Saturday, May 16, 2020

Quarantine, Week 9: Running Out of Subtitles

So much and so little has happened since my previous Saturday morning post.  I watched my cousin's daughter be Bat Mitzvahed via teleconferencing, and the takeaway was that the synagogue's video director either has or should work for the NFL or the Oscars.  I won money playing poker with some of my Ottawa friends later that evening.  Plus assorted zooms with family and friends along the way.  I am not zoomed out as I have greatly enjoyed seeing friends, old and new, via this technology.

The CDSN launched a new initiative to connect PhD students and offer an opportunity to get feedback on their work. Stef vH and I taped our 24th! podcast of BattleRhythm, and I find it strange that my sister who cares least about politics is one of our biggest fans.  Fun to see what Stitcher thinks of as related shows-->

The big new thing of the week is that I gave two talks--one in Mexico City on security and governance in Canada and one in Ottawa on the intersection of civil-military relations and COVID-19.  It had been quite a while since I had given any kind of presentation--about two months.  The tricky thing thus far for me is to remind myself to stare into the webcam and not the people on the zoom screen.

I did have to drive to the other side of town for the first time since ... the last time I played ultimate.  This time was not to lay out for a disk but to retrieve a mis-mailed package of masks.  Mrs. Spew and I now each have three gray washable masks.  Now we are in the market for more interesting ones, but at least we are set for the occasional excursion.

It felt like a long week since it had more packed into it than the average week in quarantine.  But as I like to say, that is like saying Ivanka is the smartest Trump.  With such a low basis of comparison, it is easy to exceed.  

The primary feeling this week was frustration.  Well, that probably has been true for most of the last nine weeks, but especially this week.  Opening things up while we don't have adequate testing, people jamming the suddenly open bar, the likelihood that this is going to go on and on--it is all very frustrating.  So many dumb decisions, so much unnecessary suffering.  I have not yet screamed, but I have found myself crying more easily and more often in the past few weeks than since ... when I was a teenager and based on my entire self-esteem on my desperate search for romance.

What got me this week?  A video of Jimmy Fallon and Panic at the Disco and the Roots playing Under Pressure.

Perhaps because Freddie Mercury and David Bowie died too soon.  Perhaps because the song is so perfect for our time (and, yes, I am very aware that my friend with kids at home are facing far more pressure than I am).  I don't know why.  I did feel better once I got inspired by Chuck Wendig to figure out which songs make me happy to the point of jumping out of my chair to scream-sing and to dance.

So, that's my recommendation for the week--find the song or songs that get you energized, smiling, and even dancing.  The key, of course, is blast any song that works for you, any way you want it.

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