second thoughts, and other distractions

So after spending $300 on NYCC tickets yesterday, today I stumble across this article: Coronavirus wave this fall and winter could potentially infect 100 million, White House warns. So, yeah, that October con in New York is sounding like less of a good idea.

I found that article while going down a slight rabbit hole at work. I took a quick break to look at Hacker News, which led me to this notice on Jason Kottke’s blog that he’s taking a sabbatical. That led me to follow a couple of links at the end of his post, to Dave Pell’s and Craig Mod’s sites. And something at one or the other of those led me to the aforementioned CNN article.

I say all that to illustrate the fact that I’m easily distracted, and I’m trying to get better about that. I’m finding a little guidance on that in some of the stuff I’m reading right now, and in some of the guided meditations I’ve been doing recently. But I’m still really distractable. I think maybe I need to get back to using a pomodoro timer. I blogged about distraction about a year ago, and did the pomodoro thing for a while, but didn’t stick with it.

Oh, and to follow up on the financial stuff in yesterday’s post: that’s getting even worse too. See here: Wall Street, dragged down by tech stocks, racks up more heavy losses. So, yeah, maybe I should just live in the moment?

fourth shot

On Monday of this week, I got my second COVID vaccine booster shot. So my vaccine card is full now. The first shot was in April 2021, the second in May 2021, and the first booster was in December 2021. I should be used to the vaccine side-effects by now, but I was a little surprised about how bad it was this time. I was fine Monday and Tuesday, but then it hit me on Wednesday, and I had to take a half-day Wednesday and a full sick day Thursday. I’m pretty much back to normal today (Friday).

I assume this was the vaccine side-effects, but it could have just been a cold that I got, coincidentally, right after the vaccine shot. I did go out to dinner on Tuesday, so maybe I picked up some germs there. It was a small restaurant, and it wasn’t crowded, so I figured I was relatively safe.

We’re going through a lot of changes at work right now, and I’m pretty busy, so this wasn’t a great week to lose a day and a half, but hopefully I can catch up next week.

I have a bunch of other stuff that I want to blog about, but I don’t really have my thoughts organized. For now, I just wanted to post something about the vaccine booster, for possible future reference. I’m assuming that I’ll probably need one or two more boosters this year, given the way things are going. Maybe in August and December? It’ll be interesting to come back to this at the end of the year and see how things are going with COVID. Will things get better? Worse? Both? Neither?

Back home and sick

My trip up to Albany earlier this week was a success, in that I got there and back in one piece, went to my friend’s wife’s funeral service, and generally had a pleasant time, catching up with old friends. I have gotten sick now, though, as I expected/feared.

I took a COVID self-test yesterday, and it came back negative, so it’s probably just a cold. I might take another test today or tomorrow, just to be sure. (The tests come in two-packs, so I might as well use both, now that I’ve opened the pack.)

I tried to be careful about things on this trip, of course. I wore my mask most of the time, while out in public. Mask compliance was pretty good on both NJ Transit and Amtrak. Once in Albany, I used Uber to get around, and mask compliance wasn’t 100%, but most drivers were still wearing masks. In Troy & Albany, most people in public weren’t wearing masks. At my hotel in Albany, most workers and guests weren’t bothering with masks. At the funeral service, everyone was wearing masks. Afterwards, though, they had a get-together at a local bakery, and most folks (including me) dropped the masks. It’s hard to drink coffee and eat muffins with a mask on. That get-together was quite nice, but it’s probably where I picked up whatever germs are making me miserable right now. Or maybe it was in the train station in Newark or New York. I guess it doesn’t matter. The end result is that I haven’t been real productive at work the last few days, and had to take a half-day yesterday. Hopefully, I can get better over the weekend and have a good week next week.

I think the lesson I’m taking away from this is that I’m still not ready to get back out into the world in a big way. I need to stick close to home, for the most part, and carefully consider any trips that bring me into crowded public spaces, or on public transportation.

Scary Travel

I’m getting ready to go on my first trip outside of NJ or NYC since 2019. And I’m spending maybe too much time this morning obsessing and worrying about it. It’ll be a trip up to Troy NY, where I went to college, for a friend’s wife’s funeral service. I’ll be taking Amtrak from NYC to Albany tomorrow, staying overnight in Albany Sunday and Monday, and coming back on Tuesday morning.

This trip will definitely involve much more human contact than I’ve had since before the pandemic began. (I guess my NYCC trip last year got me close to a bunch of people, but that was a one-day in and out trip.) I’ll be taking NJ Transit into NYC, then changing to Amtrak. I’ll be staying in a hotel for two nights. And of course I’ll be at the service. I don’t really know how many people will be there, whether or not they’ll be masked, or how many are coming in from out of state. So lots of opportunity for virus transmission. And also for weird and/or awkward interpersonal encounters.

NJ Transit and Amtrak both still require masks, so that’s good. But I know that mask compliance has probably gone down over time. I know from experience that NJ Transit won’t make a big deal of it if somebody isn’t wearing a mask. I’m not sure about Amtrak.

This is also the first time I’ve ridden Amtrak in many years. As far as I can tell, it should be pretty straightforward. I have coach tickets both way. Coach on Amtrak looks like it should be reasonably comfortable. And it looks like boarding an Amtrak train is still much more straightforward than getting on an airplane. I won’t need to check any bags, and I don’t think they have any kind of security around carry-on bags, so I don’t need to worry about whether or not I have a plastic fork in there or more than three ounces of shampoo or whatever else is forbidden by the TSA these days.

I’ve built enough slack into my schedule to allow for NJT or Amtrak delays. The service is Monday, and I’m going up on Sunday. I think that Amtrak generally has enough flexibility that, if my NJT train to NYC is late and I miss the Amtrak train, I can get on a later one. And I’m going to take a NJT train that should get me into NYC about an hour before the Amtrak one leaves.

And the two nights in the hotel give me some flexibility and allow me to go to the service on Monday without having to drag my luggage with me and worry about getting from there directly back to the train station.

Still, I’m kind of freaking out about the trip. Worried about getting sick before it and having to cancel. Worried about travel issues. Worried about forgetting something. Worried about getting sick after the trip. Oh well.

Whenever I go on trips like this, I spend a lot of time thinking about what devices I’m bringing and what I’m leaving home. For this trip, I plan on bringing my iPhone (of course), AirPod Pros, iPad, and Kindle. I sometimes bring a Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad on a short trip, but I think I’ll skip that this time. Both my iPhone and iPad are old enough that their batteries don’t hold as much of a charge as they used to. I’m pretty sure Amtrak has power outlets at every seat, so I should be able to charge them up on the train. Another thing I’ve gotten paranoid about in recent years is the possibility of completely draining my iPhone battery, then not being able to use it for an Uber, or to show my ticket on the train. I do have an Anker battery back that I can use in a pinch, but that’s also a few years old and I’m not sure how much of a charge it holds these days.

And my last bit of uncertainty and slight paranoia comes from not having a real set schedule for what I’m doing while I’m in the area, outside of obviously the service itself. I know that some old friends will be around, but I’m not 100% sure who’s coming in or when they’re arriving or departing. So there might be people around on Sunday night who I can go to dinner with, or there might not. And there might be people looking to go to lunch on Monday, or there might not.

I’m just looking back at some notes, and I’m pretty sure that my last major trip was to Redmond in May 2019 for a Microsoft workshop. Looking back at my post-trip blog post on that, apparently that trip took a lot out of me. This will be shorter trip and doesn’t involve any cross-country airplane flights, or time zone changes, so this one shouldn’t be too hard on me.

Anyway, this overly-long post is just a dumb way for me to work out some anxiety and fill a little time between getting my laundry done and grabbing lunch today. I don’t think I’ve managed to say anything witty or useful, so my apologies if you’ve read this far, thinking there would be something good or funny in here.

Weird Story

This is a completely trivial story, but it’s one of those things where something a little weird happened, and I can’t figure out a reasonable sequence of events that could result in the outcome, so it’s bothering me. Anyway, here’s the story:

I ordered some random stuff from Amazon a few weeks ago. Perfectly normal stuff. Granola bars and some other stuff. I order a lot of stuff from Amazon, and I haven’t had a problem with a delivery in ages. But this package just disappears. I get the notification that it was delivered, via USPS. I’m working from home that day, so I go downstairs and look for it. It’s not there.

Now, sometimes a package gets marked as delivered and it’s not actually there yet. I assume that’s the delivery guy trying to tweak his metrics or something, so it looks like he’s on schedule when he’s actually behind. But the package doesn’t show up by the end of the day.

And sometimes there’s a little mix up, where maybe a neighbor picks up the wrong package, realizes it, and then brings it back down to the foyer. So that could delay it a day. Or the mailman thinks he dropped it off, but it’s still in the back of his truck, so he drops it off next day. But a few days go by and the package doesn’t show up, so it’s nothing like that.

So I do the online customer service thing with Amazon and they cheerfully agree to send me a replacement shipment, which I get the next day. So all is well, and I go on with my life.

Then today, almost three weeks after the original package was meant to be delivered, the package appears, right outside my door. It’s been torn open, but there’s nothing missing or tampered with. And there’s no note.

So the likely reason for this is that one of my neighbors picked up the package accidentally, has realized that, and is now giving me the package. But I can’t figure out several things:

  1. The label on the package is perfectly clear and correct, with my name and apartment number. So it’s not a case where the label was damaged or something. So why did they pick it up in the first place?
  2. Even if someone picked it up accidentally, why did they open it? Once they had it in their apartment, it would have been hard not the notice the name and address.
  3. Why did it take them three weeks to get it back to me? It’s got to be someone from here in the building, so it’s not like they would have had to go very far with it.
  4. Given that they opened the box and sat on it for three weeks, why didn’t they write a little apology note? If they’re embarrassed about it, they wouldn’t have to sign it.

I know it can’t be a “porch pirate” kind of thing. If it was somebody taking it with the intent of stealing the contents, I don’t think they would have bothered returning it to me when they realized that it wasn’t anything good. They would have just tossed it.

The only sequence of events I can come up with is something like this:

  1. Neighbor picks up package, thinking it’s theirs. Doesn’t look at it too closely, and doesn’t open it when they get back to their apartment.
  2. Neighbor goes away on business for a couple of weeks. Or maybe they just toss the package in a corner and forgot it about it for a couple of weeks.
  3. Neighbor gets back home (or notices package that’s been sitting unopened for weeks) and opens the package. (Again, without actually looking at the label.)
  4. Neighbor realizes the contents aren’t theirs, finally looks at the label, and then walks the package over to my apartment. Maybe they knock on my door, intending to apologize in person, but I’m out. (I was out when it was dropped off.)

So that’s semi-plausible, but still pretty weird. And yes, it’s completely trivial. But now I feel guilty for paying for all this stuff once and getting two of everything. I guess I shouldn’t feel bad about that though. Amazon has plenty of money, and sending me two boxes of granola bars for the price of one isn’t going to bankrupt Jeff Bezos.

Fifty-five years

Well, I’m 55 years old today. Here’s a link to some posts from my 50th, 45th, and 35th birthdays. (Not actually “on the day” for those, but on the day before or after.)

In my post from yesterday, I mentioned that I might consider going into NYC this weekend, if the weather wasn’t so bad. Well, I only just barely left the apartment yesterday, and I’m thinking that today will be much the same. I briefly toyed with the idea of going into NYC and doing my usual museum visits today, but it was 20º out this morning, with a “feels like” temperature of 10º. And there was a stabbing at MoMA yesterday, so they’re closed today. So it’s not a great day for going in to the city.

I guess I’ll watch the St. Patrick’s Day parade from my window here in Somerville. I’m hoping one of the restaurants on Main St will have a corned beef sandwich special today, so maybe I can have a nice Irish lunch.

Killing Time

All through the pandemic, I’ve often had the feeling that I’m just killing time. I’m not really trying to do anything useful or fun or important. I’m just trying to get through the day, getting my work done, staying healthy, distracting myself, and doing no harm to myself or anyone else. I’m feeling that pretty strongly this weekend. We had a fair amount of snow Friday night, and very cold temperatures yesterday and today. So I haven’t been able to go out and take any long walks. And I haven’t wanted to dig my car out and drive anywhere. I don’t want to push myself too hard, because I know how easy it is for me to get sick in this kind of weather. I have a dentist’s appointment tomorrow morning, which was rescheduled from December, so I really want to be healthy enough to go to that. I’ve been sick a lot over the last few months, but I’ve been in pretty good shape for the last couple of weeks, and I’d like to stay that way.

So, anyway, I’ve been trying to strike a balance this weekend, where I’m getting important stuff done, and enjoying myself a bit, and not going stir crazy. I got my laundry and grocery shopping done yesterday, so that covered the really important stuff that I needed to do. I kind of punted on lunch and dinner yesterday, though, just eating pizza for both meals. And I spent about five hours yesterday catching up on Legends of Tomorrow. (It’s a pretty dumb show, but it’s fun, and occasionally clever.) I managed to clean the snow off my car, and clear some of the snow around it too.

Today, I managed to prepare reasonably healthy meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so I’m considering that a win. I did a fair bit of reading today. I finished one short ebook, read two more short ebooks, then started two more slightly longer ebooks. All of them are short story collections. I’ve been trying to put a dent in my backlog of old Kindle books, and have mostly been reading stuff that I bought (or got for free) about a decade ago. I haven’t really wanted to start a new novel, so I’m sticking with short stories for now.

Meanwhile, I’ve started listening to the Dresden Files audiobooks that I bought a couple of years ago. The set I bought has the first four books, all of which I read, in paperback, quite some time ago. They’re fun books, and they’re read by James Marsters, who does a great job with them. They work well in audio format, since they use first-person narration, and since they’re fairly linear and easy to follow. So that’s what I’ve been doing with my evenings, when I’m just trying to kill time until it’s time for bed.  (I generally try to stay awake until 10 PM, but last night, I gave up at 9 PM and just went to bed early.)

I also wasted a bit of time today by deciding to make a “comics” shelf in Goodreads and start applying it to the comics and graphic novels in my library. I don’t have a great reason for doing that, and I don’t think it’s going to terribly useful. But it kept me busy for a while and gave me a sense of accomplishment.

Despite the weather, I even managed to go for a 20 minute walk today. I waited until the warmest point in the day, around 4 PM. Even then, it was only 25º. So it wasn’t the most pleasant walk, but it felt good.

It’s now Sunday night, and I’m returning to one of my traditional ways of killing time: watching football. I’d pretty much given up on football several years ago, but I occasionally try to get back into it. Usually, I can’t manage much enthusiasm. But the playoff games this year have been pretty fun. The AFC and NFC championships are today. The AFC one just ended, in overtime. I’m going to try to watch the beginning, at least, of the NFC game too. I may give up on it at some point and switch over to my Dresden Files audiobook.

Well, this has been a rambling post. But that’s OK. I needed to get some of these thoughts out of my head. Sometimes I think I should just write posts like this in Day One, where no one else can read them, but I guess there’s no harm in posting them here. Maybe someone will find something here amusing. You never know!

Another New Year

I missed my usual New Year’s Day post yesterday. There are a few reasons for that, one being that New Year’s Day fell on a Saturday this year, and I decided to treat it like a normal Saturday (mostly) and started the day with my usual Saturday chores and errands (laundry and grocery shopping), then proceeded to spend a bunch of time in front of the computer paying bills and organizing paperwork and stuff. So it was a pretty industrious morning, but after that, I took a nap, and then spent the afternoon in front of the TV, watching Godzilla movies. I didn’t really have the energy left for anything more ambitious.

So today, I’m going to try to spend some time writing a blog post. It’s Sunday morning, I just had a pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwich and a strong cup of coffee, and now I’m ready to sit around and ruminate on the year for a bit.

I usually start these posts with links to the last few New Year’s posts, so here are a few:

This past year has certainly been a doozy. It got off to a rough start with the Capitol insurrection and resulting turmoil, which was the subject for my second post of the year. On the bright side, the vaccines arrived, and I got my first shot in April, my second in May, and my booster shot in December. After that second shot, I started feeling better about things and actually made a trip into NYC in June to go to the Met and MoMA. Then, I went in twice in October, once for NYCC, and once to go to the Met and MoMA again. And that was about it for travel. The Omicron variant started showing up around Thanksgiving, and going out started to seem a lot less safe again. Contrast NYCC in October, which felt pretty safe to me, with Anime NYC in November, where one of the earliest cases of Omicron in NYC was identified. So any thoughts I had of going into New York for another Met/MoMA trip went out the window.

At work, we went through a bunch of different “Return To Office” plans through 2021. They kept setting dates and then pushing them back. In the end, we returned to the office on a one day per week schedule in October. My first day back was October 14. My last trip to the office was December 9. I was sick the week after that, and then we were allowed to work from home for the last two weeks of the year. For 2022, we were supposed to move to two days per week in January, but the Omicron variant has put that on hold. Now, we’re allowed to work from home until mid-January. Then, it’s back to 1 day per week for the last two weeks of January, then 2 days per week starting in February. We’ll see if we actually stick to that, or if things get worse and they have to back off again. I’m thankful that I work for a company that’s been more flexible about “work from home” than a lot of other companies. But I’m a little disappointed that they haven’t been more flexible, especially for workers like me who really aren’t any more effective in the office vs. working from home. At this point, I feel like they should just allow folks like me to go 100% remote if we want and give up our cubicles in the office. It would just make things simpler and safer for everybody.

But enough about that. I usually include a section on my general health in these posts, so I’m going to do that now. I started the year at around 135 pounds. I’ve gradually gained some weight this year, ending up at around 140. I’m trying to hold the line there. I set 140 as my goal weight in Lose It, so any time I go over it, my calorie budget is adjusted down a bit and I eat a bit less until I’m back under. I’d dropped down to 130 pounds briefly in 2020, without actually trying. Since then, it’s just been going up though. I guess it’s mostly due to my habit of going out for a cappuccino and a cookie in the afternoon on most weekdays. There are now three good places to get cookies here in downtown Somerville: Lucid Coffee, Blue Sheep Bake Shop, and Epic Cookies. So that’s kind of a problem. But it’s not a huge one. I’m managing to hold the line at 140. And even if I let myself go to 150, that would still leave me with a healthy BMI.

I’ve been doing OK on exercise. I take a walk outside almost every day. I started doing some yoga recently too, though I haven’t stuck with it. I’ve just been doing it on mornings when it’s too cold out for a walk. According to the iOS Health app, I’ve averaged 49 minutes of exercise per day over the last year, and 491 calories on my “move” ring. My move goal was 500 over the summer, when I was doing a lot of walking, and it’s 450 now. I generally hit my exercise goal most days, and the move goal 4 or 5 days each week.

I’ve continued meditating on a fairly regular basis. I’ve been using Calm all year, and generally do one of their 10 minute meditations every weekday, alternating between their two regular features, the Daily Calm and the Daily Trip. I signed up for a lifetime sub with them during their Black Friday sale, as I’ve mentioned previously. I’ve occasionally tried to get a streak going, meditating every day. The longest I’ve managed is 40 days, from November 1 to December 10. I’m not overly concerned with getting to a point where I meditate every single day, as long as I’m doing it more often than not, but it’s fun to try to see how long I can keep a streak going.

Looking at my history on this blog, I can see that I was posting a lot earlier in the year (7 posts in January and 11 in February), but less later in the year (only one post in December). I don’t know if that means anything, really. I still like using the blog as an aid to organizing my thoughts and reflecting on my life and my choices. A lot of my posts last year were all about entertainment though: comics, movies, TV, podcasts, music, and so on. I think I indulged in a lot of escapism in 2021. I do that every year, of course, but more than average in 2021, I think. It was a rough year. I spent a lot of time alone in my apartment. I don’t really feel bad about that. I’m still very engaged in my work, and I keep up with news and politics and make informed decisions about all that stuff.

And on that “escapism” front, I always like to look back at the books I’ve read and movies I’ve watched and so on and so forth in these posts. My Goodreads history last year is mostly comics. I set my goal at 100 books and read 79. I have a few serious books in there, like Americanah and The Picture of Dorian Gray, but it’s mostly comics and Doctor Who audio dramas. A few highlights would be reading through Grant Morrison’s X-Men run, discovering the Hilda books by Luke Pearson, and finally finishing Brian K. Vaughan’s Ex Machina.

I watched quite a few movies this year too, though I never did make it into a theater. (The Spider-Man movie is really tempting, but I’m probably going to wait for that one to hit Blu-ray or Disney+, like I’ve done with all the other Marvel, Disney, or Pixar stuff since the pandemic started.) My Letterboxd stats show that I’ve watched 108 movies in 2021. I started and ended the year with Thin Man movies, which makes me happy. I love those movies. At the start of the year, I would have been watching them on my TiVo from TCM’s New Year’s Eve marathon. I gave up on premium cable in 2021, so for this New Year, I bought a DVD set from Amazon with the first four movies. I watched the third and fourth ones on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Still looking at my Letterboxd stats, I see that Spirited Away is the only movie I gave five stars to in 2021. That was obviously a rewatch for me, part of an effort to watch a bunch of Ghibli films, then listen to the corresponding Ghibliotheque podcast episode. I still have a bunch of movies to go on that front, and I should get back to that effort at some point soon. My other big watch/rewatch project in 2021 was to work my way through the Criterion Godzilla box set, which I wrote about in my last post.

I usually cover “professional development” in these posts, but I’m going to gloss over that this time. I did learn some new stuff last year, and I could list some nice work accomplishments, but honestly I haven’t been terribly ambitious about that stuff lately. This has largely been a “let’s just get through this” kind of year. And I think 2022 will be more of the same. I discontinued my Pluralsight subscription yesterday, since I haven’t been using it much lately. I still have access to LinkedIn Learning through work and O’Reilly through the ACM, and I think that’s more than enough for now.

There’s a lot more I could write here, but I’m going to try to wrap things up. I started writing this around 8 AM, and it’s now 11 AM. I took a half-hour walk at 9 AM, but I’ve just been sitting here ruminating and writing for most of that time. So it’s about time to stop and maybe go out for another walk. It’s 55º out right now, so I should take advantage of that while I can. I know it’s going to start getting cold again later this week.

 

 

Temptation

I’ve now been in “fully-vaccinated” status for a few days. I still haven’t managed to talk myself into going out without a mask though. I almost tried doing my laundry today without a mask, but, well, I guess I’m not ready.

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on social media for a lot of upcoming in-person events, and I’m starting to get kind of tempted. I haven’t committed to anything, but there’s a lot going on. Here’s a few examples:

  • Duke Farms is running a farmers market every Sunday through the summer. There’s a fair chance that I’ll head over there tomorrow. An outdoor farmers market isn’t much of a risk, of course. I went to the Bridgewater farmers market a few times last summer, but that’s been discontinued. And I don’t think they’re doing one here in Somerville this summer either.
  • There’s a walking tour tomorrow at Wallace House & Old Dutch Parsonage. I’ve managed to live in Somerville for around 25 years now, without ever actually visiting Wallace House. I should really go.
  • A friend texted me about the Immersive van Gogh thing that just started up in NYC. I guess there’s actually two of these things going on in NYC now, but I think the one I linked to is the better one. Both of these seem like they could be major tourist draws. I’d kind of like to go and see one. And since they have timed tickets, I guess I could see it without having to worry about too large a crowd. (I guess it depends on how many people the organizer chooses to try to cram in at once, and how well they manage entry and exit.)
  • Garden State Comic Fest is taking place this weekend, at the Jersey Gardens Mall in Elizabeth. I’ve gone to this in previous years, when it was held in Morristown. I’d be tempted to go this year, but I don’t really want to drive to Elizabeth. And I’m not really interested in any of their guests this year. Nor am I that interested in buying any comics or toys right now. But it’s worth noting that this is (as far as I can tell) the first (relatively) big comic con to be held in NJ since the start of the pandemic. When they first announced it, a few months back, I was really skeptical about it. But I guess it’s safe enough to go ahead with it now.
  • On a related note, but on a much larger scale, I got an email about NYCC this week. They’re going to go ahead with the con this year, in October, at the Javits, as usual. I’m really hopeful that COVID will be entirely under control by October, but I’m still worried that it won’t be. Tickets are going on sale soon, and I’d like to buy one, but I haven’t entirely talked myself into it yet.
  • I also just noticed that the NYCC folks are doing an online Metaverse thing from June 7-13. I should take a look at the panel schedule for that and see if there’s anything I want to watch. And they’re also launching a Metaverse Membership program which probably isn’t worth the cost, but might be worth looking into.
  • I haven’t been to a Somerset Patriots game since 2019. They’re now affiliated with the NY Yankees, so a lot has changed since the last time I saw them. Looking at this page on their site, it appears that the stadium is now open at 100% capacity, with masks not required. I guess I wouldn’t be too worried about that, since it’s outdoors. There’s a double-header today, with fireworks afterwards. I’d be a little tempted to go to that, if it wasn’t going to be 90º out today.
  • Only semi-related to the rest of this stuff: The Centre Pompidou is going to open a satellite location in Jersey City, in 2024. That’s quite a ways off, but worth mentioning, I think. I saw the Centre Pompidou in Paris once, a long time ago, but only from the outside. I’d love to go back to Paris and actually see the inside of the museum. (We also missed out on the Louvre on that trip, due to a scheduling snafu, so that’s two Paris museums I need to go see someday.)

So that’s my list of tempting in-person events that are coming up in the near future. I’m still not committing to anything, but I’m starting to bookmark some interesting stuff and create some notes in Evernote. So, who knows, maybe there will be a few weekends this summer where I don’t spend the whole weekend in my apartment reading comics and watching TV.

trepidation

This post is going to be a bit of a follow-up to my previous post, from Thursday.

To recap my vaccine timeline: NJ opened up vaccine registration to everyone on April 19, I got my first shot on April 20, my second on May 18, and I should be at full immunity in two weeks, on June 1.

So, basically, for anyone in NJ who waited for general availability of the vaccine, and got a two-dose vaccine, the earliest they could possibly be at full immunity is right around June 1.

NJ still has a mask mandate right now, which is good, but it looks like we’ll be dropping it on Friday, just in time for Memorial Day weekend. I know that, technically, people who are not fully vaccinated are still supposed to wear masks, but that’s not going to be checked or enforced, and I’m sure a lot of unvaccinated people are going to stop wearing masks. NJ currently has around 55% of adults fully vaccinated, which is great, but I’d really like to see that number closer to 75% before we get too enthusiastic about reopening. (But of course nobody’s asking me for my opinion.)

I’m seeing a lot of other signs that people and organizations are rushing to open things back up. The Catholic Bishops of NJ are lifting the dispensation on the Sunday mass obligation, effective Sunday June 6. That doesn’t really matter to me, since I stopped attending mass regularly at some point in the 90s. But a lot of Catholics take that stuff seriously.  (Hopefully, good Catholics might also be the kind of people who care enough to get vaccinated and/or to wear a mask to mass.)

We got an email at work this week saying that there would be an announcement next week about returning to work. I’m not sure what they’re going to announce. I’m sure it won’t be anything crazy, like “we’re reopening the office on June 7 and everyone needs to come back full-time.” But I’m a little worried about what it might be, and I’m finding myself not at all enthusiastic about returning to the office. (And I’m not the only one.) I’d love to see the company require vaccination for all employees, but I doubt they’d do that. The original, pre-vaccine, plan was to have people come in two days a week, in two groups, so the office would basically be half-full Monday through Thursday, and (mostly) empty on Friday. Post-vaccine, they may decide that’s not necessary, but I’d like to see something like that to start. I don’t necessarily mind going back to the office at this point, but I really hope they’ll let us continue to have some flexibility regarding remote work.

I saw a quote on Twitter today that said “No amount of guilt can solve the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future.” (I’m not sure where that came from originally. It seems to circulate in various forms, usually with an “unknown” attribution.) So I guess I should just relax and enjoy the weekend, and stop worrying about returning to work, at least until I know more about my company’s plans.

Meanwhile, on the topic of distractions, which I touched upon in the previous post: I am now binge-watching the old Clone Wars cartoon on Disney+. This seems like a perfect thing to do at this stage of the pandemic. There are seven seasons to get through. It’s got some complexity to it, which keeps me engaged, but it’s all just nonsense, really. Basically, it’s a perfect distraction from my anxiety.

On a related note, my Apple TV showed up yesterday, and I’ve got it hooked up and working. I can’t see much of a difference between the old, non-4K, box and this new fancy 4K version. But I’ve mostly been watching stuff where I wouldn’t expect to see a difference, like Clone Wars and old episodes of New Tricks. (By the way, New Tricks is another good series if you’re looking for pointless distraction.) I tried the new color calibration stuff on it, but it didn’t work. I may try it again at some point, but it sounds like it might not be worth doing, so I’m not in a hurry on that. The main selling point of the new Apple TV is of course the new remote. I’ll just say that I’m liking it so far, but I’d gotten so used to the old remote that I’m still getting used to the new one. Once my brain starts remembering where the buttons are, I’m sure this new remote will be much less frustrating than the old one was.