Covid Ain’t Over

Well, things were going in the right direction for a little while. But then…

I’ve seen this movie before. That slope is gonna keep going up. I’ve been to a local Starbucks a bit, to work. People flowing in throughout the afternoons with no masks. Packing the place every now and again. Same at the grocery stores.

And this is what we get. A new 7-day average of 472 cases.
Next week it’ll be 1000.
The week after it’ll be 2000.

“If you’re someone who is fully vaccinated, the pandemic is basically over for you in terms of your risk of getting covid-19,” Pittsburgh-based infectious disease expert Dr. Amesh Adalja

I hope I’m wrong, but viruses are a lot more efficient than dumb humans.

Carlisle’s Horrific History with Native Americans

I got talking about Carlisle, PA with a friend recently. We read about the city on Wikipedia (here) and learned of this boarding school called the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, “an experiment in educating Native Americans and teaching them to reject tribal culture and to adapt to white society.” Horrific.

I’ve lived in PA most of my life and never heard of this place. This atrocity.

“Carlisle became the model for 26 off-reservation Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools in 15 states and territories. Some private boarding schools were sponsored by religious denominations.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlisle_Indian_Industrial_School

Oh, religious denominations, falling right in line with American imperialism!

And this from the “Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the fiscal year ending 1882“:

All our students attend Sabbath-school, the girls in our own chapel, the boys at the different churches in Carlisle. Sabbath afternoon services havo been conducted by Rev. Dr. Lijpincott, of Dickinson College, to whom I am greatly indebted for faith­ful and zealous services as chaplain. These influences have produced gratifying re­sults.

I mean, how does the church justify this? How do they remedy this? They played a part in the genocide of a people.

Home Economics class, 1901 Source

These are children from just 120 years ago. Sickening.

Loki and The Matrix

I love any story that involves a “what’s really behind the curtain” element. That’s probably why I love The Matrix (1998) so much, and can watch that first movie over and over again. There’s ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ from 2011, too.

Not sure why I decided to give Loki a chance, being as all those “comic book movies” don’t really do much for me. I didn’t grow up on those stories, or the comics. Sure, the ‘Batman’ from 1989 will always be a movie I love, but mostly because I was in middle school at the time, and everyone had that Batman logo shirt.

Getting into this Loki TV series was pretty easy, though. It jumps right into the mystery and intrigue real quick, and it does it mostly without the huge pomp and flash of those comic book movies.

And honestly, Tom Hiddleston is a delight. I love every bit of him this – the dialogue, the wit, the charm, his dashing good looks, his… journey.

For me two parts reminded me of The Matrix.

When Mobius tells Loki, “you could be whoever, whatever you wanna be, even someone good. I mean, just in case anyone ever told you different.”

Remember Neo riding in the car in the matrix for the first time, going to see The Oracle?

NEO: I have all these memories. None of them happened. What does that mean?
TRINITY: The Matrix cannot tell you who you are.

In The Matrix, the machines made up fake memories and lives. The TVA snatched people from the timeline and erased their memories.

Then I felt Neo’s lone meeting with The Architect was similar, too. He Who Remains said he paved the way for Loki and Sylvie, and The Architect said that the remainder was not unexpected, so there was a measure of control. Both were planned, expected. It was fate that led to these meetings.

Neo had to make a choice; return to the source and the salvation of Zion, or go back to the Matrix and the extinction of the human race.

In Loki, there was a final choice, too: go back and lead the TVA, or kill He Who Remains and await the “total destruction of… well, everything.”

I have no idea where The Loki story goes, and of course we know that Neo could have saved everyone a lot of turmoil if he just took the door to the right.

The problem is choice.

  • Loki could have stopped Sylvie, given his powers and strength, but he didn’t.
  • Neo coulda have returned to the source, but he didn’t.
  • Sylvie could have “listened to reason,” but like Neo, she was on a mission. She was in love with revenge, the story. She needed this ending, this finality, this completion to the quest that she’s been on for 1000s (?) of years.
  • Neo had to save Trinity because he loved her.

I’m fascinated by the Simulation hypothesis, which of course would mean that everything is made up, just like The Matrix, or everything is controlled by something like The TVA. In that, that means I can wake up as Tyler Durden tomorrow if I want, or someone with the confidence of Loki.

If we’re all making this up as we go along, why not?

The Heat Is On

Wrote a bit about running in the heat, over at The Soft Run:

We’re human, and we’re squishy (sometimes soggy). We’re made of red blood cells, not slabs of steel that arrange nicely on a blue-print.

Check it out here.

Too Soon

Everything just feels rushed right now. It’s not the opening of “everything” that scares me, but the whole “get back to normal.”

A client mentioned that it’d be great to get a week or so ahead of schedule, and I agree! But… there’s this haze of 27,000 people that died from COVID in PA alone. The haze of loved ones choosing not to get vaccinated. The fog of the insurrection that’s just been swept under the rug. The strain of mass shootings, police brutality, and the multiple laws being passed in the name of “election security.”

Like, it took us a minute to recover from 9/11. But all of the above? Take an hour to grieve, ponder, reflect – we got a Zoom call presentation to deliver tomorrow!

The mass death, the ambient doom, the ever present MEHHHH… but hey, let’s talk about getting back to the office, right? Raise the minimum wage? Nah, but hey, why should my latte take more than five minutes to make!

Miss You, Johnny

As I remember it, I started playing with Johnny Rydell in my freshman year of high school. I started playing bass because I wasn’t that great at guitar, and hey, I wanted to be in a band.

First we were the Jackals, playing ‘Horror Business’ in Johnny’s bedroom. Then FCC. Then we had a few other great people join the band, and we needed a new name. We became Nameless For Now.

It was in Tim’s basement where I learned how to be a musician, as I was surrounded by super talented folks. We would sometimes turn all the lights off, save for a blue light in the corner, and just improvise with noise and dynamics. God dammit we were good.

He was John Frusciante good. ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ came out in 1991, when we were just starting this thing, and we did a killer cover of ‘Give It Away.’ God dammit, I still remember playing that on stage at the Sherman Theater in like 1994 or so.

Johnny was that good. He filled any space, he brought us together, he was a monster on guitar.

Found out yesterday, Friday May 28th that he passed away.

We went out separate ways after high school. Him and the band left for Philadelphia to make it. I stayed home with my lame full time job at a grocery store.

And it all leads back to today, in a world without the magic of Johnny Rydell. Rest In Peace, man.

Report on an Unidentified Space Station

I love this story:

“Once again our estimate of the station’s size has been substantially revised. The station clearly has the dimensions of a large asteroid or even a small planet. Our instruments indicate that there are thousands of decks, each extending for miles across an undifferentiated terrain of passenger concourses, lounges, and restaurant terraces. As before there is no sign of any crew or supervisory staff. Yet somehow a vast passenger complement was moved through this planetary waiting room.”

From ‘Report on an Unidentified Space Station‘ by J. G. Ballard.

Here We Are Today

Lots of good offline conversations lately, at least out of the public eye, I guess. These conversations happen over email, DMs, and such, but they’re not out there in full display. A wonderful thing, really.

Been trying to be more present, and acknowledge than like 99.9999% of the time everything is fine. I have food, shelter, warmth. No one knocking at my door, no angry boss, no one is throwing shit at my windows.

Very simplistic, I know, but here I am. The CDC just said that if you’re vaccinated you don’t have to wear a mask anymore, but for fucks sake, THE OPTICS.

If I walk into a store right now with no mask on I’m gonna get the side eye, big time.

As if the work of retail employees hasn’t been hard enough during “these trying times,” now they have to navigate the “oh, but I’m vaccinated” crowd, without ever really knowing if they’re telling the truth or not.

The fun never ends.

Some Miles on the Bike

This week I ran zero miles. I can’t remember the last time I ran zero miles in a week. I’ve never been this burnt out, where every run is just horrible. I’ve talked to other runners about burn out. Every run for the past few weeks has just felt labored. Like I took six months off, and I’m just trying to “get back into running.” Not a fun feeling.

In the last few weeks I set up a bike trainer and a Zwift account. I don’t have to think about the weather, the wind, nothing. And it feels good. Like, even hard efforts. They feel good.

I rode 104 miles this week. Six and a half hours.

I don’t think I rode that much back in my Bike Nerd days.

That’s more hours than I usually run each week.

Also started doing some dance workouts, too. They’re silly, sure, but they’re fun and quick, and feel good.

I’m pretty sure the running will come back. In the meantime I sure am glad I got this bike set up.

Stuck

My housemate read me a text they got, from someone saying “if you need a COVID vaccine shot, call this number, they have extra doses.” I called (I hate calling), and got myself an appointment. Just recently I got my second shot, so that’s good news.

Everyday is the same, except for weekends, when I stop getting emails from clients.

Random encounters are gone.
Bumping into an old friend, gone.
Trying something new on the menu. There is no menu. Stay home.

I go on solo runs in the woods, and hope no one is around.

Once a week I venture to the grocery store. I’ve taken to drive the extra distance to different stores, just to mix it up a little.

I got a bike trainer and a subscription to Zwift, so now I see people from all over the world as virtual cyclists. We give each other thumbs ups as we pass each other.

Just 41 days ago a shooting happened at a Boulder, CO grocery store. The fundraiser for Maggie Montoya and the pharmacy staff where she worked, it sits quiet and still, having not reached the halfway mark. The last donation was 15 days ago.

Everything keeps moving, business as usual. Yet everything is frozen in time.