"In these times..."

27 April 2020

Pretty sure the phrase “in these times” will be banned in the near future.

I saw a powerpoint from Facebook’s ads department that says people are already over tips and tricks for working from home and other kinds of “quarantine content.” Since most of it was rehashed bullshit anyway, I think many of us were over it before it really got going. But the real insight from the ads report is that people are really, really missing out on fun and spontaneity right now.

Sure, we’ve found ways to “socialize” on the internet, but having to ask someone’s username and send a secure video link are taking a lot of the sex appeal out of it. We miss just showing up and seeing what happens.

We miss unexpected joy. There’s joy to be had, but it has to be planned ahead of time.

So I decided to dust off the substack account and send you an email, because there’s no way in hell you could be expecting it :)

🗓️ Here’s what’s up right now:

  • 🎧 Listening to: Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple. It’s always so good to hear artists experimenting and evolving, especially when they manage to do so without losing the personality that originally drew me to them. She does.

  • 📖 Reading: Half Way Home by Hugh Howey is a quick read and a reminder that his Wool series is worth a reread. Next on my agenda is Book of Drugs, by Mike Doughty, which I have high hopes for since Soul Coughing was one of my favorite bands for many years. Finally, my friend Josh Hillis just released his new book, and I’m gonna try and read it this week.

  • ⏰ Routines: Well, it sure as hell isn’t normal. I’ve been living solo in a large apartment, going to the office way less, and missing all my Taido activities. It’s different, and what I’m trying to stick to is a pretty consistent schedule of walks, mealtimes, and exercise to fit my work and reading around. It’s far from perfect, but it’s kept things moving forward for the most part so far.

  • 💭 Thinking about: It’s interesting to see people trying to adapt to remote, tech-mediated interaction. We’ve been doing remote work at GMB since before anyone called it that, and we’ve been doing online education for more than eleven years now. Like most businesses, all the Taido dojo are struggling to find ways to keep people involved and improving. Unfortunately, online teaching is a lot harder and more nuanced than people expect, so there’s been a lot of challenges. I’m trying to find ways to help individual dojos without anyone having to invest the time and money a full-fledged online class platform (which even then would only be partially adequate). So yeah, I guess what hasn’t changed is that I’m thinking about Taido and teaching a lot…

  • 🥩 Eating: I found a service that ships bulk meats in Japan, so I’ve been eating grass-fed ribeyes pretty much every day lately.

Here’s a shot I took at the world’s busiest crosswalk, about a twenty minute walk from my house:

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 People & Family:

  • 🧓 My parents assure me they are still alive.

  • 💁‍♀️ It’s been about three weeks since I’ve seen my Ladies, who are staying in the country for a while.

  • 👥 Like everyone, I’ve spent a ton of time in video chats with different groups of people. I feel very lucky to have a solid group of friends here in Tokyo that have been keeping me relatively sane.

🧰 Things I’m finding useful:

  • 🦠 Japan Coronavirus Tracker: Incidentally made by my friend Shane

  • 📗 All the changes to the routine have had me spending a lot more time in the analog world, and I’ve switch almost completely back from digital notes and systems to writing most things down manually.

✈️ Travel hahahaha, right…

  • 🤷‍♂️ Hard to say what travel plans might pan our or not right now, but I hope to make a trip to ATL soon.

All right, you’ve made it to the end.

That’s all I’ve got, and if you take a minute to reply, it would definitely bring a bit of spontaneous joy to my day.