Friday, March 27, 2020

Seeing signs, everywhere

Just look down
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I'm seeing signs like this - inspirational, poignant, kind - pop up all over my #LdnONT neighborhood, and I'm going to guess it's happening near you, as well.

I'll share more of them in my feed here, and I hope you'll do the same.

In the meantime, I'm going to try to follow this specific sign's advice. Because we all need more reasons to smile, even if those reasons aren't always immediately apparent.

#london #ontario #canada #chalk #circle #message #socialdistancing #random #suburban #street #photography #coronavirus #covid19 #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Tread carefully

Painted by the sun
London, ON
February 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
We're blessed to work in a building that offers up architectural wonder around every corner. All we have to do is keep our eyes open - and our spirits willing.

Since we're all working from home, the sights will have to wait for a while. As will the in-person moments of warmth that no videoconferencing platform can ever hope to replicate. Technology can only do so much.

Yet as I poke through my recent photo archives, I keep coming across snippets here and there, quickly captured scenes of a building that's become much more than a mere office to many of us.

Maybe I subconsciously knew something was up. Perhaps I suspected, deep down, that we wouldn't be able to take walkarounds like this for granted.

Whatever compelled me to shoot this scene of the main staircase, looking back in time at a simple moment during a simple workday reminds me we're still ridiculously lucky to be who we are, where we are, with what we have.

Soon enough we'll get back to this staircase, and our colleagues, and our lives. It grieves me how many among us can't say the same.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #345ridout #infotechrg #itrg #historic #architecture #architecturephotography #design #texture #shadow #sun #downtown #office #building #stilllife #monochrome #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

A random toilet by the roadside

Not sure what to make of this
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
[Insert cheeky sign-of-the-times comment here.]

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheachnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #covid19 #coronavirus #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everythıng

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

A frightening crowd of people

Before anyone knew better
London, ON
January 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This photo makes me cringe.

I took it January 26th - which may as well have been a lifetime ago. My wife surprised me with two tickets to the London Knights game, so off we went to Budweiser Gardens with around 9,000 of our closest friends to take in some admittedly awesome minor-league hockey.

If you've never been, add it to your list of things to do when this entire mess is over. The tickets are cheap, the hockey is remarkably high-caliber, and the feeling is one of community. This is what the game should be all about.

As I often do when I'm out and about, I brought the camera, and I stole a few frames in between watching the good guys win.

Looking through my typically 20-20 lens of hindsight, I’m struck by how the sight of crowds now makes me feel. Knowing what we know now, I wonder how we’ll ever go back to being comfortable among knots of people again. Disclosure: I never liked crowds to begin with.

That’s a thought for another today, though. For now, it’s enough to remember a simpler night in a simpler time, when our biggest worry was who would put more pucks in a net before time ran out.

What we wouldn’t give to go back.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #knights #hockey #sports #night #datenight #budweisergardens #downtown #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Bloody hell

Oops
London, ON
March 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Sorry for the jarring photo. Sometimes the optimal path is the unconventional one.

I took this three years ago, and while it looks like the aftermath of a bar fight, I assure you I'm not a bar person, and I don't get into fights. Well, unless testy Twitter exchanges with trolls count. Which they don't.

It was a nosebleed. I don't get many of them, but when I do, they're spectacular. So, weirdo-photog that I was - and presumably still am - it needed a random photo.

I forgot the pic almost as soon as I took it, one of those artifacts of the smartphone-photography-digital age that barely registers as a conscious memory before it fades into the dusty corners of an ever-growing archive. We've all got 'em.

But thanks to the magic of Google Photos, it surfaced once again this morning as part of those On-This-Day reminders that now appear helpfully at the top of our feed. Technology being what it is, forced memories have become a thing whether we want them or not.

We'll call this one a want, though, because on this particular morning 3 years after I took bizarro photo, I needed a reminder that some days suck more than others. And someone else always has it worse off than we do.

I'm thankful today didn't start with a nosebleed. I'm even more thankful that I have what I have at a time when so many do not.

Sometimes it takes a freaky old photo to remind us what matters most.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #throwback #blood #bloody #nose #nosebleed #red #white #ohcanada #stilllife #blackberry #priv #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Cutting costs from my kitchen

We've been super-busy at Info-Tech Research Group pulling together the research you need to navigate this #pandemic.

Our latest #InfoTechBrief video - from my ad hoc kitchen studio - zeroes in on #CostCutting, and why you can't afford to put it off.

Watch the video on our YouTube channel here.

What else do you want to know about? Let us know!

#covid19 #coronavirus #it #budget #planning #research #video

Related entries:

Monday, March 23, 2020

One tired puppy

Nap time
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Talk to the paw, please. All this social distancing and sheltering in place and being surrounded 24/7 by my humans is tiring me out.

Still, I'd have it no other way. They're good peeps. And they give me treats.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheachnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #covid19 #coronavirus #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Losing Henrietta in an empty parking lot

Don't park so close to me
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This is what social distancing looks like when it's practised in a grocery store parking lot.

Mind you, this is how I usually park, miles away from others, often so far away from where we're going that it may as well be in another zip code.

At least now I have a legit excuse.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #socialdistancing #retail #apocalypse #random #suburban #street #photography #honda #civic #civicnation #car #carporn #cargram #automotive #red #color #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Pigeons before the storm

When gathering was still a thing
London, ON
February 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
A lot can change in a few short weeks.

I shot this on Clarence Street on February 26th, an otherwise ordinary day on an ordinary lunch hour on an ordinary #LdnONT downtown sidewalk. I had been deliberately heading out for midday walks with nothing more than a smartphone, part of my plan to sharpen my street photography skills.

The pigeons struck me as amusing - and surprisingly unafraid as I crouched down and composed from a number of angles. I got the usual stares from the humans around me, but for some reason the birds weren't bothered at all.

The lesson from this, I think, is this: Be more like birds. Just not now. Maybe after all this is over.

In the meantime, I think more walks are called for. I expect them to be a lot emptier than the scene you see here.

But I'll bring the smartphone. Just in case my newfound feathered friends decide to make another appearance.

#london #ontario #canada #519london #519ldn #519shooters #random #urban #downtown #clarence #street #random #walkabout #pigeon #bird #birds #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Staring into the silent abyss

I wonder where this path will lead us
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Calli the Wonderschnauzer and I took a new route this morning. I figured as long as the neighborhood looks and feels like a ghost town, we should take advantage of it by going places we haven't gone recently. If at all.

As we stood in this spot overlooking a valley that seemed frozen in time, I deliberately let her graze for a while as I listened to the soundtrack around us.

It was different.

Instead of the relentless white noise of traffic, the wind whispered through the bare trees. I could make out the sounds of individual birds. With my eyes closed, I could almost visualize where each one came from in the invisible 360-degree circle that now surrounded us. It was quite the soundtrack.

Normally I watch the clock when we're outside. Places to go and people to see and all that. But there's nowhere to go these days, and I'm reasonably certain a few extra minutes out in the clear cold perfection of a near-silent Sunday morning is good for both of us.

Nobody wants any of this, especially the creeping sense of uncertainty that now marks every random interaction with a stranger outside the safety of home.

But like any major life circumstance, that's well beyond our control, so there's no sense expending any energy on it.

The in-between moments like this one, where we find the wonder in a new-to-us spot on a perfectly turned out morning? That's another story entirely, and my wish today is for you to find - and share - a similar moment, as well.

They're out there. We just have to go out and find them.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheachnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #covid19 #coronavirus #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Everybody needs more cowbell

Happy sounds
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
"Guess what? I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell."
Christopher Walken (as Bruce Dickinson)
Saturday Night Live, April 2000

As you can see here, we have a cowbell. My late in-laws inexplicably bought it on a visit to The Alamo when my wife was a munchkin. And as we were cleaning things out of their condo, this kitschy old brown bell somehow made it into one of the boxes we carted back to London.

Just as inexplicably, this cowbell showed up on the dining room table as I set up my very ad hoc COVID-19-safe home office earlier this week. It's been sitting on my laptop ever since.

Periodically, and much to my limitlessly patient wife's chagrin, I'll pick it up and ring it. I'm not sure what motivates me to do so. But deep in my convoluted brain, there's a synaptic flash from decades ago, when my in-laws were perhaps younger than I am now. I imagine my father-in-law finding the cowbell and giving it a ring with an understated grin on his face. And I imagine my MIL shaking her head in mock annoyance. Or maybe it's real annoyance. It almost doesn't matter.

What does indeed matter is that a ridiculous piece of family history makes me - and occasionally our kids - smile at a time when we could all use more excuses to do so. I wish I could go back in time and thank them both for planting the seed for a future moment of brightness.

Whatever "stuff" you may have floating around the house, I hope you'll find something and think, hard, about the stories it could tell. I promise you it'll make you feel better.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #cowbell #bell #snl #stilllife #home #office #covid19 #coronavirus #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, March 20, 2020

Where I dream of challah

Just add honey
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Challah. Aka egg bread. Aka the most comforting bread on the planet.

My wife, bless her, made this loaf today, and I couldn't resist a tiny peek after she took it out of the oven to let it cool.

Challah is a central pillar of Jewish culinary tradition. It's part of the Kiddush service that ushers the Sabbath in on Friday night, and it's just as integral to just about every other holiday and celebration.

Jews like to eat. Food often seems to both shape and dominate our day-to-day life. And challah is almost always a part of the process. Growing up, challah was a touchstone of the week, something we looked forward to, as it marked the beginning of a very special couple of days.

Now I'm all grown up, and the world feels like a much harsher place. So on a cold, grey, windy afternoon when global and local life seemed to be spinning off its axis, it was this seemingly simple loaf that pulled me back in and reconnected me with a very powerful and comforting memory.

I hope you find whatever it is that brings you comfort. And when all this is over, there will always be extra challah in our kitchen, where friends will always be welcome to drop in and share.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #challah #egg #bread #food #eat #jewish #judaism #stilllife #home #covid19 #coronavirus #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

She guards her neighborhood

Atop the big comfy couch
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
What I wouldn't give to know what's going on between those delightful schnu* ears of hers.

She must know that something's up. Her people are home. All. The. Time. The dining room table is filled with giant monitors and computers. The kitchen table sometimes serves as a studio, her daddy shushing everybody as he turns on his cameras. The news is always on. The air feels different.

She gets extra walks wherever we can squeeze them in. We still cross the road to avoid approaching strangers, but she can't appreciate that the reason has changed. For so long, it was because she was just a terribly behaved puppy. Now it's because of us.

I wish I could absorb some of her innocence. Part of me wishes I, too, could plop myself on the back of the sofa and scan the backyard for hours in a never-ending search for squirrels and rabbits. I wish I could be shielded from the constant state of, I don't even know what to call it. Rising fear? Creeping dread? Dull sadness? A mixture of all of them? Whatever it is, she's still her nutty-Schnauzer self, and for that we're grateful.

I think the key to this whole experience will be finding that sense of refuge, that quiet spot, like the top of the couch overlooking the backyard, where none of that outside-world/scary stuff can touch us. Where we can take a break from the endless thrum of breaking news and just look for squirrels. Or eat a figurative (or literal) Oreo. Or 6. Or just...be.

From the looks of it, Calli the Wonderschnauzer has already figured it out. We'd do well to follow her lead.

So if you can't find me today, I may be hanging out with her on the couch. Don't worry: I'll leave the squirrels to her.

--
* Schnu - my short form for Schnauzer. It seems to fit her. She seems to respond to it. It makes me smile. Sometimes, that's all you really need.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheachnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #covid19 #coronavirus #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everythıng

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Always eat the cookie

It didn't last long
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I ate a vanilla Oreo yesterday.

Wait, that's not technically correct. I ate a number of vanilla Oreos today. Four, to be precise. I polished off the package, then recycled it.

I'm not especially proud that this was my dietary choice, but I'm also not going to beat myself up over it.

Because sometimes you just have to eat the cookie.

Because sometimes you just have to eat four of them.

Because sometimes we just have to seek out tiny moments of sweetness amid larger moments of uncertainty.

To you, it may be a cookie, or it may be something else entirely. In fact, the what hardly matters.

Whatever it is, don't miss the opportunity to steal that moment, to make it your very own, to hold onto something that makes you happy, even if it's for only the briefest sliver of time.

The skies are still dark here as I stare at the ceiling and wonder what the day to come will bring. And already I'm comforted by the fact that one of these slivers of time awaits.

I just have to look for it.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #oreo #cookie #sweet #snack #junkfood #stilllife #home #office #covid19 #coronavirus #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Disney castle, reflected

Looking at the familiar through a different lens
Orlando, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The world's pretty ugly right now. Worse, no one can see a Disney castle for reals, at least for a while. (I hope someone left enough food for Mickey before they locked the gates.)

So here's a reflective photo of the one in Orlando. I took it a couple of months ago, and I share it today because it's pretty, and hopefully pretty things make us smile during this rather stressful time.

Over to you...please share a pretty scene. Anything.

#orlando #florida #fla #canada #throwback #road #trip #disney #disneyworld #waltdisneyworld #magic #kingdom #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #abstract #reflective #photography #canon #canon_photography #canonphotography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Don't be a dick, please

Hey, denizens of Planet Earth, can we try something a little different today?

Don't be a dick.

If you see someone BEING a dick, call them on it.

If you see someone being a HYPOCRITICAL dick, you have license to use profanity.

Everyone struggles, now and every day.

Don't make it worse.

Be a kind human being.

Now more than ever.

Pass it on.

#COVID19 #coronavirus #LdnONT #BeKind

Note: I originally posted this to Facebook here. It touched off quite the exchange.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A dog's nose knows

Why, hello there!
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
You know, Dad, this work-from-home thing will get pretty tiresome pretty quickly if you keep sticking that thing this close to my nose. I love you, but Schnauzers need their space.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheachnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #covid19 #coronavirus #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Don't fear this tree

Stand right here
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This big scary tree stands not far from our house.

It's easy to feel a chill down your spine when you first see it, likely due to the fact that every movie director in history has used the craggy-tree-at-night trick to frame scenes where someone either meets an early end, or makes a stupid decision that ultimately leads to their early end.

Seriously, don't look behind that door. Or go into that house. Or hang around near that tree.

Yet the longer I stand under this particular tree, the more it occurs to me that its dark reputation may be somewhat unearned, even unfair.

It's just a tree, after all, and it's very much alive. Those empty branches won't be empty for long. I'm pretty sure the scene of lush leaves speaking hushed tones in the light breeze under a bright summer sky tells a different story than the one we see, hear, and feel here.

Same tree. Different time. Radically different experience.

We're all going through some darkness now. We're all looking up at the big scary tree. And we're all probably more than a little frightened.

But that tree won't be like this forever. Soon enough the cycle will turn, the sky will brighten, howling winds will turn to gentle breezes, the air will turn warm, the canopy will return and cast a friendly shade.

Which does nothing to ease our fears on this foreboding night, but still serves as a reminder that nothing is permanent, and there is always light ahead.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #urban #street #night #light #dark #contrast #monochrome #photography #tree #snow #frozen #winter #covid19 #coronavirus #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, March 16, 2020

Where the kitchen sprouts a laptop

Chocolate pie makes everything better
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
When all this is over and we're looking at this period in history in the rear-view, I want pictures of what it all looked like. Because pictures remind me what it felt like at the time. And I don't want to forget what any of this felt like.

With the exception of the young lady in the background, there isn't anything extraordinary in this scene. Technology strewn about our kitchen table as I write for work through the weekend is hardly the stuff of photographic dreams.

But that's exactly the point. Whatever we're calling it today - social distancing, self-isolating, quarantining, battening down the hatches, extreme cocooning, full-contact pie-eating - there's no denying how unique a moment in time this is.

So when a flash of an idea to capture my ad hoc kitchen workspace until I can move all of my monitors and equipment home from the office turned into a fun moment with our daughter, I knew I wanted - nay, needed - to remember this.

Dahlia is like that; always making moments you want to hold onto. And whoever now surrounds you as you ride out this period in history, please never forget why we must consciously hold on as much as we can.

Connecting may look different now, but it is, ultimately, a hidden blessing that we have this together-time at home, and one we should embrace.

Pandemic notwithstanding, this is what makes life as rich as it is. It is as important now as it's ever been.

More to come...

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #parenthood #dahlia #peanut #girl #home #office #covid19 #coronavirus #work #weekend #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Staring out from a detoured train

Pastoral
Near Punkeydoodles Corners, ON
July 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Early one morning last year, just before July slipped into August, I found myself on a train to the big city to the east. A derailment along the way had forced us to take the long way around, through countryside I had never before seen.

Grumbles were heard as we boarded the train. Late arrivals. Missed meetings. Rushed, incomplete days. Tense faces.

I tried to ignore the frustration around me as I settled into our now much longer journey. I stared out the window and idly watched some new scenery slide past us.

Somewhere between Shakespeare and New Hamburg, east of Stratford, not far from Punkeydoodles Corners (seriously), we came across this pastoral scene. It wasn't terribly different from everything else we had seen thus far, but it somehow triggered me to reach for my phone and rack off a few pictures.

Eventually, we all got where we needed to go, and the grumbling around me continued as we walked down the crowded platform in Toronto and eventually dispersed into the crowds that define Canada's biggest, busiest city. For months, this photo sat, gathering virtual dust in my digital archive while other, more notable scenes pushed their way to the front of my feed.

Yet here we are, after all this time, pondering the worth of an ordinary scene from an ordinary morning. And the only conclusion I can draw is that nothing is truly ordinary. Even challenged days like the one I experienced last summer are each extraordinary in their own way, each worthy of being captured, remembered, held onto.

I keep thinking there's a lesson in this scene, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe I need to churn it a little more. Maybe I'll revisit it in a few months.

Or maybe I just have to keep listening to the little voice inside me that says "grab it now" when everyone else around me is too upset to bother looking up in the first place.

#ldnont #london #toronto #stratford #newhamburg #ontario #canada #viarail #train #trains #trainspotting #trainstagram #rail #commute #commuter #transit #landscape #travel #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Beg buttons suck

Please, may I cross?
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This is a beg button, so-called because pedestrians push it to beg for permission to cross intersections without being run over by otherwise smartphone-distracted SUV drivers.

I've always hated them. No one else has to beg for permission to cross, so why should it fall to us to touch a filthy button?

Before #COVID19 / #coronavirus rewrote the rules of urban engagement, I had already been modifying my behavior by only wearing gloves, or by not pressing the buttons at all. Now, I'm done with the button silliness for good.

I'm an original Montrealer, which means full-combat jaywalking is baked into my DNA. I'll take the thrill of risking a spontaneous game of real-world Frogger over the guarantee of picking up something from a button that likely hasn't been cleaned in....well, ever.

It's time to demand better on-street designs, safer rules - like an end to right on red* - and no more idiotic buttons.

They're probably not connected to anything, anyway.

--
* Go ahead, fight me on this one.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #spontaneous #random #street #sign #urban #downtown #city #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Watching the waves roll in, briefly

Another fleeting moment among many
Cocoa Beach, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The irony of sharing this photo today, calming as it may be, is it'll probably be a while before I can return to this place for a followup shot.

It's in Cocoa Beach, just south of the place where rockets - soon once again with humans aboard - leave the planet. As beaches go, it's as good as it gets, and I wish I had spent more than a furtive hour there before we jetted off to our next adventure. Some places deserve more time, more mental room to just absorb, and this is most certainly one of them.

Yet with the COVID-19 virus going viral around the world, governments everywhere - including Canada's - are rightfully advising citizens to avoid unnecessary travel. So this beach will probably be a distant dream to many of us for quite some time. No more lingering in the early-morning surf for me or any other Canadian.

Snowbirds - Canadians who spend the winter in Florida - could theoretically still cram in a few more sunrises before they, too, must head back home. Yet they face their own form of uncertainty as they try to a) arrange travel home at a time when such arrangements can be difficult-to-impossible, and b) figure out what they'll do when they get home. This on top of already being in one or more high-risk groups and possibly already grappling with any number of other health issues.

Like my late father used to say, everyone's got tsuris* (Yiddish word for troubles), and everyone else's tsuris is probably worse than our own.

So for now I'll comfort myself that my biggest challenge revolves around spurious shortages of everyday goods (which, let's be honest, isn't much of a challenge to begin with) and the fact that I can't spend more time standing by the ocean with sand between my toes.

I think I'll survive.

#cocoa #beach #cocoabeach #florida #fla #atlantic #ocean #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #sunrise #waves #water #photography #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #zoom #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

She blazes a new trail

Digger the dog
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The morning dawned bright and cold, and global #covid19 / #coronavirus pandemic notwithstanding, the dog needed her walk.

So we stretched the route a little - ok, a lot - and explored the Walnut Woods Trail.

We had never been there before, and as you can see, Calli enjoyed the experience. So did I.

We'll have to go back. If you're nearby, I hope you can join us. She'll be the one with her nose permanently stuck to the ground. It's a Schnauzer thing, apparently.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheachnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, March 13, 2020

Where a virus rewrites my reality

Sobering dashboard
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Not a lot of time to shoot or write. #COVID19 / #coronavirus has rather quickly wiped away everything I had on the go and redefined my priorities for, oh, the next kabillion centons.

I'm not complaining. I'm healthy, working in a job I love surrounded by brilliant people who feel the same way. As the global crisis around the pandemic has deepened, I've been privileged to be among a group rising to the challenge. It's pretty awe-inspiring to watch so much professional capability literally pivot in a new direction, all in real-time. And to be part of the team striving to keep our clients, our members, ahead of the threat. It's a responsibility we all wear with pride.

Today may have been a long day - it's 8:44 p.m. and I'm just now leaving the office, laptop in my backpack because I'll be cranking copy on it all weekend - but it was a good one, a day I'll probably remember for a while.

And we have many more memorable days ahead. Hard? Frightening? Sure. But there's always someone else worse off.

To wit: Take a closer look at the display in the middle of my monitor-laden desk, It's got Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Centre on it, a dashboard of sorts that aggregates infection and death rates, in near-real-time from around the world.

Every few minutes, I'd refresh it to ensure I was including the latest numbers in my work. And with every refresh, the number of deaths would march up, by 3 one time, 10 the next, always seemingly random, always upward - about 400 over the few hours I've been accessing the site.

It serves as a sobering reminder that real people's lives are being touched - and ended - by a virus we can't see. And a reminder to be thankful that we aren't included in those statistics. That we can still drop a laptop into our bags and head home to our families.

May we all find light amid the darkness. May we all navigate the next chapter with grace. I'll be over here, sharing snippets of the journey.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #office #computer #laptop #technology #addiction #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

The joys of canine empathy

Watching out for her
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Dogs just know when their people need them a little - or a lot - more than they usually do.

They know when a cuddle is called for, or when to simply stay close.

I often think Calli knows her people, us, better than we know ourselves. And just as often I marvel at her ability to handle the weight of the world on those seemingly tiny shoulders. Don't be fooled by her size: This Miniature Schnauzer is a giant in more ways than we'll likely ever know.

She's been hovering more than usual of late, following our every step, nudging us with her nose when she thinks we especially need a time-out from the chaos around us.

As you can see here, leaving Dahlia's side just isn't in the cards for her. And even now, as I write this, she has crawled into my lap and lies curled up into a tight ball of fur, her head resting on my knee. She's always looking out for us.

She doesn't speak in an identifiable language, but she makes sure we always know what she's thinking. And that always seems to revolve around keeping us grounded, making us smile, easing our fears.

I hope she knows how much we treasure her spirit. We always have, of course, but all of what makes her so integral to our family's story feels even more intense and nuanced these days. I can't imagine navigating this chapter without her.

#london #ontario #canada #calli #callitheachnauzer #dog #dogs #schnauzerpuppy #schnauzersofinstagram #schnauzergram #schnauzers #dogsofinstagram #instapuppy #actofdog #parenthood #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, March 12, 2020

On forests, trees, and reconnecting

They stand tall
London, ON
November 2017
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Somewhat impossibly, the news cycle seems to be accelerating. We've barely had a chance to absorb one piece of major #COVID19 / #coronavirus related news before another hits. Then another...

I get that it's unsettling, and I can totally appreciate why so many folks are feeling more tension than usual. I feel it, as well, and I admit I've been staring at ceilings late at night more often than usual.

There's no question we live in unsettling times, and it feels like there isn't much of a plan in place to settle things back down to their normal levels of abnormality.

So I hope you don't mind if I cocoon myself in creative things for the next little while. It calms me, and I hope it calms you, too.

I shot this eerily lovely scene a few years back on a photo walk with our daughter, and I'm thinking we may be due for another stroll through the ancient bog before long.

Because nothing settles the soul better than returning to the places that once brought us peace. We can always go home again, wherever home happens to be.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #sifton #bog #forest #trees #tree #autumn #throwback #monochrome #photography #daughter #parenthood #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #Nikon #nikonphotography #nikon_photography #dslr #zoom #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Radio days, revisited

Back in the studio
London, ON
March 2020
Like many journalists in this internet-disrupted age, I no longer work full-time in traditional media. Which means I'm not on-air as often as I used to be.

Of course, I love what I now do, and wouldn't change it for the world. But every once in a while, I like to get in front of a mic or a camera again. The love of the craft of radio and television is something that'll never fully leave me, and on occasion it's a good thing for me to exercise the media part of my brain.

I'm lucky to know folks like Loreena Dickson and Ken Eastwood, hosts of Newstalk 1290 CJBK's morning show. They're lovely people, and when they call and ask me to sit in for a bit, it's always quite the treat to say yes.

Here's what it looked like when I dropped in for their Round Table segment this week. A good time was had by all.

Already looking forward to the next time. Hope you can tune in.

Desert scene from way above

Ancient formations
Las Vegas, NV
November 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
We live on a pretty incredible planet.

That is all.

For now.

#las #vegas #lasvegas #nevada #throwback #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #geography #geology #desert #aircanada @aircanada #flight #flying #aviation #avgeek #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Benched in the shadows

Have a seat, please
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
With apologies to Forrest Gump, life isn't so much like a box of chocolates as it is a giant virtual kitchen within which we get to experiment with a near-limitless number of recipes.

Like this one: Take one bench beside a big box store, one security light, some brick and cracked concrete, and mix in with a few spare minutes on a cold, wet night in between appointments. This is what you get.

It isn’t much, just some shadows in a forgotten corner of an already-forgettable retail cluster. No one ever takes the time to take this scene in, which strikes me as somewhat sad, but hardly surprising given the way the planet runs today. We’re so focused on getting stuff done, and squeezing the most utility out of ever decreasing amounts of open time, that we just don’t seem to have it in us anymore to stop and absorb.

So I've decided to make the time. It doesn't get me any closer to that mythical box of chocolates, and it doesn’t guarantee I’ll know which one I’m gonna get. But it sure does help me find joy in places, and at times, that would otherwise be dark and featureless.

The light is out there. We just have to look for it.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #random #urban #suburban #monochrome #street #photography #stilllife #shadow #light #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, March 09, 2020

Let's blow this day to smithereens

Just a pretend-castle, but a pretty one all the same
Orlando, FL
December 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I appreciate that today's been a fecal matter show on so many levels. Oil market shock. Stock market crash. Global pandemic. Morons in charge of the response. And it's a Monday.

So please allow me to offer up a scene from the very epicentre of smiles, the happiest place on Earth, captured on the very happiest day of the year, New Year's Eve.

Because who doesn't like fireworks? (Environmental arguments deferred to another day, please.) And who doesn't like Mickey?

There, I fixed an otherwise crappy day.

You're welcome.

#orlando #florida #fla #canada #road #trip #disney #disneyworld #waltdisneyworld #magic #kingdom #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #vacation #explore #fireworks #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Back to 2 wheels

Where the rubber hits the road. Again.
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I've been off the bike long enough. Let's see if all of this still works.

Wish me luck.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #bike #bicycle #bikesofinstagram #cycle #cyclist #cycling #forever #perspective #cyclingislife #wheel #wheels #round #random #abstract #street #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Where I defy death for the shot

Standing on the wrong side of the road
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Do NOT attempt this at home.

In other words, don’t stand in the middle of a quiet North London road five minutes before midnight so you can take artsy-esque photos of the pavement. This is not what responsible adults do.

And yet, this is precisely what I did last night as I waited beside a university building to pick our daughter up. She was participating in a Relay for Life cancer fundraiser, so there I was in the dark, attempting to fill a few quiet moments with some offbeat photographic exploration.

I was out there for barely 5 minutes before she came out, so I only had enough time to grab a couple of quick frames. We talked about it on the way home, because when your kid is a better photographer than you, there’s always something new to talk about.

Which largely explains why I found myself taking pictures in the middle of a darkened, silent road. Because I never want to forget what it was like to pick my kid up. Because the pictures I take are mere placeholders for the moments I wish we had more of.

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #519london #519ldn #519shooters #random #urban #waterloo #street #night #photography #old #north #parenthood #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Gone wild in the grocery store

It's all about the color. Or maybe the texture. Or both.
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The purple sweet potatoes were especially fetching during today's grocery store expedition.

Why do I shoot close-in photos of the produce when I should probably be, I don't know, filling the cart so I can feed my family?

I can't answer that question, and indeed not every question even needs an answer.

Because creativity can and should happen anywhere. And making strangers smile with spontaneous photo shoots in the vegetable section is way more fun than adhering to a conventional script of expected in-public behavior.

I wonder what vegetable - or fruit, or whatever - will catch my eye during our next expedition. Got any suggestions?

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #stilllife #food #foodie #foodporn #fruitography #grocery #store #retail #color #purple #photography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sprinkled donut poetry

Eat me, please
London, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Junk food haiku:

Colorful donut
It isn't very healthy
But it soothes the soul

#ldnont #london #ontario #canada #stilllife #food #foodie #foodporn #donut #donuts #sprinkles #color #photography #haiku #poetry #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Friday, March 06, 2020

My big, old, magical plane

Casting a shadow
Orlando, FL
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
In the blink of an eye, nearly 400,000 pounds of airplane leaps into the sky, carrying the hopes and dreams of nearly 300 passengers and crew, painting its shadow, however briefly, along the scrub land beside the runway.

It's an old plane, this 767-300ER, but that doesn't make this moment any less resonant. It'll take us home safely, as it has countless other passengers since I first saw it fly through the dirt-flecked window of my high school class, awestruck at this then-new generation of efficient wide-bodied, glass-cockpit aircraft. Their flight decks were fully computerized, and they made then-dominant aircraft like the DC-8, 727, and DC-10 look like relics from the 60s. Which they were.

Time moves quickly, in aviation and beyond, and the 767 is now a tired old relic, too, a workhorse that gets the job done, but without the panache of even more sophisticated, newer aircraft. These next-generation craft sport carbon fibre wings and fuselages, automated flight decks, fly-by-wire controls, and exotic engine technologies, and were designed by computer to be even more efficient than the once-bleeding-edge 767.

Yet no matter what we're flying, that moment when they haul themselves off the ground and return to the skies remains something that never gets old, never feels anything less than wondrous.

Because not only does it mean these insanely complex machines are once again back where they belong. It also means we're one step closer to home.

#air #canada #aircanada #flight #orlando #florida #toronto #itrg #infotechlive #mco #yyz #takeoff #shadow #selfie #photography #travel #travelphotography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

When clouds look like fish

Staring down, looking forward
Orlando, FL
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I tend to get reflective when returning home from far away, and yesterday’s flight was no different.

We’re lucky to have the opportunity to do stuff like this, to fly to interesting places on the planet and spend an intense few days learning from - and being inspired by - some really smart, dedicated people. More than once this week I pinched myself to ensure that it was all real, and to remind myself that not everyone is able to walk through the doors that I do.

So I stared at clouds through the filthy window of an ancient Air Canada Rouge 767 with wonky air conditioning. The plane was packed, the guy beside me watched multiple episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger without headphones and apparently had no arm boundaries, and the person behind me gave me many lower back massages throughout the flight as she searched through the backseat pocket for, I’m guessing, buried treasure. Or lint.

The magic of weeks like the one our team just had lies in how experiences like these ultimately change us all. We learn. We get to know new people. We get to know familiar people even better. We take little pieces of the experience home with us. Hopefully we become better people in the process.

Or, maybe we just get to see clouds shaped like fish float past our window, and hope the future offers up more experiences just like the one we’ve just had.

#air #canada #aircanada #flight #orlando #toronto #itrg #infotechlive #mco #yyz #clouds #cloudspotting #weather #wx #photography #travel #travelphotography #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Mountain of glass(es)

Circles and light
Orlando, FL
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
The stack of glasses at the breakfast juice bar looked particularly interesting, so I took a moment to take them in before I jetted off to where I needed to be.

The lesson, if juice glasses are capable of teaching us a lesson at all, is a simple one: There's wonder taking place under our noses, all the time. We can either ignore it as we speed through life, or we can slow ourselves down just enough to appreciate it.

There's nothing overtly magical about this scene. They're just glasses, after all. But when I get to the end of the day and reflect on why it was especially memorable, it'll be snippets like this that stick in my mind.

Strange how that works. But no one ever said this life thing had to make sense. The secret, I think, is to drink it in consciously, no matter how trivial that may seem to everyone else.

#orlando #florida #fla #itrg #infotechlive #infotech #conference #glass #glasses #stilllife #hilton #hotel #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #monochrome #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Before hitting the stage...

The right equipment for the job
Orlando, FL
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Presenting at a conference is a soul-stirring experience, and the few minutes before you step onstage are very special.

The area backstage is dark, packed with equipment, and strangely quiet. You can hear what's going on on-stage through the thick drapes, but it's somewhat muddled, and the space otherwise feels strangely comforting, as if any other time it would be a great spot to duck away from the rush of a typical day.

But this isn't any other time, and if you're back here, you're not hanging out. In just a few seconds, you'll be staring into blinding lights. It can be daunting, but it's also one of the coolest things you can ever do.

Walking slow circles around this hushed space reminds me of the rituals I evolved during my years in media. I would deliberately take my time as I arrived at a TV studio. my eyes, ears and other senses in high-def-record mode, afraid to miss even the tiniest detail. I tried to slow the moment down in my mind as a way of preparing for what came next.

Initially it was to calm my nerves, and while it eventually got easier as I became more experienced, I still always had a moment along the way when I'd pause and catch my breath. The magic of being in front of people - sharing what you know, what you've created, who you are - never goes away.

I still try to ground myself before I step into the lights, and sometimes I even break out a camera and steal a fast picture. It isn't about the photography. It's about telling the story, and freezing an amazing moment in time, so you can come back to it later on.

This one speaks of the often-unseen, near-Herculean effort by countless people to make a conference like this feel seamless to everyone who attends. I can't take my family with me to this place, but I can at least give them a sense of what it felt like when I was here, and how privileged I feel to get to do this.

#orlando #florida #fla #itrg #infotechlive #infotech #conference #hilton #hotel #technology #learning #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #monochrome #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Welcome to the foggy hotel

Looking up into a murky sky
Orlando, FL
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Mother Nature decided to shroud paradise in fog this morning, so the little voice inside my head told me to head out into the darkness and drink it in for a bit.

The fog should be gone by the time we're back in session for the second day of our conference. But I'm thinking I may need to walk around a bit more during the few quiet moments we get when we're not running flat-out.

That balance thing and all. I'm still trying to figure it out.

#orlando #florida #fla #itrg #infotechlive #infotech #conference #fog #weather #wx #hilton #hotel #building #architecture #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Don't play with fire, except...

Not my smartest moment
Orlando, FL
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I wasn't directly playing with fire, but I was close enough to feel the heat.

These are, apparently, the things we must do when the little photographic-storytelling voices inside our heads start to talk to us.

I can't imagine being any other way.

#orlando #florida #fla #itrg #infotechlive #infotech #conference #fire #flames #poolside #hilton #hotel #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Screen scene from a conference

And we're off...
Orlando, FL
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
This is where I'm hanging out this week. We call it #InfoTechLIVE, and I'm surrounded by so many brilliant people that sometimes my head hurts just trying to keep up.

It's a good kind of pain, though, because there's nothing like being with folks at the top of their game to make you feel alive.

We kicked things off just a couple of hours ago, and my first presentation from the main stage went well. If you remember my last conference, there were no faceplants in front of the audience this time (yay!)

I’m sure I’ll have a few more scenes from Orlando in my feed over the next few days.

If you’re away from home for whatever reason, I hope you’ll share a view, as well. Because we all need inspiration when we’re away from those who matter most.

#orlando #florida #fla #itrg #infotech #conference #screenshot #hilton #hotel #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #photography #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Monday, March 02, 2020

Busted elevator at the Hilton

Where should I go now?
Orlando, FL
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Fun elevator fact: My hotel room is on the 15th floor. So the gaping hole in the spot where a working button should have been was a bit of a surprise.

Thankfully there was a duplicate bank of buttons - including a working one for 15 - on the other side of the elevator. But this scene made for a fun few seconds while travel-fatigued Carmi tried to figure out what to do next.

For the record, sticking my finger into the possibly electrified hole where the button should have been was never an option.

The moment made me smile, because it wouldn't have been worth remembering if every button had been in place.

Sometimes, a little lack of perfection is actually the preferable state of being.

#orlando #florida #fla #hilton #hotel #road #trip #travel #travelphotography #travelgram #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

Sunday, March 01, 2020

A Teletubby flies again

Where should we go next?
Toronto, ON
March 2020
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Po is by far my favorite Teletubby, and anyone who knows me knows she has quite the back story.

Well, she's off on another adventure, which means I'm off on another adventure, too. The next few days promise to be action-packed, and both of us will be surrounded by lots of intense brilliance and inspiration. I miss my fam already, but meaningful work and shared success will ensure a bright future for my little brood.

Which begs the question: Why do I shlep a tattered old stuffie halfway across the continent when I'm supposed to be focused on the serious business of business?

Good question. I think it's because we all need to find better ways to connect. And if this Happy Meal castoff manages to bring one smile to one person - on the road, back home, online, or all three - then having her with me will have been worthwhile.

For now, though, it's wheels-up time. See you on the other side.

#toronto #ontario #canada #itrg #infotechlive #pearson #international #airport #yyz #photography #city #travel #travelphotography #po #teletubby #google #pixel2 #teampixel #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #lifeinthemargins #family #everything