i chatted with wangyan and WWY in chongqing, got updates about the current situation in china. just this morning i read on BBC news that there were only 8 new cases of coronavirus in china. wangyan told me that hair dresser shops have reopened, as well as some restaurants, but people are still wary of leaving their homes. WWY told me that the brazilian president had the coronavirus, but when i checked online, it was just a rumor. she kept bringing up the flu deaths statistics and asked how come americans weren't afraid. she decided it was because americans have "stronger bodies."
today was the greyest day this month, and raining as well. i went out in the early afternoon to hit a few pokestops to collect balls and to tag a team blue gym so i could add one of my pokemons and hopefully earn some coins. coming back, i stopped by star market to get some cabbage on sale (7¢/lbs.).
the beacon street star market is nearly always empty. even on crazy days like before thanksgiving, it's never anywhere as busy as market basket on a slow day. i should've realized something was up when all the shopping carts normally outside were missing. maybe they put them away in storage, i thought. but the moment i stepped inside it hit me: coronavirus panic buying was in full swing. i haven't seen this star market so busy in a long time, if ever. there were people shopping in every single aisle, with some shelves nearly empty of products, particularly the pasta, canned food, and bread shelves. the workers couldn't restock the items fast enough, and empty boxes laid on the floor, they didn't even have time to clean up. nobody was wearing masks, and none of the cashiers had gloves. it was still business as usual, even though the coronavirus was in the back of everyone's mind.
i finally made lunch by around 2pm: goat cheese and spinach omelette with kielbasa sausages and hot chocolate. i thawed the frozen spinach in the microwave before hand. i added some half & half to the 2 eggs to make a fluffier omelette. the omelette itself was sort of bland - more sourness from the goat cheese - but the salty sausages balanced everything, likewise the sweet hot chocolate.
with the 1-year anniversary of my parents' comcast xfinity internet account due to arrive next week, i called up comcast to find out what the new bill amount will become. i spoke with a nice lady named carol. she said my parents currently pay $35/month, but come next month they'll start paying $55/month. she offered me two options: one was to upgrade to the 200Mbps speed which was $50/month; or stay at the same 100Mbps speed but pay an $5 increase of $40/month. at these prices we had to agree to a 1-year contract, at the end of which the cost will go up again. i was going to switch to verizon FIOS which is $40/month using our own router (not renting any equipment), but for the same price i can postpone the hassle of switching internet provider for another year, so i took the $40/month deal. yes, FIOS has much faster upload speed, but i rarely if ever need to upload anything that large.
before i hung up, i asked carol if there was anything i can do with my own internet service, which i'm currently paying $78/month. once again, she gave me a few options, the fastest and most expensive ones first: 300Mbps for $70/month, no-contract guaranteed price for 1 year, or locked in the price with a 2-year contract; the other option was 100Mbps (what i have now) but $60/month, less than $18 of what i pay now. it seems like a no-brainer, so i took the $60/month deal. both deals come with a free xfinity flex box, which is comcast's answer to roku streaming. it's free so i'm trying it out, though i'm sure at some future point they'll start charging, in which case i'm promptly return the boxes.
so i had two excellent customer service experience today. maybe this is something new, but i'm too used to shoddy service, getting lost in the phone tree then getting bounced around from agent to agent. it's a refreshing change.
my parents told me today that due to the coronavirus and the fact that the nearby schools will be on hiatus for the next 2 weeks, they decided to close the cafe early, at 2:30pm, and not opening at all on the weekends. it's for the best, not a lot of customers anyway, and the less exposure the better. i remotely adjusted their nest thermostat programming to take their new schedule into consideration, so it's not needlessly calling for heat when they're closed.
in the late afternoon i called my father on the TYT radio after my parents returned home. SWR is very temperamental, the slightly touch of the meter or the antenna wire can skew the SWR from 1 to nearly 4. i could receive my father just fine on any power setting, although he could only hear me at medium-1 or above. and sometimes he wouldn't hear anything at all, and it seems independent of the SWR, because i managed to get a perfect 1.0 on occasions but he couldn't receive my high power transmissions.
caught a bunch of new pokemons today. i read that because of the coronavirus, niantic is seeding more critters to capture so people don't need to go outside. that's all and good, but eventually people run out of balls and they either buy more or go out and hit some pokestops. the favorite one i caught today was the lotad, but seems to be a combination of a lotus with a tadpole. however, after i looked at it some more, that's actually a lilypad leaf, not lotus leaf. i also evolved some new pokemons as well, a glaceon from an eevee, and a primeape from a bunch of mankeys i caught today (most be mankey season).
in coronavirus news, trump declared a state of national emergency today. he held a press conference, flanked by doctors and business people, whom he called up one by one to say a little something, often times obsequious in praising trump. the worst offender was pence, who was so glowing with his praise it was almost obscene. WWY got in touch with me again, sent me a chinese article (which i translated with google tools) saying that the coronavirus was spread by american soldiers visiting wuhan back in october for war games. i told her that was just a conspiracy theory thought up by the chinese government to deflect blame for botching the coronavirus containment, but she said she trusts her government more than she trusts the US. i told her the virus came from wildlife markets where they mix different animals. she didn't believe bats were the original source of the virus, said people all over the world eat bats, but nobody gets sick until now.
kevin came home at 6pm. he'd ordered another box of brown rice which came earlier today and i set on the kitchen counter. he told me he was still going into the office this weekend, but come monday he'll work from home. i told him - as a kindness - that he could work out in the kitchen if he wanted to, since i'm usually in the living room unless i'm making lunch. he appreciated the gesture, said he might go crazy if he had to work in his roof all day long. later he went to star market to get some groceries. he said it was just as i described it, with some empty shelves, but there weren't as many people. i believe kevin really thinks that eventually all the supermarkets will close and he won't have anything to eat.
i finished the last of my leftover rice and beans tonight. i added the corned beef like yesterday, but some sauerkraut as well for additional flavor. it was an unusual combination, flavorful yes, but somehow seemed wrong, the mash of the rice combined with the salty beef and sour sauerkraut.