Feb 21

That’s pretty much how I feel about it, too

When you think about it, with masks on you have to emote in other non-verbal ways. And most talk shows the students I know produce are so polite that there’s discussion and not a lot of dynamic interaction.

But lately I’ve come to realize that I can get a nice action shot before the cameras are rolling. There’s a checklist of things that have to take place before a show can, in fact, go on. And it takes a little time. Once you have people wearing microphones and in their seats they are rehearsing or getting last minute instructions or just chatting.

Sometimes you can pretend with that back-and-forth. This was this evening.

I don’t remember what they’re talking about here, it wasn’t critically important in the scheme of things, probably music or soundbites or something like that. A few moments after this they produced a fine show about the volleyball team. And that’ll be online tomorrow. I’ll share it then.

Otherwise, a normal busy day. It started with a dentist appointment — all good reviews! — and is going to end in a few moments with dishes and laundry and music. So, you can see, some things were accomplished. Some of it was even painless! Everything happened on time and most of all it was pleasant enough. That’s asking a lot for a Thursday, but sometimes Thursdays deliver.

Feb 21

Someone’s alarm went off at 5:30 — and then I was awake

I think this morning marked the fourth time we’ve shoveled the driveway in the last week or so. It’s a small driveway, thankfully, and this was a light snow. Probably it didn’t even need to be done, but it’s become rote. Get up, examine the pavement, and then eat something, maybe. While our little stretch of paved paradise took an hour and change on Tuesday after the biggest snow, it went quickly today.

Mostly I wanted to do a better job of digging out the nearby fire hydrant. One of my former students did a story on this at his station in Ohio this week and I was somewhat guilted into it. So slush slush and heave ho and, oh, look, the city guy that plows the walking path behind us but not the street in front of us came through and poured his best effort into the road.

Because what you want … nah, what I want … is for you to drive down an untreated road and then hit a snow bank you can’t see right in front of my yard and the electrical boxes and the gas line.

I don’t know anything about plowing roads, and I wonder who around here actually does.

So I got that off the road, just being neighborly and all. And then, since I had fully warmed up my core, I decided to go on a little bike ride.

This is the volcano route on Zwift’s fictional world. Some of the environments they offer are trying to be realistic. Some have a bit of a futuristic feel and this one is pure fantasy. My avatar is riding through a volcano there. You go in the volcano twice on the way up and twice again after you ride to the top of the active volcano.

I’m breathing a bit on the bike in the house, which does not smell of sulfur, could you imagine that in real life?

Anyway, I left my bike in one of the harder gears and just dragged myself all the way to the top of this little climb. It’s a good weekday sort of thing. It doesn’t take even a slow person like me forever, and you can still move around a bit when you’re done. I had an hour this morning, and this is what I did.

Zwift charts the King of the Mountain, which is the fastest person up the route. And the current leader is a name I recognize. Dylan Teuns is much faster than I am. He’s younger, stronger, a climber, more fit and also, and this part is incredibly important, an insanely talented professional cyclist. But today I got to the top of the climb in just under twice the amount of time it took him to do it. So I’m putting him on notice.

I can tell by the number of replies he’s not sent that I’m absolutely in his head.

Anyway, that was my second time up the volcano route, and I shaved a little over a minute off my previous time. So I guess there’s something to that snow shovel warm up.

This evening it was back to the studio. We shot the talk show first, new semester, new soccer season, new host.

And Jevan was on the desk to kick off the semester. Were there gifs? There were gifs.

Thursday nights run into Friday quickly into Fridays. Dinner, dishes, and, now, bedtime. We’ll be back in the studio again tomorrow morning. I’m tired already. Can’t imagine why.

Feb 21

I went back 11 years to jump back 82

Somewhere in all of my feeds, someone today discovered Radio Garden. Someone is always discovering Radio Garden. It’s a place where you can listen to almost any sort of radio station in the world. If there’s a stream, there’s a way. It’s a fascinating idea portrayed in a Google Earth-style interface, and it’d be easy to while away several hours and learn about other places or get homesick as you like.

It’s a fascinating online experiment. And, like any online experiment, it always feels like a proof of concept, like a demo. And, like any online experiment, you always want a little more. I want not only every radio station, but old feeds, as well. I’d like to hear the personalities I knew when I listened all the time, and when they were in their primes. I would like to hear the people from places I’ve only heard about. I’d like to make sure none of audio ever made it onto the site.

I’ve lately been going back through the “Memories” function of Facebook. I’m deleting dumb things, removing useless items and typos and laughing at how bad cell phone cameras were in 2009.

On this day, in 2009, I apparently discovered A Day in Radio. You can hear what was going into the ether in 1939. As I noticed when I discovered that site 11 years ago now, and I would note once more, the 1939 newscasts have this horrible pull of history. The newsman is superb. It is riveting, knowing what is to come; knowing what you can’t tell them, what they can’t prevent.

I suppose it’s like that all of the time. It’s easy to develop a mistaken impressions, when you learn about things as thumbnail sketches over a great distance of time, that a lot of what happens happens in isolation. It’s a surprise, a shock to the system. Who could have seen that coming!?

This first ran in a small town weekly.

But, as it often turns out, a lot of people aren’t completely surprised by the developments of the day, if they paid attention. And many people did! The war in Europe and the madness in Asia were front page news, of course. The newsreels were doing their best to keep people informed, and that was working. You could tell an American in 1939 about Pearl Harbor and they’d most likely wonder what a Pearl Harbor was, but they knew about Japan. On this day in 1939 the newspapers talked of Japan seizing islands, increasing tensions between Germany and the British over the Spanish Civil War, a bunch of new planes going to London via the lend-lease program.

The tea leaves were there. Maybe they always are. Or maybe history is unfair like that. You sometimes had to do more than skim the big headlines. Meanwhile, the decision makers were getting ready. The world was mourning the death of a pope, Congress wanted to reinsert itself into foreign policy and stories like this were popping up more frequently.

And in California …

That’s the famed P-38.

Makes you wonder what we’re paying attention to, doesn’t it? What we don’t understand because we don’t enjoy a holistic view, or, worse, what we’re missing altogether while we’re in our apps and reality TV.

Feb 21

Questions of a different kind of distance

I helped moved a few things from one room to another room today. And, when we were done with that we all sat down, carefully distanced — because we are conscientious about this sort of thing, except for the one guy, who, look, I happened to have a tape measure on me at the time and I ran out several feet of tape and pointed this out and I know you to be a smart individual, step back — and properly masked and all of the usual things, because we’re almost a year into the routine of it, now. Except the one guy, I guess.

Oh, if he were the only one, right? But there’s always the one person, in any walk of life, in any scenario you might think up. Parties, the game, the store, in a social distancing context, there’s always that one individual. And I chant “patience and grace” to myself, and, these days, I’m grateful the mask covers 64 percent of my facial expression.

Anyway, he left, and there’s no point to his presence in this story, or to the story, really. But he went about his day and we all sat down to chat and I sat on a chair that had this sticker on it.

Because, eventually, we all take turns being that guy.

I remember covering a hurricane once where the pre-landfall story of dubious origin was that the authorities were patrolling the areas under evacuation orders and handing out toe tags to anyone that had stuck around. The point being, that there’s a certain type of personality that doesn’t take a hurricane seriously. So, maybe this comparison won’t stand out the way the expert would have hoped. At some point, you get it or you won’t get it. Eleven months in, I’d argue, we’re well past that point. Nevertheless:

The first thing about this is, Well, that was obvious and apparent as a potential problem. The second part is, the sample size is, obviously, demographically skewed. So this is what you’ve have to work from as an observer.

Take this incredible woman’s story, for example.

The third, and equally important thing is, this won’t get better as we slide down the age scale.

What if we brought in the people from Chick-fil-A, Amazon, the IRS and each community’s most successful delivery start up and start a super group?

Don’t you just love when your brain seizes on a bit of history?

I spent some time looking through the online records. Mr. Hall was a man of some achievement and professional notoriety. As always, you’re getting the thinnest of outline notes in newspaper form. But what I’ve learned leaves a lot of interesting questions that you’d like to have answered these many decades hence.

So if anyone knows their grandchildren or great-grandchildren … send them my way for a quick conversation.

Jan 21

Two high-water marks

I got in a 26-mile bike ride on Zwift this evening. The first little bit of it was a VO2 max workout. That’s about your oxygen consumption in an exercise of incrementally intensity. As it turns out, the last vestige of any athletic ability I ever possessed can be found in my fairly decent VO2, and so this exercise was more fun than hard. Five four minute intervals at 225 watts. Look at those pretty, even, graphics.

But that was just an hour, and so I decided to ride some more. I did two laps of this course:

And that’s how I spent about 90 minutes, looking out at the melting snow in the diminishing light. We had 11 hours and two minutes of daylight today, Nautical twilight was at 7:04 p.m. and tomorrow will be almost two minutes longer. One of the real treats here, the increasing length of days.

This summer I’ll be able to stand in the yard and see a still-light blue sky at 9:30 at night. And summer can never get here fast enough or stay long enough, in part, because of that.

I finished up my DIY pocket squares. This is the final batch of seven. I probably won’t use all of these, those floral prints are a bit much, but they came in the mini-batch with the purples, which seemed like a color to have on hand. The days are getting longer. Spring pastels will be out soon, after all. (So that’s how the stay-at-home has been treating me. Why do you ask?)

So I counted and now I have … a lot of these things. But my jackets will look sharp, so I’ll have that going for me.