What I'm Doing Now
Last Updated: 4 July 2020
Where I Am
I'm at home, in wet and wintery Perth, Australia. Still feeling upbeat, positive and slightly productive.
The Western Australian border remains closed to the rest of Australia and the world, but our cafes, bars and nightclubs are open and back to normal (the state only has 3 coronavirus cases). I'm continuing to stay home though. I just really like working from home. It's quieter, calmer, and all my favorite things are here.
What I'm Doing Lately
- Listening To Podcasts
- Writing Music
- Pushing The Button
Much of my quarantine has been spent gardening, tidying the house, and updating my financial records for tax time. I'm working on things I'd put off for months because they felt daunting. It feels good to be on top of things, and it's uplifting to look out the window on a tidier yard.
I started writing a private journal a few weeks into CoViD-19. I wish I'd kept a record from the start of what happened during the outbreak. Keeping a journal of what I do each day and what's on my mind has made it easier to see the distractions that get in my way each day, and how I can improve my daily routine.
I've started programming again. I'm currently writing Photoshop plug-ins in C with Visual Studio 2015, using the FilterMeister VS programming framework. I've considered writing tutorials or a technical book on how to make Photoshop plug-ins, but it's a lot of work for a niche audience. I doubt it would be worthwhile. So I'm just refreshing my own Photoshop plug-ins for now.
I got the new Arturia OB-Xa V soft-synth during quarantine. I'm just writing music for myself at the moment. One track I'm writing is made only with the OB-Xa. I like the idea of working within constraints and creating rules for a composition, like "every sound in this piece must come from only this synthesizer".
Pushing The Button...?
When home quarantines started worldwide, it reminded me of Season 2 of Lost. There's a scene with a man living alone in quarantine, doing his daily exercises, making breakfast, listening to music, and regularly typing codes into a computer. Much like my own daily quarantine routine.
Someone made a website that simulates the Lost computer, and I found it to be a helpful timeboxing productivity technique. Every task I do has to fit into 108 minutes before I have to type the code into the computer again and push the button. If I leave the house for food, I have to be back in 108 minutes to push the button. I even have a Dharma Initiative Swan Station medallion I bought on eBay to remind me to push the button.
Yeah, it's clearly cabin fever driving me to do this. But it's also a reminder to make the most of every 108 minutes.
Things I'm Not Doing
- Socializing: I'm enjoying the time to myself right now. I might re-emerge in a couple of months.
- Facebook, Instagram, Medium. Email is my preferred way to be contacted. There's deeper personal connection in thoughtful one-to-one emails, than in emojis attached to a meme GIF.
- Twitter: This one's a big deal for me. Twitter was my happy place (really!) for over a decade, thanks to the meticulous mute filters I've created. But even with all my filters, the company itself is starting to irritate me. This isn't the same Twitter I loved in 2010. So I'm trying life without Twitter, going back to blogs, RSS and email. It's only been a couple of days, and I doubt this is a permanent change, but so far it feels like a relief.
- Netflix. I never used it much, watching movies feels unproductive to me. I'd been planning to cancel my Netflix, but once they started cancelling shows, it reminded me to pause my Netflix subscription.
- Eurovision: I didn't listen to any of this year's songs or see this year's show. I haven't seen the new Will Ferrell Netflix Eurovision movie. I'm happier not being "that Eurovision guy" for a while.
- Indie Conference: Conferences are obviously cancelled worldwide due to the virus, so there's no reason to continue this email newsletter project right now.
- Media interviews: For Eurovision interviews with an Australian perspective, I still recommend Jasmin Bear from Eurovision By Jaz and ESC Insight.
What I'm Listening To Now
- Larkin Poe - Holy Ghost Fire. American Blues Rock by two very talented sisters. I love the DIY production ethic of "She's A Self Made Man", but Holy Ghost Fire is the catchier song. Grittier with late-70s hard rock influences.
- Voyager - Runaway. A surprise discovery from Eurovision Australia Decides 2020, progressive metal / synthpop. Doesn't fit the Eurovision formula, and maybe that's why their album Colours In The Sun is my favorite album of the last year.
- Lina Sanden - You. I got an advance copy ahead of release, and had it on my repeat list ever since. It's catchy happy tropical sunshine pop, which goes with the Surfers Paradise beach life from when I first heard it in February.
What I'm Reading Right Now
- The Courage To Be Disliked, after hearing it recommended so many times by Derek Sivers. Despite the book title and references to Japan, it's really about the philosophy of an Austrian psychologist called Alfred Adler, an individualist who studied with Freud but disagreed almost completely with Freud's determinist / defeatist views. The book starts weakly, but the chapters are short and easy reads, and it's better by halfway through. Adler's ideas from the early 1900s are a good antidote to the 'victim culture' of the 2020s.
This page was inspired by Derek Sivers' Now page idea.
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© Kohan Ikin.