Apr 21

Almost everything but

I have two blisters on my hand and one less tree in the yard. These two things are related.

The tree was an Eastern black walnut, and some really thoughtful person planted it right next to the house. Well, this tree grew, as trees do, and it was crowded to the edge of the house and the porch and, after we spent the evening wrenching it from the earth, perhaps growing directly into the foundation.

Also some of the hedges got trimmed. Not all of them, because of that tree. It took longer than it should have, that tree. And now a flowering shrubbery of some sort will eventually go in its place.

You know the joke we’ve all shared this year about hand sanitizer finding all the new cuts on your hands? I remembered that when I made it to the office this morning.

That shovel was mean to me, is what I’m saying.

I sat in my little office and worked and then I went to the television studio. Speaking of the studio, here are two recent shows students produced that I haven’t shared with you. First, the evening show, from the growing-familiar-to-us-now bar set.

The drinks are stage props, and most definitely not for people in that establishment.

And here’s the morning show produced a new episode in the other studio, because that’s what morning shows do.

Tonight I watched crews do anchor practice in the same space. A lot of freshmen and sophomores came in for a few reads and, most importantly, feedback. The news directors, graduating seniors, ran the thing and they gave all the younger students great notes. That was a lot of fun to see. It wasn’t the changing of the guard, but it was a rehearsal. We’re getting ready to send more great young graduates into the world, and they are getting the underclassmen ready to start running the joint. It’s a great moment, if almost bittersweet.

I could tell you everything else about the day, but I know you really want to hear about the kitchen sink. And you’re going to hear all about that. You’re going to hear all about it tomorrow, because I got a reprieve tonight. So be sure you come back for that.

Apr 21

Good Friday

These are the shows the students produced last night.

This one took a little doing, but it came together in the end.

And the talk show followed. They found themselves in a tiny bit of a time crunch, but you’d never notice it here if I didn’t point it out to you, which is a great credit to the people you see in the program.

And some of that rolled into the rest of the night, which was the post-production meeting of which I was enthusiastic about last night. It made for a late night, but a useful one.

This morning it was back in the studio almost first-thing for another show. And then I ended the day in the control room while another show was being produced until 7:30 p.m. That means I was there until 7:30 on a Friday, but it also means students were working at their craft that, late, too. You surely can’t question their dedication when you see them doing that.

But now, finally, the weekend. May yours be all the things you’ve been looking forward to all week.

Mar 21

Back to the ol’ grindstone today

I woke up feeling much better today than I did yesterday, to be sure. Yesterday, waking up was exhausting and a little painful. The aches and pains got better as the day progressed, and I rested a lot. Today I put my feet on the floor feeling normal and almost refreshed.

And then I walked the block-and-a-half into my building on campus and was utterly wiped out. Winded. Hands-on-my-knees just finished a sprint sort of condition. But it passed. And by the end of a day at the office I felt much better. I guess that’s what work will do for you sometimes.

By the time I took this photo, standing in the backyard and looking to the south-southwest at 8:10 p.m., I felt as normal as any other day.

And just like that sunset, he said poetically, my side effects with my second dose of the Covid vaccine are already fading into memory.

Now bring on those super powers.

Here are two shows I didn’t see produced last night, so we can watch them for the first time together. And it looks like they’re trying something a little new here. I could spell it out for you, but I don’t want to spoil your fun.

And from one masked up, socially distant show to another, here’s what’s up this week, with What’s Up Weekly. (It stinks that they have to do this in masks, but I’m proud of how they’ve gone along with that since they came back to campus, and how they’ve adapted to all the other things put before them. “You need a suggestion for how to talk about yourself in a job interview, talk about rolling with the punches and continuing to put your best foot forward, no matter what the old guy insists to foist on you as safety precautions,” that’s what I tell them.)

That was a fast show this week. I guess there’s not a lot going on. Good! It’s not just me …

More here in this, a no April Fools’ joke zone, tomorrow.

Mar 21

The only thing I didn’t phone in today was this post

Took off from work today. Called in sick, by which I mean I woke up at about 7 a.m. and wrote a message in the Slack app and went back to sleep.

Here’s the bottom line. If you’ve ever been sick in your life you’ve felt worse than I do today. I almost have a headache. I almost feel like I have a sore throat. I have the mildest fever modern technology can observe. I am supremely tired. In fact, I’ve spent much of the day in bed. My chief complaint, then, doing my part to stay safe and help ensure the safety of the people around me, is general fatigue.

Well, I’m tired a lot anyway, so a long nap is a nice treat. And so long as I don’t have to move around a lot I can forget how weary I feel. Tomorrow will be a bit better, I’m sure. And the next day, too. And we’re already counting down the days to full vaccination, two weeks from yesterday.

After that we look forward to safely, carefully, seeing vaccinated family. My in-laws are already considering dates to visit, and that’s great! They’re vaccinated and outside their own two-week window, and so we can soon have a nice reunion soon, after some 17 months apart.

That’s what it will take, pragmatic choices, careful decisions. We’ve done that for a year. We’re comfortable continuing in that way. There won’t be any big crowded events or restaurants or exotic travel in our near future, but that’s OK. I appreciate the idea that we’re all a part of the field study. Experts are trying to determine how the vaccines and the real world are working together. And when you think of it in that light a slow and careful transition to more conventional behavior seems like obviously the right choice.

For the immediate future, then, my vaccine will feel a lot like a mental relief. The efficacy data of all of the shots are incredibly promising. People that have devoted their life to this work are very encouraged about what they’re coming to understand and what it will mean for us. And, until that’s written in stone, I can behave cautiously. I’ll be wearing masks at work for the foreseeable future anyway, but in two weeks I’ll feel better about our prospects in general. Some weight may be lifted. Perhaps I’ll lesson the decontamination procedures at the door of the house. Personal Space Guy won’t feel as invasive, eventually.

I’m still going to be mystified by Can’t Cover My Nose Man, though.

Now we’ve just got to get the rest of the populace on board. The concern has to be in the laggard adopters of the vaccine. We are all just treading water until everyone gets a bandaid on their arm.

I saved the cats until today, because it seemed like there wouldn’t be much more going on here. They are doing great, of course. Mostly because they did not get shots this week.

Phoebe has the serve.

She looks as tired as I feel, here.

I’m not sure what Poseidon was doing under the table, to be honest. Maybe he’s practicing to become a repair cat. Who can tell with him.

He seldom explains himself, after all.

Probably he spends most of his time wondering why we think he should feel compelled to explain himself. That’s a cat thing, surely.

There is a podcast to share. This is the one I recorded and edited last Friday. I referred to it vaguely in this space, as well. And now you can listen to it. It was a delightful conversation about children and teens and a year of Covid. There’s a fair amount of “Kids are resilient, but …” And it’s a fine conversation about a fascinating topic with, unfortunately, few definitive answers at the moment.

I came to find, after the fact, an old feature story about Jerry Wilde, the professor I’m talking with there. Some years back he received an organ transplant from a former student. What an impression one person must have made on the other, to inspire them to do so in kind.

And to wrap up a day where I’ve done nothing but sleep and have all of this to show for it, this is a show the late night crew shot in Studio 5. It’s getting meta and awkward, but that’s all in character.

I think.

Mar 21

Now with more spring in the thing

As promised some two weeks ago, there is a new look to the front page of this humble website. Here is a hint as to the current theme.

And you can see the whole presentation if you just click this little link. That’s from a little flowering tree in the backyard. In a few more weeks it will meet it’s full glory. But we’ll probably be featuring a different look by then.

Quite day today, for the most part. I worked on questions for an interview I recorded late this afternoon. The last official act of the week was editing it. I’ll publish the thing on Monday. It was pleasant. A thoroughly delightful chat with a delightful guy. And, like so much of life, there were few concrete answers. You know that going into a lot of things, it doesn’t ameliorate the feeling after the fact though. He said as much, at one point, too. Occupational hazard for him, you see. He’s spent his whole career in that world. He recounted a conversation he had when he was in college. A friend of his who was studying physics just couldn’t comprehend the inconclusive nature of the soft sciences. You could sum it up as ‘I could work a lifetime on a problem and not be able to see it through. Or know the result. Or know if I was correct.’

I guess we all make peace with some sort of limitations.

Or, maybe, if the idea of that makes you a little twitchy — as it does me — the limitation is misplaced. The journey is the destination and all that. I’m sure a great many books have been written about that approach for the goal- and the task-oriented. There’s a bookstore shelf full of those somewhere. Each with a less satisfying resolution than the last. They say things like, Sure you need provisions from the grocery store, but did you see those clouds in the sky? And have you ever really wondered how those things made it to the store and then found yourself at a working farm asking questions about the history of dairy farming? And why did you drive there, anyway? What does that say about us? That we are slaves to cars, the ultimate sign of freedom? And what of the lives you touched along the way?

Anyway, while it was a little perplexing from an issue-conflict-resolution perspective, it was a fine interview. I’ll put it here Monday.

We do have some sports videos for you. Students produced these last night and they were ready for you, piping hot and fresh, this morning. Highlights and updates, updates and highlights:

And if you want to hear people pick their favorite baseball teams as a pre-season analysis, then we’ve got you covered there, too.

I had a conversation about changing sports just to see how the strategy would change. What if you took two timeouts away from basketball? What if you really only played those last five minutes anyway? Say the XFL had the opportunity to really explore their rule changes before Covid came around, what does that do to your play calling? What would happen if the NCAA took a rooting financial interest in elevating women’s basketball and tried to make, you know, money off the thing? What would that look like? Suppose there weren’t end-of-inning resets for baserunners in baseball. What takes place then? Why not send the Detroit Tigers and the Pittsburgh Pirates down to AAA ball for a year, since they clearly aren’t playing well where they are?

(The answers are: The games would be 15 faster. The games would be 90 minutes shorter. It gets more aggressive. We may never find out because the NCAA is full of shortsighted leadership. Also, they’d pass the buck until they could claim the victory as their own, brought on solely and only because of their fearless leadership. You’d routinely have baseball games will final scores like 19-8, fewer utility infielders, more speed, larger pitching staffs and team psychologists to help ballplayers cope with it all. And who says the Tigers and Pirates aren’t already playing minor league ball?)

I had this conversation with some students who haven’t yet been bored enough to think up things like this. But there comes a day, some day when the only game they can watch are the Detroit Tigers … and they’re going to start thinking these things through.

But hopefully it won’t be on a weekend. A weekend! Which is upon us now! Have a delightful one!