We’re moving to NYC! 🎉 Cross-country with a 3 month old! 😬 Wish us luck! 💫
Need to listen to A Secret Code by Pamela Z from Neuma Records.
Came across her via the article “Social Codebreaker” by Emily Pothast in the July issue of The Wire, shown to me by Sam. See also her 1988 self-issued cassette Echolocation, due to be reissued later this year on Freedom to Spend.
From the article:
I ask her about the obvious current of humour running through many of her works. “A lot of people ask me about that. I think it’s because they expect experimental and contemporary music to be this very serious thing.” […an extended description of John Cage’s 1960 performance of Water Walk on CBS comedy game show I’ve Got A Secret and the audience’s laughter…]
“When people ask me that question, they often phrase it like, ‘Why do you inject humour into your work?’ and I don’t think of it as injecting humour,” she continues. “I think of it as allowing humour. Because I think that life is weird, and my work is very much influenced by and inspired by the world around me.
What happened to the formerly flourishing experimental music scene in San Francisco? I’ve looked for it. Some of the musicians may still be present, but the gigs aren’t, unless I’m missing something.
Might be worth keeping an eye out for Volti performances, Pamela Z has collaborated with them in the past.
Had my first IRL encounter with vaccine hesitancy in SF yesterday.
I was grabbing an Uber back from a blood test and got chatting with the driver about all sorts of stuff. He was a perfectly lovely guy, probably around the same age as me. He asked if I’d had the vaccine and I said yes, that I’d had the second about two weeks ago. I asked if he had had it, thinking that maybe he asked me because he’d just had his. He said he wasn’t planning to get it, alluded to being skeptical about what was in them and whether they were safe.
He said something like 40% of the US military wasn’t getting the vaccine. I didn’t really really know what to say to that. I knew it wasn’t quite right, but was too tired to question it.
(Back in February it was reported that about one-third of military personnel supposedly were planning not to get the vaccine, but that was based on an extrapolation from survey data from the rest of the US population at the time, not on any major survey of the military itself [more on this]. We don’t actually know how many members of the military are getting the vaccine since it isn’t being tracked, it could be way higher or way lower. And the broader numbers across the US have changed since then, though there is still a good chunk of the population that is hesitant.)
Anyways, the conversation moved on. We got talking about how dire it was early on in San Francisco, tough for him to drive then. About how nice it is to see things gradually opening up, how it was nice to be seeing so many more people out and about even though it meant bad traffic, about how it will be great when we can stop wearing masks outside at least. He mentioned that he was planning to keep wearing his mask inside and while driving for a long, long time. So he was vaccine hesitant, but in no way an anti-masker or anything.
I mentioned how impressed I was by the vaccine efforts going on at the Moscone Center, about how I’d never seen anything like it, so many kind and qualified people coming together to help so many hundreds of other people every day. Figured it was the best I could do short of actively trying to convince him to get the vaccine itself.
When we parted ways, he said he was feeling positive about the whole situation, with so many people getting vaccinated. Said to stay safe, then I was out the door.
I need to figure out how to respond more proactively in that sort of situation. I think that his rational was probably “there are plenty of other people getting it, so I should be safe without it”. But we can’t realistically get high enough immunity within the population that way, and it isn’t a very community-minded approach. How do you get that across without being accusatory or making someone defensive?
I’m glad he’s feeling positive, but unfortunately I left the car feeling a bit lower than when I’d gotten in. We have such a massive mountain to climb in terms of the quality, efficacy, and breadth of our public health communication.
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Just got my first vaccine dose yesterday, my appointment was at the Moscone Center. Good lord, they’re running a slick operation over there. The staff are clearly working very hard to keep things smooth and quick. And the unrelenting torrent of small talk they have to put up with! They are saints.
I’m happy to have had mountains of very clear (but un-pushy) reference material and guidance from my OB/GYN practice about whether or not to get the vaccine when expecting. The endorsement by the OB/GYN community in the US is very different to the approach in the UK though, which has made some conversations with UK-based friends and family interesting! None of them have said I shouldn’t get it, but some have expressed a bit of trepidation, which is fair enough. There are a lot of factors making up this sort of public health guidance, and there’s still a lot we don’t know. We’re all making do as best we can.
All things going to plan, I should be fully vaccinated by 21 April. 🤞 I know this is terribly hyperbolic, but it sort of feels like the first day of the rest of my life.
Taken at 9:40am today. Somehow it seemed to get darker between when I woke up around 7:30 and now. It’s dark enough to be 7/8pm. Apparently ash is falling like snow in Concord.
Soundtrack for this morning: Silver Apples’ eponymous album from 1968. Came across this via @erikinternet’s tweet, didn’t know about Simeon Coxe III before. RIP.
Worth reading: 2019 Guardian article ‘Fire is medicine’: the tribes burning California forests to save them.
Edit at 9am on 10 September
The sun never really came up yesterday. We woke up this morning wondering if it would be the same.
The orange is gone, replaced by light beige smog. The 10 minute average air quality index (AQI) is over 200 in most of the city according to PurpleAir, over 270 in parts of the Sunset district. “Everyone may begin to experience health effects if they are exposed for 24 hours; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.”
Though it looks better than yesterday, the reality is way worse on the ground.
Edit at 4pm on 10 September
Now the air is thick, opaque. AQI is in the 300s in most of the city, mid-300s in the Mission. “Health warnings of emergency conditions if they are exposed for 24 hours. The entire population is more likely to be affected.”
Edit at 9:30pm on 10 September
The AQI has dropped back to the mid-200s in SF. Things are a bit better (still not great) once you get south of Santa Barbara, hovering around 100. In the mid 100s around Tahoe. Oregon is feeling it the worst right now, it’s over 500 in Portland. As Duane King said on Twitter, “‘Airpocalypse’ helps explain why my eyes are burning indoors.”
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My first swim in the Pacific in probably 10–15 years, photo by Sam.
On the Fourth of July, we walked 10 miles from the Sutro Heights Stairs on Balboa Street through Land’s End, past the enormous houses near China Beach, paused at Baker Beach, dipped down to Marshall’s Beach, walked under the Golden Gate, along Crissy Field and through the park at Fort Mason, then took a rest at the Maritime Museum ampitheater before heading back.
I thought I did so well with sunscreen but oh my, the backs of my knees…
SF has felt like a tech monoculture for the past 10 years. It’s one of the big reasons we were originally planning to be in / around NYC instead.
I’m sure there’s more to it, but it’s kinda hard to find in the current situation, especially in our neighborhood. The worst thing is the possibility of slipping in to it personally, becoming one-dimensional.
Been on my mind since a lot of the indoor things I usually love doing (reading and cooking are two of the biggies) aren’t ticking the boxes at the moment. It might not be the city, it’s probably more related to the move or the pandemic. Maybe I need to check out Oakland? I guess time will tell, I’ll try harder in the meantime. You are your environment.