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  • Writer's pictureMichael Spatola

Strange Times- What Are You doing to Pass your "Stay At Home" Time?

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

A normally very busy corner in NoHo. This was taken around 8 pm on March 31st.

A little departure from the normal all Boudoir types of posts I usually write. But sadly, this is NOT normal times right now. What are you all doing with your time? Watching and entertaining (hopefully educating) the kids? Learning new things? Reading? Worrying? Probably a little of all of that.

Here's what I've been up to:

First, I'm am 100% back to my natural Night Owl state. I'm sure I'm not alone in this one. Most creative folks I know are naturally night owls.

Sorting through older photos for new content. Instagram is a game to algorithms. They like you to keep posting regularly. But without new shoots to draw from, I've had to be creative and search through older sessions for new content, or at least new versions of older content.

Further polishing my Photoshop skills. After being a very early adopter of digital photography, and photoshop. I've been using photoshop for over 20 years. But, there's always still much to learn about photoshop. I've been watching some wonderful in-depth online tutorials. What most people don't know about photoshop is there's about a hundred ways to do achieve the same result. Also, there's always ways to shave precious minutes off one's workflow when doing Photoshop on client orders.

Taking walks in my solitude, with my camera. To stay creative I've taken a few walks around my neighborhood at night with my camera. The results are very "film noir" and eerie. To see places that are in my neighborhood that are usually full of life, now just cold and empty places. I'm capturing what's there. It's kind of social commentary. This is our current situation. Some examples are here:

El Portal Theater, NoHo. Around 8 pm on March 31st
Escalator down to NoHo Metro Platform. March 31st around 8:15 pm.
Outside the Metro Red Line Station NoHo
Next night- El Portal and The Federal NoHo, April 1 around 9 pm.
The Brickyard Pub. Looks like it from an old detective or horror film. April 1, around 9 pm.
EMMY Statue Television Academy in NoHo. April 1 around 8:45 pm.
The light at the end of the tunnel- is closed. April 1 around 9 pm.
If you know Dave's, you know there's never a time where there isn't a line out the door. April 1 around 9:15 pm.

What else?

Well I've been doing some digital sketching. This is where you create sketched art in photoshop. First using the original photo to start, then adding as many as 14 different layers of sketching and shading using custom pencil brushes, and adding paper texture layers too. Here's a few:

I've also taken the time to watch some great old films.

One night I had a Billy Wilder film festival. I watched Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Irma LaDouce, and Sunset Blvd.

For fun, I've watch a ton of old Elvis films too.

Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney + have been my close companions during this.

Soon, I will start the series of all the old Universal Monster Movies.

Now I'm rewatching the entire Battlestar Galactica series.

Maybe it's not 100% productive, but hey, I need entertainment too!

Ok- so there's some less productive things.

I binge-watched the Netflix series Tiger King, which is a messed up show about messed up people. Do I recommend it? Ummm- well, it's a total train wreck. Once you start, you can't look away. You's need to judge for yourself.

Worrying. My wife is currently in China taking care of her mom. Her mom is not well, and has many complications after last year's cancer surgery and treatments. It's a scary time to be Chinese, and in China. In fact, it's a scary time to be Chinese in America.

And, who can't worry, at least a little, about our current and future financial well-being? In a world where somewhere around 80% (probably more) jobs have been considered "non-essential" how do we all recover from no pay, indefinitely? No one is really tackling that worry in all our news segments.

So, what do we do? I'm no expert. But it is a great time to:

  • update your resume,

  • build that website,

  • write that book,

  • read those books,

  • educate yourself,

  • take up a craft,

  • polish your art,

  • brainstorm alternate streams of income.

  • be informed, but do NOT incessantly watch the news. That is the best way to have a nervous breakdown and put one into serious depression.

So, what are you doing? How are you coping? I'd love to know!

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