Home Is Where The Heart Is
Or so they say, but with millions of people now confined to their homes, that expression may seem a little hollow to many. However, there are advantages to spending more time at home, especially if your normal life involves time away at the office or indeed travelling away from your family. Clearly. the new restrictions are going to have massive economic repercussions, but I’m not here to dwell on the more depressing aspects of this unprecedented situation, because you can read all about the numbers elsewhere.
The concept of home can mean different things to all of us and for my part, after 62 years on this planet which has largely involved moving house every few years, home is a distant and sometimes unattainable goal. However, let’s not get all maudlin about that concept and look at the here and now.
It’s Not Rocket Science!
Where I live, the Argentine government imposed a national quarantine on Friday at midnight, but gave us a very generous six hours warning and just as the president finished his monologue at 21:30 — which was actually pretty good — I jumped on my bike and raced over to my usual tobacconist and stocked up. Yes, we all have our vices and hand-rolling tobacco is one of mine. But, I have been in a kind of self-imposed quarantine for the last two weeks anyway, having had the crazy idea of decorating the house, which I must admit was long overdue and screaming out to be tackled. For instance, we had a hole in the ceiling in our living room that had been staring at me for about six years and I kept walking past it just hoping that it would mysteriously heal itself. Not only that, but rainwater had also seeped in and some very unsightly streaks had appeared on the walls, but as time went by, they just became part of the scenery. Well, I’ve now fixed all those issues and found it a very rewarding experience indeed. So much so that I’m now taking on a job that I thought might be beyond my capabilities– fixing and painting our upstairs, outside patio wall.
Now, I’m not going to rattle on about every job that I’m doing around the house, because that would bore you all to tears. However, perhaps there are some skills that we previously felt were black arts that could only be undertaken by alchemists or magicians.
Take web design, for example. Previously the domain of beardy types, this is now open to everyone, especially with the likes of WordPress being available free of charge, which has brought web design to the masses. Now that you have the time, give it a go and with hosting at as little as $3 per month from some providers, it quite affordable. Or if you don’t want to pay for hosting, try running WordPress locally on your PC, which won’t cost you a cent. Here’s a handy guide Installing WordPress on your own Computer.
You see, it’s important that professionals give the impression that their work is black magic otherwise we’d all be doing it, except of course brain surgery, computer programming, and Origami. But think about it– there must be dozens of skills that you can learn from home and all it takes is a little application and imagination.
Your PC Can Help Combat COVID-19
Remember the SETI project where you installed a tiny program on your PC which helped analyse data in search of extraterrestrials? This has now been pretty much superseded by the Folding@Home project which is now harnessing the power of all of our computers around the world in order to find a cure for this virus.
We need your help! Folding@home is joining researchers around the world working to better understand the 2019 Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to accelerate the open science effort to develop new life-saving therapies.
Head over to Folding@Home, download the software and do your bit in the computational number-crunching effort.
Bake A Cake
Here’s a list of other skills you can learn while at home:
- Make a chocolate cake
- Take turns to cook dinner
- Build a weird contraption from bits and pieces lying around your basement or garage
- Learn a foreign language
There are hundreds of other things you can learn to do, but as well, don’t forget those less fortunate, such as people who live alone. Where possible form an online social group on Whatsapp, Facebook, a forum or other means on the Internet, so as to make sure they don’t feel totally isolated and lonely.