Darkness and Door Locks

This is a short post. I am a bit off kilter and wonky. There’s a lot other stuff going on but that will be in the next post. But, in general, June and July were kind of crappy.

Between the variants, the heat, the rain, the stress of getting rid of my mom’s car, work and my perpetual weeding out of stuff, I am pretty knackered.

First, for, the second time in three days, the power went out. It was maddening. The first time it was in dribs and drabs. Then, the power went out and then was on again for ten or so minutes before going out again. It did this about three times before it finally worked itself out. This was near the end of June. it was insane.

After that, however, the power went out for ten hours. Apparently it was because of a fallen tree somewhere. The updates from the electric company were hilariously brief. “We are aware you are without power and have a team assessing the issue.” Then there was, “power is out in your area. We have a team working on it. We will keep you updated when power is restored.” Well, for that one I think I’d have noticed because I wouldn’t be sitting in the dark with a bunch of candles around me reading that. Unless I was Sting. Sting would do that. He did that in that one Police video.

The next text from the electric company mentioned a tree fell and that “additional resources” would be required. This was followed with the same polite “we will keep you updated.” There were maybe six texts total. Each was pretty droll. Then the power went on. I got two texts afterwards telling me the power was on again.

Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the power was back on until about 4:30 in the morning when I got up to get some water. I saw a little light from the computer mousepad. To be sure I had power, I turned on a light and then turned on a fan. Whoopee! But, I was awake then. That was a party.

Once I saw the text telling me I had lost power, (again thanks for noting the obvious), I brought some ice home from work. I saved most of the food in the refrigerator and moved things around so I would not trip and fall in the dark.

Ten hours later it is all done. Despite being a huge aggravation and a stress builder, I did get to take an inventory of candles and flashlights and sort out what worked and didn’t work for next time. The other positive from all of this is that I got to talk to my neighbors which was nice. They are pretty chill people and very outgoing. I had chatted with them on and off as the pandemic deepened into lockdown, but it’d been awhile since I had seen them. They have two very nice dogs.

I was on the porch reading as dusk tuned to darkness. I went inside at around 10 pm but came out again around midnight. It was like a Hitchcock film. Total darkness but sounds from the neighborhood. I could see flashes of lights from my neighbors as they turned flashlights on and off while moving to and fro. The police drove by and shined those huge ass lights they have over a few buildings. That was kind of cinematic.

The timing of the outage was pretty frustrating. I had a lot of stuff I needed to get done and wanted to do, and it all got scratched. But these things happen and there’s not much you can do about it, so you move on. Postscript, I think I’d be fine if this didn’t happen twice in three days. That was the real hassle of it. I didn’t really enjoy the feeling of not knowing what was going on. I did not feel, mad, panicked or helpless, just sort of malcontent and inconvenienced.

In appliance news, although this is not really an appliance thing, the really messed up light switch in the bathroom has finally been fixed. It worked before, but you just had to do this thing where you would move it and press it off to the side as you toggled it up or down.

This is also exciting (not really)! The nappy old front door lock is gone and in its place is a shiny new lock. You could lock the top deadbolt but not the bottom one. I tried new keys and WD40 but had no luck. The lock was over 20 years old and the keys didn’t really work well anymore. Luckily, I found an affordable locksmith who replaced it. He also changed out the crappy one on the back door and re-keyed everything so now one key fits each lock!

When I was looking for a locksmith I made it a point to find someone who was local and independent. The guy I used was terrific. He was a hippie, but I overlooked that. But my point is this, please support your local artisans, craftsmen, workers and businesses. If you buy online, look for someone who is selling their own stuff. Right now, it could be the only income they have.

Turning to weather, have you ever noticed how goofy looking the weather people are in other cities? I know the same could be said about the folks here, but it is really peculiar to see other city’s news and weather teams. When I travel I always try to see what the newspeople look like, especially the weather people. Do they look zany? Do they have bad hair? Do they look like freaky suburbanites? Are they the kind of people you’d find in the stores you never shop at in the mall? Do they look like pedophiles or insider trading criminals? Do they seem kind?

Anyway, Im rambling. As I said, the weather was really ghastly over the last few weeks. It was like Mojave desert hot with an apéritif of humidity. I only went out in the morning for my walks and to run any errands. Beyond that I was inside for a few days. Luckily, the weather over the last week has bottomed out and it has not been terrible. It also has been rainy and humid, but not a furnace.

I am reading Matt Kindt and Jason Hall’s Pistolwhip graphic novel. It is the complete version with some one shots in it as well. So I am pretty much getting all of it. I have been meaning to get to it for awhie and finally set aside the time. It is terrific.

Kindt, who is from St. Louis, weaves together a lot of story lines. It’s dense with drama and the characters never get dull. There are parts you may need to reread as you go along, but generally it is pretty compelling stuff.

It looks like concerts are back in full force. I have started to look at going to a few in 2022. I also am reviewing some live theater again. It has taken forever for the arts to come back and it is great to see so many local companies getting back at it.

I recently ate at Grace Meat +Three. Man, it was seriously good. The greens were amazing and worth the cost alone. I got the mac and cheese as well which was also pretty stellar. I was impressed at how organized they were and handling a long line. The staff was very friendly as well.

Cleveland Heath in Edwardsville, Illinois has gotten rid of their roasted cauliflower. This is a tragedy. Despite this, their mushroom fondue was simply amazing. I had a roasted chicken and it was well seasoned and not dry. They make a mean kale salad as well.

I am lucky to still be working. In addition to my part-time retail thing, I am continuing to work remotely from home doing a bunch of content writing. I love working remote since I don’t have to put up with so many morons who think the world is back to normal. It’s also work in my field which is nice. I did pick up some work writing for a resuable energy company’s catalog. it has been fascinating research. I also am working on an article for I Am East St. Louis magazine.

With hardly any connection to the outside world during the pandemic, I played online board games. It was great since it gave me some socialization and I got to use my brain. I like gaming, but my insane schedule always got in the way of things so this was nice since I could do it at my leisure. There is a beautiful connectivity with board gaming, and right now we could all use that!

Speaking of which, some friends of mine have a board game out! Those who love gaming and want to support local folks should check out Greece Lightning! It is available online or at local gaming stores here.

There is a lot more to come about books, music, and movies. But for now this is a boiled, down simple happenings of the last few weeks. Hopefully, the next post will not be as dull.

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So the longish days of April have turned into May. It is May Day, and I cannot help but think of working and how hard most people have it by working underpaying jobs where they have to deal with incredibly annoying people.

Before any of this started I had my doubts on how working people could make ends meet, but now the system has been nearly destroyed and I am not sure what is next.

I do know that I am not keen on going back to the way it was unless there are some real opportunities. I am fine with making the trade off of working with people I like and taking less pay for personal happiness. I mean happiness is way better in the long run. But, that pay must be fair and at least remain sustainable.

However, now the arduous task of sniffing around and networking is afoot. Like Sherlock Holmes solving a mystery, I am sniffing out my next gig and hustling to solve thing sand sort it all out.

I am working a bit at my job and still applying for other things which has been nice. I know this much, I am done with having to deal with large groups of people if at all possible.

I love how St. Louis has come together to help small businesses whenever possible. There is a nifty new farmer’s market that has popped up down the street. They have pretty much everything and it is affordable. I am avoiding the grocery store if I can and making do with ordering from local stores when I can. The international grocery store down the street is still open so if I need anything in a pinch there is that.

One nice thing about our city is that it, for the most part, has decent citizens who actually respect other people. As a result, this thing has seen folks come together and help others. Whether it is making masks, checking in on folks, shopping local or supporting the local arts. It is nice to not be divisive.

A lot the museums and arts organizations are working to provide some interesting content right now. I think just getting their name out in the public consciousness really helps a lot.

In appliance news, the food processor is kaput. There’s still some scratch left on the Target gift card so I guess shopping could sort there. But I would rather buy local.

Everything I was looking forward to has been canceled. I was supposed to be in Chicago this week. I miss Chicago. I have a monthly planner but it is pretty useless at this point. Unless I write in ‘stay at home’ each day. I am trying to watch some theater stuff that is being offered and a few concerts etc… So I could put that all in there but it seems pointless since I find I am not looking at it much.

I am taking a few online classes and that has surprisingly eaten into a lot of my time. Yale has a happiness class that apparently is all the rage and the most popular one offered on campus. I am taking a free version of it and it has been interesting. Part Psychology, part mindfulness and part ‘get your shit together,’ The Science of Well Being has been a good way to declutter mentally and sort of assess where things are it.

I also am taking two classes through MoMA in New York. One is Modern Art & Ideas and the other is Seeing Through Photographs. I just started the former this week and the latter about two weeks ago. They both have been pretty great. As someone who likes art and often has to write doubt it for various outlets, it has bene informative. I had a so so art history teacher in college so this has been great. I have always liked photography and am enjoying learning a lot more about it.

I did an online lecture last night for their current exhibition, Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures.

You can take the virtual tour of the exhibition and see some interactive content on the MoMA website. I have always loved her work and it was really cool getting some context about it.

The next class I start isThe Modern World, Part One: Global History from 1760 to 1910. It is through Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. I have studied a lot of this before in school but I wanted a deep dive.

These are all mostly 5-6 weeks long so after this I can move on to some other stuff. I also have been studying up on analytics, marketing trends and doing as much writing as I can.

I have also been watching some movies, I saw Tokyo Joe early this morning.

It is a Humphrey Bogart flick from 1949 and finds him in postwar Tokyo. It is not as good as some of his other stuff but I had not seen it before.

I also am watching. SXSW films on Amazon. some are shorts, some are docs and feature lengths. I enjoyed My Darling Vivian, a documentary about Johnny Cash’s first wife Vivian Liberto. It was really interesting.

I also started watching Schitt’s Creek which has been fun. Dead To me is starting next week and I am looking forward to that. I am behind in watching a lot of stuff I wanted to see, but it is not like I am going out dancing anytime soon or anything.

The worst thing is trying to sort out sleep. it has been frustrating.

I did interview Kathy Valentine of The Go-Go’s about her new book, All I Ever Wanted. It is a very interesting read.

I still have a stack of magazines and books to get to so next time I may have more interesting things to write about.

I have been listening to a lot of music. I have made an effort to listen to the new albums by Fiona Apple and Hazel English. There also is Alphabetland, the new record from X. It is loud and fun! I also like this band called Catholic Action. They are from Glasgow and really have good melodies.

The Magnetic Fields have a new album coming out called Quickies. That should be fun too.

RIP to the great Tony Allen. His latest album, Rejoice is amazing. He was an amazing drummer and will be missed. This album is fantastic.

Well that is it for now. sorry for the delay. Stay inside. Please stay inside.