Lockdown: Giving the gift of giving gifts

I was right about the new music. There’s a new album by Alestorm, but after their first album many years ago, the novelty wore out, and although it’s still a band with some chops, the joke is tired. I wish they’d rename themselves and just write some normal songs or something.

I pretty much knew what to expect from the new Grave Digger album, which also dropped today and which I am spinning now. It doesn’t suck; it’s just not very interesting.

I think I drifted off to sleep early Friday a bit before 5:30 and woke up at 9:00 to be ready for the 9:30 Zoom meeting about the cancer center project. It was a fine meeting. Then it took me almost forever to get going on the second proposal I wanted to finish before the weekend. Not because I was tired or unmotivated, but because waaaaay back in October when I started the first draft, I did it in InDesign, not knowing I’d still be working on it in May and that I’d do it from home because of a pandemic.

The virtual desktop works fine; it’s just really slow when lots of people are on the network, espcially for resource-demanding stuff like Photoshop and InDesign. It didn’t help that the network kept disconnecting me. At first it was like type two words then wait a minute for everything to unfreeze and catch up, then a few more words, and the same thing. Ugh.

Things loosened up after the traditional lunch hour, and I powered my way through. Submitted. Then caught up on emails and took a little nap.

I helped one of our development people with something she was looking for (a proposal I worked on last summer) and did a few similar tasks. And then — tada! My workday was done at a normal hour, with my work submitted. I’m still behind, but not behind to the point of distraction. Except for a little bit of file management I couldn’t do during normal hours because of the network issues, I don’t have to even think about work this weekend. I’ll listen to some good music while I do what’s mostly brainless work.

Okay I couldn’t take any more of that Grave Digger album after three songs. Switched to some Alan Parsons Project.

Because of that early Zoom call, I didn’t get to my first meal of the day until about 12:30, which is when I’d have eaten if I’d had a decent eight hours of sleep, so it makes sense. I had a couple of hot dogs with mustard, ketchup, and this new sauerkraut I got at Costco. It’s really good.

I didn’t snack, yet didn’t find myself thinking of food until it was approaching eight in the evening. Made brown rice and ate it with Thursday’s leftover stir-fry. Filling and veggie-laden. Then I made a trip to the supermarket. I needed Diet Pepsi (Costco only sells the 24-pack aluminum cans, which I find wasteful) and picked up a few things, most of which I don’t normally get at the grocery store (like laundry detergent and dishwasing detergent).

I’m blaming Sharon for this: I saw the Haagen-Dasz she mentioned Thursday, so I bought some. it’s basically coffee and vanilla ice creams layered with crunchy Belgian chocolate, kind of like an Eskimo pie (are we allowed to call them that?) or magic shell. Which I hate. I knew there was a crunchy thin layer, but for some reason I thought it was like a wafer, not like hard chocolate.

And that was my dinner, I guess. Not my proudest moment.

The season three Orange is the New Black DVD has one commentary track, for the season’s finale, with the director and co-writer. So I watched that today (fascinating) and it really had me re-thinking things. Somehow I missed the many themes of faith and religion, but pow. They are right there in multitudes. I mean, my favorite parts of the season were faith-themed, but there’s been a little of that since the show began, so I guess I didn’t notice that it was in almost every story arc. It changes my feelings about the season, though I still can’t say it was enjoyable. I was moved to tears a couple of times, and there’s that wonderful lake scene at the end, but there’s a good chance I’m done with season three for a very long time.

Compare that with the first five seasons of Silicon Valley. So far I have never gotten tired of after many viewings.

This evening while I ate icre cream, I watched episode one of season four. It’s is grim as heck, yet it’s also laugh-aloud funny for a lot of weird reasons. This bodes well for the rest of the season.

Ali in Boston sent me a text while I was working on that proposal. She apologized for not responding to my last question and I let her off the hook even though she still hasn’t answered it. It’s not worth making a thing of it, and I respect her privacy even if I don’t understand it. We talked a little bit about s’mores, which seems to be safe territory.

JB texted to ask if I’ve ever tried to make Scotch eggs, which I have not. He’s going to attempt them soon, I think. This led to a conversation about mug cakes, which I planned to try this evening but because of Haagen-Dasz, will try Saturday instead.

Crush Girl texted me to answer a question I asked late Thursday. Then we texted more about the cookies she made, and discussed her car situation a little more.

Penny, one of the people I sent the marshmallow photo, messaged me to ask if they’re awesome or super awesome. I told her I haven’t actually seen them anywhere yet.

Jennifer and I texted a little about her visit to a dentist this week, for which I called her brave.

Then Jenny texted me to tell me someone she interviewed for an HBA-related project mentioned me. That was nice. This led to a bit of a diatribe from me about the latest HBA mailer, which says “There’s no greater gift than giving a child an education built on Christ’s love.”

Ignoring the bad writing (the education is the gift; the act of giving it is not — why don’t these people whom I love dearly just email me once in a while to ask for a quick proofread?), I ranted about how the Bible says the greatest gift is something else, and whoever wrote this copy knows it. I guess we can get nit-picky about whether “greater love” and “greater gift” are two different things, but that’s silly. Some marketer just decided to say it, and nobody thought about whether or not it was truthful. Drives me crazy, especially since I’m now doing exactly this work and am hypesensitive about making claims with emotional appeal but factual inaccuracy. Euphemism. I mean “lies.”

In Christianese, we do have a concept of “the gift of giving,” which maybe is meant here, but if this is the case, it’s got to be executed a bit more thoughtfully, to avoid confusion. Geez.

I also texted two colleagues a photo of the jigsaw puzzle AJ sent me, saying I could wait to see them at the office again someday, when we would attempt this puzzle together.

I skipped the walk in an effort to get my sleep schedule back to something resembling human. It’s 2:04 in the morning now, so if I can be asleep by 2:30, I can get up at 10:00, then try to wind it back another two hours between Saturday and Sunday. Maybe.

So here I go. Without work to distract me this weekend, I envision a few chores, some playful things in the kitchen, some Orange is the New Black, and maybe some reading.

And lots of walking, of course.

Whatever you’ve got lined up for the weekend, I hope connecting with others is part of it. If it’s not, reach out. As you can see, I can be a texting machine when I’m in a good mood, which today I am.

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