Doing What We Can to Deal


Welcome. Much of the continental United States is seeing winter storms this week, snowfall and icefall, astonishing cold. Some three million people are still without electricity in Texas; a friend in Dallas described it as “quarantine in quarantine.” I hope you’re inside and keeping safe. If you’re trying to stay warm at home, experts advise closing off rooms you’re not using, shutting curtains and blinds to keep the heat in. Here are some more tips from my former colleagues at Lifehacker.

I appreciated learning about ambience videos, a genre of atmospheric soundscapes on YouTube that aim to recreate peaceful settings, like a Paris cafe. While you’re inside, why not make things as cozy as possible? So far, I’ve spent time on a beach in Thailand and in a fancy couchette on a long-distance train ride.

Actual, honest-to-goodness travel might be an option for the fully vaccinated, mostly those over 65 who’ve received their second shot. Vacationers still need to be careful, of course, but this story about seniors booking trips will get you thinking about your future plans, about all that could be possible in a few months or a year.

Right now, we’re doing what we can to deal. Opera singers in England are offering customized singing lessons to help those recovering from Covid-19 with their breathing. Our parenting columnist, Jessica Grose, has advice for figuring out summer plans for your kids. (“I think things are not as dire this summer. We have a lot to be optimistic about,” one specialist told her, with caveats.) In his latest Tech Fix column, Brian X. Chen spells out how to buy a real N95 mask online.

Last week I asked about your favorite music videos. Flavia Schepmans, 49, wrote from Paris about A-ha’s 1985 video for “Take On Me”:

I was 12 years old when I first watched this music video on MTV. I was instantly hooked by the innovative use of real-life characters entering a gray comic strip world. Technically, it was mesmerizing. The story line was strong. And it didn’t hurt that the song itself was beautiful. Nearly 40 years later, I’m still in love with this ’80s synth-pop hit and the tragic romance story that unfolds within its video.

  • Have you watched “Halt and Catch Fire,” the 1980s-set series about the dawn of personal computing? The technologist Ashley Blewer has created a syllabus for the show, including readings and topics for discussion and reflection. The show is super, and the syllabus offers the perfect excuse to get together a few friends for an immersive co-watching experience.

  • At Wired, Paul Ford has mapped “The Secret, Essential Geography of the Office,” which includes “weeping paths” and other “teensy little geographies shared between humans.”

  • And if you need a hug today, visit The Nicest Place on the Internet, a reboot of a simple web delight from 2011.

What are you doing to cope these days? Tell us: [email protected] Include your full name, age and location, and we might include your note in a future newsletter. We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent. More ideas for leading a good life at home appear below. See you Friday.


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