I mean, just when you think things couldn't be more miserable, eh?
The last week has been particularly intense, with the news cycle being what it is. On an extremely personal and selfish level, the worst part for me is that my normally-only-mildly right-wing mother-in-law shows up to be extra mean and unsympathetic to the needs of people in this country. It's mentally very exhausting and it feels like this week has been a sampler for how it'sgoing to be from now until the November election here.
Alex apologised to me about that factor of our lives, but I said it's important to know and see first hand what people outside of our bubble think and how they react to the awful things happening in the US right now, and know how they actually live and react and speak. It's somewhat easier to empathise with their standpoint, even though I could never agree with it.
The rest of this year is going to be even more brutal, though.
I closed down my instagram this week. It's the second time I've done so - the first being when facebook first bought them (when I still had my phae handle) - but when I moved abroad I really missed being able to see folks' lives back home, so I gave in and opened a new account. The lines were drawn a long time ago, but certain companies have started to step onto the sides they wish to align with, and Facebook have made the choice extremely simple for me.
Since my last update, I haven't done a lot of new things. Let's see...
I did a fireside chat with Harper Reed at JAMStack conf virtual last week. That was pretty fun, although very early in the morning for me. It is the first time I've spoke live wearing 50% pyjamas, though.
I've taken up doing YouTube fitness videos. I do low-weight ones. I've decided I'm coming out of this pandemic fitter than when I went in, and beat saber isn't full-body enough.
I've been doing a lot of recruitment work for the project I'm on at the State right now, so I'm living on zoom. I could do with a bit less of that, but it's also the only way I'm speaking to people I don't already know, so it's probably good practice.
We ordered an air conditioner.
Alex kindly migrated me off wordpress, and this is the first post I've added since we made the change, so I have no idea if we messed up the RSS or not. Fingers crossed. Also, with the migration, I've lost comments, so... you know. I'm not on facebook or insta anymore, but I do still have email and we can talk.
We're on monthly updates now, because a month is about the right amount of time to feel anything happening. San Francisco is still in shelter in place through May. I have been nowhere and done nothing.
This last month:
Enjoying the Left Right Game podcast. A lot of the radio plays I listen to are a bit am-dram, but this one feels very professional (the ads are for expensive Bose soundsystems, so...) but I like the story. It's sort of horror/mystery about a missing woman and the podcast she was recording in America.
I'm getting really good at Beat Saber but I have so far injured: my right shoulder, my neck, both wrists and given a toe a blister somehow?
Now that my daily routine is largely my own to construct, I've learned that I like working in the mornings (a fixed daily 8am meeting helps) and I can be very productive up until lunchtime with proper work-work and I can churn out things much more quickly than at any other time of the day. Afternoons I hate, they just go on forever and make me antsy and all I want to do is nap, but I can do manual things (like gardening or cleaning) pretty happily. Evenings are best for creative jobs or future-planning jobs.
I've always known that's my preferred pattern of work, but being in an office has never allowed me to fully live it.
I may never be able to work in an office again.
Started attending John Muir Laws' live weekly nature drawing workshops online. A couple friends zoom-in too, so we can back-channel, adding that "sitting in the back of the class" vibe I needed.
I've restarted my hydroponic box and got a second small one. Growing: Dwarf peas, basil, coriander, wild strawberries, chives, chilies, lettuce and oregano. Probably a bit late to feel the benefits in lock down (maybe?).
Alex and I had a wedding anniversary. 7 years! Blimey!
I mean, I think it’s 345. Honestly, I have lost all sense of time and believe I could be off by a week. Let’s just say I’ve survived March and April began at some point recently and I’m still inside my house.
I don’t have anything exciting to report - just after my last week notes, SF declared “shelter in place” for 3 weeks and the State followed suit. SF extended shelter in place until May 3rd for now, but who knows, I am expecting it to extend again. I do gather from the data (from people who tweet that data) that us all being cooped up has flattened our local curve, so that’s nice to know.
I’ve been filling the weeks with nothing particularly extraordinary. A little work here and there, but not enough to really force a proper routine - so I’ll be honest that I’ve not been setting morning alarms most days and that’s meant I’ve been up out of bed late, and therefore going to sleep late. I’ve not really been sleeping well and I’ve been on the melatonin, with mixed results and crazy dreams. I’m a bit untethered, but that’s the worst of it.
Here’s some things that I’ve been consuming, though:
Animal Crossing New Horizons! Thank goodness this little slice of escapism came out when it did. It’s been so lovely to visit real friends’ houses, both near and far, even if it’s just to wave and steal a few peaches.
Oculus Quest! The only way I’ve been getting any sort of real exercise (other than fitness boxing which I’m starting to get quite bored of) is playing Beat Saber for about an hour a day until I sweat enough that the lenses fog up. Gross, but quite gratifying.
Podcasts! I had subscribed to a bunch of interesting science podcasts at the start of the year, but I had to ditch them all because they all just talk about COVID-19 at the moment. Instead, I’ve been listing to radio plays. For example, I like NoSleep for short horror stories that feel very Twilight Zone/Tales from the Crypt. Also enjoyed Body Horror from Radio 4 and Blackout (it’s got Rami Malek in it).
Books! Still working through The Expanse novels. I’m just now caught up with the TV show, so doing well. There’s so much.
Cooking! Like, not good cooking, but not ordering take away constantly. I have a pretty decent end-of-the-world pantry and I sort of enjoy trying to use up what we have. Honestly, though, our local fancy corner store has everything except bread so we’re FINE.
Art! Well, not consuming, but outputting. Finished one not-great watercolour and did an illustration for a game that Monica is making.
I don’t have anything else to inform anyone. I’m worried sometimes and I’m pretty sure I’m constantly low-key stressed, but who isn’t?
Week 341 was destroyed by jetlag after getting back from Japan. I just could not get into the grove of the timezone at all that week. Fortunately, I had some early morning Public Digital client meetings that forced the issue. I started to make plans for week 342, but I had to cancel a couple of social engagements and evening class, since I picked up a cough and didn’t want to risk it (especially just coming back from Japan).
But, since then the general advice has gone from “stay home if you feel sick” to just “stay home”, so that’s what Alex and I have been doing.
Alex works from home 4 out of 5 days most weeks, anyway, and I work from home most of the time, too, so it’s not a huge change for us. I’m definitely one of those introvert meme illustrations of “Oh no, I have to stay home? Quelle horreur!” But even I usually have reasons to leave the house, like work client visits or appointments or evening classes, but that’s all stopped for now. I should have been in Sacramento at the time I’m writing this, and a trip to NY in two weeks is postponed and another trip to London at the start of April is cancelled.
So, the week was pretty empty. I again had some early morning work video meetings, but not a lot else. I cleaned up the garage emergency preparedness stuff we have (we were already prepped, because it’s earthquake country and I sort of love doing it) and itemized foodstuffs in a new spreadsheet. I also did a bit of painting and a couple of friend video chats which have been nice for a bit of venting and sanity (I’m especially anxious about the UK’s current approach to the virus, and worried for friends and family back home who are likely to suffer for it).
I’ve also been making a point to sit outside on the back deck for at least some portion of the day (I’ve been teaching the scrub jays to come to a bowl in my hand for peanuts) and I’m back on Nintendo Switch Fitness Boxing for some physical activity. I’ve got about half a dozen 75% complete craft projects around the house that I might try and get to completion this week coming.
We’ve really got no reason to have to leave the house, so we won’t be. So, I suppose this will be the diary of a homebody for a while. Stay safe, everyone.
Just got back from 2 weeks in Japan. In week 339, we (Dana and I) were supposed to be attending the Ikenobo World Seminar with 4 days of classes, but it was cancelled due to Coronavirus outbreak, which is fair enough. We already had our Kyoto airbnb and flights booked, so we thought heck... let's go anyway.
Kyoto was lovely and much less busy than usual (both because lower season and little travel out of China) so we visited some of the more high-traffic temples that we'd have skipped before. We also took a day trip out to Hiroshima and a trip out to Nara (I petted a lot of deer!) and Osaka (fried food on sticks!). The JR railpass really is a good motivator to get out and about.
Second week was just me and Alex in Tokyo. He worked some of it. That was a much less busy week, mostly eating and shopping. We're thinking about doing 6 weeks in Tokyo this year or next, so we wanted to scope the new location for his office (they just moved) and get a sense of that neighbourhood, in case we decided we wanted to stay longer-term near there.
I took a day trip down to Tateyama by the sea, and visited one of our flower gang's homes there, as well as the castle and pier. It's very cute and highway buses are great.