Friday, April 24, 2015

Not to the Max

So my wife and I have been watching season six of Community, and we've been enjoying it. We've got a pretty good system going where we watch an episode or two on Saturday nights, which is Movie Night for the kids. We set them all up in the den, or if they can't agree on what they want to watch we set some up in the den and others in the master bedroom. Then my wife and I sit in the front room and pull up Yahoo Screen on the iPad. Everybody wins.

At this point, for me at least, Community is definitely a hangout show more than anything else. I enjoy catching up with the Greendale crew* and spending time with them, but they don't really surprise me any more. It's rare that I am uproariously shocked into laughter by any given joke this season, and by rare I mean I'm pretty sure it hasn't happened. On the one hand, that's not terribly surprising, because for crying out loud it's the sixth season and any show under any circumstances would be hard-pressed to continue being radically innovative. On the other hand, in the past when I would absolutely lose my mind over Community it was usually about (or during) the really high-concept episodes where they went all out on alternate sets and costumes and special effects and so forth. In the new Yahoo era, they haven't really gone there, with the arguable exception of the extended Karate Kid bit. I suspect this has a bit to do with budgetary concerns, and I get it, really. Then again, it may be that they are biding their time and slowly building up to that kind of old-school extravaganza; I may even be speaking contrary to fact right now, since we are about two episodes behind at this point.

But since we've seen five out of seven episodes, there is one thing that is really blowing my mind in its absence, and it's not the lack of paintballs or the Dreamatorium. But to explain, let me back up:

- So it's season six, right? For years now Community fans have been rallying behind the #sixseasonsandamovie hashtag and its implication that if the show was about to be cancelled, it would be too soon. I've heard some crazy rumors that there might even be a movie, too, at some point. But the point is, we made it to season six, woohoo!

- Why six seasons, as opposed to seven, and why a movie? Because "six seasons and a movie" is an Abed quote from back in season 3. That season was when NBC premiered a new original superhero drama called The Cape, and Abed was into it. Jeff tried to tell Abed that the Cape wouldn't last three weeks, and Abed retorted his own prediction as to how long The Cape would last. So that's the in-universe antecedent, as it were.

- I admit that I, myself, never got into The Cape. You'd think it would be right up my alley, since I love not just specific superheroes but all the trappings and tropes of the superhero concept, and that's exactly what The Cape was riffing on, right off the bat with the title. It also was about circuses and sideshow performers including a strongman midget, and had Summer Glau (River from Firefly) as an uber-hacker with a ridiculously literary handle of "Orwell" and just in general was bonkers in the best possible ways. The thing is, even back in 2011 I only had but so much free time and I had already adopted a wait-and-see attitude about trying new pop culture things. If The Cape had become an institution and I had heard lots of good things about it, I might have gone back to the beginning via Netflix or something and taken it all in. But as it turned out, Jeff's prediction was far more accurate than Abed's. The Cape only filmed 13 episodes and NBC only aired 10. Which is why I'm explaining all this stuff in so much detail, because I assume few to none of you all remember the short-lived show in question.

- But guess who was on The Cape, as a cast regular named Max Malini, serving as a mentor to the eponymous superhero? Keith David.

- I asterisked "Greendale crew" up above because of course it's not really the same core group that we all knew and love din the early seasons. Chevy Chase's Pierce, Donald Glover's Troy and Yvette Brown's Shirley are no longer attending Greendale in season six, so there have been some replacements brought in. The Dean and Chang get more time in the study room around Table Mark II, and Paget Brewster joined the cast as Frankie Dart. Another addition is eccentric RV-dwelling virtual reality expert and cranky old IT guy Elroy Patashnik, played by ... Keith David.

So a one-off gag about The Cape became the encapsulation of the fans' desire to see the show keep going and going, which it improbably enough has done. At the same time, an actor who used to be on The Cape has now, in the same season explicitly referenced by the hashtag, joined the cast of Community. And how many jokes have there been about The Cape this season? NONE. OK, maybe The Cape is an NBC/Universal property and now that Yahoo is producing Community they can't just make NBC/Universal references willy-nilly. But how many tv bloggers have made any reference to the Keith David Cape/Community connection? NONE! None that I've seen anyway. I don't know, maybe it's too obvious, maybe there's nothing really to say beyond what I just dragged out over an excessive number of bullet points. Still, I'm gonna keep hoping for an episode somewhere down the line where Abed reprises his Christian-Bale-as-Batman impression and Elroy looks at him and says something like "Nice cape."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Side effects

A while back I think I mentioned around here that there was a game my wife and I played, seeing how many "looks like you got your hands full!"s we could collect whenever one of us went out in public solely responsible for all three kids. (Ah yes, here it is, most of the way down the post after all the Buzz Lightyear drama.) The game had actually fallen by the wayside recently, apparently as a function of the kids' ages. The bino is no longer a wee thing in a bucket carseat propped across the handle of the shopping cart, but rather a feisty toddler who points at things on the shelves and shouts out their names, while the little guy and little girl carry on conversations of their own. At best nowadays I might get some variation on "Oh, you've got lots of helpers today!" when the four of us were at Costco, and really that sentiment is kind of the exact opposite of "got your hands full." Not a complaint, exactly, just an observation.

I did get my first "got your hands full" in a long while yesterday, though. My wife was at work and I was home with all three kids. The little girl had been running a fever for a few days and couldn't go to daycare, not to mention not sleeping well at night and being generally listless during the day. The little guy had recently been on antibiotics for strep and on about day 7 (this Monday) had broken out in hives so bad that the elementary school called my wife to come pick him up. He was back in school on Tuesday because the hives had cleared up, but they re-emerged Tuesday night and were still there Wednesday morning. And the bino was fine as froghair, but it seemed pointless to drop him off at daycare (where, let's be honest, the odds of him catching some new random ailment would be pretty high) when I was going to be home, if not actively annoying because at some point in the afternoon or evening I'd have to run the two older siblings back over to daycare to pick him up. So all three kids got a day home with daddy, including an 11 a.m. visit to the pediatrician to see if the cause of the little girl's fever could be determined and if the little guy's rash was an allergic reaction or viral or what.

The nurse practitioner deemed it prudent to test both the little guy and little girl for strep; the little guy because we had discontinued the antibiotics without finishing the course once he got the hives, and the little girl because even though she didn't really have a sore throat or nausea you never know and better safe than sorry. Couldn't hurt, right? Except that my kids HATE the strep test. And I don't really blame them, because having someone swab the back of your throat is no one's idea of a good time, plus the kids have fairly sensitive gag reflexes (so do I, come to that) and it's just a traumatic experience which they react exceedingly poorly to, freaking out and fighting it and all that. As it happened, the little girl was already sitting on my lap when it came time to obtain the sample, and I managed to immobilize her while the nurse swabbed, and I was still trying to comfort her and calm her down afterwards when it was the little guy's turn, and he went full-on crazy trying to resist, so I was trying to wrestle him into submission with one hand while balancing the little girl on the opposite knee with my other hand. The bino was just running around the exam room amusing himself at this point, but it added a certain chaotic spice to the overall proceedings. Hence the nurse's "you've got your hands full today, huh?" I didn't argue the point.

The quick test was negative for strep for both kids, for what it's worth.

The rest of the day was much more low-key, except for a slight freakout reprise in the evening when the little girl discovered that she hated the taste of the antibiotic she was prescribed (turned out she had an ear infection). That must have used up a lot of her energy, because she climbed into my bed while I was overseeing her big brother's shower and her little brother's bath, and when it was her turn she was out cold. I transferred her to her bed, where she slept in her clothes, but she's four and her usual outfit of leggings and t-shirt is almost indistinguishable from pajamas anyway. I'm pretty sure one morning my wife got the little girl out of the pajamas she had slept in, got her into underwear and a different pair of pajama pants, and sent her off to daycare, and the operative phrase there is "ONE morning" because if I were responsible for getting the kids to daycare in the mornings I'm sure the little girl would have gone in pajama bottoms at least a half a dozen times.

The nice thing was that I was able to get the little girl into her own bed and leave her in relative peace because her bed is now located in her very own room. While I've been slacking off on the blog lately, on the homefront we did manage to pull off the Great Room Switch which involved repainting both of the kids' bedrooms, moving all of the little guy's stuff into the bigger room with the bino, and moving all of the little girl's stuff into the smaller room where she can have a little privacy for however much longer we live in this house (I give it about three years). There had been some building tension with the little girl and the bino sharing a room ever since the bino started protesting going to bed at the same time as his siblings, which would result in him crying or outright tantruming and keeping his sister/roommate unhappily awake. We were hoping that putting the boys together would be a win-win, because the little girl could go to sleep without a crying toddler across the room, and actually the toddler might not cry that much at all anymore, because he could talk (or babble) with his big brother, whom he gets along with a tiny bit better. Heck, we wouldn't have minded if the boys snuck out of their beds to the middle of the floor to play in the glow of the nightlight, or if the bino crawled into bed with the little guy, as long as whatever they did they were reasonably quiet about it and fell asleep eventually.

It didn't exactly work out that smoothly. The bino does indeed love invading his brother's bed, but he then proceeds to annoy his brother by taking up the middle of the mattress, messing with his brother's hair, yakking to himself after the little guy begs him to be quiet and go to sleep, &c. Not ideal since the little guy is the one child who not only has to get up five mornings a week at a certain time, but is also expected to have good behavior and attentive learning habits primed and ready to go each morning. It's been a bit of a learning curve figuring out how to make the new arrangement work for the boys. Funny enough, the little guy recently getting strep proved to be a weird blessing in itself. My wife and I decided, one of those first nights of the illness, to let the little guy fall asleep in our bed, while the bino went to sleep in his own bed. And lo and behold, turns out if the bino is all alone in the room he can fall asleep in his own bed just fine. An hour or so later, when both bino and little guy are sound asleep, we transfer the little guy from our bed to his own and the roomies sleep through the night. (More or less. Usually.) It's been a couple weeks and the little guy is feeling better and no longer really needs the isolation ward treatment, but we seem to have adopted this strategy as a semi-permanent solution. Maybe in a few weeks we will try to reintroduce the idea of them both going to sleep at the same time in their respective beds, once we've re-ingrained the habit for the littlest one. Then again, maybe one of them will catch some other new and interesting sniffle. Advanced planning is near enough to an exercise in futility at this point, really.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Serious consideration

Since it’s Social Media Tuesday (he said, just la-la-la-ing along as if he’s been posting to the blog regularly and adhering closely to the established Days of the Week model) I wanted to share something that I saw on an acquaintance’s wall:

My initial interpretation of this went somewhere along these lines: OK, right, I think I get it. We live in somewhat strange times, in terms of our pop entertainment and especially the epic spectacles of our blockbuster sagas. For the past couple of decades we’ve experienced the steady rise of the anti-hero as well as the complicated, flawed hero and the morally compromised hero and the hero who does whatever it takes to win the larger war even if it means getting his hands dirty in a battle. (I feel like that last possessive pronoun should have been “his or her” but as you can see all nine characters in the image are male and breaking down the archetypes of anti-heroines and flawed heroines would be a whole ‘nother post.) For a long time in heroic literature there was elevated importance of the code of honor and the idea of a hero as someone who does not kill, ever, but that gave way to a more complicated and nuanced consideration of life-or-death struggles, and then that gave way to something like an expectation that of course the protagonist would end up killing the antagonist, or anyone else that got in his way, because that’s the only way to resolve things with cathartic finality, plus it’s totally badass. So now that we’ve made the transit from “heroes never take a life” to “heroes maybe might take a life” to “heroes embody the kill-or-be-killed mentality” it’s possible to reach down into the zeitgeist and pull out a nearly random handful of “good guys” and find that two out of every three are actually more likely to kill you than protect you, as demonstrated by the grid above.

So the implied question is, can you still tell the difference, between a badass protagonist with little to no regard for life and the actual heroes who take the high road? It seems like everything in our modern mythmaking has blurred together into one big action-adventure killfest, but there are still lines that can be drawn, if you think about it. So I thought about it and I acknowledged that Captain America, Thor and Spider-Man would be on the “protect” side and all the rest would be on the “kill” side. Some of the killers were easier for me to make a determination on than others. I admit I’m not terribly familiar with Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes or anything to do with Doctor Who (which is not a condemnation of those franchises, just the reality of the number of hours in a day that I can give to keeping up with various series). I confess I don’t especially like Holmes as a character, who seems to derive a lot of his popularity by appealing to people who are predisposed to root for sociopaths because they enjoy a good hyper-competent a-hole who gets away with being abrasively rude because his skills are indispensable. To a lesser extent, The Doctor seems to fit in that broad category, at the very least making decisions of such cosmic scale that individual human lives might not even register. But for the characters I’m well-acquainted with, Wolverine has a well-documented history as a living weapon, and the Winter Soldier might be a relatively recent comics creation only featuring in the second Captain America film, but he was clearly the unstoppable assassin baddie for much of that movie. Anakin Skywalker winds up slaughtering younglings and becoming Darth Vader, so that’s another gimme. Superman … well, “Superman” as portrayed in the Man of Steel flick (because, I think it’s important to note, these are all photos of actors from movies, so we’re talking about specific interpretations of various archetypes) is the epitome of the modern “don’t suffer the villain to live” ethos, plus he shows a callous and blatant disregard for human life as his battle with Zod essentially razes Metropolis.

That’s the lynchpin of my argument, here, really. The memespeak on the image doesn’t refer to enemies or antagonists, it’s talking to you about you. This millennium has seen an explosion in popularity of straight superhero adaptations and other takes on that tradition, and superheroes in their purest, early forms might have been the last gasp of the whole “the hero does not kill” credo. Things have evolved, and now we let it pass without comment when a superhero finds himself forced to take a life, to choose between the lesser of two evils and whatnot. But however you might be able to rationalize killing the evil opponent, whatever you think the appropriate costs of a crusade against crime or a war on terror should be, it might be instructive to stop for a moment and consider the collateral damage, to innocent bystanders, to people like you. Maybe Superman can still be considered a hero if he snaps Zod’s neck, but can he also be considered a hero if he is so completely consumed with defeating his adversary that the very concept of protecting people, saving them, sheltering them from harm (especially harm he himself caused) just falls by the wayside?

Obviously I would answer that in the negative, which is one of the reasons I loathed Man of Steel so much. And although we are officially close enough to the premiere date for Avengers: Age of Ultron that I am on personal blackout on media coverage in order to experience the flick with the freshest possible eyes, I did glimpse a headline or two recently that suggested Avengers:AoU handles the ideas of urban destruction and innocent bystanders better than Man of Steel. (I of course believe this implicitly, because that’s such an extremely low bar to clear.) So this idea of what it means for a superhero to be a true hero, with regard to me the (hypothetical) man on the (fictional) street, has been banging around in my brain recently, too.

Cap, Thor, Spider-Man, those are the superheroes I count on to act like heroes within their respective narratives. In the movies, Cap’s whole philosophy is encapsulated in his line “I just hate bullies.” He looks out for the little guy. Spider-Man might not be able to save everybody, but he lost one person because he didn’t even try and he will spend the rest of his life atoning for it by never not trying. Even Thor gets the arc of being humbled and then redeemed and learning the value of self-sacrifice. These are, without question, the good guys.

(Yes, it also just so happens that all three of those characters are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, now that the Spider-Man rights have been handed over, and I am a huge fan of the MCU. But this is not a partisan Marvel-movies-versus-DC-movies thing. Winter Soldier is also an MCU character and you don’t hear me arguing it should have been “4 will protect you, 5 will try to kill you”. Wolverine is a Marvel comics character who appears in Fox films, and I enjoy those films a lot, too. Superman’s the only DC movies character in the grid, even though they could have included Christian Bale’s Batman, or Ben Affleck’s for that matter. I don’t root against DC movies succeeding. I hope the Wonder Woman movie is great, and I hope the Shazam movie with The Rock is great, and I hope there are lots more projects to come based on DC’s superheroes. But I probably won’t waste any more time on DC superhero movies specifically written by Goyer and/or directed by Snyder, because they lost me with Man of Steel. I’m aware there’s been a bit of hoopla around the leaking of the Batman V. Superman Dawn of Justice trailer, but I stone cold don’t care.)

ANYWAY. So I went through most if not all of the above mental gymnastics in about 0.7 seconds, and then I started reading the comments under my acquaintance’s post. And apparently I completely misread the point of the image. It’s a parlor game, according to everyone else in the world but me. Who do you think could beat who in fight outnumbered 2-to-1? If you had to choose three of those nine characters to be your personal bodyguards while the other six team up as the squad coming to get you, who would you choose and why? Nothing to do with the characters’ pre-existing morality or philosophy, just playing the odds based on their powers and abilities (at least until someone insists on picking Cumberbatch as one of their three because that way if they die at least the last thing they hear can be his beautiful English accent).

Well, shoot. If it’s not a stem-twister of an observation, but a question, then it’s a no-brainer. Thor and Superman and The Doctor. In the unlikely event that anybody gets past the thunder god or the last son of Krypton, The Doctor can just go back in time for a do-over. (That’s basically how Doctor Who, works, right?)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Perception reset

Last week, for April Fools' Day, somebody attempted to confetti-bomb my government boss using a payload consisting of the little circles of scrap paper produced by the three hole punch. It didn't really go off as planned, or so I assume, since no one would own up to having been behind it and therefore no one could be interrogated as to intent. But basically my government boss was in meetings most of the day and by the time she returned to pop into her office and quickly check her messages, there was just a big pile of tiny paper circles on the floor around the threshold. I don't know if the prankster had carefully piled them on top of the slightly opened door so that when someone swung it quickly in or out all the confetti would swirl off and fall down, or if s/he tried something else and gave up halfway through, or if there was some other set-up before it all wound up on the floor, but on the floor is where it ended up long before it had a chance to have any impact on my boss beyond her seeing it and wondering what had happened. All in all, pretty lame as these things go.

The thing is, the confetti? Still there on the floor, five days later. Which is surpassingly strange because I often think of the housekeeping crew around her as being annoyingly overzealous in the discharge of their duties. I feel like they are constantly cleaning the bathrooms or vacuuming the floors or emptying the garbages, which is fine and all since I appreciate a non-squalid workplace, but gets on my nerves because it all happens during business hours. If I need to use the restroom but it's closed for cleaning, I get bitter. If I'm trying to concentrate on something or even taking a phone call, and the vacuum is running nearby, I get bitter. And based on the intensity of my bitterness you (or I) would think that these inconveniences are occurring on the regular, like every single day. How can it be Monday afternoon and the evidence of a prank gone meh from last Wednesday morning still be littering the carpet? Don't they vacuum, like, every day, or at least every other day? Should Thursday or Friday at the latest have been the last we saw of the punched holes?

Apparently not. And it's no big deal, really zero skin off my nose. If I were my boss, with all that paper debris in my office doorway, I'd be a little peeved, I reckon. As it stands, though, I'm just wondering how hypersensitive to the intrusions of housekeeping I've been all this time.

Friday, April 3, 2015

A cup of cheer

This was a bit of a rough week. After the initial flush of relief at having the contract renewed at work and knowing my job was secure for another 12 or 13 months, I found myself realizing that I might very well be stuck in this job for another 12 or 13 months or more. I've spent a lot of the time since last September phoning it in at work (I mean even moreso than usual, though apparently still not enough for anyone to notice any decrease in my output or completion of duties) and rationalizing my lowered intensity of effort by blaming the government's inability to get their act together and subsequent jerking around of all of us poor contractors. But now the government has finally gotten it together, and we contractors are in no way being mistreated at the moment, so I should probably get back into the mindset of somewhat earning my keep around here. And also, as I've already mentioned, I should keep pounding the pavement in search of a new gig. But so far that endeavor has yielded minimal, frustrating results, so more of the same does not exactly fill me with rapturous delight.

Plus a lot of the news and chatter in cyberspace was downright depressing this week, from the whole Indiana RFRA debacle to the ongoing problem of police violence. No, you didn't miss anything big in the news this week about police malfeasance. But there's always some story happening somewhere that paints law enforcement in a negative light, and I happen to be Facebook friends with someone who shares links to every single one of them every day. "Cops are the worst" is his personal bugbear, literally and full stop; he denies the very existence of decent police officers. So of course I don't agree with him, I'm sure there is a mix of good cops and bad cops out there, but at the same time I don't begrudge him grinding his axe because we as a society probably do need to hold police departments more accountable for their policies and actions and movements like that have to start with spreading awareness, even if the information is unpleasant. But then of course I have another FB friend who actually is a cop, and takes the opposite stance. Not my measured "ok, there are bad cops, but there are also good ones let's not be crazy here" but rather a circle-the-wagons, "attack one of us and you attack all of us" mentality. And he reposts a lot of mindless memes about how ungrateful people are for the good work cops do and uses the #bluelivesmatter hashtag and vociferously denies that it's a slap in the face to #blacklivesmatter. I finally took the step of unfollowing the cop this week after a couple of his more problematic posts. One of them was pictures of his three kids as newborns along with a message in which he addressed them directly and promised them he would always do whatever it took to come home to them each night. He actually included the phrase "kill if I have to" which I found a bit tasteless at the very least and, the more I thought about it, pretty emblematic of the core problem in our society at present where apparently a lot of cops feel perfectly justified executing people in the streets if they "feel threatened". And I'm not suggesting that cops should be unarmed and just try giving out free hugs to make criminals reconsider their life choices, and I'm not saying it's not a dangerous job nor am I saying cops have no right to defend themselves. I am, as always, saying it's complicated trying to figure out where the line is and it's going to require actual work to figure it out and move forward, and not just photos of cops in full SWAT regalia captioned with "WE WILL NOT LAY DOWN AND DIE!" as if anyone's actually requesting that. If I view it through the prism of my "friend"'s FB status updates, it's as if people are asking questions like "Um, could cops maybe implement different strategies for defusing situations other than emptying entire clips into unarmed suspects?" and all the cops can hear is "I wish every cop was dead!" People kind of talking past each other.

The thing that's really troubling about it all is that I tend, as a general rule, not to comment on politics on Facebook. It's not really that I have an aversion to stirring up drama, it's just that my take on things (which I've already deployed in this post) tends to be: it's complicated. FB status updates are great for cute photos of kids or funny little observations, but not great for nuanced thought about the challenges of modern, diverse, democratic society. If I can't sum up my feelings on and/or preferred solutions to a significant problem in the space of a status update, then I won't say anything about it at all. And even that meta-attitude is probably more thought than a lot of other people give to everything. It's probably not fair of me to assume that if someone is posting about a highly charged topic and leading with "Look, it's real simple ..." (and not making an obvious joke) that said post represents the entirety of their thoughts on the matter. A non-nuanced FB post does not indict someone as being devoid of or incapable of nuance. And yet, I assume the worst. I think taking the time to post on FB means you see it as valid communication which can speak for itself. So on the one hand, I feel like I'm surrounded by frighteningly myopic zealots. And on the other hand, I feel like a coward because they post what they believe without equivocating, and I post nothing at all disagreeing with them because I hide behind "it's just really complicated ..."

But anyway, my cop "friend" posted another meme image and, you're going to think I'm making this up, but I swear I'm not: it's a photo of a cop, except it's only from about mid-thigh to neck. The head is cut off. In other words, faceless. And the cop is in full black body armor and carrying what looks like a fully automatic assault rifle. So, scary as hell! And then superimposed on this is a paraphrase of some classic movie dialogue (which I'm now typing from memory of both the movie and the paraphrasing meme but I'm pretty sure this is close enough): "I will never feel the need to explain myself to anyone who sleeps under the blanket of the freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it."

I will give you a moment to let that sink in.

Look, I LOVE A Few Good Men. Any time I'm flipping around the cable channels in boredom (which, granted, hardly ever happens anymore, but go with me) if it's on I get sucked right in. And I love Jack Nicholson and his portrayal of Colonel Jessup is phenomenal. But Jessup's the bad guy, right? With little to no ambiguity he is the villain of the piece. If your response to people saying "Cops sometimes abuse their power and need more independent oversight!" is "Don't. You. DARE! Question. The. Police." and to prove your point you put up Headless Darth Vader with a Machine Gun and a quote that a movie villain spits out right at the point where it becomes impossible to deny how evil he is ... I guess you are preaching to the choir, but you are also horrifying the congregation, just fyi.

Wow, I didn't really mean to make more than a passing reference to the online tribulations of my newsfeed, but I guess that stuff really got under my skin. I know it did, actually, because in fact it spilled over into stuff at home, me being in the kind of bad mood that leads to kids getting screamed at and indefensible verbal sparring with my wife, all of which leads in its turn to me feeling wracked with guilt for letting the worst in me worm its way out and all that fun self-loathing merry-go-round kind of stuff. Like I said, rough week.

But the subject of this post was never intended to be a fakeout! Sometimes things get bad, but then inevitably they get better. I can get back to something resembling productivity at work once I shake the rust off, and I can keep applying for different gigs for however long it takes. I can be a little more choosy about who shows up on my social media, and look on the bright side and be thankful about the opportunity to really sharpen my own thoughts about politics by sorting through why I disagree so vehemently with certain statements. There's no way to take back being a jerk on the homefront, but I can resolve to make up for it, and remind myself that I don't want to be like that and it's important that I actively monitor which energies I'm redirecting where, in fairness to those who might end up on the receiving end.

AND ... there's always the local microbrewery, who I also follow on Facebook, a decision I have never once regretted. The picture below is one I stole directly from their most recent update:

Notice their #1 draft beer right now is called YGGDRASILL (or click the picture to embiggen if that's not clear above). I am, you may have noticed, something of a fan of Norse mythology (Exhibit A, Exhibit B) So basically the fact that there's an ale named after the World Tree available right around the corner from my house has been a bright spot in an otherwise trying week. No matter how bleak things get, you have to remain open to the possibility of finding even a drop of redemption, because somewhere, somehow, it's out there waiting to be found.