Tuesday, March 31, 2020


(Now that the numbers match up do I get a pony?)

Today is a stream-of-consciousness type of blogging day. I'll have the tab open and just drop back in here and there to jot something down. What will it add up to? We'll find out.

Hannah has a school conference call set for 10:10 am. Set my alarm to go see if she can log into the call correctly. Grace's cooked eggs for breakfast is making me want to eat again. I'm feeling tired of sitting here at my dining room table day after day--even though I normally sit at my office desk day after day. Nothing has changed. And definitely . . . nothing has changed.

Ohio schools won't reopen again until AT LEAST May 1. sigh

[Midday update . . .]

Bad news.

I've been working this morning and I can report that I have nothing interesting to add to this post so far. I've gotten up and out of my seat it feels like 25 times in the last thirty minutes and I'm feeling pretty antsy.

But it looks like Sarah is setting up to do another watercolor still life this afternoon, so maybe that will generate some excitement and content interest.

[One hour later . . .]

Where do you position your Task Bar on your PC computer? I've historically always left it on the bottom of the screen, which is the default position. But occasionally--and especially when I'm long term using my smaller laptop screen--I've set it to "auto-hide" so that I have maximum screen real estate. BUT . . . when you do that, then you get the taskbar popping up to alert you of an incoming message. And that removes that bottom area of the screen until you click to acknowledge the alert.

So, I tried moving it to the TOP of the screen. Quickly realized that was no good. Because it competes with the tabs on your browser and becomes even MORE of a problem when you are on a WebEx and all of the screen sharing options and tools are on its own auto-hiding toolbar at the top of the screen as well.

So, then I moved it to the LEFT of the screen, running vertically down. (The Right vertical option is definitely out because that is where all of your scroll bars are sitting for all of your programs and NO THANKS! But on the left, can I be comfortable with "auto-hide"?

Turns out no--for the same reason auto-hide doesn't' work at the bottom default position. The alter pop up is just TOO ANNOYING.

So now I'm going with Left Vertical/Always Visible. Will give vital updates in the coming days.

[Later . . .]

I really am not focused today. It sucks.

Monday, March 30, 2020


What is there to say today?

Work went all right. My worries about what I had to accomplish today was misunderstood by me so my task level was more do-able than I feared.

Grace and Hannah started back to digital school today and it definitely didn't keep them busy all day. And we Ohio-ians (sp?) learned this afternoon that Governor DeWine was extending the school closures for another month. May 1 is now the new target date for returning to school. We'll see--both, whether it could possibly go shorter than that (extremely unlikely) or longer than that.

Every day is just a new day of unknowns.

And every day I've got to figure out something to blog about. Because that is what I set out to do during this nonsense, so I've got to stick to it.

Can you help?

What sorts of things do you want to see me write about? Do you have any burning questions about what my exciting life is really like? Do you want to separate out the myths of real David and blogger Dave? Do you have any questions about the decade-plus of blogging that I've done? Want to know how the blog-sausage really gets made?

Anything and everything is up for grabs . . . except for the long-standing commitment to never discuss the marital bed. Longtime readers of WWYG?! know that I've never talked about it and I never will. Go ahead. Wave that book deal money in my face. You'll never get me to crack!

But other than that . . . what do you want to know? I'm not that inventive so I need help!

In random news: Sarah, Grace, and Hannah sit down with me most evenings and watch my LOST DVDs. We're very close to finishing Season 1 and at this pace will be finishing up Season 2 before this shelter-in-place/coronavirus/blog every day commitment ends. Which means that I may finally get to add more entries to my LOST Rewatch thread. (You can read the current posts in that WWYG category here: http://www.whywontyougrow.com/p/the-lost-rewatch.html

Sunday, March 29, 2020


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


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


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


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


(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?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

COV12D-19 (My bad Edition)

So, first I've got to apologize.

About a week ago, I briefly wrote a Facebook post related to the #HatofSummer campaign. And I didn't want it to be pushed live right away, because I wasn't fully done filming the videos and getting all of my digital ducks in a row. So I set that post as PRIVATE and then went on with my day.

And for the next several days I continued my shelter-in-place habit of blogging about something new each and every day. And I posted those WWYG?! entries on Twitter and on Facebook, hoping against hope that one day I might strike the national consciousness and become a famous blog boy.(This went on for days.)

And then I finished all of my #HatofSummer videos and I dutifully started posting about those videos on WWYG?! And I gleefully waited for everyone to be captivated and just so, SO enthusiastic about everything. What production values they would say! What imagination they would admit! He's a less technically adept Fincher! He's a budding Alex Garland! Amazing!

But . . . the vote counts just didn't start rolling in.

I rationalized it all by saying things like "They are waiting for all of the videos." Or "It was the weekend, so of course they were busy being outside with their family." Or . . . whatever.

But what I was actually thinking was: "WHY aren't they voting?!" I was also thinking "If I can't get people to get enthusiastic about the #HatofSummer campaign NOW . . . when we are literally trapped inside, with no distracting sports, and EVERYONE on their phones and computers ALL DAY . . . then WHAT exactly??!!"

Truly the darkest days of this whole at-home affair.

And then, today, during my lunch break I realize the terrible truth.

When I set that one post days before as PRIVATE, I didn't realize that all subsequent posts were also being set a PRIVATE. And so only my meager Twitter followers were seeing the daily video posts and (maybe?) casting their votes for my #OfficialHat2020. And thus, this, the greatest #HatofSummer campaign that there ever has been was disadvantaged from the start.

And, Dear Reader, there is no one to blame but myself.

What then, shall we do?

I've reset all of those posts as PUBLIC and I encourage you to watch them.

But if you don't want to go trawling back through the last week of my Facebook feed, I can give you a link to the published videos on the official 2020 #HatofSummer playlist.

All of the hats that are available for voting on are presented here, along with the Teaser video that I first released. In this playlist, you will see my journey through anxiety and descent into semi-madness as the world changes around me. You will see the choices:

  1. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text
  2. Columbus Zoo
  3. NHS YES!
  4. Ireland 
  5. (and debuting today) Martin's BBQ Joint
Please enjoy these videos and do share the whole affair with whomever you think needs a distraction in these trying times. I truly do believe we can get lots of people voting on this. And I do want lots of participation.

But more than simply video watching, nothing matters if you don't also vote. And to do that you must go cast as many votes as you can stomach on my Google Voting Form. (Use this link to go and cast your vote: https://forms.gle/tZSddEg5A7D3X67J9). 

The voting will be up and available for many weeks. And I will be posting subsequent update videos in the coming weeks to give you progress updates and to encourage further voting. Please take a moment each and every day to push your hat to the top of the list. I believe in you and I want YOUR hat to win.

Thanks for putting up with my incompetence and you'll be hearing more about this in the future.

Monday, March 23, 2020


The #HatofSummer journey continues today as my struggle for sanity goes on.

I've made it out of the basement. But the dangers of the outside world continues to overwhelm.

But no matter what is going on with me, I hope that you are having a better time with your days. Hannah and I took a walk in the chilly (but non-rainy!) afternoon. And we ordered out lunch today from Uptown Deli and Brew--the first time we've ordered other food since all of this began. It was delicious and a sort of weird morale boost for all of us. We cautioned the kids that we won't be doing it all the time, but it is meaningful to help out the small businesses who are in need right now and we can use the connection to the outside world. (And yes, I know that sounds weird. But it is still true.)

The workweek ahead is going to be demanding one with lots of deadlines and tasks to manage from one day to the next. Balanced with Sarah trying to enter back into the work of her Sophomore Spring semester after an extended break period. But she will be doing it from our house with us and trying to figure out how it can be done digitally and remotely. Grace and Hannah actually have their official Spring Break this coming week, so I expect they will be getting very bored very quickly. And now that Governor DeWine has put more restrictions into place, that will make it even harder to find alternative activities.

And yet, our communities can give us strength. Our friend groups, our churches, our organizations are all still there. And the problems and tasks that we are all connected to remain. We will find new ways to participate. We will find better ways to contribute. And we will see what truly matters and ensure that the work that we do is for the best.

Enjoy today's video!


Once again--the most important #OfficialHat2020 rules are as follows:

1. There is no limit on voting.

2. All votes must be cast on the Google Form page in the information panel of each video and below.


If you want the Ireland hat (an old favorite!) to be my #OfficialHat2020, vote for it on the #HatofSummer Google Voting page.

Vote for your #HatofSummer choice here: Link to the Google Voting page

Hats of Summer 2020 playlist: Link to the 2020 #HatofSummer video playlist

Official Hats of Summer (full) playlist: Link to the full list of all #HatofSummer videos

Sunday, March 22, 2020


Today's #HatofSummer video continues the examination of my growing desperation in the face of in-house quarantine and the uncertain future.

I begin to fight my way out of the basement to see what is going on in the rest of the house and perhaps the world.

Will I ever see the sun again?

Will I be able to remember the taste of food or the sound of water? Will I ever again experience the touch of grass?  Or will I remain naked in the dark, with no veil between me and the wheel of fire? (That's a little paraphrase from The Return of the King for you nerds out there.)

I sincerely hope that you are finding some joy and happiness today. I know that it can often be hard. I am thinking about you--along with myself--and I pray for all of us.

Now, once again--the most important #OfficialHat2020 rules are as follows:

1. There is no limit on voting.

2. All votes must be cast on the Google Form page in the information panel of each video and below.


If you want the NHS YES! hat to be my #OfficialHat2020, vote for it on the #HatofSummer Google Voting page.

Vote for your #HatofSummer choice here: Link to the Google Voting page

Hats of Summer 2020 playlist: Link to the 2020 #HatofSummer video playlist

Official Hats of Summer (full) playlist: Link to the full list of all #HatofSummer videos

Saturday, March 21, 2020

COV9D-19 (part 2, #HatofSummer number 2)

If you've already read part one of today's posts, you'll not wonder when I tell you that I'm not trapped under any furniture . . . yet.

Truth be told, my initial grand plans for a multi-room switcheroo is probably not going to happen. But that is due to input and consideration of the kids and what they want and need. I guess someday when they are fully independent and on their own, I can make my reading nook idea happen.


Grace is rearranging her room first and then once her furniture is adjusted, we'll make further changes based on what happens there. Still lots more to go in this world of change.

ALSO with lots more to go is the #HatofSummer campaign!

I launched the first video of the first hat option yesterday--though that truly feels like several days ago. And now I'm pushing live the next choice: the Columbus Zoo hat.

You can see in my (not-entirely-intentional) paranoia story that I'm trying to work my way up from the crawlspace of the basement into the "finished' part of the basement, and hopefully out into the wider world. But the cabin fever is setting in a bit strongly.

Please do enjoy this next hat video and PLEASE tell your friends about this. We've all got time on our hands stuck in our homes. Why not make my stupid #HatofSummer campaign a digital phenomenon? Each and every year it grows a bit. So why not now?

Once again--the most important rules are as follows:

1. There is no limit on voting.

2. All votes must be cast on the Google Form page in the information panel of each video and below.


If you want the Columbus Zoo hat to be my #OfficialHat2020, vote for it on the #HatofSummer Google Voting page.

Vote for your #HatofSummer choice here: Link to the Google Voting page

Hats of Summer 2020 playlist: Link to the 2020 #HatofSummer video playlist

Official Hats of Summer (full) playlist: Link to the full list of all #HatofSummer videos


Now is the time for you to get worried.

It's been over a week of self-isolation and why you might ask, is NOW the time? Well, I am going to spend my Saturday rearranging furniture, using a measuring tape, and trying to be a general handy-man. So, even if you have more equilibrium to not worry for yourself--you might want to spare a little concern for me. I might end the day trapped under a relocated couch or something. Me and homework (non-office edition) are NOT friendly.

So--why and what?

We are preparing to turn our home into office/school for the foreseeable future. Sarah begins her digital classes at CCAD next week. Grace helped move her out of her dorm on Friday afternoon. And while we went through this last summer during the break, this is different. She's home physically, but mentally she'll need to be in school mode. Just like Lynda and I are home but also at work, so must she be. And--to varying degrees--so much Grace and Hannah be.

To help provide Sarah some studio space to work, we are going to consider some furniture adjustments. Originally my idea was just to move her paints and materials and whatever down into the basement. And that is the simplest, quickest option. But as I lay in bed this morning I started dreaming up other considerations. Maybe Sarah shifts over to the sitting area by our fireplace where there is more natural light. That would mean moving the couches out of that area to give room for a table--either our current breakfast table or the larger one from the basement. So maybe that means that the (current) breakfast nook gets turned into a sort of relaxation, sitting area and some of the smaller couches/loveseats shift there? (That is why I've got the tape measure out--to judge lengths and such.)

Lynda--who has been mostly in the basement--may now move up to the bedroom where she can be on conference calls undisturbed. But that means moving around desks from the kid's rooms to give her space. And that means moving the recliner out of the bedroom and elsewhere?

There are lots of permutations running through my head right now and I'm sure I won't be fully happy with any of them. But at the same time, I can see it generating some excitement and creativity this weekend. It's the sort of project that can get people involved and bring out personalities and ideas and new ways of thinking. Now if all of that can be sprinkled with a bit of patience and some helping hands?

Let's hope that it works out. I'll let you know how it turned out in the coming days. If you don't hear from me, then that means I've probably broken a leg or an arm or something.

Friday, March 20, 2020


Yesterday I kicked off the #HatofSummer campaign with the "get-excited" video. (Are you thus excited?)

Today we have the first hat-specific video--a returner from last year's 2019 campaign--the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text cap.

I will be releasing a new video each day featuring a new hat focus. But even though a video is coming out one day at a time, you can go to the Google page and start voting for any hat starting today.

A reminder of the most important rules:

1. There is no limit on voting.

2. All votes must be cast on the Google Form page in the information panel of each video and below.

Enjoy, everyone . . .  and DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!

VIdeo Info:
If you want the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text hat to be my #OfficialHat2020, vote for it on the #HatofSummer Google Voting page. Vote for your #HatofSummer choice here: https://forms.gle/3y8h7eZGzToheQKf8 Hats of Summer 2020 playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list... Official Hats of Summer (full) playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...

Thursday, March 19, 2020

COV7D-19 (part 2)

The process of becoming a stay-at-home worker continues.

Some mornings (in the very small sample size that I currently have) I get going at the start time and I am very focused and everything is mostly okay. And then other mornings, I'm sitting down and I've got my laptop on and I'm connected to all of my files and etc. But it feels like its just lots of clicking and typing and then I look up and it already past 11 am.

I've started using new communications platforms that I had but didn't need to use before (Teams). And this afternoon I got the small, cheap, portable plug-in monitor that I purchased a few days ago. I could have gotten one of my work monitors from my desk office, but honestly, I didn't want to set that up at home. For you see, I've been working at the dining room table down on the main floor all of this week. And when I'm done working, I need to close it all up and put it somewhere else. And I didn't want to hassle of moving that monitor and the cables and related power cords all over the place each and every day. My desire for order is already stretched to the near breaking point right now as it is--what with all of the kids and their laptops and charging cords and phones and charging cords and glasses and napkins and whatever everywhere all the time. They've got nowhere to go and so everything is everywhere. And Lynda is already set up mostly in the basement at our secondary table down there. (Mostly because she is involved in far more phone conference calls than I am every day and needs to be in a lower amount of ambient noise for her WebEx connections. Plus it's colder down there. And there is less sunlight than where I am with a window directly to my left and the big picture window in the room to my right.)

But speaking of sunlight . . . I'd dearly love more of it. As I'm sure it has been with you, it's been two days worth of rain lately. And I'm even more stressed. Plus the kids have no chance of getting out to go for a walk or anything. Bad times.

And then . . . the week started well with my not eating too much. But in the last few days, I've been snacking more than I should. And Grace and Sarah (bless them) made chocolate chip cookies last night, so that is also a temptation that I'm not avoiding well.

When I'm done working for the day, the girls and I have started rewatching LOST (including Hannah for the first time). Hannah--as is her nature--is always asking questions. And you know that LOST is not a show with quick, abundant answers. Plus . . . waiting for the reveal is so much a part of the fun. But she doesn't realize that yet. I don't know how long we'll keep it up or how far we'll actually get. But maybe I can get a few more entries completed in the long fallow LOST Rewatch project.

In other other other news . . . I conceived of a few digital ideas for private groups that are turning out fun--stuff for the North Marching Band, and of course the launch of the #OfficialHat2020 campaign. (I'm really asking people to put their increased computer time to more focused use. I just hope they will click on all the links and vote like I want them to.)

I'll probably dream of something else to do soon. But that will be a blog post for a different day. I'm sad that the unfinished Band Room decoration project is on hold, but there is plenty of school-based stuff that is sitting still right now. I hope that when this all passes, I can dive right back into that and check that box complete soon.

That's it for today. My back hurts and I'm tired of staring at this laptop screen any further.

Check back in tomorrow for video #2 in this year's #HatofSummer fun. (And don't forget to go vote!)


It's time to get the voting started!

I will be launching the hat-specific videos one day at a time over the next several days. You will be able to go to the indicated Google Form page to cast your vote for my #OfficialHat2020.

The same rules apply as in every previous year--there are precious few rules. But the ones that exist are thus:

1. There is no limit on voting. This is NOT a democracy. This is a popularity contest and a gauge of commitment.

2. All votes must be cast on the Google Form page that is indicated in the information panel of each video.

3. Once the videos start being promoted live, the voting can begin. All voting is open and available from that time until I close voting on Memorial Day weekend and our summer hat wearing begins.

4. Whichever hat gets the most votes between the start of voting and the close of the Google Form on Memorial Day weekend will be the ONLY hat that I wear all summer long, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

Enjoy, everyone . . .  and DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!

VIdeo Info:
This video marks the start of this year's #HatofSummer campaign. I hope that you enjoy the videos to come as much as I have enjoyed thinking about and creating them. May this diversion give you a moment of happiness in stressful times. #OfficialHat2020 Hats of Summer 2020 playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list... Official Hats of Summer (full) playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


Monday evening, Sarah, Grace, and Hannah built a room-sized pillow fort in the front room. And it appears that they slept down there as well. So, I guess they are finding ways to occupy their time.

Grace and Hannah do have digital work assignments that they need to complete from their teachers, even if they are not in classrooms right now. So I've got to make sure today that Hannah spends some time doing schoolwork instead of watching YouTube. But in that way, it makes it like every other day--virus isolation or not.

Sarah is supposed to resume her sophomore semester on Monday after having an extended week away from classes. And she'll be participating in digital-only instruction. Neither she nor I really know what that means in the context of art classes. How do you digitally instruct watercolor painting techniques? I guess we'll find out. Or maybe I won't, because . . .

. . . is Sarah going to want to go back to campus over the weekend? I'm afraid that she will want to. And that she will say that she can socially isolate on campus and in her apartment taking digital classes just as she has been doing here at home for two weeks. I don't think the CCAD campus has closed so I am bracing for this conversation to occur. And I am worried about it.

[UPDATE ON THIS FEAR--I talked to Sarah about it this morning and she will NOT be returning to campus for the restart of the semester on Monday. She doesn't know how her classes are going to proceed digital only. And she surely misses her roommate Josiah. But that at least is clear for now. I am definitely sorry for her and wish that something could be done to ease this burden for her somewhat.]

In other worrisome events: it looks like the latest personal casualty to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States is our end-of-May summer vacation to Myrtle Beach. I'm saddened but not surprised that this happened. But it is starting a frustrating chain of events for us. We canceled our trip to DisneyWorld last December because we were uncertain about our company's financial footing. And that turned out--for us at least--to be overly cautious. (Even though it was definitely prudent.) And now we are being pragmatic again and cutting off this trip before too much is pre-paid and we learn down the line that we wouldn't be able to go anyway. Being an adult sucks.

In other other news . . . my video-making for #OfficialHat2020 has been going well. I've made a teaser video that went online yesterday. And I've also made a start the campaign video and three other videos for 60 percent of the hats on option this year. As befits this time of uncertainty, I'm trying to capture the mood in my videos this year. It's been a bright spot of fun in some otherwise frustrating days, so I hope that everyone enjoys the fun when it all goes live very soon. I'm debating when to actually start releasing finished videos and in what order I want them to appear. Or even if I want to try and order them in any sequence. Maybe I should just put them up all at once?

I hear voices downstairs, so I think the pillow fort bunch is waking up. I guess I can go downstairs now and make some coffee and get ready for the workday to begin.

I hope you are healthy, relatively happy, and have a path forward for this day.

We'll talk again tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

COV5D-19 (part 2)

Last night Governor DeWine (Ohio-R) announced that he was going to postpone the primary elections that are scheduled for today. He did this based on the continuing advice of the head of the Ohio Health Department and the people that have been guiding his actions during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ohio has gotten praise, at least what I have seen, for its aggressive actions to fight the spread of the virus. The governor closed schools last week. He closed bars and restaurants yesterday. He's done all that he can to tell people to stay apart, to socially distance, to ride out this initial period to lessen the impact on the health care system.

All of that makes sense.

And YET . . . I'm very disappointed that his actions last night strikes right at the heart of our democracy when we so desperately need to believe that the government is working for us. We definitely are getting mixed messages from Washington D.C. and the Republican ideology of every state for itself may prove to be a real stumbling block as we move through this. I understand that holding the primary votes rubs against the social distance rule. But could not some rules have been set in place. Wouldn't the people who wanted to cast their vote today have been willing to stand in spaced-out lines and move through the voting area slowly? Might it not have played an important role in reinforcing that the nation moves on. That we, its guiding citizens are still making our choice? Couldn't something have been discussed?

I am selfishly happy that Lynda and I went to vote early last Friday on our first work-at-home day. And I'm glad that Sarah pushed herself and her friends to go vote early a few days before us.

There is SO MUCH at stake in this country right now. And the votes cast in the Democratic primary in these short few months between February and June are crucial for citizen engagement, for government legitimacy, and for deciding a better path for our government.

I'm afraid the problems are just piling up.


On Monday I got up (after snoozing a few more times than usual, because . . . well, the kids didn't need to be pulled out of bed or anything), took my shower, decided to shave and put on approximate work clothes to establish some baseline of routine.

Then I went downstairs, made coffee, prayed the Morning Prayer Daily Office because I felt like I needed to start things that way, ate a bowl of oatmeal to stop myself from snacking through the morning, put away last night's dishes, and then set up my work station on the dining room table.

It's going to be a challenge to be productive. But it's definitely something that I need to do. I need to try and pull my routine into shape through this craziness or its going to become aimless and depressing really fast--for me at least.

Positive Things:
1. my kids are here--and we more often than not get along well.

2. I've been trying to get better at reaching out to my family on a more regular basis. So this will help with that goal rather nicely.

3. I'm closer to windows that show the coming Spring than I am at the office. And I don't have to turn my chair around to look out at the world.

Monday, March 16, 2020


It's a short one today and it is set up as a tease of what is to come.

Are you ready?

Sunday, March 15, 2020


I'm going to try and figure out how to handle this Star Wars problem.

I've tried several times in the last few years to address the best order of how to watch the Start Wars movies. And I still like the Abrams flashback method that, I think, best solved the problem of how to make the prequels a more engaging part of the overall story.

Attempt Number one: The Abrams Influence Method

Attempt Number two: My Newest Star Wars Watch Order Post

Attempt Number three: The Star Wars Watch Order Free-For-All

But I never absolutely figured out how to incorporate Rogue One into the story. And last time I wrote about this I didn't know what I now know about the Mandalorian. Nor did I figure out how to Handle (see what I did there?) "Solo: A Star Wars Story". So, I'm going to try and tackle some of those problems now. And I'm also going to rework the way that I visually display these movies in sequence. Because that was a hurdle in my desire to keep writing about this in the future.

So--let's go . . . back to a galaxy far, far away.

I think that the best place to start on this rewatch is NOT with the prequels--even though they come first in the chronology of all of this. As I've said before, the prequels are just not strong enough on their own to draw you into the story properly. That idea is at the heart of the Abrams flashback method. So, I will stick with that original idea and begin the journey with where it truly began back in 1977.

IV--A New Hope He's a young unknown boy from a backwater planet of Tattooine on the galaxy's outer rim. She's a privileged princess of the wealthy planet of Alderaan. He once only dreamed of bullseyeing womp rats with his T-16 and then maybe seeing more of the world.

But ever since he met her, he's been having uncomfortable dreams that his Aunt Beru never prepared him for. And his growing obsession isn't helped by an unexplained itch in his head that it just isn't right. If only Old Ben were still around. I'm sure he would be able to provide all the useful information!

V--The Empire Strikes Back Everything is going great! He's a total hero! Sure, his aunt and uncle are dead now. And so is his mentor Ben. But he swears that at his moment of doubt back when attacking the Death Star . . . he thought he heard Ben reassuring him. And when he gets too stressed out, he knows that she'll be there. He saw how she looked at him during the medal ceremony! True, she also gave that other guy some kind of look when they were together. But she's nice. She was just being polite. And the way that she kissed him when he was recovering in the hospital. That other guy sure noticed THAT.

Besides, he got other problems right now. This swamp planet is kinda gross. And his puppet master. Sorry, puppet. No, I meant master is a real taskmaster (yes, that's it). And he's learning so much about being a Jedi. She'll definitely notice the difference when he gets back to her. And nothing is more seductive than being a hero! Now if only he'd quit having dreams again--and these dreams are not the nice ones he'd had a while back. These are very upsetting. Maybe I'd better tell my pupil . . . no, my puppet . . . no! my Master about them.

. . .

Cloud City huh?  Seems nice. And uh . . . oh NO! It's THAT dark guy. Darth guy? Anyway. Fight, fight, fight. OWWWWW!


*flashback begins*

I--The Phantom Menace Yer a wizard Ani! / I'm a whot? / A space wizard!

Are you an angel? / Are you Keira Knightly?

Is he a senator / Is he sinister?

Does that guy have horns?

Obi-Ewan, why can't you keep hold of your lightsaber? But good job cutting that horned guy in half. He'll definitely NOT be a problem in the future.

Messa gonna be a big hit with da kiddos!

II--The Clone Wars I hate sand. It's coarse and it gets everywhere. Just like my depression and my repressed anger gets everywhere. And I want to be everywhere that you are my dear. I'll never let you out of my sight. I don't trust anyone else to make decisions and I am sure that I'm right. My space wizardness has only gotten stronger. And its helped me grow so quickly in such a short time.

Messa gonna . . . shut up this time.

What's this movie about? Lakes? Decapitating Tuskan Raiders? Dismembering Dooku? Who dismembers me? A bit of light bondage action with her on the weird insect planet? (I'll never look at wasps nests the same way again.) We hardly get to meet the Clones . . . which is why you should now watch--

The Clone Wars animated TV series, seasons 1-7 to really understand why these wars were important. And here you will get to truly appreciate the skill and depth of Anakin. And you'll fall in love with the grace of Ahsoka. And you'll grieve when you realize that the Jedi Council is just incapable of making good decisions. And you'll wonder why everyone respects Yoda so much when he does nothing but do the wrong thing for six straight seasons. But you'll appreciate the humanity within the clone troopers. And you'll learn a lot about the Mandalorian culture (which will be useful later). And you'll know that Obi-Wan has definitely bent the rules of the Jedi Order in ways that Anakin has also done. And you'll learn so much more about the Galactic Senate. And you'll learn to hate Caminoians. And you'll wonder why Mace Windu hates Anakin so much. But you'll never forget that this war is multifaceted and draining and deadly. And through it all, Palpatine is absolutely batting 1.000 and pulling every single string. So let's see all of that come to its regrettable conclusion with . . .

III--The Revenge of the Sith Anakin's temper is hot as the lava on Mustafar. He doesn't trust Padme any further than he could Force Throw her. But he'll never not trust the Chancellor.

Because you've watched the Clone Wars you'll feel the impact of Obi-Ewan's dismayed plea You were my brother, Anakin. You were the Chosen One! Because you've seen the best version of Anakin in the Clone Wars. And then you see Anakin fall and you see Vader rise. And you see Padme die. And you see Obi-Ewan flee.

But then you've got to go back and finish Episode V. The Empire is still striking back, remember? Luke's got to deal with the truth of Vader's reveal. But hey! At least Luke is back with Leia again, right? She got me that blanket when she pulled me off of the antenna below Cloud City. And sure, it's regrettable that Han is stuck in carbonite. But now that he is well and truly gone . . . Leia can be all mine!

You the viewer are in a pretty bleak place, right?
Han is frozen.
Luke is devastated.
The Rebellion seems hopelessly lost.

So, let's catch our breath. Let's pause for a bit and remember the good times. Remember when Han was a dashing rogue. But what else was he?

Solo: A Star Wars Story It turns out he was a street rat. And he worked for some kind of gangster space worm? And is that Keira Knightly? No, I'm meant to say is that Khaleesi?

Hold up. He's working with Haymitch? (Is Peeta here too?) No, not Peeta. But that definitely is Vision over there being very threatening. This is fun. It's got a train heist like in Captain America: Winter Soldier and it's got casino gangsters like Oceans 11.

And wow! It's got Childish Gambino. Who's definitely in love with that robot. And that's fine because all of the love stories in Star Wars movies always turn out great and exactly as we expect them to.

Whew. I do feel better. But I seem to remember that there was a war going on in the galaxy. Let's dip out toes back into that with

Rogue One Sure it's not exactly a hopeful movie because the crew of the ship all die in a Death Star assault of Scarif. But they did manage to smuggle out the plans for the space station before they die. And the last words of CGI Leia is hope. So maybe it is a hopeful movie after all.

(And here you can see that I am not strictly structuring these movies due to chronology. I'm trying to wring the most emotional impacts out of them while honoring the chronology as best I can. Because if you simply start from the earliest movie in time, you don't have any emotional connection to these characters.)

Now that I've gotten everyone depressed, let's try to find a silver lining. Here is where we can enter back into the animated world a bit more and watch . . .

Star Wars Rebels What better way to rekindle your hope than by seeing the Spectre crew fighting the  Empire on Lothal? Kanan and Ezra try single-handedly to restart the Jedi order, not knowing that Luke is out there trying to do the same thing while he struggles to overcome the knowledge of who Vader is and what has happened to his friends.

And we can see how Ahsoka also struggles with her own acceptance of who Anakin became in her character arc in the later seasons of Rebels.

But nothing will make you feel better than watching Emperor Palpy get his comeuppance (or at least that is what we all thought for the last several decades. But we'll get around to THAT reveal in a bit. Next, let's watch the Empire fall in

VI--Return of the Jedi Hey . . . wait.

Death Star back? Didn't we already destroy that thing? Well, that's fine. I'm sure we won't have to overcome something that dangerous more than once. And he totally defeated the Empire and we killed Palpy and we are so glad! Because we all know what happens in Episode VI stays in Episode VI.

Sure, it's kinda a bummer that Leia's my sister. I sure didn't see that coming! But I'm sure that I'll bounce back from this and I'll find some fun way to spend the years ahead. It'll be super fun training Jedi.

Now, we know what happened to all of the heroes. But what happened to the rest of the galaxy in the wake of the Empire's collapse? That means that it is time to watch

The Mandalorian You may think that the only purpose of this show is to be a delivery vehicle for all of your Baby Yoda memes. But it is more than that. It's a show that examines what happens in the wake of empire collapse. And it sets some of the groundwork for the new trilogy of movies to come. As well as brings back to the front some elements of The Clone Wars animated series for people that remember the big reveal of the last episode. (Where my Darksaber heads at?)

But it's also puzzling--and informative. It helps us understand why Rey and Poe and everyone thinks that the events of Episodes IV-VI are almost mythical. And not just because the galaxy was shaken by their actions. The absence of the Jedi is still truly felt. And we can see that when we turn our gaze away from the Skywalkers. We can see ow the rest of the galaxy hasn't heard of the Jedi since the time Obi-Ewan looked like . . . well, like Ewan. We think the Jedi are everywhere and always. And all of the bingeing that we've done to this point only helps to reinforce it. But remember that younger Han thought it was all hocus pocus and old-timey religion. This show demonstrates that for most people, the Jedi were always a distant rumor. And that the Force was never seen.

And now, finally, the chronology gets relatively (?) simple. . .

VII--The Force Awakens We continue to see that the Force is a distant mystery. But some that ought not to have been forgotten, right Galadriel? You thought the Empire was dead. But that was only a name. The dream of domination lived on. And it just rebranded itself--and not too much of that was accomplished either. The people in the armor might not be clones any longer. And they might not all be presumed as caucasian--or male. But they are numerous. And what they represent is strong.

Angry people can always find masks to hide behind. Powerful people can always find reasons to dominate the weak. You can number your orders however you want. But you're still out there giving them.

VIII--The Last Jedi Something is only last if we quit trying to reproduce it. If we quit seeing its value and stop teaching it. That is what Rey teaches us. That the past is gone. But its lessons remain. Kylo wishes for us to kill the past. Because he doesn't want to be reminded of its mistakes and its pains. But if we don't acknowledge those things, we cannot make the future that is free from that repetition.

And these movies are full of repetition--right? (Not that I'm complaining. I genuinely love all three of them.) We learn that the past is never over. But we can see that the evil forces are interested in covering up the past so that their resistance can't see that a path to victory was once possible and could be possible again. It just takes commitment and effort.

And speaking of resistance--there is also the final animated series
Star Wars: Resistance that fits somewhere in the years of this new generational trio of Rey, Finn, and Poe.

Depending on how much you need to cleanse your palette of the plot of episodes VII, VIII, and IX, you could drop this show anywhere, I think. (Full disclosure, I haven't watched any of them yet.)

But I think the best thematic place to put them is between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. Because the endpoint of The Last Jedi is about how anyone can be a Jedi and Broom Boy serves as a symbol of that growing hope.

And then let's wrap everything up with

IX--The Rise of Skywalker Yep. Palpy back! Just like with the First Order, everything old is new again. But we know that "It is important to fight and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay though never quite eradicated." (Thanks Albus P.W.B.)

Your love interest may differ. But Luke would approve of Rey's commitment to a redemption arc. (Tell your sister . . . you were right.)

And so, that is it. Are you ready to dive in? You've got the time, maybe? If not--this post will still be here later. Next time you are inspired to watch, search for this and give it a try. I'm sure I won't have to mix it up too much in the future.

Saturday, March 14, 2020


The biggest problem that I am facing is the need for social distancing.

I understand its utility. I understand the goal of flattening the curve of infection and the need to avoid overwhelming the critical health care system.

What worries me is that social distancing cuts off the people that need society. Social distancing works for those privileged enough to have VPN access and laptops. Social distancing works for people who have food and (god help us all) toilet paper. Social distancing works for those with office closure policies and long-term deadlines and money in the bank.

Social distancing is much more challenging for small business owners. Social distancing is very challenging for part-time employees. Social distancing conflicts with the service workers who are restocking grocery store shelves for the rest of us.

Social distancing pulls us apart when we need to be finding ways to lift each other up.

And I don't know how to solve it. And I don't need to solve it for myself. But how can I not exacerbate the problem for others? And how do I balance my desires against the absolutely true unknowns about who is carrying the virus and how do you know when you are sick? And how do we keep each other healthy and not let society slowly ebb away?

I don't have any answers.

I'm just typing my thoughts and feelings out there. It's running through my mind every hour of every day since this all began. (I originally typed the word madness there and then backed off from it because I don't want to seem like the Monster Shouter.)

. . .