New Theme. Is it a Keeper?

I stuck the picture that Alex liked better in as my header image. I think it’s kind of busy, personally, but it might grow on me.

I’m working on getting a good picture of the Arsenal Street Bridge with the Pioneer Flour Mill in the background to see how he likes that. He liked this image because it wasn’t just a bridge and thus is more “travel”-y.

I think that I’m too short to get the picture I want, though. Maybe I can get Alex to drop me and the stepstool that we refer to as the “fish stairs”* off there and go around the block while I take a picture from a slightly higher elevation. Or, even better, maybe we could find a place to park and we could walk down there together, so he can keep me from getting so wrapped up in getting the perfect picture that I fall off the stepstool and break my leg or, worse, fall off the stepstool and into the river.

Will I be able to do this before the end of the COVID-19 outbreak? Will I need to wait until the outbreak is over? I look it up pretty much daily and everything I read says that outdoor recreation is still acceptable, even for people in the most locked-down areas of the US, like in San Francisco, just as long as you don’t get too close to strangers. Going out with people in your family is still acceptable. I guess that if I could get Alex to go with me during a work day or very, very early on a Sunday when we’re not likely to bump into strangers we could do it.

Of course, both Alex and I are “essential workers” right now. This means that we both have to go to work until we get infected. Alex is working for a restaurant with a drive-through, so he’s providing people with food. I’m a pharmacy technician and providing people with medical care. So I guess we’ll see if/when we get this thing.

Oh! A new-today discovery about COVID-19! It seems that one of the first signs of the illness is a decrease in ability to taste and smell. This may also be a symptom of a subclinical case (one that never develops really obvious symptoms). So I guess I need to keep something with a strong taste or smell around and test myself daily just in case. I had Indian food for dinner and could taste and smell it just fine, so yay!

Crap. I’m not sure what to do about my Gratuitous Amazon Link. Amazon has announced that they’re going to stop accepting non-essentials in their warehouses. I still want to hopefully be able to make a few cents (and maybe someday dollars) from this, so I hesitate to skip the Gratuitous Amazon Link. However, choosing an “essential” might not work long-term. And what would I pick? N95 masks? That might be useful for anyone who stumbles across my blog right now (and can wait until April 14 for it), but long run, maybe not. Maybe an electronic delivery. A downloaded music album, maybe? A Kindle book? Is clothing an essential? I’ve got it! Lupin Leaps In, by Georgia Dunn, the creator of the Breaking Cat News comic strip. Hers isn’t really the sort of small business that is likely to be affected by COVID-19, but a small business it is, and we really should support it.

* I had to stand on it to take care of Alex’s aquarium when he was little.

National Geographic April 2016, Part 3

Ghost Lands, by Paul Salopek, photographs by John Stanmeyer

We return to Salopek’s Out of Eden Walk series for the first time after a pretty long hiatus. The Out of Eden Walk was originally supposed to take seven years, but it looks like it may take longer. The last time I checked the map showing where he was expected to be, he was a little bit behind schedule. I found the map and he was supposed to be in India in 2015 and then in China at some point in 2016.

So far he’s made it to the border between Turkey and Armenia and in this article he shares with us some of the fraught history between those two countries. During the last days of the Ottoman Empire (which lasted until 1922), over a million Armenians were killed in what Salopek says that “most historians” say is “the modern world’s first true genocide.” The official Turkish version is different, of course; they say that 600,000 were killed and that they were more along the lines of “collateral damage” than an attempt at extermination.

Salopek shows us the remaining damage to both the land and the people as a result of the deaths of these Armenians. The border between the two countries is closed and there is basically no way to get directly from one country to the other except for one airline that flies out of Yerevan. By land, the only way to get from one to the other is to go hours out of the way through Georgia.

93 Days of Spring, by Jim Brandenburg

Brandenburg shares with us his project to take one photograph a day in Minnesota during the spring. Brandenburg didn’t choose Minnesota randomly; it’s his home. The photographs are beautiful, as one would expect from a professional photographer. They also show a love of his home that, hopefully, will inspire other photographers to take pictures of their own homes.

As an aside, taking pictures close to home is a particular interest of mine. Some of the important things from my childhood and youth are no longer there and I never got to take a picture of them. I’m always after Alex to photograph the things and places that are important to him because you never know what may happen in the future and he may want to share these things with his own family someday.