Culture Shifts.

Storm.

We took a drive into Northwest Indiana today. We had no plan in mind other than a change of scenery. We’ve lived in the Midwest for nearly three years but I feel like our exploration adventures are still in their infancy.

We stopped at a Target in Valparaiso, Indiana to use the washroom. Unlike establishments in Illinois, there are no big signs on the front doors requiring the use of masks, just a few 8 1/2 x 11 printed signs reminding customers the importance of Social Distancing. Either the virus has passed over or gone beyond Indiana or folks there feel like wearing a mask is an infringement on their freedom.

I tend to think it’s the latter.

Earl and I wore masks while in the store. Approximately a quarter to a third of the other customers were doing the same. The folks in masks seemed to be doing the most social distancing. We used the washroom and then left the building.

Our drive was pleasant. We passed through a couple of thunderstorms along the way but nothing outrageous. When it was time to head home I jumped onto Interstate 65. I’ve always known this roadway to be under construction and it didn’t disappoint today. The construction area was flooding in the rain causing a traffic backup. I dodged around floating construction barrels. I didn’t know they were able to float.

The ride was most enjoyable because we always enjoy our time together talking and watching the countryside go by. The isolation of the car is an added bonus.

Endorsements.

I earned my Complex and High Performance endorsements to my Private Pilots Certificate today. I’ve been flying with an instructor since the beginning of May to accomplish this feat. My new endorsements allow me to exercise my Pilots Private skills in airplanes with retractable gear and more than 200 horsepower engines. The airplane used for my training is a 1978 Cessna 182 RG with a 235 horsepower, six-cylinder engine. It’s much heavier than what I’m used to flying and it took me a little under 12 hours of flight time to get used to the handling characters of “Large Marge”.

A rain storm was passing to the north of the airfield today as I performed some landings and demonstrated a manual gear extension (in case the wheels don’t come out when I tell them to). There was quite a bit of traffic up there with us, so we extended the pattern a couple of times. It gave us a nice view of the Lake Michigan shoreline near the Wisconsin-Illinois state border.

I’m excited about my new endorsements as this opens up some cross-country flight opportunities. I’m really happy I was able to accomplish this during the pandemic.

Douglas.

Tonight Earl and I watched Hannah Gadsby’s latest Netflix special. It is called “Douglas”.

We both found it very funny and very enjoyable. I love the way Hannah communicates with her audience. I get her. I get her humour. There’s a whole spectrum of comedy out there and Hannah sits right in a place I can identify with. It’s a wavelength thing.

Is “identify with” correct syntax? I think with is a preposition and if you’re writing informally ending a sentence with a preposition is completely acceptable. I tend to write informally. Even when I put a “u” in humour.

I do recommend “Douglas”.

Diversity.

Graphic from a random Google search.

I didn’t know Juneteenth was a thing until well into my adulthood. I don’t know the exact date I became aware of Juneteenth but I do remember thinking it was odd that we didn’t learn about this sort of thing when I was in school. It seems rather important. I know back in elementary school it was extremely important for me to know the history of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers back when dates were in the B.C. range, Marie Antionette did something, and of course George Washington was the first president. Oh! New York was one of the original 13 states. Modern-ish history was always raced through late in the year: there was one World War, then another, then a couple of other wars, and Jane Fonda did something, but now it’s time for your final exam. That’s pretty much how all my civics classes went. My school had an accelerated Social Studies program for sophomores and juniors; college bound students tended to skip World History I to take World History II and American Studies I as a sophomore and American Studies II and Ethics as a junior. I remember Regents students took American Studies while non-Regents students took American History. I don’t know why there was a delineation or what the difference in curriculum was. Maybe they learned about Juneteenth in American History. The accelerated program moved the New York State Regents Exam to January of my junior year, which helped balance exam loads in June, I guess. We didn’t even talk about Juneteenth in Ethics, even as we sat with our desks in circle and discussed the merits of various things in society. Gays? Some would counter not equal. Juneteenth? Never came up.

Over the years I’ve quipped that I came from a town that had no racial diversity. None. We didn’t even have a Chinese or Mexican restaurant until well after I graduated in 1986. Today I got to wondering if I was just not remembering things correctly so I went through all of my yearbooks, grade 8 to my senior year. Among all the smiling faces of classmates of various teenage years, there was one non-white face amongst the smiles two years behind me. Her name is Tammy and I vividly remember her with pleasant memories. She doesn’t appear after her eighth grade photo; I don’t know where she went to. She lived down the road from us in town with her mother, her older brother, and younger sister. I remember kids being mean to Tammy and in my obnoxiously present ignorance I could never figure out why they were being mean. She was nice, had a great laugh, but she could be as tough as nails when she needed to be. I liked that about her.

So out of approximately 1200 students, aside from the occasional AFS Exchange Students that would drop in once in a while, we had three non-white members of the student body. That’s 0.0025% of the student population.

Small wonder I don’t remember them discussing Juneteenth in what I sometimes jokingly call “snowy Alabama”.

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What The Font.

Let’s face it, in technology years I’m very old. I’ve been online in some way since early 1986, when I used my Commodore 64 and a 300 BPS modem to connect to the online service GEnie. To this day I’m still not the biggest fan of point-and-click or touchscreens, especially when it comes to everyday tasks like managing email or scheduling meetings or conversing online. If there is a command-line interface available I’m going to try to use it (unless there’s media involved). Hence, one of the reasons why my love affair with Linux never ends, though I do use other systems all the time. With Linux I can just get back to a classic interface and go with it.

It’s probably because of my weird tendency to focus and fixate, but the use of certain fonts in applications can be a distraction or an inspiration. When looking at columns of numbers I want the font to be simple, consistent, and I feel best when it has a “classic” look to it. I detest “Courier New” found in Windows but I *love* “Courier” found elsewhere.

When working with databases at work I use a variety of Database Management programs but I always set the default font to one that I purchased, and that’s called “Amateur Typewriter“.

I like Amateur Typewriter because it strongly resembles a font found on sales receipts printed by NCR cash registers in the late 1970s (the first scanning cash register, the NCR 255 being one of them).

Amateur Typewriter is not identical to NCR’s typeface on those old impact printers but it’s pretty darn close. And this gives me a geeky-comfortable feel during the workday, which in turn makes me very productive.

Sometimes it’s the little things that can make all the difference in the world.

Neighborhood Support.

Chicago’s Boystown is about 12 blocks away from our home. I haven’t been down there much since COVID-19 made its debut. The couple of times I’ve passed through it was a little depressing. I’m sure things are picking up as quarantine practices are relaxed a bit. I’m not ready to risk that sort of mass public contact yet.

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Corporations are quick to show their support with Pride colors flying here in the 21st century, and while I have a little bit of cynicism around their displays overall I feel like it helps with the cause.

What I really enjoy is when neighbors display Pride colors. One block in our neighborhood is decked out with Pride colored ribbons, with an extra Black Lives Matter ribbon on top.

It’s good to know we live in such a supportive area. I hope we can be a beacon of hope for the rest of the country.

Masked.

There’s still a ruckus from folks about wearing a mass while you’re out and about in public. I don’t really have an issue with it; wearing a mask isn’t a difficult thing to do, it can’t make a situation any worse, and I don’t feel like my freedom is being taken away when I wear a mask.

I don’t understand the whole “freedom taken away” thing. Freedom isn’t a pie. There isn’t a finite amount of freedom. If a person with a different skin color is treated as humanely as I am treated it’s not like we’re going to run out of humanity. If I decided to become a nudist I wouldn’t expect people to just stand around while I browsed an all-you-can-eat salad bar with my junk swinging around in front of me. No shoes, no shirt, no service. We now add “no mask”. It’s not difficult. People need to calm down.

Perhaps folks need to do something other than wrapping a sock around their nose. My Starfleet mask was less than $20, it will last a very long time, and it does the job of its intent quite well. It’s comfortable to wear and I feel good in it. I feel good in it because it looks good but more important I’m doing a good thing by wearing it. And that’s protecting others from the off chance that I have contracted COVID-19.

The CTA has improved their graphics explaining COVID-19 precautions-related expectations of passengers. I was encouraged to see one of the masked cartoons wearing a Gay Pride themed mask. I like the subtlety. I’m not offended by the bilingual messages, but then again, I grew up near the Canadian border. Some signs north of us had EXIT/SORTIE along the Interstate. No one was offended.

Many states are starting to see record numbers of new cases of Coronavirus. Trump’s solution is to stop testing for Coronavirus.

I’m thinking of turning off my alarm clock so every day is a weekend.

There Is Hope.

I totally didn’t see this coming: “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the 1964 Civil Rights Act barring sex discrimination in the workplace protects LGBTQ employees from being fired because of their sexual orientation”.

The vote was 6-3.

There is hope for 2020. Click the screen cap for the link to the NPR coverage.

Courtesy of NPR.

Local.

We are trying hard to support local businesses in the neighborhood. While many of the restaurants and other businesses have done their best to weather the quarantines and other challenges associated with COVID-19, some places have been forced to shut down. Jeri’s Grill had been open for over 57 years when they made the decision to close; the big note in the window indicates it’s solely due to lockdown related economics.

While I fully support the quarantines and associates social distancing and mask wearing measures, it is a little disheartening to see legacy businesses such as Jeri’s affected in this way.