March 31, 2020

Zoom, Flies, & Too Much Booze

It only took one week, but I think I'm ending the dedicated quarantine posts. Looks like we're going to have at least another month of it, and I just can't face doing the daily diary thing anymore. Too many days are seemingly the same (and somewhat depressing) and I've already watched Tiger King, so...

Anyway, one of the good things that has come out of quarantine has been the widespread adoption of videoconferencing for things other than work. About a week ago a few of us with similar interests in a Facebook fly fishing group threw out the idea of having a night of fly tying, drinks, and frivolity on Zoom... and one of them actually organized it this past Saturday night. Damn, if it wasn't a lot of fun.


About 6 or 7 of us were consistently on the call, with a few folks popping in and out periodically to tend to other things. Spanning a few different time zones, it took quite a bit of coordination. We even had someone pop in from Japan.

In addition to chatting about fly fishing, flies, and tenkara, one of the added points of interest was the ability to share (and comment on) fishing videos while we were participating. Some videos were instructional in nature, while others... well, let's just say were there for entertainment purposes.


Now what was said in fly tying Zoom, stays in fly tying Zoom, but to be honest I probably couldn't tell you most of it if I tried. And this is where things get dicey.

See, I'm not the drinker I used to be... and I used the opportunity to blow off A LOT of quarantined steam. I drank way too much Jack Daniel's... and anybody that knows me after too many drinks knows that first I lose volume control... then get very loud and say a lot of dumb stuff... right before my body downshifts to a vegetative state. It's at that point I can no longer form sentences and am barely a quarter functional human. Well, that's what eventually happened at some point on Saturday evening.

It's been a very long time since I've let the whiskey hit me that hard. I evidently tied a bunch of flies, but due to drunken amnesia only remember about the first three or four...


At some point in the night I must have quit the videochat and stumbled off to bed, but not before... get this... finding the porcelain throne and blowing chunks. Thank God we didn't install a bidet like some of the other toilet paper impaired folks, I would have totally been shot in the face. Although in reality, that might have been better than what actually happened, which was throwing up on my shirt, arm... and launching friendly fire throughout the bedroom. 

Fortunately, these drinking incidents are few and far between. It's been a few years since I tried to take a late-night leak in the bedroom hamper, but my wife is an absolute saint for putting up with me, (and helping clean up on Saturday night). Sunday morning clean up duties were all on me. I blame COVID-19. Yes, this was definitely 'Rona's fault. 

At least our bedroom carpet is now freshly shampooed.

Anyway, back to the main theme here, I can't wait for the next fly tying Zoom, that is if I get invited back... LOL! It was a lot of laughs, productive for re-filling the fly box, and I promise, my wife is making me I'll put in a personal two drink limit. 

It's been really tough to maintain a feel of "community" over these past few weeks, and this helped a ton. Will definitely need more things like this to ease the cabin fever in the future.

March 26, 2020

Hey, How Much For That Baby Tiger?

The quarantine continues... and so I write... and I'm excited to say there's going to be a little bit of fishing content in today's blog post!

Tuesday, March 24
Yet again, today was a blur when it came to work. Nonstop from 8 to 8. I won't even get into it because I have so many other things to recap... so we move on...

K.C. decided to sneak out today and head to BJs wholesale club to try and find some food as we ate through a lot of our "two week supply" in about a week and a half. While her trip was fairly successful on the food front, she shared this interesting observation regarding personal hygiene supplies when she returned.

"The employees were telling people they were out of toilet paper, and directing them to buy napkins or coffee filters instead and just don't flush them."

Thank you BJs for that sage advice. It was too good not to pass along. And since we're not flushing them, will probably make for a tasty cup of coffee.


One of the foods she acquired, more like a junk food, is this chocolate covered S'mores mix. Let me tell you something, if we come out the other side of Coronamania 2020 a post apocalyptic society, grab as many bags of this stuff a you can now. It is so ridiculously good it will replace all forms of currency. I think this handful is being traded for more than any shares of airline stock right now, although that isn't saying much.


Before I get to some fishing content, can we talk about the elephant in the room for a second? Or should I say tiger? Stop whatever you are doing, log on to Netflix and watch Tiger King. Or at very least the first two episodes. For real... I'm not joking.


Everything about this docuseries is totally mind-blowing... every time you think you have some idea of what's going on... it takes another unforeseeable twist. Come for the chaos, stay for the country music. We started watching this on Tuesday night. It's Academy Award worthy television, and you can't even win one of those for tv shows.


On to a bit of fishing. I received a thank you note from the folks from the Pittsburgh Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing for a donation I made for a raffle. I'm not using this to pimp out the donation, but to call attention to the fact that they raised quite a bit of money at the event which goes to a really awesome cause. If you're not familiar with PHWFF, you should really check it out. Thanks to Nick Cobler (who also happens to be the designer behind the Tenkara Angler logo) for pulling me in, and for Howard's Tavern for hosting the "Tie One On" fundraiser.


Last but not least, on Tuesday evening I acquired a few pieces of folk art from good friend of the blog, Owl Jones. Yes, you remember... that guy. He's not fishing as much these days, but he's still passionately creating art. Unfortunately, he had a few showings cancelled due to recent events, so check out his Facebook page, where you might see something you'd like to add a little cheer to your quarantine headquarters. I can't wait for these technicolor birds to come home to roost in Florida.



Wednesday, March 25
Woke up to see the there's finally a Coronavirus Stimulus Package on the table to be approved by the Senate. It's crazy the numbers being tossed around in it when you read some of the details. I know there's been a lot of haggling over making sure there's not too much "pork" hidden inside the proposal... hopefully there's some positive movement, one way or the other.


For the first time since we started working from home, things slowed down to a manageable pace. I actually had time to catch up on some neglected emails and didn't feel totally frazzled by the end of the day. I really hope this is a turning point, at least for a few more days. The first week or so was really tough.

Today was also an interesting day for some fishing things. First off those Tenkara Rod Co. guys are doing a Kickstarter for a mini Beartooth rod. They've already raised $35,000 in like a day and a half. I'm not the biggest fan of their rods, but they certainly do have this fundraising thing down pat. That much, that quickly in a tough economy? Wow!


Personally, I'd recommend sending your biz to Tenkara USA, or TenkaraBum, DragonTail, or several other vendors first, but I've got to tip my cap to the TRC guys... well done.

I'm also looking forward to watching Rolf Nylinder's new video short. Nobody is really making fly fishing movies quite like him these days. I really enjoy pretty much everything he does, I'm sure you will too.


Finally, happy to report some really speedy delivery from The Rogue Angler. Mentioned in a prior post that I ordered a few things from them the other day. The box arrived today, better than expected. I didn't realize the brook trout book was almost a coffee table sized hardback (and it's autographed)! I've only paged through it so far, but it looks amazing. Can't wait to dig in.


To end the night we binge finished Tiger King. I cannot reiterate how good this is. The "out of left field" craziness from the first few episodes does subside a bit, then it turns into a full on episode of Dateline NBC or something... I had no idea "big cats" were such a cut throat business. I'm sure the fly fishing industry is exactly the same behind the scenes... am I right or what Angling Trade?


Side note, there's a great article on the MeatEater website written by Sam Lungren about the effects on the fishing (& hunting) industry during this virus-induced recession. It's a must read if you're into the business side of the outdoors.


Depending on how Thursday goes, I may write a totally "normal" fishing blog post on Thursday for Friday publication and catch up on quarantine posts following (sort of like today). We'll see...

Until tomorrow!

March 24, 2020

Immersed in Work and Hungry for Games

Wow. Today went by in a flash.

Actually let me rewind a bit to last night... and review a few things that took place on Sunday night, following the last blog post.

K.C. and I watched Wrestlemania 30 re-runs on ESPN and then Westworld on HBO. Westworld is so damn confusing. I don't know if I can do any more of it.

I will keep watching, but I can see myself giving up at some point in the not too distant future. I just don't have the brain cells to dedicate to this nonsense. And to be honest, I miss the wild west setting. Feels like they threw in Nazis for the sake of Nazis last episode.


On a lighter note, I live in one of those cookie-cutter communities where each little subdivision has it's own name. The community is called Aberdeen, and I live in Castlegate. There's a Seaton Manor, Grandholm Point, etc, etc...  Well somebody went out and threw a sign over their subdivision in a play on the Hunger Games. Other "districts" quickly followed. People are stir crazy, and it's hilarious.

The amenity center is "The Capitol." I'm considering raiding it. However, I sure hope I don't get picked as Tribute, I have a feeling this Yankee won't fare well against Florida Man when no holds are barred. I'm not even sure what my weapon of choice would be.



Catching up to Monday, as mentioned, it was pretty much a blur. I woke up, logged into work, and didn't really come up for air until 7:30 PM. Man, I don't really like this work from home stuff. I need to make sure to schedule some sanity breaks in my day. I'm sure things happened in the world, but I'm pretty oblivious.

It's like 9:45 PM now and I'm pecking this post out on the sofa while K.C. is watching Below Deck on Bravo. I'm passively following along. These shows are a trainwreck. I pretty much have fallen into a pattern of working and watching TV. This is not good.

Speaking of not good, Florida has now officially closed all state parks. Give me a break...


Anyway, I did nothing even remotely related to fishing today. Sigh...

Tuesday is another day...

March 23, 2020

So How's The Quarantine Going For Everybody?


I thought I might use the blog to create a little diary of the Coronavirus quarantine. Sure... this might not be entertaining for you to read, but since everything going on right now is quite unprecedented I figured it might be interesting to look back on at some point in the future, hopefully when things are a bit more "normal." As a family, we're already a week in, so this will probably be a little bit of a longer catch-up post... with shorter installments in the future. Who knows where this is going to go, so bear with me.

Monday, March 16
Nothing too crazy. This will prove to be my last day of working at work. We're encouraged to work from home moving forward. Many others have already done this, but I'm interested to see how this goes. Lilly is already at home on her first day of Spring Break... although we should all be up in Philadelphia on a mini-vacation. We cancelled that the prior Friday. A year ago we were in La Jolla, California kayaking during a Los Angeles/San Diego Spring Break. What a difference a year makes...



Tuesday, March 17
Work from home begins. Meh, I was probably on a video conference of some sort the entire day. Usually when I work from home I feel relatively productive, probably because some of the work distractions are left at work. I've found when everybody works from home it's pretty much the opposite. Crazy amounts of emails, internal messaging pop-ups, and of course the aforementioned conference calls. First day of dedicated work from home definitely didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped. However, I really can't complain, at least I still have a job... let's just not talk about those 401ks, okay?

For what it's worth, Lilly's Spring Break has now not only been extended another week, but now the kids aren't going back to school until at least April 15th... with some sort of virtual classes beginning on March 30th. I'm sure that'll go well...

K.C. and I finished binge watching season 2 of Succession (HBO) on Tuesday night as well.  That show... I can't stand any of the characters, (maybe Kendall is sort of likable at times) but damn if it isn't well written. Especially if you enjoy profanity (as I do).



Wednesday, March 18
It's recycling day. Recycling is still coming during the pandemic. I shower, take out the recycling, and log on for work.

Work kicks it up a notch as the only sport that is actually doing anything right now, the NFL, begins their free agency. Working in sports, this is kind of a big deal. News gets out early that Tom Brady is going to sign with Tampa Bay. Gotta sell those jerseys once he moves. Many, many more video conferences in preparation...

Fortunately, we buy some time by the fact that no official announcement is made on Wednesday evening, but I'm exhausted. We travel to Flavortown and watch reruns of Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives pretty much all night.

Thursday, March 19
I don't really recall what happened on Thursday, must not have been that memorable. Corona days are running together now. Seems like the President is having daily news conferences and saying dumb stuff on the regular.


I don't know... other than the 6:30 and 11:00 evening news, I try to keep the news off where it makes sense. You can also tell people are starting to get stir crazy by the amount of nonsense being posted on social media. I am enjoying this Quarantine group I was invited to though on Facebook. I've largely been off social to this point, but I have to admit it's pretty funny.

Friday, March 20
Work kicks back in a big way. The Brady deal is announced, as are a few other notable free agents. We put product up on our websites for those interested in buying jerseys rather than toilet paper. Speaking of which, our household fortunately still has an adequate supply.

There are food trucks in the neighborhood, but I think K.C. is still a little turned off about leaving the house. We let them pass and eat-in. I don't think we've eaten in for every meal for a long time. Unfortunately, we're also eating all the snacks too and I'm drinking Cheerwine like a crazyman.

Lilly is also mildly bummed that we choose not to go to Target to buy a Nintendo Switch Lite and the new Animal Crossing game. She was saving her birthday money to purchase those. She acts like a sassy 14 year old most of the time, but she still loves Animal Crossing.

A lot of the fly fishing companies are putting out free stuff to keep people busy through their social distancing. For example, Tenkara USA records a podcast, publishes coloring sheets, and makes back-issues of their magazine free for download. Speaking of magazines, the submission deadline for my little side-project Tenkara Angler passes. I only get 5 article submissions this go round. Bummer. Might not be enough content to publish a Spring magazine, we'll see...



Saturday, March 21
Wake up to find out Kenny Rogers passed away last night. F*ck. 2020... go back to where you came from.

Needing to get out, I go on a long morning walk around the neighborhood. Since I'm not driving to work anymore, I've been missing out on the week's podcasts. I listen to the latest episode of MeatEater to kill the time and learn that traditionally ketchups (catsups?) were made of things other than tomatoes... like mushrooms. And it was common. News to me. I also notice while walking that people I pass are not quite as friendly as they used to be - heads down, no "good morning" greetings. Maybe I look like I have cooties.


There aren't any sports on TV, so K.C., Lilly, & I all unfortunately kind of fall into "screen time" for most of the day. The adults are probably both on Facebook, and Lilly is likely on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or group chatting with friends. I did order a book about brook trout from the Rogue Angler's website as well as a Tacky fly box on clearance. Figure the reading might keep me busy in the days or weeks ahead.

We did talk to K.C.'s brother up in Philly. Glad to see that "Uncle Andy", his wife and two young boys are doing well and feeling healthy. Pennsylvania (and other several other states such as California) are now on pretty much a lockdown. Don't leave the house unless you need to, and non-essential businesses are closed. Florida hasn't gotten there yet, but they do finally make the call to close the last beaches as of Saturday evening. I don't think some of the footage of Spring Breakers running around some of the Florida beaches (which went to the national news earlier this week) went over too well.

K.C. tolerates me watching There Will Be Blood on TV to wrap up the evening. That movie is so good. Watch it if you haven't. Just don't expect a happy ending... for anybody...



Sunday, March 22
K.C. joined me for the morning walk this morning. While the distance was slightly shorter, the other folks out and about were much friendlier today... probably because K.C. was along.

Of course we talked a lot about what's going on in the world during our two hour walk. Small topics such as how long we can wait before going grocery shopping... to some headier topics such as what the actual signal will be for things to get back to normal again? Do new cases need to stabilize, start going down, stop all together? If I'm not mistaken, China's been in this big for at least two months and still aren't back to normal. Who knows... but I don't think we'll see any of that over the next week or two.

I think we're both actually more concerned about what's going to happen to people that have been laid off, furloughed, or have small businesses that need to be shut down for an indefinite amount of time. Fortunately, we've got a little socked away in case that were to happen to us, but we know there are many others (including friends & relatives) that will be hurt in a serious way. With all of the crossed streams of communication (and miscommunication) I'm not even sure what the best way to help others is at this point...

On the way back to the house from our walk, vultures ominously circled overhead. I kid you not.


On a lighter bird sighting front, we saw an oriole in our backyard today. We usually get a lot of cardinals, mourning doves, bluebirds, woodpeckers, and others... but rarely orioles... so that was a pleasant sight.

I spent the afternoon getting my home office a bit more organized for the work week ahead while K.C. & Lilly watched musical movies on television. First, Sweeney Todd and then Into the Woods. Guess that was payback for There Will Be Blood. I went into the backyard and practiced casting my Type I tenkara rod with about 18 feet of line... just in case I'm still able to go to Oni School out in Utah in August. Who even knows if Masami Sakakibara will still come over at this point...

And that's about it... for now. I wrote this blog post at about 7:30 pm on Sunday evening, I'll probably watch the new episode of Westworld tonight... As such, I guess one might expect the next journal entry on Tuesday morning. We'll see, these are certainly crazy times, so you never know exactly what's going to happen next...

March 12, 2020

We Caved to the Craziness

Philly trout trip... off.

I'm adopting this look moving forward:


Yesterday was just a crazy day.

I work in sports, so I see things through a distorted lens, but I've never witnessed a chain of events quite like this...

First the NBA announces games with no fans, then the NCAA pretty much squashes March Madness, then the Ivy League cancels spring sports (not to mention many schools go to virtual classes), oh yeah, then the NBA suspends the whole season when two teams are forced into quarantine, and I'm sure a ton of other things too that I've just overlooked...

I didn't even mention that the President closed the US borders to European flights... and Forrest Gump can now add COVID-19 to his long list of life experiences, and the stock market is in shambles. Yikes!

I like facts, and most say there's nothing to be concerned about if you're relatively young and healthy and hand-washy... but we're cancelling our flight to Philly. So highly likely no trout for me next week. At least we're not flying up there now. Even if we were not to get sick, I don't want to be more prone to spread anything to anyone that is.

Strange times to say the least... Pass the Jack Daniel's... with a side of Purell.