Month: March 2020

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.

21 Mar 2020

That’s Cringe: You.

Remember when I said we need a little laughter this week? I’ve never heard of Cody Ko until now, but this made my stomach hurt. Him and his friend Noel commentate on videos they find on the internet and it really makes you think about what’s existing out there.

21 Mar 2020

Don Lemon on Trump’s Gaslighting

I never once imagined that I’d go through a time like this in my life and I’m going to remember it forever. One thing I’ll hold onto is the fact that we were incredibly ill-prepared for an event like this. And there’s really only one individual responsible for that. I know in a time like this it feels weird to know what to post about. I’ll continue to do both. I want to share pieces that are relevant to what’s happening now in this pandemic, but I also wan to break it up. There should be things that we can read and watch that make us laugh or bring us some joy even if for a brief moment.

Don Lemon hit the nail on the head with this one. And it’s an important watch if you can see it through to the end.

21 Mar 2020

Saturday Check-In

How’s everyone doing out there this weekend? On any normal Saturday, we’d be out running errands and catching up over brunch, but these days are looking a little bit different. Since my return from Thailand, San Francisco has put a “Shelter-in-place” which means that residents aren’t supposed to leave their homes for anything non-essential. Essential places open include banks, pharmacies, grocery stores, and restaurants only for take-out.

While we were abroad, things escalated faster than expected with COVID-19. Though I just finished my first full week of working from home, I’m still finding myself with a lot of time. How are all of you keeping busy? I’ll be writing some, but I’ve seemed to spend much more time on the internet these days. It’s unclear if that’s a good thing, but we will see! In the next week as I get used to wfh, I hope to establish more of a routine for myself. It’s likely that our shelter-in-place will go on for longer than expected, but I’m trying to stay hopeful!

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