Monday, July 6, 2020

social distancing and staying at home: four months in

It's been four months since I started working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though we're all in this together, things are admittedly difficult at times. However, there have also been positive moments. For those curious, here's what has happened during the past four months.

A series of unfortunate events

As nice as it is to work at home, being away from the office has its downsides:

  • Although I have everything I need for my tasks, not having access to certain equipment can be a major inconvenience.
  • Our quarterly happy hours for March and June have been canceled.
  • It's been a long time since we've celebrated people's birthdays. Posting pictures of cakes on Slack just isn't the same.
  • A guy on our team recently left for another job. He took the time to show me the ropes when when I joined the company and was like a mentor to me. It sucks that we didn't get to properly say goodbye.
  • During our last call on Skype, my boss lamented that we haven't had a team lunch in a long time. I certainly can't disagree.

Of course, the pandemic has also affected our personal lives:

  • I haven't been able to attend my book club since December. Our latest meeting has been moved from March to July and will likely be postponed again.
  • Dad had planned to take us to the Southwest U.S. but understandably decided to cancel the trip.
  • Another time was when my childhood friend Connie came to drop something off at my house. It took all my restraint to not give her a hug after seeing again for the first time in almost 11 years. Chances are she wouldn't have appreciated it either. Speaking to her over the phone just isn't the same.
  • I had also hoped to see my cousin Cathy and her husband Andrew again during the summer. But it doesn't look like this will happen anymore.
  • It's not just me as my parents have also had to turn down several invitations.

A new gazebo

However, one positive thing about staying at home is that we have all the time in the world to work on personal projects. Dad recently decided to add a gazebo to our backyard so that our master bedroom doesn't get too hot in the summer. He actually decided to build it mostly by himself so that we could save on the labor. It was hard work for us too because he sometimes needed our help with the heavy parts. On the bright side, our backyard now has a nice new addition. :-)

RuneScape achievements

Although I still have to work at home, the fact that I don't have to commute makes a huge difference. I haven't had so much for RuneScape since my college days. For those curious, here are my achievements from recent months:

  • completed the elite Varrock and Wilderness tasks
  • 2,700 skill total
  • level 99 Divination
  • level 99 Magic
  • 2,000 and 2,100 skill total on my alternate account Traductus
  • 2,000 skill total on my alternate account Ixfd64 Rs2

Even though I can't see my friends and co-workers, staying at home isn't without benefits. One can see why some people want this to last forever. But at the same time, the fact that people are getting sick and dying sucks. I hope things will be back to normal soon.

In other news...

On a somewhat related note: happy anniversary to Andrew and Cathy as they got married a year ago!

Currently listening to: "Crocodile Rock" by Elton John

Friday, June 19, 2020

level 99 Magic in RuneScape

I just got level 99 Magic in RuneScape by killing a cursed energy bot in the Wilderness. Click here for the picture. Bots are a huge problem in the game, so it's always satisfying to kill those in PvP zones. It's too bad most of them aren't attackable. At any rate, only seven more skills to go!

Currently listening to: "Flashes" by NIVIRO

Thursday, May 21, 2020

an extended long weekend + level 99 Divination in RuneScape

To boost morale during the COVID-19 pandemic, my company recently gave employees an extra vacation day to be used by the end of June. Because the Memorial Day long weekend was just around the corner, our team agreed to take Friday off after deciding it be most convenient for everyone. It's certainly not often this happens!

Dad took us on a drive to Half Moon Bay on Friday after seeing we hadn't been anywhere in a long time. It was pretty fun even though we mostly just took pictures from the car. Otherwise, the weekend was uneventful as I've been doing extra work for my job. Even though a four-day weekend sounds nice, an extra day doesn't make a big difference when you're working from home.

I didn't feel like making two separate posts, but another thing I wanted to share is that I got level 99 Divination in RuneScape four days ago. People generally consider Divination to be among the slowest skills, but the recent double XP event and the protean memories certainly helped. Only eight more skill to go until I get my max cape!

Currently listening to: "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel

Sunday, May 10, 2020

2,700 skill total in RuneScape

It's been two months since I started working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the workload is about the same, one nice thing about working from home is that I don't have to commute. Considering that it takes me around 50 minutes to get to the office, being able to save almost two hours makes a huge difference. It certainly gives me more time for hobbies.

I certainly wouldn't have 2,700 skill total in RuneScape so quickly otherwise. On a related note, I'm very close to level 99 Divination and should get there in a few days. Hopefully it won't be too long until I get my max cape. :-)

Currently listening to: "Under Pressure" by Queen

Saturday, March 21, 2020

an unprecedented situation

As you're all probably aware, the COVID-19 outbreak has gotten so bad lately that it's now considered a pandemic. It's hard to believe a "mystery pneumonia" in China could turn into something so serious. Even my company has advised employees to work from home. At first I thought this would be for just a few days, but the situation hasn't gotten any better. Our entire state has locked down while COVID-19 cases are still going up. I must admit I'm actually a bit scared.

Sometimes I can't help but wonder if this is how the world ends. Perhaps I've watched too many disaster flicks, but it almost feels like the apocalypse is upon us. Although we're looking at an uncertain future, one thing for sure is that we're all in this together. Stay strong and wash your hands, everyone.

Currently listening to: "This Is Our Time" by WILD

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

a scary gas leak

So we had a gas leak at our house. It turns out the person we hired to fix our furnace had turned the wrong valve while shutting off the gas. Imagine the shock when we noticed the unmistakable hiss of gas escaping the meter!

Obviously, the first thing we did was call 911. Although the local fire station is just a few blocks away, those few minutes were one of the most terrifying moments of my life. This definitely brought back memories from the 1998 tornado. After what felt like hours, the firefighters arrived and were able to shut off the gas for us. They even stayed to make sure everything was OK while we waited for the PG&E technician to arrive.

I truly appreciate the crew's professionalism and how lucky we were. We even gave them some of our home-cooked drumsticks afterwards. I'm definitely glad everything ended well. And this is why I have the greatest respect for firefighters.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

on entering a new decade

So this is the first day of a new decade. Time goes so fast these days. It's hard to believe the 2010s are already over.

I regret to say that the holiday season didn't really feel like the holidays. The main reason is that Dad recently hurt his back while gardening and couldn't really leave the house. Because even walking hurts, none of us went anywhere except to get groceries. It really sucks that we couldn't even attend my town's annual New Year's Day run. :-(

Another thing is that we have to work on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Although most people take time off during the holidays, I decided to work as there wasn't much else to do. Don't get me wrong — as much as I love my job — nothing beats relaxing at home. On the bright side, this allowed me to save some few vacation days. :-)

However, the holiday season had its highlights. For starters, my book club's annual holiday party was pretty enjoyable. Another highlight was my company's holiday party on the 19th. Everything was delicious, especially the desserts. It was also great to have Andrew and Cathy over for lunch and our family friend Lily over for dinner. Oh yeah, and I got level 99 Agility and Construction in RuneScape.

Also worth mentioning is that many family friends gave us well-wishes as my father was recovering. One friend even bought as a bunch of groceries. We truly appreciate everyone's support.

2019 in review

All things considered, last year went very well. The best part was definitely my cousin Cathy's wedding last summer. It was also fun to visit Reno and the Sierras with my aunts. That was one of my best summers ever. As for my career, everything has been going well at my job. Joining Intel was no doubt one of my best decisions ever.

As you could probably guess, the worst thing that happened is that my father hurt has back in December. Not only did this put a damper on the holidays, having to tend to him is demanding at times. The good news is that Dad has already started getting better. I definitely hope he fully recovers soon!

For those curious, my New Year's Resolution is to hopefully get a promotion at my job and make more real-life friends. I'm also hoping to get my max cape in RuneScape as I only need 99 in nine more skills. At any rate, I'm looking forward to see what 2020 has to offer. :-)

Side note: 2020 sounds really futuristic. I'm surprised we still haven't sent people to Mars or cured cancer. Hopefully we'll get personal quantum computers or flying cars soon!

Currently listening to: "Palisades Park" by Freddy Cannon