Brian Gilham

Engineering leader, husband, and father

coronavirus

There’s a lot to dislike about the current “lockdown” situation we find ourselves in. But I’ll forever appreciate how present I’ve been able to be for the early weeks of The Kid’s life. What an unexpected blessing.


Steph has been giving me home haircuts over the last ~85 days.


Coronavirus: Pregnant in a Pandemic →

With my wife and I expecting our first child in roughly four weeks, the latest episode of Science Vs, discussing the risks for pregnant women and newborns, felt timely and reassuring.


As our 60th day of physical distancing begins, I can’t help but be grateful for the feeling of temporal affluence — a surplus of time and space that wasn’t there, previously. Or didn’t feel like it was, anyway. Forced reflection on how we spend our time, our priorities, and the kind of life we want to build going forward.


"8 weeks ago things here in Toronto started to shut down. And if they'd only shut down for a week or two, maybe we all could have gone back to what it was. But it's been two months. You're different than you were. We all are. We're hearing from more and more people that they don't want to go back to the old thing. It's not who they are any more."
Jonathan & Melissa Nightingale

Like everyone else, we’ve been trying to stay home as much as possible. My weekly grocery store run is the only exposure I have to how well my neighbours are adhering to physical distancing guidelines. And, I have to say, the cracks are starting to show.

Even two weeks ago, I could count on most people giving me, and each other, a wide berth. This week I was shocked at how many people invaded my personal space.

The fatigue has begun to set in and it worries me.


Why Restaurants Are So Fucked →

Mind-blowing breakdown from Joelle Parenteau. We’ve tried to support some of our favourite local spots over the last seven weeks. It’s shocking how razor-thin the margins are.


Lockdown Productivity: Spaceship You →

I really enjoyed CGP Grey’s latest video talking about staying sane, healthy, and productive during lockdown. Great analogy.


Stay groovy.


What Social Distance Looks Like Across the World →

Filmmakers Jacob Jonas and Ivan Cash have created a short film, called A Social Distance, collecting clips from people in more than 30 countries.

In the self-submitted videos, people dance, play music, take us on a tour of their refrigerator, and introduce us to their pets. Edited together, these intimate moments create a synchronicity of humanity—a feeling of togetherness that’s difficult to conjure when you’re sequestered at home.


Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure →

Dr. Aisha S. Ahmad, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, shares some advice for adapting to long-term crisis:

Understand that this is a marathon. If you sprint at the beginning, you will vomit on your shoes by the end of the month. Emotionally prepare for this crisis to continue for 12 to 18 months, followed by a slow recovery. If it ends sooner, be pleasantly surprised. Right now, work toward establishing your serenity, productivity, and wellness under sustained disaster conditions.

None of us knows how long this crisis will last. We all want our troops to be home before Christmas.


After Social Distancing, a Strange Purgatory Awaits →

Juliette Kayyem, former Department of Homeland Security official, collected thoughts from folks in a variety of fields and shares a vision of what the world may look like after COVID-19.

The simplistic idea of “opening up” fails to acknowledge that individual Americans’ risk-and-reward calculus may have shifted dramatically in the past few weeks. Yes, I’d like to go meet some girlfriends for drinks. But I am also a mother with responsibilities to three kids, so is a Moscow mule worth it? The answer will depend on so many factors between my home and sitting at the bar, and none of them will be weighed casually.


Day 34

Aside from an occasional trip to the grocery store or pharmacy — an experience that continues to raise my stress levels — and some evening walks, we’re staying home. Everything else is optional and right now isn’t the time for optional. Work keeps us busy during the week. As wave after of wave of layoffs hit the news, I’m thankful we’re both employed. We’re incredibly lucky. With The Blob due at the beginning of June we’ve had a steady stream of baby supplies delivered, in addition to lovely gifts from friends and family.

Aside from an occasional trip to the grocery store or pharmacy — an experience that continues to raise my stress levels — and some evening walks, we’re staying home. Everything else is optional and right now isn’t the time for optional.

Work keeps us busy during the week. As wave after of wave of layoffs hit the news, I’m thankful we’re both employed. We’re incredibly lucky.

With The Blob due at the beginning of June we’ve had a steady stream of baby supplies delivered, in addition to lovely gifts from friends and family.

Protocols at local hospitals keep changing, so we aren’t entirely sure what to expect when the big day comes. I spend a lot of time thinking about caring for a newborn in the age of COVID-19.

I’ve been researching how best to give myself a haircut.

This is slowly starting to feel like the new normal. Strict restrictions are likely to remain in place until at least the summer. Beyond that, it’s hard to tell.

Culturally, it’s hard to believe we’ll ever fully go back to our old ways.


Explaining the Pandemic to my Past Self →

This gave me a much-needed laugh this morning.

Your definition of ‘a pretty big deal’ is going to change for sure.


Coronavirus couture.


It’s incredible how quickly household appliances and other infrastructure start to break down when you have two humans home all day, every day.


Let's All Wear A Mask →

Maciej Cegłowski makes a compelling argument for why we should all be wearing a mask. This is the post to send around to your friends & family.

But in this essay, I want to persuade you not just to wear a mask, but to go beyond the new CDC guidelines and help make mask wearing a social norm. That means always wearing a mask when you go out in public, and becoming a pest and nuisance to the people in your life until they do the same.


A Lego Justin Trudeau Talks to Children About the Covid-19 Pandemic →

Tyler Walsh and his sons spent a week making a Lego stop-motion animation of Trudeau acknowledging the role of Canada’s children in this pandemic — their hardships and role in stopping the spread. Really heartwarming.


Amid the sometimes conflicting information on wearing cloth masks, I’ve started wearing one when I have to be out and around others. Combined with discipline around hand hygiene, proper removal, and sanitation it now strikes me as a worthwhile step to take. It felt extremely strange, at first. But that feeling quickly faded and, given a sample of just my neighbourhood, I’m far from alone.


Coronavirus and Credibility →

Paul Graham on COVID-19, credibility in the news media, and remembering who lied to us.

But epidemics are rare enough that these people clearly didn’t realize this was even a possibility. Instead they just continued to use their ordinary m.o., which, as the epidemic has made clear, is to talk confidently about things they don’t understand.