Lookout!

I’m glad to say that Wednesday was a back-to-normal day.  Had a good night’s sleep Tuesday night.  Woke up right on time Wednesday morning for a full, non-stop day at work.  I even survived missing lunch completely (that reheated pulled pork sandwich definitely made for a good dinner, just not as good as Tuesday evening’s chicken salad sandwich).  Definitely grateful to be through with that awkward post-second-vaccination phase of things.

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I found this WuMo from earlier in the week quite funny.  As with some of the best strips, it works on multiple levels.  We may not be pirates, but we can definitely misjudge the distances of things. WuMo Myopic (image from gocomics.com)
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And then WHAM!

A few words on the continuing story of the week.

I received my second Moderna dose Monday at 9:50 AM.  I was fine for the rest of the day, all the way to going to bed.  I had a hard time getting to sleep, ended up waking up throughout the night.  I woke up fatigued and listless.  Thankfully, we were online for class today.  I had one student notice I wasn’t quite up to the norm.  After lunch I finally relented and took a couple of Tylenol, which was great.  After a quick meeting at the end of the workday, I made my way home for a two-hour nap and a late dinner.  As I write this, I am suffering my way through the season premiere of The Flash (with a storyline that may never end, ugh).  I’m hopeful for a good night’s sleep.  Tomorrow is a full day on campus, so it would be great to be close to 100% tomorrow.

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Suiting Up as February Turns into March

Well, the deed is done.  The shot has been got.  I made my way down to the pier this morning after a few hours of work to get the second dose of the Moderna vaccine.  It was a very easy in-and-out.  Grabbed some Subway for lunch and headed back to work.  Spent a good amount of time trying to get ready for the next two days in case things get dicey.  It’s funny: you want things to get dicey because that means your immune system is working well, but then you don’t want things to get dicey because you’ve got stuff to do, people to see, and you want to be able to make it through the day without any complications.

And supposedly you won’t really know until you wake up the next morning. (I’m writing this on Monday evening and posting it early Tuesday).

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I have to agree some with Caulfield on this one:

Frazz Annual PatternsFebruary is always an interesting one, it’s no longer the new year but it isn’t spring either.  It’s funny to think of an eight year-old thinking in patterns, but I think we all do it, at least on a subconscious level.  Is it a case of arrested development or a case of early maturation?  Who know.

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What’s interesting about being in this vaccine phase of Covidtide is that it’s giving us something new to talk about.  Today I had lunch with a co-worker and then another co-worker joined in at the end.  Two of us were going in today; the other had his second dose weeks ago.  So it was a bit like talking about the weather: how did it feel, what advice could be given.  And then it happens as it happens.  And then you talk about it again tomorrow.

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Monday’s classic Calvin and Hobbes is one you kind of think would be seen ripped off more often (like Calvin and Hobbes dancing.  Calvin in a space suit that’s isn’t Spiff.  It really is the helmet.  And his mom’s reaction is both honest and funny.

Calvin Suiting Up(images from gocomics.com)

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Running Out of a Certain Kind of Time

Today I get the second round of the Moderna vaccine. I keep telling myself that tomorrow will be some kind of day off for me, even though I’ll be teaching regardless of how I feel (as we’ll all mostly be online tomorrow because of testing). If you had told me a year ago I’d be getting a vaccine for something that I didn’t think would still be around a year later, I’m not sure what I would’ve told you. Beyond that, Oahu has recently moved to “tier 3,” which allows for larger social gatherings and normal church services as long as families are physically distant.

I mentioned a few days ago that I had gone to the theater to see Crisis. What I didn’t say was that the release of Tom and Jerry meant that there were actually a few families at the movies. Not sure the workers were ready for that, as it seemed like the families were going all-out with food (probably their first time at the movies in a year). A good reminder that even the last few months at the movies have been nice because of how few people were actually there.

But all of that will be changing at some point, with some things sooner rather than later. Which means a certain kind of time is running out. The kind of time where you can more easily take a step back and consider the works of our hands, the routines we have put in place, the practices that we have nurtured over the last year as responses to losing what was “normal.” The critical distance is being chipped away more and more and we get closer to “normal.” One of the frustrations of the last year, of course, is that we’ve had so little time and energy for real reflection: it’s been do, adjust, do again constantly. But maybe it’s not too late to get into some kind of self-reflective mode. Or maybe you’ve already got a feedback loop, internal though it may be, where you’ve been processing things all along.

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Difficult to believe that today is March 1. February has gone out cold, windy, and wet here in Honolulu. It’s the kind of weather I love, really And while it’s not as chilly as it was a month ago, it’s still a nice change from the routine. It’s been over two months since my year-end retreat where I took some time to think through things for 2021. And I’ve done almost none of the things I had set out to do. Almost none. I have been blogging each day, though way too many weeks have been pop media-heavy. I have been on a good, consistent reading tear, though not necessarily of things that I had planned. I haven’t found good ways to use my downtime, though I have had some good television to watch.

But I’m crawling towards something, I suppose. I’m trying not to burn ships or bridges at this point, but I am trying to understand how to move forward without looking back too much (if that makes any sense). School has been a little different this quarter because of rearranging/replacing some large assignments that just were too much for concurrent learning. I grieve that loss even as I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have worked this year in general. But I’m also slowly laying down some foundation for next year, knowing that I’ll likely still be doing double-duty with some things. I’ve got some resources to help me reshape some curriculum. And I’m hoping to grow some courage to push some big picture things in some different directions.

But there’s this sneaking suspicion I have that things aren’t going to get much better than what we experienced this last year. Because things like this last year reveal stuff, emphasize priorities and pre-existing conditions that can easily be overlooked when things are humming along at the speed of normal life. And so the stripped down version of church or of school or even of basic community will likely continue on in it’s Covidtide form, partly because we’re used to it and partly because it was really that way all along. I’d like to think that I’m wrong. But I think it’s as true of me as it is of anyone or anything else. This last year is the social, the spiritual, baseline for things. It’s the comfort zone revealed, I think. And while it’s as good a place to start as any, it’s still a bit of a bummer.

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I still find myself thinking about this piece and this piece, both by Ephraim Radner from early in Covidtide. And a few others of his posted since then. They are good places to start, especially as they are artifacts from an already-different time for us. And because now, even a year later, there are “some questions that remain.”

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Sunday’s Best: Adrift but Rationing

Once again, Jef Mallett does a great job weaving strands together (all while keeping Caulfield a kid, which is always tricky).

Frazz Adrift(image from gocomics.com)

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At the Movies

These have been interesting days to be a movie-goer.  After a few weeks away, I made it back last week to see A Writer’s Odyssey, an epic Chinese fantasy story about worlds overlapping in dangerous ways.  This morning, I caught an morning showing Crisis, a horrible title for a good movie (because doesn’t every movie involve some kind of crisis?).  It’s a drug trafficking movie, which means it wasn’t all that funny.  But it was good seeing Evangeline Lilly back on the screen (Kate’s got a gun).  There were three different stories that came together in a mostly-believable way.

We’re all waiting, of course, for the return of the big-budget spectaculars.  I don’t think Wonder Woman 1984 did as well as everyone hoped, so there’s definitely some big studio reticence.  And while Marvel’s Black Widow lingers, there’s always some good buzz for what’s next for Spider-Man.  This week saw some joking around about the name of the third installment (after Homecoming and Far From Home).  The actual title was revealed on a dry-erase board (and it is appropriately good).  Here’s the clip:

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Subliminally Speaking

Here’s one last comic strip from this last Sunday.  It’s a nice time-lapse gag from Nancy, one that definitely leaves you with a sense of suspicion about the title character, especially in how she uses the beauty of the winter months.

Nancy Subliminally Speaking(image from gocomics.com)

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Location! Location! Location?

Something about this Sunday’s WuMo comic also struck me as funnier than usual.  As a one-panel strip, it has to load everything into one scene.  This strip does that quite well.  Or maybe it’s just because the juxtaposition of things, which WuMo does so well, rings true. And because all of us should plan better.

WuMo Location!(image from gocomics.com)

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Studying Styles

So the who idea of “learning styles” has mostly been debunked (at least if you talk to certain people).  But this week’s FoxTrot by Bill Amend floats the idea of “studying styles,” which is a lot  more possible because I see it almost every day.

FoxTrot Studying Styles(image from gocomics.com)

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Stories Left to Tell

Tonight brought the premiere of Superman & Lois, the latest attempt at bringing the story of Superman to the small screen.  The character has been floating around on the CW for a few years now as a special guest.  Last season’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” story gave the network an in-road for telling a different kind of Superman story.  Ironically, it’s the kind of story that been told for the last few years in the comics.

One of the odd realities of American comics is that they’ve been around for 80 years and that “continuity” is something that has mattered.  Every few years, of course, a reboot comes along that tries to tighten things up, start things over.  That happened back in 1986 with DC Comics, and it set a trajectory that their characters would follow for about 25 years.  Readers watched Wally West become THE Flash.  We saw Hal Jordan replaced as Green Lantern and then saw him return to the role.  And we saw characters like Superman and Batman “grow up.”  For Clark Kent, that meant engagement and marriage.  And then came another reboot, one that sucked the sense of history and legacy out of the stories in hopes for something more modern and crisp.  It didn’t really work.  But in a “throw away” story tied to the “old continuity,” Clark and Lois had a kid: Jonathan.  And then, over the course of a year, the timeline got “reset” and the classic Lois and Clark (with Jonathan in tow) became the status quo.

All to say that tonight’s Superman & Lois premiere draws from the best parts of that dynamic while adding a wrinkle or two of its own.  And it mostly succeeds at what it tries to do.  The season will be short, I believe, with about a dozen episodes.  The villain is bland so far (but the name-drop at the end should be promising).  But it’s ultimately the human moments that make or break the episode.  Sure, some of the drama feels forced.  But there’s something about a farm house in Kansas that elicits real emotion.  And while “Dad, you’re wrong” is already a little worn thin, it can be put to good use if they can temper things.

Here’s the opening scene from tonight’s episode, which attempts to brings viewers up to speed on the story.  It’s actually kind of risky to tell this particular story.  It’s a step beyond the Superman we’re used to (and a far cry, I would argue, from the one we’ve seen on the silver screen lately).  It lives in the shadow of Smallville, of course, so we’ll see how well it can differentiate itself.

And here’s the “coming this seasons” preview for the next few weeks:

It’s nice, of course, just to have another CW super-hero show to watch.  And with The Flash coming back next week, it will feel a new television season indeed.

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