Category Archives: Photo Projects

Phase 2: Day 5 – Life In Color

Shopping carts behind Walmart

We were greeted this morning with word of a new tropical storm off the coast and headed our way – TS Bertha.  Looks like more rain and cool weather for the next few days.  Things get interestinger and interestinger…. 😉

I’m looking forward to watching the SpaceX launch this afternoon.  Weather forecast looks iffy there, too, but we’ll see.  Kathy & I had discussed the possibility of driving down and finding a place to stay for the week, but decided that was probably too far, too soon.  We just missed a launch a few years ago.  We had gotten off a cruise ship in Port Canaveral that morning, found a place at a roadside park across from the space center and were ready to go, but the launch was scrubbed with 11 second remaining.  As Maxwell Smart would have said, “missed it by that much!” 😉


Phase 2: Day 4 – Life In Color

Magnolia blossom in the neighborhood

I learned a new (for me) term the other day: “Virtue Signaling.” Virtue Signaling is defined by Urban Dictionary as “To take a conspicuous but essentially useless action ostensibly to support a good cause but actually to show off how much more moral you are than everybody else.”

This is the term for how I see the attitudes of some people regarding the wearing or not wearing of face coverings.  To be clear, I am not questioning or judging the efficacy of masks, nor am I suggesting that they should or should not be worn or required.  In my opinion it is personal choice, and I acknowledge that there are times and places where they should probably be used.  There are countries and cultures where everyone wears a mask during flu season and during other times.  In those places it is normal and expected, and done without an air of superiority or inference of inferiority.

I am instead referring to the outwardly superior attitudes of many who wear a mask and then frown on those who have chosen to not wear them, and also to the opposite experiences of those who have chosen to wear a mask, only to be ridiculed by those who have chosen to not wear one.  I haven’t experienced it personally but have read and heard about it happening to others.

The bandwagon chant of the pro-maskers suggests that not wearing a mask displays a disregard for others, and that wearing a mask signifies a compassionate person looking out for his/her fellow man.  But the choice of whether to wear a mask or not is just one symbol.  We were all supposed to be staying home during the last several months.  Kathy & I have mostly stayed home, while others we know gas-butt around town like nothing has changed.  Does wearing a mask make that OK?  I feel like we have done more to protect others by staying home and minding our own business, mask or not, than those who have gone to the grocery store or the takeout restaurants every day, sometimes multiple times a day.  By comparison, we’ve hardly been anywhere to get exposed to the virus.

Kathy & I have masks but so far have not worn them.  It is our hope that we will never need to wear them.  If we go to a place that requires them, we will make a choice.  If it is important enough we will wear them.  If not, we will go somewhere else or do without.  I see it as a matter of our choice based on our own perceived level of risk – both of exposing ourselves and of exposing others.   Other than that we will keep our mouths shut and mind our own business, and hope that others will do the same.

Phase 2: Day 3 – Life In Color


I’ve been reading and thinking lately about how the ability to work from home will influence the future of work, and in particular the future of commercial real estate.  For nearly all of my work career, there was never a thought given to the ability to work somewhere other than the office.

The concept of “butts in seats” never occurred to companies in the 80’s and 90’s up until just a few years ago, because we worked at work.  Even my most recent manager, with half of his team already working in remote locations around the country, was highly resistant to the idea of his Charlotte team working remote except for extreme circumstances.  He once admonished me for wanting to work remotely from an out-of-town B&B on a Monday before a Tuesday holiday, reasoning that I was “really on vacation” and should just take a vacation day.  Things might be different now., but my theory was that with a phone and a laptop, know one knows where you are working from and it shouldn’t matter.   That is proving to be true for a lot of workers.

The idea of a Corporate Headquarters has traditionally been a reflection of the huge budgets and egos of the corporate elite.  Bank of America has the tallest building in Charlotte at 60 stories tall, and why wouldn’t they?  Depending on the day they trade places with JPMorgan Chase as the largest bank in the US.  The building is a monument to the empire of Hugh McColl and the company he created.  Down the street the building that is now the Duke Energy Center started off to be the new headquarters of Wachovia.  We know how that turned out.

But right now all of those buildings are mostly sitting empty.  People have been told not to expect to go back to the office any time soon.  So what will happen to all that office space?  Good question.  Companies have started to realize that space is expensive.  Add to that the potential cost of refitting workspaces to meet new health rules, new cleaning requirements and the potential of workplace-illness-related litigation, suddenly all that office space starts looking pretty unattractive.  And companies are realizing that shifting occupancy costs to their employees will save them some Big Money, allowing the Big Wigs to get even Bigger Bonuses.

It’s just the beginning of that cycle, I’d guess.  It will be interesting to see which way and how far it goes.

Phase 2: Day 2 – Life in Color

Saved up for the red paint, gonna take longer to get the black paint

I took the day off from thinking yesterday, so I don’t have a lot to say this morning.  But I did manage to take some pictures on this morning’s walk.

I have a “goal” in my step tracker of 5,000 steps per day.  That isn’t much by some standards, but it is good enough for me.  Most days I exceed it by several thousand, earlier this week I actually went over 10,000.  I think today will mark 54 days in a row.  Every day since March 1.


Phase 2: Day 1: Life In Color

Orange Lilies in the neighborhood

I’ve decided we’ve had enough of the B&W for now, so I’m going to switch to color.  I’m hoping to keep shooting and posting new stuff but may have to resort to the archives on occasion.

One of our neighbor’s houses has a beautiful display of these orange lilies in front, and I snuck up the driveway before anyone was awake to catch me. 🙂

Phase 1: Day 14 – On To Phase II

Out and About: Cardboard for Recycling

Today we start the transition to Phase II of our governor’s reopening plan.  This allows personal care businesses like hair salons to open under certain restrictions, and allows restaurants to resume indoor seating, again with certain restrictions.  Many restaurants will be open at 5:00 today, although a surprising number of them appear to be holding off for a while.  Truthfully, I think this is a good example of allowing businesses and individuals to make their own decision.  Our favorite Italian restaurant, for example, posted on Facebook that the dining room will remain closed for now.  Evidently they feel it is too soon, and they appear to be successful with their carryout program.  We’re not in a rush to be first.  We wish them all well and will be there when we feel it is time.

I’m going to start something different for Phase II but haven’t decided what.  I think I’ll continue to post daily, but want to mix things up a bit.  Maybe some stuff from the archives to show off some of the work I’ve been doing lately on the old files.  We’ll see! 🙂

Phase 1: Day 13 – Out and About

Out and About: Pool Shadows

So we’re proceeding to Phase II on Friday.  Not a big deal for us with one exception: we have appointments for haircuts!  They aren’t until June 2, but that’s OK with us.  Restaurants will be opening back up, but we’re not in a rush.  Maybe in a couple of weeks we’ll venture out to see what things are looking like, what the experience is like.  Probably going to be weird.

In the mean time, it’s supposed to start warming up again and we will hopefully be getting back into the shorts and sandals this weekend.  I do think it’s time to start thinking about heading to the beach…. 🙂

Phase 1: Day 12 – Out and About

Out and About: Abandoned Shopping Carts at the Bus Stop

One of the blogs that I follow is On My Om by Om Malik, a tech journalist, photographer and investor.  While perhaps a bit extreme, he started self-quarantining even before it became widespread.  A comment in a recent post echoes a sentiment I have also been having:

“…the 80-day quarantine has made me ask the two questions that I should have been asking all along: What do I value? And what is worth my time? Those two questions are intertwined.”

Kathy & I have already been asking a similar question when it comes to eating out or “splurging” on “treat foods” like Five Guys (how long has that been?!?): Is it worth it?  As in cost (both caloric and financial) and weight gain.

There have been a lot of rabbit holes during this 2+ month sabbatical, and more and more I find myself questioning whether I am spending my time in the best way I can.  I would add to the quote above a third question: “how will I feel about how I spent my time during this period 5, 10 or even 20 years from now?


Phase 1: Day 11 – Out and About

Out and About: Pallets Awaiting Recycling

One of the benefits from this stay-at-home period is that we’ve stopped eating restaurant food, and the positive impact on my weight has been notable.  We started tracking our weight daily over 10 years ago, and every week I’ve been consistently hitting new lows on the scale.  Since our last restaurant meal on March 16 I’ve lost 10 pounds, and I’m down 16 pounds since we returned from our Florida trip.  Kathy has been seeing similar progress.  So I’ve been wearing clothes I haven’t worn in years and starting to fill boxes for Goodwill.  It’s a problem I’m happy to have, as I’m guessing that a lot of people will be having the opposite situation to deal with, on top of whatever other challenges they face.

It looks like we’ve managed to avoid the first tropical storm of 2020, although it is gray and gloomy here today from a different system.  We got our walk in between the drops this morning, but will have to see about tomorrow when the chance of rain is supposed to be higher and the temperature lower.  After seeing 90 this past weekend, tomorrow’s high is forecast to be only 60!

Phase 1: Day 10 – Out and About

Out and About: Discarded Shopping Carts

I’m sitting at my desk this morning listening to my computer shovel data from my old 2TB hard drive to the first of my new 4TB hard drives.  It’s an interesting sound, somewhat reminiscent of the computer sounds of old.  Not quite the KA-CHUNK of the old floppy disk drives, but more than the silence from solid state drives.  I would have preferred solid state drives for the new ones, but the cost of drives that large is prohibitively expensive.  I’d much rather spend that money on photo gear and travel.

Our son and personal computer assistant Kevin helped me install the drives yesterday.  It’s interesting how relatively simple computer hardware can be, as long as everything works when you plug it in.  We learned yesterday – after a few attempts – the importance of first being sure that everything is plugged in!  But we figured it out and everything is working fine today.

Today I am working on getting all my data on to the two new internal drives and two new external drives.  I calculated that my old “backup” drives were at least 10 years old, so I was due for an upgrade/update anyway.  This should give me capacity for a few more years of travel and photography, even with the larger files from an anticipated new camera in the near future.