From our calendar to yours comes this carefully considered agenda of things we are doing while self-isolating. Please note that you can now get the Scout List – with a few extra pieces of intel included – sent to your inbox every Thursday. Sign up for your subscription in the sidebar.
For over 10-years running, the whole point of this column has been to get Vancouverites off their asses and out the door to try new things and support cool people doing cool stuff. Alas, that’s not going to work so well under these current circumstances, so I’ve temporarily adapted it to focus on things you can do at home…
INGENUITY | Flattening the curve doesn’t have to flatten your creativity. This is a time for innovation! Need a jump start? A dose of Pecha Kucha could be just the ticket. No, you can’t hit a packed theatre full of like-minded Vancouverites and listen to inspired speeches about design and community, but you can tune into a live-cast version of Pecha Kucha Night. A team of Tokyo and Chicago-based Pecha Kucha peeps have come together to organize some cool creative innovators from Wuhan, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Orlando and Tokyo. Jump online for an “Inspire the World live-cast” tonight (Wednesday, 15 April, 7pm). You can view it on YouTube HERE or Facebook HERE.
WATCH | Have you exhausted Netflix? Give Top Documentaries a try. Top Docs is a website that hosts 100’s of “non-biased, without prejudice and worth watching” documentaries, all for free. Check out the fascinating 2015 film “The Congo Dandies” (the story of poverty, dignity, fashion and sacrifice in The Congo that is hard to turn away from) or The Silent Summer: Why are Insects Dying? (2019) for a wake-up call on why you need to care about it and what you can do to help.
MAKE | There’s no time like the present to contribute to change. Start by making a mason bee home! If you have access to a little wood and a drill, check this useful post on how to build your own. No drill but access to bamboo? Here is a DIY tutorial. No drill, no bamboo? No excuses! Even cardboard will work.
RELAX | Stress does not help your immune system, so now would be a good idea to work on relaxing. Physical activity or meditation are obvious tools, but a little art therapy can help reduce anxiety too. Not artistic? No worries, just grab a set of crayons, coloured pencils (even a few different coloured sharpie’s will work if that’s all you can find) and get lost in colouring something in. Madalas, tattoo designs, Ryan Gosling/Reynolds, flowers and hip hop heroes – they’re all out there – downloadable in back and white, just waiting for colour! For a local touch, we suggest you check out free printable colouring pages by Vancouver artist Jamie Smith (here).
CHERRY BLOSSOMS | It’s OK to go for a walk. In fact, it’s more than OK. It’s a good idea! Fresh air and nature will help keep you sane. Plus, it’s cherry blossom season and it would be a shame to miss it because you slipped down a Covid-19 induced Netflix binge hole. There could be a heavier pedestrian contingent than advisable in your usual places, but get out there. Walk around the block. These beautiful, varied, fluffy blossoms are a timely reminder that nothing lasts forever.
TAKE-OUT | Dig the blossom idea? Take the Sakura theme to the next level. There are several local establishments offering take-out treats that will pair nicely with an afternoon of tree viewing, here are a few ideas to get you started:
Dosanko | Sakura Onigiri made with lobster, pickled beets, pickled cherry blossoms and flecks of shiso) | DETAILS
Grounds For Coffee | Pre-order some “Cherry Bomb” cinnamon buns for pick up | DETAILS
Kazuki Gin | Kazuki Gin from Sheringham Distillery is infused with Japanese Cherry Blossoms and Green Tea + Flowers. We’re feeling pretty confident that, in addition to being spring-themed, a cocktail crafted with this award winning gin will take the edge off. Not that you need that (but we know that we do) | DETAILS
Beta5 | The Kyoto Polygon Bar (white chocolate, matcha, and sesame snap) | DETAILS
LISTEN | The latest Track & Food Podcast hosts Jamie Mah and Mickey Mcleod talk with food/restaurant guy Abdallah (Dallah) El Chami of Superbaba about Covid-19 and the Vancouver Food and Beverage Relief Fund. DETAILS
DREAM | To be honest, even though here is no real rush to get out of my current sweatpants and old sweater uniform right now – I’m not in a financial position to do a lot of shopping at the moment. But it doesn’t hurt to dream, and imagining a time when I can put on something other than sweats to meet a friend at a bar for a margarita is a lovely distraction. For me, spring fashion inspiration is coming in strong from the following local shops:
Did I miss your favourite local? Please let me know in the comments below!
IDEAS FROM PAST STAY-AT-HOME WEEKS that are still applicable…
DOCUMENT | Vancouver photography studio, The Good Side, has a timely series of portraits that’s starting to take shape. The ”Through The Window” portraits capture Vancouverites as photographed in social isolation. If you want to participate, you can read about the program and connect with Good Side here. Commissioned portraits are made available for download through an online gallery at a sliding scale – a session of this nature would typically run you somewhere in the neighbourhood of $250, but Good Side understands that many Vancouverites are experiencing financial hardships right now, thus the sliding scale. Even if you aren’t in the market for professional photos, we think this is a cool project documenting an uncool time and we hope to see it grow.
PLANT | With the world at a standstill, it can be extremely satisfying – even therapeutic – to watch something grow. This week, I’m focusing on tomatoes. To be clear, I don’t know the first thing about growing vegetables, so if you’re experienced in the garden, you might as well skip ahead to the next entry on the list right now as this one is for the noobs. As a novice gardener, I’ve been relying on the Old Farmer’s Almanac. I also tried making a mini greenhouse from a spent salad container and it’s working beautifully. Take a look at the tutorial on that project here. This is also the perfect time to plant garlic. It doesn’t take a lot, just a little dirt and some garlic cloves. It’s satisfying to watch something grow, and nice to have something to look forward to! Visit Victory Gardens for a straightforward how-to video: DETAILS
NATURE | Missing it? Us too. Did you know that The Vancouver Aquarium can help with a penguin cam, a sea otter cam, and a jelly cam? It’s not quite the same without the beach smells and the sound of waves, but it’s something! And trust me, that jelly cam is particularly soothing at night. DETAILS
WRITE A LETTER | Just think of how great would it be to open the mailbox to find a beautiful, hand-written postcard or letter from a friend right about now. Be thoughtful and write a few letters to friends. Not sure how to reach out when you’re not on social media? The Regional Assembly of Text can set you off on the right track via their helpful “Maintaining a Friendship During These Hard Times” application form set. “Sold in a set of 3 assorted yellow cards, these handy new applications will help you negotiate new ways to stay connected with your loved ones during these hard times.” Worth a look.
ORGANIZE | Need an activity? Sick of cleaning but not sure if you’re ready to graduate to a creative project? Why not transition from the former to the later by way of organizing things neatly? Empty junk drawers, forgotten boxes, dusty bookshelves or crowded closets and arrange contents in to interesting patterns on your floor, desk or kitchen table. Sound pointless? Give it a try, it might actually jumpstart your creativity. Need inspiration? Check out Things Organized Neatly. You can do this!
CLEAN | Chances are you’ve already checked this one off the list, but when you’re ready to do it again, we suggest you check out the David Suzuki Foundation’s “Queen Of Green” tips for home cleaning. DETAILS.
ORDER-IN | If you are a) tired of cooking from a limited pantry and b) can afford to support local restaurants by ordering in, Scout has an A-Z guide for Vancouverites looking for quality take-out, delivery and nourishing provisions in this time of crisis HERE. Need a beer to go with you meal? Check out our list of local breweries that are rolling with take-out HERE.