weekly transmission

Tainted Alligator Soufflé


Im in my house right now, been home for a couple days already and I plan on being home for at least another... week and a half? Two weeks? It feels weird not to be actively helpful in the thick of this (or in the very early stages of the thick of it) but I keep telling myself that staying in is actually very helpful at this point, and not just helpful but an essential practice.

I mean I feel OK but as we all know by this point you can feel OK and still have it, still transmit it. I don't want anything to happen to the parents of the people at the chips store (for instance) so I'll just not go out to get chips, I'll make popcorn at home. We all read the links. The larder right now could use a little more peanut butter but other than that I think we're good. I have decades of experience in trying to make a meal out of whatever's in the cupboard because I can't / don't want to leave the house. That's what's led to innovations like Peanut Butter Pasta, Grey Meal, Cheesus H Rice, Warrior Mode Coffee, and Tough Guy Stew. Actually Tough Guy Stew wasn't my invention, that was my old roommate Mike H's name for a dinner made mostly of foraged greens, dandelion roots, etc.. Let the record state that I ate 2 bowls and said "yum".

Not to make light of a bad situation but I think I function great under an absurd premise like "can't leave the house". I'm also great at "the floor is lava" or "I don't know how to drive" or "I'm not buying from Amazon" or "I hate to work" or Lent. Anyway I don't have a lot of great advice for how to live or be or help, I should hope that's fairly obvious. But anyway here's a little something I do to not go crazy when I'm in the house for days on end, that's certainly something I can speak to. I mean it feels kind of Decameron to just get weird indoors but that's where we're at, so we're doing it. The thing I like to do is

Maintain Flexibility

If you're home just sitting around, whether working from home or watching illegally downloaded nature documentaries (recommended), you gotta take breaks to do stretches. You can look up youtubes of stretches and do whatever feels good. I do toe touches, which has an added satisfaction of being something you can get better at. I do it while listening to a record, sometimes the same record I listened to yesterday (Ornette Coleman "Twins"). I couldn't really touch my toes for a while, but now I can, and now I'm touching my toes with different parts of the hand. It feels good to make progress on something like that, however silly. After toe touches/reaches I stand up and swing my arms around- with arms somewhat rigid I cross my arms in front of me and then swing them back to touch my hands behind my back. I do this 30 times. I always think of Cronenberg when I do this, because someone told me this is good for the lymphatic system, and Cronenberg is obsessed with the lymphatic system. Uhhh "think of Cronenberg" is not part of this set of instruction, sorry about that. Sakiko has stretches she does every day that are not related to body-horror auteurs, I'll link to those at the end.

Your eyes have muscles too, you gotta exercise those, especially if you spend most of your time looking at a flat panel less than 2 feet from your face. My eye exercises are: focus on something far away, then focus on something close, then repeat. Spend 30 seconds or so every whenever focusing your eyes on things at varying depths. Go to the window and do this. I used to have a mirror behind my computer monitor so I that when I zoned out I could bounce my view off the mirror and get more distance. If you do this I recommend positioning the mirror such that you can't see your reflection from your desk. You don't want that creep spying on you all the time.

The other eye thing is the same basically but open your eyes way up and, keeping your head still, look way to the left, then way to the right, over and over like 20 times. I read somewhere that doing this is also a creativity boost, because it forces interplay between the lobes of the brain or something. I'm not convinced on that but I do think it's helpful, and it also has the benefit of making you look like a maniac when you're doing it, which is cool.

Mental flexibility is important too but that's a whole other chapter. I guess for that I do pretty much the same thing though-- touching the mental toes, swinging the mental arms, rapidly shifting focus between the very near and very far, and generally trying to move what I haven't moved in a while.

FWIW I'm still drinking a lot of water and FWIW my Lenten declarations are still going strong throughout self-quarantine. I gave up reading more than 2 books at once, playing Dr Mario, and looking at the Instagram "explore" tab (which no one should ever do, honestly). I kind of wish I was dipping through books like I always do but at the same time I'm relishing the challenge.