Five Things: 6/30/20

The last one of the month! Let’s get to it.

So will there be any more “Five Things” after today? I think so! It’s a good, quick format for me, in that it covers a lot of territory regarding things I’m thinking about and/or want to share, and makes for lively comment threads that (at least so far) don’t get too bogged down on a single topic. And it gives me new stuff here on the regular, which I like. It doesn’t seem to have stopped me in going deep on specific topics I want to go deep on, either, which I was curious about. It seems like a good and useful feature, and I think I will continue it.

Will I continue to do it daily? I think I’ll aim for dailyish, which is to say if I skip a day because I wrote a longer piece, or just decide to skip it for a day because of reasons, that’ll be fine. And sometimes if I only have three or four things, I might say “close enough” and post that. But generally speaking it’s not difficult to come up with five things. So, yeah, let’s keep doing this thing for now. If I get bored with it later, I’ll drop it! But I’m not bored with it yet.

Carl Reiner, RIP: This is one of those “you knew it was coming, and you knew it was probably coming soon but still” things. The man lived to 98 and you can’t say that’s not a good run for anyone, and in his case his run included being one of the acknowledged masters of modern comedy, so there is that. My favorite thing of his was the “2,000 Year Old Man” bits he did with Mel Brooks — Reiner modestly gave Brooks the lion’s share of the credit for that, but a two-hander bit of comedy needs both hands. It wouldn’t have worked without Reiner. I liked it enough that I did my own version of it, once. It was okay. Reiner did it better. Farewell, sir.

The “Russian Bounties” thing is gonna stick, I think: The President has been saying he hasn’t been briefed on that thing, but all the evidence points to the contrary; the best you can say is that Trump ignored the material because some didn’t distill down to a single sentence and speak it at him veeeeery slooooowly, because apparently that’s what you have to do if you want the President to know something that didn’t come from a Fox News morning show or OAN. But that doesn’t make things better; it makes things worse. It’s really hard to spin “The Russians are paying for American deaths”; it does directly to the heart of the Trump constituency. Trump (or his administration) knew and did nothing about it, and it’s possible American soldiers are dead because of it. That’s going to stay.

Lights out on Broadway: Through January at least. Your further reminder that 2020 is going to be a strange, lost year, entertainment-wise. Movie releases scheduled for July have been pushed back in August, and I suspect will now be pushed back even further than that, because, surprise! Turns out the coronavirus didn’t give a shit whether we were all bored and hated masks. So rude, honestly! At least we have Hamilton on TV later this week. But that’s not exactly comfort to everyone in NYC theater currently out of a job, and out of a job for another six months at least.

Oh, look, arty roses. Krissy has upped the flower quotient around the Scalzi Compound recently and I’ve been having fun taking pictures of them. Here’s a picture of our miniature rose bush, done up in “handpainted monochrome” style. Enjoy.

Check In, 6/30/20

First, in my brain I had today, Tuesday, pegged as the first day of July when I took my break. I was genuinely taken by surprise yesterday when I looked at a calendar and it was the 29th instead of the 30th. Math is hard, y’all. Anyway, today was the day I put in my schedule to check back in with everyone, even if it’s a day early on the calendar. So, uh, hello.

Second, I feel better, thank you. I spent most of my days off reading, watching movies, playing video games and taking pictures, such as the one above, of a lily that’s in my yard. And also, you know, thinking about life and things and stuff. Taking time away from the world was a good thing for me, because the week before this felt like getting repeatedly punched in the face by news and revelations, and I needed time to process all of it, away from people who (it at least felt like) wanted me to immediately respond to everything that was happening, and then wanted to nitpick how I responded. I can handle a lot of that, but eventually I need to tap out, as I expect anyone else would. Four days off did a lot to help get me on a more even keel.

(Although not entirely. Still processing, folks. Still thinking about things. But feeling a little less like I’m being punched in the face by events.)

Third, looking back on June I got less writing done that I would like: about 12,000 words, which is not bad, but I spent most of the second half of the month distracted by events, both public and personal. Tomorrow starts the second half of the year — I know, what the actual hell, right? — and if I write a thousand words a day, every day, between July 1 and December 31, I will just about be on schedule for everything I have due by the end of the year in terms of pay copy. This doesn’t count other projects, both professional and personal, I’d like to engage with before 2020 is history.

My solution here is something I already know — run away from social media for some portion of the day. When I did that in the first half of June I did fine; when I didn’t in the second half, well. I lost a considerable amount of focus. This is, for me, a tale as old as time.

With that said, there’s another aspect of it, too, which I think I’ve been minimizing: it’s not just time on social media, it’s engagement when I am on it, and how social media is making me feel when I use it. The term “doomscrolling” refers to how people basically suck down fountains of bad news on their social media thanks to friends (and others) posting things they’re outraged about. It’s gotten to the point for me where, particularly on Twitter, it feels like it’s almost all doomscrolling, all the time, whether I want it to be or not.

I don’t want to leave Twitter (or other social media), but I do have to recalibrate how I manage it if I want to stay on it. So that’s a thing I’ll be doing — I’ll be trying some things on Twitter and other social media starting today and recalibrating as needed going forward. How will this affect Whatever? I don’t think too much, except that I am considering turning off comments on posts here slightly more often, if for time and/or other reasons I’m not able to ride herd on the conversation. We’ll see.

So that’s where I am at the moment! Wheee, it’s fun! I hope you’re okay, and wearing masks and being smart about social distancing and all that good stuff. We’re about to get into the second half of this year. It’s going to be a thing. Let’s get to it.