29.4.21

Imponderables

 Yesterday I went in to work and because I had brought some boxes with me, I parked behind the library rather than in a regular parking space.  To get where I parked, I took a small service-type road that led to a space near two dumpsters, in between three buildings.  It's a service road used by a few faculty and anyone with deliveries to those buildings or emptying the dumpsters.

Teachers and students also use it to get from several other buildings to the main road, parking lots and two other buildings.  They're on foot.

Got the picture? Cars/trucks going in and out, people on foot going in and out.

As I'm—slowly—making my way down this road, along comes a teacher.  Engrossed in her phone.  I stop the car.  I wait.  They never look up.  When they're about 10 feet from the car, I finally honk.  They, startled, look up.  And then look annoyed that I was there, breaking their concentration.

Next time, I'll let them walk into my car.  I could use a new hood ornament.

Moral: If you're on a paved road-like surface that is occasionally used by motor vehicles, pay attention.


24.4.21

I'm not ready

Have I mentioned I moved?  There's still one (or maybe two) installments from that series to come, but this post is less about that and more about the times in which we live.

MPOW closed in mid-March, following state guidelines.  Things have been closed here to varying degrees since then, slowly opening up and sometimes backtracking on that.  Work has been mostly remote for over a year, with the department rotating time in the building with time at home.  And I confess, I've let things go.

As have many people in my situation, I've taken to wearing my pj's 95% of the time.  Yes, even when working remote.  Before you start fantasizing, know that my pjs come in two flavors: summer (old undershirts of Thing One's and shorts) and winter (sweatpants and long sleeve t-shirts).  Very sexy, no?  And from there... well, it's a short jump to not shaving my legs, bleaching/plucking errant hair on my face, getting mani/pedis.

Two weeks ago I got my second shot (Pfizer, if anyone cares—minimal reaction).  And a restaurant nearby reopened for dining in.  And was offering 50% off to people from my building.  So Thing One and I decided, why not?  We both had our shots, they were being careful with capacity, etc..  It felt like a return to something resembling normal.  

I put on real clothes for the first time in a few weeks.  We walked the few blocks to the restaurant and had a lovely dinner.  We walked back.  Normal.

However, I haven't taken care of the "personal grooming" items yet.  And now the big question for me is: how ready am I really to go out in public

I'll post a photo of my newly painted toes when I am. 

23.4.21

One year ago today...

 Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin...

Literally a minute after I ended our department meeting, I closed my laptop and felt a rush of heat/wooze go up my body... and then my heart started pounding like I'd had a pot of espresso... I went to the couch, sipped some water... didn't feel better... went into my bedroom and rested... no better... after 30min Thing One and I decided to call 911.

Within minutes there were three ambulances on our tiny street: mine, one for the lady who fell in our street and one for the assisted living place next door. It got confusing.

My heart was 204bpm, elevated bp, but everything else was ok. They gave me an IV of something that really hurt for a few seconds and then my heart went to 80, then 70... but we still went to the ER... more tests and they released me.  Apparently I had what was known as SVT, common and relatively easily fixed. If this happens again, I have two things I can try before calling 911.

However, the EMTs did worry about my temp: 98.1 at the start, 97.6 in the ambulance and 96.8 when we got to the hospital. I told them it was normal for me!   I was also aware that we were a COVID hot spot, and these EMTs were spending most of their time transporting patients with a disease that could put the EMTs families at risk.  That they managed to be so cheerful and patient with me was truly (to me) amazing.

Here we are, a year later, and I haven't had a repeat (the cardiologist said it might be "one of those inexplicable things",,, to be honest, I'm getting just a little tired of that being the constant refrain regarding my health!).  Knock wood I never will.

21.4.21

A fair trial?

So, the verdict is in.  To the surprise of some, it was guilty... guilty... guilty... 

This may be an unpopular opinion, I don't know that this was a fair trial.  Yes, Chauvin will be spending the rest of his life in prison.  But what if that hadn't been the verdict?  Ali Velshi on MSNBC interviewed a man on the streets who said that he would not be surprised if the verdict was "not guilty" because that's the way these things run.

When George Floyd was first murdered, the police said that it was a "medical incident" but there was a video.  A damning video shown around the world.  And at that moment, things changed.  The Black Lives Matter movement... the Black@[name of school] posts...  defunding the police...repeated entreaties to "say his/her name" because Floyd wasn't the only Black murdered last summer.  Cries for justice grew louder and louder.

That's not a bad thing.  Maybe now police can hold their colleagues accountable when they see wrongdoing.  Maybe that "thin blue line" will fray a little.  

The problem, from my point of view, is that fair and trial in this case felt wrong.  The howling mob of protesters, opinionators and just plain folks—both pro-police and anti-police—had one verdict, and one verdict only in mind.  If it was not guilty, then justice would not be done.  If it was guilty, then the jury were cowed by what they were hearing and seeing outside the trial.  

I was talking about this with some friends a couple of weeks ago and we discussed cases like these, where there is So. Much. Evidence. that any unbiased, clear-eyed person would be sure to say "yes, the perpetrator was guilty."  Not just this case, but hypothetically if you caught a burglar with the loot in their hands leaving the building, or some other person caught in the act of something illegal. Like Jack Ruby, on television, shooting Gary Oswald. Per our system, they are allowed to plead not guilty and entitled to a fair trial, and their defense is allowed to present possible alternative theories and introduce doubt into the theory of the case.  It only takes one person on the jury, right?  

But when there is so much evidence, or a video that doesn't allow for alternative interpretations... what about then?  We agreed that maybe there needed to be another way.  Why go through the expense of the trial? We know they're guilty.  We know they need to be punished, to somehow pay for their misdeeds.  Is it truly a fair trial when there is only one possible outcome, barring jury interference or fear?

Obviously this would have to be limited to very few cases, and perhaps a panel of judges could rule that this, in fact, was such a case.  But at least then we'd know that other trials, those with some question of guilt or extenuating circumstance, could be fair.  

1.4.21

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

Decent start to the year, considering that I've moved and had to work (seriously a drain on my reading time).  

Children's
Middle Grade/Young Adult Fiction
Middle Grade/Young Adult Mystery
Middle Grade/Young Adult Speculative Fiction
Middle Grade/Young Adult Suspense
Biography/Memoir
Fiction/Literature
Mystery/Thriller
Non-Fiction
Speculative Fiction
Suspense