lately (03.15.20)

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

Henlo, friends.

San Francisco had its first 2 confirmed cases of coronavirus a few days into March, both from community spread, and we’re up to 37 cases as of this morning (up from 28 yesterday).

I think most of the city has hunkered down for a long stay at home by now. The coronavirus is very much here, and while I continue to worry for the rest of the state (and the country, and the world), I feel pretty relieved by the measures my own city has taken to make sure we take care of each other.

(Some of those measures: Events and gatherings have been shut down or restricted, schools have been closed, school breakfasts and lunches are being made available for pickup, libraries and rec centers have been converted to emergency childcare centers for kids of healthcare workers and kids from low-income families, the citywide sick leave policy has been expanded, and utility shutdowns have been prohibited. It’s all disruptive, but it feels hopeful that we’re taking this seriously, in a very community-focused way.)

It feels weird that this thing I’ve been low-key panicking about since January is now a thing that most people around me are panicking about, but at this point I don’t care how many of them were mocking people like me for “overreacting” about things “unlikely to happen.” Sure, I still wanna yell at them for only believing what’s up after it affected a fuckin NBA player, but however people get here – I’m glad they’re here. We all need to work together to protect each other. As someone on Twitter said, “This is a group exercise, and we pass or fail together.”

My partner’s WFH indefinitely, and I couldn’t have picked a better person to be holed up with. I’ve been feeling extra grateful for him and my family lately.

So as you can imagine, things have been pretty quiet, but since my last update I…

…started joining NCT group orders because there aren’t enough EXO group orders to stress-join right now. So far I’ve joined GOs for an NCT 127 varsity jacket (which is absolutely sick; the back is embroidered with a massive dragon head), Mark Lee stickers and washi tape, a whole bunch of Neo Zone stickers, and some stickers of the other NCT boys.

…joined a couple more EXO GOs, including orders for a bucket hat (never thought I’d ever be swayed into buying a bucket hat, but… slap a fandom logo on it and I’m sold, I guess), beaded bracelets, and phone cases.

…bought a couple things from the official NCT 127 website: a physical Neo Zone album (the yellow/N version) and a “Kick It” sweatshirt. The sweatshirt design features the Chinese characters for “hero,” since the Korean title for “Kick It” is “Hero.” Feels kinda empowering to want giant Chinese characters on my clothes instead of being ashamed that I’ll never be white enough to be likable, ya know?

…lit a lot of candles. I’ve mostly been burning Frostbeard Studio’s Christmas at the Burrow (which smells like Christmas baking) and Bath & Body Works’ 3-wick Mango Mai Tai (which smells like tropical fruit with a little too much sugar), but I also recently acquired 3-wicks of Fiji White Sands (as mentioned by Baekhyun during an Instagram Live; it smells the way lying on a hot beach reading a steamy fic feels), White Tea & Sage (leans a little too floral for me, but it’s nice and clean, like something you’d smell in a yoga studio’s bathroom), and Paris CafΓ© (smells rich and deliciously coffee bean-y, with a touch of sweetness). I know it’s not great for indoor air quality to burn a lot of candles, but it’s hella hygge and I’ve needed a lot of soothing lately.

bath and body works 3 wick candles - mango mai tai - fiji white sands - white tea & sage - paris cafe

I’m particularly fond of the White Tea & Sage container. The concrete is just very satisfying.

…started using these cloth headphone covers on my Sony MDRV6 headphones. The vinyl on the earpads has been flaking for ages now, and while these cloth covers aren’t very pretty, I no longer have to pick little black flakes out of my hair and clothes, so I’d say they were worth it.

…rewatched Sherlock Holmes and Space Jam. Still love ’em, especially Space Jam. What a classic.

…secured our cabinet doors in case of earthquake using these zip-tie handle latches. We’ve been needing to do this for a while, but organizing our canned food really made it obvious how dangerous it’d be if the contents of our cabinets fell out. For now, we’ve only secured our liquor cabinet and our emergency supply cabinet, since those have all our heaviest items.

(For the record, we’ve been prep shopping in small amounts since January. I know people are angry about people who are panic-buying now, but 1) it’s a sign people are taking this seriously, and 2) I think part of the issue is simply that grocery stores are not equipped for the entire population to shop for 2+ weeks’ worth of food at at a time when normally there are a good number of people who eat out or only buy a few days’ worth of food at once. I don’t think it’s helpful to condemn people for panic-buying as long as they’re not panic-hoarding… We’ve all got to take care of each other.)

…estimated the number of calories we have in our emergency food cabinet. It’s… less than I expected, tbh, but we always keep a giant bag of rice at home, so if we add that plus vitamins, we should be fine for 2-3 weeks of literally not leaving the house.

…received a couple long-awaited GO items in the mail:

exo fanart stickers - baekhyun d.o. kyungsoo chen jongdae

The stickers on the left are by @minam_59, and the ones on the right are by @domeryl12. I’m not sure how the first artist responded to Chen’s marriage announcement, but the second artist was an ass about it, so I’m not linking them here.

…The background says “Butt” because it’s a giant piece of paper we used as a battle map for a game of family D&D. One of our characters was named Buttholemew, a name that looks even worse than it sounds.

…did laundry at this apartment for the first time in ages. I usually take my laundry to my mom’s, because the washing machine here is moldy/mildewy and covered in soap scum (and yes, I’ve tried scrubbing and running cleaning/sanitation cycles with various solutions; that stuff is gunked on tight), and the dryer has a dangerous amount of lint buildup (like, it’s gotta be a fire hazard… My partner does his laundry every couple weeks and there’s always a massive wall of lint stuck to the lint trap. He’s good about cleaning it, but the landlords who live downstairs and with whom we share the washer/dryer are… gross). I was very reluctant to wash my reusable cloth pads (from Lunapads, which recently rebranded as Aisle! (that’s a referral link, if you’re so inclined)) in a mildewy washer, but… I’d rather not be a disease vector for my 60+ mom and uncle right now.

…filed my taxes. It was a pain this year, but I always find it kind of romantic when my partner and I do practical things together.

…watched NCT 127’s music video for “Kick It” and LOVED IT SO FUCKING MUCH. The BRUCE LEE-INSPIRED OUTFITS. The BRIGHT YELLOW. The MOTHERFUCKIN DRAGONS!!! I’ve said this on Twitter and Tumblr already, but the unapologetically Asian aesthetic of this music video makes me want to buy one of those stupid dragon motif t-shirts that were so popular in the 90s (and which are regaining popularity now). I always liked them when I was younger, but I knew I wasn’t supposed to wear them because it would make me look too Chinese. Now I’m just like… fuck you put some dragons on my titties.

Taeyong is INCREDIBLE in this MV and I desperately want to be him, Jaehyun is stupidly handsome and is so good at looking ludicrously expensive, and Doyoung is sososo pretty. This song is a perfect storm of NCT’s signature noise offset by a gorgeous (as always) vocal bridge, and the music video is the perfect visual accompaniment to its unapologetically confident sound.

…listened to Neo Zone, NCT 127’s 2nd album, and ALSO LOVED IT SO FUCKING MUCH. It’s been hard for me to pick a favorite track, but my top choices are probably “Elevator (127F)” (the wobbly electric sounds make me want to cry, and when Taeil comes in for the bridge… magnifique), “Kick It” (this song makes me feel like I could punch someone in the face), “Boom” (Mark rapping in his lower register is NOT valid and he needs to be STOPPED. Also I really love the hollow shell-like percussion sounds that remind me of a wooden xylophone), “Interlude: Neo Zone” (this is all over the place sound-wise, but in a deliberate way that I cannot get out of my head), “Mad Dog” (I love Taeyong and Mark SO MUCH), “Love Me Now” (SHINee “View” 2.0 tbh), and “Dreams Come True” (pure 90s R&B vocal goodness). Overall, it’s just a really good album, and it gave me a deeper appreciation for NCT’s vocal line! Taeil’s voice is a fuckin gift from god himself, Doyoung just sounds pretty, Haechan’s vocal color is SO bright and clear, and Jaehyun’s voice has this delicious rich and hollow quality to it, like when you slap a watermelon to check if it’s juicy. (…I think the word I’m looking for might be “resonant.”)

…cooed over Suho’s pre-solo promo. Just look at how cute his self-portrait is!! πŸ₯ΊπŸ°

…cut my own hair, which I haven’t done since college. When I used to cut my hair at home, I’d use my mom’s hair-cutting scissors to thin the ends and our multiple bathroom mirrors to check the back of my head. This time I did it in my bedroom with paper-cutting scissors and one mirror, so it turned out a little messy, but I think it’s perfectly passable. I started with over 2 feet of hair and took off maybe 8 inches, so now I have an extra long bob, or a xlob, if you will, with blunt ends hitting at about armpit length. It’s too short for a good topknot, but it did help ease some of my anxiety…

anothertoast - samglorious - diy hair cut

Should’ve added a banana for scale…

Having super long hair is great because you can always tie it up, but when I get past a certain length, I start to really dread washing my hair because it takes so long to lather it up and uses so much shampoo and dries so slowly, which leads to me procrastinating on washing for longer than is probably good for my scalp. My current length is much more manageable. (But also, part of my justification for cutting it was that if I got really sick, it’d be easier to take care of shorter hair… that urge to feel in control of something during these tumultuous times tho)

anothertoast - samglorious - diy hair cut blunt ends

I’m not wearing makeup in these pictures because I haven’t worn makeup in… a few weeks now. But you can tell how much shorter my hair is by the fact that I didn’t have to take a ridiculously low-angle photo to fit all my hair in the frame.

…suddenly remembered the time I was taking a coding course and stayed late to work on a project and ended up crashing on one of the couches (this wasn’t unusual; students slept at the building all the time) and overheard some guys from my class and the class before ours discussing a girl from the previous class. One of my classmates said “Who?” and a guy from the previous class said, “You know, the Asian with the ass,” and a second guy from the previous class said, “Don’t you have one of your own?” And my classmate replied “We have three Asian girls,” and my other classmate shushed them, saying, “You really want to talk about her when she’s sleeping right behind you?” And then a few years later, one of the guys from the previous class became my manager, and it just breaks my brain because I’m never going to know for sure whether he was the one who said “You know, the Asian with the ass” or the one who said “Don’t you have one of your own?” or if he was just standing by silently letting this conversation happen.

Lmao.

…wrote s’more fiction. The going’s been slow because I’m reworking a few plot things, but it’s very satisfying to put in the effort.

…spent a lot of time anxiously tracking coronavirus news.

There is like. No appropriate social media platform to discuss this on, but it’s been very, very sad but also quite interesting to see how the “sleeper effects” of childhood bereavement are rearing their heads as my brother and I both panic about coronavirus in our own individual ways. I think it’s affecting us particularly badly because we’ve already lost a parent, and the anxiety of losing one again is, like, all-consuming in a way I can’t really describe. The absolute desperation and, like, small-wild-animal-being-hunted, shit-your-pants level of fear is something I can’t talk to anyone but my brother about, but I also can’t even talk to my brother about it, because we’ve both learned to bury our grief deep inside ourselves in order to survive. As I’ve said before, when our father died, we were so young that to our tiny child brains, it literally felt like half the world was destroyed. I know that when my mother dies, I’ll be devastated, but I’m no longer so dependent on her that I fear that her death means I too will die.

It’s been a very painful two weeks, especially because my mom’s been sick and resting at home for one of them. On the one hand, my brother and I were both expecting the worst (that she’d contracted the coronavirus and would eventually need to be hospitalized; luckily it seems like it was a run-of-the-mill sinus infection), and on the other hand, I think both of us were relieved that she was able to stay home and away from her workplace until the city started taking more aggressive containment and mitigation steps.

I just hope it’ll be enough.

To end this post on an abruptly positive note and also to give you an idea of the kind of content my anxiety brain is craving right now, I give you baby NCT from their SM Rookies days. Be devastated by their smolness:

Mark looks like a 5-year-old in a toupee. I want to roll him up in a tortilla and wrap him in foil and pack him inside a lunch bag. 😀

And with that… best wishes, everybody. Let’s all promise to wash our hands and stay home and check in with each other as much as we can, okay?

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