Saturday, December 12, 2020

Happy Holidays--and smell ya later 2020--from the Martins

(This was our Thanksgiving photo.)

 

What a year this has been! 

This may be the most redundant Happy Holidays letter that I will ever write. Because all of you have experienced some of the same highs and lows this year that I have. And we have all shared some common experiences in the last months that are not true most other years. But even with the trauma and difficulties of 2020, each of us found our way through these months with unique experiences.

Here are some of ours.

It has been almost 300 days since Lynda and I last worked in our office or saw our colleagues face-to-face. It has been almost 300 days since our children . . . (And how much longer can I accurately use that descriptor to capture who they are? Most likely it is already woefully out of date.) . . . had something of what normal days are supposed to be. And realistically, it may be another 200 days or so before we can truly resume what used to be our lives.

None of this was anticipated or expected. Now I feel incredibly self-conscious when I accidentally go outside without a mask. Now I wonder when we will stop wiping down our groceries as they come into the house. Now I strategize when we might actually be able to plan a vacation with confidence and not brace for the inevitable rescheduling or cancellation. Now I can only imagine going on a date with Lynda to see a movie and sit down in a restaurant. So many things have changed in 2020.

The important things are stable however.

All five of us--along with Lynd's mom, Cheri--are healthy and safe and secure. We've worked hard to keep it that way, and it has paid off. We miss what socialization we could have done or the places we should have gone in the last nine+ months. But we did it for a reason. We did it for each other and we did it for others beyond us.

Lynda and I are happy to be continuing in our jobs . . . ever changing though they are. The unknowns of our industry in a changing world. Especially when the schools across the country are so topsy turvy. But we are in positions to help affect those unknowns. And that is a good feeling. I can't truly speak for Lynda, who has experienced more organizational readjustments this year. But through all of that her value and work ethic continues to be appreciated. 

My work continues as well. Each week the team makes further progress toward our multi-faceted goals. I've learned a lot this year and continue to try to get better. I'm proud of what I and my department are doing. These are the things you hope for in a job--steady, predictable, fulfilling.

As for Sarah, Grace, and Hannah? They are taking on the unique challenges of 2020 in their own ways. And they are really succeeding in significant ways. 

Sarah finished her first half of junior year at Columbus College of Art and Design. She stayed on campus for much of the Fall Semester, sharing a four-room campus dorm suite with her good friend Josiah. Classes remain digital. She returned home for the last weeks of the semester to gain some social strength from the family during the pressure cooker of completing finals. That wrapped up this week and she has several weeks off to relax and work. 

Grace is halfway through her final year of high school. She was the drum major for the marching band this fall, which was almost the only reason that we left the house during COVID. I was proud of the safety precautions that the band staff embraced and enforced throughout the summer and the fall to keep the kids safe--stricter than they needed to be! And though it wasn't a full season and there were no competitions to enjoy, it was so much better than nothing at all. It would have been heartbreaking to lose that one last change for Grace to experience a band season with her friends. Right now she is waiting on college announcements and finishing up scholarship applications. Her life will be different in many ways by next fall--and so will ours. But she has earned what comes next. And I look forward to seeing her get there.

Hannah is working her way through 7th grade and we are all trying to figure out the best way to navigate the confusion of this school year. Some weeks she is home. Some weeks she is in school. Every day she is learning how to operate more independently and take on some more responsibility as she ages. These middle school years are a difficult time of figuring themselves out. And it is hard for Lynda and I to guide her while allowing space for self-understanding. COVID makes that even harder. She is stuck with us a lot of the time--and that is not always the best place for an almost 13-year-old to be. But simultaneously (and contradictorily) it is frequently the BEST, most important place for her to be. Each day presents its own challenges, successes, and frustrations. We really are building the car as it drives down the road.

I hope you are able to find some time to catch your breath in the weeks ahead. We look forward to taking some time off from the pressures of work. We won't be going home to see family and that is sad. But it is part of the 2020 experience. I hope we can take some moments to look at holiday lights and find some peace during this season. Our church worships will be virtual, but the meaning remains. 

The days are short and the nights can sometimes be cold. But I want to wrap up this difficult year by remembering the good things that did occur. I'm ready to move out of 2020 and I look forward to a better 2021.

Wishing you the same!

COV285D-19: Football Counter-Programming B1G Week 8


 

Last week was a bye week for me, I guess.

I intended to sit down and write something on Saturday like I normally do, but then time passed and I just didn't do it. But I think it fits the overall experience of college football this season for you to maybe tune in to experience something and it just doesn't happen--including today's  tOSU/UM game. And everyone just adjusts and changes the rules to suit them and we just keep moving forward.

That last sentence can apply to a lot of things in 2020: your feelings about the coronavirus, the way that you choose to avoid it--or not avoid it. It also applies to election results and . . . well, you can fill in the blank that fits for you.

So, last week I was out and everything moved along.

And this week I'm keeping this short because I'm going to write a non-COV#D titled post that will go up later and will serve as our Christmas "mailing" for 2020. 

We didn't find the proper motivation to make a typical video, or to purchase and address actual Christmas cards. And now December is halfway over and . . . sigh . . . I just don't want to. But I will try to reach out in the form of a blog post that I hope you can experience on my social media feeds. It is not as nice as the letters and cards that I have received from some of you this year (thanks!). But I hope you will forgive me/us.

Until next week, I leave you with this . . .

If no one is there to create Script Ohio, does the sousaphone player really exist?

Saturday, November 28, 2020

COV271D-19: Football Counter-Programming B1G Week 6


Did you all have a nice Thanksgiving Day? What was your favorite part of the meal? And do you, like me, think that we don't eat roasted turkey nearly enough? It's easy to do--even if you go to the trouble of bringing it overnight as I typically do for the holidays. But the actual cooking of the bird is simple. And it always happens much faster than I expect it to year after year. I don't have to be in such a hurry each Thanksgiving morning.

When do you typically eat on the big day? Are you midday eaters? Midafternoon? Evening? Do you let football determine your choice?

Speaking of football . . . I'm doing my weekly counter-programming effort but here in Ohio State country, COVID-19 is the most effective counter-programming force out there. Friday night the announcement went out that the game was cancelled because students were diagnosed with the coronavirus (including the head coach). And that is two games in this shortened season that have been eliminated due to virus postponements. I'm wondering if tOSU will even have enough games on its schedule to justify it being in the College Football Playoffs in the coming weeks. (The Buckeyes were tagged as the #4 entrant at the first week's playoff ranking announcement.)

But enough football talk . . .

What else have you all been up to besides cooking and eating food? We barely leave the house, so we've been watching lots of TV the last several days. I'm trying to finish watching HBO's The Leftovers . . . a series that has been off the air for many years now, but one that I am enjoying at a pretty slow pace. I read Tom Perotta's book when it was published a while back and very much enjoyed it. And the Damon Lindelof show is quite good--with lots of musings on the nature of belief, what to do when the universe throws everything in a blender, and how to live in a world that does nothing but show indifference. It's definitely NOT uplifting. But it makes you think.

Speaking of shows that make you think, while also sometimes making you cringe, I thought of Showtime's Kidding again recently. I really, really liked that show from a few years back and wish that I could watch it again. But my cable package/streaming services don't include Showtime anymore so I think I'm out of luck.

Similarly, I wanted to do a quarantine rewatch of Battlestar Galactica (the Ron Moore SyFy version) and was dismayed to find that it is not anywhere streamable anymore. And I don't want to spend the money on paying for it . . . because there were several seasons that I would not want to pay for anyway.

What shows would you like to rewatch but you don't have access to any longer? And do you secretly have the feeling--erroneous and anticapitalistic as it is--that all things should be available somewhere all the time now?

As is our family tradition, we put up the bulk of Christmas decorations this weekend. We are saving the outdoor lights for a pole arm extension to be mailed to us in a week. But the trees are up and the ornaments and stockings are hung. The doo dads and various decorations are placed. And I must say that I am impressed with our two cats general indifference so far. I was afraid that they would wreak havoc on ornaments, trees, and statuary alike. But they've acquitted themselves very nicely so far and I am--dare I say it?--proud of them for their restraint. (I've likely jinxed everything . . . but we'll see how it continues to go forward.)

Saturday, November 21, 2020

COV264D-19: Football Counter-Programming B1G Week 5



These days it feels like I am creating anxiety on a daily basis and that I am always waiting for the next shoe to drop.

There are the obvious health conditions in the country, as well as the political state of the country that are contributing to this inner turmoil. But I am also beset by worried of work and personal professional performance.

Why am I always ruining my daily life with expectations of perfection? What does that get me? How can I do good, quality work that isn't driven by a fear of mistakes. And when mistakes happen, how do I accept that failing in myself and truly (TRULY!) incorporate it as something to learn from and get better at rather than turning it into some sort of goad?

When will I learn to trust my ability and just keep doing the work that I have proven I know how to do pretty well?

You have no answer to this and you didn't come to this blog today to serve as my therapist.

***

In other news . . . Sarah hit a young buck deer on her way to work yesterday afternoon. Most luckily, she was unharmed, but half of her windshield was badly broken and part of her roof dented as well, plus a broken headlight and a misaligned panel on the side of the car. A significant accident and we are still waiting to hear what insurance will say about the state of the car.

She was only a few miles away from the house when it happened, near where a friend of mine lives. I quickly headed off to see how I could help. (So quickly that I neglected to grab a mask on my way out the door, which I realized when I was halfway there. But I didn't turn around because I was mostly concerned about getting to Sarah quickly.)

When I arrived, a man from across the road was checking to see if Sarah was alright. He was leaving as I walked up. I spoke to Sarah to see that she was physically fine and holding up emotionally. .Then I noticed that I had pulled the car along the side of the roadway very close to where the deer had come to rest. (And I had not even noticed it when I parked.) While Sarah and I were beside her car and some yards from the deer, I could see that it was still, but not dead. It was resting in a runoff ditch, beside the entrance to the neighborhood near the main road.

As Sarah and I talked, the first policeman arrived. (Sarah had already called the police while I was arriving.) He came out of his car carrying a rifle, ready to put down the deer. The officer asked Sarah and I to move away from our cars and away from the deer. We turned away and I braced for the sound. It was pretty loud but luckily he only shot once. 

Once he put the deer down, he approached and I was surprised when he asked if we had plans to keep the deer. (Grace later informed me that it is Ohio law that in these types of accidents, the person involved has a right to keep the deer if they wish.) But we had no desire to keep the meat or a way to keep it, transport it, butcher it . . . whatever. So we declined. He quickly asked if he could take it, as he could butcher it for meat. I was happy to let him have it, but that was the last part of this incident that I was mentally prepared or expecting to have at that moment. Mostly I was worried about Sarah's emotional state and the sound of the gun and didn't want her to be bothered with more thoughts of the deer that she had hit.

Once that was all over, we got down to the quotidian business of clearing out the accident. Sarah used her insurance app on her phone to contact a tow truck. 

While we waited for the tow, I made a quick call to my friend who lived nearby and asked him if he could bring me one of his masks. I was increasingly self-conscious about talking to police and whomever else might arrive with no protection on me. He quickly arrived and helped save the day. He caught up for a few minutes while Sarah sat in my car and rested. He left a few minutes later. It is good to have friends!

Lynda called to see how things were progressing. She decided to come and let Sarah borrow Grace's car so that Sarah could proceed ahead to her job and hopefully occupy her mind with other things. Lynda and I stayed with the accident to report it to insurance, and get that machinery going.

Eventually the tow truck arrived and we completed the claims report for insurance. We headed back home to complete our day and wait for next steps. Sarah got home to us from work that evening and we are all safe again together.

It was an unusual afternoon--to be sure. But nothing more than machinery and a deer were hurt. I'm glad enough for that.

Back to the normal anxieties once again.


Saturday, November 14, 2020

COV257D-19: Football Counter-Programming B1G Week 4


 What if they held a football game and no one came?

Well, that would be this year . . . because no one is allowed to come. (Or almost no one.)

But even now, today's tOSU game is cancelled because the opponent (Maryland) has coronavirus complications.

So . . . how do I counter-program something that isn't even programmed?

And while we are asking pointed questions . . .

How long will I keep this counter going on my blog title? What is the appropriate metric for stopping it? 

  • When I personally get a vaccine? 
  • When I leave my house on a much more regular basis? 
  • When I stop wearing a mask? 
  • When I can eat in a restaurant again? 
  • When I can actually touch someone who is not a direct family member?

And those are all connections to ME. 

When will I know that others have gotten vaccines? 

When can I feel that others are safe?

What? When? How?

Saturday, November 07, 2020

COV250D-19: Football Counter-Programming B1G Week 3

Photo from Reddit user Texwook


The reports are finally coming in and the waves of ballot counts are slowing down. The media is beginning to officially declare that they are willing to project that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris did in fact win Tuesday's presidential election.

President Trump is away from the White House this afternoon, golfing in Virginia. Maybe he is doing so because his staff knew the projections were coming today. And they wanted to cocoon him away from the crowds that are celebrating around the White House today. 

But that didn't stop the Trump staff from releasing a statement that continued to call this election result fraudulent. And Trump promised to continue pushing his legal challenges against the vote counting. And he made it publicly clear that he rejects the people's choice and he thinks it is false. He thinks that he is more important than over 71 million people, American citizens, who have chosen someone else to run the country for the next four years.

And his fellow party members are also allowing this to happen. They have ceased to be independent operators, free-thinkers, supporters of the rules and the precedents of the country that they spend so much time telling us that they love. They are staying silent in the face of Trump's fear-mongering. They refuse to resist him publicly. They are also showing--as Trump is showing--that power is their only metric. They are much more concerned about staying in the good graces of the people who habitually vote Republican. Because all they want to do is stay in a seat of power. And if they oppose Trump right now. If they try collectively to speak out against him and his legal challenges. If they try to actively, as a group, make it clear that this election was accurate and that the president must accept the outcome, then they are afraid that they will lost re-election the next time they try to stay in power. And staying in power is all that they want.

All of the patriotism and flag waving and lapel-pin wearing that they use to appeal to voters is just an empty facade, a costume, a ritual that they must undergo to gain power and wield it. They do not yet show the conviction and personal courage necessary to speak out against Donald Trump. Will they ever have it?

If Trump continues his legal challenges, he'll likely face the considered judgment of federally appointed judges that were put there by Republican presidents. (Because the GOP Congress is really good at not doing that particular job when a Democrat is in the White House.) But those judges don't have to run for re-election. So they are (hopefully) secure enough in their own self-worth and self-definition--something that is NOT tied up in voter approval--that they can judge the merits of Trump's legal challenges on the truth of the evidence. And I hope that they judge rightly.

So, if that occurs . . . then Trump's legal challenges may fail. And then the weeks are short before the January inauguration of President-elect Biden must occur. Because this is what our Constitution requires. And this is what our Congress has passed. And this is how our nation has done things 45 different times before. And Republicans love to celebrate the wonderful and exception nature of the United States. And this peaceful relinquishment of power is one of the MOST exceptional parts of that story that they love to tell.

So . . . will they be part of that?

Will they stand up for that story?

Can they look beyond themselves and resist the simple-minded nature of Donald Trump? Something that is no surprise to anyone who know Trump. Can they stand up for the country they SAY that they love? Or do they truly only love themselves and the benefits of power?

Saturday, October 31, 2020

COV243D-19: Football-Counter Programming B1G Week 2


It's Halloween and its week 2 of Big 10 football. And there are three days until the 2020 election. (Those things are not ranked in order of importance.) But I'm only here to divert you from one of those things.

Have you every seen the movie "Disturbia"? Its a early 2000s movie starring Shia LaBoeuf. And I have a strong fondness for it. And that is most likely because of the fact that I have long liked Jimmy Stewart's "Rear Window". And Disturbia is just an updated version of that Hitchcock classic. LaBoeuf is playing the teen version of Stewart's L.B. Jefferies. But Shia is undergoing house arrest with an ankle bracelet rather than recovering from a broken leg suffered during a car race photoshoot.

But both characters are obsessed with strange happenings outside their window. LaBoeuf is suspicious of his suburban neighbor (played with always perfect creepiness by David Morse--who has made a living playing dudes who are disturbing and off.)

But this movie is more than just a digital remake of a Hitchcock classic. I was watching the last thirty minutes of it today and I noticed that in the final moments of the movie, as LaBoeuf is trying to save his mom from Morse, and as he is trying to draw the police to the crime scene, he does a few things that echoed other movies.

He jumps in a neighboring pool (from a roof) to break the established boundaries of the ankle bracelet. And the camera gets down at water level with him to be all dramatic. And that reminded me of the pool scene in "Poltergeist". And also, there is a scene where LaBoeuf is holding a pair of hedge clippers. And that made me think of any number of "Friday the 13th" movies. And there is another scene a previous victim of Morse is uncovered. And she is wrapped in plastic. And that made me think of "Twin Peaks".

So, what I'm saying is that Disturbia is a much more layered and nuanced movie that you think it is.

Happy Halloween everyone!

And don't watch football today!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

COV236D-19: Football Counter-Programming B1G Week 1

 It's definitely been a minute (97 days . . . so that calculates to--checks my math . . .139,680 minutes) since I last provided a COVID update. But life has gone on, such as what life constitutes in this very strange year. School proceeds. Work doesn't stop. The days and the minutes just keep piling up. But the unusual elements keep pace.

Some of you may have noticed that it is almost November and there is no post on WWYG?! detailing the Fall TV season. And that is easy to understand for a few reasons. 

First . . . are we even watching TV on the mainstream networks anymore? I know that I barely am. Almost all the shows that I have been watching recently has been streaming shows on new networks. I don't even KNOW if new shows have been started on TV in the last two months. And that is because I haven't even been trying to find out. And it is also because the COVID restrictions have (I guess?) made it harder to gather to work in the TV industry and so the pipeline of new production has decreased. So . . . maybe there is nothing to miss?

But what is definitely still happening is football. And it has been doing so for the last few weeks anyway. At all levels. Middle school, high school, college, professional. Football never quits and you can't stop it. And so, I guess . . . since the B1G is beginning its league-only, shortened season this weekend, I"M BACK with this year's 

FOOTBALL COUNTER-PROGRAMMING: MASKED-UP SEASON


This week's dumb question--When making cracker-based snacks, do you put the cheese, peanut-butter, deli meat, whatever on the TOP side or the UNDER side of the cracker?


You know what I mean, right? There is the fancy, top side of a cracker with the extra browning, the puffed, domed part of the cracker. And then there is the bottom side that is flatter and has a bit less browning.

Do you have a preference? Does it cross your mind as you construct your snack? Maybe this will motivate you to be more worried about presentation in the future. Maybe it will give you a complex and make it so much harder to make hors d'oeuvres for future parties post COVID? (If so, I'm sorry.)

Let me know in the comments how you approach this. Or if this is going to drive you to be more thoughtful about it in the future.





Wednesday, July 29, 2020

COV139D-19


A smattering of my random thoughts and phrases--some of which were typed into social media and then deleted. Some of which were actually published.

"All I want to do is cry."

"Fuck."

"I've got to . . . something. But . . . As my Pappaw used to say 'Sometimes I think to myself . . . Well?! . . . But then again, I don't know."

I shouldn't be surprised by the delay in school starting. (And to be clear, it's not that school is delayed. It is that going back into the school has been postponed.)

This is not surprising.

Lynda and I spent hours Tuesday night debating whether or not to allow Grace and Hannah to go back into the building for the hybrid model. We considered the 100% digital model (Westerville Virtual Academy.) We thought about the quality of instruction with all options. We weighed the risks. And we finally decided to let them go back into the school.

And then, this morning, the rug was pulled out from under us again.

How many rugs are we standing on these last many months? How many shoes can drop? How many disappointments can we weather?

Hannah will be separated from her friend more. Grace's band season looks even more tenuous than ever--JUST WHEN SHE WAS GETTING INTO IT. Not to mention her challenging AP-heavy course load this year . . .

I just don't have any more energy to think about this today.

I'm so disappointed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

COV132D-19: PARTY MONTH #4--Happy Birthday Sarah!


A few weeks ago I was laying in bed, trying to put another day behind me. And I started thinking about the fact that Sarah is turning twenty-years-old this year--today in fact!

And during those musings, it occurred to me that while she is turning 20, numerically she is starting her THIRD decade. Because every day beyond 20 is adding to a new decade of life. And isn't it odd to think that she is turning 20, but entering her third decade? It sounds so much more impressive than 20--not that her age isn't impressive enough all on its own. I just found it an odd observation.

But . . . I'm not here today to wax oddly about numerology. I'm here to praise my oldest daughter as she leaves her teen youth behind and pushes resolutely into her twenties. I hope many wonderful things come from the years ahead. I won't list any specifics here because a.) I don't want to put pressure on her and because b.) no one is guaranteed anything this day and age. As you know, the 2020 Party Month has been an unusual one. But Sarah grows and ages nonetheless.

She will take on her own challenges in the coming years, finishing some things and starting others. She will make choices--most of them good because she is wise and thoughtful. And some of them bad because she is still young and has the opportunity to take a risk. I hope that she celebrates her wins and learns from her losses. 

I am struggling to say more because I've been praising her on this space, on her birthday, since she was around 4 years old. This blog was created (in part) to capture my children growing up and so by necessity, it has captured so much of Sarah's life. 

But increasingly her life is her own and not a story that I tell about her. Her experience is outside and away from mine. And I get to see it from a remove. I must wonder more and more if she is happy about her life because it is happening away from me. And when I get a chance to share it, it brightens my day and enriches the life that I get to control.

So--happy birthday to you Sarah! I hope you can find time to feel celebrated and loved this week by family and friends.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

COV129D-19

I'm frustrated and tired and heartsick of how everything is so topsy-turvy because of this virus. And I am not upset for myself. My life is very set and my job is continuing and while I don't enjoy working from home every day, I realize that many of my problems are of my own design and I have no meaningful complaints.

I am angry for my children, who are trying their best to grow up amidst all of this uncertainty. I am frustrated that they have to hold onto hopes that keep getting dashed. I am disappointed that nothing can be promised and that everything is negotiable. Even though they are privileged and lucky, they are being denied simple things that provide stability to their days. And they are looking forward to big things this year. 

Sarah turns twenty this week and is uncertain about what her classes will be like for the fall semester. It was hard learning art via computer last year and the prospects for fall don't seem much different right now. And Sarah--to her credit--is taking the virus pretty seriously and remains cautious about how she goes about in the world while this is going on.

Grace is preparing for band camp over the next two weeks--despite the challenges of gathering kids together for the activity. But the staff and the parents have worked diligently this summer to make the band experience a good one for everyone, even with all of the unknowns in from of us. I pray that Grace can make her way through this senior year with meaningful memories of this very important part of her high school career.

Hannah is growing into her middle school years. She is becoming herself amongst the restrictions of COVID, somewhat isolated from her friends, and having a diminished summer because of it. No middle schooler wants to stay home with her parents all the time . . . but she has accepted much of it with reasonably good grace.

But I wish that none of it were so.

Friday, July 10, 2020

LOST Rewatch: Live Together Die Alone (COV120D-19)

Credit:  tle1lost.wordpress.com

Can you believe that we have reached the end of Season 2? It has been a very long and interrupted journey. I am excited to examine new plots in season 3. I am excited to remind myself about "The Oceanic Six." (Intrigued? Stay tuned!) And I am excited to swap out the Season 2 logo for another of a different color.


But before we get to those things, we need to examine "Live Together Die Alone." Do you remember those words, spoken by Jack in Season 1 . . . back when he was a bit more admirable . . . a bit more heroic . . . and bit less churlish and quick to anger . . . a bit more humble? That was then. This is now. And now, angry Jack, Hurley, Kate, and Sawyer (a.k.a. The Only Lostaways That Matter*) are headed off with Michael to confront the pitiful--so Michael says--band of primitive Others on the far side of Mystery Island.


But! 


Remember that Sayid had identified Michael's odd behavior? And how he warned Jack that Michael had been compromised? Well, he and Jack have a plan to circumvent whatever plan Michael may be following through with the Others and Henry Gale, because Sayid is going to sail around the Island with Jin and Sun to get to the Others camp while the rest of Michael's crew cut through the slower jungle overland route.


Where did they get a boat? Oh--I forgot to tell you about who was on the sailboat that arrived at the end of "Three Minutes." It was Desmond! He came back, against his will, he said because the Island doesn't want to let him leave.



It is in this FLASHBACK that he learn much more of Desmond's backstory. We learn that he used to be a part of the Royal Scots armed forces. That he was in military prison for something and then discharged after serving his sentence. We learn that he is disliked by a gruff, Tywin Lannister lookalike actor who's character name is Charles Widmore. We learn that Desmond is in love with Penelope Widmore--the daughter of Charles, and that Daddy doesn't like it. So much so that Charles is willing and able to try and pay Desmond off to keep him away from Penny forever. We learn that Desmond ended up on the Island because he was trying to win a Widmore-sponsored solo round-the-world sailing race, mostly to spite Charles and also to earn enough money to buy back Penny's love (maybe?). We also randomly learn that Desmond's boat: the one that sailed him around the world and accidentally to the Island, and then back again (currently being used by Sayid) was first owned by the recently departed Libby. And we learn that Desmond is a committed Charles Dickens fan.

We further learn (this is a two-episode length finale, y'all!) that while on the Island, Des was saved by Inman--formerly an American soldier who worked with Sayid in Iraq and now a part of DHARMA. Inman is down in the Swan Hatch alone and desperate for a button-pushing partner. 

Speaking of the Hatch and the button . . . in the non-Flashback B plot, John Locke has teamed up with current Desmond to simulate a Lockdown and trap Mr. Eko outside of the computer station. John and Desmond was to prove once and for all that this button nonsense is just that . . . nonsense. They are going to make the counter go to 000 00 and see what happens. But Eko responds by enlisting Charlie to find the leftover Black Rock dynamite and blast his way back to the computer before the world ends.

While waiting for the timer to count down, Desmond gets second thoughts, remembering his time with Inman. He comes to (re?) believe that the button is actually doing something real. Because one time when he didn't punch the numbers in fast enough* bad stuff actually started happening. Such as:
  1. weird hieroglyphs took the place of the zeros on the counter
  2. the warning speaker kept repeating SYSTEM FAILURE
  3. everything began shaking like an earthquake
  4. all metallic items were drawn to and stuck upon the concrete bunker wall in the most dire-seeming fashion
Thinking back upon this Desmond realizes that this moment of SYSTEM FAILURE was the same day that Oceanic 815 crashed. So, he believes that there IS a purpose to the button and this Incident that is mentioned in the Swan Orientation film is something to be taken seriously.

And by now the timer has hit zero. And all of the above is happening. And John realizes that . . . he made a mistake and famously says (with a worried look) "I was wrong." But shit is happening now and how to fix it?!


They can't!


Only Desmond has the key--literally--to fix the problem. Something else he inherited from Inman in the FLASHBACKS--a DHARMA shaped key that can be inserted into a small lock under the floor of the Hatch. The keyhole is ominously labelled Failsafe and Inman drunkenly told him once that activating this would release the magnetic pressure building up behind the wall. But he also thought that it would destroy the Island and themselves at the same time. But Desmond will sacrifice himself to save others.


But not THOSE Others . . . because while all of this is happening at the Swan, Michael and his suspicious band are still traveling to the Others camp. And by now Jack has told them of his worry that Michael is a liar. And thus trapped, Michael has admitted that he killed Ana and Libby to free Henry--all done to save Walt and get him and his son off the Island. They are captured by the Others and taken to a dock where they are bound and gagged. Then Henry appears with the Season 1 ending boat to give Michael and Walt freedom. As all of this is transpiring, the Failsafe is triggered on the other side of the Island, the sky turns purple, a deafening thrumming noise fills the sky everywhere, and something happens at the Hatch. 


We see that Charlie made it back to Lostaway beach. But we don't know Locke's, Desmond's, or Eko's fate. And we don't know what will happen to Jack, Kate, or Sawyer who are being held by Henry and the Others. Also, Sayid, Jin, and Sun were unsuccessful in sneaking up on the Others, so we don' t know if they survived the Failsafe event.


The final scene? Two scruffy scientists in some Arctic setting get a computerized warning that a magnetic anomaly was detected. They quickly make a phone call to Penny Widmore to tell her that they think they have found him!


Next Season!


* both to the viewing public, as well as to the Others?


* He was chasing Inman--who was stealing away to taken Desmond's sailboat to escape the Island, then accidentally killing Inman in the struggle, then quickly returning to the Hatch because he knew time was running out.

Thursday, July 09, 2020

COV119D-19: PARTY MONTH #3--XXV

They say for better and for worse.

They say for richer and for poorer.

They say in sickness and in health.

Two out of three about covers it for this year, I think.

Wednesday was never the way that I imagined my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. How could I imagine such as thing when I was a simple youth of 24? I had never heard of a coronavirus? (Such a thing must have existed somewhere back in 1995, right? Just not in my corner of south Georgia.)

But I knew little of anything in that corner of south Georgia. On that particular day, I only knew that marrying Lynda Thompson was the thing for me. And I did it happily. And I've enjoyed our partnership ever since. Through Ohio, through jobs, through pregnancy, through labor, through three births, through raising children into young adults and burgeoning teens.

It's been stressful and wonderful and life-altering. It's been everything I could imagine and much, much more. It's been the defining crux of my life. It was what I wanted then and what I want still--even through the challenges and the unknowns. Even though the frustrations of parenting young adults in this time. 

I wanted to be doing other things during the summer of our twenty-fifth anniversary. But there will be a twenty-sixth and a twenty-seventh. There will be a thirtieth, a fortieth, and even a fiftieth. We have more time to catch what we don't have now. Because now is just a moment. But our commitment and our love to one another is a lifetime.

Here is to next year. And whatever may come after that!

Sunday, July 05, 2020

LOST Rewatch: Three Minutes (COV115D-19)

Credit:  tle1lost.wordpress.com

"Three Minutes" follows hot on the heels of the events of "?". The Lostaways are still trying to understand the events of "Two For the Road" while the fresh graves of Libby and Ana Lucia remind them of what they don't know.


They don't know who "Henry Gale" actually is. Nor where he has gone. (Though Michael has some ideas about that.)


They don't know the truth of how Ana and Libby died. (Though Michael definitely know the information about that.)


They don't know that Michael has plans to lead a few of them--Jack, Kate, John, Sawyer, and Hurley--into a trap. (Though Sayid has suspicions about that.)


They don't truly know what the Others are up to . . . or what is going on with Walt. (Though the events of this episode clue the viewer a bit closer into THAT.)


We get several mini-FLASHBACKS in this episode, not into anyone's far past. But into the thirteen days prior when Michael ran away from Swan Hatch in search of Walt. We see that he was chased by Jack and co. and how Michael was caught up by Capt. Beardo and his merry band of boat-going others. How he was gagged and in the wings when Beardo confronted Jack and co. about the line in the jungle that the Lostaways were not to cross. We see that Michael was taken back to the primitive-seeming camp that the Others have on some unknown part of the Island--huts alongside an ocean bluff. Michael sees another Dharma-sealed door to what looks to be a fifth Hatch. But there is no entrance.




Michael is held in a hut and not permitted to see anything or talk to anyone but a mysterious woman called Klugh. She is given the name "Miss Klugh" in the credits . . . clue . . . get it? (Don't worry. It won't really add up to anything in the end.) She is the one that tells Michael that only Kate, Jack, Sawyer (here identified at James Ford), John, and Hurley are to return with him. Miss Klugh gives Michael a hand-written list of these names. If he can lure these people to them, the Others will give Michael a boat and he and Walt can go free . . . off the Island? After promising to make that happen, Michael gets to see Walt for three minutes in the hut. It is the first time we've seen Walt since he was on the boat at the end of Season 1--minus a few visions here and there in previous episodes. Their reunion is tearful and it properly motivates Michael to carry out the plan--which will result in the two tragic deaths and the freeing of "Henry."


Other random thoughts while watching this episode:


1. At one point, Sawyer--while insulting Hurley and Kate in order to argue that Sayid should be included on Michael's mission--says the following: "Look if Pippy Longstockings and the Grape Ape get to go, then I vote for the Red Beret." It's the most amazing example so far of Sawyer's particular word salad of pop culture references/insults/nicknames. And my kids were so confused by it that they didn't even know how to respond.


2. One of the Others takes blood from Michael by simply jamming a hypodermic into the meat of his upper shoulder and I just laughed out loud. Of course, that isn't how you draw blood. But it is so stupid its' funny.


3. Charlie is demonstrating that he is no longer beholden to the heroin by throwing the remaining Virgin Mary statues into the ocean waves. Ignoring the fact, naturally, that he is barely getting the statues past the breakwater and that they will wash ashore in the tide within hours. But . . . now that I think on it a bit unless Nigerian souvenier making is very high quality, the seams on the statues won't be enough to protect the heroin from seawater. So . . . I guess Charlie did it right after all.


4. And speaking of the ocean bringing things back to the Island, something does come back at the very end of the episode. A fancy-looking sailboat! I wonder who is inside?

Saturday, July 04, 2020

LOST Rewatch: ? (COV114D-19)

Credit:  tle1lost.wordpress.com

I am still working my way through the end of Season 2 of the LOST Rewatch and there are only a few episodes that remain as we wrap up the season of the Hatch. And that is an appropriate adjective to this episode in particular because the A plot of "?" deals with hatches.


Remember back in "Lockdown" when the blast doors triggered (because the Dharma food pallet drop was taking place) and John got injured by the door crushing his leg? And remember who during that lockdown, blacklights switched on and he saw a hand-drawn image of some sort of hatch-based diagram? And in the center of that diagram was a big question mark?


Well, if you don't happen to remember that--you can read my recap of that episode here. But if you are ready to move on, let's focus on what actually happened in "?".


The beginning of it is mostly the immediate aftermath of what Michael did in Swan hatch when he murdered Ana Lucia and Libby, freed "Henry Gale", and then intentionally wounded himself with a self-inflicted shoulder gunshot to turn the suspicion away from him. He had deniability as Jack and Sawyer and Kate come rushing back to the Swan to find out what happened. And Jack--ever the opportunist--uses this crisis to out-maneuver Sawyer once more. He forces Sawyer's brief humanity to expose where he is keeping his stash of guns and medicine . . . so that Jack can get the Virgin Mary heroin he needs to put a lingering Libby out of her misery. Jack knows that he can't do anything to prevent her death and so he wants to pwn Sawyer again, just like he recently did during their mango-fueled poker game.


But that isn't truly important. Sure, there is sadness with the death of two more characters. And Hurley is devastated when he learns what happened to Libby. And he feels guilty that he forgot the blankets that drove her to the Hatch in the first place. And Sawyer regrets his recent snarky (if sexy) last encounter with Ana that allowed her to palm him revolver that allowed the deaths to occur.


But the true focus of the episode is Eko and John. Because Eko began having Island prophetical dreams of his priest brother Yemi--who told him that he and John needed to find the Question Mark. Eko doesn't know what any of that means. But he has Island-faith that John will understand and that together they will succeed.



Yemi pops up in more than one vision-dream during this episode--first to Eko and then to John when they are hiking out into the jungle in search of the promised Question Mark. It prompted me to consider that Yemi had (briefly) become the new Walt--a visionary individual who only serves to prod along the plot in mysterious ways.

And yes, there is lots of dreaming in this episode and much talk of miracles. Because that is the subject of the FLASHBACK! We learn that Eko spent his time after Yemi flew away from Nigeria in the drug runner's plane serving as a supposed priest. And weirdly enough, no one challenged his doctrinal authority or anything. So much so that he was working within a diocesean structure as a miracle authenticator. Eko had been planning to go to the U.S. and probably lose himself in a new country and ditch this fake priest role. But another priest interrupted his plans and sent him to Sydney to authenticate a story of a young girl who was supposed to have drowned but instead came back to life during the autopsy. (And . . . yes . . . the girl in question, named Charlotte, was the daughter of the psychic that was visited by both Claire and Rose in previous episodes.) But that is not important.

What is important is that there is much talk of miracles in the Flashback B plot and I think it was there to give viewers some slim hope that Libby might recover from her gunshot wounds. Not that any of the characters ever gave that indication. But I think it was there to toy with people's expectations at least a bit. But in the end, no help resulted and Libby died before she could tell anyone that Michael was responsible for the killings and for the freeing of "Henry."

While the Lostaways are preparing for a dual funeral, Michael is frantically trying to convince Jack, Locke, Kate, Sawyer . . . and Hurley? . . . to come with him on a raid of the primitive camp where Michael is sure that "Henry" is escaping back to. Michael semi-demands that no one else may help, no matter how logical it might be. (And that includes Sayid, which raises red flags for some of the observant Lostaways who think that Michael must have been compromised during the time he was missing and searching for Walt.) But more on that to come in the next episode . . .

Back in the now, John and Eko do succeed in tracking down the "?" in question. It is an entrance to a fourth Hatch station built below the precise location where the Nigerian drug plane crashed. This station, the Pearl, is simple compared to the Swan. It has some comfortable swivel chairs and a bank of TV monitors . . . and lots of notebooks. According to another Orientation film that Eko discovered--hosted by Mark Wickmund, who looks identical to Marvin Candle from the Swan film--the Pearl station is an observation post. It seems that the Dharma people in Pearl and supposed to snoop on the people in the Swan. Does this mean that the number punching in Swan station is just a bunch of baloney? John now certainly thinks so and in anger and frustration, he vows to abandon the Numbers and the Swan and put all of that behind him.

But Eko is now even more committed--and he vows to take over the task of number punching. He has taken over the faith of the Hatch in ways that John no longer has--which ties neatly into his Flashback religion sequence.

But bigger questions loom. Will Michael's treachery be verified by Sayid? Will Michael convince the right people to go with him to invade the Others camp? What does the Other's camp actually look like? Why did Michael betray his friends? What is the true nature--if any--of the Pearl Station . . . or the Swan Station for that matter?


Thursday, July 02, 2020

LOST Rewatch: Two For the Road (COV112D-19)

Credit:  tle1lost.wordpress.com

PREVIOUSLY . . . on LOST Rewatch . . .


Well! My last Rewatch post was OVER three years ago. Back in March 2017. I ended with season 2, episode 19: "S.O.S."


You can read it here, if you want to get back into the flow of things. And I ended that post with the tease of we would find out what the returning Michael was up to next time. But I didn't think it would take so loooong!!


But hey--life happens. I'm sure when Michael crashed on the mystery island with his estranged son, he was not prepared to find it a magical island with smoke monsters, weird visions, and marauding Others. He didn't expect to successfully build a raft only to have that raft be attacked by Captain Beardo and his Other pirates. And he didn't expect Walt to be taken. But all of that happened in season 1. And for most of season 2 the mystery of Walt's disappearance was unresolved and Michael was mad. Everyone was focused on the Tailies and how they upset the balance of the Lostaways lifestyle on Jack Beach. And people were trying to figure out what was going on in the Hatch with the Numbers. And everyone was still recovering from Shannon's death. And everyone was doing everything else but solve two significant problems. First, what about Walt? And second, does anyone want to be rescued off of this place?


Michael left to solve the first problem. And in "S.O.S." Bernard tried to solve the second. But he succumbed to the magic pull of the Island to come to terms with what Rose wanted. And now, after being gone for a while Michael has suddenly returned and he has been taken down into the Hatch to recover after wandering through the jungle from wherever he has been. And when he is in the Hatch, he finds Ana Lucia struggling with her own confused feelings. She has a gun that she took from Sawyer--after she tricked him into sex so that she could grab one of his guns when he wasn't paying attention. And now that she has the gun, she is struggling to determine what her plan is and why. 


For you see, in the FLASHBACK . . . we learn that Ana crossed paths with a drunk and despairing Christian Shephard. After Christian lost he job because Jack ratted out his on-job drinking, he was falling apart. Christian convinces Ana to serve as his world-travelling bodyguard companion and they go to Sydney . . . so that Christian can harass a woman on a dark rainy night? The dialogue isn't entirely clear, but we know that he is drunk and is demanding to see his daughter. (Who might THAT be?)



Ana eventually tires of Christian's aimless drinking and whatever and leaves him behind in the bar. As she leaves, she bumps into Sawyer, who is going into the bar after failing to kill his nemesis. He is about to have his own Christian encounter!

But Ana is still struggling to reconcile her hatred over the man who attacked her and caused her to lose her baby. (And whom she then killed in outright anger.) And she quit the police due to this despair. And her time with Christian didn't help. And then she crashlanded on Mystery Island. And then she got mixed up in all sorts of fights with Others.And she let her anger run free. And it caused her to kill. And then she accidentally killed Shannon. And people hate her. And she hates herself. And now she's got a gun. And she is trying to figure out what to do with that gun and with Henry Gale. And she doesn't know how to proceed.

In happier news back on Lostaway Beach . . . Hurley is recovering from his recent antics with "Dave." And he is pleased that Libby was there to help him out and that she seems to dig him. And so they are going to have a picnic! But Hurley forgot the blankets. So Libby headed down to the Hatch to grab some.

But when she got there, she arrived at the worst time. 

For you see--we now learn what Michael is there to do. He sweet-talked Ana as she struggled with the gun. And he got it away from her. And then he SHOT her with it . . . just as Libby turned the corner. And Michael SHOT HER as well! And that is how one of the most dramatic and unexpected moments in LOST history happened.

And here is where I interject a bit about my own personal history with this. When I first began this Rewatch, it was partly to get Grace interested in the show. And she was definitely into it. But this episode broke her. (She was in Middle School at the time.) She was so unexpectedly upset with Michael's turn and with Ana's (and Libby's) death that we stopped watching the show for almost six months.

So, now--as I've started the Rewatch again with Hannah, we got to the same episode. And Grace and I were anticipating how Hannah would react to this plot turn. And she WAS upset. But we only took a week's break this time. And so, as we near the end of season two, I rejoin my Rewatch blog commitment. It will give me something to write about that isn't COVID related, at least.

See you next entry . . . when we deal with the immediate aftermath of What Michael Did.




COV112D-19: PARTY MONTH #2--Happy Birthday Lynda

Party Month is a merciless time. As soon as you settle into one celebration and give it your all, you've got another one looming in the background. If you don't keep your head on a swivel, you'll be blind-sided and unprepared for what and who comes next.

Last weekend, we took some time to cheer Grace and her excellence. And I wish that we could keep that up for days and weeks on end. But if you do that then you run the risk of not giving Lynda her due. So we must also raise our voices to point out how wonderful Lynda is and take a brief and inadequate moment to remember how great she is.

(And yes, I recognize that I didn't post this yesterday--on Lynda's actual birthday. I got caught up in my own merciless march of things.)

But post I will, because Lynda is such an important part of this family: a strong voice of love and commitment. A person who has fierce view of herself, of us, and of our power and potential. Let's face it--the Martins have a tendency to hang back, to be cautious, to move carefully. But Lynda has always been strong and confident in her beliefs and in her role as a creator of change and success. She pushes my hesitation boundaries and helps me be better at the things I know I should do.

But it's not all work and tasks! Lynda is always looking for ways to have fun and bring happiness into life. She is never content to just let things be--she is actively trying to make good things better.

So, happy birthday to you, my friend, my wife, and my partner through so much of the uncertainty of right now. As I said to you a few days ago--we're learning how to parent all over again . . . but this time with teenagers and young adults rather than with children. It's extremely different! That is something that we are coming to realize. But I'm so happy that I am doing it with you.

Friday, June 26, 2020

COV106ID-19: Party Month #1 HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRACE


You are seventeen years old today! Happy birthday!

What a summer it has been so far. And what a Party Month ahead this will be--surely the most unique Party Month that I can imagine any of us going through.

I can't say everything has been wonderful during these months of quarantine and uncertainty. But you have borne up through it all with patience and love. 

Thank you for being my Marvel movie friend. Thank you for engaging with me at any level of intellectual or pop-cultural discussion. Thanks for your enthusiasm and excitement.

Thanks for your band involvement. You've helped draw me into a new world of community and people that I didn't have. 

Thanks for being my daughter. You've pushed me to be a better father and helped me be a better friend to you and your siblings.

Things are starting to change for you. This senior year is a big transitional year for you--as well as for mom and I. I have confidence in you however your future begins. Don't be afraid of what is coming, because you are strong and confident and able to take on whatever it may be. And we are standing beside you when you need it and slightly behind you when you ask for it. But we are there, watching, cheering you, celebrating you in any and all things.

Be happy! Have fun! Remember that you are loved and be not afraid.

Monday, June 15, 2020

COV95D-19

This week (Friday, apparently) marks two decades of working at my office. 

While attending a weekly Zoom meeting with my department members and friends, Lynda surprised me with a celebratory set of balloons, a wonderful card, and two dozen (!!) Krispy Kreme doughnuts (donuts?). It had been secretly coordinated by my great friends who wanted to mark the occasion and delivered the gifts during the meeting. Everyone had such nice things to say and they were terribly complimentary. I was reminded again that everything you say will be remembered and repeated to you eventually. So make sure that what you say is done with a smile. 

It was wonderful and embarrassing, and lovely--and I was attention-sweating the whole time.

Twenty years of anything is noteworthy. And (these days) twenty years in the same company is downright miraculous. Lord knows that many of the people reading this right now cannot say the same--and most of my loyal readers were definitely some of my colleagues and friends who have worked with me along the way.

Simply put, I'm luckier than I should be allowed to be. 



I've been part of lots of good, stimulating work. And I am still engaged by the work all these years later. Happily, I've learned my way into the job and most of the time these days I can actually feel like I have finally learned how to do it pretty well. Right now I'm engaged with very exciting new work that is equal parts interesting, daunting, and (I hope has the potential to be) important. These projects tend to take a while to complete, so I'll be neck-deep in it for quite a bit of time to come. But when it is done, I hope to look at the completed work with happiness.

I can't say much more without wading into violations of corporate policy . . . and wouldn't THAT be a spectacular way to start a 21st year? So I'll bring this to a close by saying thank you to everyone who has helped to get me here--lots of former and current work friends, my wife who can share my work stories and bounce back her own. Many of the happiest, funniest, most impactful moments of my adulthood have been in and around my work and the people I've shared it with. 

It's been much more fun than you can expect a job to be.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

COV94D-19


Family is a difficult business. You know no one so well and no one knows you so well. You do love one another . . . if you’re lucky. But everyone knows how to drive you crazy. Even the simple act of playing a game can lead to hurt feelings. And the hardest thing about family is that everyone knows you so well, and they never let you change. Old assumptions, old traits, old patterns are remembered, repeated, relived. Jokes can cut; the words can sting.

How do you hold onto the love when the daily grind of living wears you out? Especially in these quarantine times when we cannot escape one another. Trying to find something diverting to do on the weekend, playing a game. But all the expectations never go away. Old memories are resurfaced. Hurt feelings that don’t deserve frustration and disappointment. All overwhelm what should be fun and exciting.

Friday, June 12, 2020

COV92D-19

It's been almost two weeks since my last post and . . . well . . .

This year just keeps going, huh?

When I started this COVID section of WWYG?! I was doing it because this was an unusual aberration in my routine. Working from home, kids driven from school, a virus pandemic trembling the national/global landscape in historic ways. Something you might want to blog about and comment on from time to time. 

And the numbers in my "at home" blog titles just kept ticking higher and higher. Everyone's counter started on a different day but mine has now reached day 92.

But that isn't what this is about.

Because while COVID is a real presence that hasn't gone away and definitely isn't done with us and we are for sure going to see some renewed waves of its presence in the coming months . . . other events have raised up their hands and said, "Hey, remember us?"

Because on Memorial Day George Floyd was murdered by Minnesota police for being black. And before him Ahmaud Arbery made the unfortunate decision to try and be healthy outdoors in Brunswick, Georgia. And also Breonna Taylor forgot to keep one eye open in the middle of the fucking night. And on, and more, and my God . . .

So, hey--COVID? Take a seat over there to the side and let's, unfortunately, ignore you for a minute (It's not like we aren't willingly ignoring you for the love of the almighty dollar anyway.) 

But anyhow, we've got some other stuff to talk about.

Because African Americans in this country have been shit upon for so long that I am unable to lay it out for you. First--because I am so embarrassingly privileged and unaware of the issue I have no business trying to do so. But also because it takes a historian's dissertation-level of thought, detail, and researched care to do justice to the level of injustice and inhumanity suffered by African Americans in the United States for centuries.

This is not the place to talk about the minuscule improvements that you might want to cite even within my particular lifetime. Any such token examples do not eliminate the ongoing systematic and psychological and unconscious inequality placed upon African Americans every hour of every year in every space of public living.

So--in no particular order.

NASCAR announced yesterday that it was banning the Confederate flag from all of its races and official events. This is a good and simple thing that should be accepted and we all move on. (Though I know we won't.) NASCAR's history is deeply rooted in Southern culture. But whatever someone might say about the Confederate battle flag also being rooted in Southern heritage . . . stop. They are correct. It IS rooted in an intentional history of inequality, racism, terror, and intimidation. 

This flag was always the symbol of a misguided vision of some racist Americans' view of the Constitution. It was used after World War II to symbolize a region's inability to reckon with its segregationist past and its inability to accept the change demanded by the Civil Rights Movement. It has become the symbol of white separatists who carry it alongside the fucking Nazi swastika. Remove it, get rid of it, be ashamed of it.

In the continuing ripples of the George Floyd protests, statues of Confederate individuals are being torn down. No longer are people content to debate and wait for consensus on these statues that dot communities large and small across the United States. It is ugly and angry. People are uncomfortable. And that is how it needs to be. The history of these statues is as tied to segregationist racism of the 1950s and 1960s as the Stars and Bars and the Ku Klux Klan. Stop hiding from this ugly truth and listen to people who have their own ugly truths to express. Give these protesters the honor of their humanity and hear their pain. Learn what these statues mean to THEM. And consider why they must be removed from places of community honor.

HBO Max pulled Gone with the Wind from its streaming library. I'll admit that when I first heard about this, my immediate and unconscious reaction was negative. And that only exposes me to the internal honest work that I need to keep doing to make me live up to everything that I've typed above and try to think about myself. Luckily, one of my former coworkers posted this YouTube video on Facebook the day that I heard about this story. And I watched it. And I find it persuasive in its absolute obviousness. I regret my blinkered gut reaction to the streaming decision.

 

Where does this conversation end? I don't know but you can't end it right now. 

We've got to open our ears and hear. We've got to open our hearts in love. Until we do those things, nothing will, nor should stop. Why should any people stop fighting for the equality that we always say should be theirs?

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

COV82D-19

There are some days when I start my work hours with a pit of anxiety in my stomach. Either I'm worried about getting things done properly. Or I find that how I imagined the work to be more complex than it is turning out to be. Or any number of other workplace scenarios.

Most likely you can relate in some way to this problem.

How to fix it? 

Generally, by getting started.

Beginning the tasks, no matter how confused I may be or how wrong I might misunderstand. Or how badly I didn't anticipate the issues before me. By getting started, I start making sense of the problem. Or at least I better understand what the problem actually is. And I start figuring out how to fix it. Or I begin asking others for advice on how they can help me fix it.

But beginning something is definitely preferable to imagining how bad the work might be.

Monday, June 01, 2020

COV81D-19

Today was one of those days where you feel like you're swimming through molasses the whole time and nothing is going as fast as you want it to.

Technology--naturally--was my biggest nemesis today.

Because my job and Zoom are my two pandemic overlords, they decided to work together over the weekend and today to make things hard for me.

It started yesterday when I was trying to launch my family Zoom call. (Since the quarantine started, my siblings and my parents have been chatting on Sunday via Zoom. I had set up last week's scheduled chat and was trying to launch it when I got an error dialogue pop up window telling me that I needed to update my program to a newer version. I initially thought it might be a phishing attempt since I had been using Zoom for the last several weeks at work with no problems at all. But I couldn't get the update to install and we had to quickly pivot (workspeak!) to a different solution to get the family call up and running quickly. All of that worked out and I made a mental note to check Zoom again today once I started doing work.)

This morning I didn't react quickly enough and had to pivot again for my work-related team status. And so what else could I do but launch "Teams" to get THAT meeting done. But I limped my way through it and then quickly reported the need for a Zoom update through my company's service IT portal. 

When I heard from a service person who was able to help, I only had a little over an hour before my NEXT Zoom meeting this afternoon. And while I did get help updating some overdue Windows platform fixes, those updates DID NOT fit my Zoom issue. So I had to download the Zoom app onto my phone and slink my way into this afternoon's department meeting with no video capability and viewing information through my small phone screen. Not optimal!

Luckily, my helpful IT representative had said he would check back in on me this afternoon to see if the Windows update solved me problem. And when he called me back, we was able to remote connect into my laptop and update Zoom accordingly.

So . . . here's hoping that for the rest of my Zoom meetings this week and over the weekend--not to mention for many, many months to come--I'm all up-to-date and ready to go.

Still, navigating through these problems isn't so much like swapping out some futuristic circuits in Star Trek and more like . . .



Sunday, May 31, 2020

COV80D-19

Sorry that I haven't posted in about a week. It's just been a week of nothing interesting in my week. Certainly, there have been lots of interesting things happening in the country this week. And I am grieved by that. And I have been trying to figure out how to work against the racism that so many people are protesting to fix. More on those issues as I discern how to be in support of solutions to make everything better for everyone.

In the good weather these days, the girls have dusted off their softball gloves and been throwing in the backyard. Hannah says that she is interested in trying out for the Seventh-grade team at Walnut Springs next year--assuming such things happen in the future. So this is some good prep work for her--to remind her of what skills she acquired in her brief experience in Fall Ball the last few years.

What else?

We have successfully made two Great British Baking dishes the last few weeks. Hannah hasn't determined what this week's dish will be. But it might end up being another savory item similar to the Giant Sausage Roll that we made yesterday. (We don't want to step too much on Grace's established  sweet territory.)

Since I can't think of anything interesting to say, maybe I'll turn the questioning on you.

What have you done in the last month that you feel is noteworthy? Have you achieved something you never expected to achieve? Have you overcome something that seemed impossible before?

What good things have happened to you? Is there a great memory that you can think of in the month of May that you would like to share?

Do you have something difficult that you want to get off of your chest? Are you willing to share it in a public comment? Maybe someone who reads this can help.

What do you look forward to? What do you dream for in the near future? 

Monday, May 25, 2020

COV74D-19--#OfficialHat2020 Revealed


Placing this here for complete-ness and posterity. (You are welcome future historians.)

Sunday, May 24, 2020

COV73D-19

How is your Memorial Day weekend going along?
Today has been a pretty relaxing day but I'm craving some potato chips right now. (Not that you really needed to know that, but I thought I would let you in on that little secret. And the reason I'm craving chips at all is because I just watched a Bon Appetit YouTube in which Claire (the Gourmet Makes host tried to recreate Pringles). 

Do you watch Bon Appetit? That has been one of the new entertainment additions of mine during the COVID quarantine. Grace watched it a lot and I started watching Gourmet Makes. It's a fun twist on How Its Made and Unwrapped and other food-related shows that I like to watch. And once you start watching one personality, its easy to start watching some others.

So . . . yeah. Maybe I'll eat some potato chips soon.

But, what else is happening?

I went for a walk today and that was nice. After so much rain this past week, it has been nice to see the sun and even feel some warmth. But since the Highlands Pool has announced that it won't be opening to the public this summer, I wonder if I'll be setting up the sprinkler in the yard to help cool off? But if I do that, then I would need to prevent people from playing in the water and violating my quarantine.

Speaking of food . . . Lynda and Hannah are attempting to make an extremely difficult pastry from the Great British Baking Show: religieuse. (see above) 

(If they make it out of the kitchen alive and still loving one another, then good for them. I don't even care how it tastes.) 

***

Two other things:

1. You have tonight and sometime tomorrow--until I decide to shut down the Google form and make my reveal video--to cast your final votes on #OfficialHat2020.  You can vote here.

2, My kids spent the morning making an online personality quiz. It is based on Avatar: The Last Airbender . . . because why not? Click here to take the quiz. They designed the concept. They chose the characters. They wrote the questions. They wrote the copy. I like it and I liked the result that I got. Click here to go and enjoy.