Photo Challenge, Week 4: Smoke, Steam, Vapor

The intention behind this week’s challenge was to photograph long, swirling trails of smoke or steam. I…didn’t do that, and, instead, ended up with just a few photos that hew only very loosely to the theme.

First, a close up of frost—which is kind of like vapor? right?—on a leaf in my yard. Next, a side view of a gas burner on my stove. And, finally, a place for gas of another sort.

The first two I took with my camera, the second with my iPhone X.

Last week, I wrote about how gender-neutral “full-on, multi-stall, chat-at-the-sink bathrooms” make me feel anxious for irrational reasons. This week, I came across VCU’s gender-inclusive restroom map which has an important qualifier for the restrooms contained therein: single-stall! Way less anxiety for everyone.

Tangential thought: As an official old person, I’m excited to be a part of a community that has folks dedicated to thinking about these sorts of things—mostly so I can continue thinking about them, too.

Important and hopefully obviously note: I recognize that my anxiety about multi-stall gender-neutral bathrooms is trivial and irrational but do know that, for some folks, single-stall bathrooms are a matter of privacy and safety.

I got heated this morning during a conversation about how the bus company should focus on providing high-quality, fixed-route transit and not get distracted by whatever shiny new thing. In this specific case, I was ranting about autonomous vehicles, but it could be on-demand this or Uber/Lyft that, too.

From Alon Levy at Pedestrian Observations:

I have noticed a trend in tech media in the last few years: people assert that new technology is about to make public transportation and the walkable urbanism that underlies it obsolete, and therefore it’s a waste of time to invest in the latter. The top examples of this are ride-hailing apps and autonomous cars, but electric cars are also a common excuse not to build urban rail. In addition, there are knock-on effects, causing transit agencies to neglect core functions like good service in favor of tech gimmicks, like Andrew Cuomo’s genius challenge.

Photo challenge, Week 3: Square crop, centered subject

This isn’t Sam and Ross Like Things, so I‘m allowed to hedge: I don’t think I did my best work this week. I took plenty of pictures, which is part of the reason I’m doing his challenge, but most of them feel…boring? I didn’t spend enough time thinking through and looking for shots that would look better square-cropped, and, instead, just cropped down a bunch of photos that I shot in 3:2. I also think it would have helped to switch my camera’s viewfinder to square (if that’s even possible).

I went to an event the other day at a space with gender-neutral bathrooms—not single-occupancy toilet rooms, but full-on, multi-stall, chat-at-the-sink bathrooms. I’m, like, a pretty progressive guy, but when Bathroom Break Time arrived I totally froze.

I felt childish, because, intellectually, I know that peeing in the same room as a stranger of the opposite sex is not a big deal—but I’ve never knowingly done it before! What if I had violated an unspoken gender-neutral bathroom rule? Do we have the same stall-choosing customs? What awkward sentence would I say if I bumped into someone on the way in or out? Probably something like, “Oh, hey. Just peeing here.”

I’m pretty confident that this new Bathroom Way is better than what we had before and that I just need to get over it and get used to it. Still, though, I held it until break time was over and could be sure that I wouldn’t run into anyone to say something awkward to.

Photo challenge, Week 2: Guilty pleasures

I didn’t realize until late in the week that the Guily Pleasures theme could apply non-edible items—like Marvel’s Runaways, a show that is somehow simultaneously compelling and unremarkable. This means that we’re stuck with food and food-adjacent subject matter.

This week: Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend, Miller High Life, Tarrant’s (where you can get an excellently cheap slice of pizza to go), and my first attempts at making a loaf of crusty bread. Ultimately, the loaf didn’t turn out great, so you’ll have to wait on a picture of the finished product.

Also, a creepy picture of me with a Babybel in my mouth for some reason.

Photo challenge, Week 1: Time

In 2018, as part of my annual goals, I decided to get a Fracture of my favorite photo taken each month. This was, in part, to encourage myself to take more photographs, and, in part, to get a bunch of cool pictures hanging next to my bed. It was definitely one of my more fun and successful goals.

I’m going to keep up with this goal in 2019 but have added two new photography-related goals:

  1. Participate in a weekly photo challenge
  2. Use my blog to share photos

I’m sure there are a million and one photo challenge websites out there, but I found this one: Trevor Carpenter PhotoChallenge. Weird domain, but sure.

This week’s theme was “Time,” and I kind of forgot about it until today which meant I almost ran out of time! Here are two shots I grabbed while running errands. The first, our grandmother clock as I headed out there door, and the second, a 5-hour Energy Drink display at Staples.

Pork butt carnitas recipe, courtesy of my good friend Jeremiah

My good friend Jeremiah, or more likely his wife and also my good friend Leah, gave me this recipe for carnitas made from a pork butt. It’s super cheap, super easy, and gives you the base protein for a week’s worth of meals:

Carnitas

  • 1 pork butt
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Salt, pepper, cumin

Put all of these things into crockpot and cook it on low for a bunch of hours. When you feel like it’s done, pull it into a pan and broil it for a couple minutes to get some crispy bits.

I like to make this on a Sunday so I not only have dinner waiting for me when I get home from church but the raw materials for later lunches of pork tacos, pork burritos, pork sandwiches, pork pasta—whatever.

Talk about being on a roll while saving money, too, I think our last massive pork butt cost less than $10. The thing was too big to fit into the crockpot, so I had to cleave it down the middle, giving us another whole week’s bounty whenever I decide to pull it out of the freezer.