a TigerRAWk Film

Friday, June 25, 2021

A Shared Life: Winter In Chicago 2021 - Apocalypse Edition Volume 2 Electric Boogaloo (January, February, March)


As the calendar turned over to 2021, the apocalypse continued into the new year. COVID19 took the life of my grandpa, after taking a few others from our family and would take at least one more early in the year. This was a harsh winter. A lot of the video was taken from the CrossTour CR-900 commuting to and from work, showing the harsh weather. There was little else to do during this time since the apocalypse remained upon us. Most everything remained closed to public gatherings so really, go to work, get groceries, hang at home...that was life still for this season. This footage documents our Winter in Chicago 2021.

There are a few "sloppy" edits on this project. As I was working on the editing, I ran into issues with my external hard drive. I'm not sure the extent of damage (if any) but I took what I had edited of each day and made it into its own clip. When I was adding in the soundtrack, I noticed a few things here and there that I didn't edit as well as I try to normally do...also it looks like I may have left some clips in I had intended on deleting and deleted what I would have preferred to have left in. In all cases, this didn't turn out to be that big of a deal...but nonetheless, there were mistakes that I noticed. I guess I just didn't care enough to correct them in the end...I'd rather just get it done and move on.

I continued with the apocalyptic themed intro that I created last year. I found some still shots that sort of tell the story of the season and added them in while putting title text over the final photo I used of us at the Green River. I used drip and intermittent continuous effect on the lettering. My old Macbook disconnected from our network cloud  as I created the intro and titles in Motion 4 so I used the new hard drive I purchased to move the files once I finished them onto the Mac Mini and into Final Cut Pro. I noticed a couple of the shots didn't turn out as I had planned for some reason or another so I took an alternative approach to fix those...they ended up being a bit different than the others but, again, I decided to be done and move on.

On Saturday January 2nd, Apocalypse Day #294, I decided to document some changes and general organizing I had done throughout 2020 for my "studio" space. On Sunday January 3rd, Apocalypse Day #295, my Grandpa passed away. He died after contracting COVID19. My family was told he seemed to be in recovery and would likely be returned to his normal room in his normal wing of the nursing home but then things turned for the worse and Sunday was his last day. Some of my family were permitted to go in to see him over his final days. Unfortunately, with the COVID19 situation being around its worst point, I would not be able to go to the funeral. My Grandpa was a great man. He more or less raised me, teaching me to play some sports, to hunt, to drive, etc. I took some video of the wood carvings of his I had around the house along with a picture he took when I got my first buck, some antlers, and the last picture we had together in the nursing home around Thanksgiving 2019. I recorded myself saying a few words. He had a good life. He had a long life...he wasn't going to live forever and it didn't seem he was all that happy having to be in the nursing home, though he understood why. I wish he hadn't gone this way, I wish I could have seen him again before his end...the last visit was during the pandemic in the summer outside in the rain while he was in a makeshift cell to protect him from contracting COVID19 from any of us. I'm sure this past year was even worse than just being in the nursing home. I will miss him dearly.

On Monday Jaunary 4th, Apocalypse Day #296, I returned to work after taking a few days off for the holidays. It was another snowy day. We'd come to find that this winter would be a rather snowy one. I cleared off the car and drove in. The clouds covered the city from view as I drove in. I found it interesting so I captured it on my CrossTour CR900. While at work on Wednesday January 6th, Apocalypse Day #298, a strange thing occurred that I witnessed through computer screens. People who had spent the greater part of the last six months (and probably their lives, really) claiming the need for "Law and Order" rallied in protest of the election, listened to Donald Trump speak (and incite), then marched on the Capitol, attacking police and smashing out windows to invade the building. Some expressed desire to hang politicians who were not going with their plan to keep Donald Trump as President. It was a strange thing to watch. It didn't seem the people were particularly well organized once they got into the building. They more or less seemed content looting and being destructive...some seemed content taking photos as though they were on a tour. Joe Biden went on national television calling for this to stop and asking Donald Trump to get his followers to stop. Donald Trump got on Twitter and told his followers he loved them but asked them to "go home" after reportedly being quite excited watching the events unfold in the White House. It was quite the thing to watch take place. Ultimately, Congress got back to work that evening and Joe Biden was determined the winner of the Presidency. On Friday January 8th, Apocalypse Day #300, I wore a 'Believe' shirt, believing in a better result for the Steelers than we would get on Sunday.

On Tuesday January 12th, Apocalypse Day #304, I stayed home from work to attend Grandpa's funeral by way of "Zoom." I wish I could have been there in person, but I am glad my family figured out how to broadcast it on "Zoom" for us who could not make the trip. Thankfully, they were also able to provide the file later that I could download and save along with many pictures and a slideshow that had played before the funeral. That evening, I worked on cleaning the skull of my deer some more. I tried to boil it and work off more skin and other tissue. I finally was able to break up the brain for the most part. I worked on it for several hours. The container I used to boil it wasn't quite big enough to fit the entire skull in but it worked well enough. Eventually I decided to let it sit in the sink for a while, full of hot water, then I put it in the compost outside hoping if warmer weather came, perhaps bugs and things would consume the remaining tissue off of the bone. I returned to work on Wednesday January 13th, Apocalypse Day #305 and watched the first hockey game of the NHL season at the end of my work day. They decided to have the game in the early evening for some reason. There also were no fans permitted in the arenas so broadcasts had fake crowd noise, ha! This game was the Penguins versus Flyers. It didn't go so well.

Driving home on Tuesday January 19th, Apocalypse Day #311, I noticed the city was lit in orange as I drove home. I decided to capture it with my CrossTour CR900. It turns out that this lighting theme was to honor those who have died from COVID19. At work, on Wednesday January 20th, Apocalypse Day #312, I watched as the Trumps left office. I watched with some level of morbid curiosity to see if any more unrest would come. The city lights were of a patriotic theme as I drove home. There was apparently a heightened police presence as well, in case of unrest. On Friday January 22nd, Apocalypse Day #314, Heartland presented information to Cornerstone Community Outreach staff and residents regarding the COVID19 vaccine. We were eligible as a congregate setting to receive vaccinations starting the next week. This was an informational session and getting the vaccine was optional. I decided to take the option. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare front line workers had been receiving the vaccine for the previous several weeks...this made it feel less like a guinea pig scenario.

As I drove to work on Monday January 25th, Apocalypse Day #317, I noticed ice on the lake and the way it moved I hoped my CrossTour CR900 would pick it up. At home that evening, the winter storm began several weeks of snowfall. On Tuesday January 26th, Apocalypse Day #318, I captured the newly fallen and still falling snow from the storm. I captured it outside our apartment and as I commuted to work. This would become a theme going forward of documentation of snow and ice between where we live and where I work. On Wednesday January 27th, Apocalypse Day #319, I got my first dose of COVID19 vaccination - the Moderna version. I captured a short clip of the process at Cornerstone Community Outreach. After, my arm was a bit sore for a few days but nothing worse developed. On Friday night January 29th, Apocalypse Day #321, I captured as best I could with my phone, the full moon...I should have used the Canon Rebel T6.

On Sunday January 31st, Apocalypse Day #323 the next winter storm had begun. I went out to shovel some so to make it easier to leave for work the next day. I had to shovel out the end of the driveway after the plow came through and pushed a wall of snow, ice, and slush into the end of the driveway. On Tuesday February 2nd, Apocalypse Day #325, it was Groundhog Day...again. Boy, the last year, this seemed like it's been Groundhog Day. And now these winter storms added even more to it! Either trying to get out of our driveway or trying to park near work, I punctured a rear tire in the sidewall. I decided to order tires online and had to wait for them to ship. In the meantime, I went back to riding public transit. It seems that the CTA got much worse during the apocalypse. On Thursday February 4th, Apocalypse Day #325, I captured a neighbors snowman on my way home. It was quite tall...as the snow continued to fall, it sort of became a snow mountain rather than a man.

On Tuesday February 9th, Apocalypse Day #332, I captured the ice forming at our steps leading out the back of our apartment. I captured it in daylight on Wednesday February 10th, Apocalypse Day #333 as well as more snow from the continued snowfall I also captured ice that had formed on a truck under the CTA tracks on the west side of Chicago. On Saturday February 13th, Apocalypse Day #336, I captured a clip of virtual Nocturna. The last one that had occurred in person was in February 2020 so this marked a year of virtual club nights.

On Monday February 15th, Apocalypse Day #338, the worst of the winter storms began. It had started as I made my way to work...but the time I was returning home, the roads were in pretty bad shape. At home, the car was pretty covered and it continued all night. As I woke on Tuesday February 16th, Apocalypse Day #339, I captured a shot outside our front door as well as through the front window to show how much had accumulated. I never had to walk through so much snow getting out the backdoor and up the few steps. It only got worse! The car was mostly buried. The snowdrifts were to my waist. There was a random car in the driveway with drifts all around it too! I made my way to the CTA transit station at 35th, and Archer while walking through snow at least knee high and up to waist high in spots. Once I got to the station, I had to wait nearly an hour for a train. I got to work quite late. I captured some footage during my commute to work. At least there were Paczkis! I also went to McDonald's to get my first Shamrock Shake of the season...hoping perhaps it will bring an end to this apocalypse! On Wednesday February 17th, Apocalypse Day #340, I captured more footage during my commute on the train of the frozen river and a guy playing guitar on the train. On Wednesday February 18th, Apocalypse Day #341, a record for most consecutive days with snowfall and/or temperatures below freezing was broken and set. On Friday night February 19th, Apocalypse Day #342, I captured more ice on the side of the neighbors house. On Saturday February 20th, Apocalypse Day #343 I captured the view of the snow out our front window while watching the beginning of a outdoor hockey game that would be suspended due to the ice conditions deteriorating in the sun. This was the beginning of the thawing of Chicago as well.

On Wednesday February 24th, Apocalypse Day #347, I was able to get my second Moderna dose of COVID19 vaccination. There were some left over after everyone at Cornerstone Community Outreach who wanted it were able to get their vaccinations so Elphie was able to get her first dose! That night I had some aches and perhaps a bit of a fever...I didn't sleep well so I got up, took Ibuprofen and Nyquil and took the day off of work. The Ibuprofen seemed to work pretty much immediately with the aches and the Nyquil helped me get the sleep I had been missing. I was back to work on Friday February 26th, Apocalypse Day #349. As I made my way to get another Shamrock Shake, I captured some demolition in Uptown Chicago to make way for more gentrification as supported by Alderman James Cappleman. On Saturday February 27th, Apocalypse Day #350, I captured a creepy looking full moon through the bloody hand clings on our window while watching some hockey.

I finally got my new tires in the mail. I had to take them in to get mounted on the wheels. I ran into issues getting the flat tire off of my car. It seems the place I took it to be checked out initially overtightened the lugnuts. Bob Theissen helped get it off the car (thanks BOB!), however it was somewhat stripped so I got a few new lugnuts at Autozone. I decided to take just the tires to be mounted and balanced rather than have the shop put them on my car. They put the wrong type of weights on and when I went to put these tires on my car, the weights were hitting the brake caliper. I put on a set of "summer" tires on the front and moved the front "winter" tires to the back and drove like that for a bit. I heard another noise that didn't seem good so I put the new "winter" tires on the car and took the car to a mechanic the next morning. Unfortunately that mechanic wasn't equipped to deal with the weights on the tires but did tell me the problem of the weights hitting the brake calipers. I found a couple of those weights on the driveway after. The mechanic fixed the other issue and on Thursday March 11th, Apocalypse Day #361 I took the car back to the tire place to have the proper weights put on. On the way, I encountered a Scabby, the rat mascot that is placed where non-union work is taking place. Unfortunately, the tire shop tightened the lugnuts a bit too tight again. I was able to get them off when I needed to, however, one is stuck in a socket wrench! ha On the way home from work on Friday March 12th, Apocalypse Day #362 I captured the lighthouse's light beam from near Drake Hotel and Soldier Field lit up in green. On Saturday March 13th, Apocalypse Day #363 Elphie and I decided to drive downtown and look at the green Chicago River. At home that evening we watched a livestream of The Real MacKenzies.

On Tuesday March 16th, Apocalypse Day #366, after dropping Elphie off at her friends to cat sit, I captured the city lights on my way home in Saint Patrick's Theme. The apocalypse had passed a full year. On Saint Patrick's Day, Wednesday March 17th, Apocalypse Day #367, I got one last Shamrock Shake, had the Flogging Molly livestream on while at work, got home for the Dropkick Murphys livestream, capturing a shamrock on the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel as I drove, then watched the Flatfoot 56 livestream after that. It was a busy day for celtic themed punk livestreaming ha! On Thursday March 18th, Apocalypse Day #368, I captured some Lake Michigan waves near North Beach on my way home. On Saturday March 20th, Apocalypse Day #370, I saw a few strange folks crossing Western Avenue in some sort of costumes which appeared to include a WWE championship belt. I don't know what their story is, but I captured them anyway.

On my way into work on Monday March 22nd, Apocalypse Day #372, I captured some graffiti that has been up in the neighborhood for a while. It appears it was commissioned. I am thankful I did capture it then because it changed a few weeks later to something else. On Tuesday March 23rd, Apocalypse Day #373, I captured the Mexican restaurant that burnt across from the 35th/Archer CTA transit station. On Thursday March 25th, Apocalypse Day #375, as I walked through Uptown, I encountered evidence that some filming was taking place in the old Uptown Theatre. I also captured the sign at The Riviera commemorating a year "dark" without shows due to lockdowns. Back home, there were helicopters...it turns out a robbery incident occurred at the nearby Home Depot possibly also including a shooting.

On Sunday March 28th, Apocalypse Day #378 I decided to try out my Excalibur Bulldog 440 crossbow on a makeshift target I built out of a Styrofoam cooler and hay. The bolt went right through the cooler and embedded into the garage wall behind it. It didn't come out when I first pulled on it...I did eventually get it to pull out. I thought I might have to hit it from the inside with a hammer. Oops! On Monday March 29th, Apocalypse Day #379, I saw a hole in a building near Burger King on Western and Archer. It appeared someone had crashed their vehicle into the building.

Having now been vaccinated, we decided to take a trip south to end the winter. We would spend Easter and a week after with Elphie's family in North Carolina. We would also take a quick road trip through South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida to knock off a few more states for me as well. We took her mom along. We were not able to do our usual trip to North Carolina at Christmas due to COVID19 concerns...this was a much needed trip and break after the winter.

The soundtrack includes "Far a Bheil Do Ghath (Where Is Thy Sting)" by Leper, "1 Corinthians 15:55" by Johnny Cash, "My Father's Body" by Over The Rhine, "The Wind" by Demon Hunter, "Winter Sun" by Glenn Kaiser Band, "Blizzards and Bygones" by Five Iron Frenzy, "KPM" by Flatfoot 56, and "I Wish You Were Here" by Dropkick Murphys.

Filmed using a Canon Rebel T6, iPhone 6 and 8, and CrossTour CR900 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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