So, a year ago was the last big outing my partner and I took for ourselves. We went to see Cirque du Sole. Like any “date night” we take, of course, it was a case of “the best laid plans of mice and men” so to speak.
We got the best tickets we could afford. Which, of course, aren’t necessarily the best seats for either of us and our many preferences for any number of reasons. Suffice it to say these days things like mild agorophobia or misanthropia (as the case may be), moderate mysophobia and vertigo (not related, mind you) and heavy New Yorkerisms abound in our critique of everything else probably seems quaint. Some of it probably is, but all of it’s still stoically applicable.
Thing is the date felt rather unspectacular and the memory almost moreso. Nothing against my partner, the company could not have been better. Reality is though that we go out so little that everything feels almost overhyped even when we’re going in with pretty moderate outward expectations. Sure, you can say “self-fulfilling prophesy” but it becomes a series of unrelenting meh.
The show was actually really good. I was impressed with the theatrics and the story line even if, honestly, some of the stunts and spectacle weren’t as good and the comedy left a little something to be desired. But, that’s neither here, nor there, in my year-after review. The problem wasn’t the Crique’s performance or even their setup. It was just people in general. The inability of drivers to follow parking instructions, or patrons to follow check in rules, or port-o-potty visitors to be orderly and clean, and so on. And, that frustration followed through to our dinner after as well.
I expect lack-lustre is going to dominate the new reality of things too. I literally have that little faith in my fellow humans. We already knew that people suck with sticking to their reservation times, lines, queues, and other orderly conduct long before whatever rules are going to be in pace for Covid-19 as things open up. We already knew people lacked respect for personal space long before Covid-19 taught some of us about in-person social distancing. We already knew people were assholes about honoring “no shirt, no shoes, no service” type of rules even before mask rules came into the conversation for Covid-19. We already knew there was a lacked empathy for those with disabilities long before Covid-19 pointed out the new group of selfish assholes that refuse to acknowledge some people require additional accommodations.
Not being on a date in a while and thinking about what the next date might look like has shown me Covid-19 has not brought out the “best” in people, but magnified the absolute “worst.” It’s empowered a bunch of deplorable assholes to think that their personal liberties are all that’s important at the expense of the health and well being of everyone around them.
Look. I’m in no great rush to wear a mask everywhere I go. I’d like to be able to sneak a romantic kiss with my partner when we’re out and about as any couple might. But, in this situation of what our next date might be like, I’m also acutely cognizant that it only takes one person who is an asymptomatic carrier to ruin it. That person could be me. That person could be my partner. That person could be you. Any of us could get sick…end up hospitalized…die. Any of us could become silent carriers to our family or friends or coworkers and any of them, or their families, or friends could get sick…end up hospitalized…die…or just be silent carriers to their families…and so on. I am self-aware. Thus, I’ll wear a mask. My partner will too. How many assholes we end up being exposed to won’t is what will dictate where we go and what we do. Any business that isn’t enforcing a mask rule, well, they won’t get our business. We would prefer to be alive. We’d prefer our family and friends and coworkers to be alive. We’d prefer their family and friends to be alive too. And, so on.
I was saddened to read a fellow hiker friend of mine was accosted along a trail near their home. They did everything right. They wore a mask themselves. They stayed to well marked and established trails with paths that are wide enough to freely pass without contact. They were prepared to temporarily de-path, to the right, for stop-and-wait crossings with fellow hikers to provide ample distance between hiking parties. They used both verbal and visual signals to provide adequate direction to their intent. They unfortunately experienced at least one self-absorbed hiker determined to confront them head on, with no mask, and no respect for their fellow hikers attempts at safe distancing and general trail courtesy. I blame this as much on Trumpublikkkan rhetoric as anything else — and, yes, I’m aware that non-hikers who are on any path for the first time ever are abound who might not know better, as well as I’m aware than even among experienced hikers there’s a bit of snottiness in how they traverse trails.
This story, however, felt like a sign-of-the-times kind of lesson.
Sure, shitbags cloaked in MAGA red hats, Confederate iconography, Gadsden flags, Nazi iconography, NRA emblems, KKK iconography, revisionist American flags, and so on routinely ruin things for the rest of us. I’ve experienced their approach first hand in my domestic travels the last few years (and versions of these, albeit less-so, in my many years of travels worldwide even before). But, hearing first-hand stories among friends and family of their attempts at getting out and about, be it in the tri-state or beyond through the rest of the US (and in rare instance in Canada and Europe), and being confronted by this kind of behavior is beyond frightening.
You want to know why I’m skeptical of “opening back up?” It’s because I fear that the kind of jackassary that existed before in passing will be weaponized. Certain groups are beyond just politicizing the disease, they have weaponized both the disease and it’s fear. If this is what they are doing in the “shadows” with an impeached president calling them, abstractly yet again, “good people” can you imagine what they will do when actually unleashed?
I don’t need bunch of Dunning-Kruger ignorant fucknuts endangering my family, friends, neighbors and coworkers.
Believe me, I wish them nothing more to become Covid Corpses as ironic deserts. The less stupid there is in the world, perhaps the better.
But, honestly, even outside of their long overdue “come-to-god” moments that would be best spent dying alone and unattached, the reality, unfortunately for all of us, is they are vectors to everyone they come in contact with…both those who try to be prepared and those who are exposed to the stupid unexpected.
Prevention is as much the potentially infected’s responsibility as it is the possible infectee. These dirty kkkuntrags though want to believe that everyone else needs to bow down to their convenience.
Thus it’s scary to go out, when everyone exposed to these jackasses who don’t wear masks, who don’t social distance, who don’t wash their hands (or themselves for that matter), creates an unwitting vector out of everyone they come in contact with.
We’re still working with a 7-20 day period of asymptomatic carrier possibility and yet these indignant assholes believe that since they “don’t feel sick” they can do what they please and it’s up to everyone else to protect themselves. How about, “don’t be a fucking asshole” and maybe care about the possibility you will infect your significant other — assuming these fat lazy fucksticks aren’t jerking off on themselves as their only form of love) — your family like kids, parents, you know, assuming these colostomy bags realize they aren’t alone in the world and have kin that’s not the klan — friends, coworkers, neighbors and so on. I doubt they care.
I care. I lost my dad to this. Early on before most of us had a lot of the knowledge necessary to know how to prevent it. He used common sense having worked in medicine his whole life and even that wasn’t necessarily enough.
Over the weekend I came across a photo of my dad and I from ten years ago. I’m beyond fucking angry that recollecting the moment comes with the cost of not having said good bye.
It wasn’t an easy time in either of our lives. We got together out of necessity as much as anything else. As pissed as I was at all the situations at hand, I still figured out how to make the time. And, in the aftermath, as pissed as I still am at him and everyone else involved, I’m glad he and I parsed some of those moments together. Life’s not fair, and, sometimes there aren’t easy answers to complex situations.
He made those uncomfortable moments somewhat more comfortable during the trips that year we took together. In some ways, had those trips not happened as they had, I wouldn’t be as close to certain people as I am today, including my partner.
We talked about things he rarely otherwise had talked about, exposing parts of himself I’m not sure he intended to expose from a past I’d long since stopped asking about. It can’t be easy for someone decades past to talk about war, divorce, the loss of siblings, etc. but gracefully between talking about North Jersey, the Hudson River and Manhattan history, whiskey, literature and music, shitty commutes and work related monotony, food, and so on, he opened up about stuff that otherwise was normally not spoken. It was one of the few times I got a hint at the conflict in an otherwise strong facade and had a sense of the PTSD he was coping with from a life that some unfavorable moments in it.
Yeah, if this seems like I’m rambling, I am…this is what WTF WFH is 50 days into this nonsense of working from home.
20 albums, 20 days — and I’m resigned to only writing on weekdays for this now
Tagged by Rob via Kevin
–the “influence” of concept records–
Day 10: Amorphis – Elegy – 1996
Loosely created as a song cycle of Karelian folklore found in the Kanteletar (1840) by Elias Lönnrot, Elegy is set on a a framework of lush, Finnish-inspired melodies and soaring harmonized guitars creating a progression of their established death metal facade. Along with the new sonic tapestry it was the worlds to new vocalist Pasi Koskinen and my introduction to the band. And, what an introduction.
The appeal for me was multifold.
First, the hybridization of different types of metal with folk was intriguing enough both compositionally and sonically. There’s a uniqueness to the harmonization that separates it from the oft-cliche Gothenberg melodic death tonalities that would come to dominate the scene for a while which is part of why Amorphis don’t get lumped in with many of the bands from mainland Europe and the States who borrowed from the style and was a bit part of the allure for me.
Second, it’s a unique approach to a concept record for a metal band, although quite popular of a thematic approach in other genres, to craft a series of songs around a series of inter-related ideas. It works especially well in this case because the source material feels natural for the band to begin with. It comes off as a natural progression both lyrical and compositional approach.
It’s a good challenge for the listener with it’s twists and turns between clean and growled vocals, shredding guitars and semi-acoustic passages, and the insightful influence of folk contrasted with the aggressive nature of metal. Yet, nestled within all of that are passages that are easy to sing along with, headbang along to and simply get excited about without much effort.
As for what we ate, I ended up throwing together some kind of “stir fry” fun.
I made this Texmati Rice stuff according to the package instructions which are a little different than your typical approach. Instead of bringing the water up to a boil and adding the rice, reduce heat and cover, the package says you soak the rice in the still water for a time, then bring to a simmer for a time covered, then turn off the heat and let it finish “steaming.” Once it’s done in the pot, I put it in a big fry pan and crust it up. The Iberian word for it is socarrat, I have no idea what other cultures call it, but it’s my favorite part of any rice dish.
The rice gets fried at the end, meanwhile I use the big fry pan to cook up each of the different ingredients. As each ingredient is completed it gets transferred from the fry pan to a big skillet to be kept warm and make it easier to toss together at the end.
First goes the seitan. You can use tofu if you’d like too, that’s our other go-to with other version of the dish. I lightly dredge it in a combination of flour mixed heavily with garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric powders and cracked black pepper. Brown it up in a good hot pan in sesame oil (I actually cut it with a little vegetable oil) and then transfer to the skillet. Next comes the coarsely chopped onion over high heat in the oil. At the end, so as not to have it burn, I add thin sliced garlic cloves and sliced fresh ginger before transferring that to the skillet with the seitan. Next I do the veggies in stages depending on what their cook times are. So the carrots go in separate from the broccoli or the bell peppers, for example since sliced carrots take longer than broccoli florets or bell peppers slices to cook up. I generally give them a quick toss in the oil with salt and pepper and cook them in a hot pan. I’m looking more for the exterior browning than actually cooking them soft, I like them to still have some snap or crunch so they should be al dente tender in this case, but you cook to the wellness you like and then transfer to the warm skillet. After those veggies I added frozen peas and edamame doing the same thing with the oil, salt and pepper, and cooking till they’re just getting some color and warmed through. Finally, I crack a few eggs in the pan, again with oil, salt and pepper, and turn them into something roughly like scrambled egg and then toss them in with everything in the skillet.
You can make a ‘sauce’ if you’d like. There’s some good recipes for sauces out there. For me, today I took the garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric powders along with cracked black pepper, piri piri (a spicy hot pepper) powder and dried cilantro and chices and tossed that with the veggies and served over the soccorat rice with a few dashes of lime juice and piri piri sauce.