It has been a very weird week. Last week I was so excited to get all my listings done for Comic-Con but what I didn't realize was how much it took out of me to do them. Not only did they take hours to complete, but I guess I still have some major Pandemic PTSD. I know I'm not the only one experiencing that, but I must've really screwed with my brain wiring by being on constant COVID watch for so many hours a day, day after day, for weeks, then months, then years. The more things I included, the more I thought about crowds and COVID and "what if I run out of water?" and "where are the best bathrooms in downtown?" and "where will I charge my phone?" These are all things I managed many times before the pandemic, but maybe we can't go back to who we were before? Any tendency I had to be a 'prepper' or 'hoarder' was exacerbated and when it came time to actually go to Comic-Con, I had a full-on night of insomnia which turned into a full on panic attack, curled into a ball on my bed, sweating it out with my heart feeling like it was gonna explode until I could get control of the stinkin' thinkin', manage my breathing and body, and finally sleep. Turns out not eating and not sleeping and a sudden summer heat dome and starting your period all together at once isn't really great for your mind or body. Things my 20 year old body could handle are suddenly calamitous for my nearly 47 year old body.
I woke up and put all the pieces together and, after rest and food and water and a cold shower, I was refreshed and ready to face the world. Kinda.
(more after the jump. TW: self-harm, disordered eating, suicide)
So that was kinda crazy for me. I forced myself to get an evening zoo walk in that particular night, to spend some time with my favorite gorilla, but then on my way, I was listening to the True Sunlight podcast (formerly Murdaugh Murders Podcast) and the whole episode was about Internet bullying after a lawsuit against the host, Mandy Matney, had been dismissed and she could speak freely about the vitriol she has received over her reporting the last several years. In it, in passing really, she mentioned how others before her have been harassed, and talked about Heather Armstrong/Hamilton, aka Dooce, and how she never recovered from her online abuse and how she'd taken her own life in May.
That hit me like a bomb. This website and a million others like it, would not exist were it not for Dooce opening that door for all of us back in the early Aughts. I followed her for years and almost always found her writing inspiring, if not just her style when maybe I wasn't on board or could no longer relate with the content. My first blog post was in early 2003, and after a couple different versions, sddialedin.com was born in 2006. I'd dropped off reading Dooce in the last several years, finding her posts incoherent, her battles with substance abuse and the obvious battle with anorexia as too much. Maybe it was her transition from longer form writing to shorter form quotes, song lyrics, & poetry on Instagram that all seemed out of context or part of a conversation she was having that I just didn't get. There was a weird defensiveness in every post, maybe daring her attackers to attack or knowing she had to be on guard because the trolls would troll no matter what. Despite all that, I had paid attention to her sobriety and would see a post every once in a while about another month of being sober, another milestone. I wasn't aware of the huge controversy she ignited about trans kids, but holy hell, Heather. We thought you'd get better. You always seemed to get better. In diving deeper, I see the whole Internet has had months to process this news and videos and posts are far and wide and deep and sad and angry and all the things, but it was a weird way to find out and let's just say my whole week has been kinda in a weird funk because of it. The rabbit hole is deep. It also simultaneously (which I feel weird and guilty about) left me feeling like I can't let this affect me, life is beautiful, I owe it to my relationship and family and friends and pets and my Dad and my sister-in-law who are no longer here but who really wanted deeply to keep on living, to suck it up, Buttercup. Like, what do you have to be anxious/sad/melancholy about?
By Friday, I got my shit together, got my head straight, and got back to living life. I kinda cruised Comic-Con in the morning, did a quick zoo walk to have lunch with Denny and then was in contact with Nova, who I was supposed to pick up from UCSD from her Upward Bound program. They were going to take longer to get back to campus than expected, so I swung by Sea World for my daily voucher, then met the kid up at the campus. Let me tell you, a round-trip from the downtown area to UCSD and back to Normal Heights is a time consuming endeavor on a Friday, it's a GREAT thing the trolley was extended (but a shitty thing the program isn't encouraging it's use), so I haven't quite decided if I'll pick up again on Friday or suggest the trolley, but that was gnarly. As a person who doesn't have a daily commute, I can agree that traffic is unfun and I felt guilty contributing to it and thinking 60 other parents were all driving up from Hoover, San Diego City High, Grossmont, Monte Vista, Morse, and other schools and having to do the same stupid trip during rush hour.
Eventually we made it home and I almost immediately jumped on the bus to get downtown for the Jimmy Eat World, Manchester Orchestra, and Middle Kids show I was going to shoot. I had enough time to go to the Haunted Mansion pop-up at Luce Loft that an old friend was running, but then I was off to the show. I'll talk about the show in another post, but I will say that there is quite a toxic photographer that I hadn't seen in ages that I knew I would see and of course, he didn't even take a beat to make completely off-putting and arrogant comments, mostly just how superior a photographer he is to everyone else and how he's more worthy than anyone to get access/media passes/photos selected for reuse. It's super gross and I'm so glad to be so old and not in a position where I feel like every goddamn thing is a competition. I was just happy to be there shooting music again.
And so there it is. Comic-Con looked amazing, I was happy to cover it in the listings, but I don't feel like there's any reporting on anything that hasn't been covered by everyone else. The lines for the activations continued to be staggering, which just proves people like free shit, especially food and alcohol, more than they care about the absence of Movie Stars, though I know everyone is also really pulling for the unions to get what they deserve against the producers and networks. I'm gonna start working on this week's listings though I won't publish until Thursday, but I just needed to get this one out into the world to clean my own slate and start fresh. RIP Dooce.
- First on CNN: Updated Covid shot should be ready by ‘latter part of September,’ HHS secretary says in letter to manufacturers - CNN (7.13.23)
- Early US indicators show ongoing slight rise in COVID-19 activity - CIDRAP (7.21.23)
- 29 Ballot Drop Boxes Open for District Four Special Primary Election - County News Center (7.18.23)
- Bill aims to nix California requirement that hospitals report abuse suspicions to police - KPBS (7.12.23)
- Teamsters UPS Union Wins Historic Contract, Likely Avoiding Gigantic Strike - Vice (7.25.23)
- Surging bird flu outbreaks raise human-infection risk, UN agencies warn - Reuters (7.12.23)
- Heat wave: Millions in the U.S., Europe and beyond face record temperatures this week. The South continues to swelter under a relentless heat wave, while extremely hot weather and flooding hit Asia and Europe. - NBC News (7.17.23)
- Other Reading:
- 2023’s Best & Worst Cities for First-Time Home Buyers - Wallethub (7.18.23)
- San Diego is 249th/300
- 263 in Affordability
- 218 in Real Estate Market
- 154 in Quality of Life
- San Diego is the #2 most expensive city in the U.S. for cable & internet bills; residents spend $147 per month - doxo insights
- Full Report: U.S. Cable & Internet Market Size and Household Spending Report 2023
- Specifically for San Diego, doxo's data shows that:
- Per year, the average household spends $1,466 on cable & internet, 26% higher than the U.S. yearly average of $1,161.
- Per month, the average household spends $147 on Cable & Internet bills, which is 25% higher than the U.S. monthly average of $118.
- The average monthly amount spent on Cable and Internet in the state of California overall is $117.
- 83% of households in San Diego pay for cable & internet on a monthly basis.
- San Diego residents spend $2,985 a month, or $35,822 a year on the ten most essential household bills which is 45.9% higher than the national average of $2,046.
- Jason Aldean's 'Small Town' is part of a long legacy with a very dark side - npr/KPBS (7.22.23)