What an official absentee ballot for Bronx County, US looked like for the Nov 2020 General Election

Just in case anyone was curious, this is what an official absentee military ballot looked like for residents of Bronx County, New York City, for the 2020 general election.

I wound up not using it. I went to the polling station and voted in person. I was doing some house cleaning, found it, and thought it might be useful to someone in the future.

PDF available below:

Birthday Card from NYC Relief – a volunteer service organization

I received this card from the people at New York City Relief for my birthday. It was a nice gesture that I appreciated. New York City Relief is an organization that tries to connect people in need with essential services.

I spent some time volunteering with them in late 2019 and early 2020, before the pandemic really set in, when they used to provide services out of the Bowery Mission. I don’t see the location listed on their calendar anymore.

It was a valuable experience and I’d like to continue, but I’m waiting for the pandemic to die down first. It’s kind of a shame, but we don’t live in a country with a universal healthcare system, and I want to minimize my risk of getting sick with something that is likely to lead to hospitalization. The city is getting busy again, but I think that’s more the result of lockdown fatigue than an actual improvement in the situation.

Updates 6.27

There’s a whole lot going on in the US right now but I’m at the point where I’ve started to tune it out. I’ll probably drop some rambling posts about the social unrest and venture into fringe conspiracy theories later, but not right now. It just gets so tiring, you know? Like, why should I try to carry the weight of the world’s problems on my shoulders (or in my head) 24/7? It’s a constant burden and it can weigh a person down.

So, I’m trying to get back to focusing on things that I actually enjoy, like manga, movies, studying Japanese, and cats. And I’ve been working more now that things are starting to get back to normal in New York City, which is nice.

This past Monday, businesses started opening back up. There’s still no dining in, which is a good thing honestly, but it was super nice to be able to get the car washed, drive downtown, and get takeout from Thai Terminal and Veniero’s. I really missed their food, especially Veniero’s cheesecake. It was so good that I didn’t even bother to take a photo of it before gobbling it down.

Hopefully, COVID-19 doesn’t spike. I’m not really interested in another shutdown, but with all of the protests and rioting, it could happen. I wasn’t really prepared last time, so if there’s going to be another shutdown I’m not going to get caught with my pants down again. I picked up my Mom and we went to New Jersey to shop at Walmart. My cart was overflowing. LOL. I didn’t hoard TP or paper towels, but I picked up quite a few canned and frozen items along with olive oil, honey, canned soups, and other staples.

We stopped by Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater and the grocery was open (which was great because we needed Yakult) but the food court was still closed. Daiso was open and we wound up picking up some nice dishes with cat designs:

So, I’ve moved on to memorizing Japanese kanji. It’s actually more fun than I expected. I’m starting to remember the component parts of the kanji and it’s making it easier to start guessing at the meanings of other kanji. I’m hoping that by the end of the year I can read simple kid’s books in Japanese.

Speaking of Japanese, if you haven’t read Dungeon Meshi / Delicious in Dungeon, I highly recommend it. The last chapter was especially good. It’s probably the best chapter in the manga.

And speaking of reading, I’ve plowed through about 50 books so far this year, including the entire Witcher series. That one is really hit or miss and The Last Wish, which the Netflix series is based on, is definitely the best of the bunch. It was worth the time, though, as someone who really enjoys fantasy novels. I’m reading a book about Israeli history right now and it reminded me of why I was so fascinated with Middle Eastern history while I was studying it in college. I’ll probably go on a run of books about modern Middle Eastern history next. I also want to get around to reading The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I’ve been putting it off, even though I’m really interested in it.

Last thing I want to mention before putting things away so we can eat dinner is that there are new kittens in the apartment. Here’s one of them:

A short note about the ability to join this blog as a “user”

A few months ago, I decided to enable the setting that allows “anyone” to register as a user of this blog with a default role of “subscriber”. I had previously had it turned on but it was a long time ago and I couldn’t remember why I had turned it off.

Today, I disabled the feature again. It doesn’t seem to be that useful, or at least it’s not useful in any way that I could tell. A lot of people signed up as users. Over 250, but I couldn’t see that I had 250 additional people looking at anything on the blog regularly. The email addresses used to sign up were, by and large, what appeared to be references to spammy websites, like [email protected], for example.

Even worse, I started getting people making login attempts using my username. I’m not sure if they somehow found my username as a result of my allowing people to join as subscribers or if it was just a guess, but either way, it’s annoying. I know people are going to try to be dicks and gain access to other people’s websites no matter what, but I don’t like feeling like I’m contributing to my own insecurity.

So, I shut off the ability for people to join as new subscribers. I also deleted everyone who had joined as users except for two people who looked legit. If anyone joined as a genuine attempt to subscribe, I’m sorry. You’ll have to follow the blog through the WordPress app or using RSS.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Low Light Video Test

I recorded this video while walking down the main staircase from the 2nd Floor to the Main Lobby. The light is pretty dim and going down the stairs makes it shaky. I figured it would be a good way to test the phone’s ability to record video in low light. It didn’t perform very well. The video is shaky and grainy. Hopefully it performs better in bright light situations.