It's safe to say my cognitive abilities have not increased during the pandemic. I blame myself. I have willingly hopped into the hamster cage and started doing laps on the wheel. No, that's not accurate...I'm mindlessly watching other hamsters go round and round on the wheel. At least they're exercising.
Sluggish. I partially blame my dinner - macaroni, lentils, and Los Roast New Mexico Green Chile. Go ahead, question my dinner choices. But I'm telling you, pasta and lentils are a nice combination. My lack of pasta-portion-control could use some work, though. After I get through the pasta I have in the cupboard (I'll make short work of that!), I'm switching to meticulously rationed quinoa. (Los Roast, I respect your commitment to due diligence, but let's do this already. Call me to launch the ridiculously lucrative for me sponsorship/influencer deal. Oh the places we'll go.)
Capitol Hill is (hopefully not was) a wonderful neighborhood for music, arts, and theater. Oh man I was really tempted to write theatre. I like that artists rely heavily on posters and flyers for getting the word out. The telephone poles (are they really still telephone poles or just poles that hold posters?) are covered in them.
I noticed early in the pandemic that they're accidental time capsules. You can still see announcements for shows scheduled on or after the day the music died. March shows at The Crocodile and Neumos. Bigger, more organized productions highlighting summer dates and festivals.
They're fading and tearing now. Some have been covered by COVID-friendly events, like the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall. (Hi Kate!)
Being a flailing, lazy documentary photographer, I've told myself for months that I should figure out a way to document those little time capsules. I finally went out today intent on doing that. I took my Fujifilm X-H1, thinking it would be a video day. I also took some audio gear.
My plan fizzled pretty quickly. I couldn't see a path for video. It would be one stupid zoom-in after another with some melodramatic stock music and uninspired narration. I started recording some audio, but it was (I was) boring and depressing. I wasn't aiming for depressing. Yes, that freeze frame moment is sad. If you know a musician or an actor, ask them how much work went into lining up a March 20th show at a venue like Neumos, just to see the COVID 40,000 thread count Pima cotton rug pulled out from under you.
There is plenty to worry about and lament, but I wasn't aiming for an all is lost, forlorn Capitol Hill version of The Leftovers. I was more interested in exploring how those artists zigged when the world zagged. I wanted to find a band that might have been heading towards Seattle when the music venues closed so I could work on an interview that I'd never actually do.
I very nearly just walked home. I overcame that surrender mode and took some photos. I've included them further below. But first some segue thoughts.
Back to the lentils and pasta. It really is a wonderful combination. I got fancy tonight and chucked in some garlic. It was nice to have the apartment smell like garlic. But after I ate I remembered I needed to run to the store. Brushing of the teeth ensued, because I was not looking forward to the garlic+mask duet.
Winter is coming. I fear it's not going to be a pleasant one. I find myself dreaming about spending the winter on a Washington island or in the mountains. And then I stumbled on this incredible article by Christopher Solomon in The New York Times. Solomon writes beautifully about the rituals of preparing for winter in the Washington mountains, a time of thinking about survival, with an extra layer of pandemic urgency and increased isolation. (New York Times has a pay wall, but they allow a certain number of free articles per month. That's how I read it. I pay for the L.A. Times and Washington Post. Cancelled my New York Times subscription ages ago.)
I saw that Jacinda Ardern won New Zealand's...remember I said sluggish? how do I word this...Ardern won bigly for another term as prime minister. Further north, Finland's mid-30s prime minister, Sanna Marin, is getting grief for a photoshoot in which she posed in a fashion magazine in a blazer without a shirt. Good grief. We elected a reality TV show host who bragged about grabbing them by the pussy. Putin goes topless on horseback. Neither Ardern nor Marin is an almost 80 year old white guy with a long track record of bankruptcies or 47 years of awful policy votes. (Search Engine Optimization Gods do your thing - PMs Ardern and Marin, if either of you is looking for a failing, obscure documentary photographer with a niche AKA read by 5 people blog to do a year in the life exposé with a visa that allows for 20 years of editing, please get in touch. If the Los Roast folks haven't scooped me up, my calendar will probably be open.)
My mind goes funny places. After thinking about New Zealand I was curious to see if bazillionaire Peter Thiel had sought refuge in practically COVID-free New Zealand. Remember him? Midas touch tech investor who helped get Trump elected. It's great to be a Trump cheerleader if you can hop over to your COVID-free New Zealand bunker or be an ex-governor of New Jersey who refuses to wear a mask, gets COVID, has instant access to top care, and receives a few doses of Eli Lilly's experimental antibody medicine. (For the record, I have no idea where Thiel is riding out the pandemic, and I'm glad that Christie recovered...that's not the point.)
I read a few articles about why people go in for conspiracies. I know that we're all susceptible to them, but right now it sure seems like it's the right wing that is embracing them with gusto. Or is it a gusto? I find this QAnon stuff fascinating and terrifying. How many people really believe there is some nefarious left wing satanic pedophile ring? That some civil servant with a Department of Energy Q clearance is leaving impossibly cryptic bread crumbs about the...ugh. I hope and suspect that a portion of the followers just like the slogans and the merch.