Two turntables and…

Thirty-eight years ago tonight: my first airshift on @WUAG was heard by maybe six people, starting as it did after a baseball game that ran way overtime. HIghlights included “Mesopotamia” by the B-52s, “From the Air” by Laurie Anderson, and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by the Beatles.

I was all of 17 years old.

The number one record in the county that week was “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. I sometimes feel like my whole adult life has been a reaction to that unfortunate fact.

Getting rid of business

The Triad is finally eliminating all its stupid green-signed “business” interstate highway routes, and idiocy like this will soon be a thing of the past:

These business loops may serve a useful purpose in some areas, where they designate a surface route leading back to the freeway that travelers can use for local services.

That’s not what they were used for here, however. They mainly served as a way to keep something that looked a little like an internet shield on decommissioned routes. In one particularly aggravating case, I-40 also served as Business I-85 for several miles. Apparently the road was good enough to be the primary route of one highway but not the other. The end result has been baffling signage that is getting even more baffling with all the three-digit loops and spurs (I-285, I-785, I-840, and soon I-274) that are sprouting in the area.

Things like this irritate me, and all of us who study highways and expect a little logic in our signage.

Now Business I-40/US 421 will just be US 421. Business I-85/US 29/US 70 will just be US 29. And I-40/Business I-85/US 29/US 70/US 421 will still be a clusterfuck, but slightly less of one.

This will be at least a little better, won’t it?

 

Three months in

Today marks three months that I’ve been working remotely in pandemic mode. It’s probably about the same duration for others who are fortunate enough to have this option, give or take a week or two. It’s all very surreal, made even more so by the fact that there is no definite timeline for when I’ll actually return to work onsite. I have the option to do so now, but we’re being encouraged not to if working from home is still a viable option, and it pretty much is for my department and for the unit I manage right now.

Random thoughts from Stately Otherstream Manor:

  • I watch The National every night on YouTube. I find Justin Trudeau’s hair much less disturbing than Donald Trump’s, even though Justin’s got a little too fluffy for comfort before he finally cut it this week. I’m glad Adrienne Arsenault is now much warmer in her outdoor “physical distancing” co-anchor space.
  • I’ve gotten really into pimento cheese again, not mention grilled cheese sandwiches made with pepper jack.
  • Switching back and forth between my Windows computer at work (via remote desktop) and my Mac at home seems much less odd than it did at first, but when I’m using SSH to my Linux server via the Windows machine and thus have three different OS platforms rolling at once, it still impresses me sometimes.
  • It’s a little embarrassing when I forget to log off the work VPN before accessing sites I shouldn’t.
  • It’s nice having some good takeout restaurants and an Aldi within walking distance. I wish I were actually walking to them more often.
  • While I do miss many of my coworkers, I do not miss in-person meetings and constant interruptions.
  • Teaching a class with a beer in your hand is probably not appropriate. (I don’t really drink much anyway and I’ve actually been doing even less of it since March.)
  • My social life is not appreciably different during a pandemic “lockdown”, and I’m OK with that.
  • I’m not watching Perry Mason nearly as much as I thought I would.
  • I am actually starting to make some progress on the book I’m co-authoring. Finally.
  • If I don’t spend a night outside this town soon, I will surely go out of my mind.

And here we are…

Eight or nine years ago I had the opportunity to leave this country and emigrate to Canada. For a variety of reasons, I didn’t do it. In recent weeks, I’ve questioned that decision more than I ever really thought I would.

I don’t really think America is “more” racist or divided than we were a few years ago. We were always in pretty bad shape on that front. The current culture, fronted by a “leader” whose primary goal seems to be in to inflame these divisions, has just made them more apparent to more people, because it’s now more socially acceptable to openly display that bigotry, ignorance, disregard for democracy, and disdain for verifiable facts than it was before. It’s really scary and it’s really sad.

Call me an eternal optimist, but I still believe that it will eventually get better. I just think it’s going to take a lot longer for that to happen after the past few years. I’m less sure that I’m going to see it happen before my time on the planet is done. And I really don’t have any idea what to do about it in a world where reasonable discourse no longer seems an option, where scientific fact is ignored, where peaceful protesters are “unpatriotic traitors,” and where any reporting that questions the ruling regime is “fake news.”

I just have a feeling a lot more people are going to be speaking the language of the unheard in the near future, because a lot of people see it as the only way to make other people listen in this environment. They may be right. I’m not going to presume to make that call myself.

And yeah, I know these words are not really helpful either, but I had to get it off my chest anyway.

May flowers or something

Haven’t done this in a while:

May 2015: Working on my tenure portfolio and spending a weekend in DC.

May 2010: My fixed-term position became my tenure-track position.

May 2009: Buying an extra house.

May 2005: Preparing to vacate San Francisco.

May 2000: Random food and rants.

May 1998: Visitors and sex.