Year: 2020

28 Mar 2020

#OscarsSoWhite: Asian Leads

During the award show circuit this year, there were constant conversations about how the Oscars continue to be so white. Two pieces of criticism involved both “The Farewell” and “Parasite.” Awkwafina and Lulu Wang didn’t deserve to be snubbed for their work in “The Farewell.” For Parasite, why could they only be recognized for Best Picture, Director or Ensemble and not for the work that the individual actors and actresses did in this film? It was a mystery.

Be Kind Rewind is a YouTube channel that focuses on Hollywood history. In this particular episode, they explore why Asian actors and actresses continue to struggle in 2020 with recognition, but that there has been a long history of it prior. In order for us to change and move forward, we have to understand how it started.

27 Mar 2020

Checking In: The End of Week Two

We made it through two full weeks of working from home with shelter-in-place. It also happens to be the amount of time I would’ve been in self-quarantine regardless after getting back from Thailand. There is still a long road ahead of us. Throughout the two weeks, friends have been checking in with me constantly. Because of my living situation, it was assumed that I’d be lonely or stir-crazy. In reality though, we’ve sort of been built for this.

In the days leading up to today, I noticed a change in myself. The jet lag has come and gone so I knew it wasn’t that. I found that my productivity was dropping. I could get through an hour-long meeting, but find that I needed a break right afterwards. In a normal work day at the office, I could have back-to-back meetings with almost no breaks from start to finish and move to my evening plans with ease. These days, I’m exhausted for no good reason. I should be getting the best sleep of my life at this point now, but I’m not. A few friends described it to me recently: you feel this overwhelming sensation of dread, confusion, sadness, exhaustion, but you don’t know where it comes from and it’s not impacting you directly. You read the news, but it changes constantly and your mind is consumed with information.

It’s unexplainable, but I know this to be true. These aren’t normal work from home days. We are working around a pandemic and yes, in some cases we are lucky… privileged to be able to work from home, have a job, have a home, etc. But our minds go elsewhere.

This morning, I woke up to my Twitter feed as I usually do and I caught this segment of Hoda Kotb on Today. I didn’t even catch the whole segment, just this clip. Upon watching it, I found myself in tears as well. What she expressed on the air is exactly how many of us feel inside. I haven’t cried in weeks, but I recognized that same feeling almost immediately.

There are many long days ahead of us. We are three months in, but already this is the longest year. I hope that all of you can be safe during this time, but to take care of your families and more importantly yourself.

27 Mar 2020

Blog Roundup

  • The Women of Instagram [The Everygirl]
  • Scotland is the first country to make pads and tampons free [Today]
  • Netflix Introduces Daily Top 10 Lists [High Snobiety]
  • Here’s What Happens When Guy Fieri Visits A Restaurant [Thrillist]
  • Kanye, Out West [New York Times]
  • Sound and Vision: Paid Family Rocking [KEXP]
  • McDonald’s Introduces New Big Macs [Cool Material]
  • I Think About This A Lot: Jack and Meg White Pretending to be Brother and Sister [The Cut]
  • 7 Delicious, Creative Ways to Eat Eggs That Don’t Involve Scrambles [Well + Good]
  • How Coronavirus is Destroying the Livelihood of Music’s Behind-the-Scenes Workforce [Rolling Stone]
  • The 11 Rules Every Man Should Heed to Tidy Up His Closet [Inside Hook]
  • Why We Can’t Stop Looking at Photos of Empty Cities [Fast Company]
  • The No Equipment Home Workout [Valet Mag]
  • You Can Now Download Free Coloring Pages From Over 100 Museums and Libraries [Hypebeast]
  • These Famous Logos Have Been Remade for the Coronavirus Age [Ad Age]
  • What It’s Like to Self-Quarantine With a Michelin-Starred Chef [Grub Street]
27 Mar 2020

A Spotlight on Upcoming Asian Films

With everything happening with Covid-19, there is no shortage of things to watch. Though movie releases are being pushed back, some television series like our favorite “Killing Eve” is releasing their 3rd season two weeks early. It’s nice to see some small upside in the gloomy times we’re living in. I caught wind of two new movie trailers yesterday though that feature Asian leads.

Sometimes if I share the synopsis, I feel like I’m giving too much away so for now I just want to plug the trailers. Something to look forward to! I think both films will be extremely relatable and I’m excited to watch both.

25 Mar 2020

4PM Every Day

I’m not sure when I was made first aware of this, but I’ve always been a routine person. I love the idea of having a schedule that I can follow and getting competitive with my own to-do-list. In these times of uncertainty, creating a new routine for myself was made a priority. Honestly, last week was a wash. I was coming off of travel fatigue and adjusting to shelter-in-place while trying not to panic shop at the grocery store. Now halfway into my second week of working from home, I still don’t quite have it down.

The second day into my work from home last week, one of my favorite artists Ben Gibbard announced that he’d do a Facebook live every day at 4PM and perform songs for an hour. This didn’t exclude weekends! There were no shortcuts. Sometimes he includes The Postal Service! He has stayed true to his word of showing up at 4PM every day and actually, so have I.

In fact, I’m so committed that I have a standing event on my calendar from 4-5PM that I hold myself accountable for and don’t book over. In a working from home situation, it’s so easy to get carried away with things you have to do. Of course, we all know this; there’s always something to do. This 4-5PM time is time for myself. I can choose to work if I want, but I’ll have the stream going on my second laptop so that I can still watch. Or if I decide not to work, I’ll spend just this hour watching in solitude. In an hour, Ben performs about 6-8 songs, does a Q&A with fans, and shares an organization that he wants us all to give back to that day.

I haven’t seen Death Cab for Cutie perform since I was living in Seattle. I’ve got the same excuses as all of you. Sometimes there isn’t the time or the money. For this, we have no excuse. It truly is like watching the real thing, but in a way even better.

If you’re up for joining me tomorrow, feel free to visit this [link] at 4PM. I’ll be here regardless. And if you’re not ready to commit yet, here’s a video from his first stream published on YouTube afterwards.

23 Mar 2020

Cover of the Day

I’m starting to wind down for the night, but I wanted to make sure I ended the night on a high note (literally!) “Love on Top” is one of my favorite feel-good songs. I can’t wait till I’m able to sing and dance to this one again at an upcoming wedding. Good night!

23 Mar 2020

How We’re Working From Home

For every freelancer or remote worker, working from home has always been the norm. However, for those of us who are used to being in the office daily, this is an adjustment. I remembered seeing a number of articles last week that provided advice on how to work from home. In my head, I thought “what’s the big deal?” Turns out, it’s harder than it looks. To make things even more complicated, we’re dealing with a pandemic which means that it’s easy to lose focus during times like these.

I’m now in my second week of what I think will be many weeks working from home, but here’s what I have found to be helpful.

Set an alarm

If possible, you should try to keep as much of your usual routine. I envy those that can wake up at the same time every day without an alarm, but that’s not something I’m capable of. Since I’m not commuting at the moment, I can buy myself a little extra time! Instead of waking up at 6:45AM, I’m now waking up at 8AM, but still going to sleep at my usual time.

Have breakfast

This is tough for me because I’ll admit, on a normal work day I don’t always eat breakfast. Some of you may know this, but my “breakfast” is a cinnamon dolce latte from Starbucks every. single. day. With Shelter-in-Place, it’s not reasonable for me to get my usual caffeine fix in the morning and I’m definitely feeling the impact. To supplement, I’ve got have a bite in the morning even if it’s small – a piece of toast, a chia seed pudding, two eggs, etc.

Get dressed

I can’t even begin to tell you how easy it is to settle into my sweats and leggings during this time. I’m doing everything in my power to resist that urge. Even though I’m getting dressed up to go nowhere, it impacts how I tackle my day. After all, I still have to “show” up to my Google Hangouts and be presentable. Taking a shower in the morning and getting dressed gives me the boost of energy I need. When the end of the day hits, that’s when it’s time to transition back to the comfy clothes.

Choose your working space wisely

Even though I’m lucky to have a desk at home, it’s not always the most comfortable spot to work at. For the last week, I’ve been working from my couch surrounded by blankets and my space heater. It’s not the best choice, but it’s also 10x better than working from my bed! It’s easy to lose productivity if you’re not considering where you’re working from. Your energy levels can shift and maybe your posture can suffer. Though my space is small, I’m trying to get creative in working from a number of places in my home throughout the day.

Give yourself a lunch break

It’s easy to completely lose track of time while working at home. The upside is that you might be at your most productive. The downside is that you forget to take care of yourself! Even though I don’t need to eat lunch for an hour, I still use that time for eating and whatever else I need to take care of during that time. Sometimes it’s also nice to just give yourself a mental break.

Keep connections strong

It’s unclear how long we’ll be in this period of shelter-in-place, but while we can’t see anyone in person, it’s important to make time for virtual hangouts. Every day I have at least one phone call, face time, or a video hangout with either one friend or a group of friends to get my social intake.

Establish a log off time

During my first few days of working from home, I found myself working later into the evenings. When you’re in the office, it’s clearer when there is a stopping point. You either have plans or you need to catch your ride home. At home when you’ve been doing the same thing nonstop, you almost don’t want to break your focus. It’s important for me to keep my routines though so while I may start at 9AM, I try to be diligent about stopping at 5PM.

23 Mar 2020

Wedding Mondays

We’re headed into what I already know is going to be a difficult week. San Francisco’s gloom has rolled in, but that dark cloud of COVID-19 is still hanging over us. As much as possible, I want to try and spread some joy on Yow Yow! so we’ll do our best to keep it up with the positivity here. I randomly caught this wedding video recently while I was in Thailand. Without knowing anything about the couple at all, I still felt touched by it and wanted to share here.

One thing that has hit hard with COVID-19 is that because of the measures we are taking to protect ourselves, we can’t celebrate. Two of my close friends have had to put their wedding on hold. Under the celebration umbrella, funerals and birthdays are also stalled. I know this isn’t easy for anyone and it’s going to be hard for a long time, but we have to do this together.

21 Mar 2020

4 Years Late on Tik Tok

I’ve never been in a position where I was looking for several things to fill my time, but that time is now. Watching television and movies can only go so far and I’ll admit, sometimes I lack the creative inspiration to always write a post. I had two options: reviving my Neopets account or creating a Tik Tok. I’ll give Tommy credit for this because he actually planted the seed of Tik Tok to me several years back. At the time, I already felt inundated with the number of applications on my phone and I still do.

On a whim, I downloaded the app. Several weeks ago, I came across a tweet of a [Tik Tok] that I couldn’t get out of my head. It had been awhile since I did any kind of dancing, but I figured that would be the most appropriate route if I had an account. I started with this choreography first by watching a tutorial from a teenager.

Then I followed it up with a compilation of Tik Tok influencers that did this exact choreography with their own spin. It was impossible to not go down a rabbit hole. The first post was acceptable and while I posted it to Instagram, I thought I could do better. I redid it the next morning and deleted the original. Starting with one post, we ramped up to do two yesterday and three today. As a hobby, it’s quite consuming and addicting.

The culture within Tik Tok is fascinating. Charli D’melio is considered a queen on the platform with 39.6 million followers at the moment. The most popular Tik Tok influencers (they all seem to be in the same age group as well) live in a house together called “Hype House” where they record Tik Tok’s all day long. Tik Tok’s are typically 15 seconds long and can span across many interests, but comedy and dancing seem to rank high at least on my feed.

Observations/Questions:

  • Sometimes the influencers re-record the same choreography multiple times and I’m not sure why.
  • Apparently, there’s a whole subculture that lives within Tik Tok called eboys. Charli happens to be dating one of those named [Chase Hudson.]
  • What happens next? I feel like a parent saying this, but what do career paths look like beyond Tik Tok?
  • There are so many different filters and effects within the app. I’m still too scared to touch any of that!
  • When I first went to my “home” feed, the default is videos that I might like based on their ranking instead of those that I follow. It took me two days to figure out how to toggle.
  • The dances are fun and short because 15 seconds, but at times can be challenging as with all choreography. Sometimes different dances use the same moves. It’s unclear to me yet if the influencers are the ones creating the original choreography.
  • Engagement is incredibly high and I’m not sure how distribution is working quite yet, but trying to figure it out.
  • There’s a very clear demographic / audience using the app that ages me completely.
  • I now think in Tik Toks. If I hear a new song, I’ll convince myself how great it would be if it were turned into a Tik Tok choreography though I’m likely not the person to do that.
  • Why can’t you create folders for your likes or rather use a bookmark function like on Instagram?
  • It’s hard to lip sync, dance, and not make concentration face all at the same time.
  • It has been nice to just enjoy learning something new again for fun and I realized I hadn’t actually done that in a long time.
  • It’s a battery killer.
  • Since I joined, I have been able to convince two of my friends to join. The power of the platform!

At the moment, Tik Tok is the perfect amount of distraction for me. It’s unclear whether I’ll continue after shelter-in-place ends, but for the time being, it looks like we’ll dedicate a video a day at least. To end this post, I’m going to leave you with something that will get a laugh out of you.

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