Sunday, May 31, 2020

the signs

I took pictures yesterday and this morning of protest signs, sodden, heartfelt.
Still legible.
Still piercing and true.






emergency alert

What a day Saturday.
In a week of days.
I was writing, so I kept an eye on the George Lloyd protests downtown, on Twitter and Facebook.
I want to stress that everything I saw online looked crowded, passionate, and peaceful.
Around 4.15 I packed up to make the long walk back to my neighborhood, sloshing along in heavy rain down Westlake towards downtown. I'd put my phone on airplane mode since the battery was low and I wasn't sure if I'd run into the protest.I was pretty sure it was around 4th and Pine and maybe the freeway along Madison so even though I was curious, I didn't think I'd see much.
Near Westlake and Denny, the sidewalk suddenly got busier with crowds of people walking away from dt. I smelled gas.
I turned my phone on and immediately got a siren and emergency alert. Then another.
*
Time to re-route. I went back to Terry and walked parallel to Denny, eventually cutting over to Denny just before Fairview. Denny was a parking lot. Rain continued to gush from the sky. I saw a 62 bus heading up the hill, way off its route.
As I walked uphill a couple of groups of young white guys in black masks passed me hurrying down. With this area's history of violent protest, it was worrisome.
I ran into a few more groups of guys up near Broadway and Denny. Two #2 buses passed me, also way off their routes.. One said "Sorry, Bus is Full" or something on the front.
Police cars blocked most of the intersections into downtown.
I had a dinner order waiting at Lost Lake so I walked down Broadway, taking pictures of signs. A girl stood on the corner of Broadway and Pine talking about the protest, crying. Other groups of protesters were walking, talking, calm but definitely not lingering.
I stood in the rain outside of Lost Lake at 6pm, talking through masks to a delivery driver while we waited for food. The streets were eerily mostly empty by now.
The intersection at 12th and Pine, where the police precinct is, was barricaded and had cop cars, lights flashing, stationed at each corner.
*
At home. I caught up on the news, watched a livestream of downtown and the devastation. Cars burned and charred, a man with a stolen SPD gun, kids pepper sprayed, Nordstrom on fire.
I heard that violence came up the hill to Melrose and Pine, but an early walk this morning showed mostly quiet, with Amazon Go boarded up but open.
A couple walked past me down Pike, armed with trash grabbers, on their way downtown to help clean up.


Saturday, May 30, 2020

let us stand together

The last couple of days have been so painful. News of another and yet another black person executed. No action taken until videos are leaked or protesters take over the streets.
The White House on lock down last night.
My own neighborhood the scene of chaos.
I want personnel change in November, yes I do.
I want systemic change.
But this isn't about me.
Please watch this powerful, motivational, emotional Killer Mike talk.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

at the point

I've felt so frustrated this week. A couple of people in my life have given me advice on how I should be feeling about the pandemic and lockdown and life, and I'm not here for it.
*
I can't change how I'm feeling. I can change how I react to it, but that's for me to decide.
*
I wish many days that I'd hear from the younger members of my family, but they don't seem to understand this part of being in a family. That a kind, unsolicited word would mean something, everything, that it would be so welcome, that on some days it is nearly necessary.
And yet, no. Nothing.
I guess one's future looks bleak when there are more years ahead of you than behind you, but who's to say where any of us is on the continuum?
A week ago, my uncle's life ended abruptly and I thought today, did he know, this time last week? Did he have an inkling that it was his last day on the planet?
The last time I saw him was at my grandmother's funeral dinner, sitting at a table among family, yukking it up.
*
Today, I popped into the liquor store down the block for bitters. A sign on the door instructs anyone wearing a mask to go stand in front of the security camera for a second, mask down, before shopping.
I hadn't thought about the conundrum of masks and security.
Privilege.
The three of us inside dutifully pulled down our masks, stared at the overhead camera, then put them back up and commenced the awkward dance of navigating the narrow aisles of liquor. Behind the counter, the Sikh clerk waited. Off to the side, a delivery person waited too, bored.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

breathe deeply

Did you know moss can look like this? Taking a brief break from all-virus-all-the-time to share a photo of this lush layer on the Olympic Peninsula. The earth's lungs taking a deep breath. Yes.

Monday, May 25, 2020

signs of the times Ballard edition

I took a 2+ hour walk through Ballard the other day.
A brief stop at Mighty O for coffee and an ill-advised donut and then onward, on a quietly cloudy Sunday morning.
It was a fresh shock to see all of the boarded up storefronts and closed establishments. While the neighborhood has been unforgivably bro-ed out during recent years, I have spent many happy days and nights having a drink at the Gerald or the Sloop, or seeing shows during Freakout Festival.
Market Arms (gone for good?)

The Sloop

Ocho

The Majestic Bay Theatre

Classic Consignment

Sunday, May 24, 2020

creatively speaking

I've seen a few schools of thought with regards to creating during a pandemic.
Some folks seem crazily productive. We have online music shows now, Broadway shows, late night TV, the Obamas reading story books and hosting virtual graduations.
Others complain of being unable to concentrate.
The journal I read for has seen a large uptick in apocryphal stories--some okay, most without enough distance or insight to make them interesting. (There's been an uptick in really gross and graphic stories too, which is worrisome. And not fun.)
I'm hanging in there writing-wise. Trying to be consistent and productive and also not shame myself if I can't do much more than write a line or 2, or post a picture, or reorganize some notes.
I'm stashing away content, like the daily blog posts, for later, when there's time to sit back, think, understand, contemplate.
We're too close to it. Too close. We're standing on the front steps of a 4-alarm blaze and the fire department hasn't arrived yet.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

speaking of dreams

This Capitol Hill mural has a dream/nightmare kind of quality.
Also, no covid-19 reference, which is kind of a welcome change from all the "messages of hope," tbh.
Goldsuit

Friday, May 22, 2020

art/pony

I haven't been sleeping very well lately.
Drift off late and wake up early.
Vivid, strange and sexual dreams.
The last couple of nights, some sadness, for my family and my uncle, dying alone in Florida.
Sometimes I just get up before my alarm chirps, and go for a walk.
*
This morning seemed particularly quiet. Rain had recently fallen. The birds were going nuts. (Is it me or are they bolder with the recent lack of humans?) Even the construction at Seattle U wasn't as loud and clangy.
I walked by Pony, a favorite pre-covid19 hangout with some of my funnest friends. We've had so many good times on the dance floor and drinking Long Island ice teas on the deck by the fire pit. I stood for a minute, looking, remembering. There were 2 mobiles hanging at two of the corners behind Pony.
It felt like a confluence of art and music and creativity.
13th and Union.


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

oh no (part 2)

It's been 24 hours of sadness, worry and frustration.
A 70-something family member passed away yesterday after a week of fever. Just collapsed in the bathroom, pronounced dead at the hospital.
Now the Volusia County medical establishment says they won't perform a covid-19 test, since the person's already gone. (But 2 people who were in the house subsequently have been told to quarantine.)
Is the lack of testing related to Florida's unforgivable fudging of pandemic numbers?
See this article from clickorlando.com.
And this one from floridatoday.com.
My relative was a passionate liberal and contrarian and I myself am no stranger to a good fight.
A cousin who's a medical provider is on it, too.
So, game on.
And fuck you, DeSantis.
We're going to make sure our fallen loved one is counted.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

oh no

Very sad family news tonight. I will wait to write more but we have lost someone very unexpectedly, possibly to the Rona.
Knowing they passed away alone and sitting here alone reflecting, both make me feel overwhelmingly sad.

Monday, May 18, 2020

in these challenging times....or sycophancy

As I've mentioned, the ads have caught up with COVID-19 times, and it's kind of wild.
Tide cares about me.
About home.
As does Advil. And Chipotle. And Verizon. And Vaseline.
Modelo and Corona and New Amsterdam vodka have messages of caring for me.
It's heartwarming.
PS: most of them deliver. At a discount.
It's gross.
It's capitalism!







Sunday, May 17, 2020

metro

So this is what Metro buses look like now. Blurry I know but life is blurry.
I hopped a bus yesterday for a few stops, exhausted from 3 hours of walking.
You enter and exit only from the rear (ADA excepted) and there are COVID-19 signs up warning you to stay back.
There's no fare collection.
The drivers wear masks.
Supposedly there is a passenger limit of something like 12 people on a regular bus and 18 on articulated but I fail to see how this will be enforced.
On my bus yesterday, there was a grand total of 3 passengers (on a busy route from the university to downtown). 2 of us wore masks. The 3rd sat in the wayback and stared menacingly ahead, unmasked.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

neighborhood update

I took an early morning jaunt today. There's more traffic again, on the sidewalk and the street.
More folks wearing masks but still fewer than 50%, if I had to guesstimate.
(Starting Monday the 18th it will be mostly mandatory in King County.)
Dogs seem friendlier. Maybe they're getting sick of their humans too? A couple of pooches gave me a friendly eye as I walked past.
It feels good when a dog smiles at you.
I did walk past a person masturbating under a blanket at the park.
I mean, really going at it. Not my favorite way to start the morning, but also, who am I to judge.
*
Down by Lake Union there was a constant flow of joggers, walkers and cyclists. Mask usage probably declined to about 30%.
I stopped in at Bartell's to try and buy thread but there were only 2 spools of heavy dark gauge, so I said thank you and continued walking.
The 2 clerks wore masks and warily said good-bye.
*
Friends and family check in every day or so, and the routine "How are you?" feels weighted and meaningless at the same time.
When will we be able to see family? The border is still closed, or at least mandatory 14 day quarantine so it may as well be closed.
And who wants Americans coming around, what with our obvious incompetence and even malfeasance?
One good pal was recently diagnosed with cancer, and I'm in awe of their equanimity in the face of what is truly a double whammy.
Another friend is hustling, selling art and making ends meet, somehow.
*
It's Blursday, someone wrote.
Indeed.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

this one hurts

News this weekend that our beloved Re-Bar won't be re-opening at its current location downtown.
We've known for awhile that Re-Bar was in jeopardy, a comforting dance oasis in a forest of condos and office towers.
Re-Bar was where you went on Sunday nights for Flammable, the longest-running house night in the country.
Re-Bar was where for many years my pals and I bought tickets for Dina Martina's Christmas and Easter shows, lining up an hour or more in advance of the door, sharing a joint and then rushing in to try and find good seats--close but not too close.
Re-Bar is where I found myself again after a deadening marriage, and where I met my current beau.
It was grimy and no-nonsense and you never knew who you'd see in the bathroom or the photo booth, but it was a safe space and I'll miss it forever.


Thursday, May 7, 2020

the anger

There is anger now, in recent friend and family chats.
At first, it was abstract. We were mad at the virus (knowing it made no sense but acknowledging it anyway).
Angry that our normal was no more.
That jobs evaporated overnight along with income, a sense of well-being, and expectations for the future.
We're all in this together, folkx kept saying.
(Now we're clearer: same boat, different situations.)
*
But, with the overwhelming failures at the federal level, the incomprehensible combination of incompetence and greed and self-aggrandizement, with all this, comes the anger.
Somehow our so-called leaders are accepting thousands of deaths per day as acceptable.
Accepting that rich-->richer and poor and middle class-->poorer.
Calling on us to sacrifice while they hide and bloviate.
It's disgusting and immoral and probably criminal.
Evicting these criminals from every office they hold and eventually holding them accountable must be our only goal.
*
In the meantime: survive, thrive, and connive.

still grindin'


Aviv Hummus Bar

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

do better Seattle

I passed some signs that made me feel sad, this past week. With all the bar and restaurant closures you think that would be enough of a kick in the pants.
But no!
Apparently people are breaking into establishments in search of (?) -- money or liquor?
Apologies for the blurriness of this pic at the Barrel Thief:

And here's a note from El Grito in South Lake Union:

Monday, May 4, 2020

all covid all the time

The newspapers/news are all covid all the time. It's informative and exhausting.
I read the Washington Post regularly:


CNN.com:


NPR:
I decided to screenshot newspaper "front pages" from this weekend from around the USA, and also Vancouver, London, Tanzania and Frankfurt.

Atlanta Journal Constitution

Dallas Morning News

Iowa City Press-Citizen

Idaho Statesman

LA Times

Miami Herald

NOLA.com

New York Times

Virginian-Pilot

Oregonian

Cleveland.com


The Times/London

The Guardian

Vancouver Sun

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Tanzania headlines/All Africa.com



bsp videos don't sleep on 'em