I Got My First COVID Shot!

“I need vaccination, vaccination, vaccination…”
and I got it! My first shot anyway. Yup, this afternoon, I got my first COVID vaccine.

You might be wondering why the heck I was able to get a vaccine right now. You didn’t think I was quite that old yet. Well I’m not, but I have medical conditions that cause my immune response to be not as vigorous as it should be, so I was able to get in. I was considered among the high risk group for this region. I know every region has its own ideas about who gets prioritized, but I was able to get one here.

The whole process has been pretty easy. There were definitely some hurdles, but not nearly what I thought there would be. The registration form was pretty good. I wish they had associated the labels with the form fields, but I could figure out what was what and get registered. I did that last weekend. I figured I would be waiting at least four to six weeks, so I sat back and whistled my happy waiting song.

To my total shock, I got a text message on Thursday saying I could book an appointment! I was so excited that I scrambled to the webpage while I was listening to a presentation. I’m a terrible human. But all that scrambling was for naught because the website thwarted my attempt to book. First of all, they imposed a 7-minute time-limit. Aside: Seven minutes feels like a very random number. How did they figure out that folks in KW need seven minutes to book their appointments? Apparently people in one other town need five minutes, and people in another one need ten! Who went around from town to town to make that decision?

I probably could have been able to pull off the time limit but one of the fields, the one for my date of birth, was an inaccessible datepicker and I took too long figuring out that it was inaccessible. So I called the number and after waiting for about a half-hour or so, I got connected to a very nice man who got me all set up. To my shock once again, he was able to book me in for Sunday afternoon! And no, it wasn’t at the Achoo People site. This one was at King and Victoria. If I had been working at the office, I could have walked there.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d been hearing lots of blind people worrying about how they were going to navigate a mass vaccination clinic, so I was imagining problems. But everybody was super helpful and it ran like a dream. I did arrive slightly earlier than they expected, but they were forgiving, and told me it was all good. One of the first volunteers was a little confused by the presents of Tansy, but she got over it and things went off without a hitch. The staff guided me from station to station, filled out the screening forms and took me into the place where the vaccination was given.

After asking me some questions about what group I fell into, whether I was allergic to any medications or foods, whether I was allergic to a couple of ingredients in the vaccine, and whether I had a tendency to keel over after getting needles, they gave me the shot. It was the Pfizer one if anyone’s curious. The nurse was super nice and never made me feel like she was in a rush.

Then they took me to an area where I was supposed to wait for 15 minutes. They asked me if I had a way of checking the time and I said I did, so they marked that down on the little slip. At the end, they took me over to the checkout desk where I got a paper showing I had been vaccinated and when I would be coming back, along with a sheet explaining what side-effects are probably nothing to worry about and what side-effects need medical attention. The info was basically ordinary stuff like if you have a wee headache, take a pain killer and have a snooze but if you’re convulsing, you probably should get thee to an ER. As for when I come back for the second shot, July 25 is a good day.

The only other slight weirdness was as I left the exit door and asked where to stand to call a taxi, they said taxis can’t come in here, I would have to go around the building and find the taxi area. Luckily, one of the volunteers was headed that way with someone else, so we walked there together.

So here we go. I’m on my way to not having to be so afraid of this stupid virus. I know I’m not able to be wild and free just yet, but after a couple of weeks, not everything I do has to be so much of a giant risk assessment.

Bye Bye, Farewell, You’re Leavin’.

More and more often, I’m seeing these screen-reader accessibility overlays. They promise better accessibility for screen-reader users. At best, they do nothing. At worst, they make things worse. I saw one at Mastermind Toys that was making it virtually impossible to shop there. If they didn’t have a chat function, the Seppa-Tebby-Tebby nephew wouldn’t have gotten his birthday presents. The companies who make them claim that their overlays will make a website accessible, and well-meaning webmasters think this is the fast-track to making their websites compliant with accessibility-related legislation at the very least. But they don’t, and people need to stop using them and start doing the work to fix their sites. Wanting an accessible web by 2025 is a great goal, but slapping a few lines of code in your header and calling it done is not the way to get there. All that does is make it so users who complain can’t get any traction because the company has a response of “We put in screen-reader support, what more do you want?”

If you run into them and wish they would go away because they’re not helping, now there’s the AccessiByeBye Chrome extension.

If you use a screen reader and have been prompted to press a hotkey to turn on some website’s screen reader mode, you’ve likely encountered the category of website add-ons known as accessibility overlays. There are several accessibility overlays, including AccessiBe, AudioEye, EqualWeb, MaxAccess, TruAbilities, User1st, and UserWay.
We know that while these overlays are supposed to make websites more accessible, they’re actually annoying and often counter-productive. That’s why we made AccessiByeBye, a simple and free extension for Chrome and compatible browsers, that blocks them all.
Just install AccessiByeBye into Chrome or a compatible browser, and those pesky overlays won’t bother you again. There’s no catch. We don’t collect your web browsing habits or other personal information, and the AccessiByeBye extension won’t slow down your computer. If you ever decide you do want one of those overlays, it’s easy to turn off the extension at any time.

Just for fun, I installed the extension and went back to Mastermind Toys. It was still inaccessible as hell, which is sad because it was pretty accessible back in November, but there were a lot more buttons visible to me. They were not labeled, but I might have been able to figure out what they did and I might have had more ability to get what I wanted out of the site eventually. The accessibility overlay had just hidden them from me. And, with or without the overlay, information about whether shipping was available was still inaccessible to me, along with who knows what else. So Mastermind Toys feels warm and fuzzy about their accessibility overlay while it still goes on having an inaccessible website. By the way, Mastermind Toys, if you ever want me to buy from you again through your website, never get rid of your chat box. Those people worked miracles, figured out what the site was trying to tell me, and made it so I could buy stuff. If you take that away, I won’t be shopping there again until you fix your site because it’s a smoldering disaster zone. This breaks my heart because your toys are friggin amazing!

Accessibility is not a checkbox, a one and done, a line of code. It’s something that needs to be built in from the ground up, and maintained by your developers as part of their job. If you do it from the beginning, you will find the cost to be minimal and the process to be easy. These accessibility overlays need to go, and that’s why they’re gone from my Google Chrome, at least.

You Sure Minimized The Crap Out Of That Travel, All Right

Dammit Rogers, you shitheads. You almost had me sympathizing with you for a second there. That stuff about minimizing travel in the name of safety this baseball season, I got it. I didn’t fully trust or believe you, but I did understand. But when it comes to minimizing, you sure went above and beyond, you cheap ass turds.

My definition of minimizing was it’s not ideal, but perhaps we should only have one broadcast crew traveling around the country this year, just in case. Yours, on the other hand, turned out to be hell with it, nobody travels. Shulman, you’re calling all the games out of the studio in Toronto. Buck, you’re calling the road games from your house and we’ll let you go to the Florida home games because you live there anyway.

Seriously, fuck right off. There are more than enough studios for a radio crew and a TV crew to both call the games if that’s what you feel you need to do. You did it last year, for shit’s sake. But I guess you had to come up with something once you fired your best announcer out of nowhere for reasons nobody understands assuming they go beyond cost savings.

Such, such bullshit. Not sure why I even half way expected anything else.

Expired Service Ontario ID Isn’t Totally Busted Right Now

I did something that goes against everything that is me. I let my health card expire. To be fair, I never got a renewal letter telling me to get in there, and I didn’t relish dealing with the whole getting a new photo bit. Plus I had read that because pandemic, expired health cards were still good since Service Ontario staff weren’t too keen on photographing our maskless faces, so it’s not like I was just being a lazy schmuck. But I don’t usually let things expire.

But because I worry about getting crap from some health care person about my out of date card, I decided to do what the website said and call Service Ontario to have them verify that I would still be good. Thankfully the short answer, after being on hold for a while, was yes.

But if you’re like me and worry about things like expired ID, here’s the long answer. If you call Service Ontario and ask if your health card or license or Ontario Photo Card is valid and they say it is, they can send you a piece of paper that tells anyone who cares that the card is still good. They also gave me a number of a hotline that professionals can call to check the validity of your Service Ontario-issued ID. I have that sucker in my phone now juuuuust in case. My little piece of paper has already arrived, so it’s in my purse too.

They said that they are recommending that once a person is fully vaccinated, they might want to consider getting their expired ID renewed because when the pandemic is over, there is going to be a wicked rush of people suddenly required to renew their ID’s, so it would be nice if a few people were done before the hoards descend on Service Ontario buildings. Of course, they also recommended getting an appointment rather than just lining up.

So that’s the scoop that I found. I hope it helps anyone else who just looked in their wallet and realized “Crap! my license/health card/Ontario Photo Card is expired! Am I screwed?” But maybe nobody else would do that.

Is It Really?

Mom told me about a video that she found ominous. It was called “The Great Realization”. Am I wrong in thinking of it as honest and maybe a little too optimistic?

I hope that, once we get something resembling normal back, that we don’t just go back to the way we used to be. I hope we can take some of the things we learned how to do and blend them in with the old things we miss and make a better normal. But I’m afraid that isn’t what’s going to happen. I hope I’m wrong and he’s right. Ack, what am I doing even dreaming about something resembling normal? I don’t think we’re there yet.

2020s Best News Bloopers

Not that any of us is super pumped to look back at 2020, but if we’re going to (and we are), news bloopers are the way to do it.

Lots of ball and sausage related content this year.

Reporter’s cute kids need to run in on every newscast.

I’m surprised the jacket on jacket off thing doesn’t happen more often. Certain climates so totally open us up to it for months at a time.

And speaking of things that should happen more, it looks like Donald Trump isn’t the only person who can’t pronounce Yosemite correctly. People should be doing that 24/7, 365. In fact, if Donald wasn’t such a grotesque combination of evil and buffoon, it wouldn’t even be fair to drag him for it. But he is, so fuck him.

Zombie, The Hannah Montana Edition

Holy crap. Miley Cyrus did this. the Party In the U.S.A. kid.

The performance was part of her set at a streaming music festival called Save Our Stages Fest, put on to raise money for the National Independent Venue Association. It had a fairly stacked lineup from the sounds of it, but I think Miley probably won the day with this here. Jesus.

It’s fun being surprised by pop stars.

Mask Up, Or Else!

Sadly, shooting a mask onto someone’s face from a distance isn’t a concept that could ever actually work, but it sure is fun to think about. In a perfect world we either wouldn’t need this at all or there should be at least one in every building. I can’t decide which would be better.

And he’s right, you know. If smart people making smart videos about why masks are good worked, it would have worked by now. It’s sad, but it’s true.

Look There She Goes, that Girl Is Sick, No Question

Beauty and the Beast lends itself well to coronavirus parodies, it seems. First it was Wear a Mask, and now we have Little Town. If your memory is failing you, that’s the one where Belle says good morning to everyone and they talk about how odd she is. This time, she’s that guy. You know the one. The one who won’t wash her hands, cover her face, stay away from you or keep her dumb ass at home.

Little town, everyone’s in lockdown
All alone
They remain at home
Little town
Full of little people
Waking up to say:
Stay home!
Stay home!
Stay home!
Stay home!
There comes old Bernie and he’s got Corona
So why the heck is he outside?
Walks around as though he’s well
With a sanitizer gel
He’s gonna get us all infected –
Good morning, Belle!
Good morning, Joe!
Why aren’t you quarantined?!
I’m not sick.
I’m just on my way to Costco to buy toilet paper before we’re out and –
That’s nice. Sandy! The Purell! Hurry up!
I’ve yet to see a reckless fool quite like her
Without a mask or gloves she goes!?
In the Grand Princess she’s been
And she thinks no one had seen
She’s gonna get us all infected, that is Belle!
Stay home!
Of course!
We’re all in lockdown!
Stay home!
With you?
At least 6 feet!
They closed all schools!
It’s now a ghost town
The stocks, oh no, just fell eight-hundred points!
You again?!
Good morning, Albert!
I’m done reading the book.
Did you wash your hands?
I don’t remember. Is there anything new?
Haha, I’m serious, wash your hands.
No worries. Okay, I’ll take . . . this one!
Another Stephen King?! Are you sure?
I’m not feeling well. I’ve got a fever, a terrible cough, I think I’ve got Corona.
Fine, take the book.
Just don’t come near me!
But sir!
Don’t touch me!
Thank you, thank you very much!
And there she goes with runny nose and fever
She never covered when she sneezed
She forgets to wash her hands
Though she claims to comprehend
The dangers of Corona, that is Belle
No the world isn’t ending
This is just another flu, you’ll see
True, now the death rate’s higher
But we can’t control when we will die, so let it be
Corona isn’t just another virus
And yet she doesn’t seem to care
She does look kind of pale
And her breathing seems to fail
Very different from the rest of us
She’s nothing like the rest of us
She’s gonna be the end of us is Belle!

The Blue Jays Are World Series Champions!

Game six again!

Another radio call I didn’t hear at the time because I was watching it on TV with the family. The only bit I remember is Tom Cheek saying “The Blue Jays are World Series champions!”. That line was played over and over again after the fact. Not as often as the legendary “Touch ’em all, Joe” from a year later, but still quite a bit. The American TV line that went something like for the first time in history, the championship banner will fly north of the border has gotten most of the replay love even in Canada, but in fairness, it was a better call.

But though that one bit may have been more memorable, the radio commentary as a whole is super as usual. I had somehow forgotten just how terribly the bottom of the 11th inning started out for the Jays, but listening to it really took me back. It almost took me back far enough that I was surprised and relieved that they hung on and won. Breathe Steve, breathe.

For a little bonus nostalgic radio fun, there are a few commercials left in the recording. RE/MAX, Absorbine cream, National Trust and Benjamin Moore paint all make appearances.

Like the other recent Jays audio, this one comes from Toronto Mike and whatever Fan 1430 archive he’s stumbled upon. I hope there’s more to come.