Self-Isolation Diaries – Week 17

Greetings, Internet! Hope everyone’s hanging in there as much as they can. I’m still in my apartment, but my wheelchair tire is finally fixed! I also created a SoundCloud account (where I now have a demo of an original song, but it is through private link only, so message me if you’d like to hear my emo-inspired breakup song called “Jackass”), and cut down my YouTube videos to one per week. I also watched hella movies this week. Daily summaries below!


Day One Hundred and Thirteen (7/3/20)

  • Retail therapy. So much retail therapy. Those holiday sales will get you.
  • Had a matcha kouign-amann from Patisserie Chanson, and oh my gosh, it was so amazing that it deserved its own bulletpoint.
  • Did a work hangout with a friend. Tested out an audio recording program for her future podcast. I’m so excited for her to get back into comedy podcasts (and she told me that I’m going to be a guest on one episode, so I’m stoked for that).
  • Double feature! I watched “The Rock” followed by “Olympus Has Fallen,” and drank half a bottle of wine over the course of both films. Hooray for action movies! I also feel like “Olympus Has Fallen” is a pretty good 4th of July film. Obviously, the original “Independence Day” is a classic, but Gerard Butler’s John McClane impression is well worth a watch (it’s basically “Die Hard,” but with the White House).
  • Currently feeling: I basically chilled today. It was weird. Gotta start working on that “Jackass” demo.
  • Currently looping: The Killers’ “Change Your Mind.” Does the synth hook sound a bit like a flute could substitute it? Don’t know. We shall find out maybe sometime this month. Also that would probably require like, three screens (vocals, backup vocals, flute). But also it’s the best song on “Hot Fuss” (I will fight anyone who says otherwise).


Day One Hundred and Fourteen (7/4/20)

  • Did the FES cycle.
  • 2:45pm: There’s a drum (or multiple drums) and protestors marching down the block outside my building.
  • Figured out how to take audio from iMovie and put it into Garageband! Time to learn how to edit the audio in a way that enhances/cleans up the sound (but not, like, too much. No autotune over here, no sir).
  • Okay, either I stepped up the audio for Monday’s video, or I sound like I’m singing in a box. This is weird.
  • Recorded a demo for “Jackass”! I uploaded it to SoundCloud. The link is private for now, because it’s a demo and I’m shy about sharing. But if you have a burning desire to listen to a rough demo (rough because the harmonies need work, the tempo is probably too fast (I was nervous), and there are probably other things), then let me know in the comments and I shall post a link in a future post. 
  • Watched “Independence Day” because duh. Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith saving the day? In space? And Bill Pullman’s iconic speech?
  • Speaking of iconic speeches.
  • Currently feeling: There is an original song I recorded out in the world. I mean, sure, I guard the link, but still, it’s up. It’s there. I wrote it. I uploaded it. Holy moly. It’s equal parts terrifying and exciting. There’s this fear that people will think it’s juvenile, but then the hope that some people will relate to the juvenile feeling.
  • Currently looping: A demo of “Jackass.” That’s right. I’m looping my own song. #bossbitch. My acting manager (she calls herself that, and I fully trust her manager capabilities) says she will market me as Jaymay meets Kate Nash with a little bit of KT Tunstall. I can think of no higher compliment.


Day One Hundred and Fifteen (7/5/20)

  • Recorded Thursday’s cover. Or maybe it’s next Monday’s cover. I don’t know. I still think I should go to one video per week.
  • Did a joint FaceTime (well, audio for me on account of my older iPhone) with two of my HGSE friends. We’re plotting to meet up outside for a masked and socially distanced picnic.
  • I created a SoundCloud account! I’ll be uploading my covers there going forward (in addition to YouTube), and eventually, original material, so if you’d be interested in following that, here’s my channel! I’ll also upload some of my older covers (lol, older, I’ve been doing this for like three months, nothing is old). At the moment, I have “Dancing on My Own” up. More will follow.
  • I keep getting notifications that my disk is almost full. Turns out lots of video and audio files will do that to your hard drive.
  • Fixed up the audio for Thursday’s cover. It no longer sounds as though I’m singing in a box.
  • Watched “Athlete A,” which is the Netflix documentary about the USA Gymnastics abuse scandals. Not gonna lie, I cried a lot.
  • Currently feeling: Digging the one video per week schedule idea, because I was stressing over how I was going to find time to upload things to SoundCloud (is SoundCloud even okay with covers? I feel like their policy sounds very similar to the one that YouTube has, which is like, “the video could get removed and you might be liable for copyright infringement,” but if that’s ever the case, I’ll just take the file down. I feel like most artists are okay with fan covers, because they’re a fan’s way of saying, “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.” Or I could be totally wrong. We shall see).
  • Currently looping: Kelly Clarkson’s “Gone.” I know, I went for a deep cut.


Day One Hundred and Sixteen (7/6/20)

  • Did the FES cycle.
  • Songwriting lesson! Learned about bass lines. My teacher is a fan of “Jackass,” so I’m like, yaaay! I’ll need something ready for next week, and thank goodness I had an idea for something last night.
  • Signed up to do a reading group with some grad students and one professor. We’re going to read a book that’s on my dissertation bibliography (and that, quite frankly, I really need to read).
  • Voted for Harvard’s Board of Overseers. Picked people who would get Harvard to divest from fossil fuels (and you know, do way less sketchy things with their endowment). We shall see how they fare.
  • Virtual hangout with writing buddy!
  • Currently feeling: That moment when you realize that the first song you made a demo for is very specific, but the song you’re currently working on is vague AF. Is that a good thing? I don’t even know.
  • Currently looping: Jason Mraz’s “Absolutely Zero.” My songwriting teacher and I were talking about Jason Mraz songs, and I remembered that this was one of my favorite songs off of his first album because it just sounded so sad. I’ve got a thing for sad ballads.


Day One Hundred and Seventeen (7/7/20)

  • I think the catheter issue has been straightened out? I know I keep saying that, but I think it’s actually straightened out. Finally.
  • Did a work hangout with a friend. Managed to get some reading done for one of my professor’s reading groups tomorrow.
  • Therapy! Rescheduled! It was bound to happen that a topic came up that left me kind of, oh, what’s the word, in need of a hug. It’s good for a repressed memory to come out. I mean, it sucks when it does, but then you process it and you feel a bit better. But still, (virtual) hugs appreciated.
  • So, Princeton wants the third-to-fifth-year grad students (this includes my cohort) to teach without pay and juggle pandemic stress at the same time. Cool.
  • Got a refund from my coworking space. Unsure whether or not this means I’m still technically a member? But the refund basically pays for my guitar, my flute, and my recording equipment, so, no complaints here.
  • Currently feeling: I could really use a (virtual) hug.
  • Currently looping: Jack White’s “Love is Blindness.” How do people do that thing where they sing and scream at the same time? I’d love to learn how to do that with my voice without completely shredding my vocal cords.


Day One Hundred and Eighteen (7/8/20)

  • Watching old Wimbledon matches because this is my life now. Today? 2018 Quarterfinal between Rafa and DelPo. Freaking spectacular. Also, anyone else think that Rafa looks a bit like Snoopy? Just me?
  • Did the FES cycle. Watched the first half of “Hamilton” on Disney+. Never saw it on Broadway (tickets were kind of hella expensive, also I’m not sure my bladder could last for a nearly three-hour show). Very much looking forward to Act II.
  • Talked to an editor at New Mobility about being a wheelchair user in higher education. They’re putting together a guide for wheelchair users applying to college, which I’m so jazzed about, because I really could’ve used that when I was applying places (probably could’ve saved a bunch on application fees, too, because I did not think about how Tufts was on a hill when I applied).
  • Made myself some peppermint hot cocoa, because why not? Also realized I should get some marshmallows in the near future, because what kind of quarantine would it be if I didn’t have marshmallows with my hot cocoa?
  • Uploaded my cover of “You’ll Be in My Heart” to SoundCloud. The audio has been put through Garageband, so it actually sounds better than the version I posted to YouTube. Really wish I had known about the ability to take iMovie audio and put it through Garageband sooner. Whoops.
  • Reading group with one of my professors. Did I understand the article? Mostly. I mean, I understood the methodology. But historical context? Yeah, I’m not exactly a specialist on the Wendish Crusade.
  • Currently feeling: My therapy homework is hard, guys. I mean, that’s a good thing, but ugh.
  • Currently looping: Boys Like Girls’ “The Great Escape.” I can’t help it. My songwriting is basically emo. I’m just going to lean into it.


Day One Hundred and Nineteen (7/9/20)

  • My mom’s here! She’s planning on baking two pies. #quarantinepielife
  • Posted my cover of Evanescence’s “My Immortal”! I added in a flute. This is also the first time I took the audio from iMovie into Garageband, so I’m curious how the sound turned out. Wee bit concerned that there’s too much reverb. And anytime I post a video to YouTube, I take the audio and upload it to my SoundCloud account, so go follow me there if you’d like!
  • Wheelchair tire fixed! Turns out the inner tube has been the wrong size for the past year or so. Whoops. But now I feel like I can safely leave my apartment (with a mask on, because obviously).
  • Did some reading for the second reading group I signed up for.
  • 23 YouTube subscribers! Huzzah! I also subscribed to this vocal coach’s YouTube channel. She posts lots of vocal warmups, which is great, because up until this week, I hadn’t ever done a vocal warmup before going straight into recording. <wide eye blush>
  • Currently feeling: Do musicians ever write song lyrics, and then change them like ten times, and then perform a final version only to be like, “…you know…I should change that”? Because dang, lyrics are hard.
  • Currently looping: The Dead Weather’s “Hustle and Cuss.” It’s got a good beat.

Thanks so much for reading! Stay safe out there, and keep fighting the power!

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