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13
Jul 20

Back on campus today again

I had a tough bike ride on Saturday. This was my only photo, and I was basically back at the house and worn down and had pretty much given up on the whole thing for quite a while, anyway.

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Thirty miles in the wind.

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Sometimes it is like that. Some days you feel great. Great! And somedays are off. Or some days you just feel lousy about the whole thing. It is always better to have done it. That’s the constant. Even on the lousy rides, like this one on Saturday. I had a headache in the middle of the it, which might be a first for the thousands of miles and the few thousand hours I have spent staring down at handlebars.

But the speed was about … average for what I’ve come to expect lately. So call it an uneven evening ride of pushing through. I stayed with The Yankee for half of it, anyway. She took a different route and I just turned around at one point. She came in about 10 minutes and with an extra two miles or so. Hers was better than mine, which is always nice.

Which leads us nicely to the weekly cat pictures. This is perhaps the cutest one I took of Phoebe this week.

But it is not the best one I took of her. I’m saving that series for a rainy day.

Poseidon was very sleepy this weekend. When he wasn’t being demanding, challenging, loud, too aggressive or otherwise overbearing.

So normal cat stuff, I guess.

Cats.

Back on campus today. We spent six hours in Studio 5 tearing down a set. Last year they built a set for an apartment for one of the production classes. Somewhere along the way it was decided that the set wasn’t sufficient. So, after many meetings, it was decided that this set was coming down.

So today we took ratchet to bolts and pry bars to nails and it all came down and the soundstage is a soundstage again.

People also balanced lights in suspension system hanging in the rafters and we tore down an ancient wall fixture which required brute force, which is why they keep me around.

Someone also put in an order for a dumpster for all the stuff that was due to be disposed of from the studio. We filled the loading dock with debris and it will go a long way toward filling the dumpster.

When it got down to the point of removing tape from the floor I knew it was time to leave … just as soon as the tape was cleaned up.

It was a productive Monday, I suppose. I stopped by the grocery store on the way to the house. I was intent to count the masks to no-masks, but gave up when it was 11-2, masks and I needed to find the most direct route to the areas of the store I needed with the fewest people between points A, B, C and D.

All of the products I wanted were there. I picked up all of the products I wanted. I breezed through the self-checkout and hustled outside, so I could go directly to the domicile in the most indirect route possible. There’s road work, you see. So I had to go through a neighborhood that we usually ride bikes through and I had to remind myself the car and the bike approach things differently. Also, the hills are much smaller with an internal-combustion engine at your disposal. The music is better, too.

Back inside, groceries put away, showered, snacked and then catching up on the day’s email and then dinner and, now, this. It wasn’t exactly a full day, but it was full enough. There were people and achievements and a place to sit down at the end of it, so full enough indeed.


6
Apr 20

Look at my pretty pictures

How was your weekend? You just had one. Did you notice that? I notice my weekend by three things. Friday as afternoon turns into the evening I have a little ceremony and close my email. Then, that same night, I have an even better ceremony which culminates me in turning off the alarm so it doesn’t go off on Saturday morning. That’s how I know the weekend is here. For lunch on Saturday we go get Chic-fil-A. These days it is strictly a drive thru affair. Three weekends ago we sat in the restaurant, and it was almost empty and odd. The change was coming, and we all knew we were in the midst of it, even if we weren’t quite yet sure what that might be.

Now the young people are standing in the drive thru wearing gloves and hanging out near hand sanitizer and it is certainly different. But at least they are still able to work, and at least we are able to get a sandwich, and at least it is one indicator of the weekend.

So how was yours?

Let’s check in on the cats. Phoebe found herself a new spot on which to sit:

And since we’ve had a bit of sun lately we’re opening more curtains and she’s finding more spots.

Poseidon … I must give him this. When he knocks things over, he owns it.

I wasn’t even in the room when he decided the cup that was on the kitchen island should be on the kitchen floor. I thought The Yankee had come downstairs and had dropped something, so I wasn’t in a big hurry to go check out the sound. When I got into the kitchen a few moments later, he was patiently waiting to be found out.

More flowering trees I saw on my Saturday run:

It was five miles, but the run itself was nothing special. I slowed down, I told myself, to enjoy the sunshine and the warm day. And the budding trees:

And there was a fast ride this evening, which was of the Monday variety, I think.

I even threw in a nice long sprint just at the end, to finally pass her. (She didn’t know we were racing, which has a lot to do with why I won the spring.

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18
Mar 20

Hello, hello, hello

The best time, I told Instagram, for a run in the early age of social distancing? Obviously on a day when it is in the mid-40s. The preferred time would be when it isn’t raining, but the forecast was not a reality today.

Aside from the wind, and the rain, and the cold, it was a nice little three-and-a-half miles around the neighborhood. In a few weeks, if and when it warms up, I’ll have to think adding a few more miles back into the routine.

After a big meeting today, and thinking of an email and a conversation from the last few days, I pitched an idea which got the approval for further pitches. Up chains it goes. Now it needs a title, apparently. So that was a happy task for much of the afternoon, and perhaps part of the rest of the week and, if it goes well, for some time into the future. More on that then, then.

Let’s look at links.

I’ve come to really admire The Undefeated in it’s short run. It launched in late 2016, but it has covered a lot of ground and its writers manage to have a simultaneous air of authority and attitude that’s not always easy to pull off.

Maybe it is a bit easier in this brief essay, because the whole system has been a farce and the women who have been at the center of it have carried themselves with such poise, none more so than Simone Biles, who does all that while still competing at heretofore unknowable levels, having to maintain a criticism of her sport and constantly being the center of that as a spokesperson while also, you know, at the ripe old age of 23, being amazing:

She knows that it takes a village to raise a predator above reproach, to look the other way when his predations become so far out of hand as to be a well-known secret. She knows, from experience, that true, explicit acknowledgment and real structural change are required.

It’s unforgivable that Biles must use her hard work and success in this way — risking it all to advocate for herself and other gymnasts trapped under the governing body’s irresponsible purview. It’s unfortunate that the other side of her luminescent medal and legacy is dulled by that governing body’s paternalism and neglect. By pressuring an institution that performs in the face of its own inaction and injustice, Biles makes legible the ways our society tucks violence against women under the proverbial floor mat, and the ways in which women continue to materialize the strength necessary to demand the world beyond violence that we deserve and imagine.

This will be something a lot of people find useful, or will otherwise be looking for in the coming weeks. Stuck at home? Enriching activities to do with all ages from the Indiana Young Readers Center:

Looking for extra activities to keep children busy? Explore some of these activities put together for you by the Indiana Young Readers Center, located in the Indiana State Library. Remember, children of all ages can benefit from play and reading. Keep your kids engaged with some of these resources.

Sadly, my age group was not included. I’ll just have to fall back on my experience as an only child.

The apparently innumerate senator is from Wisconsin.

And the 3.4 percent he’s using here in his rhetoric works out to just over twice the population of his state. But, really, it is the rhetoric that’s a problem here. That data point isn’t being used correctly. So he’s using an incorrect data point, incorrectly.

To say nothing of the knock-on effects, and the many other medical cases that will be marginalized as hospitals become forced to triage everything:

These choices could be particularly devastating for the tens of thousands of Americans awaiting new organs, transplant experts said.

The outbreak has already caused serious disruptions. Doctors in some parts of the country say an inability to quickly test potential donors for the coronavirus has led them to decline viable organs, forcing some ailing patients to wait longer. To avert the spread of the virus among vulnerable patients who must take immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection of their new organs, doctors have canceled most routine follow-up visits for transplant recipients. And in anticipation of a surge of coronavirus patients requiring beds in intensive care units, some hospitals are now performing transplant operations only for patients who are at the most dire risk of death.

[…]

Without a transplant, Branson said his surgeon told him last week that he might only have about 30 to 45 days to live. But he said the hospital considers the surgery needed to remove part of his uncle’s liver to be elective — and therefore nonessential.

In a statement to NBC News, Dr. Elizabeth Pomfret, the chief of transplant surgery at UCHealth, confirmed that the hospital had suspended some transplant surgeries.

Meanwhile …

Never mind that younger people are also susceptible. But if you’re talking ’bout my generation (and not the one that actually claims that song) …

So, who is taking COVID-19 seriously? Possibly Gen X, who are born between 1965 and 1980 according to Pew Research Center, and are often referred to as the “sandwich generation” because many are caring for children and older parents. On social media this weekend, the hashtag “GenX” trended, with the “latchkey generation” saying that they were the most prepared to live in isolation.

From a psychological perspective, there might be some truth to this argument.

As they tried to explain this — and I stipulate that painting sweeping generalizations over a 20-year cohort, which is nothing more than the thinnest of constructs anyway, is silly — they missed one important potential external factor: MTV.

Now, usually, when I point to MTV, it isn’t in a good way. But it works out this time. We were just ready, because of what we already knew.

Also … is any other group allowed to see itself in this light?

Our little group has always been
And always will until the end


6
Mar 20

There’s a pun here

There was a miniature conference in the building today. I wish more people had attended. The students who were presenting their research had some interesting topics and they’d worked quite hard on their papers. Maybe it is a function of doing this on Fridays, or the subject matter, or the weather or the publicity, but this is what they saw.

The 3D printer version of a giant sloth skeleton is a good and attentive listener, though.

The sloth will be with us for two more weeks, and then he’s going elsewhere. He’s actually already moving, he’s just doing so very, very, very slowly.

That’s the easy joke. And you’re right to take the easy sloth joke. How many sloth jokes are there? Let’s count …

I went out for a run to count sloth jokes, and over the course of four miles I came up with two. There are two sloth jokes. “Google, how many sloth jokes do you know?”

Turns out there are somewhere between nine and 16 sloth jokes, depending on how critical funny has to be to your conception of a joke. I would tell you all nine to 16 sloth jokes but that would be very time consuming.

That’s the other sloth joke I had without Google’s help.

Anyway, I hope you, like Poseidon, are ready to leap into the weekend.

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Poseidon gonna Poseidon.

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4
Feb 20

Caucus captaincy for sale

It’s turned cold again. And these are the days of our lives. Probably for the best. If you start having enjoyable weather for three days in a row you’d come to expect it, and you really should know better to do that here until mid-April.

Which is depressing.

Sunday’s and, to a lesser degree, yesterday’s weather, were nothing more than an aberration.

Which is also disconcerting.

There’s a lot going on here:

The carefully selected handwriting. This is the sort of thing that’s discussed before it’s done, right? “No one could read my handwriting,” and so on. Then there’s the frowny face. And the first-person. It has grown self-aware. And is sad. Now, is the sadness brought about by the existential dilemma of being a soda dispenser? Is the sadness because the dispenser knows this isn’t her fault, but is rather a faulty hose somewhere between here and the syrup? Maybe the grief comes because it knows a manager — the third shift leader in charge of liquid refreshments — forgot to fill that order.

Or maybe there’s a legal issue. It wouldn’t be the first time. Forty-some years ago Barqs was sold outside of the family, but the heirs, the Robinsons still had some companies with the Barq’s name and so the trademark battles began. The 5th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the family, so it was the root beer’s new owners that were out of order and … here we are.

I just learned that some of the fountain drink versions of Barq’s has no caffeine, which, as I understand it, is the point. But is it any good? I mean relative to other root beers? You’ll have to let me know.

It is the beginning of the other Super Bowl season. Iowa is caucusing and it’s simultaneously a silly demonstrating of nominating candidates and fascinating for journalists. The election is like the Super Bowl, so I suppose this is the first of several weeks of wildcard playoffs or something.

I slept in my car on the night of the 2000 general election, and that was just covering the local stuff. I dozed off listening to the networks being fed to AM radio and went back inside the studio (they didn’t let us sleep in there, for some reason) for my first hit of the morning and saw the same national network guys still plodding through. I’m not sure which of us had a better night, but I know they looked better than I did. And we, somehow, have convinced ourselves this is a good thing.

I don’t have any strong memories from election night, 2004. I sat in a newsroom in shivered in 2008 and convinced a bunch of student-journalists that, maybe, they should go get some reactions. In 2012, more shivering. In 2016 I watched everyone else do things. But I digress.

Tonight, I’m going to sleep long before anything is decided in the confusion that is Iowa. Iowa is confusing in a good cycle, and it is given outsized weight relative to its importance. That’s the media’s fault, really. And everything else is from a bunch of people gathering in gyms and people’s homes and wherever else and using what is, apparently, a poorly designed app.

What could possibly go wrong? Everything tonight, it seems. But I’m not staying up to watch it all. I’m not convinced that is a good thing.

We did television tonight. I recorded a little bit of it. Sure, I’m standing in a studio with five high-definition cameras, four of them controlled remotely from the adjacent control room (there was also a sixth high def camera working at this moment, as well, as we’d gone meta) and I’m holding my phone up at eye level …

This is one of the podcast series I want to do: New things shape ongoing disciplines. Think anyone will want to not want to do this one with me, too?

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