If you’ve been paying attention to the recent news, the reports about the Coronavirus Pandemic are getting more and more alarming and it was only just the other day when large gatherings of people in our own NYC Metropolis have been banned. This means concerts, conventions, parades, festivals and generally packed bar and religious events. With this being the case, I’ve tossed together a hopefully helpful list of things you can do to keep yourself occupied during a potentially long hiatus from activities that normally happen during the course of our daily lives. Let’s go.
Shop For Essentials:
Before this gets too crazy you are going to want to get some quick shopping done for essential items. These include paper goods like toilet paper, paper towels and tissues. I’m not suggesting that you hoard the stuff of course since there is likely plenty to go around but get a big package of the stuff that will carry you for a few weeks while the stores still have ample supplies and deliveries coming in. As far as food goes, I recommend lots of different kinds of beans and use the store brand since they are often just as tasty and somewhat cheaper as well. I always keep a stock of black, kidney, chickpeas and lentils in the cabinets. I’d also advise some frozen veggies like broccoli, spinach, string beans etc. Provided you have room for them. Make sure that you have enough stuff for your pets as well since they cannot attend to themselves. Having just recently lost my beloved feline, I am heading into this solo so I’d also suggest you appreciate every moment you have with your fur babies. Let’s get onto this list of ideas.
During the usual workaday week we sometimes fall behind on some of the daily to do’s so let’s remind ourselves of them.
Cleaning: Don’t leave the dishes in the sink, wash them and dry then and put them back where they live in your cabinets. I am speaking to you as someone who periodically has three or four cups in the sink along with a few spoons and forks. It happens. You also might want to sweep, vacuum or mop your floors depending on your needs and get that bathroom back to new apartment standards.
Laundry: Do it and then put it away. I know I am guilty of leaving it in one big pile more often than I am not far too much and yeah that doesn’t work out well at the end of the day. Use this time to see what is in said laundry pile that needs to be moved to the rags and eventual garbage.
Personal Space: Examine the personal space you have and if you only have a single room, make sure you like the way it’s laid out for you and if you have an apartment, perhaps a little reorganization is a good plan. Don’t do everything at once of course and instead space it out over time. Maybe you have a bit of a floor library like so many friends of mine have and its time to get those books into the shelves or even donated if you are finished with them. I’d put everything to be donated off to the side in a box for the duration since we don’t know how long we shall be cooped up.
Personal Growth and Such: Here’s a couple of other ideas to help you bide the time.
Financials: If you have not setup a budget for yourself by now, this is the perfect time to do it. I think everyone owns a copy of Microsoft Excel at this point but if you don’t and still need a spreadsheet program look into Open Office since that is free to use. Line out what you spend each month against what comes in each month and be sure to set some cash aside for a rainy day.
Shredding: Shred those old bills and financial statements as opposed to tearing them up and dumping into the recycle bag. Technically speaking you should keep 7 years of tax forms, 2 years of bank statements and one year of the bills. I recommend keeping all of this in one of those handy carry case folders for emergency circumstances. Oh by the way, I have a two foot high pile of shredding to do in case you thought I was being preachy. My goal is to knock that down at least one foot if not more. Stay tuned for my results and oh yeah, you really should have a shredder in your possession at this point in life. Get a cross cutting one and shred anything that has your name on it that you are filing in “the bin”.
Learn To Cook: If you can read you can cook. That’s what my Mother always used to say, and you know what she is right. If you try to make something and it doesn’t come out just right then you don’t do it that way the next time around. One helpful hint on that is to use less seasoning at first because you can always add more. I do this with my chili and some of the other spicey dishes that I like to experiment with.
Learn A Language: Or maybe brush up on one. I’ve a lot of friends in Finland, and another place I’d love to visit is Japan so learning some of those languages might be a fun pursuit for me to do. I know a small handful of words but nothing to keep me in conversation at all. The Finnish will come in handy for all of the musicians I know and the Japanese for conventions like the Anime NYC which I really hope will be something that will happen in normal course but right now its too early to know what is going to be back and when.
Hobbies: Most of us have things that we like to do with our spare time and no, I am not talking about the going out to shows or drinks and supper with friends but I mean the little nuances that make us the special human beings that we are.
Comics: If you’ve a bunch of comics that you haven’t worked on after reading them, you know you want to get them into a protective sleeve with a backing board. If you’re out of said supplies just order them on Amazon.com and get to organizing them. Who knows, you might find some that you wish to sell off and make a little extra money, or even trade with fellow collectors for something else. Cataloguing ones comics is also a good thing to do since there is likely going to be a lot of time for this.
Music: I used to have all of my CD’s in order alphabetically and even categorized in an Access database (because I am THAT guy) but as I got deeper into the music journalist role, they were coming in too fast and too often for me to properly organize. I’m going to try and get those back on track and see which ones I don’t need or want anymore so I can put a package together on eBay or something. With stores like Best Buy and the rest no longer selling physical music there just might be a few collectors I can reach.
Videos: I know that I also have a very big video library and that is a bit out of order as well. The same applies to this as my music but who knows if I can handle both agenda items. If you don’t have voluminous amounts of things maybe you can. I’d be interested in knowing that you did.
Read: We all have books and some of us collect them for “reading later” and we never get around to it. As a one time voracious reader, I hate that I’ve found myself too busy to enjoy this simple pleasure. I’ve been using the Good Reads app to log books and it’s a fun thing to use.
Social Networking: Everyone is going to be spending a lot of time with their social networking accounts during the potentially few weeks long downtime. Here is advise on how to handle your own socials and not let them make you go crazy.
Facebook: Be careful on Facebook and don’t share all the alarming stuff that you have not yet verified on Google with a quick search. I always see the conspiracy stuff and I feel that this virus will only make a lot more of that happen. It is probably a good idea to go through your friends list and see who you can remove anyway since maintenance of this kind of thing is never a bad idea. I plan on doing whatever I can with my website pages to distract people during a crazy time. I’d appreciate any reader support on either front.
Instagram: Find accounts on the gram for the things that you love and follow them and then spend some time liking and commenting on as many of the images as you can. You’ll be showing that their visuals are appreciated which will encourage them to post more images during. a very precarious time. I have two accounts with one for PiercingKen (this site) and of course my PiercingMetal stuff. In a quick peruse of my phone I see hundreds of images that I didn’t load onto either gram from the recent conventions and I will be looking to get them all online for those who wish to follow me.
YouTube: I sense a lot of YouTube time being spent during this hiatus and as expected I also have two channels for my own adventures. The one for PiercingKen is under my personal ID while PiercingMetal has its own thing. There are more videos there as well and it’s a bit of a mixed bag channel. If you have some things to say that you feel others will find interesting then I say record it and put it up online. Doing so on YouTube will be better than only using Facebook since only a small sampling of peeps will see that stuff.
Twitter: I don’t like Twitter at all and maybe that’s because its never helped either of my two websites. Mostly I see people picking fights with everyone and we all know how much the POTUS uses it to announce well….everything. He also picks a lot of fights there. So follow the things you actually enjoy and might take you away from the bad news. I tend to use my pair of accounts as feeds to the website content and not much else.
Yelp: Do you Yelp? I’ve been using it for years and if you’ve been out to any restaurants before all this started happening maybe it’s a good time to put those experiences onto a profile on the network because it might be very helpful going forward. My profile can be followed if you are interested but I don’t add anyone that I don’t know personally as a friend. No offense.
Closing up let me stress how important it is that you stay healthy and follow any of the guidelines that are set forth by our respective regions. For instance, if your town is closed up but the one next to you isn’t, that doesn’t mean go there to do stuff since you might end up travelling with this still very mysterious virus. The convention I went to last week was alarming and illuminating as the news about it hitting our area was growing by the hour. It closed up hours before it was supposed to at a very pricey place like the Javits Center and you just had to know it was serious business. I’ve not been anywhere outside of my block since and yeah I did stock up on some of the things that I suggested that you get for yourself too. Historically speaking, I always seem to carry a bunch of napkins and some hand sanitizer when I go anywhere. From the way this all sounds, it doesn’t look like I am changing that practice at anytime soon. Be careful out there my friends and together we shall ride this terrible new storm.
Official Website: http://www.nyc.gov