Previously – On The Pandemic

It’s 10:15 on Sunday, February 21st, and this pandemic has now been going on for too long.

When all of the kids on my street got off the bus for Spring Break last March, I assumed it would be longer than what the school system was saying at the time. And I remember telling my son that he would remember what we were about to experience for the rest of his life.

We were lucky that the weather was so nice. We had a streak of sunny, just barely warm, days, that made dealing with the end of the world much easier.

I was working on teaching the second half of the Spring semester. We had a puzzle going on the dining room table, which was also what I was using for my office. My wife was mostly using our home office. We hadn’t yet learned to work in the same room yet. Having to keep the kids working on their hastily assembled distance learning assignments while doing our jobs wasn’t so easy. Whereas they used to be somewhat compartmentalized by time and location:
our jobs, being parents, being married, maintaining the house — suddenly it was all smashed into one constant timeline. I was always at work. I was always at home. The puzzle was always there to trick my brain into no being at work or at home, but to instead focus on piecing together an illustrated Baltimore Harbor.

I met my neighbor for a drink or two in the street, after dark. The first night that the lockdown was fully in effect, he hosted a fire pit in his back yard, and we were both amazed at how quiet the world was. There was no noise coming from the interstate and bypass that surround the part of the county that we live in. Even sitting across the fire pit from each other felt a little bit dangerous. Maybe a little risky. But this was when we were still bleaching and power sanding our groceries before we brought them in the house.

When we would meet for a late night, cross street drink, we would talk about the anxieties that we were feeling. What would happen after half the population lost their jobs? Would social order break down?

Thinking back on that time now, it feels like a different world. I think that having a family and living in a house in a not-too-densely-packed neighborhood has given us a different view of the pandemic than those who live alone or live in cities. We can’t do a lot of what we used to do, and our jobs are mostly remote, but our kids can go outside and run around, an we can go on long walks or just sit outside if we want to. We’re not suffering from loneliness and isolation. We’re suffering from the lack of isolation.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve thought about writing over the course of all of this. I felt paralyzed for a lot of it. I’ve also been constantly thinking about what kind of writing I am excited about doing these days.

In any case, I finally had the itch to write something to post, and I’m glad I was able to sit down and at least get this much out.

Disarming and Re-entering Civilian Life

I’ve spent the last four years or so in what feels like a constant state of alert. Social media readiness.

Four years of living within a calamity turducken, one inside of another inside of another, dramatically changed my use of the internet, especially social media.

Now that Trump is out of office, it feels like there’s enough oxygen in my life to disarm and rethink how I’m using all of this stuff.

It feels like returning from war and trying to reenter civilian life.

Except that the way we lived and used social media before is … well … if it’s not gone, I’m not even sure what it was.

What was the Internet about before 2016?

Some of the voices that I valued from before all of this are now gone. Gabe from Macdrifter left Twitter and if he hasn’t stopped blogging, his frequency can best be described as “not completely nothing.”

John Roderick stepped in a huge pile of it on Twitter and then deleted his account in a panic. He’s podcasting again, thankfully.

Others have gone full speed political and abandoned the topics that made them interesting. I can understand that completely, not because my posts are interesting, but because politics absorbed a huge amount of my consumption and creation energy.

I’d imagine that media organizations and news rooms are going to go through some of the same adjustment. I’d imagine that they became structurally different because of the speed and insanity of the news cycle from the past four years.

In any case, I need to do a better job of making sure that I’m getting value out of all of this technology. Using it to build something or make something … continuing to grow and learn and all of that utopian functionality that is there if you know where to look and can keep yourself from succumbing to the Dark Side.

Anyways…

We got a pup.

The family has wanted one for a long time. I have allergies, so I’ve been a little less gung-ho about it. I had heard that the various poodle hybrid breads are hypoallergenic, so I did a little snore research into them.

They don’t shed. Not nearly as much as a non-doodle. That is helpful for allergies, but it’s not quite hypoallergenic.

It’s the dander that causes the reaction. So far I’ve only had two allergic reactions. Both of which happened after petting the dog and then rubbing my eyes.

Otherwise its been a typical puppy raising experience. Which is to say that we’re cleaning up a lot of pee and our sleep patterns have been nuked.

Oh, her name is Lexie and she is a Goldendoodle.

This post started as an overly dramatic take about the past 6 months.

I have no proof that we weren’t pulled into a black hole sometime last year. March was at least 12 years ago, but August is only 30 seconds away.

But no one is here to learn about what’s been happening in the world. At least I hope not.

As far as post-apocalyptic dwellers go, we’ve been fortunate. Everyone has been healthy and we haven’t killed each other. Yet.

And we adopted a pup!

She’s a Goldendoodle named Lexie.

She’s very small. Very fluffy. And full of pointy teeth for biting everyone. In fact, she’s never not puppy-biting someone.

More as the situation developes …

A Beautiful Ripple Through Predictive Algorithms

It was 18:08 and therefore too early for George Mann to leave work. This was logged by Bob Sykes and Mann’s predictive algorithms were realigned, including his projected retirement age, monthly health insurance payments, and bonus prospects. Indeed, a beautiful ripple passed through all the predictive algorithms as they were adjusted accordingly.