Author: julio

My beloved alma mater profiles me (again)

When my alma mater St. John’s University dedicated a recent issue of its magazine to African-American alumni and Black history on campus, it didn’t occur to me that a Latino issue might be next.

Then SJU called.

I chatted with Frank Rajkowski, a staff writer, who wrote a nice story about me (and posted it today). I am looking forward to seeing the magazine issue. More …

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The COVID year was hell — but also lovely

I knew the yearlong pandemic was far from over, a week or so ago, when I found myself with dozens of others in downtown St. Paul’s Roy Wilkins Auditorium, each of us standing uneasily at our own table, spitting over and over into a plastic tube.

This was my third coronavirus test, and the first that didn’t involve a swab jammed upward into my nostril at a drive-up testing location. More …

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I become sick and get tested for COVID-19

I was feeling out of sorts on Saturday, and by late afternoon was running a 101-degree fever. My head pounded and my throat ached. My chest felt a bit tight.

At one time, this would have been only mildly concerning — I’d take a sick day and queue up some Tylenol and bed rest to shake off whatever ailed me.

In the coronavirus age, though, such symptoms are a cause for panic. More …

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As the pandemic rages, I write and write …

As the pandemic rages, I’m still pretty calm as I go on more than a month of near-continuous home confinement.

It’s helpful that the kind of work I do can be performed at home (I had telecommuted a great deal in the years before the pandemic). And I have a LOT of work — Keeping myself busy with projects is good for my state of mind at an apocalyptic time. More …

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Virus: How we do work is changing forever

My friends, the great experiment.

No, I don’t mean the Excelsior-class starship. (For non-nerds reading this and wondering what the hell I’m talking about, here’s a link to the relevant “Star Trek” scene.)

Telecommuting had been a growing trend before the coronavirus crisis, but it’s now the default (at least for those with the right sort of office-style work) as the coronavirus shutters offices and scatters their occupants in a historic home-working migration. More …

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Coronavirus: Why the hell am I so calm?

I’ve been trying to figure out why the pandemic hasn’t totally freaked me out (so far). Oh, I’m stressed out, but I also feel a weird calm.
More …
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How to keep up with the coronavirus news

The COVID-19 outbreak might be the story of the century, and there’s no shortage of news about it.

For you, that can be a good or bad thing. If the never-ending torrent of info about the coronavirus is bumming you out, this post isn’t for you. Power down the computer or smartphone, cut off the virus-news firehose, and go do something that relaxes you. More …

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A quick coronavirus guide for fellow nerds

As I write this, the highly infectious and often-deadly COVID-19 virus is beginning its rampage across the country. And, like other Americans, I am figuring out how to cope.

I’m a nerd who likes putting a geeky spin on any problem, and this medical emergency is no exception.

More …
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Coronavirus: Staying sane and productive

The COVID-19 crisis has made me paranoid about once-ordinary routines.

I’ve stopped going to my public library because I’m leery of much-handled books. I’m no longer visiting my gym and its oft-touched equipment. Heck, I’m no longer going to my office — I have been 100-percent telecommuting for more than a week, with my employer’s OK, and anticipate doing so for the foreseeable future. More …

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My adventures with cleats & snowblowers

As a Puerto Rican in Minnesota, I have complicated feelings about winter.

I hate the never-ending cold, but I gamely do battle with King Boreas every day, and have moments of exhilaration — like when I am attacking snowdrifts with an electric snowblower.

In recent weeks, I have written a couple of times in the Pioneer Press about my trials with winter. More …

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Recapping a bicycling season for the ages

Last year, I bicycled like never before. I embarked on the greatest cycling adventures of my life, and went farther than I ever thought possible.

I pedaled 2,535.6 miles, compared to 2,287.8 miles in 2018, and 1,448.9 miles in 2019.

I had aspired to hit 3,000 miles, but my cycling season was cut short in September when I found myself fighting for my life. More …

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