Self-Isolation Diaries – Week 18

Greetings, Internet! Hope everyone’s doing as well as they can. Everything is chaos, but I guess we can’t be that surprised. Anyway, this week I binged a season of “The Great British Baking Show,” went outside for the second time in a hundred and twenty-one days (!!), and learned a bit of how to use Garageband for audio mixing. Daily summaries below!

Day One Hundred and Twenty (7/10/20)

  • Did the FES cycle. Finished “Hamilton.” Amazing musical, but also, glad I didn’t have to pay $600+ to see it live. Side note, this exists. I-I don’t know how to respond to that.
  • I had a “The Great British Baking Show” phase back during I think my first or second year of my current program. I think everything was so stressful (and baseball season hadn’t started yet), and the show was just such a happy thing to watch. I’m back to bingeing it. Gosh, it’s such a delight.
  • Went through a couple of songs I’ve wanted to try on ukulele. One of them is a bit challenging vocally and on ukulele (vocally, in that I don’t think it was ever in my range, but perhaps if I do enough vocal exercises, I’ll get there. Until then, just going to put that on the backburner). The other, I think I can do once I figure out the second vocal part (it’s meant to be a duet). Also did some puttering around with my flute (Flute Fridays!). So many possibilities!
  • Still learning how to audio mix in GarageBand. I sense I will need to watch more YouTube videos to get the gist of what I’m doing/attempting to do.
  • Currently feeling: Is it weird that I want to get a keyboard at some point? I played piano for a few years back in elementary school, so I don’t know how hard it’ll be to get back into it. Like, I know the basics. But this is me being way too overambitious right now. Also, where would I even put it?
  • Currently looping: Christina Perri’s new acoustic version of “Jar of Hearts.” You know how I love my breakup songs. I noticed there’s quite a bit of reverb there, so I feel less bad about getting reverb happy. Also, I know what reverb is!

 

Day One Hundred and Twenty-One (7/11/20)

  • I WENT OUTSIDE TODAY! My mother picked me up to take me to my sister’s apartment for a family barbecue (my brother-in-law grilled on his building’s roof). I got to see my niece and read her a Dr. Seuss story, so that was delightful. And my sister and I went outside (!!!) to a nearby coffeeshop to get some beverages to go. Oh gosh, it felt amazing. I need to find more excuses to get sunlight.
  • Just bingeing “The Great British Baking Show” even more. I’m halfway through the semifinals episode.
  • 24 YouTube subscribers! And grateful for each one.
  • Currently feeling: My songwriting teacher suggested that I watch hella videos to learn how to audio mix. I have been watching videos. I have no idea what I’m doing. Some videos start off fine, but then they’re like, “and here’s pitch correction!” and I’m like, “NO. PITCH CORRECTION DOESN’T SAVE YOU IN A LIVE PERFORMANCE.” (Yes, I know, my brain went right to “but what about live performances?” even though literally no one is performing live now (nor should be).) Just want to know how to make it sound less like I recorded in my bedroom and more like I have the beginnings of a home studio. Rats. I have so many questions for him for the next lesson.
  • Currently looping: Taylor Swift’s “How You Get the Girl.” I can jump from breakup songs to ultimate schmaltz at the drop of a hat. I apologize for nothing.

 

Day One Hundred and Twenty-Two (7/12/20)

  • Did the FES cycle. I’ve been digging all the Wimbledon replays on Wimbledon’s FB page. Today they replayed Federer vs. Nadal (Finals, 2008, AKA the greatest match to ever be played). Such beautiful tennis.
  • Finished the season of “The Great British Baking Show” that I had been watching. Will probably start another season this week.
  • Practiced guitar. Something tells me that I’m going to be fiddling with Garageband quite a bit this week, and I’m excited.
  • Watched a tutorial on how to make a multi-screen video.
  • Backed up my laptop. Really running out of space with all these audio and video files.
  • Also had a bit of a “DC movies in the background” day today. “Suicide Squad” was not good, but Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn were both amazing. I also really want Harley Quinn’s mallet, for no other reason than to have a mallet. It’s such a logistically difficult weapon for me to use, but I don’t care.
  • Currently feeling: I really liked being outside yesterday. I wish I could figure out how to get a cupholder on my chair so that I could go to a coffee shop/bubble tea place and get something to go.
  • Currently looping: Thirty Seconds to Mars’ “King and Queens.” I remember all of the tennis Grand Slams used this song in their promos for years, so every time I watch a major, it inevitably gets stuck in my head yet again.

 

Day One Hundred and Twenty-Three (7/13/20)

  • Songwriting lesson got postponed, so I did some recording for next week’s video. We’re going for three screens, folks. I filmed two today (one of which involved inventing some harmonies by ear, because the studio version of the song I want to cover had harmonies going lower than the male lead singer’s voice, so, that was going to be a no go). Probably could’ve done all three, but I was losing daylight. Which reminds me…
  • I bought a ringlight! I don’t think I’ll have time to assemble it today, but I thought it was about time I got something for some proper lighting. Some of my videos look kind of dark.
  • Found out that the part I need for my shower wheelchair is on backorder until late July. So that’s not ideal.
  • Writing workshop! Tried to explain what mochi was to writing buddy, and realized I don’t know how to describe it except “rice-based” and “kind of like a marshmallow texture.” I feel like I didn’t do it justice.
  • Currently feeling: It’s always reassuring to hear from a professor that the dissertation will get done. This was after I showed her my YouTube channel and confessed that I was worried that I wasn’t working enough on my dissertation. But once she said something to the effect of “it’ll get done,” I heaved a massive sigh of relief. I mean, it’s not like I’m hiding my channel from my advisor, but I’m also not advertising that I have this massive side project.
  • Currently looping: Avenged Sevenfold’s “Afterlife” (Alternate Version). Did you know there’s a version of this that features a violin way more prominently (like, not just at the intro)? Because I sure did not, and I’m so glad I know it exists. Metal needs more orchestral elements, that’s all I’m saying.

 

Day One Hundred and Twenty-Four (7/14/20)

  • Did the FES cycle.
  • One of my uncles in Taiwan sent a care package of tea and pineapple cookies to my mother (which meant that he sent it to me, because one package got stolen from my parents’ house one time years ago, which means that my mother insists that I receive all of her future packages). All of the tea packaging is labeled in Chinese, so when my mother asked me over the phone which types of tea he sent, all I could do was think about how my Latin/French/German skills do not translate well into real life. I should really get on that DuoLingo Mandarin option.
  • My ringlight arrived! Now to set it up and figure out how to use it.
  • Harmonizing by ear gets easier over time, right? Let’s hope so. Ugh, going to have to re-record yesterday’s harmony part. And also record the flute part. Still haven’t figured out how to audiomix different tracks. In theory, they should all be mixed separately to work together, which I would do if I was recording straight into Garageband. But I’m recording into iMovie, which, once the videos are all synced up, turns the three audio files into one file when I transfer it into Garageband, so it’s like I’m just mixing the one file and can’t get too specific about what I do. Alas. Maybe some things shouldn’t be mixed that much anyway.
  • Currently feeling: You know what I should’ve been doing all these months? Warming up my vocal cords. Seriously, what was I doing all this time? Oh, that’s right, going into ballads cold. No wonder I kept sounding flat on notes I knew I could hit.
  • Currently looping: “Guns and Ships” from Hamilton. Daveed Diggs’ rap speed in a French accent is nothing short of mindblowing.

 

Day One Hundred and Twenty-Five (7/15/20)

  • Recorded the flute (and re-recorded backup vocals) for next week’s cover. Honestly, the main vocals aren’t great, because a guy sings it, and I do not have his range. But the guitar and flute were worth the experience of doing an out-of-range song.
  • Did a work hangout with a friend. Got my reading done for Friday’s reading group. Also, we’re recording for my friend’s podcast next week! I’m so excited!!
  • Assembled my ringlight! Hello, better lighting! I can see the light reflected in my glasses, however, so that’s a wee bit annoying. I might have to film without my glasses, which, honestly, I don’t need my glasses to film because I’m not reading the screen, so I guess I mostly wear them out of habit.
  • Currently feeling: Yet again, it is close to midnight and I will probably go to bed around 1am. How does this keep happening? When I woke up today, I thought, “This is the day I will actually go to bed before midnight.” Alas. Maybe tomorrow.
  • Currently looping: The Lumineers’ “Flapper Girl.” Why yes, it is on my list of songs that could sound lovely with a flute compensating for an instrument that I cannot play/do not have access to.

 

Day One Hundred and Twenty-Six (7/16/20)

  • Did the FES cycle.
  • Posted my cover of Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy.” It’s more in the style that Reba sings it, because the idea that I could ever do a proper Beyoncé cover makes me lol.
  • Music lesson! Goal for next lesson: take emo song, maybe keep the lyrics, but make it sound peppy. Not that I played it for my instructor and it bummed him out, but I described how depressing the song was and how I didn’t want it to sound as depressing. So, sad words with a poppy tune!
  • Was supposed to attend a concert via livestream, but it was rescheduled.
  • I got my first dislike on a cover! It was for “Paparazzi.” I think I’ve made it now.
  • Currently feeling: It’s been a slow Thursday night. I’m a fan.
  • Currently looping: Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones’ “Barbara Allen.” The whole Foreverly album is delightful.

Thanks so much for reading! Stay safe, stay informed, and wear a mask!

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