The Truth About THE Vaccine

As someone who as of January 11 is eligible to start the vaccine shots, I’ve been reading up from articles quoting experts from the CDC, and medical and science fields. What follows about the specifics of the vaccine is not my opinion but from what I’ve read.

I’m summarizing this and sharing for my own edification and in hopes more will understand. Many of us skim too much these days, especially on the Internet, and I fear many will just see “covid vaccine” and think “no more masks!” Thinking that completely misunderstands what the vaccine is and what it is not.

There’s that large swath of our public who continue to aid and abet the unfathomable ramping-up of contagions and deaths thorough their behaviors:  science denial, not wearing masks nor distancing, and continuing a selfish attitude of “masks infringe my rights.” Apparently they also feel it’s their right to flagrantly risk contributing potential death and suffering to everyone coming into contact with them.

First, the big question:
After I get the vaccine two-shots, I’m immune from COVID, right?


Part of my fear is many will think this, get the shots, stop using masks, and party like it’s normal life again. And we’ll spike like crazy with contagions and deaths if that’s the behavior that happens.

FACT:  The vaccine works to build an immunity in your system that is 94-95% (per clinical trials) effective.  This immunity will greatly reduce your odds of contagion and/or of serious illness. But there’s still a 5% chance you’ll get the virus even though you got the shot, assuming the vaccine process for you went correctly (see below).

TAKEAWAY:  The vaccine is our current, best way to radically increase the odds of not getting the virus, but you must, must, must continue masking, distancing, washing hands, etc., afterwards. And for what will likely what be a very long time, maybe three years or so. That’s the current estimate of the promised land (herd immunity).

There’s every reason to believe medical science will advance the full efficacy of the vaccine over time and we all hope it gets to that “true prevention” status some point in the future, but now is not that vaccine.

Summary of Exposure and Vaccine Protocol

I hope the list below helps people understand how the process needs to proceed to be effective.:

  1. If you have Covid but don’t know it before you get the first shot, the shots won’t prevent you from the Covid shit show.
  2. If you take the first dose and then get exposed, see item #1.
  3. If you take the second dose, have escaped contagion, and get the second dose (21 to 28 days after the first, depending on which pharma vaccine), you’re immediately at the 95% improved risk odds!
    Nope again, see item #1.
  4. You didn’t contract covid before, between, or immediately after the second shot, and it’s been 14 days or more past the last show without exposure/contagion. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER! This is the spot the 95% prevention risk begins.

The vaccines as currently available work to build an immunity in your system. That building requires the two shots spaced apart a specific number of days, then a waiting period after the last shot (one of them 14 days after second shot, the other a few days earlier, but let’s be safe and use the longer one).

Note that all this is the average protocol for the average patient based on the clinical trials. Remember this vaccine went through fast-tracking and while, again I’ll say it, everyone should take it when offered and it’s our best way to radically decrease the risk of contagion, essentially we’re all part of the post-clinical trials study to really learn how effective it is across a vastly larger test group.

Despite all the bits above, please get the vaccine when you have the chance to do so. I believe once the power changes in Washington, we’re going to see a rapid increase in availability, and I hope, some federally mandated laws about masks and behaviors.

I plan to bare my arm and get poked as soon as they tell me I’m up. And you bet I’ll ask questions about the exact date I need to come back for shot #2. You can also take it to the bank that I’ll enter into a self-quarantine over those six weeks around the shots to further increase my odds of not messing up and giving the vaccine the proper time to build immunity in my body.


Seven Mental Elements

The ancient Stoic Epictetus conceived these seven elements of the mind as ones that should be used when the mind is functioning properly. But clearly Epictetus lacked the marketing savvy of today’s social media savants, since his list creates the less-than-easy-to-remember acronym of CRYRPPA (although in fairness, I couldn’t jumble it to do much better).

Nevertheless, it is an excellent checklist to assess one’s thinking about any ethical or decision-making stand on just about anything. These seven are timely in assessing the actions and decisions of our political leaders in these bizarre times, although if they brought home the report card to show Mom & Dad, I suspect most would be grounded for a long time due to poor grades.

A quick overview of the seven tasks:

  1. Choice (do and think right)
  2. Refusal (avoid temptation)
  3. Yearning (to better oneself)
  4. Repulsion (of any negativity, bad influence or things not true)
  5. Preparation (ready for what’s ahead including what might happen)
  6. Purpose (one’s guiding principles and highest priority)
  7. Assent (stay deception free from internal or external influences, focusing on what we can control, and ready to accept what we can’t)

Anything beyond this (per Epictetus) is not what the mind’s meant to do:  “What then can pollute and clog the mind’s proper functioning? Nothing but its own corrupt decisions.”

Guided Journal Fun

I’m not usually a fan of guided journals. Writing prompts in general are helpful, but a guided effort in a bound-book is not something I would use. Such preprinted journal pages guide someone through various activities and exercises toward a thematic purpose, e.g., life correcting, internally therapy, goal development, and many others. Not saying these aren’t helpful for many, just not something I find useful for myself.

Until now.

As a journaler in active practice going back many decades, I’ve never felt the need to be led by such guidances. Not one for whom writer’s block ever existed, I never struggle to get words down on paper, be it paper or digital.

So it’s a much a surprise to me as it might be to you who see this post’s opening image depicting two distinctive and obvious guiding journals. I recently purchased Pilgrim Soul’s Creative Thinking Journal, and The Hero’s Journal and will soon begin working through them.

Creative Thinking Journal

Creative thinking, like critical thinking, is a bit of a lost art. While I experienced mentors and courses that encouraged both through my education, I noticed these were somewhat absent in my kid’s schooling. Both are skills that come innately for some, but can be taught and encouraged in others, ones that should be taught to kids these days. While it’s a skill I think I have and do okay with (and sometimes well), it doesn’t hurt to exercise those specific mind muscles now and then.

Touted as a journal to use while under a light influence from cannabis, the authors make the argument that doing so helps remove inhibitions and better unlock our innate creative abilities. The journal consists of a lot of unusual, out-of-the-box-thinking exercises intended to change how we think about thinking. Check it out here for more details.

The Hero’s Journal

This journal’s fun approach gamifies a journey of efforts to reach a specific goal. Covering three months of daily entries, it’s a whimsical, character-based approach to tracking one’s efforts toward meeting a goal.

Using characters, fun artwork, and fantasy/journey related quotes, the journal takes you through a daily process of assessing, assigning, encouraging, and tracking progress toward your goal. While the urge to use cannabis may heighten results is there with the Creative Thinking Journal, the only temptation I see in using The Hero’s Journal is the delightful procrastination from pulling out my colored pencils, and coloring in the artwork! Check out the journal here for more details.


Being a fan and lover of anything to do with journaling, these two tempted me past the “Hmmm…” stage and through the rabbit hole abyss we all know too well as “shopping cart checkout.” I’ll post a future update on how these two journaling efforts turn out, but I’m eager to jump in and see what happens.




I fear the cold
The kind that’s deep;
Preserves or kills,
While fast asleep.

Yet as the snow
Settles from the sky,
My mind finds peace
Without knowing why.

Pure white innocence
Lingering pleasantly,
Is but a ruse
To fool us presently.

The wind that’s harsh
Is a prick of pain,
Those long, choking fingers
Of the ice king’s reign.

This field of beauty
A joyful moment,
Blinks life to death,
A shock, a torment.

Yet winter’s renewing grace,
Its universal task,
Revives us all,
If we wear its mask.

Things That Don’t Matter

forest path in winter2020 was a time for reflection on, and amplification of, what matters in our lives. We natural introverts are familiar and comfortable thinking about such things. Of course, actually doing something about dropping those things that don’t matter is a different challenge.

There’s always been a magnetism to things that entertain or make life easier, or provide pleasant diversions from things we should be doing. In small doses such detours can be a healthy offset to the mental and physical demands from things requiring focus and intensity. But in a year that, for me (and I suspect many others), provided an opportunity for reflection and redirection, I’ve decide it’s finally time to offload unnecessary baggage and distractions, and head off down a path to a more meaningful and productive year.

Maybe it’s the wisdom of aging, or realizing my finite energy can no longer power all I’ve been doing that’s behind this major insight about what I should do in 2021. I now clearly know those things that matter to me (e.g., those activities and efforts I can control). Now my task is clear, summarized well by this stoicism guru:

It may take some hard work. But the more you say no to the things that don’t matter, the more you can say yes to the things that do. – Ryan Holliday


A New Twist on Task Lists: Binder Boards

Every year it seems I tweak how I track things to do. And every year it seems whatever I come up with fades in practical use in short order.

This year, in an effort to be pen- and paper-free on basic task tracking, I modified the binder task board concept to meet my needs. Who knows who originally came up with this, but h/t to the 1857 podcast and specifically TJ Cosgrove for my initial exposure to this compelling idea.

My version consists of dividing routine tasks (those identified as ones I want to become habitual) into Daily and Weekly timeframes, with Daily meaning, well, every day tasks…whereas Weekly includes tasks of a 1x, 2x, or more x per week nature, but not 7x to qualify for the top echelon where the cool (Daily) kids hang out.

Once I complete each task, I flip the binder handle to cover the task. Each morning I review and flip back all the Daily tasks completed from yesterday, and check to see if it’s time for any Weekly tasks. And yes, colors are intentional with green = Daily, purple = 1x/week, and blue more than 1x/week.

Time will tell if this a) survives persistent memory and interest, and/or b) helps “set” my desired habits at the end of 21, 45, or 60 days (the choices depending on which productivity guru you follow who tells you how long it takes to make a habit).

I think it’s a sweet analog approach that should be easier to consistently use than the traditional app or paper sheet/notebook I have to find where I last laid it. It’s not a portable solution, but roaming and portability is going to be a 2022 thing more than this year. And as shown in yesterday’s post picture, my binder board is facing me everyday at my writing desk so I see it easily and frequently.