Friday, December 31, 2021

CoViD-19: New Year's Eve Contagion | San Diego Unified Reminds Student To Report COVID Tests | | RIP Betty White |

(Taken 12.27.21)

I always plan on writing some deeply meaningful end of the year post, but maybe it will come to me later. Right now we're just bingeing Wild Crime on HULU so I pretty much know how our NYE is gonna go, and that is just fine by me. If you're a parent of any SDUSD students, don't forget they're supposed to take the first of the take home antigen tests that were sent home over winter break. Nova, thankfully, was once again negative and it finally occurred to me that maybe she caught the cold when we went to the mountains on Monday. I love our van, but it was an unplanned trip so we had inadequate layers, and it all kinda makes sense now. We're glad that we got her vaccinated and a flu shot and may be able to get a booster as soon as next week, exactly 6 months from when she got her 2nd dose. 

So maybe I'll have some drinks and get all sentimental and write a long post about 2021 and my hopes for 2022, but at this point, I'm just happy to have made it through, that my dad is still with us, that we're mostly healthy and happy and getting by as we continue to ride this whole thing out. Thanks for those of you who support this endeavor and I wish the best for everyone in the coming year. Have a great weekend. 

Stay safe out there. 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

CoViD-19: Time To Rethink NYE | State Dept Issues International Travel Warning | Fire Ravages Colorado |

Jacaranda & Magnolia Sharing The Warmth (Taken 12.30.21)

It's almost as if the CDC is acknowledging that COVID-19 is airborne by warning against taking cruises. It is clearly a mess out there. I just read some dumbass on NextDoor saying that vaccinated people are the only ones getting COVID-19 and I want to smack her in the face. My tolerance is zero today. I was still pissed that I haven't gotten my test results from December 23rd, so last night I decided to self test just to be sure and I was negative, again.

I bought myself super cute pajamas for Christmas and I planned on being in them all day, but then we realized we needed to stock up on some stuff, so Darren and I did our favorite final-hour run to Costco. So now I really don't have to leave the house at all this weekend. I've got lots of reading and writing to do. The weather is supposed to be pretty ideal, so kicking back on my deck or in the backyard is just fine by me. I'll try and quell my anxiety about Nova going back to school next week, or at least put it off until the time comes. She's not exactly in any condition to go to school right now anyway. I'm not a bad person but I'm definitely minimizing the time we're in the same room together until she gets better. 

Stay safe out there. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

CoViD-19: Dire Holiday Case Reports; CA Tops 5M Cases | CDC Defends Shortened Isolation | Winter Storms Bomb The West | County Holiday Closures (Including Testing} | New Laws For 2022 |


The Fishing Cat Was On The Prowl In A Rare Sighting (Taken 12.29.21)

Today I went to the San Diego Zoo by myself. Darren was doing the household laundry and Nova had a slight fever and stuffy nose. She took an antigen test and was negative, but we'll keep an eye on it. Since I STILL haven't received my test results from DECEMBER 23rd, I'm still kinda stressing about the stupid text message I got. This morning I filled out the form to get results if it's been more than four days since your test and you haven't received results and I still didn't get anything back. It's very frustrating. I'm already a hypochondriac about my back hurting from my 35lb backpack I carry everywhere or is it COVID? Am I tired because I'm a lazy person who needs a lot of sleep but stays up way too late or is it COVID? Is this PMS and winter grumps or is it COVID? And then listening to the White House COVID-19 response team did absolutely NOTHING to make me feel at ease. Do I waste one of the four tests we have left when it is better if I actually have symptoms and will I be able to replace them with the shortages? Do I wait in line for testing among people who have a high likelihood of being sick to still just have to wait another 4 to 7 days for a result? It's all very frustrating. 

But I did go to the Zoo today. And it was good. It started pouring just as I arrived so a lot of people cleared out, but I had a warm jacket, a rain jacket, a rain poncho, my waterproof boots and an umbrella so I was pretty fine just staying. And just as quickly, the rain stopped and the mandrills came out, the hippos gave a good showing, the elephants seemed happy, and I watched the trampolinists and Aurora to catch them before Jungle Bells ends over the weekend. It was easy enough to keep my mask on and mostly stay away from other people. 

So here we are. It's a shitshow, and getting worse before it gets better. At least on our hunt for a library with free tests I was finally able to renew my card and get some books. It will likely be a homebound weekend and a very quiet tiptoe into 2022. 

Stay safe out there. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

CoViD-19: CDC Adjusts Omicron Estimates; US Surpasses Daily Record Cases | Republic Will Pick Up Chula Vista Trash During Talks | Holiday Bowl Abruptly Canceled | Humane Society Offers $22 Adult Dog Adoptions |


Rainbow Over Escondido (Taken 12.28.21)

Today the CDC revised their estimate that omicron cases only make up 59% of current cases, not the 73% they estimated a couple weeks back. What this means to you and me is that people are still getting delta and getting very sick. And then we have omicron with it's super quick transmission and we have a problem. Because if you recall, just yesterday CDC revised the isolation and quarantine recommendations, partially based on studies about omicron. That is flatly dangerous if California and other regions are still in the thick of delta. And it's dangerous because we just don't know for sure what is happening around us: not enough cases are sequenced. 

Today Darren and I were heading to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park when I saw that a friend posted about free rapid tests being available at City and County Libraries. At that moment, we were on the 15 passing Mira Mesa, so we checked Scripps Ranch Library, but they won't have them to distribute until 9:30am on Wednesday. But at least I was able to renew my library card. We went to the Safari Park but it was kind of a bummer - a little too crowded, we got a there a little too late for the tram, after 5pm the only animals you can see are the tigers and the platypus since they close the lower park. We didn't stay long. 

On the way home, I saw that another friend had picked up some free tests at the Mission Hills Branch, so we detoured and were able to get a couple kits. It is supposed to be one box per person (2 tests), but they gave me an extra as I explained my neighbor and her elderly mother are in isolation after an exposure on Christmas. Fortunately after I dropped the tests for Sam and her mom, Myalisa, they let me know that they were negative. 

Check your local branches on Wednesday.  

Stay safe out there.  

Monday, December 27, 2021

CoViD-19: San Diego Reports 8,301 Cases Over Christmas | CDC Revises Isolation Guidance | Plane Crashes In El Cajon | Rain & Snow Hit The West |

A small dusting of snow before the major storm hit Mt Laguna (Taken 12.27.21)

Here we go again. Today the CDC changed their guidance for isolation and quarantine, and COVID-Twitter went insane, calling the move political, reckless, and misguided. After reading them deeper, I understand, but I'm not alone in thinking it is a HUGE mistake to apply it to asymptomatic people across the board, regardless of vaccination status, and not requiring a negative test before ending isolation and quarantine. I find the idea that "everyone will get it" horrifying and now it feels like we're trying to make that happen sooner rather than later. 

We have kinda been isolating since Christmas even though we were all negative on our antigen tests on Christmas night. Darren and Nova finally got their PCR test results from Wednesday and both were negative. I don't understand why I haven't gotten mine but I'm sure it will come in the morning. The news reported that there were 25,000 tests that day so I'll cut the county a break, though it is unfortunate that there isn't a more streamlined way to get results to people instead of having people manually emailing everyone one at a time. At least getting tested in the first place has been relatively easy for us for the duration of the pandemic. It isn't that way everywhere, so props to San Diego County for actually spending the Biden Bucks where it's needed. 

It doesn't mean we're exclusively staying home, however. Last night we did a nighttime walk around the neighborhood, up to Adams and through Normal Heights and checking out what Christmas lights are still on. This afternoon we were going to take Ficus to Mission Trails and instead we got a wild hair and drove to Mt. Laguna. Because it wasn't planned, we didn't bring gloves or sleds or really any snow gear, but we had enough jackets and hoodies and our rainboots on so it wasn't too bad. We drove all the way to our favorite spot and it started to actually get a slight dusting of snow, so we literally ran around for 30 minutes before driving through Julian and returning back home. We considered stopping for pie, but the truth is that I know a lot of those rural bedroom communities stand on the anti-vax, anti-mask side of things and who wants to take that risk? So we drove home, stopping for gas in Ramona, and making it home in time to escape the heavy rains that seemed to start as soon as we walked in our door. Talk about timing! 

Things are kinda scary right now. Err on the side of caution. 
Stay safe out there. 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

CoViD-19: CDPH Christmas Scare | Rapid Tests, PCR Tests, and How Long To Isolate When Positive | RIP Tutu |

The Family on Christmas (Taken 12.25.21)

I've tried to believe that in this whole COVID-19 pandemic, that at least we're in San Diego, where it seems the County of San Diego and the State of California have enacted measures to keep us as safe as possible with the least disruption in our lives, but I'm not gonna lie here -- California Department of Health came very well close to ruining Christmas. 

Nova, Darren and I were all COViD-19 tested on Saturday, all with negative results by the next day. But then I told you I had a couple friends over, on Sunday night and Tuesday morning, and they were notified of close contacts with people who tested positive. So we went back in for testing on Wednesday, and even for December 23, it felt quick and efficient. And while the signs about results are always the same, it would've been nice to know we wouldn't have results by Christmas. 

But I was not really worried. Both friends who had the close contacts subsequently tested negative and we're all feeling fine and healthy over here, and if we were desperate, we had a few rapid tests on hand. We spent Christmas Eve at my parents' house with all the kids and watched movies and it was lovely. Nova stayed the night with the girls and Darren and I came home and had drinks while making deviled eggs and other apps for Christmas. 

On Christmas Day, we arrived in the afternoon to a spread of food and everyone feeling festive and I guess my mom and sister have figured out the hoist so my dad isn't confined to the hospital bed 24/7 but can be put in an upright chair and everyone was feeling the vibes. We ate, watched movies, and then we had a casino night. I was dealer and my dad taught everyone his tricks of the trade for playing blackjack. It was super fun and lifted his spirits in ways I haven't seen in a very long time, for once feeling like himself and not dependent on everyone around him. My godsister and her boyfriend are going to Vegas in the spring so my dad felt needed in imparting his knowledge upon them. We played for a couple hours before we exhausted and started to wrap things up. 

And then I got a text. 

"The CA Dept of Public Health was notified of your COVID-19 test. Tap here if you tested positive and are using CA Notify (Exposure Notifications) to anonymously alert people who make have been exposed. Your personal information is not shared with other users..."


"If you tested positive"?? How would I know? We haven't gotten results back. And, if this is a standard text to anyone who gets a test, why is this the first time getting the text after having been tested about a dozen other times in the past? Darren no longer has the app so he didn't get a text. But my heart was in my stomach. I clicked the link thinking maybe IT would tell ME if I had a positive result. But by doing so, I basically told the app that I had tested positive. And now there's no way to make it say otherwise, other than not finishing with the notification to close contacts. We hastily gathered all our things and kinda made a quick exit, rushing home so we could all do antigen tests. 

The rapid tests all came back negative. 

But I called my sister and mom to apologize anyway for our quick exit and explain what happened and then I spent Christmas Night googling everything I could about CA Notify. As far as I can tell, they don't actually know my result because it is a self-reporting tool. It only exists to ping others if I tell it to do so. But I still have questions. Was this even about my December 23rd test? Or are they catching up from my December 18th test? Or from even before then, when we tested on December 11th and December 4th? Why isn't this clear in the text? And I get that the County was closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (though, if the San Diego Zoo can be open, it seems, too, that emergency workers dealing with a surge in the pandemic should be, too) but now it isn't Christmas and I've gotten results on a Sunday before so why am I still waiting 4 days later? It is so frustrating. And I don't expect CA Dept of Health to target a text to every person who tests, but how about saying more clearly that THIS TEXT DOES NOT INDICATE IN ANY WAY YOUR ACTUAL TEST RESULT and maybe autfofill the date of the test it is in reference to. 

And this all lends to a greater problem of messaging which I've talked about a lot for the past two years. I know people who go get tested -- with symptoms no less-- who leave the testing site and go shopping or to restaurants or to shows or whatever. I mean, obviously we got tested on Wednesday, and with no results still joined family for Christmas Eve and Christmas. But if we had any symptoms and believed we had COVID-19, why isn't there clearer information about staying quarantined until you know your result, about resources available, about proper protocols until you get your result? And I wouldn't know but I hope and assume that if you do test positive, information on isolating is included with your result, but now I'm not even so sure or else why is this spreading so insanely fast? Are sick people just going about their lives? 

So yeah, I'm irritated. It's now Sunday night and we still never got results back, but I trust the antigen tests and am not really worried. But what about the 10,000 or so other people in San Diego who got tested on Wednesday and never got their results and didn't have the benefit of rapid tests on hands? I guess we'll find out tomorrow how three days of no reporting looks. And by Wednesday we'll start to know the ramifications of Christmas around the county and country. But by all accounts, know that we're still going up and aren't expected to peak until late January or early February. 

Stay safe out there.    

Things To Do In San Diego: Sunday, December 26 - Sunday, January 2, 2022 | Battle Bot | Thee Sacred Souls | Donovon Frankenreiter | The Havnauts | NYE |

Throwback to NYE 2019

I feel like 2021 was supposed to go out with a bang, and now it's just going to end with a big thud. I didn't dig too deep for NYE events because honestly, I would advise against any massive parties indoors, even if there's a vaccine or test requirement. On October 22, my friend Jeff asked me if I wanted to see Jeff Tweedy in December, and I was confident that since I'd just had my third Pfizer shot that everything would be great. As we know, just a month later, we were hearing about Omicron from South Africa and I fear the data coming out on Monday will be pretty shocking. Fortunately, the Tweedy shows have been postponed so we can figure out if it is safer to go in the future, but for now, we'll be butts parked on the couch or out in the open air away from crowds. Still, I know this can be a hard and lonely time for people out there, and doing public things is integral to your well being, so in that case, there are some events this week to keep on your radar. 

Stay safe out there. 

Things To Do In San Diego: Sunday, December 26, 2021: Ocelot & The 8 Balls | Super Buffet | Betamaxx | Infected Mushroom |

I forgot to do listings yesterday, so here's Sunday night's stuff and I'll work on the final week of the year's listings while we watch "Don't Look Up" on Netflix. 

Stay safe out there. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

CoViD-19: Omicron Surges Above Summer Peaks; Upgrade Your Masks | Merck Antiviral Approved | WHO Acknowledges Airborne Transmission | San Diego Zoo Orangutan Satu Dies |


    San Diego Zoo Announced The Passing of Beloved Orangutan, Satu (Taken 2.3.2020)

But it also meant I committed to staying home for the day which was easy because the rain started falling and I just wanted to be cozy at home anyway. But it also meant I was doom scrolling on Twitter, which is just about the only way to get through the ridiculousness of bingeing Emily In Paris. And I was so heartbroken when I came across the news that Satu, the male adult orangutan at the San Diego Zoo, had died. I loved him so much and he always had those deep loving eyes and the way he played with his baby Aisha was always so cute. So I was super sad. Everyone says they've been "so good" throughout the pandemic and "doing everything right" but I really thought we have been and then I totally let myself slip this week. On Sunday we had a friend over for drinks and while we started outside, eventually we went inside the studio and kept the door open. And then on Monday we didn't go to our Christmas party, so  Jake came over the next day to get his gift. Again, we were outside but while he was here, he got notified that someone in his proximity had tested positive. And then our friend who came over on Sunday texted this morning that someone he'd been in contact with tested positive. It was kinda ambiguous, I think the contact was Monday or Tuesday, after we'd hung out, but we went and got tested again today anyway. Fortunately by the time we were driving home from testing, both of them confirmed negative tests. 

And then I came across the news that a 14 year old girl was "accidentally" shot at a Burlington store in North Hollywood when officers opened fire on an alleged assault suspect, killing him, but a "stray" bullet went through a wall and killed her in a dressing room. Nova is 14. Johanna is 14. It's two days before Christmas. And now at the hands of LAPD, a 14 year girl is dead. Unnecessary shootings happen everyday. People die at the hands of gun violence every day. Cops shoot suspects all the time. But sometimes the story just hits a little harder, strikes a nerve a little too close to home. That could've been my kid. 

So I'm gonna enjoy the kid and my family and I'm gonna take a couple days off since no new data will be reported anyway. I know I have to update listings, but I'll get to it another day.

Have a Merry Christmas. Stay safe out there.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

CoViD-19: County Reports 1856 Cases; Most Since August | CA Mandates Boosters For HCWs| | Christmas Eve Storm Predicted | Student Debt Repayment Postponed; Should Be Canceled |


The rarely seen Maned Wolf at San Diego Zoo (Taken 12.9.21)

We are mere days away from Christmas and I am in full on nesting mode. I've bought everything I've needed to buy, cleaned everything I've needed to clean, and watched more briefings than one person should watch so I'm up to date with information and now it's just me and Netflix while the kid sleeps and Darren plays guitar in the studio. I'm watching Outside In because I've pretty much loved every Duplass movie I've seen and while intense, it doesn't disappoint. 

I didn't want to harp so much on COVID-19 today because I took enough notes that today's information should be pretty clear, but if I have to stress a few things, it would be (1) that San Diego cases nearly doubled in one day (2) the "game changer" Pfizer treatment takes 6-8 months to manufacture so don't expect any miracles and (3) if you're getting together with non-household members for Christmas, you should take advantage of a free test site on Thursday because there are no over-the-counter tests to be found anywhere and most testing will be closed for Christmas Eve and Christmas. 

I'm gonna get back to my movie and then have some Bravo bingeing to do. 

Stay safe out there.   

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

CoViD-19: Why Case Numbers Still Matter | Testing Not Meeting Demand | Biden Lays Out Omicron Plans; Expands Defense Production Acts For Supply-Chain Issues |

Kamaria learning to joust with one of her many Aunties (taken 12.19.21)

President Biden spoke today about the winter omicron surge and plans to get free rapid tests, available on demand, out to people in January. I should preface by saying that I cannot imagine what 2021 would've looked like if TFG was still in office, but that said, sometimes it is so frustrating listening to Biden speak (and cough). People are trying to be safe for Christmas. Yes, vaccinations and boosters are an overarching priority in general. But going to get a shot today does nothing to protect you for Christmas, or even New Years. So yes, you should get vaccinated yesterday, but at this point anyone who isn't fully vaccinated should not be traveling, should not mixing households, should not be eating out, should not be attending events, and should not be working in jobs with the public. We need local health policies and messaging to reflect that. But apparently we have to worry about alienating people who already won't listen to anyone about vaccines or masks or testing, so the grown-ups in the room get these shaky messages while they dumb it down for the ding-dongs. And as for the repeated comments that "nobody saw it coming," I think if you read the right scientists on Twitter, you know that this wasn't true in any of the waves, including delta and the current omicron variant, although the vaccine evasion is a scary worst-case scenario we were warned about long before vaccines were even available, we just never hoped or thought that would actually happen. Here we are. 

As I mentioned earlier, I spent my morning driving around to get another pair of Binax Now test kits. There's a limit of one package per person, so I've been waiting for the 40% off single item coupons from CVS and then I'll go get a package. We used the home tests when Nova got back from Missouri, but are saving the rest -- I now have three boxes, which is six tests -- to check ourselves before gathering for Christmas. Dr. Wen rightfully pointed out that while half a billion tests in Biden's plan sounds impressive, Americans should be home-testing twice weekly. Half a billion tests is roughly 1.612 tests per person over 2 years old. This solves almost nothing. 

If we can actually go in for a walk-up test in the next day or two, we will, but I'm also not subjecting my family to waiting in some crazy line around potentially sick people. Earlier tonight we went to the San Diego Zoo because I still hadn't seen the projection show "Aurora" this season, and I overheard a girl talking shit about her company's CEO, because he is still not eating out in restaurants. "Can you imagine??" she asked her friends. That was enough for us to drop back and give far more space between our groups. When are we going to just scream "COVID is airborne!!!" ? Tomorrow is the big data dump day before Christmas I'll be back here and then maybe take the rest of the week off. We'll see. 

Stay safe out there. 

CoViD-19: County Surpasses 400,000 Cases | Omicron Now Dominant In US | Poinsettias' Racist Roots | Who Would've Thought: Extremism In Our Military |

Kamaria "flehmening" her lips (Taken 12.19.21)

I zonked out so hard on Monday night. We spent the afternoon at Sea World (where they FINALLY posted about mandatory masking indoors, even though it has been required for unvaccinated people even before it was reinstated for everyone in the state) and it was relatively chill, at least enough that Nova got to ride Electric Eel three times with almost no wait. Side note: we bought new passes during the "Blue Friday" special but didn't realize they started immediately, not picking up from the expiration of our current passes, so we all basically had two active passes each. The customer service person was kind enough to give us a refund, but it took some coaxing. So we're back to only having passes through June and I guess we'll see what happens when they're going to lapse. 

Anyway, we got home and had dinner and then I turned on a movie and zonked out. 

I was really sad to have missed the Casbah Christmas party because I miss my people and let's be honest, I'm not one to turn down a free dinner, but it was for the best. Jake was just over to pick up his secret santa gift from Darren and while here, got an email that someone at the dinner tested positive for COVID this morning so now pretty much anyone in that room was also exposed. Super sucks and I take no joy in knowing a friend is sick. 

So I didn't finish this post last night, so this is full with Monday's data and information, and I'll get to another one tonight with today's updates and all the stuff from the President and his big plans to fight COVID. I did go on an adventure this morning to get another Binax now kit, but even though they showed as in stock at two CVS stores, they in fact were all out in North Park and Mission Hills, but I found some at the Banker's HIll CVS by The Balboa. The girl told me that no coupons or discounts were allowed, but when I asked her to check again, the 40% off went through, so if you get CVS rewards, make sure they don't try to tell you it is an exempted item because it is not. But good luck finding them, the ladies at Banker's Hill said they had already gone through two full boxes this morning and were on their third and final one by the time I got there before 11. 

If you have plans for Christmas, the best thing you can do today is go to a free testing site. 

Stay safe out there. 

Sunday, December 19, 2021

CoViD-19: San Diego Poop Is Not Looking Good | What To Do When You're Sick | Psaki Can't Call Manchin The Corrupt Dickhead He Is, But We Know She's Thinking It |

Baby Kamaria (Taken 12.19.21)

Today was kind of a psychotic animal day for our household. 

I felt like I had finally cycled back into normal sleep and was up before anyone else so I spent a few hours catching up on household nonsense like laundry and dishes, doing some writing (see after the jump) and then just generally enjoying the kittles before I finally talked to my mom. You see, while we were at the San Diego Zoo on Saturday night, she called me and told me that she had captured a (literal) bird with a broken wing. She didn't know what kind of bird, but she saw it and felt like she had to help it and watched it get exhausted crossing a busy nearby street and so with the help of a gentle nudge from a badminton racquet, she was eventually able to get it into a box. My sister delivered bird seed and she kept it in the box in the house overnight to keep it warm.

So anyway, I call her this morning and she hasn't had a chance to call or drop it off to Project Wildlife because she's busy taking care of my dad, so Nova and I were going to handle it. But then Darren got up, too, so we threw together quick brekkie sandos and it ended up being an all day adventure. 

When we first spoke on Saturday, my mom couldn't identify the bird. 
"It's big and black with a short white beak."
"Is it a pigeon or maybe a crow?" 
"I know what a PIGEON looks like, ROSEMARY! It's NOT a pigeon." 
"Is it someone's pet chicken?" 
"It could be. Or I think it could be a roadrunner the way it zoomed across the street."
"Roadrunners aren't black. Is it a duck?" 
"It could be a duck!"

When we got to the house, she had a giant box from a baby carseat (not a hoarder at all) and opened it to show us the bird and it was an American Coot! How the hell did he end up on a suburban street in Chula Vista? They're water birds known for having toes that look like leaves for when they're in wetlands and walking in mud. They're also known as "mud hens." Technically my parents live close to Otay River Valley, but the recent rains couldn't have been strong enough to saturate this long-dried area, could it? Whatever the case may be, we took it to Project Wildlife and the vet was inspecting it by the time we were on our way. Good luck, little coot. 

We decided to head to San Diego Zoo Safari Park, but I wanted to detour to Bates Nut Farm which is in the same general Valley Center area. I worked for the company for a few years in high school and college yet I'd never been to the actual full farm. We did some shopping for snacks and then had so much fun feeding the goats and sheep and llamas and pigs and ducks and even an emu. Oh, and on our way there, we saw two puppies in the roadway, so we pulled over to shoo them out of the road. They were collared, so we just tried to usher them back out of the roadway up to the scary house we presumed was theirs. 

And then of course, we closed the day at San Diego Zoo Safari Park. And of course I went straight to Kilima Point and it was empty except for the volunteer, so we chatted awhile, I patiently took photos of three older rhinos napping at golden hour, and after about 15 minutes of waiting, little baby Kamaria and mama Kianga came bounding up the hill and put on a show for us. Of course this drew a crowd so I had to back away from people, particularly the group with TWO open-mouthed coughing and cackling children. But it was fun watching Kamaria feistily engaging with the three adult rhinos before her mama pulled her away for the night. And since crowds move on and I stick around, so I always get some special little moments. It was a pretty good day. 

Stay safe out there. 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

CoViD-19: Zients Has Had It With The Unvaccinated "A Winter of Severe Illness and Death" | CDC Endorses "Test To Stay" For Schools | County Cases Nearly Double Overnight | Giraffe Calf Gets A Name: Mawe | What Is Recyclable? |


San Diego Zoo Names Giraffe Calf: Mawe (Taken 12.7.21)

I really thought I could go through a day without posting, but there was so much information jammed in my inbox that I couldn't let it skip for a day. Plus, I'd like to get out and do stuff and see the world on Saturday, so it just made sense to go with my momentum. There's new information and data on omicron every day, but with delta still around, the White House COVID-19 team is done placating and keeping their soft messages to the unvaccinated. Here in San Diego, our cases nearly doubled overnight, which is not a good indicator going into a weekend of no reporting and the final dash to Christmas. 

I think I have to skip the group dinner on Monday. 

This really sucks, but we knew when the virus started to be detected globally that these things historically cycle for a couple years before becoming endemic, though with our vaccines, we never had to let it go on this long. The talking point that we lead with science has gotten so old, sometimes you should actually lead with common-sense: tell people to wear masks from the beginning because we didn't yet know enough about the virus, explain why ventilation is critical by acknowledging loudly and publicly and repetitively that COVID is airborne, and continue mask policies among all people, regardless of vaccination status unless you definitively know that vaccinated people cannot spread the virus, which we now know is not the case at all, (though there is still evidence that with delta, vaccinated people are less contagious and when they are contagious it is for a shorter period of time.) Now with evidence that omicron hangs in our airways, it seems more transmissible regardless of vaccine status. And it drives me crazy to continue to see Joe Biden in public situations, coughing into his hands instead of his elbow, pulling down his mask to talk, not wearing a better mask, hugging tornado victims in Kentucky where only 48.6% of people are fully vaccinated, and speaking at a goddamn college commencement where only 51.7% of the population is vaccinated. Stop traveling already! Time to work-from-home, Joe. We kinda need you to be healthy and stick around for awhile. 

And I guess that's true for all of us. We need to be healthy and stick around for awhile. I've left lots of links for reading over the weekend. I think I'll skip the weekend again unless something feels pressing and worth posting. 

Stay safe out there. 

Thursday, December 16, 2021

CoViD-19: "Vulnerable Time For Unvaccinated" Learning More About Omicron | FDA Expands Aborsh By Mail | Hotel Del Accused Of Trapping Native Wildlife |

Jax and Mags Enjoying The Winter Heating Pad (Taken 12.16.21)

I am ready for this week to be over. I'm exhausted and I want to put my laptop on a shelf and not look at it. Not really possible for me, and I know that what is "work" for me pales to millions of other jobs; I do no manual labor, I don't work in health care or education or in retail or in food service, but it doesn't mean I don't still just get tired. And while the general consensus is that there won't be "lockdowns", it's hard not to wonder if there will be some pushback on the music and entertainment industries if things go exponential again as we're seeing stiffer protocols were just approved by the NBA and NFL and while Broadway has opted to go dark (Billboard) for the time being. It is also possible that "fully vaccinated" could potentially change to mean three shots, which would change protocols for all venues. I guess good news/bad news is that CDC is so slow that they wouldn't recommend anything like that anytime soon because they are still just trying to get the unvaccinated to get shots in the first place, and the J&J news isn't really gonna make that easier, even if you're talking about three or four deaths per millions of doses given. Anecdotal evidence is sometimes enough to settle a person into permanent belief. For the CDC's part, they knew of possible complications but the "risk-profile" still meant they were encouraging shots no matter what, sticking with the "they're safe, they're effective, and they're free" messaging without any nuance, furthering the distrust from the anti-vax cohort.  

I will say that after I posted yesterday about the news both-sidesing every issue, I was pleasantly surprised when NBC San Diego did a story on masks and omicron without having to hear again from the anti-maskers. Credit where credit is due. Now let's urge distribution of better protective masks for the public, encourage more consistent testing, and make sure the public understands that COVID is airborne and can linger in the air in enclosed spaces, even after the person exhaling has left the room or elevator or restaurant because even if fully vaccinated and boosted people are largely protected from serious illness or hospitalization, I'd hardly call feeling like shit for 5 or 7 or 10 days mild and something anyone wants to contract and spread.  

Be safe out there.  

Things To Do In San Diego: -Thursday, December 16-Friday, December 24, 2021 | Pokey LaFarge | Gin Blossoms | Ziggy Shuffledust | Men At Work | Fred Armisen | El Vez | Exile On Kettner Blvd |

Ziggy Shuffledest and The Spiders From Mars (Taken 1.8.2020)

I did not intend to stay up all night to get these listings done, but it's 6:30am and I'm still up. But they're done. There are a lot of fun things and events happening between now and Christmas, but we all need to be smart and do our part. Masks are now required indoors regardless of vaccine status, and for indoor events over 1000 people, the testing requirements have changed to 48 hours for a PCR test and 24 hours for an Antigen test, which requires verification. You can't just show up with an over-the-counter test as verification. And also, that would be gross. Additionally, the state is recommending higher quality respirators or N95s and finally acknowledging that COVID is airborne. We have a Christmas party on Monday and I'm very much on the fence if going is the right thing to do; I haven't eaten inside a restaurant in nearly two years. It's all so very awkward sometimes. 

Be safe out there. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

CoViD-19: WHO Warns "Do Not Underestimate Omicron" | Amazon Is The Worst. | San Diego Unified Votes In New President/VP | Flu Spreading | County Redistricting Maps Are In | Manchin Stalls Progress Again |

Ficus and Tikka Butt To Butt During Winter (Taken 12.16.21)

The other day I posted that mask mandates are back in California for all indoor spaces and in my title I said, "(Finally!)" which compelled some dude to challenge me on twitter, "Next you'll support more lockdowns," he said. I shouldn't have even engaged because I don't need to give someone with 8 followers any clout, but sometimes it's hard to hold back. 

The mask mandate officially went into effect today and of course, our local news always has to both-sides every goddamn story. You'd think that there are as many people against vaccines as for them, yet San Diego County has 76.9% of the eligible population fully vaccinated. Even if some of those vaccinated did so reluctantly because of a job requirement, the vast majority did so on their own accord. You'd believe that as many people are against masks as there are people who believe that they're the easiest mitigation and wear them regularly without complaint. I know this survey is from August so maybe represents just a moment in time, but 67-78% of the public supported mask mandates in indoor public spaces, depending on the space. KPBS did the both-sidesing, too. "Most people KPBS spoke with on Tuesday said they’re okay with it and have not stopped wearing a mask indoors," yet their article went on to quote two people against masks and only one who was in favor.   

Do we need to keep hearing from the dickheads who won't wear or enforce masking, including Mayor Bill Wells of El Cajon and Mayor Richard Bailey of Coronado? Fuck these assholes. It's one thing for a business to say we can't feasibly enforce this rule or it could be dangerous for our staff because anti-maskers are batshit insane, but we will post signage and give masks for those who don't have them. It's another entirely to just deny that masking works, to suggest the pandemic is over or not an issue, to just keep insisting that we all move on while 5,000 people a week are still testing positive in this county; while 27 people a week are still dying. It's offensive and it's gross and it's racist, too, because now we know how much more COVID-19 affected communities of color than white people. Maybe we need to go back to the days of showing young white people on vents to make this really stick in their brains. But it's also only a matter of time before they themselves get sick if they're just out in the community living like this thing doesn't exist. 

Stay safe out there.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

CoViD-19: US Surpasses 800k Deaths, 50M+ Cases | Omicron On The Rise As Data Trickles In | 9 Years Since Sandy Hook | Biden-Harris Title X In Effect | House Votes To Hold Meadows In Contempt | Debt Relief Passes Both Chambers |


CHVRCHES Mobile Phone Pic (Taken 12.13.21)

When it rains, often the first thing I do is pack up my bag and go to the San Diego Zoo. But today's storm was the brutal kind, not the gentle watch-the-elephants-frolic-in-the-mud kind. It just feels a little irresponsible to be out on the roads when I don't have to. San Diego got kinda pummeled today and while it's needed, it's always a concern when considering how our San Diego infrastructure can handle it. I saw some video from Tijuana and the Tijuana River and it looked pretty bad. LA and Riverside and the Bay Area and Tahoe all had gnarly footage, too. The downstairs apartment used to always take in water with heavy rain, but I haven't heard anything, though the neighbors are in the process of moving out so I'm not sure we'd know anything anyway. The new building next door, however, had a nice deep moat around it for a few hours.

Because I was home I watched way too much news. I often complain about the dumb man-on-the-street interviews but today I caught an interview with a woman who made sense for once on a point that always drives me crazy: the position that San Diegans don't know how to drive in the rain. This stupid comment drives me crazy every time I hear it because (1) a solid majority of people are generally bad drivers and (2) our infrastructure can't handle rain. So the woman was saying that the roads were crazy, but it's to be expected because most people's cars aren't tuned up for it - they don't check their wipers or tire pressure or headlights which can be dangerous, especially when our roads have months and months of oil buildup. Spot on.  

And today I learned what "areal flooding" is and it's the exact reason why everyone needs to slow down. "Areal flood warning in our area are issued when an area gradually picks up 1 to 2 inches of rain. It's a warning that indicates the potential for standing puddles of water on a roadway. Creeks and streams are ...stressed in this occasion, as they may grow out of their banks." I am not exempt from bad driving but I think becoming a pedestrian/bicyclist who was without a car for several years as well as having a partner who was a taxi driver for 20 years made me a better, safer, and more considerate driver, but I still think everyone should have to retake the driver's test every 5 or 7 years and that our state needs far more public outreach about how much our roads are changing with bike amenities, road diets on freeways, busses on shoulder, and other things that weren't around 10, 20, years ago. It's even worse after the pandemic. The road rage is real and it is is constant. 

Stay safe out there. 

Photos: CHVRCHES and Donna Missal at Observatory North Park, 12.13.21

I'm gonna skip all the parts about my anxiety of being in a crowd of 1200 people during a pandemic and just get to the good stuff. CHVRCHES played their first of two nights at the Observatory North Park on Monday, December 13. 

Darren, Nova and I have been listening to their latest, Screen Violence, incessantly. It has become a staple in the speakeasy for me and D. We jam it in the car. We sing along. It's easy to call CHVRCHES a family favorite that we can all agree on. 

This was my fifth or sixth time catching the band, so it's always fun to see what they'll include on their setlist. We got some favorites, old and new, plus a couple unexpected. We were also curious how she'd perform "How Not To Drown" which has the great collab with Robert Smith, but Lauren sang the whole thing instead of enlisting the bandmates to do so. 

The set had something for all fans. The indie jams, the pop anthems, and even the heavier EDM-leaning songs with the big drops that make the crowd go insane. And Lauren joked about how she thought it would be a great idea to do costume changes which is why the setlist has some funny spacing in it. We got four solid looks that complemented the music being played, from mysterious with a black transparent lacy cloak to angelic feathers to a rocker dark jumpsuit to a playful look of t-shirt (her own Final Girl merch) and shorts.     

I do also have to mention that Nova and Darren got a spot along the back tier railing next to a couple. They eventually made conversation about how cool it was that Nova was a fan and that it was a wholesome activity for us to all do together as a family. She revealed she's a principal at a private high school in Carlsbad, her partner a high school teacher. She then proceeded to get absolutely hammered. She vaped weed the whole show while pounding Modelos and slipped and fell at least twice. I hope she remembers the show and not just from the certain bruises she has on her ass. We're still in a don't-take-your-mask-off-under-any-circumstances mandate among our household, so it's funny being so dead sober around all that pent up energy of people just wanting to get completely sloshed. 

So yes, the show was great. We were also next to a guy who was a Donna Missal superfan, so it was kinda fun getting the lowdown on her before she took the stage to open the show. She was great and faintly brought to mind Kitten for me, who play every show like they're in a stadium for their biggest, baddest show ever. Her pics are at the end of this post. All after the jump. 

Setlist as written:









CoViD-19: CA Reinstates Indoor Mask Mandate (Finally!) | Governor Newsom Trolls SCOTUS | Big Weather Hits California, US | San Diego Short On Blood | Get Your Zoom Class-Action Payout |


Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES at Observatory North Park (12.13.21)

Even after all this time, I'm just not a fan of Mondays. I was tossing and turning all night Sunday so Monday was a pretty wasted day. I probably read about two dozen more articles than I'm sharing, but at this point it is just a lot of arguing about what preliminary omicron studies on super limited data mean when extrapolated and magnified across the globe, among different populations with different vaccine uptake and different waves and it's a whole lot of what you expect: this is the best and worst thing ever, it's no big deal and we should all brace for a dark winter. 

Of course, that was replaying in my brain all night as Darren, Nova and I went to see CHVRCHES at the Observatory. Just seeing fog machines is such a trigger for me and all I hear in my head is that #COVIDisAirborne and wondering how many people around me are actually vaccinated versus tested versus fake verification of either and ultimately, I kinda think for a crowd like that, over 1000 people, that vax AND testing should be required, if I'm being honest. We got tested on Saturday and were all negative, but I imagine we'll put regular testing back into our plans, though Nova kinda acts as a canary since she's still tested weekly at school. CHVRCHES were great as always, and I'll give them their own post. I was kind of experimenting with my camera, so there are a lot more bad photos than good ones, but it's hard to get back in that groove after I've mostly just been shooting animals for the past two years. 

I will admit that after the show we stopped at CVS so I could use my 40% off coupon for a single item and grab another pair of BINAX rapid tests. They're disappearing in the UK, so it can't hurt to have some spares on hand for when we can't make it to a test site. I still wish we could grab some free ones, but until then, $15 for two tests isn't so bad. 

California is reinstating universal mask requirements for all public indoor spaces, tightening testing on "mega" events, and recommending testing for all out-of-state visitors 3-5 days after arrival. It will only be on a 4 week trial basis, so we'll see how it goes, but I think we all really know how that's gonna go. 

Stay safe out there. 

Saturday, December 11, 2021

CoViD-19: Omicron Transmission Concerns | "Experts" Ignore Math When Assuming "Milder" Virus | SCOTUS Trashes Constitutional Precedent | SANDAG Approves 2021 Regional Plan |


Game Night (Taken 12.10.21)

I didn't have a chance to finish my post yesterday, so here it is. Late in the afternoon, the plan was that I was going to get dropped off at the San Diego Zoo while Darren and Nova went for long needed haircuts with a friend in Banker's Hill. But then I spoke with my sister to find out her kids were kinda stuck at Liberty Station without a ride (they both go to HTH) and so it changed the whole plan. 

Instead, I dropped off Nova and Darren, picked up the girls and did a little shopping, then returned to pick up in Banker's Hill and then we all came to my house to make bean burritos while the girls played Clue. We decided to turn it into a full game-night and took Cranium to my mom's where we played adults vs kids. 

As an aside, I used to LOVE Cranium. Friends and I would play at our own game nights, and I've been waiting for the kids to be old enough to play. But also, the game is from circa 1998, so there are some things that are completely outdated and some that the girls would never know at their ages. For example, there's a charades style category called Cameo, and I had to act out John Travolta and Sylvester Stallone. Still, it was fun. There are clues where you have to draw with your eyes closed, for example, and Nova excelled on drawing Pinocchio and Santa Claus. There's backwards spelling. There are word jumbles. There's humming or whistling old songs. It was super fun and the girls already asked if we can play again on Christmas. Now I'll be on the hunt for updated cards and probably some play-doh since the clay we're supposed to use to sculpt some clues is hard as a rock after sitting in my closet for 20 years. 

I think my dad is doing a lot better. His conditions are still what they are, but he loves the energy of having all of us in the house together at once. He has regular visits from nurses and occupational therapists and physical therapists and the like, and next week they're going to try to use the electronic lift to get him out of bed and into a chair. Small steps to better his quality of life while he's still with us. 

There was a lot of news yesterday as the CDC released their first MMWR on the Omicron variant, but it is *crucial* to know that (1) omicron has been detected in San Diego with a person who did not travel, meaning community spread is happening (2) "so far the virus is milder" because most of the people identified as having the omicron variant did travel so were required to have vaccines and boosters and the vaccinated are just more inclined to get tested in the first place and (3) there are some very frightening threads about Omicron's transmissibility, explainers about denominators, and the effect on unvaccinated children, and none of it is good or reason to be optimistic, so do what you gotta do to protect yourself and your family. "Not needing a ventilator" is not my personal definition of mild illness and while anecdotal stories can support any hypothesis, I tend to listen to the people who are fully vaxxed and boosted and yet their "mild" infections have them in bed for days or weeks. No thank you. 

I'm gonna take the weekend off but will be back with a post on Monday. 

Stay safe out there. 

Friday, December 10, 2021

Things To Do In San Diego: Friday, December 10- Thursday, December 16, 2021: CHVRCHES | Shane Hall | Fundraiser for Spice Pistols | Mariachi El Bronx |

Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES at Dia De Los Deftones (Taken 11.2.2019)

Listings are done. I don't know how I cycled away from doing them on Monday or Tuesday, but here we are, middle of the pandemic and about to have another major holiday surge, and this is what you get. 

There are some really solid shows this week, including a fundraiser for the Spice Pistols, whose members tragically lost their house to an electrical fire earlier this year. Casbah is going to be great all week, and my super favorites CHVRCHES are coming to the Observatory for two nights!!  It's gonna be a solid week of shows, San Diego should see more rain, and it's a generally great time to settle in and nest for winter. 

Mask up, get your booster, and stay safe out there. 

Thursday, December 09, 2021

CoVID-19: Omicron Detected In San Diego | Boosters Approved For Older Teens | "Hope Is Not A Strategy" | Court Rejects TFG's Efforts To Bury 1/6 Docs |


It was so nice to experience rain in San Diego and it was really exciting to hear that the Sierras are getting a dump of snow, too. Meteorologists are predicting another big storm on Tuesday so hopefully that is true. Like many, I would love to just see the rainiest San Diego this winter.

Which brings up Dr. Mike Ryan. If you've never watched or listened to him, do yourself a favor. He's been the most straight-up at the World Health Organization and in remarks this week said, "hope is not a strategy." We have the tools, we know what to do, and yet we can't get our shit together -- and I'm talking from the local level all the way up to the global level. It's gross and awful and sometimes I think about it too much and it's overwhelming so then I just have to not think of it at all and remember a strategy that has thus far worked for our family: act as if you and everyone around you is unvaccinated. We wear masks, know our exits, dodge big groups. We monitor our temperatures and blood oxygen, we try to limit time indoors with strangers, we keep air circulating, and even when it's freezing. 

I'm looking forward to this weekend because I need to catch up with work without getting interrupted with something else. I'll try to get to listings at some point tomorrow, but for now I have a newsletter to write. If you're thinking about going to the Casbah for NYE, get your tickets soon because it is really close to being sold out. 

Stay safe out there. 

Things To Do In San Diego: Thursday, December 9, 2021 | Golf Alpha Bravo (GAB From Jagwar Ma) | Dani Bell & The Tarantist |

This is the quick and dirty listings for tonight. Sorry if I missed anything. I've got too much to do today to dive all the way in. Omicron has now been detected in San Diego. Wear your masks and watch your mixing. 

Stay safe out there. 

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

CoViD-19: Get Boosted | Post-Thanksgiving Delta Still Dominates | Sec of Interior Visits San Diego | County Receives Grants For Parks | 91X Offers Sea World Tickets For $25 Donation | California Will Be Abortion Sanctuary State |


Male Koala at San Diego Zoo (Taken 12.7.21)

There are some San Diego Zoo regulars that I run into quite a bit. They all seem nice enough, but I never really considered myself among them. After all, I would rationalize to myself, before the pandemic I would take my laptop and work from the zoo. I live close, so it isn't really out of my way to go there. 

After this week, I have to just suck it up and admit that I am one of the crazy zoo walkers. Today was my third day in a row, and Sunday we went to San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I take so many photos that my folders have to be sub-named by the park and the month. A girl at one of the little soda kiosks asked me if I was an employee and when I said I wasn't, she said, "but I see you here all the time!" An older woman I was talking to about the baby giraffe told me I should join the morning walkers because so many of the old people are dying off. I talk to the animals. I call them by their names, at least the ones I know. I whistle to the gray parrot. I call at the turacos. I wave at the elephants. 

I am a crazy zoo lady. 

And I'm writing this as if it's any shock to you. As if I haven't already made plans to go on Thursday specifically because it is supposed to rain and the animals generally love the rain. As if I haven't already planned on kicking off the weekend with Jungle Bells. 

But I've said it before and I'll say it again: I feel safe there. Masking is more commonplace than out in the regular world. For the most part, people respect your clear desire to not share the elevator. It's outside but not packed with people blaring radios, a reason I haven't been on an actual hike in the actual world for so long. There are generally neat and clean bathrooms. Refills on my unsweetened iced tea are a buck. Even on a crowded day, you can find sanctuary and quiet empty spaces. It belongs to everyone, and it belongs to just me. I can't wait to go back tomorrow. 

Stay safe out there. 

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

CoViD-19: Too Early To Say Omicron Is Milder SO STOP SAYING IT. | Delta Once Again Overwhelms Hospitals | Biden Zooms With Putin | Photos: San Diego Zoo 8 Day Old Giraffe Calf |


Saba and 8-day old giraffe calf (Taken 12.7.21)

I was so tired last night that I went to bed kinda early for me, which meant I woke up around 1am and then was up for a few hours reading Twitter and here's the conclusions I've made: any expert saying they know anything definitively about omicron is not actually an expert; they are a talking head with an agenda. There is not enough information, there are not enough cases, the population of South Africa's so-called hotspots is wildly different than the US population, their vaccination and infection rates are wildly different, and the lag between getting infected, identifying the infection and recovering or getting sick or hospitalized or dying can be days, weeks, and sometimes months. So we need to all just settle down. If anyone knows a clinic giving away free antigen tests, please let me know. I've now spent about $50 on them and don't want to buy anymore, especially if they're available. Today Jen Psaki and Jeff Zients kinda revealed why they don't just give them out to all Americans: because the same people who won't wear masks and won't get vaxxed would just toss them in the trash. It actually felt like Jen was going to spit it out but she's such a pro she refrained. On the other hand, they also know after seeing toilet paper shortages, they would just get hoarded by those of us who would literally test every 3 days after being in public spaces, so there's that, too. 

So I went to the San Diego Zoo again this afternoon because I really wanted to catch the  giraffe calf after the intel I gathered yesterday. So it is confirmed a girl, she was 147lbs when she was born, and was 5'10" when she was born. I got there later than usual, so I did my shorter lap around the park, then decided to jump on the Kangaroo bus for the next two stops to the mesa. I did a lap around to see the cheetahs and fennec foxes, the donkey and zebra pals, and Henry the rhino. No baby giraffe. So I waited. And waited. And the crowd got tired of waiting and the volunteer who was telling everyone about the baby left, and soon enough it was just me and a couple tourists and she made her appearance. I learned the 10 month old giraffe is named Eleanor and watched her get a little too friendly and a little jealous of the new calf. The elder females all would surround her and protect her before she'd shy back into the barn. But eventually, she came out full fledged and was galloping around the enclosure, exploring the surroundings, and then when everyone was really gone and it was just me and one older lady there, she came right up to the wall, with the 6 other females watching to make sure we made no quick moves. Later, a dad and his little boy came by and the 5:15 warning that "The San Diego Zoo is now closed for the day..." came on, and I sucked up every moment I could before calling it a day. So amazing. I'll post some pictures at the bottom of the post, and maybe stitch together some videos to put on YouTube. I should really buy a video editing program at this point. Nobody needs to hear me baby-talk a giraffe. Don't forget that this weekend the San Diego Zoo kicks off Jungle Bells and will be open until 8pm. 

Stay safe out there. 

Photos: Courtney Barnett at Observatory North Park, December 5, 2021

Courtney Barnett at Observatory (Taken 12.5.21)

I have to start all of this by saying that I have missed a lot of really great shows in 2021. Everyone has to weigh their own risks, but with my dad sick and visiting him in the hospital and being around my nieces who are in school and soccer and out and about in the world, I just wasn't ready to put myself into the thick of shows again. I missed Silversun Pickups. I missed Middle Kids. I missed Julien Baker. I've missed a lot. 

But now Darren and I are fully vaccinated and boosted, as is my sister and our parents. Nova is fully vaccinated, as are my nieces (finally). We have good N-95s. We've agreed not to drink at shows. We agreed to go to shows that require vaccines or negative tests, and for this particular show, masks were required for the whole audience, regardless of status, except while actively drinking or eating. So we took our chances and went to the show. 

Despite the show being sold out, I was thoroughly impressed by the efficiency getting in. We parked in the garage with no problem. My tickets and photo pass were waiting for me at will call. The vaccine verification was easy peasy. I have a clear backpack to hold my gear and made it through security with no delay. We chose to skip the opener, so I can't say how it was earlier in the evening, but it was simple for us. Since we wanted to limit our time in the venue, we stayed for about an hour of the show - enough time for me to shoot and to hear some of our favorites before we had to get the kid home early enough to not have a sluggish Monday at school. It was a little bit of a bummer for her; getting there late didn't afford the best sightlines, but after she said she was glad she went, too. "I forgot how many of her songs I know!"  

And of course, Courtney Barnett is amazing. I was trying to think and I believe this is my 8th time seeing her live. I remember interviewing her before her first Casbah show and saying something to the effect that this would be the smallest venue I'd ever get to see her as she kinda shyly just smiled, and that quickly came to fruition as I have gone on to see her a couple times at House of Blues, a couple times at Observatory, at Pappy and Harriet's, at Outside Lands and a couple others. Her new album, Things Take Time, Take Time, showcases her pattern of brilliant songwriting, of being a wordsmith in message and timing. 

I will say as I was waiting for her to come onstage, I had butterflies. I haven't shot a show at a proper venue since I got my new camera. They had the lights down and a fog machine wafting and I was just watching the cloud slowly filter over the crowd and having immense anxiety in my head: this is exactly how an aerosolized virus spreads. But I had to fight that down, try to have a little faith in my fellow humans, and enjoy an inspired show. A note for venues: despite it being winter, you need to keep your ventilation systems running on high. If it's too expensive, add more fans or build Rosenthal-Corsi boxes. Ventilation isn't always about temperature, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Today San Diego's R-eff tipped red, meaning cases are "likely increasing," to be expected after Thanksgiving, but there are mitigations to keep people safer and we should be doing everything possible to keep numbers down and businesses open. 

We made it a little more than halfway through the show. Someday I'll get back to showing up for openers. And making it all the way through the encore. But for my first time back, I'll say it was a success. It's at least a start.  

Here's the setlist as posted on stage:

    Avant Gardener
    If I Don't Hear From You Tonight
    Sunfair Sundown
    Small Poppies
    Elevator Operator
    Need A Little Time
    Turning Green
    Rae Street
    History Eraser
    Here's The Thing
    Write a List of Things (to Look Forward To)
    Nobody Really Cares (If You Don't Go To The Party)
    Pedestrian At Best
    Oh The Night
    Before You Gotta Go

Courtney Barnett followed up her San Diego performance with an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel on Monday night. Watch her performance of "If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight".    

Monday, December 06, 2021

CoViD-19: Delta Is Still Here As Omicron Spreads | Biden & Putin Plan Call Over Ukraine | Court Upholds SDUSD Vaccine Requirement | Elo-Rivera Voted Next City Council President |


Courtney Barnett at Observatory North Park (Taken 12.5.21)

I'm gonna just skip all the COVID stuff because it really is same-old, same-old: everyone speculating prematurely about Omicron, people still fighting about delta and masks and vaccines and the WHO got grilled over the weekend for still only tepidly saying that COVID-19 is airborne. It's just stupid at this point. You know what you can do to keep yourself safer, weigh risk, etc., so we'll move forward. 

Since I skipped a post on Sunday I will say what a great day it was. We went to San Diego Zoo Safari Park in the afternoon. We've been skipping the tram because they're filling them to capacity and when you hear 6 year olds and 86 year olds all around you coughing, it's gotta be a hard no. Instead we got a lot of time with the cheetah, and then made our way through lion camp and around to Kilima Point where I patiently waited and waited and waited and then eventually little Kamaria the baby rhino and her mom Kianga make their way up the hill and gave us a little interaction for over an hour. It was beautiful and then they moved to their little sleeping area, we moved on to the elephants until is was so dark we couldn't even see them and left the park.

We could've stayed to walk around and see the lights, but we had to get home. Darren whipped up a spaghetti dinner and then we went to the Observatory for Courtney Barnett, which was my first show there in nearly two years. It warrants its own post and more photos, but I'm so glad we went as I dip my toe back into the old life. 

I've also been getting winter cozy so as I've mentioned I've been watching Christmas movies, but none have been good enough worthy of a title mention, but last night I found Harlem on Amazon Prime and binged the whole season of 10 episodes in one night. Which probably explains why I was so tired today, but I still made my way to the San Diego Zoo for the afternoon. I haven't seen the baby giraffe since she was born last Monday, but today a keeper said she was 147 lbs at birth, and that on Tuesday she'll be introduced to the herd and out in the pen more consistently, which I think means they limit how much time she can escape off-exhibit. Obviously, I'll be back. 

Stay safe out there. 

Saturday, December 04, 2021

CoViD-19: Omicron Spreads; Delta Still Dominates | Thanksgiving Spread Reflected In Case Numbers | President Biden, Get Some Rest! |


I never thought I'd agree with Peter Doocy about anything, but yesterday and Thursday it was obvious that Joe Biden is sick, and though we can be assured by his testing and constant medical monitoring that he doesn't have COVID-19, people should not be working when they're sick, exhibiting any signs of illness. I understand he's the president and his job is unlike any others, but get the dude some Robitussin, a big cozy bed, some chicken soup, and he can Zoom or make calls if he needs to. He needs to stop flying around, he needs to cut his BBB tour and just get better. 

Yesterday was a good day. My mom sprung it on us that my dad was being transported home, so we were gonna wait for Nova to get home from school and head to Chula Vista. But then I spoke with my sister and we decided she would go to my parents' house and I would get her girls from soccer and a friend's house a couple hours later. Then she told me she was in Chula Vista at a Happy Honda Days event where they were giving $60 vouchers for Christmas Trees. She has artificial trees, as do my parents, so we facetimed and picked a tree for us and she was able to snatch up a 6-7' Noble for $65 after the voucher. We usually do a little shorter from Home Depot for about $80, so we appreciated the deal. 

Eventually we rounded up the girls, stopped home to let the dog out, grabbed tortillas and a celebratory cake from Pancho Villa's, grabbed some tamales from our favorite spot in National City, and spent the rest of the night among family. My dad had been hospitalized since the week of my birthday in late September so it was of course, exciting to have him home. 

After a good night with my parents and nieces and everyone hanging, Nova stayed the night and I watched a Christmas movie at home while Darren played guitar in the studio. Today we were up relatively early for us for a Saturday but I had to catch up on all the Friday work I had skipped for the day. During that time I watched another Christmas movie, I helped Darren set up the tree, and then kept working right up until I decided a nap was in order. 

So it was a good day, a chill day, and I mostly caught up with work stuff, though it's always nice when its a sold out night and I don't have to really worry too much about anything. 

Real information on Omicron is still a couple of weeks out, though researchers are gleaning small bits of information by the hour. But it's really important to remember that because of vaccine requirements for travel to many countries, the data will skew and look like only vaccinated people are testing positive which can lead to the conclusion that cases are mild because that's how it mostly manifests so far in people who are fully-vaccinated and young-and-healthy enough to travel in the first place. It isn't hard to see how those conclusions are way too premature to then magnify to different populations with varying demographics, varying vaccine uptake, and varying health infrastructure. And anyway, Delta is still here to destroy vulnerable lungs while we wait to see what Omicron does. So like always, be vigilant.

Stay safe out there. 

Friday, December 03, 2021

Dad Is Home! (No Post Today)

After 2 months in the hospital, and being moved from Kaiser to palliative care at the VA medical center at UCSD, my dad was released and is now home. He was provided a mechanical hospital bed and a lift so we will see how it goes. He's not "better", there really is no getting better, but he's stable and just happy to be home. We celebrated with tamales and a cake and the girls put up the Christmas tree. 

All this to say, no data post today, but know that one week after Thanksgiving, like clockwork San Diego had the most new cases since September. I'll catch up on Saturday. 

Stay safe out there. 

Thursday, December 02, 2021

CoViD-19: Omicron Detection Increasing Across US, World | Biden Bumps Up Boosters, Testing | US Averts Government Shutdown | Inflation Or Corporate Greed? | Don't Mind The Red Bay |

Courtney Barnett from the Archives (Taken at House of Blues 10.11.2017)

Even though I got a couple hours in at the San Diego Zoo this afternoon, I feel like I've been working all day long. I got up early, did actual work for my actual job, did the listings while watching two media briefings and then a Senate committee meeting that I didn't realize was back from October. 

I know I like to keep up with news up to the minute, but if you don't, just know that media is seizing the omicron variant as an opportunity to get clicks, which either means inducing panic and fear or saying all the panic and fear is overblown. And I guess they're both right and they're both wrong, but the consensus remains that we're now about 10 days from having any definitive information about omicron, and even longer knowing what kind of severity of illness it causes since that is a lagging indicator. All you can do is mask up- and maybe with some higher quality N95 or KN95s for precarious indoor situations, consider 3 shots of mRNA vaccines as fully vaccinated, and consider your risk in any situations that aren't your own home, and even in your own home if you have people in your household exposed to high-risk situations. Hopefully antigen tests do drop in price or become free so everyone can just have them in their medicine cabinets when they're needed. I'm not panicking yet. If I was unvaccinated or knew anyone who was, I certainly would be gravely concerned. And if you do test positive after air-traveling from abroad, you should notify your local health department that they might want to sequence your sample. 

And a correction. On Tuesday, I posted a map of California that showed San Diego was showing a 0.69 R-eff (The more under 1, the better. Over 1 is not good.) This was considered great news. Today while gathering my data, I saw this note. "Delays in case reporting lead to underestimates of R-eff. It is likely that decreased testing volume over the Thanksgiving holiday has resulted in abnormal trends." So we're back at 0.93 which is still under 1, but considered "likely stable" instead of "likely decreasing". 

Stay safe out there.