Sunday, March 29, 2020

COV17D-19

Where the hell did Zoom come from? Why is it now (at least in my small corner of the world--that feels even smaller every day of this experience) the default web platform for online video chatting? As I've said elsewhere, I had not heard of Zoom at all seventeen days ago . . . and now I hear about it on a daily basis.

This feels to me like a meme come to life. And not the goofy GIF-based memes that we have come to communicate in short reactions during these digital times. I mean the original definition of meme: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture. Zoom has come to represent online communication in a very rapid way, and I still don't know why it happened.

But I guess I can speculate a bit--with little to no real data or substantial evidence. I guess that our instant reliance upon digital rather than face-to-face communication has put a great many of us on the same plane of communication. And somewhere, someone used Zoom as a reference for how to stay in touch. Maybe it was on Facebook. Maybe it was on the cable news. But someone referenced it and then someone else picked it up and referred to it and others heard and others heard. The meme idea was transmitted to increasingly larger amounts of people (kinda like a virus being transmitted, dontchaknow) . . . and then it someone became a fixed idea that we all understand and the idea becomes a cultural acknowledgment.

What does it mean? Don't know.

Is it important? Not really.

But it is visible. And it is interesting. And I wonder why. And I wonder how. And it gave me something to blog about today, another day in the continuing stream of house-bound days, where every room looks the same and my perspective rarely changes. Where the work sits waiting. And the dishes always need cleaning. Where we are five people who love each other but rub against each other's personalities with very little to spread us apart sometimes. Where the lure of being outside doing yard work looks tempting. A place where the act of ordering food out is a great joy that is also simultaneously a burden of dish transfer, hand sanitizing, careful trash disposal . . . and with all of that, something of an act of charity.

It is the place where we are all collectively experiencing this. And yet we are all isolated as well. We're in this together but trapped in our own heads. We are part of a whole and still desperately want to be individuals. We are one in the crowd but also so badly want space. Where no one can tell you what you are experiencing but also we know what it is like. And where we can't pretend that our struggles are comparable to the true problems of others.

How does this relate to understanding Zoom? It doesn't. Sorry.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

COV16D-19

How is your weekend going so far today?

Does it feel different having the weekend when you have spent all week in the same place as well?

I'm trying my best to keep them separate.

One way that I did that today was helping Lynda in the backyard, clearing out old sticks and dead stuff and the detritus of leaves . . . clearing out the dead of Winter and providing space for the new growth of Spring. It felt good to be outside and doing something other than sitting and staring at a screen (and I'm NOT someone who loves yard work). I had planned on mowing the lawn but ended up not doing that because we are getting more rain today and I didn't get the mower started up in time to make that happen. And we had all the sticks and junk to get out of the way anyhow.

Lynda put down some weed retardant and we also spread some crabgrass killer and lawn food before the rain came as well--well, before we got hungry for lunch and at the point where we were getting tired and ready to go inside for a bit. It didn't actually start raining until an hour or two after we stopped working. But even so it was good to be outside and stretch our muscles a bit.

What else is happening today? I'm trying to work on some Dungeons & Dragons stuff--both for myself in prep for a game coming up in April and for a simple campaign that I started for Hannah and her friends several weeks back. If I can get things set up on Roll20, then maybe we can continue the game tomorrow afternoon (online of course).

Other than that, I'm trying to enjoy some relaxation today. Stuck indoor for health and for weather reasons. But at least I'm doing the things I want to do right now--including this brief blog continuation.

I hope you are setting up for a good, diverting weekend. Talk again soon.

Friday, March 27, 2020

COV15D-19

It has been a long time since I blogged for two weeks in a row, every day.

So, today I am leaning on the wisdom and guidance of my priest Fr. Jason Prati. Please take a few moments today to listen to his sermon from last weekend. I hope that it will give you a sense of what good may come from what definitely feels like a bad time. And this new change must come from our collective reaction to this. 

Not from an expectation of individual change, but from a common acknowledgment that change must come for the collective good of all. We must begin the changes that we want to see in the future that we need.



I'll try to come up with something original to offer tomorrow.

Until then, stay cheerful my friends. 

Trust in each other and find ways to love and support those who need help and love right now and in the many months to come.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

COV14D-19

Everyone has more time to watch movies--or so they keep saying--so I'm going to focus on one of my favorite movies today. This was prompted by (and the content in this post is very likely influenced by) The Rewatchables podcast I listened to today.

I'm placing a photo here that makes it seem like you can click to listen to the podcast within this post. But alas Spotify won't let me embed. So, click on the image to launch the Ringer Web site where you CAN listen to the audio. Or better yet, subscribe to The Rewatchables on your favorite podcast app. It's a good one.



This movie is, of course, the sequel to the Ocean's 11 film starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and a host of eight other actors. They were teaming up to pull off the most elaborate casino heist in modern movie history. Besides that, this movie was a remake of a Rat Pack movie from the late 1950s/early 1960s? (I could look it up, but I'm not going to.)

Ocean's 12 brings the gang back together to pull off another heist that is even bigger, even more complicated, and with twice the location shooting and cinematic verve. I've always heard that most people didn't like this sequel--though they did seem to enjoy Ocean's 13. But while I like Ocean's 11 quite a lot and while I also like Ocean's 13 just fine, I really, really like Ocean's 12 much more than the average person seems to.

What do I like so much about it? (In no particular order.)

1. The Julia Roberts Rome museum scene is great. The first time I watched it I was so struck by the oddballness of having all of the cinematic walls broken. It is my favorite scene in the movie to rewatch.

2. The reveal of the bag switch in the last 25 minutes of the film upends all that you thought you saw in the movie. And I like the way that the movie changes your perspective so quickly.

3. Everything about the movie is so relaxed and so scrambled. The actors seem like they are genuinely having a great time. And I don't know how they wrote the script for this film (assuming that much of it wasn't ad-libbed), because the dialogue as performed is so scattered and choppy and interwoven. I just can't imagine how you see the conversations and then write them. But it is so fun and fizzy to listen to. And the plot--such as it is--is very scant and there is not a lot of connective tissue that tells you what you are supposed to be understanding. It is a confusing story--but I like it because the confusion has such style.

4. Matt Damon's character is so desperate and lost.

5. The random Topher Grace scene at the start is a very good mood setter for the rest of the movie that comes. (I won't call it a cameo because I'm not entirely sure that he is actually supposed to playing himself or just someone who happens to be named Topher Grace who is an actor. Yeah, I"m overthinking it.)

6. The music in Ocean's 12 is just great. It's a tonal mood rather than songs. But they are memorable and quite fun.

So--that's it.

Do you like Ocean's 12? Or do you like any of these movies? If so, what is your favorite character?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

COV13D-19

(Thank you to everyone who responded to Tuesday morning's post and has taken the time to vote on my #OfficialHat2020. I'll give it a few more days before I give an update on how the voting is going so far.)

Because I don't have any #HatofSummer items to specifically write about today I sat down without a clear idea of what I needed to write about. The only thing that comes to mind right now is the question What do you miss the most?

We are all experiencing severe disruptions in our daily routine. Even for those of you who are allowed to leave their house to perform essential jobs, the environment that you are entering into and the world you are traveling through must seem different and must provide you with some feeling of loss. I can only presume this because I've only left the house (not counting being in the yard or on the porch) twice in the last two weeks. But everything I am reading suggests that the world is very different. So, I presume that you are definitely missing things.

I am missing the variety of each day. (And my days were not that varied to begin with. Almost every working day consisted of me getting up early, making sure the kids were awake, getting ready for work, driving to the office and working, coming home for dinner, possibly participating in outside volunteer activities, relaxing a while, going to bed. Rinse and repeat with little meaningful variation for about two decades.

This stability is something that I definitely have prized. And I celebrate my life's consistency and the security of it. But even in its sameness, there were differences. The workday was always different. It may sound stupid, but lunch was always a complex diversion. And my life was always enlivened by what my kids were doing and what I could help them do in support roles.

All of that has been narrowed down to a very limited set of daily options. My job continues with little variation except for location. But daily food choices are not the same. And the kids are prevented from getting out in the world--so that eliminates that source of interaction for me as well.

I think that is why I enjoyed making last week's #HatofSummer videos--because it gave my brain a new thing to think about and a new perspective to consider. And that is why I enjoyed redecorating the basement--turning that old same hodgepodge of a room into something new and more intentional. These are all good things, so I need to find more of them. For example, participating in my church's various Live Streams are bittersweet, but they are enjoyable for putting a new twist on a familiar experience.

ANYWAY--what do you miss? Leave a comment describing what you want back. (And if you can explain why that elephant picture came up when I searched for "what do you miss?" I'd love to hear that as well. What is your best theory on that mystery?