farmer

I Cannot Tell A Lie

There ain't no way I am cutting down my cherry tree, bitches! But I will give a cherry tree update. Cherry blossom time! It just started flowering today. It's a good thing and a bad thing. Good in that we'll hopefully get some cherries this year. Bad in that the forecast is still for temps around 32 tonight. I might try to make a big tent out of tarps today. If I can get just a little reflective heat, that might be enough.
farmer

Tree Update

I checked last March's posts to see what the trees were doing this time last year. I think they're ahead of the game this year. The apple trees are putting out leaves and the plum tree looks like it's ready to explode with flowers. This would be great news except the weather forecast is for a freeze tomorrow night. The low temp forecast has gone from 34 to 32. I only have 3 big tarps, so I might have to make a Sophie's choice as to who gets covered. This really pisses me off. Why don't we have these huge temperature drops in summer?!? I would love it to go from 95 to 80. Does that happen? Very rarely. Meh.
xianjag

Telework - Day 2

The telework experiment went very well last Friday. Let's see how long I can keep this up before some serious slacking begins. The next phase will hopefully begin in a week or 2 when temps are warm enough to work out on the patio.

This last weekend we tried to live life normally. We picked up a few items at the grocery store. I did panic buying at the liquor store and walked away with about $300 worth of wine and whiskey (Oy! I had a coupon!) Karma bit me in the ass this morning when I lost a bottle of bourbon to my tile floor. Ceramic tile is very unforgiving to glass even with less than an inch of kinetic energy. Mostly we have just been hunkering down keeping each other (and the cats) company. We even went out to Whataburger on Friday (drive-thru only). We also tried watching The Dotard give press conferences, but the stupidity was just too overwhelming,

We have been going through our old movies. Here's a quick list:

"Naughty Marietta" - Typical old-skool Hollywood musical where a French princess flees to America to avoid getting married. How many times has Hollywood used THAT plot?!? The movie is notable for the song "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life" which is the song used in "Young Frankenstein" to suggest having an orgasm.

"The Red Shoes" - Kitty said it was one of her favorite movies. A ballerina becomes great performing the title ballet but can't chose between love and dance which lead to tragedy.

"A Nun's Story" - Audrey Hepburn as a nun?!? It's actually a really interesting plot of how a woman has faith and love of Jesus, but it's still not enough for The Church. It really shows how the Church's definition of "pride" is such bullshit. You can do good works to help the poor, but you can't feel good about it. Sheesh!

"Disraeli" - No, not a movie about an album by Cream. A biopic about the British prime minister who secured the Suez Canal for the Crown. It was something of a long, drawn-out story with lots of political drama. Probably more interesting for someone interested in Victorian-era political intrigue.

We have also discovered the show "Shitt's Creek" on Netflix. I had heard good things about it years ago but had no idea what obscure network it was on. Now it's readily available on Netflix. And speaking of Netflix, yes, we have discovered "Beastars." Yes, we're furry, so we have been digging it. I made the mistake of Googling "Beastars Rule 34." Jesus. What was I expecting?!?
default

Telework - Day 1

Our agency went to a new level the other day and EVERYONE is encouraged to telework. I felt a little uncomfortable doing it since I require a special program to do a major part of my job. The advancements of VPN, virtual desktops, cloud-based email and communications, and conferencing apps have made things so much easier than even a couple of years ago. I remember it was a huge pain in the ass to get a VPN account. Now it just took a couple of clicks. I can pull up my work system as easy as if I were sitting at my desk.

We'll see how working at home goes. I have my work laptop fired up on my left and my personal laptop (where I'm typing this) on my right. My work phone has been forwarded to my cell phone. The big difference from the office is that I have tunes cranked up and cats wandering around. I'm diggin' it! If I need a mental break I can get up and clean something. It certainly was nice not having a 20-minute commute. I was able to start work at 6:30 instead of 7. And I have a big window!
  • Current Music
    "Green Grass and High Tides" - The Outlaws
waitaminute

The Puzzle

I think the pieces to the puzzle are finally starting to come together. My thoughts from the very beginning of this crisis have been "some very smart people know the score, and we should take this seriously." The more little tidbits I have been picking up, the more the picture starts to become clearer. It's not about people dropping dead on the street, but it's about a tsunami where the goal is to slowly get people off of the beach and somehow reducing the size of the wave. This all has to be balanced by saying and doing the right things at the right time to not cause a panic which then opens up a whole new series of problems.

The disease seems to be largely innocuous to most people. That's why people are treating it lightly. But the fact that the disease can hide so well in some people, it causes multiple spreading vectors. You're fine, but you just gave it to a 60-year old heart attack survivor who will need to go to the hospital in a few days. The disease aggressively attacks the lungs, so he will have to be put on a ventilator. The mortality rate for folks not getting on a ventilator is 100%. So if there are X number of ventilators, and you are patient #X+1, you're screwed. The messaging of "flattening the curve" was a good one. It graphically explained that the goal is to keep our medical facilities functioning. The higher the spike, the more deaths. I think the message should be little stronger. If we all practice social distancing and hunker down for a couple of weeks, the death toll could be in the low thousands. If we just go about life like nothing is wrong, the death toll quickly climbs to millions. The big question will be "how high will the wave break, and when."
waitaminute

"Contagion"

I saw the movie back in 2011 when it came out. I wasn't very impressed with it. Maybe I expected there would be a lot more action like "Outbreak," but this seemed slow-paced with interweaving stories. I decided to watch it again yesterday since it was on demand and I had heard that it really is appropriate for what is going on in the world. It was scary how accurate it was. Granted, the virus in the movie is a lot more deadly with a fatality rate over 20%, but the same concepts that we're hearing in the news every day were all brought up in the movie. The director was asked how he got so many things right. Simple. He did a lot of research with the CDC and WHO to make as accurate a portrayal as possible. Scenes of empty store shelves and people running around supermarkets in panic looked a little too real. The next step which I'm dreading and hoping we never reach is the civil disobedience stage where not only is Costco having a run on toilet paper, but Costcos start getting looted. I hated to start thinking about when it would be the necessary time to start packing heat.

Of course I'm most worried about my Mom who is alone in Chicago. She is at the highest risk being elderly with a respiratory condition. For the most part she is self-quarantining, but she makes stupid statements like, "maybe I'll just run to the store for some milk." I yelled at her over the phone yesterday when she told me that. I told her the epitaph on her grave was going to be "I know I shouldn't do this, but..." I can understand her sense of isolation, but what else can be done. If I were there I would probably be running around doing errands for her. Then it would be me who would potentially bring the virus into the house. At least she has her caretaker who comes once a week who can go shopping for her. Hopefully the limited exposure to other people will keep her safe. The only other bad thing about her situation is that she has the TV on constantly. When you're in Chicago, that means you can easily see 6 hours of news every day. So she is being constantly bombarded by media hype. It's a no-win situation.

My last thought on the subject is that I'm happy there are people like Dr Fauci out there who are using science and facts to inform the public. If there is a hero in this situation, it is he. I laughed when I was going to Google his name to get the correct spelling. All you have to do is type "Dr" and his is the first name that pops up. Trending much? *lol* It's also laughable to hear our Dotard-in-Chief make some stupid statement and then have Dr Fauci come on to set things straight. I realize that "Contagion" was just a movie, but since they DID do so much research on the subject, I have to wonder what is REALLY going on at the CDC and WHO. I have a feeling that there is a LOT they are not telling us, probably for our own good. We don't have people dropping dead in the street (yet?) but there is an underlying sense of urgency that I am picking up on. Perhaps there is concern of a possible modest mutation that could kick this thing into a whole different level. Perhaps it's just the fear of a total meltdown of our medical establishment. We shall see. Judging from the spike in deaths in Italy over the weekend, this thing is far from over.
bearthatwasnt

My Covid Post

I have now been affected by the virus. We were supposed to see the musical "Margaritaville" tomorrow, but since the Governor just declared a state of emergency with the first detections of the virus in the state, all large-group gatherings have been cancelled. Hopefully this blows over quickly since we have 3 concerts next month. I'm not too bummed at the moment since I realize that group separation is probably the most effective way to contain this virus. I checked in with my 93 year old mom yesterday, and she has been staying inside. I just worry because she is famous for the saying, "Oh, I know I wasn't supposed to do that, but..." So I just have to keep a slightly closer eye on her.

I heard that one of the most requested movies on-demand lately has been "Contagion." I remember seeing it years ago, but everyone is asking how they seemingly got things so accurate. The answer is that they had consulted numerous epidemiologists and took their word. That's what is always in the back of my mind when I hear about certain seemingly Draconian measures. Even though we have a dotard at the top, there are a LOT of dedicated scientists at the lower levels who know the score and are recommending appropriate actions.

I must admit that I got in on the toilet paper buying frenzy, but in a serendipitous manner. A couple of months ago I was at Costco and saw they had toilet paper on sale. I couldn't remember how much we had left at home, so I bought it. I then found out that I had almost a full Costco package at home. Oh well. We can always use toilet paper. Score! Our shopping habits also put us in a good way in case of self-quarantine. We shop the sales. A few weeks ago they had bags of brand-name pasta for $0.49/bag. So we bought the max of 5. A couple of weeks later they had pasta sauce on sale for $1.49. So we once again bought the max of 5. Chunky Soup was on sale for $1/can, so we bought the max of 8. Frozen dinners were $1.77@. We like to use them as quick lunches to take to work. The freezer is full of them. So our larder is full. If we need to hunker down, we'll be set for awhile. Although I do need to go to Total Wine to stockpile some bourbon.
farmer

Just Peachy

It looks like the peach and nectarine trees are blooming about a week earlier compared to last year (which was earlier than in 2018). Maybe it was because I gave all of the trees a good soaking over the weekend. I dug out around the trunks of all of the trees to create basins to hold water. I then set the hose to a slow trickle to give the roots a good drink. I swear the peach tree almost budded before my eyes as I watered it. We'll see if the nectarine tree is as spectacular as it was last year.
overthehedge

More Movies, Ma

I was reading LJ posts from last year and came across a post about what I was watching on the tube. It was highly entertaining to read about shows that were on just a year ago, but seem like distant memories. So that's why I continue to make these posts as little mile-markers in my entertainment life.

"The Divorcee" - Not to be confused with "The Gay Divorcee." An early talkie which deals with a couple breaking up over stupid infidelity. I was kind of surprised that such a topic would be covered in such an early movie. Then I read about "pre-code" movies that dealt openly with touchy subjects. Later in the 30's the code was enforced and the movies became more goody goody. It disgusts me that the clergy had such a heavy hand in determining what we were able to see. And we scoff at the Taliban?!?

"Jezebel" - Kind of like "Gone With the Wind" except replace the Civil War with a yellow fever outbreak in New Orleans. Good early performances by Bette Davis as the spoiled rich southern girl and Henry Fonda as the fine upstanding gentlemen who gets fed up with her BS and marries someone else. Of course, drama ensues.

"Friendly Persuasion" - Quakers try to remain true to their faith while the Civil War closes in around them. There's lots of pointless plot points as the film follows the family through a year in their lives. It's just a nice family movie. Anthony Perkins proves he's more deadly in a shower dressed up as his mother than he is on a battlefield.

"The Thin Man" - I was never a fan of old detective movies, but maybe I should have been. I really liked the characters of Nick and Nora Charles especially since they both drank like fish. The banter between them and the other characters actually had me laughing. I can see why it went on to have a successful franchise. Asta the dog also added to the fun.
farmer

Apricots 2020

I was a bit surprised yesterday when I went out onto my front patio and saw that my apricot tree had started to blossom. We haven't had any major warm spell or anything out of the ordinary weatherwise, so I thought it was very early for the tree to have flowers. A quick check of LJ, however, showed that I posted exactly one year ago today that the tree had flowered. So it's right on schedule! I was even more happy this year to see a bee happily pollinating the newly opened flowers. So I guess this officially kicks off the 2020 growing season.