May 302020


Until this morning I didn’t realize that 7 weeks had passed since the last time I invited people to share their thoughts about what was happening to them and their communities during the pandemic. I didn’t think that much time had passed. On the other hand, when I think back to what was going on during the second week in April and what has happened since then, it seems like seven months ago. I guess we’ve all experienced the distortions in our sense of time that the virus lockdowns have produced. I sure as hell have.

So here we are almost at the beginning of June, the start of summer in the northern hemisphere. Lots of communities are beginning to “open up”, though of course things are still far from normal. Some people are worrying that more frequent social interaction will lead to a “second wave” or at least a “second peak”. It’s becoming apparent that there won’t be any quick rebound in economies around the world. And even if we get through the summer without any dramatic surges in infections or deaths, is the virus (or some mutation of it) going to return with a vengeance in the fall?

It seems to me that even 7 weeks down the road from the last time I wrote one of these posts, the future is still as uncertain as it was then. There are so many unknowns. One of the few certainties is that 7 weeks from now life will not have returned to “normal”. Maybe we’re going to have to get used to a “new normal” that’s radically different from life as it existed just four months ago. Actually, no “maybe” about it.



So if you feel like it, tell us what has been happening to you in recent weeks. What’s now happening in the community where you live? Are you still shut or moving around? Are you out of work or still working, at home or in a publicly accessible location, maybe one that was deemed essential or one that has recently reopened? Have there been changes in how you spend your days?

And how do you feel about the current situation and about the future? Of course, as always, if you want to share some musical recommendations, that would also be welcome.


As before, I’ll start things off.

I’m still not leaving our house except for very infrequent walks in the surrounding forest and even less frequent visits to buy necessities (my wife, who’s less anxious than me, does most of that). That hasn’t changed since the second week in March. Recently we’ve had a few outdoor visits from friends who we know have been careful in their own lives, but very few. I’m advanced in age and have been a smoker since age 16, so I’m not taking any chances. And until recently, there haven’t been many opportunities to do anything beyond our house anyway because almost everything has been shut down.

That’s now changing. Effective two days ago, the mostly rural county where we live, across Puget Sound from Seattle, was granted permission from the State to move into “Phase Two” of the Governor’s reopening plan. That will allow lots of businesses to reopen, subject to lots of restrictions. I’m still not going to change my shut-in behavior, at least not until I’m convinced there won’t be a resurgence of infection rates.

The physical location of my day-job is in Seattle, which is still mainly under lockdown. That place of business, which is in an office building, is still not permitted to re-open, and looking at the kind of restrictions it would have to follow under Phase Two (whenever Seattle gets to Phase Two), I don’t think it would re-open even then. So for me, working at home is going to the regimen for months to come, maybe throughout the summer, maybe for much longer than that. At least I still have a job. And honestly, I don’t know how the fuck you socially distance in an elevator anyway.

I’m obviously still banging away at NCS, from early in the morning until noon-ish. That’s my main activity every day. That, and interacting with my wife and our pestering cats. But I’ve noticed that as time has passed, I’ve fallen prey to a malaise after I finish the last of each day’s NCS posts. After that I don’t spend as much time as I used to do listening to new music or compiling round-ups of new music. The energy for that has just slowly leaked out of me.

I think that for the first time in my life I’m experiencing more-than-momentary depression, produced by the disruption in all my old routines, the lack of physical social interaction (including not being able to go to metal fests and gigs), the persistently discouraging/infuriating political news, and a feeling of anxiety that just hums in the background of my head all the time, and sometimes shoves its way up-front. A couple of nights ago I had a vivid nightmare that I had gotten sick from the virus, and woke up in a panic about how the hell I could quarantine myself in our house, how the hell I could get to a decent hospital in Seattle, and whether I would die.

On the bright side, that nightmare and my reaction to it convinced me that I need to do some things to get my shit together — start exercising more, stop eating crap food, cut way back on the drinking, and get outside more. In other words, get some fucking discipline back in my days. I’m under no illusion this will be easy. But I’m also under no illusion that my mental and emotional condition will just naturally get better if I don’t do something to make it get better.

Well, that’s probably way too much information about me. Let me turn this over to you. Leave a Comment if you feel like it. And remember this wise advice:


  1. It’s been a shit week. With my spouse going out of town to visit their family, I am really feeling the isolation. Add to that the protests, the looming election disaster, and some deaths close to me, and I’m feeling really, really depressed for the first time in quarantine. Also, going back to work next week, which I think is too soon. Its summer camp season at the museum where I work so I will be exposed to a ton of little kids. It seems like a disaster waiting to happen, to me.

    Not sure if you guys have covered this one, but Creative Waste’s “Condemned” has been a mainstay for me of late. And of course, a bunch of stuff from here: Abduction, Sinister Downfall, Feminazgul. Thanks for the steady stream of music to distract me. It helps a lot.

  2. I will say, when you feel stressed, taking control of something in your routine can be a big help. Often time, the reason people develop harmful behaviors when they’re stressed is because they’re seeking some form of control over anything. Obviously that’s not healthy, but if you can find a way to focus that into something constructive, it can be very helpful for stress relief.

    …and any physical activity is going to help. I work a rather physical job, and one thing I’ve always noticed is that even at my most stressed, which can get pretty bad, when I’m out working the stress falls into the background for a few hours.

    Slowly but surely life is settling into new routines out here in Maryland. We were out in front of a lot of the lockdown and social distancing when things started going downhill, so we were able to stay in pretty good shape overall. Right now, while we’re in stage one of opening up, and talks of stage two are starting to pick up, it’s really up to the local city and county governments to decide whether to become active or not. This has lead to some areas being more open than others, and I’m not sure if that’s really a good idea. A lot of businesses aren’t going to be able to reopen at all if all their customers find new places to do their shopping. To my thinking, it would be nice to know what criteria are the people in charge actually looking for before reopening things…I’m not saying we’re close to the line, but it would be nice to know what the line is, so we know what we’re aiming for.

    Personally, work at least seems to be picking up for me. Maybe a bit slower than normal, but better than I anticipated, so I’m among the fortunate few whose at least not worrying about least for the moment.
    I definitely miss seeing my friends and family. Late spring and early summer is always the time of year for birthdays and cookouts in my family, and since I’m unable to isolate because of work, neither my wife or myself will be able to see anyone for get together, assuming they even happen. This was also the first MDF I’ve missed in over a decade, and it was weird spending it at home, rather than having all my friends come in and celebrate another kickoff to summer. Having to wait at least another year before getting to see a live show is actually pretty depressing.

    Haven’t been digging to hard into new music the last few weeks because of the spring school semester ending and, and having a summer course starting but I’ve got a few worth checking out:

    Kommodus – S/T…I already told you about this one. Everything this guy does is great so far

    Afsky – Ofte Jeg Drømmer Mig Død is topnotch black metal

    Herxheim – Incised Arrival (black/death)

    Evoker – Evil Torment (Death metal)

  3. Hang in there, Islander. We all need you. It sounds like you are in the right track with the return to discipline and focus on health. Even though I am still really busy with work, I upped my physical activity a bunch in May – and that has helped.

    I have been listening to a surprising amount of older stuff, most of it not even metal. I think my brain just needed something different for now-as well as I was just too depressed thinking about the lack of an MDF (also very sorry about NWTF). I guess I am in marathon mode right now-this is going to be a long, tough haul, my friends. We need to all hang in there and look out for one another. Peace and good thoughts to you all!

  4. I’m hanging in there about the same as last time. Construction never shut down here and that has kept my business steady. There has been a little slow down mainly from trying to schedule work so that job sites aren’t too crowded for social distancing.

    Tennessee has been open for business in general for a couple of weeks now and my county’s case count has risen from I believe 200ish at the time of reopening to 999 today. Yesterday I believe was the highest or second highest single day spike so far and hospitalizations are rising. So, that’s pretty disheartening.

    My area had an EF3 tornado on Easter that damaged my son’s home and damaged or destroyed hundreds more. That has really brought back some trauma from an EF4 in 2011 that also hit this area. Having to drive through nearly unrecognizable familiar area every day has been more depressing than not getting out and about for old routines.

    I have learned that the older generations of my family are bat shit crazy and prone to conspiracy theories. My mother is following goddamn Qanon global elite satanic pedophile adrenochrome conspiracy shit and I give up on trying to get through to her.

    I’m doing my skimming for new music pretty much normally but I’ve been listening to mostly older metal daily for a while. Fucking SLAYER, early Queensryche (’83-’88 is unfuckwithable), classic Black Sabbath, classic Sepultura and of course GOATWHORE!!!

    Hang in there Islander, there’ll soon be a time that we won’t be able to believe how long ago this all was.

  5. I’m still working from home and making all essential outings. My wife has had some new health issues arise, and we’re dealing with getting her the necessary tests to diagnose. We’re thankful it’s not covid, but we definitely don’t need the stress of new problems on top of everything else she has to deal with every day.
    Kansas is slowly reopening, and our covid numbers are mostly either in decline or steady (which would still place us far below most other states). When I go out I’m happy to see many people wearing masks, but there’s still far too many that aren’t. I also see people not wearing masks correctly. The other day, at Walmart, I saw two women pull down their masks to talk to one another while standing inches apart and hugging and touching one another. I also see store employees with masks pulled down to their chin, or their noses not covered. I see many elderly and families using the regular checkout lanes, which studies have shown are the most high risk area of the store. At the gas station I frequent, I regularly see people who aren’t wearing masks entering by touching the door handle, which has been touched by hundreds of hands that day. I wonder how much and how quickly our numbers would decline if we could eliminate these types of behaviors, and much sooner we could start to turn around our state economy.
    At least we aren’t experiencing the looting and violence occurring with protests in larger cities.
    I’ve been feeling the stress of it all, for certain. In the past few weeks I’ve struggled a bit with depression. I fear for my wife because of her health, my kids because of their exposure through their jobs, and my country because of the political divisiveness, unrest, racial tensions, and it’s utter failure in leadership. I can’t even guess what the USA will look like a year from now. I worry I’ll make myself severely depressed if I dwell on it too much.
    I’m using music as my outlet for anger and frustration. Learning a new instrument is a great distraction.
    We’re getting our little bass boat ready for the summer. My wife needs to get out of the house asap, and I feel reasonably safe in taking her out on the lake. We both need the sun and fresh air, and just some activity that feels normal and ok.

  6. Hey Islander,

    Around three to four weeks ago, I started feeling down and deeply affected by the crisis and decided I should stay away from the news for the most part, and just try to enjoy spring, the coming of summer and nature literally coming back to life again…

    Here in Montreal, it’s winter for almost 6 months a year so now that the cold temperature is behind us, it’s something to feel good about. Took out the bike and went strolling around the neighborhood, also thrown a football with my son, both quite a few times. We choose carefully which parks to go to and obviously avoid the most popular ones.

    I still have my job, as does my wife, working remote 100%, and somehow got used to being sort of a recluse, in a sense: aside for grocery shopping I never get close to where there’s people around. Also, my boss told me they don’t expect remote-working people to be back in the office until 2021. I think that for employees wishing to do so after the pandemic, working remote more than half the time will be permitted if not strongly encouraged. (We used to be able to work remotely between one and two days a week, before the crisis.)

    Music-wise, the new Centinex and Sinister releases are pretty solid. There are also the ones from Nexorum and Kurnugia. Three older releases I keep coming back to recently are Asagraum – Potestas Magicum Diaboli (2017) and Putrid Pile’s House of Dementia (2009) and Blood Fetish (2012).

    So hang in there, avoid the news, get back in shape and try to take advantage of the beautiful part of the country you live in!

  7. Sweden here, famous from the news I guess. For good or bad. Things have rolled on pretty much the same since the last of these posts. Still homeschooling, still working from home. I’ve gotten a new job in a different town but it’s research work and they’re on lockdown as well so we’ve decided that I can work from home for the foreseeable future. After that, I can probably make do with a week there every month or so.

    It’ll be interesting to see if our behaviours will change after this. I think a lot of white-collar jobs will realise how much easier remote working is for both parties. They said travelling and air pollution would improve, but I’ve seen reports that the beaches of Thailand are starting to fill up again, so who knows.

    It’s almost comically bad that USA managed to start a riot/race war/revolution (depending on who you ask) while there’s an out of control pandemic going. I don’t think I’ve seen american protest with this level of violence from the police. Shooting journalist (even international ones), driving cars into crowds (gee, that has some interesting connotations from last time!), shooting bystanders. It’s like from the Authoritarian’s handbook of how to take over a banana republic. I think there’s a decent amount of police infiltration going on as well, with cops inciting violence dressed as protestors to have an excuse to use more force.

    As for Sweden. Well we have no riots, but rather a quite complacent population who doesn’t seem to react to the fact that we have over 4400 dead from with 38 000 confirmed infected. That’s not very good numbers, considering everyone of those 4400 was a person. I think there’s a level of arrogance and holier than thou-attitude from the Swedish FHM that makes it so they can’t back down or admit that maybe their strategy wasn’t the best for the most vulnerble citizens. We’ll see what happens during the summer and fall, but I’m gonna stay cautious and wait and see.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.