Day 11 – Determination

Today on my walk I saw a snail. It was inching across the sidewalk and I immediately thought, this is about how I feel right now. Despite the seemingly long odds and difficult terrain (after all being a snail when it is hot and dry has to be a hazard) this snail seemed to be determine to make it across to the other side. And I think that is how we are going to get there. Slow, languid, and against the odds. I am not sure when that will be, when the curve will be flattened, and when life can resume. But for now, we must continue the slow crawl toward the other side. We need to be this snail.

Project – 7 Hours

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Today’s project is pretty simple, its seven hours of sleep. For the first time in a very long time I am getting a solid seven hours of sleep each night. And this has resulted in feeling much better. Clearly helping with my exercise routine and overall health. I am more focused and refreshed. Which begs the question – why didn’t I do this sooner? Gonna try to keep this up.

Album of the Day – George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice

In 1991 George Michael released a surprise album called Listen Without Prejudice. It was not his best selling album and only produced one top 5 hit whit the timeless pop song, Freedom 90. But this album was a view of what magic this guy was capable of. It is one of my favorite albums of all time and I have written about on a number of blogs in the past. The combination of his flawless voice and timely song writing came at a time when he was grappling with his own identity and growing drug and alcohol problems. This was the opus of a former pop star who was racing into adulthood and maybe was not ready for it. Waiting for Time should be a song for our generation but really it is a song what only die hard fans like me really cling to.

Topic – My Morning Routine

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This is a fun topic that most of us should really think about and see if we need to change anything. My morning routine is pretty simple but is important for my productivity. I wake up at the same time each day – around 5:30 during the week and 7:30 on weekends. I get up and get my workout clothes on. I usually open the windows and turn off the air conditioner. I like to get some fresh air into the house. I go to the sink and wash my hands and get a big glass of water. I usually check twitter and CNN to see what happened in the world the night before and then I grab my keys and headphones and head out.

I walk the same track every day. It is about a three mile walk to the city park and back. When not in a global pandemic I take some time to hit the gym. I do a number of body weight exercises and sauna for 20 minutes. I love to sweat in the sauna. I usually sip a Gatorade zero while I do it. I walk back home and get ready for my day. By then Caroline and Nicole are up and I say hello to them. I put on the morning news (Channel 9 and then Good Morning America) and iron a shirt for the day. I drink another glass of water. I then take a shower. I turn on the water and weigh myself, record the weight. After my shower I get dressed and do my hair.

After dressing I go to the kitchen and take my meds and vitamins and then enjoy a small serving of kombucha and powered super green foods. I finish my home routine by getting my lunch together, brush my teeth and then off to work. On the way I stop by Race Trac and fill up my isolated mug with some diet dew and drive to the office. Once I get there I put my lunch in the fridge and pop open my laptop and start my days’s work.

Gen X Pop Culture Moment of the Day – The Family Sitcom

The Family sitcom was not invented by Gen Xers but we perfected it. During the 1980s the sitcom was the prime entertainment vehicle. Everyone had their favorites, The Cosby Show, even Alf. But mine was Family Ties. I wanted to be Alex Keaton so bad. And it made sense. Gen Xers were raised in the Reagan era of high divorce rates and Boomer parents who really did not have it all figured out. We were latchkey kids who needed to find normalcy somewhere. The TV family seemed perfect. It was the life you hoped to lead one day. My dad was an alcoholic, Alex’s dad always knew the right thing to say and to give you a hug when you needed it. My mom was overworked and underpaid and overwhelmed, Alex’s mom was smart and always gave the best advice. In both cases the parents were home when you got home and they ate dinner together as a family. Sure there were special episodes like when Tom Hanks played Alex’s alcoholic uncle or the emmy winning episode where Alex reconciled the death of his friend Greg died. But overall this show presented a family I wanted to be a part of and helped me cope with a life that did not reflect that.

Stat of the Day – 322 Feet

Robbie Madison made the longest motorcycle jump in history of 322 feet. I dont know why I wanted to know that.

More tomorrow.

Day 10 – Its Hot Outside

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Well, I missed a post yesterday and that is on me. For the first time in a while I actually did not budget my time the way I should and forgot to post. Well I am back. This weekend it is going to get very hot in Florida. Some temps will get into mid 90s. And it wont be just Florida. All over the South and Midwest temps are going to soar. And that has some of us wondering, will this change in weather affect the spread of COVID-19? There seems to be mixed reviews. A number of studies posted this week shows that the virus spread does slow in higher temps. Countries in tropical and sub-tropical regions are seeing a slower spread. And the same is true for hot states like Arizona, Texas and Florida where there has been virus but it has been at a slower pace. Now, from what I understand the virus still spreads but there is something about heat and humidity that helps slow it down. Some feel it is because it protects our lungs by adding protective coating and others feel that these viruses die off more readily with hot weather. They don’t seem to like sunlight. So who knows. I think if we see a slowing in Florida there may be something to it. Here’s hoping.

Project – Intermittent Fasting

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So right before the crisis I started intermittent fasting as a practice. I try to stop eating by 8 or 9 PM each night and not resume until Noon each day. There is evidence that intermittent fasting helps with blood pressure, heart health, blood sugar and weight loss. Overall, it seems to be working. I am not a breakfast person anyway and I find myself eating a lot less throughout the day. I have more energy and have lost about 6 pounds. So, I think I will keep it up!

Album of the Day – Tracy Chapman, Self-Titled

I first heard Tracy Chapman during the concert for Mandela in 1988. I was immediately a fan. Her voice and lyrics spoke to my interest in social justice and poetry. The entire album is a manifesto on how humans struggle to make it in the modern world. Her big, breakout hit was the song Fast Car and it was really her only hit but all of her music is amazing. This album is right up there with albums by Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan in terms of the care for the lyrics and the tone of the music. I listen to this album at least once a month still. She has gone onto a long career and all of her music is great, but this was her masterpiece.

Learning to Chill a bit.

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I tend to be a nervous and hotwired person. I generally don’t have a chill button to push. I am always trying to move around, and I am a busy body. I need to change that. What I am learning during this pandemic is the value in chilling out and not taking life so seriously. Now, don’t get my sense of humor and need to make people laugh as evidence of a chill persona. I am always worried about something.

So during this time at home I am training myself to chill out a bit and taking time for reflection and being, well, chill. The first thing I have done is loosen up a bit. If you follow me on social media you will notice I did a couple of Tik Toks with my daughter. Two weeks ago I would not have done this. I was so worried how people would perceive me and if I was embarrassing myself. But honestly, who cares anymore. It was fun and my daughter got to teach her old man how to dance really poorly. I will remember these times for a long time.

Right now there are people who were living normal lives and now they are gravely ill or even dead. Now, I am not scared that will happen to me. After all we are taking the recommendations of our local officials seriously. But what if that thing is something else. I am 47 and Caroline will be at college soon. I will never get these days back. So I need to just chill, brush off the anxiety and learn from this time I’ve been gifted.

Gen X Pop Culture Moment of the Day – The Day After Tomorrow

In 1983 I was 10 years old and for some reason my dad thought it was a good idea to let me watch this movie. It was a made for TV movie on ABC that focused on a Kansas town dealing with the aftermath of a nuclear attack. The town was not destroyed but they dealt with the fallout of radiation and also the isolation of not knowing what comes next. This movie made me feel like life was not certain and it can change at any moment. Kind of like right now but in real life.

Stat of the Day – 134.1 Degrees

The appropriately named Furnace Creek, California recorded this high temperature in 1913. Now that is hot!

More tomorrow.

Day 9 – Untrusting

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I have to admit something, I don’t even trust myself to protect my own self from this virus. I do things each day that has me running to the web to see if that is a way you can get COVID-19. Today was shoes. In what should be a happy time, we signed the closing documents for our house. I found myself in panic mode that I have now ruined it by not being careful enough. See here is the thing. I came home from the title company and running by Costco. Was careful the whole time. Came home and washed my hands. Then I took off my shoes with my hands, touching both the side and sole of the shoe and then went forward to eat my lunch where I ate a Wendy’s Four for Four (a personal favorite) with my hands. I had not rewashed my hands first. So I went online to see if that is how I get it. The good news, it, its really unlikely that I happened to step in the virus, that my fingers touched that exact spot, and then it was transmitted to my mouth. And yea, I get that, but none of the sources I read could promise that was not possible. And that is what drives me crazy. That you can be as perfect as can be and still, one unaware or missteped moment and it doesn’t matter. And I get data and probabilities but this really makes it hard. And the idea that despite all of the warnings I just cant remember to wash my hands. Ugh.

Project – Self-Editing

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So I did some writing this week. I think it was pretty good. And then this afternoon I went back and took a look at it. Wow, self-editing is not a thing for me. Most of the prose rambled and really needed focus. Look, on this medium a bit of rambling is expected. I write from a stream of thought and it works. But when you write professionally you need to make sure you are concise and thoughtful. That is not really me. But when I read it I can see it. So, today’s addition to my project list is to read something I write professionally twice before I hit send. The first reading is for clarity and accuracy, the second is for grammar and format. if I can do that then I will be in a good place.

Album of the Day – I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got – Sinead O’Connor

When this album came out it was the perfect album to begin the 1990s with. It was alternative in scope but just an album that welcomed that coming decade and how women would be the disruptive force for the next ten years. Sinead O’Connor was such an unlikely pop star. Shy, passionate, and her voice was more opera than rock. She had a great album previous with The Lion and the Cobra but it was clear she was not looking to make pop music. Her breakout hit was Nothing Compares 2U and it was appropriately written by Prince. But the whole album was stunningly sad and hopeful at the same time. Last Day of Our Acquaintance is one of the most heartbreaking songs I have ever heard. Sinead has had some troubles recently but I hope she sorts it all out because I adore her.

Topic of the Day – Keeping in Touch

I will admit. I am not a good person for keeping in touch. I tend to need a catalyst to keep in touch. But I am also not a person who feels distance is a bad thing. Over the years I have reconnected with friends I have not seen since high school and it was like time never stopped. I think it is the was I was raised. I have mentioned before that I was an Air Force brat. I moved all over the U.S. and about every three years I would be packing up and leaving.

This lifestyle made it so I had to seal off old relationships and start new ones. Nothing personal, it was just too hard. It was my only defense. Over time just about every person I have cared for has either left or I have left them. my four best dudes all live across the country or across the city and I rarely see any of them. If it were not for social media I know of dozens of people I really, really like to be out of touch. But maybe its supposed to be like this.

Think about it, before Facebook, how many close relationships did we really have? 5, 10? My guess is even the most involved among us had less than 15. It was not an easy task. Then came social media and now we can maintain hundreds of connections. But how full are these touch points? Recently, I posted a video of my daughter and I dancing. I have nearly 110 likes. I have to admit, I maybe routinely talk to 10 of those listed. And that is not because they or I are bad people, its just we only have so much bandwidth.

So I guess this was meant to be an apology for not staying in touch but really, its more about making sure those close relationships you have stick and stay. Now, more than ever we are understanding how fragile everything is. We gain strength from the relationships we keep. I just hope in time we will find a way to keep in touch once we stop being physically distant.

Gen X Pop Culture moment of the day

So I worked at McDonald’s, my wife Nicole worked at McDonald’s. McDonald’s paid for her engagement ring. And I admit, I love their fries, the chicken nuggets, and that hot mustard sauce!! So here is the deal. Regardless of your feelings on Micky D’s there is no denying it’s impact on our Gen X lives. For many of us it was our first job. One in Eight Gen X kids called McD’s their first job. We know the commercials (Two all beef patties special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun!) and it taught us how to work.

Stat of the Day – 100 Billion

So, speaking of McDonald’s – to date the burger franchise has sold more than 100 billion burgers in their business lifetime, with many estimates being 120 billion plus. We will never know, McDonald’s has stopped officially counting.

More Tomorrow.

Day 8 – Uneasiness

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I feel like one of the things I will need to get used to is a constant state of unease. Because I am never sure how this will all end. Will I catch the virus? If I do, will it pass as asymptomatic or will it be more serious? What will happen to my family, my work, my accepted standard of life? I think all of these factors are bleeding into a general feeling of unease. I cant ever feel comfortable. I go out to pick up some food, I go to the store, I just feel like that is irresponsible but then again, I also look at the data and the chance that just being will get me sick. There is a sense that I cannot trust my own feelings. I check my temperature about every other day, it has not moved from 98.6, I know my allergies are doing work on me because it is dry and dusty outside due to unseasonable heat and no rain for like 30 days. Florida feels more like East Texas in the summer than anything else. I have no faith that the information I am getting is accurate. So today I really felt uneasy. I need to stop it but I am not sure if there is a cure for unease. So I wait.

Project – Writing for my Profession

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I started 2020 with a goal to get at least one peer reviewed journal article done. Well, today I outlined that article and consulted with a few experts on the topic I plan to write about. I have a journal I want to submit to and now I have to get to work. My plan is to dedicate one hour a day to this task. The word limit is 7,000 words which is about 28 pages double spaced. No short feat but I hope I am up to the task. I am planning on writing how UCF developed its curriculum alignment process with our community college partners. I know, HOT! But is is important and I have a couple of co-authors who will help a lot.

Album of the Day – Run DMC – Raising Hell

This was the first hip hop album I ever got as a gift. I asked my mom and she gave it to me for a Christmas present. Peter Piper led off the album and I honestly felt space aliens made it. The coolest space aliens I have ever heard but space aliens none the less. The album is best known for the Aerosmith collab on Walk This Way but honestly that is one of the weakest songs on the album. Overall my favorite is Tricky. The whole album is rock, its rap, its pop, its just amazing. At the time I was living in Spokane and honestly, rap and hip hop was all but banned. No radio stations played it, no record stores carried it, mom had to order it from Montgomery Ward. And I am glad she did because it introduced me to one of my favorite genres of music.

Topic of the Day – My Parents

My mom turned 66 on Monday, it is the same day that marked 15 years of my father being gone. March 23rd is an odd day because I can celebrate my mother and mourn my father at the same time. Dad died in 2005 after a short life where he drank too much, smoked too much, did too many drugs, and was overweight. He was a ticking time bomb. He was a good man but flawed. My mother was no saint but she has followed the kind of life I hope to travel in. Work hard, make better choices, retire a bit early. She worked for over 30 years at Costco wholesale and retired just in time to witness the apocalypse.

I am writing about my parents because I think it is time I reconcile the fact that I am a strong combination of them and I need to understand why. Most of it is too personal to place on a blog meant to be fun but I often see the best and worst in myself in how my parents lived. I know I have never smoked a cigarette in my life because my dad smoked, but I also have trouble with spending too much money on frivolous things because of mom.

But in both cases the thing they taught me was love. I cannot understand how some parents can be so cold to their kids. My father kissed me good night every day I ever spent with him up and until he was placed in the ICU. My mom still calls me her number one son. She still calls me and sings happy birthday. She loves me in a way no other person can. I also look up to them because of how hard they worked. my mother is getting a number of procedures now to repair a broken body that worked in a warehouse too long. Even when dad was in the throws of addiction he made his way to work and earned a living. Now I hope to be that same person for my kid. I hope that in the end, when I am long gone, or newly retired my daughter can smile knowing I did my best and it worked.

Gen X Pop Culture Moment of the Day – CNN

Today I want to discuss CNN for a second. CNN debuted in the late 70s as a 24 hour news channel and it was Gen X who grew up with it. While our parents got their news twice a day (morning paper and evening news) we now could mainline news all day. It is in times like these that I wish we did not have such access to news. I know it is making my anxiety worse. But there is a lot I like too. CNN has great documentaries and their election coverage is always great. Add to it Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and I do watch it more than I should. But, for a generation of latchkey kids, unfettered access to 24 hour news is not good.

Stat of the day – 50-50, 7,746-7,746

That was the record for the Duke-Carolina rivalry for the past 100 match-ups coming into the season. I just get bugged out by this every time I see it.

More Tomorrow.

Day 7 – Confidence

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Today I woke up and took a walk. The air was a bit chilly but I knew it would warm up soon. I like walking in the mornings and getting my day started. I then came home and opened the windows to let the fresh (albeit pollen filled) in. And I took a moment to start thinking about what life will be like after the outbreak. And my conclusion? I feel confident. I feel confident that after all is said and done the most dire predictions for this virus are not going to come true and confident a month from now we will be in a really good place. Sure we will have to continue to social distance and there will be flare ups that need to be attended to but overall we are gonna be okay. What we dont need is arrogance. When leaders take others lives and health out of the consideration in a desire to return to normal it shows a cognitive dissonance we just cant have. So this is not about “returning to normal” it is more about returning to a confidence that if we do the right things we will be okay. This week we close on the sale of our house and provided there are no disruptions from the buyer we are a go. That means we will need to move in early April. While that can be scary I am not any more worried about it than I have to be. We are making arrangements to have distance with our movers and we are going to do this smart. But we are not going to be scared. We are going to wide everything down once it has been placed in the apartment and that’s all we can do. So let’s show some confidence in the face of fear.

Project – Reading for Pleasure

I am an avid reader but not a reader who reads for pleasure. Over this extended time at home I am hoping to change that. I have lots of books I have collected with the intention of reading that I have never done. So it’s time to start reading a chapter or two a night. Give the streaming services a break. The first book with be Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life. It follows many of the cult like indie bands of the 80s and it looks great. I will let you know how it goes!

Album of the Day – Peter Gabriel – SO

If there is a voice we need at this time it is Peter Gabriel. His studio album So is the album that launched a million relationships. Not only was it the featured song in the Gen X classic say anything the entire album was ground breaking for its use of world music, synth, and visual elements via music videos to tell a complete story. His duet with Kate Bush, Don’t Give Up is like catnip to Gen Xers. Red Rain was a classic arena banger before we knew what those were. And his is masterful in concert. His split from Genesis is a rare example where the break up was good for all parties involved. This album could only be made by Peter Gabriel.

Topic of the Day – What Would you change about yourself ?

Like most other people in the world there is a lot I would change about myself. We all tend to be our biggest critics but there is one thing that I really wish I would stop doing. That thing is to take on the worry of others and internalize it as my own. I tend to do that a lot. When I hear someone is distressed or worried I often will feel like I have to respond to that and help make it better. And you may say, that is a good thing to do. But the facts are often the need to help does not help and it often means I get in the way.

Now, when I am asked to help, that is different. But some of the same principles come into play. For example, if a friend reaches out to me and asks for $100 to help pay a bill because they are suffering I can decide if I can afford that or not and give the money to them with an offer to help more if needed. But what I cannot do is to then try to solve the problem caused by this request. Often the cause is not really my concern, if it was that person would ask for help with that too.

Also, taking on someones issue is not the same as offering help. If I know a friend is in distress I should and need to ask if I can help. But that is where I need to stop. If that person needs it they will direct me to do so. But if not then the act of offering can often be enough. And that is how we should really consider our limits to taking on others needs. We need to empathize, listen, and then react within a reasonable level of response. And that is what I would change.

Gen X Pop Culture Moment – Dance Party Shows

Saturday dance party shows. Be it Soul Train, American Bandstand, Solid Gold, Club MTV, or even Hee Haw. Saturdays were a time for music and dance alongs. While we have tik toks and viral videos now there was a time when the latest music and dance moves were introduced via Saturday after noon. What I loved about them was the diversity and randomness of their subjects. Huey Lewis and the News were on Soul Train, Billy Idol on Hee Haw, and Dolly Parton on Club MTV. Gen X was a strange and wonderful time.

Stat of the day – minus 128.6 degrees

That is the single coldest temperature ever recorded on earth. Of course is was in Antarctica but I just wanted to know. Burrrr.

More Tomorrow.

Day 6 – Its Always Sunny

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Here is what is odd about living in Florida, the weather is great! It is hot and dry and the sun is out. It is so deceptive. When I do go for a walk and get some sun my neighborhood looks like it always does. That is why this is all so confusing. I am here in my office at home working and when I look outside I cannot see a reason why I am doing this. So who knows. When I go to the news I see the damage, to humans who are dying, to economies which are failing, and all around me people are testing positive even though I do not personally know any of these people. It is only day six and I feel quite confident we will be in this for many days but in the meantime Florida continues to Florida and confuse me.

Project – Checklists

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I know the value of a good checklist and I am trying to use them more but I am the kind of person who completes a good checklist and I find it months later, basically untouched. Now I generally have gotten all of those assignments done and I am not missing things but I am also not really good at tracking progress. So I am going to try a different approach I will outline in my topic down below. I am not sure if it will help but I am willing to give it a shot.

Album of the Day – The Smiths, Strangeways, Here we Come

Along with Paul Simon’s Graceland this album was part of my first purchase of an album as a kid. I got into The Smiths after a trip to my uncle’s house in Atlanta and my cousin Tad had a couple of Smiths tapes in his collection. I fell in love with this band immediately. Every song is melancholy and morose but also with great pop styling. Morrissey it one of rock’s perfect front men despite he is completely unlikable. This is not considered their best album but it is the album I imprinted with more. Girlfriend in a Coma, Unhappy Birthday, Stop Me if you Think that You’ve Heard this one Before are the kinds of songs a new disaffected teen needs in his life.

Topic of the Day – Feeling Behind

I have to admit, I am always feeling like I am playing catch up. I am always trying to complete last weeks deadlines today. But that is what I am fretting over. For the first time in my career I think I am pretty caught up. overall my work load has really nosedived because our universities need to work in other directions and that has allowed for me to find time for those reports that needed to be done and such. So now that I don’t feel behind there is a bit of anxiety that I don’t want to feel like I am falling behind ever again. So what is a guy to do. I am going to take an opposite approach and complete a to-done list at the end of the day. Here is how it goes.

my work is utterly unpredictable so I need some time to process the emergent nature of it. So each day I am going to list the work items I completed and then have a few notes on what I need to do next. This can guide action on a daily basis but also give a more directed list of things to do. Because I hate feeling behind. It takes the general anxiety I feel and ramps it up ten fold. And I have too much to do to feel like I am falling behind.

Gen X Moment of the Day – The Brat Pack

The Breakfast Club (1985) Directed by John Hughes Shown from left: Judd Nelson (as John Bender), Emilio Estevez (as Andrew ‘Andy’ Clark), Ally Sheedy (as Allison Reynolds), Molly Ringwald (as Claire Standish), Anthony Michael Hall (as Brian Ralph Johnson)

The Breakfast Club was the most famous of the raft of movies aimed at Teens and were the definitive voice of our generation. These movies included St. Elmo’s Fire, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day off and many more. What was great about them was for the first time in pop culture took the insecurities and feelings of a generation seriously. As latchkey kids we were messed up pretty bad. These movies spoke to us and gave us our generational soundtrack as well. I would guess this genre began at Fast Times at Ridgmount High and ended at Clueless but these movies go on forever.

Stat of the Day – 126,000

That is the highest number of steps ever recorded using a fit bit in 24 hours as officially recognized by FitBit. The winner was a hiker from Ohio State who completed a 60 mile walk. Wow.

More Tomorrow.

Day 5 – New Normal

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Yesterday I was full of anxiety and while I am still a pretty anxious person today seems to be the need to script out a new normal. Because I am not sure how we return to normal once this has passed. Too much has been disrupted and this is not like 9/11 or a Hurricane because the need to distance puts emotional space between people. That is hard to get back. Let’s say we find a decent treatment and reduce the number of cases this week by a lot. We then are given the green light to return to normal life. I am still not sure we will all see gatherings the same. Concerts will be less intimate, sporting events – we can watch them from home, and, well we should have banned hand shaking a long time ago. So with that in mind the need to craft a new normal where we are more present even when we can’t be becomes paramount.

Project – Grass

When was the last time you laid in the grass? I have to admit, for me it has likely been a decade or so. And not sitting on the grass on the lawn at a concert or doing yard work. I mean laying out in a field of green, fresh grass. I did that this morning and it was amazing. For most other people who are still in the cold of late Spring green grass may be hard to find but here in Florida it has been hot. Everyday gets near to above 90 and the sun is shining in abundance. There are some theories that is why perhaps we have not had as many COVID-19 infections. While we are not sure how this virus will react when the world warms up if you look at the sunbelt in places like Florida, Texas, and Arizona our infections have slowed quite a bit. Not saying it will be that case forever but who knows anymore. So I stretched out in the grass today and just stayed there for like 20 minutes. It was fantastic. Think I am adding that to my list of to-dos in this new normal.

Album of the Day – Paul Simon’s Graceland

This was the first album I purchased with my own money. I was 13 years old and I used my paper route cash to purchase this one and another album I will suggest tomorrow. Now, Paul Simon and this Graceland album was dad rock the day it was released but I was all about dad rock from an early age. But this was also a masterpiece. From the title track to Diamonds on the Soles of Shoes to the Boy in the Bubble every song is near perfect. Add to it his collaborations with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Linda Ronstadt this is, in my opinion, one of the greatest feats of lyrical arrangement and musical composition. I have had the honor to see Paul Simon four times and he is a masterful story teller and his voice brings reassurance in troubled times. He was asked to open SNL after 9-11 and did so with the song The Boxer and my hope is it will be his voice we hear when we are ready to come back from this.

Topic of the Day – On Moving

Well, we should be moving soon. I know that sounds odd but we put our house up for sale, got a bid we wanted, the inspection has been done and the appraisal too. The buyers are ready. They are putting 20% down and their loan is funded. And then the bottom fell out. We went from packing to packing it in quickly and now we dont know where the deal stands. We think it is going to happen and we may have to push the closing back until this virus subsides but we are also nervous. See, we want to move. We have a four bedroom house and soon it will be just Nicole and I. So we are planning on living in an apartment for the short term before deciding what to do next.

Moving is an odd experience and as an Air Force kid and working in student affairs it is something I have done a lot. It is amazing how much stuff you have that you really dont have much use for. I mean who needs four frying pans? But here we are. And you will also move this stuff even though you dont need it. Your entire life, subjected to your ability to transport them in cardboard boxes. When we move it feels like our lives are exposed for how disposable they really are. With no real sense of place it is easy to just go to the next place perpetually until you retire and eventually are not here anymore.

And this is not supposed to be dark, it is also a happy time. Moving has always represented new beginnings as well. Setting up this empty space brings life to it. You find new spaces to make memories and routines. The new place has an amazing garden tub and a screened in porch. It has a clubhouse where we plan to have Caroline’s graduation party (hopefully), a pool, and I can start laying out again – something I really enjoy doing. But to get to a new beginning we have to end something and this house has been good to us. We got to see Caroline grow up here. And that will always be special to us.

Gen X Moment of the Day – Madonna

To me there is no other artist that is quite as important to the collective identity of Gen X than Madonna. With apologies to Michael Jackson and Kurt Cobain (and we will have posts on them later) but Madonna was the person who decided to define what it was like to be a Gen Xer. When she burst onto the scene she was more than a singer. Her style became a fashion trend for teen girls and quite frankly helped define for boys like me at 10, 12 or 14 to have a picture of what is considered sexy. Her music was controversial and unapologetic in its acceptance of her own desire for sex and the disappointment she found in love. She also brought a business sense to pop music. She showed that art and commerce are linked for most artists. And she evolved. As technology, musical styles, and delivery methods changed she made ground breaking albums, gave amazing concerts, and was also a performance artist.

Stat of the Day – 35 Minutes

That is how long the average American spends in traffic each day. That is three and a half hours you can get back. Do something special with it.

Oh, Insanity update – Pure Cardio is the devil and I hated it. But I am down 5 pounds in a week.

More tomorrow.

Day 4 – Anxiety

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So today is the day that my anxiety has really got the best of me. I really felt like I was doing okay with it but then I had this random thought last night. Not too long ago I watched this show on HBO called The Leftovers. It was a show about society after 140+ million people disappeared at the same time. There seemed to be no pattern, no real reason for it. Was it the rapture? Was it aliens? None of the cast was sure. This led people to do all sorts of strange things. Odd cults formed, there were crime waves that made little sense, anxiety took hold because of so many unanswered questions. I feel the same way about this. I know I am anxious because I cannot figure out the pattern, who gets sick, who doesn’t, who gets infected, who doesn’t. It all seems so random. The hoarding of toilet paper, restaurants close and the markets are so turbulent. None of it makes sense so I don’t know how to feel. No end day also makes this hard, and then you see China returning to normal and will there be more cases there? So anxiety is the theme. My guess is this will pass as we know more but wow, has it reared its head.

Project – Home Office

Last night I set up my home office. I had been going into the office each day as I have an isolated office but I am anticipating a shelter in place order at some point so my project today was to set this bad boy up. Brought my dual screens from work, got a Diet Dew spot, and everything plugged in. The internet is all connected and I am good to go. I think it is important to work at home in as close to an office environment as you can. I also made sure I was close to natural sunlight and have fresh air to keep my office environment pleasant.

Album of the Day – Disintegration by The Cure

I am not a huge goth music fan. At the risk of being cast out of the Gen X Alternative club I am not a huge fan of Bauhaus and other dark wave groups. But The Cure have a knack for great pop music fused with melancholy that I love. And this is, in my opinion, their best album. It is a masterpiece that brought them both commercial and critical fame. Plainsong has to be the best song to open a concert with of any band I am aware of. On this album Robert Smith’s voice is both smooth and scary if that is possible. You believe what he is saying and the lyrics are this word soup that is both absurd and tells a complete story. Plus this seems to be the perfect kind of music in times like these.

Topic of the Day – The best thing I ever ate

This one is simple. The single best thing I have ever eaten was this steakhouse in Kansas City, Missouri about 15 years ago. The steakhouse was called the 801 Steakhouse and it was located in the Power and Light District. I was there on a work trip and we were attending the Omicron Delta Kappa meeting. The last night we all decided to go out and get a proper steak in a town known for them. And it did not disappoint. From the beginning we were amazed at the atmosphere. When we arrived we waited for some time in their lobby bar that looked a lot like a speakeasy. They had this special brew produced by Boulevard Brewing (also a Kansas City staple). I was an Oak Barrel Ale and it set the table perfectly.

Once we got to our seats we were seated in their million dollar room that was adorned with over $1 million in expensive wines. It was one from there. I did this one thing I remember distinctly, I saw the menu and called my wife to make sure that she was okay with my buying a $150 steak. And I was so glad she said yes!

It was a 24oz. porterhouse that was seared and crusted with peppercorns and garlic. It was fork tender and came with a perfect baked potato. The steak melted in your mouth and it had this robust taste that was amazing. had a couple more Boulevards and enjoyed over three hours of chatting. It was a magical night.

Gen X Moment of the Day – the OJ Simpson Chase

In 1994 the world stopped for a moment as we all watched OJ Simpson being chased down an L.A. Freeway and all had a sinking feeling that he was going to kill himself. He, of course would go onto stand trial for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman and was famously acquitted. OJ became a folk hero to some, and the ultimate example of justice denied to others. This story has been told a million times. But if wanted to relive the chase (and I know you have time) you can watch it here.

Stat of the day – 951

That is the number of weeks the Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon has been on the Billboard top 200 albums chart. No other album has ever come close. And that is not even counting the pop catalog charts (you know the Columbia House charts that we all still owe money to). If that were counted then they would have charted over 1,500 weeks. Even on a slow week the album still sells 7,000-8,000 units a week. Amazing.

More Tomorrow.

Day 3 – Routine

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It is Day 3 and it is time to get used to this new normal. Since this entire thing began, effectively Tuesday, the only two humans I have seen in person are Nicole and Caroline. Of course I love my gals (see yesterday’s post) but our lives thrive on human contact. Shout out to the ZOOM platform. I at least can see other humans albeit on camera. So far working from my office seems to be working. I am completely isolated so I am not worried about coming into contact with COVID-19 but I am also not sure how long they will let me stay here. With New York and California doing their thing my guess is I will be at home 100% very soon.

PROJECT

Serving Sizes – I decided this week to not worry about what I eat insomuch as to how much I eat and commit myself eating a serving size only. Here is what I have learned: I used to eat way too much. This was my lunch today. A small bag of Doritos, a small container of yogurt, and some bean soup. A total of 400 calories. So far this week I have lost 4 pounds and I honestly feel much better physically. I wonder that if and when I come in contact with COVID-19 (and according to reports this is going to happen, although I remain skeptical) I will have a better physical chance of it being the very light kind. There is also another thought on serving size; ensuring you only eat what you need to helps conserve resources. With stores overwhelmed there is a lot of over buying and terms like the Coronavirus 15 going around. I dont think the way we get through this is by being wasteful. So now, we can make that dinner last through lunch.

Day two of the Insanity workout and my calves cannot hurt more. I have done more jumping than I thought was possible. Luckily today is a recovery day.

Album of the Day – Rumors

The album of the day is one of my favorites from my Dad’s record collection. I am a huge fan of this album. The very real tension that you hear in their voices and the notes they play is obvious from the first note. I was reintroduced to this album about a year ago when I went to see it performed by the Classic Albums Live outfit at Universal. And that is one thing that makes me sad. That for a good while we will not see live music.

Topic of the Day – An Experience

I wanted to write about the last time I was this confused and scared. It was in 2005. We were coming off of Hurricane Katrina and I was living in Nacogdoches and working for Stephen F. Austin State University. At that time we had already had a number of evacuees come to Nac to live after escaping that terrible storm. Then came Hurricane Rita. Hurricane Rita formed just off the shore of Venezuela and when it turned to head toward Texas it was considered the strongest hurricane ever measured. And it was coming straight for Houston. If it hit at full strength it would have been the largest metropolitan city ever hit by a major hurricane.

So in no time at all we were ordered by the governor to open our Basketball gym to be a shelter and I was named as one of the directors of the shelter. Now we had no idea how to do this and where to start but we simply set up a few folding tables and some wristbands and few clipboards and went for it. As the gym filled up we got Aramark to provide food, we had a large number of mattresses from a new residence hall building to make sure folks had a place to sleep. We had masking tape so we set up boundaries and offered showers and laundry services. Students lined up to volunteer to help and we had to bring in FEMA information, and translators.

Then the storm hit. And it was fierce. For about 36 hours we battled both the storm and the need to keep people calm and it was scary. At one point most of our staff was stuck at their homes during the teeth of the storm and there were only three or four of us in the building. But the scary part ended and then boredom set in. We had the shelter open for 12 days after the storm hit and each day was a grind. Our work stopped altogether and we focused singularly on taking care of people and rebuilding. There are so many stories of odd residents, nighttime incidents, and the struggle to close the shelter down.

What this moment reminds me of is the task we face right now. We are currently in the prep phase and we are waiting for it to arrive, and then we know there will be a few days where it seems like it is getting worse and worse and worse. And then the new infections will come to a grinding halt. We will see a dip and then we have to wait and allow for care workers to rehab those who got COVID-19 and make sure we dont flare up additional cases. But we know how to do this. Prepare. Endure. Repair. It is a simple proposition that we are just trying to scale like we have never done before. The Rita experience gives me anxiety about what is to come but comfort knowing it will be okay in time.

Gen X Moment of the Day

Likely the second most important moment in Gen X pop culture has to be the debut of M-TV on August 1, 1981. It is well known that Video Killed the Radio Star is the first video but it was also the channel that launched a thousand careers. Of course it is now the resident location of Catfish and Ridiculousness but there was a time that if your video made it on MTV then it made it to youth culture. My favorite show on MTV can 120 Minutes. they played all sorts of cool alternative videos by The Cure, Depeche Mode, and more.

Stat of the Day – 56%

That is the percent of eligible voters voted in the 2016 election. In 1964 that number was 69%. It is 2020 and an election year. If we are really going to usher in change in a time of COVID-19 then we need to vote. 56% does not cut it.

More tomorrow.

Day 2 – Settling In

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Well, day 2 is where I start to settle in. I am getting used to not being around people as much and my office is dark and quiet. However, I have been productive. I am finding that staying away from the COVID-19 news is a good thing for me to do right now. As we start to get a few days, maybe a week or two down the line I am certain that we will learn how to live with this new reality and services will come back online and TP will stock the shelves as everyone adjusts. But that brings me to my first list of topics. Lets start at . . . .

PROJECT: Buy Local, buy often – look, I know that social distancing is all of the rage but that also means that the economic impact will be massive. I am a big fan of being a loyal customer. I believe that when I am loyal then the businesses will do right by me. Well, in this time of Pandemic almost every place you buy coffee, food, or drinks from are offering a take-away option. It 100% allows you to practice social distancing and could go a long way to helping these businesses stay afloat. In the Orlando area there are 770,000 businesses and 97% of them employ less than 50 people. So yesterday I purchased two large cans of beer from my local brewery, Oviedo Brewing. I got 32 oz. cans of Brick Red Ale and their Melon IPA. These will be tasty this weekend. I also made sure to leave a big tip. So I am going to try to hit up a local joint every other day for carry out lunch or a something else. I will let you know what I buy.

Okay, so day one of full out Insanity workout – my legs cannot hurt more and Caroline and I were literally gasping for air at the end. But it felt good. Finding solace in exercising and now have found a way to bond a bit with Caroline.

ALBUM of the Day – on this day, March 19, 1990 Depeche Mode released their most popular and likely their best album – Violator. It is one of my absolute favorite albums and from the opening notes of World in my Eyes to Waiting for the Night and everything in between this album was the soundtrack to my senior year in high school and was the right album at the right moment in my life. I wanted to be as cool as Dave Gahan and as sensitive and artistic as Martin Gore.

TOPIC OF THE DAY – Women’s History Month – Leave it to a global pandemic to hit just as Women’s History Month was in full swing. I wanted for today’s topic to a be a bit personal. I am lucky to have in my life three generations of women who make me a better man. My mother is a trailblazer of sorts. When there were next to no warehouse managers working for Costco Wholesale she was promoted in the early 2000s to this role. And that is her life in a nutshell, defy the odds and dont care who says no. I got her work ethic because of her. Next is my wife, Nicole, everyone knows our origin story but here is a woman who constantly ensures myself and Caroline are living up to the standards we have set for ourselves. Her ability to feel and care for others has no limits and when I am not sure how to feel (as I am a famously child of and alcoholic so feelings are optional for me) I look to her and she guides me emotionally. Finally, Caroline. Caroline is becoming the woman I dreamed she would be. Smart and funny but also serious about being a doctor. She is now someone I just like hanging out with. We tend to like the same music and such and I know she is going to be a great medical doctor some day.

These women are extraordinary but they are also living women’s history. My mother broke from the traditional role of stay at home mom to blaze a trail at her job so she can provide for her family, Nicole picked up the flag of inclusion and has fought many times that everyone gets a seat at the table regardless of gender, and Caroline has taken the gift of limitless potential and is making good on that promise. These are amazing and scary times but when I see these three women, I know its going to be okay.

GEN X MOMENT OF THE DAY – Let’s start at the top. I believe the most important moment in our generation’s history is the explosion of the Challenger on January 28, 1986. Not only for its horrific aftermath, or because there was a teacher on board, or that we can all remember where we were at at the time. The significance was how it etched for many Gen Xers that we are no longer safe. That if this can happen to astronauts, which were like superheros to us, then none of us will be safe. It also taught us Gen Xers to understand that life has risks and sometimes we have to take risks to reach beyond our limits. So the Challenger Explosion is the Gen X moment of the day.

Stat of the Day – 6652-2

The stat of the day deals with Tom Brady and Caroline, my daughter. In September of 2001 Tom Brady took the field as the quarterback of the New England Patriots in a famous fill-in for an injured Drew Bledose. he never looked back. 20 years and 9 Super Bowls later he is the greatest QB to ever play. While I am not a fan, that is a fact. On December 13th, 2001 Caroline was born. So far she has live 9997% of her life (6,652 days to 2 days) with Tom Brady as the QB in New England. And that just blew my mind.

More tomorrow.

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