Jan 21

Heading into a snowy weekend

The snow arrived during our afternoon walk. I’d spent the day watching demo reels and trying to offer feedback to students — I’m averaging just over 900 words per review this week. So it was a nice break to take a walk. We ran into a colleague who is a public relations professor. She gave us air hugs, which was cute.

A bit later on our walk the first flurries ran into us. They gave us a stinging face sensation, which was less cute.

Late into the evening it tried and tried and, eventually, the snow began to gain some traction. The ground was cooling, the snow kept falling and so now we have a wet version of snow. Fortunately, we didn’t have to go any farther than the yard today. But, for the first time this season, I found myself saying “If the weather and roads aren’t nasty tomorrow.”

Just before I said that we were discussing Covid vaccinations, because it’s nice to have a new thing to discuss. There’s an economist here who’s been modeling the efficacy of all things Covid, and it seems the state administered almost 25,000 doses yesterday, and about 80 percent of those were first doses. The economist figures that if the state can get up to 26,000 doses per day and hold that rate you’ll see 70 percent of Indiana vaccinated by early July.

This, of course, assumes things about supply. And about distribution. And human error. And whether some of those humans will even want the thing that might keep them from getting sick or saving the lives of others.

It seems a fool’s errand to try to understand which states are doing vaccine distribution better than others, for all of those reasons, but mostly because this has been utterly left to the states. But it’s hard, today, to not feel like we’re finally, finally in that motion that leans the body forward in a vigorous walk.

Our employer is looking to become another distribution point. That’d make three in the county. And it would make it even easier for them to mandate vaccination for everyone returning to campus past some certain point. I have no knowledge of the dates that we’re looking at there, but it seems logical. They required flu shots starting December 1st after all. And if you you vaccinate everyone on campus — students and professionals — then it will be interesting to see what will return to “normal,” and how. There’s an expectation that we’ll be there, or trending there by the fall.

Fall. Hard to fathom. And the battle isn’t even over. Far from it, in fact.

But we’re in that first lean. Some of our family members are scheduled for their first dose next week. Oh, happy day. And, in another state, another important person will be eligible to get scheduled next week. These are all great feelings.

So now it’s time to build some momentum, and to redouble our efforts of being safety conscious.

So we’re staying home, and watching the snow. Some of our shrubs are putting on a nice little show this evening.

And you? Are you staying safe? And looking forward to a big, relaxing, productive, busy weekend?

Dec 20

Progressive video and circumstance

We had a graduation today. This is what that looked like.

It was a live production and went off without a hitch, owing to the good work of some talented people, and also me. It’s probably a dry run for the spring commencement. While some 100 people became graduates today, we’ll have 600 students moving the virtual tassel from one side of the mortar board to the other.

If anything, I said, we should do all the future commencement ceremonies like this. It went faster. After, you could just come in for the cookies and punch and socializing, which is where the real fun is, anyway.

Came home to spend about 75 minutes with this view.

And a few more miles were ticked off on the trainer, glancing through the blinds, listening to old music and feeling the burn. It’s an interesting series of experiences. You go in there in a light jacket, get ready to ride, climb on the bike and take the jacket off. Once your heart rate gets up a bit you are, of course, comfortable. It doesn’t take long at all, because the chill is only just barely a chill. It’s the buffer between the inside world and the outside world, the temperature re-configuration chamber. What, you’re not thinking of your house in these terms this year?

When you really get your trainer-mounted bike going you get the flush cheeks and the other familiar precursors to sweating. And suddenly there’s a drip, and you begin reminding yourself this doesn’t happen on the road because of the evaporative qualities of nature and the wind wicking away your perspiration. Which it is most decidedly not doing here.

Before long, you’re no longer just sweating, you are now actively hot and that first chill is a far-off memory. There’s a ceiling fan, and turning that on makes some magical atmospherics happen. Your heart rate is up, you are wondering whether you should question these decisions, and the fan is circulating just enough cold air to null this whole thing out. So long as you keep going.

As soon as you stop, being soaked through and under a fan in a chilled room, you have to leave, leave now or never get control of your core temperature again.

This is that time of year where I’m always concerned about the temperature getting into my bones. There are no amount of blankets or hot beverages, no appropriate number of layers of socks, to get warm again. There are some particular experiences, like time itself, which you can never escape. Especially when the bike isn’t going anywhere.

We can outrun this semester, though. Another one, thankfully, in the books.

Nov 20

Giggles and risotto

Quiet day at the office. I sent a few emails, dabbled in some spreadsheets, identified the upcoming tasks and walked some halls. That was about it. It was your typical Friday-before-a-holiday sort of feel. And I have some days off coming, so it was quite the quiet day.

Since we’ve wrapped our in-studio productions, these are some of the last few videos of the semester, notwithstanding things they may produce from afar.

So let’s start off with the late show, which was produced in Studio 5 on Tuesday. They’re bringing the funny:

And last night, in Studio 7, we wrapped it all up the same way we started the semester, sports!

And while you’re waiting on whatever your sports weekend has in store for you, check out my buddy Drew’s last show hosting The Toss Up. They’re talking women’s basketball, and IU’s basketball team promises to be a good one this year. And this show is one of the best of the year. It’s a good way for Drew to sign off:

We expect big things out of that guy, and we know he’s going to come through.

At the end of the day, it was oddly warm. Oddly still. It was 63 degrees and we were in the gloaming and back home it would have been time to watch the barometer. But I studied the forecast earlier in the day and nothing bad was coming our way. It was just … kind of pleasant.

So I did the daily decontamination procedure and went out to sit on the deck. We stayed out there, me trying my hardest to make her laugh, until it got good and dark, when it got nice and chilly.

And my staycation began, as it should, with giggles.

Nov 20

A semester’s production wrap up


Nov 20

No calculator was harmed in the making of this post

It’s a weird time. I have a normal work schedule on Wednesdays. My weeks during the semester are normally split. I’m done at a respectable hour on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Tuesdays and Thursdays are long, but these other days I feel like a normal person. Except I am now old enough to feel the effects of a split schedule in ways I didn’t when I was 23, and so it doesn’t feel especially normal.

I’m honestly not sure how Mondays work anymore, since I’ve largely been working from home on Mondays since March. But I’ve been going in four-days-a-week since July, and in August the students came back and in September we ramped up production and so it went like this. I would leave campus just after 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and then go work a 9-5 day on Wednesdays. And then I would leave the building on Thursdays closer to 9 p.m. and work another regular day on Fridays. Well, on Friday afternoon the weekend feelings kick in. So that is taken care of. But Wednesdays? And now that it’s dark by 5:30. That, of course, presupposes the midwestern cloud cover lets any natural direct light shine through.

Like today, for instance. High 44. It was partly cloudy. And then the sun set (I had no idea the sun came out. I was hiding under fluorescent light all day.) at 5:25. That’s about the time I got to the house. So no bike ride for me. What am I going to do with the evening?

“What did you do with the evening?”

Well, let me tell you, dear and gentle reader. We fact checked a story The Yankee was reading. It was about some lavish meal somewhere. How could all of these things — the story itemized many of the plates — only amount to a little over two grand?

It was, when you heard the many items, a fair question.

So I pulled up the menu for a restaurant 634 miles away and we analyzed the data.

While some specifics were left out of the story, to protect the carnivores, one presumes, we ultimately decided that the total bill was plausible and likely.

And I subsequently decided I needed something better to do.

And did I find it? No, I did not.

But I will.

TV shows, for those who like TV shows. These are the last episodes the news crew will produce in the studio this fall. I am urging them to do more stuff remotely between now and when we reconvene in person in February.

They even teased a winter series of stories in here, which was nice. Now they’re on the record! They have to follow through!

Saying publicly that you’ll do something is a great motivator.

They produced those shows last night, which is why it was just after 8 p.m. when I left our old historic building. It was gratifying to watch the seniors rally the underclassmen and congratulate them on the semester and say all of the things I would normally say. It’s fun to see them slip effortless into those roles.

I was curious how that would work this year because the interpersonal dynamics, by definition, are more restrained than normal. If anything, they’ve found ways to work around and beyond that and be better for it.

We build broadcast pros and leaders around here.

We had two productions running concurrently last night. The two above in Studio 7 and the late night show was being produced in Studio 5. It’ll be out later this week. And all of that means we’ll be shooting the last in-studio shows of the term tomorrow night. Watch this space for me bragging on them.