I’ve been thinking a lot about how we’re just hitting the six month mark on this whole COVID-19 thing here in the US. March 12 was my last day in the office. I took March 13 as a vacation day. Then, we started working from home on Monday, March 16. And my company is still working from home, with plans now to return to the office in November, with managers coming in two days a week and the rest of us coming in only one day a week. This is probably the fifth “return to office” plan we’ve had. The last one had us all returning in October, two days a week. I’m not complaining or criticizing; no one is having an easy time figuring this thing out, and I’m glad my employer hasn’t forced us to come back too early. But it seems like, through the whole pandemic, we’re always just about a month away from returning to “normal,” but we never quite get there. I’m only now really starting to see that, and thinking about things I could be doing differently, treating work from home as “normal” rather than “temporary”. So that’s all a lot of wind-up to say that I finally broke down and ordered a new USB headset for home use. (There’s still one sitting on my desk at work, but they haven’t allowed us to go back in and clean out our desks. I put in a request to do that, but I guess it’s stalled somewhere, since I haven’t gotten a response to it.)
I ordered the headset from Best Buy, since they had it in stock to ship right away, while Amazon still has a one-month wait on USB headsets, at least for the model I wanted. That turned out to be a bit dangerous, since it also led to me poking around in their Blu-ray selection, which led to me buying four Miyazaki SteelBook Blu-rays, plus the 25th Anniversary Ghost in the Shell Blu-ray SteelBook, and pre-ordering the Weathering With You Blu-ray SteelBook. I’m not particularly attached to SteelBooks, but they do look nice, and the Miyazaki ones were only $18 each. (Apparently, they’re also $18 at Amazon right now.) The Ghost in the Shell one was also only $18. Weathering With You was more expensive, but still reasonable. So now I have a bunch of new anime discs to watch. (Even though most of them are movies I’ve already seen multiple times.)
Yesterday, I watched a bit of DC FanDome and some of NCSFest. This second day of FanDome was done differently from the first day, last month, where they actually had a schedule, kind of like a real con. This time, they just dumped all the video content out there at 1 PM Eastern time, and left it up until 1 PM today. So you could watch whatever you want, whenever you want. The content was really a hodgepodge of random stuff. I’m pretty sure most of it was recorded at least a month ago. And there wasn’t really much content around the actual comic books. But I did watch a nice panel discussion with Brian Bendis, Gene Yang, and Dan Jurgens, talking about Superman. The feeling I’m getting out of DC Comics right now is that they’re really hitting the brakes on a lot of stuff and pulling back on things. I think that a lot of the FanDome content was prepared before the layoffs last month, so it’s not really reflecting the actual state of things at DC right now. I’m not really sure what DC is going to look like at the end of this year, but it’ll probably be a lot different from the way they looked at the beginning of this year, before Dan DiDio left, and COVID-19 hit, and all the layoffs happened.
NCSFest was done as one long live stream, via YouTube. They had a number of panels, interspersed with announcements of the Reuben awards. The whole nine-hour stream is available to watch on YouTube now. If you wanted to find a particular panel, I guess you could check the schedule, then do a little math and fast-forward to it. I watched a bit of the “From Panels to Publishing” panel, some of the Jim Davis panel, and some of the Mutts panel. All of them were fun to watch. Cartoonists are generally pretty cool, chill, funny people. NCS is really a professional organization, so the content isn’t necessarily geared towards fans, or towards self-promotion, more towards actual cartoonists. For me, that makes it even more fun. But if you don’t want to hear Lynn Johnston and Patrick McDonnell talking about what brand of ink they use, then it’s probably not for you.
I guess that’s my ramblings for today. There’s maybe not much value in any of this for anyone else, but writing these posts helps me get through things. Tomorrow starts another week of sitting alone in my apartment, staring at a computer screen, trying to do my job without going nuts. If random blogging about comics and anime helps, I’m going to keep doing it.