Social distancing with Dagmar Midcap
San Diego’s best meteorologist gives tips and demonstrates how NBC7 is adapting to Covid-19
There’s not a news anchor that I trust more than NBC7’s Dagmar Midcap. Ever since I moved to San Diego, she has been my go-to source of information and comforting reliability.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dagmar for CityBeat’s Drink Issue, and was surprised to discover how much of a homebody she is, preferring to spend most evenings at home with her animals.
“The majority of the drinking that I do is at my home by myself,” she had said at the time. “Which is really sad."
Hard disagree! In case you didn’t know, I’m a writer (please don’t fact check this), and if I know anything, it’s the intimate pleasure of drinking alone at home. For someone who skews introvert, Dagmar’s admission was a welcome revelation, especially from someone who seems so comfortable in the limelight.
Cut to now. We’re all isolated in our homes. We miss our friends. We’re looking for anything to replicate the sense of normalcy of the era B.C. (before Corona). Those of us that drink are not merely drinking, we’re chugging, we’re drowning. Based on the desperation I see in some of your social media posts—which are sometimes written with the same forlorn eloquence of a WWII letter—it seems that we’re not good at self-quarantining.
But you know who is, I think. Dagmar Midcap.
So I call up Dagmar for self-quarantining tips. NBD.
When she answers, she’s in the middle of setting up a remote studio in her kitchen with the help of Jason, an NBC tech. This way, Dagmar can broadcast the weather from her house while maintaining appropriate social distancing.
“You should really see this,” she says, and puts me on FaceTime, and suddenly, I’m virtually in Dagmar Midcap’s home. She introduces me to all of her animals. I lose count of how many dogs there are—three or four? I meet Ginger, a chicken roaming in the backyard (“She gives me a green egg every morning,” Dagmar says), as well as a large cage of chirping budgies. She points the phone at her red eared slider turtles and I say, “hey guys.”
“I know that humans are in reactionary mode right now and we’re taking care of ourselves,” she says. “But we’re capable of that while caring for others, and that includes the animals.”
As if it’s not obvious, Dagmar loves animals. But Dagmar’s compassion isn’t just limited to her immediate furry-and-feathery family. In fact, this worldwide catastrophe has only stoked her desire for help, and she’s been spending most of her quarantine time setting up interviews with famous ape expert and conservationist Doctor Jane Goodall, as well as biologists from the Dian Fossey Foundation.
“I wanna continue focusing on the animals who may well go extinct if we don’t do something at this time. They’re losing their protection,” Dagmar says. “So I’m doing more stories on zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that spread from animals to humans, and can possibly spread back from humans to animals...We can potentially take those diseases like Covid-19 and give it back to the great apes, which would wipe out that entire species.”
Listening to Dagmar makes me feel suddenly self-conscious that I’ve spent the past few days photoshopping apes into selfies and eagerly awaiting the delivery of a new pair of sweatpants (they’re awesome btw).
“I get it,” Dagmar says. “I think the best thing to do, honestly, is just take care of yourself. The immune system responds to stress like poison. Go get some vitamin D. It’s incredibly important to the immune system. Get some fresh air! Exercise boosts the immune system—keeping away from everyone else, of course.”
Any tips for eating and drinking?
“I did have a couple gin and tonics,” Dagmar says. “That reminds of South Africa. That’s their national drink. A Sundowner as they call it.”
I tell her that these days, I oscillate between eating healthy so I can be in general shape for eventual societal collapse, and indulging in junk food because YOLO (which has taken on more of a literal meaning these days).
“I know this seems like a time to indulge in sweets and snacks and junk food, but this is the worst thing you can do. So no, I haven’t been indulging. Cut out the sugars. It’s inflammatory, it’s gonna ruin your immune system. So you have to maintain to prepare. Be battle-worthy at any time, because if you start training when the enemy moves in, it’s too late.”
It takes me a few moments to realize that “the enemy” is the virus, but if we were to fall into a post-apocalyptic war—which would ignite in the aisles of Costco, I just know it—I’d want Dagmar on my side.
What about any shows? What’s Dagmar Midcap watching these days?
“I did love Fleabag. Fleabag was fun. I also go back to my Star Trek favorites. People ask me who I’d like to sit down with for dinner—Gene Roddenberry, because he taught me to view the world from an alien perspective.”
Jason the NBC tech calls Dagmar into the kitchen so they can test camera positioning. She brings me along. I watch her navigate through a litany of phones while she talks with producers, directors, and me. She gets a call from Tiffany, who I think is her director. They do mic checks. Dagmar gets confirmation from Tiffany that the shot is centered. She marks the spot with a seashell.
Dagmar shows me the app which controls the weather graphics and gives a preview of the 10-day forecast. I say whoooaaaa, like this is something I can’t look up on my weather app—but again, it’s coming from Dagmar so I trust hers more.
She gets a call from Chuck; I don’t know what Chuck does for NBC but he seems satisfied with whatever’s happening. Jason tells her that everything is set up, and even that if he gets in a car crash on his way home, Dagmar is good to go for the broadcast. I ask if she now has the capability to start her own pirate broadcast, and she doesn’t seem opposed to the idea.
Near the end of the call, Dagmar asks me what I think of all this. I tell her that it’s inspiring to watch how her team is responding to this pandemic. It’s the absolute truth.
Dagmar Midcap recording from home with her chicken, Ginger
“I’ve noticed less stress now than on a boring news day,” Dagmar says. “You see people rise to the occasion, which is very encouraging.” I agree wholeheartedly.
We hang up and I do feel better, more encouraged. I realize that that’s why Dagmar Midcap has been my favorite news anchor for so long: she makes everything sound hopeful. Even when the weather in San Diego is roughly the same year-round, she’s usually forecasting that things will get better.
DOES WEED MAKE SUBLIME…GOOD?
Over at PACIFIC, I wrote about a very scientific experiment in which I explored whether cannabis makes Sublime good. Probably it’s good that this went live during a this self-quarantine so I don’t have aggro chillbros hounding the streets looking to murder me.
THE ONLY CORONA ACTIVITY CALENDAR THAT MATTERS™
There won’t be any live music for the next few weeks, so here are a few things you can do instead.
Wednesday, Mar. 25
Game time!: When this [gestures vaguely] is all over, it’ll be exciting to see what useless skills everyone has developed whilst in quarantine.
A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to learn how to solve a Rubik’s cube. After many late nights and YouTube tutorials, I finally solved it—I was on vacation in Hawaii at the time. It was midnight and my hands honestly shook as I performed the last move.
The cube is one of my favorite possessions. I keep it near my computer at all times and just flip it around, idly. The satisfying clicks, the buttery smooth motion, ungf. It’s by far the best useless skill I have. I can’t recommend it enough.
If you’ve ever been interested in cubing, now’s a great time to start. I suggest the Speedripper Air Rubik’s cube. For $11, it’s a pretty good deal for a high quality cube with “buttery smooth turning.” Make sure it’s buttery smooth. If it’s not buttery smooth, GTFO.
If you end up getting one, I’ll teach you how to use it. And believe me: I’m the least math/science-brained person on the planet, so if I can solve a cube, anyone can. Join me for an Instagram livestream cubing tutorial on Tuesday, March 31st 5:30 p.m. (PST). Follow me here if you’re interested: @rybradford
Thursday, Mar. 26
Reading time!: I woke up today to a very harrowing article in the Union-Tribune about how the sale of guns is skyrocketing. I’ve seen posts about this trend, but just reading exactly how much busier gun retailers are was shocking (the quote about how every day is “busier than Black Friday” shook me).
Fear and panic during stressful times are, unfortunately, natural human responses, but the gun story reminded me of the classic Twilight Zone episode “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street.” I think Rod Serling is one of history’s most prolific and greatest storytellers (he wrote 92 of the 152 episodes of Twilight Zone, a staggering amount that doesn’t even include his Night Gallery episodes). Serling was also one of the keenest observers of human behavior, and “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street” still feels poignant 60 years later.
The basic plot concerns an idyllic American street that witnesses a bright something fly overhead. Electricity shuts off, cars stop working, and a slow sense of unease begins to creep through the scene, which culminates into a full-blown mob riot.
If you haven’t seen the episode, it’s worth seeking it out, but the script is also a masterclass in building tension through dialogue. It reads like a thriller. I legit got chills at one point when a man says “I was just trying to protect my home” after doing something terrible. Pretty much the exact same sentiment in the gun article.
Try to keep your fear in check. There won’t be any need to “protect your home” if we all remain cool.
Friday, Mar. 27
Photoshop fun!: Last week I offered $3 for the winner of a photoshop contest, but I think I’ll get rid of the monetary prize because I just want people to send me funny photoshops without worrying if they’re worthy. So this week, I’ll offer newsletter fame to the person who does the funniest photoshop with this photo of former Utah Jazz player Mark Eaton giving somebody the business. Send it to me by noon on Tuesday the 31st to qualify: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, Mar. 28
Movie time!: Based on all your social media posts (and Dallas McLauglin’s unhinged review of the film Yesterday), it’s apparent that we’re all going a little stir-crazy from isolation, but at least we know that there’s a world outside waiting for us. This can’t be said for the characters in Dogtooth. Before The Lobster and The Favourite, Greek filmmaker-provocateur Yorgos Lanthimos created a darkly funny and deeply disturbing vision of parents who’ve raised their children entirely within the fenced compound that serves as their home. As far as the children—now adults—are concerned, there is no world beyond the fences, so once they start experiencing the natural urges that come with growing up, things get really fucked up. Dogtooth is one of the best films of the last 20 years, in my opinion, but warning: it’s not an easy watch. This is streaming on Shudder (which you should subscribe to, if you haven’t).
Sunday, Mar. 29
Outside time!: I don’t know where you should go—just stay away from people. All the beaches and trails are closed, but how are the malls these days? Wouldn’t it be cool to go run some laps in an abandoned mall?
Monday, Mar. 30
Writing time!: Here’s your writing exercise for this week: Pick someone in your life and write two paragraphs about them. Write it like a letter addressed to them. The first paragraph is all the stuff you hate about them, and the second is all the stuff you love about them. Is there any overlap? You can send the result to me if you want, or you can just keep them in your dark, dark heart. email@example.com
Tuesday, Mar. 31
Music time!: On Monday, San Diego Magazine laid off their staff, which includes my former CityBeat colleague Jeff Terich. This is not only a huge blow to San Diego journalism—Jeff was transforming their music coverage in huge ways—but it’s a harsh reminder of how tenuous everything is right now. Be a chum and go buy Hoax from Blood Ponies—the band in which Jeff sings and plays guitar. It’s super great (I reviewed it last year, too [scroll to the bottom])
Last week, I supplied readers with a photo of a sexy burrowing owl and asked readers to send me their best photoshop treatment, and the results were amazing. I did not get one bad entry.
Winner: Scotty Hoopes
Scotty transformed Rip Taylor into a nightmare of owly facial hair, so he gets the $3 for destroying my sense of sanity.
Lara McCaffery and her “bf Greg” fully capitalized on the “sexy” aspect of “sexy burrowing owl” and also managed to get in a pun. Hell yes.
Carolyn Osorio went full apocalypse. I can’t tell whether the owl is summoning the end of days or sacrificing itself to keep Trump in the blast radius. Whatever the case, I’m super into it.
David McHank won my heart with two entries. First off is Trump choking on an owl, which is VERY SATISFYING TO ME FOR SOME REASON!! In the second pic, David conjured the The Burrow Owls, which I imagine play some sort of rock and roll. The talons strumming guitars are simultaneously hilarious and chilling.
Last week, I also gave readers a very subjective quiz, and the winner of that is Beth Demmon. She was one of the few people who identified Argentina as the largest Spanish-speaking country, but more importantly, she chose Evil Dead 2 as the best Evil Dead. Congrats, Beth! You get a copy of Black Candies coming to you.
Got a tip or wanna say hi? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter @theryanbradford. And if you like what you’ve just read, please hit that little heart icon at the end of the post.