Well, today is apparently Easter Sunday. I haven’t really celebrated Easter in a traditional way in several years, so being at home alone on Easter isn’t that weird for me. Still, I usually try to get out and do something on Easter. Last year, I went out for a nice walk and uploaded some photos to Flickr. I could of course go out for a walk today, and might do that a bit later, but I’m thinking about just staying in all day. I had to go out a few times yesterday, and it was exhausting.
I have a bunch of stuff that I want to blog about today, and I’m not sure how to organize it all, so this post may be somewhat scattershot. We’re about a month into this whole social distancing thing, and there’s a lot on my mind.
I guess I’m going to start with masks. Here in the US, the initial advice to everyone was that wearing masks in public was unnecessary. This gradually evolved into the situation we have today, where mask-wearing in public, here in NJ, is now required in most public places. It was required in supermarkets starting last week, and has now been expanded to include situations like picking up take-out food. If you’re interesting in the science behind mask-wearing, Ars Technica has a good article on that. And the Pinboard guy has been pushing for public mask-wearing in the US for a while, and has a good blog post on the subject.
Acquiring masks here in NJ hasn’t been easy though. I haven’t seen them for sale anywhere, though of course I’ve only been to ShopRite and Walgreens in the past month. I watched a video showing how to make a mask with a bandana and two hair ties, and managed to make myself one that way. (I had a spare bandana, but I had to buy hair ties.) That will do in a pinch, but it’s not great. I also went online and ordered masks from a few different sources. Only one of those orders has shown up so far. It was an order of two apparently homemade cloth masks, via eBay, which shipped from Texas. They’re reasonably well-made and fit me OK. I don’t know if they’re going to last through too many washes, as the straps don’t seem too sturdy. But hopefully, they’ll be good enough for now. I also ordered a five-pack from Buck Mason, which should be shipping at the end of April or early May. I’m hoping those will be good quality and will last me a while. The options for mail-order face masks right now seem to be: (1) eBay, (2) Etsy, and (3) various mail-order clothing retailers that have added cloth masks to their stores, but aren’t able to keep up with demand. I found out about the Buck Mason masks from a GQ article. That article lists a bunch of other similar sources. (I found a fancy/ridiculous $185 face mask by following a link in that article. And, no, I’m not buying that one.)
My trip to ShopRite yesterday was my first adventure in public mask-wearing. It didn’t go too bad, but I found that my glasses were constantly fogging up. I’ve read articles about how you can prevent that (Kotaku, Lifehacker), but I’m not too optimistic about the methods they’re suggesting. I guess I’ll stick a tissue under the top of my mask the next time I go out and see how that works.
I have a few follow-ups to last week’s post on the state of the comics industry, and other comics-related stuff. First, here’s an article from the NY Times on the situation. It’s actually a pretty good summary of the situation. It used to be that mainstream articles about the comics industry routinely got stuff wrong, over-simplified things, and/or indulged in overused cliches (usually related to the 1960’s Batman TV show). But they’ve gotten a lot better in recent years.
I was going to link to some other stores about the current state of the comics industry here, but there’s probably not much point. There’s a lot of speculation, but nothing much solid. I will say that now is probably a good time to support some indie comics and charity fundraising bundles. I recently bought a Firelight Isle Kickstarter and a COVID-19 Humble Bundle. There’s probably a bunch of other stuff out there I could be buying, if I had the time and inclination to go looking.
I realized just yesterday that this weekend would have been WonderCon. I went last year, and had been seriously thinking about going this year too. It’s funny to think that, as recently as February 29, it still seemed possible that WonderCon wouldn’t be canceled. There’s a fairly low-key WonderCon at Home thing going on this weekend instead. I poked around on the site and checked out the Twitter hashtag, and there’s some cute stuff there, but I haven’t been able to work up too much enthusiasm for anything there.
How I’m Doing
(…for lack of a better section header.) I’m very glad that I still have a job, and that I can work from home, and that work stuff seems to be pretty stable, so far. And I’m glad that I appear to be healthy, and have enough to eat, and have TV and comics and books and music with which to distract myself. I’m very worried about how bad things could get if this crisis drags on for too long though. I’m worried about myself, and my friends, and the world at large, I guess. I mentioned above that I kind of exhausted myself yesterday, just dealing with some everyday stuff: laundry, grocery shopping, and a trip to the bank. All the hand-washing, mask-wearing, awkward maneuvering around other people, keeping up with new rules, dealing with the spotty availability of everyday things. It all adds up to extra stress. I’ve been hoping that, at some point, things will settle down a bit, and I can get into a good rhythm. But there always seems to be something new that throws a wrench into the works. Yesterday, it was the new rules around mask-wearing, the fact that all of the self-checkout lanes at ShopRite were cash-only, the broken change machine in the laundry room… I found myself with a headache in the afternoon, and of course immediately started to worry about whether that was a symptom of COVID-19 or just a regular everyday headache. I’m thinking it’s just a regular headache, but it’s persisting a bit today. I’m going to try to take it easy today and just rest and relax and hope that tomorrow will be a nice “normal” work day. And I hope that anyone who made it this far down into my self-indulgent ramblings is having a good day, a good Easter (where applicable), and is happy and healthy.