Self-Isolation Diaries – Week 20

Greetings, Internet! Hope everyone’s doing as well as they can. Baseball is back, and the Mets are doing exactly as probably everyone expected, but perhaps that won’t matter because there’s already an MLB ‘Rona outbreak, so, just going to enjoy baseball while it lasts. I also recorded a new demo (eep!), got to see my niece, and oh, this girl can hold a guitar pic now. Exciting developments all around! Daily summaries below.

Day One Hundred and Thirty-Four (7/24/20)

  • Did the FES cycle.
  • Finally saw the episode of “The Great British Bake Off” (or is it “Baking Show”? They seem interchangeable) that involved the baked Alaska scandal. It was indeed scandalous. Who takes the ice cream of another contestant out of the freezer?! Sabotage.
  • Had a virtual hangout with a friend. We were going to do some podcasting, but she had some technical issues. We’re going to attempt an in-person recording (with masks, because of course).
  • The Mets’ opening day was today! It’s so good to hear Gary Cohen’s voice again. So so so good.
  • 26 YouTube subscribers! I know the number would go up if I harassed my friends to get YouTube accounts and subscribe, but I’m not about that life.
  • Fixed up more song lyrics. I was tinkering around with something and think it could use some chords (one of those “the melody for the chorus popped into my head and I don’t know what key it’s in, but I should work on that because I’m rubbish with my scales at the moment and need to improve, and knowing scales helps figure out the key for songs that pop into my head). That was rambly.
  • Currently feeling: Guys, I gotta start posting original content to my channel. The question: start with a teenage angsty breakup song, or a sickeningly sweet song about the hopes of virtual dating? Or the pseudo-emo song I’m working on?
  • Currently looping: A Fine Frenzy’s “What I Wouldn’t Do.” I know Taylor Swift just released a surprise album, and I’ll get to it eventually, but for now, A Fine Frenzy.


Day One Hundred and Thirty-Five (7/25/20)

  • My family came over! Which means that I got to see my niece! She had a growth spurt. Side note: there was blueberry pie.
  • My search for tutoring programs to volunteer for has led to a number of targeted ads telling me where to send my children for tutoring. If only I had any children of tutoring age. Lol. Although really, if I did have children of that age, I’d be tutoring them myself.
  • Hey, guess who lost in extra innings? The Mets. Ah, baseball sure is in full swing.
  • Just an episode and a half away from finishing season one of “The Great British Bake-Off.”
  • Mixed the audio for this week’s cover! Of course it wasn’t until I was in the audio mixing phase that I realized I played the wrong set of notes in the last few seconds of the song on flute. Whoops. It’s not that it sounds bad. It’s just…not in keeping with the actual song. Ah well, covers are basically interpretations anyway, right?
  • Currently feeling: I’m in that mode of, “Oh gosh, why did I give myself so much to do? It’s okay, I’m going to do everything. As long as I don’t dilly dally too much, it’ll all get done.” Tomorrow I know I have to do my physical therapy, read a fairly long chapter for a reading group, and practice hella guitar (while also taking time to chill, because that’s important, too). It’s a bit overwhelming, but also I’m excited to get started? Sometimes in college I’d have these moments of, “Ugh, but WHY do I have to sleep?!” while I was in the middle of an assignment or a thesis chapter or something. It’s like, I’d be so jazzed to be doing something, and then 11pm or midnight would come around and I’d remember that I was supposed to go to bed. Anyone else?
  • Currently looping: Belle and Sebastian’s “Nobody’s Empire.” I know Taylor Swift has a new album, I know! I’ll get to it soon!


Day One Hundred and Thirty-Six (7/26/20)

  • Did the FES cycle. Finished season one of “The Great British Baking Show.” Off to season two!
  • Did some reading for Tuesday’s reading group.
  • Practiced a cover I want to record sometime this week. It’s a classic that I’d never heard of until about a week ago? We’ll see how that goes.
  • My family left half a bottle of rosé in my fridge, so I polished it off while watching Sunday Night Baseball. Oh, Mets. How you drive me to the bottle. I still love you, though. Also, I love how Mr. and Mrs. Met are also wearing face masks. They get it.
  • Guys, I didn’t think it was possible because I couldn’t do it eight years ago, but now I CAN HOLD A GUITAR PICK. I’m super excited. But also, turns out that my guitar sounds way louder when I use a guitar pick, so I’m not sure how I’m going to sing over that. Eh, that’ll get figured out. But I can hold a guitar pick with my right hand!! AHH!! #smallgiantvictories
  • Currently feeling: Small giant victories, my friends. Small giant victories. My right hand and I have been on quite a journey. Immediately following the accident, I couldn’t even extend all the fingers of my right hand, nor could I make a fist with it. I couldn’t even flip people off. I was overjoyed when I relearned how to use a pen, and then chopsticks, and now? A freaking guitar pick. Eternally grateful for nerve improvements.
  • Currently looping: Finally listened to Taylor Swift’s new album, folklore. I mean, her songwriting ability continues to be amazing (in that the imagery she evokes is just so pretty). I don’t have a favorite song yet, so I’m looping the album for now.


Day One Hundred and Thirty-Seven (7/27/20)

  • Guess who saw her 3-lb dumbbells and thought, “Oh! I should use those!” So I did like a 20-minute arm workout. Should’ve been doing this all of quarantine. Whoops.
  • Was on the phone with insurance to try to figure out how to submit a claim for a deductible. Yay, adulting.
  • Songwriting lesson! Working on playing with a guitar pick. I’m still so psyched at this unexpected bit of nerve improvement. Time to record the song that was once emo, but is now more of a poppy silly song where I slay a dragon. Cool. Honestly, I think the vocal warmups are helping. I think my upper range has improved by a whole note.
  • Recorded next week’s cover. Just have to audio mix.
  • I be working on original stuff. It is Music Monday, after all!
  • 9:20pm: BLM protestors. Yup, still going strong.
  • Currently feeling: I’m probably going to go to bed late yet again, BUT, it’s for the sake of learning how to be a better musician, so I dig it.
  • Currently looping: Taylor Swift’s “Exile” featuring Bon Iver. Has The Postal Service’s “Nothing Better” vibe to it. I’m shocked I’m not as obsessed with the album as I thought I would be, but maybe it needs another listen?


Day One Hundred and Thirty-Eight (7/28/20)

  • Woke up with a bunch of lyrics in my head, so I wrote them down. Will they work with a melody? Who knows. But it’s good to practice.
  • Did the FES cycle.
  • Reading group got postponed, so I spent the time recording (because what else do I do when I have free time?). The benefit of using a guitar pick is that the guitar sounds louder and clearer. The downside is that I can’t hear myself sing. But! I have a demo of “Dear Prince Charming” (the song that was emo, but is now cheesy and poppy) now. I’ll send the link to anyone who’s interested, but the consensus seems to be that the guitar drowned out my voice. Oops.
  • The Mets are 3-2! If the season ended tomorrow, they would be a .600 team. So, there’s that bright spot.
  • I was supposed to audio mix next week’s cover, but got distracted by my own demo. Whoops.
  • Currently feeling: A friend suggested that now is the time to get another microphone and figure out an algorithm to record myself such that I get the guitar and vocals separately and can fiddle with their respective volumes. For those who say, “Just play the guitar plugged into your audio interface!” I tried that. The guitar just picked up too much on the mic I was using for vocals. And for those who say, “Just play the guitar without vocals, and then add vocals,” I tried that as well. For some reason, I get the timing wrong when I hear myself playing guitar, but when I’m actually playing the guitar, the timing’s much better. I don’t know, it’s weird. Maybe it’s a learned skill? Feeling a wee bit confused as to how to proceed, but I guess trial and error will be the best way to go.
  • Currently looping: My “Dear Prince Charming” demo. That’s right, I’m looping my own song demo. #bossbitchgoals


Day One Hundred and Thirty-Nine (7/29/20)

  • Sent my friend her belated birthday request cover. It’ll be posted publicly tomorrow.
  • Recorded part of a cover for the week after next. Seems a little like I’m getting ahead of myself with the covers, but it’s only because I’d like to do more original stuff. And I have one crazy idea for a cover that would require hella flute practicing.
  • Highlight of the Mets game: Hearing Gary, Keith, and Ron speculate on what Bartolo Colón is doing right now. The consensus is that he’s either relaxing somewhere or waiting for a team to call him. Although I suppose both could be true. #bigsexyforever
  • Well, this is horrific.
  • And in other terrible news, I found out today that an elementary school classmate of mine passed away very recently in an ATV accident. My condolences to his family.
  • Currently feeling: I hope people are taking the time to read the NYTimes’ coverage on the 30th anniversary of the ADA. They’re putting out lots of articles, and it’s good to educate yourself, regardless of ability level, about this key piece of civil rights legislation. The ADA is the reason I don’t have to pop wheelies every time I cross the street. It’s the reason I was able to attend college without having to drag myself up the stairs to every single class (for reals, I know someone who did that pre-ADA). It’s the reason I can take the bus to meet my sister at bougie wine bars in midtown. The ADA means I can live in society the way I did pre-injury. Can you imagine, on top of the physical trauma of a spinal cord injury, how devastating it would’ve been if I had been told, “Yeah, you’re going to have to make a lot of physical adjustments to your life, also society hates you now and wishes you didn’t exist so that they wouldn’t have to modify anything for you”? I mean, no one would’ve said that out loud, but a pre-ADA world was basically saying that.
  • Currently looping: Taylor Swift’s “mirrorball.” It’s like a trance of a song.


Day One Hundred and Forty (7/30/20)

  • Did the FES cycle.
  • Posted my cover of “Moon River.” Still haven’t seen “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” I should probably get on that.
  • Should get the replacement part for my shower chair next week. We shall see.
  • Therapy! Homework’s going to be a doozy, but it’s necessary.
  • Hangout with writing buddy!
  • Currently feeling: Fiona Apple: “I SHAKE when I have to think and write about myself. It’s scary to go there but I go there.” Amazing interview I’m reading so many months later. I’m relatively new to songwriting, for sure, but I want to live by that. Goodness, she’s brilliant.
  • Currently looping: Jimmy Eat World’s “Hear You Me.” It’s such a depressing song, but it’s so beautiful.

Thanks so much for reading! Stay safe, fight the power, and wear a mask!

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