Monday, February 28, 2022

CoViD-19: Western States Drop Statewide School Masking Beginning March 12 | SDUSD Aligns With CDC; Keeps Masks As Long As County Is "High-Risk" | Ukraine Reports Snake Island Border Guards Alive |

 

Darren Being Patient As Always As I Photograph Animals at San Diego Zoo (Taken 2.2.22)

There's this teen movie sequel called Tall Girl 2 on Netflix. In the first movie, the main character had delivered a speech at homecoming about how hard it is to be tall and in this follow up, is asked in an audition, "what would you say to people who don't believe being tall is a real problem?" and then goes on to list child poverty, homelessness, etc. as "real problems." She has to defend herself by saying that yes, all those things are real, but it doesn't make her experiences and feelings any less real. 

There is so much awful in the world, and Ukraine is top of mind. The images are horrifying. Reading first hand accounts from people leaving their homes are heartbreaking. But there's also a lot of 'if you care so much about X then you should care more about Y' tit-for-tatting going on. Some of that is valid. There are, in fact, conflicts happening right now all over the world. Of course we can still also be concerned with Yemen, Ethiopia, Myanmar. Of course we still can care about homelessness, and climate change, and poverty, and COVID. I think you're going to hear a lot of this during Tuesday's State of the Union Address, and even more from the talking heads after the speech. I think you're going to hear a lot of the administration retorting that they can walk and chew gum at the same time, that they have a lot of balls in the air, a lot on their plate. That they have to walk back four years of detrimental policy and actions from TFG while looking forward to what can legitimately be done to make things better moving forward.   

And I can also be a lot more myopic and freak out that my toilet practically exploded today because the idiot plumber who did work in the front house failed to mention that he turned off the water, resulting in giant pockets of air shooting through and breaking off the hose in our tank. I can be angry that he totally gaslit me and told me our water isn't connected to the front when clearly it is. I can be mildly annoyed by my cats breaking my Talavera flower pot when I let them play on the balcony. I can be bummed that all we did for Darren's birthday on Sunday was 777 Noodle House. I can be irritated that I felt like shit all day because my allergies were in overdrive. All of it is relative. All of it is real. All I can do is try to make tomorrow a little bit better. 

Stay safe out there. 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

CoViD-19: CDC Releases New Mask Guidance: San Diego Community Level Still "High" | Biden Announces Historic SCOTUS Nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson | Ukrainian Invasion Continues |

 

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Denny The Gorilla (Taken 2.15.22)

I forgot to mention on Thursday's post that I would be working on Friday night and wouldn't have a post and now it's after midnight so I guess I didn't get it in on Saturday either. I sold merch for Del Water Gap at the Casbah and I went in feeling a little nervous because the show was sold out and I definitely pre-judged that the young artist would have a ton of merch, but the reality was that their tour manager was on top of his game, had a ton of stuff but organized by size in separate bins and their square reader and paired Touch were super fast and the very young, enthusiastic crowd was very chill and made for a very easy night. I guess the kids are alright. 

After I got home I stayed up all night and binged Murderville on Netflix. Super mindless funny show if you need something to get out of your own head and tune out the awful stuff going on around the globe and particularly in Ukraine. A silly show and I guess my current obsessions with Wordle, Quordle, Octordle, and Worldle help in that way, too. 

I'll skip a Sunday post, but will be back Monday when the state of California is poised to announce their mask updates, likely to align with the new CDC recommendations, though that leaves us in San Diego with high levels in our community and thus nothing should be changing here, though it will be interesting to watch if the state just relents and scraps it all. I mean, as long as you can rationalize that the people still dying are already sick, old, or people of color, or all of the above, the value of their lives pales to the capital E Economy, as we've already seen in other states and countries. I guess we'll see how California plays it. My mask will still be on. 

Stay safe out there. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

CoViD-19: BA.2 Expands Globally As BA.1 Recedes In US | Minnesota Cops Guilty On All Counts Related To Murder Of George Floyd | Russia Continues Assault On Ukraine |

 

Saba at San Diego Zoo (Taken 2.10.22)

I ran into an old friend today at the Farmer's Market. He commented how much this site has changed over the past couple years. I've been thinking about it ever since he said it. 

It is different, I know. Because I'm different. The world is different. San Diego is different. This site has actually swayed a lot over the years. It started as a diary, what I would be planning for my weekends, which evolved into me listing everything I could find that was going on in town. When San Diego had major fires jumping our freeways, I would post news updates as they were available because social media wasn't really quite what it is today. When I was a single woman and going to 5 or 6 shows a week, there were a lot of posts about that. For several years, at least preceding the pandemic, I've focused mostly on shows and show photography. 

16 years into this site, 10 years into my relationship with Darren and Nova, surviving 4 years of TFG, entering the 3rd year of a global pandemic, and now a major world power invading a sovereign nation...it would be a little gross if at 45 years old I was still posting about partying every night and keeping blinders on about everything going on in the world. There are people who've monetized strictly posting about restaurant openings, there are plenty of lifestyle bloggers and influencers half my age, there are beer writers and bike people and political wonks, and people who pivot from Blogger to Tumblr to Insta to TikTok to whatever, but I'm not concerned with competing with them. Trends come and go, and maybe now I'm the dinosaur, but all I can do is post what is important to me and hope some of you stick around as you grow and evolve, too. And if you don't, that's okay, too. I'm not for everyone. 

Stay safe out there.   

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

CoViD-19: San Diego Surpasses 5,000 Deaths | SDUSD Vaccine Mandate Goes Into Effect Summer '22 | Russia Invades Ukraine | Soda Bar Earns Live Music Society Grant!! | FDA Approves 1st Condom For Anal |

3 Month Old Mawe (Taken 2.23.22)
With the holiday weekend data caught up, San Diego hit the milestone of exceeding 5,000 deaths while reporting nearly 3/4 of a million cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The good news is that over 80% of eligible San Diegans are vaccinated, even if the news channels make you think it's more like 50% by platforming all these morons who are still fighting masks and shots. 

After I wrapped up listings today, Darren and I hit the San Diego Zoo for the last hour of the day. I cannot wait for them to expand hours because this 5pm closing can sometimes cramp my style. That's how we ended up at Sea World over the weekend: it was too late for the Zoo that night. Still, it was fun and we closed the day with Mawe, the baby giraffe, going crazy with the zoomies. 

Besides all the crazy news out in the world, I wanted to congratulate Soda Bar, which was announced today as the recipient of a Small Venue grant from the Live Music Society. That is super awesome for them. 

Today's general news was all over the place and I'm trying to wrap my head around the Ukraine situation and watched the White House daily press conference as well as the entire State Department briefing and the crazy interview with Wesley Clark on CNN. It's definitely not looking good. It feels a little messed up to be just carrying on as normal, but what is the alternative? Whatever you do, do not fall into the 24 hour news hypnosis. Believe me. It's not good for anyone. 

Stay safe out there. 

Things To Do In San Diego: Wednesday, February 23- Tuesday, March 1, 2022 | Naked Giants | Earthless |Del Water Gap | Mild Orange | Manchester Orchestra | Eddie Vedder | Iglooghost |


I haven't had a chance to organize the listings better, but if I don't get out of the house right now, I never will and that's a spiral nobody wants to see, so enjoy all the music news, and check back on this post often as there will surely be updates throughout the week. 

Stay safe out there. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

CoViD-19: WHO Addresses Omicron BA.2 | Misinfo Is Subtle | US Adds Sanctions To Russia Over Ukraine Escalation | US Pledges $35M To Rare Earth Extraction in California |

 

Kangaroo Mama & Joey at San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Taken 2.22.22)

What a difference a day makes. I went to bed early on Monday night and was up at the crack of dawn to get some work done and set about my day. I can't do anything about Russia and Ukraine, about gas and rent prices, about babies being poisoned by bad formula, about the idiot I heard about over the weekend who was so drunk his corgi shot itself in the paw because he left his loaded pistol on the ground when he passed out on the couch. What I can do is turn off the 24 hour news and walk away. It isn't that I don't care, it's that as a bit of an empath, I care too much and paralyze my own life functions if I don't turn it off.

Darren had committed to a day at San Diego Zoo Safari Park with me, so by the afternoon we were on our way. 

When we got there, we walked through the gates and within 10 minutes it was pouring. We quickly returned to the car where I had brought my waterproof boots, reassessed our jacket and umbrella situation, and spent the afternoon walking in the sometimes sun, sometimes drizzle, sometimes downpour of the afternoon. We got to see a joey popping his head out of his mama kangaroo, we got to see the 18 day old giraffe, and we got to see all the African plains animals on the tram super close up as they were more active because of the rain, staying higher on the hillsides than down in the valleys. Even the zebras were out, which I guess is a fairly new thing as they were always cordoned off from the rest of the herd animals. We were able to see all three baby southern white rhinos on the tram, too, though they didn't make appearances up on Kilima Point, presumably because they sometimes fill the troughs of food for rhinos, but today had stocked the tree feeders for the giraffes instead. 

When we drove home it was raining and we hit traffic but all was good once we were home eating takeout tacos from El Panson. The bad news of the world is always there in your face but the joy is there, too, if you just let yourself see it. 

Stay safe out there. 

Monday, February 21, 2022

CoViD-19: Prematurely Moving On | US Issues First Sanctions On Russia Over Ukraine | Canada Extends Emergency Powers |

Orca Experience at Sea World (Taken 2.20.22)

I had been looking forward to President's Weekend because I thought it would be a chance to reset a little bit. Instead I've just been a zombie. My sleep patterns are worse than ever. I worked at Soda Bar on Saturday and we went to Sea World on Sunday, but it took everything I had just to get out and do anything. I guess I forgot that I prefer the weekdays when the world feels a little less crowded, a little less claustrophobic. 

I did my best to dodge the news, but between countries and states just deciding the pandemic is over and the feeling that there's not one thing we can do about the situation in Europe except just watch, everything starts to feel a little out of control. My wheels just start spinning sometimes and I start imagining every horrible doomsday scenario and I have to pull myself back in. I'm trying to just live my little life in this little corner of our little pocket in the world, but sometimes it is a lot. So today I tried to turn my attention away from news and just watched new-to-me shows on Hulu. I buzzed through Creamerie, a dark comedy from New Zealand about a post-plague world in which only women survived, and now am watching Jann, a comedy about an aging singer-songwriter who finds an aggressive young manager who plots her comeback. It's pretty entertaining and distracting, most of all, which we all need sometimes. 

I'm sure Tuesday will be a better day. I can go back to my routines and the small things I can control and get some fresh air and some quiet time and mostly focus on the the abundance of goodness around me instead of the minute by minute news cycle of psychopathic authoritarians doing some old fashioned dick-swinging. Que serĂ¡, serĂ¡.

Stay safe out there. 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

CoViD-19: More Than 66K US Deaths In Last 4 Weeks | Newsom Lays Out Gun Sense Bills | US Pulls Back Curtain on Russia | Mexican Avocado Imports Resume | Mayor Outlines Plan For Sexy Streets |

Mexico Avocado Imports Have Resumed (Taken 2.17.2020)

When I was growing up, my dad did all the household grocery shopping. He's a math and numbers guy, so every Wednesday when the new mailers for each store came out, he'd study each one meticulously while comparing them with all the coupons he'd cut from the Sunday paper and then we'd go on these grocery adventures with him to Big Bear, Alpha Beta, and Safeway, the stores that were pretty much equidistant from our house. He'd give each of us a coupon and we'd kinda treasure hunt through the store to make sure we got, say, two boxes of granola bars to matched the parameters of the coupon and the ad. 

These days he's not mobile but still sends my mom to specific stores to get specific sale items. His methods were no doubt impressed upon me as I carefully choose what stuff we get at Costco vs Vons vs Grocery Outlet. I don't think Sunday coupons are even a thing anymore, but when I get my weekly Vons email, I make note and "clip all coupons" in the app. I keep seeing the news harping about grocery bills and I definitely feel the pinch from gas prices and see the inflation around us, but it seems to me a lot more greed-based than policy based, so my only political sway is to consume and spend less. OPEC has been trying to get a barrel to $100 all year and they may finally succeed, especially with Russia's posture with respect to Ukraine. Corporate profits have never been higher. Private equity firms are buying up all the housing and jacking all the rents and inflating the housing market while cutting their own costs and any care to tenants. So yeah, like everyone, I'm definitely concerned, but if this pandemic has taught me anything, it's to be a little more practical and a lot more informed. At the moment, Vons has T-bones for $5.99 a pound and avocados are 97cents, no limit. So maybe, at least here in San Diego, a city of abundance, we can turn down the panic on the news just a notch?

Today's press conferences were pretty amazing. I recommend watching the California briefing on gun safety and proposed legislation. Governor Newsom was on fire and naming names - Ronald Reagan, the Supreme Court, and OAN, Newsmax, Bannon, Judge Benitez, et al. were all targets of his ire. It was kind of amazing. It was a huge win for groups like the Brady Campaign, Moms Demand Action, and Sandy Hook Promise.

And if you're trying to wrap your head around what's going on in Ukraine, you should watch Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics and Deputy NEC Director Daleep Singh for an explainer. My new government crush, by the way.     

In the past 4 weeks, 66,622 people have died with or from COVID-19 in the United States. If San Diego is consistent with recent daily deaths, we'll hit 5,000 deaths countywide over the weekend. It's not over. 

Stay safe out there.     

Thursday, February 17, 2022

CoViD-19: California Gets "S.M.A.R.T.E.R." With Updated COVID-19 Plan | State AG Announces Fraud Charges Against Some CHP | Housing Shortage? Thank Investors |

 

Bonobo -- maybe Loretta -- Taking in The San Diego Sun (Taken 2.17.22)

Today was a good day. The weather was perfect, the San Diego Zoo was a little crowded in anticipation of Presidents' Weekend but not too bad in my favorite spots, and Darren went shopping this morning so we had an amazing dinner at home before we had to go to Chula Vista to help my dad. Now I'm trying to get work done so I can kick back for the weekend, but I think Darren is falling asleep before I can catch up with some bevvies. 

I did watch Governor Newsom and Dr. Ghaly and others in their press conference today and it sounded good in practice but we'll see how it translates. I did like Newsom's response to a question about what about parents who don't want their kids in masks and are fed up after seeing so many people at massive events without them?  or something to that effect to which he came back with our state statistics of high adult vaccination rates, events being outdoors, and only 29% of kids 5-11 are vaccinated (23% in San Diego, as I highlighted yesterday. So while he can't exactly use the phrasing I would and do, he basically said you don't get it both ways...vaccinate or masks (and ideally both until transmission is lower). 

As for the Casbah, masks are still required for unvaccinated, and "highly recommended" for everyone else when not drinking, and we're continuing our vaccine verification or negative PCR withing 72 hours of shows. So there's that. And speaking of...I have a newsletter to write. 

Stay safe out there. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

CoViD-19: As Rates Drop, 42% Of San Diego Community Outbreaks In TK-12 Schools | Reinfections Surge | Sea Level Rising Faster Than Previously Believed |

 

Say Cheese! Bonobo at San Diego Zoo (Taken 2.17.22)

Some days I feel like I want to quit updating all the daily statistics since everyone seems to just be over COVID altogether. And then I look deeper into the daily data, compare it to past data, and see that we're still not doing very well. There were almost 3,000 new deaths in the US. San Diego used to have 4 or 5 on a bad day and now we're counting about 20 a day for the past 2-3 weeks. Some people, including some scientists and some doctors, are certain that January was as bad as it gets and even though the US still has over 100,000 cases a day, we're good to move on and not look back. Meanwhile in San Diego, a full 2/3 of active community outbreaks reported in the past week are in childcare/preschools and TK-12 schools and only 29.3% of 5-11 year olds are fully vaccinated. I'd love for someone to countersue those Let Them Breathe and Reopen San Diego assfaces. Back to my original point, I keep doing these posts because I want a record to look back on for myself just to contextualize exactly what the past two years have looked like.

I also feel like the let's-just-move-on people are forgetting is just how willfully ignorant a significant segment of Americans are and if our vaccines wane and our boosters wane we could have some real problems, not just putting us back to December 2021 and January 2022, but back to December 2020 and January 2021. I hope I'm wrong. But I'll keep on masking until we get to those lower transmission levels. Right now, we're still at 300% of what is considered "high transmission". 

I've been good though. I got yesterday's wordle on my second try which is the first time in my streak to do that. I went to the San Diego Zoo today and it feels like some of the primates are staying out later than usual, so I've been spending more time watching the siamangs and orangutans, the gorillas, the mandrills, and the bonobos. A volunteer was even asking me stuff about the animals and the zoo in general so I guess I'm officially a "zoopie" -- a zoo groupie -- but you already knew that about me. 

Nova got a physical today to get cleared to play school sports, so I'm glad she's taking up lacrosse and hope she sticks with it. It just feels like forced interaction will make for a much better high school experience than being the quiet kid who reads in the corner most of the time, especially because we know how social and talkative, how interesting and interested she really is. I've been binging teen movies and shows lately and it reminds me how truly harrowing that time of life can be. 

Stay safe out there.  

Things To Do In San Diego: Wednesday, February 16-Tuesday, February 22, 2022: Hiss Golden Messenger | Suzanne Santo of HONEYHONEY | Steve Poltz Birthday Celebration | We Are Scientists | Dinosaur Jr. | SDMA Nominees |


I did the listings. Yay! 

State rules are changing but bear in mind that we're still in high transmission in the county and masks indoors are still "strongly recommended" even if they're not required for vaccinated persons. And for the unvaxxed, they are still technically required at all times, whether enforced or not. I would highly recommend everyone stash home tests while they're available because we could very well bounce back into higher transmission if everyone just drops all mitigations at once. We had no problem grabbing free N95s at CVS earlier in the afternoon and save them for when we're gonna be indoors for extended amounts of time, otherwise we use the N94s or surgical masks we'd stockpiled. Some stores are holding them at the counter so people don't just grab them all, and all you have to do is ask for them. 

There are some really amazing shows this week so hopefully you're healthy and young and vibrant and can get out to safely enjoy them. 

Be safe out there. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

CoViD-19: San Diego Unified Drops Outdoor Masks | County Still Offers FREE Monoclonal Antibodies | Sandy Hook Settlement | Biden Admin Allowing California To Set Emissions Standards |

 

Tsandzikle The Elephant Illuminated by a Rainbow (Taken 2.15.22) 

As my afternoon approached 3pm, I knew if I didn't get my walk in at the San Diego Zoo, I'd just be home all day and all night for a second day in a row. Sometimes you have to just put the work away for awhile and breathe some fresh air. 

Only I was certain the rain was over. So I didn't wear great rain shoes nor a proper jacket nor an umbrella. So when it started pouring I asked Darren if he was down to get wet for an hour and he said yes, so we continued our lap around the zoo. It's always amazing there whenever it rains. The apes and monkeys were active. The gorillas and hippos were engaging. By the time we got to the mountain lions and elephants, the rain had stopped and a massive, although faint, rainbow was spanning the sky, and we closed our day passing the koalas and giraffes. 

It was a big day of news -- stuff in Ukraine is changing and still the same at the same time, the families of Sandy Hook shooting victims won a $73M settlement from the insurers of Remington, the governor nominated a woman to the California Supreme Court, Anti-Defamation League dropped a report about far-right extremism, and San Diego Unified is dropping outdoor mask requirements.

I'm gonna try and get some listings done tonight but I owe Darren a cocktail night in the speakeasy, so they'll come when they come. 

Stay safe out there.  

Monday, February 14, 2022

CoViD-19: CA Maintains Masks In Schools | Leave My Avocados Alone! | Canadian Blockades Finally Dispersed | Megadrought Worst In 1200 Years |

 

Happy Valentine's Day From Me and D (Taken 1.31.22) 

I finished watching Inventing Anna over the weekend, and I'd already watched The Tindler Swindler and then I watched all these old interviews with Anna Sorokin and it must've really gotten in my head because even though I went to bed early on Sunday, I was tossing and turning with bad dreams all night, of every asshole in my life who has ever taken from me..the college roommates who stiffed me for rent and never paid even after I won in court, the boyfriend that I supported while he did his Masters only to breakup the second he graduated, the salesman boyfriend who "borrowed" a credit card and never paid back then stalked me at the Casbah to feign some apology. Ugh. It's so easy to watch these shows and think that these people who get conned are so stupid until you retrace these scumbags you come across everyday in real life, and they're everywhere. So it all got in my head and I didn't sleep and so when I thought I'd finally go to the Zoo after working today, I ended up just taking a very long and very needed nap. 

Still, it's Valentine's Day, so I don't mean to go on about bitter loves of the past, because things are actually pretty good around here. This was my 10th Valentine's with Darren and it was my choice to lay low, though when we finally decided on dinner, Super Cocina definitely hit the spot. Maybe we'll do something a little more ceremonious later, but all that was just fine for me, though my parents gave us a bunch of chocolate which I may have to attack soon. 

I did watch the super long press conference with California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Ghaly and you can save yourself the trouble because there was no new information. Masks for vaccinated people in indoor public spaces has been downgraded from mandatory to strongly recommended, but masks are still required in daycares, K-12 schools, public transit, health care settings, congregate care facilities, and prisons and jails. Masks are still considered mandatory in indoor spaces for anyone not fully vaccinated over the age of two, though as always there's no enforcement of that at all. The state will continue to follow the multiple data points and reassess the student mask mandate on February 28, but expect that date to be more of a target for a laid out plan for the metrics with which masks could be removed in the future, not an actual date to drop masks. 

Stay safe out there.   

Friday, February 11, 2022

CoViD-19: Vaccine Approval Needs More Study For Peds Under 5yo | New Data On Boosters | Wolves Once Again Protected In US | Wayward Sea Lion Released After Rehab | Eyes On Russia |

 

8 Year Old Cheetah Okubi at San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Taken 2.9.22)

I just wasn't feeling the day. We shouldn't be using air conditioning in February, but here we are. I did nothing, went nowhere, and mostly sat around just working which wasn't particularly exciting or motivating. The highlight of my day was eating a poke bowl that Darren concocted with poke from my KnowSeafood box, rice, avocado, seaweed salad, and some krab for good measure. 

Tonight he's at the Casbah for Emo Nite and the kid is playing guitar in the studio while I watch Inventing Anna on Netflix. I love a good con documentary, and this fictionalized drama is I guess what you expect from Shondaland productions, but the accent of the actress playing Anna Delvey is so terrible, and I can't tell if it is intentionally bad so we see how dumb all these rich people were to be conned by someone so obviously fake, or if it is just really, really bad acting. Either way, I am kinda all in on the series regardless. For now, I'll say farewell to this week. 

Stay safe out there. 

CoViD-19: Setting Metrics For Mitigations | Black Farmers Want Their Money, Boycott NFL | The Party Of The Big Lie Accepts Illegal Donations |

 

Devi Enjoying The Big Enclosure With New Enrichment at Golden Hour (Taken 2.11.22)

I feel like I had a whole bunch of interesting things to share, but now I'm just ready to finish up my work for the night and get some sleep. My day was chill per usual. Darren and I went to San Diego Pretzel Company so we'll have munchies on Sunday should we end up watching the game with my parents and then I walked around the San Diego Zoo for the final hour before close. The hippos were back on habitat, but I couldn't really identify any work that had been done, except maybe they rewired the barricades that jerky kids love to climb, resulting in them snapping often. I go by the orangs often to check on the baby boy, but apparently he won't be out for at least a few more weeks as Indah continues to recovery and learns how to mom again. I did a full lap of the Zoo and by the time I got to Mawe, the now 2 month old giraffe, she started going nuts and galloping all over the enclosure and then I called it a day. 

I've been thinking about COVID a lot lately. Now that everyone can get accessible tests again and the state drops mask mandates for vaccinated (which means everyone because the unvaxxed never complied in the first place) many are acting like this is all over. Meanwhile, San Diego County still reported over 2000 new cases today, and there were still almost 3000 new deaths in the US. When we had the tiered system in California, it was very clear what would happen when cases got too high or hospitals got too full. But after vaccines, those metrics got a lot more murky because vaccinated and unvaccinated people are just not even in the same ballpark. It was a critical miscalculation to assume that everyone would be clamoring for vaccines, and with the US hovering around 65% vaccinated, some physicians are now asking for "onramps", i.e. metrics to use if and when future surges of known or unknown variants return. And we did this dance before so we know it is likely. As summer 2021 came around and things got warm, cases dropped as it was believed everyone would just do stuff outside and avoid indoors, then cases rose and it was said that it was because it was too hot, so everyone moved back inside for air conditioning. And then it was because things cooled down for fall. And then it was because the holidays. And now we declare victory even though our cases are still higher than delta peaks and because we tried to vaccinate everyone so now if you're unvaxxed and you die, I guess the government has joined many who feel like you had your chance and as the right loves to say, fuck around and find out. I hope that California - whether that be Governor Newsom or Dr. Ghaly or Dr. Pan or Dr Aragon - clearly define these off- and on-ramps or else we're just throwing our hands up and declaring we're done and we're just cool with 3,000 deaths a day. 

Stay safe out there. 

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

CoViD-19: Masks Off? "We Are Not There Yet." | WHO: "COVID Isn't Finished" | Co-Opted Border Blockage Continues | City of San Diego Reveals Plan For Organic Waste |

This Cooper's Hawk Watched Over Me At San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Taken 2.9.22)

We're back in summer 2021 -- when it was hot af, we were declaring victory over the pandemic, and our County Board of Supervisors votes unanimously on a motion to write a letter to ask the state to give guidance on when masks can come off in public and schools, and every news channel picks it up as some milestone as if masks can come off. I find these motions to be so pointless and just posturing and I guess if it makes you feel better, but the state already said on Monday that they're working on school masking offramps and the problem is that there are still super-low vaccination rates in schools and the CDC is still recommending indoor masking for substantial and high transmission areas, which is pretty much still the whole country. Vax or mask. That was the deal. And then everyone had to keep masking because too many weren't vaxxing. And then we generated variants that broke through vaccines because too many people weren't vaxxing. And then this omicron variant came and not only can you still catch it if you're vaccinated, but you can get reinfected with it even after you've already had it, even if you're vaccinated. That's not a reason to not get vaccinated --testing positive and actually getting sick are two very different things. And let's just for one second remember that the CDC's standards are all recommendations and not enforceable...the same as it has been forever. So we're back to it's only confusing if you're not really trying to pay attention. I'll keep my masks for now since I know the unvaxxed certainly won't, thank you very much. 

Today is big data drop day and since I've been noticing we've been consistently at about 20 deaths a day, I pulled up some older data based on San iIego's COVID-19 Watch, which releases weekly. For the week ending February 5, there were 121 deaths, which was up from the 99 deaths the week ending January 29. The week before that had only 21 deaths total. Somehow I missed a week, but the week ending January 15 there were 45 deaths and the week before that ending January 8, there were 31. That's a lot of death. And I'm sad to say statistically, a lot of those people are vaccinated AND boosted, but are seniors who live in congregate settings and can't avoid the virus if their caretakers bring it to them. This is why I'm so grateful my dad is hospice at home, but has me so paranoid to do anything with really any risk at all. I know I come off as everyone should do what I do, but not everyone has the same issues to contend with. 

I was up super early to get listings done and then realized I'd been online for 7 hours straight so Darren and I went and spent the hot afternoon at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and we had so much time there that I got to talk the cheetah trainers, we took the tram, got some good rhino and giraffe and elephant time, and then we heard over the volunteer's walkie talkie that the lions were away for the night and the hyenas were out! I've never seen the hyenas before, so we went down to a line of photographers, a hyena came out for about 4 steps and I didn't have my settings ready but he was so cute and then he went right back in his cave. So we went back to close the day with the rhinos and elephants. Maybe I'll catch them another time. 

My one glance at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park's Hyena (Taken 2.9.22)

Stay safe out there. 

Things To Do In San Diego: Wednesday, February 9-Tuesday, February 15, 2022: Ottmar Liebert | The Lone Bellow | Marc Maron | The Schitzophonics | The Havnauts | Eddie Vedder & The Earthlings | Ty Seagall | Elle King |

Ty Seagall at the Belly Up (Taken 1.17.2016)

I was not going to spend my entire day doing listings, so when I woke up at the crack of dawn to get my Wordle of the day done, I decided to just get moving on these. Usually it is pretty dead around the big game but there are actually quite a lot of shows this week. We usually spend game day in Anza or Safari Park, but it may be a little too hot right now and I think it would probably make my dad happy to have us all over eating snacks and hors d'oeuvres all day while watching the dumb game. I always need to take the chance to say  how much I hate the NFL and there are about 800 reasons why. I don't hate the sport, so it is certainly a conflict I've had all my life. 

Go see a show. Lots of people are counting on you young, health, fully vaccinated and boosted people to go out and keep this economy moving, and music is good for your mental health. 

Stay safe out there. 

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

CoViD-19: Officials Seek "Offramps" For Masks | Bike Coalition Launches SDCrashBot | Marines Plead Not Guilty For Felonious Zoo Incident |

 

Shaba, The Female African Elephant at San Diego Zoo (Taken 1.31.22)

I'm a broken record over here. Politicians are feeling the heat and while on the one hand it feels like they're just giving in and giving up by phasing out mask mandates, in a way I think they're just feeling like they've given everyone a chance who wants to get vaccinated, or parents to vax their kids, so if you get sick and die at this point, it is your problem, they just still can't say that part out loud. I'm not really on board with that line of thinking because I'm still seeing my dad frequently and would be devastated to carry COVID into their house because some unvaxxed and unmasked dickhead in Vons needs to have their freedom, but this is where we are globally. The idea that this will get the country back to any kind of normal seems completely absurd to me, however, because I can be pretty sure I won't be eating inside any restaurant anytime soon, and I know I'm not the only one who feels that way. The guess Super Bowl Sunday will show me just how much I stand alone in my convictions. 

I made myself get some San Diego Zoo sunshine today, but I still haven't gotten any information on what is going on with the Hippos and why they're off-habitat, especially since I thought they'd do something special for Amahle's 2nd birthday. I was happy to hear that the four marines were arraigned today for the original charges of felony vandalism, even though I'm sure there will be some plea agreement to lesser charges and restitution or some shit. 

I kinda started listings but I'm so zonked that I'm gonna have to get to them on Wednesday.

Stay safe out there.

CoViD-19: California Modifies Masking, Event Policies | 'Decision Fatigue' Is Real | Far-Right Extremists Paralyze Canada | Justice For Amir | February Heatwave | Hippo Amahle Turns 2! |

Amahle & Funani (Taken 1.27.22)

While it seems everyone is doing a victory lap, COVID-19 is still not done with us. The Omicron BA.2. variant is picking up the pace in Denmark and they're saying it is 30% more transmissible than BA.1, and there's evidence that prior infection doesn't prevent reinfection. If this thing takes hold here, we may all be right back to fucked again. The will to have any kind of mitigations is pretty much all used up and we're now giving in to the vocal minority of anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, and anti-mandate cohort, revealing itself to be made up of exactly who you thought it was-- racists, misogynists, bigots, supporters of TFG, insurrectionists, domestic extremists, creationists, flat-earthers, conspiracy theorists and the like. It's all connected: January 6, the Ottawa truck convoy, Russia threatening Ukraine, shootings in grocery stores and churches, fights on airplanes, protests in New Zealand, Belarus, Poland, and elsewhere. Same people, same ideals, same same same. I'm grateful to live in a place where I'm not harassed for masking up, that my friends and family and workplace are on board with maximizing safety precautions, that the kid's school district will continue with masking policies until it is truly safe to remove them, whenever that may come. 

I fully intended to do a Monday night post as usual, but I was feeling dizzy and ended up crashing by like 10pm, resulting in me waking up at 3am, and so here I am trying to get through Monday's junk so I can be clear headed for Tuesday. I did get to go to the San Diego Zoo for a little while on Monday afternoon and was kind of worried to see barricades around the entire hippo pool, but a worker suggested they might just be renovating the railing or benches or glass. February 8 is Amahle's 2nd birthday, so hopefully everything will be back to normal today. I think they had a fancy donor party last night to preview the new "Base Camp" area opening next month, which is exciting because the designs and concepts are amazing, but also it means the mommy militia will probably go back to just occupying that area with their thousand dollar strollers.    

There are a lot of news and clips below, but I had to comment on the "Decision Fatigue" article in KHN because oh-em-gee, that shit is legit. I've always thought of it as the squirrel problem -- you give a squirrel two cashews, the squirrel is paralyzed by the choices. I've noticed this more and more, especially when it comes to eating. We have so much quality food at home, but having to choose what to eat gets so exhausting that I just wait until I'm so hangry that I just end up shoving junk in my mouth instead of eating a proper meal. Same goes for just leaving the house...I used to have a little list in my brain of great spots to go in San Diego and now I basically only go to the Zoo. Which has been fine and worked out for me and I love shooting photos, even if nobody will ever see 99% of them, but part of the reason we did Mission Trails, Sea World, and IB over the weekend was because I felt guilty that everyone kinda always goes along with whatever I want to do. All this to say, I'm hoping to adventure a little bit more than I have been. Certainly not a victory lap, but just to take better advantage of the upcoming heatwave and check out places we haven't been in awhile, grateful that the case surge is diminishing, at least for now. Plus I got an email from USPS saying my tests will arrive by Friday. Now that they're readily available we can be a little more liberal with our usage. For now, anyway.

Stay safe out there. 

Sunday, February 06, 2022

CoViD-19: Deaths Still Surging As Lag From Cases Reveals | Ottawa Under Siege | NAVY SEAL Candidate Who Died Left Yale After Rape Accusations |

 

IB Pier and Sandpipers (Taken 2.6.22)

I had such a nice weekend that I thought I'd do a quick post just to get myself ready for the inevitable Monday tsunami. I mentioned that on Friday night we went to Astronomy Night at Mission Trails Regional Park. Everyone went to bed early so I binged "In My Skin" on Hulu. What an amazing series. 

On Saturday we went to Sea World in the afternoon, after Darren and Nova were done with a piece of their current project, which is sprucing up an old electric guitar Darren has. Sea World has a new rollercoaster opening in March, and if you're a passholder and have used your pass three times in a specific time frame, you get invited to the premiere of the ride, so we needed Nova to go through the gate one more time to make sure she gets the invite. We watched the orca show, Nova got to ride Electric Eel four times, and I got to talk to the dolphin trainers for awhile. It was pretty chill, especially for a Saturday, though I expected a little more entertainment for their month-long Mardi Gras celebration (on weekends only). We went to help my dad at night, and by the time that was done, Darren and Nova were zonked so I stayed up and binged The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman on Netflix. Super gross, but riveting television. 

Today I'd hoped to go to Safari Park, but I was late getting ready to go to my parents' house to help my dad which actually worked out because my niece needed to be picked up from a friend's house, so we ended up getting her, hanging out at my parents' house, then goint to IB for the sunset before getting home a couple hours before having to go back to help my dad again. 

There's not a lot of news on Sundays except the stupid things Joe Manchin says on boring ass morning shows, but three things I'm watching are the situation in Ukraine --- will they or won't they? --, the Jan 6 modeled siege in Ottawa, clearly not just a "Ottawa truckers" protest, and wondering if the Navy will release the cause of death of the NAVY SEAL candidate who had finished "hell week" but then died. He quit Yale because of rape accusations and his frat was also under investigation so it's of course always fascinating to hear someone hailed as a hero postmortem. And of course, COVID still sucks. 

Stay safe out there. 

Saturday, February 05, 2022

CoViD-19: US Surpasses 900,000 COVID Deaths | CDC Study: Masks Actually Work (Duh) | Disabled Shouldn't Mean Disposable | Oil at $100 A Barrel is 100% Intentional |

Nova's First Wood Shop Project, Modeled By Jacaranda (Taken 2.3.22)

I wasn't really gonna finish a post today, but Nova has a derby scrimmage on Saturday morning so everyone else is asleep and I am wide awake for two reasons: I drank a bottle of Mexican coke with our late dinner and I was pretty much in bed all day with miserable cramps. Nobody tells you that this is what happens in middle age: your periods suck worse than ever, you can't recover from anything as quick as you used to, and you become invisible to the world. I finally sucked it up and took some Advil so hopefully that was the worst of my week. 

We actually did have a good night when I finally forced myself vertical. We've always wanted to go to Astronomy nights at Mission Trails but always have something else going on, poor visibility with our typical coastal cloud cover, or we forget. This time I set an alert on my phone, so we piled on layered of clothes and jackets and went to the Kumeyaay Campground day use parking lot, where about 15-20 astronomy enthusiasts set up telescopes. These guys (and they're all older, white men...this sort of hobby has a very expensive barrier to entry) had so much gear. Tables with laptops and scopes and laser pointers and screens and cameras and tablets and massive telescopes, some 4-5' long and a foot in diameter. And they all love their hobby and want to talk to everyone about everything they know. We saw the moon, but among them that is considered super basic, so most of them were focused on the Orion Nebula, the Flame Nebula, and one guy was obsessed with a cluster called Almach, or Gamma Andromedae - visible and bright to the naked eye, but actually made up of 4 stars that dance in a beautiful rotation, which he made 4 volunteers demonstrate, including Nova. We also learned about Betelgeuse, which they said is an enthusiast's touchstone because it could explode at any second and would be visible for two weeks, even in the day sky, though they assured us is no danger to us. 

On our way to grab El Panson, Nova commented how it can all make you feel so insignificant as a blip on a blip in a blip of a moment in the expanse of space and time, and I guess that's what people love about astronomy -- getting out of your own little head for just a minute. It was super cool and I think we'd definitely go back again, or maybe join a similar gathering when they group up in Anza Borrego. 

After dinner we helped my dad and these back and forths are killing us on gas, especially after two years of barely driving at all, so I thought about the cost of gas and had some thoughts below. Meanwhile, the US surpassed 900k known deaths, California surpassed 8M cases, and at the current pace, San Diego could hit 5000 deaths in the next 12 days or so. 

Stay safe out there. 

Thursday, February 03, 2022

CoVID-19: Cases Continue Decline, Deaths Keep Ticking Up; #1 Cause of Death in LA March '20-December '21 | San Diego County Jail Audit | One Fair Wage Releases Relief Report |

Male Koala Savoring His Dinner (Taken 2.3.22)

I've mentioned before that I don't get many comments on this site, but sometimes I just have to laugh. With regard to my post last night, some jackhole commented, "Judgmental much?"

Bahahhahaha. 

Have you never read a blog before? 

Today was a lovely day though I scrambled to get caught up with work and stuff, and we had to go help my dad with his lift which takes a chunk of time out of the night. I did get my visit to the San Diego Zoo in today, but got there a little later than I intended. No racist microaggressions from old ladies today, just some sweet time with the mandrills, the hippos, the elephants, the lone rhino and the giraffes.

I'm not really sure what this weekend holds for us, but I'm certain this face will be smooshed again my pillow for many, many hours. 

Tonight I watched a news story which celebrated that San Diego's case numbers and ICU and hospitalization numbers were coming down, "though deaths are up" and I was just astonished that we're two full years into this thing and we're celebrating when hospital beds open up without acknowledging the 20+ people a day dying consistently in San Diego. It's mind-boggling. 

It seems like all the testing issues have been resolved in the County and with access to at-home tests, though I still haven't received my free ones. If you're looking and still can't find them, Costco has them available online for $40 for 5 FlowFlex tests, which is the cheapest I've seen anywhere. We're still masking up no matter what as the broadcast heads keep telling us everything is fine when everything is not fine. From December 1st to February 2nd, San Diego had 320,643 confirmed cases with PCR tests. This doesn't even include people who tested positive with antigen tests. That's 45% of ALL the cases the county has ever had since the beginning of the pandemic! So while you're hearing these people suggest that masking in schools should end or vaccine verifications are medical apartheid, just remember that we are by no means out of the woods. Dr. Peter Hotez is predicting we hit 1 million deaths by the end of Q1 and it is so unfortunate that he is most certainly going to be proven correct.  

Stay safe out there. 

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

CoViD-19: Nearly 1/4 Of Total US Cases Happened in the Last 28 Day | San Diego Can't Get Its Shit Together With Short Term Rentals | Skyfari Is Back |

The Skyfari at San Diego Zoo Is Back In Operation (Taken 2.2.22)

Earlier on Wednesday while walking around the San Diego Zoo, I stopped to take this photo of the Skyfari back in action. I had an exchange with a woman who quite clearly demonstrated her racism without actually saying anything racist. She asked what I was photographing. When I told her I was shooting the Skyfari, she said something to effect of how she's glad it's working again and asked if they caught the thugs who shook it off the cable. When I said they had arrested them for felony vandalism she was glad that they were gonna make those kids pay. Clearly she had an idea of who would do such a thing. When I told her they were Marines, suddenly she stiffened, suddenly she was sure that their command would and ought to handle them, that the punishment from their command would be worse than civil punishment would be. "They won't want to put them in the brig because they invest so much in training them. I was married to a marine." Once she found out they were Marines, her stance on prosecution suddenly diminished. She didn't have to say anything racist for me to hear the dog whistle in the length of the exchange. 

Rules for thee and not for me. This is why I'm so annoyed with Newsom's little folly at the game. Just wear the fucking mask. Keep it on. Or have a beverage in your hands at all times. It isn't that hard to be frozen in a moment or photo that people will politicize. The indoor mask mandate is going to expire on February 15. If CDPH even tries to extend it, the pushback is going to be crazy, even though it would just revert back to mandatory masks for unvaccinated, which was as good as having no policy at all. Maskholes and anti-vaxxers are one and the same. 

Tonight I worked at the Casbah and accepted the job because I'm outside the entire time and knew it was going to be a smaller, mellow crowd. But hearing so many people talking about their pandemic point of views makes my head explode. It's true, we don't definitively know what the future of this pandemic means, but we better damn well hope the next variant or the one after that doesn't transmit as easy as omicron and completely evade vaccines or we are super fucked. We're stuck under 65% of Americans vaccinated. 23.6% of all US cases since the beginning of reporting were tallied in the last 28 days. This past week we've had like 20 deaths a day in San Diego, with 99 from 1/23-1/29 when there were 21 TOTAL just the week before that. It's not terrible for those of us vaxxed and boosted, but it is for everyone else. 

It's 1am and I just got home from work so I'll update all the other usual stuff on Thursday. 

Stay safe out there. 

Things To Do In San Diego Wednesday, February 2-Tuesday, February 8, 2022: The Album Leaf | Beth Hart | Deep Sea Diver | Everything Is Terrible | Karl Denson's Tiny Universe | Faye Webster and more...


I had to make a choice between sleep and listings and I decided that I'd rather force myself to stay up in the quiet of the house while everyone is asleep and power through. It helped that I had some of my nonsense Bravo shows to catch up on and watched Vanderpump reunions in the background. So here you have it - still a few shows have been canceled or postponed so there are a lot of holes in the regular venues, but hopefully that eases as numbers come down (for now). As I mentioned, I'll be working at the Casbah for The Album Leaf which will be nice because it's an early show relative to usual Casbah shows, and also hopefully I can have a somewhat normal day once my head hits the pillow for a few hours. 

And I know people using the listings page don't necessarily want to hear me prattle on about COVID-19, but with all the new studies coming out about Omicron, you should be running out to get up-to-date on shots. While having the "primary series" -- 1 J&J or 2 Moderna or Pfizer is the minimum, without getting boosted you're not well protected against more severe illness, and contrary to what people are saying, you're still less likely to catch the virus in the first place if you're up to date and wearing a well fitting N95 mask or greater. And if you're at the Casbah and have a not so good mask, just ask the bartenders because they've got supply of N95s on hand. 

Stay safe out there. 

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

CoViD-19: More Omicron Data: Reinfections, Super High Transmission Still Means High Hospitalizations, Deaths | Don't Bother Arguing With Quacks | Lunar New Year: Year of the Tiger |


Happy Year of the Tiger!
Female Tiger at San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Taken 1.26.22)

Some days are up and some days are down, I guess. I don't know why everything frustrated me today, but I was grumpy from the very start of my day which has just resulted in me being completely distracted all day and still barely getting through email and of course, I haven't event started my listings. On days like these I should just shut off the news because at this point it is just rage porn. Like, those stupid ass marines that got arrested at the San Diego Zoo for FELONY vandalism? While I can't find an exact time that they were arrested, one article says everybody was off the Skyfari by 4:34pm. So if the people were on it for 1-2 hours, the incident happened at 2:34 at the earliest, most likely around 3:30, and these pricks were already out of jail by 5pm on Saturday! FOR A FELONY. WTAF? Their arraignment happens next week, but we can be almost be certain there will be no consequences for their actions. 

My grumpiness continued when my mail arrived. I recently ordered my college transcripts because I'm thinking about getting an emergency license to be a substitute teacher. I haven't thought about college in a very, very long time, but when I looked at my transcript, I just got bitter all over again. I majored in Multimedia Communications -- computer stuff. And in almost every class in my major, I got a C. Know why? I DIDN'T HAVE A COMPUTER. You think maybe a private school that put me on a partial athletic and partial academic scholarship would notice that a kid isn't thriving in their major because they don't have the tools to succeed, meanwhile I played two sports and had to work three campus jobs just to stay afloat, and I crashed in a friend's dorm when she was with her boyfriend. I could go on about how much more awful my college experience was now that I have 20 years of real life to look back with a different lens, but suffice to say I can't believe I even finished the degree and no wonder so many people never finish but still suffer the debt for decades.

Then it all makes me feel bad for being a downer. Like Wordle being bought by the NYT made me way more mad than it should have seeing as I already get their stupid newsletters every day anyway. Maybe watching Archive 81 opened up some darkness by watching. So I'll try and flip my Wednesday around. I'll make sure I get some sunshine and some Zoo time or something. And I am selling merch at the Casbah for the first time in nearly two years for Jimmy LaValle with the triumphant return of The Album Leaf. Plus Darren did his interview at Deering Banjos and it sounds like it went well, though they told him they had one more interview before a decision. So chin up and I'll be better on Wednesday. 

Stay safe out there.

CoVID-19: Spikes Falling, Could Plateau With BA.2 | CA Assembly Kills CalCare | Plea Rejected For Arbery's Murderers | Jackhole Marines Who Vandalized Skyfari Identified; San Diego Zoo Announces Basecamp Opening | Museum Month |

A sneaky photo of part of the new Wildlife Explorers Basecamp, Opening March 11, 2022 (Taken 1.27.22)

 What a day! I'm a massive anti-Monday person. The email and work onslaught just knocks me down and I generally hide from it all. But today I faced the day and it was all good news. Darren got a job interview at Deering Banjos! Then he met with his tax guy who not only got him a great return this year but modified last year's to get more money back and possible answered why he didn't previously get the Golden State Stimulus. Then we went to the San Diego Zoo for an hour to get some fresh air and -- while of course the Skyfari is still out of service because of those moron Marines who broke it over the weekend -- I got a press release that the new basecamp will be open to the public on March 11. (See full press release at the end of this post.) 

Over the weekend I had some meaningful and positive email exchanges with the principal of Hoover High and on our way out of the Zoo he called and spent a half hour on the phone with Darren and I. What an amazing person and advocate for students and though I'm sorry it started over Twitter, we probably would've just kinda moved on and that wouldn't benefit Nova in the slightest. So very positive movement and such a relief. By the time we got home, she had to get ready for derby, but was exuberant about her wood shop class and everything they learned and the hands on practice they got on the basics of hammering nails properly. And they got a glimpse of their first project "and we get to use a nail gun!" I haven't seen the kid that excited in a minute. On top of that, she found out a little more about the lacrosse team and might start practicing with some girls in anticipation of trying out, which would be huge for her. 

From derby dropoff, we swung by a store and scored some interview outfits for Darren since he probably hasn't gotten anything new besides socks since before the pandemic and found some good looks for him, and then went to Costco and restocked all the necessities before running home, dropping it all off, picking Nova back up from derby, then running to my parents to move my dad from the chair back to his bed for the night and then finally home to get this post done. So yes, it's late, but c'est la vie. And can't complain when it was a very good day. 

I don't wanna depress everyone, but over the weekend some papers came out about Omicron reinfection and just to say, even if you've had it, especially little unvaccinated kids in schools, be diligent because you/they could very well get it again. And again. And again. Unlike past variants, there is evidence that previous infection doesn't necessarily prevent against future infection. I'll find more on that and post tomorrow. Also, I intend to update listings tomorrow but we'll be running around again as we have to help my dad again and I deleted my entire template so it's going to be an even bigger pain in the ass than usual. 

Stay safe out there.