It’s been half a year

Today is day 183 since I began sheltering in place in my apartment due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

This means that I have been quarantined for over half of one calendar year.

Every now and then, I find myself laughing out loud because, the first week my office closed, I asked if we should expect to be back in the office the following week or would we not be able to return until April?

(I also am laughing out loud more often because I’m not sure I can regulate my emotions anymore? It is very likely I have become feral and am unable to be tamed for society again…)

Despite what appears to be a large chunk of time passing… it still feels unreal to me some days. Each individual day drags on, but the weeks and months pass in the blink of an eye. I can remember how my own stance on COVID-19 and how dangerous it was changed during the course of a single workday, when I packed my desk with the intention of not returning to the office a few days in advance of it closing. But the months since… are a blur.

There are a lot of things I wish went different for me personally during quarantine, but this pandemic has been much, much bigger than me. And one of the more productive things I’ve been able to do is to try to help others where I can. When I am having trouble taking control over what’s happening in my life, it helps to try to at least contribute some positive change somewhere in the world.

Spread Positivity - spreading yellow spread with a happy face, putting a yellow coin with a happy face into a can that says "Donate", a text exchange responding to 3 frowning faces with 1 smiling face, a spray bottle spraying yellow happy faces
Image created by Alissa Azureen for the United Nations COVID-19 Response

Here are a few ways I have been trying to help:

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Friday Favorites (10)

Happy Friday and happy May!

Today is May Day, which also makes it International Workers’ Day, so I encourage you not to cross the picket line as essential workers strike for better benefits and protection while their employing corporations reap in record profits during this crisis.

May Day is also a festival of spring, so enjoy flowers and spring cakes and little makeshift maypoles if you’d like.

We are also kicking off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month today. I’ll try to find some good reading for next Friday but in the meantime, try to consume something made by an Asian Pacific American this weekend. You don’t have to go watch Crazy Rich Asians but there are a lot of other good options, one of which I mention down below. You can also watch a Youtube video, read a book, read an article even. And of course, continue considering supporting Asian-American-owned businesses.

“Lockdown Productivity: Spaceship You” – CGP Grey

CGP Grey has long been one of my favorite Youtube creators, and this has become one of my favorites of his videos. He reframes our quarantine in a creative way – you are isolated in a spaceship above Earth, and before you can return to Earth, your mission is to return to Earth better than you left. It’s really worth a watch and can be really motivating if you’ve been starting to feel burned out and finding quarantine to be pointless and draining. He focuses on how important it is to maintain your physical and mental health, and the importance of having dedicated physical spaces to do so. Read More »

Film School on YouTube

We’ve established that maybe I watch a bit too much YouTube, right? But hey, at least I’m actually getting a decent amount of education value out of my viewing! Not only am I learning recipes and cooking techniques (an excuse I love for watching Shokugeki no Soma!) but I also really love watching video essays about film.

Sometime at the beginning of high school, I started to watch movies differently. I think this was triggered by 2 things:

  1. My parents bought a box set of all the Best Picture Oscar winners and we had begun watching them for our weekly family movie nights. I suppose I began trying to see what set these movies apart from the rest.
  2. I watched a bootleg copy of Joe Wright’s 2005 Pride & Prejudice, which remains one of my favorite movies because of what was interesting about this copy of it. When I turned on subtitles because the audio was a little bit off, I actually ended up with the director’s commentary captioning the movie instead of the audio. The result was that having the curtain pulled back on the director’s choices and intent helped me start looking for these things in other movies.

It’s very easy to critique movies without knowing the language of film; all art is able to be consumed at different levels and therefore to be critiqued at those different levels. I have a parent who works with film so it’s a medium that is near and dear to me, and I have begun to learn how to evaluate films in a different critical way.Read More »

Friday Favorites (8)

Has anyone else been struggling a bit this week? I’ve seen this sentiment on social media that this week in particular has been more difficult for a lot of people, whether in their work lives or their personal lives. Personally, I’ve been feeling it a lot at work, vacillating between period of virtually zero productivity and periods of highly rare focus but getting blocked by something or other.Read More »

14-Day Quarantine Workout?

As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I am not great about working out and, when I do commit to it, I prefer doing classes because the external accountability keeps me on track.

Of course, with shelter-in-place and self-quarantines abound, the scant classes I was attending are no longer an option to me. So many fitness studios and individual instructors have made workouts available online, via YouTube and Instagram Live and IGTV and more, and I’m really grateful for it! However, I do feel overwhelmed by the choices that are available to me! Do I try dance fitness? Or a HIIT (high intensity interval training) class? Maybe boxing? Yoga??

It’s been a bit too much, which is a convenient excuse for me to just do none of them. 🙃

I’m learning a bit about what kind of home classes I like doing. For example, I don’t like spending so much time on Instagram, so the plethora of amazing classes on IG Live or IGTV don’t appeal to me as much. Live classes are still helpful for me because the external accountability of being on time and going through a full class help. (Although I will be honest and admit that I have just stopped partway through a too-hard tabata class, I’m grateful that I can work out with my camera off.) I’ve also had some success following along with YouTube workouts when I am looking for a specific type of workout, for those truly rare occasions when I actually know what I want.Read More »