Archive for the ‘Bufo’s life’ Category

I went for a walk yesterday…but I think it was too stressful to do it again

March 22, 2020

I went for a walk yesterday…but I think it was too stressful to do it again

My Significant Other and I usually walk for a couple of hours each weekend day. That could be at the dog park (we drive quite a ways to get to a giant dog park, one of the best in the world) or around our neighborhood.

We think of it as our favorite date. 🙂 It’s a time when we get to focus on each other and talk, and also get to see other people. We “know” lots of people (and dogs) at the dog park. We love seeing them and chatting.

I’m also very into animals. At the dog park, we see many different kinds of birds, and some different mammals (we always look for the pinnipeds, and they aren’t there consistently, which makes it even more exciting).

I had a pretty intense week. I work in healthcare, although I don’t do direct patient care. I train doctors, nurses, and other medical staff, primarily on software. That does mean I’m often where patient care is happening, but I’m not doing that now. I have an additional risk factor over many people, so I’m really trying to avoid being around others…which is very hard for a super social extrovert.

However, I am doing a lot remotely. Workflows have changed (I’ve also taught change management & time management). I may have three things going on at once: actively involved in one online meeting, monitoring two others on phones.

I was looking forward to walking yesterday.

After we did, though, I was really aware of how stressful it had been.

Now, I don’t usually make decisions based on my emotions. Spock was a fictional hero of mine, and I’m a great person to have around during an emergency (because I’ll make the, yes, logical choices). It would be illogical to ignore the affect of stress hormones on my body, though.

Why was it stressful?

One element was hypervigilance. I always look around when we walk: I’m looking for animals, such as squirrels. This was different: I was looking ahead for humans to avoid.

It felt like being on The Walking Dead.

I might see someone 50 meters/yards up ahead on the path. I’d look around for a place for my SO and I to go where we could be six feet/2 meters away from them. If we could step up on a hill, great. If not, we would step out into the traffic lane (it’s a quiet area, even more so now). In more than one case, we crossed to the other side of the street.

During those interactions, there often was tension, at least at first. I get that it could look like an ambush…we were standing out there in the weeds, and we probably weren’t immediately visible.

We actually resented people who were stopping to look at nature, or walking more slowly than us. We weren’t mad at them, but it meant we had to change our pace or take another path so we didn’t overtake them.

We did end up having a nice conversation with another couple about dogs…standing far enough apart with them outside their house.


I understand stress really well: that’s an important part of time management. What’s the difference between stress and hard work? Stress is unresolved. If your job was to dig ditches and you dug three in a day, that would be hard work, but it wouldn’t be stressful. If you felt like you had to call somebody today, and never reached them, it would be stressful.

Your body can rev up its capabilities during a time of special need…but it’s costly. Think about someone who lifts a car off another person who is trapped. Their body can change what it is doing to enable that slight lifting…but hours later, the hero might be unable to stand up.

When something is unresolved, your body stays in that ready mode. That’s one reason why it is so important to set achievable goals.

Was it hard work to maintain social (actually physical) distancing? Sometimes…it wasn’t always easy to get out of the way. I have some mobility restriction which makes it a tad more challenging. Remembering all the time to judge where someone was going to be took effort.

It was certainly stressful. We couldn’t know when we got home if we’d been exposed or not (we figured we hadn’t and had done what we could). We followed recommendations: we came in, washed our hands (I know how to do that properly from my training at work), took off our “outside clothes” and put them in the washer, washed our hands again, and then each took showers.

We are close to each other: we are exposed to each other all the time. My Significant Other has been going out doing the necessary shopping and could bring it home. I jokingly say if we go, we are going together.

I should also say that joking about it is fine. Different people will deal with external threats different ways. Joking about something helps disempower it in your mind (I’ve taught humor, too…laughter is a signal that there is apparent danger, but no real danger, generally). I would never joke about it affecting other people negatively…that feels too real to me, but joking about myself is fine.

Bottom line: I know we’re better off than many. We have a backyard (our dogs can go in and out). We can exercise at home. We have more tech than most people…more books/videos/audio, and VR (although I haven’t gone into it all week, which is very unusual for me). My employer is considered essential, and (virtual fingers crossed), my job is likely to be continued. No one in our families so far has tested positive, although some are seriously affected by the economic changes.

I’ll stay home today, and then get back to work tomorrow…

Getting outside is important, and I don’t begrudge you at all for doing it, following the guidelines. It’s just not the right choice for me right now.

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My weird movie theatre memories

June 29, 2019

My weird movie theatre memories

I’ve spent a lot of time in movie theatres.

If we count drive-ins (and they were called Drive-In Theatres), I think that probably goes back to seeing Dr. No with my parents. I have to assume that was in 1963 or so. I only have a flash memory of that…I was quite young, as you can imagine.

I’ve also seen many movies at cons (fan conventions), and of course, thousands on TV. My current favorite way to watch movies is in VR (Virtual Reality). I use a Samsung Gear. There are times the picture could be sharper, but I’m seeing a theatre size screen, have good sound through my earpods, and as I do my floor exercises, the screen follows me when I turn my head (at least on Netflix, it does). I usually have a few things going on at once (I have a Charles Band movie with Christopher Lee on TV in the room as I write this), but the VR experience really has me focus more. It’s definitely best when there are subtitles.

I took a film analysis class in high school, and I actually ran and programmed a movie series for a community center.

For this post, I’m just going to count situations where the public could gather to watch.

Let’s start out with some marathons.

There were five films in the original Planet of the Apes series. I was a big fan (although I don’t like the second movie much).

In 1974, 20th Century Fox had “Go Ape” marathons…you could watch all five movies in a row in a regular theatre.

Well, even though I’d seen them all individually in theatres, I wasn’t going to miss that!

I didn’t just go. I watched in an ape suit.

I had a Don Post PotA chimp mask. Don Post masks were great (my first real job was working in a place which sold them, The House of Humor). It did actually allow for some facial flexibility, and while it was hot for all those hours, it wasn’t intolerable (there was an opening in the back of the “throat”, as I recall, enabling you to breath through the mouth). I had a sort of vinyl olive rainsuit. I paired that with gloves and boots. I really wished I had boots with thumbs in them, as they did in the movie series, but no such luck.

Another time I spent more than eight hours in a row in a theatre was a “Golden Turkeys” film festival…I think it was in Berkeley. It was going to run over night, and my friends and I went in pjs and brought a blanket, or sleeping bag, I don’t remember which.

One of the features was The Creeping Terror, which I recently rewatched on Amazon Prime Video (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). It’s a super low budget monster movie made in the Tahoe area. They either lost or couldn’t use the dialog track, so much of the movie is narrated (“Bobby told the sheriff…”). The monster looks like a decaying carpet, and you can absolutely tell that a person is walking inside it. The way I had heard the story was that the director or producer was a con artist on probation or who had previously served time. People were paying to be in the movie, and he hadn’t intended to actually complete and release it…somewhat like the plot of The Producers. The judge/probation officer heard about it, called him in, and said, “If you don’t make this movie, you are going back to jail.” I don’t know that that’s actually true…it’s just my recollection of the rumors, and if it isn’t true, my apologies to the people involved that lots of us thought that was the case.

The movie that actually drove people out of the place was The Terror of Tiny Town. It’s a musical Western, with a large cast of little people. This came out shortly before The Wizard of Oz, and many of the actors were in both. The tone varies wildly between being a comedy and being serious…and for some reason, there’s a penguin in a barbershop, as I recall. People went out while it was on to get food.

That festival had a pretty full house, but I had quite a different experience one time when a friend and I went to go see a double feature. It was The Mafu Cage, a psychological horror movie starring Carol Kane and Lee Grant. Kane keeps a man in a cage and treats him as though he is a non-human ape. Hm, Robot Monster, which stars a man in a gorilla suit with a space helmet on his head (they couldn’t afford to make the robot costume they had intended, from what I heard, so they modified George Barrows’ ape suit) was part of the Golden Turkeys festival…is there an ape theme here?

The second feature was, I think, called The Arctic Fox. It was a Japanese nature documentary, narrated by “Grandfather Tree”, or something like that. I love animals, but I remember this being very slow.

By the time it finished, my friend and I were the only ones left in the multiplex theatre…and my friend was asleep.

When it ended, the film just flapped in the projector; it was clearly unattended. When I woke my friend up and we went to leave, it was clear why. The projectionist was standing by the exit, arms crossed across his chest. He looked at me pointedly and said, “That’s the first time I’ve had to run that film all the way through!”

Those are a few of my most memorable movie-going experiences. There have been many:

  • I remember watching Saul Bass’ Phase IV ant movie…in the first row (I don’t recommend that…oh, the movie is fine, but my neck was sore after staring up like that for the whole film)
  • I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show where they took a 70mm print and enlarged it to fill a 150 degree screen. That was a thing at one point…it was supposed to cover all of your peripheral vision range, so you couldn’t see anything except the screen. I remember the corners being fuzzy, but that was quite a show!
  • I think the longest line I was ever in was, for reasons which I’ve never known, for the The World’s Greatest Athlete with Jan-Michael Vincent…I had to stand in line through several showings to see this Disney sort of Tarzan comedy
  • I also waited in line for a few showing to see Jaws when it was first released. I could hear audience reaction from inside the theatre sometimes…so I actually had a sense of when one of the jump scares was coming, and anticipated it a bit

How about you? Have you had a strange time in a movie theatre? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. 

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