Pandemic Priorities

Friday, March 13, 2020 - Wednesday, February 23, 2022

All of us remember what those first weeks of the COVID pandemic were like. The entire world ground to a halt for two months while we all tried to figure out how to safely get through it. For me, it started a period of isolation that wouldn't end for over a year. From March 2020 to January 2021, the only time I left the house was for class on Wednesdays. From January 2021 to May 2021, it expanded for class and my job.

During 2020, I accordingly spent a lot of time playing Minecraft, more so than I probably would have without the pandemic. We had several survival servers going on at the time.

Notable Songs

This song felt fitting as the point to start the new playlist. The title and instrumentation made it feel as if we were on the start of a long journey, which the pandemic certainly was. In those early months, no one was sure of what to do, and the confusion certainly didn't help the circumstances. In hindsight, knowing just how transformational of an event the pandemic would be, I feel vindicated in making this song be the demarcation line and the start of Pandemic Priorities.

I had been listening to a lot of Steely Dan in January and February 2020, which can be seen at the very end of Life Is Great. While COVID-19 certainly affected my real-world life, the server continued in its then-current incarnation as if nothing had happened until June. I kept on listening to Steely Dan as I worked on the N2 Campus seemingly all day long in those first few weeks, with no major changes in my lifestyle materializing for several months, at least until August 2020.

One day in June 2020, I decided that I might as well take advantage of all the excess time to do something productive, so I went for a few walks through the neighborhood to try and get some exercise. I often played this on my headphones as I did. The only time I saw a friend (excepting Maguire, who I had class with) in that period was on one of those walks, as Wyatt was visiting his girlfriend, who in those days lived on the same road as I did. He was walking the dog and I stopped to chat with him.

Axolotl - C418 - Axolotl - 2018

By June 2020, mods were starting to be published for Minecraft 1.15, and accordingly, I updated Telkit Development Edition. I integrated a shader into this pack, and also used the TerraForged mod to generate an entirely different kind of terrain. One day, Jackson, Nate, and I got on, played this in the background, and took a swim with the shader enabled. It set an entirely new feeling for the server, and in an instant, made Telkit II look outdated by comparison. This server would evolve into what became Telkit III.

Where Steely Dan dominated the winter and early spring of 2020, and the Eagles controlled the late spring, the summer was dominated by the Doobie Brothers. One song, Losin' End, I found so catchy that I listened to it thirty times in a row on August 23, 2020, only four days after I first found it.

I am reminded of the beginnings of the Telkit II survival server we had in the latter part of the year every time I listen to it. That server lasted for several months as the primary server we played on.

The Telkit II-based survival server was extremely active in August and September 2020. I often let Spotify auto-play new songs as this happened. Never Let Her Slip Away was a song I'd never heard before, but it evolved into the second theme song of that server.

2020 was a pretty expansive time for my musical vocabulary in general. After all, with basically the entire world shut down because of COVID, listening to new music was one of the few things I could do that wasn't repetitive.

In January 2021, I was in the process of applying for my first job as part of the internship program my university had. The first place I looked was quite a distance away, so on January 2, I did something that was reminiscent of The First Few Years: loaded up in the van with my family and drove down there to get an idea of my potential route if I ended up working there. I listened to this song while we drove there, making it one of a handful of post-1989 songs to make it into my playlists.

One day in the autumn of 2020, during a break in classtime, I was sitting in a chair outside a classroom, watching a light, gentle rain come down, listening to Take Five as this happened. A few months later, I listened to it several times over during the two weeks where the entire country was shut down by the series of massive winter snowstorms in February 2021.

There's not much I can say about this song that hasn't been said already. It's one of the best jazz pieces out there.

Towards the end of March 2021, I found myself watching an episode of Jay Foreman's Unfinished London series, and he used this song for a brief scene in episode 3: Why does London have so many airports?.

I looked for the song, and found myself listening to it over and over, and it became a theme for that period in 2021. That era had no real overarching feeling other than just "meh." I tend to have pretty strong feelings for any given year, but not 2021.

In mid-2021, I was talking to a girl I'd liked many years previously that I've remained decent friends with. She sent me this song as one that often took her back to her youth, and upon listening to it, I added it to Pandemic Priorities, and to this day, I am reminded of that period in 2021. I did feel something of a minor interest uptick for that girl around this time, but I squashed that pretty quickly, and the no-interest status quo reasserted itself incredibly strongly, and it didn't have a serious test for another couple years.

On February 2, 2022, a snowstorm came through our local area and sent all of us home from the office very early in the morning. As my car was out of commission at the time, I was driven by my grandparents.

I remember listening to this song as I watched the snowfall come down as we drove home along the backroads. Work was closed for the rest of the week, so I spent the rest of the week just sitting back and relaxing.