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Off-Topic => Something else => Topic started by: SueC on March 24, 2020, 11:48:24

Title: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on March 24, 2020, 11:48:24
Dear CF community

We already have a factual thread on COVID-19 over here:  http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9304.0

I thought I'd make a thread on which we can share our approaches for dealing with this crisis on a personal level, and support each other in our online community.

Most of us across the world are now on social distancing and some sort of restricted movement.  This is especially tough if you live alone, so if that's you, here's one place you can check in for a bit of human contact - it's at a distance, but we're all people.

In Australia, a lot of people lost their work this week as businesses folded and employers laid people off. The unemployment queues out there today are of a length not seen in our country since the Great Depression - our workforce has been increasingly casualised / on contract since the 1990s, and not many people have permanent work anymore, which means there is little economic security for many people even when there isn't a pandemic.

The central bank has dropped interest rates to an unprecedented tiny rate to try to stop mass homelessness from inability to meet mortgage repayments / rent payments.  A lot of people are pretty stressed right now, for those reasons and because they worry about medically at-risk friends and family.

So with upheaval rife just now, I thought we could all benefit from a thread where we share things that we are doing that are helping us keep sane at this time.

Our situation:  My husband works in a medical practice four days a week and therefore is in essential services that don't have the option of working from home.  The job is secure but the risk of catching the new virus is elevated.  His workplace has always had really good hygiene protocols, and people coming in with respiratory symptoms have been put in masks for years.  This reduced staff illness considerably.  At the moment, people with respiratory symptoms are mostly seen in their cars; reducing the risk of transmission further.  They do think that most of the staff, like most of the rest of us, are eventually going to get it, but the benefits of delaying it as much as possible mean more people going critical can be helped.

I've been working at and from home for a number of years now anyway - I look after an organic farm these days, and do a bit of freelance writing.  So for us, not that much has changed right now, other than that we are under social distancing protocol at the moment, and increasing restrictions on travel.

However, both of us are working on being as healthy as possible in preparation for the increasing community transmission of COVID-19, and the upcoming Australian cold and flu season.  So, careful eating, regular exercise and sufficient rest - something we've been pretty serious about all our lives - are now ramped up to even higher priority, as is dealing immediately with minor illness by throwing lots of rest, hydration, chicken soup etc at it instead of attempting to "soldier on" - in order to get rid of any bugs as soon as possible, so that we're not down with one thing when another comes along.

We're also keeping in touch with others through email and other remote means, and checking in rather more frequently that usual through those avenues in order to support one another.

At home, we're NOT watching the 24-hour news cycle (something we've never bought into) - in fact, our TV is frequently off for months on end.  We get news off the internet, where we can get a quick overview and only go in-depth with things of special interest to us.  This avoids being emotionally drained by news programmes (if you're susceptible to this) and frees up our energy to work on positive things in our own circles instead.

Laughing is helpful - big stress reliever.

What's working for you just now?
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on March 24, 2020, 14:42:41
Quote from: SueC on March 24, 2020, 11:48:24What's working for you just now?

A bit of a laugh is of course helpful (for a little while at least). Thanks everyone who puts up jokes or funny vids online.

While I do watch local news or news about Germany in general, I do turn them off when it gets too much. I need to keep informed, but I also do so online if I'm looking for something specific.

My mind is occupied with "The Sopranos" (re-watch; quite funny at times) and "The Tudors", because I put on those dvd's when I've enough of the telly...
So far I've been able to fall asleep without problems. Sometimes I wake up and worry, but it does not happen too often.
I drink beer from time to time, but rather less as I would in "normal" times...

Talking to my relatives (some live nearby) or other people on the phone is of course good, as is exchanging emails with friends world-wide (we're all in the same boat more or less)!
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on March 24, 2020, 15:07:56
Quote from: Ulrich on March 24, 2020, 14:42:41...(we're all in the same boat more or less)!

I have the perfect song about that for you!  :cool

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: BiscuityBoyle on March 25, 2020, 02:56:44
My situation is incredibly frustrating. This year I'm teaching at a far away university while my wife has stayed behind in Montreal. I spent the semester break with her and then flew off to another continent, only to learn that the semester would be held online and there's no real reason for me to be here. Meanwhile she got laid off from her job in an art gallery and is holed up at home, with only the cat for company, slowly losing her mind by the sound of it. In theory I could go home since I doubt very much the semester will be relaunched in "meat space" but who knows... Plus flying is expensive in addition to all the other obvious risks. Knowing my luck I'll get stranded in some quarantined airport in northern Manitoba or wherever on my way to Montreal, with bears for company.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on March 25, 2020, 04:50:33
Dear @BiscuityBoyle, I am sorry to hear you are in such a lousy situation with current living arrangements, and needlessly separated from your wife at this time.  I hope there will be some way for you to go home safely and economically, without too many bears.  Is your employer going to be able at any point to give you any useful information about how long you can teach from offsite / back home, so that the flight home becomes less of an economic risk?  Is there an additional problem for you that you might not be let back out of Canada if you go home now and the situation changes for your university in three months or whatever, and you then wouldn't be able to honour your employment contract?

It does sound like a very complicated situation, and I wish you and your wife well.  Sorry to hear about your wife's job loss too.  Difficult times for so many people right now.

If I may be so nosy, what are you teaching and do you enjoy it?
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on March 25, 2020, 07:29:07
(https://media.guim.co.uk/ae4d62aa94152f43188a280afaac94231ca7f9e3/0_0_3508_6417/3508.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/19/coronavirus-has-made-things-crazy-and-scary-and-they-were-already-crazy-and-scary-before

On a positive note, a large crisis does raise the possibility of large changes to problematic systems.  A nice article here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/24/coronavirus-crisis-change-world-financial-global-capitalism

Also interesting:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/24/covid-19-climate-crisis-governments-coronavirus
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: BiscuityBoyle on March 29, 2020, 11:02:04
Quote from: SueC on March 25, 2020, 04:50:33Dear @BiscuityBoyle, I am sorry to hear you are in such a lousy situation with current living arrangements, and needlessly separated from your wife at this time.  I hope there will be some way for you to go home safely and economically, without too many bears.  Is your employer going to be able at any point to give you any useful information about how long you can teach from offsite / back home, so that the flight home becomes less of an economic risk?  Is there an additional problem for you that you might not be let back out of Canada if you go home now and the situation changes for your university in three months or whatever, and you then wouldn't be able to honour your employment contract?

It does sound like a very complicated situation, and I wish you and your wife well.  Sorry to hear about your wife's job loss too.  Difficult times for so many people right now.

If I may be so nosy, what are you teaching and do you enjoy it?



Thanks for the kind words. Right now I know nothing about what are the possibilities when there, just completely in the dark, like all of us. Everyone I spoke to feels very strongly that the best course of action is to stay put rather than undertake international travel. 

I specialize in 20th century French intellectual history, people like Foucault (my PhD) and Barthes (my true love), which is handy cause then you can pressed into service teaching courses in philosophy, literature, media, whatever. Very handy in these times where no one's getting tenure any longer and we'll all be adjuncts and part time staff till the day they just shutter the humanities - so probably for another three months or so haha...

I enjoy teaching overall though I'm far from a natural. It's hard...
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: dsanchez on March 29, 2020, 23:48:23
Quote from: SueC on March 24, 2020, 11:48:24What's working for you just now?

I am one of the lucky ones whose job can be performed from home. I work in an IT company and we have been working from home for about three weeks now. Here in Slovakia University and Schools are closed until further notice -University classes continue through Skype though-, if you go out you must wear a mask, and supermarkets have priority for elderly people from 09:00 to 12:00. The Volkswagen factory (Slovakia has several car factories) has been closed, the airport is closed...it's empty city now (and Bratislava is already a very calm city)

I think all these actions will pay off. There are barely 300 cases in the country and zero deaths. Of course we didn't have many tests so I guess the real figure must be at least 5 times more. In any case, I think we will be OK long term. The people has taken this pandemic seriously and they are respecting the rules.

As how I spend the time.. mostly at home and I am learning a lot a software I am using for a project, so I think I will be very proficient in it when this finishes. My boss expects we will continue like this until end of May. I think we will be until end of April. I don't think the country will continue shutdown specially due the low number of cases. We will see.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on March 30, 2020, 02:06:16
Quote from: BiscuityBoyle on March 29, 2020, 11:02:04Thanks for the kind words. Right now I know nothing about what are the possibilities when there, just completely in the dark, like all of us. Everyone I spoke to feels very strongly that the best course of action is to stay put rather than undertake international travel.

Have you got a good Skype link set up with your wife back home?  How's she doing?

I can't think of many things more horrible than the idea of being separated from my spouse for an indefinite period of time in a world situation like this :1f62d: - so I feel for both of you.  When would you normally have flown back to Canada?  And is that timeline still a possibility?

Isn't it great to have the Internet and Skype though, compared to other times in history.  People used to have to write letters that went by boat and didn't get there for many weeks.  Or send telegrams, or phone if you had lots of spare cash.

I wish I'd had Skype when we emigrated to Australia when I was a kid, and I could no longer see my grandmother, whom I loved the most of anyone in my family, and who was also the only person in my family I had a warm relationship with.  We wrote so many letters to each other.  I was only allowed to phone occasionally and there was always someone looking pointedly at their watch when I was talking to her. :smth011


Quote from: undefinedI specialize in 20th century French intellectual history, people like Foucault (my PhD) and Barthes (my true love), which is handy cause then you can pressed into service teaching courses in philosophy, literature, media, whatever. Very handy in these times where no one's getting tenure any longer and we'll all be adjuncts and part time staff till the day they just shutter the humanities - so probably for another three months or so haha...

Yeah, doesn't that suck.  It's like the right-wingers are perpetually trying to choke the arts, the BBC, the ABC (in Australia), and anything else that is conducive to making people think critically and teaching them compassion and other ways of seeing things.  Kudos to you for studying what you loved, and trying to pass it on - despite it not being lucrative to do so.  I kind of preferred lighting candles to living with a modicum of economic security.  Having said that, we're very glad now that when we turned 40, we decided to do the self-sufficiency / back to the land thing - we are now more economically resilient, and stable, than we ever were working professionally - how paradoxical is that?

I've just had a look at Barthes vs Sartre on writing, and definitely side with Barthes on that one (and it looks like I have some more reading to do!  :cool ).  Open secret: I don't have much time for Sartre, but I do love this:

https://pvspade.com/Sartre/cookbook.html

:heart-eyes  :beaming-face  :evil:  :angel  :smth023


Quote from: undefinedI enjoy teaching overall though I'm far from a natural. It's hard...

I was the kid who nearly died giving presentations in high school.  I did a Dip.Ed. after my B.Sc. specifically because I knew it was ludicrous that I had difficulty talking to people in a formal setting.  And that year was a real roasting for me - I had insomnia and cold sweats etc, and used record amounts of anti-perspirant.  But eventually I got over the fear of public speaking, and began to actually enjoy it. :lol:  I guess no longer caring if I looked ridiculous or not helped - and then progressing to deliberately trying to look ridiculous, that was great fun.  :angel  :beaming-face

I suppose I'm an example of successful exposure therapy.  :)  So glad I did it - because I had so much fun for nearly 20 years with groups of people as a result.  Teabag rockets!  Making hydrogen balloons and setting them on fire!  Floating sultanas in a fresh vinegar / sodium bicarbonate mixture!  Throwing sodium metal chunks into water, boom!  :yum:  And potassium metal, even more colourful!  Talking about life, the universe and everything with switched-on kids.  :heart-eyes  Doing literature with them too (because I loved and taught both "sides"), and philosophy - like a book / poetry club on steroids...  :heart-eyes

I don't do that anymore, having now found different things to do that are also important, but I'm never going to regret that - I know that this was the best possible way I could have spent my 20s and 30s, and I'm always going to be grateful for those experiences, and the ability to make a difference, both academically and humanly...

When you've taught, and you've cared, even when you stop, the consequences of the work you did won't stop; they will go ever outwards like ripples in a pond, in so many different ways.  :)

Stay well, and all the best to you.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on March 30, 2020, 05:26:10
Always presents a good summary, and helps me stay sane by telling it how it is:

(https://media.guim.co.uk/cd768ca190f4c1f05003e2936e676ff79e4a3cf9/0_0_3508_6885/3508.jpg)

From https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/23/the-country-is-being-run-by-a-marketing-manager-who-cant-get-the-message-out-dont-go-out
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on March 30, 2020, 05:55:49
Quote from: dsanchez on March 29, 2020, 23:48:23I am one of the lucky ones whose job can be performed from home. I work in an IT company and we have been working from home for about three weeks now. Here in Slovakia University and Schools are closed until further notice -University classes continue through Skype though-, if you go out you must wear a mask, and supermarkets have priority for elderly people from 09:00 to 12:00. The Volkswagen factory (Slovakia has several car factories) has been closed, the airport is closed...it's empty city now (and Bratislava is already a very calm city)

I think all these actions will pay off. There are barely 300 cases in the country and zero deaths. Of course we didn't have many tests so I guess the real figure must be at least 5 times more. In any case, I think we will be OK long term. The people has taken this pandemic seriously and they are respecting the rules.

As how I spend the time.. mostly at home and I am learning a lot a software I am using for a project, so I think I will be very proficient in it when this finishes. My boss expects we will continue like this until end of May. I think we will be until end of April. I don't think the country will continue shutdown specially due the low number of cases. We will see.

Are you still getting on your bike?  Was that clip of Bratislava from your bike you posted the other day your commute route or a "scenic" route?  Are there any restrictions on how far you can go on your rides?  ...we are getting region lock-down here from tomorrow.  We already had state borders closed except to essential supplies etc last week, now it's individual regions.  Thankfully, there's lots of lonely hiking trails in our region, and the population isn't so high - unlike in Britain (and near Perth I would guess), where they had trouble with hiking trails becoming inundated and had to close car parks.

I do hope that when all this is over, people will reconsider whether the human population explosion has to continue... or at least make contraception easily accessible and economical for everyone on the planet - which it currently still isn't in many developing countries, where many women still end up having more babies than they actually wanted to have.  :disappointed:  Also, that Westerners will think about having less greedy and wasteful lifestyles overall, and not having to have the latest everything, and buying a load of disposable crap, because the planet isn't disposable...

What's the software?  (IT enthusiast husband likes to know.)

Stay well! :cool
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on March 31, 2020, 01:34:23
Let's get happy.  :angel

(https://media.guim.co.uk/f9e3941e01e882d30c015d983db26d75362f8963/0_0_3508_7774/3508.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/19/a-cheery-and-helpful-guide-how-to-be-happy

(https://media.guim.co.uk/4fe51f07fb8c1c237874aa742b67e21b5bcd5a33/0_0_3508_6246/3508.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/13/dealing-with-the-squalor-of-everyday-life-first-dog-on-the-moon-readers-tell-us-how-to-be-happy
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: MeltingMan on March 31, 2020, 09:33:46
I'm starting to get used to it. I don't always have several appointments in a week, but in the twelfth calendar week, I was only able to attend one of three personally. The other two were rescheduled or arranged by phone. The latter led to considerable misunderstandings with my lawyer. I wait for mail every day (with the final invoice). A bakery was closed on March 1st. A fast food restaurant now only serves drive-in customers, so I'll take my breakfast back home. On the other hand, I see more athletes outside because the gyms are also closed. I adhere to the rules of distance, of course. Anyone who knows me knows that I visit the cemetery regularly. We definitely had more deaths in drought summer 2018. Now it looks "normal", even if funerals are only allowed to take place in the narrowest circle. I would say the Germans are pretty disciplined.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on March 31, 2020, 13:48:15
I'm trying to keep sane(ish) by doing at least some of the things I'd normally do: read & write emails, watching tv, listening to music, reading books, taking a walk...

Things like this also help a bit (Mike Scott reading a hilarious letter by C.S. Lewis):
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on March 31, 2020, 14:51:24
Completely hilarious letter, @Ulrich!  :lol: :lol: :lol: 

Who would DO things like that?  :angel

And I really enjoyed that reading by Mike Scott.  (Do you realise that with the pandemic, all my angsting about not being able to get to his gig over East was for nowt?  :-D )

Ever read CS Lewis' Screwtape Letters?  Great fun too.  Correspondence between a senior devil and a junior devil who is learning to corrupt people.  :evil:

Here's a withering song:


Have an excellent day. :)

And you too, @MeltingMan.  It never rains but it pours!  :1f637:  Stay well.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: BiscuityBoyle on March 31, 2020, 23:08:41
Quote from: undefinedI don't have much time for Sartre

I've never had much affinity for him (he's too steeped in certain philosophical traditions alien to me, his persona is pretty tedious, never cared for his prose style etc) but he's what the French call incontournable, i.e. too central a figure to ignore for someone in my line of work. And once you go beyond the famous "existentialist" texts like Being and Nothingness or Nausea, he has some pieces I found more compelling, the majority of which are collected in the fifth volume of Situations, entitled Colonialism and Neocolonialism. He was incredibly articulate and insightful in his criticism of the French colonization of Algeria; and even if he didn't apply the same critical acumen to certain other colonial situations (see his disappointing encounter with the great Edward Said), his contribution to post-colonial studies can hardly be overstated.

In particular, the germ of the idea that 20th century European fascism represents colonial oppression turned inward is found in his work. It has since been taken up and developed by Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, Johann Chapoutot and others, but it can all be traced back to Sartre.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 01, 2020, 10:01:00
Comedy keeps circulating on emails and forums - here's some interesting examples friends came up with that I thought I'd share:

Out of masks?  Think laterally!  ...plus, these are easy to wash, and you can use them for their normal purposes again when the pandemic is over:

(https://imagizer.imageshack.com/img924/6769/tLg06R.jpg)

A friend who's an ICU/ED nurse writes:  "Tonight having ventilator patients and fun doing the whole suiting up for airborne precautions and COVID. Putting respirators on and off does not help the hairstyle and one's professional image begins to deteriorate. Good reason to keep the patients unconscious so they don't see what kind of a whacko was taking care of them.
Me when the respirator comes off..."


(https://mumcentral.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/big-hair-baby-770x513.jpg)

My editor sent this medical joke:

A male patient is lying in bed in the hospital ... wearing an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose. A young student nurse appears and gives him a partial sponge bath.

"Nurse,"' he mumbles from behind the mask, "are my testicles black?"

Embarrassed, the young nurse replies, "I don't know, Sir. I'm only here to wash your upper body and feet."

He struggles to ask again, "Nurse, please check for me. Are my testicles black?"

Concerned that he might elevate his blood pressure and heart rate from worrying about his testicles ... she overcomes her embarrassment and pulls back the covers.

She raises his gown and lifts his wedding tackle gently to do a visual on the testicles.

She looks very closely and says, "There's nothing wrong with them, Sir. They look fine."

The man slowly pulls off his oxygen mask ... smiles at her ... and says very slowly, "Thank you very much. That was wonderful. Now listen very, very closely: Are - my - test - results - back?"



...and last but not least, one of my adopted sisters has sent a link to what one UK family is up to during lockdown.  It's not on YT but worth checking out:  Family music time! (https://www.facebook.com/ben.marsh.1650/videos/10163265168130176/)


@Ulrich, turns out Mike Scott is going to do daily instalments of readings for a bit and there's three out already.  How about some Sherlock Holmes?


I hope everyone is well and in good spirits.

(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn%3AANd9GcTCVojFYGSafS9C7AUFRQNu_PRk1zTrzAdAFzwAYL3_VR5nmSi8&usqp=CAU)
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: word_on_a_wing on April 01, 2020, 13:18:32
It feels like the universe is giving some unique lessons? 
 ie very sociable people being forced into an isolation, which is hard for them, but possibly a useful learning experience. Meanwhile, at least in my case, those who are yearning for peace and the chance to clear the mind and would gladly isolate for weeks/months are not in the position to do so, but instead busier than ever.

I've had a particularly busy and stressful 48hrs, not enough time to rest, and then awoke early to my alarm again this morning (groan... I need more sleep!) ...as I transition awake I hear "you're putting in so much effort ... but it's all just a Dream"
...ahh, interesting ✨

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 04, 2020, 00:36:41
Bwahahahaha!  :)

(https://media.guim.co.uk/4c7dcc8b1eac4f95ccb5eca2a75fe8e4ae7b1e6a/0_0_3508_6032/3508..jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/03/welcome-to-comrade-morrisons-glorious-dawn-of-socialism-dont-get-too-excited

I'm sure anyone else who's got a right-winger / leaning thusly government will be able to relate.

...and a really excellent article on re-thinking society etc here:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/04/australia-can-be-a-better-fairer-place-after-the-coronavirus-if-were-willing-to-fight-for-it
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: piggymirror on April 04, 2020, 03:36:07
To stay sane, aside from reading and listening to music or making love (those who can)...

...one of the things I like to do, is to look at pictures of beautiful places (landscapes or man-made, I don't care).

So here is one.

This is the small town of Puentedey, in Spain (for those who know Spain, it is between Burgos, Reinosa and Bilbao, more or less).
The river Nela carved all over the centuries this natural tunnel under the hill where the village was later built.
The name "Puentedey" comes from the old Latin Pons Dei, "God's Bridge"...

(https://i.imgur.com/hGhtYgf.jpg)
Source: Wikipedia: photo by Joan (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arch_carved_by_the_Nela_River,_Puentedey,_Orbaneja_del_Castillo,_Province_of_Burgos,_Spain.jpg)
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 04, 2020, 04:28:00
That is indeed a gorgeous spot, @piggymirror.  Here's a shot of the Australian coastline near Port Campbell, Victoria.  Very different geology to the South Coast of WA, which is mostly granitic with white sand, but beautiful in its own way...

(http://photography.coulstock.id.au/gallery/landscape/photos/img_3364-1.jpg)

Granite and white sand at a local beach here, in Frenchmans Bay:

(http://photography.coulstock.id.au/gallery/landscape/photos/img_6496.jpg)

And this is Cable Beach, on the Southern Ocean side of the Torndirrup peninsula from Frenchmans Bay (which is on the King George Sound side):

(http://photography.coulstock.id.au/gallery/landscape/photos/img_2484-1.jpg)

I take comfort in the fact that beautiful places like this will exist long after I cease to. :cool


...OK, I've just done the first large solo grocery shopping trip since social distancing began in Australia.  Usually I do that every two weeks, but we've delayed it and Brett has popped into the shops and bought bits and pieces on the way home instead, or we've gone to the nice little hippie supermarket (not necessarily an oxymoron) in Denmark (a coastal town here) after going on decent walking trails there for exercise.

In all, everyone was very polite, and quite sombre.  I make a point in difficult times not to forget to be warm to people and acknowledge and smile etc, and a few others apparently do too (in Denmark, lots of people, but then that's us hippies for you...).

Miraculously, toilet paper is back in the aisle, but we didn't need any because we've gone over to the old hippie trick of using flannel squares from repurposed worn-out bedsheets.  There's only so many old bedsheets you can use to throw over your climbing beans during heatwaves, so this one got a new job, and the shoebox of cream-coloured squares in the smallest room of our house looks very civilised.  As we have compost toilets and this is completely biodegradable material, it gets chucked down, but a hippie friend of mine on a conventional flushing toilet has now gone over to using fabric squares for number ones and chucking them in a lidded water bucket to soak as you would cloth nappies.  She's still using toilet paper for what she calls "parcel deliveries" and I call number twos, and says she's going to stick with that from now on, to reduce toilet paper consumption and therefore unnecessary deforestation (even of plantations - the carbon dioxide really is better off staying in the trees...)

It was nice that red lentils had made a comeback to the shelves.  As we grow much of our own F&V, have beehives, and obtain milk, meat and free-range eggs directly from other local farmers, I really only get things like seafood, cheese, butter, cream, yoghurt (because the medal-winning Greek yoghurt is so much nicer than what I've been able to make experimentally so far), dried legumes, spices, pasta, rice, polenta, burghul, nori, bulk walnuts/almonds/cashews/Brazil nuts, olive oil, mushrooms and other things we don't grow ourselves, and toiletries on my shopping trips.

Brett's workplace is running flu clinics on weekends because of COVID-19 and they are doing the flu shots for over-65s this weekend.  Brett is on an extra shift this morning because of it, so I chauffeured him to work while he had an extra cup of tea in the passenger seat.  It was his choice of music, and he put on One Hundred Years off Paris while we speculated why someone would call an album Pornography (we have a number of theories).  This afternoon, I'll pick him up again and we'll go for a hike - Mt Melville and maybe a coastal track after that if we're extra keen - so that he can actually spend a day at home tomorrow, since he's been at work 6 days straight.  We're both looking forward to Easter, which is a long weekend here - although he might get roped into running another flu clinic shift then too (but that's OK, we'll just go hiking again afterwards).

We're painfully aware that little has changed for us, except I can't stay in town and visit friends as I normally would, on a day like today.  But here at home, things look as they always do, except obviously we're not running our farmstay at the moment, and not having friends over.  We're extremely aware that it's super fortunate Brett is working in health and therefore not stood down.  He has to work longer hours and has a higher exposure risk, but I also have more time, because of the Airbnb closure, to pick up work he'd otherwise do around the house and farm, and to prepare extra nutritious food and support him as much as possible so he's completely off duty when he gets home, and then the onus is on recreation, exercise and relaxation.

How's everyone else travelling?
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: piggymirror on April 04, 2020, 14:33:27
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 04, 2020, 15:04:22
Bwahahahaha!  :lol:

Now what we really need is a parliamentary Dalek that exterminates people who don't behave well, do a lousy job, or are only there to feather their own nests, or the nests of their friends.

Another Dalek classic that might help immunity by lowering stress levels:

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 05, 2020, 03:04:59
Quote from: BiscuityBoyle on March 31, 2020, 23:08:41
Quote from: undefinedI don't have much time for Sartre

I've never had much affinity for him (he's too steeped in certain philosophical traditions alien to me, his persona is pretty tedious, never cared for his prose style etc) but he's what the French call incontournable, i.e. too central a figure to ignore for someone in my line of work. And once you go beyond the famous "existentialist" texts like Being and Nothingness or Nausea, he has some pieces I found more compelling, the majority of which are collected in the fifth volume of Situations, entitled Colonialism and Neocolonialism. He was incredibly articulate and insightful in his criticism of the French colonization of Algeria; and even if he didn't apply the same critical acumen to certain other colonial situations (see his disappointing encounter with the great Edward Said), his contribution to post-colonial studies can hardly be overstated.

Thank you; it's always good to hear an insider perspective!  :cool


Quote from: undefinedIn particular, the germ of the idea that 20th century European fascism represents colonial oppression turned inward is found in his work. It has since been taken up and developed by Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, Johann Chapoutot and others, but it can all be traced back to Sartre.

A rumination here:  I imagine Freud would have had similar thoughts on that topic...

The problem with all the silos of academia etc is that sometimes people don't see outside of their own particular silo, into other silos or even the world outside those silos.  In fact, I think this is a massive problem - that human thought, especially academic thought, has become too split and specialised and there's so little integration into a whole, people are just beavering away so separately in their own little towers, not enough bringing it together and making it more than the sum of the parts.  It's like a whole bunch of moles in their separate tunnels in the darkness, while the world is blowing up.

So Sartre (and you can substitute various other philosophers here, same argument) is credited within a particular silo for having original thoughts that in all probability had independently occurred to a number of people not in that silo, before and after his time.  I think it would be wise to assume that in most cases of thought, nobody has a monopoly on a particular thought.  That's even true with calculus - Newton or Leibniz?  Well, both, and perhaps a few other maths geeks at some stage as well.  Not everyone who has a particular set of thoughts gets official credit for it.

Brett was telling me this morning about one of his favourite authors, Terry Pratchett.  He listened to one of his speeches once, where he said he had a great idea for a story, and rang up a friend and explained the story idea to him, and his friend said, "Yes, it is a great story!  That's why Fred Brown wrote in it 1952." :lol:

Anyway, one of Brett's favourite cartoon pages is this, and he's got me hooked too... on the remote off-chance that you've not seen it yet, enjoy...

http://existentialcomics.com/

(http://static.existentialcomics.com/comics/PhilosophersBeard.png)

Best wishes and hang in there, @BiscuityBoyle!  :)

@word_on_a_wing, are you sleeping any better?  :1f634: :1f634: :1f634:
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: word_on_a_wing on April 05, 2020, 16:50:23
Hi Sue,
Yes thanks I managed to get more time for sleep. It's a bit of a see-saw at present: a few days rest, a few days of extra high stress and time demands. Apologies for the rant during my pressured and fatigued state.

Funny you mention sleep, as I am becoming acquainted with Max Richter due to his album Sleep. It was performed in entirety (>8hrs) a few years ago and a clip of it being played at the Sydney Opera House appeared on my social media feed. I had never heard of him before, and yes I have now gone into a musical rabbit hole. So much beautiful music that feels to be both heart-aching and soothing at the same time. The Blue Notebooks album is also lovely. His music feels like what I'm needing right now, in such a chaotic and concerning time.

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 06, 2020, 01:16:04
Quote from: word_on_a_wing on April 05, 2020, 16:50:23Yes thanks I managed to get more time for sleep. It's a bit of a see-saw at present: a few days rest, a few days of extra high stress and time demands. Apologies for the rant during my pressured and fatigued state.

It's good you're sleeping better, and there is absolutely no need to apologise for ranting on this thread because a good rant can be really cathartic and therapeutic.  Besides, your rant was very mild.  So here, have a ten-voucher booklet for free rants, which is perpetually replaceable like a bottomless cup of green tea.  ;)


QuoteFunny you mention sleep, as I am becoming acquainted with Max Richter due to his album Sleep. It was performed in entirety (>8hrs) a few years ago and a clip of it being played at the Sydney Opera House appeared on my social media feed. I had never heard of him before, and yes I have now gone into a musical rabbit hole. So much beautiful music that feels to be both heart-aching and soothing at the same time. The Blue Notebooks album is also lovely. His music feels like what I'm needing right now, in such a chaotic and concerning time.

Thank you very much for sharing that - what a beautiful project!  :heart-eyes  I'd have loved to have been in the audience - an 8-hour lullaby in that place, with those views and that music, and a Sydney audience... (lived there a couple of years and get a little nostalgic for the landscape and cultural stuff) - but to see the clip was the next best thing, so thanks again. :cool

It's always great when you can discover music that goes with a situation or feeling, and embodies that for you.  It's sort of like chicken soup when you're in bed with a cold, but better than that...

Take care! :)
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on April 06, 2020, 11:38:47
A tiny little bit of work came in, which I'm thankful for.

Over the weekend, I did something I normally don't have much time/patience for: crosswords! :cool

Going on a hike in the landscape behind our town was also quite rewarding.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: dsanchez on April 06, 2020, 12:56:06
Quote from: SueC on March 24, 2020, 11:48:24What's working for you just now?

cycling as usual... nothing more than social distancing, plus it keeps you fit :)

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 06, 2020, 14:27:14
I had a really exciting thing happen to me today:  An unexpected in-person social encounter!!!!   :cool

I wrote it up on my online journal, from which I will "reprint" the relevant excerpt:

***********************************************************************************************

Well, I'm sitting here typing while putting our sheets through the wash - all I do with sheets is wash them in plain water with a generous sprinkling of (real) lavender oil, and then it's such luxury to sleep in them - no detergent residue, dried in the sun, crisp and clean and smelling of flowers. I only put sheets through laundry detergent occasionally; pillow slips more often - if there's no grease, there's no point, and this is so much more skin-friendly. ...after the sheets are through, I'll add some detergent for the rest of the wash - I wash with a twin-tub machine, so I can do eco-friendly sequential washing in the same water (sheets, whites, colours, farm clothes, dog blankets - then drain and put the rinse water in - very clean clothes compared to other machines, much less water, detergent and electricity used). Here's a picture of wash day a few years ago when the laundry was newly constructed:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/8594/16507048410_d0b5efe9a0_b.jpg)

Anyway, I often sneak in a little writing while waiting for each stage of washing to finish before my intervention is once more required, and in the middle of that, half an hour ago, there was a knock on the door. I'd forgotten to put the milk bottles out in the letterbox (a capacious old beehive box, very rural) so my friendly neighbour with the milking cow came up with the milk, to tell me she needed my bottles! Hahaha, they were in the back seat of the car this morning when I rode to the front gate with Brett, but we got kissing goodbye at the road verge as is our tradition, and apparently today, that erased pretty much everything else from my mind, because the bottles went to town with Brett.  :beaming-face

We do have some spares, so I got those, and then this lovely neighbour and I sat down at the required social distance on two separate benches and had a good chinwag. We're both alternative types and both in the volunteer bushfire brigade and we often have a good laugh at the many crazy aspects of the world together.    :lol:  <- 2m -> :lol:

I passed on a spare copy (writer's copies) of a magazine I write for to her, as I usually do, because she's a perfect person to pass them onto - not just a dreamer and a thinker outside the box, but also an ideas collector and implementer. Ideas simply stay in her head and eventually get put to good use in many ways.  :cool   Then we had a little tour of the vegetable garden. We often compare notes on what we're growing, and exchange ideas and seeds. I have tons of rhubarb at the moment and just made a lovely berry-rhubarb tart; she hasn't got any yet so she left with a bunch of rhubarb, a Mountain Corn cob to try (the seeds she grew didn't make it this year and she's not eaten this variety before), some fine-leaf basil, a head of fennel for seed, and a pocketful of Giant Russian sunflower seeds straight from the flower head. She also tried some of my unusual salad greens - mizuna, red mustard, and wasabi greens (which taste just as the name suggests) - to see if she might like to grow some, because I always have spare seeds.

So, we both got a lovely social interlude this morning, just because I forgot to put the milk bottles in the letterbox and she therefore had a valid excuse to come and see me during this time of pandemic. I walked her back to the gate and we had another good laugh, about toilet paper panic buying and surviving without celebrities.  :lol:  :evil:

And on top of that, the sun is shining for the first time in three days - it's been bleakly overcast here for days. So, all is shaping up for a lovely, productive day.

***********************************************************************************************

That was the first half.  The rest is about animals, and if anyone is interested in that they can look here: https://www.horseforum.com/member-journals/trotters-arabians-donkeys-other-people-479466/page64/#post1970853667

Hope you're not all going up the walls!

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on April 08, 2020, 09:43:42
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/social-distancing-with-mike-scott-of-the-waterboys-979631/

QuoteThe coronavirus shows up all our habits, social attitudes, core beliefs, systems and societies in new and unexpected lights. It shows up our leaders, too -- we can see ever more clearly who they are: the authentic and the charlatans.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 08, 2020, 11:37:07
Thanks heaps for that link, @Ulrich - we both enjoyed that!  And that's a typically great quote from the guy.  We're a little disappointed that he's not done more readings, but since he's not home schooling this week, maybe he'll get around to a few more. :cool

I'm staying sane by eating ice-cream, writing to friends, scratching donkey ears, cuddling our soppy dog, doing essential jobs, and enjoying my time with my husband (who is now home for all of Easter hooray!!!).

Best wishes to everyone out there.

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2F78.media.tumblr.com%2F969bf4257ab6a86f848a55c6f2b9c593%2Ftumblr_nvx3nw7lV61u9txodo1_500.jpg&f=1&nofb=1)
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 09, 2020, 02:38:35
Just reminding everyone that the moon is nearly full and it's an excellent time for torchless outdoors walking at night. :cool  ...for those of you in countries where you're allowed exercise.

It's really lovely to walk by moonlight - with the landscape all silvery.  Over here we also hear crickets at night as we walk through the bushland, and the chirping of microbats as they fly overhead on their hunting trips.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 10, 2020, 00:33:38
Actual conversation that took place along a rural road in Western Australia last night.  We'd done a 40-minute loop of the nature reserve tracks (with a torch, because the moon wasn't up yet) in the drizzle following the earlier downpour, enjoying the moisture in the atmosphere and the aroma of earth and wet leaves etc.  Arriving at our northeast gate, we decided to take the road back to our driveway.  So, neighbour's pasture to our right, our pasture to our left.

Brett: (to neighbour's cows) Moo!

Me: (swinging torch beam over resting cows on our side of the road) Why are you talking to the neighbour's moos, when you could be talking to your own moos?

Brett: ...you are my moo-se!

Me:  ...that is so amoosing!

Brett:  When you get a good pun, you've got to milk it!

Me:  Bwahahahaha!


This is how we stay sane.  :angel
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on April 10, 2020, 10:18:54
Quote from: SueC on April 10, 2020, 00:33:38This is how we stay sane.  :angel

I would say it is open to debate if that's still sane(ish)...   :winking_tongue
:lol:
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 11, 2020, 11:17:55
Did anyone else see this (https://twitter.com/mrbolano/status/1248178913332715520)?  :lol:

When I first caught sight of this, I wondered if it was Rolf Harris in drag.  :beaming-face  :evil:  :angel

Just goes to show, not everyone can carry off that look.   :angel  :winking_tongue

But then I put the sound on, and Brett and I were vastly amused.  Very good use of the song, we think - funniest lyrics re-write I've heard since Like A Surgeon, and so appropriate for our times...  :)

Our senses of humour will help to get us through.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: dsanchez on April 13, 2020, 20:45:29
Streets of Bratislava, Day-30 of the quarantine, filmed by dsanchez


Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 14, 2020, 01:50:23
Thank you, @dsanchez; we enjoy the vicarious rides through Bratislava!  :cool  Brett was very funny though - when he saw you were riding with a friend, he said, "Look, it's a peloton!" :lol:  And I was a bit naughty, because when we heard crackling sounds a bit in, I said, "Does the bike need some WD-40?  Or does David need a knee replacement?"  :angel

I don't have a Go-Pro, but occasionally take a camera out on a trail - one of the things that keeps me sane is riding a horse through the bushland.  So for something completely different, here's a horse ride through the Australian landscape, with commentary.  I originally did this for the Horse Forum, but with people indoors more than usual, why not offer Cure fans a vicarious ride in Australia.

_________________________________________________________

This is on the sand track behind the house, in late summer.

Notice there are two dogs in this photograph. Our Jess is in the background, and Max is in the foreground. He is our neighbours' stock dog, and occasionally turns up to play with Jess. This morning, I was woken by the two dogs thundering around the house and growling playfully, as Kelpies will. Their games include lots of speed racing and egging each other on.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0236.JPG)

The next couple of photos are looking left and right into the bushland. We burnt this section of valley floor nine months ago, for fuel reduction and to maintain a mosaic landscape for biodiversity conservation. It's coming back nicely, and is very green considering it's midsummer, which in our Mediterranean climate means drought.

You can still see the charring on the eucalyptus trunks, and tea-trees with dead tops re-sprouting from their bases. The bush grass always regenerates from its tough subsurface structures, and thrives with the extra nutrients provided by the ash. You can also see eucalytpus seedlings here, bright green and barely nine months old. Fire causes a lot of sclerophyll seed to germinate, as it signals the availability of nutrients, space and light post-burn.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0241.JPG)

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0246.JPG)

Sclerophyll literally means hard-leaved, as adaptation for drought tolerance typically results in comparatively hard leaves with waxy coatings. These coatings are flammable, as are the volatile oils many sclerophyll species (eucalyptus trees, tea-trees etc) produce in their leaves to deter grazing, which can easily stress plants in a harsh environment. In environments where water and minerals are more abundant, plants can more easily re-grow leaves, and aren't forced to protect them chemically.

When vegetation is flammable, it is prone to wildfires through lightning strike. As fire is inevitable in such plant communities, much of southern Australia's current natural vegetation has become gradually fire-adapted.

Aboriginal Australians have been on this continent for over 60,000 years. They began "firestick farming" - using small, frequent low-intensity fires, both to prevent devastating wildfires, and to promote high populations of animals they could eat. The Australian sclerophyll has been co-evolving with Aboriginal fire regimes for at least 35,000 years. The Aboriginal people continually burnt small patches of land to create vegetation mosaics that included old, dense, unburnt vegetation for shelter, freshly burnt ground with new shoots to attract grazing mammals, and everything in-between. We try to do the same.

Tim Flannery and various other Australian ecologists think that the post-colonial exit of Aboriginal Australians and their fire management from the countryside is a major factor in the wave of Australian mammal extinctions, and in a resurgence of devastating large-scale wildfires.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0251.JPG)

In the photo above, you can see what happens if a fire develops hot patches. (Ours did, because the tea-tree flat on the left hadn't been burnt in over 20 years and was long overdue. Generally, we try to do cool burns, like the Aboriginal people did - but since only a relatively small area of our property burnt hot, it wasn't a huge problem for the local ecology.) The eucalypts on this section of the track experienced a crown fire, which cooked their smaller branches and branchlets. When this happens, eucalypts sprout new branches, called epicormic shoots, through the bark, from dormant buds kept in reserve for such occasions.

If anyone is interested in the burn we did last autumn, there's photos and a story here (https://www.horseforum.com/member-journals/trotters-arabians-donkeys-other-people-479466/page112/#post1970620989).

So, back to the trail: This is the south gate into an adjoining property, where I have permission to ride.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0253.JPG)

This is the same neighbours who own that block also own Max. I was hoping he'd come with us on the ride so I could drop him back, but he went back to our house instead. He appears to have made his own way home today.

Next we're through the gate, heading east. I'm not back on the horse yet, because I've just done up the 8kV hot wire that protects the gate from stock - not something you should do off a horse's back.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0258.JPG)

The next set of photos are of the valley floor at the neighbour's place. Summer-green bush grasses predominate that area, and it's really pretty to ride in, on the well-formed animal trails. The introduced pasture is mostly brown this time of year. We met about a dozen kangaroos on our meander through today, in three batches, but the iPod was in my pocket each time, and they were gone by the time I had it out.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0259.JPG)

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0261.JPG)

Here's the Christmas trees (Nuytsia floribunda). These are hemiparasitic trees that draw sap from surrounding grass roots etc, and they also cut telephone cables. Aboriginal people used to make a mildly alcoholic drink from the blooms steeped in water. These trees are completely spectacular this time of year.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0264.JPG)

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0266.JPG)

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0269.JPG)

It's party time for nectar-feeding insects when these trees are in bloom. You can spot some bees in this close-up.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0270.JPG)

If you'd like to know more about these trees, there's a wonderful short article on them here: https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/blogs/wild-journey/2017/05/australias-giant-parasitic-christmas-tree/

Next, we came out of the bushland, onto a narrow strip of pasture by the side of Verne Road (to the right, behind a strip of bush). This time we turned left.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0271.JPG)

Yesterday, we'd turned right, so I took a shot facing backwards as well, to show the alternative route!

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0274.JPG)

It's so hot I've sweated onto the saddle! I'll have to give it some more leather dressing to prevent trouble. In this weather, I'm not going to stop sweating anytime soon, especially when I have to wear a winter trail vest with pockets for carrying the iPod safely.

We're now headed back north on the eastern edge of the same bushland remnant we came through the middle of.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0275.JPG)

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0276.JPG)

The next photo is heading east, with a view of the surrounding countryside. You should be able to see one of the neighbours' Angus herds where Sunsmart's ears are pointing, against the edge of the woods. You can also see how effective the introduced African dung beetles are at breaking up large herbivore dung! There haven't been large native herbivores in Australia since the extinction of the Australian megafauna around 50,000 years ago, so special dung beetles were needed.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0278.JPG)

In the next shot, you can see the neighbours' homestead and farm buildings through the gap in the trees. This is where Max and his family lives. Neighbour Noel used to ride as well, and admits to hurting himself when doing something stupid on a horse in his twenties after watching The Man From Snowy River. These days, he flies an aeroplane he built himself. Much safer!

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0280.JPG)

A few photos of heading up the raceway by the roadside. Note the Australia strainer assembly in the fence, and also, once again, the magic the African dung beetles wreak on the cow manure. At the moment, in the heat of the day, it takes these beetles less than 10 minutes to spread a pile of cow manure or horse droppings far and wide, and this is important, because it stops the Australian bushflies from breeding. We always have a plague of these flies in spring, because the African dung beetles can't produce large enough numbers of themselves until the weather gets really hot. Right now, we're 99% bushfly free, which is great, because these critters sit on the eyes, in the nose, on your lips and anywhere else they can sip moisture off a body, unless you shoo them constantly, and of course, the livestock can't do this.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0281.JPG)

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0283.JPG)

This is at the exit gate, from which point we take a roadside firebreak trail home:

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0285.JPG)

And this is the Hound of the Baskervilles! Complete fluke photograph!

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0287.JPG)

Jess always gets excited when I get back on the horse after going through a gate, and barks a lot to encourage us to hurry up.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0288.JPG)

Here she's being encouraging again...

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0292.JPG)

The roadside trail home:

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0294.JPG)

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0296.JPG)

This is the neighbours' bull paddock, for bulls not currently running with herds:

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0299.JPG)

These are Angus pedigree bulls. The neighbours just had a bull sale, of two-year-old pedigree bulls bred up especially. It's a sideline they are hoping to develop. The sale went well, so they're encouraged to continue the venture.

The freeze branding on these indicates that they are pedigree stock.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0302.JPG)

Here's a machinery shed in the bull paddock, and another Australian strainer assembly, built from local bush poles. The ceramic insulators running inside the fence carry a 9kV line, to keep the stock off the fences.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0306.JPG)

I made a feeble attempt to be arty with this photograph!

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0312.JPG)

Today. we had a lot of practice riding at a walk with completely loose reins, whenever I was taking photographs! It was a leg-steering practice drill.

This is an Australian "cocky gate" - our north-eastern entrance gate:

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0315.JPG)

A cocky gate is a loose section of fence between two strainer posts, that you drag around. The loose end has a narrow post attached via wire loops to the strainer post. We've dropped a big log in front of our cocky gate so people can't use it to drive vehicles onto our property. There's just enough room for a horse, or pedestrians. The log is hollowed out from past bushfires, which is typical for Australian eucalypts, and also one of the main ways in which wildlife shelters are created in the sclerophyll bushland. Many mammal and bird species use tree hollows for shelter and nesting, both in standing trees and in fallen old logs.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0316.JPG)

We're now on the section of our property we call "The Common" - 8ha of undivided pasture, and 50ha of bushland conservation remnant to the south of the pasture. This is where the cattle hang out most of the time, although they do come in to crash graze the two western paddocks of 2ha each as well.

This area gets winter waterlogging, as you can tell from the paperbark trees and the reeds in this section of the land. Don Quixote and Mary Lou sheltering sensibly in the shade of a paperbark tree:

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0317.JPG)

Four Simmental crosses under one year old, and four Friesian steers around two years old:

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0318.JPG)

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0320.JPG)

Sparkle is in the background, in the last photo. Sunsmart and I are headed for the equine group, where Nelly and Benjamin come to greet us.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0322.JPG)

The bay with the blaze is Julian, the chestnut to the left is Chasseur. Aren't these paperbark trees amazing? They can fall in a storm and then keep growing anyway, with a horizontal section of what used to be the upright trunk.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0324.JPG)

My horse is asking, with his ears, "Are you getting off?" When he's not very sweaty and we return from a ride via the Common, I often just leave him with his buddies, and walk the few hundred metres back to the house.

And aren't his buddies enchanting!

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0327.JPG)

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0329.JPG)

We've untacked, and Sunsmart gets straight down to morning tea.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0331.JPG)

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0332.JPG)

And I really couldn't help myself, I just had to take lots of photos of this lovely bunch of animals resting in the shade:

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0336.JPG)

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0337.JPG)

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0338.JPG)

Much nicer than standing on your own in a sand yard for 15 years, isn't it, Julian! (This actually happened to this horse, whom we adopted post-racing.  Now he's got friends and is roaming over large areas.)

A few more group photos to finish. Benjamin knows he's extra cute:

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0340.JPG)

He's a true dun, which is the typical colouration of wild donkeys. You can see how well he blends into the vegetation with his colour.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0341.JPG)

The paperbark trees are named this way for a reason. The bark sheds off in sheets like thick paper. I used to write little letters to my penpals back in Europe on this bark, when I first came to Australia as a kid.

A snoozy Nelly:

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0342.JPG)

Chasseur and the two "new" donkeys:

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0344.JPG)

Chasseur turned 25 late last year, and is looking great.

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0346.JPG)

And a group shot to finish for today - with the tack lying in the foreground!

(https://www.coulstock.id.au/photos/IMG_0343.JPG)

Phew! Next time I'm riding without the camera, or this will start costing me sleep!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this vicarious horseback tour of a little bit of Australia.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on April 14, 2020, 10:47:23
Meeting a few relatives over Easter (as if it almost were a "normal" one) has helped keeping me sane (yeah we kept the distance anyway).

My niece played some songs on her acoustic guitar for her grandma. I listened from outside on the porch while chatting to a relative - when suddenly I recognised that line from a song "waiting for tomorrow... never comes", but I couldn't figure out what song it was (I thought it might be something from the 2000's or 1990's) until I asked her and she said "3 Imaginary Boys"!!  :happy
(I will ask her to play that again one day.)
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 15, 2020, 20:01:00
Spot on again...

(https://media.guim.co.uk/e941eb8471d3f6985f5be22fedd994c8f531fa60/0_0_3508_6405/3508.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/15/thousands-of-dollars-in-fines-have-been-issued-by-police-clearly-loving-the-freedom-to-penalise-pretty-much-anyone
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 18, 2020, 10:21:27
Super project done by a virtual choir:


Story here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-18/i-am-australian-by-the-everyday-choir/12158718

(And forget about our awful bloody national anthem, most people identify with songs like this instead...)

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: BiscuityBoyle on April 18, 2020, 18:46:27
Quote from: SueC on April 05, 2020, 03:04:59A rumination here:  I imagine Freud would have had similar thoughts on that topic...

The problem with all the silos of academia etc is that sometimes people don't see outside of their own particular silo, into other silos or even the world outside those silos.  In fact, I think this is a massive problem - that human thought, especially academic thought, has become too split and specialised and there's so little integration into a whole, people are just beavering away so separately in their own little towers, not enough bringing it together and making it more than the sum of the parts.  It's like a whole bunch of moles in their separate tunnels in the darkness, while the world is blowing up.

So Sartre (and you can substitute various other philosophers here, same argument) is credited within a particular silo for having original thoughts that in all probability had independently occurred to a number of people not in that silo, before and after his time.  I think it would be wise to assume that in most cases of thought, nobody has a monopoly on a particular thought.  That's even true with calculus - Newton or Leibniz?  Well, both, and perhaps a few other maths geeks at some stage as well.  Not everyone who has a particular set of thoughts gets official credit for it.

Brett was telling me this morning about one of his favourite authors, Terry Pratchett.  He listened to one of his speeches once, where he said he had a great idea for a story, and rang up a friend and explained the story idea to him, and his friend said, "Yes, it is a great story!  That's why Fred Brown wrote in it 1952."


There's no doubt that increased specialization and compartmentalization is a reality within academic disciplines, one whose intellectual and social ramifications are legion. Having said that, Sartre's engagement with colonialism is an example of the opposite trend: France's most famous public intellectual 1) lent his support to Algeria's Front de Libération Nationale when it was strictly illegal to do so in France (2 deployed his formidable erudition and rhetorical power to illuminate historical processes in a way that directly impacted some of the most important thinkers of the so-called Third World as well as Europe.

Sartre's analysis was developed by Frantz Fanon, a clinical psychiatrist and one of the 20th century's major political philosophers, whose work reached far beyond the ivory tower. The somewhat mistranslated The Wretched of the Earth (to which Sartre contributed a famous foreword) is a foundational text for anti-colonial radicals and freedom fighters the world over (including, for example, in Palestine), as it is for postcolonial theorists. Then there's Aimé Césaire who, like Fanon, has (to the best of my knowledge)never held any academic post. Paris-educated, he was a poet, thinker and politician in his native Martinique, who exerted tremendous influence on African literatures in particular. If Sartre and these two represent a "silo", it's a weirdly global, heterogeneous and multidisciplinary one. 

Finally, it would be inaccurate to say that Sartre is credited with coming up with the idea re the link between colonialism and fascism, which was fleshed out much more fully and explicitly in the work of Fanon and Césaire, as well as Albert Memmi and Hannah Arendt (to cite only Sartre's contemporaries). There is a boring reason for that and a not so boring one. The boring one is that Sartre's writings about colonialism occupy a relatively marginal place in his oeuvre (indeed, I cited them in this discussion as an example that there's more to Sartre than "existentialism") and I'm familiar with only two books on the subject, neither of which has been translated into English.

The more interesting reason is the nature of his oft-overlooked contribution to our thinking about European colonialism and its aftermath. His writings from the late 1940s developed a new style of reasoning about racism and Europe's relation to Africa, effectively changing the underlying rules for the "production of statements" on the topic. His work set the ground for what Foucault called a new discursive practice, rather than this or that "idea." He was instrumental in opening up a space within which you could say things that hitherto would have made little sense, would have no perspective within which to ground them.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 19, 2020, 03:01:28
Thank you for writing that, @BiscuityBoyle, it's much appreciated!  :smth023  I'm glad you're aware of the things I was concerned about, since not everyone in academia is (and the higher up they are, the less they see it, from my own experience, in the sciences).  Very interesting stuff in your post.  :cool   I hope you're doing OK and that there's some end point in sight about being able to go home, for you.

On the staying sane front, we got out yesterday - for me it was the first time in a week I left the farm - headed for Cosy Corner, our closest beach via unsealed back roads, for a nice long walk before lunch.  As luck would have it, there were bridgeworks on one of the access roads, resulting in a detour that took us to Young's Siding, so we decided to go to Bornholm Beach instead.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49509909326_26f7957cda_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2ir2e9j)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49510110362_d584c90624_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2ir3fUs)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49509395183_c07b4078e6_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2iqYAiM)

Bornholm Beach is small, so we decided to go rock-hopping around the point shown in that last photo, something we'd not done at this location before.  We didn't take a camera - the above photos were from our last visit, which was after a 4-hour bushwalk nearby, to cool our feet - but next time we definitely will, because as we worked our way around the point, we oohed and aahed at the wonderland we encountered - limestone caves, mixed granite and limestone boulders overlying the granite bedrock, intrusions where magma had cooled quickly to make close-grained dark dykes in the large-grained, slow-cooled granite around it, steep cliffs, faraway headlands, little hidden beaches in the distance, and the Southern Ocean throwing a wild surf onto the rocks.  Rock fishermen we saw were in life jackets along the edge.

It's amazing to be living in a part of the world where we can still go to places we've never been (I first lived here 25 years ago; Brett has been down here for over 12 years), and will be able to until the end of our lives.  This place is so vast and there is so much coastline, and so much walking.  We're the kind of people who go mad without regular immersion in the wilderness, which is why we live where we do.

Luckily, Western Australia shut its borders rapidly and is getting quickly on top of COVID-19 at the moment compared to the Eastern states, so we've not had any restrictions on where or how long we can exercise (other than that we have to stay in our regions at the moment), as long as we do it responsibly and we keep physical distance with people not from our households.  The only reported police involvement in fining people in our state so far has been for people breaching quarantine (everyone entering has to be in hotel quarantine for a fortnight at the moment, and some entitled prat was going out through the fire exit every night and hopping on public transport, and he's rightly in jail at the moment), or breaching self-isolation orders, or not staying in their regions, or holding house parties / large gatherings / ignoring social distancing.  Noone has been fined for sitting on a bench to eat a pie, or for driving to the beach etc - and we've not been told not to do it, in fact we're being encouraged to get out for exercise, for our physical and mental health.

I guess the fact that they clamped down on the borders so hard and on quarantining people coming in, and are now doing widespread testing, means that the citizens aren't as hyper-restricted in our state as they are in many places in the world.  Yes, we do have a lockdown, but with generous exercise and outdoors provisions.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 19, 2020, 14:34:23
This was just brought to my attention and I am delighted, as a fellow gardener, to see it:


It's very relatable and hopefully will start some people on a really useful little hobby that's far more interesting than growing rhododendrons... growing some of your own food!  :cool

By the way, if you need flowerpots, go to your local tip shop, where these are usually collected and given away for free.

It's so nice to see these little clips by various people during lockdown.  Now we just need Simon Gallup to start doing YT videos on DIY bicycle mechanics.  Brett said earlier he would like to hold Mike Scott at gunpoint until he produces another reading, since he loves the three lockdown readings he's done so far... ;)

Brett thinks that a lot of politicians, especially right-wingers, think people on coronavirus lockdown are just watching TV and taking drugs and being lazy, when many people are actually doing really creative things...
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 21, 2020, 01:32:04
Independent media gives me hope, because not filled with Prolefeed.  Crikey has great articles at the moment:

https://www.crikey.com.au/

They're subscription-based now, but you get three weeks to try them out, and this is a good time to be sampling their articles.  (And we will be subscribing, they're worth it, and we have so little independent media in Australia.)  Lots of stuff relevant globally too, like this one:

https://www.crikey.com.au/2020/04/20/virus-stage-human-history/

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 23, 2020, 13:31:18
This cartoonist is augmenting my sanity levels yet again:

(https://media.guim.co.uk/da91b78f7c1552c13d280d95873d472e694506b6/0_0_3508_6242/3508.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/21/can-you-believe-there-is-someone-who-had-a-worse-response-to-coronavirus-than-boris-johnson

I hope everyone is doing OK.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 24, 2020, 01:09:44

...and despite the bad press he gives it, kale - especially the Dwarf Scotch Blue variety - is actually really nice in the right things:  Try it in minestrone, in stir-fry, in a curry, or Dutch style with sausage and mashed potatoes... :yum:

...and much easier to grow that the heading brassicas, like cauliflower and broccoli... and we've got plants that have been continuously producing for over two years, while looking like something out of Jurassic Park... :cool
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on April 24, 2020, 12:15:35
The Stones just released a good "lockdown" song (recorded last year, but finished only now - I guess Mick changed the lyrics?):

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 25, 2020, 01:08:17
(https://media.guim.co.uk/173eafae977281ca4e4cc89e9222f10b9633dcd5/0_0_3508_6262/3508.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/24/should-we-blame-bats-for-the-terrible-coronavirus-we-should-not-bats-are-our-friends

Love his flowcharts! :heart-eyes



...and finally, an article about "that"...

QuoteWalter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, added: "It is incomprehensible to me that a moron like this holds the highest office in the land and that there exist people stupid enough to think this is OK. I can't believe that in 2020 I have to caution anyone listening to the president that injecting disinfectant could kill you."

...which didn't mince words:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/24/donald-trump-coronavirus-president-advice-bleach
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: dsanchez on April 26, 2020, 15:20:26
Learning new stuff on coursera.org and also learning new skills: Bought a good hair clipper and for the first time ever I did a self-hair cut. There are several YouTube videos on this (see below) and in long term I will be able to spare some cash and time (I used to cut my hair every month as it grows really fast, and it costs about 20 EUR, so that's about 240 EUR/year I will be saving from now on :)

I usually try to keep a 'The Cure In Orange' Robert Smith look, as in my early 40s it helps me to look a bit young, still

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: BiscuityBoyle on April 26, 2020, 21:57:51
I just shaved it the f*ck off a couple of weeks ago, to have one less thing to be concerned with. May or may not look like someone with vastly different politics now...
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on April 27, 2020, 01:06:02
It's OK, @BiscuityBoyle, Peter Garrett has a shiny pate and is definitely a leftie!  ;)

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.newsapi.com.au%2Fimage%2Fv1%2Fccc9de6c9c454111068901151e08dd08%3Fwidth%3D1024&f=1&nofb=1)

In our news here, I was just bemoaning to a friend that I was unable to counter-invite her and her husband back to our place after having a lovely morning tea with them at their new place just before the pandemic, when the West Australian government announced that as of today, we're back to being allowed 10 people in private gatherings at our homes (1.5 m rule applies to anyone not from the same household).  This means we can now go back to having people over for lunch, dinner etc.  They've also specifically put camping, boating, picnics, any fishing and any hiking back on the agenda (the latter two were never officially off the agenda but I suppose they'll be opening up the walking trails near Perth again - we didn't have closures down here).
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on May 05, 2020, 02:49:14
(https://media.guim.co.uk/2f8209034eea3a3d9f39bc6c435dd96c47421cf9/0_0_3508_7191/3508.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/04/have-you-learned-anything-new-in-lockdown-or-did-you-waste-it-what-harsh-truths-did-you-discover
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on May 05, 2020, 13:25:35
Ever come across something rather humorous when reading an Agony Aunt column?

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/apr/28/i-see-lockdown-as-a-chance-for-more-bdsm-but-my-girlfriend-doesnt

Ms Stephenson (who used to be on Not The Nine O'Clock News, which I used to laugh myself silly over) somehow missed the Me-Myself-I-ness of this guy's thinking, but many of the people commenting didn't.  :P  We had a good laugh reading through the comments section... :lol:

An entertaining spin-off from coming across this epistle and associated commentary is what it has done to the conversations in our own house.

Person 1 stops for a moment to breathe after long languid kissing and says, "I know this is really strange, but I still don't have any urge to tie you to the furniture."

Person 2 replies, "Wait till I really annoy you!"   :evil:


Brett, after reflecting, said to me, "You know, Sue, you can tie me to the mainframe anytime you like!"  :angel  (We use the word "mainframe" for our desktop computer.)

Earlier on I was musing about what I was going to tie him to if that urge ever descended on me.  I was thinking the washing machine or the laundry basket, but Brett says they're not furniture.  I asked him if our shoe rack was furniture, and he thinks it is.  But I would have to bolt it to the floor first, unless I wanted him wearing it like an accessory...

I was wondering if there was any psychological significance to him and me both hypothesising about what I was going to tie him to, but perhaps it's a moot point because he could just hold me down (although not for very long; I trim horse hooves and am used to wrestling with large critters and coming out with an advantage).  Anyway, so I said, "So what would you tie me to, or are you too polite to make such a suggestion?"  He then suggested ratchet strapping me to the sofa.  We're very practical around here and think ratchet straps would be ideal for the job - they're nice and sturdy, they'd actually fit around the sofa, and their breaking strength is several tonnes.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

While we are on this extremely edifying topic... I remembered something...

When I was a university student, a friend of mine was making dog and cat collars as a sideline to finance her PhD in entomology.  One day she had a phone call asking if she could make some custom collars, and she asked, "Is this for a special size dog?"  Errrr, no, they said, it's for people, let us send you a catalogue to show you what we mean.

Upon receipt of this in the mail she phoned me and said, "Sue, you've got to come over and look at this!"  We spent an afternoon laughing over a catalogue.  OMG!  Get this!  Hahahaha!  :lol:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bring out your crazy stories!  :cool
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on May 08, 2020, 02:55:36
Here's a bit of good news to come out of the pandemic in Western Australia - and I'm hearing this is replicated in quite a few other places in the world too:

QuoteRecord low flu cases amid social distancing

Mr Cook said social distancing measures and good personal hygiene were showing an added benefit as the state headed into the influenza season.

"Our social distancing and improved personal hygiene during this pandemic have delivered the lowest flu numbers in WA's history for this time of year," Mr Cook said.

Mr Cook said last year 80 people died from the flu in the state, including five children.

"Western Australia has recorded just 20 cases of flu last month, the lowest April number in the state's history," Mr Cook said.

"Last year we had 548 cases in April alone."

Mr Cook urged all West Australians to get the flu vaccination.

from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-07/wa-scuppers-afl-plans-as-no-new-coronavirus-cases-recorded/12224154
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on May 08, 2020, 14:30:29
Doggie always does such a succinct summary...

(https://media.guim.co.uk/cb064c2b4477513299e9f9198f92ade7f4c21e7f/0_0_3508_6369/3508.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/08/australia-were-full-party-or-an-independent-who-will-win-the-eden-monaro-by-election
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on May 10, 2020, 06:27:11
Good article by an ex-Australian PM, and one of the few I was actually able to respect, on the Murdoch media's current spinning in order to favour Trump's re-election (amongst other relevant current things);

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/may/08/murdoch-media-china-coronavirus-conspiracy-trump-kevin-rudd
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on May 10, 2020, 12:34:48
Quote from: dsanchez on April 26, 2020, 15:20:26Learning new stuff on coursera.org and also learning new skills: Bought a good hair clipper and for the first time ever I did a self-hair cut. There are several YouTube videos on this (see below) and in long term I will be able to spare some cash and time (I used to cut my hair every month as it grows really fast, and it costs about 20 EUR, so that's about 240 EUR/year I will be saving from now on :)

I usually try to keep a 'The Cure In Orange' Robert Smith look, as in my early 40s it helps me to look a bit young, still


Well, as our hairdresser is still closed, guess whose job it was to cut Brett's hair this weekend?  A colleague had noted that he looked a little shaggy... I actually like his hair a bit longer, but alas, work standards and all that, blah blah blah.  At least when I cut it, I don't make him look like he's from the army - I leave a lot of length through the top and just taper the back up.  His hair is very forgiving because there's lots of it and it's wavy, plus it grows quickly, so no matter what you do, after two weeks it all looks fine again.  Although I'm just an amateur, he's had worse haircuts from professionals.  It's turned out well, although there were two people in particular who cut it magnificently in the past, but alas, not where we live.

Anyway, this means we get to buy another CD.  Are you going to treat yourself with your saved money, @dsanchez? :cool
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: dsanchez on May 10, 2020, 22:40:35
This is from two weeks ago, trip to the suburbs of the city, nice cycle lane along Little Danube



And this is from yesterday (lots of people cycling, minute 13:25 onward) outside the city, 40km

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on May 11, 2020, 11:10:55
Venice being empty...

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on May 12, 2020, 09:38:07
David Lynch's weather report:

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on May 20, 2020, 03:11:32
An excellent piece on the difference between sceptics and conspiracy theorists:

https://www.propublica.org/article/immune-to-evidence-how-dangerous-coronavirus-conspiracies-spread


QuoteWhat's the difference between a real conspiracy and a conspiracy theory?

A real conspiracy actually exists, and it is usually uncovered by journalists, whistleblowers, document dumps from a corporation or government, or it's discovered by a government agency. The Volkswagen emissions scandal, for example, was discovered by conventional ways when some engineers discovered an anomaly in a report.

It was all mundane -- normal people having normal observations based on data. They said, "Hang on, something's funny here," and then it unraveled. The same is true for the Iran-contra scandal. That broke via a newspaper in Lebanon. True conspiracies are often uncovered through the media. In Watergate, it was journalists not taking "no" for an answer.

A conspiracy theory, on the other hand, is discussed at length on the internet by people who are not bona fide journalists or government officials or whistleblowers in an organization or investigative committees of regulators.

They're completely independent sources, individuals who self-nominate and put themselves forward as being in possession of the truth. In principle, that could be true. But then if you look at the way these people think and talk and communicate, you discover their cognition is different from what I would call conventional cognition.

What are some differences between conventional and conspiratorial thinking?

You can start with healthy skepticism vs. overriding suspicion. As a scientist, I'm obviously skeptical. I'm questioning anything people say. I look at my own data and other people's data with a skeptical eye.

But after skeptics have been skeptical, they are quite capable of accepting evidence. Once something has withstood scrutiny, you accept it. Otherwise you're in a state of complete nihilism and you can't believe anything.

That crucial second step of acceptance is absent in conspiracy theorists. That is where conspiracy theorists are different. Their skepticism is a bottomless, never-ending pit of skepticism about anything related to the official account.

And that skepticism is accompanied by extreme gullibility to anything related to the conspiracy. It's an imbalance between skepticism for anything an official may say and complete gullibility for something some random dude on the internet will tweet out. It's that imbalance that differentiates conspiracy thinking from standard cognition.

Conspiracy thinking is immune to evidence. In the "Plandemic" video, the absence of evidence is twisted to be seen to be as evidence for the theory. They say the cover-up is so perfect that you will never find out about it. That's the opposite of rational thinking.

Usually when you think of a hypothesis, you think of the evidence. And if there's zero evidence, you give it up or say there is no evidence for it.

Conspiracy theorists may also simultaneously believe things that are contradictory. In the "Plandemic" video, for example, they say COVID-19 both came from a Wuhan lab and that we're all infected with the disease from vaccinations. They're making both claims, and they don't hang together.

More generally, conspiracy theorists show this contradictory thinking by presenting themselves as both victims and heroes. They see themselves as these heroes in possession of the truth.

But they also see themselves as victims. They feel they are being persecuted by this evil establishment or the deep state or whatever it is.

Why do you think some conspiracy theories are so popular?

Some people find comfort in resorting to a conspiracy theory whenever they have a sense of a loss of control or they're confronted with a major adverse event that no one has control over.

So every time there's a mass shooting in the US, I can guarantee you ahead of time that there will be a conspiracy theory about it.

So you would expect conspiracy theories related to the pandemic. That doesn't make them any less harmful. Here in the United Kingdom, people are burning 5G cell towers because of this extreme idea that 5G has something to do with causing COVID-19. More than 70 cell towers have gone up in flames because of this conspiracy theory.

Is conspiracy thinking at an all time high?

Historical records show that there were rampant conspiracy theories going on in the Middle Ages when the plague hit Europe. It was anti-Semitism at the time. That tends to be part and parcel of pandemics. People engage in conspiracies that involve some sort of "othering" of people.

During previous pandemics, people chased doctors down the street because they thought they were responsible for the pandemic. In Europe, now a lot of antagonism is directed at Asians, because the pandemic started in China. The internet is helping the spread of conspiracy theories. It's much easier now than it was 30 years ago. But it's difficult to say we have more now.

Are conservatives or liberals any more likely to engage in conspiracy thinking?

There is a lot of research on this and political conspiracy theories tend to be most associated with extreme political views, on the right or the left. But if you quantify it, you frequently find more on the right than the left.

How do we talk to the conspiracy theorists in our lives?

It's extremely difficult. In terms of strategy, the best people to talk to are people who are not conspiracy theorists. The vast majority of people are grateful for the debunking and responsive to it. That should be your target of communication if you have a choice.

The hardcore conspiracy theorists are unlikely to change their minds. They will take what you say and display considerable ingenuity in twisting it and using it against you. On Twitter, I block them immediately because I'm concerned about my ability to have a rational conversation and I don't want others to violate that right.

How do we prevent the spread of conspiracy theories?

By trying to inoculate the public against them. Telling the public ahead of time: Look, there are people who believe these conspiracy theories. They invent this stuff. When they invent it they exhibit these characteristics of misguided cognition.

You can go through the traits we mention in our handbook, like incoherence, immunity to evidence, overriding suspicion and connecting random dots into a pattern. The best thing to do is tell the public how they can spot conspiracy theories and how they can protect themselves.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on May 24, 2020, 09:59:19
https://www.brainpickings.org/2020/04/16/mary-shelley-the-last-man/

QuoteShelley's protagonist finds the meaning of life not in the whirlwind of the human-made world with its simulacra of living but in the simple creaturely presence with nature's ongoing symphony of life:

"Let us... seek peace... near the inland murmur of streams, and the gracious waving of trees, the beauteous vesture of earth, and sublime pageantry of the skies. Let us leave "life," that we may live."
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on May 24, 2020, 12:24:37
That's lovely, @Ulrich.  :cool

Here's a nice little story coming out of Hobart, Tasmania - very beautiful place:

(https://www.abc.net.au/cm/rimage/12279792-3x2-xlarge.jpg?v=2)

Quote from: undefinedThree years ago, Kelvin Smith decided to do something quite unusual -- play a piano in the most spectacular outdoor settings he could think of.Mr Smith describes himself as a pianist who just does things differently.

With his passion for nature, the 41-year-old thought Tasmania was the perfect venue for his quirky quest.

Originally from Gippsland in Victoria, Mr Smith was one of 11 children and the rule in their house growing up was they had to start playing the piano at the age of 10 but could quit at any time.

He took it up and loved it for a couple of years before exams and theory put him off for a considerable length of time.  Mr Smith's favourite performance so far has been at Coningham Beach, south of Hobart, where the waves were almost touching his feet as he played to two surprised kayakers.

The response has been phenomenally positive, with thousands of views and encouraging comments posted online.

Despite the project starting before the spread of coronavirus, it has caught the imagination of the general public in these difficult times.

At a recent performance at Rose Bay on a chilly May morning overlooking the River Derwent, local resident Vicky Lutterell was effusive about the spirit Mr Smith's piano project inspires.

I think it's fantastic, I think we need something like this, particularly at this time when everybody is probably a lot more miserable than they normally are," she said.

Mary Voss, another local, was equally full of praise, listening to Smith play in his now trademark formal attire.

"It's lovely, it's very uplifting," she said.

With more than 20 performances under his belt, Mr Smith said he is keen to keep going and, like the artist Banksy, prefers to keep the mystery of his next location a secret until the day it happens -- partly so he doesn't draw too big a crowd and breach social distancing rules.

The piano mysteriously appears and then disappears, and each time Mr Thomson brings his camera gear along.

"I just turn up and it's there and I don't ask any questions," he laughs.

More, including a film, here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-24/film-the-piano-inspires-tasmanian-to-play-music-beautiful-places/12277376
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on June 09, 2020, 18:52:12
https://news.artnet.com/art-world/wedding-photographer-discovers-losthenge-1855185

QuoteChris Sedden found himself out of work during the shutdown as government restrictions put an end to weddings and other large gatherings. But the break in his normal routine afforded Sedden the opportunity to put on his amateur archaeology hat and spend hours pouring over images of the terrain surrounding his home in southern Derbyshire.

As he scanned along the River Trent, near the village of Swarkestone, he noticed something strange. "I thought, 'what's that? It looks a bit odd, and a bit round,'" Sedden told the Guardian.

For armchair archaeologist Sedden, the more he examined images of the area, the more he began to suspect that the faint circular formation was in fact the remains of an ancient structure, a "losthenge" similar to Stonehenge. There are other known Neolithic sites nearby, which helps support Sedden's theory. And the historic boundaries of the surrounding fields conform to the formation, suggesting that farmers may have been organizing plantings around an existing structure.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on June 12, 2020, 09:38:12
I enjoy independent journalism, and therefore contribute to alternative magazines and read Crikey, the Guardian etc.

Crikey has taken down its paywall for a fortnight to give people a chance to sample it:

https://www.crikey.com.au/

...and their subscriptions are very reasonable. :cool
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on June 15, 2020, 05:54:52
Fabulous moment in Bristol the other day  :heart-eyes  and predictable government bleating:


I might be half a world away but I was cheering in our lounge room.   :smth023  :smth023  :smth023

Excellent answer by that policeman to the journalist's question.  :cool   Love the crowd interviews.  :)

If the bureaucrats don't remove the shrines to the "leaders" who caused untold misery to many, then the people need to take that matter into their own hands.  There aren't any Hitler statues standing in public places in Germany - there's history, and there's making that history seem "normal" and even admirable.  It's not appropriate to put people like that on pedestals.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: dsanchez on June 15, 2020, 09:59:02
+114 Km bicycle ride to the border with Hungary. Everything is open now everywhere, except clubs :P

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on June 16, 2020, 13:25:24
https://www.cbr.com/david-lynch-youtube-has-been-a-gift/

QuoteDavid Lynch's personal YouTube channel is a shining beacon of positivity and weirdness for the cinephiles quarantined at home.

For a tender sprinkle of time no longer than a minute, Lynch kicks each morning off with a genial "good morning," the day's date and an off-camera glance out his Los Angeles home window. Some days, it's sunny. Others, there might be some fog with a promise of golden sunshine. The weather often wavers, but Lynch's lovingly mundane report is always short, sweet and capped off with a warm goodbye.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on June 18, 2020, 00:20:21
(https://media.guim.co.uk/a01908a0074b2a955e674951fb92436b2a040be9/0_0_3508_6951/3508.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/16/so-here-are-some-statues-we-might-not-pull-down-a-tribute-to-egg-boy-and-a-pillar-of-chicken-salt
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on June 29, 2020, 01:35:08
(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.smh.com.au%2Fcontent%2Fdam%2Fimages%2Fg%2Fs%2F6%2Fg%2Fd%2Fy%2Fimage.related.articleLeadwide.620x349.gs4n29.png%2F1477109260250.jpg&f=1&nofb=1)
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on July 03, 2020, 16:36:17
This cartoonist really does keep me sane.   :heart-eyes

(https://media.guim.co.uk/43aad6ccb60e2365ee7986d4ca7fdc6840189907/0_0_3508_6108/3508.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/03/todays-good-news-they-found-a-new-prehistoric-wombat-cant-have-too-many
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on July 08, 2020, 10:25:54
Quote from: undefinedTucson Weekly: How are you and your family weathering the virus?

Rat Scabies: I find the whole thing incredibly unique actually, and also divisive because on the one hand I absolutely feel for the people, their losses, the sickness that's going around. But at the same time, I look at the panic knee-jerk reactions of governments. I am wondering how they are handling it.

The other thing is, I quite enjoy a lot of it. I'm liking the clean air, the lack of noise, the lack of cars, and the lack of people. The pubs are open, so I really don't mind it too much. It's very ecological at the moment, isn't it?

:lol:

https://www.tucsonweekly.com/TheRange/archives/2020/07/03/still-rat-scabies-after-all-these-years-punk-legend-talks-covid-19-dad-his-new-album-and-joey-ramone
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on July 08, 2020, 13:10:20
Hee hee ha ha ho ho:

(https://media.guim.co.uk/81fa27c178f82a4a53da26c78374c1999abbf65c/0_0_3508_5169/3508.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/08/to-the-distress-of-wordists-a-dictionary-has-confirmed-the-lexical-veracity-of-irregardless
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on July 15, 2020, 16:19:38
Nice one!
QuoteResidents and carers at a north London care home have been recreating classic album covers to keep themselves occupied during the lockdown.

Sydmar Lodge Care Home, in Edgware, was closed to visitors on 12 March so staff have been organising activities to keep those living there entertained.
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-53389217
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on July 18, 2020, 18:00:54
Fabulous project, wasn't it, @Ulrich! :cool

Melbourne is in lockdown again - this is for @word_on_a_wing...

(https://media.guim.co.uk/f236790f2787fac6bedc40a02f4facc3c72d7110/0_0_3508_7456/3508.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/14/lockdown-2-some-handy-dos-and-donts-to-help-get-through-the-extremely-dreary-sequel
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on July 19, 2020, 02:49:12
This has got to be the most inspirational and fabulous thing I have read all year.   :heart-eyes  :heart-eyes  :heart-eyes  :cool  :cool  :cool  :beaming-face  :smth023  :)

James Lovelock - the person who invented the Gaia hypothesis - is about to turn 101, is still mentally extraordinary and has done a whole lot more amazing stuff in his life than I was aware of before reading this wonderful interview with him.   :heart-eyes

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/18/james-lovelock-the-biosphere-and-i-are-both-in-the-last-1-per-cent-of-our-lives

...and his comment on establishment science is so spot on:

QuoteLatour believes the establishment struggles to accept your ideas because they are such a conceptual leap. He believes the shift from Galileo to Gaia is as big as that from Aristotle to Galileo. But very different, of course. While Galileo opened exploration into an infinite universe, you revealed we are in a closed, very precarious system that we need to stabilise. Do you think people are willing to acknowledge this?

I would love to be able to speak to Galileo to understand how he felt. We were both loners who met a lot of opposition. I think Galileo's problem was largely with the church rather than people at large. It was so contrary to their dogma that they hated it. I have felt for some time that the universities are getting dangerously like the early church. They have dozens of different sects and they are quite proud if you belong to one of them: if you are a chemist you often don't know anything about biology and so on. This is why ordinary university science is not really helpful because the department looking at seaweed would not be the same as the one looking at methyl iodide. It is a division into bits. It's time universities were revolutionised and had much more common thinking. It's amazing how much objection there is to Gaia. I'm wondering to what extent you can put that down to the coal and oil industries who fought against any kind of message that would be bad for them.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on July 22, 2020, 09:46:09
https://www.rrr.org.au/on-demand/segments/the-australian-mood-hugo-race-on-keeping-creative-in-lockdown

QuoteHugo says that being in lockdown has resulted in multiple new ventures that weren't a part of his previous life on the road. Says Hugo, "Part of what I do is internationalism - going to other places, collaborating with other people, doing it in person - and that's what I've been doing for many, many years. So the pandemic is the complete nemesis of everything that I do."

Hugo continues to work with the other members of The True Spirit, who are also locked down in Melbourne, and a new album, Starburst, will be released later this year. But the entire album will also feature a video for each track, edited by Hugo who says that "extending his skills into video editing has been a necessity, but it's also a great extension of what we were already doing".
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: word_on_a_wing on July 23, 2020, 14:08:04
Thanks Sue,
Yep Melbourne is back in lockdown, and masks are mandatory now. 
Interesting times, and a bit worrying, though I can't complain compared to other countries.

On a plus side, I dreamt about The Cure last night... only vague snippets of the dream remain but what I recall is they were arriving on a train and myself and many others were standing on the platform ready to board. As the train went past the platform I seemed able to see through it and saw the band plus what seemed like family and friends with them
...so where is this train going? I don't know 🤔
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on July 23, 2020, 14:46:28
Quote from: word_on_a_wing on July 23, 2020, 14:08:04Thanks Sue,
Yep Melbourne is back in lockdown, and masks are mandatory now. 
Interesting times, and a bit worrying, though I can't complain compared to other countries.

The numbers look bad, but of course could be far worse.  I hold my breath each day before the numbers come out at morning briefing.  Wishing you luck in Melbourne.

Have you got a cute mask?  A friend from Taiwan has really cute masks, with teddy bears and everything.  :cool


Quote from: word_on_a_wing on July 23, 2020, 14:08:04On a plus side, I dreamt about The Cure last night... only vague snippets of the dream remain but what I recall is they were arriving on a train and myself and many others were standing on the platform ready to board. As the train went past the platform I seemed able to see through it and saw the band plus what seemed like family and friends with them
...so where is this train going? I don't know 🤔

The journey is more important than the destination, blah blah.  :angel

Half your luck.  :winking_tongue  The only time I ever dreamt about The Cure, I was wearing pyjama bottoms (in the dream) with a fabric failure meaning a hole probably made by a particularly sharp seatbone, seeing that pyjama bottoms are my preferred officewear.  You try answering your front door with a pyjama pants failure, and finding you have to invite people in for a cup of tea.  And then you're reversing all the way down the corridor because you can't turn around.   :-D
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: dsanchez on July 24, 2020, 11:29:13
Things pretty much back to normal now...

Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on July 26, 2020, 08:18:46
A fair bit of good journalism during this pandemic - and two excellent articles in yesterday's Guardian:

QuoteThis is what happens when the war on terror is turned inward, on America
Hamilton Nolan

Trump has realized that our vast post-9/11 security state can be used to police internal bogeymen like antifa


'If there was a tipping point, we're past it. Trying to determine the exact point at which we slip into fascism is like staring at a baby to see when it turns into an adult. By the time you perceive it, it's already happened.'

A strange and necessary ingredient of America's descent towards fascism is that it will have little impact on the majority of people. As militarized federal agents are deployed into major cities to snatch protesters and charge them with harsh federal crimes for daring to deface the ruling party's monuments, most Americans will continue living their normal lives with no discernible changes, at least for the time being. People wake up and eat breakfast and spend their days doing mundane tasks in fascist countries, too.

If there was ever a tipping point, we are past it. Trying to stare hard at the daily news to determine the exact point at which we slip into fascism is like staring at a baby to see when it turns into an adult. By the time you perceive it, it's already happened. It is important to understand that the crackdown phase that we are now in - the unaccountable government forces, the riot police, the teargas, the targeted political prosecutions that will come next - are not something new, but something old. This isn't about Donald Trump. This is about America, baby. This is what we do.

Trump, a fool ruled by impulse rather than strategy, did not build the fearsome machine of government oppression that is now being aimed at his political opponents. This machine was systematically assembled and lovingly tended to by generations of presidents before him - Democratic, Republican, Whig. Trump is only broadening its aperture. All of these tools have been sharpened on the bones of Native Americans and Black people and immigrants and Muslims overseas. America has always needed someone to oppress. Mostly so that we could steal their stuff, but also so that the rest of us didn't turn against one another. This country has managed to avoid a class war by giving poor white people an array of minorities to abuse, a trick that has benefited rich white people for centuries. We have used injustice not just as a way to get ahead, but as a release valve. Our leaders have long calculated that it is safer to subjugate and mistreat a minority of the population than to risk dissatisfaction in the majority. In doing so, the government has become very adept at creating enemies and wielding power against them in flagrant shows of force.

Worth reading in its entirety here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/24/trump-security-state-war-on-terror-america



Also a nice one on the precariat and COVID-19:

QuoteWorkplace insecurity pervades the whole economy, just when every job is under threat
Jeff Sparrow

We were urged to welcome precarity as a liberation from the old industrial order. Now the chickens are coming home to roost

'Let's start the discussion by recognising jobs didn't become insecure by accident.'

Article here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/25/workplace-insecurity-pervades-the-whole-economy-just-when-every-job-is-under-threat
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on July 29, 2020, 03:31:28
An old one, but a good one:

(https://media.guim.co.uk/49ff23a8fea400d894c3e4217c12c6412cd8fdce/0_0_2400_4145/1158.jpg)
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on July 29, 2020, 09:35:03
I'm not certain whether that's still sane, but when I'm dreaming about meeting people I make sure not to shake hands with them in my dreams because of keeping distance and all that...  :1f62e:
 :-D
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on August 17, 2020, 14:54:55
Since laughter keeps us sane, I just have to mention this thing I just read in the news:

QuoteLego piece falls out of New Zealand boy's nose after being stuck for two years

Sameer Anwar's parents thought the lost piece of Lego was long gone - until their son took a great big sniff of a plate of cupcakes

A missing piece of Lego has dropped out of a child's nose two years after he pushed it up.

Seven-year-old Sameer Anwar of Dunedin, in the south of New Zealand, inserted a tiny piece of Lego up his nose in 2018. Sameer's father, Mudassir, and his wife became alarmed when their son told them he had lost a piece of Lego up his nose, and couldn't find it.

The concerned parents took their son to the GP, who was also unable to find, or remove it.

More here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/aug/17/lego-piece-falls-out-of-boys-nose-after-2-years
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on August 19, 2020, 00:38:43
Quote from: Ulrich on July 29, 2020, 09:35:03I'm not certain whether that's still sane, but when I'm dreaming about meeting people I make sure not to shake hands with them in my dreams because of keeping distance and all that...  :1f62e:
 :-D

Sounds eminently sane to me.  Shows that the pandemic education is trickling down even into your subconscious, where it needs to be to make it autopilot.  A+  :)



Here's some essential reading from this morning's Guardian - but make sure you're not drinking coffee or you'll snort it all over the keyboard.  :angel

QuoteChristianity has been predicting an imminent apocalypse since its earliest days but the world only burns if we let it

As death was raging across 14th-century Europe, the church gathered the people together. God is mad, they told the people. We must ask for forgiveness so he will stop trying to kill us. The flagellants went on the march, dressed in linen hoods, slapping themselves for God and begging for the absolution of people's many sins. And, yes, further spreading the plague wherever they went.

The professors at the University of Paris's school of medicine decreed the plague had been caused by "a disturbance in the skies [that] had caused the sun to overheat the oceans near India, and the waters had begun to give off noxious vapors", in the words of Otto Friedrich in The End of the World. (As to what would cure it: broth and enemas.) So it's not like the people at the time had a sophisticated scientific knowledge about disease and contagion. Which makes one wonder, watching all of the US Christians crowd together in their churches both mega and modest as the coronavirus spreads, what's their excuse?

Preachers have been dying, outbreaks are traced back to church services, and still people gather for worship. There are secret churches with secret entrances, churches that are cramming thousands of unmasked people indoors in defiance of orders. When the state of Kansas issued a ban on any gathering with more than 10 people, it was two churches that filed suit to challenge the law on the grounds that it interfered with their right to assembly. From the outside, it looks like a suicide pact, as ministers downplay the seriousness of the disease just before dropping dead of the virus while taking a couple congregants with them.

More here:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/18/the-end-of-the-world-is-nigh-all-the-more-reason-to-help-each-other-here-and-now
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on August 19, 2020, 18:00:56
Quote from: SueC on August 19, 2020, 00:38:43Shows that the pandemic education is trickling down even into your subconscious, where it needs to be to make it autopilot.

Sadly not in real life. A few weeks ago I went into a café to get me an ice-cream cone (takeaway) and outside all of the guests were sitting without masks (of course, how do you eat & drink with mask...), thus I went in and ordered my thing and when I went out I realised "forgot to put on mask", but no-one had said anything (in theory I should've worn it when going into a shop/café).  :'(


Quote from: undefinedChristianity has been predicting an imminent apocalypse since its earliest days ...

That much is true. I once watched an interesting documentary about the book of Revelations and the (possible) events John (not the evangelist, btw) referred to in his writings (e.g. Pompeii)! Not much to do with any upcoming events, especially not in our time...

Quote from: undefinedWhich makes one wonder, watching all of the US Christians crowd together in their churches

Seems a very one-sided view (sorry Guardian, you know you can do better!), because I know for a fact that German & other European Christian churches stopped doing public Sunday service soon enough (my sister is active in a small community and they were told to stop any gatherings at all in mid March - I was there when she received the message on her phone!)...

Thus, to throw all "Christians" together in one drawer is not good journalism.  :1f62b:
(But I guess that happens if you only look at U.S. evangelical movements...)

My grandfather was a devout Christian, however I was told he did not like the "Book of Revelations", I used to wonder why... later I think I understood: all that "apocalyptic thinking" has done the faith no good.
(On a sidenote: when he was at my age, my grandfather had already survived 2 World Wars!!)

Quote from: undefinedJesus was talking less about how to live in the world than how to prepare for the next, because, he kept insisting, the end was near.

I'm not the biggest Bible connaisseur, but that allegation is at least debatable! :persevere:
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on August 20, 2020, 16:10:25
Yeah, I see your points, @Ulrich!  :)

However, the reason I laughed so much is because this was written by an American correspondent and I was imagining what it must be like to live with the idiocies that are going on in the US at the moment and how excruciating that must be to the minority of sane, rational, non-science-bashing, non-entitled "I have my freedom and nobody can tell me what to do and I can cough on you if I like," non-flag-waving, nice, caring people who live there...  :1f635:

When I put myself in that position, I thought a good rant would be therapeutic, like we do on The Ranting Thread here.  And I thought the article made a wonderful therapeutic rant!   :beaming-face  :1f637:  :lol:

However, these two articles may fare better with you.  One about a new law in Germany - this may not be news to you, of course, but it was to me!

QuoteGermans must walk their dogs twice a day, new law will say

Minister to introduce law next year to ensure nation's 9.4 million dogs get enough exercise

Germany's dog owners will soon to be ordered by law to walk their pets twice a day.

The country's agriculture minister, Julia Klöckner, has said she is introducing the new law based on evidence that many of the nation's 9.4 million dogs are not getting the exercise or stimuli they need.

More here:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/19/germans-must-walk-their-dogs-twice-a-day-new-law-will-say


And another about how counter-terrorism skills help parents to relate to teenagers.   :lol:

QuoteImprove your relationships - with advice from counter-terrorism experts

"The more you push someone, the more they close up," say Emily and Laurence Alison, a husband-and-wife psychology team. "The hungrier you are for information, the harder it will be to get that out of someone. But give the person a choice about what they say; give them some autonomy and you begin to build the rapport that may lead to a better conversation," says Laurence.

This sounds like parenting advice and yet the Alisons' specialism is helping counter-terrorism officers and the police to improve communication and co-operation with criminal suspects. When the atmosphere turns adversarial and competitive, as it so often does, they turn to the Alisons to help them navigate and negotiate.

For the couple - who've been married for 21 years and have a 16-year-old son - the parallels with parenting have long been obvious and were underlined by the response of officers they've encountered on the intensive courses they run on how to interrogate terrorists.

Time after time, participants fed back that as well as learning invaluable skills for their professional lives, their approach was helping them deal with family and work relationships. "We were fascinated," says Laurence, director of the Centre for Critical and Major Incident Psychology at Liverpool University. "We'd do a day on the best way to extract information from a dangerous prisoner and at the end of it participants would say, 'This is such useful advice for me as a parent of teenagers.'"

More here:  https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/aug/01/improve-your-relationships-with-advice-from-counter-terrorism-experts
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on August 20, 2020, 17:52:12
Quote from: undefinedGermany's dog owners will soon to be ordered by law to walk their pets twice a day.

Uh-erm; not another law no-one will be able to control! Who will go and look if dog-owners do that? (I mean they don't even manage e.g. to control if people wear masks in public transport... not to mention the distancing and all...) Or will we turn into a police state, where everyone is watching everyone else?  :1f633:

As is mentioned in the article indeed:
Quote from: undefined"...who is going to check up on me? Will the neighbour call the police if they suspect me of not taking Sam for long enough walks? He wouldn't manage two hours a day anway."

Seeing there is a general election coming up next year, I'm pretty certain dog owners will protest. There is a good chance this won't come through...
(And yes, we have some other problems politicians should look after, from corruption to fake news and so on.)

Sorry, maybe I'm over-critical today, but I don't see a need for more laws. (And as mentioned in the article: what about cats, what if they don't get enough exercise??)
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on August 21, 2020, 08:50:27
Or children, actually?  :angel  Not sure what that's like in Germany, but Australia overtook the US for the dubious honour of having the most obese population in the world, a while back.  For the first time, the life expectancies of the young generations are now expected to be shorter than the previous average.  Diabetes and heart disease are skyrocketing.  Poor nutrition and lack of exercise are key factors.  My childhood was largely outdoors and creative, modern childhoods are mostly indoors and screen-oriented.  Any of you see the article, The smartphone is our era's cigarette - and just as hard to quit (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/23/smartphone-techology-iphone-mobile-cigarettes)?

Re the dog laws - well, @Ulrich, this is yet another reason you really need to buy a goat.  :angel

By the way, if they do end up enforcing them, then the dog laws are going to result in some very fit dog owners!  :lol:
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on September 07, 2020, 13:05:07
Really excellent Australian essay here: :cool

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/04/burning-bush-melting-arctic-a-deadly-virus-nobody-said-the-end-times-would-be-boring

QuoteBurning bush, melting Arctic, a deadly virus: nobody said the end times would be boring

by John Birmingham

Excerpt:

I remember feeling very strongly as I watched Australia burn from Seoul and Hong Kong and, months later, from Rome and Milan and Paris that we were the Other now. Our turn had come. And while the world might gin up some long-range empathy for the plight of a dying koala or baby kangaroo, we the peeps were probably shit out of luck. Just like those poor bastards we exiled to our Pacific gulags, who drew the shortest straw when their fates became dependent on our generosity of spirit. Or the Eora people, whose long watch over the southern shores of Botany Bay was closed out by Arthur Phillip's order to a young Watkin Tench to lead a punitive raid against the tribe to spread "an exemplary terror among the natives".

Sometimes your luck just runs out, and a hard truth of human nature is that we really only care about what's close. White Australia was a lucky country for so long, because the gift of distance was history's lack of interest in our affairs. But that absence of concern for a tiny outpost, removed from the centre of things, can just as easily turn to indifference and genuine disdain when fate turn against us. From afar it was possible to see with the cold objectivity of foreigners just how unflattering a picture we made for any who cared to look. An immensely privileged dominion occupied by a small number of deeply selfish people, suddenly confronted with the consequences of inaction.

For a few months there you could finally see the world accelerating towards the existential discontinuity of irreversible, devastating climate change. No more projections. No theories. No modelling or arcane math. The future had arrived. It was not evenly distributed. It had exploded into the real on the eastern edge of the Australian continent.

Meanwhile, sitting on a beach in Hawaii was our doughy, aggressively know-nothing prime minister, infamous for carrying a big lump of coal on to the floor of parliament and fondling the same with the puckish joy of a man-sized Billy Bunter in possession of a large, unexpected jam donut. To the beach he went, while his land and his people hurtled towards the burning pit.

Perhaps, sipping umbrellas drinks and mugging for happy snaps with similarly footloose bogans, Scott Morrison was himself subject to the distancing effect I felt all around me in South Korea and Hong Kong, that deeply human flaw that the gaming journalist and Twitter savant David Milner describes as the inability to conceive as real any reality different to our own lived experience. Hong Kong in particular afforded a novel perspective on the subject-object divide, as smoke from nearby pro-democracy riots drifted into the bar where we sat watching smoke from a series of megafires blanket the streets of Sydney.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on September 09, 2020, 01:18:58
Bwahahahaha!  :lol:

This cartoonist has a knack for summing things up briefly and accurately...

(https://media.guim.co.uk/89065374852fc5bae635b01864f04bcba08707a8/0_0_2400_4195/2400.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/04/your-t-abbott-brexitradebot-1000-can-expound-at-length-on-any-subject
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on September 11, 2020, 23:10:53
This is especially for @dsanchez!  A friend and I went into town for a coffee after a morning hiking the coast last week, and she photographed bits of Stirling Terrace, including its bicycle theme:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50310920882_6acca0080a_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2jDNBYo)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50310921277_79b4c5089a_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2jDNC6c)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50310079763_47ca8273e9_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2jDJiWk)

Decorative bicycles like this have been popping up all over the town and its suburbs in the last ten years - always painted colourful, and quite a few just on verges or chained to the backs of benches!  :)  They are very pretty, and it's a good way to do something useful with the appalling number of bicycles people send to the rubbish dump (sometimes just because of flat tyres :1f62e:).  Some of the better bicycles are done up for charity give-aways; others become decorative.  Our town has a thriving bicycle culture - serious road bike people and mountain bikers, young BMX enthusiasts, recreational cyclists, bicycles with big baskets on the front for shopping, and bicycle commuters - increasingly on e-bikes (because of our steep hills and people not wanting to have to shower when they get to work).  Lots of recreational bike paths and also dedicated cycle lanes on some of our busy roads.   :cool

This is the pedestrian footbridge from Stirling Terrace to the Entertainment Centre and general harbourfront:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50310747366_8037c626a0_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2jDMJoJ)

The cosy coffee shop we went to:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50310079498_64913b0323_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2jDJiRL)

Some of the outdoor seating for this coffee shop:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50310747671_4ab394733b_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2jDMJtZ)

And a general streetscape, with the Old Post Office.  The green car has our dog in the back of it and you can just see its nose if you zoom in.  Woof!   :1f637:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50310747041_df68f96314_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2jDMJi8)

...but this is a better shot of her - like all farm dogs, she's obsessed with being in a car!  :lol:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/7470/15632045559_ea11832851_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/pPmjwT)
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on September 12, 2020, 11:34:27
Looks like many people are turning towards the guitar to stay sane(ish)!!

QuoteA half-year into a pandemic that has threatened to sink entire industries, people are turning to the guitar as a quarantine companion and psychological salve, spurring a surge in sales for some of the most storied companies (Fender, Gibson, Martin, Taylor) that has shocked even industry veterans.

Guitars are hardly the only consumer item to experience a quarantine bounce, of course. Sales have spiked for many items since lockdowns began -- bicycles, baking yeast, board games, yoga mats, beans and even Everclear, the 190-proof spirit.

But a guitar is not a bag of lentils. A new guitar usually requires an investment of several hundred dollars, if not several thousand, and new players and virtuosos alike often live with their trusty ax for years, bonding with it as a statement of personal taste and style.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/08/style/guitar-sales-fender-gibson.html
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on September 12, 2020, 23:53:23
I was thinking that you could drive the whole neighbourhood insane, while increasing your own sanity with music therapy, if you decided to take up drums.  Not African bongos, I mean the full kit.  :angel

You know what they say too - if there's people you don't like, give their children something that makes noise.  Endlessly bleeping electronic toys, a toy police car with a real siren, a noisy record, maybe even a musical instrument.  Drums are especially effective; untutored violin practice can be excruciating.  Or perhaps a tuba?  :evil:

On the serious side, I heard an interview yesterday with a music education specialist who was extolling the general benefits to cognitive and emotional development both, of taking up a musical instrument in childhood.  She actually mentioned putting "difficult" kids with learning and behavioural issues on drums, because it requires their full concentration and application and also is something they will generally want to continue trying with - and was recounting how this had downstream effects on improving their reading, and persistence with difficult tasks in general, while also boosting their confidence and giving them something unusual that tended to interest their peers and earn them respect.  :cool

So maybe we should all be donating drum kits to the children of horrible, difficult adults.  It will help their children in many ways, while punishing the adults bwahahahaha.  What karma!  :evil:
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: Ulrich on September 20, 2020, 10:47:35
https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-54202221
Quote"Launching a live music venue in the midst of a global pandemic is not something I'd advise," Pennington says with a wry laugh.

He got the keys to the building in January, before Covid was really on the radar, initially planning to open in April with a capacity of 350. When the government gave the go-ahead for indoor venues to reopen in England with social distancing in August, Pennington didn't want to wait much longer.

As well as hosting gigs, Future Yard will offer training for 16- to 24-year-olds in the live music industry, and rehearsal and recording spaces for new local artists.

"It's just really important that we could get open," Pennington said on Thursday. "That comes with great pressures financially and also operationally, but it's something we feel like we've got to do.

"If we'd just sat here and mothballed and waited to the point where it made absolute financial sense, potentially it could have been years before we opened.

"Our primary motivation is to really think how we can use a venue like Future Yard to be a positive influence for the local community. We're here to use music as a powerful lever for social change. This is a moment when we're needed more than ever, so we just had to find a way of getting open."

One venue that has already opened recently is the NE Volume Bar in Stockton-on-Tees, Teesside, where 32 people can sit at 11 socially-distanced tables. The full capacity should be 110. So far, they have hosted a mixture of singer-songwriters and bands playing stripped-back acoustic sets.

"It's still a good atmosphere," says co-owner Adam Allcock. "People aren't standing up and going wild. Our customer base is quite nice. They're there for the music, so they want to listen to the music anyway. It's all been going fine. No-one's had to be told to settle down or stay in their seat or anything like that."

Mark Davyd, chief executive of the Music Venues Trust, says 84 of the organisation's 900 members have staged some live music so far since lockdown, but just 13 are doing so regularly.
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on September 22, 2020, 13:15:09
What people do to this world drives me insane.  But when people actually tell it how it is, it has a restorative effect on my sanity.  The Tasmanian Doggie has done it again!  No joke, this is exactly what's going on in Australia.  It's not even exaggerated.  Other than the potato bit, that's an exaggeration on a physical level (but not on an intellectual level)...

(https://media.guim.co.uk/993f31803e1582b38d80ca724615fe02bb2af6be/0_0_3508_5587/3508.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/21/senator-ian-the-climate-denialist-potato-on-the-governments-plans-for-gas
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on October 05, 2020, 15:32:18
Nailed it.

(https://media.guim.co.uk/c24c84082541b5512afc766ec735240fd357551f/0_0_2400_3742/2400.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/05/getting-covid-is-the-most-democratic-thing-trump-has-ever-done
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on October 07, 2020, 00:32:07
Reader comment from the Guardian gave me a laugh:

QuoteAnd on the third day He arose!
It is a miracle, He has now come into His divine Qlory ...
I enjoy watching new religions form, they are so entertaining.

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/06/donald-trump-coronavirus-balcony-drugs#comment-144311732
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on October 24, 2020, 17:45:46
(https://media.guim.co.uk/d63d326805e8272b10a194b04bbf16112a7a8155/0_0_2400_4994/2400.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/19/holiday-scomo-or-melting-ice-cap-try-these-fun-and-spooky-costume-ideas-for-halloween
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on November 15, 2020, 08:10:04
We all know @dsanchez augments his sanity by riding his bicycle around (you can see films of that in this thread).

And now we just want to show him how we do that in Australia!  :lol:

Bicycle ride with friend and dog - friend documenting the ride.  The dog can't be trusted on the main road, so becomes a sort of sledding dog:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50604000112_66b9a90d07_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k6GJdy)

Not a bank robber - just a friend highly allergic to ryegrass pollen making her way along a road in a ryegrass field...

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50603878041_8953aace9c_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k6G6VT)

...it also stops sunburn, as we were out in the middle of the day.

Dog power - Jess adds a good 10km/h to my speed:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50603877391_6c4f9245d3_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k6G6JF)

The spectators:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50603135558_79cfd8b3cd_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k6Cids)

Going off-road (and there, the dog can run loose).  If you're wondering, Eileen is on a mountain bike, and yes I'm on a road bike but it has touring tyres, so I can mostly ride on unsealed tracks as long as they are firm and a bit damp, which was the case that day.  We really wanted to go up the big hill because we weren't hiking that day, and were eating rather well...

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50603996172_3c09b2f1b0_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k6GH3C)

This is a bluegum plantation, whose aim in life is mostly to become useless newsprint (and of course, it's taxpayer subsidised to the big end of town):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50603133288_b16a25b022_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k6Chxj)

This is the road flattening out a bit near the hilltop:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50603131738_4c44ce9e60_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k6Ch5A)

Going down was more fun than going up, though not quite as useful.  :lol:
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: dsanchez on November 16, 2020, 12:47:46
Quote from: SueC on October 24, 2020, 17:45:46
Quote from: SueC on November 15, 2020, 08:10:04We all know @dsanchez augments his sanity by riding his bicycle around (you can see films of that in this thread).

lovely, thanks for sharing. which city/town are you exactly living in? once covid-19 is eradicated (hopefully!) I want to travel a LOT!
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on November 16, 2020, 13:52:16
We're 25 minutes from Albany on the beautiful South Coast of Western Australia.  Albany is a regional centre, but not a huge town - a nice size - and we're "out in the sticks" in the hinterland behind that - on a road that's a no-through road and ends in a wilderness that stretches all the way across the coast.

We hope to see you when international travel becomes possible again - we always have a spare room and like showing people around.  Right now, Australia is in a super position (24 new cases today nationwide) with very little community transmission after Melbourne's successful lockdown (in WA we've not had any documented community transmission for many months and what we had was from a cruise ship and was picked up early; border closures and quarantine happened really early here, and the cases trickling through now are returned travellers in quarantine) - I imagine our international borders will therefore be quite hard until this plague is controlled.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-17/coronavirus-cases-data-reveals-how-covid-19-spreads-in-australia/12060704?nw=0

How's it going for you guys in Bratislava?  You were doing well last time I heard, but second waves happen so quickly, as we saw in Melbourne...

PS:  That was the new handlebar tape I put on for which you sent me that video last year!  :)
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: dsanchez on November 16, 2020, 16:10:16
Quote from: SueC on November 16, 2020, 13:52:16We hope to see you when international travel becomes possible again - we always have a spare room and like showing people around

Thanks! and likewise when you come to Bratislava :)
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on November 16, 2020, 23:10:59
Thank you!  :)  If we find a TARDIS then that becomes doable.  Otherwise, one of the problems with being on-the-land hippies with animals and vegetables is the near-impossibility of travelling for extended periods... the one down side.  So I enjoy vicarious travel now, and hosting people.  We do still get away for day trips and sometimes even weekends!

Here's some new cartoon sanity to sum up 2020:

(https://media.guim.co.uk/3c26995bbf78c0b39a7221940748b2c056c2b90e/0_0_3508_7014/3508.jpg)

from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/nov/16/christmas-is-only-39-sleeps-away-could-2021-be-worse-than-2020-surely-not
Title: Re: How are you staying sane(ish) during the current pandemic?
Post by: SueC on November 23, 2020, 04:57:44
Hiking excursions - sanity food...

Fernhook Falls:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50632197458_b725c9be8e_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k9cfiG)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50632193578_2ff62b22ca_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k9ce9N)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50632938781_19e62d957c_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k9g3F8)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50632188878_e51cfdba76_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k9ccKL)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50633026102_d29b60ecd1_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k9guCE)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50632189473_cbe9096fff_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k9ccW2)

Mt Frankland:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50633023392_9ed1af6db0_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k9gtPW)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50633022937_1f8b3e63ae_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k9gtG6)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50632183203_9a56969833_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k9cb4V)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50632181873_a52c80eebe_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k9caEZ)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50632178833_af968feeb5_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k9c9Lz)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50632177598_c20a94a18c_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k9c9ph)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50633013647_2782b3596b_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2k9gqVV)