#WFH Diaries: Mike Van Linda and Fabiano de Queiroz of Wolfgang LA

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt lives across the globe, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're coping. Here's an update from Mike Van Linda and Fabiano de Queiroz, who started at Wolfgang LA right as the pandemic hit.

Give us one-line bios of yourselves.

Mike Van Linda: Father, husband, group creative director, pretend runner.  

Fabiano de Queiroz (aka, "Tatu"): Father, husband, group creative director, not a runner at all.

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

MVL: I'm in Hermosa Beach, Calif., with my amazing wife and (two) wonderfully devilish children,

Tatu: Redondo Beach, Calif. I live with my wife and two daughters.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

MVL: In a word, bizarro. We started at Wolfgang mid-pandemic. So, we've met most of our new colleagues via video chat. Despite the separation, it's become a sort-of bonding experience. When we eventually return to the office, I imagine it will be like meeting a bunch of pen-pals in person. Tatu and I both work in our (respective) garages. It's not ideal, but anytime the setup starts feeling like an albatross, I remind myself greatness is often born in garages. Still waiting for that bolt of lightning in mine.

Tatu: The situation is at least funny. We started in a new job and don't even know where we sit in the office. Everybody at Wolfgang is working from home. We do a status call every morning with the whole team and stay connected as much as needed. It's weird but seems like it's working well so far.

Describe your socializing strategy.

MVL: All the expected methods of the moment—FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc. One thing I look forward to each week is a recurring virtual happy hour with some college friends. Pandemic or not, meeting up would be impossible, as everyone is scattered about the country. But this moment has nudged us back together. It's amazing how quickly our conversations devolve into stupid college stories.

Tatu: I guess my family and I are feeling this whole social-distancing situation less than most. Of course we miss the in-person meet-ups with our close friends here in the U.S., but being from another country is an advantage in this case. We've been hanging out digitally with family and friends that are far away for years.

How are you dealing with childcare, if applicable?

MVL: VERY applicable. My wife also works full time. And we have two kids. So every day requires some new form of scheduling wizardry. Typically we work in shifts, alternating between job and kids. Fortunately my wife is a tremendous multitasker. She's like one of those Hindu deities with lots of arms. I don't know how she does it.

Tatu: I have two super well-behaved children. The girls are 10 and 12 years old and don't require much watching. They are always playing with each other and making some funny TikTok dancing videos.

What are you reading?

MVL: I've been reading Sapiens since B.C. (Before Corona). It chronicles the history of mankind and explores evolutionary concepts. It's eerily relevant to what's happening right now. Lately I've started rotating in Sneaker Wars for something lighter.

Tatu: Besides Covid-19 fake news on WhatsApp?

What are you watching?

MVL: An unhealthy amount of news, for sure. Recently I watched the BBC wildlife series Seven Worlds, One Planet, which is jaw-dropping. David Attenborough's voice is especially soothing right now. Probably shouldn't have let my 2-year-old watch, however. There's one scene where a polar bear (her favorite animal) attacks a pod of beluga whales. It's pretty intense. I can't wait for the new Beastie Boys documentary later this month.

Tatu: The Office. My wife and I brainstormed a little bit on which TV show we'd start all over and watch all the episodes from all seasons. Three seasons done already.

What are you listening to?

MVL: My music choices have become oddly strategic during lockdown. Probably a subconscious tactic to help quell the jitters that accompany these crazy times. Tons of classical music—Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven, etc. Nostalgic music from my youth—De La Soul, Blind Melon, Beastie Boys. I've always had a deep love for New Orleans music. So, lots of brass bands, Dr. John, Professor Longhair, Walter "Wolfman" Washington, and others. Laissez les bon temps roulez?

Tatu: I always find myself going back to listen to music from my home country, Brazil. There's this genre called Choro, which is mostly instrumental and, according to Wikipedia, it's considered the first characteristically Brazilian genre of urban popular music. I listen to that a lot, but every now and then I find myself binge-listening to Tim Maia. He's an incredible musician/songwriter who mixes a variety of musical genres, including soul, funk, bossa nova and rock 'n' roll. 

How are you staying fit?

MVL: Every weekend I'll ride my bike to Palos Verdes Peninsula, a hilly oasis at the southern end of L.A. overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The views from the cliffs are insane and the entire experience leaves me feeling fucking great. In truth, the benefits are probably more spiritual than physical. Aside from that, just chasing my kids around the house and going running.

Tatu: I'm not. Staying home only makes me want to eat whatever's in the fridge every five minutes.

Have you taken up a hobby?

MVL: Does binge eating Ben & Jerry's count? They're releasing a new, coronavirus-inspired flavor, "Chip Happens." Very excited. Aside from that, I've been channelling my inner Bob Vila and doing putzy stuff around the house.

Tatu: I already have painting as a hobby, but the funny thing is that since this whole thing started, I have worked on my paintings less than I used to. I still do paint but not by myself anymore. Instead of painting alone and listening to some Bossa Nova artist, I'm spending this time doing something creative with the kids. The last project was a 3-D cardboard version of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Done in three full days while listening to an endless Taylor Swift playlist.

Any tips for getting necessities?

MVL: I treat every trip to the grocery like a bank robbery. In and out in 90 seconds (I do pay for the food).

Tatu: Do everything online and don't get crazy. The Internet has everything you need, so why go to Cotsco? 

An awkward moment since all this started.

MVL: Interrupting my kids' preschool Zoom class to retrieve a file off my computer. Sorry, Miss Juli!

Tatu: The first day in a new job is always awkward to me. Imagine doing it through Google Hangouts.

Best work email you got since all this started.

MVL: My very first email welcoming me to Wolfgang (and confirming I still had a job).

Tatu: Yes, first Wolfgang email for sure.

An aha! moment since all this started.

MVL: Rediscovering a long-dormant love of puzzling.

Tatu: The moment my kids, wife and I came up with the idea of a museum of things we miss from the outside due to the quarantine. We have already done a few things like the Mona Lisa I mentioned earlier, a life-size drawing of my daughters playing soccer, and even a paper sculpture of a grocery's cash register. Everything is being displayed in the garage that it's now called "The Quarantine Museum."

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

MVL: Being an optimist by nature, I think great days lie ahead. The entire world is recalibrating itself right now. I'm hoping we see a newfound respect for the environment, for each other, and a surge of creativity and innovation. Also, come November, I think we'll see a lot of write-in ballots for Joe Exotic.

Tatu: To be honest, I'm not really thinking too much ahead. I'm focused on the new job and to get the family everything they need.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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