Monday, May 30, 2022

COVID: Reporting "Medium Risk"; Ignoring "High Transmission" | Massacre In Uvalde, Texas | Fuck Your Guns | Memorial Day Weekend |


Black Rhino Mates Kendi & Aria (Taken by Darren 5.26.22)

It's Monday morning and I decided that instead of just doomscrolling through my phone and pretending like I'm attempting sleep, I'd just catch up with work and this post so I can move on to all the others that I need to get on with. 

I don't really need to rehash what a horrifying week it was. The massacre of children in Uvalde and then the back and forth on every news outlet, as if "both sides" even deserve a voice. Give me a break. I try not to even get into it because I am an extremist. I don't just want "common sense" gun laws or the cute memes of how hard it is to get a driver's license or an abortion applied to guns - I want them GONE. That whole "they're coming for our guns!" is a dream to me. A completely unrealistic, not happening in my lifetime fantasy, but fuck you and your guns and anyone equating gun-ownership to a "God-given" right is even more example of why I'm an atheist. 

And then we still have COVID-19 lingering and everyone is fighting over the CDC's risk maps vs transmission maps and Dr. Walensky is making an ass of herself on Twitter about masking and people assessing their 'personal risk' even when almost everywhere has 'high transmission'. Nova is presently sick and though she's negative on the COVID tests, we're treating her like she has it and I'm not really taking any I left her to binge Stranger Things and escaped to Sea World since they were open until 9 and now it's nearly 5am and she'll get up soon which is precisely when I'll go to bed. 

And speaking of COVID... I read so many articles and news things in a day that I can't really remember the sources of some information, but common sense here: airplanes claim to have frequent air exchanges and HEPA filtering, but when you're sitting in an airport, or waiting to board, or going through the boarding process, or sitting/taxiing on a runway, those air filtration systems are generally not on, so if you're traveling, wear a goddamn N-95 from the time you walk into an airport until the moment you're outside after arriving at your destination. 

As I said, it was a hard week all around. And that doesn't even touch the continuing attack on Ukraine, the obvious supply problems, the chaos private equity firms are causing on all sectors of the economy, or the stupid new lease from my new property management for an apartment I've lived in for TEN YEARS. I'm angry and I'm sad and I'm frustrated and the only thing I know to do is to get my ass out of bed every day, take a shower every day, and find some joy, every day, whether that's going to the San Diego Zoo or Sea World or driving and singing at the top of my lungs to an old favorite album that I haven't listened to in far too long. I hope you can find the same kind of joy. 

Stay safe out there. And worry not, the tourists will all go back home soon enough. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Things To Do In San Diego: Wednesday, May 25-Tuesday, May 31, 2022: Hatchie | OMD | Sir Chloe | Adolescents | The Palms | Rex Orange County | FREE Neon Beat Dance Party | Spoon | Still Corners |

Hatchie (Taken 4.5.2019)

I have to admit that when I've actually had the time to find old photos I've taken of bands playing in the upcoming week, it's been kind of fun to post them, even if some of the make me cringe at just how bad they are or remembering how long it took me to finally buy and learn how to use a better camera...though I still think if I dug further for old CyberShot point and shoot pics, I may be surprised at how good some of those got. 

Still, this is a funny week because it's Memorial Day weekend so I don't have a lot of history with many bands playing this week. In a world where COVID didn't exist and I had could go to any show I wanted to, I would likely be at OMD this week, whose opener, In The Valley Below, I've shot at least two times, maybe three, and can't find any photos. I've shot Hatchie a couple times and would love to go to the show at Casbah but I think it's right when we have to go to my parents' house to move my dad. I've been to a dozen Adolescents shows, but mainly as their merch seller so only a couple pics of them, and I don't know if I bothered taking shots the one time I saw GWAR. I've seen and shot Spoon a lot, but not sure I was organized enough with their photos for all those times, and it's funny that my Rex Orange County photos were the best of this lot, but I think there's a whole gap of Observatory shows that were on a hard drive that was stolen from me while I was selling merch at some random show.   

So whatever. 
It's Memorial Day weekend. 
Have fun. 
Wear a goddamn mask indoors. 
Be safe out there. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

San Diego In High COVID-19 Transmission For 4th Week; Nobody Cares | More Mass Shootings: 18 Dead Children, 1 Teacher In Texas | Primary Season Underway |

Sloth at Sea World (Taken 5.22.22)

I started this post over the weekend and then never finished. I continued it on Monday, but then the day got away from me. So here we are now on Tuesday afternoon, as news about another mass shooting -- this time killing 14 18 students and a teacher in a Texas school -- fills the airwaves and I just really lost all my muster to write. 

As I said last week, it's so hard when everything in the news seems to be so apocalyptic - SCOTUS just laying out insane judgments over and over, shootings everywhere all the time, droughts, extreme weather, the invasion on Ukraine, war and climate refugees all over the world, Monkeypox, COVID-19 still raging, and local feeds like Nextdoor and Facebook just full of theft and homeless issues and hostility and people bitching about where people park or ride bikes or are just trying to get by each day. Meanwhile, I'm just trying to live my little life with my little family, and trying to find joy, and peace, and sleep while the world rages on. 

I've made going to the San Diego Zoo a near-daily habit, but also over the course of the past week, went to Nova's derby scrimmage and went to Sea World a couple times as I try to decide whether to extend my membership which expires in two weeks. I spent Saturday at an Upward Bound orientation with Nova, who was accepted into their 5 week program which includes two weeks of classes at City College, a half-week trip to LA to visit several college campuses, and two weeks of classes and living on the UCSD campus, then of course made her go to La Jolla Cove since we were in the area. I didn't go to the North Park Music Fest, and not in any slight to anyone, I adore all the musicians who played, I just don't think I'm ready to have dozens of face-to-face conversations about "what have you been up to?" recounting the past two years and doing that uncomfortably with everyone unmasked. I'm not ready. Especially when I personally know about a dozen people who all currently have COVID. I still very much care, and I still have to take care of my dad four nights a week, so I just can't live as freely as my peers may be able. San Diego is now a month in to being considered "High Transmission" by CDC standards, and that is with the very-reduced standards, and I'm just not having it. 

So all that to say, I'm sorry I haven't been updating because I've definitely had a lot on my mind and things to say, but I'm trying to not be so bound by my laptop and consumed by news. I'll try to get listings done tonight so they're there in the morning, and every night when I can't sleep I think that I should just get up and post all my overdue posts about Jose Gonzalez, Wet Leg, Pinegrove, and whomever else I owe posts about, but today's just not that day. 

Hug your children. 

Stay safe out there.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Things To Do In San Diego: Wednesday, May 18-Tuesday , May 24, 2022: Havnauts | !!! | Aurora | Peaches | North Park Music Fest | Fiesta Del Sol | Peaches | Eric Bachmann | Strand of Oaks |

Aurora Returns to Observatory This Friday (Taken 2.22.2019)

Hey! Look at me! I actually did listings on Tuesday in time for Wednesday!! I even dug deep into the archives to grab some old photos and um, wow. I can definitely tell a difference from moving from my Cybershot point and shoot to a Samsung point and shoot to the basic Canon DSLR that I use today. Whatever, all good memories, and I always love coming across other shows and looking through pics, like finding a treasure trove of old Frightened Rabbit moments that won't ever happen again. It's about four years and a week since Scott Huchison disappeared and was found dead and I think about him all the time and I feel lucky to have deep archives of music and photos, even if some are really, really bad. 

There is a lot going on in town this week and I am certain that I must've missed a few things, but hopefully you've got your plan laid out, your home COVID tests ready to make sure you're not being a spreader, and some good masks you can keep around for when you're interacting or in close proximity with people not from your own household. It isn't that hard and you might thank me later because COVID-19 is still all around us and new subvariants are 'catchier' than ever, , even if you're vaccinated and boosted.

I do want to note that I have posted about the North Park Music Fest but have no connection at all, had no part in booking or promoting, and have no hookup on tickets, not even for myself, so please don't ask me for guestlist.   

Stay safe out there. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

US Surpasses 1 Million Dead From COVID-19 | San Diego Ballots Out | Gun Violence Terrorizes US |

Mazza, the greater one-horned rhino from San Diego Zoo is now at Safari Park(Taken 5.9.22)

It was a really crazy week. I kept coming back to this post and adding to it and now it's like a whole week of crises that I just kinda need to post it and get it out of my conscience -- shootings, formula shortages, bigots, a fucked-up SCOTUS, rampant white supremacy, attacks on women and people of color and LGBTQIA+ communities and it is a lot. 

Sometimes it can be really hard to keep perspective. Like personally, I actually had a pretty amazing week...for Mother's Day, Darren bought me a behind-the-scenes tour of the Rhino Rescue Center at the Safari Park, I've been more regular about my days so besides Monday and Wednesday when I went to Safari Park, I went to the San Diego Zoo every day for at least an hour or two to get sun and exercise. I got a little sick last week, but I've taken 3 COVID-19 tests and it wasn't that, I think just the drastic swing in weather and extreme allergies ran me down a bit. The week also included seeing Big Thief at the Observatory on Friday, spending Saturday at De Anza Cove for Nova's Lacrosse picnic, and I worked for Wet on Saturday night on the Casbah. On Sunday, we ran down to Ikea and Lowe's and Darren and Nova built our cats a superhighway, I binged the new season of Workin' Moms, and though the marine layer was thick in Normal Heights, we got to see the Blood Flower Super Moon Eclipse when we went to assist my parents in Chula Vista. 

I've got lots of posts I'm behind on so hopefully I can get some of those this week. 

Stay safe out there.  COVID is on the rise and people are fucking crazy.   

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Things To Do In San Diego: Wednesday, May 11-Tuesday, May 17, 2022: Sea Wolf | Sextile | Fruit Bats | Big Thief | Wet | MC5 | X | Anand Wilder | Post Animal | Moon Hooch | Christian Death |

Big Thief (Taken 4.20.2019)

 I don't have a lot to talk about this week as I'm a little backed up with work at the moment, but there are some amazing shows and events this week. For anyone going to the Cruel World festival in LA this weekend, set times have been released and Echo & The Bunnymen has been scratched due to visa problems. I hope everyone has a great week and I'll add more to the announcements as I filter through, so check this post often for any updates. 

COVID numbers are steadily climbing once again. As more gatherings happen- concerts, Mother's Day, etc., be sure to keep some rapid tests on-hand so you can know if that cold or those allergies aren't actually COVID. 

Stay safe out there. 

Friday, May 06, 2022

COVID Cases Rising Again | WHO Estimates 14.9Million Excess Deaths Worldwide During Pandemic; US Approaches or Surpasses 1M Deaths, Depends Who's Counting | Karine Jean-Pierre Named Successor To Press Secretary Psaki |

Nova, Jo, Mom, Christy, Me, Nadia (Taken 4.17.22)

I forgot to share this funny story, so since I'm up late and am tired of doomscrolling and am suffering major outrage fatigue like every other pro-choice American, I'll share it with you now. 

If you read here often, you know my dad is technically in hospice at home. He still takes a ton of medication, but there are no real medical interventions that will help him at this point, so he's in full palliative care mode, which means beyond his medicines, my mom and the support aides try everything - lotions and potions, stuff for itching and pain, things to help him sleep, anything to make him as comfortable as he can be for as long as his heart still chooses to beat. A while back, a friend was working at a CBD distributor, so we had some drops and topical stuff, then we suggested THC remedies...cookies, gummies, tinctures. A relative sent him some cherry gummy strips that seemed to help in small quantities, but they ran out and so we've been on the hunt to find replacements. 

So last Friday, I went to help transfer him from his bed to his chair in the afternoon, and when we were done, my mom said she needed to go to a dispensary and wanted me to go with her. She had one in mind, but a friend recommended March & Ash, which was closer and had a better reputation. 

I should rewind and say I've never purchased weed before. When you're in experimental phases, it just always seemed to be around, and I never much liked the effects, so even when legal, I had no cause to partake. I was a marijuana dispensary virgin. 

Mom and I drove separately to Telegraph Canyon Road, but it wasn't where we thought, so we parker her car in a strip mall, she got in the van with me, and we found March & Ash further up the road. As we walked in, it occurred to me that it was probably cash only, but I had some money on me so I wasn't too worried when this was confirmed by the front desk, who scanned our IDs and told us we'd get a 10% discount for being first-timers. 

We enter the immaculate shop, with it's cases and cases of everything. A guy immediately becomes our concierge, so we tell him about our hunt for gummies. He shows us a few but they're not the potency we're looking for; he says 100mg THC is the California limit. (I later found out our previous ones came from Oregon, another story for another time.) 

We're flustered and overwhelmed and my mom is telling the dude all about my dad's conditions...way too much information for anyone's benefit...but she can't stop herself as she rattles off everything she and he go through in a day. Like everything. He repeatedly suggests tinctures while she wants to make sure she can get his veteran discount (even though it was the exact same as our first-timers discount) before she says, "What about drops?" 

"MOM! Those are tinctures. That's what he's been trying to tell us for the last five minutes!"

So we go to the tincture fridge and there's flavored drops and pure THC and pure CBD and then a million varying combos of THC + CBD and some are for sleep and some are for pain and some are for clarity and some are for general wellness and we must've made the guy read us 15 packages before she settled on two. One ran about $110 and the other about $60. Cool, I think I have enough cash to cover that. 

So we get to the counter and the concierge got the Veteran's discount approved even though my dad wasn't present, and even though it was the same as the first-time discount and he rings us up and it's $180.32. We hadn't accounted for the steep State and City taxes.


Now of course, they have ATMs on premises, but my mom and I are the same in that we will NEVER use an out of network ATM. Like, not ever. Her car was parked at her credit union and we could've just left and come back, but instead, we start counting out our money. I had $173 and some change, which I must've nervously recounted at least four times. She found a $1 bill in her bag. And then another $5 bill in her wallet.  

$179. We're sweating. She starts pulling out change, a couple nickels, dimes. I dump my coin purse into my hand. By some miracle, I had a $1 coin, some quarters and others, to pull off the final $3.32 of the transaction. And if I didn't, I think he just wanted us to get out of there. 

We laughed all the way to the van, then I took her to her bank, where the teller must've thought I was elder abusing my mom and making her pull out cash to give to me. "You're not Christy. You're not on this account. Mrs. Bystrak, am I free to discuss your account in front of her?" "Yes, of course, this is my other daughter Rosemary," as she handed the money over to me on the spot. I'm sure I'm now on some watchlist. 

Anyway, my crazy mom can now make my dad sleepy smoothies again, and maybe get some sleep herself every once in awhile. Happy Mother's Day to her and all the mom's who are batshit crazy but we love all the same. 

Nova has a doctor's appointment on Friday, then a piano recital in the afternoon, then I'm working for Yumi Zouma at the Casbah, and the weekend is full of stuff to do and Mother's Day, so have a great weekend and I'll catch up next week. 

COVID is back on the rise. Stay safe out there.  

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Things To Do In San Diego: Wednesday, May 4-Tuesday, May 10, 2022: THAO | Mariachi El Bronx | Yumi Zouma | Sondre Lerche | Ray LaMontagne | Gator By The Bay | + New Concert Announcements

THAO performs tonight at Belly Up (Taken 4.28.2016)

There are some amazing shows this week, another one of those where you might have to make some tough choices - like Yumi Zouma, Ray Lamontagne, and Sondre Lerche all on the same night. But it's good to have choices, right? For us, I don't have any merch gigs at the moment, but Nova has a piano recital and I might try to hit the Casbah on Friday. Darren will be working all weekend, we'll probably spend the day with my mom on Sunday, and I might try and drag Nova to Sea World for their Viva La Musica series. But that all also depends on how the rest of the week goes. As it is, it is now 7:30 and I'm finally wrapping up these listings after working through the night, so for now, I will sleep until at least 1pm and see where the day takes me from there. 

Stay safe out there. 

| Welcome To Gilead: SCOTUS Extremists Behave Exactly As Expected | COVID-19 Omicron Subvariant BA.2 Coming To Get You | Sea World Announces 40,000 Animal Rescue |

5-1/2yo Mandrill, Ajani, at San Diego Zoo. We spend A LOT of time together. (Taken 5.4.22) 

I guess like everyone, I expected this to be a mellow week. COVID-19 is rising, but just as easily could be falling, either way, nobody seems much to care. Russia continues to attack Ukraine but we get to watch comfortably from our couches; a problem for other people to deal with as far as most Americans are concerned, so long as our prices don't keep rising. And then on Monday night, Politico (which, ugh, nobody can stand in the first place) drops this draft document of the Supreme Court's probable future ruling on Roe v Wade and it feels like everything is just upside down. Like it shouldn't come as a surprise, but we didn't expect it until summer and so much nonsense can happen between now and then. 

I just wasn't ready for it. 

I was looking at the ages of the Senate and there are two women who I guess are still potentially of child-bearing age, but to think those mostly old, mostly white, mostly men could still knock someone up until their deaths is fucking absurd and disgusting and when you find yourself wishing people die, it's time to step away from reading all the feeds. 

So I did. I went to the San Diego Zoo this afternoon and had a lovely time. I guess I have a little pattern I like to catch - get a beverage refill - usually Coke or tea, but today, iced coffee, see if the mandrills are out, check on the African Gray Parrots, see if Denny the Gorilla is out. Today he was and came right up to say hi, look at some photos on my phone, then found some other phones to watch before going behind his hill. Then I make my way to the Bonobos where I eat my lunch in the quiet part, take some photos when they migrate from one side of their habitat to the other, then I'll circle down to see if the hippos are still out (they were already on their beach ready to go in), visit the baby takin, catch the elevator back up. Sometimes from there I'll go around Elephant Odyssey or take the Skyfari back to Explorers Base Camp, but I walked back to the gorillas before they went in at 5, cruised by to see Aisha the orangutan who was playing all by herself late in the day, then sat with the mandrills and the colobus monkeys until it was all closed and I could no longer linger. 

It definitely cleared my head. And I know there's a lot at stake and a lot to fight for and this potential ruling could have massive ripples for so many issues beyond abortion, but for now I'd rather just think that I'm so glad and proud to live in California, in a border town that is far from perfect, but always trying to be better, even if it doesn't always work out that way. My family is close, I have an amazing partner, a kick-ass kid, my rent going up probably means my housing is somewhat secure for now, I have a job I enjoy even when it makes me a little crazy, and I generally get to do what I want, when I want. I'm gonna do my best to get listings done, but it's already 3am and I haven't really started. 

Stay safe out there. 

Monday, May 02, 2022

Free MTS For Youth Starts May 1: What To Do | Greg Abbott Is Full Of Shit | Expect More Global Price Hikes: Indonesia Bans Palm Oil Exports | Mayor Gloria: "Committed To Bike Lanes" |

Nova on her 15th Birthday (Taken 5.1.22)

I started this post last week and then, as expected, I got busy and didn't do much laptopping. Still, there were some news items I wanted to share from last week and then I can kick off the week with a fresh post at a later time. The County of San Diego has aligned with State reporting, so there are only 2 COVID updates a week now, which is a good way to lose track when surges or upticks or increases happening; looking at hospital data is just too late, so maybe just keep an eye on the poop

I had a pretty awesome week. My visits to the San Diego Zoo have become a weekday habit, except for Wednesday when I went to work with Darren and spent the day hanging around the Safari Park. I don't see him much on those days, but my camera has been working overtime and the park has craft beer spots all over, so for me it was like a midweek vacation day before the big weekend. 

On Thursday I worked for Quasi & Jon Spencer and the HITmakers at the Casbah. Though I'd informed the Snail Mail publicist I would no longer be attending the show, they still gave Darren my photo pass, so Nova got to take advantage, although not knowing in advance that would happen, she only had Darren's mobile to shoot with. I'll make her share those photos in a separate post. 

On Friday, I did my usual afternoon Zoo time, then met my sister at my house for some drinks before we caught the bus to Interpol at OAT. She won our tickets and they were in the 2nd to last row, but we had a blast anyway. It's not often my sister and I hang out without the kids or my parents or me going to one of the kids' games just to hang out. We took full advantage and had a blast, Interpol is always great live, and she crashed on my couch for the first time ever. 

On Saturday, Darren was working so Nova did derby in the daytime, then we rode bikes to Adams Avenue Unplugged for a bit before she had a piano lesson, during which I ate and got ready for work, dropped her at the Center, then sold merch for Sleaford Mods. It was a great night and everyone was so nice and enthusiastic and diehard fans. 

By Sunday I was pooped, but we had to help my dad in the afternoon, and it was Nova's 15th birthday. So after my parents', we stopped for ice cream in Barrio Logan and got caught up in their weekend walkabout, then went to Sea World briefly before deciding it was too crowded, then went shopping to get Nova some new clothes, and then closed the night with takeout from Himalayan Yak and Yeti, one of our favorite splurges. 

So it was all good and fun and exhausting and my posts may be infrequent and for this one I'll skip all the government briefings and COVID data because from here, I can only look forward.

Stay safe out there.