Hi there, long time no see!

How y’all doing? Keeping busy? Staying safe? Managing to refrain from killing your spouse/SO after being cooped up inside with them for what seems like an eternity?

It’s been a bit of a ride here but we’ve weathered the storm and come through it in decent enough shape. Sure, there were some tight spots when I wasn’t working but fortunately my wife was able to work from home, so while income was reduced it wasn’t eliminated.

As you may have surmised, since public events were cancelled due to COVID I didn’t have much occasion to shoot pyro – no concerts, no fireworks displays, and I had to wait until the initial lockdowns were over to get back on set and get back into doing FX and pyro. I did manage to pick up a gig at the PNE last summer which helped take the edge off my cravings for stuff that makes noise and shoots fire into the sky (literally; one of the things I was doing was setting off some freakin’ HUGE propane fireballs on top of towers set on either side of the PNE Amphitheatre stage) but otherwise, BOOOOOOORING.

All current indicators are that 2022 should allow me to shoot some shows, though there won’t be a Canada Day show in Vancouver this year (boo!). Celebration of Light, while being promoted on the event website, hasn’t locked down the specifics yet (though I’ve been told I have a spot on the crew if it does go forward [yay!]), and the odds are good that I’ll be able to put on my Halloween show for a local school…which means I should really get started on designing the damned thing (I have two shows worth of music edited together already, so thank Dog that part of the process is finished). Not sure yet if I’ll be offered gigs at PNE and FVDED, so we shall see how that goes.

I was offered a local license gig for Slipknot, but as the show is on Easter Sunday and I’ve already committed to attending Norwescon in person that weekend, I had to turn it down.

I’ve taken advantage of loosened restrictions when possible; I visited my parents for American Thanksgiving which was nice, even though I had to perform a nasal swab for a molecular test via teleconference so I could get back into Canada without quarantine…

…And then, over Christmas, I came down with COVID.

I wasn’t sure it was COVID at first because all of the symptoms made it seem to be your average winter cold, but I had a spare rapid test lying around (this was before tests were being made available to the public; I’d bought them for my cross-border trips) so I took it, and – uh-oh.

This was on the 25th, so Merry Fucking COVID Christmas. Fortunately, we had no plans outside the house so there were no last minute schedule disruptions.

I let my wife know and booked us spots at the local drive-thru test centre on the 27th for PCR testing, which also came back positive for both of us. As I was still on holiday break from the show I’d been working on, and my wife was WFH, isolation wasn’t a problem.

Neither of us had any complications, probably due to both of us having had both vaccine doses already*. I’d gotten my booster a week before so it hadn’t reached full effectiveness at that point, and she hadn’t yet gotten her booster, but I have friends who got COVID before the vaccines were available so I know how bad it could be even if it wasn’t fatal.

Side note: Last week, one of my online friends passed away from a pulmonary embolism related to long COVID. I’m sorry we never met in meatspace, H, but I know you were a wonderful person and the world is a lesser place without you in it.

While I would never recommend coming down with COVID, there were some benefits:

  • It made cross-border travel easier when I went to my fireworks convention in February; at the time I went on my trip CBSA requirements for a negative PCR test when returning to Canada by air were waived if you could provide lab results of a positive test within the last 180 days, along with a doctor’s note saying you were cleared to travel.
  • After the holiday break was over, I was scheduled for my regular COVID test before going back to work but upon being told I’d had it over Christmas, I was asked to provide a copy of the test results and they’d defer my testing for 90 days, because PCR tests could still show me as positive within 90 days of my original positive test. I’m now past the 90-day deferral so I can look forward to nasal swabs at least weekly (I’m usually far enough away from the talent that I only need to be tested once a week)…hooray?
  • One of the best things to happen during these “unprecedented times” (are you as sick of that phrase as I am? Of course you are, which is why I used it) is that I was given the rare opportunity to present the display fireworks course to someone who’s visually-impaired. I know it sounds crazy, but I’ll explain in an upcoming blog entry. Until then remember to wash your hands, wear a mask as needed, get vaccinated and boosted when you can, and help others in need.

    *WARNING: Don’t even think about posting anti-vax bullshit on my blog; it won’t pass moderation. Same goes for alternative treatments like ivermectin, bleach, hydroxychloroquine, etc.

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