Friday


28
Aug 20

The preferred Alanis

It’s been a day. It’s been a day in a week. It’s been a day in a week in a month. It’s been a day in a week in a month in a year.

And it was a GREAT day to see this. Just play it.

It is quiet in the house. I am sitting by a window downstairs and, watching this a third time I noticed there are four or five other people in the video. I was too busy the first two times watching this mother doing her job, providing a stay-at-home anthem while holding her beautiful child.

It’s so, so perfect.


21
Aug 20

Free S&H

Do you know that moment when you’re on a great sale on a website? You put a few things in your cart and then you realize you’re just a few dollars shy of reaching the almost mythical free shipping threshold. You sit there for a while, wondering what sort of algorithms the company used to arrive here.

Sure, they’re not going to ship at a big loss. So that’s the first level. But, then, you have to think about the prices of things on offer. How do they set the tiers such that you’re so often thiiiis close to the free shipping? It’s a sales and marketing ploy, of course, but a brilliant one. And it’s a commonly successful one, too. You knew exactly what we’re talking about here. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there. Just the other day I was there, within three bucks.

And so what do you do?

You try to estimate the amount of shipping. Is that more than you wish to pay? Does this add some definition to the items you’re considering buying? Is the shipping a deal breaker? Or, alternatively, is there something else that you can throw in? Something small that will just nudge you into that free shipping category.

Which is funny because, of course, the three, now four things you’re buying won’t arrive at the same time. That was the case today, when part of my shipment arrived. I’d ordered a few shirts and this tie. It cost five bucks, and “earned” me the free shipping.

Joke’s on them. I need to retire a similar-looking yellow tie, anyway. And a fine, brand new piece of neckwear for just $5? A good joke, indeed.

Joke’s on me. I haven’t worn a tie since March. Who knows when we’ll do that again.


7
Aug 20

The floor needs more witticisms, really

Had the opportunity to go to campus today to do some work. We were producing some instructional videos. How to mount a camera on a tripod. How to turn it on. How to change the settings. This sort of thing. Useful stuff. And beneficial to do in a video form because it will maximize the return on time investment. Teach a basic thing to a camera, so the video it captures can be seen over and over by students as necessary, rather than continue to give boutique, small-group presentations of the same material. It’s a good approach. The circumstances of the day have made it an imperative, even if it’s something we’ve intended to do for several years.

People ate lunch in a room that will hold socially distanced students in our first classes next week. I sat in a chair where some future industry giant will sit, and watched people munch on sandwiches.

There are soap dispensers and wipes and stickers about. One suspects more signs will go into place in the next week or so.

A few places where a person sits that custom and decorum suggest will still feature human interaction now have a cling wrap structure around them. Some of that went up today. Chairs are spaced and excess furniture is stacked. We saw to that a few weeks ago.

And, in general, the mood will be:

There are a lot of plans in place — testing, prophylactic, event restrictions and limitations — hopefully it will be sufficient toward the cause of educating students and conducting research and all of the other things that take place on campus. Or, all of the things that will take place this year. Some of it will be quite limited, sadly. That’s the mood. No gathering please.

Taking next week off from writing here. No particular reason. There’s some work stuff and a break sounds good and, when I do come back, there might be an actual tidbit or two to catch up on. So, until then, be safe. Exercise grace and patience with one another, and yourself, and we’ll catch up on August 17th.


31
Jul 20

Just a quick self-promotion

The key to landing good morning show appearances is in having excellent representation.

You’d think your publicists would be able to get that right. You’d think they’d acknowledge the joke. Nope. They just meekly deleted their mistake, tagged the right guy — who is a good four or five inches taller than me and it shows in his headshots — and moved on with their day.

It would have been nice if they’d played a long, imagine the many creative muscles they could have flexed! Oh, the fun we could have had today. It’s Friday, it’s the end of the month, it’s a stay-at-home environment, after all. But, alas.

Anyway, I watched the segment — it was good and you’d expect nothing less — and I’m sure Rogers and Cowan will have a laugh about this later.

More on Twitter, check me out on Instagram and more On Topic with IU podcasts as well.


24
Jul 20

Wild carrots

There was email and a Zoom meeting and a look to the weekend, which would be nice enough, a change from the week, but it will look like all of the recent weekends. It’s a weird experience.

The stasis.

I’ve stopped looking at various social media platforms for related reasons. I’ve long since quieted most of the wacky people, but now you can live vicariously through the photographs of others and wonder what that’s about. Shouldn’t you be inside? Should I be out there?

It all varies based on locales and your circumstance and how you choose to see the moment, which is much longer than a moment.

Maybe that’s what it is. This moment is very long; I am getting a little fidgety over it and it’s really just getting started.

Also the blog is suffering. The poor, long-suffering blog is suffering. We’ve got a nice enough house and we’re enjoying warm weather but there’s only so many times you can tell the same story about walking down the hall to the home-office. (I flipped my desk around last week, and I didn’t tell you about that, dear reader. It makes for the third office move since the spring. I’m considering a fourth.)

I’m going to have to get back into some hobbies or find some new thing to learn. These are tense times, indeed.

Went out for a run today. It was my third run of the week. My first week running in a few months. Even though I’m running a mile at a time, we’re still calling it a run. I figured I’d do the shorter distances to get the times down and so far it’s working!

I found a bit of Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota) after my little jog.

You can eat them. The flowers are battered and fried, but don’t eat too many leaves. No idea how many is too many. The leaves can also give you blisters. And the plant has been used medicinally and as a dye.

Some places look at is as a beneficial weed. It can help with tomato growth and lettuce production. It attracts the right kind of insects in some areas. Some states list it as a nuisance or noxious weed. It’s native to the area where the Himalayan and Hindu Kush mountains bump into one another. It moved to Europe and southwest Asia between the 11th and 14th centuries. It made it’s home in China, India and Japan in the 14-17th centuries. It’s naturalized in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

I took a picture of it just to have something to put in this space for the day, but I’m getting an education. You can learn all about it, all about it, here.