How I’ve Been Staying Busy

There’s been a miserable sort of boredom that is entirely unique to the current situation that we are in. The shops are closed, the theaters are closed, there are no new movies to see and any of the places are open feel ethically irresponsible to visit considering that we are, still in fact, in the middle of a pandemic. This means I’ve had a lot of time on my hands; more free time than I’m used to having, frankly, as an adult who works a full-time job. I’m fortunate enough to have more than a few hobbies but some of them I keep rather close to my chest, so in a shocking display of vulnerability, I want to share with you some of the ways I’ve been keeping busy during the pandemic. 

Blogging

Despite the earlier attempt at canceling me this year, I still find a tremendous amount of pleasure and routine in blogging. I’ve done my best to maintain my routine and continue to post content for you all that both satisfies me and I hope satisfies you, dear reader. I was afraid that I’d run out of things to write about with “nothing going on” but turns out that being a pedant and someone who takes media too seriously; I rarely run out of things to talk about. The current struggle has just been finding energy consistently to write that isn’t just in fervent chunks or painfully drawn out affairs. 

Baking

I’ve made a habit of dropping off baked goods to my friends at the local card shop and also just baking for myself. I’ve always been one to stress bake and I have a nearly endless sweet-tooth so getting out my energy while baking has been quite fun and nice. Baking is a funny thing because while I think it’s stress-relieving, there’s a huge amount of anxiety that goes into baking for other people. I’m always worried that something is too sweet, too much, too much mint, too much chocolate: well, I’ve yet to receive any major complaints and it is nice to do something for others: not like I don’t benefit at all, I do have to check each cake for poison. 

My Podcasts

Yes, I have more than one! I co-host two podcasts with two friends: one on literature (Unfortunately, Required Reading) and one on yaoi and boy’s love (The Yaoi Shelf). Being a podcaster has become an increasingly important part of my life and between outlines, recording, live shows, research, reading and communicating with two hosts; it’s a role that keeps me busy and adds some much needed bulk to my schedule. That even ignores all the social media work and analytics reading that goes into keeping both podcasts afloat. That’s right, I am the ghost in the machine. 

Crafting 

I struggle with calling myself a maker until I start making. One of the things I love the most and have missed the most about cosplay is making things. I love painting and figuring out things and fabricating and I’ve been able to take on a few crafting projects that allow me to continue to get that need to make and create out of my system. In the pandemic’s down time I got to work on two Halloween costumes (one for each podcast), a small table for my cacti, boards for my pins, patches and buttons as well as continue to focus on organizing all of my books and odds and ends. 

Video Games

While I am the dictionary definition of a casual gamer, the games I do play; I play hard. Pokemon Sword/Shield has released two DLCs this year and that alone has kept me busy if we ignore all the Just Dance I’ve been playing. I also picked up the newest Cooking Mama game because of course I did and a Japanese drumming rhythm game because…of course I did. Honestly, running around Galar and by extension the Crown Tundra and Isle of Armor has been a welcomed and beautiful distraction from the current monotony of my day to day life. Just Dance sometimes is the only physical exertion I can muster and while that means I’m a little too good at Hey, Mama Geisha Version; it makes my therapist happy with my attempts at exercising. 

Writing Fanfic

I know, shocking, right? I have returned to the place I was years ago: writing fanfic and actually publishing it again. I even have: gasp, fans and gasp, a schedule. It’s been nice to write fiction and especially fanfiction. Most forms of writing are incredibly fulfilling but there’s something about fanfic that is just particularly satisfying. It scratches an itch that’s so unique to being a fan and having the ability to articulate your fan wants and needs out and then being able to share that with an audience? Ugh, it’s all just so good. 

Therapy

Probably weren’t expecting that, huh? Yeah, I started therapy this year and like the good patient I am desperately trying to be; therapy takes up a huge amount of time. And not just the hour long appointments but the homework assignments and actively trying to be a better person. My therapist regularly gives me things to read and to focus on and he regularly challenges me and my less than kind thought processes. Therapy is exhausting but the amount of insight I’ve gained and how far I can still go is worth the, what is essentially, an hour I pay a man to make me cry and get no sexual gratification from. 

I’ve been doing my best to keep busy with all my time at home but not every second of my day is accounted for. I spent hours on voice chat with friends, still have weekly call with my best friend, and regularly video call back home to check on things. I stress-watch reruns of ER and rant about comic books online. I waste hours on Twitter, read fanfic that isn’t written by me. I gush about fanart and text friends. I do things to stay busy but also do plenty of things that take up very little brain power: anything to stay sane, or as sane as possible, during this damn pandemic. 

On Recent Events- Part 2

Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve done a post like this but there’s been, let’s be charitable and say, a lot that has happened in recent events. And because the recent events have made it difficult to focus on the other blog posts I wanted to work on (I’m sorry, still working on them), let’s go ahead and talk about some recent events. 

The Passing of Alex Trebek and Sean Connery 

It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone reading this blog that I am a huge fan of Jeopardy! considering that I have always been one to hold too much trivia in my brain in place of names of real human beings and American history. In the days of my childhood when the television raised me, I spent a lot of time answering along to the television and delighting when I was right and falling into despair when I was wrong. My love of trivia even inspired me to join the Academic Quiz League in high school, the nerdier and less cared about sister of Academic Decathlon. And at the heart of my love of the quiz show and my pride in knowing the answer was Alex Trebek: everyone’s loving, nerdy uncle. He was diagnosed with cancer not long ago and we all sat by and watched and waited while he told us that he was feeling okay and that he was determined to beat the disease. Well, Alex Trebek passed away; and I don’t think the show or even various aspects of pop culture will ever be the same. Rest well, sir. Thank you. 

We also lost Sean Connery, a man who has the immense distinction of being Sean fucking Connery. I’m not the biggest James Bond fan but my former best friend was and by proxy, I got to ingest a ton of material from the storied franchise. Connery, I think, problematic elements aside is about as James Bond as you can get. Not to mention his myriad of other film roles: almost all of them memetic; he was just a fantastic guy. Connery was a legend and got to pass away at 90 in the Bahamas while surrounded by friends and family after 90 years of being Sean Connery: one can only hope to live a fraction as well as he did. Rest well, sir. You’ve more than earned it. 

The Pandemic…Still

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the world and particularly in the United States as we have continued to place capital over people and ignore scientists. The pandemic has affected the economy, killed too many Americans and has put life on a continued pause. It’s been frustrating to grapple with a feeling of intense selfishness at the things I want to do and putting that up against the greater good. I’ve made a few small moments of rebellion in which I go to Half Price Books or stay a little longer than I should while dropping off a cake to the card shop but for the most part, there are still plenty of things I don’t feel safe doing and the effects of that on my social life, mental health and more are things I will probably continue to grapple with in therapy for a while. 

The 2020 Election 

Okay, so…that was a lot. I remember voting early and casting my ballot and having faith in the system and hoping that I wouldn’t have to worry about this for another few weeks. Dear reader, I was wrong. The election was full of lies, threats of violence, actual violence and just so much hate on the Trump side. Anyone who reads this blog should not be shocked that I voted for Biden and while, yes, I agree that him and Kamala has some problematic aspects to their past: it was them or a literal fucking fascist. I remember going to bed early on election night, knowing the votes wouldn’t be fully counted. My aunts called me in a panic at the red mirage I had been reading about and I did my best to comfort them as if it would by proxy comfort me as well. The days after were a flood of red and then, come Friday and Saturday: hope. Georgia flipped blue, Nevada did, Pennsylvania; a state I almost never think about, ended up becoming the guardian of our democracy and when the numbers were all counted up and Biden won I just let out a sigh. I take a lot of medication to ensure that I don’t cry spontaneously anymore but just the sigh of relief I let out. After that, when I left my apartment for a non-essential trip to the fabric store; people just seemed kinder. The sun seemed warmer. Water tasted better. I just felt like I could stand a little straighter. Maybe it’s projection, maybe it’s insanity, maybe it’s just a delusion but it felt easier to be a human being for the first time in a long time. 

I don’t know how the rest of this rapidly winding down year will go. I don’t have answers to any of the questions I’ve been asking for years. At the end of the day, despite Biden’s win and my somewhat misplaced optimism; too many people in the country were fine with voting for white supremacy, racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, police violence and I can’t believe I have to say this again but fucking fascism. The fact that this election wasn’t a damn landslide makes my stomach sick but I am also horribly not surprised. Trump’s rise to power is endemic of a problem that many people of color and queer people have known for decades: at its core, America is still very racist, sexist and homophobic. But I do believe that we are at the start of returning to something better than we had before. I do have faith. It may be misplaced, it may be the antidepressants talking, but I do have faith. 

This past week or so has been tiring in a way that I didn’t think was possible and this is from a person with a nearly infinite ability to be exhausted. But it’s important to keep taking care of yourself. I know I’ve never been a self-help blog and that won’t change any time soon but I know that I’m trying to take better care of myself with all of this damn time at home that I have; I hope you all have the luxury of being able to do the same. 

Till next time. 

How One Introvert is Trying to Survive a Pandemic

These sure are uncertain times, aren’t they? I didn’t expect for us to be in a full pandemic within the first quarter of 2020. But like many in these uncertain times; I’ve been trying to find new solutions to dealing with overwhelming problems. 

Now here’s where I have to say I’m not a doctor, not a professional and little more than a person who has been given a microphone because of the vast power of the internet. So listen to local authorities, listen to experts and all that jazz. Here are just a few of the ways I’ve been coping so I won’t be giving any medical advice or anything whatsoever. 

So: how have I been coping?

Well, routine. 

I’ve been working from home and I’m incredibly lucky to be able to do so. But working from home means that I have to be even more strict about my routine. Anxiety loves routine and I had one in place. Get up, get dressed, go to work, leave work, come home, chaos. 

Having that routine disrupted by working from home (which I know is a huge blessing) has not been the easiest on my mental health. So I’ve been getting up, getting dressed, having breakfast and signing into work from my dining area to mimic as much routine as possible. I go to lunch, and I relax as much as I can when I’m done with my work day. 

I’ve also been trying to get out of the house responsibility. I’ve been taking walks. Those walks have featured an old anxiety-friendly favorite: Pokemon Go. The goal-driven game is nice as a distraction as I take small walks around my neighbor to get some fresh air after my work day. 

Speaking of: I’ve been playing a lot of Pokemon. It’s nice to just sit and make curry and work on shinies as a means of distraction when I have downtime or am spending time at home over the weekend. I’ve also been playing Just Dance because of course I have. 

I think there’s something about social distancing that I wasn’t expecting which is how instantly lonely I felt. I’m an introvert, sure but I also love human interaction. I spend hours on the weekend at the local card shop talking to friends. I podcast with a dear friend. I go out to eat with friends. I’m out quite a bit considering that I don’t get a ton of power from people. I’m an introvert in that I don’t get a lot of power from random people. But I also love my freedom. I love being able to go to the mall, the fabric store, the card shop. I love being able to leave my home as a means of distraction from when my thoughts turn cruel and overbearing. 

I can’t do that in a pandemic. 

The existential crisis over what is essential has been incredibly distressing and being “encouraged strongly” to remain inside has been less than ideal but let’s go over a few of the things I’ve been doing to fill my time when I’m not working.

  • Talking to friends. Not just online but physically talking. Carlos and I have a standing weekly call and it’s been great to hear his voice and talk about what we’re doing and how we’re holding up. I’m also doing more on Discord and rejoined my friends on Gendou there. It’s like being home again and I love it. 
  • I’ve been doing a lot of reading. Fanfiction, books for the podcast, articles, everything. I’ve just been consuming content and it keeps my mind busy when I start to get nervous about the whole pandemic thing. It’s a good time to go through my backlog which is…too many damn books. 
  • Exercise is something that I hate doing but honestly playing Just Dance and being able to go for short walks has been a glorious thing to do in my down time. I look forward to being able to get off of work and go for a short walk around the neighborhood or change and play a few songs on Just Dance as a reminder that I am very out of shape but it’s still a fun challenge. 
  • I watch a scary amount of television and movies and Youtube videos so here are a few of the things I’ve been watching and I will accept no judgement. This is a pandemic; I’m allowed some questionable watching choices: 
    • ER
    • House
    • Air Disasters
    • Beastars
    • Criminal Minds
    • Deadly Women
    • Forensic Files 
    • Avengers: Endgame
    • Live: PD
    • Law and Order: SVU
    • It’s Alive with Brad Leone
    • Binging with Babish
    • The Take’s deep dives on Game of Thrones
    • Lindsay Ellis videos
    • Gourmet Makes
    • Monstrum
    • Crash Course

I set some goals for this whole thing which was to get back to cooking. I’m doing more shopping than I ever have and eating at home more in my entire adult life. I’ve been talking to friends and staying optimistic. I am trying to stay informed and continue to do the things that make me happy. 

We’re going to get through this. I believe we’re going to get through this. 

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay healthy. 

On Recent Events

Hello and greetings. Normally, this blog updates pretty regularly. I found a schedule that works for me but recently, that’s been a little hard to do. I promise I’ll get back to my usual schedule but it means going back to my content calendar and I don’t want to do that right now. So in the meantime, I’d like to cover a few things that have happened recently that struck me greatly and may not merit an entire blog post on their own but should be discussed.


The Burning of Notre Dame

I am a Francophile. I have been a Francophile for easily 10 years now. I am also a mostly proud Roman Catholic. I’ve gone on record saying that The Hunchback of Notre Dame may just be my favorite Disney movie. Needless to say, I watched like many did, in utter horror and grief as the Notre Dame Cathedral burned in Paris. I don’t have many moments where I express grief over buildings. Buildings are merely of stone but Notre Dame, this felt personal even though I am an American who has never seen her edifice in real life. I felt like I lost something as I watched the church burn but was inspired by seeing Parisians standing and singing untied as they watched their church burn: the very heart of Paris may have been wounded but what survived was truly inspirational to see. I was at the same time incredibly disappointed by those who quickly made jokes and memes about the fire, truthfully, I haven’t been able to listen to any of the songs from the Disney movie as they come across my phone’s music player as the themes of church, fire and hell are all a little too close to home now. I’m also disappointed at those who have taken this time to take a shot at the Catholic Church and while sure, I cannot say the Church is free of sin, but this is literally too soon. But I cannot quite express to you all, dear reader, how I sat and watched the live stream of the church burning and trembled in impotent, indignant horror wishing, hoping, longing that we could do more though no more could indeed be done. I also cannot express to you the hope I felt seeing that the Rose Windows had not in fact burned. I know Notre Dame will heal, I know Paris will heal, I know we will heal but that doesn’t mean that I did not grieve.

Monkey Punch’s Passing

I’ve mentioned that Lupin III may be one of the most influential series to me in my entire 20 year dedication to anime and manga. So when I found out that the creator of the series, most known by his pen name of Monkey Punch, passed away at the age of 81; I felt like I had lost a grandparent. And while his beloved series will continue to live on much longer than any of us, I can’t help but want to take a moment or two to really give this man the credit he deserves for creating characters that really cemented my love of anime and manga. I have always been enamored by his incredibly distinct style, it was in fact how stylized and interesting that all of the characters in Lupin’s world looked that really got me into manga and anime. The first run of the series was always quite stylish and campy, the humor really did sizzle back then and the adventures though a little silly and at times damn near ridiculous are now long-standing tropes in anime. If you’ve ever heard me lament about how little newer series do for me then it comes down to the fact that from the start of my journey was during the height of quality when it comes to anime coming into the United States. Sorry, kids. It’s why I don’t like your Dekus or your Borts. It’s because I got to have Lupin III as one of my first anime crushes.

I’m aware that as I get older and these mangaka will that I grew up idolizing will die and I too like so many will have to bury my heroes. But for now, I’ve only had to bury one. So rest easy, Kazuhiko Katō-sensei. I am eternally grateful for your creation.


This was something different. If you would like for me to comment on things more topically, please let me know. I’ve been curious about this format for a while and now with the current implosion of my content calendar, I’ve had the chance to truly explore things that are more topical. Thank you for being patient with me; I have some new and exciting posts coming up soon.