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Sunday 2021.12.5

A Little Health Concern

Wednesday evening I had a mild but persistent cough. It's strange how news about a new coronavirus variant causes paranoia. I took my temperature. It was a little high, 98.9°F. That's about 1 degree higher than usual for me. Later in the evening I checked it again. 99.3°.

I thought about where I went earlier that week — the credit union to do some banking, CVS Pharmacy to see if I could schedule an appointment for a booster shot without using the internet (no), Costco, and a garage to have my car smog inspected. Everyone was wearing a mask and interacting behind a clear plastic panel. I also met, twice, with a friend who tends to go out a lot. He might feel a little too confident about being vaccinated. Then again, he's not 70 years old. He was here for an hour or two each time, and not wearing a mask. Maybe he has the virus but is asymptomatic?

I've said it before: The vaccination is not a hazmat suit. We can still get the virus. We won't get very sick though because the shot(s) prepare the body to fight the virus.

The following day my temperature was back down to normal, 97.5. I tend to run about a degree low. However, I felt like I was coming down with a head cold and my temperature was fluctuating a little. 99.6 was the highest I recorded that day. I'm looking at my thermometer as I write this — 100.4. That's the highest yet. I don't usually have a temperature when I have a common cold, or maybe I never noticed.

Without testing, there isn't any way to know for sure what is making me feel ill. I believe I needed to be tested just in case I need to inform my friend he has been exposed. I'm not worried about him; he and his wife are young. But they live with his grandmother and she is elderly and infirm.

Try to get a test in this town. I spent a good part of the day Friday looking for testing appointments. Most were a week away. Finally, late in the afternoon I scored a same-day test. It was an easy one, just a swab barely inside my nostrils. Simple, and the job was done. They told me to expect the results in one to three days.

Meanwhile, I am miserable. If this is only a cold, it's a fairly bad one. I sit here with a runny nose, watery eyes, and a head feeling like it's stuffed with cotton balls.

The test result was available late in the afternoon yesterday. That was quick. It was negative. No Covid. Meanwhile, the cold continues to get worse. But it's only a cold. By this time next week I'll feel fine again.

Pizza Revisited

In Wednesday's blog I mentioned doing some number crunching for my YouTube videos. I gave some examples in the previous blog. Here are just a few:

Mascarpone Cheese 16¢ per thousand views
Griddle Pizza $14.70 per thousand views

Even though French Bread was my most popular video for a long time, it earns only 30¢ per thousand views. Looking at the numbers in this way — revenue per views — revealed something I had never realized. I don't earn a fixed rate "per view"; instead I get a share of YouTube's ad revenue. I don't know how advertisers choose which videos on which to place their ads, but the difference can be significant.

Looking only at my Pizza videos, very little stands out as important. However, in general, they do better than my most popular videos, Griddle Pizza being the clear winner.

And so, after talking with another friend about that pizza oven, I finally ordered the Ooni Karu 16. At $800 it will never pay for itself with YouTube videos. But it isn't an investment. It's something to enjoy because I like making — and eating — pizza. However, it won't ship for five to seven weeks; so there is plenty of time to cancel the order if I change my mind.

I've been watching YouTube videos about using the oven. Naturally, some are better than others. One conclusion I came to is not to use oak firewood. Although it provides better heat, it smokes too much. I don't like soot in my food. I'm thinking of eventually ordering the propane gas attachment.

And then a thought occurred to me. If I am going to make pizza in a small gas oven, why not use my kitchen range instead? And so, after a lot more thinking, I pretty much decided to cancel that order. With the propane attachment and tax, plus buying a propane tank, the bottom line price comes to about $1,000. I can think of better ways to spend a thousand dollars.

Wednesday 2021.12.1

And So We Enter December

This will soon be our first full calendar year of living under the threat of COVID-19. The new variant, named omicron, has me somewhat concerned. When the delta variant was first detected there was global worry it might be more lethal; however, although it did infect and kill many people, it wasn't as virulent as was originally feared, at least not among those who are fully vaccinated. Vaccinations still appear to be the best protection against the virus.

I can't help wondering if masking is the new normal, and for how long. I am 70 years old. Will I need to buy and wear masks in public places for the remainder of my life? Will I ever see a return to the old normal? I'm not a pessimist by nature, but at times it does appear we will live with a different reality for quite a while.

I did see a news article about medical research someday discovering a vaccine that would protect us against all viruses. That would be a welcome medical miracle. And, somehow, I suspect the vaccine won't be free. It will be very expensive and available only to the wealthy. Again, I'm not a pessimist, but there is a reality out there that cannot be denied.

Another news article, from Reuters, reported "South African doctor says patients with omicron variant have 'very mild' symptoms." So, maybe there is nothing to fear. Time will tell.

I'm still trying to get my booster. There is a CVS store not too far away that offers the Moderna booster. However, to make an appointment I must provide my phone number. The fine print at the bottom of the page says I give them and their affiliates permission to use my number for telemarketing purposes and text advertisements. No.

Thankfully, there are temporary phone numbers available on the internet, and they're free. They are for dealing with marketing schemes like CVS's. You provide the temporary number and then check it for voice mail or text messages to confirm something. In a week or two the number expires, but by then you got what you needed from it.

Why can't CVS use an email address? I have some of those that are for spam. I have two on Gmail. My Hotmail spam address has been active since the early days of Hotmail. There was a time when I used it as my main email address, but when it started to be flooded with spam I abandoned it.

Landscaping

For those who might be interested (if not, skip ahead to the next subheading), on Sunday I used the last bag, of eight, of mortar mix I recently purchased. The latest focus has been on the drainage area along the easement. Two areas remain to be done.

One is the front corner of my yard. There is a telephone connection thing there. It's a pipe coming up out of the ground with a metal hood on top. Remove the hood and all sorts of colored phone wires are revealed. I suspect it's an old piece of equipment, no longer in use. A newer one is on the easement and that one appears to be obsolete too. The newest one, a patch panel, is attached to the side of the laundry room building. I need to bare some wires and use a voltage meter to see if electrical current can be detected. It none, the fixture can probably be removed without anyone knowing or caring.

The other area that still needs to be worked is a thin strip between my driveway and my home. That could probably be completed quickly, but the easement drainage has a higher priority. I don't suspect we'll get much rain this winter — so far, there is none in the forecast — but there will be some rain eventually and I'd like to see the drainage working the way it was originally designed (before a mean-spirited neighbor, now living in another state, stopped me).

YouTube

Not surprising, my video of Mom's Italian Christmas Cookies has jumped to first place in popularity among my videos. It peaks every December. I should make those cookies again. It has been a while. And, as usual, my video for Copycat Bailey's Irish Cream is now in second place. That's another one that is very popular at Christmastime.

I still explore ideas for pizza by watching YouTube videos. There is an Ooni pizza oven I like, but it is not offered at a Black Friday price. So, no. I can live without it. My favorite is my Griddle Pizza, but I have to admit Costco's pepperoni pizza comes in a very close second.

A friend has been trying to talk me into buying that Ooni. It's so easy to spend other people's money. So far, I've resisted. Yes, it might be fun for making two or three videos. Would the videos ever earn enough revenue to pay for the oven? Maybe not. It costs $800. Of the 400 videos I've produced, only five have earned that kind of revenue.

I'm doing some number crunching today and learning something important — bread videos, although they get a lot of views, earn the least revenue. My French Bread video, which was my most popular for a long time, earned only 30¢ per 1,000 views. Hawaiian Sweet Bread did better, but only 60¢.

My all-time most popular video, Fish & Chips, is earning $3.62 per 1,000. Which video is the best earner? Griddle Pizza. Although the total views so far is low (it's a fairly new video), it's generating $14.70 per thousand views. Second place is currently held by Air Fryer Pizza at $6.80 per thousand. In third place is No-Oven Skillet Pizza at $5.25.

That Ooni is now looking like a possibility.