Self-Isolation Diaries – Week 29

Greetings, Internet! Hope everyone’s staying as safe and sane as can be. I finally wheeled outside my apartment for more than a couple of blocks (there were many “for rent” signs), almost finished “Hannibal,” and sat in during the most infuriating disability in higher education webinar I have ever witnessed. Daily summaries below!

Day One Hundred and Ninety-Seven (9/25/20)

  • My mother’s here! She made cinnamon croissants. They’re amazing. Why don’t more bakeries do cinnamon croissants?
  • Read an article from a workshop I missed last week. Need to email comments to the author.
  • Trying to figure out if I should get Logic Pro X or Ableton. I should probably learn how to do more audio mixing on Garageband, but I’m trying to look up tutorials for things that should be relatively simple and can’t find them. Garageband and I might just have some disagreements.
  • Front casters of my chair have been cleaned. So much hair. Oh gosh, how did that all get in there?!
  • Currently feeling: I livestreamed a fundraising event for the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s (KKI) International Center for Spinal Cord Injury. I understand that the fundraising requests are directed at primarily able-bodied donors, but it’s still hard to see things framed in terms of “look at our patients who are now walking!” Most able-bodied people see walking as the ultimate goal. I get that. It’s hard to imagine life with paralysis when all you’ve known is your able-bodied life. It doesn’t sell as well to tell potential donors, “Hey, we have a person here with paralysis who embraces disability as part of their identity and they’re leading a kickass life from the seat of their chair!” It’s much more effective to say something to the effect of, “After months of therapy, this person moved their leg for the first time since their injury!” It’s part of the game. Able-bodied people want to know that if they ever acquired paralysis, then there might be hope for them to return to the life they once knew. I try not to take it personally, but I can’t help wondering whether these donors would judge my life as a failure because I haven’t regained the ability to walk. As someone who has adapted to the point where walking is no longer my top priority, am I some version of their worst nightmare? Because that’s ableist AF.
  • Currently looping: Nightwish’s “Last Ride of the Day.”

Day One Hundred and Ninety-Eight (9/26/20)

  • Started off my day accidentally squirting peppermint soap right into my tear duct. Oh, how it burned.
  • My sister came over with my niece! She’s at that age where she’s equal parts adorable and destructive. So you’re constantly going back and forth like, “Aww!” and “Ah! Not that!” and then back to “Aww!” We went on a walk down fifth avenue, and holy cow, there are so many storefronts that are closed. So many. It’s jarring. Cole Haan? Gone. Kate Spade? Gone. Origins? Gone. An HSBC branch? Gone. Lots of retail areas are available, and I have no idea what will go there (or when). I’m shocked that the Lululemon is still standing, although I guess a lot of bougie people are buying comfy yoga pants. It also hasn’t rained in a while, so I spent a lot of time playing “dodge the thing the irresponsible dog owner left on the sidewalk.”
  • Rewatched “Tangled.” The ending makes me cry every single time. And then I want to take a frying-pan-themed self-defense course.
  • Worked on a song demo. I went down an audio mixing rabbit hole and came out of it confused and overwhelmed AF. So I really have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve already warned my guitar instructor that I have hella questions about audio mixing and digital audio workstations (DAWs).
  • Heard loud music and marching outside my apartment around 8:30pm. I’m assuming it was part of a protest? It’s my usual reminder to siphon some of my stipend for a social justice cause. I can’t march, but I can donate.
  • Total number of days outside: Fifteen.
  • Currently feeling: I was reading this thing that Lzzy Hale (of Halestorm) wrote about how for every good song that people connect with, there are hundreds of bad ones. So reassuring to know that bad songs are part of the process.
  • Currently looping: Evanescence’s “Whisper.” Was feeling nostalgic. I remember listening to the Latin at the end thinking, “Wow, Latin’s so cool and deep!” And now I know Latin and I’m like, “…well, that was an odd thing to throw into a song to make it sound cool and deep.”

Day One Hundred and Ninety-Nine (9/27/20)

  • Did the FES cycle. Finished season two of “Hannibal.” So well done.
  • More lyrics. Gotta get those 10,000 hours in if I want to get to Fiona Apple’s level. Wrote a song today that wasn’t about a boy, and I feel really proud of myself.
  • Updated my bibliography. At the moment, I’ve got around 430 secondary sources. I’ve still got hella secondary (and, of course, primary) sources to read, but having a formatted list (Chicago Style, FTW) makes things a bit easier.
  • Digging all the Disney movies that are on Freeform this weekend. Unpopular opinion: “Tangled” > “Frozen”
  • Currently feeling: I could legit spend all day tinkering with guitar stuff and audio mixing. Reminds me of when I used to record myself singing in middle school, and would promptly delete the recordings so no one could find them. It’s so surreal recording for the purpose of not deleting it.
  • Currently looping: An unreleased version of Fiona Apple’s “Oh, Sailor.” I’ve been listening to a lot of Fiona Apple lately. I just get lost in how well she arranges and articulates her anger.

Day Two Hundred (9/28/20)

  • Happy day two hundred, everyone!
  • Did some arm exercises while watching “Hannibal.”
  • Listened in on a webinar from the Christopher Reeve Foundation that featured a service called Accessible College. Sure, I’m not applying to any additional academic programs, but I’ve given talks on this topic and I’m wondering what an actual service says about the state of applying to college for wheelchair users. My takeaway? Only the wealthy can afford to have their disability accommodated properly/learn how to self-advocate. Obviously, transitioning from high school to college is a whole process. Guidance in this area is immensely helpful, and I would argue necessary for anyone. But this is an expensive service. Having a disability is expensive enough. Information on how students with disabilities can transition to higher education needs to be made free and easily accessible. I’m furious. When I was applying to college, my family could not have afforded such a service. We were spending enough on physical therapy, and thank goodness I got into a school that already had the means to support someone with an SCI.
  • Omg, FFS, this person leading the seminar is talking about how some students just send out their laundry to be done. I could not afford to send out my laundry in college. WTF. The classism and privilege makes me want to throw things.
  • This person also suggested that students can bring a friend or family member as a PCA. YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM IF THIS IS YOUR SOLUTION TO THINGS. When a parent becomes their child’s PCA, that results in lost income (and maybe even lost healthcare) on the parent’s part. Also it’s hard to live your college life if one of your parents is in your dorm all the time.
  • This is also geared way more towards (presumably able-bodied) parents than to the students who will actually need to self-advocate. Yo, parents, make your kids watch things that will be helpful to them. None of this helicopter parenting nonsense.
  • This entire post may very well be me complaining about this seminar. I had hoped that it wouldn’t be so goshdarn infuriating, but my optimism was severely misplaced.
  • Had another listen to the cover I didn’t end up posting last week. It sounds just fine. I think the part of my brain that tells me everything I do is wrong was just winning last week. I have another cover planned for this week (which I recorded the audio for today), but if I can’t get my act together for the video portion, then I’ll post the video I meant to post last week this week.
  • Currently feeling: And on the two hundredth day of my self-isolation, I pondered whether I should start my own version of Accessible College (but like, find a way to make sure that no student/family has to pay a dime). Because students with disabilities have enough to juggle, and their lives already have a greater number of expenses than those without disabilities. When we talk about free/affordable college, we don’t take into account the extra costs that students with disabilities will inevitably face, and the extra guidance with college admissions that is often not provided. That needs to change. <grumbles and starts to plot>
  • Currently looping: Linkin Park’s “Papercut.”

Day Two Hundred and One (9/29/20)

  • Did the FES cycle.
  • My sister stopped by to use the WiFi for work (it had been acting up in her apartment for over a week). We ordered giant bowls of noodle soup for lunch. I did not need dinner.
  • We also had cookies.
  • Started tutoring beginner Latin. It’s been a while since I’ve done one-on-one tutoring, so, here’s hoping I remember what to do.
  • Tried to watch the debate. Got half an hour in and decided “Hannibal” would be less tense. I was right. Halfway through Season Three now.
  • Practiced a couple songs on guitar. I’m excited for the October lineup.
  • Currently feeling: If this debate was any indication, October is going to be stressful AF. I may have to stock up on Halloween candy for the month. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live in a swing state and be bombarded with campaign ad after campaign ad. Honestly, I would not be surprised if people in swing states momentarily suspended their cable for a month.
  • Currently looping: Neko Case’s “Wild Things.”

Day Two Hundred and Two (9/30/20)

  • Did arm exercises while watching “Hannibal.” Only four episodes to go before I finish the series!
  • Most YouTubers who post covers record the audio, and then film the video. That means they know how to lip-sync and strum their guitar in sync with the audio. I figure it’s a skill that takes practice, because I am terrible at it. If my neighbors can hear me, they likely heard a lot of swearing and yelling this afternoon, because it’s so frustrating when you don’t remember how exactly you recorded the audio (when I film covers, I change up the strumming pattern/vocal style on like, every take) and then it just looks off. And then you have to start over. GAH.
  • Back-to-back virtual hangouts! Yay, friends!
  • Currently feeling: I didn’t post a cover last week, but I figure I should post something this week so that I don’t get into the habit of not posting. It’s definitely possible that I fall into some sort of inertia. That’s what happened to my habit of reading Gregory of Tours on the daily. That reminds me, I need to read more Gregory.
  • Currently looping: Evanescence’s “Anything for You.” It’s a pre-Fallen track.

Day Two Hundred and Three (10/1/20)

  • Happy first day of October!
  • Did the FES cycle. Down to the final two episodes of “Hannibal.”
  • My mother’s here! My uncle (in Taiwan) sent over hella treats for the Moon Festival, so we had some cookies and coffee.
  • Therapy!
  • Posted my cover of Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life.”
  • Always love reading my friend’s articles on food (well, all of them generally speaking, but especially on food).
  • Currently feeling: I think I make more currently as a grad student than I would as an adjunct professor. That’s a thousand levels of ridiculousness. Well, Princeton wants us to find jobs outside of academia, anyway (or at least be prepared to search outside of academia because the job market is tanking like never before). So I guess there’s that incentive to figure out how to get into academic coaching of some sort/consulting/busking to support a hobby as an independent scholar?
  • Currently looping: Evanescence’s cover of The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Zero.”

Thanks so much for reading! Stay safe, wear a mask, and make sure you’re registered to vote!

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