May Can’t Miss Sort-of Live Events & Concert Calendar

May 2020’s Can’t-Miss, Sort-of Live Event & Concert Calendar

by John Andreula

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

Originally published on 5280Geek.com on 5-1-20.

 

How are the live concert and event fanatics faring out there right now?

If you’re like us you’re suffering from some serious withdrawal not being able to attend favorite conventions, nightclubs, and concert venues, despite the cravings to sees acts and creatives in person.

Stay-at-home measures will begin gradually rescinding in May, but much remains unknown as to what in-person social gatherings will look like going forward. One thing is certain, we’ll all be less open to swapping DNA with fellow show-goers in the future.

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As we all attempt to reclaim some of the previous normalcy in our lives, the event scene will be one of the last to come out for an encore from its current collective social distance hiding place.

By now many are tiring of dusty CDs, vinyl records, and even online streaming services. They only take us so far in getting our proverbial rocks off. So I’m happy to tell everyone that many creatives have begun to redefine live performance. And no surprise to the tech-savvy out there, DJs are leading the charge.

Weeks ago RZA (of Wu-Tang Clan) and DJ Premier (of Gangstarr) took to Instagram Live to “compete” in a historic DJ battle. The event was put on by the two hip hop living and although no winner was declared the event was lit.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Many other artists have set-up their own live sets from their homes and studios during quarantine. Some have even decided to make their shows regular ongoing events.

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DJ Z-Trip just released a new single called Space Funk, but you may not know it from his social media presence. You’ll go pretty far down his feeds before you find mention of Space Funk. That’s because he’s killing it on live multi-hour sets every Thursday night.

It looks like he’ll be continuing those into May. You can find the weekly streams on his Twitch and YouTube pages.


DJ Jazzy Jeff—yeah that DJ Jazy Jeff— has been spinning The Magnificent House Party every Saturday at 1pm MST. It doesn’t look like he’ll be letting off the gas pedal on that anytime soon either. Find that one on Instagram Live.

The Roots’ own Questlove and 9th Wonder, formerly of Little Brother fame, have each been doing multiple night marathon sets. They both claim to have more in store for thirsty listeners over the days to come.

Cut Chemist appears to be doing shows on Sunday on Instagram as well. DJ Qbert is running a Twitch page, but tracking shows ahead of time isn’t quite as simple as viewing them. Hopefully they’ll both address that in the coming days.

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Speaking of turntablists, Tony Touch, the mixtape godfather currently performs four—that’s right, FOUR—days a week on Instagram. And you’re greedy if that isn’t enough for you, but yeah there’s more.

Tony Toca will be performing Club Quarantine Presents: The Originals with D-Nice, Stretch Armstrong, Rich Medina, & Clark Kent on D-Nice’s Insta page Saturday at 1pm MST. Then he’ll heat it up some more by battling fellow Flip Squad member and the other half of the Diaz Brothers, Doo Wop, Saturday night at 6pm GST on Toca’s page.

Times and details for Tony Touch’s insane livestream schedule can be found at TonyTouch.com.


DJs aren’t the only ones spreading cheer over the fiber-wires either. . .

Yesterday Janelle Monae put on a short performance for Verizon’s Pay It Forward LIVE bi-weekly event. Previous performers included Billie Eilish, Aisha Tyler, and Alicia Keys, who seems to be everywhere while under quarantine.

Pay It Forward LIVE is scheduled for every Tuesday and Thursday night at 6pm MST.

Dan Smith, lead singer of the band Bastille, has been showing off his incredible singing voice on Insta every Sunday at 2pm MST.

He also has some other tricks up his limited contact sleeve.

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Wednesday nights at 2pm, Bastille Dan hosts a film club called Distraction Tactics. Next week they’ll be discussing Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece Howl’s Moving Castle.

There’s a book club in the works as well. The first book they will be discussing is True Grit by Charles Portis. Looks like we all got some homework in the weeks ahead.


Look out for Native American musician Gabriel Ayala as he performs awesome guitar music every Monday night at 8pm MST.

Those can be found on his Facebook page.

Dan Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service has also been performing every Thursday night from his home. Hopefully that will continue through May as well.

Details on upcoming shows as well as previous livestreams are available on Ben Gibbard’s Live From Home website.

Be on the look out for more musical acts to follow suit in the coming weeks.


If you’ve turned on a computer or cell phone in April you can’t have missed all the live-broadcast festivals occurring every weekend. These dense and powerful events showcased countless artists performing from their living rooms and home studios. They also raised more than a USNS Mercy’s worth of money for the WHO and first responders.

All the performers on each of the lineups may not be for everyone, but if you check out the websites ahead of time you may just be able to figure out when some of your faves are expected to go on.

The first online festival in May is The Call To Unite.

The Call To Unite will feature live performances by Portugal. The Man, Common, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Aloe Blacc, as well as the aforementioned Questlove and DJ Jazzy Jeff, and countless other musicians, celebrities, and thinkers.

The Call To Unite  begins tonight (May 1st) at 6pm MST and will run for a full twenty-four hours.

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And if you’re going crazy without a bona fide live show there have been a few online fests playing back-to-back live performances from previous years. The next up of these is Shaky Knees Festival.

May 1st-3rd the Shaky Knees Festival is hosting Shaky Knees TV Virtual Weekend. There will be previously recorded concerts from Beck, Cage The Elephant, Car Seat Headrest, Tenacious D, The Head And The Heart, Portugal. The Man, and many more.

There’s sure to be many more similar festivals announced in the weeks to come. . .


Finally, it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t plug a couple of our friends for their pandemic-era online offerings as well.

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DJ LowKey, the legendary Denver party-rocker, hosts a weekly show loaded with unique and incredible music. It airs every Sunday at 3pm MST on Twitch. The show’s called Goodness, and it’s titled well.

5280 Geek‘s Smurf hosts a weekly podcast called Weekend Geek Update. Each episode provides the inside scoop and dirt on anything and everything in comic book, video game, TV, and movie culture.

Sign up for notifications on 5280Geek.com to get the latest episodes of Weekend Geek Update, as well all my blatherings.

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And lastly, The Wanderer editor and creative adviser Kodid Laraque-Two Elk wears many hats besides scolding me for bad grammar. One of them is as the co-host of the weekly Denver radio show Indigitness Voice.

Kodid, along with her brother and her father, delve into indigenous culture and issues from around the country. They play beautiful music by modern Native American artists throughout the show as well. This past Sunday’s show featured an in-depth interview with the incredible Arigon Starr. Arigon is the creator and artist behind Super Indian Comics.

Stream episodes live for free at KUVO Jazz Sundays at 7am MST.

And be sure to check out some of Arigon’s amazing work too.


In the wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, live-event addicts can take some solace in the fact that there are still happenings that we can participate in from the comforts of our homes. Almost all of them are free for now. . .

While many artists are trying to figure out how to tread water promoting new albums and singles, or launching Patreon accounts, others, like all those featured above, are choosing to invest in their brands by hooking fans up gratis right now.

Hopefully by June we will start thinking about what going into an arena, a stadium, or a park for an event might look like. But for now, pencil one or all of the events above into your calendars.

Due to the novel and up-to-the-minute nature of live-broadcasts, there will be many shows that we weren’t aware are happening  at the time of this article’s publication. If you know of any that should have been mentioned, please hip us to them in the comments below or on the Failing Upwards Facebook page. After all, this is a community, and we’re much better together, even while we’re all apart.

Until we see you out there live, keep your heads up.

Stay healthy.

Stay geeky. . .

And always be wandering.


the wanderer

John Andreula is a writer and wanderer in Colorado.

More of his behind-the-scenes looks at concerts & live events can be found on Insta at:

JohnAndreulaWritesStuff


#cantmiss #mustsee #concertcalendar #concerts #liveevents #thewanderer  #quartersworth #5280geek #staygeeky

 

The CUT: KEEPERS

The CUT:

KEEPERS Edition

Originally published on 5280Geek.com

How are my geeks, nerds, and dorks doing out there? You guys safe, healthy, and still staying home? I sure hope so.

Many of you—and the rest of the US and the world—are locked-down and feeling pretty bored. Perhaps you’re looking for something new to do or something different to watch, read, or play.

While it’s true that the internet, online streaming services, and app marketplaces offer a plethora of options for each and every individual’s twisted set of tastes, sometimes you want suggestions you hadn’t thought of, heard of, or had possibly forgotten. . .and frankly, not everyone is interested in watching exotic cat prison warden dramas.

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Recently I’ve had a bunch of opportunities to revisit my collections in hopes of finding some items I’d be willing to part with while I’m out of work due to the virus. Usually I find a bunch of movies, books, video games, and collectibles I no longer feel any attachment to.

Although I did find a couple of turds, I wanted to do things differently in this edition of The CUT. Instead of focusing on the future pieces of another man’s treasures I’m going to highlight the items that went right back onto the shelves when I was done reviewing them.

So unusually, and without further what of it, here is The CUT: KEEPERS.


Item #1:

SPIDER-MAN REIGN

2008 Trade Paperback Graphic Novel First Printing

Written by Kaare Andrews; Art by Kaare Andrews and Jose Villarrubia

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SPIDER-MAN REIGN is a dystopian future story with everyone’s friendly neighborhood web-slinger. In this dark telling, masks are outlawed. Everyone Peter Parker has loved or cared for is dead. He is a broken and bitter old man.

Enter J. Jonah Jameson. Parker’s old newspaper tycoon boss and alter-ego’s nemesis ages into one half get-off-my-lawn septuagenarian and one half populist community activist. He brings a particular red mask back to Parker and reminds him that the city needs its wise-cracking costumed superhero now more than ever.

Can Spider-Man overcome his schizophrenia and self-doubt to best an also-aged, but deadly as ever Venom and the Sinister Six to save New York?

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The Verdict:

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REIGN is a fantastic stand-alone story. It doesn’t require a bunch of tie-ins or previous Spider-verse knowledge to be appreciated.

Though it does features less of the humorous quips that Spider-Man is known and loved for, this book is not only a must-read, it is a must-own! This is the wall-crawler’s answer to Old Man Logan. . .and it’s amazing!

Value:

One seller has their opening bid at $17.80 on eBay right now. The auction will end shortly after this article publishes.

The hardcover version is there as well, but it’s over $35. They will accept a best offer.


Item #2:

BIRTH OF A NATION

2004 Hardcover Comic Novel First Edition

Written by Aaron McGruder and Reginald Hudlin; Illustrated by Kyle Baker

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What do you get when the creator of the The Boondocks comes together with the creative mind behind Bebe’s Kids and House Party to write a movie?

Well, not a movie. . .That plan didn’t really work out. But it did give birth to a nation in the form of a comic novel.

BIRTH OF A NATION is the “fictional” story of East St. Louis, one of the poorest and blackest communities in America. Troubles begins when city residents are prevented from casting their votes in the latest presidential election through dastardly—but real world—voter suppression techniques.

The progressive centrist candidate the community supported loses and the city is pissed, particularly the down-on-his-luck mayor. He and his constituents decide they aren’t going to take the results laying down like their chosen candidate. They decide they will secede from the US.

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The Verdict:

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BIRTH OF A NATION is an instant classic!

The book should feel dated and stale from the time passed since it was written, but it doesn’t. The government characters written and drawn in the book may resemble certain administration members that reigned from 2001 to 2008 in Washington. Yet many of the themes are all too relevant in the present day.

Birth definitely warrants being read and remembered now and into the future.

Value:

It’s a steal starting at $6.33 in very good condition.


Item #3:

TROPIC THUNDER

2008 2-Disc Director’s Cut DVD

Directed by Ben Stiller

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If Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Stripes, and Zoolander all swapped genetic material in some weird orgy their obscene homunculus offspring would be TROPIC THUNDER.

From the faux commercials as the opening credits roll, to the explosive escape scene climax, this movie is LYMFAO! If you can’t take my word for it do a quick web-search on Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal (seen in the image below).

TROPIC THUNDER has Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and Danny McBride, as well as Nick Nolte and Tom Cruise in some of their most outlandish characters to date. The movie seeks to reach new levels of ridiculous with every passing scene.

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The Verdict:

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There’s nothing like the first time you see TROPIC THUNDER.

You’re likely to still cry and pee yourself with each consecutive viewing. You’ll notice details that you missed the last time through.

And don’t forget. . .”Never go full retard.

Value:

Starting at $7 on eBay.


Item #4:

WATCHMEN

2009 THE ULTIMATE CUT THE COMPLETE STORY Edition with 4 DVDs and a Digital Copy

Directed by Zack Snyder

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This live-action telling of the best-selling graphic novel of the same title was a monster of a film!

The producers and creative team opted to use lesser-known actors to portray the heroes and villains of the book. This makes it easier to suspend reality and just melt into the dark and not-so super story then it would with superstars. The live action elements are intertwined with the twisted and unforgettable animated telling of the Tales of the Black Freighter from the comic book.

Adjustments were made to the original source material for both brevity and viewers understanding of the complex story. Despite the alterations this version still clocks in at almost four hours.

THE ULTIMATE CUT comes with a digital copy of the film as well as an entire disc of extra features. There’s one that chronicles real-world vigilantes, and you really should see these dorks. They give the cosplayers of 5280 Geek a run for their spandexed money. The original graphic novel was also digitized and animated. It is included in the set for viewing on any DVD player as well.

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The Verdict:

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There are so many moments that I feel like I am looking at exact panels from the comic. Rorshach and the Comedian are cast perfectly. All the special effects are intense and seamless. The setting of parallel universe 1980s New York City is as much a character in the film as any of the vigilante heroes.

No movie interpretation will ever be perfect, but this one was excellent. Some of my fellow 5280 Geeks may disagree vehemently about my assessment on this collector’s edition adaptation of an all-time great graphic novel, but whether that’s due to the absence of writer/creator Alan Moore on the production, the alterations made to the story for the big screen, or just because they are haters, I can’t be sure. I approve  of the movie version of WATCHMEN.

I’m watching the WATCHMEN!

Value:

$27 on ebay.


Item #5:

PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS

Mass Market Paperback Books 1-5

Written by Rick Riordan

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Imagine the Greek gods didn’t just fade into the obscure reaches of literary history and text books. Instead, Zeus and the rest of the Parthenon live on. They just move locations following the peak of western civilization. Today it puts them in the United States.

Naturally—and in some cases very unnaturally—the gods continue to have children with humans. These demigods become heroes and villains like their half-siblings of the past.

And like their ancestors they go on quests.

This is the world of Perseus Jackson, Percy, as he’s known to his friends.

Percy is the son of Poseidon. He and his friends from Camp Half-Blood find themselves defending their lives from the likes of Medusa, Polyphemus, the Minotaur, and pretty much every mythological monster ever imagined.

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The Verdict:

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The five PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIAN novels are hanging in stratosphere of best youth fiction series of all time. I could not have enjoyed the retelling of The Divine Comedy, The Odyssey, and all the rest more than I did.

I haven’t even finished the fourth book yet and I have already ordered a copy of the fifth and the companion book, PERCY JACKSON’S GREEK GODS. These days I barely ever buy books, so that’s saying something. Of course it may just be due to the libraries being closed, but I have enjoyed the series that much so far.

I look forward to sharing the PERCY JACKSON series with my daughter, wife, and friends in the future. I expect to read it at least once more.

Value:

The five paperback set is selling for $19.38 on eBay.


That’s it for this edition of The CUT.

Honorable mentions go out to Berserk Deluxe Edition Volumes 1-3, The Absolute Sandman Volume 1, White Bird by R.J. Palacio, and Billie Eilish’s hit 2019 album When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?. I’ve recently binged all three, but am enjoying temporary ownership of each due to my local library’s closure. I don’t have to return any of them until social distancing restrictions are lifted.

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I likely wouldn’t buy any of these due to free access through the library, but they all were fantastic and appreciated during this time at home. I highly recommend checking them out if you have the opportunity.

There are plenty more DVDs, books, comics, games, and toys to comb through during this unique period of social distance. I look forward to bringing more reviews and verdicts in the next volume of The CUT.

Until then, stay safe, stay home, stay healthy. . .and most importantly, stay geeky!

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The Dreamer: Intertwined

Intertwined

By John Andreula

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

Originally published on 5280Geek.com

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Janice lifted the mascara brush to her eyelashes and swept it outwards. Her blonde eyelashes darkened and almost doubled in length. She added her most sexy, but subtle pink lipstick, and her makeover was complete.

Combined with the eye-shadow and blush, she felt as if she was looking at a completely new person in the mirror. . . almost.

The woman gazing back from the mirror appeared younger and more alive than Janice. Except the familiar sadness in her green eyes wouldn’t let her forget the person she had become.

She stood up straight and regarded her visage a final time. She pushed her breasts up within her bra beneath her sundress and conjured a devilish smile onto her face. She blew a kiss toward the hot woman staring back at her in the mirror. Her smirking reflection returned the favor.

Unusually made-up, Janice descended her home’s stairs. She walked passed the dining room table and stood on the precipice of the living room.

Between the wooden entertainment center and the chestnut couch her daughter sat silently in a jumble of office paper, colored pencils, and crayons on the floor all around. Sierra didn’t acknowledged her presence, but Janice knew her daughter knew she was there.

The miniature version of herself deftly maneuvered a purple pencil, shading the bold outline of some strange monster she had drawn. How was it that Sierra could create such intricate compositions and not be able to communicate? Janice pondered her lot sadly.

Lost in thought for another moment, Janice shook herself back to the living room. To her girl she said, “Baby. . . it’s time to come outside and play. Let’s get you some sunlight.”

Sierra ignored her mother and continued her coloring. Janice squatted down and reached underneath her daughter’s arms, gently lifting her in the air. Sierra clutched the picture in one hand and a couple of colored pencils in the other. Janice carried Sierra across their home, out the front door, and down the steps into the front yard.

She set the bare-footed Sierra on the lawn. The girl rocked and shifted her body silently until she was close to the edge of the sidewalk and the grass. She placed her portrait on the rough concrete and picked up her shading.

Janice watched for a moment. Sierra switched pencils and began shading the creature’s tattered brown slacks. Where does she come up with these things?

After scanning the cul de sac, Janice’s eyes settled on the end unit across the street. Number twenty-four—where the new guy moved into last week.

Janice took a deep breath, “Baby, I’ll be right back.” She headed up the steps and through their front door. A moment later she returned, her hands clasping a clear plastic container. It had a dark red top. Brownies she baked earlier that morning were held inside.

“Cici, I’m gonna go meet the new neighbor.” Janice nodded toward the end unit across the street. She knew Sierra didn’t care. She wouldn’t respond either. She wondered if Stephen would’ve even noticed. . .

But Sierra did look up at her mother. Her face was characteristically devoid of emotion. The young girl held her drawing out toward Janice. The image of a purple man pointed directly at her mother.

“That’s a nice picture, sweetie. . .”

Janice glanced up at number twenty-four. It’s now or never, she told herself.

“I’ll be right across the street. Don’t go anywhere.” Janice looked at the new neighbor’s townhouse. Aside from it being an end unit, it was a near doppelganger or her own. She had seen the man inside looking at her from his front window several times these past few days. He had seen her peering out at him as well.

Lost in her hypnotic thoughts, Janice walked brisk strides across the grassy circle on their street. She reached the sidewalk in front of number twenty-four and glanced back. Her taciturn daughter was still sitting on their lawn watching her mother.

Janice picked a hand up and threw a casual wave toward Sierra. The girl stared back impassively.

Janice turned toward the stranger’s home. The man inside stood at his kitchen window above looking down at her.

Cool in spite of the sudden surprise, Janice held up the container of sweets. She mouthed, “These are for you,” and pointed the box toward the man’s front door. She walked over to the front steps without waiting for his response. The man slowly turned away from his window and met Janice at the door.

Janice conjured a sexy smile—at least it was what she remembered a sexy smile felt like. It seemed like a long time since she had produced one for Stephen, and a lifetime longer since she had flashed one at anyone else.

The front door swung inward. The man stepped up to the window of his storm door. He didn’t seem too enthusiastic to be receiving a visit, even if it was from a beautiful blonde carrying some sweet treats.

The man wore a white fisherman’s cap, a blue stripe just above the hat’s round rim. He wore a white undershirt that fit his slim frame well. His eyes were dark. They seemed to brim with a sadness that reminded Janice of what she saw in her own reflection just moments ago. She could tell the man was as melancholy as she behind his generated scowl.

“What do you want?”

Unperturbed by his harshness, Janice replied, “I wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood.” Janice looked back at Sierra again. She was still in the same position on the lawn across the street, still watching her.

“I baked these for you. . . I mean, we baked these for you.” Janice stammered, not wanting to sound like some desperate, lonely housewife. “I’m Janice. That’s. . .”

The man quickly opened the screen door, interrupting Janice, and snatched the Tupperware from her outstretched hands. He stepped back inside and let the storm door slam shut. He scowled at her some more from behind the dark mesh screen.

He opened the container and took a bite out of one of the chocolate squares. He spoke to Janice without regard to his chewing, “What are you doing here?”

In truth, Janice didn’t know why she felt compelled to come over and meet this man. What did she hope to accomplish?

Maybe it was the loneliness. Maybe she longed for any feeling besides her typical sensations of frustration and sadness. Maybe she thought she might feel some passion, or maybe at least compassion, from this stranger. Quickly she was realizing she had been wrong to expect any of it. Her unannounced visit had been a mistake.

As if the strange man read her emotions his face softened. “You don’t want to know me. Now go home before you cause trouble with your neighbors.”

Janice looked around the other units. Several of their neighbors were watching from their windows, porches, and yards.

“Thanks for the brownies, Janice.” The man started shutting his door, but stopped. “They taste really good. . . . Please thank little Sierra for me as well.”

The man shut his front door after giving Janice a weak smile. He retreated into his house without a glance back at her.

Janice had never felt so embarrassed. She let out a silent sob. She took three deep rapid breaths before regaining her composure. She backed down the four concrete steps and made her way back across the grassy circle. She didn’t dare glance around at any of her nosy neighbors again.

Sierra watched her mother coming towards her. Janice wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. Messy black streaks remained where tears had fallen and been wiped away. Janice bent down and scooped Sierra up. The colored pencils and the picture of the scary man were left behind on the lawn.

Without a word Janice sulked into the living room and placed Sierra amongst the disarray of papers and colors. She turned and went back up the stairs to townhouse’s lone bathroom.

The tears returned as Janice removed the running makeup from her cheeks, lips, and eyes. She washed her face and patted it softly with a lavender terry towel. She finally looked up she saw her familiar worn reflection looking back.

Janice gazed at her reflection. Her interaction with the man in the fishing cap reran in her mind. She had missed something in her abrupt rush of emotion. She had never told him Sierra’s name. . . Yet somehow he knew it.

Janice considered if any of the other neighbors could have spoken to him before her—maybe Mindy. Somehow she doubted it. She had been home the whole week and hadn’t seen anyone else speaking with him.

Janice was drained. She didn’t have the energy to know if she should be worried or not.

She heard the screen door slam shut in the foyer below. Janice jumped at the loud bang.

“Jan? Baby?” It was Stephen. He was home earlier than usual.

“Janice?” he called from below again.

“I’m up here, babe,” Janice hollered down, staring at her reflection.

Stomping footsteps filled the air as Stephen rushed up the stairs to the door of the bathroom. He took a moment, trying to catch his breath.

“We have to leave. . .” Stephen said, still out of breath, “. . . Pack up quick. They’re coming for me.”


Ty threw a shirt over his head and ran from the room, trying to orient to where the crash had emanated from. It didn’t take him long as another followed, and then another. The clatter had come from the floor below.

Ty ran down the old house’s creaky wood steps to the second floor. He slowed to a walk when he saw Gigi, the matriarch of the Tribe, standing at the doorway of the Writer’s bedroom.

Gigi was trying to calm the woman down from where she stood outside in the hall. “I can’t do anything about that, Celeste.”

“It’s not right!” the Writer cried out from within. A stack of pages flew out of the room and hit Gigi in the chest and face. The handwritten sheets fanned out and fell to floor around her feet.

Something grabbed Ty. He turned to see what had snagged his arm. Blanks flashed into visibility, standing at his side. “Wait!”

Her voice was commanding, but she loosened her grip. “She gets like this every now and again.” Ty hadn’t witnessed anything else even remotely similar in his short time with the Tribe, and the worried look on Blanks’ and Gigi’s faces spoke otherwise.

Gigi stood silently. She gave her closest friend the time she needed to cool down. Ty could hear sniffling from inside the room. The intensity of the confrontation subsided.

Ty and Blanks approached and stood on either side of Gigi. The Writer was sitting on the floor in front of her desk. Her arms were around her shins, her hands locked, her knees in front of her face. She rocked forward and back rhythmically as she cried.

“It’s okay,” Gigi reassured Celeste.

The Writer lifted her face from her knees. Sobbing, she whispered, “It’s not. . . okay. . . . Nothing’s okay.”

Confused at what was going on, Ty and Blanks looked to Gigi for some clue.

Kneeling and gathering the papers at her feet, Gigi spoke to Ty and Blanks, “Genevieve, Ty, it’s time for you to go to the girl. You must go to New Jersey. Stanton will be coming for her just after you arrive.”

Gigi organized the stack of pages and pulled a few from the bottom. She folded these up and slipped them in her sweater pocket. She handed the rest to a very confused looking Ty.

“Go quickly. Everything’s in this story. Read it on the road.” She hesitated, as if deciding how much more to say. “When you run into Glitch. . .,” she paused again, “. . . Please tell him I know he’ll do what’s right in the end.”

Blanks tried to protest, “But. . .”

Gigi quickly cut her off. “Hurry!” A rage Ty had yet to see in Blanks’ mentor flashed onto her face.  She calmed herself, her typical tenderness returned, “Go, before you’re too late.”

Ty and Blanks retreated from the somber scene. They quickly gathered their packs and headed out from the old house. They hiked down the dirt path and back out onto the road. Blanks’ outstretched her thumb. It wasn’t long before an yellow pickup stopped for the two.

Ty looked back at the road leading to the Tribe’s hideout as Blanks climbed into the cab of the old truck. He had a feeling they wouldn’t be seeing Celeste and Gigi again anytime soon.


Inside the house, Gigi sat on the floor beside the Writer. One arm wrapped around her friend’s shoulders, the other on her knee. The Writer looked up, her eyes filled with tears and regret.

“You should have given them the rest,” referring to the folded pages in Gigi’s pocket. “I’m the one that’s dying. There’s no need for you to sacrifice yourself as well.”

“What’s one life worth?” Gigi smiled warmly. “Besides, it’s a fair trade to save the girl. . .  and to stop Stanton. Anyway, nothing’s ever written in stone.”

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John Andreula is a writer and dreamer residing in the foothills of Colorado.

More of his works of can be found at:

Moving On Upwards

Get at him at:

Info@MovingOnUpwards.com


 

A Dream of Him

A Dream of Him

by John Andreula

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

Originally published 2-27-20 on 5280Geek.com

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WARNING:

This story contains graphic content!

Reader discretion is advised.


Ty sat on the stone and leaves at the edge of the familiar stream. His shoes were set on the grassy ridge above, next to his older brother’s larger pair.

The afternoon sun shone upon the two brothers and the stream. Ty could feel the warmth along his bare olive arms. He enjoyed the subtle sensation.

E.J. stood in the middle of the stream, his back towards his younger brother. His faded blue dungarees were carelessly rolled up to mid-calf.

The sun’s reflection on the surface of the shallow water past E.J. was too bright for Ty to look at directly, but the younger boy resisted shutting his eyes. Instead he squinted toward his older brother standing in the water.

Ty knew this was a dream. E.J. had been dead a long time now. This particular dream seemed to be jumbled up with some long forgotten memory.

Ty hadn’t thought about E.J. or his childhood for some time. His dreams about E.J. and the farm weren’t normally pleasant. He knew the other shoe would drop at some point, but he didn’t want to rush it.

Ty leaned back, resting on his elbows. His feet rocked outward and inward in slow a rhythm only he could hear.

E.J. sidearmed a stone down the stream. The rock bounced along the surface of the water for what seemed like forever.

Minutes passed—maybe it was seconds—and then his older brother broke the thick silence, “None of what happened here was your fault you know.” E.J.’s back was still facing Ty.

E.J. paused for what felt like another eternity. Then he went on, “James’ father was a bastard. He got what he deserved.”

Ty considered his brother’s words, but he thought more about what E.J. hadn’t said. “What about you, E?”

The older boy didn’t answer. Ty went on, “What did you do to deserve this?” His voice sounded whiny. He didn’t care, despite whininess being something his older brother always looked down upon.

E.J. finally glanced back over his shoulder at Ty on the stream’s edge. There was the deep red hole where his face used to be from the shotgun. Blood, bone, gristle, and brain were all along the edges. This was how E.J. always appeared in Ty’s nightmares, ever since that fateful day.

E.J.’s voice spoke, projected from his mouthless face, “Life is just like that sometimes.” The voice was low and choked. “I died and you lived. Now you get to become a hero.”

Ty wanted to look away from this ghastly dream version of his older brother, but he didn’t. Instead he answered, “Some hero. . .” scoffing at E.J.’s words.

His brother ignored him and went on, “You’re a good person, little bro. You always have been.”

E.J. turned back toward the stream and skipped another stone toward the horizon. Ty stayed staring at his brother’s back. He pretended not to notice the clear stream water around his brother’s ankles spreading into a pool of dark red. He missed E.J. so much.

“I want to stay here with you.” Ty told his brother knowing the dream would end soon.

“You can’t. Too many people are counting on you. . .and I’ll always be with you, in your heart and your memory.”

“That’s not good enough!” Ty’s whiny child’s voice returned.

E.J. peered back over his shoulder again. “Then go get the girl and bring me back.”

Ty sat up hearing his brother’s words. His brow furrowed. What was this dream trying to tell him?

“How. . .? E.J., are you for real?”

E.J. turned his whole body and faced his younger brother. Blood poured from the hole that used to be his face. It flowed down the front of his button-down shirt and pants. “That’s a funny question now. Isn’t it?”

Ty ignored his dream brother’s sarcasm. “Can she really do it? You know. . .bring you back?”

“Maybe. . .maybe not. You’ll never find out if you and your Tribe don’t help her.”

E.J. waited for the words to sink in.

“It’s time for you to go now, Ty. Good luck. I’ll be waiting to hear how it all went.”

E.J. turned back toward the stream. Instantly, the glare on the surface of the water grew in intensity. It got so bright that Ty had to squeeze his eyes shut to keep them from hurting. He didn’t want to leave E.J., not yet.


A moment later Ty opened his eyes.

It took a moment for his vision to come into focus. He recognized the yellowed-white ceiling of the room above him. Sunlight crept through room’s sheer curtains.

A tear rolled down the left side of his face, onto his pillow. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.

Ty took a deep breath and sat up.

As he pushed his feet over the side of the bed a raucous crash emanated from outside the room. Ty leapt to his feet and ran toward the commotion deep within the house.

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The Dreamer is an ongoing fiction epic about some very special people.

And if you haven’t read the rest, check it out here.


John Andreula is a writer and dreamer residing in the foothills of Colorado.

More of his works of can be found at:

Moving On Upwards 

Get at him at:

Info@MovingOnUpwards.com


What To Check Out During The Apocalypse

 

What To Watch, Read & Play

During The Apocalypse

By John Andreula

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

Originally published on 5280Geek.com


The current COVID-19 coronavirus catastrophe really sucks! It’s enough to make the gray hairs on our heads multiply with the quickness.

The most crucial takeaway we’ve gathered from the constant bombardment of bad news and misinformation here is that if we hunker down in our homes, lock our doors and shut off all the lights, the virus won’t be able to get us.

If you too are doing the right thing by staying away from others during this time of crisis we commend you. It sure isn’t easy.

Of course becoming a shut-in Morlock mole-person is only tolerable for so long. . .

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We hope to lessen that burden, as well as brighten your lock-down time, with some suggestions of the best ways to pass the time.

This week we’ve compiled a list of our favorite apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic content available. Here it is.


Movies (Stand Alone)


12 Monkeys

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Shaun of the Dead

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I Am Legend

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Castaway

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Wall-E

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Movies (Series)


Mad Max

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Terminator

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Evil Dead/Army of Darkness

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Video Games (Series)


Fallout

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Bioshock

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Dead Rising

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Resident Evil

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Book Series


The Electric Church

“Avery Cates” Series by Jeff Somers

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

by Douglas Adams

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Homecoming

by Orson Scott Card

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The Dark Tower

by Stephen King

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Prophet

Image Comics; Second Volume

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The Bible

by God

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Collections


The Walking Dead

Comics & Television Show

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The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins Books & Movies

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Battle Royale

Koushun Takami Book & 2 Movies

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The Giver

Lois Lowry Book & Movie

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Aeon Flux

Television Show & Movie

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The Big O

Manga & Television Show

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Ready Player One

Ernest Cline Book & Movie

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Fist of the North Star

Manga, Television Show, Movie, & Video Games

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The Road

Cormac McCarthy Book & Movie

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Trigun

Manga & Television Show

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Watership Down

Richard Adams Book & Movie

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If you read, watch, or play even a few of these you will arise from your shelter vault better prepared for whatever dystopian future awaits in the world outside.

And even though we are inching closer to how Del the Funky Homosapien envisioned the future in his legendary 2000 release Deltron 3030, at least us geeks can still be entertained.

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As with any list, we’re sure to have left out more than a few fan favorites. Feel free to use the comments section below to let us know which, so your neighbors won’t have to wonder why you’re yelling inside of your house.

That’s it for now. Stay geeky. Stay inside. And check back here often for more end-times fun.

We’ll see you then.


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John Andreula is a socially distant writer hiding in the dark somewhere in Colorado.

Connect with him on the Gram at: JohnAndreulaWritesStuff

And on Twitter at: @MovingOnUpwards

Kodid Laraque Two Elk can’t wait to get him the hell out of the house.

She’s on Insta too at: @Leyla.Kodid


 

Wondering When We’ll Be Wandering Again. . .

 

Wondering When We’ll Be Wandering Again. . .

By John Andreula

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

Schools are closed and not just businesses, but entire industries, are being shuttered. Neither is new news to anyone in the world right now.

Businesses still open—as of the time of writing thisare sending wave after wave of emails telling consumers how much they care about customers and employees. They regale us with tales of how much said employees are cleaning and disinfecting their establishments’ surfaces, how few of us are allowed in those establishments at one time, and most importantly, that we should be spending the little bit of money we have left on said businesses’ products and services.

Unending frenzied runs on grocery stores are causing even more panicked behavior. Empty shelves are causing prices of basic necessity items to manifest astronomically inflated costs on online marketplaces. Multi-packs of toilet paper, normally sold for twenty dollars and less, are selling for between fifty and one hundred dollars on eBay right now.

Despite the insanity and stupidity that COVID-19 is causing in many people across the United States, many businesses and organizations are using novel methods—pardon the pun—to support the social distancing and self-quarantining efforts of the many saner Americans.

It all comes down to creativity and ingenuity. . .

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Creativity and ingenuity

The entertainment industry is feeling the effects of the pandemic. Concerts, sporting events and social gatherings are all shut down.

These businesses generate immense amounts of income. They employ countless  performers, production staff, maintenance, security, parking staff, and every food and merch vendor and ride-share driver in between.

And as many as are negatively affected by this industry’s closure we can now add the customers to those who are getting frustrated and disappointed.

Two live music festivals, SXSW and Ultra Music, have “postponed” their 2020 annual mega-shows until 2021.¹ If you were one of the unfortunate masses that purchased tickets or passes to either of the events there’s no refund for you. 

You can get some extra. . ., some discounts. . ., blah blah blah. . .,when what the people really want is their money back. Even Airbnb is piling on, telling customers who booked rooms for these events to “Go fuck yourself!²

Thankfully Coachella and their sister country-music festival, Stagecoach, bucked this trend. They are allowing refunds if customers can find and jump through the hoops they’ve hidden on the internets. But hurry! Their generous and complicated offer expires promptly on May 1st.

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A festival without patrons

Many fan conventions are announcing postponements to dates later into 2020 as well.

Emerald City (ECCC), WonderCon, and the Game Developers Conference (ironically initialed: CDC) have all pushed their events back. E3 has cancelled outright. The list of kiboshed shows and bad news is growing by the day.

Despite the disappointment, or in light of it, one Denver organization decided to take back geeks’ ability to gather this past Saturday on Facebook. Rocky Mountain Con hosted a Virtual Con live on their Facebook page.

The event organizers auctioned off a multitude of comics and collectibles, and had several amazing giveaways for those who shared their feed with their respective networks. The event also featured several artists doing sketch and ink commission live via webcam.

As of the time of publication, Rocky Mountain Con is still planning on hosting their Collector’s Showcase in Denver on June 7th, but we will have to wait and see how long the social distancing recommendations and restrictions last.

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Fortunately, other entertainers are also making lemonade out of this overly sour situation.

Comedy Central’s satirical news program, The Daily Show, returned to television airwaves this past Monday after a twelve day furlough. In the wake of New York’s self-quarantine measures they have modified the show’s format and rebranded themselves. They are now known as The Daily Social Distancing Show.

The new direction began last week as host, Trevor Noah, and the rest of the staff started producing content from their homes and releasing it via Trevor’s Instagram account. It just might have been the most positive and uplifting way to consume the COVID-19 and world news anywhere.

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Trevor Noah live from his couch

The big guys aren’t the only ones being creative either.

Volunteer organization Fixit Clinic is known for helping local communities repair broken appliances. Doing this they keep trash out of landfills and money in people’s pockets.

Fixit Clinic was already doing amazing work before the world got crazier, but has since had to cancel local in-person clinics due to the coronavirus. They didn’t take it lying down however. . .

The organization decided they weren’t just going to send out cancellation notifications by email. Instead they got inspired to host free online “Virtual Clinics.”

People unlucky enough to discover broken appliances while enduring the current crisis now have the opportunity to fix their own broken items. It’s all thanks to Fixit’s online volunteers.

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Fixit Clinic’s Virtual Clinic

Many up-and-coming artists and entertainers are moving forward as well, while the majority of professional ball players, musicians, movie and TV stars are at home doing their “Netflix and chill.”

The Vasquez family of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin hosts a bi-weekly podcast called The FAMProject Podcast. Their show’s pre-corona concept highlighted life lessons that their school-age daughters and their friends are not being taught at school.

The family hoped to shine a light on both parental responsibility as well the children’s, in building resilience and self-sufficiency before the pandemic began. But since, David, Michelle, Angel, and Faith have decided to adapt. Their show’s format is now centered around discussions on how they, and to a greater extent everybody, can survive this coronapocalypse.

Recent episodes have included candid discussions and youthful opinions on the coronavirus, how local and national leadership is handling the pandemic, and what we should all be doing to pass the time while at home and under self-quarantine.

It’s just a matter of time before more of the world’s entertainers and businesses pivot, but, the longer they wait the more it will present little guys like FAMProject and Rocky Mountain Con humongous followings of their own.

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The FAMProject Podcast logo

Things will obviously be difficult in the foreseeable future. Those without income, those in the higher risk categories, and those with children home from school will all be tested in the weeks and months to come. We want to let everyone know we see you.

At a time filled with much bad news and negative emotion it’s refreshing to see the creativity and ingenuity of those featured above, and the many others I couldn’t mention, are all exhibiting.

And if you are creating, keep creating. Let the turmoil and uncertainty fuel your inspiration and propel your efforts.

And if you’re just a casual observer happy as I am about all these innovations to our culture please spread the word. Share what you’re seeing with family, friends, and your network, because we’re all in this together. Your people need some good-natured distractions, and artists and creatives need your support now more than ever.

Thanks for reading and doing your best to stay geeky and healthy.

And as always stay wandering, even if you can only do it from the comfort of your own home.

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¹How can you postpone an annual event until the following year when the event was already to set to occur that next year?

²Not an actual quote, but possibly how Airbnb’s CEO responded when asked how they were going to respond to the question of whether or not to issue refunds.

Originally published on 5280Geek.com

John Andreula is a socially distant wanderer and writer hunkered down somewhere in Colorado.

Connect with him on the Gram at: JohnAndreulaWritesStuff

And on Twitter at: @MovingOnUpwards

Kodid Laraque Two Elk can’t wait to get him the hell out of the house.

She’s on Insta too at: @Leyla.Kodid

 

The Top Ten Things To Do While Stuck At Home

The Top Ten Things To Do While Stuck At Home:

Your 5280 Geek Guide to Social Distancing & Self-Quarantine

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By John Andreula

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two

Originally published on 5280Geek.com


The whole world’s on lock-down in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19—you, me, all of us. We’re in this together.

A collective anxiety forms like a cloud, the likes of which has never been seen before in modern society. And it’s spreading throughout neighborhoods faster than even the virus itself.

Now more than ever it’s important to stay positive,  optimistic, and kind to ourselves and those around us.

As easy as it is to become lost in negative thinking and the anxiety derived from our current collective situation, we want to provide you with some much needed distractions that can occupy your mind and time while we’re all at home doing the right thing.

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Social distancing and self-quarantining are certainly the correct choice to be making at this current juncture in time. Each of us has to do our individual part to slow the spread of this coronavirus throughout our communities.

Regardless, staying at home alone, or with our immediate families, will be definitely be difficult at times.

Here at 5280 Geek we wanted to remind you of the options available to all of us to keep busy, happy, and inspired until this pandemic blows over.

Activities will keep us occupied, productive and sane, even if all the libraries, stores, and social gatherings are shut down and cancelled for the foreseeable future.

So without further blathering, here is your Top Ten Things To Do While Stuck At Home. Choose one or try to do them all, but go and have some fun.

Chat with a friend or loved one

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This simple task may do the most to pick up our and our loved ones spirits.

With all the amazing technological advancements in communication like video chat and email, it’s surprising we don’t do this more often anyway.

Do you remember the last time you received a letter? How’d it make you feel to find it in your mailbox? How about when you opened it and read the handwritten or typed message within?

You can still spread those good vibes, and there’s nothing more personal during such an impersonal and distant time.

Connect with an old friend or a loved one across the country today. See how they’re doing. Ask what they’ve been up to before the shit hit the fan while you’re at it.

Connect with neighbors

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At times like these, community is strength.

And if you’re reading this you probably have a popping movie, book, and music collection. Someone else on the block might need to borrow something to keep themselves away from the store and sane.

Do you have your neighbors’ phone numbers?

Do they have yours?

Write your first and last name and phone number down on a slip of paper. Pass it along to the neighbors you’ve been wanting to connect with. But be sure to respect their personal space and your own while doing this.

And don’t forget to ask them to text you their first and last names as well and save them in your phone.

Not only will this make everyone in your vicinity feel supported in the short-term, but it will create some kick-ass bonds and a strong network for when this COVID-19 pandemic blows over.

Check out one of your old favorites

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It’s the reason you kept all those favorite books, movies, and music for all these years.

It’s time to reread Harry Potter or The Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and rewatch The Godfather trilogy and Scarface.

Dust off your Kris Kross and Salt-N-Pepa cassettes and blast them from your tape deck.

And there’s definitely no better time than right now to revisit 12 Monkeys, The Road, or Mad Max, and pick up some tips to help you survive the looming apocalypse, if that is what we’re dealing with.

Sell some stuff online

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So maybe that King’s Ransom movie was funny. . .but was it really worth keeping any longer?

How about that Kris Kross album? Did it still make you Jump Jump?

Not everything is going to be worth something to someone else, but plenty of people are still spending money on things to keep themselves busy and happy while stores are shut down.

Don’t stop with just your unwanted media either. People will want gently used children’s clothing and toys—they don’t stop growing in case you didn’t know.

The same goes for educational items. Think about all the things people might need and want now. Do you have some of them that you don’t want? Minimize and capitalize!

Clean something

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You may not be able to tell from the snow, but yesterday was the first day of spring.

Nothing will make you feel more productive or healthy than cleaning your house.

Not to mention you’ve gotten kind of smelly since you haven’t showered since this whole pandemic began.

After you’re done hit up those boxes, junk drawers, and closets you’ve been neglecting too.

Do something you’ve been putting off

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Is there something you’ve been telling yourself you want to do, and were going to do, but haven’t yet? You know what I’m talking about.

For me it’s finishing the fiction story I started writing over Chinese New Year weekend, as well as sorting some of my old trading cards.

Now that we have all this extra time at home we can spend it doing those things.

We might even discover a passion or a side-hustle while delving into these previously avoided tasks.

Learn a language

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Like video chatting and staying connected, self-education has never been more accessible than it is now.

Apps like Duolingo (free) and programs like Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone (both cost money) make language learning simple, even without classrooms or fluent language speakers to practice with.

There are even tons of videos and resources online to learn things like American Sign Language and coding. Whatever learning you desire, there’s probably content out there that teaches it.

Get creative

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Write. Draw. Paint. Color. Shred a tattered old shirt to give yourself that end of days appeal now.

Do anything that will allow you to express yourself.

Communicating our feelings through art  is cathartic. It allows us to process emotions in much healthier ways than bottling it up.

You know you’ve been meaning to do this anyway. Now you no longer have that I don’t have any time excuse.

Exercise

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Cardiovascular and body weight workouts don’t require much space, let alone a gym. . .and your health depends on it.

Walk, jog, bike, and hike as well. You can do all of these and still maintain adequate social distance.

Studies show the positive benefits physical activity have on our psychological well-being as well as the strength of our immune systems.

Besides that, if you get really good at shadow boxing and using your nun-chucks you’ll be ready to defend your toilet paper and comic book stash from those pesky bandits.

It’s more important now than ever to stay active.

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Don’t forget, we’re in this together. . .

Be kind to yourself and others. Reach out to your neighbors, friends, and family  to make sure they’re all doing okay. Have some social interaction during this tumultuous period.

And if you get bored, depressed, frustrated, or angry just remind yourself that the simplest activities will distract and redirect you towards a more positive state of being.

Come back to this list anytime you need a reminder of just how easy it is. . .and remember, you’re not alone.

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Did we leave out one of your favorite ways to keep occupied during self-quarantine? Use the comments section below to add how you are passing the time. Your input may be just the thing for someone else who is feeling down or lonely.

And we would love to invite you to our virtual con happening this Saturday at noon on Facebook. The address will be: https://www.facebook.com/RMCCollectables/

Thanks as always for checking in and being a part of our 5280 Geek community. Keep a safe distance from others, take care of yourself, and don’t forget to stay geeky!


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John Andreula is a writer currently practicing social distancing in Colorado.

Connect with him on the Gram at:

JohnAndreulaWritesStuff

And Twitter:

@MovingOnUpwards