We've been in Illinois for over a year now. It's been a busy time, with various family/health/professional issues bumping around like billiard balls. Overall we're in pretty good shape, especially given the background of the pandemic. Right now I'm not missing teaching at all and I'm not sorry to not be navigating the screwed up political/cultural situation in South Carolina.
I have thought very little about pseudo-archaeology lately, but there may be some stuff to talk about in the near future. Joe Taylor, whose work on "giants" I have criticized (e.g., here and here), offered to send me a copy of revised book. The offer languished in my email for a while but I have finally got back to him and I believe the book is on the way. I honestly got a little bored with giants a few years ago but it's still a hot topic. The silly video I did on the red-haired cannibal giants of Lovelock Cave to give my students an example of what they were going to do for a class assignment has gotten 21,000 views and still draws angry comments every week. So I guess people still want to fight about giants.
Hutton Pulitzer is doing whatever it is he was doing with his election fraud stuff. He took off his Commander suspenders and started wearing nutty professor glasses and positioned himself as an expert on detecting fake ballots and hacking into voting machines. The "stop the steal" people were all in, of course, and apparently didn't bother to look into his background. He was roundly ridiculed by multiple news outlets (congratulations - you're on TV again!) and trashed by various government agencies that actually understand elections. I don't know what he's up to now, as his YouTube channel has vanished. Maybe he's back to fake swords again. Or maybe crystals. Who cares.
In other news, we've now got a cat (adopted from my parents) and I have been accumulating all the things I need to start recording original music again. The jewel of this effort is my new drum set: a five piece beginner-level Pearl kit that will allow me record my own drums for demos. I decided to go that direction rather than getting a drum machine because it would let me learn a new skill and would give my kids an opportunity to bang on the drums if they wanted to. And the thought of doing more programming rather than just hitting stuff with sticks was a non-starter. The best thing about playing the drums is that it requires (for me, anyway) a high level of concentration. That means I can't think about anything else while I'm doing it, and that means my stress goes down. I played just a bit in high school, but never really practiced or learned anything in a formal way. So I've been teaching myself rock drumming 101 by learning AC/DC songs, following the recommendation of our lord and savior Dave Grohl.
I saw the Foo Fighters in Milwaukee at the end of July. It was the second time I've seen them and the first concert I've been to since this whole mess started. It was the second stop on their tour and the first show in that amphitheater since covid-19. It was an amazing experience - the crowd was so ready for it, the band was so ready for it, and it was 2.5 hours of singing, dancing, and yelling. It was probably the best concert I was ever a part of. I only recorded the opening song on my phone, knowing that people with better seats that me would capture the rest. My daughter and I wore masks but few others did. The timing was fortunate as the Delta cases were just starting to climb.
Back to reality . . . I also bought a new microphone (I incorporated the old one I've had since I was in high school into this sculpture) and a new set of headphones. I repaired the Fostex X-30 4-track cassette recorder that I've had since college, but it is noisy and not reliable so I've ordered a Tascam 8-track digital recorder that should arrive this week. The only thing I'll be missing then is a bass guitar.
I've dabbled in sculpture a bit, and I've gone through periods where I was doing a lot of drawing. Those are good activities when I want to let my mind wander. The nice thing about music, and I think what makes it appealing right now, is that there is a time element to performance. The clock is literally ticking, so I can't put down the guitar in the middle of a song to indulge some other thought that wanders in or check something on my phone. It also requires coordination of sight, sound, hearing, and motor mechanics. That provides an escape that seems authentic and fulfilling. And that's feels good right now.