Self-Isolation Diaries – Week 33

Greetings, Internet! Hope everyone’s staying as safe and sane as can be. My absentee ballot is in, my MIDI controller is up and running, and I actually made some dissertation progress! Daily summaries below!

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-Five (10/23/20)

  • The Board of Elections has received my absentee ballot! Huzzah!
  • I think I know where to put my MIDI controller! But I have to clear this very cluttered space in my apartment. There is a lot of makeup here I bought on a whim and never opened. Any takers?
  • My sister’s here! We went and got lunch, ate a Levain cookie, and then she moved my bookcase to another room so I could make space for my MIDI controller. #bestsisterever
  • Another person commenting that because they subscribed to my channel, I should “help them out.” That should not be how this works.
  • Tried to set up my MIDI controller. Failed. Mentioned my failure to my guitar instructor and then he walked me through the setup like it was nothing. On a Friday night. What a musical saint.
  • Total times outside: Twenty-two!
  • Currently feeling: Kind of kicking myself for waiting this long to get a keyboard. I love fiddling around with it. It’s a fun kind of overwhelming because there’s so much a MIDI controller can do and I have no idea how to do any of it (yet). Of course, after playing through a Postal Service song (“The District Sleeps Alone Tonight,” if you were wondering), my next thought was, “…how much is a piano?” And then I checked. They are hella expensive. The MIDI controller will have to do for now.
  • Currently looping: Radiohead’s “No Surprises.” Still on the OK Computer kick.

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-Six (10/24/20)

  • Did arm exercises while watching “The Defenders.” One episode to go!
  • Had to print things out for medical reasons. Three issues: 1. My printer needs new ink; 2. My printer has a lot of mail/documents on top of it that need to be sorted; and 3. That area of my room is a total mess. Thus began: 1. Sorting out all the mail/documents on top of my printer so that I could open the ink area; 2. Replacing the printer ink; and 3. Tidying things up for about two hours. The items have been printed, and the top of my printer has not looked this organized in months.
  • In looking through all my old mail, I realized I never closed the bank account I set up when I was a student in England five years ago. Need to sort that out on Monday. It’s like finding $20 in your coat pocket, except that you have to call up a bank in another time zone to be like, “Sorry, I should’ve done this five years ago” to get the $20. And it’s in pounds, so it’s probably not actually $20.
  • Had to call Medicare to sort out something. I was on hold for less than a minute and was genuinely shocked when I heard a human’s voice. Like, I had a beauty YouTube video all ready to watch while I was on hold. Thanks, Obama?
  • After an hour on the phone with customer service, the Disney+ app is finally fixed! Now to find time to watch all the Halloween-themed movies.
  • Guitar practice! Working on another depressing song, and getting my November setlist ready. So excited.
  • Read a really interesting article about church looting and burning in the ninth century. You bet it’s in my dissertation bibliography.
  • Currently feeling: Today was so productive. I’m legit thrilled with how much I got done today. My Virgo ascendent is doing a happy dance.
  • Currently looping: Regina Spektor’s cover of Radiohead’s “No Surprises.” Love this. Love her. Someday I hope it’ll be safe enough that I can see her perform live. Her voice is so unique and incredible.

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-Seven (10/25/20)

  • Did the FES cycle. Finished “The Defenders.” Please let Netflix make a second miniseries.
  • Worked on the audio for this week’s cover. This week is supposed to be super busy, so I don’t know if I’ll actually have time to record the video portion.
  • Aaand Disney+ has decided to give me different error messages now. Drat.
  • Read an article about communal church property under the Carolingians. For context, I study poverty and the poor in the early middle ages (specifically the ninth century). I’m curious about the administration of wealth in churches, as well, because, in theory, churches (specifically bishops) were supposed to take alms given to the church and distribute those to the poor. “The poor,” however, was such an ambiguous group that the monks within the church considered themselves poor (there wasn’t exactly a strict poverty line back in the Middle Ages). Ergo, churches could take the alms for their own sustenance. Ninth-century churches/monasteries became super wealthy, to the point where locals would flee there in times of civil unrest (or at least bring their valuables there for safekeeping during said unrest). So one thing I’m curious about in my dissertation is, well, how much of this wealth was shared with the poor that the church claimed to help? Anyway, that’s a short paragraph explaining a bit of what I do when I’m not diving into the world of music production. Wish I had a time turner to do it all.
  • Currently feeling: So I’m a fan of my MIDI controller and everything, and I still haven’t figured out nowhere near the full extent of what it’s capable of, but one thing I hadn’t considered was that it doesn’t have its own speakers. I have to plug it into my laptop to hear myself play, which then comes out through my laptop speakers. I miss the sound of a piano (I learned how to play like, twenty years ago). Would it be bonkers if I started saving up for a used upright piano?
  • Currently looping: The Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979.”

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-Eight (10/26/20)

  • Turns out that closing a bank account is a lot harder when your debit card from that account expired three years ago. This is what happens when I procrastinate.
  • Reading group! Thank goodness the article I chose for us to read had enough material to keep the conversation going for the entire hour. There’s always that fear that I’m going to choose something that stimulates zero conversation, and then I turn into an awkward turtle.
  • Recorded the video for this week’s cover. I’m not as excited for this week’s cover as I was for last week’s (which I think might be the best performing video on my channel thus far), so I’m a little bummed that I can’t follow last week with something I’m super proud of. I’m trying to harmonize flute parts for one section, and some parts are…a bit out of tune. I feel like I might be able to get away with it because the song itself is Halloween-ish, so some discordance is acceptable. But still.
  • Tutored Latin. I have a bone to pick with any scholastic institution that teaches Latin once a week for less than an hour. How will the students learn?! Discipulae need constant instruction!!
  • I was listening to this song on repeat a while back, but I just want to point out that this is a metal band with a woman of color as the lead singer, her bandmates are in full-on medieval plague gear, and she’s singing about destroying a monarchy. And they released the music video in January 2020. Just going to say that Ad Infinitum saw 2020 coming.
  • Hey, what a surprise, the President of the Karen Association is now a justice. So long, hopes of starting a family with IVF. Am I going to write a depressing song about how my future children will be simply figments of my imagination? Don’t know. We’ll see. But I also just donated again to Senate races, so, that’s my daily act of resistance.
  • Currently feeling: Guys, I want to save up for a used piano. A real piano. When I fiddled around with the MIDI controller the other day, chords started coming back to me, as if it hadn’t been about twenty years since I’ve had a keyboard in the house. It’s so much easier to visualize notes on a piano than on a guitar. Except I just miss that piano sound. And if I’m responsible with my stipend (which I definitely will be after this election cycle because Senate races need the money), I can get that piano sound back.
  • Currently looping: Amy Lee’s cover of “Sally’s Song.”

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-Nine (10/27/20)

  • Did the FES cycle. 
  • My sister’s here! She needed my WiFi for work. We got noodles for lunch, and then matcha lattes. Gosh, do I love noodles followed by matcha.
  • Work Skyped with a friend. Got through more of Gregory of Tours’ “Lives of the Fathers.” So many interesting angles on wealth, poverty, and saintly intercession in legal cases/situations. I can see why my advisor is so smitten with Gregory. That reminds me, I should have a Zoom meeting with him soon to let him know that I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth. Maybe after Election week.
  • Ordered more chocolate, because Election Day is next week and I need to stock up.
  • Watched the first third of “Frozen 2.” It’s cute.
  • Currently feeling: So grateful that in my typical Twitter/Facebook doomscrolling, no one has yet to post a “Seven Days” meme. I do not need that type of horror at this point, thank you very much. Although, not gonna lie, I was tempted to put my hair in front of my face and do my own meme, but that would’ve scared the daylights out of me, so, um, no.
  • Currently looping: Skylar Grey’s “Love the Way You Lie.” Gosh, it’s depressing.

Day Two Hundred and Thirty (10/28/20)

  • When I was in middle school, I had such a crush on Ewan McGregor. He was in the “Star Wars” prequels and “Moulin Rouge!” and basically taught me that it’s possible to find a guy who can sing, dance, and wield a lightsaber (these were my priorities in middle school, okay?). And now there’s a clip of him singing a cover of a Muse song. My heart.
  • Did arm exercises.
  • Guitar lesson! Although it was more of a MIDI controller lesson. There’s so much it can do and I have no idea how to do most of it. But I know enough now to record a piano part.
  • Caught up with my bestie via videochat. I missed her face.
  • At some point I feel like I should talk to a fellow medievalist about his covers. And ask him about how he balances music with his scholarship. (He’s the one in the upper left hand corner on lead guitar.)
  • Currently feeling: The true test of whether I can post a cover tomorrow? I wrote up a rubric. If my cover passes the rubric, it goes up. If not, I’ll work on fixing it for next year (it’s Halloween-themed, so it won’t work for next week). In the meantime, I should work on my depressing original material (I don’t know how to write happy songs yet??).
  • Currently looping: Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe.”

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-One (10/29/20)

  • Dear Jamie Harrison, I care about the outcome of your race, but not enough to stay on your email list. Signed, Woman who has Received a Beyond Irritating Number of Emails from Your Campaign Over a Short Period of Time (ten in twelve hours? Really??).
  • No cover today. It wasn’t ready (also, fixing it would take like six hours and I’d so much rather work on something else).
  • Did the FES cycle.
  • My brother-in-law is here to fix things. Hooray!
  • My mother is here! She’s going to bake butternut squash muffins.
  • Currently feeling: I have “Show Yourself” feels.
  • Currently looping: “Show Yourself” from “Frozen 2.” Yes, I finally finished “Frozen 2.” And I kind of prefer it to “Frozen.” Anna sings a song about depression, Kristoff gets an ‘80s-inspired ballad, and Elsa accepts herself in a way that hit me hard in the feels. In the beginning of the movie, Anna says something to Elsa to the effect of, “I wish you could see yourself the way I see you.” Then by the end of “Show Yourself,” Elsa finally sees herself in that way, and then I legit started crying. How empowering it must feel to see yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you.

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

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