I'm having a lot of fun dashing off these doodles! And I don't think they're half bad... though they are mostly bad.
Ok, “art” might be a stretch.
I bought an Apple Pencil (which will get here at some point in the not too distant future) because I’m not very good at this... and the reason has got to be a lack of tools.
Prime ministers, a king, a prince and Madonna all chipped in to an $8 billion pot to fund a coronavirus vaccine, but President Trump skipped the chance to contribute. Officials in his administration noted that the United States is pouring billions of dollars into its own research efforts.
This article also taught me that Norway isn't part of the EU. Who knew? Probably lots of people, particularly Norwegians, but not me!
If you're anything like me, a sensible person who cares about the health of others, you've been wearing a mask whenever you're out and about. You may have also discovered that masks with elastic loops that use your ears as a way to stay pressed against your face are slightly uncomfortable.
There's an easy fix that'll save your ears and press the mask even more tightly to your face. You just need one of these (it is a large paperclip, in case you can't see the lovely picture):
Which you then attach, like so, to one of the elastic loops:
Next, slap that mask on your face, place the elastic bands over your ears, and pull them behind your head so you can attach the other loop to the paperclip:
Adjust for your comfort and then send me a lovely email thanking for for this fantastic tip.
I'm sure there are little doodads you can buy, or 3D print, that do the same thing but you probably already have a paperclip laying around.
I know what you're thinking, "But, Scott, won't I look silly with a paperclip pressed against the back of my head?" There's a global pandemic happening. No one cares what you look like.
Now you're thinking, "Scott, why didn't you include a picture of you wearing a mask so we can see what it looks like on the back of your neck?" I took several of those pictures, dear reader. Trust me, you're better off not seeing them.
I feel a little bit like there isn’t much I can do to be helpful during this global pandemic. I’m not a healthworker, I can’t sew (trust me, you wouldn’t want to wear a mask I made. The last time I sewed anything was long, long ago in elementary school. I was in 2nd grade, I think, and preparing to recieve my First Communion. For some reason part of the preparations included spending a morning in our school’s cafeteria where we cut out lamb shapes from fabric, stuffed them, and then sewed them together. My lamb wouldn’t protect anyone from COVID-19 either), and I can’t convince stupid people that wearing a mask isn’t a huge civil liberties problem and the numbers aren’t as bad as predicted because of what we’re doing.
Something I can do, however, is support a few independent booksellers. Which I how I came to own the 20 books above! They are a mix of new and used books from a few of my favorite bookstores (or stores that I went to once and enjoyed):
- Powell’s - This one shouldn’t be a surprise. I, like many people, love Powell’s for many reasons. Whenever I’m in Portland I stop by and spend more money than I should... and since who knows if air travel will ever happen again I spent a pretty penny using their (not so great) website.
- Northshire Bookstore - I think we visited this store on our honeymoon... but I don’t know for sure. But they got some of my money anyway!
- BookPeople - This is a great bookstore in Austin, which I visit and spend way too much money at whenever I’m in Austin. They also have nice t-shirts.
- A Novel Idea on Passyunk - I haven’t actually visited this bookstore in person, despite the fact that it is in Philadelphia but I want it to continue to exist so I bought some books.
There is one glaring omission on the list above. My favorite bookstore in the world is The Strand. It is a favorite amongst many a book lover but they aren’t shipping books, so I couldn’t order any. I did order myself a gift card to help support them!
Indie Bookstore websites suck
One thing I discovered whilst trying to support independent bookstores I found out that many of them have horrible, horrible, very bad websites. It makes sense since these stores want you to come to their physical locations. They can’t compete with Amazon’s website (which really isn’t all that great either... but it is really easy to find what you’re looking for on Amazon, which is all that matters), so they just ignore their websites.
Bookshop.org is an interesting solution to this problem. It is a service that’ll sell books for indie bookstores and give a percentage to the bookstore. The store won’t make as much from the sale, but they also don’t have to ship books or keep the inventory so that seems like a win to me. And Bookshop.org is a very nicely designed website.
People who follow me on Twitter may recall that I sent my AirPods Pro through the wash last month:
Sent my Air Pods Pro through the washing machine. Relatedly, I ordered new ones yesterday.— Scott McNulty (@blankbaby) March 27, 2020
I've had AirPods forever, but this was the first time I managed to destroy a pair with prolonged washing.
Good news: I did the same thing a couple of days ago... so now I have two pairs of broken AirPods Pro.
This got me to thinking about how I could have gone for so long not doing a thing and then suddenly doing that thing twice in a couple of weeks.
It all boils down to the power of routine. I only ever really used my AirPods in two circumstances:
- Sitting at my desk at work.
- Whilst running (either outside or on the treadmill).
When I used them at work I would just slip them into my bag at the end of the day. My bag doesn't end up in the washing machine all that often, so there's very little risk of destruction for my AirPods in that routine.
When I'm outside running I don't usually bring the AirPod case, but traditionally I've run alone. So when I'm done with my run I just walk home with the AirPods in my ears. When I get home I pull them out, pop them into their case, and go about my life with functioning AirPods.
For use in the gym, I pop them into my ears before I head down the 15 floors to the gym, and then pop them out again when I'm back home (this allows me to pretend I can't hear anyone who might want to talk to me in the elevator).
Now, I'm no longer going to the office (I haven't been there in a month) so I don't use my AirPods during the day.
And the gym in my building is closed, so I don't use the treadmill anymore. Which means I have to run outside (even thought the air is full of death).
To make it even more different not only do I now only run outside, but since we are limiting the amounts of times we go outside we tend to all go out at the same time.
This means when I'm walking home I'm with Marisa and the boys. And I don't want to be rude to Marisa, since she is still talking to me for the moment, so I pop the AirPods into my pocket of my sweaty shorts.
Sweaty shorts which end up in the washing machine. With my AirPods in the pocket.
And that's how I ended up being the owner of two sets of very clean, and very broken, AirPods Pro.
Here's some real talk: most everything about this global pandemic sucks.
And that's an optimistic statement, just so you know how things are going these days. However, one benefit of all of this craziness is that while I'm working from home, and avoiding all human contact, new rituals have emerged.
One of the best is that I now feed these little guys their breakfast in the morning so Marisa can take a shower at a relatively sedate pace (i.e. she doesn't have to have a monitor on the shelf or an audience of two tiny freaking out men watching her shower).
It has been a learning experience for us all.
As you can see, Declan likes yogurt but has to work on paying attention while his less than neat father attempts to shove it into his mouth while, at the same time, Declan turns his head in the opposite direction to look at something and opens his mouth a tiny bit.
Sammy is all business at the breakfast table, and you can see he's thinking, "Is there more yogurt in that phone? If not, put it away."
I thought I’d check out Amazon’s book recommedations to get my mind off of the pandemic.
That didn’t work.
And the worst part? Those books do look interesting!
That’s what I felt when I was in the hospital overnight a few months ago. It wasn’t serious, but the docs wanted to keep me under observation (these days I’m pretty sure I would have just been sent home!).
Honestly, I thought it would be a nice opportunity to get some reading done. With two babies at home, my reading time has been significantly impacted (though keep in mind Marisa was, and continues to, doing the vast majority of childcare duties). A whole night where I couldn’t get out of bed and just had to lay there? Paradise.
There’s just a lot of stress and tension in the air at a hospital, even if you’re not in mortal danger of death. I couldn’t concentrate on much other than mindless television.
And that, my friends, is how this pandemic is impacting me.
Lots of folks on social media are posting about all the time they have now since we’re sheltering in place without commutes. Time seems to have become unstuck from us, and now we can do all those things we never got around to before.
I have a stack of library books that is the result of some aggressive hold requesting and I haven’t managed to make a dent in it. Luckily, the library is closed until further notice and they aren’t taking book returns so I have time. And yet I lack the ability to concentrate.
Sure, I can read a little bit but all of my attempts to immerse myself into a book have thus far failed.
On the plus side I’m watching lots of episodes of Time Team with Marisa. I was previously watching it while I ran on the treadmill, but my building’s gym is closed so that isn’t happening anymore.
It was a lovely surprise to find out that Marisa actually finds the show interesting. Score one for us!
Anyway, given this is an once in a lifetime event (I’m just projecting my hope there, I know this could turn into a regular occurrence) I figure I should chronicle some of what I’m thinking and doing.
Stay tuned for more entries in my COVID-19 Chronicles. I hope it continues to be relatively boring chronicle of a stressful time.