Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

In a Time of Virus: Hell of a Year for a Fourth of July

I think a lot about that grotesque video of Donald Trump hugging and kissing a flag.  It's the act of an insincere buffoon putting on a show for other morons.  Of the 30,000 things he did that should have been a red flag to anyone considering where to place their vote, that image surely could have summarized exactly why this half-assed con-artist should have been left dealing with lawsuits and trying to sell his shitty products and run out of a presidential race on a rail.

That's the same flag people say they would "die" for (I am aware that's a symbolic statement, as much as the flag is a symbol).  But it's also the same piece of cloth that I recall people having serious discussions about creating prison time for anyone burning or desecrating (missing that whole First Amendment business, but, then, when haven't we?).

The United States is on fire enough that as other countries have flattened the curve, they've watched the US's nightmare of a response and put us on lists that suggest it may be years before Americans go abroad.  And I'm not sure that decision is just about COVID.

Twitter and social media have changed the world.  The carefully polished image of America that the post WWII planet received in exports of movies and television has been stripped away to show cops murdering and beating our citizens.  Lipitor customers stalk their front stoops with guns and their faces full of an insane combination of utterly unwarranted fear and rage as Black people walk by.  Our President gives increasingly unhinged interviews and speeches, and refuses to do a single goddamn thing to slow the course of a pandemic that is going to bury this country for years, or longer  if he wins the November election.  And all of that flows outward to nations who had their own dalliances with similar maniacs who seemed like a good idea at the time.

But, yeah.

Friday, July 3, 2020

In case you missed this on twitter

We're doing that "30 Days of Movies" thing on twitter, and I got bored of looking for real movies, so this is what we did for 3 days' worth of posts.

I made the second one first.  I dunno.  I love doing terrible photoshop work.

Day 16:  A film that is personal to you



Day 17:  Favourite film sequel




Day 18:  a film that stars your favourite actor/ actress


Monday, June 29, 2020

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad


Today marks the 52nd anniversary of my parents, The Admiral and KareBear. 

These two have made it through all sorts of nonsense over the years, not the least of which was weathering raising me, which was no picnic.  Anyway, they're still the dream team of parenting and now grandparenting, and their own partnership gave me a pretty good model for how to make one of these marriage things work. 

Of course Jamie and I can't be with them on their Anniversary, but as they live in town, we've been meeting up on weekend mornings in my backyard, socially distant and all that.  It's been really great, honestly.  (On opposite weekends we've been trying to drive to San Marcos as Jamie's dad has a *great* back porch that gets a breeze in the evening).   

The picture above is from last summer when Jamie and I visited my mom's original stomping grounds in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  She's the child of Finnish immigrants, and they still very much celebrate Finnish heritage in the U.P. *  She met my dad when he was stationed near her hometown working on B-52's during the Doctor Strangelove days. 

Anyway - congrats to these two.  52 years is nothing to sneeze at. 


*My dad is an American Mutt.  Name a Western European nation, and he's got a bit of it.  And probably a lot of things we don't know about.  We were all very disappointed to learn our last name is actually English and not a mangled European name spelled out phonetically at Ellis Island.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

In a Time of Virus: The Dams Break


It started with protests in several cities in the wake of the George Floyd murder.  George Floyd was a Black man apprehended by police under suspicion he'd floated a bogus $20 bill.  For this, he was pinned to the ground by his throat beneath the knee of a man with a gun, who was supported by three of his fellow officers, as the suspect begged for air.  This went on for almost 9 minutes.

The murder, and it was murder, occurred in broad daylight and on camera, carried out by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  A lot of people will try to call what occurred as a police officer pinned a man's neck to the ground with his knee for 9 minutes something else.  Maybe they'll say it was unintentional (the video suggests otherwise), or just breaking some eggs to make an omelet.  But in the era of cameras everywhere, the past fifteen years taught us how to pay attention to how people are policed and how police do their work.  And how police officers do not police each other.

Monday, May 18, 2020

In a Time of Virus: Everything Out of a Can

People went crazy the last few weeks.

I don't really know how else to interpret the furious wrath of church ladies in JC Penny tops screaming about wearing life-saving facemasks.  People told their lives depend on distance and patience rushed to state capitols with rifles to stand elbow to elbow with strangers, their faces bared to cameras and virus particles, screaming hysterically about their right to...  expose themselves and others to illness and death, I guess.

It's now been going on long enough that we're getting reports of these people catching COVID-19, the occasional ironic/ cautionary tale of people's last facebook posts rants about the "hoax" of the virus before the person winds up dead.  70-odd people who went to an "open" rally in Wisconsin are believed to have contracted the virus at the event.  And today I saw something about a church in California that held Mother's Day services exposed over 180 people.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Today is Our 20th Wedding Anniversary: Satellite of Love



On this day, twenty solar cycles ago, I got up to a semi-empty apartment.  It was just me and the cat, who I did not get along with at this point, so we didn't interact much.

Jamie had spent the evening with her parents at a hotel in South Austin that no longer exists.  She would spend the day doing all the things I guess brides do on their special day.

Plus dialysis.  You know, we gotta stay on-brand.

Monday, April 27, 2020

In a Time of Virus: Sunlight and Bleach

No amount of parody or nihilistic social commentary could have prepared me for what it's actually like to see the virus that's taken over the United States.

On Thursday (04/23/20) the President of the United States, who has taken to a podium on a near daily basis for weeks - blathering at length/ incoherently, and showing genuine signs of mental decline (pick your poison as to why) - stood in front of a room of journalists and said scientists should look into shining UV lights or very bright lights on or into people to combat COVID-19.  He also said we should be looking at injecting people with disinfectants containing bleach, I believe.  That bleach clears the lungs right out.  Which, in a way, is true.  You'll certainly be beyond caring about your COVID-cough when you are dead because you've got 20 oz of Clorox filling your lungs.

Friday, April 17, 2020

PODCAST: "Why Do We Watch Movies?" w/ SimonUK (episode 2)


We start our new series which asks "Why do people watch movies?"

No, really.

Why?

What do they mean to us? Why do we care about fictional characters doing fictional things? How do certain movies impact us more than others? What draws us in? What makes us come back?

And who better to ask about "Why movies?" than SimonUK?

Who he is and how he came to be!




Music
One Barrel Chase - John Williams, Jaws OST
Over The Rainbow - Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo╩╗ole


Why Do We Watch Movies? - Playlist







Tuesday, April 14, 2020

In a Time of Virus: Within Our Four Walls

From October of 2017 to August of 2019, I worked from home for, technically, Northwestern University in Chicago.  Really I was working for a larger open source software coalition 50%, and for a sub-group of that coalition 50%.  It was a weird and cool job, and I will always look back on it fondly.

But it also meant I got used to the rhythms of working from home long before all this mess started.  Waking up, showering and having a ten second commute is not uncharted territory.  But, man, the days of just sitting in the same chair all day can get to be a bit much.  Especially as it's all-screens all day, tied to video conferencing with colleagues.

Since getting sent home, I have not been getting up early to walk the dog, as my preference is to do it to unwind after work if I've been sitting in my chair all day.  Scout is an easy walker, and doesn't pull toward other dogs.  She just wants to stay within 4 feet of me as we go about our business.  We talk to neighbors from about 15-20 feet away.  Sometimes I linger, sometimes I keep on going after waving hello.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

45

Keep the Car Running
Arcade Fire


Every night my dream's the same
Same old city with a different name
They're not coming to take me away
I don't know why, but I know I can't stay
There's a weight that's pressing down
Late at night you can hear the sound
Even the noise you make when you sleep
Can't swim across a river so deep
They know my name because I told it to them
But they don't know where, and they don't know when
It's coming
When it's coming
There's this fear I keep so deep
Knew it's name since before I could speak
Oh, oh, oh, oh
They know my name because I told it to them
But they don't know where, and they don't know when
It's coming, oh when
But it's coming, keep the car running
If some night I don't come home
Please don't think I've left you alone
The same place that I must go when they die
You can't climb across a mountain so high
The same city where I go when I sleep
Can't swim across a river so deep
They know my name because I told it to them
But they don't know where, and they don't know when
It's coming, oh when
Is it's coming?
Keep the car running
Keep the car running
Keep the car running




Tuesday, April 7, 2020

In a Time of Virus: Days With No Meaning

I'm not writing these posts so much for all of us going through this *now*.   When this is over, I'd like to remember what...  happened.  Because, like any trauma, we're going to collectively want to block this out.  And what there is to remember will be so vague and weird, and our timelines will be skewed.

We all kind of laugh about how days lose all meaning in that period between Christmas and New Year.  At least once a day, someone will ask "what day is it?" and sometimes you may have to think about it.  With nowhere to be, no one looking for you and the weekends looking like a weekday, it takes no time at all.  And while we have weekends, when you're looking at the same walls and people, days do sort of lose their meaning.  Last week on Friday, I had to be told at least once it wasn't Thursday.

Monday, March 30, 2020

In a Time of Virus: That First Week in Lockdown

We've been in some form of lockdown since March 13th.

In some ways, this hasn't been entirely different from the nearly two years when I worked from home when I was at Northwestern University.  I wake up, I shower, make coffee, eat something and sit down and get to work.  I use my office, which is also my "collection room", ie: The Fortress, which I had decommissioned for work when I went back to UT.

When we were sent home from work, the home office was full of "stuff" all over the floor, making the room unusable.  We'd recently had a remodel of our bathroom, and to make room for the contractors, I'd cleared things and just dumped them in my office and shut the door.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Honestly, what I piled in there was sitting on top of things I hadn't yet cleared away from Christmas, waiting for some time when I'd have some downtime and clean up, which I usually do when we're set to have company.

The first weekend, starting on the 13th, we just sort of blanked out.  There was a run to HEB Saturday morning, buying food for a full week or more.  The store was busy, but not hectic.  Jamie and I put on nitrile gloves before going in - and I never saw anyone else with them on.  No masks.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Everyone Wish Jamie/ @mcsteans a Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, Jamie.  I wish you were not stuck in the house.  I wish I had thought to buy cake ingredients two weeks ago.  Frankly, I wish I'd bought you something for your birthday.

I can only make it better through the power of Greg Louganis in his prime.


Here's to a future where we can leave the house and not pretend we're on the International Space Station.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

In a Time of Virus: Start of Lockdown

The first thing I remember hearing was that people were hoarding toilet paper.

It had a "man bites dog" element to the news - for whatever reason, they'd realized they might run out of toilet paper, something they'd never previously considered, I suppose.  And, so, people were buying mass amounts of the stuff, leaving those super market shelves empty.  That was early, during the week of the 9th, before the employers sent anyone home .

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

In a Time of Virus: Not Seen In Generations

Sometimes you read about World War I or II and you wonder what you'd have been like in those circumstances.  What would it be like to be sitting in Austin, Texas one day and boarding a boat to cross the English Channel a year later, pretty sure you were being used for cannon fodder?  Or being ordered over the wall and into No Man's Land?  Over and over?  Day after day?  Could I get back in a B-17 and fly back over Germany and drop bombs *again*, uncertain if *this* was the time I was shot down?

It doesn't need to be the threat of war and violence.  We've had plenty of other creeping horrors around mankind in recent and living memory.

But my generation, maybe the one before, maybe those that have come after... we sat in classrooms and heard how the Commies wanted to drop nuclear bombs on us because they hated our Capitalist ways.  But mostly that's an existential threat - if it was going to happen, it was going to happen.  And I wasn't old enough to be part of the AIDS crisis, but am old enough to get cross-eyed hearing about "dating" apps as someone who came of age just after Magic Johnson taught us suburban kids about how we *all* needed to be careful.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Happy Birthday To My Brother

Steanso rehearses for his next gig

Happy birthday to my brother, who is marginally older than me, and nowhere near as handsome (or smart, but let's not rub it in).

These days, I mostly just like his kids and wife, but he's okay, too, I guess.

It's a real kick in the crotch that we can't go out and celebrate his birthday, but that's what next year is for.  I got him a present, and when we're de-quarantined, I'm sure this cake I made will still be fine.  I'll keep it in the garage til whenever we see each other again.

Anyhoo... Happy birthday, dummy.  I hope you enjoy whatever it is you're up to for the day.



PS:  Mom likes me best.



Friday, March 13, 2020

In a Time of Virus: People are Terrible in a Crisis

I'm not going to lecture you on COVID-19/ the coronavirus.  You know what it is. 

The plan was not to return to work on Monday (it's Friday, for posterity's sake).  I'd received approval from higher-ups to show some caution and work from home until we had the all-clear.  In the morning as I readied for work, I was checking a news story about our local K-12 school district closing and telling people to deal with their situation, and half-way down the page it mentioned my employer, the University of Texas at Austin, was also closed. 

I checked the emergency page, and it said "all clear", but literally at the same time, my Slack channel for work started popping and I saw that, no, we were closed.  An email had come through and we weren't to come to campus today. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Signal Television Watch - 2019



This isn't a comprehensive list of what I watched in 2019.  Like the movies list, it doesn't include all the partially watched Hallmark movies.  It also doesn't include local and global news (some of us still watch the news).  It doesn't include Seinfeld and The Nanny reruns.  Nor shows I watched part of and gave up on.  I may have even missed entire series in here.  I don't really track TV watching or I'd probably have to have a moment of self-reflection.  It doesn't include the hours and hours and hours of baseball, soccer, volleyball, and football I'll watch in a given year (with hundreds of hours of baseball to account for as I probably watched 60-70 games last year.  Go Cubs!).

But when I sat down to think about what I'd watched, this was what came to mind:

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Signal Watch 2019 Subjective Opinion Movie Awards - 2019! (The Mellies!)


We've already shared the breakdown of all the movies we watched last year, so now it's time to talk about some of our favorite things and to drag some movies we maybe didn't like all that much.

We don't just talk about movies that came out in 2019, we try to talk about all the "new to me" movies we saw, and maybe a special selection or three of movies we'd seen before, but which deserve special mention.

The Mellies are nominated by and voted upon by the only opinion that matters:  mine.  They are also not reflective of the panoply of films released in any given year - because I may watch a lot of movies, but I don't have that kind of time.  And, honestly, I'm just not that interested in a whole lot of what comes out.