I’m not sick(not yet), and neither is anyone in the house(not yet.) What do you do when feeling healthy but you’re locked away in your home like a china doll in grandma’s antique hutch? Well, me being someone who quite enjoys down time and doing down time activities like listening to records, reading books, watching movies, and making things(songs, riffs, crappy paintings) I’m not finding it all that difficult to sit here and look out the window and tip my coffee mug and give a wink much like Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead. I suppose I could go down the rabbit hole of conspiracies and political calamities regarding the timing of all this. I could. But I’m not going to. Why waste assigned lockdown getting angry and frustrated over the complete ineptitude of my federal government when I could be jamming with my son in the basement studio, or re-reading Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Batman series?
So maybe to help those of you that are struggling(and to get my head wrapped around things I want to accomplish this week), I thought I’d post a few things that I’d love to get done while down n’ out in the great Midwest quarantine. If anything, this’ll give you something to read for a few minutes while that leftover pizza warms in the toaster oven.
Finish up some songs and release an EP
Okay, that may seem like a lofty goal but I’ve got an EPs worth of tracks hanging out on my hard drive that are ready to be tinkered with an released. I’d started this thing several months ago, going downstairs on Sundays and recording a track an afternoon. I used to record a whole lo-fi indie rock record on a weekend, but that wherewithal just doesn’t reside in me anymore. The tracks I have downstairs now are instrumental, and a mixture of guitar and synth. I was really into the soundtrack-y stuff for a bit, but I’ve rediscovered my love for the guitar so I want to combine the two. I guess it’s more post-rock than indie or score work. Either way, I’m hoping by Friday I have an EP up on Bandcamp. It’ll be free to download, so just help yourself.
I don’t read as much as I’d like. I should take a book to work everyday but I never get enough time to put in a decent amount of pages. I have started reading more this year, though. Started and finished Stephen King’s The Outsider over Christmas break. I’m now almost done with his book Revival(very good, btw.) I just ordered B.R. Yeager’s Negative Space and I’m hoping it hits sometime this week so I can start that as well. For years I was all about non-fiction; musician biographies, war books, true crime, etc. But lately I’ve found the need to just get lost in some fiction. I read all of King’s books in middle and high school. My dad had a library of horror fiction in his closet, so I’d go back and forth between King and Peter Straub. I definitely found my love of horror fiction because of my dad. If Negative Space doesn’t hit by Thursday I’ll dive into either The Stand or a short story collection. I’ve also got a stack of graphic novels to start. And the latest issue of Fangoria.
So another thing I started was painting. This began simply as a way for me to create some original art for album projects and to have actual art hanging in the living room. Of course I’d love to buy art from guys and gals I love, but the funds just aren’t there for that. I’ve always wanted to try to paint anyways. My wife bought me some canvases, paints, and brushes. I did my first one a couple weeks ago. Amateur hour, but it’s MY amateur hour. I found it quite soothing, too. No thoughts on politics, work, or bills to pay. Just me, some paints, and a blank canvas.
Watch Some Movies
While it might not be a creative outlet to spend time doing, it’s an enjoyable one. Going to hit up Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. I watch it at least once a year and I’m feeling the urge to get lost in his dystopian zombie flick. One of my absolute favorite films. Going to hit up Shudder as well. Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness showed up this week. Satanic Panic, House By The Cemetery, and would love to hit up some Bergman as well. I’d also like to get into some shows as well. Finish up Better Call Saul with my son, along with Channel Zero on Shudder. Maybe start the new season of Ozark this week, too. Season three of Castlevania.
Record with my son
So yesterday I placed an order with Sweetwater and drove up to pick it up. What was it? My son wanted to buy a double kick for the drum set, as well as a new batter head for the kick drum, new hi hat cymbals, and a new crash/stand. He’s really diving into the drums and that makes me extremely happy. Saturday we taped some pads on the drum heads to help muffle them a bit and the set is sounding really good now. We also “jammed” for the first time ever. It was a lot of fun and we sounded pretty damn good. The goal is to record something this week. Even if we don’t get to record it, it’ll be a blast just playing again. Definitely a proud dad moment.
Of course I’ll be writing all week. There’s some albums I want to write about. Do another ‘live series’ post, a couple album reviews, and basically just to keep the general sanity intact. This is the place I come to when I need to work things out in my brain. Despite the calm and cool I’m displaying, I do worry about what’s happening. I’m not going to lose my job, and neither is my wife fortunately. But what if we get sick? Then what? And even if we don’t get sick, what’s the point of a solid income when society is collapsing? Just thinking about going to the grocery store fills me with angst and panic. There’s a lot of people like myself that want to just get what we need and go home. But there’s also those folks lining their carts with 6-pks of 20 oz sodas, an overabundance of toilet paper, and ramen for when the end times truly hit. You can’t reason with these folks. Someone actually told me that they saw two women fighting in Walmart, throwing a container of Lysol Wipes back and forth at each other. Why?? Stop!
Bake some bread
Cause, why not?
No explanation needed
I’ve only got a week off, then it’s back to work. I’ve got a lot of things on my plate that I’d like to accomplish, so I’m going to do my best to get them done. I don’t want to feel worried. I want to use this time and be productive creatively and make something positive from this self-imposed exile. You should, too. Find something you love and dive head first into it. Don’t let the virus get you down. Turn your four walls into “your” space. I’ve always been pretty good with that. My bedroom was my own little world growing up. My home now is no different. We’ve got food, drink, toilet paper, and lots of creative people living under the same roof. My oldest has a Nintendo Switch to pass the time. All the kids have school work to get done. My wife has puzzles and books, as well as bird feeders to make and hang. And with those bird feeders comes bird watching. We have a cardinal couple, male and female, that hang out a lot around the back porch. They’ve taken a liking to the peanut butter and seed my wife hung out for them in an orange rind.
It’s the little things, man. It’s the little things.