A few things I learned from getting COVID-tested.

Overnight Friday to Saturday my sleep was troubled by sore throat and post-nasal drip. Oh no! I only just got over a bad cold a few weeks ago! Again?? Again.

I admit I hesitated before calling it in. (Am I really sick?) Because once you engage in it, everything else has to stop. Our family’s plans for the weekend were instantly stalled. Just ordinary life stuff, but it has momentum, and you feel it as you pull the cord.

So that’s the first thing I want to highlight. That friction where we delay and sigh about it and try and rationalise to ourselves. We all do it! It’s how our brains work! And as a behaviour guy, masters degree in social psychology, I watched myself doing the same stuff.

Here’s the workaround. Two of them, in fact. First, make a plan, now. The plan isn’t complicated: if I get sick, I’ll call the healthline. Visualise it, even! I’ll look up the phone number, I’ll sit on my bed, I’ll get a pen and paper… The more details the better. That gives your brain a script to follow. Our brains love scripts, especially in the face of stressful situations. And being faced with taking an action that will upend the momentum of ordinary life? That is stressful! (Let alone the possibility you might have COVID!)

Second, make the plan with the people in your life. The people who will be affected when you pull that cord. Unless they are dicks, they will be all for taking action! Say it to each other – if one of us gets sick, we do the thing, even though it will be a nuisance.

So that’s the workaround for the hesitation, and the bad feeling and unease around slamming on the brakes over a wee sniffle (as your brain will rationalise it for you). Plan now, it helps then.

I called Healthline instead of the local Dr because it was weekend. They were great, very helpful and clear. MAD respect for all the people working those phones, I feel like they are nailing it, obviously working off a good combo of clear scripts and freedom to ask questions. They gave me the contact details for the local testing station, so i called them up and made an appointment. Smooth! They asked what kind of car I’d be driving up in, and my mind completely blanked, all i could say was “blue”. I had to go and check to remind myself!

While waiting for the test, i began self-isolating, as advised by healthline. there are some logistics involved, obviously! We can cancelled all the stuff we were lined up to do on the weekend, and my lovely partner began to figure out the details.

(Worth mentioning that i was sick, my brain was fuzzy, and the aforementioned stressful context hurts thinking – so having someone else do this kind of problem-solving is incredibly handy.)

Hopped in the car, went to get the test. it was quick and easy and the staff were so kind and clear. It didn’t hurt at all, but it did hit my gag reflex, definitely a bit unpleasant but over very quickly. Definitely not bad enough to be afraid of having one!

Then back home with some extra info about self-isolation. And so the next two days were spent with me sectioned off from my family! Daughter was horrified that she couldn’t hug me but pleased to have her mum doing a sleepover in her room.

Because we only have one bathroom, complete isolation was impossible. Solution was a pack of antibacterial wipes + masking. I wore a mask most of the time, to stop breathing particles on to surfaces, and when i went to the toilet I’d take a wipe to sanitise handles etc.

This is another piece of advice: get a pack of wipes NOW so you don’t need to think about it if and when you end up in household isolation.

The other tricky thing, oddly enough, is washing dishes. You can be delivered your meals by your loving family/flat mates/whoever, but then those plates and cutlery need attention after. We left the dishwasher open for me to load my dishes in directly, and also just let some dishes pile up in the corner of the bedroom in expectation of me getting the all-clear today.

…and i did! Text came through 46 hours after the test, and now i am free to breathe on whatever i like and hug my daughter again. Lovely.

So to recap my advice: mentally rehearse what you’ll do if you get symptoms. Do it with your family/flat mates/whoever, to create a bit of confidence and shared accountability. Get some disinfectant wipes now and put them aside.

We all need to be diligent about testing! There are still common colds and so on circulating, so there’s a good chance someone in your household will end up needing to do this, especially as level 2 is sticking around. A bit of mental prep now will make it much easier to give in to the process if and when that day comes.

I’m grateful to be part of the big NZ team. Be excellent to each other!

Level Two Linky

Lockdown is over but I thought I’d do one last Friday Linky. It’s been fun bringing it back! I hope your Fridays have been suitably enriched, including this one, thanks to this collection of treats:

1. Naomi Klein on big tech companies using shock doctrine tactics, using the pandemic as an excuse to push through huge changes https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/may/13/naomi-klein-how-big-tech-plans-to-profit-from-coronavirus-pandemic

2. My wonderful friend Helen won an award for her new poetry collection at the NZ Book Awards, and I am so stoked. Here is an absolutely breathtaking poem from that collection, Notes on the Unsilent Woman http://turbinekapohau.org.nz/archive-issues/2018-contents/poetry-helen-rickerby/

3. This person has collected in one place every Peel Session recording he could find. They are listed in alphabetical order by band name. So many! Just phenomenal: https://davestrickson.blogspot.com/2020/05/john-peel-sessions.html

4. Duncan Greive at the Spinoff does a very insightful deep dive into one of the biggest stories of the pandemic in NZ: the comms https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/11-05-2020/a-masterclass-in-mass-communication-and-control/

5. Crowded House lockdown performance: Something So Strong https://youtu.be/mwljB3S3LvI

6. These TV industry people paid a farm to zoom with a sheep, then pitched it a TV show https://twitter.com/jennyjaffe/status/1258805382446645248?s=21

7. Paul Scheer talks with Gillian Jacobs about Power Pack and Ms. Marvel and this is a Venn diagram I am into https://youtu.be/hK-4llPrBnY

8. Variety finally gets the true story of the much-rumoured Famous Person D&D Group. (It is exactly like every other D&D group, except more miniature figurines.) https://variety.com/2020/biz/features/joe-manganiello-dungeons-and-dragons-campaign-1234585006/

9. Speaking of: how about Sue Perkins from Bake-Off playing D&D with Ed Gamble, Sara Pascoe and Nish Kumar? https://www.twitch.tv/videos/614992541

10. Goofy and pleasant interview with the men who have portrayed 80s horror icon Jason Voorhees. https://www.theringer.com/movies/2020/5/7/21249688/friday-the-13th-jason-voorhees-actors-stunt-stories

11. Steve Albinis pitch letter about how he wanted to work with Nirvana is a great read. https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/steve-albini-letter-to-nirvana/amp/

12. Legendary Canadian sketch show Kids in the Hall is free to watch in NZ via TVNZ online! Never seen it available in NZ before. Can’t work out how to link to it directly, so here’s the tweet from Sam Brooks that tipped me off: https://twitter.com/sbrookbrooks/status/1260796234459037701?s=21

13. The (free!) Essential Services zine contains new writing from some great people cut loose during the great media purges of the pandemic era. https://essentialserviceszine.com

14. The NYT does an oral history of Mad Max Fury Road to mark its 5th anniversary: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/movies/mad-max-fury-road-oral-history.html

15. The Atlantic continues its excellent pandemic coverage with a discussion of how calls to reopen the US embody a slaveholder mentality, cutting to the heart of what freedom means: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/05/what-freedom-means-trump/611083/

16. Little Yellow Digger meets Bigger Digger https://twitter.com/dan_mckenney/status/1260675430614532103?s=21

17. And finally… Robert Pattinson’s GQ profile went viral for a Kaufmanesque pasta gag. It’s all very weird. Pattinson is a delight, never stop fucking with us Robert. https://www.gq.com/story/robert-pattinson-on-batman-tenet-isolation-june-cover

That’s it for the linky for now and maybe forever! Stay safe everyone!

Juggle Linky

With lockdown up for review on Monday, might this be the final Friday linky? Possibly! But you know what happened after the last Final Friday: Jason went to space. So we can’t be confident about anything.

1. The Atlantic covers the Insane Clown Posse’s pandemic leadership (v. good) and looks across the whole juggalo phenom, including the way dozens of journos embedded themselves at The Gathering… https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/04/insane-clown-posse-models-pandemic-era-leadership/610651/

2. This discussion of how coronavirus is affecting our imaginative limits, by SF legend Kim Stanley Robinson, is just as good as everyone else who shared it said it was. Essential reading. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/annals-of-inquiry/the-coronavirus-and-our-future

3. Highly-regarded essay series on the myth of the “warrior race”, with a specific focus on Spartans in the real world and Dune’s Fremen in fiction. I’m linking a blog post that summarises, because it is looong. https://zompist.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/the-fremen-mirage/

4. Lovely story about a kid who loved writing letters, and the US postal service. https://twitter.com/hughweber/status/1256731692611571712?s=21

5. The Guggenheim has hundreds of exhibition catalogs available for free download, going back to 1936! https://www.timeout.com/newyork/news/you-can-now-download-over-200-art-books-from-the-guggenheim-for-free-042920

6. Globetrotting investigator of oddities David Farrier (Tickled, Dark Tourist) has an email newsletter! It is great! Sign up! https://webworm.substack.com/about

7. Another collection of people recreating famous artwork in their homes. These are genius and i hope humanity never stops doing this now we have started. https://www.boredpanda.com/art-painting-recreations-quearteencasa/

8. My amazing friend Helen reads a very relevant poem from her Ockham-nominated collection: https://youtu.be/Sii5dokSagE

9. Some lovely behind-the-scenes from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, with Matthew Broderick interviewing his cast mates. https://youtu.be/tNzRSVmz0To

10. Tim & Guy lived in a NYC sewer for a week and watched the Michael Bay Ninja Turtles film three times a day and somehow this didn’t become a YouTube Red TV show but you can watch it: https://youtu.be/ebs0C1Wk0gE

11. In case you missed it – Daniel Radcliffe leads off a series of celebs reading Harry Potter book 1 to you, chapter by chapter: https://nerdist.com/article/daniel-radcliffe-reads-harry-potter-recording/

12. The books of Anno Mitsumasa were mainstays of my childhood. Japan House in London has just launched a virtual exhibition of his works. https://www.japanhouselondon.uk/

13. And finally, via Katherine H (who also provided the Free Masks image from a few weeks back!) – the Twin Peaks theme delivered by cats https://youtu.be/8MnOtMP41k4

Biscuits Linky

The first Friday linky of level 3! Let’s go…

1. This NYT essay by a restaurant owner who closes her restaurant in lockdown is gripping. Beautifully written and intensely personal. Worth creating a free NYT account to read. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/23/magazine/closing-prune-restaurant-covid.html

2. Mad Chapman’s listicles of NZ food items are hilarious and controversial classics of the genre, and this one is no different. https://thespinoff.co.nz/food/26-04-2020/all-142-biscuit-flavours-in-new-zealand-ranked-from-worst-to-best/

3. Brett Goldstein (the lovely Films to be Buried With podcast) is making a lockdown webseries like Love Island, only the love interest is a pot plant? Brilliant. https://youtu.be/nP793bQSHPY

4. More lockdown fun with this beautifully-produced interactive murder mystery on twitter: https://twitter.com/misterabk/status/1253625098256465920?s=21

5. Film costume nerds judge historical films by the standard of one that really got it right. They speak, of course, of Bill & Ted https://slate.com/culture/2020/04/regency-movie-costumes-bill-and-ted-test.html

6. This supercalifragilistic parody will bring you joy https://youtu.be/ykieEE1j9eA

7. Everyone knows the quickest way to sort problems with your broadband is to call out the company in public, on twitter. But this call goes weird places. https://twitter.com/adrianrmg/status/1254742269686624257?s=21

8. “I personally don’t believe solutions are the answer to our problems” https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/i-personally-dont-believe-solutions-are-the-answer-to-our-problems – probably the best thing McSweeneys has ever published.

9. The White Man Behind A Desk has graduated to a well-produced RNZ series about New Zealand’s history and present. A local civics education, plus funny! https://youtu.be/m1VrqxohA-A

10. Fraggle Rock is back – as a series of shorts *filmed in the homes of the performers during lockdown*. Wow. https://news.avclub.com/apple-revives-fraggle-rock-for-a-series-of-short-weekly-1842982769

11. Generate your own neural-network-generated memes! Mysteriously addictive. https://imgflip.com/ai-meme

12. Shut Up and Sit Down reveal some amazing board games you can print on your own printer at home and play by yourself. Genuinely inspirational! These look really fun! https://youtu.be/sNghPlwbYe8

13. And finally, watch this guy rap Dr Seuss’ tongue-twister Fox in Socks to the beats of Dr Dre: https://youtu.be/hqIbEHNqbPs

Trash Linky

1. The most legendary episode of oddball late-nighter The Chris Gethard Show is free to view on YouTube and it is a WILD ride. Feat. Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas, who are tasked with guessing what is in a dumpster. If you know, don’t spoil it! https://youtu.be/Nwi_kE0gy94

2. Museum curators dug through their cupboards for the creepiest things they could find. The Grauniad has an overview, or check #CreepiestObject on Twitter https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2020/apr/20/museums-hold-twitter-showdown-to-find-worlds-creepiest-object

3. Is the lockdown doing too much damage to the economy? It’s unpleasant to put a price on human life, but you have to answer this somehow. This fascinating piece talks about using acceptable risk instead. (Via Trond) http://timharford.com/2020/04/how-do-we-value-a-statistical-life/

4. A close reading of a British children’s book to explore all the WWII-era material culture in the illustrations. Lovely. (Via @knhannah) https://twitter.com/GabeMoshenska/status/1252241207377494018?s=20

5. The Michael Jordan documentary series on Netflix is amazing (I am just the right age for it too) but also FIBA, sensing a moment, has dropped an hourlong doc on the history of the Basketball World Cup https://youtu.be/I0hJ4QC5Fpc

6. There’s a lot of lockdown podcasts out there, but this one is special: Ken Jeong and Joel McHale talking Community, coronavirus, & moar! (Also on youtube!) https://linktr.ee/kenjeong

7. And if you’ve been binging Community, don’t forget the mini-episodes! The three eps that take place inside 90-second study breaks are absolutely masterful and very funny. Find ‘em all here: https://community-sitcom.fandom.com/wiki/Community_webisodes

8. Neil, Liam and Elroy Finn are playing together in lockdown. Here’s Better Be Home Soon. Sweet on the ear. https://youtu.be/0FS9vBf6i5g

9. If you miss gone-too-soon cruelly-taken more-than-just-a-sports-website Deadspin, you should definitely check out https://unnamedtemporarysportsblog.com featuring some very familiar writers. It’s funny.

10. Dylan Horrocks has been interviewing NZ cartoonists by video call, starting with Toby Morris, whose coronavirus guidance cartoons have gone global: https://youtu.be/vTlFHdtsK40 (Sarah Laing is next, so watch that too)

11. Learn wildly more than you ever needed to know about the origins of 420. https://www.theringer.com/2017/4/20/16039178/battle-over-420-san-rafael-waldos-bebes-4b755faa94a1

12. And finally, if you, like me, found Leah McFall’s columns were always a delicious treat, then you, like me, will be delighted to learn about her new saga imagining Harry & Meghan on lockdown in, er, Karori. https://karoriconfidential.com

Cormackular Linky

1. Lovely friendo David Cormack has spent the last few years as a columnist for the Herald, representing “the entire left side of politics”. He, with many others, was shed by the paper as it tries to cope with events. Now Cormack has jumped on Patreon, and you can get his funny & smart reckons for spare change: https://www.patreon.com/davidcormack

2. MAD magazine’s film parodies were essential culture for decades, and Mort Drucker’s instantly recognisable art was a huge part of their success. The WaPo gave him a great obit: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/mort-drucker-artist-who-drew-humor-from-life-in-mad-magazine-dies-at-91/2020/04/09/e1a1dda0-7a6a-11ea-a130-df573469f094_story.html

3. The Comics Journal goes deep into Drucker’s art style, using his Invasion of the Body Snatchers parody as a starting point. I loved this. He was a huge part of my childhood. (Before home video, you’d relive films by reading the MAD parodies…) http://www.tcj.com/carnival-knowledge-on-mort-drucker/

4. Curt Smith of Tears for Fears plays Mad World with his daughter Diva. Gave me chills.
https://youtu.be/NEpfvTdR5-U

5. The last paragraphs of this Ray Bradbury interview are getting shared around for good reason – they are majestic. But the whole thing, an interview from the late 70s and the early 10s, is excellent. https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/6012/the-art-of-fiction-no-203-ray-bradbury

6. Which is a good excuse to link to Rachel Bloom’s extremely horny and not works-safe song about lusting after Ray Bradbury. This 2010 clip was instrumental in getting Crazy Ex-Girlfriend made. Bradbury, then 90, liked it. https://youtu.be/ZG38VcjE770

7. Adam Schlesinger, taken much too young by COVID, was best known for cheeseball (& horny) chart-topper Stacy’s Mom, but he was also the secret songwriting weapon behind Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Rolling Stone gives the whole picture. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/adam-schlesinger-life-death-obituary-981333/amp/

8. This has been shared all over the place because sax man is just that iconic: The True Story of The Lost Boys’ Sax Man https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2020/04/the-true-story-of-the-lost-boys-sax-man/

9. In the last few years there has been a surge in Pākehā learning te reo Māori, signalling a deep transformation in how New Zealanders see the language. But this interest brings with it many new concerns, writes Dr Rawiri Taonui: https://www.waateanews.com/waateanews/x_news/MjQxMzY/Opinion/Dr-Rawiri-Taonui-%7C-Pakeha-Re-colonisation-of-Te-Reo-Maori

10. Another notable death this week was mathematician John Horton. This Guardian longread about him (dating from a few years back) is absolutely fascinating. (Via Trond) https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/23/john-horton-conway-the-most-charismatic-mathematician-in-the-world

11. Lea Thompson sharing this stay-home message makes it 1.21 gigawatts more compelling https://twitter.com/LeaKThompson/status/1248399737927024641

12. This did the rounds just pre-pandemic, but if you missed it, this episode of podcast Reply All about a man who tries to reconstruct a song he remembers from his youth – a song no-one else can recall – is surely one of the best podcast episodes of all time. (Via Kirsty @eliterate) https://gimletmedia.com/shows/reply-all/o2h8bx

13. Bloopers from old Hollywood are, it turns out, tremendous fun https://twitter.com/lumi_1984/status/1249451641457324032?s=20

14. And finally, the opening credits to Twin Peaks, but made entirely out of paper https://youtu.be/lTkDlfuhlVA

Good Linky

1. Despite what you’ve read in Cosmpolitan, the g-spot isn’t real, says… Cosmopolitan. (This yarn is a bit funny and very thoughtful.) https://www.cosmopolitan.com/interactive/a32037401/g-spot-not-real/

2. Steve Braunias reviews iconic now-wave journo Mad Chapman’s book about Jacinda Ardern. You’ll walk away knowing more about Ardern, and Chapman, and Braunias, and be entertained to boot. https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/04/09/1121751/book-of-the-week-madeleine-chapman-on-jacinda-ardern

3. Auckland’s Academy Cinema now has a streaming offer. Parasite! Portrait of a Lady on Fire! More! This is the STUFF, enzed https://ondemand.academycinemas.co.nz

4. Freebie: D&D is dropping a bunch of free stuff this week, including the entirety of the D&D Starter Set. Nice one, Wizards! https://dnd.wizards.com/remote/freematerial

5. Vox has a “games beyond Dungeons & Dragons” piece up that is really great. For The Queen is just the start of it. https://www.vox.com/culture/2020/4/3/21191762/tabletop-rpgs-guide-how-to-role-playing-games-dnd-dungeons-and-dragons-online

6. This NYT article on tiny living robots made from frog cells and programmed to self-destruct is kind of mind-blowing https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/03/science/xenobots-robots-frogs-xenopus.html

7. Freebie: Big Finish is releasing a free Doctor Who audio adventure every Monday, and the first one (available now) features the amazing John Hurt returning to the role of the Doctor: https://www.radiotimes.com/news/radio/2020-04-06/doctor-who-big-finish-free/

8. At the Spinoff, Sam Brooks provides a very convincing guide to the Studio Ghibli movies now on Netflix, and when to introduce them to your kids https://thespinoff.co.nz/tv/05-04-2020/the-films-of-studio-ghibli-and-when-to-show-them-to-your-kids/

9. Dalek relaxation tape: https://youtu.be/e59guruVL4o

10. A directory of (mostly food/drink-related) NZ businesses delivering during lockdown https://delivereat.co.nz

11. The stupendous meta-sitcom Community is now on Netflix, and the Independent has an oral history of its wildly unlikely behind-the-scenes sagas: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/community-netflix-six-seasons-cast-interviews-dan-harmon-joel-mchale-alison-brie-a9437721.html

12. Elaine Paige challenged musical improvisers Showstoppers to create a quarantine-themed song in the style of West Side Story in just 24 hours. See how they did: https://youtu.be/F-Iv93Aem_M

13. And finally, via Andrew M: Libertarian Wins Debate With Imaginary Girlfriend https://thehardtimes.net/culture/libertarian-wins-debate-imaginary-girlfriend/

Diceratops Linky

It’s my birthday this week so top of the linky is Diceratops Presents, a podcast of the live Dungeons & Dragons shows I do at BATS Theatre with very funny comedians and improvisers. Just out: our sellout show for the NZ Fringe Festival, D&D Live: When Dwarves Cry. Very very silly, lots of Prince jokes, & the reviews were outstanding. Listen! Subscribe! Rate and review! Tell your friends! https://diceratopsnz.wordpress.com/2020/03/29/dd-live-when-dwarves-cry/

One for local friends to bookmark: a daily guide to Wellington’s online events: https://www.wellingtonnz.com/experience/events/your-daily-guide-to-wellingtons-online-events/

Scott Common has been chucking up a bunch of music by him and bands he was in on to YouTube for archival purposes, and it’s bloody great stuff. Cal and I played the second track in the Dukes of Leisure EP (jump to 5:20) at our wedding. Lovely:

Quarantine fun: the Getty asked people to recreate works of art using stuff around their home. The results are delightful. Silly, often very funny, sometimes breathtakingly good. (The Rockwell and the Caravaggio are both perfect!) (via Erik) https://www.sadanduseless.com/recreated-art/

The Atlantic has been delivering some great pieces about the USA’s response to the pandemic. Try this: How Coronavirus will end https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/how-will-coronavirus-end/608719/

And if you can bear it, move on to this: The Social Distancing Culture War Has Begun. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/03/social-distancing-culture/609019/

Very pleased in these strange days to have a new Laurie Penny essay. Worth reading for the butchery/bakery gag alone. https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-apocalypse-myths/

Pandemic freebie: my friend Warren has written many books of amazing LEGO builds, and his publisher has given the OK to share lots of them! https://warrenelsmore.com/blog/giving-something-back-whilst-were-all-stuck-at-home/27/3/2020

Pandemic freebie: get new use out of the Scrabble/Cluedo/Monopoly/TrivPursuit games in your closet with the Board Game Remix Kit! Use those boards & pieces for entirely new games! https://bgrk.itch.io

Pandemic freebie: legendary UK comics creator Bryan Talbot has released a bunch of fascinating odds and ends, including work by Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore! https://downthetubes.net/?p=116693

At the Spinoff, Alex Braae’s yarn about the tiny NZ town of Ohura and its unlikely embrace of a medieval combat festival is a delight. Full of great characters, revealing and surprising. https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/29-03-2020/ohura-medieval-market-day-and-the-fight-to-keep-a-small-town-standing/

A stop-motion recreation of the trailer for the (surprisingly quite good as i recall) 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, because why not!

And finally, Samuel L Jackson came to the party just minutes before this post was scheduled to arrive: the raw and unbleeped version of his reading of “Stay The F*ck At Home”: https://twitter.com/samuelljackson/status/1245778791592366082?s=21

Return of the Friday Linky

For just shy of ten years, each week I’d share a collection of interesting things I’d seen in the wilds of the internet for the entertainment of my readers. (First one, November 2006: https://morgue.isprettyawesome.com/?p=448; last one, July 2016: https://morgue.isprettyawesome.com/?p=7614.)

Let’s do that again for a bit, because of one thing and another. (Lots of free stuff this week because of one thing and another.)

The wonderful Sarah Laing (Mansfield & Me) is making diary comics again about lockdown life: https://sarahelaing.com/2020/03/24/the-covid-19-diaries-lockdown/

Audible has released a bunch of audiobooks free to stream from their website. Mostly for kids but there are some gems in the classics selection: https://nerdist.com/article/audible-hundred-free-audiobooks/

Climate change has been a preoccupation of this blog since long before I started the Friday Linky, and I’ve been delighted to see how major NZ news outlet Stuff has started covering it. This launch of a major new initiative is weirdly timed with all the coronavirus happenings, but when you’re talking about one existential threat to business as usual, the other one is a natural next step in the conversation. Anyway, please support this with your eyeballs and clicks: https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/120169658/introducing-the-forever-project-lasting-meaningful-coverage-of-the-climate-challenge

Are you one of the many Kiwis who’ve been thinking about learning te reo Māori over the last few years? If at home with time on your hands, Massey have been promoting this free programme of study: https://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/international/where-can-i-study/study-online/toromai/toromai_home.cfm

Have you heard of AFK? It’s a webseries about people who get stuck in a fantasy video game world. They just withdrew their kickstarter for a third season, due to current events, but that just means you have a bit more time to check out their first couple of seasons. It’s really quite impressive work. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pghaynes/afk-season-three

D&D types, and other curious folks, will enjoy playing with this toy: Simon Carryer has created the best automatic dungeon generator I’ve ever seen. Every refresh spits out coherent, fascinating environments that hang together beautifully in a way simple random generation never achieves. Marvellous. http://onemilliondungeons.com

How about an archive of the deliciously spooky Lights Out radio show from back in the day? https://archive.org/details/LightsOutoldTimeRadio (Via Theron, with whom I was discussing the lovely BBC podcast adaptations/reimaginings of some Lovecraft stories, the Whisperer in Darkness https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06w5zwg)

Hey, have a text adventure version of Halo Jones: http://textadventures.co.uk/games/view/3yh_lgowrkqb5oi-1dvfvq/halo-jones-book-1?

And some free Kindle-edition gamebooks from the legendary gamebook creator Dave Morris – this link is to the regular editions: https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B086BG3H2N?ref_=pe_584750_33951330 and the first one doesn’t have a full discount but you can find it free here: https://woodendice.org/flamekebab/heart_of_ice/heart_of_ice_v.1.0.7.html

And why not watch largely-forgotten NZ sitcom Lovebites, spun off from cult film Hopeless: https://www.ngataonga.org.nz/collections/catalogue/catalogue-item?record_id=102522

An homage to Delia Derbyshire: http://drproductionsaus.org/homage-to-delia-derbyshire/

The National Theatre is chucking great plays on youtube free to stream: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/at-home (first up stars James Corden, which might be a barrier to some) (via Pearce)

Nine Inch Nails have dropped two free albums of ambient stuff https://www.nin.com/ (via Pearce again)

Which brings me to… THE MOON. The Moon is a screenplay for a film that will never be made. It’s written in such an engaging, funny way – the most enjoyable screenplay I’ve ever read – and the imagined film it describes is just delightful. Funny, creepy, weird, unsettling, emotional, sexy, really really weird. It’s currently approaching the climax but you can catch up easily enough, you’re in isolation right? Do not sleep on this, it’s great! https://theinnercinema.wordpress.com/moon-navigation/

And finally… (by Ryan Lynch, seen via Lauren D)