Vampires · 28 March 2020

I never really believed in vampires. Until I was quarantined for weeks with two of my three sons.

Vampires are an interesting lot. They abhor the sunlight. They do not like garlic. They shrink from the cross. They are pale and have fangs. My kids are like that. Well sorta. They like garlic. Okay. They are not really vampires, but I do find myself thinking that there is something to the whole vampire thing. That maybe there is a logical explanation to why Bram Stoker and those before him invented vampires. In fact, that explanation is simple. They simply observed teenagers in their natural habitat.

(I must note that my use of “teenager” is really a misnomer. I think of teenagers as anywhere between 13 and 25. Or probably more correctly, I think of adolescents as pseudo-people between ages 13 and 25. They are pretty close to becoming real people, but are still kids. They want to be real people, but somehow, they just cannot make it quite yet. I know. Some of those pseudo-people become real people (Do you hear Pinocchio or is that just me?) earlier than others. Maybe even in their teen years. But they seem to be few and far between. So please indulge me in my calling kids between 13 and 25 teenagers. And indulge me in calling them pseudo-people too. (I heard Pinocchio again.))

I can imagine scientific researchers sitting in a blind outside a teenager’s house, with cameras rolling and notebook in hand. They would be eager to see what the creature would be doing at all hours of the day and night. But alas, they would be disappointed in the day. And indeed, I see them sleeping at their posts in the night while the elusive creatures gallivant all night long. (Yes, I know. Researchers way back then would not have cameras at the ready.) Those gung-ho researchers would be ready the next night though. They would realize that the elusive pseudo-humans prefer the dark of night to come out to play.

Unfortunately, those researchers would be disappointed at night too. After all, even “come out to play” is not what the teenagers have in mind. They do not want to come out at all. They just want to be inside where the environment is controlled. They want comfy chairs and large monitors for their computers. (Did I mention that computers were not around back then either?) And they like the lights dim. In fact, when you observe them, you can see them only by the glow of their monitors as they stare into what looks to the casual observer like a mesmerized state. But do not be fooled. These nocturnal creatures are all abuzz with thoughts. They read and read and read all about the world around them. They experience social interaction through their screens, be they big or small, tethered or untethered. They are creatures of the night and of the world. And even of other worlds. But to observe them in their natural habitat is to see them sit for hours on end seemingly doing nothing but keeping their eyes glued to various screens. Their only breaks are to eat and poop.

It would not take long for any researcher watching teenagers in their natural habitat to realize that their pasty complexion comes from the fact that they do not wake until the sun is about to set and do not sleep until the sun is about to rise. They would miss the sun entirely if they were to have their wont. Which is how you (or Bram Stoker) get vampires. Just add the other idiosyncrasies.

I know. Teenagers are not quite like my description. They are not really vampires, but they often seem like it. Undead, averse to light (especially, the sun), nocturnal to the max, given to what seems like antisocial behavior, but in reality is just part of their metamorphosis into real people. (Did you hear Pinocchio that time?) Many of the attributes of vampires. Like I said, just add water. Or a little imagination and voilà. Teenagers become Bram Stoker’s claim to fame.

It is funny. I never really believed in vampires. At least not until I started living with and observing teenagers in their natural habitat.

© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi

Share on facebook



COVID-19 in My Tiny Part of the World · 21 March 2020

Map of the COVID-19 outbreak per capita
as of 17 March 2020

by Raphaël Dunant
(Alteration: size changed)
Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has wreaked havoc on society around the world. Even in my tiny corner of the globe.

I am averse to the news. At least for the most part. Especially today in the era of fake news. How do we know who and what to believe? What are our sources of truth? Does anybody really know what is going on? These questions are real, but they are not why I am averse to news. I do not like the news because it is all bad. Or at least seemingly so.

When the COVID-19 news started, I was not all that interested. It was something that happened in China, but it would not affect me. At least not in a big way. When COVID-19 first started hitting in the states, I wondered what the big deal was. Two cases in Washington. Not a big deal. Then, we had the first death. A bigger deal, but it did not seem like the plague. But the more the virus was in the news, the less I could ignore it.

Then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, COVID-19 was right in my face. First, our church closed. Then, our schools closed. I was and am still flabbergasted. But I get it. The more I understood about the virus, the more I realized that while the mortality rate was alarming, the bigger problem was the rate at which the disease was spreading. Something had to be done to slow the progress of what is now being called a pandemic. And that something was closing seemingly everything.

Policy makers were realizing that the spread of the disease was going to take its toll on the health care system. Especially, when they saw what was happening in Italy. There are not enough beds to take care of the sick. Not just those sick with COVID-19. Anybody who is sick enough to need to be in the hospital.

I could not deny the news. I could not hide my head in the sand. COVID-19 was going to affect my little corner of the world. And in a big way.

It must have been an excruciating call to limit gatherings and close schools and even businesses. There would surely be repercussions in the economy and disruptions to lives, but how much more would there be if those actions were not enacted? I did not want schools to close at first. After all, schools are safe places for students. For some, the safest place they can be. There is shelter, comfort, and routine. Not to mention learning. I cannot imagine going through the thought process of weighing those needs of our students against the needs of society as a whole. Just as I cannot imagine our society without enough hospital beds to care for those who are in dire need of care. Like I said, it must have been an excruciating process to make that call.

The more I know about what is happening with the pandemic, the more I find myself praying. I pray for those who have been hardest hit by COVID-19. Those who are sickest, those who have had loved ones perish, those who are sick but cannot get the medical help they need, those who are most at risk, those who are afraid. I pray for the health care workers who are working beyond their capacity to catch up to the needs of the people. I pray for the leaders and policy makers who must make difficult choices that affect us all. And I pray for us all that we might have wisdom and compassion in this dark and difficult time.

I am still not a news junky. And I will still not get too wrapped up in even the biggest news. But this I know. Every once in a while, I need to pay attention to what is going on around the world. For every once in a while something big (like COVID-19) comes around that affects even my tiny corner of the globe.

© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi

Share on facebook



Numeric Palindromic Dates · 14 March 2020

There was some hullaballoo about 02/02/2020 being a palindromic date. (Probably right around the beginning of February. But even if I was just imagining said hullabaloo, I did write a blog post about it a year before it happened.)

Apparently, a palindromic date had not happened for a while. And apparently, 02/02/2020 was special in that it is palindromic regardless of whether you put the year first and even if you swap the day and month from however you do it (more on that later). But I know this. There will be another one next year.

Numeric palindromes are not that uncommon. Even in dates. Especially, if you are judicious with leading zeroes or in leaving out the 19s and 20s (or other century numbers). Numbers and dates are funny that way. You can do all sorts of things to make them seem like palindromes. And if you consider that there is more than one way to write a date numerically, there are even more possibilities to date palindromes. Think about it. In other places in the world, they put the year first, then the month, then the day. And in other places, it goes, year, day, month. And in still other places it is day, month, year. (I might have made one of them up, but I do not think so.) Which is why I do not get very excited about palindromic dates. (Actually, I already wrote about at least one of those special dates, but that was because it was 8/8/8 or 9/9/9 or some other crazy date like that.)

Perhaps a more interesting date to consider a palindrome is December 02, 2021. After all, it will be palindromic whether you write it month, day, year (12/02/2021) or year, month, day (2021/12/02). That is pretty special. Being a palindromic date on at least two continents. (But I guess not quite as special as the one in February (02/02/2020, 2020/02/02) which was palindromic pretty much everywhere.) Then again, I do not know that people get too excited about palindromic dates anyway. After all, you can make just about any date a palindrome if you are willing to leave out zeroes or put in zeroes or manipulate the numbers some way to get that numeric palindrome. (Which I already mentioned.)

I guess it is just having fun with numbers.

Well, that is about all I have for today. Not much more left to say except maybe to give a few numeric date palindromes. So here are just a few that I have come up with:

1/1/1; 2/2/2; 3/3/3 … 9/9/9
1/2/1; 1/3/1; 1/4/1; 1/5/1 … 1/9/1; 2/1/2; 3/1/3 …
2021/12/02 (2021 December 02 or 2021 February 12, depending on date format)
2/2/22; 3/2/23; 4/2/24; 5/2/25; 6/2/26; 7/2/27; 8/2/28; 9/2/29

I hope that I did not burst anybody’s palindrome bubble. Especially, when it comes to dates. After all, they are still special. Especially, when you put the time in there too (02/02/2020 02:02:20.20 or if not to the 1/100th of a second, 02/02/20 02:20:20). Ah, but that is a completely different story. One that I am sure never to write. (Of course, now that I say never… But again, that is a different story.)

When all is said and done, I will always like palindromes. Even numeric. I will just not get too worked up about them. After all, I am sure never to have one on my birthday or any special day like that. But I know there will be one next year (palindromic date, that is). (And the year after that too.)

© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi

Share on facebook