What To Really Expect On Dooms-Day

There’s an almost giddy excitement going on in preparation for… I don’t know what exactly. Between a coronavirus resurgence and inauguration woes, I think people everywhere are paying close attention to the news. Some are prepping.

For my immediate universe, I’m not concerned. All of us the world over did apocalypse planning last year when coronavirus incubated in some unwitting American travelers on their way back from Egyptian cruises with their hieroglyph postcards and went pop pop pop in metro areas across the United States. We had our rice and beans for days. We did okay.

And even before that, we did some localized apocalypse planning in 2017 when hurricane Harvey dumped 30 inches of rain onto the Houston inner loop and sent 18 inches right into my living room.

In short, dooms-day planning feels old hat right now.

And what have I learned from all this bugging out? Well, if things are really going to happen, like really, by the time you are aware of it, the best you can do hope you don’t live in a major metro area. That’s it! Coronavirus versus natural disaster versus social upheaval versus World War Z Zombie apocalypse, these all call for a completely different bug-out kit.

And anyway, if something were really going down, we’d probably act like earthlings in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when the alien craft arrived.

It’s difficult to say exactly what the people on the surface of the planet were doing now, because they didn’t really know what they were doing themselves. None of it made a lot of sense— running into houses, running out of houses, howling noiselessly at the noise. All around the world city streets exploded with people, cars skidded into each other as the noise fell on them and then rolled off like a tidal wave over hills and valleys, deserts and oceans, seeming to flatten everythign it hit.

Douglas Adams
Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

In the meantime, there is football. And gin. And Florida sunshine.

How The Narrative Fallacy is Screwing Us

It’s a little chilly at soccer practice tonight. I’m glad to be here and out of the house for a little bit. We usually listen to music on the drive, and since I was in the mood for only something funny and light, we listened to Tiko’s Fishy Song and other Fortnite inspired Diss tracks.

I’m going to try to explain what’s happened in Washington D.C. tonight.

At this point it looks like 13 people have been arrested, five weapons have been confiscated, and one woman has been fatally shot. The mayor of D.C. has issued a curfew, and Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have all removed posts from President Trump from earlier today.

A three-act-play of sorts has been brewing since the first presidential debate in which President Trump mentioned the possibility of election fraud. In storytelling, this is called laying the pipe for a planned narrative to unfold.

Act One:

Inciting Incident: President Trump loses to Joe Biden.

Act Two:

Middle Build: Far-right conservative media build upon the groundwork from the first presidential debate and gain momentum for the Stolen Election narrative.

Act Three:

Resolution: A group of people (which appears to be small at this point) protest at the capital, offering on a silver platter the sound bites, symbols of nationalism, and images necessary to present a perverse version of American patriotism.

Hopefully that’s as far as it goes. But some damage has been done. Manipulators on the left will take full advantage.

Ryan Holiday and others have warned about the dangers of the media machine the internet has created, not because the internet is bad but because people, outlets, and blogs on both political sides have become VERY good at manipulating a story for the sake of page views.

As a culture, we are all responsible. We all need to be discerning and rational as we consume information. It’s the only way to guard against manipulation and falling prey to the narrative fallacy.

What One Australian Professor Says About Idealogy and Women’s Issues in America

We just finished watching the Fortnite item shop video on YouTube. It’s a nightly review of everything new available for purchase on Fortnite.

That Fortnite is a free game is a moot point. Because for all the “skins” (avatars) and “emotes” (dances) to buy, Fortnite is the most expensive game we could be into right now.

This afternoon I listened to an interview on Coursera about women’s health and human rights. The lady talking on the video was Helen Stacy, a Stanford professor.

There is a treaty called (brace for it) the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Or CEDAW.

A bunch of nations are signatories to the treaty. The United States is not one of them. One reason is sovereignty, which means that the United States is VERY particular about who gets to tell us what to do. Which we would say, is nobody.

Then Ms. Helen Stacy (who is Australian) goes on to say the following.

I’m not making a political comment. Nor do I disagree. All I’m saying is it’s fascinating to hear what an Australian academic has to say about American culture when it comes to family norms, women’s issues, and our politics.

Why You Should Learn Something New, Even If It’s Dumb

I am trying desperately to listen to Rupi Kaur’s writing workshop on Instagram. She posted it this afternoon. This weekend, I also downloaded Coursera to follow a course titled “International Women’s Health and Human Rights.” I fell asleep last night listening to an interview. I will muddle through the course content. I ordered the textbook on Amazon.

I’m looking forward to browsing the book, cherry-picking the chapters I will read. Most of all, I look forward to the table of contents.

The Wall Street Journal weekend paper had an article in there titled, You’re Never Too Old To Become a Beginner. The author talks about juggling and triathlons and research experiments that showed five-year-olds do better than adults at certain tasks because children are the most fearless of all when it comes to failure. Learning new stuff is good for your brain. Plus it makes you feel cool. I was inspired to resume my attempt at learning to do the splits. P has since abandoned it. It was her idea to begin with, but whatever!

So tonight, I will sit around trying to make myself more flexible, listening to the lecture I fell asleep to last night, or maybe watching Rupi Kaur’s Insta video. You’re never too old, or too approaching middle-age, to learn something new.

How I Plan to Retrace My Mom’s Steps Once Covid is Finally Over

Tonight I’ve decided to cook dinner on my cast iron dutch oven thing. I usually reserve this tool for camping and cooking over a fire, but I want to cook outside. I’m trying it out on the grill.

This afternoon over pizza with my family and my parents, a novel idea came to mind. It started a few weeks ago when Husband was curious about what brought my parents to the United States. When he first asked me, I was amazed that I didn’t know the answer to the question. Surely I had heard the story of my parents immigrating. But no. I don’t think I had. Because when the answer to the question came out over dinner one night, the protests at the Francisco Jose de Caldas District University that shut down the univeristy right when my dad had matriculated did not come to mind.

My mom, it turns out, had also spent a few years in college before leaving it all behind for good. She was headed toward a degree in petrochemical engineering, priming for a career at Ecopetrol, the largest primary petroleum company in Colombia.

“It’s your alternate reality, mom.” I said, “And in that alternate reality, none of us are here.”

My great and novel idea is this: when all this Covid travel anxiety is behind us, I will travel to Colombia and retrace my mom’s steps. Maybe dad’s too if there’s time. I will visit the town my mom lived in, and the university she and my dad almost graduated from, and the streets where they grew up.

In the meantime, I will ask questions. And sit here while I wait for the results of my outside cooking experiment.