Another week down

This is undoubtedly going to be another rambling hodgepodge post. It’s Saturday morning and I didn’t get much sleep last night. You’ve been warned.

In last Saturday’s post, I mentioned that my employer might have people start coming back to work in June. At that point, they hadn’t actually announced anything, but now they have. The details of the plan can be found here. It all seems pretty reasonable, I guess, but I’m still a bit worried about it. I might be able to opt out of the August A/B plan and continue working from home. I need to talk to my doctor. (Speaking of which, I haven’t seen my doctor since before this thing started. I hope he’s OK.)

I have an appointment with my dentist for a regular cleaning coming up in mid-June. I’d been assuming I’d have to reschedule it, but my dentist has reopened his office and called to confirm the appointment yesterday. He is spacing appointments out a bit more, so multiple patients aren’t in the office at the same time, so he changed the time of the appointment, but it’s still on the same day. And I assume he and the hygienist will be using a lot more PPE than usual. It’ll be interesting to see how that works out.

Looking back at previous blog entries in the “on this day” column for today, I saw one about the Big Bambu exhibit at the Met from ten years ago. That was probably my all-time favorite roof garden installation. In a normal year, I would have been up there by now, maybe more than once. They are still planning on going ahead with this year’s exhibit, but we’ll see what happens with that. It was originally scheduled to run from April 21 through October 25.

I decided to take another shot at getting my groceries delivered from Whole Foods this week. This time, I put in the order on Friday night for Saturday delivery, in the 8-10 AM window. I’m tempted to write in way too much detail about this week’s order, but I’ll boil it down to a few points. They were out of stock on four items, and offered substitutions for all four. Only two of those were reasonable substitutions though. (Example: seltzer water is not a good substitution for iced coffee!) So, again, I had to make a supplemental trip to ShopRite to pick up some stuff. And their prices are, in general, higher than ShopRite’s. (There’s a reason why their nickname is “Whole Paycheck.”) Things went pretty smoothly though. The delivery guy showed up at around 8:30 AM and brought the bags all the way up to my door. Everything was well-packed and nothing was missing. So, while it’s convenient, I don’t think it’s going to become a regular thing.

My plan for this afternoon involves maybe watching a meditation-related talk at 1 PM and the SpaceX Demo-2 launch at around 3 PM. There’s also been quite a bit of WonderCon from Home content posted recently. There are at least a few panels in there that I’d like to watch. So life is (relatively) good. I’ve still got a job, I’ve got groceries, and I’ve got plenty of content to keep me entertained and/or distracted.

A Quiet Memorial Day

As I mentioned in my last post, there will be no bike race today, so it should be a pretty quiet Memorial Day here in Somerville. I went out on a relatively long walk this morning: two miles, thirty minutes. I don’t usually use my AirPods while I’m walking, but today I decided to try that, and listened to the new Vessels VIII compilation from Future Astronauts. I didn’t see too many other people out, and the weather was great. So it was a nice relaxing walk.

I’ve added some more photos to my May 2020 Flickr album, covering all of the random photos I’ve taken since I last uploaded any, on May 3. Nothing special, just random photos. I’ve been trying to maintain certain habits since this thing started, as a way to help myself stay sane. Doing a morning walk, and taking a photo or two, is one of those habits.

I’ve been looking back on past posts again, both here and in my Day One journal. I see that’s it’s been a year since I bought my Xbox One. As I predicted, I kind of lost interest in it at some point, and I’m mostly just using it as a DVD & Blu-ray player now. I canceled my EA Access subscription, which would otherwise have billed me for a second year this week. I’d really only been using it to play Bejeweled 3, which is kind of silly. Bejeweled is really more of an iPhone game, and certainly easy to play on an iPhone. I’ve considered trying to get back into some video games during this pandemic, but haven’t really managed to do that. I feel like doing something a bit more interactive than reading and watching TV would be a good idea, but can’t really work up too much enthusiasm for it. I guess I’m really just not a “video game guy” anymore.

I started working my way through the Resident Alien comic book series this weekend, and will probably read volume 5 today. That one was published in 2018, and is the most recent. There’s supposed to be one more mini-series coming, and I’m looking forward to buying that one when it comes out (hopefully soon). It’s a really good series, and has been a pleasant distraction this weekend.

One more habit that I’ve been trying to maintain during the pandemic is meditation. I’ve been working my way through a forty-day course called Mindfulness Daily At Work in the Insight Timer app on my iPhone. It’s pretty good. I’m still not sure that meditation helps me that much, but I guess it helps me enough to be worth the relatively minor time investment that I’m putting into it.

Memorial Day Weekend

I think this is the end of week ten since I started working from home. It’s probably time to stop keeping track of which week it is. This is just the way it is now. My employer is starting to talk about reopening our offices, slowly, but they haven’t officially announced anything yet. Right now, the official word is that we’re all still working from home through June 1. I’m fairly certain I’ll still be working from home through June. I might have to start going back into the office on a limited basis in July. We’ll see. It would be nice to have more certainty, but, as Nicholas Kristof points out in his column this week, “Let’s Remember That the Coronavirus Is Still a Mystery.” I’m trying to accept, with humility, the uncertainty that there is around this thing and take things day by day.

NJ’s COVID-19 dashboard shows that we’re now over 150,000 cases, 10,000 deaths, and 500,000 tests here in NJ. Gov. Murphy has been gradually loosening restrictions. The maximum size of a “gathering” has been increased from 10 to 25. Beaches are open this weekend, with some restrictions.

I’m definitely not going anywhere this weekend though. I’ll be staying in, reading comics, maybe playing some video games, and just generally puttering around the apartment. I generally spend Memorial Day at home, watching the Tour of Somerville. The tour has, of course, been canceled this year, for the first time since World War II. So it’ll be quiet in Somerville on Monday.

I had wanted to “attend” a number of the sessions from Microsoft Build this past week, but we had a bit of an emergency at work that took up most of my time, so I pretty much missed it all. I did have some time Friday afternoon, so I went back and watched some of the stuff that’s available on-demand. I have a few more sessions bookmarked, and I’d like to watch those this weekend.

I got an email from the Metropolitan Museum this week saying that my membership would be extended for however long the museum is closed. I was expecting that, and I suspect that MoMA will do the same. (MoMA had extended all memberships when they had closed for renovations last year, so they’ll probably do the same for this situation.) The Met is now tentatively planning to reopen in August. I think that may be a little optimistic, but it’ll be great if they can. I haven’t heard anything about MoMA or any other museums in NYC making plans to reopen yet. Museums elsewhere in the country are starting to reopen, but of course no other city has been as hard-hit as NYC. I don’t think I’ll feel comfortable going into New York for museum trips (or anything else) until we’ve got a vaccine and/or an effective treatment for COVID-19.

When this thing started, I, like many other people, started looking into the possibility of getting groceries delivered, or at least just doing grocery pickup. At that time, all of the various options for grocery delivery were overwhelmed, so I just kept making my weekly trips to ShopRite as usual. This morning, it was raining pretty hard and I decided to check and see if grocery delivery was possible. Surprisingly, it was. ShopRite had delivery slots open, but not until the middle of the week. Whole Foods, on the other hand, had same-day slots open. So I went ahead and placed an order. I put in the order at 8 AM, for delivery between 10 AM and noon. It’s 11 AM now, and the order just arrived. The process was pretty smooth. They were out of stock on one item, though, so I guess I’m going to run over to ShopRite today anyway, at least for a quick trip. I don’t think I’ll switch over to delivery on a regular basis, but it’s nice to know that it’s an option.

This was a pretty random post, but it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve blogged, so I thought I should gather my thoughts and write something. I may write some more later this weekend, if I get bored and/or feel the urge.


Still staying at home

From Where Americans are still staying at home the most, in the Washington Post:

In New Jersey, second only to New York in covid-19 deaths, people are spending 96 percent of their time at home, just 1.7 percent less than at the peak. That is both the highest stay-home percentage and the smallest change of any state. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) reopened state parks and golf courses on May 2, but his stay-at-home order is still in effect.

I’ve been going out a bit more over the last week or two, but not by much, and I’m wearing a mask now almost every time I go out. (I’m still skipping the mask on my early morning walks, since I don’t generally see more than one or two people that early, and I can easily keep my distance from them.) Generally, I’m alone in my apartment for 23 to 23.5 hours each day.

War and Peace

This morning, I stumbled across a quote that I’d highlighted in War and Peace, when I was reading it last year. It seems kind of relevant to our current situation, so I thought I’d share it here.

At the approach of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal force in the heart of man: one very reasonably tells the man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of avoiding it; the other even more reasonable says that it is too painful and harassing to think of the danger, since it is not a man’s power to provide for everything and escape from the general march of events; and that it is, therefore, better to turn aside from the painful subject till it has come, and to think of what is pleasant. In solitude a man generally yields to the first voice; in society to the second.

(Make of it what you will. I’m not going to editorialize, though its application to current events should be fairly obvious.)

ready for May

I’ve been blogging about once a week through this pandemic. But, for some reason, I’m going for three days in a row this weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). I’m not sure why. Probably because it’s the end of one month and the beginning of a new one, so I’m taking stock and thinking about stuff. The Washington Post published a long overview article about April yesterday, and it’s a doozy.

I did a couple of fun things yesterday evening, including watching most of Mark Evanier’s Cartoon Voices panel live, and all of a live webcast of Neil Gaiman speaking with N. K. Jemisin. So I got a little bit of the feel of being at a good comic con. And, for some reason, watching these things live always feels a little more exciting than watching the recording later.

I’m feeling a little better this morning than I did yesterday. I didn’t sleep too well last night, but it was better than the previous night. And since I have nothing at all on my to-do list for today, I can just take it easy. I went out for a half-hour long walk this morning, and that was quite nice. Not too many other people were out. The rain had stopped, the sun was shining, and the birds were chirping.

After my walk this morning, I uploaded some more photos to Flickr, updated my March/April album, and created a new May album. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep taking photos and uploading them, but, for now, it’s a nice little thing to do.

It’s supposed to get up to 78º later today, so that might be a problem. I don’t really want to close the windows and turn on the air conditioning, but I might have to. Otherwise, my allergies will really kick in and I won’t be able to sleep again tonight.

I’m again looking at the “On This Day” sidebar on my blog, and I see that five years ago today, I went into NYC, and visited the Whitney and the High Line. This would have been a great weekend to do something like that.

I’ve been meaning to post a bit about the music I’ve been listening to lately, but haven’t gotten around to including that in any of my other recent posts. I’ve been listening mostly to slow, quiet, stuff. Yesterday, I pulled up Max Richter’s Sleep to help me relax and take a little nap. (I bought a copy of that back in 2018, and it’s come in handy on several occasions.)

And I just bought a copy of Ludovico Einaudi’s Seven Days Walking, which is a seven-part work, coming in at about six hours total. It’s quite simple and relaxing, and works well as background music. I didn’t know much about Einaudi, but I’ve looked into him a bit, and he’s apparently quite popular, as classical composers/musicians go. He’s “the most-streamed classical artist of all time,” according to this article. But, apparently, he’s somewhat looked down upon by serious critics, if this review in The Guardian is any indication. Or this one, which compares his music to Thomas Kinkade’s painting. (Ouch.) I’m fine with that, though. I’m enjoying his music, and it’s helping to keep me sane.

And for a couple of shorter works: I recently bought Neroli (Thinking Music Part IV), by Brian Eno and the ZeroZeroZero soundtrack by Mogwai. I’ve also been thinking about picking up some stuff by The Necks, after listening to a bit of their album Drive By and reading some stuff about them, including this old article from the Times.

So, as you can see, it’s mostly been quiet, slow, instrumental music. I’ve also been listening to a bit of WQXR on weekday mornings. That gets me started with some shorter classical pieces, some nice chat from their morning host, Jeff Spurgeon, and a little bit of news (but not too much).

It’s nearly 11 AM now, so I should really wrap this up. I still don’t have much of a plan for today, but that’s fine. I think I’ll go out for another walk before it gets too hot out, then have lunch and read some comics.


This post is mostly going to be more of the same stuff I was posting about yesterday. First, today was supposed to be Free Comic Book Day, but of course that’s been postponed. I found some folks trying to do FCBD-ish stuff today on Twitter, but nothing that was too interesting to me. This weekend is also Awesome Con Online. They have some mildly interesting stuff going on, but honestly nothing that I’m likely to watch.

I had some trouble sleeping last night, but I still got out of bed at 6 this morning and worked my way through my to-do list: laundry, grocery shopping, bank, and a few other little things. I even drove my car for the first time in a month. (Apparently, you have to do that once in a while, or the rats take over.) It’s just past noon now, and I’m ready for a nap. And, since it’s Saturday, I think I can just go ahead and do that.

I had a few more things I wanted to mention here, but I’ve just about run out of steam. So I guess it’s time for that nap.

still here, still home.

My Day One journal has been showing me some interesting stuff via the “On This Day” feature recently. I’ve also been poking around my blog, via the “On This Day” plugin. Here are some examples:

  • One year ago today, I was on my way to Redmond for a Microsoft event. (I mentioned it here when I got back.)
  • Four years ago today, I went into NYC and went to the Met and MoMA. (I just checked, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t been to the Met or MoMA since October 2019.)
  • In 2005, on this day, I went to a Dreamworks Animation presentation in NYC with a friend.
  • Three years ago on 4/29, I went to the Star Trek Original Series Set Tour in Ticonderoga with a couple of friends. (We’ve talked about going back again this year, but hadn’t made any plans.)
  • One year ago on 4/27, I went to the Somerset Patriots season opener. (The Patriots are doing an opening day at home thing today. It’s a nice effort, but there’s not really much point to it.)

The general theme here being, of course, that late April and early May are usually a good time to get out of town and do some fun stuff. Not this year though!

We just got the news at work today that we’ll be working from home through to at least June 1. And, while Governor Murphy is reopening state parks this weekend, most of the “stay at home” restrictions will likely remain in place through most (or all) of May. We’re making some progress in NJ, it seems, but there’s still a long way to go. And I think it’s going to be a very long time before I want to go into Manhattan and do any of the things that I used to enjoy doing in NYC, like visiting museums, seeing movies, and all that stuff.

I’m trying to enjoy some of the “at home” stuff that’s being done lately, but I haven’t had time for too much of it.  I did watch the Space Songs: Through the Distance event that the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum did last night, and that was quite good.

And I want to watch the Cartoon Voices panel that Mark Evanier is going to do on YouTube tomorrow. I missed the Sergio Aragones thing he did earlier this week, but I will probably watch the recording of that later. (I would have liked to have gone to WonderCon this year. And San Diego, though that was already ruled out for me.)

The Met and MoMA have both been posting a lot of interesting online resources, but I haven’t had the time to look at any of them, really. I should maybe take some time for that this weekend too.

Anyway, I guess I’ve survived working from home and spending approximately 98% of my time alone in my apartment through most of March and the whole month of April, so there’s no reason why I can’t make it through May too.