Mar 20

Spri — nope, not yet

We’re just a week or so away from the visual clues being unavoidable. And then it’ll quickly turn to all-green, all-the-time, which takes a few days to get used to. And then, when you think back on it, you can spend a few days marveling at how you get used to it so quickly.

But first, this little budding stage of things:

These photos were all taken on our Monday evening walk, which was beautiful and delightful in most every way. Today was not picturesque. It was cold and gray and damp and that’s not frustrating at all. The clouds move so slowly. I looked at them during this evening’s slogging run of just under four miles with no inspiration, no legs or anything resembling pace, and I was again mystified how there were no clouds, but but the always terribly exciting white gray. You can’t see any of the defining characteristics that allow you to distinguish one large collection of very tiny droplets of water or ice crystals from the next. It all just … is.

I’m ready for spring.

It’s been a very mild winter.

This tree is ready, too. And that bloom isn’t the only thing around here excited for something to happen, and waiting for it to do so:

I got photobombed.

It was pretty much the highlight of the walk, which was already a fine part of a nice day.

I’m just showing off the non-macro lens on my phone, now.

On these nice walks, I should take my real camera. As I was taking that photograph, on my phone, this skein of Canada geese flew over.

They’re heading west, in the direction of several nameless ponds. They should go back north. But I guess they know something I do not.

Mar 20

A weekend in 243 words and seven photos

Saturday, we hit the drive-thru, where things are still so fast they can’t be troubled to add the extra letters to the sign. It was our trip out for the week. Three young people who we usually see working inside were bundled up and pretending to be the menu signs. And then another person midway through the line was taking your money. At the window they were just giving you your food. And a message:

And I thought: Little things like that are going to mean a lot for people.

This means a lot to me, signs of spring!

I wouldn’t have seen that if we haven’t gone for a run, in the cold.

Do you see that little bit of blue? That’s all of the sky we saw through the clouds during our quick four-miler today.

When we got home, and I mean almost immediately — I was still walking up the stairs to the shower — the sun came out:

Phoebe and I might be having a breakthrough this weekend. I got four cuddles yesterday, which is a new record:

This guy, meanwhile:

On Saturday night, I heard a distinctive crashing sound. Someone, I have my suspicions, knocked this bag of their treats off the windowsill, from the counter and onto the floor:

By the time I got there they’d somehow defeated the Not-A-Ziploc seal. So now we have to had the treats.

We’re running out of room to hide things in, honestly.

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

Mar 20

The drawdown

More meetings today. Meetings about meetings. Meetings which begat other meetings. A fair amount of time canceling meetings. Meetings about canceled meetings. And oh so many emails and rapidly evolving and newly created policies. Our employer, Indiana University, is taking it seriously, which is nice.

My dean, in fact, told everyone at a meeting this morning to not be in the office after today unless it was essential that we be there. I have to go in for a brief while, tomorrow, but today is the last full day of on-campus work until April as we duck Covid-19. These are not off days. We’ll just be working from somewhere else. I’ll be in the home office.

It’ll sink in eventually.

We went for a run this evening. It was a quick three-and-a-half-miles of progressions, where you continue to build up speed as you go. This was just as we got int the third mile, which means she was going pretty fast, which meant the photo was blurry:

Earlier in the run I saw this, the second green things of the season. The tulips of February are false advertising. The longer days are a signal, next week’s spring break is a clue. March is a mirage, but there are now, suddenly, a few green things:

The next warm-ish day we have I’m going to take a walk through the woods behind the house. I have to find more green things.

Mar 20

A run, two rides, but mostly cats

Happy Monday. This week is going to be a memorable one, you can just tell, can’t you? It will. And if you can’t tell, come up for air and read the news. It’s going to be a memorable one.

But before all of that begins, we have our new usual Monday feature of checking in with the cats. Let’s see how they spent their weekend.

Phoebe discovered a new place to sit on the stairs. We have a small landing, and she’s familiar with that, but this step gives her a commanding view of the foyer, a window and escape routes up and down the stairs. I’m sure that’s how she thinks.

Poseidon spent part of Saturday night curled up in a big fuzzy blanket. I think he’s coming around to the lifestyle:

They got two new toys in the mail from a friend this weekend. They are little lizard shapes with some hardcore strain of catnip inside:

They are jealous cats, so jealous that despite there being two of the identical toys, they are fighting over the lizards. So now we’ll have to hide them.

Some naps, for whatever reason, are cuter than others:

We went for a run on a sunny Saturday. I am now tasked with running ahead and taking pictures. So my sprints should improve, because the job is to get far enough ahead that I can find a good spot for a reasonable composition, stop, turn, open the camera, frame a shot and watch the runner run through:

It’s a good chance to catch my breath, though, before having to run on and catch back up. But, check this out, same picture:

I got the two-feet-off-the-ground shot. Not bad for trying to do all of the above while winded.

On Sunday afternoon I got in my first bike ride of the year. And this evening I had my second bike ride No photos or videos of either of those. Or probably for the first four or five rides. I have to remember again where all the gears are and what all the levers on the bike do again, first.

I shot this after today’s bike ride. And I am suddenly very interested, once again, in natural sound.

The late night show produced this episode for you last Friday. The guest is one of our professors. Ordinarily my critique would be that you have to go find people outside of our own buildings. There are a lot of reasons for that, groupthink, the burden of real producing, the what’s-entertaining-to-you-isn’t-entertaining-to-everyone phenomenon, but that concept may not apply to Susan Kelly, who is quite entertaining indeed:

Anyway, for the rest of the week, and whatever else is coming to us soon, I hope your times aren’t that interesting.