Playlists and Other Silliness

Some people hoard toilet paper. I opted for this instead.

It’s been a little over a month since the NBA season was shutdown due to COVID-19 – with the subsequent chain reaction simultaneously transforming the world into one of self-isolation, social distancing, and the occasional hoarding of toilet paper. Where does the time go? Well, as far as I can tell, the same place it always goes. But maybe with a mask these days.

And as these days become weeks, and now a new month, the new normal is becoming seemingly more normal every day. Or maybe that’s just me. As I’ve mentioned before, my routine hasn’t actually changed all that much. Plus, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying making my mini-movies (for a minimal audience), learning new software online – or learning new tools for not-so-new software, and going out on the bike (with or without the wind) as much as I can. Cycling and social distancing continue to go together well. Of course, there are challenges. My tendency towards independence means I didn’t particularly enjoy having staff at Bulk Barn scoop my purchases for me the other day but I suspect they don’t particularly enjoy it either. Either way, I fully appreciate the caution.

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Another week of self-isolating and social distancing has come and gone. It’s been a week of editing (some for pay, some for fun). It’s been a week of watching tutorials and learning new things. And it’s been a week of going grocery shopping at 7:00 AM to avoid the lineups.

Nice day for a ride.
(or ride BACK, anyway)

On the upside, I got out on the bike the other day … according to the time stamp on the photos, it was Wednesday – again, not that it matters. What matters is that it was a glorious ride. Correction: It was a glorious ride BACK. My typical strategy when I’m limited to roundtrip rides is to head out into the wind for some arbitrary amount of time so that the return trip will come with a tailwind. And I find it’s always better to end with a tailwind. On strong wind days (like Wednesday), the arbitrary time heading into the wind can be more than a little unpleasant. However, it’s more mentally manageable (oooh, alliteration) with the knowledge that the ride back will be wind aided. That strategy played out beautifully in this instance.

As usual when I head out on such rides, I really had no idea where I was going to go. Or for how long. In hindsight, I probably should’ve taken a water bottle with me. Anyway, once I determined the general direction of the wind, I turned my bike into it and kept pedalling. For about 25 km. Much of which was uphill. And all of it into a pretty stiff headwind. And it took about 90 minutes. Then I found myself in Bamberg. No, I’m pretty sure I had never been to Bamberg before. But that’s where I was and that’s where the ride back began. Much of which was downhill. Most of it aided by a pretty stiff tailwind. It took about 50 minutes. And was wonderful.
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Friday = Monday. And Vice Versa.

This was during my online course. Without context, it might look confusing. Fortunately, I had context.

Once again I’ve found myself falling a bit behind on my updates. I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been busy with work but that wouldn’t be particularly (or remotely) accurate. However, I have been trying to keep busy … some of those attempts could be viewed as more productive than others. For example, I’ve been watching a few tutorials on which have been rather helpful and would fall into the productive category. Similarly, I did a 3-day, online course a couple of weekends ago which, despite the occasionally dry subject matter, was also rather productive and successful. One of the nice things about online courses is they tend not to get cancelled due to pandemics. Hypothetically speaking. And speaking of hypotheticals, the past couple of weeks MAY have seen a few hands of online Blackjack being played. Fortunes were neither won nor lost.

Despite the pandemic shutting down pretty much everything, the days (and weeks) still seem to fly by. Hard to believe I’ve been back from BC for over a month now. Harder to believe is that the majority of that time has been spent in some form of self-isolation.
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More Social Distancing Fun

As people and businesses become more accepting and committed to social distancing, one side effect is some atypical situations that I can’t help but find at least mildly amusing. And really, it’s times like these when everyone can likely use an extra smile or two. For example, at the grocery store there are now markers on the floor, spaced 6′ apart, indicating where people should stand when lining up for the checkout. Where once stood a lineup that might haven taken up MAYBE 15 feet now sees lines extending further. Much further. Of course, it inevitably leads to people unintentionally cutting into the line until they realize the end of the line is actually about 72′ away. The look on their face as they realize the short line they thought they were lucky enough to score was in fact too good to be true. And yes, I’m speaking from personal experience.

My Winter Bike.
Don’t worry, it’s just resting.

And while there’s definitely humour to be found in this whole situation, some people are obviously (and rightly) very concerned by it. When I was out earlier today, I crossed paths with an older woman who was out for a walk. We were on a pedestrian bridge at the time so there was only so much space that could be given. She stayed as far over as she could and wouldn’t even make eye contact. I offered a “Good morning” to which she just kept walking, staring straight ahead. I think I noticed a VERY momentary glance in my direction at which time I think she MAY have tried mouth a “Hi” but there was no accompanying audio. I have to say I felt a bit bad for her. I mean, I don’t believe she didn’t want to say, “Hi”, I just think she’s scared. And I’m sure she’s not the only one.
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The Not-Entirely-New Normal

I could be the poster child (or adult)
for Social Distancing.

Over the past week, I can’t believe how many times I have typed, said, heard or read the phrase “Social Distancing”. So much so that “Social Distancing” is now the primary suggestion that pops up when I type “so” on my phone. If it’s not the “word” of year (if there really is such a thing), I’d be surprised. Either way, it appears that it will be the new normal for the foreseeable future. Although, not ENTIRELY new for some. In all honesty, I can’t say that I’ve been struggling with the isolation of said Social Distancing. Truth be told, as a introvert I’ve spent more than a little of the past 40+ years social distancing so, for me, it (along with frequent hand washing and minimizing face touching) is somewhat of the norm for me. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. Let’s go back.

For six weeks I didn’t work. Ah, the life of a freelance video editor … especially a traveling freelance video editor who leans toward working on a remote basis whenever possible. And since I was spending those six weeks housesitting in a mountain home, overlooking Okanagan Lake in Peachland, BC, I would say I was living up to the “remote” qualifier.

On the upside, the lack of editing work gave me more than a little time for mountain hikes and any other recreational activities I could come up with. And, as seen in my previous post, I even made a few short videos of some of those activities, primarily for my own amusement – but also for the eight or nine people that might still find their way to this blog these days. On the downside, there were times that boredom definitely crept in – not to mention the lack of income which was becoming a bit of a concern. Little did I know those days were prepping me for the weeks to come.

Despite the lack of editing work while in BC, I could take some comfort in the fact that I knew a quick-turnaround and somewhat big project awaited me upon my return to Ontario. Yes, the BIG downside would be that of being back in Ontario but at least there would be a paycheque (or, more likely, an e-Transfer) at the end.

I returned to Ontario on the evening of March 5th – an evening that concluded with an impromptu get-together with a few friends over a Guinness or two at a local pub … there may have been a loaded nacho or two consumed as well. Despite (or maybe because of) my aforementioned unofficial life-long social distancing training, I’ve never been one to take outings like that (or the opportunity for outings like that) for granted. After all, you never know when they might be taken away. As such, a good time was had by all.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, returning on the 5th. The next morning I found myself sitting at an edit suite at my client’s place. I would spend the bulk of the next seven days there. And when I wasn’t working on the project there, I was working on it back at the house. 13-15 hours a day. Admittedly, part of those long days were because my ever-aging laptop doesn’t particularly enjoy working with 4K footage. Regardless, the Friday deadline was constantly looming and didn’t really care about such trivial challenges.

Thursday afternoon came and, while a long night of rendering and exporting of the final video awaited, we were on schedule for a timely finish. Then the event was cancelled. Sigh. Welcome to the new normal. Well, maybe not entirely.

Coronavirus seemingly brings out people’s inner baker.

Oddly enough, since the grounding to a stop (or near stop anyway) of much of the world and economy, I actually find myself with a few video editing projects of the active, imminent, or (less promising) tentative variety … just when I was seriously contemplating using some of my free time to learn the dark art of making sourdough. My future as a baker will have to wait … which is probably for the best based on my last trip to the grocery store which revealed a total lack of flour. Apparently, the coronavirus is bringing out the baker in a lot of people.

And that pretty much gets us back to where we started several paragraphs ago. Social distancing. Working remotely. And more social distancing. These are certainly interesting times we’re living in.

Oh, one last sad side note: In addition to all of this coronavirus craziness, this week also included what may have been the passing of the least memorable Spring equinox ever. For those that missed it, it was on Thursday. Welcome Spring … you deserved a better start.

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© 2020: Mark's Midlife Crisis