five antisocial distractions for social distancing

This month has been super interesting hahaha!! Somehow despite all the absolutely goofy (read: scary) things that’ve been happening internationally lately, my studio apartment has not gotten any more interesting than it was before. Luckily I was raised by a very busy single parent, which all latchkey kids know means I am well versed in the art of entertaining myself. As a kid this meant a game my sister and I played, aptly named ‘try not to get hit in the head with a rusty bar’– a game with very few winners. As an adult my attempts to entertain myself have a lower risk of concussion, but are still fairly effective. So I thought I’d collect a list of things I’ve been up to lately that have made social distancing a little more enjoyable.

#1: Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

When I picked up this book, I was not at all expecting to enjoy it. It is the selection for a monthly american literature book club I’ve recently started going to, so it was not something I would have picked for myself. I’m generally always a little sceptical of pop-fiction, and as I picked it up at the bookstore my friend mentioned to me that it had been adapted into a film in 2018 that he hadn’t liked. I went into it expecting to dislike it, and I was even looking forward to criticizing it at the book club. What can I say, I live for the drama. So you can imagine how embarrassed I was to realize that this book fucking hits. I read the entire thing in one go, it was so good. The plot is so thrilling and I found myself feeling genuinely fearful and anxious at times, which I rarely feel when reading. It follows four female scientists into an environmental disaster zone known as Area X. It’s a perfect slice of surreal science fiction.

#2: Super Bernie World

I’m a little young for the 8 bit nostalgia of the 90s, but I did grow up with a Nintendo 64, so this game still hits where it counts for me. It’s pretty fun, completely for free, and didn’t make my laptop wheeze like an asthmatic kid running the mile. Click here to play.

#3: You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere by The Districts

Anyone who has been following me for a while knows that The Districts are my absolute favorite band. This week they released their latest album, and it is possibly my new favorite. There are so many fantastic songs on the album, but so far Cheap Regrets and Sidecar stand out as hard favorites. It has a lot of disco influence which hasn’t been present in their previous albums and makes for such sonically interesting music. It’s also just plain fun and I can’t help but dance along to it, which is good when you can’t go for walks or to the gym. YKINGA is such a good album and streaming music is a great way to support smaller artists right now, especially ones who, like The Districts, have had to cancel or postpone their tours for the time being. Click here to listen on Spotify.

#4: logic puzzles

I’m not sure if these puzzles were a large part of anyone else’s childhood, but my elementary school excel program pretty much ran on these. If you’ve never done these before (I seriously do not know if this is a ubiquitous experience or not), they give you a certain number of statements about a particular situation. Using those statements, you mark things as true or false until you have completed the entire puzzle. They’re basically more mentally involved sudoku puzzles. I love a good logic puzzle and can spend a solid hour working through a bunch while listening to podcasts or music. Click here to play.

#5: Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

Speaking of podcasts, here’s one I just finished and really, really loved. It is narrated by the journalist Ronan Farrow, whose name you likely recognize from his reporting on Harvey Weinstein. He is in fact the reporter who broke the Harvey Weinstein story in the New Yorker. He then wrote a book by the same title chronicling his experiences in gathering the information necessary to report on the story and the barriers that were put up to keep the story a secret. This podcast goes behind the scenes on the reporting that was so central to the Me Too Movement and follows the story all the way from his time investigating to the sentencing at Weinstein’s recent trial. There are also two episodes on Donald Trump’s very similar relationship to the press and history of paying off news outlets to cover up stories of his wrong doings. I really enjoyed this podcast, though it of course covers issues of rape and sexual assault. There are helpful warnings at the beginning of every episode, and they also indicate which episodes are especially upsetting, which I really appreciated. A great listen if you’re interested in the Me Too Movement or even the culture of journalism as a whole.

This is how I’ve been biding my time lately waiting to hear what the word is on my upcoming semester of university. I hope some of these are entertaining to you as well, and if all else fails I highly recommend a rusty bar. Hopefully I’ll be posting a bit more on here since I have significantly more time to write given the current circumstances. And if there’s anything you’ve been really into during corona days, please drop it in the comments below. I’ve already beaten Super Bernie World twice.

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