Jan 22

May your weekend move more slowly than your week

Bright and early once again this morning, headed in for a first-thing-this morning meeting, and was rewarded with a bright and clear morning for my effort.

I run a small Friday morning meeting and 80 percent of us were in attendance, a success given these pandemic times. The rest of the people are all students and, at the end of their second week of classes, they are all in full-on “Let’s just get to Spring Break mode.”

Oh, but aren’t we all?

When that meeting wrapped I went into one of the television studios, because there was television to produce. We will see the first shows on Monday, or thereabouts, but I was taken back by a philosophical conversation that evolved while we were transitioning between shots.

The host of the film show was discussing his move to wear suit coats this semester, because it is cold, you see. But he likes the cold. Prefers it. But he also likes warm temperatures. He might even prefer that, we decided, as he leaned into the bit. And before long he found himself saying that he imagined a place where he would be all the temperatures at once, and what would that feel like? Would it feel like anything at all?

Which gave us the moment to wonder what the absence of temperature would feel like. Certainly it couldn’t be room temperature, for obvious reasons. It also wouldn’t be the cold vacuum of space, for similar adjective-driven logic. So what would it feel like, the absence of temperature? And I found myself wondering about that for the rest of the day.

Mind you, this is a group that debates about which prepositions make the best puns.

After they’d wrapped up their second show in the studio I was able to retreat to my office to do office stuff. Until it was time to go into another studio to teach a few students how to use a new software setup.

It was there that I realized that, for the next week and a half, when I have to be in tight quarters with any of these people I will ask them if they were at the Purdue basketball game. If they rushed the court. You can find the footage online. Lots of people. Filled the stadium and then filled the court. The only people wearing masks were the cheerleaders.

I don’t know any of the cheerleaders right now, but, it turns out, I know a lot of these other people who enjoyed their moment of fandom. The rest of us are doomed.

If there is an outbreak I wouldn’t be surprised. Of course it might be difficult to find in the current trends. Of course “what even is an outbreak?” is now a thin rhetorical device. Well, here, it’s …

Computer, enhance …

We’re breaking records across this state, and locally, every day now. Consider that for a moment. Two years in and we are still breaking daily records of most any metric you’d care to examine. It has all led to some interesting stratifications. (Further complicating apathy and exhaustion.) I could spell this out, but I’m sure the same is happening around you.

Around my family, it is happening again. The testing positive part, I mean. Someone with youth and vigor and the general healthiness that most of us are blessed with in our younger days is out doing things without regard for the impact of others, then brings the disease to their older, infirm relatives.

And not for the first time, because we can fix neither indifference nor selfishness.

(Which is as kind as I could be toward specific family members after two re-writes.)

Anyway, near the end of the day I had a pleasant conversation with someone I don’t normally have the chance to talk with. That chat ran longer than I realized and so I left the office at about 5:30.

I worked late all four days this week, then.

Next week I hope to only do it twice.

The daily duds: Pictures of clothes I put here to, hopefully, help avoid embarrassing scheme repeats.

This is a new jacket. Bought it in the fall, cut the tags off last night. And it’s a shirt I bought ages ago, but have maaaaaybe worn once or twice, and a new pocket square. I like all three of these things.

Just not together.

Jan 22

Another long day

Without even intending to, I managed to stay in the office late for a third night in a row. But I got out by 7 p.m., so that’s an improvement?


Not that anyone acknowledges such things, or even notices. Makes you wonder, sometimes, why you spend so much time under the ol’ florescent lights.

Well, first of all, it’d be too cold to be outdoors just now.

Anyway, the extra bit of the day that shook up the routine today featured interviewing a bunch of students and a lot of Zoom meetings. And I learned how some new hardware and software will work together in one of our new studios. Not that I have high or demanding expectations for January, in general, but that’s almost enough to make for a banner day.

Except for the extra hours.

Jan 22

Read along as I talk myself into something in less than 100 words

Today I start feeling the impression that I’m beginning to wrap my arms around a new project at work. I’ve been working at it for a few days now, so that’s good timing. We’re also bringing two new studios online. And everything is up in the air with Covid.

And we haven’t even got the IUSTV folks back into their productions yet. They’ll start next week, 50-plus days in various studios and 80-or-more shows and a handful of podcasts and all of the live sports and … I probably shouldn’t be this tired in mid-January. I should definitely be this excited.

I also left the office mostly on time today, which was great, because I got to the house and hopped on the bicycle.

Here is my avatar riding underwater.

And look! I’ve never noticed this mountain in the background before. That’s not where we were headed today, but I have been thinking about going uphill, so that was a nice view.

Since I mentioned riding through the volcano in Watopia earlier this week, I figured I should do that again, and actually get a photo.

I set a new PR on the volcano climb, despite getting distracted, losing my rhythm and falling apart in the last 100 meters before the top of the climb.

At the end of each ride you get a little wattage report. They compare your best output over five seconds, one minute, five minutes and 20 minutes to your all time bests. In the five and 20 minute segments this was one of my better rides.

And now I want to start doing laps up the volcano. And returning to the bigger ascents on Zwift.

But first I need to upgrade my bike shoes. My dear sweet old, cheap, Bonties — pictured here when they were still almost new — are starting to hurt my feet.

More than six years and many thousands of miles. Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about that.

My feet do, though.

OK, this weekend: shoe shopping!

Dec 21

The seasonal wind down

It’s funny how things sink in. The how and the when and then, just, the act of sinking in. It’s great imagery, you take a photograph of a memory or a great big block of text sliding into the brain matter. Finally! That thing sunk in!

Or, for some, it could come another way. That polaroid or life video on a short, endless loop, or that great big block of text, could collide with a domicile. I imagine it’s flying in from the left, with squiggles denoting speed, slamming into the side of a cartoon house. Hey! That really hit home!

Anyway, it just now hit home that I’ve been writing in this space for 18-plus years. I had to scroll through all of those Decembers in my FTP program to get to *checks notes* 2021, so I could upload this graphic.

That’s my ride this evening, a quick 20 miles over a fictional place in Zwift. And with this ride 2021 moved into the second place in the last 11 years for miles pedaled. Last year has, and will likely hold with ease, the top spot. All of this is pretty remarkable because, these last few years, I seem to be riding slower. It takes longer to go farther.

It takes dedication to go farther when it takes longer, he said, thinking it meant something more than it did.

This is the last production of the fall semester for IUSTV. It’s Behind The Curtain, one of the many new shows the students rolled out this term. They show a student video or, as in this case, an actual film project, and then talk to the creators.

This term they garnered well more than 80,000 impressions and almost 13,000 views of 81 new episodes of original, scripted, entirely student-produced programming. This does not count the many podcasts or social media hits of all different sorts on at least four different platforms.

Oh, and this is something of a rebuilding year, so we’re just getting started.

How do you feel about documentaries about comedians? The producer of this project is an IU professor. I’ve watched a long trailer, which was good enough to make me want to watch the full thing. (Which I will get around to in the next week or so.) And if you like comedians, you might like this, too.

I’ve lined up an interview with the producer of this project for after the first of the year. She’s got a book chapter in a new book that’s considering comedians as public intellectuals. Should we go for thoughtful, then, or punchlines? And why can’t I do both, simultaneously?

I also have three other shows in the can that I simply need to edit. Good shows, but not about comedians. That’ll be part of a day after the first of the year.

But that’s after the holidays, which I am officially on starting … a few hours ago.

So you know what that means. Two weeks of fun!

Dec 21

Alright Monday, let’s do this!

All caught up? Or just getting behind? That’s always the question of Mondays. And Fridays. And probably most of the days in between. And at the holidays, well, if you ask that question you’re just asking for trouble, bub.

You know, over Instagram, I’ve been noting the skies … this weekend we had some rather delightful surprises. This was the view on Saturday evening.

And Sunday morning was simply brilliant.

Last night gave us some interesting colors, as well.

Today? Also bright and blue. And warmer than you might expect for December. All it took was a light jacket. Now, if it stays more or less like this through March I would not complain at all. I fear we will have less of the more, and more of the less.

Winter makes a boy a bit sardonic, I guess.

We didn’t check in on the cats last week because of the hustle and the bustle. We must fix that! Kitties, and my site traffic, demands it! So, here’s Poseidon, getting wacky with his taco toy.

And here is Phoebe, not judging him at all for it.

She’s totally judging him for it. We all do.

This is something like a three-episode arc now, I can appreciate the effort that went into that. If you want to know where it is going next, you’re just going to have to watch.

That’s the late night crew, which shoots in the late evening. And this is the morning show, which shoots … in the morning. (Sorry.)

Which means there’s should be just one more show to share for the semester. They do go so fast.

He said, about Mondays in December.

We put up two Christmas trees. Well, four if you count the exterior sentry trees. No ornaments anywhere, just lights, because of the cats. We thought about soft ornaments for a moment, until we looked around at all of their toys on the floor. That, we decided, would be confusing for everyone. So a lot of lights. And the shine nicely.

Except one of the trees had a strand with a problem and the top third of the tree was unlit. For a few days I thought we should say it’s a regional tradition. This evening, however, I decided to try to solve the mystery of modern electricity.

We didn’t check the lights before hanging them on the tree, you see, so the thing had to be unwound and on and on. Ultimately, I just decided to find some more lights, so I climbed into the attic and found a great big ball of lights, which commenced the great trials known to all who hang Christmas lights.

Some 25 minutes later the knot was undone, and in the meantime I’d brainstormed two new ways to store lights that wouldn’t avoid tangles, wondered how weird it’d really look in May if I left the trees up year-round, and also just thought about buying new lights every year.

Christmas lights, I figured, have to be near the height of American consumerism.

When I got the extra lights untangled I found that both ends refused to light, but the middle was delightful. I pulled five bulbs from the old set and got the whole thing to shine. We strung those lights, not with care, but in a haphazard fashion.

There’s not a bright resolution to this little story, but now I have this other long string of lights, some of which work. And I wonder if I should just pull all the bulbs out and save them for the future, or find out how many on that string need replacing.

I could always look on Pinterest for ideas about using half a string of lights.

Yep. There are posts about that. You might say they are … enlightening.