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Isolated Incidents: Day 666

I’m not gonna lie…this week has not been easy. In fact, it’s kind of sucked. We got our stimulus money on Monday (direct deposit, so we didn’t have the pleasure of receiving a T%*#p signature). A lot of people are still waiting for this important money–no matter how paltry it is in the grand scheme–because the pussygrabber-in-chief insisted that the Treasury stamp his illegible scrawl on each check. But you already know that.

So, how are you holding up? It’s getting old, huh? I’m not here to complain, because my family and me are in a much better place than a lot of people. But I am going a little stir crazy. It took a while, but I guess Groundhog Day Syndrome has finally taken hold. It actually hit me on Easter Sunday…

We woke up and hid some eggs and did the whole thing (honestly, I’m not comfortable telling my children that a giant bunny comes during the night and hides a bunch of eggs we leave for him–like, what the fuck is that all about? I just let my wife take the lead on that). When we finished, I called my brother, since it was his birthday, and after I got off the phone I remember it being about 11:30 a.m., and I sat on our old red couch in the garage and thought to myself, “Now what?” And I ran down the list of possible things to do, and it was the same list of things I’d been doing for the past three weeks.

Some of this anxiety has to do with the fact my partner, a teacher, is back to work (again, very fortunate!), which leaves me with our two kids basically all day. Now, I’ve been a stay-at-home dad for years. I’m used to this type of schedule. But now we can’t leave the house, save for an occasional walk around the neighborhood. The jobs that got me out of the house–DJing and working at a music venue–are no longer there to help break up the monotony. My patience is dwindling. I’m tired. It’s difficult to get any writing done, because once my wife is done with her work day I’m too mentally exhausted to do anything but decide whether or not to have a beer. The answer is usually “yes.”

My “taking it day by day” and “living in the moment” approach–which has helped me cope, is now just the cliche it’s always been (I’d kill to be able to watch a baseball game and hear a player say these lame phrases right now). I’m even at the point where “hanging out” with friends via Zoom or FaceTime has lost its novelty. And my occasional live-streaming DJ sets–designed to entertain myself and connect with others–have become just an exercise (as has watching others). The days drag on forever, while the weeks continue to blindingly whoosh by.

I know everyone is experiencing similar feelings–and, in many cases, with a lot more stress piled on top. Add to that, the grim news of the toll this virus is having on our already fragile and divided country. It’s hard. We’ve hit a tipping point. We’re all going a little crazy. We won’t be returning to normalcy anytime soon. Right now I’m choosing to deal with it by unloading a stream-of-consciousness mess of words, with no resolution. And I ended up complaining. But all of this is only temporary…right?

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Isolated Incidents: School’s Out For…the Foreseeable Future

My kid will be defacing books and desks in no time. Right?

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Isolated Incidents: TGIWTF Edition

We’re more than two weeks into this thing…with, I’m guessing two months to go until we reach any semblance of normal life. If I think about it in those terms, my heart sinks and my brain turns mushy. But, if I stick with the cliches “take it day by day” and “live in the moment,” I tend to do all right. I sure hope you’re taking care of yourself in whatever ways work best.

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the few positives to come out of this ordeal is people finding creative ways to pass the time. For me, I’ve been doing live DJ sets with my son…err, DJ Cool Carl, and I just did a loose, late-nite solo set this week that was a total blast (see the vid below to get a taste; I’ll probably do another next week). I’ve also found solace in this here website. I re-fired up The Days of Lore back in February with the intention of simply having an outlet for my writing that doesn’t involve hard deadlines, or any parameters for that matter, but it’s become a savior for me during this period of social distancing.

I have some interviews ready to run here in the coming weeks (gotta find a good transcription service, because transcribing an hour interview, for me, is a 12-hour endeavor that crushes my soul). I’m really excited, too, because while the conversation inevitably touches on the current situation, I’ve also engaged in some incredible conversation about art, life and being human.

I planned on running my interview with Old 97’s vocalist/guitarist Rhett Miller this week, but due to time constraints, it’ll go live next week. Also on the docket: A conversation with Prids bassist/vocalist Mistina La Fave that’s already in the can. Mistina is a riot, a killer bassist, speaks her damn mind, and she’s been navigating the male-dominated music world for more than two decades. I’ll also talk to Chico News & Review Editor Melissa Daugherty about the future of the paper, the importance of strong community journalism, and I’m sure a lot more. I had an interview set up with Deadspin founder and sports and entertainment writer Will Leitch that got derailed once he realized he was going to have to essentially homeschool his kids, but we’ll get that back on the schedule ASAP. Plus, more to come! I am fearless in my quest to request interviews.

So yeah…we’re all doing the best we can, eh? I hope this space provides a little diversion for you like it does for me. Stay tuned. It’ll be fun.

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Isolated Incidents: Day…what day is it again?

My family and I continue to hunker down–like everyone is supposed to. Bartered beer for toilet paper with our friends/neighbors yesterday. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown finally announced a shelter in place order Monday, most likely as a response to the bozos that flooded small rural and beach towns over the weekend as their way of social distancing. We’re trying to do takeout once a week from local restaurants to help them weather this unprecedented storm. The fed and local governments better get those emergency stimulus packages passed before the natives get restless, and we have to deal with a whole new set of problems.

The Days of Lores.

Mostly, I want to say thank you to my mom for approaching her boss yesterday about her concerns about continuing work at the grocery store she’s been with for years. They happily laid her off so she can collect unemployment, and sent her off with a small party and a bunch of beer and toilet paper. Thank you, mom, for taking this seriously. Happy retirement. I love you. I’ll listen to some Billy Squier and drink a beer in your honor today.

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Isolated Incidents: Day ???

We’re very early into this thing, but I will say I’m impressed by the creativity people are showing in order to get through it. I’m hopeful some good will come of this. Isn’t that right, Jack?

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Isolated Incidents: Day 2

2019 was a lot cooler than 2020.

Or is it day 3? Anyway, Tuesday was a roller coaster, as I’m sure the days will continue to be. Before you know it it’s 9 o’clock at night, and you’re deciding between going to bed or having another cocktail(s), or perhaps…yes, cocktail it is.

I will say this–our family has been good about hanging out and being present (although I’m still working on fighting the urge to read the news, or scroll social media). We’re even implementing some of our son’s school activities (like journaling, sharing, and storytime) at home. I hope at the very least this time together will bring us closer. And I sincerely mean that. That said, I found out that our kid will be home from school for at least a month, and my wife, who’s a teacher, will be out until April 28. We’re going to fucking kill each other. And I’m sure I will be the first to go…I hope my family will have the decency to let me choose my fate.

I’m not panicking, but I do worry people still aren’t taking this seriously…mostly because I just read that as the virus continues to spread, fewer people (mostly those who think science and math are dumb) view it as a serious threat. Yes, true to form, Americans will not learn their lesson until someone close to them dies on a tower of Charmin Ultra Strong (only $38.88 for 24 rolls on eBay).

Others’ stupidity frightens me more than the pandemic steadily consuming our country. Get your shit together! Stay home and stress-drink like a responsible American! Think about it: To keep yourself and others safe, all you have to do is practice being a lazy American. For chrissakes we can’t even get that right.

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Isolated Incidents

Since we’re all (hopefully) practicing “social distancing” I thought I might try and do a semi-daily report from TDoL HQ. Maybe every day if it doesn’t become too monotonous, which I assume at some point it will. I’ll try and keep it light, but no promises. And certain posts might focus on specific things, rather than a blow-by-blow. Ugh…I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing.

I’m not gonna lie, today wore me down a little. A lot of people out of work (myself included), the fear that some businesses may not recover, a looming recession–it’s left me feeling a little scared. Even the interviews I had scheduled this week, small bright spots in all of this, were postponed (understandably) due to the effects of this pandemic.

I went shopping early in the day, and the Trader Joe’s in Clackamas wasn’t too insane–about the typical traffic for a weekday, and shelves were well-stocked, save for toilet paper and paper towels. To that I say, “What the fuck is wrong with people?” Through normal shopping trips we have plenty of TP. And if we run out and don’t have access to more, I will take my dump and jump in the shower and scrub my ass like a normal person. Although, look at my dumb ass: Later in the day I panic-purchased more alcohol after Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced the closure of all bars and restaurants (except takeout orders) for four weeks. Priorities.

We made the best of the day, hanging out in the sun, playing with the kids and drinking beer–if we’re going to be isolated, we might as well make the best of it, right? My mother-in-law came over, which I advised against since she falls in the category of having a compromised immune system. I hope we don’t regret this decision.

I also hope in the coming weeks we have a clearer picture of what we’re dealing with…or we’re all going to run out of kids activities or, more importantly, booze. Hang in there, friends. Take care of each other. Hopefully a return to levity tomorrow. 

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Stay Strong

To say we’re living in crazy times is an understatement at this point. Aside from the usual day-to-day political madness, we are dealing with an escalating pandemic. Now I’m not here to add to the hysteria around COVID-19, but we should take the precautions seriously. Especially for those most susceptible to getting sick.

Personally, I’m trying to not be overly paranoid, but I also don’t want to be flippant about the severity of the virus. And because the information on the Coronavirus is changing so quickly, I’m really relying on basic common sense–avoiding large crowds when possible (this is, of course, has essentially been mandated in some states), working on not touching my face, and washing my hands more often. This will help alleviate the spread of the virus.

If we’re not smart about it now this will affect more and more people, even those who are young and healthy. It’s already affecting people’s livelihoods, and the financial harm will likely wreak more havoc than the virus itself. Be smart. Be compassionate toward others. Listen to your doctor. Listen to your local government. Read trusted news sources (while keeping in mind that the information available is constantly changing). And stay strong.

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Happy Birthday, Mark In the Dark

My friend Mark Arnone would have been 47 today. He was the OG DJ Mark In the Dark and, as you can see, a massive KISS fan. In fact, that’s how we met in high school. I was drawing Gene Simmons on my notebook, and he saw it, and that was it. We did all kinds of degenerate things together. We went to a bunch of KISS shows. I was the best man in his wedding. Mark died too soon–only 36–and that is only amplified the older I get. I miss him. Happy birthday, friend.

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“Night and Day”

My 5-year-old and I are coming up with some avant-garde compositions that push all boundaries, and are going to leave critics absolutely speechless. Sort of a blend of John Cage and The Fall meets Glass Houses-era Billy Joel. Wrap your head around it if you can.