Wednesday afternoon’s COVID briefing was a lot. While we recognize that the lockdown is working, and that keeping this circuit breaker going is the right thing to do, it doesn’t make it any easier to stomach the news that our cheek-impressed couches will only be further cemented to meteorite proportions as we saddle up for another two and a half weeks of this.
The news also arrived just before another holiday weekend. It’s not that we weren’t already going to be spending these next few days without friends and loved ones by our side, but the reality of this lockdown being our future till the middle of June makes that "lacking feeling" feel all the more intense.
So to help assuage the collective *ugh* we all grunted with the longer lockdown, a feeling that will really only get worse as the weather gets to Rainbow-Haven-lounging levels of beckoning, we decided to try (once again) to brainstorm some creative and not totally done to death virtual entertainment (that can be, at least in this writer’s head, just Zoom meetings sold on the promise of being more fulfilling yet you’ll still find yourself in that awkward dance of having your eyes nervously dart across the screen in a vain attempt to make real contact with one of the Hollywood Squares grid of strangers beaming in to your bedroom only to finally settle on the smudgy food-stained camera at the top of your computer). Here, our suggestions to avoid the aforementioned mustard-hued camera lens staredown.
Pretend you’re in the south of France
This is a bit of a reach, but hear us out. First, you’ll want to queue up Netflix with the series Formula 1: Drive to Survive and binge your way through the show’s first three seasons. I’ll let the show do the heavy lifting on the pitch. OK, next you’ll want to don your finest resort-wear-inspired floppy sun hat. Or, if you want to channel more of the branded-racer-vibe, then you can duct tape some Red Bull cans to your waist and put your hands through some old Heineken boxes and slide them up to your shoulders to fashion a kind of do-it-yourself epaulette. Once you’ve got the outfit locked down, you can pull up a stream of the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix (check here for local broadcasters) and watch the race whilst washing down some Aperol Spritzes or something equally summer-y that gives you just an air of feeling slightly more chic than your lived reality of sitting inside on a holiday weekend.
Don’t wait until Bandcamp Friday to pick up a new album from a local music act. Instead, try turning the lights in your living room down and a downloaded album up as a way to cosplay the live concert experience we’ve all been missing. Need a few ideas of who to consider? Check out our recent reviews of Century Egg and Fungus’s new albums.
Be a fancy seltzer sommelier
White Claw timed its entrance to the Canadian market just as the keys to the lock on national borders were being turned on our neighbours to the south last March. So it only feels fitting that, one year on, with seltzers saturating both the domestic and international markets, that we suggest a sampling of all the carbonated beveraginos the east coast has on offer. You can rope your friends and family into it (granted they're of legal drinking age). MacGyver a DIY wine tasting card to suit the purposes of the seltzer sampling, and then adapt your sommelier five S's—see, smell, swirl, smell again and sip twice—to the can. Or just, you know, sip and say which one you liked the best.
Stop panic buying, start window shopping adoptables pets
Pandemic puppies, short of being a fun alliterative twirl to pronounce, aren’t something that we’re here to promote (particularly for those who were rather shortsighted in their purchases). What we can suggest as a light and no-animals-harmed-in-the-making alternative is pandemic puppy window shopping. Happy-scroll through headshots of pups, cats and even rabbits at local adoption shelters like the SPCA or Fly with Me Animal Rescue and you’ll find yourself smiling before your thumb taps the bottom of your screen. Note: If you are serious about adopting a pet, then this activity could be performed for both pleasure and purpose as you seek out the next addition to your family.
Fall down a Wiki rabbit hole
If you’ve ever spent some time creeping through the subreddit r/wikipedia, you’re probably already well versed in some of the esoteric finds the online encyclopedia has on offer. But wait, there’s more! A fun "game" that you can play, either by yourself or via a group WhatsApp chat, is to start on some mundane and plain Wikipedia page (try: list of presidents of the United States) and then by hopscotching from one internal hyperlink to the next, see how far you can fall down the rabbit hole and what uncommon tidbits of intel you can discover by seeking out the most obscure pages on the largest and most-read reference work in history. (Some of our favs from r/wikipedia: this one, this one and this one.)
Sort out which friend is the best Stumble Guy player
Stumble Guys is an easy-to-use multiplayer game that lets you race your friends all around the world to the same finish line. All you’ve got to do is fire up a Zoom call on your computer, download the app to your Android or Apple device, have someone create a party, share that party room code with everyone else, and you’re off to the races! Each game consists of three rounds, where you and your party will compete against other players to make it to the end and into the next round until finally a champion is crowned. Pro tip for those less nimble with the thumbs: If you lose, the game will randomly assign you to a player to watch. Keep tapping the screen until that player is one of your friends, and cheer them on to the finish.