Jan 22

A day with everything in it

It was a do-most-everything day. A bit of writing here, a bit of editing there. Consulted on a Snapchat campaign. Some social media, some file uploading. Casted a student for a recruitment campaign. Discussed a physical mailer. Hired some students. Shot some photographs. Recorded some video. The only thing I didn’t do was any audio, but I’ll have a podcast Thursday, if I make it that far.

I also had two meetings this morning, and I got pulled out of both of them for nonsensical reasons. Maybe it made me look important to the people I had to leave. It felt rude, but when you’re called, you go, right?

Was I needed when I got there? Wherever that was? I was not. The first time it was because someone else couldn’t be found, and I was to be the stand-in. (When I got there, the other person had turned up.) The second time there was a question about microphone audio. (It was fine.)
So I got to go back to my meetings. Probably didn’t look all that important after that.

This was Saturday, a rare clear winter’s day. Cold, and worth it.

But that’s the miracle of it, really. Not every day is like that. Most aren’t. In fact, this was Sunday morning, after it snowed.

And this was this morning.

What’s the point of this? We’re nearing the end of January, and I don’t know. It’s been a mild winter so far, thankfully. Had a bit of real cold, but that’s to be expected. No real snow. I told a former student who is working in North Carolina that she got more snow this weekend than we’ve had all winter so far, and I was glad for it. (She’s a meteorologist, so all sorts of weather makes her happy.) We’ve just had the gray. And we’ll get a lot more of that. Maybe that’s the part that will be cruel this year. If it’s just comparatively mild, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking it is almost spring. But it’ll be almost three more months before views like this are the norm.

It was stunning to see that this evening. It was stunning that I got out of the office and back to the house in time to see it. And this is the second real sign of the progression of the seasons: though you’ve known it, intellectually, for a month now, this is when you can now notice the days are getting a bit longer without carefully noting the clocks. The longer days, of course, being the best part about the place.

The first real sign of the coming change of seasons, of course, is seeing commercials for the Masters on TV. I don’t watch the tournament, but hearing Ray Charles, seeing those beautiful views, you know: Augusta is getting ready for their spotlight, and it’s OK to pine for the pines, and springtime.

In two more months. Until the end of March it is perpetual gray punctuated by false hopes — and I’ll only talk about this two dozen more times. At least Saturday looked nice!

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

Love this shirt, until it comes time to pair it with something.

Got a nice compliment on that pocket square, though. It’s one I made, which made it all that much better. And prompted me to show off the day’s cufflinks. No one was counting on that.

I made those, too.

I am a man of fashion intrigue.

Jan 22

Which one of these birds decided it was time move?

I stepped outside the other evening to take the twice-daily sky picture (#IndianaSkyStudy on Instagram) and caught the shift change at some of the local ponds.

Just any old day now, one hopes, the Canada geese will head back north.

And they will, in two or three long months.

Speaking of long, today was my first 11-plus hour day of the semester. And a first-thing-tomorrow meeting, too! It started in one of our podcast studios, where I had to refresh a faculty member on basic production techniques. My morning continued with a longer session teaching production techniques to a student. Then there was a lot of editing, meetings, Email and Slack messages. Regular office stuff.

It ended in a television studio. IUSTV Sports started back up tonight.

And so we’re underway for another exciting term. It’ll feature almost 100 television programs and four or five different podcast programs and live reporting on all of IU’s varsity sports and quite a few more 10- and 12-hour days between now and the end of April.

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

And today I opted for a simple, classic look.

That’s a pocket square I made last year. I’m fancy.

Nov 21

You’ve got video options

Right as I cross the street onto campus I walk under this ginko tree. It was having a busy morning. And this is your moment of Friday meditation. It’s 60 seconds. Just watch it over and over until your weekend begins.

I will.

This is directly below that same tree, and it’s the next installment in my jigsaw puzzle project.

Wouldn’t you like to have a whole series of puzzles like that? I think it’s a 5000-piece puzzle. And, of course, as my contribution to the innovation puzzle industry, I’m proposing two-sided puzzles. This side yellow leaves, the other side red leaves.

One more show before the Thanksgiving break. This is the talk show the sports gang produced Wednesday evening. So if leaves aren’t your things, there’s always more sports talk to be had, right?

This week’s episode is a deep examination of the current state of the NFL.

And if you’re not in the mood for leaves or sports talk, here’s a car chase I watched this live this evening. One of the better ones I’ve ever seen. It had a little bit of everything — high speeds, PIT attempts, spike strips, wrong-way-down-the-freeway, bystanders trying to pitch in, a standoff, K-9, rubber bullets, bumper cars — it was a roller coaster of emotion and, happily, no one was hurt.

Some Fridays you just want a good chase and some Fridays deliver.

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

Here’s a pocket square I made. First time I’ve worn it.

And I also made these cufflinks this summer, as well.

Looked pretty snazzy for a quiet day in the office.

And that’s my last day before the break. There will be some stuff here next week, so if you’ve not logged off for the week, stop back by and see the good stuff.

Nov 21

The two promised unusual things

We’re coming to the last of it. The brilliant, crisp days before the gray moves in permanently, and the final trees before everything is just point sticks into the sky. Within the next week or so winter will set in, most decidedly, with an awkward plop. But, until then, we still have some lovely views of a few vibrant sweetgums.

These are on my little miniature walk from the parking deck to the office. There’s a half-block of sweetgums in a row.

I don’t know who planted, or left them, there, but it was the right choice, and I silently thank them for that decision this time of year.

It’s a good view walking east.

I had to walk further that direction on campus, today, because we signed up for the voluntary asymptomatic Covid tests. The university has been doing these on campus since the beginning. Initially all of the samples went to New Jersey, but they built a lab for this campus, and the one in Bloomington, and now you get your results in hours.
Anyway, this is part of that walk, from the Old Crescent, across Spanker’s Branch, past the IMU and the hotel (yes, there’s a giant hotel on campus) and one of the ancient gymnasia.

In fact, where they are conducting the tests is a small gym of some sort. Not sure what it is used for when we’re not in the midst of a pandemic, but today you register online, walk in, swipe your campus ID card at the first table, answer three questions, “Have you had anything to eat or drink in the last half hour? Have you had any symptoms? Have you been advised to quarantine?”

I remember the first time they asked you these aloud. Now they just point. The product of doing anything a few thousand times is finding the easiest way to do it. I also remember when I used to read the sign, now I just assume they haven’t changed the questions. No, no, no.

And then you go to a second table, two young men are sitting there waiting on the printer to produce a label that they wrap on the little plastic tube. They used to tell you how much saliva to produce. Now they just ask if you’ve done this before.

I have! It’s an asymptomatic testing site, and we’ve fortunately never had any symptoms, but it’s good to have the peace of mind before traveling or having guests.

So now you have that little tube in your head and you’ve been working the saliva glands overtime for the last few minutes. Produce, produce, produce. The first time or two you do this, it seems daunting. But the students are right: after you’ve had the experience you can generate that kind of spit on demand.

In the gym they’ve created lanes and there are stickers and don’t stand too near anyone because everyone’s mask is lowered and it’s time to spit into the little plastic container. You have to fill it to the bottom of the sticker. Did it in record time. Cap the sucker off, wipe it down with a few wet naps, put it in the tray and hope that the person who picks those up at the end of the day isn’t feeling clumsy. Then you get out of there. You get notified of the test results in a few hours.

(Update: Negative again, as expected. Bring on the in-laws.)

And then it was back to the office, for office stuff.

After work I walked the three blocks to the local public library. I’ve had a book on hold there for some time and this week Craig Johnson’s latest became available to me.

I enjoyed this lovely maple just outside the building.

Then I went inside — one of the few places I’ve been during the pandemic, and though I’ve been here twice, it’s one of only two dozen or so public buildings I have visited in the last 18 months — the library which is always amusing. It is built into an uneven plot of land. So going through this particular door means you go down an immediate flight of stairs. The children’s section is to the right and the used book store is nearby and there are a few meeting rooms and offices down there. It has a half-submerged feeling, not the least which is because of the large set of stairs that sweeps up and to the left to get to the main floor of books.

I walked down to immediately walk back up. And where those stairs deposit you is right next to the rows of reserve books. In fact the books for people with S names is directly in front of me, and mine is in the first section, at knee level. I was able to grab that quickly and say a silent thanks to the person who keeps those well alphabetized, and used the kiosk to check myself out. Scan my card, input my password, scan the book, print the receipt. And then back down the grand staircase, and then immediately up the half staircase to exit.

All of the power of a library, none of the human interaction. The most time intensive part, aside from waiting for the book to become available, was inputting my eight-character password.

Outside, I found another potential candidate for my jigsaw puzzle series.

And I walked back to the parking deck. Here’s one of the same sweetgums I photographed this morning, and showed you above.

Brilliant as they are, they really do need the right kind of sunlight. Either way, it’s a shame photographs can’t convey the real sense of a quality leaf turn.

So there you go, two new stories for an otherwise average Thursday. I spat in a cup and a checked out a book.

It’s all downhill from there.

And here’s the routine sharing of this week’s sports show. Lots of highlights to check out from the IU students, and it’s all brought to you by the IU broadcast students.

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

I think this combination did better in person than in the photographs. Anyway, a new pocket square.

And a pair of the cufflinks I made this past summer.

And I am now one day closer to the Thanksgiving break. Just one day to go!

Nov 21

It’s a Tuesday, is what I’m saying

Late start to the day, but I had a nice little run late in the morning, just to get things moving. I didn’t even feel tired or sore later. Which means I’ll have to do it again, I guess. That’s something to look forward to.

Also had a late night on campus last night. There was a speaker that we streamed online, a young journalist from Afghanistan who only just barely got out of her home country when Kabul fell. Fatema Hosseini literally got out under the lash of the Taliban.

It was a compelling conversation. We streamed it to Zoom. Maybe someone will put it online one day. The school’s Facebook page, or on their YouTube account would be great places. It’d be nice to have people see that program after the fact, to refer back to it, to share it with other interested parties.

I’d like to be able to show it to you, after all, is what I’m saying.

Perhaps one day. But, today, the sky!

And we should check in on the cats. Phoebe has adjusted nicely to the milder weather and she likes being cozy under blankets.

Poseidon likes blankets, too, but he’s an even bigger fan of the ambient heat radiating away from the oven.

Goofy cat. Smart, goofy cat.

While I can’t show you what we produced last night, I can show you this video, which some of the TV students produced for the morning show.

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

Today’s look, my 2009 Canadian poppy for Veteran’s Day and Remembrance Day and a very loud pocket square I made last summer.

That’s rapidly becoming one of my favorite jackets. It’s soft and supple, and pairs well with wild pocket squares and simple shirts.

And here are the cufflinks I paired it all with. Also accessories I made over the summer.

They’d look fairly dapper if anyone could see them. I need shorter arms, and longer sleeves!

It was another night in the studio, this evening. News and nothing but the news — and some sort of coffee sampler demo thing? — and that’ll all be online for you tomorrow. The IUSTV people really understand how to turn around video is what I’m saying.