3 Days To The Village By The Lake

white house near sea and mountains

3 days and counting.

I’m looking forward to seeing my Brothers, Vince and TJ. I’m looking foward to the meet up that we are having on Saturday the 26th when we will be meeting some fellow Men and having some food, some drinks, and maybe even a couple of cigars with these guys. It’s going to be a good time.

In other news, I was serious when I said that I was going to limit my activity and my time on Twitter and I meant it. It’s been nice being off of Twitter. I have more time to pursue other projects and my stress levels and my blood pressure has dropped quite a bit.

It’s a good thing I’ve taken time away from Twitter, learning my new MIDI controller so that I can start creating music has been a challenge to say the least. The device itself isn’t too hard to figure out, it’s 8 pads, 8 knobs, a joystick, and 25 keys of a keyboard with other assorted buttons that do different things. Pressing keys, turning knobs, and tapping pads isn’t too difficult.

The difficult part is getting the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that I use to interface and recognize the MIDI controller. I was hoping for something that would be a “drag and drop” type of interface where I could just throw “kits” and samples into the DAW and then assign them to the MIDI controller, and then I could just start to play and record.

That’s not what has happened so far. So far, I need to tell the DAW about each and every button, pad, and knob. Thank god I don’t need to do much of that for the keys. That part seems to be fairly straight forward. It’s been a challeng to say the least, and it has taken a lot of time to get things sorted out and working. I still haven’t got it all figured out at the time that I’m writing this. One thing I know though is, once I have everything sorted out and set, I’m saving the profiles so that I can use them without issue.

I’ve also been recording some “B-Roll” video footage to use in upcoming videos. I broke down and bought a decent stand for my phone so now I can set the phone up and use it to record different scenes and footage and not worry that it is going to fall or shake or any other sort of nonsense. Stay tuned to my YouTube channel for future videos to see some of this new and somewhat interesting video footage.

I also broke down and bought a couple of video games. One of them is called “Among Us” and is something that you play online. I’ve played it enough so far to understand the general movement and mechanics of it, now I’m excited to play with some other guys from the ‘Sphere and see where it goes.

It’ll be a good way to get some additional video footage for future projects at least.

I also bought an Atari 2600 “package” that has 100 video games on it. Some of them are the actual arcade versions from back in the day, and many others are from the Atari 2600 console days. I’ve been playing Asteroids from the old console days. Talk about absolutely shitty graphics compared to games today, but man, were they fun and simple to play. No weird button combos to do special moves, no extra controllers or levers to push or manipulate to execute different actions. It’s literally up, down, left, right, and shoot.

Those are the games that I played the most when I was young and it’s what I remember the most fondly even though I had the original Nintendo, the Atari Jaguar, the Playstation, the Playstation 2, and the Wii. Not that I didn’t enjoy the games that I had on each of those particular consoles, but it was the old Atari 2600 that I played the most and had the most games for.

I’m still wondering what the State of Utah is going to do over the next few days because we have had a spike in ‘Rona cases. Apparently we have had more cases in the last few days than we did when the bug first hit Utah and peaked out in July. I know most of these new cases are because the schools are back in session, both the elementary levels as well as the college levels, and that’s where the spike in cases are coming from.

It’ll be interesting to see if Utah is going to shut the schools down again and make the “kids” do everything remotely, or if they are going to suck it up and keep going. I’m hoping for the latter. What we don’t need is another “lockdown,” though. The mandatory mask mandate is still in effect, and is supposed to go on until the end of the year from what I’ve heard, and that’s bad enough.

A lot of other people are getting sick of it as well from what I’ve been seeing and many of them are not wearing masks when they are going about their day. When I think about it and remind myself, I tell those people “thanks for not wearing a mask,” and I mean it sincerely.

I’m sure I could get a lot of grief for this view, but I don’t care. Life goes on and I want to get on with my life, and not under this “new normal” bullshit that a lot of people are calling it.

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St. Patrick’s Day, Salt Lake City, and COVID-19

photo of gas masks

Tuesday March 17th is and was St. Patrick’s Day. It was for all accounts just like any other St. Patrick’s Day except:

There was no parade. All the bars and taverns were closed. And there was literally no people around, let alone wearing green.

I went to work like I always do, I work 4-10’s, so I have Saturday’s, Sunday’s and Monday’s off, so Tuesday is my Monday. Going in to work was pretty much like any other day that I have gone in to work. Traffic was pretty much the same as it always was. Same volume of traffic and same speed.

Getting to the job was uneventful, but from there everything started taking on a bit of the surreal.

First off, we had a meeting, which isn’t unusual at all except that this time it was held in the warehouse instead of in the conference room. All so that we could keep that 6 foot “social distance” that has been recommended. Most of our meetings tend to drag on far longer than they need to, but not this one. From start to finish, we were done with it and checking our trucks to begin our day in a half hour. Most of the time the meetings will drag on for an hour or more.

Once I got underway, I noticed that traffic was lighter than usual for a Tuesday. I was at my first job shortly after 8am, and traffic was as light as it would be at 6am. Maybe even earlier.

Tueday’s I’m downtown. The heart of Salt Lake City. Tuesday mornings you’ll usually find the Trax system (our light-rail trains) packed. Same with the city buses. And of course, all of the cars. Tons of them. And let’s not forget all of the people on bicycles and on foot. Downtown Salt Lake City has become much more friendly to foot traffic over the last ten years or so, but Tuesday March 17th, 2020, it was literally deserted.

There were only a small handful of people on Trax and same with the city buses. Car traffic was light to say the least. For the first hour, from approximately 8am to 9am, there were literally no pedestrians other than the homeless population wandering around. They reminded me of pigeons looking for food. There were a couple of people walking to and fro, going to their destinations with their heads down, staring at the pavement. Everything was hushed, everything was subdued.

Doing the jobs on Tuesday was interesting as well. Some of the customers had closed up because of COVID-19. Some had signs on their doors and windows stating this information. Some didn’t. Their offices were just locked up and the lights were all off. The only way that I knew for sure that they were closed and people were working from home was because of passers-by telling me that the people were working from home until further notice. We are in interesting times.

Most of the customers that were still around were friendly enough. Everybody was doing their best to make the best of the situation. Jokes were made, smiles were on several faces, pleasant hello’s were exchanged. But there was a palpable uneasiness underneath it all. The uncertainty of everything. And it’s not just about the virus.

We are definitely living in interesting times.

As the day went on, I figured that traffic would pick up. It didn’t. Many businesses have changed their hours. They are starting later and closing up earlier, if they aren’t closing down entirely. On a positive note, parking was a dream. Usually I have to fight to find somewhere to park in the downtown area in order to do my job, and that’s because parking is limited and is at a premium. There’s usually cars and other vendors taking up all the spots. But not this Tuesday. This Tuesday, everywhere I went, there was plenty of parking to be had.

The St. Patrick’s Day parade that would have gone down through the heart of Salt Lake City, and would have been right in the middle of where I needed to do my job was either postponed or cancelled entirely. No parade, no people to watch the parade.

Everybody is “going to ground.”

On a “regular” Tuesday I usually get done with the route around 3:30pm or 4pm. Not this St. Patrick’s Day. I was done by quarter to two. That’s what happens when several of the customers are closed down and parking is a dream. You can definitely get shit done.

Some of the customers that I talked to on Tuesday told me they were closing down and working from home until this whole thing is over. Many of them will be implementing this as of Wednesday the 18th. Several others are staying open for the immediate future but are seriously considering closing down and working from home as well. I guess time will tell.

I can only imagine what the next days and weeks are going to bring. We definitely are living in interesting times.

It was a little unnerving going past certain landmarks that are usually open for business. The Eccles Center, which does a lot of plays, operas, and other live action events is closed, reopening….sometime in the future. All their banners are gone, all the marquees are put away or blank. Other than the newness of the building, you would think that it hasn’t been inhabited in a couple of decades. And it’s only been closed since Friday the 13th. That’s five days from the time of this writing. That’s it. On another note, the local gun stores had their doors wide open and business was booming. Same with the grocery stores, apparently people haven’t finished with their runs on toilet paper.

A majority of the little independent small businesses in the downtown area are closed. Add some boards to the doors and windows and that image would be complete. Many of them have signs on them saying “Now Hiring!” I imagine that has been put on hold for the time being. What a hell of a way to kick off spring.

Salt Lake City will survive COVID-19, from what I gather the mortality rate of it isn’t as bad as other things that are happening every day. But I do wonder about it’s economic future. You take a small mom and pop business and shut them down for a couple of weeks and I can imagine that that would be hard to come back from, if they do at all.

From closed down bars, eateries that are only doing pick up, delivery, and drive up service; from major arts and entertainment spots being closed, to non-existant pedestrians being on the street, making Salt Lake City a hushed ghost town, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens during the days, weeks, and months ahead.

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