I wish the Bleu Kitchen/Bleu Truck came to Orange County I would pull up every time. Too many places in my area serve really janky garlic noodles. Chef Grubby and his team do Asian food proud
For the cruise liner industry, the COVID-19 pandemic officially began on March 14. That’s when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a “no sail” order on all cruise ships operating in US waters. At that point thousands of people were falling ill on various ships around the world, pitching the industry into damage control. From there, individual companies suspended cruises one by one, putting the industry on hold.
We spoke to a man named Jeff Birmingham about what it’s like being one of 99 people onboard a stationary cruise ship designed for 6,000. Jeff describes being alone for most of the day and how the industry is faring from an insider perspective.
Tell us about where you are at the moment.
I’m offshore of Singapore in what I can only describe as the biggest ship parking lot I’ve ever seen. My contract is through February of next year and I’m not sure if I’ll touch dry land before then. As of now, we’ve been told not to expect that.
How does it feel to be on an almost empty cruise liner?
It’s surreal. This ship was built to host thousands of people and I’ve spent years on this ship experiencing it as it was designed. But walking around now, the ship feels lifeless and empty. It’s in stasis waiting for the world to sort itself out so it can go back to what it’s designed to do. Everything is shut down, lights are off, furniture is covered up. It’s a ghost ship.
What do you do everyday? Is there enough work to keep you busy or do you get bored?
I’m not really ever bored. My department usually has about 150 people but now it’s just me to deal with all the paperwork and inspections. It’s an overwhelming amount of work keeping the ship in the kind of condition it needs to stay in so it can go back into service. Plus, since there is very little to do socially the work basically takes all my time. I’ve been here over a month and it feels like I just got here.
While Asian families like Li’s are struggling to hold on, President Donald Trump has continued to tout positive trends for employment numbers.
That success has not been shared by American minorities — economically, they remain the hardest hit. The unemployment rate for Asian Americans has spiked to record highs.
It’s a drastic change from before the pandemic, when the demographic had the lowest unemployment rate across the board, at just 2.5%.
Today, Asian American unemployment has more than quadrupled to 10.7%. Black Americans are the only demographic with a higher unemployment rate.
Racist rhetoric from the White House likely hasn’t helped, with Trump repeatedly referring to COVID-19 as “the China virus.”
The backlash over the origin of the novel coronavirus has made recovery for Asian-owned businesses like the Li’s nearly impossible.
“National leadership kept referring to it as ‘the Chinese virus’ or ‘the China virus,’” Li said. “Of course with that kind of name, Chinatown and the people that live and work here are going to be associated with it.”
Source: ABC News
Nonette Llabres spoke with Justin about his solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, his experience as an African American designer, the need for more diversity in agency leadership roles, and taking inspired action to balance working for yourself and making a difference in the world.
Nonette: You mentioned how diverse the current Black Lives Matter movement is and how radical change is happening now because of this and unity; what are your thoughts on the current diversity gap in the design industry?
Justin: Agencies have to make diversifying their creative teams more of a priority and put boots on the ground to attract BIPOC talent. Some of the best work I ever did in my career came from the most diverse teams I led or was a part of when I was in the agency world. I feel it’s important not to discredit a person’s culture and how that has helped shape their human experience and style. Each person brings a different perspective to solving a problem. If you give designers of different backgrounds the same problem, they are most likely going to have different solutions based on their own unique relation to the world. This will naturally create more sound concepts in campaigns, commercials, products, etc.
It’s very common to not have enough diversity, especially in the traditional creative agency world. One figure I’ve seen is that only 10% of workers on agency teams are people of color.
So each person brings a different perspective into a project. Which is why I think you have to, at this point in time, truly strive to create a diverse creative team. And if you don’t have diverse teams, you have to work harder at it. You have to dig harder, you have to dig deeper.
You have to find diversity. Which is why people are hiring specifically to diversify teams — because they work better. It’s proven. There’s a ton of articles out there about how some of the best work is done by the most diverse teams. One of the reasons I decided to start my own independent creative agency was because of this initiative.
Nonette: Can you talk about some of the projects you’ve worked on that involved a diverse group of collaborators and designers?
Justin: I’ve worked with some highly talented and diverse teams over my career. It’s probably no surprise, but some of my favorite and best work was produced with these teams. The ones that stick out the most are Apple, Pluto TV, Walmart, and Vurbl. Each of those creative and development teams were very broad.
Nonette: What inspired you to start your own agency?
Justin: I listened to my heart and my gut. I had reached a point in my career where I felt unsettled with the work I was doing. I wanted the ability and flexibility to work with creative professionals of all backgrounds from all over the world on designing products that will hopefully change the world or help people live better lives. I was truly seeking more meaning in what I was doing, and to accomplish this I had to first start by clipping my agency wings and going after the type of clients that spoke to me.
All of them want the same thing as I do — we want to create really dope products that can change the world and work with fun people at the same time.
A shortage of aluminum cans is crimping supplies of certain drinks, industry officials said.
“Aluminum cans are in very tight supply with so many people buying more multi-pack products to consume at home,” Coca-Cola spokesperson Ann Moore said Wednesday in an email.
Can manufacturers announced plans to build at least three factories within the next 18 months, but that won’t solve the immediate supply issues.
“The aluminum beverage can manufacturing industry has seen unprecedented demand for this environmentally friendly container prior to and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Aluminum Association, an industry group representing the metal’s manufacturers, said in a statement. “Many new beverages are coming to market in cans, and other long-standing can customers are moving away from plastic bottles due to ongoing environmental concerns around plastic pollution. Consumers also appear to be favoring the portability and storability of cans as they spend more time at home.”
Source: USA Today
1) Why is outside dining and drinking considered safer?
In an outdoor space, “there would generally be much more air movement, so particles containing the virus would dissipate faster,” he told me.
2) What counts as “outdoors”?
“I think large tents with a top and open sides can still be called outside. In hotter climates and on sunnier days, the shade protection is necessary for comfort and sun protection,” Gloster said. “Air can still circulate freely in those environments.”
3) Are we putting staff at risk?
Yes. The general rule is every time we expose ourselves to more people, we increase our risk to ourselves and to the people we come into contact with. This is why health directives have specifically said to minimize nonessential trips and contact with other people.
4) What can bars and restaurants do to keep patrons safe?
If you’re trying to assess whether the restaurant you’re considering eating at is taking precautions seriously, distanced tables, masked staff, and enhanced sanitation measures are all hallmarks to look out for.
5) So how are we supposed to eat and drink with masks on?
“Keep your mask on while waiting for your food, take it off and eat, and then put it back on when you are done is the best strategy,” she said. “Make sure that you put your mask away and not just on the table unless you have sanitized it or you feel it’s a clean surface.”
6) Who should we be eating with?
The ongoing advice from health officials has been that the people we live with — families, roommates, significant others — are the only people we should be interacting with. That’s because we share the same environments and risk levels with said people and, ideally, have open communication about things like commutes, essential trips, etc., that we are taking.
7) What’s working in South Korea? And can it work here?
One of the things South Korea has been able to do well is not only get its citizens to buy into the social distancing measures, but also supplement that with robust and extensive contact tracing — essentially testing as many people as possible who were in contact with someone who was sick.
A new study from UCLA reports that since the start of the pandemic, 83 percent of the Asian American labor force with high school degrees or lower has filed unemployment insurance claims in California — the state with the highest population of Asian Americans — compared to 37 percent of the rest of the state’s labor force with the same level of education.
At the same time, new research shows that discrimination against Asian Americans is surging. More than 2,300 Asian Americans had reported bias incidents as of July 15, according to the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, or A3PCON, which hosts the self-reporting tool Stop AAPI Hate.
The UCLA report, published last week, examined the impacts of the coronavirus on the Asian American labor force in California. It revealed that disadvantaged Asians working in service industries have been “severely impacted.”
Researcher Paul Ong, who worked on the report, said that beyond pervasive service industry struggles, he believes people are abandoning Asian establishments because of biases.
“This is why racializing COVID-19 as ‘the China virus’ has profound societal repercussions. We have seen this in the increase in verbal and physical attacks on Asians and in material ways in terms of joblessness and business failures,” he said in an interview.
Source: NBC News
Charlamagne Tha God is headed back to television: The host of the massively successful radio franchise The Breakfast Club is getting his own talk show on Comedy Central, Vulture has learned. Details are still being worked out, but the new series will be a weekly half-hour with a focus on current events and cultural issues. There’s no firm timetable for when it will premiere, but the goal is to get it in production by November’s election.
Charlamagne was already hosting Breakfast Club on New York radio when he landed at MTV, but he says McCarthy saw the TV potential in him long before he was a national success. “Giving me a TV deal, almost ten years ago, didn’t really make any sense,” Charlamagne says. “I was a radio guy. It’s easy to say, ‘You know what? I think Charlamagne Tha God needs a talk show’ now. But almost ten years ago for him to have that vision, that did a lot for me. A lot of my success right now is because of those looks that I got on MTV2 and Viacom at the time.
Raymond Orosa and his family were having dinner at Carmel Valley restaurant Lucia. “We were there just celebrating, having fun,” said Orosa.
The fun quickly disappeared as the man at the table next to them began ranting. “Suddenly I hear this loud voice, you know like f’ing Asians,” said Orosa.
Michael Lofthouse gave the family the finger, then said, “Trump’s gonna f— you. You f—— need to leave. You f—— Asian piece of s—-.”
“He was full of hate and anger,” said Orosa. “It’s sad that there are still people that are like that in this world, let alone in this country,” he continued.
A Lucia employee quickly stepped in. “Get out, you are not allowed here. You do not talk to our guests like that. They are valued guests. Get out!”
Source: ABC 7