things to do in quarantine

The Drive-Thru Fair

“Here’s a map, have a great time.”

My best friend Allison and I pulled into the parking lot at the Rose Bowl and then immediately pulled over to take a look at the 11”x17” paper map we’d just been handed with no follow-up directions.

I’d heard about the “Fair Foodie Fest” in passing online, and had proposed the idea to Allison as we searched for a weekend activity that could get us outside. The concept was intriguing: a drive-thru fair that allowed you to eat the yummy, over the top treats without having to worry about large crowds and/or the restrictions brought about by COVID. Plus, the ticket was free and came with a pocket sized funnel cake, so it was really a can’t lose.

Looking at the map, our eyes got big, wondering, wanting, deciding maybe we should try absolutely everything. But then, noticing the prices, our wallets got small (not to mention our digestive systems got scared) insisting we might want a game plan.  So, we starred a handful of things we decided we couldn’t miss, then pulled back out into the main lane, and started our journey through the fair.

Set up in a kind of racetrack format, there were two lanes the led you through the course to each food stop. The right line was for ordering and the left lane was for passing. Pulling up to our first stop, we rolled down the window, ordered the BBQ pulled pork sandwich, and marveled when we popped open the container to reveal this:

It was an incredible start to our journey. One that could have easily pushed us to stray from our stars and our budgets and order absolutely everything to follow. And with the pressure that came from picking where to stop, what to order when someone approached the window, and then drive away, knowing you missed your chance to change your mind, I’m honestly surprised we did as well as we did—and that I didn’t end up getting coleslaw all over me or the car. But after about 25 minutes of maneuvering our way through the course, we exited the parking lot, food stacked on my lap, the center console and the dashboard, and pulled into a neighboring lot that overlooked a park perfect for people watching. It was there that we really got to evaluate our purchases and I would like to review them with you now—in the order that we tried them, which matters.

#1) The Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger

This was too intriguing not to try, making it one of the very first things we starred on our map. I will admit, the look of it was…questionable at first sight. A feeling of what have you done entered my mind, and my stomach, quivering in fear, seemed to agree. Nonetheless, I cut it in half with the handle of a fork—the only utensil we were given in our travels, and we cheersed before we took a bite. While chewing, I found myself wondering what on earth I was eating. My tastebuds were confused, my mind was racing, and everything I’d ever learned about a healthy diet wept. I did go in for a second bite, though it seemed only to be sure that it was as offensive as I thought. Also, they gave us two ketchup packets to go with it, which, in hindsight, somehow makes it worse.

Overall grade 3/10.

#2) The BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

After the assault from the Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger, I was determined for a kind of meat redemption, so I insisted that we dive into our pulled pork sandwich. Again, I cut it in half with the fork—getting barbeque sauce everywhere—and then cheersed Allison before taking a bite. In one way it was just a pulled pork sandwich, but in another it was a drink of cold water after trudging through the desert for days. You know? I instantly felt comforted, redeemed, and at least partly healed from the, well, you know. It should also be noted that the waffle fries that came with the sandwich were arguably the best thing we had all day, and I will probably think about them for the rest of my life.

Overall grade: 8/10

#3) Curly Fries

Upon being handed this mountain of curly fries, I was both shocked, amazed and absolutely confused. “How?” we asked over and over. And this question covered not only the construction and design, but also the unbelievably hot temperature. Truly, I don’t think I’ve ever touched a food as hot as these fries. I also don’t think I’ve ever gone back for another bite mere minutes later, only to find something to be the absolute coldest a once hot food could possibly be. Ultimately, they were only pretty good, especially in the wake of the waffle fries.

Overall grade: 7/10

#4) Deep Fried Oreos

These were put on a pedestal going in because I’d tried deep fried Oreos before and knew they were a gift from the heavens. That being said, while they still made the two of us nod in silent agreement that yes, this is what dreams are made of, questions were raised on the authenticity of the cream filled cookie inside. Have the Law & Order music at the ready when I tell you that we believe they might have been…faux-reos.  *dun dun*

Overall grade: 8.5/10

#5) Deep Fried Lemon Bites

These were the last thing on our list and (aside from the Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger) the most wildcard item we bought. What exactly did “deep fried lemon bite” mean, we wondered. Were we biting into an actual lemon? Was there going to be lemon cream filling? What was in this ball of fried dough and was it going to be a nightmare to find out? As someone who hates surprise fillings in all pastries, chocolates and the like, I bit into my lemon bite with extra caution. However, after another bite, and then another, I was thrilled to discover it was merely a fluffy, delectable bite of fried lemon cake that I will store eternally in my memory right alongside the waffle fries.

Overall grade: 10/10

Overall, I thought it was a truly unique, fun and delicious way to spend an afternoon.

Some key lessons to take away are:

-the helpings are huge so, depending on how many people are in your car, you probably need at least one serving less than you think you do. Plus, you only have so many hands, it’s a 10 stop course, and there are speed bumps in the parking lot, adding perilous obstacles as you try to balance multiple giant sized items.

-ask for a knife

-bring extra napkins or perhaps a bib, tarp or poncho

-pretend you’re an Instagram influencer and take pictures of everything, if only to remember that one time you ate a cheeseburger in between two Krispy Kreme donuts and walked away traumatized.

-come hungry and leave full, it is worth it.


If you are (or will be) in Southern California, the fair runs until the end of February and you can grab tickets here.

If Someone Wrote an Article About Me & My Puzzle

By: Reporter Kimberlee K.
Published April 9, 2020

LOS ANGELES, Calif.— With days of heavy rain sweeping through the cities and suburbs of Southern California, many people quarantining and working from home have turned to inside activities to keep them busy.

One such individual, Kimberlee Koehn, a twenty (though nearly thirty) something in Los Angeles county, has turned her attention to a puzzle that she has called, “ridiculously hard.” But while she has deemed the puzzle “unlikely” to finish before the mandated quarantine is lifted— “or before I die, probably”—that hasn’t stopped her from spending hours on her couch, fitting piece after piece together.

Koehn is a longtime puzzle completer, and while she couldn’t come up with an exact number of the puzzles she has completed in her lifetime, she said she enjoys them because they keep her calm and give her something to focus her energy on.

“Usually,” she said with a laugh, as this puzzle in particular, a picturesque scene of a lakeside cabin at sunset, could very well, “drive her over the edge of insanity.”

“It’s the trees,” she said, pointing at a pile of pieces patterned with multiple shades of green leaves. “I’m ignoring those pieces for now and trying to put in work elsewhere.”

The 2000-piece puzzle sits on her low set living room coffee table, which currently stands a mere inch or two from her beige couch. “I like to be almost on top of it,” Koehn said, as she climbed over the arm of the couch to take her preferred puzzling position.

When asked about breaks—for stretching, snacking, trips to the bathroom, etc.—Koehn said she has found that the puzzle helps her from compulsively eating the chocolate covered pretzels she bought on impulse while quarantine grocery shopping, and has even aided in her quest to eat dinner later, rather than her preferred time of 5:00 p.m. On the negative side of things however, she explained that the puzzle has also caused minor pains in her neck and back due to the hunched posture she takes—one that is undoubtedly unrecommended by medical professionals. “I also have a bruise on my leg, from leaning my elbows on the tops of my thighs for too long.”

Our reporter did not comment on this because it is ridiculous.

For now, Koehn says she is trying to use the puzzle to her advantage. “It’s a nice way to wind down, and I’ve been able to catch up on some great movies while I work,” she said. When asked which current movies she would recommend to our readers, Koehn blushed, stating that by “catch up” she meant rewatch movies she’d already seen before, but for the 10th or 11th time.

“The puzzle has to be my main focus, you know? If I get distracted and put two pieces together that look like they belong but don’t actually belong together, I could derail the entire process, making hours and hours of my time ultimately a waste.” Koehn’s eyes grew wide and slightly terrifying during this explanation, but then after blinking a few times she was back to her friendly, if not slightly anxious demeanor.

In the coming days and weeks, Koehn says she will take it day by day, piece by piece.

“It’s a puzzling time,” she said, nodding, “which is why I will keep puzzling.”

In Case You’re Wondering About TikTok

One of quarantine’s biggest breakout stars (besides Tiger King) has been TikTok, a social media app that lets you share (up to) one minute videos of absolutely anything.

Most commonly, you’ll see choreographed dances, themed trends, and one person skits dubbed “POV’s” or “point of views”, but then there are also the wonderful, sometimes accidental, creative, weird, funny, and 100% rewatchable videos that you (or at least I) feel the need to share with friends and family whenever we are catching up.

This is not an ad to make you download TikTok, or a ploy to make certain people on TikTok famous—I don’t have that kind of reach (or sponsorship). All I know is that sometimes when I’m looking for a few minutes (or an hour) to kill, or to take my mind off things and laugh or cringe or say, “wait, what?” out loud to myself, I open TikTok and strap in.

So, I thought I’d share some of my favorites in case you’re looking for a) an introduction to what you might find on this infamous app, or b) a little something to kill some time.

My personal favorite videos on the app can be summed up into four major categories:

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1) Travel

Which I like to bookmark in the hopes that one day I’ll visit the place they are showcasing.

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2) Pranks

Which I feel bad for laughing at because I HATE being pranked but…I can’t help it.

@walker

Pranks wars has started with my mom 😱😂 #foryou #fyp

♬ original sound – walker

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@toshaamoore

Compilation of scaring my brother in the kitchen ☺️☺️😂#foryouu #foryoupage #scared #scares #imawful

♬ original sound – toshaamoore

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3) “Perseverance”

I get SO invested in videos where people set up elaborate obstacle courses, or try for hours to make trick shots. It reminds me of the afternoons my cousins and I spent in our grandparents living room throwing playing cards and poker chips into hats we found around the house.

@jordanwonder

it’s just cause @aleahlivingston plays basketball 🏀 🙄 #fyp #foryoupage

♬ original sound – jordanwonder

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@owen_kushtensen

this took many tries so please give it some love #fyp #wintersports #strangepets

♬ FML – Arizona Zervas

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4) Undefined Hilarity

These are videos that make me laugh so hard, sometimes for reasons I can’t understand. These are the gems that make the endless scrolling worth it (to me).

@williamscopetti

Volete che vi suono qualcosa in un’altro video? #italy #comedy #foryou IG: _risocantonese

♬ suono originale – williamscopetti

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@thatoneguy_2

asked my grandma if the shower in the guest room still worked#thingsthathappened

♬ original sound – thatoneguy_2

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If you’re looking for more recommendations, I highly recommend checking out this video where YouTuber Jenna Marbles plays some of her favorite TikToks, and her reactions are honestly better than the TikToks themselves.

Also, I apologize in advance if this post inspires you to download TikTok and you accidentally sit down on scroll through it for four days straight. It happens to the best of us.

Things to Do with Alexa in Quarantine

Since we live in a time that is full of technological companions (e.g. Alexa, Siri, Google Home, etc.) and many of us might be finding ourselves with little more than their company these days, I think it’s about time we start utilizing them to their full potential.

This past weekend, as my sister and I were sitting on the couch eating donuts we ordered from our local shop, we decided to talk to Alexa. After buying our Amazon Echo about three years ago, I started getting weekly emails from Amazon that provide a list of fun prompts that you can give Alexa, but I’ve more or less ignored them—until now.

Note: if you have a Google Home, check out both this article and this one for prompts. If you have Siri, check out both this article and this one, and if you have neither, I’d recommend Facetime, Zoom, or, if all else fails, this:

No judgment, times are weird.

Anyway, here are some of our favorite things you can do with Alexa:

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Play Jeopardy

Say: “Alexa, play Jeopardy.”

Each day you are given 12 trivia questions that you have to answer Jeopardy style (what is, where is, who is, etc.) Weekdays you are given extra questions from the same categories showcased in that day’s televised episode, and then Saturdays are College Jeopardy and Sundays (my favorite!) are Sports Jeopardy.

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Play Puzzle of the Day

Say: “Alexa, open Puzzle of the day.”

This is a crossword puzzle that you play in the style of a word game since you don’t have a paper in front of you. Alexa gives you a clue and the number of letters in the answer, and then you try to guess it. If you have trouble, you are able to ask for a letter, but you lose points by doing so—which may not matter to you, or may matter more than anything. I land somewhere in the middle.

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Make Fart Noises

Say: “Alexa, make a fart noise.”

I will just leave this one here.

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Look up the Spelling and/or Definition of a word

Say: “Alexa, spell ______” or “Alexa, what is the definition of _______”

Sure, I could Google it, but she does it faster, and asking almost makes me feel like I’m back in high school with no responsibilities or pandemics to speak of.

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Set a Reminder

Say: “Alexa, remind me to______.”

If you’re working from home, it might be hard to find a good routine, which makes it easy to forget to do things like drink enough water, or take necessary medications, or stop looking at Instagram. That’s where Alexa can come in as an accountability partner. Set reminders, as many as you want, about anything you want. Maybe it’s to put on pants, maybe it’s to refill your water bottle, maybe it’s to go outside, maybe it’s to move to a different section of the couch so you can blob evenly. Whatever you need, she’s there to remind you.

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Use Announce and/or Simon Says

Both of these functions make Alexa repeat something that is being said.

If you say, “Alexa, announce it is time for lunch,” she will play back a recording of you saying, “it’s time for lunch.”

But if you say, “Alexa, simon says it’s time for lunch,” Alexa will say, “it’s time for lunch.”

So it’s really your preference on that one. If you’ve ever wanted to actually hear yourself talk to yourself, now is your chance. Or if you’re someone who lives alone and needs a voice other than your own to whip you into shape, Alexa can do that for you. Again, no judgment.

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Learn Something Weird

Say, “Alexa, tell me something weird.”

Then strap in.

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Hear a 20-second song

Say, “Alexa, sing a song for twenty seconds.”

It has been a widely spread recommendation to (constantly) wash your hands for (at least) twenty seconds. In an effort to make that easier, people have been on the hunt for songs and choruses of songs that are approximately that long so we can get a better idea of the timing. But please look no further than your Alexa, who will sing you a song that (at least when I’ve asked) rhymes and lasts exactly 20 seconds. Also, good luck not having that song stuck in your head.

10 Brackets to Fill Out During Quarantine

In a traditional year, with traditional social interaction, March is usually month full of sports, gambling, and most notably, brackets.

According to this article, the American Gaming Association estimated that a total of 149 million brackets were filled out for the 2019 March Madness tournament, which totaled about $4.6 million dollars in bracket based wagers.

Needless to say, there is a bracket sized hole in many lives this March. The good news is, the people of the internet are here to help. And there is something for everyone!

So, should you find yourself in need to kill some (or lots) of time, why not take a deep dive into opinions you might not even have known you have?

Happy bracketing!

Download Bracket here.

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Download bracket here.

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Download bracket here.

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Download bracket here.

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Download bracket here.

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Download bracket here.

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Download bracket here.

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Download bracket here.

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Download bracket here.