a TigerRAWk Film

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

A Shared Life: Summer In Chicago 2020 - Apocalypse Edition (July - August)

The apocalypse continued into and through the summer of 2020. Restrictions on gatherings remained in place and wearing masks continued to be an expectation if one were to be in public places. Things continued to be canceled, postponed, or modified in ways that limited large crowds. It seemed the only way one could gather in a large crowd would be if one were to protest. This, of course brought its share of criticisms as life during a pandemic continues to be politicized so every little thing carries greater weight and significance based on one's chosen political affiliation. In Chicago, domestic travel restrictions were put in place to try to keep the infection rate in the city down as much as possible while infections rose in other areas of the country. Sports returned! Well, sort of...at least to be watched on television but with some (baseball) changing the way the game is played supposedly in the name of safety regarding COVID-19. Live music events remained as online broadcasts and Audiofeed was first postponed until Labor Day weekend then ultimately canceled for 2020. We were able to do a few fun things in spite of the restrictions. I made a weekend trip to Pennsylvania, and we planned an extended weekend get-a-way to end the summer because we had become a bit restless. We planned this with as much care taken against possible infection as we could.
On Wednesday July 1st, the 108th day of the Apocalypse, with more bars and restaurants opening to give more options of food, I decided to celebrate Canada Day with some poutine take out from The Bad Apple and it was very good. This is one of two places in Chicago I have found that produce poutine. The other is D-Men Tap. I enjoy both places and I'm not sure if there is exactly a favorite at this point. The Bad Apple seemed more easily accessible to me so that's why I got my poutine there. This day would have been the start of Audiofeed. Later in the evening, Stein got scared while playing and because it was funny, I captured it on video.

Since around Memorial Day there has been fairly constant fireworks going off in our neighborhood. If there is anything I have learned living here, is the folks really enjoy fireworks! I captured a little bit of it on Friday July 3rd, Apocalypse day 110. There seemed to be a lot more going off just prior to my going outside to capture what I did get which included a helicopter passing by. Since we were not at Audiofeed, we decided to invite some friends over on Saturday July 4th, the 111th day of the Apocalypse, to partake in the neighborhood fireworks spectacular, or war zone, depending on your point of view, that we have really only heard about but never fully experienced due to Audiofeed. I purchased some fireworks from Phantom Fireworks as well to join in the fun. We started with a bonfire out back to cook some food. I shot off a few bottle rockets while it was still daylight. All around you could see and hear explosions of fireworks while it was still daylight and into the twilight. It continued to increase. We moved to the front of the house to set off our fireworks, joining the neighbors a couple houses over. I set up my Canon Rebel T6 next to the gate on the sidewalk. My hope was to capture as much of the fireworks as I could using that camera and just let it record while I lit off various fireworks and captured more direct shots using my iPhone 8. The Canon Rebel T6 was not quite in focus. Though I do wish I had gotten it in focus, the effect that resulted wasn't too bad. The twelve minute limit of course kicked in and I had stopped it a couple of times as well as I tried to adjust where I had it aimed a couple different times. While I feel I could have done better in the filming of all this, I am satisfied with what I got and will just try to do better next time. We shot off all our fireworks...some were pretty cool, some were surprisingly better than they appeared that they would be, others didn't quite live up to expectations. All in all, it was a fun night. I captured footage of fireworks going off all around using both my iPhone 8 and my Canon Rebel T6 both during and after setting off our own fireworks. When I had shot off everything we bought, I went in the back and watched the much better fireworks being shot by a neighbor to the west of us. Later, we decided to walk to find out where exactly these fireworks were being shot from. I captured some footage once we figured it out after seeing a huge pile of the spent fireworks. On Sunday July 5th, the 112th day of the Apocalypse, as we went to Indiana to get groceries, we noticed the large number of billboards for firework sales and one that sort of mocked the other companies excessive billboard ads and captured that on video. Our landlord's kid shot off some fireworks that evening and once we realized it was him, we came outside to watch and captured a bit more footage to finish off the holiday weekend. While I would have loved to be at Audiofeed and not restricted by quarantine rules in a pandemic apocalypse, I think we made the best of the weekend and it was fun to experience the neighborhood and its fireworks. If the Audiofeed 2021 schedule holds as is planned, we may be around for it next year as well!

On Saturday, July 11th, Apocalypse day 118, we visited "Shit Fountain." It is a site on Atlas Obscura that we had intended on checking out for a while. The weather wasn't too hot and we had already gone out and about to get something at Costco so I figured why not take another little trip to check this thing out. It is pretty funny. It was created as a reminder to dog owners to clean up after their dogs, apparently. On Sunday July 12th, Apocalypse day 119, we decided to go to Haunted Trails to play mini-golf. We saw it was open and figured we could probably keep social distance while playing mini-golf. We checked to see how busy it was when we arrived. There were a lot of cars in the parking lot. The mini-golf part wasn't too busy so we played a game. Elphie and I both had multiple hole-in-ones, including on the final hole. We got some Andy's Frozen Custard afterwards. This was also quite busy. The cars were out on Harlem Avenue waiting to get in for the drive in service. We parked in the next lot and walked in to place our order and enjoyed our custard.

On Wednesday July 22nd, Apocalypse day 129, I drove to Warren, Pennsylvania so that I could try to renew my drivers license and purchase my hunting license. I had run into difficulties on the drivers license and had tried to apply for my renewal online but it could not process. The COVID-19 quarantine and societal shut down caused more delays and other problems so I had been driving on an expired license for a couple of months. My understanding of the expiration extension was that I would have until the end of July to renew my license. This weekend also happened to be a graduation party for my cousin Brynne's oldest son, Gerrit so it was as good of an excuse as any to travel to Pennsylvania. Chicago had just begun to set travel restrictions to certain states about a week before this trip but Pennsylvania, while it saw an uptick in COVID-19 cases, did not fall onto the restricted list. In Warren, the numbers have remained fairly low compared to other, more urban areas...but there was a bit of an uptick in cases there as well at that point in time. I left work after a half day in hopes to avoid some traffic and get the drive over with before it was too late. Traffic hasn't been terribly bad in Chicago during this time of quarantine and restrictions anyway but I hoped to avoid "rush hour" if possible. I did end up encountering some slow traffic headed south through the city on the highway but I did eventually get out of Chicago and made my first stop for gas in Indiana and got some food for the drive. The weather was pretty good but windy going through Indiana. As I entered Ohio, I saw a cloud shaped like a bunny that I sent to Elphie. As I continued through Ohio, I saw a rainbow then got caught in some storms the rest of the trip to Warren and arrived around midnight. On Thursday July 23rd, Apocalypse day 130, we visited with grandpa at the nursing home. He was wheeled out into a cell type structure and we had 20 minutes to visit with him. It somewhat felt like visiting someone in prison. Even though he was placed behind a barrier, we still had to keep a 6 foot social distance. It was hard to hear and the face coverings didn't help in that regard either...neither did the storm that came in during the visit. Earlier in the day, my mom and I visited the office of the local State Representative, Kathy Rapp to see if there was anything she could do to help expediate the drivers license situation. There was little she could do. On Friday July 24th, Apocalypse day 131, a letter arrived stating that the state of Pennsylvania could not process my request for renewal but to visit a Drivers License Center. I drove to the one in Warren and was told there that I needed to go to a regional office in either Erie or Bradford. That evening, we drove to Clymer, NY to attend Gerrit's graduation party and visit with extended family. I had some good talks with my uncles ranging from the difficulties of obtaining my drivers license to thoughts on government in general, COVID-19, and the civil unrest going on. I captured a toad on video as well at the sunset as we left besides a couple clips during the party. On Saturday July 25th, Apocalypse day 132, I drove to Bradford, PA to attempt to get my drivers license and...thank God! I got it! As I returned to Warren, I stopped by the Dairy Delite for a Hot Fudge and Cherry malt then drove to Wal*Mart to get my hunting license and I sent in for my anter-less deer license as well and then made a little visit to the woods I have often hunted in. On Sunday July 26th, Apocalypse day 133, I returned to Chicago and most of the footage from this day is from the drive including some large clouds building up as I neared Chicago with a little bit of lightning.

On Sunday August 2nd, Apocalypse day 140, we went to Meijer in Highland, Indiana. While dropping off Elphie so I could get gas, a man stopped in the middle of the parking lot to eat some M&Ms. He stopped where the parking lot traffic would have had to wait on him to consume those M&Ms. It was strange. On our way into Chicago, we captured footage of the storm clouds seemingly consuming the city. On Monday August 3rd, Apocalypse 141, I captured some low clouds as I drove into work and a strong rain storm as I drove home. On Friday August 7th, Apocalypse 145, the Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated from the restarted NHL season playoffs before they really began. This was a sad day. On Sunday August 9th, Apocalypse day 147, Elphie bought an ice cream cake and decorated it herself with the provided materials. On Monday August 10th, Apocalypse day 148, the northside of Chicago was hit by tornado while the rest of the city had hurricane force winds from a derecho that pushed through during the early evening. I was still at work and parked a couple blocks away. As I watched the radar and received the alerts about the storm as it approached, I considered moving my car. I went outside and watched the clouds for a bit. I noticed how dark it had gotten and the eeriness of the storm. As the wind picked up and the rain started I went back inside having not moved my car and helped co-workers who were trying to get in and out the door as this storm hit. I went back to the office and watched the radar and storm coverage for a while. As I left, I captured some clips of the downed limbs, trees, and other debris I encountered walking to my car and driving out of Uptown. On Tuesday August 11th, Apocalypse day 149, Jeremy, my boss, and I went downtown to deliver some mail to some of our shelter clients who had been relocated from Cornerstone Community Outreach to Hotel 166 as a precaution regarding their health and COVID-19. While there, we decided to drive through the city and Magnificent Mile to see the damage done on Sunday night/Monday morning during an episode of civil unrest, rioting, and looting after police had shot a young man on the southside on Sunday afternoon. Once again the downtown and Loop areas of the city were under a curfew and closed off to the rest of the city with restricted access. We drove around a bit and I included what I captured on the CrossTour car camera during that drive. We also drove by a homeless tent city before heading back to Uptown and to work. As we entered back into Uptown, I captured some more of the storm damage from the previous evening. On Wednesday August 12th, Apocalypse day 150, I captured some police activity in McKinley Park as I drove home from work. That evening, Elphie visited with her friend Kathleen on the northside of the city. On my attempt to return to the southside, I was blocked by the police enforcing the curfew on Lake Shore Drive. I had to detour through the northside of the city over to the interstate so I captured footage of my getting around the blockade of the city.

I decided that this will be the end of the summer portion of A Shared Life: Summer in Chicago 2020 (Apocalypse Edition). The other footage I captured over this period was or will be used for a project where I mess with phone scammers, cold callers, etc. or some other phone related pranks. It's been a fun thing to do instead of just getting angry about such calls.

Over Labor Day Weekend, we took a trip into Michigan's Upper Peninsula and that will be used to divide from summer into fall for video purposes. While the fireworks section is a bit long, the rest of the season ends up not having a whole lot of substance. Probably the biggest reason would be due to lack of activities being available under the current circumstances.

I included songs into the soundtrack with perhaps a bit more of a focus and purpose on what I picked and why. I don't feel like getting into all those details but I will say that songs included were intentional...not just thrown in to fill space (which I have done at times). The additional soundtrack includes "Oh Canada" by Five Iron Frenzy, The Holiday Song (Some Christians are Nazis) (4th of July cut) by The Homeless Gospel Choir, "Breathe/Sleep" by Eugenius, "Vanity, Remember The Peacock" by Sophia, "American Sheets On The Deathbed" by ZAO, "American Psycho" by White Collar Sideshow, "I'm Afraid Of Americans" David Bowie with Nine Inch Nails, "Street Vs. State - Global Tribal - Reconstruction" by The Dingees, "Life Won't Wait" by Rancid, "Zen And The Art Of Xenophobia" by Five Iron Frenzy, "Battle Hymn" by FBS, "The Olde" by Flatfoot 56, "The Fighting 69th" by Dropkick Murphys, "General's Boombox" by Street Dogs, "Havana Affair" by Ramones, ""American War Machine" by Huntingtons, "Hey America" by Headnoise, "American Dream" by Crashdog, "Stars And Stripes" by Officer Negative, "Contemplating The Demise Of Western Civilization And Its Consequences" by Desiring Dead Flesh, "Bye American" by Squad Five-0, "Anarchist" by Destroy Nate Allen, "Anarchist Reprise" by Insomniac Folklore, "Moonshot" by Steve Taylor And The Perfect Foil, "Some People" by Low & Behold, "There Will Be Fire" by EVP, "Kill, My Darlings" by Stavesacre, "US Government" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, "Eye Of The Storm" by Blindside, "Uproar" by October Bird Of Death, "Englewood" by Flatfoot 56, "Gentrified Ghetto" by 2Minute Minor, "Da Boss" by 6'10, and "Better" by Good Saint Nathanael.

This project was filmed using an iPhone 6 and 8CrossTour CR900, and Canon Rebel T6 by Elphie and Joel A. Swanson. Titles created using Motion 4 on a Macbook by Joel A. Swanson. Edited using Final Cut Pro on a Mac Mini by Joel A. Swanson.

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