Now 16 days in to our Shelter in Place, the teenage Weekndrs are home from school, likely through the end of the 2019-2020 academic calendar year. Virtual school is still in session, but the rigid structure of Public School has not translated well to the Zoom age. The kids have lots of free time.
You might remember not long ago I was on here grandstanding about deleting my Facebook account to live a better life of real human connection and personal experiences.
Well, bad timing I guess.
Thanks to a global pandemic and our new reality of “Social Distancing” my grand plan needs a Plan B. Turns out Social Media is a good thing during a state-wide Shelter in Place. I hang out on Instagram and Twitter a lot, these days, and sometimes long for my old Facebook feed.
The Shelter in Place from COVID-19 means more people are working at home and using video conferencing call platforms like Zoom to communicate face-to-face with their colleagues.
After 6-month of becoming a heavy user on Zoom for calls with co-workers and clients, I’ve got a few fun tips to share:
Wear a green shirt and you can use the Virtual Background feature to change the pattern. Choose from Planet Earth From Space, Blades of Grass, and the Golden Gate Bridge. (oh yeah, and also a fitting tip for today, St. Paddy’s Day!)
Decorate the wall behind your video screen with some visual interest. I have three handmade skateboards hanging on my wall, plus a picture of the family, and a small wood sculpture I made. They sometimes help break the ice with small talk.
Related… remove the clutter. Visual distractions can capture your call-mates attention when they should be paying attention to other things.
Get a good set of headphone with microphone. My company sends all new employees a Sennheiser Headset. The sound is great, and it’s so comfortable on my ears.
Download the free woodworking plans and put your kids to work when they’re stuck at home
The Global Pandemic is finally starting to disrupt daily life. School is closed through Spring Break, and the six San Francisco Bay Area counties announced a Shelter in Place order that goes into effect at midnight tonight. Which means for the next 20 days the Weekndr Family is stuck at home. We stocked up on food, toilet paper, and the basic essentials: hardwood lumber.
That’s right, we’re getting through this global pandemic scare by eating and building handmade skateboards in the garage!
If you’re looking for a fun activity to put YOUR kids to work, and get them out in the driveway for some exercise*, download a free set of my plans for building a 1960s style pinstripe skateboard, inspired by the original Hobie Super Surfer skateboard.
REQUIRED TOOLS and MATERIALS: Back when Hobie built his first handmade skateboard in the 1950s, they used any old piece of lumber they could find, so don’t feel bad if you don’t have access to the same hardwood lumber I use in this project.
One or multiple pieces of of hardwood (or cut from a sheet of plywood)
Rasp and File
Skateboard Trucks and Wheels
*P.S. If someone gives you trouble for skateboarding during the Shelter in Place order, let them know it falls into section 10, “Essential Activities,” as long as you stay 6-feet away from everyone.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is about an hour drive from my hometown, so it’s a family favorite destination on a weekends or holidays. This year we sprung for our first family membership after doing the math and realizing we’d save money.
The aquarium shared news this week about a special exhibit planned for 2021 on The Deep Sea, which will showcase life 200 meters or more beneath the ocean where light does not exist. How do you know you’ve reached the deep sea? Scientists explain: “You know it when you don’t see it.”
In August 2019 I left my job at Apple and took a new job with a totally “Distributed Company” in which all 1,000 of us employees work remotely, in 70 countries around the globe.
I love my new handmade office, but it was a big change compared to the office I left at Apple Inc. — as you might expect, a post-modern mix of glass, granite, and stainless steel. And that was just my team’s little offsite building a mile away from the magnificent circle-shaped Apple Campus that defies all definitions of “Going to The Office.
Six months in on my new work-from-home job, I’ve decided to update my Top 10 Tips for Working from Home with a few additional benefits, that only came to light in the face of this global pandemic!