Originally published by me at The Puerto Rico Connection (see it there)

Some recipes claim to be easy. This podcast was in the oven for almost three months, and the fault is all mine.

Antonio and I recorded this episode on March 21, way back in the early part of pandemic lockdown. Then I just let it sit.

But in a way, it’s interesting to hear us talk while this was a bit of a novelty, not the dread filled mire it has become. Oh, was that pessimistic? No worries, because my colleague and friend Antonio is a primo optimist. Just listen to him!

I did learn some Italian, OMS in Italian, is “Organizzazione Mondiale della Sanità” or what you might say, as in WHO (World Health Organization). Antonio was understandably concerned about his 90+ year old mother in Italy.

Antonio described that in Puerto Rico there were night time curfews. Students at his University. Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, had to leave their dorms and return to home on the island. He says that things at Sagrado were done in orderly manner for lockdown.

This was his preparation week for the “online pivoting” (insert ballet puns). He noted that after Hurricane Maria, Sagrado was first in Puerto Rico to reinstate classes as hybrid (under tents), so they were used to dealing with calamity. Because that seems pretty regular there, be it from natural forces or the boot of the US Government.

He described the hashtag #EsteVirusLoParamosUnidos or “We Stop this virus united” – Check out the 150,000 photos tagged on instagram.

But as “always an optimist” Antonio was ready to do remote teaching.

I shared a great retweet form Moia, and 80+ year old high spirited professor from Mexico I got to know form the UDG Agora Project

Antonio noted the first COVID-19 death in Puerto Rico happened recently, a tourist from a cruise ship.

I wondered if there was any singing from balconies in Puerto Rico.

Antonio talked about planning for teaching his Italian film class– he was using some sites for co-watching films, and that he had plans to watch soon a Mario Bava movie with Jim Groom (who blogged it thus).

Antonio’s strategies including Mixing asynchronous and synchronous. His INF115 New Media students, like always, publish to blog class summaries, with blog syndication to the main site, doing daily photos, and a class podcast project (see the class summary post by Antonio).

He urges students to “enjoy” the boredom of these times, but also write about it in their blogs, be creative, do something to capture this time. Antonio relays that it’s important to talk about how we feel about this time.

As optimistic as can be, Antonio says this is an ideal time to experiment.

I talked a bit about grand plans to make the Daily Blank WordPress theme fully language localized so Una foto cata dia could be completely in Spanish (as it turns out this was way more work than anticipated, but still on the table.

I also talked about wanting to tap into the new Creative Commons search API as a means to support a different version of pechaflickr. Postscript- om Three months I got as far as a crude prototype of fetching random images tagged “Landscape” which sometimes takes 3 reloads to cough something up.

Antonio reported in Puerto Rico it feels like a sense of denia about the pandemic. At the time, despite any faux Presidential boasting of “the best testing” there were no testing kits in Puerto Rico. Results had to come from labs in Atlanta or elsewhere. So there is really no data on the extent of the virus in Puerto Rico, just knowledge than around March 21 there where ~20 people infected, and 1 death.

While feeling that the Western way of life may be crumbling down, one positive of this time might be… less pollution (paging Dr Doom).

Antonio’s recommendation for hanging on to optimism is… Cooking. He shared that the most bought item in Italy is wheat flour– people are discovering art of making pasta and bread.

He referred me to Mark Bittman’s No-Knead Bread recipe, which thus became the name of this episode.

Thanks again, my good friend, Antonio, and many sorries for taking way too long to post.


Image Credit:

No knead bread flickr photo by Ullisan shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

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