Entering our seventh (?) week of quarantine, I’ve started running low on ideas on how to keep myself busy. As a group of reps who constantly travel, this sudden halt has been challenging for all of us. Since we are extremely "off the road" at the moment, we've had more time than ever to wander the internet, watch things, read, listen, and generally consume media. Here are a few of our favorites.
What to watch
For better or worse (though probably worse), we’re all watching more TV than ever. Luckily there are tons of great options out there. Instead of scrolling endlessly through Netflix as usual, here are a few ideas that aren't Tiger King.
Jeremie: The Last Waltz (Prime)
A new documentary about The Band came out this year, which reminded me to go back and watch The Last Waltz. It's directed by a young Martin Scorcese, and the film cuts between The Band’s farewell show in 1976 (with guest performances from Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, and many more) and interviews discussing the The Band's history and life on the road. It's a very nostalgic feeling movie, especially the final number where everyone gets together to sing "I Shall Be Released."
Jeremie: Midsommar (Prime)
This movie is messed up, but very beautiful. I don't usually go for a horror-type movie, but the cinematography and story helped me get past some of the quick bursts of gore. It's about a group of Americans who get invited to a Pagan festival in Sweden, where their situation devolves quickly. That's all I'll say. This was the sort of movie where I thought about it for a few days after it ended.
Todd: The Meyerowitz Stories (Netflix)
It follows a dysfunctional family who, when reunited for the first time in a while, try to hash out their differences.
Todd: Tales by Light (Netflix)
It's a beautifully-shot series on photographers around the world and how they work. It definitely provides some inspiration to get back out and shoot once this is over.
Jeremie: Fleabag (especially season two) (Prime)
It’s a quick watch, with only six episodes each season. It follows a funny but destructive 30-something known only as "Fleabag" (most characters in the show don't have names), through her many troubles with friends, family, and the "hot priest".
TJ: Taboo (Hulu)
Badass Tom Hardy in early-1800s England as part-sailor-gypsy, part-East Indies Trading Co. super-antagonist. The sum of these parts equals Tom Hardy being Tom Hardy.
What to read:
One welcome part of this increased downtime is that we can finally sit down and get through some books. But before you go order more books from Amazon, try to contact your local bookstores and see if they do online ordering or curbside pickup. If not, here are a few links that can help support indie bookstores in a time of need.
Libro.fm (it’s like Audible, but the money goes to independent bookstores)
Jeremie: Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
Gladwell looks at a few famous case studies (like Bernie Madoff, Amanda Knox) and explains how our internal assumptions make us unable to properly understand each other, which can lead to real world consequences.
Todd: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
It’s a long read, but hey, you’ve got the time. It follows one man’s journey to India, prison, and then back. It describes the intricacies of living in India as if you were living there yourself, a welcome escape during this time when it's hard to leave your home.
TJ: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
It’s the only book my wife and I have multiple copies of (we have 3). If running is one of the few things we can do right now, and you want to get beyond stoked to run, read this. Well-known outdoor adventure author tells an evolutionary history of humans and intertwines it with the Tarahumara ultra-distance running tribe in Mexico.
What to listen to:
I came across this band when they opened for Grateful Shred a few years ago (dating a Dead fan has exposed me to many Grateful Dead cover bands over the years). They're both members of Grateful Shred, but split off to create a two-man, guitar-only, harmony-heavy sound that their Bandcamp says "verges on cosmic West Coast Pop Americana." They're great for listening while driving around on a sunny day.
TJ: Charlie Parr
We've had Charlie Parr spinnin' nonstop in my house. I'm not sure how I'd feel about anyone not doing the same.
Todd: La Blogotheque
Back in 2006, filmmaker Vincent Moon started filming his favorite bands when they came through Paris on tour. The "Take Away Shows" usually feature an artist performing stripped-down versions of a few songs in strange locations, like walking the streets of Paris, in bars or shops, or on trains. Since then, they've branched out into music videos, Soireés de Poches (Pocket Parties), and One to One shows, where they kidnap an audience member from a show, blindfold them, and take them to a secret room to experience a one-on-one performance. Search your favorite artist on this channel and you might be pleasantly surprised with what you find. It's also a great channel to discover some new and obscure music.
What to scroll through:
Probably my favorite photographer. He's a young guy putting out some awesome hunting and fishing lifestyle pics. And he has a cool name.
He's a great outdoor photographer who can make you feel rooted in the outdoors, even when we're stuck at home.
This Tennessee-based photographer puts out beautiful Blue Ridge and Smokies photos with some global travel photography mixed in. His feed is making me very excited to get out hiking again.
Hopefully some of our suggestions can help keep you entertained in these trying times. It was fun putting this together, so we're thinking about releasing lists like this every few months. Once life gets back to normal, we'll try to share more ideas that involve actually leaving the house. For now, stay safe, y'all.