COVID-19 Journal: Day 215

Have a look at this video. Stop when you think you've got the gist of it.


That's Desmond. He's been on an island for ages and does the same thing every day. The reason I mention Desmond is because I'm now middle-aged and have been joking to my friends that I'd like to ride out my forties with a certain joie de vivre, an excess, eating and drinking all those things I shouldn't, and trying never to jog. Needless to say, my body is beginning to rebel in small ways, and I can only dream about having the kind of morning routine Desmond has, exercise-wise, today.

Also, I like that video because it's documentary evidence that men can do the dishes, albeit fictional. They are definitely manly hands in that shot though, so a man somewhere has done a dish.

Anyway, I have downloaded a "workout app". I won't bother with the name. Yesterday, I got my first chirpy notification. It's time for you to do your workout! You know, like you agreed. So I thought, fuck it. OK. I took my shoes off for some reason, so was in socks, and took my jeans off, replacing them with bright pink shorts. (I was already wearing a t-shirt.) Let's just say I'll think this through for next time.

I was led through a short set of exercises which was repeated three times. It was fine and good.  Except for the wall squat section. The first two times, I was fine. You put your back against the wall, and make right angles at your hips, knees, and ankles, and hold that position while holding a weight out in front, for 30 seconds. On the third go, it was much harder and very painful! I was reminded of this scene from Avengers Infinity War, when Thor has to nearly kill himself to harness the power of the sun to reactivate a gigantic sun-powered forge for Norse Hephaestus (?) to craft him a new weapon because his sister, the Goddess of Death, smashed his hammer with her bare hands right in front of him (which was a compelling scene). 

I climbed -- and I normally skip -- up my stairs afterwards and couldn't believe how sore my thighs were. I have now made that old man noise, said ow, and giggled each time I stand up, or climb stairs, or use my thighs in any way because of how they feel. My thighs are not like Thor, or the sun, but the forge. Yoga is not like wall squatting. Another pandemic first! And yes, they're still coming.

Here are some good things I've seen recently:

  • If you are watching the Supreme Court rush in the US, this article by the dean of the law school at UC Berkeley is helpful, particularly to understand what "originalism" means, and why it's exceptional there might be another originalist judge on SCOTUS at this time: The Philosophy That Makes Amy Coney Barrett So Dangerous
  • I've really enjoyed the Watchmen TV series. It's one of the first shows ever I've watched where certain elements are constructed from the Black point of view. It's also set in and around Tulsa, Oaklahoma, the scene of the terrible racist murders and looting done by white men to Black residents in Greenwood, Tulsa in 1921. I'd never even heard of this terrible event in history until this year. Had you? I like the show because the white supremacists in it get what they deserve. WARNING: It's definitely adults only, and very violent. (I turned away at some moments.)
  • Two design curators I admire, Paola Antonelli and Alice Rawsthorn started an Instagram project called Design Emergency. It's looking at examples of great design responses to COVID. It's a series of Instagram interviews with the folks involved. They also "occupied" the October issue of Wallpaper magazine to share their work, which I have on my kitchen table and am plucking from over a morning coffee. (After which I do not do chin-ups. Yet?)
  • I've discovered the work of Iris Bohnet, a Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, who has studied the value of gender diversity in organisations, politics and society. Lots to delve into here, but here's a video summary. I'm trying to learn more about how bias works. I found her work referenced by David Dylan Thomas, who has a podcast called Cognitive Bias.
  • I'm also dipping in and out of the February 16th, 1963 New Yorker article called Eichmann in Jerusalem-I by Hannah Arendt, the first of five reports she sent from the trial of Adolf Eichmann, "a German-Austrian SS-Obersturmbannf├╝hrer and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust". These reports would later become her book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. That, and keeping an eye on Judith Butler's thinking about this work.
Now I have to get ready for a work call. And, I'm giving a talk today! With my colleagues at the W. E. B. du Bois Center at UMass Amherst Library, for the Creative Commons Global Summit. Du Bois was amazing. I'm loving learning more about him.

I'll just end end with the note that I planted several flouncy bulbs in my veggie patch after pulling up the monster tomatoes that only bore a single red fruit (and loads of green ones). I really like that I'll forget about them soon, until March or so. That's different to looking forward to something, even though I've planned ahead.