Saturday, March 28, 2020

Life in the Pandemic

According to the CDC, this won't be over until July -- even then people will still be getting sick, but we'll have crested the wave, and will be flat again.

That's their best guess now.

Meanwhile, we are settling into social distancing, here at the delagar household.

Here is our schedule:

4:00 a.m. Dr Skull wakes. Feeds the cats. Settles in to write, or write music (with headphones on).

9:00 a.m. I get up. Feed the cats. Feed the dog. Make coffee. Settle in to write.

11:00 a.m. Dr. Skull emerges. Wonders if I want him to make bread. I say yes. Please make challah. (Alternative: Please make sour dough. Or nah, we're fine with bread.)

11:50 a.m. The kid gets up. Feeds the cats. Makes breakfast. (The kid is the only one who eats breakfast in our household.) Begins drawing.

1:00 p.m. I finish writing. Make lunch for me. Feed the cats. Read for awhile.

2:00 p.m. The kid has lunch. I begin working on teaching prep.

3:00 p.m. Dr. Skull put the bread in to bake. Feeds the cats.

4:00 p.m. The kid does schoolwork.

5:00 p.m. Dr. Skull emerges and makes himself dinner. Feeds the cats.

6:00 p.m. I make dinner for me and the kid.

7:00 p.m. The kid and I take the dog to walk at the park.

8:00 p.m. Rum o'clock. The kid draws, and talks to friends. I read and read and read. Dr. Skull goes to bed. Feeds the cats first.

1:00 a.m. I go to bed. Feed the cats first.

3:00 a.m. The kid goes to bed.

Interspersed among all of this, I do laundry, Dr. Skull does the dishes, we occasionally go out for groceries, or take the dog out into the yard. It's a quiet and pleasant life, and I am getting a lot of work done.

But every time someone gets a headache, or coughs, we have tiny little panic attacks. And going to the grocery, despite all the antiseptic wipes and handwashing we do, makes me very nervous.

I'll be glad when this is over.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Covid-19 in Arkansas

Our public schools have been closed for two weeks, and I finally convinced Dr. Skull that they weren't going to open on April 1 (which is the date the schools have put out for "re-evaluating" the closure).

He emailed the school board to ask if any provision was being made for subs. They told him to file for unemployment.

So yesterday he went and did that. (He tried to file online, first, but with about half the state trying to file, the website was overwhelmed.)

The unemployment office was swathed in plastic -- I guess to keep out the virus? Who knows? -- and there was a bin to drop his unemployment form in. Now we wait.

I'm guessing the Arkansas Governor's school isn't going to run this year either. He teaches there in the summer.

The kid is still home. We're going to keep him here through Passover at least, and then -- like the public schools -- re-evaluate. Meanwhile, he is working with his professors remotely. From eavesdropping on his sessions I have learned that kids today now call Covid-19 "the rona."

Today we have to drive him up to see his therapist. That should be fun.

As for me, I am fretting about teaching online. I've never actually done it, and my one attempt at learning Blackboard convinced me I never want to use that platform ever in my life.

I did attend a session at our university last week, meant to show those of us who hate Blackboard how to use Blackboard. Once again I walked away convinced I never want to ever use that platform ever in my life.

I've been using Google Classroom. Now I've figured out Slack, mostly. Between those two, I'm hoping I can get through the rest of the semester.

But oh my do I hate this. I love the classroom, the interaction between the students, the way we all, by talking together, reach bigger truths than we would on our own. Chatlines on slack and me posting notes on Google Classroom -- this is not going to be nearly as effective.

And it will be like 110% more boring.

But it's better than one to three percent of my students dying, obviously.

What else? I am still taking my nightly walks at the park along the Arkansas River. When this all started, I was the only one there, ever. Well, sometimes there would be one other person. But usually it was just me and the dog.

Each day, there have been more and more people out walking their kids and their dogs and themselves. Yesterday there were so many people there I had to park on the road instead of in the parking lot. One kid was there all alone on his bicycle, riding around and around and around the big loop.

If nothing else, the plague is giving people the leisure to exercise.

We all carefully stayed six feet from one another. Except my dog. He kept trying to rush up to the other dogs and make friends. I kept pulling him away again.

I'm still cooking so much more than I usually do. I made enchiladas yesterday, and am considering black beans, except it's probably too hot for that. Maybe potato soup.

What's going on where you are?


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

My House is on Fire

This twitter thread, y'all:

(Be sure to read the replies.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Covid-19 Numbers

There are 197 cases of Covid-19 in Arkansas, as of noon today.

There were 118 three days ago.

Some of the increase is an artifact of testing -- by which I mean we probably had more than 118 cases on March 21st -- but still.

44,183 cases nationwide. There were just over 500 cases in the USA on March 9, which is just about two weeks ago. Again, remember we weren't testing on a wide-scale yet then -- and still aren't now -- so neither number is a true reflection of how many people actually have the virus.

544 people have died. On March 9, 22 people had died.

Trump said we should all go back to our regular life on April 12. That's just about two and a half weeks from now. Remember that two weeks ago we were at 500 cases. Where do you think we will be two weeks from now?

 I don't know if Trump is serious -- everything he says is a lie, after all -- but that's clearly an unrealistic estimate.

(Source for graph)

Life in the Pandemic

The kid is home with us, so we have three adults, two cats, and a dog in our household. Given the small size of our house (only four rooms, really), it's a good thing we all like each other.

Dr. Skull is technically in the high-risk group (he has high blood pressure and diabetes), so we're self-isolating with a zeal. We go nowhere except to the grocery and to a nearby park, for walks along the river. It's a very empty park -- we occasionally see people hundreds of yards from us; or someone jogs past. Never any close encounters.

What do we do all day?

The kid works on his comic. He also does academic work -- his professors are communicating with him via the net, and sometimes in a chat session. He also talks nightly with his boyfriend (datefriend is the modern parlance), and often with his larger circle of friends. He goes on the walks with me.

I work on my novel, and also do prep for when the semester starts back up, here at my university, on Monday. I'm cooking a great deal more than I usually do -- yesterday I cooked two meals! Alors! I'm reading even more than usual. And I look forward to our walks at the park.

Dr. Skull is working on his novel, composing music, and playing Madden Football. I can tell which he is doing at any given time because he hums when he's writing the novel, counts (One and TWO and three four five) when he's composing music, and cusses when he's playing Madden Football.

The cats demand a great deal of petting. The dog goes on walks with us, and also keeps a vigilant watch out for squirrels in the yard.

No one here is sick yet. Knock wood.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Conservatives and Eugenics

Of course, conservatives have always been pro-eugenics, just as they love to push Social Darwinism. I guess now the mask is coming off.

Day 10 of the Quarantine

We're making pancakes:


Here's the recipe.

Later we plan a walk in the river-side park

What are y'all to to?

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Saturday, March 21, 2020

First Case of Covid-19 our county. 

There are 118 cases in the state so far.

Meanwhile, Trump is talking nonsense in his idiotic daily presser.

See more here. Of course he got this dangerous bullshit from Fox News -- where else?


Life during Covid-19

Last night, Dr. Skull made pizza for my (belated and socially distant) birthday party.


There was also carrot cake.

I stopped at the liquor store to buy wine on my way home from our daily walk at the park by the river. They were open, with a sign on the door asking all customers to stay six feet apart. Everyone was complying, which was difficult, since I've never seen so many people in that store.

We had a fine celebration. Dr. Skull makes the best pizza, and his carrot cake, with fig preserves as its filling, was excellent.

Carrot Cake with Fig Filling and cream cheese icing

One week into the pandemic, here is what I have noticed so far:

This is not what I expected a pandemic to be like. First, everything moves so much more slowly than it does in books and movies. We're a week into this semi-quarantine, and still no one I know is sick, no one can say how long schools and non-essential stores will have to be closed, no one is sure how bad it will get, or even how bad it is.

Second, being shut up in my house, with nowhere to go, previously my dream of a perfect life, is strangely exhausting. I mean, aside from how I never go to campus to teach, this is essentially exactly the life I was leading a week ago. But somehow it seems more oppressive. I guess those days I was spending on campus were more vital to my mental health than I thought they were.

Third, the depth of depravity among MAGA Americans has become clearer then ever. When most of America is responding with the humor and charity I outlined above, MAGA Americans continue to spread hate and lies -- one common and repeated claim I've seen among that crowd is the pandemic isn't real. (No one is actually sick! they crow. It's all the LYING MEDIA!!1!)

Why is the USA shutting down schools and shops and theaters and restaurants if the pandemic isn't real? Why, it's a plot by the SOCIALIST DEMOCRATS, clearly. We just want to destroy Trump. (As if he wasn't doing that all on his own.)

Since the pandemic is only a plot, according to these losers, we should all deliberately violate the rule against social distancing. They post pictures of themselves taking their children to crowded restaurants, or tweets about the crowded bar they're hanging out in. Spreading the virus to own the libs.

Or, like Rod Dreher, they spread panic and lies out of their own cowardice. This sort of MAGA American is terrified of everything. Their terror finds an outlet in xenophobia, bigotry, and racism, and so they find a way -- some way, any way at all -- to blame what's happening on foreigners, gay people, progressives, or any people except white Conservative Christian Americans.

Finally, though, most people are responding not with panic and hate but with charity, with humor, with zest.

Example: I ran out of coffee on Thursday, and posted about it on FB. Half my feed offered to send me some via a local coffee delivery service, or to bring me some, or to send a friend of theirs who lives close to be over with some. My classics professor from graduate school comment: "No coffee? That's grounds for panic!"

Other examples: People on Twitter are writing poems about their experiences, or sending pictures of their cats; publishers are making their e-books free; scientists are offering to explain science concepts via video chats to kids stuck at home; Geico has promised not to cancel anyone's coverage for non-payment during the pandemic; people are posting gifs and videos and pictures of their cats and dogs, showing how their pets (and they themselves) are reacting to the quarantine.

Among most people, that is the sentiment. This is awful, and scary, and disruptive. But we'll help each other through it. And hey, here's something hilarious my cat did yesterday!

Be like the final group. Not like the MAGA bigots. It's the best chance we have.

Meanwhile, have a comic!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Cat Pictures during the Plague Years

Here is what Jasper is doing during the quarantine:


Here is what Junti is doing:

Bonus Heywood:


We're not actually under quarantine -- just socially distancing.

How are things at your place?

Links: A Mini-edition for the Plague Years

Both sides are not the same

What? That rabid hyena might eat MY face?

Larry Brilliant (who helped defeat smallpox) explains (more of this, please, and less pants-wetting screeching)

Unemployment claims skyrocket

Erik Loomis and the birth of the Republican Party

How to deal with the quarantine:

Thursday, March 19, 2020

We Have Always Been at War with Eastasia

No photo description available.

Life in the Plague Years

See also this 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Even MORE Good News

I just got another email from our public library -- apparently during the quarantine, we can request books and then do like a drive by to pick them up!

The library item you requested is now available for checkout. Items may be picked up between 1 – 5 PM, Monday through Friday at the MAIN Library. Call 479-783-0229 (choose “0”) when you arrive.  Please pull up near the curb by the garage door for delivery.  Thanks!