Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 In Review Part 1: personal, politics and uh, pizza ?


I didn't publish one of these last year. 2017 was a trying, fucked up year in many of the same ways 2016 was but on the plus side I got more politically involved with activism. Namely this was via the DSA in the Bay Area. A big part of this was canvassing for Medicare for All which tried but unfortunately failed to get off the ground in California. So much for "liberal Bay Area" but then that typical means "socially liberal/economically eat shit anyone making lower than 100K". However, my comrades & I had a quite a few successes with people signing up to support the cause and even on the hottest day of the year (when it was a gross as hell 110 F in San Jose). 

Additionally, I went to the DSA National Convention and met a lot of comrades who I had only known via Twitter or had met for just the first time ever. It was really great meeting people not just from the chapters I was familiar with SF, C'bus, Middle TN, Portland)  but also ones I didn't know much about (Montana, Houston, Central FL, Anchorage). This was also the first time I got to experience the Chicago that's not O'Hare Airport. It's a great city where I think I could live if it wasn't more pricey & colder than C'bus. But otherwise a good place with a lot of great people. On top of this, I went to a bunch of rad parties which started with a comedy night in a art space hosted by comedian and Street Fight Radio guest, Arish Singh. The next night involved a fun but somewhat confusing wrestling/create a fighter board game with some fine folks from the Gainsville-area, LA and (I think?) suburban Chicago chapters. The process of the convention reminded me of the Music, Metal & Politics Conference I went to in '08 - work stuff during the day and party at night.

The last party I went to was at the In These Times office was wild as fuck as it was held in a seemingly smallish office building but on the inside there were extremely long hallways that snaked around and around. Shortly before I was at the party I was feeling very anxious about seeing some friends who I thought weren't going to be in town the next few days. So dumbass me didn't see a giant crack in the sidewalk and fell on my hands right into front of a music venue across the street. Though at the time I hands had just minor scrape which after the party turned into what I thought was a broken elbow late that night into the morning/early afternoon. Fuuuuuuck! But luckily it was just a big sprain that I thankfully got a sling and painkillers for. Thanks DSA Medical. However, it was real shitty trying to navigate the blue line into O'Hara airport > crowded plane home with 1 useful arm.

Protesting against the Neo-nazis in S.F. was another big event for me. This was in August right after Charlottesville and a few weeks after the National Convention was a huge deal. I had all kinds of fear going up that morning and on into the afternoon. However, we saw exactly one MAGA CHUD dingus with a shield on our way to the park. The only exchange that went on was a an anarchist saying to him "hey, dude  nice shield" and that shied goofus walking away in shame. One of the things that eased the tension was not just the turnout from DSA but the big turnout from other orgs like PSL, ISO, WWP, a few organizations I'm sure I'm forgetting (sorry!), and a bunch of anarchists and quite a few non-organization affiliated people that were marching alongside everyone. The march went from Alamo Square and through part of the upper part of Market Street all the way into 26th Street in the Mission. I also really like that there were people handing out snacks and water along the march. Granted I've not studied a ton of anarchism theory but I believe this was a strong case of mutual aid.

I really wanted to go the next day in Berkeley when shit REALLY went down but I unfortunately was way too exhausted to go but big thanks to everyone who put up a strong front against the Nazis and their supporters. All this was a nice change from the very Democrat-party centered / "The Russians are stealing your mail!" Women's March in San Jose in January aka: Though, cheers to the person off in the distance who had the "Fuck White Feminism" sign. Seriously stop giving support to the FBI and put the fucking breaks on the 2016 election for-ever.

 Another plus was getting involved with Columbus DSA and working with them on promoting Tenants Rights, Medicare for All along with the weekly pizza nights. Speaking of pizza there's seems to be a billion places to get it here and I think they have nearly every kind possible. So, far I've just had the go-to of Donato's (pretty good but I gotta order something else on the menu minus standard veggie & cheese) and Hounddog's which is some of the best I've ever had. Anyway, there's loads more to do in this city and moreso the more I learn about the gentrification and other major issues here.

Also in 2017: I listened to more Hawkwind & got deeper into Japanese psych-rock like Les Rallizes Dénudés. Finally got the fuck outta Swilicon Valley and onward to Central Ohio where things are a bit easier and no more hellcommutes like in San Jose and Mtn. View. Columbus' public transpo situation could suck less  - i.e the buses only go so far into Dublin (the next city north) which is really sucks when you work there. Yet at least most things are 15-20 min. away with not too much traffic. The narrow roads in certain places are something that I'm still getting used to but in general driving here is a lot easier than the anxiety producing ways of the Bay Area.

Work stuff was mostly shit as I had a really good job and good job environment up in San Bruno, CA but this multi-billion dollar company was too fucking cheap to hire me on full-time much less extend my contract or give me benefits. I continue to be a contract worker in C'bus with no healthcare benefits and a giant question mark where I go after this current job is done but on the plus side my rent isn't costing me a fortune and I have more space for less money.

I also watched a lotta college football than I expected. It's sorta hard to avoid when everyone person at Kroger on Saturday has scarlet & grey on but my only real argument is why the fuck did OSU play USC on December 29th instead of New Year's Day? Welp by the time that game rolled around I had lost interest and went to the MUCH more fun Street Fight Radio live show at this place called Tree Bar in the middle of a pretty gnarly snowstorm.

Adjusting to a new city and environment has been a somewhat tough especially doing this entirely on my own. Plus, regretting some of the things I left behind that I unfortunately didn't have space for but would've still helped me a lot in my current apt. situation. Well, someday I'll get that couch and a comfy chair that isn't from on thin legs.  That said Columbus has a million places to eat and I've noticed the bars are a LOT cheaper i.e. - a $4-5 PBR tall boy in S.F. is about $2.50-$3.00 in C'bus. Plus, I again live in a city where there's not just 1 record store but at around 5! This is a big jump from the sad remnants of the Mountain View Rasputin's which closed for good in mid-'17.

I have a bunch of challenges and stuff that I need to still figure out in the first few months of 2018 that I hope don't add to feelings of anxiety, occasional social isolation and depression I've had these past few months (which just carried over from the Bay Area only maybe a bit less intense at times) will be more in control despite it all.