Tuesday, October 20, 2020

I was grateful to enjoy a Monday off, and did my best to differentiate it from literally every other day, when I’m planted at this same computer, wrestling with the words to form yet another intro paragraph. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t have to concentrate at all on work items… except I sort of did, as evidenced below. I didn’t have to remain sober during the daylight hours, but do I ever have to do that? I spent my morning coffee in bed with the dogs, watching cartoons. And I ducked out in the afternoon to take them to the vet. Otherwise, it kind of felt like a work day. Could it be the thick black line that once separated the trudgery of a workday from the glories of a weekend day has become greyed? If so, it only means I’m enjoying my workdays more. Scary thought. Well, here was what we fit in:

National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day

Oh, the incessant joys of this project, propelling me to remote-connect to my work computer on my day off. And why? To tidy up. I knew when I was diving in to a year of constant celebration that some days I’d find myself overwhelmed by the magnificence of the world around me. And here I am.

This is supposed to be a day for popping into your computer (your “virtual desktop” referring to the Windows desktop and not the physical desk in front of you), and tidy things up. Delete unnecessary folders and files. Back up your data. Organize your shit. Well, as good fortune would have it, I did some of that a couple days ago on my home PC. I decided I’d treat this celebration with a bit more of a literal edge. I logged into my work computer, which I feel is even more of a ‘virtual desktop’ than the one on my own. It’s my virtual virtual desktop.

There were two files sitting there atop the Tatooine desktop image, two files I did not need. Well, I don’t care about the “Getting To Know Windows 10” link either, but our IT people won’t let us delete that for some reason. But that Word doc was for a change I’d made to a webpage, which has already been approved and instituted. The PDF is an older copy of a file that has since been updated and corrected. So they were deleted.

And thus, my virtual desktop is clean. I don’t need to back up my files at the moment – the ones I work on regularly are uploaded to the cloud, and all my old documents and photos are already securely on a hard drive separate from my computer. So I’m clean. In a sense. In the sense I need to be. Oh, happy day. Time to log the hell off of this computer and get back to recreation time.

National Kentucky Day

My connection to the Bluegrass State is rather limited. First of all, I’m hesitant to trust anything about the state, given that its Kentucky bluegrass is, let’s face it, green. Second there’s the celebration we picked for this one, which was to try the new KFC “Famous Chicken Chicken Sandwich”, which is firstly stupid because of the double use of the word ‘Chicken’ in the name, and secondly because it’s trying to compete with Popeye’s big ol’ chicken sandwich. Trust me when I say, it does not stand up beside Popeye’s in any way. Forget that they don’t have a spicy option, this is a generous slab of lesser chicken in lesser seasonings with less crispness, somehow proudly boasting that it’s a chicken sandwich by dropping that word twice into its name. And I won’t even discuss their choice to use sweet pickles instead of dill. Come on, Kentucky. You can do better.

Kentucky has two major cities: Louisville, home of the infamous Slugger, and Lexington, birthplace of George Clooney. The capital, however, is Frankfort, a town of about 25,000 people. I’m suspicious of a state whose capital city’s population can fill half of our local football stadium.

Sure, Kentucky was a big-time slaving state, but technically it never seceded. Sort of. Representatives from 68 of the state’s 110 counties met and declared their secession and created a Confederate government based out of Bowling Green. The state was considered neutral ground during the Civil War for the most part, which was probably aided by the fact that Jefferson Davis and Abe Lincoln were born in the state.

A recent study showed that Kentucky’s Supreme Court was the least influential in the nation, with its decisions almost never being followed by other states. The first winery in the US was in Kentucky. Fort Knox is located there. A 2014 study found it to be the most affordable state in which to live. And if you’re worried about the whole “backwards southern” stereotypes, just stick to the cities. Kentucky has supported a lot of Democrats over the years, and it shouldn’t be lumped in with America’s… lesser cousins.

Let’s scroll through a list of some of Kentucky’s finest, not counting George Clooney: There’s character actor Charles Napier from Mt. Union, Jennifer Lawrence from Indian Hills, Rob Riggle from Louisville, Chris “Nerdist” Hardwick from Louisville, Diane Sawyer from Glasgow, Michael Shannon from Lexington, Harry Dean Stanton from West Irvine, Gus Van Sant from Louisville, D.W. “Yes My Work Was Sometimes Racist” Griffith from Oldham County, Jim “Hey Vern” Varney from Louisville, Johnny Depp from Owensboro, Ned “Squeals Like A Pig” Beatty from Louisville, Loretta Lynn from Butcher Hollow, Joan Osborne from Anchorage, The Judds from Ashland, Ricky Skaggs from Cordell, Jackie DeShannon from Hazel, and of course Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass music, who was born in Rosine.

Kentucky’s greatest exports are bluegrass music, delicious bourbon, and probably Harry Dean Stanton. It sure as hell isn’t that chicken sandwich.

Evaluate Your Life Day

Really? Do I have to? This never turns out well.

I suppose there are two ways to approach this day. We could take time out during the day to evaluate our lives. Or we could evaluate our “Life Day”, referring to the Wookiee celebration that was captured in the classic Star Wars Holiday Special some 42 years ago. Will we spend our Life Day in a way that will satisfy both Lumpy’s love of weird music and his grandpa’s porn addiction? Will Bea Arthur be involved? How about Norton from The Honeymooners?

Okay, fine. We’ll look at our lives. First off, there’s Jodie. Right now she is a month and a half into learning a new way to teach, with masks and weird quartered semesters and clumps of people simply disappearing into quarantine after a positive test. She’s taking her Masters, but also that Indigenous course through the University of Alberta. She is now tutoring multiple kids through Zoom, and developing a theatre class to teach the same way, starting next week. She is literally the busiest person I know, and this is the busiest I’ve ever seen her. And she’s killing it. Her stress level is significantly lower than it was a couple of years ago, mostly thanks to a change in her school’s leadership. She’s worried that she might be fighting off some sort of illness, but she’s fighting it. She’s my fucking hero. Her life gets an A+.

Then there’s me. I’m still in the mostly uninspiring government cubicle-drone job I was in a year ago. But I’ve found a renewed passion for it, so long as I keep working from home (which, being the government, my bosses are trying to put an end to). I have this project, which brings me almost no personal satisfaction at the moment, but hey – we’re seeing through to the end. And I have started work on what will be my next project: hopefully a tangible book, and not a do-this-every-day-until-you-hate-it affair like this one. My mood is mostly upbeat, and my family is awesome.

So this was, most things considered, a positive evaluation. We’ll evaluate again on January 1, when the smile on my face will be unremovable.

International Adjust Your Chair Day

While this doesn’t technically fall under the heading of Bone & Joint Action Week, which we discussed yesterday, it kind of fits. This is a day to acknowledge that a poorly-calibrated chair could lead to back and neck issues. I know this from experience; I used to escape my cubicle three times a week to use the office of a friend and co-worker who worked from home. It was great – I had walls, a door, a window, and more room to stretch out (or, if I was so inclined, to dance, dance, dance) than in my cubicle. But at the end of each of those days my neck would be throbbing in agony. It was all about the chair.

Fortunately, my office chair at home never leaves me in any sort of discomfort. As such, I was wary to make any significant adjustments, apart from raising and lowering the armrests. Then I realized that by raising them to their maximum height, the armrests supported my elbows in a much more posture-friendly way.

So while my initial plan was simply to mention that this day exists, then to do the bare minimum to disrupt the status quo of my office arrangement, I actually stumbled into an improvement. Funny how that works.

International Gin & Tonic Day

National Gin & Tonic Day was on April 9. World Gin Day was on June 13. National Craft Distillery Day was on May 22. We know gin. We have celebrated gin. And gin blends so wonderfully with tonic, it was inevitable we’d celebrate it again, even if this day didn’t pop a rerun onto our radar. Yes, we celebrated – or at least I did. It was wonderful.

Today I return to work and gear up for yet another fanciful Tuesday, full of whatever surprises the calendar throws at us. For example:

  • National Youth Confidence Day. This one sounds like more of a Jodie thing.
  • National Brandied Fruit Day. This requires a lot of prep and 60 days for the fruit to soak up all the brandy. Damn.
  • International Sloth Day. I can handle this one.
  • National Day On Writing. Why not ‘National Writing Day’? Maybe I’ll find out!
  • World Statistics Day. Who doesn’t love… statistics?
  • Information Overload Awareness Day. This sounds 100% relevant.
  • National Suspenders Day. Well this is fun for everyone, meaning those who wear them and those who snap them against the wishes of those who are wearing them.
  • Office Chocolate Day. I’ll make sure to tell all my unfortunate coworkers at the office about this one.
  • The International Day of the Air Traffic Controller. I like that the official name for this one has a ‘The’ at the beginning. The National Day On Writing celebrant inside me is happy about that.

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