I have recorded every single noise in this goddamn house except the sound of my voice narrating my Keynote slides

Seriously, lecture capture is a giant PITB and yes I know barely literate dudes have garnered themselves millions of YouTube followers by recording their rants while driving and wearing those supposedly edgy sunglasses, but I–I, who penned one of the most tech-intensive papers in recent planning (not that recent, but hey, cut me some slack)–can not get my recording situation under control for online teaching.

I gave the same presentation 11 times yesterday, hoping to get it to record with ScreenFlow, only to find, time after time, that I wasn’t recording. I finally had to zap my pvram to make my stupid microphone to work, internal or external. I gave up. I posted notes instead.

I FINALLY got my microphone to work today, settled down to record via ScreenFlow, gave a GREAT lecture, still enthusiastic despite going over it AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN the past two days. Go back to ScreenFlow. Not a thing recorded. Go Back. Get distracted, and come back two hours later to find that ScreenFlow has been recording the whole damn time I have been away, for reasons utterly beyond me, including the following noises:

  1. My dogs barking at passersby,
  2. Me telling them to STFU
  3. Us moving furniture around
  4. Andy and me having a conversation about whether elementary school kids still make fart noises with their armpits the way they did when we were kids, and how I tried to learn how to do that only to have one of my teachers tell me that girls can’t learn how to do that;
  5. My dogs barking at passersby;
  6. Me worrying that we have a beehive in the wall since Andy found some bees in his office;
  7. The sound of Andy opening windows so he can let bees out
  8. Us discussing some really tall weeds in the back yard.
  9. Us discussing how we really wish people treated horses better.
  10. Me complaining that I hate having to read books checked out from the library on the iPad since all I do is start at screens all day.
  11. The entire conversation of David, Aubrey, Olivia and me recording a podcast that Aubrey was already recording.

Things to do/watch/listen to divert yourself from all the sadness

Before anybody starts in on me, I am not assuming that everybody is a salaried employee who can work from home and who is childless and thus has hours and hours and hours to kill. I am assuming that everybody, including those who have to go out to work and who have to watch children, needs a break from the unrelenting terror of the virus news. I remember sitting there torturing myself in the days after the VT shootings with watching the news until Andy, who never tells anybody what to do, let alone me, finally intervened and got me to tune out for a few days.

The news will be there. Just give yourself a break from it when you can, a break that lets your mind unwind from the understandable anxiety. Everybody needs to detach, no matter who they are.

I am, I feel, an all-time distract-myself-from-anxiety champion. I am here to help. There are those lists going around, made undoubtedly by a humorless public health person, telling you to take this time to learn to meditate, start a new healthy lifetime eating plan, and a new healthy exercise habit. Good job. If you are the sort of person who can do those things when the world is going to shit, I’m the dead last person you should listen to, so stop reading now.

Here instead is an Aunty Lisa Approved of things to do get your mind off of things and generally muck around and pass the time:

The Green Bean Podcast:

In this podcast, Illustrator/Sewist/Knitter Kate Green talks about her projects, draws illustrations for us, and takes us for walks with her adorable little dog, Jack in the Devon countryside.

Learn Hieroglyphics

To me, learning dead languages is the epitome of a finger in the eye of all the captialism-on-steroids “if it doesn’t put a dollar in your pocket, why learn it” thinking that dominates the world. Hieroglyphics are cool and maybe I’ll find a way to write crochet patterns with them.

Watch Disney movies and then watch fashion historians discuss the historical accuracy of the outfits on Glamour’s YouTube channel

Forget Disney–you can watch costumer Bernadette Banner recreate historical gowns of all sorts, including gowns from famous portraits like the Portrati of a Young Woman in White of Jaques-Louis David. Besides that, she has a super-cute guinea pig friend named Ceasario.

Set up your own reading nook. Better yet, set up a reading nook for your kids.

Watch Dan and Linsey Cummins tell each other ghost stories on the Scared To Death podcast. (Note: Dan is entirely wrong about crystals. IF they do not possess magical properties, you at least get to have pretty rocks. And if you get tired of them just as pretty rocks, they are hard and sharp and may be thrown at one’s enemies. No downside to crystals, really.)

Play quidditch in your backyard

All of the Columbos are on AmazonPrime.

Shut your monkey: Danny Gregory is an artist and coach. Start a sketchbook by telling yourself you are going to make the shittiest, worst, sloppiest sketches possible. Stop judging yourself. Sketching is very freeing, and you only get better after a lot of rotten, discouraging sketches. Nobody cares what your sketchbook looks like, it’s time you stopped caring too so that you can gather the benefits of sketching without judgment.

What are your favorite distractions? I need them.