tanks, (2) early pro-marijuana, (3) startups, (4) bitcoin.

MY DREAMS ARE SICK

Since the Coronavirus outbreak and being under the weather myself just recently I’ve thought a lot about disease – specifically mutations and evolution. I’ve often said the hero of one story is simply the villain in the other’s. Life is sick in this way, the right and the wrong is always a matter of position.

With any obsessions which may parallel a dream you’d like to make true the beginning and end are obvious but it’s everything in between which is nothing but pain and suffering mixed with a few bright spots called success. During this long process a dream tends to undergo heavy spells of mutation or evolution – not unlike this new Coronavirus. These are time when the owner of said dream is typically faced with some very sobering realities about the true nature of life. Dreams live on in conceptual form. The shape they end up manifesting in physical form are called compromise. This why in Silicon Valley they tell everyone to dream beyond big, because by the time all the whittling away is complete what’s left if once grand is typically normal. So if you start if you started with a Skyscraper you end up with a apartment building and if you dreamt of the apartment building you’d be lucky to have a house.

OBSESSIONS ABOUT SICK DREAMS

Lets be clear, it’s hard enough to simultaneously have an obsession that’s worth pursuing which will also have a tangible outcome. I can’t count the number of nights I’ve spend with a joint in my hand going around the carousel wondering (1) if any of this is worth it, (2) why did I choose to be left handed, (3) this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

AFTER THE SICKNESS WORE OFF

I realized when I was sick I start falling back into my old patterns. Checking stocks prices, looking at news, watching a series on the rise of the Ottoman Empire – always looking for an edge in the my Silicon Valley life. But what actually surfaces when you’re sick is that (1) comedy not drama makes you feel better, (2) thinking too much about tomorrow is irrelevant when today is at risk, (3) looking at world news only makes you feel worse.

So after spending the past decade being too wrapped up in the moment and taking everything a bit too seriously perhaps this was the perfect point to draw a line in the sand. What would be next decade look like?

I’m willing to test out a less future obsessed mind. A present filled with worries of a future which may or may not come is of no use no matter how much energy I give it. Right now though I can use my time to simply decide what to do with today rather than decide my entire life.

Right now that means getting back to full health. I do not think I’ll ever be a person without obsessions. Right now there is a target I have locked onto dead center and I’d hoped it’d be travel or a hot girl but at this very second it is not. Perhaps that’s a story for another day.

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Coronavirus Got You Down Lately?

I booked a super early flight out of Vietnam heading towards Taiwan. Then I got my first signal: Sudden fatigue mixed with a sudden need to take a shit. See I was standing in line waiting for what should be a routine ticket pickup. Should’ve only taken 30 minutes tops but in Asia they’re airport ticketing and check bagging systems are all haywire and take twice as long.

I was the 3rd person up and I decided to deal with my body nudging me towards the bathroom. It sat there for a pretty long time really until I felt I had enough energy to drag all my stuff back out there. When I got back in line it was twice as long as when I had left it. Fuck.

There was a white family direct in front of me, highly neurotic. The mom waited patiently in line while the dad distracted their 2 boys outside in the fresh air. 30 minutes passed and they came back in to check on the status. They were shocked the line only moved about 3 spaces. As an entitled American, if I was at full strength I would’ve probably made a move even if only to talk to the ticketing counter to make sure we’d still make my flight but I was in too weak a state to make any sudden demands. Thankfully for my neurotic white american counterpart they went ahead and did it for me… it’s the American way afterall to complain and put your personal needs before those of others.

Apparently, the ticket counter was confident we’d make it. Call it a cultural difference as in America there’s no possible way you’re making that flight. The line itself looked like it still had an hour and the flight was leaving in an hour. That’s not counting the security checkpoint we had to cross then finding the gate. I wanted to make it but I was more focused on staying upright and looking normal for fear of being flagged a flight risk for appearing sickly. Turns out I made the flight no problems guess it all runs on asian time and although a bit frantic for the non innitiated it all somehow makes it on time.

Touch down in Taipei and head straight for the York Design Hotel where I booked one night. It was a concrete box which was measured for space minimalism. Didn’t worry me one bit as I just desparately needed a nap. Damn good one too. I woke up to my taiwanese cousin John asking if I’d like to meet for dinner in an hour. I knew this was one of my uncle’s last nights in town so I had to go see everyone. It was a great gathering, seeing uncles, aunts, grandma, grandpa, and all my cousins. I used all my energy celebrating seeing them that night. Then bam straight back to bed.

When your body feels cold and everytime you sneeze the soft spot on the back of your head hurts that’s a bad signal. I felt the need to close off all the airgaps in my blankets to make it as warm as possible which of course leads to a sweat box. So be it. I need to get over this fast. I looked over my symptoms and my conclusion was I was having caffeine withdrawals. Afterall god only know how many cups of coffee I was having everyday in Vietnam. They make a great cuppa joe in form factors we’ve not been introduced to in the west. This was my sentencing.

The next two days were as follows. Lots of time spent with my Big Uncle who was acting as host and caretaker. Things were up and down. Day 3 I finally decided to go to a clinic. They told me I was running a 100 degree fever which caught me by surprise as I didn’t feel hot at all just the chills. They ran tests on me and truth be told the night before I had trouble sleeping because the thought of having contracted the Coronavirus and giving it to my entire family was giving me nightmares. I knew I’d make it through whatever this illness is but the thought of giving it to my Uncles’ families, my grandparents! God damn that’d be tough to live with.

They took out a swab and in Taiwan people are so polite. The dear doctor was kindly telling me she was gonna shove something up my nose. I didn’t know how to just tell her i don’t care if she has to stab me in forehead just do it I really don’t care about the discomfort at this point. So she went ahead. And I’ve never felt anything to that far up my nose into some weird part of my skull and back out. I waited outside in the sun to warm my reptilian cold skin and made a few phone calls to friends. I felt partcularly bad because I was ment to meet a friend in the Philippines that next day but there was no way they would let me fly with a fever. I apologized, he was very understanding and wanting me to recover quickly. I heard my Uncle calling me to come in get my results.

The doctor brought me back into the room and I sat nervously and what she told me was possibly more confusing than what I expected. She basically said I had nothing besides a fever and diarrhea. I was suspicious about this as I had undergone all of the major symptoms of sickness outside of runny nose, phlemmy cough, or sneeze. Nonethless I was glad to accept a no verdict and grab some meds and get home.

At this point I had being sick down to an art. The apartment I was in had predetermined paths at all time of the day including a little time walk the streets to stay grounded to reality and test myself. Sometimes no matter how badly you want to feel well, only time can heal certain wounds. This was one of those trying times.

The next day I procrastinated in bed before going to National Taiwan University hospital. There must’ve been thousands of patients in that building. I thought it would take all day even with my appointment. I navigated through the hospital with the help of strangers. Finally found my waiting room and slowly sorted out how the system worked.

I was shocked at how quickly the line was moving and by the time my number was called I was in front of a doctor and explaining my situation. He was very understanding and a good listener. He prescribed me some new medication and sent me off. I went out to the main lobby and paid for the service and the medication. All said it only took 2.5 hours which is incredibly impressive considering it looked like hells waiting room in there.

That very next day i was still not better and at this point my paranoia was starting to grow. Could it be that I carried something insidious? How could I have diarrhea for 6 days straight? Today was the day I decided to go all in and eat until my stomach was forced to tell me otherwise. I ate 3 slices of pound cake for breakfast, followed by a big bowl of beef noodle soup for lunch, and 2 giant bowls of rice with dry pork.

The next day – the best news – i didn’t take a shit at all. I think I finally broke this damn case of the runs. Here’s the only strange bit. It’s that night now and I still haven’t taken a shit. I’ve never eaten a ton and not seen it come out. I guess it’s not entirely over but it feels like I’ve finally gotten a small victory.

I hope by tomorrow at the latest I see my first solid shit otherwise I have a whole other problem – I’m not pooping out anything! One day at at a time. Count every win where you can get them.