Archive for March, 2020

The Corona Hours

Here in the Czech Republic, we’ve been under self-isolation rules for about 20 days. For some that’s not a big deal, for some it’s a nightmare. For me, well, I spend a pretty good amount of time trying to figure out how I feel and washing my hands.

I try to structure my days more or less in line with my normal life. I get up early, make coffee, and fend off the advances of my cat who has spent the night locked out of the bedroom and is thus recovering from the trauma of not being able to get her rectum as close to my face as possible. Pretty normal.

Things can be normal still when I sit at Mission Control (my desk), check my MITs list (most important tasks), and get started with my morning of work. When I am working on coursebook materials, an article, or fiction, I can mostly escape into those places and leave the stresses of the world behind, whether it’s a Corona World or not. I also find that when I am in the kitchen cooking and watching a show or listening to a podcast then I am also able to block out current stresses.

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The Corona Diaries

Mar 11: Day 1 of work from home. Made list today. 2 online courses. 3 novellas to tweak. Finish novel. By the time this all blows over in April, I’ll be one productive SOB.  

Mar 12: Pretty productive today. No online courses, but cleaned bathroom & organized T shirts from oldest to youngest and then again from lightest to darkest. Went to store, no evidence of panic buying, lots of available TP, milk, eggs. Interesting to note that pizza pastry and hotdogs are completely sold out. Gotta love Czech priorities. These are my apocalypse people.

Mar 13: Need a better schedule. Getting up around 7:30 but not getting to work until 9ish. Morning mostly spent drinking coffee & looking through kitchen window and watching people sneeze.

Mar 14: Having a friend for dinner, have sanitized and wiped down everything. Will decide about sanitizing friend when she gets here. Never realized how much I touch my face.

Mar 16: First day of actual quarantine. OK, know it’s not “quarantine” but who the f cares about semantics at this point? Not supposed to go anywhere at all, but if we do, we need a mask. I feel like I’ve been training for this for a decade. Need to stay alert in case something bad happens. I really need to stop touching my face so much.

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The Corona List

“A nice set. That’s what she said.” – M.D Joyce

This morning I awoke, made coffee and then sat down to work. It’s there that I saw my note in my notebook:


  • Brush teeth
  • Wash hands and face
  • Take walk & visit nature
  • Finish and send article
  • Pitch two more
  • No Seinfeld

“Oh yeah.”

I brushed my teeth and washed my hands. Then I took a walk from my east windows to my west windows. At the west windows I watered my plants. Nature visited.

The Czech government has put us under a “full quarantine,” which, as I suspected, has its caveats. The Czechs – bless them – would never let us go without visits to the shop, visits to nature, and they would never keep us completely isolated from beer. But we have to work from home.

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Apocalyptic Travel Tips


The aim of this report is to outline your travel options during the end of civilization. The recommended tips and ideas comes from the U.S Bureau of Happiness, Relaxation, and Dining.

Current Situation

Since the beginning of time, the world has been slowing moving towards its end. Then Trump got elected and Alan Rickman died and that end seemed a hell of a lot more imminent than it was before. At this point, a plague is eking its way across the world and American leadership doesn’t believe in medical expertise and science as much as it does Donald Trump and an invisible man who lives in the sky. No, not Muhammed. No, not Anansi. No, not Odin. No, not Ratovantany. No, not Shiva. No, no, no, not any of the Sun Gods. No. Not Mahakala, Cautantowwit, Coyote,  Batara Kala, Zamba, or Mr. Rogers. The other god. Yes, the one with the cherubs and the beard.

To summarize: there’s a good chance humanity is fucked.

Places to Go

The end of humanity means big deals in the field of travel and leisure. People are scared to fly, so this is a good chance to cash in on some very cheap flights. The U.S. Bureau of HRD suggests getting around to places while pilots and airlines are still willing to go there. Pretty soon, Italy might be on lockdown, so there is a strong push towards taking in sights in Rome, Naples, and Venice. By the time the lockdown is overturned Venice might be for scuba diving only. If you go, get a slice of pizza at a place called Jerzy’s near the Spanish Steps.

We suggest bringing four gallons of hand sanitizer and 400,000 wipes.   

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Burke: “Hey, can you find some hand sanitizer?”

Me: “Hand sanitizer? Yeah, sure, I think so.”

It was Thursday. I was on the metro, heading to a recording session for an ESL magazine. I jotted it on my list and went back to reading.

Shop List

Rice                 Beans              Lentils             Peas (green and chick)

Tuna                Frozen meat    Pasta             TP                   

Soap                Hand wipes     Hand sanitizer

I looked up at nobody and said aloud to nobody: “I’m not worried.”

And I wasn’t. But I was.

Earlier that day a buddy called and mentioned that his wife (who was vacationing in the mountains) had heard from other Czechs vacationing in the mountains that there was something of a mild, not so much panic, but let’s call it a panic to get emergency supplies at the supermarket. This, of course, was in response to the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus.

In general, the notion of dried goods and canned food around is a comforting one. If there were a snow storm warning or even the threat of pattering rain I might make sure I didn’t have to leave the house. So I took this recommendation in stride and made my list.

Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, news and information has been all over the place. Website news sources are certainly using dramatic terminology – urgent, outbreak, dramatic, panic. Donald Trump, employing his trademark brand of cool collected leadership in a time of worry, said ten sentences about Coronavirus, each contradicting the last and all of it together sounding like a person who not only was mentally unfit to be president, but not mentally equipped to be handing out cheese samples at a supermarket. Fortunately, by the end of the day, he had put his Number Two in charge, a guy whose name he hasn’t said out loud four times in three years and who also believes that science is a liberal hoax and that a man with a beard who lives in the sky created the world 6,000 years ago. So, you know, I felt safe. To cover his bases, Trump also intimated that the Coronavirus was the Democrats’ “new hoax.”   

While I do think the epidemic is being blown up sensationally, I also think it’s good practice to be careful, to err on the side of caution, and listen to the experts. They say to stay at least a meter or so away from possibly infected people (i.e. those sneezing or coughing or whose eyes are bleeding) and to consistently wash your hands. Also, avoid hand contact with your eyes. This one is tough. I love a good eye rub, and plus, once you make a body part off-scratching-limits it becomes forbidden fruit. I was done for.

I blinked a few times, rubbed my eye with the back of my sleeve and mapped out my day. I figured a quick stop to the mall supermarket and the drugstore across the mall hallway would be a jiff.

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