Saturday, June 06, 2020

COVID-19 Lockdown, Day 73.

To Begin at the Beginning

Well, first, the lock down has effectively been lifted.  Each county has their own limits and permissions you must meet.  Case count continues  a downward trend in Johnson County KS.  Most of the newsworthy outbreaks the last few weeks were at meat packing plants, and one shipping hub, where dozens, if not hundreds of employees were exposed and became ill.

Our neighborhood has had 42 cases reported, according to the Johnson County Department of Health.  I'm still going out a couple of times a week to get groceries, mail bills, or, today, drop off the Ducati Monster for service and a recall.  At Reno's Powersports, they have a No Mask - No Entry policy; I'd forgotten my RZ or disposable mask, but fortunately had a big bandanna handkerchief, relatively unused, in my pocket.  Easily whip that into a cowboy mask and I was good to go.  I wear the neon green RZ mask when ever I go to the store; not really for my protection, but to protect others; as often as I'm out it's quite possible I could be infected and asymptomatic. 

Scouts BSA and Camping

The Boy Scout Council decided to move forward with camp, starting in July. Our Boy Scout Troop, after consulting with our chartered organization, decided to stay home from camp this year.  I can certainly understand why - a normal year is filled with 'charlie-foxtrot' situations, and adding COVID protection, prevention, sanitation, forms, paperwork and more to the usual mess would have made it utterly un-fun.  Not even sure the scouts would have had a terribly good time.  State parks are back open for individual camping, but with the 90 degree, 90% humidity, that would not be a wonderful time. 


Since we last chatted here, I've hit up for their First Friday sale, getting a Ministry box set of all the tracks recorded at the Wax Trax studio in Chicago, along with several hundred other tracks.  The First Friday sale at Bandcamp isn't really a sale, but 100% of the proceeds go directly to the artist, with no skim off the top by Bandcamp. Good for Bandcamp to do - a lot of the musical acts that had planned on touring revenue are out of luck this year.  I found and orders several more Frankie Goes to Hollywood remixes of 'Relax', putting up to about 41 or 42 unique remixes collected of that track.

Personal Growth

In other news, I heard a bit on BBC the other night about how very young childhood experiences can develop into adult anxieties. We moved, frequently, when I was 2 to 8 years old, and I never had the opportunity (or interest) in making friendships other than with the occasional neighbor kid (Matthew in Hatch, the Tony in Dixon, Nathan in Winfield). I never had the opportunity to work through and overcome the challenges of making friends or being a friend.

A thank you to Jeff for pushing me into going to a couple of Motorcycle club events with ST-Owners and MSTA; thank you, Mike, Andray, Robert, Dave, Fred, many many others in the clubs for accepting me as I stand, slightly off center, distant, 'automaton'/

Thank you to the geezers in Troop 387 for accepting me as I am; I don't have a lot of sit down and have a beer friendships with y'all but I'm comfortable sitting around a fire with you and just listening to your stories.

Thank you to Angela, Jennifer, Bill, all of the band parents for giving me a space to express myself in photography and web work, and accepting me as I am.

Thank you to the competitors at BHPSC for your acceptance of this n00b and showing me the ropes to get better at competition.

Thank you to all I've neglected to mention from COR, Long Distance Riders groups, and more.

Guess I may have a few more friends than I think I do; I just need to make the effort to *connect*

The point? None really. Just interesting to be able to understand why I have few close friends in the area after 20 years. I never learned how. And now it triggers anxiety attacks meeting new people, interacting one on one.

Not necessarily an introvert - put me on a stage in front of 300 or 3000 people and I'm in heaven - I volunteered to run a day camp just cause they'd let me get on the PA twice a day. (love PA systems. Love crowds. Can't stand one on one interaction.) I volunteered to host executive presentations at Sprint for 300 people just cause I got the first 90 seconds on stage with the microphone.

So if I'm, distant, fidgety, looking over your shoulder, cut conversations short in person - it's not you. It's me. Perhaps some day I'll learn how to sit and just be with another person. Learn how to reach out, meet up without having a frelling panic attack for a day or more before the meetup.

Work, Job and Career

Professionally, the T-Mobile and Sprint merger closed with a quiet click of the light switch from Yellow to Magenta, since all office employees were working remote.  I continue to have a job, and I continue to work remote.  Set up a small  (small!) office using a hallway table for a desk between the bed and the window. It actually works out quite well - laptop on one side, 27" monitor on the other side.  Added a battery backup UPS to keep everything going - or at least clean the power up.  Sometime this summer / fall I plan to build a very stout desktop system for video rendering and online archive storage. 

Hobbies and Fun

Hobby wise, I haven't done a lot of riding - took a half lap of KC on the FJR and recorded it with a phone strapped to a RAM Mount.  Looped the Ducati around enough to warm it up, and got in 15 mile or so today to take it into the shop. Spring was a normal cool, damp spring; damp and cool enough to put a damper on riding plans.  Summer arrived as it usually does - 65 on Friday, 95 and 90% humidity on Saturday.  Meh.  Glad I have a mesh jacket for local riding.  Been doing a bit more with video - started an 'Environments' playlist of Kansas environmental sounds and sights, along with the Motorcycle playlist.  Also curated and created some of the videos into an Instructional playlist. Demos of how to do interesting, odd things.  An excuse to shoot and edit videos.

Reading quite a few books on Kindle.  30 some this year so far.  Finding new authors to follow, mostly space opera.  Watched the entire 'Alone' reality show on the History Channel - all 6 seasons off it.  That was actually interesting and seemed challenging for the participants, as they not only had to survive, they had to be their own cameraman and record their experiences.  Looking forward to the next season starting this summer.  About half way through the first season of Star Trek : Picard.  I don't want to rush through this and then have forgotten everything that happened when the next season comes out, so I'll watch an episode every week or two.  Odd side note - the occasional music used in both Picard and Disney's The Mandalorian seems to have quite a bit in common.  My guess is they both use the same software and audio loop package to build their audio background.  Not like the old days when you'd get a composer and the network orchestra would play all off the music.

After 22 years shooting IPSC pistol competitions, I finally shot a 'qualifier' match.  You need to have 6 qualifier stages a year to get a rating with the USPSA, so I'm 2/3rds of the way there.  Got a lot of tips from the other competitors, was allowed to re-shoot the entire match, and moved my score up 30%.  Still scoring at the bottom of the list, but it's something to do that allows you to focus fully on one thing.

So, that's my update from the last month and a half or so.

In the rest of the world, COVID continues to spread.  Black Lives Matter protests have lit up across the world and in every state of America.  T-Mobile has had several executive level calls about diversity, inclusion, racism and more.   They're a good shop, strongly committed to doing the right thing.  The protests spark riots sometimes, other times they're pretty low key.  Determining factor seems to be how much force they are met with - if the CS grenades start firing, the protestors turn into rioters and everyone gets mad.

Until next time,

Your Humble Scribe,

Will England

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