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jefflewis



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
Posts: 1344

PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 2:26 pm    Post subject: Hi, updates Reply with quote

Hey, hello from month #5 of NYC virus-life, going into month #6 I guess...
The numbers of deaths and infections have been quite low here in NYC for a couple of months now, but I still haven't been going out very much, there's not much to do outside anyway! No open mics, no concerts, no going to a friend's place, no swimming pools. Sometimes I go for a bicycle ride with a friend.

Mostly I have been continuing to work on many projects all day every day.
Since I cook at home for every meal, that takes some time from my day too, and all the dishes to wash, it's a bit of a different life than the usual NYC life where restaurants and pizza and bagels and cafes are usually part of my week... but since March 13 it has been mostly just groceries/cooking at home. So it's cheap, anyway!

I still use my one-hour timer method: One hour on each task, then the timer goes off, and I put a little check-mark next to that task for the day, and I set the timer again and start another task! Usually in each day I can do 6 - 8 task-hours maximum, I don't really understand where the rest of the time goes, it is basically all I do, but when you add in 30 minutes of exercise, plus breakfast lunch and dinner, washing dishes and sometimes doing laundry or going grocery shopping, somehow each day goes by and 5-8 work hours seems to be the maximum possible, even using this method from wake-up (usually around 8am) until sleep time (usually around 12:30am).

Some of my one-hour tasks lately, which I do for one hour every day:
1) clean up the files for my old "Key West 1999" comic book, to reprint it.
2) Work on my new illustrated-song books
3) Work on my new comic book issue (starting a new series)
4) Work on writing/recording songs
5) Dating app (embarrassing but it's the only way to meet somebody in these times, and I am determined to see if it works! So I spend one hour every day messaging people, almost nobody ever writes back but I will keep trying! All it takes is one right person, I think)
6) Working on fulfulling my website orders (thankfully people are still buying my comics and music and posters and stuff from my website, more than ever I think, and this has been my main income during this no-touring virus-time)
7) Trying to make my new website ready to launch... everytime I think it's ready, there's more and more problems, blehhh.
Cool Accounting - trying to look at the record label statements to figure out if they make sense, trying to see how many copies of my new album have been made, how many have been sold, it's always hard to figure out.
9) Gig-booking... I had to cancel the May tour I booked, and I had to cancel the October tour I booked, but I'm still working to book an April tour (USA).

There are some other tasks on my list too, but it's kind of crazy how it just never ends, work work work, I don't even remember what else life is about! I never watch movies or TV and I barely even read anything, I only read a couple pages if I'm in bed at night or on the toilet, so it takes me forever to get through any book. I don't talk on the phone very much, and I have not even been emailing very much.
When I get finished with some of those tasks above, I have other tasks to add, like "finally" finishing the editing to publish my Watchmen book (I know I have been saying this for years), and other projects.

And I jog every other morning, around my neighborhood, for 30 minutes, and also every day I dance for 30 minutes, in my living room. I think it's good for my brain as well as my body, to make sure to get this movement and exercise, so I'm not just sitting around all the time! And the dancing is really fun.

Anyway, that's life here in August 2020, going into September 2020.... I was supposed to be doing a solo acoustic tour of Scotland in September with Rozi Plain, I'm sad it's not happening!! Maybe next year.

What is life like for any of you folks out there, and where are you?
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mama



Joined: 09 Jan 2016
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mentioned in our interview, but again, I hope these comic projects are released at the same time so international postage is bit kinder. The Fuff collection and Key West 1999, I cannot wait to get my hands on!

That's exciting that you have began work on the new series too! I think it's fair to say you are a workaholic. Do you think you are a creative type that feels guilty if they are not working on something? I know I can get like that sometimes. I go through waves of being really creative and then giving myself a break and learning to relax.

I've been trying to take advantage of this down time. I recorded and released two albums (mamalips.bandcamp.com if people are interested) and finished drawing 3 minicomics (Wonder, True Crime Junkie and Eyeball Suck #10). But the pages are just sitting at home, waiting for the printer to reopen..who knows when that'll be??). The last thing I really want to do this year is release one more album (outtakes from the last 3 years) but I'm still working on what to include and what to leave out. I figure 3 albums and 3 minicomics isn't too bad for 2020.

Apart from that I finally got round to watching everything Twin Peaks (all 3 series, the movie, the weird coffee commercials!). Now I'm starting to watch The Wire again (3rd time!). I guess I need to start the next comic book...

What creative types have been keeping you interested in lockdown? Simon Hanselmann's covid19 comic has been probably the best Covid19 comic to come out, posting a page a day on their Instagram. The story just gets so wild.

A few other minicomics, Noah Van Sciver did a 50 page comic that was great, Summer Pierre just released a new issue of Paper Pencil Life, always worth picking up a copy. Apart from that I haven't seen much else? Watched a few "live shows" from bands, that has been really nice.

Weirdly, it sometimes feels like everyone is "over" the virus. On a regular street, I am sometimes the only person wearing a mask. I don't know if some people are just bored/tired of staying indoors, and so have just returned back to "regular life". It frustrates me, but what can you do? I think sadly a lot of people have a mentality of "Well, I'll be okay, I'm healthy, I'll survive this", and not thinking about the people who won't survive this virus. Do people still care about wearing masks/socially distancing where you all are?
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jefflewis



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
Posts: 1344

PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great new recordings, Mama, "I killed the thing that almost killed me," striking me very powerfully here, with 3 albums and 3 minicomics under your belt for 2020 release already you deserve to take the rest of the year off! The work-guilt factor is common to all artists and hobbyists and self-employed folks I imagine. I'm realizing lately how useful it would be to have a schedule, a "project manager" system in which each project could be given a specific date-range in which to be accomplished. And then with that goal and time-period in mind, weekly and daily goals could be set. Without that kind of bigger-picture framework, it's always just this sense of "everything has to get done, all the time, as fast as possible." But how many albums DOES it make sense to release in a 2-year period? How many comic books? And any other projects... can't there be a way to create a reasonable time-line and then just work on stuff on that schedule? Because then, on a rational schedule, there could be down-time. If things are on target, then there's no reason to "work overtime." And the daily/weekly work-schedule could be adjusted so that there's a known amount of work which counts as "enough." Without a daily/weekly sense of what is "enough," then down time, or at least guilt-free down time, is impossible.
See, I thought a "normal" 8-hour work day would be a reasonable standard of "enough" work time. If that's what a normal work shift is, for most jobs, then that should be enough. So I thought, okay, I'll do my one-hour timer method, and that way I can do 8 work hours in each day, even if each of those hours is on a different project, and then I will be able to "clock out" at the end of my "normal" 8 hour work day, and enjoy my evenings, guilt-free, like a normal job (even if I'm doing it 7 days a week with no weekends off). But that's what has somehow tripped me up so hard, during this whole 5-6 month period that I've been using this method: an 8-hour work day, done in this method, takes me ALL DAY LONG! And even then I barely ever get 8 hours of work done!! I just can't figure out how this can be the case. I wake up at 8am, I hit the snooze alarm over and over, I drag myself out of bed, I go jog for 30 minutes, then by the time I make breakfast, eat breakfast, do the dishes, I'm starting my first work-hour at about 10:30am... then somehow when I've done just 2 or 3 work hours it's already starting to be a rather late lunch break... then it's barely another 2-3 work hours before it's time to start making dinner... I also do my daily 30 minutes of dancing before dinner... then by the time I've cooked, ate, done all the dishes and pots and pans, it's like MAYBE I can still manage to squeeze in 2-3 more work hours before it's already after midnight and I go to bed. And I look at my daily work-task list, and I can't figure out how it takes all day long from 8am till after midnight, just to barely be able to do an 8-hour work day! And that's on days with NO grocery shopping to do, NO laundry to do, and NO socializing of any kind!
Don't normal working people do an 8-hour work day, plus exercise, plus eating, plus get the evening off to spend relaxing with their loved ones?
Anyway, that is the result of my recent indoor 5-month science experiment on myself!
Most people in NYC are wearing masks, but many are not. Or they walk around wearing them as neck-warmers.
I love the work of Noah Van Sciver, I recently tried to order some Blammo issues online but there were only two issues in print that I could buy from the publisher. Waiting for them to arrive.
A friend of mine just mailed me a stack of Alec Longstreth's "Phase 7" home-made comics, and I'm really enjoying them, over breakfast mostly. I'd only owned one of his comics before, but now I have like 12 of them piled up here.
I'm aware of Simon Hanselmann's work but I've never read any of it...
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lauragek



Joined: 26 May 2009
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jeff,

Struggling to get a "normal 8 hour work day" sounds very recignisable to me. My job is an office job and I technically work 36 hours a week, but I'm very glad none of the supervisors actually care about how many hours I'm there...

I've been on sick leave for a couple months because I overworked myself and got overstressed/burn out/however it's called... I'm currently building back up to my 36 hours again but somehow it feels very unattainable. I now work 3 days a week, 4 hours a day and with everything you describe added onto the workday (cooking, laundry, sports, skyping family) I feel like my week is pretty much full already.

I think one of the key concepts is that no-one is fully productive during those 8 hours. 8 hours at the workplace doesn't equal 8 hours of productive work done. It includes talking at the water cooler/coffee machine, daydreaming, checking the news, facebook, or what have you...

I'm learning to remind myself of that and not expect myself to be 100% perfectly productive. Apparently it's not healthy, and complete exhaustion not being able to do more than watch Netflix for months on end did show me that... So yeah be careful with your expectations for yourself! Remind yourself you're only human! And know that I'm actually very impressed to hear how you've been doing the past months, with your quarantine being so strict for much longer than we've been keeping it here in NL.

For 4 hours of work I'm currently 6+ hours at my workplace, and that's with being quite strict on when I'm working and when I'm not. I'm not sure I can keep this up if I'm to increase the amount of hours I work in a day...

Oh well soon I might not be allowed in the office again because the Corona isn't going well here in the Netherlands as the annual cold season is kicking in and people are fed up with the social distancing. The "if other people aren't keeping to the rules then why am I" reasoning is kicking in...

I miss listening to my music and re-realising how cool and artist is, then checking if they might be planning a Europe tour soon and buying tickets for shows. The livestreams many people are doing are nice but I need some more excitement over real shows again! It's like we're living in a weird boring dream but there's no waking up. I know how normal life should be, but it's very far from attainable nowadays!
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jefflewis



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
Posts: 1344

PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to hear about the over-stressed time, glad you got to take a break and are taking it slow on a return. I'm frustrated now learning that the virus numbers here in NY are suddenly going up, after a couple months of being reassuringly low... According to the New York Times "Over the past week, there have been an average of 1,230 cases per day, an increase of 59 percent from the average two weeks earlier." AN INCREASE OF 59% THIS WEEK?!!? Damn, that's a big step in the wrong direction. But it makes sense - we got our number so low, because we had shut down so strictly in March-April-May. But then people have gotten a bit more and more relaxed about it... the streets are full of people, and schools are reopening, so I guess the virus is starting to spread again. It's scary because when it spreads it can spread so fast, once it gets "loose" into the population again. Well, I guess we'll see what happens in this next week or two. It has been so much nicer, to be able to go to the store and not be scared, to be able to meet with a friend and not be scared... It will be so frustrating to have to go back to the fear and lock-down that we had in the spring! But maybe it won't get so bad.
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misshelenc



Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 815
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have had a second lockdown in cardiff but itís not as harsh as the original one. Itís mostly focused on big gatherings and not having people in your house, shops have gone strict on numbers inside so you have to queue again... it hasnít made a big difference to me personally yet except the obvious not being able to see friends and family for the foreseeable. Itís gone too cold to meet friends outside in the uk. It seems generally here cases have gone up but there arenít so many deaths and hospital admissions. The reality is that I only know one person who has actually had the virus. It was right at the beginning, sheís in her seventies and lives in London and is now totally recovered. Iím staying home and away from people as requested. Stay safe everyone x
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jefflewis



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
Posts: 1344

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ugh, this virus stuff is just going on and on, it will be SO great when there's finally a widely-available vaccine and we can start to put all this behind us... but that may still be a long time from now. At least there's music indoors...
It's so crazy to be in NYC for 6 or 7 months and not use the subway even once?!?! My movements are so restricted but I can still get around, to a certain extent, on bicycle and by foot.
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misshelenc



Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 815
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know, we thought we were bored with brexit news but COVID has even outdone that! On days when it gets me down I limit my news exposure which helps a bit, especially if I complement it with some good distractions. Such as I have been doing a huge poster size mosaic of Edvard Munchís The Scream, brought online, which is excellent relaxation with some good music.
Since this started I did catch a bus once and have been in two taxis, and on a train journey, but mostly Iíve been not going anywhere, mainly walking or driving when needed, it feels like about 99% of the time I am at my house.
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