kestrel

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2020-05-17 16:40:58 (UTC)

Prompt 075: "Unprecedented" Long Weekend, etc.

75. A well-timed snowstorm has given you a four-day weekend! What will you do with these extra two days? How does a weather-caused extended weekend differ from a planned four-day holiday?
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If nothing else, there's a little more anxiety involved in a snowed-in weekend, I'd say. Of course there's always something to fill the time with, so wondering what you're gonna do with the extra days off isn't a problem. However, if it's a planned trip out of town or holiday or whatnot, you take care of business before you head out for vacation. Zig Ziglar is noted as saying, "What's the most productive day at work? The day before you leave for vacation." The amount of truth in that statement is legion.

With a weather-based hiatus from work, there's no such luxury. The day before you end up going back, it's an easy matter to become preoccupied with what's to be done to "catch up" to "what you didn't get to do" because of the days off. it's insidious and terrible, how this anxiety can occupy your current thoughts. It's worse because you clearly can't go to your workplace, but you think about it anyway.

There's a healthy amount of pre-planning you can do, and that's a thing worth doing. That's usually what I end up doing when I need to return to the day job after several days away. There's always that catching-up and re-acclimation that needs to happen. Planning it out, writing it in my pocket day planner, helps me sort my thoughts, compartmentalize my work-related thoughts, and I can finally put them down until the day of work actually happens.

It's important to let time be. Let the past be that which occurred in the past. It informs the present, but at this stage we can't change the past. Same goes for the future, except its the complement to that: the potential exists for a wealth of experiences and encounters, but dwelling on the imagination of those things that have yet to come to pass is a tempting trap. It is only the present within which we can do anything, create anything, manifest anything. I'd like to think, "the present is where happiness is," and that's actually one of the things I have written on the inside cover of my day planner to serve as a constant reminder.

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Recently I ended up acquiring something like five different magazine subscriptions all at once, for like $8. I can't even remember how, but when it happens it's usually because the subscription deal is so absurdly affordable that I convince myself it would be a shame to turn it down. So this past week I ended up receiving two issues in the mail. I want to record what's in these magazines with quick summaries and impressions so I can evaluate whether or not I want to continue with them.

To sum up:
- Bloomberg Businessweek: Sure.
- Outside: Nah. I mean, hell nah.

- Bloomberg Businessweek: I recall selecting this magazine because I figured it would be worth sharing with the day job. The cover story features Instacart and how as a business it's essentially overwhelmed at the moment. The article itself dwells on how Instacart was ill-prepared to respond to the scale of its immediate need when states shut down and issued stay-at-home orders.

An interesting point noted near the close of the cover story is that, once the pandemic is dealt with in sufficient capacity, the need for the Instacart service will dry up. Although it's sheer speculation that the pandemic will end anytime soon, I am curious how peoples' habits and patterns will have changed by then. Of course, the number of poverty-stricken families, closed businesses, and foreclosed properties will have grown significantly by then, and I doubt scale of the kind Instacart is seeing now will ever be required (or economically possible, with so much wealth being sifted upwards and out of the hands of the general multitudes).

Meanwhile, other stories in this issue include:
The ass-backwardness and lack of effective assistance to small businesses with the PPP. Investment in the US-based "rare earth metals" mining operations by some venture capitalist. The dropping frequency of anti-trust suits brought against mega-corporations in the past 10 years. The shift of movie studios to their own distribution channels (like on-demand websites n' shit) instead of cinemas. The development of COVID-19 vaccines across the world (there's one in North America and several in Asia currently in safety trials). Emergency financial planning (plunder your 401K now while you can; credit companies scaling back on their lending; high-risk retail investment, featuring a story about recycling metal from shipping vessels, of all things). Acknowledging small business implosion and some long-standing US corporations closing plants and factories in the US. Minority workers will lose the gains made since the expansion in recent years. Jair Bolsonaro is a goddamn elitist dipshit running Brazil into the ground, and the rest of South America follows. People want to sue China for the spread of COVID-19. The phenomenon of meat-packing plants being urged to reopen in the US while at the same time being petri dishes for COVID-19. Fine art auctioning and acquisition in the time of social distancing. The prospect of reopening cultural non-profits (like symphony halls and dance companies) that rely on live audiences and how they're adjusting. Book reviews, art critique. Editorial on lawsuits related to COVID-19.

- Outside: Maybe I was trying to fill out the final choice of magazine, I dunno. But Outside and other "lifestyle" magazines simply end up being thick advertisement circulars for that particular demographic, and little original thought. This issue, which focused on "glamping," seemed true to form. Boring fashion photos abound.

There was a write-up about the overcrowding and pollution of national parks, with a focus on rock-climbing, and that was enlightening to a degree. A biographical article about a retired Olympic runner who left Nike after the birth of her son and stuff. A complete lack of self-awareness on the part of "Outside" editorial staff by including an article about a woman making a living posting product reviews on the Internet. A disappointing fluff piece about a guy who developed a rocket stove (literally, the first line of the story is: "Are you watching porn?" It's a gentle downhill slope from there). And a recruitment piece for the US armed forces featuring how tough their wilderness survival courses can be. Product reviews. More glamping stuff.

For something as potentially transcendental as what "Outside" magazine could be about, I was left wanting.


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