In which we’re gonna need a bigger boat

I’ll get to the graphic in a minute; this is gonna be another grab-baggy sort of post. Bear with me.

I just finished mowing the back yard, just in time for it to start pouring outside, so I’m sure all the grass will be regrown in a day or two. I have shared my distaste for lawn work many times before; in fact, bitching about my lawn was one of my first posts around here. My wife, who is more fond of working outdoors than I am, generally handles it; my job is to remove snow, and we collaborate on leaves. You may recall that she broke her foot a couple of weeks ago, which coincided with the weather being nice enough that the grass came back to life; to her credit, she waited for me to figure it out myself that I was going to have to mow the fucking yard and didn’t bring it up until I’d ruined my own day. Having mowed the full mess over the last two days, I have realized something: I feel basically the same way about yard work as I do about writing fiction. I absolutely hate doing it, but the feeling of being done with it is absolutely stellar. I love looking at a freshly-mowed yard. I just don’t want to have to create the conditions to be able to do that. If I ever figure out how to enjoy writing as much as I enjoy being done with writing I will be at Seanan McGuire levels of productivity in six months.

Speaking of mowing: I don’t wear headphones all that often, so it was already kind of weird that I shelled out so much money for the AirPods Pro that I bought a bit ago– but holy shit, am I impressed by how good noise cancelling works. I wasn’t even listening to music for a good part of mowing the yard; I just had the headphones in with the noise cancelling on and I could barely hear anything. Cue someone hopping into comments to tell me that’s going to kill my ears, of course.

Regarding yesterday’s addendum to yesterday’s first post: I think, based on comments, that it is clear that 1) I don’t know anything about Great Britain or their money; and 2) It is absolutely the way people write about their money that is bullshit, thus Option Two wins. I don’t feel like it is unreasonable to suggest that if you are going to spend a fair amount of your time in a book talking about people’s income levels and how much things cost, and the people you are talking about use a monetary system that is no longer in use and is not exactly intuitive, maybe put a chart somewhere explaining how it works? I’m willing to be accused of shocking ignorance on this, that’s fine, there are lots of things I don’t know, but part of the reason I was able to not realize that the shilling got phased out however many years ago was that nobody ever explains what the fuck a shilling is in history books. They just assume you know there are 3.2 shillings in a Cumberbatch and move the fuck on with the narrative. Put a damn chart in there somewhere!

The feasibility study has been returned, and it turns out I’m not actually able to watch the Snowpiercer TV series without spending additional money. I had heard it was showing up on Hulu, but apparently that’s only true if you pony up for some sort of “Live TV” add-on, and … nah.

I will, nonetheless, bow to the will of the interwebs and watch this program as soon as I can do so without spending money for it. That may take a while, however. In the meantime, Avatar: the Last Airbender is on Netflix and I somehow haven’t finished Season 5 of She-Ra yet so I need to up my TV-watching time as a percentage of my day.

I have seen a couple of different variations of the graphic at the top of this post floating around on the internet recently, as well as a couple of different NO NO THIS IS THE INTERNET BEING STUPID types of counter-posts. Folks, the official CDC “considerations” are right here; feel free to look at them yourself and compare them to whatever version of the graphic you’ve seen recently. The paraphrasing is essentially accurate, and the fact that the CDC, whether they’re calling them “guidelines” or “considerations”, doesn’t actually have the power to make their thoughts law doesn’t really matter. The point is, the fucking Center for Disease Control has effectively said that there is no way to safely open schools. Because these “guidelines” or “considerations” or whatever the fuck you want to call them are impossible, and every teacher and other adult who has ever spent any time in schools knows that. I am done for the year, effectively, and my son’s last day was yesterday (I still have some PD stuff over the next couple of weeks, and grades have to be finalized, but there is no further e-learning this year) and there is a lot of time for things to change one way or another between now and August, but the way things stand right now we are not going to be able to reopen schools this fall. Not safely, at least. I know the person in the White House doesn’t give a damn; that’s perfectly clear, but so far the governors have been more reasonable.

Speaking of governors, I had this conversation with my wife earlier:

For context, Woody Whoever’s last name is not Whoever and he is running for Governor as a Democrat, and he is running such a low-key, bullshit campaign that I literally didn’t know that there even was a gubernatorial race this year until seeing his name on my primary ballot. I do not at this time remember his last name and I’m not about to look it up. I did some quick research before I marked his name on the primary ballot (not that it would have mattered, as he was the only candidate) and he seems basically competent, but Gov. Holcomb is one of the few Republicans I’m aware of who I would also describe as “basically competent.” He’s shit on education, but so is everyone else in the damn world. Obama was shit on education. I’ve voted for one candidate who was good on education policy in the last fifteen years or so and she turned out to be a shitty politician and got voted right out again after her first term. It just doesn’t happen that damn often.

Regarding the headline to this post: when I initially wrote it I had plans to tie it into one of the parts of the post, and it was going to make sense and be at least moderately funny in the way my post titles occasionally are, and I have completely forgotten what the hell I was going to tie it into or how– something about classroom size, maybe?– but I’m not going to change it. “I am an idiot” is definitely a theme of this post so we may as well run that shit straight into the ground while we still can.

3:24 PM, Friday, May 22: 1,590,349 confirmed cases and 95,490 Americans dead.

Hmm let’s see

Feeling kind of bullet-pointy today, so let’s do a bits and bobs post rather than trying to construct some sort of coherent narrative:

  • After discovering at least one other teacher was doing this, I’ve decided to just go ahead and record my e-learning lessons for the rest of the year and get them all posted as fast as possible. I’m already done with the rest of this week and so I only have three more to do; they’ll probably all be finished tomorrow.
  • In theory, the kids are done on May 20, although they have until the 27th to turn in their work, and the district appears to think that we’re going to be doing trainings until school would have actually ended in June, but they haven’t actually given us any details on how that would work. I’m sure I’ll be super psyched about it once I know.
  • If you live in South Bend, you should have requested your primary ballot by now, dammit. I’d appreciate it if you’d vote yes on the referendum questions that are on the ballot so that my job can afford to keep paying me and we can invest in roofs and drinkable water and such in our buildings.
  • The usual gang of dipshits has discovered our dastardly plan to raise tax money and then spend it in such a way that it has a chance to benefit brown children, so naturally there’s a Vote No movement. I’ve only actually seen two signs about town but every time I do I have to forcibly restrain the urge to either steal the sign or drive up into people’s lawns to destroy them.
  • It is possible that the whole home-isolation thing is affecting my generally genial and go-along-to-get-along personality, I’m not sure.
  • I think Mike Pence probably has tested positive for coronavirus, because there was an announcement today that they were isolating him from that other person. I do not think that there is a single chance in hell that the White House would tell the truth about either of them being infected. Hell, I’d trust North Korean media about Kim Jong Un before I’d trust this White House to tell me the truth, and that’s kind of scary.
  • I am Back on My Shit in a number of ways recently, and in my idle moments today have been researching larger monitors for my computer (utterly unnecessary, as my iMac is already the largest possible size and I sit no more than two feet away from it, plus I already have a secondary monitor) as well as bikes for fat guys (they exist, and as far as I can tell America’s fat men have already bought them all, because none are in stock anywhere) and green screens for my office, which will become much less necessary tomorrow, when I’m done recording e-learning lessons for at least the next few months.
  • I have not been on a bike in over 30 years, as I basically learned how to ride one because my brother wanted to learn and then never did it again. If it is possible to forget how to ride a bike, I have done so. This is an exceptionally poor idea, especially given how much any bike robust enough to support my fat ass would cost.
  • I am wearing shorts. It’s not warm outside or anything like that, but it’s fucking mid-May and I’m wearing shorts because fuck you, mid-May.
  • We just ordered a new refrigerator for our garage, because I need a place to store my many beverages that will keep them cold. I do not actually drink alcohol, so yes, I’m actually envisioning an entire refrigerator filled with Pepsi, tea, Mountain Dew, and Gatorade.
  • Additional Back-On-My-Shittery: I’m back on oh man I really want to do a podcast I should buy a bunch of equipment for podcasting pay no attention to the fact that I still don’t have the vaguest idea what my podcast would be about I just wanna buy shit.
  • That said, my Blue Yeti desk microphone has finally earned back the money I spent on it over the last couple of months, as it really does sound a lot better in my videos than the internal mic on my computer. It’s also not entirely impossible that I’ll let myself invest in a better webcam than the one that’s built in, but I shouldn’t.
  • Lurking in the back of my head is the certainty that we will absolutely be needing to teach from home again this fall. That will probably be what ends up getting me to pull the trigger on the greenscreen, at least.
  • I also spent a few minutes yesterday looking into an online Ed.D, which … nah.
  • I’m listening to Post Malone right now, and this track he does with Ozzy Osbourne is amazing.
  • 3:42 PM, Tuesday May 12: 1,358,901 confirmed cases and 81,650 American deaths.

April 6, Status Report

…because everything lengthy I might want to write fills me with horror, have a Random Bits post:

  • HEALTH UPDATE: I have not taken any medicine for the last several days and woke up this morning without having a coughing fit. I also made it through last night without getting up and having to blow my nose or wipe anything disgusting off of my face. I’m still coughing occasionally so I’m not 100% yet but my going-on-five-weeks-long Upper Respiratory Thing appears to be on the wane, finally.
  • So I’ll have COVID-19 by next week.
  • Speaking of: I left the house today for only the second time since March 16, to take some stuff to (and have lunch with) my dad and then to get some banking stuff done that could not be done over the phone or the Internet. The last time I left was also to see Dad. He’s only leaving the house once a week to go to the grocery, so we have lots to talk about.
  • That was sarcasm. I never have anything to talk about anymore. I play Nioh 2 and read books. That’s it.
  • Gas was $1.23 a gallon. I’m going to put the boy in the car tomorrow and drive to Kokomo and back just for the sheer hell of it.
  • I was wearing this shirt the last time I posted a picture of myself to the blog. That was not intentional.
  • I never mentioned it here, but school is officially E-learning-only for the rest of the school year, so the next time I will be expected to “go” to a “job” will be in August. Which is insane. I am actually planning on spending some time over this week trying to figure out how to make my lessons more engaging for the kids who are still bothering to tune in.
  • Obligatory reminder: I am incredibly lucky in that between my job, which can be done from home, and my wife’s job, which is in the health care sector, we are reasonably well insulated from the utter carnage that the job market has turned into. I was planning on spending the summer at least casually looking around; that plan is no longer in effect. I will return to my current job this fall unless I am actively prevented from doing so, which given my seniority can be reasonably described as unlikely.
  • CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Billie Eilish. Her *first* album, which tells you that I own her first album.
  • SPEAKING OF MUSIC: You may recall me being super happy about the new Pearl Jam album that came out … recently. How recently? I think it was in March, so somewhere between seven days and seventeen years. I haven’t mentioned it since. I won’t quite go so far as to say I was disappointed, but I was disappointed.
  • Wait.
  • Damn.
  • Gigaton is, so far, an intensely forgettable album, which is not a word I’ve used to describe many Pearl Jam albums. It deserves a couple more listens but I do most of my music listening in the car, notwithstanding the current playing of Billie Eilish, and I haven’t been driving much.
  • There is a song on the album called Comes Then Goes, which sounds so much like Parting Ways, released in 2000, that I’m actually weirdly angry about it.
  • I am listening to old Billie Eilish instead of new Pearl Jam, though, which probably should tell you something.
  • Related: I’m way behind on my podcasts, and I even found a couple of new ones to look into that I haven’t found time to listen to, because my “listening to things” time is disrupted.
  • VAGUEBOOKING: If you’re going to write speculative fiction, your world needs to have some rules to it, even if the characters don’t necessarily know what they are. You gotta spend some time on worldbuilding. Anything Can Happen At Any Time isn’t a plot, it’s a 12-year-old’s power fantasy.
  • UTTERLY UNRELATED: I have said good things about Daniel Ford’s Jack Dixon detective series, which I’ve read the first book from and am eagerly anticipating the release of the second. I recently finished the first book of his epic fantasy Paladin Trilogy, which is already interesting just because who the hell writes both detective novels and epic fantasy? and is also interesting because, well, it was interesting. I liked ORDINATION a lot and you should check it out.
  • The Billie Eilish album is over so now I’m listening to Pearl Jam. The back half, specifically, because why not.
  • I miss Bill Withers.
  • I keep almost writing a post about Tara Reade. If you know who Tara Reade is, you can probably guess why I haven’t written the post yet, because it’s going to be a damned tricky thing to write one way or another.
  • I would like to remind everyone that I wanted to vote for a woman.
  • Indiana still doesn’t vote until fucking June, which is still two months away. So my opinion about Tara Reade, regardless of where I land on it, may not be relevant anyway.
  • As of right now, 5:41 PM on Monday April 6: 356,942 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, and 10,524 deaths.
  • AN HOUR AND TEN MINUTES LATER: I finished Gigaton and have been listening to Binaural. My god, what a fucking amazing album Binaural is. Also, an additional 257 people have been reported dead in America while I’ve been sitting here listening to music.
  • If you happen to have noticed the headline change, it’s because I popped over to Scalzi’s site and saw this, and feel like since I saw the article yesterday I accidentally stole the post title. So it’s different now.