In which I left the house!

… I didn’t go far, mind you. I literally went out the front door to go get the mail and then sat on the porch and read for a while because somehow all the snow that was out there the last time I looked outside was gone and it was like 62 degrees. But I literally don’t think I’d been outside for any longer than it took to snatch a package off my front porch in … well, many days. I don’t know how many days. I only barely know what day it is right now.

(That’s not true. It’s Wednesday, and I just recorded tomorrow’s instructional video and got tomorrow’s e-learning assignment ready, completing them early for the first time since we’ve been in this whole mess. I know what day it is, I just can’t relate that to anything else I’ve done on any other days.)

Also, WordPress appears to have “updated” again, which right now means that the image looks like it’s broken and is pushing up against the words up there. If that’s what’s going on once this posts it’s not my fault. The whole time I’ve been with WordPress every time they try to “improve” something it starts with breaking what they have, so here we go on a new cycle, I guess.

Anyway.

I did a thing earlier today that I really don’t like to do, which is bail on a book by an author, not only whose work I generally really like, but who has achieved a level of acclaim and accolades for his work that I can say with no fear of condemnation or argument that I will never, ever achieve.

(No, this isn’t me being down on myself. Dude has been knighted. I may have many accomplishments left in the time that is left to me, but I will never be a knight.)

Anyway, this particular example of his work wasn’t going to be something that was going to work right now for several reasons:

  1. It foregrounded several aspects of his writing that I have never been terribly fond of, while ignoring and/or leaving out the themes that I really like about his work;
  2. It turns out that the shitgibbon is not only the inspiration for a major character, but will be at least indirectly playing a more direct role in the final third of the book, and, uh, no thank you; that motherfucker does not get to show up in my fiction that I read when I’m trying to escape from the hellscape he has transformed the actual world into;
  3. I am trying very hard to clear up a huge backlog while I’m home as much as I am, and that’s going to leave me less patient than I might be otherwise for things about a book that are annoying me.

Why am I being coy about the author? Because the last time I wrote a bad review about a book by an author I liked the post got way more popular than I wanted it to– more popular than any of the good pieces I’d written about that person’s work, and, well, my Goodreads is right there, and I am not about to have a post that becomes the This Is The One Where Luther Siler, Utterly Unknown Person, Shits on Famous Author XXX XXX again.

So, yeah, if you’re super curious, click the link, and look for recent books by people who can legally call themselves Sir, and … it won’t be hard to find.

E-learning, Day 4

It has been two days since I last wore pants. I had an entire ass parent conference today and did the whole thing in no pants. Recorded an entire video lesson last night. It’s on YouTube. No pants.

I’m not going to make it six weeks.

In which nobody is kidding and this shit is real

There needs to be a word— there probably is one, in German at least, but I don’t know it– for simultaneously 1) recognizing how incredibly lucky you are compared to a whole lot of other people, and 2) feeling like you are completely unable to manage your own life. Because … holy shit, y’all. And also a word for I am complaining about this, but I am also not complaining about this because the thing I am complaining about is the right thing to do. That needs to be a word too. I assume y’all understand me.

(Cue absolutely everyone nodding.)

The governor closed down all schools in Indiana until May 1. May fucking 1st. And the mayor– the new one, not the dude who ran for president– put us under a travel advisory today. It’s an advisory only, mind you, meaning that there’s no real teeth to it, but it’s a sign that more may be coming. I am not going back to work for six weeks. And I have to figure out how to educate the proportion of my students who can be counted on to make themselves available for said education for those six weeks, and figure out what to do with the (probably over half) group of them who are not going to do anything at all during that time.

Now, this feels overwhelming, but balance the fact that I’m going to get paid to work from home for the next six weeks against that, and that my wife also has a job where she can relatively easily transition into working from home during that time if necessary, and that unlike a whole lot of people my job is not suddenly going to actually go away, and I really should be outside dancing in the streets at how lucky I am. Because my immediate family, at least, is (within the world of those of us who are not so rich that we don’t have to worry about it at all) basically as set up to weather this storm as we could possibly be.

In the meantime, though, and with that said, I’m trying to figure out how the hell any of this works on the ground, especially since the governor just de facto cancelled state testing, which is kinda legally mandated and has a whole lot of money attached to it, to say nothing of the fact that it’s supposed to be a factor in all of our performance reviews at the end of the year. And, like, school letter grades, which were already a massive mess. The entire window for testing was in April, y’all. That’s done now, and I don’t think anyone thinks we’re gonna bring these kids back on May 1

(we are not going to bring them back on May 1)

and immediately throw state testing at them. It’s just not going to happen. Also, like, every IEP in existence is getting violated right now, because as far as I know none of them are written in a way that acknowledges the possibility of six or seven weeks of e-learning. Those also are all legal documents that we can be sued for not following correctly.

It is, in short, one more huge mess in the thick of all the other huge messes that are taking place right now. The unprecedentedly, ridiculously huge pile of huge messes.

… and meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the US just crossed 10,000, mostly on the strength of New York State starting to take testing seriously and somehow getting a ton of kits from somewhere. Expect that to increase by a staggering amount over the next few days.

I’d say “take a deep breath,” but doing that might trigger another coughing fit, so I’m not gonna. Still sick, and still not with the ‘Rona, if anyone’s wondering.

Stay safe, y’all.

And we’re off!

School will be open on Monday, as apparently they’ve decided to break from past practice and send computers home with the 3rd-5th graders, requiring a whole lot of people to spend time disassembling computer carts today. Starting Tuesday, we are closed for “at least” two weeks, and seeing as after the third week we have Spring Break anyway I suspect we will not be returning for it. So there’s a very good chance that I’m about to be off work for a solid month, expected only to produce e-learning assignments and lectures for students who will not do the assignments and not view the lectures. I’m considering making one of them a profanity-laced tirade just to see if anyone notices. Since my kids don’t need to come to school to pick up Chromebooks, and since no one with any sense is going to send their kids to school under these circumstances (one single day followed by two weeks off, in the middle of a pandemic?) I expect to have less than 25% of my students in the building and I have no plans to actually provide any instruction. Pretty sure it’s going to be completely pointless to even try. I’ll spend Tuesday at home recording lectures and putting together simple assignments, and that’ll be that until April.

I guess it works out for me that Nioh 2 came out today, then.

The original game ate my goddamn life when it came out. Ate my goddamn life. I think I’ve got … 200 hours in it right now? More? I’m scared to look, but it was the only thing my PS4 was for for months after it came out. I put about three or four hours into it today (note that today was the last day of the 3rd quarter and a teacher record day, so the kids weren’t at school and I ducked out early once I finished everything I had to do) and I see no reason to believe that it’ll be of any lesser quality.

Oh, right, and I’ll have the boy with me the whole time too, because he’s also off until April. I have to feed them every day, right? That’s how that works, with kids?

In which I’m getting paranoid

Spent the day at home with the boy, who hasn’t been at school for the last couple of days. Most of the time when he’s sick my wife is able to work from home, but she wasn’t today on account of various Meetings What Could Not Be Emails. I am mostly feeling better; my voice has more or less recovered, although I do have an annoying throat cough still lingering.

I’ve spent most of the day in a state of vague horror at the world, honestly, both as various places and institutions either do or don’t react to the continuing spread of the coronavirus. It’s an open question as to how my district is going to react to it; attendance has been shitty for several weeks now and I suspect it’s only going to get worse, and I’m absolutely certain that there are already students in our buildings who are carriers; if there aren’t, there will be by the end of the week. Meanwhile, you may be aware there’s another batch of primaries tonight; I’m sure that won’t cause any particular stress.

I dunno. Despite everything I’ve always been a person who more or less feels like most people are basically competent and trying their best, and that brings with it a certain amount of trust in institutions, something that really should have been bred out of me by now. And what frustrates me about this is that no one anywhere, from national governments on down, who has any sort of a plan for how to deal with this shit before it gets much, much worse. Like, I’m hearing about schools that have confirmed cases shutting down for two weeks. Well, okay. What happens when in two weeks the epidemic isn’t over and you have another student test positive? Do we shut down for another two weeks at that point? How many times do we do this?

Anyone? Bueller?

Yeah.

On the I Know Nothing About Politics front, I suspect Sanders is going to be in an awful lot of trouble after tonight’s primaries are tallied, but I got this wrong last time too, so we’ll see what happens. Lord knows the fucker won’t be dropping out anytime soon one way or another.