It's extra appealing right now to want to log anything when it feels like I'm doing absoluely nothing.
Once upon a time, I used to log movie reviews on Mike Stenhouse'soo5, but once he retired that I never replaced it with anything, but I've found that letterboxd is scratching that itch nicely. I miss going to Alamo Drafthouse (very strict no-talking, no-phone rules, table service snacks, no ads) in the middle of the day.
I've had a Goodreads account for a long time, but my kindle reading has gone up significantly since I got the library card. Also, I discovered the goodreads native app has a book scanner, so I went to town in a fit of boredom with the bookshelves here and discovered a few paperbacks I haven't actually read yet languishing under a layer of dust.
I've on and off complained about not being able to find a todo list that works with my brain, but Todoist seems to be the first one that's finally stuck. I've been filling it with really mundane things like "water the garden" or "launder the bedsheets", but it's been useful for feeling useful. I sync it up with my calendar to make my days look a bit less empty.
I think that's all the new logging I'm doing. I made two swarm checkins this month! A real busy one. What a whirlwind.
We've been very cautiously trying some socialising with Matt and Dana, who we consider our "bubble family" since we we've sort of been in each others' space since the pandemic started (literally since the shared airbnb in Kyoto in February) and we had them over for backyard lunch a couple weekends ago. I think they're the first people to be in the house since Jake stayed in January, well before lockdown.
I stopped drinking at the start of lockdown and have been getting into non-alcoholic IPAs. There's a trend right now, I think partially because nerds my age have realised their bodies can't keep up with craft beers anymore, of "good" breweries making low-to-no-alcohol beers that taste interesting! I've had some from Athletic Brewing Co., Mikkeler and Hairless Dog. All good fun.
Progress updates on end-of-the-world hobbies:
I'm a week out from finishing the Udemy JLPT N5 course, then I'll be on revision until I can get the exam booked.
I can successfully pick 2 and 3 pin locks!
Read a very good guide on the HAM Technician license and am doing the hamstudy.org flashcards until I hit proficiency and then I should be good to take the exam.
I moved to the USA nearly 7 years ago, but this is the first Independence Day I've actually spent in the US. Traditionally, due partially to Alex's work calendar, we spend this time of year back home or in France visiting my family.
Consequently, my homesickness has got a lot worse. Knowing that even if I did think it was a sound and reasonable idea to travel internationally (I don't) I'd have to spend 2 weeks in quarantine and/or I couldn't go to France (because the EU is very sensibly stopping US travellers), I'm generally just feeling a bit land-locked and sad.
I'm not experiencing the 4th of July as I think Americans are supposed to, with our local city fireworks cancelled (plenty of local illegal ones, mind you). I wonder if we'll even live here for next year's?
Borrasca. QCode's latest fiction piece. Creepy town conspiracy thing.
Played all of The Last of Us Part 2. I liked Tom's notes on it and totally get where he's coming from on feeling the crunch of the makers in the beauty of the game. It's so lavish and honestly I sort of plowed through it because I wanted to see the story play out ASAP, but I feel bad that I didn't stop and look at the details for longer. There's just so much going on in the background.
In trying to remain spoiler-less, I did not dislike the ending but I also felt a little empty is all I'll say. There's so much violence through-out the game that you can't avoid (even if you stealth as much as you can) that it sort of undermines the final note for me.
I'll be honest and say that I did use the very good accessibility options to get through a particular boss fight that I just couldn't do (rat king), and if it were not for those options I would have abandoned the game entirely after throwing my controller through the TV, so kudos for designing ways to make the full story accessible to as many people as possible, whether they want to become experts in combat for a game they'll likely only play through once or not.
Swimming in Animal Crossing! Cute!
I used to walk a lot - if a trip would take less than an hour on foot, I'd always prefer that method - but now I've got nowhere to be or go I don't do any. Dave has been quite inspirational in that since lockdown he's taken up just going for a walk to nowhere and logging them in Strava, clocking a good 10 or 15 miles a day. I've taken it up too, not as frequently, but the thing that finally convinced me (other than Dave saying "Just make your tea and go") was him showing me City Strides.
When I first moved to SF, as part of my not-particualrly-helpful patter about how crap SF was, I had a plan to walk all the streets in SF (It's only 7 miles across! It'll take no time!) but I didn't have a good method to record said streets. That's what City Strides logs.
I'm continuing to improve my RPG character sheet by studying for my Japanese N5 exam and HAM radio exams. I can't take either right now because neither has figured out how to do them in lockdown, but I intend to be ready when they do.
I think I'll learn to lockpick, too, for +1 dex.
The local Canadian nerds and I got our FRS radio licences and it is insanely exciting to be able to tune into extremely mundane things (like a local security guard in a supermarket or a construction site) that are just being transmitted plain, in the air, for anyone to hear! What magic!
Got a COVID-19 antibody test via One Medical a couple weeks ago, because I had been near persons with suspected cases in February and I had been sick with a cough earlier in the year.
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?