#Weeknotes S02 E23

Feels like the US has stopped pretending, right? Naked police brutality, unmarked brute squads positioned at the seat of the government, attacking journalists, knocking down old people, macing kids. And if the unmarked brute squads weren’t enough, we’ve got folks breaking out compound bows, swords, busting Captain America moves with their round riot shields, semis plowing into people… who can even keep up with it anymore? It’s like this is the world now, 1918, 1968, 2020 all rolled up into one.

George Takei said it best…

I find myself checking out now and again, especially when it was clear I was mostly doomscrolling when I wasn’t working or sleeping. Good for self care, but not good for trying to keep a handle on what I do week to week. But last Sunday was the wrong time to be posting about the little bit of writing I did, the stuff I read, etc, if I even had the presence of mind to track it in the first place. Barely feels appropriate to do now, so let’s get back to what’s important:

Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.

#Weeknotes S02 E21

It doesn’t really feel like a long holiday weekend. Now, I’ve never been really big on “celebrating” long holiday weekends beyond reveling in the bliss of having an extra day off work. But in this work-from-home pandemic world, even the stress of the nine-to-five has transformed, at least for me. When the line between work and not-work gets blurred during business hours (e.g. this is the time of year when I’d be streaming Roland Garros between meetings at my desk which I wouldn’t have to do if it were still on), what exactly does “a day off” mean these days?

Still, some of the novelty of the novel coronavirus has faded. It’s probably overstating it to say I’ve “adjusted,” but I’m definitely further along the process than I was. Now, what that process is exactly or where it’s going? Hell if I know. But I know what “further along” looks like: catching up on stuff outside of work. Getting bits of reading done… trouble is, I didn’t really bother tracking on what I’ve read this week. But the point is, I’m doing it and that’s a good sign.

Getting my TV in, too. I just finished Season 3 of THE EXPANSE and Season 4 of KIM’S CONVENIENCE (with Mr. Mehta’s approval). And I promise I’ll wrap up my 2019 TWILIGHT ZONE reviews before Season 2 starts up. Maybe.

Okay, Chrisjen, I’m getting to it!

It’s not just Grand Slam tennis tournaments that have to adjust. In lieu of the sci-fi/fantasy cons that would ordinarily be starting up in meatspace about now, there are a bunch of online versions this weekend. I kind of slept on registering and attending; they just slipped by me. To be honest though, I couldn’t see spending even more time in front of Zoom than I do during an average work week these days, awesome audio setup aside. I’ll probably look into the “podcast edition” of 4th Street Fantasy where I was headed in June, since I already took the time off work. Particularly, for the panel “This Is Fine: Making Art While the World Burns.”

I’m trying not to fixate — at least, not as much these days — on how hard it is to do things while the world burns. All things considered, me and mine are getting by so much better than a lot of folks. But it’s okay to take a moment and miss what’s missing. Maybe I need to do more of that this week.

COVID-19 epidemiology, in terms geeks like me understand…


Wash your hands, wear a mask, have a safe and non-infectious Memorial Day Weekend!

#Weeknotes S02 E20

Wow, twenty of these. Twenty weekly posts in a row. That’s a pretty solid blogging record for me, even if you discount the occasional post I’ve done in between Weeknotes posts. Clearly, gone are the days when I start a year with “I’m gonna blog more” and quit after two or three posts until June.

Unfortunately the fog of coronavirus brain has really hit me bad this weekend. Not like the week was uneventful. I mean, just yesterday I got a better-than-expected quarantine haircut, because I still have to appear in professional Zoom meetings on a daily basis — the audio for which sounds really good now that I’ve tweaked my mixer settings. Watched some good TV (season 4 of KIM’S CONVENIENCE) and some bad TV (THE LOST GOLD OF WORLD WAR II and THE CURSE OF SKINWALKER RANCH). Read some things. Dug up some old tutorials about recording and editing audio. Other stuff, too — the week’s details are just, well, foggy. So I’ll come back next week, how about that?


#Weeknotes S02 E19

If you’re following me on Twitter, you’re probably sick of pictures of the new mixer setup. But I just had to show off this hack (cramming the mixer on a book stand so it stands up) that allows me to reclaim some desktop real estate.

I finally have it set up right so that the audio for my Zoom calls really is good. But I discovered an unintended benefit this week — pumping music from my laptop through the mixer and into a set of monitor headphones cranked up to an unwise volume actually took me back in time.

See, in the days before iPods or other devices connected to Bluetooth speakers, decent portable music depended on how big a boombox your arms could handle and how many tapes or CDs you were willing to cart around. The sound was as good as you could get (depending how much money you were willing you shelled out), but it was never as good as plugging into an actual stereo system. You know — those huge components connected to a turntable that your older relatives (or young, obnoxious hipster friends with turntables) have that play music when put together.

I spent a lot of time in my ‘tween and teen years with a set of headphones plugged into my dad’s stereo. For me, the joy wasn’t just in the so-called HiFi audio quality. It was hearing things you never heard on the radio — the things that used to creep into studio recordings that could make a studio performance real like chatter or odd reverbs. It was hearing every single instrument part being played. Studio chatter in between and sometimes underneath certain tracks. It really was a world I would regularly get lost in.

I’d gotten used to listening to “good enough” audio over the decades, same as everyone else. I’d basically quit bothering tweaking audio levels on the computers I’ve owned; maybe I could’ve been doing this all along. But stumbling back into the joys of audio — where even the shitty 192 kbps .mp3s I’ve accumulated but never re-ripped over the years sound good — actually put me back in touch with something deeper this week that I’d forgotten about.

The latest episode of KCRW’s UNFICTIONAL breaks my heart.

When Fedelina Lugasan moved to the U.S. from the Philippines for work, she was comforted by the fact that she’d start her new life with a family she trusted. But her life and job were not what they told her it would be, and she was cut off from family back home. When an opportunity presented itself, she took her freedom into her own hands.

There, but for the lucky circumstances of me and my family, go I. Not that my mother ever experienced this, but Nanay’s voice in this piece (Lugasan and the woman doing the transalation) reminds me of Mom. And not just because this is the story of an older Filipina, but because the horrors in this story check off a lot of the boogeyman scenario boxes that my parents put into my head as a young kid about how Filipinos could be treated if we stepped out of line, but for the occasional intervention of other Filipinos, which justifies the “us vs. them” mentality that immigrants with the barest measure of privilege sometimes have.

On the brighter side, though, here’s a 10-minute discussion with a friend-slash-my favorite writer ever, M. Rickert, on THE COODE STREET PODCAST.

For any of you out there thinking about applying to Viable Paradise

There was more to my week, but not much more. So I’m gonna wrap it up and knock some more things off my to do lists. Stay safe, wash your hands, and don’t let anyone tell you not to wear a mask!

#Weeknotes S02 E18

This process might take a licking, but it keeps on ticking. 18 of these in 2020, huh? I actually didn’t think I could keep this up longer than 6 to 8 weeks. Anyway, this week I felt like I had just a little bit more brain capacity than I’ve had during the quarantine times. So, here we are! Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first…

I knocked out a few more pages of RUST: A MEMOIR OF STEEL AND GRIT by Eliese Collette Goldbach and of course got distracted by a shiny thing of a non-fiction writing how-to anthology edited by Lee Gutkind, KEEP IT REAL. Okay, more than distracted; I’m about halfway through it.

I heard about this a few day after the fact but once I heard it, I swear my mental fog started lifting this week: the Free Nationals doing their first on NPR Tiny Desk Concert since appearing in 2016 with Anderson .Paak and the release of their self-titled debut album, which of course I immediately got! Check it out and do yourself a favor — don’t skip ahead to the Anderson .Paak tune. You’ll be cheating yourself, trust me.

I totally missed the boat on the anime PARANOIA AGENT when it made the rounds on Adult Swim in 2005. It’s back now and… well, I wasn’t sure what I was seeing when I saw the first episode last week. But I’m hooked now. When they call this a “psychological thriller” believe it — it really is a fucking psychological head trip of a thriller. There’s a reason this shit is on at 1:00 am.

Ugh, I hate using that term, but let’s just call this section what it is…

This year’s 4th Street Fantasy convention is postponed until next year, which I’m sure was a difficult decision for the organizers but the correct one, all things considered. It was the one and only con I’d planned on attending this year, even before the plague came upon us. They’ve offered to roll registration fees forward for 2021, which I took them up on. Also, this would’ve been the first weekend of the local annual Friends of the Library Book Sale, and yesterday would have been Free Comic Book Day. My attendance to either has been sporadic in recent years, but boy it really makes a difference when the choice not to go isn’t yours.

Aside from the impact on the social/SFFH part of my life, my adjustments to the new remote work world order have crystallized finally. Thanks to various webapps, I’m able to conduct 99% of my worklife in Ubuntu using Firefox (and a couple of official and non-official Linux versions of a couple of standalone apps) and, as usual, the rest of my life in Chrome. It’s a good enough demarcation line.

When I had no clue what I was going to be putting up for this week’s Weeknotes, I started a write-up of my work-at-home gear and workflow. But maybe that’s for another time. I will mention a new addition that finally arrived this week. It’s on the right…

I maintain this new USB mixer is not a coronavirus hobby purchase, because (a) I’ve been thinking about getting this exact model ever since I recorded readings for the ‘zine LAKESIDE CIRCUS and (b) I’ve been wanting better audio for my Zoom calls. Okay, maybe that does make me a little bit of a tool, but a different kind of tool than people who decide to start a podcast while in quarantine (which, if you believe the social medias, makes you a huge tool).

And you know what, if maybe a year or ago, I started the very beginnings of a rough idea of a sketch of what a very short monthly podcast might could possibly look like… still not a coronavirus hobby purchase!


That’s all I’ve got this week. Stay well, wash your hands, and if you really, truly, in good faith don’t think going outside is going to endanger you or the vulnerable in your community, wear a fucking mask at least, huh?

Even better though, stay inside. Really.

#Weeknotes S02 E17

This week, and maybe for the foreseeable future, I’m dispensing with the pretense of following any kind of structure for these Weeknotes. It’s kind of a reflection life in the time of coronavirus. Sure, there’s a loose structure (at least for those of us fortunate enough to be able to work from home), but if I can’t keep up with other routines, there’s no point in being a stickler about something like a weekly blog post. I’m just not feeling it right now.

I haven’t had a haircut in 2 months now. This is a pretty good representation of my hair before and during quarantine.

My time is either working or not-working. And during not-working time, I haven’t been in a headspace to do much else except mindlessly read, write, and binge watch stuff and do all the things in DESTINY 2 that I never got do when life was more normal. I’ve got some Twilight Zone draft posts queued up that I never got to finish this week. I peruse the internet and social medias as usual, and even make note of the interesting stuff like I usually do. But collecting, compiling, commenting? Eh, if I don’t have the presence of mind to stick it on Twitter, then it just leaks out of my mental RAM.

Here’s one thing that’s stuck in my mind this week: How I’m the target audience for this commercial, featuring a song that’s been in my personal rotation one way or the other since it came out.

Anything else I’ve read, parts of different memoirs, chapters out of books on writing non-fiction, the occasional article? In one ear and — well, maybe not out the other, but stuck inside my head.

I’m not going to stress about it right now. And believe it or not that’s actually progress for me. I have a tendency to fight these things, solve for them, to take any situation where I’m not sure what to do next and take stock, see what I can crack, what I can hack, what I can turn into lemonade. What I haven’t tried in awhile? Just sitting with it and seeing what comes of it. It’s hard to do that and keep working at the same time; we do what we gotta do, I guess.


#Weeknotes S02 E16

It’s not like nothing report worthy happened this week. But I’m definitely experiencing that weird, distorted sense of time everyone’s been talking about. It feels like no time has past since last week’s Weeknotes. Yet, it’s seven days later. What have I been doing? I look back and, like the past couple of weeks, seem to recall only flashes.

Between last Sunday and this Sunday, it’s just been flat out at the work-from-home dayjob-in-exile. A couple of longish days in there that didn’t leave me with much left over afterward. Using my personal tools for work has been working just fine, with a few interesting issues here and there. I’m smugly doing everything my Windows-based dayjob requires using Ubuntu. But I’m balancing it out by being unofficial tech support for coworkers who aren’t as tech savvy. Makes you wonder just how much of the world continues to run thanks to Zoom’s remote control feature.

I eked a few more paragraphs out of some of the stuff in my reading queue…

  • Elise Collette Goldbach’s, RUST: A MEMOIR OF STEEL AND GRIT

I’ve gotten back into the (bad) weekly habit of livetweeting snark at the History Channel’s THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND and THE SECRET OF SKINWALKER RANCH. It’s a rabbit hole, to say the least.


I’ve got a To Be Watched queue, but I can be forgiven for this distraction in this time of coronavirus, right? (I mean, god knows I didn’t have an excuse any of the other times I’ve done this.)


You know, I think that’s all I have this week. Maybe I’ll get to bed early and tackle Monday fresh!

Yeah, I know: famous last words!

#Weeknotes S02 E15

Ultra-short this week, because hey, Easter!


I feel like I’m slowly adjusting to the new normal. No, strike that — I feel like I’m further along in the grieving process over the old normal. I’ve got something of a routine where working the dayjob from home is concerned. Aside from that, I don’t know if me and mine have a “new normal” yet, because things are still shifting. Well, we’ll see what happens this week.

Also, Thundercat’s new album IT IS WHAT IT IS is pretty great. I recommend!

I know, Mazikeen. I know…

Catch you on the flip.

#Weeknotes S02 E14

This week flew by. I know I’m not the only one working from home for 8 hours and yet somehow losing track of time. It feels like most of the week is a blur of work and… not work…? I think back over the week and see only flashes. In those flashes, I seem to remember spending too much time on Twitter. I remember moving my entire Windows-based work-from-home dayjob setup to Ubuntu, basically because I could….

Other than that — aside from a little stir craziness, and the cancellation of chiropractic and dentist appointments until further notice, I’m still employed, working at 100% capacity (per a recent dayjob evaluation of everyone’s remote work capability relative to productivity), with my peeps and my cats.

Thankfully, I don’t (to my knowledge, as of the moment I send this) know anyone personally infected with COVID-19, let alone died from it. I certainly didn’t know any of these fellows who have, even though their music has been woven through my adult life. Rest in power, Wallace Roney, Ellis Marsalis, and Bill Withers!


Longest Writing Chain This Week: 1 day for 1 days. No, no excuses but these days, thankfully, I’m not really required to have one.

When I had the brainspace, I gobbled up bits of the books I got a couple of weeks ago. I’ve also set Lydia Davis’s ESSAYS ONE down in the queue, but really to review and process all the writing process stuff she has in there. Just like her fiction, there are a lot of layers to her writing tips, and I feel like I need to read and ponder them another two or ten times.

And this week, I do mean “rotting.” Feels a little ironic that most of it has been on the History Channel. I finally managed to catch a new episode of THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND for me to livetweet my snark. The same with a new show called THE SECRET OF SKINWALKER RANCH. On the other hand, FORGED IN FIRE doesn’t let me down.

But, don’t get me started on EATING HISTORY. I made the mistake of keeping the TV on after one of the shows I was watching and caught this… this… this display of mediocre bros getting the kind of shot on TV that talented people of color work their asses off to get but hardly ever achieve.


The dayjob office-in-exile.

Stay home. Wash your hands. Flatten the curve.