A 1991 Flyer, Scanned.

Took this off the wall of either the venue or the vegan co-op house where the afterparty happened.

The official setlist

LOVE AUDITORIUM, DAVIDSON COLLEGEDavidsonNC

SET 1The Landlady > Runaway JimIt’s Ice > SparkleChalk Dust TortureEsther > Cavern > Rhombus Narration > Divided SkyI Didn’t KnowYou Enjoy Myself

SET 2David Bowie[1]Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous MockingbirdGolgi ApparatusBathtub GinThe Squirming Coil > LlamaHold Your Head Up > Terrapin[2] > Hold Your Head UpPossum

ENCOREHornMy Sweet OneSweet Adeline[3]

[1] Four Charlie Chan signals and Popeye, Simpsons, Oom Pa Pa, and Random Laugh signals in the intro. The band responded to Popeye signal by singing a random note.
[2] Fish sang only one out of every few words.
[3] Without microphones.

Terrapin was announced as the “restrained version” and Fish as the “Master of Restraint.” In response, Fish sang only one out of every few words to the song. Trey also clarified during the show that Colonel Forbin is not to be mistaken for Colonel (Bruce) Hampton. Bowie was preceded by a Funk #49 tease. The Bowie intro included HYHU teases, four Charlie Chan signals and Popeye, Simpsons, Oom Pa Pa, and Random Laugh signals. The band responded to the Popeye signal by singing a random note, which is the Random Note signal’s “secret language.” Trey teased Dave’s Energy Guide in Possum. Sweet Adeline was performed without microphones.

N1 Hot Takes fm a Phish Dick’s Noob

Newness! What’s this? Who’s that? Waaa??? Huh!

10th Anniversary for the band, and many phans. A first trip for yours truly.
  • Two miles to the venue? Sure, I’ll walk. Suburban North Denver; the sun; almost no food or grocery stores; more sun; there it is, just beyond this empty field! Whew… made it.
  • Vax check line: a bit long, moved very fast, barely barricaded and no security (easy to cut past the one person checking cards/IDs)… done in 6 minutes.
  • Shakedown? Keep hearing the word but no idea where it sprouted.
  • Gates open, line moving! That’s a fast line. OK, I’ll jump in.
  • Much faster than Shoreline…
  • “Take your ticket out of your laniard.” Hmm, OK. Whaaaaat?! She just marked my PTBM art with a sharpie! Damn. They all have sharpies at the gate. WTF? Doesn’t your scan cancel the ticket?
  • An English themed sports bar at the stadium. OK. Fish and chips? Nah. Chicken pie and chips?! Why yes, thank you.
  • Hmm, where did my bottle of water go? And my hand sanitizer? Oops!
  • Dick’s is a soccer field. The pitch is covered with plastic flooring. Guess they have a machine that rolls it out.
  • What?! Purchased water and no cap? Hate that. I’ll hide it under the disabled seating area.
  • Woah! There’s Tom Marshall, drinking a Coors. I ask the Bryce crew if any of them know him. None do. I just glance from a distance at the “mighty legend formed”.
  • That was a fun “Carini”.
  • “Chalk Dust” not my favorite, but I wandered up to the rail (the barrier at the stage) Page side, stood behind the folks getting the lyrics signed to them from two folks, and actually enjoyed it.
  • Ack! The cigarette smoke. Everywhere. Must avoid it. Wander. Think of a place. Oooh, here’s an open area where I can take off the mask. Annnd, about 6 smokers all around. Ahhhh, here’s a seat Page side with no one around. Fresh air at last!
  • Where did the Bryce crew go? Cannot find any of them. Phone not working well. Hover outside Gate E away from a second line band (and too closely packed people). No word from my ride back. I start walking….
  • Hello, hotel room. That cool walk back much nicer than the sunny one…
  • Chill with boring TV….. read a little…. zzzzzzzzz…..

Never Underestimate a Water Balloon Slingshot

Then one of the guys I didn’t know asked, “You think we can hit the wrestlers with a balloon?” The general response was, “There’s no way one of us can shoot a ballon that far. Let’s try it!”

After over 30 years, I think I can safely tell this story to the public. During my sophomore year at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC, I almost got a beat down Mid-Atlantic Wrestling style. Some details, and names, are hazy, but there are parts I’m retelling that I will never forget.

One lazy afternoon, most likely in 1989, I had nothing to do on the Wofford campus. A freshman, I think named Bill, asked me if I’d like to check out a guy’s water balloon slingshot. I’d never heard of that kind of slingshot before, so instantly said “Yes!” We walked over to the Wightman dormitory, which had open hallways, like a motel, that faced into campus on one side and over the shared parking lot of the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium on the other.

We walked up about four flights on the auditorium side and saw two or three Wofford guys standing around a marvelous apparatus. The water balloon slingshot was basically surgical tubing, most likely stolen from the science lab, tied off of two vertical support posts, with some kind of pocket in the middle that held the balloons. These guys were slinging water balloons onto cars in the parking lot. I’d say the range was maybe a few hundred feet; about halfway into the fairly large parking lot.

It looked fun, so Bill and I tried a few to see how it worked. My try wasn’t that good: the balloon didn’t go that far into the lot and it totally missed what I was aiming at. “You’ll get better with practice,” someone told me.

At some point during our senseless fun, three pro wrestlers walked out of the back exit of the auditorium far up on the other side of the parking lot. I only remember the two legends: Roddy Piper and Ric Flair. We stopped slinging the balloons and had a moment of starstruck awe. Wrestling gods, in the flesh and just chatting behind the auditorium.

Then one of the guys I didn’t know asked, “You think we can hit the wrestlers with a balloon?” The general response was, “There’s no way one of us can shoot a ballon that far. Let’s try it!”

I cannot remember who pulled the slingshot back, possibly a second person helped, but I do remember that we opened a dorm room door to pull the slingshot further back to make the extra distance across the parking lot.

With no real way to aim, a direct shot on Piper and Flair was remote and against the odds. When the balloon was launched, we all watched with low expectations. It went past the middle of the lot where we were hitting cars. It kept going over the other cars, towards the exit where the wrestlers were talking. Then, the small dot of a balloon, most likely red or blue or white, headed directly looked to keenly home in on Ric Flair and Roddy Piper!

AND IT WAS A ONE IN A MILLION DIRECT HIT!

“Holy shit, you hit them!” someone shouted. 

As time slowed down, Piper and Flair literally didn’t know what hit them. The “punch” was wet and there were rubbery bits all over their splashed faces and clothes. Like they tend to do, Piper and Flair went from a friendly chat to being 100% pissed off. As we stood frozen hundreds of feet away and watched, they looked towards Wightman. From all that distance, they made eye contact with us.

“Take this slingshot down now!” one of us screamed. It was too late, because Piper and Flair were point at us and screaming. We couldn’t hear them, but I clearly saw what Flair’s mouth said: “We’re going to f—king kill you!!” 

“What the hell do we do?!” someone asked.

“Split up and hide! Run!” someone answered. 

As the wrestlers ran across the parking lot to beat our asses, and probably send us to the ER, we took the slingshot down and ran into one of the guy’s dorm rooms. What Piper and Flair didn’t know was that the Wightman rooms were in suites: four different rooms shared a toilet and shower in the middle. Fortunately, we ran into the room where the wrestlers knew we were and went on the other side of the dorm through another room’s open door.

We didn’t bother to explain to them what was happening, but did manage to tell them “don’t open the doors! Don’t open the doors!” We split up and I ran with Bill and a few guys that hastily pulled their dorm room keys out of their pockets. We ran down the hall into one of their rooms and hid. Maybe the other guy split off and went to his own room. I recall trying to hide under a bed, but it was a wooden bed frame like you see in hotels. Instead, we cowered in the dark and shut the hell up.

For a good 20 minutes, Piper and Flair (and the third guy) slammed on doors and yelled “Come out and get a beating, you bastards!” “We know who you are! We’re going to be waiting for you!” Eventually, after final threats and insults, they left.

Out of the group that I hid with, I was the only one that lived in another dorm. My peers weren’t going anywhere soon, but I had to leave at some point! My memory is vague, but I left well after dark. I may have changed into a shirt that Bill loaned me. I went down a different exit on the campus side and took a very long route to my dorm.

Looking over my shoulder and under every bush, I never saw Piper and Flair, and didn’t want to. I told myself that they wouldn’t hide behind bushes; they had better things to do. I didn’t take any chances during my fast walk and was glad that I got through that with my face and ribs intact.

***

I have told this story for years. You may not believe it, which makes sense. Like that moment when the launched balloon hit two wrestling legends, I still ask “how could that have possibly happened?” Yet when Ric Flair wiped the water and balloon bits off his face, tensed up in anger and screamed at being assaulted by a strange object, I’ll never forget what I thought: “That REALLY happened… and they’re going beat the shit out of us!” Did I learn a lesson form this experience? Beyond believing that miracles happen in twos, not really.

Free Poker Chips, a Band, and a Mini Casino Tour

If the Pandemic cooperates, Phish will continue their 2021 4.0 tour into the Fall. Starting Aug. 13, the band plays Atlantic City, and then will be at Harveys Casino in Stateline, NV starting Aug. 31. The Fall tour ends with a Halloween run in Las Vegas.

Ask anybody and they know that I love gifiting creative items to unsuspecting people. Over the past 20 or so years, I’ve given away stickers, posters, buttons, stencils, and other fun items. The fist sticker I ever made was the “Creativity Begins Within” for 2000 Burning Man, and I gave them all away. I love the concept of “Free” espoused by the San Francisco Diggers, and Burning Man is onto something with the ideal of giving it for nothing in return.

Then there is the ancient concept of Dana, practiced for centuries, which can be about giving just to feel the goodness of the act while expecting nothing in return.

When I saw that u/churchisweird and his wife were giving away poker chips (with fun band quotes and show details) at all the Phish shows in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, I got excited. A few Phish subredditors had already asked about the Harveys shows in Stateline, but u/churchisweird and his wife weren’t going to the shows.

Phish redditor u/churchisweird and his wife designed some great chips to give away at 7 different Phish shows! I was inspired to join in on the giveaway fun, and made two more sets for the Harveys NV shows.

I DMd him, told him I loved his idea, and said I’d give away chips for Stateline/Harveys if he wanted to make any. We started chatting, and he told me that he actually bought the chips from an online company (Chiplab). He wouldn’t be making any for Harveys. Along with the chip-making site, he also shared a great Phish resource for word searching songs to get money-themed hits within Phish’s original and cover lyrics.

We both agreed that giving away something to the community we love to be part of was a great idea. The good vibes of the idea kept piling up for me, and I happened to have some free time to poke around on Chiplab. After some trial and error with their simple graphic design interface, I had two chip designs for the two-night run at Harveys. I made sure to use a color and some Phish lyric quotes that u/churchisweird hadn’t used, and I ordered several dozens to get printed for my own free giveaway.

The 2021 Phish Casino Tour poker chip giveaway is complete! Now phans can possibly snag a chip from every run in a gambling town/city, and my two designs make 9 total chances to collect them all… if you’re lucky. 🙂

The chips were delivered this week, and are now ready to hand out to the lucky few in Stateline. I’m quite excited about this and hope that the shows don’t get postponed due to the current Delta wave of the Pandemic. My plan is to dress up as a Phish-themed croupier (ahem, a GROUPier, lol), with a vest, a bow tie, and my funny fish hats, and wander around a bit each day of the show to hand out some chips. I’ll take what’s left to the show each night.

The table is open and ready for play. Put your money where your mouth is and drop some goodness in your pocket. Time to feel that tingle that gifting gives, being present with each moment where a phan smiles, laughs, or wanders off a bit confused. Whatever happens, it’ll be all right….

Updated: Roger Waters and Friends Blew My Mind 31 Years Ago

Set up in what was literally a no man’s land months before (they even swept for landmines), I posed at a long remnant of the Berlin Wall with the official Roger Waters program (how did they make it so fast?) before going into the gates of the event.

I guess the Pandemic caused me to miss the 30th anniversary of Roger Waters performing the Wall in Berlin as promised. So I caught this year’s after seeing a post up on the Internet. I would say this was one of the craziest live music experiences I’ve ever had. The fact that I had an actual ticket, mailed to a travel agent in Greenville, SC, helps make the whole thing feel more real.

Thank you, Richard Young, wherever you are!

I still have that program, along with the t-shirt (XL, doubt I’ll ever wear it again) and the paper mask hand-out they gave us to hold up at a point in the show. In good timing, I just visited back East and got to pull out my memorabilia from the show. My mom has always kept articles for me to read, so one of these photos has the clippings she took from the two local newspapers (both AP reports, but one was longer than the other).

I recently bought a used CD of the show, but must admit I haven’t watched the video in a while. After finding this link below, I got sucked into the amazing spectacle once again and watched it all the way through. This version of “Mother” is the go-to version I always listen to when the ear worm hits. And it is still quite powerful to hear the masses roar when the staged wall comes down.

After posting the stub on Facebook, I decided to write out the adventure that started when the Post Office delivered my subscription copy to Rolling Stone. Once the travel agent made that phone call to NYC (or it could have been London), everything worked out and we lived to tell the tale. I’ve lost touch with Virginia, the person I knew who, prior to this Berlin weekend, let me crash under her sink in a small dorm room in Innsbruck. I am glad she and her friend (cannot remember much about her) had the patience of a mountain to get through that crazy weekend!

This very lucky adventure all started with a subscription to Rolling Stone, where I read a short article about this concert. I knew someone from college who would be in Innsbruck, and she and a friend were down to go. I had no idea how to work out a way to get to the show, and that puzzle piece was found when my mom suggested I talk to a travel agent she knew. I think his name was Richard Young. He was a “let’s make it happen” person, so got on the phone with a ticket broker and literally lied his way into getting me 3 tickets for the event. He booked a hotel room in Berlin, early enough to get one of the last rooms available (1000s were sleeping in the parks and train stations the night of the concert). He even got us train tickets with reserved seats (the train was packed to the ceiling when it arrived in Berlin). I knew this show was going to be insane, so we got there early and grabbed a spot by a sound tower. Good thinking, since most of the crowd got pushed around on and off during the now free-for-all show. That was about 200,000 people! The two people with me were not used to going to shows, but understood the “do not move so we can go to the toilet and find the tower to get back together.” The sea of pushing scared them, but folks around us were so nice and helped protect them. The show was an insane spectacle, complete with a full marching band and dozens of “drones” building the wall. When the wall came down, the joy of the masses was powerful. We were exhausted afterwards and had to catch a train back to Innsbruck very early the coming morning. We walked over 100s of people sleeping in the train station to get to our train. We slept well that day back in quiet Innsbruck!

Celebrate People’s History gets 2nd Edition (2020)

“The new Celebrate People’s History poster book is printed, and it looks beautiful! There are 202 posters included in this new edition, an expanded intro, and a new foreword by the amazing Charlene Carruthers. Drew Stevens at the Feminist Press did a fabulous job on the design.” – Josh MacPhee

Support Josh MacPhee, Celebrate People’s History, and Justseeds by pre-ordering the 2nd edition copy of this great book here on the Justseeds website.

In 2010, I blogged the backstory of creating a poster for the 2010 edition of “Celebrate People’s History.” Working on the poster goes as far back as 2006, with artist Mark Cort, about a somewhat forgotten slice of South Carolina colonial history: the Stono Rebellion. I researched the event, cut the stencil, and wrote the text while Mark handled the illustration and layout. The art was in pieces which Josh kindly took and scanned and assembled into a nice CPH poster.

I got an email from Josh earlier this year with the news that the book was getting a second edition publication. He asked for autobiography blurb updates, with more news to be coming soon. Turns out the book will be released early August. I was honored to be in the first book, and glad there will be more posters to discover in this edition. And I’m still fascinated by the events that occurred at the Stono River in 1739, along with the event’s reverberations that can be felt today.

The CELLspace now on FoundSF

Even a sliver of a photo can easily identify CELLspace’s Main Space entrance.

The unit also had a tiny window in their bathroom that looked out into the screen-printing shop. In the quieter moments, they would gaze out the bathroom window and watch the T-shirts dry. They would imagine a better world. A world with art. A world with community. One morning, the window showed the business moving out down in the warehouse. – From the CELLspace FoundSF page.

Last August, Chris Carlsson asked me to write something about the CELLspace “Blurb,” a short-lived tabloid newspaper brochure that I helped Jonathan Youtt make in the height of the Dot Com boom. Chris sent me the pdfs of the scan he had made for the FoundSF project, and I struggled to remember as much as I could about the “Blurb”. I even managed to create a draft, but never liked it and didn’t have much to say about this paper version of the cell website.

Once the Shelter In Place order hit for the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris started working on his FoundSF backlog, which included my shelved draft for the CELLspace project. He got back in touch with me, this time letting me know that CELLspace didn’t even have a proper page. With Chris being more active regarding what he needed, I spent about six weeks helping him grab photos, videos, and text for CELLspace’s FoundSF page.

Jonathan Youtt helped flesh out details, especially the end of the history, and source photos and videos. Skot Kuiper gave me advice on which episodes of cell.tv to link up there. I also incorporated text from Devin Holt’s 2013 “Obituary for CELLspace“, appreciating his doing work then for what I was trying to remember now. I’m glad I got to talk briefly about this page with one of the co-founders and three caretakers of the cell. And I even worked in a paragraph about the “Blurb”!

Any mistakes or omissions in the FoundSF post are my own. Any corrections can be sent to me via reply or DM. Chris always appreciates other voices and recollections, so here’s to this version of the new page.

COVID19 Diaries – Many Small Ponderings

A Tweet Blog for Future Reference

Happy 150th Golden Gate Park! Skystar wheel looking forlorn, but folks all over the place on this sunny day. Biking through felt much safer.

Blown away by a 100-year-old bee hive in a 200(+)-year-old house’s wall. Swarm leaves when queen dies but they usually come back.

Saddened at the thought of a young boy, ignored and locked in his room.

Will 8pm be the next world-wide scream moment? Will it replace New Years Eve?

I have recently asked myself, “What would Octavia Butler do?”

Always enjoy the Reddit photos of stuff people are digging out of storage.

Those health care workers facing the MAGA idiots’ car protest… our Tiananmen Square photo moment.

Right-wingers willing to die for the free market. Willing to kill others for capitalism. No surprise there!

I’m still not comfortable wearing a mask in public. I keep wanting to run from riot cops but only looking for the goat milk in the market’s cooler.

The four things always on my shopping list: dark chocolate, avocados, peanut butter, and wipes.

Woah. Michael Savage has a PhD in nutritional ethnomedicine (including epidemiology) and thinks MAGAcult science-deniers are wingnuts. 

Last night, I just didn’t want to participate in the zoom call. I’m here without you, so you can’t make me!

Low-carb mousse: whipping cream, chocolate powder, a little vanilla. Make sure you whip the chef while they whip the mix to hard peaks.

Seeing lots of past thinking posted online. I’ve been scanning my old paper ticket stubs and enjoying the ride.

You know I’m snacky when you see all the nut-butter stained spoons in my sink.

I spent some of my COVID-19 subsidy money supporting local book stores. I now have to track a package from USPS, FedEx, and UPS all at the same time. 

I usually only bike to get somewhere or do something. My pandemic rides have been towards the sun, here, there,  checking out crowds and grocery store lines.

I do not miss all the tech commuter buses, or the piles of Lyft/Uber cars. Looks like the birds don’t either.

Should I feel guilty throwing away a bag of clothes left behind on the street?

Golden Gate Park looked like a normal busy day this afternoon. The Skystar wheel wasn’t on, and no tourists were around. Don’t walk there if you’re anxious about distancing.

Eat that strawberry like it is the last thing you’ll ever taste!

Learned to play Lennon’s “Imagine” on the guitar. Loved having my Sweetie sing along with me.

A Howze man without a vacuum cleaner is like lemonade without the sugar. Sad day when the 1960s Electrolux’s on switch died. Here’s to a new vac this week!

I never thought I’d begin my day by wiping down high-touch surfaces. Now looking forward to the weekends when I don’t have to wipe down the work station.

Have had most meals at the table with my Sweetie. We thank the farmers/laborers, the animals, the plants, and the folks at the market or restaurant every time.

Buying meals from local places about every four days, including cocktails and portions large enough for several left-over meals.

I’m ordering more things online, but still haven’t given Amazon a dime. Bezos is rich enough!

New things I’m trying: working out via zoom, baking, sardines. Baking sardines while working out is not an option.

Inspired by the “Catching ‘Trane” doc, we listened to 5 hours of Coltrane several Saturdays ago. 12 vinyl sides and two albums off of Hoopla.

I’ve hopped on the Twitter train (@Russell_Laughed) but am only posting content for two people. The Other Russell is the only audience I care about.

You know you’re sheltering in place when you get excited about the exercise up and down the stairs to take all the garbage, recycling, and compost out.

My plastic footprint has gone up. So has the frozen foods in our freezer.

Now that I’m on Twitter, these simple cut/paste ponderings will keep me going for weeks.

Should I not wear my hoodie for today’s zoom meeting? Maybe I put on the heavy metal concert denim jacket instead?

A few weeks ago, I noticed that I had four screens in front of me. Felt like I was in a Dave Eggers novel.

NY Times reporting that COVID may have hit California in January. Our office had a spat of deep-chested cough sickness in early/mid February. I got it and coughed for two weeks, but my Sweetie had no symptoms. A true thing to ponder [insert chin-scratching emoji].

COVID19 Diaries – Cars Hiss By My Window

What day is it?

My idol, Mrs. Kravitz, staring in and out windows during the classic sit-com “Bewitched”. “Abner! Did you see that…?”

As days and hours blur, I am possibly fortunate to have to stare at dates on screens to meet work deadlines. Some people are not as fortunate, so a nightly news segment in Cleveland has begun to remind people what day it is. Time has still become more fluid for me, even when attempting to keep a similar schedule that I had biking to work.

In the mornings, I now spend a good 20 minutes wiping down high-touch surfaces, which is half the flat, before reading my comics, stretching, and meditating. Then I eat breakfast with my Sweetie before clocking in around 9am to get the work day going. The schedule continues around noon for lunch and 5pm closing time for work. 

The difference is a bit obvious: I am keeping a schedule, but I don’t leave the house much. I’m not getting enough exercise or sun. I do go on bike rides that usually happen after sunset. Our apartment only gets direct sunlight in the kitchen and front windows, so my Sweetie tends to follow the sun like a cat with a zoom account. I have recently started taking breaks to stand in the sun, next to the 4 windows that let the rays in.

Which brings me to my ever present window gazing and loitering. Catching the zeitgeist, The Onion wrote a hilarious headline April 2: “‘They’re Doing Something to the Street,’ Reports Nation Staring Out Window.” That something was a work truck making a hole. Prior to the COVID-era pandemic, I spent a good deal of time staring out our windows. There is always something exciting going on out on Divis and Turk! My Sweetie started calling me Mr. Kravitz, after the always-nosy-and-staring-out-a-window Gladys Kravitz from 1970s rerun staple “Bewitched”. Though her husband Abner tended to not stare out the window, I do as part of my Mr(s). Kravitz avatar. 

You name it, I’ve probably seen it out our windows: DPW work, DPT work, car wrecks, fights, a drunk driver getting cheered on by dumb ass youngsters, drug addicts losing their minds, birds, trees, wind, rain, fire trucks, cleaning crews, etc. Just like Jim Morrison wrote, cars, buses, trucks, not only hiss by my window, they chug, whine, rattle, bang, rumble, and shake outside my window.

After COVID, the stories out my window are about the same with less cars and trucks, and a Lyft/Uber trickle rather than a stream. The absence of tech buses has made Divis more quiet and less polluted. Our building also doesn’t shake as much as it used to. Over the past few weeks, as the days and minutes melt into a consistency of grilled cheese, I’ve made a list of some things that have gone on outside my window. Some items are things I stared at prior to the pandemic, but worth mentioning. 

Mr. Kravitz’s COVID19 Window-Gazing list

  • blue skies, clouds, passing birds
  • sunrise over downtown and city lights at night
  • maintenance man across the street blowing off sidewalk more than he usually does
  • possibly the last 31 bus turning up on Turk before massive MUNI cutbacks
  • random angry screaming and arguing pedestrians (usually happens, happening right now!)
  • work crew spraying off parked cars (not sure why)
  • rain and water draining patterns down the hill
  • random aluminum beverage cans rolling down Turk, some getting crunched
  • other people’s TV sets
  • waiting for the delivery truck, and other delivery trucks off loading
  • the fascinating tapering off of tech commuter buses, Lyft/Uber, construction trucks, and the appreciated quiet it brings
  • sunsets behind the hill with painting-like colored clouds
  • water trucks (hosing down gutters) preceding sweep trucks instead of DPT ticket writers
  • sweep trucks on and noisy, but just driving by since cars don’t have to move
  • fnnch’s honey bear, before spring leaves cover up the view
  • pollen’s migration patterns
  • the masked, the avoidant, the groups larger than 2 people

COVID19 Diaries – The 2 New Sacraments

I was maybe 15 people in front of the great Chris Carlsson, but he shopped fast enough to exit with me. We caught up a bit as I walked to my bike (see the still-long line in background), which I locked at the earlier end of the line. Of course, we took a distanced selfie, and I got encouraged to write about this pandemic for the amazing FoundSF history wiki.

Wednesday, March 25

After a few visits to local markets, I had to visit the Rainbow Coop. I texted a friend who works there to ask a few questions. Rainbow has changed policies to respond to the pandemic, and to protect the worker/owners and customers. Entry is controlled, many of the bulk items are not available, and Rainbow sent out an email saying wait times can be up to 30 minutes. My friend said that midday is usually a good time to go, but the line wait can vary. They have also reserved the first few hours for folks over 60 and immune-compromised, and their hours have been cut back.

After a few days of trying to get there, I showed up around 2pm today. The line was around the corner on Folsom, just at the edge of 14th St. People were standing about six feet apart and the line moved somewhat regularly. Across the street at Food Co., the line looked about 20-people long. Rainbow was at least twice that long!

Fifteen minutes into my wait, a Rainbow worker/owner, masked and gloved, handed out this era’s new sacrament: hand sanitizer. The store had bought a large bulk supply of hand sanitizer made with natural ingredients (even the alcohol), and bottled it themselves to sell 2 per customer. It went onto my hands creamy, smelling better than the mainstream products. 

My wait lasted over an hour. The people in line were quiet and respectful of the distance, but other people had to walk by us all down the sidewalk. The corner of 13th and Folsom proved to me to be the stressful place to stand while folks walked by to cross the street. There seemed to be too much traffic on Folsom and 13th. Are all these people driving somewhere essential? The bike ride down had light car traffic, but now it seemed busier.

Continue reading “COVID19 Diaries – The 2 New Sacraments”

COVID19 Diaries – Less Cars, Less Jobs, Less News

Bike rides during shelter in place have been fun and fascinating. As this shot of Lyon St. shows, blocks and blocks of the City can be car-free, allowing for longer gazes at views and architecture, swerving around, and jumping empty red lights.

Monday, March 23

Six days into the shelter in place order and things are hard to comprehend beyond the WFH situation. I am in good spirits, but a strange spectacle happened outside my window today. The DPT stopped traffic on our block while several workers sprayed the parked cars with a kind of backpack pump. None of the workers were keeping a safe distance from one another, and I didn’t want to open my door to ask them what they were doing. Later in the day, my partner went on NextDoor to see if anyone knew what they were doing. There were only questions (and still no answers over a week later).

The economic fallout is starting to feel closer to my own situation. I have friends that have been laid off, artists I know who have lost all their work, and a niece who was sent home from medical school. My other niece has lost all her contract photography work and my sister’s new business has been shut down in South Carolina. Other friends are already stressing about the upcoming rent and mortgage payments, while one friend is surely freaking out in his jail cell in New Jersey. My elderly uncle is now stuck in his room in a care home and two of my cousins have developed COVID-19 symptoms in the UK. Their daughter is currently stuck in the US since she cannot fly home to London.

I’ve been obsessively looking at the news up until now, marveling at the dramatic historical swings of the stock market and not surprised at all with the federal government’s slow and sad response regarding testing, bailing out the people, and all the other balls they’ve dropped. Democracy Now has been giving cold, hard facts about the growing curve in the US and in New York, while those in the front lines are starting to feel the wave as it pushes into every state. Twitter feeds cover the rising rent strikes and worker walk outs that are starting to happen across the country.

In normal times, there is too much information to follow. Now I’m overwhelmed. I promise myself that I’ll back off on the news streams while I settle in to the shelter in place routines and now wait until the afternoon to click the news feeds.

Continue reading “COVID19 Diaries – Less Cars, Less Jobs, Less News”