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It has been one year since our world has been shut down and COVID has really tested our society on so many aspects. The significant total of the loss of life has been extremely tragic and even today we continue facing this pandemic with a sense of uncertainty and reactive state in real time.

Life as we know it has been upended and replaced with new processes like digital work and virtual meetups. At the beginning of the pandemic, we made a significant effort to come together as a society and for a brief moment we all felt connected as we hoped this would go away quickly. Especially as it was one of the only times I think many of us Generation X, Y and Z have felt a real fear in our lives compared to other generations before us where they faced massive societal events seemingly more regularly.

One of the things that stands out is how our humanity was significantly tested on multiple aspects with this pandemic. First it was the belief that the virus wasn’t even real as there were mixed narratives all over social media and even our very own government. We had nurses and doctors on the front lines begging for people to listen and understand the ramifications yet it became a political tool and sides were drawn.

Meanwhile, you had toilet paper and cleaning supply hoarders who caused empty shelves in stores for over a month. Could you imagine being an older person that wasn’t very mobile and couldn’t find toilet paper or a bathroom to use since they were all closed? Luckily there were some awesome postings on Nextdoor where neighbors were helping others if they needed a couple rolls, and thank god for those selfless individuals.

Next, it became a battle over wearing masks and the effectiveness of them and never before had we even thought about sabotaging something simple as wearing a protective mask but here it was. Meanwhile other countries that recognized this as a significant risk and had embraced and enforced strict measures, were seeing dramatic improvements and low infection rates. All these issues quickly became political and divisive for our country as all of a sudden you had protests and negative social media campaigns about the government and conspiracies.

This is not to take away the sacrifice and the troubles we had to go through financially as it was extremely unfair to small businesses and individuals that were forced to close, or lost their job as a result of the mandatory closures. Not only did small businesses get blindsided, but many corporations also cut and reduced their workforces with extremely bad timing. Finally, we had the rollouts of the vaccine, the main resource we have to fight the spread of this virus that has killed over 500,000 Americans alone. Unfortunately, we’ve witnessed an anti-vax campaign in which many have skepticism and continue to doubt the positive data and effectiveness. After the initial logistic nightmare of the vaccine rollout that the states and counties had to wade through, we are just starting to see the rollout revamped to maximize effectiveness, as it became known after Jan. 20 that there was little of a national plan or strategy.

So, overall, did we care more about ourselves and our bottom line than about working together as a society to get through this pandemic? In some ways yes and in other cases no, but it showed that our human nature and desire to be right in many ways trumped our ability to move forth in the spirit of humanity.

However, science stood strong in the face of adversity, provided a much-needed path forward, and we are starting to see small pockets of light at the end of the tunnel. I can only imagine how our actions will be in the future pandemics but I think we’ve learned how we can be more prepared for this and what we could do differently in the future. This experience has also reminded me of how precious life is, as we the honor the memories and never forget the souls we’ve lost. Let’s continue to come together for humanity and society as we move toward the future and hopefully the significant slowing of this pandemic.

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  • Andre D.

The other day my gas and fuel door release switch in my Honda Civic ceased to work and thus I had no choice but to replace it since I could no longer open my gas tank door. I did some preliminary research and was able to locate some information and videos about reinstalling the wire and switch and determined I'd give it a shot to order and try it myself. So I began and went to work on opening up much of the floor and side carpet panels and also removing the rear seats and opening the trunk inside panels to get to the fuel input pipe on the side of the car. The video made it sound so easy and you just turn the switch some and out it pops. LOL That did not happen, and in fact I began to pry and yank the wire every which way in an effort to pry or pop it out. Nothing seemed to work and after breaking off half the switch was left perplexed. I noticed there was an extra piece holding the switch in place in the fuel door panel and nothing I could do would pry it loose. I was done, and tired and was ready to give up. But I started thinking to take a step back and try to do some more research. I then found a schematics and Honda service manual of my year and model and it that showed that my Civic had an extra component installed, and the only way to remove that extra piece in the fuel door was to remove the rear wheel and inside panel to take it out from the inside. I said screw it, lets do this, and pushed on. I had my boy come help me, so he could learn about working on cars and within minutes we had removed the piece and had the new switch installed.

It took a couple adjustments to get it right, but finally after 4 hours and a lot of headaches, we were finally able to get it installed and working properly. So my cost was only $30 for the part, but a gain of great knowledge and experience from getting my hands dirty and learning something new. Even though I could've easily given up, I pushed on through and kept going, and in life sometimes we've got to do that to get where we want to get.

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“When you’ve had too many, have 2 more just to be on the safe side!” Johnny T. Nitro

"Keep drinking triples till you're seeing double, feeling single and getting in trouble." Johnny T. Nitro It's been 10 years since my good friend and musical mentor Johnny Nitro passed in Feb. 2011. Time flies fast and our paths weave in and out on our journey and I was thinking about how much the world has changed since 2011 and how I've been blessed to have known and performed with Johnny. Life continues on but we have our memories and I wanted to share this weeks thoughts with the remembrance of a good friend and incredible guitarist and musician. It was always an incredible experience, being up on stage performing with Johnny at the Saloon for a packed house with people dancing to roadhouse blues, and one I will cherish forever. Johnny taught me a lot about music, guitar, blues, performing, and life in general. He was definitely someone I believed and trusted and someone that gave me so much inspiration in my life! The last time I saw him, I had walked in the Saloon and he was up performing on stage and he saw me and called me up on stage and handed me his guitar and told me to take a solo right on the spot! That’s the kind of person he was, unselfish and full of life! We will always miss and remember you Johnny! Your friend, Andre DeVito RIP- Johnny T. Nitro- Bay Area Blues Guitarist and Friend 1952-2011 SF Gate Article: Clip from 2009 performance-

Johnny Nitro and Andre at the Saloon in SF, North Beach If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, Thank You, that would suffice. - Meister Eckhart Men are rich only as they give. He who gives great service gets great rewards. ~ Elbert Hubbard Could we see when and where we are to meet again, we would be more tender when we bid our friends goodbye. - Ouida

Johnny Nitro & Andre at Lou’s Pier 47, SF More articles on Johnny Nitro-

Article by Johnny Ace in the Golden Gate Blue Issue (See PDF Below)

Golden-Gate-Grooves-Issue-009- Johnny Ni
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