party for one

Manila, 17 May—As our areas enter their respective incarnations of the community quarantine, I’d like to start this entry off with this Very Relatable Cat.

So yeah. I have put off writing this week’s letter because I didn’t really want to talk about someone’s birthday party-slash-mañanita or someone’s midnight flight back to Davao, but then again here we are. They’ve really managed to spread out their comm plan for the ECQ/MECQ/GCQ the entire week, no? Anyway, if you’re in the mood to get into specifics, here’s a PDF of the omnibus guidelines.

Malls have since reopened—which is useful if you need to have some emergency household item replacements mostly unavailable from groceries and drug stores over the last couple of months, say broken appliances or other hardware items, but other than that I think in the absence of systematic mass testing across all of Metro Manila’s cities, like the ones in Valenzuela for example that can get in touch with and inform even asymptomatic COVID-19 cases, then I think staying home if possible is still the best practice for now.

Of course there are regular bulletins about the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, including details on new cases, deaths and recoveries, but all of these numbers are bogged down by the spectre of backlog (and lapses!). Sure we’ve managed to increase the number of COVID-19 labs in the country—but maximizing them is another issue entirely. This Facebook post about what could be done to manage relevant COVID-19 supply chains has me begging the question, “If we’re talking about this now—then what have we been doing for the past two months?”

I mean, if you have a lot of people stuck and restless in quarantine centers, waiting for weeks, months for their test results—then there has to be a bottleneck somewhere? We keep seeing and praising the putting up of massive swabbing centers, but I guess if we are to look at it like restaurants, beefing up your reception isn’t going to feed your customers and serve their needs. It’s important but it’s just part of a chain of processes.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about how this issue has highlighted the need for scientists who are also 1) managers and 2) communicators. I’ve seen how difficult it is for these people to become experts at what they do, what more become sort of double experts, say, in science communication or supply chain management. But I’m hoping we already have these people among our ranks, many of them young and intelligent. In any case, I have high hopes.

Quarantine Projects

Anyway, over the past couple of weeks I have been tinkering with Notion, which is a cross between an online note-taking/storage tool and a web publishing tool? I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, because it can be many things, and I’m so in love with it. The UI is clean and clutter-free, and it’s relatively light to run on a browser.

It came to me as I was looking for a tool to organize my life with while under quarantine—everything’s a mess and anxiety-inducing, and I’ve been having hazy views of where my time is going. (Related read: Time is slipping away from us all, via Refinery29)

So I wanted to build something that I could look back on and think, So that’s where Wednesday went, or something. At the same time, I wanted to build something I can throw things in while living in my ‘eternal present’—a place where I can dump my Internet reads, my COVID-19 research, my work-related writing, my Mobile Legends tutorials, etc.

So far I have been using it as my daily WFH dashboard (template), expense tracker and LGBTQ media tracker. It’s been great. It can be a spreadsheet, a kanban board, a calendar, a to-do list, a web bookmarks organizer, a commonplace book—it’s mesmerizing. If you’re on Skillshare, I thought this video for Notion Beginners was really informative. Anyway, if you’re a nerd like me who’s always on a lookout for new things to chew on—I respectfully recommend Notion haha.

Recommended Reads

❤️ You have to let go to move on via New York Times Modern Love - something less gloomy for these times :)

😻 Universal Museum of Art’s virtual exhibit, Cats in Art History

P.S. This week’s favorite meme:

Keep safe, xo