Sunday, September 6, 2020

On the lighter side-Movies-Dolittle (2020) - Robert Downey Jr. Antonio Banderas

 Remake of the movie of yesteryears about the adventures of a physician who can talk to animals. Cute movie but not that funny. Recommended with caution

Return to work while in Pandemic

 After enjoying my Work from home (WFH) for almost five months (since March 13, 2020) reluctantly my office asked for volunteers to comes once a week to see their new arrangement in the office. Although I am doing WFH and have honestly got spoiled from it, I had to go and check out what was soon to be a new normal. I had gotten used to waking up around 7 Am every day that it was such a drag to wake up at 4.30 to start my day which I was not looking forward to. But anyway dragging myself to go at least after such a long time, I started to reluctantly prepare myself for the morning commute (on Wednesday, August 12, 2020). Although I knew that the traffic would be light because of the Pandemic and also because schools are closed but there was still traffic on the roads but not that much and what was there people were driving like there are driving on snow covered or rain drenched roads, too slow and not going out of my way.

I reach my train station and there was signs everywhere to wear the mask at all times on the train and public areas and also in the elevators there were signs where the people are going to stand . Anyway the train came and the best part was that I got a seat with nobody sitting beside me all the way to Manhattan. The Compliance with the mask wearing was near universal on the trains. I got off the train and started walking towards my office. There was less crowd than on a unsual week day

and everybody was wearing mask. Where I work it is a majoy tourist attractions for people all around the world and the weather was near perfect but the crowd as light and the streets and side walks of Manhattn wore a deserted look. I took my coffee and bagel and spoke to my usual guy, who said that the business was not good as expected since less people were trekking to the office. As I approached my building, there were again signs of social distancing and spacing of six feet and also on the elevators, designated signs where one is supposed to stand. There were hand sanitizers in the lobby and also in my office with marking all over the place to make sure there is one way traffic to the rest rooms. With the Caffeteria sealed off entirely and phones taken away from our desks. Even the seat where I was supposed to sit as usual had been taken away and in one row only three people were supposed to sit instead of five. During Lunch hour I trekked outside to get hot food since the luxury of microwave has been taken away from the office. There were few people on the streets which was supposed to be crowded with tourists and local office workers. The guy who got my food from said that he was also hurting and now had to take two jobs to make ends meet. After finishing my work, I started walking towards my train station with few people to encounter on the way back. I took some pictures in the morning and some in the evening for my friends to let them know that how empty and deserted streets of the Financial Capital of the world looked like and it was really haunting to see so few people in the middle of August with schools off and not a sight of tourists. But the good thing is Face covering was almost 99.99 percent universally compliant and I did not see any protest to the contrary. And after reaching my parking lot, I drove back home. But with the added burder of carrying my laptop back and forth, it was not a fun day at the office. But the sorry state of affairs with restaurants closed and taking only take out delivery and some non essential stores and some even shuttered for good, it will take a lot of time even afte the vaccine is available that the City of New York will come back. But as I spoke with one of my bosses, the days of coming to the office Five days a week are gone for good and this reality will hit hard the revenue of many businesses and cities across America, as people tend to stay indoors and work from home and there will be less support for the people who have to interact on a daily basis for their economic survival.


The vast array of streaming is driving me nuts

 I was just today looking at options of streaming sites and it seems streaming sites are spreading like wild fire, with every body who has some original content is ready to jump in the streaming wars and make some money. Apart the obvious ones who have a huge content to rely on, I just thought of comic sites which I had ignored earlier and discovered DC comic, Marvel and Kings Features which distributes comics to newspapers around the world.  Then you can find streaming sites dedicated horror, and thriller, and classic movies and Animation and also recently I am hooked on a Chinese website which stream movies that are not available on any other sites since it has subtitles (which majority of Americans hate but I love the it and have got used to it long time ago since I like the original language movies). So coming back to streaming options, people right now are subscribing in increasing numbers due to being confined to their homes and it remains to be seen how many will survive these streaming wars because if start subscribing to each one of them since they have exclusive contents, you will run easily into hundreds of dollars and also would not have to time to watch what they offer.

These websites will have to offer original content which is right now rare due to shutdown of studios in the United States and some countries at least. But I still wonder how many will remain in the field since they would need a decent amount of subscribers to remain profitable and for that to happen, they will have to invest heavily in make original and exclusive content and I don’t think some of them have the funds to keep on making exclusive content to chase the same number of people who may have subscribed to multiple streaming sites. So lets see what happens as the race is on. 

The Mask Issue

 As with the political divide plaguing the United States, with the Coronavirus rampaging communities and states, there is a definitive resistance to wearing a mask in public, with most Republicans voters oppose to wearing it as compared to Democrats. The President has not been helpful either by not wearing the Mask himself to show his opposition. The various reasons that people give of not wearing masks is it is suffocating, they have a medical condition, it does not work, personal freedom, conspiracy theories and whatever you can come up excuses not to wear it, including some Politicians and Celebrities. Although it is being recommended by health officials and some states and cities have mandated it, people are refusing to wearing it and even partying without it especially the young crowd who seems to think they are invincible. I don’t have any issue with people not wearing it, it is their choice if they want to get the virus or not. Sometimes people have become confrontational with people who asked to wear it. These people who admonish people who are not wearing  a mask should butt out of people’s lives as I have read many stories of mask less people becoming violent when asked by masked people to cover their faces.

I understand that people are fed up with staying indoors and have to put with restrictions and think that the government is unnecessarily intruding on their private domain, but it is for their own betterment and for the people surrounding them. I don’t know why it is hard for American specially to stop partying for a few months until the government get hold of this virus. Why they are being impatient about partying. They partying is not going to go away if they behave. Due to this defiant attitudes of the Americans, most of the world don’t want them to come to their countries even though the Americans are the biggest spenders.  Even in their own country, some states or I should say each state has a mandated list of states from which their own citizens or other citizens should isolate themselves for 14 days when come from hard hit states. But still people are going about their lives like the Virus has been conquered and every thing is back to normal. If the people can only read and see that it is still spreading and people continue to die while the economy is in the gutter. Unless we collective make an effort to social distance and wear masks, nothing is going to change including opening of schools and Colleges and international travels which the Americans so much crave will remain very light and countries around the world will keep on shunning Americans as long as the cases spike. Is it too much to ask or am I being unreasonable. But as I keep on reading, the numbers are keep on increasing for the infected people which seems that people are not keen on getting this virus under control. Well I intend to keep on Face mask till it safe to take it off in public even if it takes years. I am not responsible for other people not wearing mask, but I can sure protect myself from deniers.



U.S. Troops withdrawal

 Recently the U.S. government announced that they will withdraw some troops out of Germany out of which some will come home and some may be reassigned somewhere else. Immediately as usual there was a big hue and cry especially from Germany and also some Republican and Democrats in the U.S. that it is not a good movie, especially in the view of a hostile Russian posture and damage to the U.S. commitment and credibility. I have been emphasizing here that it time to bring those troops home and let the Europeans raise the defense budget to defend their own countries instead of relying on the U.S. for much of their defense which is a legacy of the World War II. Although the host countries may or may not been contributing to the costs of the hosting the U.S. soldiers but irrespective of who is paying the bills, it is time the U.S. starts to take care of their country instead of providing round the clock security to Europe. During this more advance times, the U.S. can easily send their soldiers faster than it before in slower times and also with new offensive weapons, the U.S. can launch missiles while at the same time making sure the troops reach as fast as possible.

The Europeans should also realize that the U.S. cannot forever be there for them and even with reduced troops the presence will still be there (although I don’t agree with even less troops). The U.S. needs to align more troops in places where it is needed or make sure the troops can reach faster instead of basing their troops in countries where even the citizenry don’t want them there feeling them a potential target in case of conflict breaking out. So bringing back troops is the right and correct decision.