In mid-March, when schools closed over COVID-19 fears, I was in denial. I thought, “These kids aren’t going to be home all day long, are they? This can’t be happening. It’s like a never-ending snow day.”
In April, when my kids were home all day long watching lessons on Zoom and completing homework packets, I thought for sure this pandemic-thingy would be over soon. “Give it another month,” I told my wife.
In May, as the final month of our makeshift pseudo-homeschool was winding down and the pandemic lingered, I was sure that my kids would be back to typical summer routines. Camps, parties, sleepovers, the pool or lake or beach would all resume. “Summer camps are right around the corner,” I said with suspect joy.
As June comes to a close, I’m only sure of one thing: I’m not “sure” of anything and I’m done with unscientific predictions for when my kids will be out of the house and back to their normal routines.
Now that the school year has ended, not only are we still home all day with the kids, most summer fun activities are on hold. No movie theaters (although a visit to the Elm Road Drive-In is planned). Even if and when they open, I doubt our kids will visit the public pools. No sleepovers. Worst of all (for me), no summer camps.
Read more at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2020/06/kids-can-learn-with-online-summer-camp/ (may encounter paywall).
If you’re single and trying to date during a pandemic, you likely have the sympathy and admiration of most of the non-dating world.
Many of us can recall how hard it was to date in pre-pandemic days. Even with apps like Match and Tinder, dating was still weird because—or at least it seems weird to those of us who stopped dating before dating apps were the norm.
But now, in a pandemic, the strangeness of dating seems to have reached new levels.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how dating during the pandemic requires ingenuity. If you’re going to meet someone now, it’s going to require the use of video calling apps like Zoom or Skype. As we explored in that column, we still have to do the extra work to make meaningful connections on video apps, to make it feel genuine and special.
During that series on pandemic dating, I met Sacha Nasan, co-founder of Blindlee, a new dating app with a unique feature.
This female-friendly app matches strangers. After they’re matched, they meet on a 3-minute blurred video call, during which they can interact and ask each other questions. If both liked the call, they’re matched.
Did you catch that first part? Yes, it’s a blurred video call.
“Most apps today are based on the swiping mechanism which Tinder popularized,” Nasan explained. “Blindlee is a very different concept than that of a typical dating app. You have a video call with a stranger, but it’s blurred and adjustable.”
This makes the experience both fun and safe at the same time.
During that first video call, each person starts at 100-percent blurred, but this is where it becomes a kind of female-controlled app. Women control the blurring percentage.
“This means you get to see the other person only vaguely without details,” Nasan said. “Think of it like seeing someone naked behind the shower door but you can’t really see the details.”
In this case though, blurring allows users to judge the personality rather than the profile.
Blindlee is coming along at the right time, too, when the world is seeing a shift to video dating during the pandemic as many people are just not ready to go on physical dates yet.
When I asked Nasan is he used the app to find love, he said he answers calls from users who call randomly.
“They tell us on these calls and in emails that they love Blindlee’s blur aspect,” Nasan said. “But just to be clear, I didn’t use it for dating because I have a girlfriend who, by the way, I met on another dating app.”
This last part is important because even Nasan admits Blindlee should be one of several apps in your dating app arsenal. In fact, successful online daters admit to using more than one app at a time.
If all of this doesn’t make you want to try Blindlee, maybe the start-up story behind the app genesis will.
“Glenn (Keller) and I are cousins,” Nasan said. “We're two young entrepreneurs in our early 20s. We developed Blindlee in our spare time. Essentially this garage-style side project took importance quicker than we thought, which is a good problem to have.”
You’ll find Blindlee in the Google Play or Apple App store.
Bald is beautiful.
This has been my mantra since my 30s.
I didn’t notice the bald spot until my mid-20s. I thought to myself, You’re tall. No one will notice that small bald spot.
Problem is, that bald spot grew until it was too tough to ignore.
So, I fired it before it quit. This means that I started shaving it before the spot took over the top of my head.
Yes, bald is beautiful. Balding is, well, less desirable for most.
After all, in terms of desirability, there’s a laundry list of leading men who’ve donned the chrome dome crown. They’re my heroes. I go back as far as Telly Savalas from my childhood. Other bald warrior heroes include Michael Jordan, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L. Jackson.
They owned their baldness. I wanted to own that look, too.
My wife got on board a few years after we started dating. We started with clippers. There are guards for clippers that range from “0” on up. The lower the number, the closer the clip. We started with “2” and gradually moved down to “0.”
Soon I wasn’t using a guard at all.
Around my early 40s, razors were introduced. It was an expensive move because, well, have you seen the price of men’s razors? Not cheap. When you’re trying to maintain a clean bald look, you’re shaving at least 3 or 4 times a week.
On good days, the razor moves at a steady pace, leaving no stubble in its wake. On bad days, you need a tourniquet just to stop the blood flow from countless cuts.
My kids have never known Dad-with-hair. My wife laughs when a kid makes the unusual request for me to grow it out. “No one wants to see that,” is my reply.
My kids also laugh when, while gaming, I create an avatar for myself. “Dad, that doesn’t look at all like you,” one kid will chuckle. “Your (avatar) has hair, and not just on his face.”
This is certainly true. Some Nintendo games, for example, give me the option for creating what’s supposed to be a lookalike figure. But it looks nothing like me. What’s odd is that Nintendo give us older guys options for facial hair, but no options for the bald look.
A friend who battled cancer and chemo treatments lamented this deficiency in games to me a few years ago.
“I’m not bald by choice here,” he said, after a particularly rough radiation run. Having lost all his hair, he said, “I have the option to create an avatar with no eyebrows, which I don’t have right now, by the way. But my avatar still has hair on his head? Doesn’t look like me at all.”
Of course, this isn’t true for all avatars. For example, programmers for services like Facebook and Bitmoji provide bald options.
Now it’s time for the rest of the tech industry to step up and recognize our shine. We need avatar programmers to hear us and see us (even if they need sunglasses to lessen the glare from our shiny heads).
Many of us didn’t choose to be bald, but we own the look and (mostly) love it.
It’s time for the rest of these programmers to fall in love with our look, too.
There’s a new video app attracting thousands of new users with one powerful feature.
Zynn is the newest player in the social video sharing app world. It’s features and layout look nearly identical to rival video app, Tik Tok.
If you’re unfamiliar with platforms like Tik Tok, they’re used to create and share short videos of people singing or lip-syncing, dancing, performing funny routines, and, with the help of some clever editing, sleight-of-hand magic tricks.
Like Tik Tok, most of videos on Zynn are less than 10 seconds long. Videos are in fixed vertical positions unlike other platforms that force horizontal or square formatting.
Then why is Zynn currently among the top 10 free apps on both Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store?
Simple. Zynn is paying us to watch.
Read more at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2020/06/new-video-app-zynn-pays-users-to-watch/ (may encounter paywall).
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is special assistant to the provost and professor of communication in the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA where he also directs the graduate program in professional communication. He researches and writes on a variety of topics including communication technologies, relationships, and sports (with an emphasis on fandom). His work has appeared in Mahoning Matters as well as The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers.