Sunday, July 26, 2020

Isolation Report, Week #20

[You could also read the most recent report, or even start at the beginning.]

I had to go to the doctor for the first time during the pandemic: apparently, I (probably) have diverticulitis.  My grandmother had this for many years, so it doesn’t surprise me too much.  Now I have to go find a gastroenterologist, and I’m sure there’s a colonoscopy in my future, which is never pleasant to look forward to.  In other sad news, The Mother‘s dad and brother aren’t doing well, so it looks like she will have to undertake a short plane ride in these troubled times, which definitely isn’t pleasant to look forward to.  Our littlest will accompany; neither of them would sleep much otherwise.

We subscribed to HBO Max; it was the same price we were paying for HBO Now, so we figured why not.  Mostly what’s on HBO Max is the same as what’s on regular HBO, but there are a few extra things.  One of which is Doom Patrol, one of those marvelously inventive comic book series (like Preacher or Legion) that is oh-so-much-more than a typical superhero story.  While he wasn’t the inventor of the Doom Patrol (a group which actually preceded the X-Men by a few months, despite seeming like a rip-off of them, which makes it decades old), it’s Grant Morrison we truly have to thank for this bit of Dadaesque surrealism (see also Happy!, on Netflix).  While the core four characters predated him, Morrison gave us Crazy Jane, Danny the Street, and the amazing Willoughby Kipling, expertly portrayed by Mark Sheppard (a character actor who’s made a career of brilliant recurring characters in great series such as Supernatural, Warehouse 13, and White Collar).  If you don’t like shows where you are constantly trying to figure out what the fuck is going on, definitely do not watch this one.

Let’s see ... what else ... we’ve been playing some family board games.  The Wizard Always Wins, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Bears vs Babies; all highly recommended.  Also some card games—Minecraft Uno and Timelineand of course the littlest one still sucks me into Portal Knights on a semi-regular basis.  That game is for me what I understand Animal Crossing is for other folks during these weird times: we mainly just battle things and go on quests so we can get more materials to build our awesome house.  It’s up to 3 stories now, with a rootfop observatory on top and a vegetable garden and pool out back.  There’s also a large bathroom with a red crystal ceiling, a little marketplace full of vendor stalls out front, and a cannon in the side yard that we occasionaly fire off the edge of the world just so we can watch the flaming cannonball shoot off into the abyss.  We really do spend a lot of time on it ... it’s weirdly soothing, vaguely creative, and surprisingly social.  Plus my kid loves it when we share decorating tips.

So things aren’t too bad on the personal front, although I grow ever more fearful at the state of our country.  While the rest of the world seems to have figured out how this whole virus thing works, we’re traveling backwards in time; as The Daily Show recently pointed out, we’ve now arrived at 1918, when the president said to ignore the doctors and scientists and encouraged large gatherings, people claimed that wearing masks to avoid infecting each other was unconstitutional, and localities triggered a second wave by reopening too soon.  Protests for racial justice continue unabated, but the news seems to have forgotten (or perhaps merely grown apathetic).  In point of fact, we’ve now progressed to the point where our president is sending in secret police to disappear people off the streets, and our system continues blithely on.  Is this what people felt like in Argentina in the 70s? in Russia in the 30s?  (I hesitate to mention Germany in the 40s due to Godwin’s law, but I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t crossed my mind.)  I bet you all those people in all those countries said the same thing we’re all apparently thinking: “obviously that could never happen here.”  I mean, I’m assuming people are thinking that, because otherwise why the fuck isn’t everyone in the country freaking the fuck out right now?  A couple of news stories that faded fast and a few sternly worded tweets from the opposition?  Is that really all the reaction we can get for secret fucking police? kidnapping people?  I dunno, man ... I’m not feeling particularly sanguine about the future.

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