Saturday, September 5, 2020

Quarantine, Week 25: Rebellions and Hope

Yes, we continue to be inundated with bad news, but I tended to see more signs of hope.  And, as we know:

First, it was a strange week on twitter for me as I set all kinds of new records when I posted the picture of Canada signing the Surrender of Japan document in the wrong place.  Mrs. Spew scoffs when I say a tweet goes viral, but I think more than 30k likes, about 7,500 retweets, and, 3 million "impressions" according to twitter analytics counts. 

Second, watching Fox pile on Trump with positive polls for Biden and confirming the reports that Trump has nothing but contempt for the past and present soldiers was delightful.  Ok, I didn't watch Fox but others noted it.

Third, I watched my friends start teaching in-person, on-line, or somewhere in between.  The efforts they have made to make their classes work in such, well, dire times has been inspiring.  My classes don't start until the 14th--I teach on Mondays so Labor Day pushes my start a week.  The emails from students have begun, and I welcome them more this year.  They are less the harbinger of "oh damn, I am not done with my summer yet" and more part of that renewal thing.

Fourth, we at CDSN HQ met our new team.  We have three new MA research assistants and one new PhD research assistant.  I know the latter because she took my Civ-Mil class last winter.  We all met to introduce ourselves, assign the MA RAs to the HQ staff (we each get one), and start figuring out how we will operate in this strange time. 

Fifth, Carleton's policies on travel restrictions include the ability to get waivers from the Dean.  So, I asked him for permission to go to the CDSN book workshop in Kingston on the eve before Halloween, and he said yes.  So, a smidge of normalcy creeping in as Kingston is my home away from home in Canada.

Sixth, tomorrow is the first day of the fall ultimate league, and I am playing!  Woot!  It is a league for Masters and Grandmasters.  Masters is something like 33 and up and Masters is 40 and up.  So, yeah, I am going to get beat on defense early and often.  I really need a league for 50 and up.  Anyhow, the Ottawa Ultimate assn has been careful:
  • each bracket or league will include only a few teams (bubble-esque)
  • each team will have fewer players
  • we will only put six on six, not seven on seven
  • we can't get just anyone to substitute--they have to come from within the bubble league
  • when a defender is marking the thrower, they have stand further away than normal--a meter rather than a disk-length.   
  • oh, and since we don't have many teams, there will be double headers much of the time.  Since I am very out of ultimate-shape, I will be dragging on Mondays.
I am very excited although Mrs. Spew is a bit nervous.  I did get Underarmour masks as part of my pandemic-long stress-shopping masks spree.  So, we shall if those work better or worse than the sports gaiter I bought (part of the aforementioned spree).   The pic to the right are the latest batch of "wait, when did I order those?" masks.  And, yes, I am a nerd.

Seventh, I went to my office to upload videos we made for my fall undergrad class.  It was a pretty day as you can see, and it was fun to see the welcome package waiting for me.  I even got to talk to a colleague.  Val Percival was in her office, and, since she studies global health stuff, we talked pandemic.  She taught a seminar this summer on COVID so she is very much up on the vaccines and such.  She gave me some hope that things will be better next fall. 

Eighth, the baking continues--the brownies last weekend proved to be delightful, especially when combined with ice cream and various syrups.  Because I have been far more diligent on the exercise front, I have not gained weight despite all the baking.  Oh, and the mobile bike repair dudes finally had time for us, so our bikes are in better shape.

Ninth (am I going to get a top ten list here?), I am super proud of Ora Szekely, one of my former students, who cat-herded more than forty academics, including myself, with her co-editor to produce this spiffy new book that I now possess.  The idea of the book was to have profs share their stories about the realities of doing fieldwork.  My chapter is on how to do research in places where one does not speak the language (all of them, for me).

Tenth, APSA is next week, and we were able to get our paper to our discussant!  Woot!  Ok, the paper is missing the survey due to a difficult research ethics process, so no results to report.  But we have a start.  A separate paper has survived a summer of revising and is awaiting RA help fixing the footnotes, and that will then go under review--this piece is the summary of the Dave/Phil/Steve project on legislatures and civilian-military relations.  We got lots of very useful feedback from folks who were very generous with their time.  So, a smidge of research progress.  We didn't complete the book this summer like I had hoped, but we can see it from here.  We just need to clean up the case studies and then write up some thematic and concluding chapters.  We hope to circulate it in early 2021 and submit it next summer. 

So, yeah, the misery of pandemic and racism and Trump continue, but I am embracing whatever signs of hope and progress there are.  I hope you can find some in your lives.  As always, the only way out is through.

Be well!

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