Monday, June 22, 2020

Sam's Weekly Quarantine Digest #15, June 21, 2020

Hi all,

Happy Father's Day!  This week, I'm bringing you a few clusters of recommendations: Pride Week events, of course, as well as video game recommendations, fun and quirky food deliveries, and new thoughts on the pandemic (like how to hug safely and how to get kids to follow social distancing guidelines).  When things get busy, I like to chase one theme for a week or two, filling small gaps in my schedule with bite-sized bits of relaxation - trying new music or video games, reorganizing my reading list, or working my way through a playlist of recipes I've been eyeing for a while.  These themes have all featured heavily in my personal rotation, and below is a jumping-off point if you'd like to join me.

One other tip: Don't forget to take time for yourself these days.  Even if we can't travel like we normally would (especially during the hot summer months), taking a day or two here and there to give yourself some long weekends can be restorative and therapeutic.  I'm taking my own advice, too - tomorrow will be spent attempting to perfect a long-anticipated cookie recipe through extensive and thorough experimentation, as well as reorganizing my office space to give myself a fresh boost of energy for another busy workweek.  If you feel like you wouldn't know what to do with a day off, I challenge you to take out a piece of paper and write down 5 things you miss - I bet you can think of a way to make some of them work right now (and if you need suggestions, give me a call!).

Previous digests can be found on my blog at  If you have suggestions or would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.


Happy Pride Week!  There are tons of incredible options this week, and most major cities in the U.S. are hosting virtual parades and showcases in lieu of their traditional live ones.  Here's an assortment that stood out to me, but do a quick Google search and you'll find tons of local options and events with specific themes (e.g., try looking for dance events, food, politics, academic discussions, or musical performances).
  • Don't miss the 24-hour Global Pride livestream on Saturday, June 27th.  This event is being billed as the first worldwide L.G.B.T.Q. event, and it will be focusing on Black Lives Matter this year, including music, performances, speeches, and messages of support.  Todrick Hall will host, with appearances by politicians from across the globe, like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Justin Trudeau (Candian prime minister), Leo Varadkar (Irish prime minister), Carlos Alvarado Quesada (president of Costa Rica), Erna Solberg (prime minister of Norway), Xavier Bettel (prime minister of Luxembourg), Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, and Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of India.  There will also be an incredible cast of performers, including Laverne Cox, Adam Lambert, Kesha, Rita Ora, Pussycat Dolls, Dixie Chicks, and Olivia Newton-John.  Check out the full schedule and ways to watch here.
  • On Sunday, tune in for a special broadcast on CBS commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first NYC Pride March.
  • The main weekend of Pride Week kicks off on Friday, June 26th.  Take a stand against discrimination and police brutality by joining for The Rally on Friday evening, from 5-8pm.
  • NYC Pride's Human Rights Conference takes place on Thursday from 9:30am-6:30pm.
  • Frameline44 is hosting a Pride Showcase featuring 16 LGBTQ+ films from around the world.
  • San Francisco will be hosting a virtual Illuminate the Pink Triangle lighting event (covering a full acre and visible from outer space); you can see a countdown to the Saturday lighting here.
  • SF Pride will also have a CBS special on Sunday, "Fifty Years of SF Pride," broadcast on from 11am-3pm (PDT).
  • Going for a run this week?  Snap a Pride-themed photo along the way to enter Runstreet's photo competition.
  • Check out this free cook-along series, with suggested donations benefiting NYC Pride and God's Love We Deliver.

Bored of JackBox?  Here are some other great options for online multiplayer games - some of them are only available on certain platforms, and I haven't tried all of them (so please don't get mad at me if I'm wrong about having online multiplayer modes!).  Not a fan of my recommendations?  Check out more here and here.
  • Tried and true:
    • Gears of War: As some of you may know, Luke and I have actually spent dozens of hours playing this with one of his best friends from across the country - I like to think it showed us we could make a good team.  The story modes are pretty well done, but Horde Mode is a fantastic way to pass a few hours while chatting with friends over your headsets.  Shooter games usually aren't my thing, but this one can be very cathartic.
    • Rocket League: This is essentially soccer that is played using cars and a ball roughly the size of a small house.  You can team up with up to 3 friends and play against the masses on the internet (or if you have a larger group, you can play custom matches against each other in various combinations).
    • JackBox: Ok, seriously though, if you still haven't played any of the JackBox games, pick any party pack and get going!  Just have the person who owns the game screen share on Zoom or Google Meet (with computer audio), and everyone else can join in using whatever device they like, including their phone.  My favorite games include Drawful 2, Fibbage 3, Quiplash XL, and Trivia Murder Party 2.  Tee K.O. is also awesome, although a bit longer, and you can even order a real-life t-shirt featuring the designs you create (seriously, I own one).
  • Games I'm excited to try:
    • Just Dance 2020: Exactly what it sounds like - queue it up and have a dance party with your friends).
    • Minecraft Dungeons: Up to 4 players can take on "action-packed, treasure-stuffed, wildly varied levels" fighting the familiar Minecraft mobs.
    • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch): The classic, updated to keep up with the times.
    • Animal Crossing: New Horizons: This is primarily a single-player game, but you can interact with your friends who are also playing.
    • Don't Starve Together: This is a co-op game that requires teamwork, building, and – importantly – not dying.  One description I found describes it thus: "In this survival game, you and up to four other players are dropped into a sketchy Tim Burton-esque world filled with violent horrors and terrifying nightmarish creatures. These monsters are the least of your problems as you scramble to survive, keeping fed, warm, dry, and sane."  Come on, guys - we've essentially survived a zombie apocalypse for 3 months already; we've got this.

Looking for some new perspectives on the pandemic?  Here's a round-up of the some of the best I've seen recently:
  • How to be a good friend during the pandemic, from two New York Times editors
  • How to ease back into social interactions, from a New York Times war correspondent
  • How to hug safely, from an airborne disease transmission expert
  • Wondering how and where Covid-19 is mostly likely to spread?  See this incredibly detailed article analyzing trends of infection and superspreading events, and providing guidance on the types of activities that are and aren't safe as we start to reintegrate into society.
  • Check out this article from the New York Times called "Trying to Parent my Black Teenagers Through Protest and Pandemic"
  • Having trouble getting your children to follow social distancing rules?  Check out these helpful tips.

Bored of the same few meals over and over?  Shake up your routine with these quirky food delivery options!

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