Editor’s Note: Sorry for skipping a week, folks. I genuinely love putting together Isolation Nation for you all. But, to misrepresent Dr. Ian Malcolm for a moment, life… gets in the way. Things have just been too hectic, and besides our wonderful stable of writers, I’m the only one pulling the trigger on this thing.
Rather than going on and on about it, let’s jump back into the intro…
While coronavirus threatens our lives and livelihoods, social distancing, isolation, and quarantine have become the new norm. Suddenly, our nation is filled with people asked to stay home and cut off most casual interactions with the world outside. In this environment, the art, hobbies, rituals, and entertainments we love have become ever more vital to our mental wellbeing. As a new, and (hopefully) limited new series on Lewton Bus, Isolation Nation aims to give our editors and contributors space to talk about the things that are giving them a little comfort in this isolated world, for your social distancing entertainment.
David Hoh – Spaceship You
CGP Grey makes great videos. Whether he’s explaining history, concepts, or how to decide on dinner in a group, he brings a calm voice, some simple, fun, helpful animations, and plenty of knowledge to the subject. Whatever it is, you’ll come away understanding it, even if it’s two 4-to-5 minute videos summarizing the entire backstory mythos of Middle Earth.
It turns out he’s got just the tincture for this global pandemic, too; Lockdown Productivity: Spaceship You is a wonderful, motivating video that I really needed. It’s helping me refocus to a mindset akin to where I was in late March or April: seeing an opportunity to, as the video lays out, “come back better than before.” Grey offers a blueprint to help you compartmentalize your various modes of being in one location, where before you had many. You’ll sometimes hear of people who work from home needing a separate place as their “work area”, and this is in line with that kind of advice, but for the primary needs of mental and physical fortitude in this time of solitude.
Another recent video of his that I’m eager to adapt into my routine is Weekend Wednesday, which makes a case for a shake-up of your work week (if able) where your days off are Wednesday and Sunday instead of Saturday and Sunday. As I’m always looking for ways to help boost my productivity with, at most, mild behavioral alteration, I’m digging what these videos are offering, and we’ll see if they help.
Reinier Van Der Zouw – Tenet
Because I live in a country that’s at least somewhat competently managing the Coronavirus pandemic, I felt safe going to see Tenet in a theaters, which gave me an adrenaline rush few new movies have recently managed to accomplish. By the time you read this, it’s been more than a week since I saw it and I’m still kinda dizzy. It’s bold, beautiful, borderline impenetrable and completely bugnuts. Here’s an excerpt from my review, which should give you a taste of what to expect.
“…for a good 45 minutes, [John David] Washington wanders around beautiful locales or coolly designed laboratories, where interesting actors (including but not limited to Yesterday’s Hamish Patel, Bollywood legend Dimple Kapadia and Sir Michael Caine deliver information that’s, to put it lightly, somewhat difficult to parse. (…) If you love getting lost in flowery spy movie dialogue (“We live in a twilight world and there are no friends at dusk”) and watching handsome people be handsome in stunning digitally shot backdrops where you can see practically the entire horizon in the back of every frame, you are going to love Tenet. If you don’t, strap in, it’s going to be a long ride.”
Ryan Roch – Bill & Ted Face The Music
As I mentioned in the intro, my time has been more than scarce, just lately. Ironically, I’ve suffered no shortage of things to keep me fueled in the previous week or so. But the one thing most instrumental to my sanity and strength of spirit has been something that is seemingly devoid of irony; Bill & Ted Face The Music.
Since the film was released, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it. That might seem silly to some, but to be very honest, I could give a shit. As I alluded in my review, there is something so singularly beautiful and fortifying about a movie that is so opposed to cynicism, especially at a time that seems completely enveloped in it. This is a movie that flatly asserts that the song we’re singing isn’t all that important, provided we’re able to pull together and sing it for the generations that follow. A movie that has the audacity to revel in the goodness and necessity of Bill and Ted, of all characters, and say, “Yes, this goofiness and sincerity is good, and necessary.”
It’s a movie that’s so sweet and forthright in an earnest sense of optimism that it has no business existing in today’s world. And that’s the entire point of it. Bill & Ted Face The Music is the salve for the soul that 2020 should never have produced. It’s absolutely triumphant, just like the song embedded above.
I love it.
That’s it for this week’s edition! We hope you enjoyed it and found some new direction to point that endlessly turning cranium of yours. We also hope you’ll check back as we publish new pieces in this regular column, and give some inspiration back to us in the comments!