Aug 20

How we’re trying to keep safe

Walked into the television studio for the first time today. Some things will be different this semester, but a lot of it feels the same. There’s a goodness to it, being in a room of potential, a space where people start to see their dreams come true, under lights where their skills begin to sharpen. It’s nice to be in a space like that, even if it’s just to study some of the new safety considerations.

But, in a few weeks, we’ll have students back in front of the camera. A different kind of recording today, though.

It isn’t every day you get to talk to a professor of pediatrics, who is also a medical school dean and the vice chair for health policy and outcomes research. Dr. Aaron Carroll wears a lot of titles. He’s also the director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research and is leading Indiana University’s arrival and surveillance testing for the 2020 return to classes.

He took time out of his busy schedule to talk about sending children back to school, and all of the work the IU campuses across the state are doing to help keep their communities safe.

It’s a good listen. Dr. Carroll is a great presenter. He’s built an ambitious program here, which is probably starting as one of the most ambitious programs on a college campus in the country. And, when it matures to his committee’s full plans will most definitely be at the top of the list.

Consider, when they implemented the re-entry tests for students IU returning to campus it became the biggest testing center in the state, virtually overnight. Some 100,000 students were tested in the last few days, and that was just to re-enroll. And it won’t stop with that one test that allows students to return. Pretty soon they’ll be running thousands of tests a week as a matter of course.

The university sent out two masks to each person on campus. Masks are required. That was a $600,000 expenditure. As Dr. Carroll says in the interview, this is entire exercise on the university’s part is about money and will. The university has had the will to build out, at some considerable expense, a robust system designed to help try to keep us safe.

It won’t be perfect, no. Nothing will be, and I think we acknowledge that here, but there’s something to the effort, and Dr. Carroll is a capable person, surrounded by similarly talented folks. That just has to filter down to the rest of us. A lot of this will come down to individual choices. Mine, yours, and everyone else’s.

Aug 20

But don’t analyze the marker

Among the many systems of keeping your life organized, you have to create strata so it all makes sense. And I have many systems. Calendars chart meetings and long term reminders. Index cards chart a day full of chores and meetings. My inboxes are tasks demanded by others. Word documents create a running list of fluid, ever-changing instructions to myself, half-baked ideas and strips of things I’ve copied and pasted. Notebooks hold life’s real mysteries: things that were important in the moment and adjudged to be of lasting significance, or at least worth treating like a mysterious message when I run across it again at some future point when the past is more than foggy.

But for everyday, in-the-moment reminders, the trust sticky note can’t be beat. You can get an hour or two’s worth of tasks on one with ease. They stick to a desk or, sometimes, a wall, and when you’re doing the peel-off process gives just enough resistance to mark the achievement. (And they fold up nicely into paper footballs, but that’s a different sort of benefit.)

Devoid of context, they are simultaneously enlightening and and mystifying.

Every day, sticky note. Every day.

Aug 20

Tuesday is getting even with me

I worked on campus yesterday. And I’m feeling it today! It was the sort of day that makes me glad I went to college. It was a highly physical day. We moved furniture. I sweat a lot. I only hurt myself twice, and on two separate tables.

One, I was trying to flip over a table and dropped it squarely on both big toes. You walk that off, in time. The other time, we were moving tables, via under-sized hand trucks, from one building to the other. This was a half-mile odyssey upon which only one table was destroyed. It wasn’t mine, at least.

It was sunny early, and then turned gray by midday.

And when we left at around 4 p.m. we were heavily invested in dodging rain drops. And that’s probably the part that left me the most achy today.

Probably not, but let’s go with it!

Anyway, it was nice to see people, at least the part of them between their masks and hairlines. It was nice to pitch in on a big project and make some progress on it. We were replacing furniture in a computer lab and rebuilding some edit bays and the like. Later this week we’ll go make some videos. It will almost feel like normal, if that’s your sort of thing.

I visited the grocery store on the way back to the house yesterday. I mention this only because the sport of mask watching seems to be obligatory at this point. The only people I saw sans-face covering were young people.

College town! What could go wrong!?

The only people I saw wearing masks incorrectly were three older ladies whose noses were born to be free, dagnabbit. What could go wrong, indeed.

I picked up the five items I went in for, stuffed them all in my semi-impermanent fabric shopping bags, forgot to look for the sixth item I was considering and made my escape, through the continuing rain. I was in and out in five minutes, and avoided both the mask deficient utes and the mask inefficient oldz.

The nicest part of all of this is that I loaded up the car with new music today. And, considering how much time I’m not spending in the car right now, it could last a good long while.

I predict you’re going to see more about this story in the next week or two.

The home state is also rocking the good personal decisions, I see.

That’s unfair, as generalizations go. Not everyone who is sick should be characterized as making poor choices. But a great many people seem to be intent on ill-informed decisions and it’s easy to sweep others into that group. To that subset of people, I apologize.

Perhaps you’ve already seen the instantly famous Axios interview. If not, you might. Either way, you might come away with some questions about what it contained. Seth Abramson put himself through the ringer to unpack the whole thing. It’s really something else. Do him a favor and reward his dedication to an unsavory job by reading about it.

And do me a favor by checking out these other places. There’s a lot more on Twitter, and I hear Instagram is popular these days, as well. Also, you can catch up on the work podcast On Topic with IU as well.

Jul 20

Posts this good don’t need titles

And now, two pictures of the same thing. This is in our foyer. And the sky and clouds were nice.

A bit later, I decided to take a photo of the wall, because sometimes you just have to blow out the sky and show off the color of walls that you inherited with the house.

One day we’re going to get that painted. It’ll be a professionally done job. First we have to settle on a color.

I got to talk political campaigns with a guy who studies politics today, so it was a good day. We were racing against the clock, trying to get this recorded before his kids found him and demanded he did Dad things for them.

He thinks schools are going to be a huge campaign issue this fall, which is probably true. I especially found that interesting considering the vote will be in November. He’s also talking about where the campaign donations are coming from, and the mail-in process.

We never did hear from his children. I was hoping this would be the episode that it finally happened. I always tell people on this program we’re just trying to get out the expertise, but I would absolutely highlight that sort of interruption. It’d be charming and real. No one has tried that yet, have they?

Jul 20

This is thin, I know

This is how the week is going so far. I kicked three consecutive field goals in the office last night.

And then I shanked one off the left upright and the football skittered off the desk and across the floor, which is a pretty good average for me.

I had a nice short run today. I’ve decided to just do one-milers for a while and see if I can get down to a respectable pace once again. And, from there, I’ll put some distance back in. Who knows if this is the right way to go, but I figure running less might mean I can, ultimately, run more.

For the briefest moment I had a running partner.

Here’s one thing you should know by now, but just in case you’re new here (and, if so, my apologies for this first impression) or you’ve forgotten: she’s faaaaast.

More on Twitter, check me out on Instagram and more On Topic with IU podcasts as well.