Downtown RVA – a few more Street Shots

A pair of lights and pair of guys…. Linked to Cee’s Fun Foto Pairs
gluten free beer
This photo could also be linked to Pairs (two ketchup bottles, two beers), but instead – I am linking to JNW’s hot, because how nice it was to have the modern option to try a “gluten-free” beer on a hot day.  It was late afternoon and we went downtown for 2 dollar burger night at Capital Ale House. The service is always good and the burgers seem to be getting larger (when does that happen???) – Anyhow, the gluten-free beer (made by Omission) was fine – really light, but they did not omit the flavor and it was a nice alternative.  Have you ever tried gluten-free beer?


This happy dad gave me a wave and a thumb up, but I missed it when taking the shot – however, I think I caught the joyfulness of their afternoon walk.


When I took this photo, someone later asked me if this lady was working as a “woman of the night” – I don’t think so and assume she was just outside using the phone while dining at Aurora… Either way, her hair matched her shoes and I thought this was a nice downtown photo to add to my people shots.


more green lights
More green lights this month! For those who don’t know, “green lights” are my special thing this year. After a very slow moving year in 2014, with what felt like all red lights and many detours – this current year (2015) is my “Green Light Go” year (first post is here) – and if you notice in the lower right, even the “do not enter” sign has a green light above it.    yeah….

What about you?  Do you have a motto, sign, or special word for this year?

Well thanks for visiting and I hope you have a nice  day….

Friday 1- thx bytes
credit: Bytesdaily





Better Call Saul (pros-cons)

For another catch-up post this month of May 2015, I have some pros and cons on the show Better Call Saul. If you have not watched the series yet – you may want to skip this post – and for those not in the mood to read so much – please feel free to just skip this and maybe check out my recent street shots post- HERE.

I decided to write my informal take on the show because it seems like so many reviewers leave out the shortcomings. And when I recently watched the AMC recap video of Better Call Saul, the Creators talked about upcoming Season 2 with a sense of grandeur and successful pride that did not necessarily align with what I think was actually delivered. I hear folks say it is “visually stunning” – without noting it is also slow on action, void of plot, and uses immature comedy that is not really funny.  It seems like so much time was spent on miscellaneous or foundational stuff that we were left NOT wanting more. The season ended with a disjointed feeling and someone in the Priorhouse described the overall series as, “Ho-hum with no real plot.”


Pro 1– The filming and cinematography in some episodes was artsy and incredible. Yes, I agree… “Visually stunning”

Pro 2- The show does not use a ton of swear words, but I think I would rather hear a few f-bombs instead of “God-D***-it” so much.

Pro 3– The show does NOT have inappropriate sex scenes – like kinky or suggestive scenes that some other shows use to get ratings. I really appreciate this for a few reasons.

Pro 4– The story showed some background and connections to Breaking Bad – which I guess are called Saulbacks (more here).

Pro 5 – No ad placement and no products from high paying sponsors (or none that I noticed), which is just nice becomes sometimes it feels like the world is filled with so much commercial saturation and it is nice to not have that in a show.

Pro 6 – Some scenes touched upon tasty social issues and relationship areas that are great discussion topics. You know, topics that are universal and important to chew on from different angles as we go about life.  And Better Call Saul includes issues like set back, one’s lot in life, choices, coping, illness, career, lifestyle, disappointments, financial hardship, stress meltdown, and not being validated by a sibling. One great scene came from an early episode, where Chuck and Jimmy are in a heavy talk and Chuck says, “It’s only money.” Great scene and the layered message behind a statement like “It’s only money” is a pivot point for rich discussion. Also, that scene reminded us of the way “money” was integrated into the Breaking Bad storyline – from “stackin’ the Benji’s” to the potent “You have to learn to be rich” scene with Gus and Walt. I can think of at least 30 more excellent Better Call Saul scenes, (like when Jimmy rescued the skateboarders, Mike’s scene with the vet and when he was in Chicago, and when Jimmy has the meltdown in the empty office); so while I do think that Jimmy (Bob Odinkirk) and Mike (Jonathan Banks) give Emmy-worthy acting – it is not really enough to make up for the cons of the show, which I will get to next.

Con 1– A couple “off” acting scenes. While the acting was good in Better Call Saul (actually great most of the time) there were a couple of times when the scenes were SO slow the acting felt forced. For example, Jimmy and Kim were sitting at the salon after hours and Kim gets a phone call.

at salon

Jimmy tries to act surprised and it seemed like he was acting, which is not what you are supposed to notice while watching. Another example happened in the hospital scene. Jimmy and Kim go there to help Chuck and when Hamlin shows up, Kim comes walking out and when she acts surprised to see Hamlin, it just made one cringe. It did not feel natural and just pulled from the scene and felt misdirected. Now these two examples are such minor things, but little details like this separate the okay shows from the great ones.

Con 2– Lack of a unified plot and lackluster feeling. While some episodes were riveting – the disparity amid episodes felt like watching an adolescent girl changing outfits to explore a new identity expression each week. I guess more than 4 or 5 different directors contributed to different episodes and while many times this variety works, other times it does not. We had scenes that felt like succinct Breaking Bad extensions, like Mike in Chicago pretending to be drunk and then taking care of business. But then other episodes felt like a modern version of the Matlock show that was possibly aimed for expanding the viewership to the senior crowd across the world. Now sure, the Jell-O-cup advertising was slightly funny, I guess… and so was the scene with the elderly lady with her chair lift and small figurine collection, but how much of this material is really needed? Maybe season 1 was used to drop too many of those “Easter eggs” and maybe while trying to be artsy and symbolic, they failed to deliver a meaningful episode each week.

Con 3– Poor use of humor. Integrating humor into a series is a nice idea, and I already noted the Jell-O ads and other things were “kind of” funny, but in my very humble opinion, bathroom humor is always a grey area. Further, using 4th grade poop humor is never a good idea and can be insulting to a viewer. The scene with the toilet was when I fully realized something was amiss with BCS.


The talking toilet that commented when it received poop was sophomoric, stupid and not believable. However, at first it felt like I was trying to point out the Emperor was not wearing any clothes – you know – everyone seemed to have the Breaking Bad rose-colored glasses, um, I mean blue-colored lenses – ha! However, as the season progressed “everyone” agreed something was off with Better Call Saul – and the Breaking Bad buzz subsided as reality set in.

I understand that the writers were being creative and taking a chance with new ideas; in fact, Jennifer and I were chatting about this recently in a comment section – because we all know that creative risk comes with mess and even flop. It is flop that sometimes leads to much greatness and while I am NOT saying BCS is a complete flop, I do think it was annoying at times. Like with the Chicago Sunroof – really? In this sunroof mention scene, Jimmy is calling numbers for senior Bingo and he has his meltdown. They were trying to show that Jimmy had reached a breaking point and as Jimmy is trying to carry on, he begins to process out loud. Jimmy reflects back on the memories of “poop through a sunroof” and walks out.

However, the worse use of humor (IMO) for the entire Better Call Saul series was saving the Kevin Costner joke for the season finale.   When someone is a doppelganger of someone else – it is NOT funny to use this as your big joke at the end. The Costner/Saul joke was slightly funny in Breaking Bad, but the real reason that Breaking Bad scene was so effective was also because they added in the psychology element (the note about how Saul believed it and so others did) – but you see, Odinkirk and Costner look a lot a like – and so joking around that Jimmy looked like Kevin Costner is not really that funny – because these two could pass as brothers even without the 3 a.m. beer goggles. There are so many other issues I have with the comedic attempts, but I will end this con with just one suggestion – if you want to integrate humor into some future episodes – you Better Call Jimmy… Jim Gaffigan that is!

Con 4– Overused the beater car. For those not in the know, some of the cars in Breaking Bad became iconic discussion pieces (i.e. the ugly Aztec, Jesse’s old red import, and the P.T. Cruiser). And who can forget the amazing “New Car Scene” (here) where Walter and his son rev up the engines in the driveway. Brilliant.

new car shot

However, Jimmy’s yellow beater car in Better Call Saul was another poorly developed element and it felt like they “thought” the car was constantly adding more interest than it was. For example, the special camera angles of the yellow car and then the many scenes it appeared in – yeah – we get it – you think this car is just super funny – but it wasn’t anymore.

bcs-walking to car

You see – when the beater car kept appearing so often – it became watered down and tired. It seems more plausible that the character of “slipping Jimmy” would have bought another used car (slight upgrade) before he put down all that money on the huge vacated office space. Maybe it was not time to buy the Cadillac yet, but come on guys – even a $2,000 used Camry would have been plausible – maybe all one color – or how about one of those station wagons they used in an earlier episode with the fake accidents?? When a viewer starts to wonder this kind of stuff – it is another indication that something is off.

Con 5– Boring scenes that wasted my time. I do not want to be one of those folks who complains about how precious their time is – but I only have so many hours each week for viewing TV and so I carefully choose how that time is spent. And sometimes while watching Better Call Saul, there were scenes that I wanted the ten minutes of my life back so I could have read or watched something else. For example, the scene with Mike and Jimmy as they banter over parking stamps and Jimmy has to go back and get stamps.

at the booth

The back and forth action – with that yellow car as Mike sits in the booth – it was B-flat and felt like starter footage for someone learning how to space frames in iMovie. Also, the scene where Jimmy licked his finger and twirled it in his friend’s ear to wake him up, come on now- WTH! Or the time when Mike was talking to his daughter-in-law and she referred to some guys who were “thick as thieves” – nice simile, but in that scene it felt wrong.

Con 6– Forensics 101 ignored. Okay everyone –listen up – I guess I need to remind folks that police interrogation rooms have hidden cameras and audio recording equipment. This has been going on for decades now – just watch some early episodes of Forensic Files for examples- but someone seemed to miss this fact even in Breaking Bad (i.e. the time in BB when Saul covers the camera and then talks to Jesse in the interrogation room– well you can cover the small recorder with a coat, but what about the camera in the ceiling??) – Similarly. in Better Call Saul, episode 106, detectives question Mike in an interrogation room, but then off to the side, Mike asks Jimmy to spill some coffee on one of the detectives, which ends up being another one of those forced “oops” type of acting, but did they really think that federal buildings do not have extra cameras for listening in on stuff like this?

-bcscoffee spill really? bcs-mike-java-spill

Another example is when Mike is sitting on a bench – talking underneath headshots, but all the tasty art in the scene is dissolved when we realize that the writers again forgot about Big Brother lurking in all government buildings. In fact, even grocery stores these days have “zoom cameras” with very nice audio recorders. So do you really think that a police station is not going to have surveillance that picks up on folks talking in rooms and halls?

Side note for the folks making the latest Jason Bourne movie (Bourne 5) – which I love and think the first three are truly great – but when Jason calls Pamela at work (and notices that Nikki is standing there or in another scene Jason tells Pam that she looks tired) well this is not realistic because federal work places do not ever leave the blinds open while they are in the middle of intense work. In fact, I think federal employees work in rooms without windows – and so it just helps when a show gets things like this correct.


Con 7– Chuck’s fragmented characterization. In Better Call Saul, episode 108, Chuck is presented as some freak with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS)- which is considered by “some” to be a psychosomatic disorder. For those that want to know more about the very real possibility of electromagnetic pollution and how it can negatively impact the body, especially if someone has heavy metals and toxins accumulated in their tissues – go here, here, or here.

chuck running

Anyhow, Chuck is supposed to be the brilliant one that helped build a powerful law firm, but he is also portrayed as a sloppy neurotic with perceived EHS disorder. There are inconsistencies in how he is depicted in episodes and it felt almost like ADD writing.  In one episode, Chuck is running across the street with a silver blanket and then in a different episode he is now a suit-wearing power player at a law firm meeting. The disease impairment – even if psychosomatic for him – was not developed enough – it seemed like the writers were “newspaper skimming” for funky diseases and maybe chose this one because it was kind of edgy and ever so quirky; however, Chuck’s character never fully took shape.

Also, when we find out that Chuck does not believe in or support Jimmy in a lawyer role– the scene lost weight because Chuck’s character was so poorly developed. Further, I think the writers tried to “wow” us with the big reveal of Chuck not rooting for Jimmy – you know, the pain of not being supported or “believed in” – and while I think Odinkirk’s acting was brilliant as he showed the deep pain that is felt when a family member not only fails to see your potential, but then does things behind your back to hinder your success – the conflict still fell short.  Using this incident as the big trump card was lame. This lack of sibling support is NOTHING NEW! Even in the Bible it notes how a “prophet is without honor in his own hometown” – And most people would agree that close family members are the first ones to kill a dream or are just unable to see the potential in someone they saw grow up and go through messy phases – it is nothing personal – it is just hard to change perceptions when you know a certain side to someone.

Con 8– Jimmy’s BIO not believable. Almost all of Season One of Better Call Saul was trying to show us what possibly led up to the life of crime for Jimmy (when he becomes the unscrupulous Saul in BB). The first problem with this aim is that you really cannot ever pinpoint what leads a person to do such and such. Sometimes there are major traumas or individual incidents that contribute, but we really cannot show what caused demise or what leads to a life of crime. Many times it is a medley-mix and just a human condition that overlaps with fear, culture, power, money and circumstance (and IMHO, if not for the grace of God who knows where so many of us could have ended up). So depicting Jimmy’s past was a mixed endeavor from the start and was likely not a good idea to stretch across an entire season. Even though at first – I liked the tender way they were showing a man worn down and parched, but still trying to do the right thing. This was so good. He floundered a bit, but tried hard to build his career and rise above the party life and move past the former Slipping Jimmy ways. The show also highlighted some nice details about life in the role of a hard-working, underpaid Public Defender and the crazy places to negotiate cases, but the slow-moving story got slower and slower.

Also with Jimmy, they really dropped the ball by not placing enough emphasis on Jimmy’s law school days. If you are going to do the early years on any character that has a noteworthy profession– put more thought into their schooling and then give us a path that is believable. Spend extra time to see if a scene makes the BS meter go off – like Jimmy’s secretly attending correspondence law school was a stretch. And then to gloss over the law school days in one episode!

mail guy

In episode 8, we meet mailroom Jimmy.  We are told that Jimmy worked in the mailroom, secretly attended correspondence law school (while working), and then took the bar exam a few times before he finally passed. This does not fit the character we have seen in Slipping Jimmy – and so just like Chuck’s character incoherently flows through episodes – Jimmy’s character feels misaligned.

Not using the law school days was a missed opportunity. It would have been more believable to have Jimmy barely making it to class – yet still grasping the law codes and litigious things – because after all – in both shows (BB and in BCS) we see Jimmy has the mind of an astute lawyer, he finds loopholes, and arguing smart is in his innate wiring! But the time-lapse version of his unbelievable school days did not fit this party guy, hustler we know in Jimmy.  Instead – they should have had him attend some State school – where he barely made it to class – showed up just enough to pass – and then maybe he had moments of brilliance as he argued a point or used a precedent to impress a professor.  They could have shown us a dysfunctional, immature law student who passed the bar with hangover breathe and took it only after crammed studying in between hustling and partying. Instead – the law school days are thrown in – like an aside – and we have this party-hustle guy who just so happened to also be stable enough to faithfully (and secretly) attend law school for years – all while usurping an introverted side – and then took the bar a few times – and just never gave up – to then go back to his extroverted hustling side? Argh. Does not add up.

Closing thoughts.

I know I may be coming across as harsh with all my cons, but these are the kind of details that separate the “okay” from the “great” – And this scrutiny is what you get when you do a spin-off from the Indomitable Breaking Bad. They are the ones who set the bar this high. Maybe the writers should have started a brand new show instead of trying to spend so much time fumbling with a hodgepodge mix of what possibly could become a prequel for characters from one of the best shows ever.

Now sure, I could come up with more pros for Better Call Saul because there really were many great scenes, even though I am sure I missed some things because I had to use so much self-talk to quiet the inner critic.  And maybe I was expecting more Breaking Bad essence.  Each episode of Breaking Bad was like listening to the best storyteller ever– and as you were riveted with the narration, you were changed and moved because of the characters. Looking in on the Breaking Bad characters became an experience – whether it was watching Jesse cover for his brother when the joint was found, listening to Jane and Jesse discuss O’Keeffe art in the front seat of the car, or observing Walt and Skylar brainstorming on how to deliver a lie – — the coherent characterization in BB left you wanting more – left you needing more – because their exchanges provoked social issues, psychological layers, and at times, left you shaking your head in disbelief and shock.   In contrast, most episodes of Better Call Saul left the viewer wondering when it was going to get better.

So much of Better Call Saul came up short (they broke bad?) as they failed to give us rich individual episodes and a universal whole. I understand that we are in a new era of binge watching and some shows are being released a full season at a time. So I get that shows are developed with concentrated viewing in mind, but for a new show to start off spending an entire season laying a sketchy, incoherent foundation – they missed giving us the weekly episode engagement and failed to give us developed characters. I recently heard that in an interview last June (2014), Vince Gilligan noted he was iffy about even making a prequel to BB, and maybe his ominous vibe was in tune with what was being filmed.

Better Call Saul is an okay show, but that’s it. Visually stunning, but overall –  still just okay.


That’s it – have a great day and if you got this far – thanks for reading – peace out!

Enveloped (Virginia Beach Street Photography)


The wpc this week is enveloped, so I thought I would combine my entry while I finish sharing my Virginia Beach photos (15 images).

norway lady va bch
Let me start off by showing you this shot of the Norwegian Lady. Her sister statue sits on a beach in Moss, Norway and both statues were placed to honor the sad loss of the Norway ship, The Dictator. Inscribed on the statue is “TO WISH ALL MEN OF THE SEA SAFE RETURN HOME” (Go HERE for more info)
The Naval Aviation Memorial is enveloped between 25th Street and Atlantic Avenue. The different figures, designed by artist Michael Maiden, depict three eras of naval aviation (early 20th century, World War II, modern times). More HERE.



This is the first street shot I grabbed.  He said people call him  “Murph” – and this Virginia Beach “local” had a nice sense of humor. Later on…. when we saw a nice little restaurant/pub called Murphy’s (here), I wondered if it was his (you never know). Anyhow, I like Murph’s look – his feet were enveloped in those boots and the mix of goodies nestled in his basket – and fishing poles coming off the bike.


I liked the look of this child looking up at the figure. He was there with his family and I wondered what he was thinking as he stared… (what was enveloped in his thoughts if you will).


This couple laughing really caught my eye – as they sat back-to-back – enveloped between memorial pieces.


This traveling man was carrying a stuffed backpack, you can barely see it on the ground there – to his left. I felt grateful that I did NOT have to carry around my belongings enveloped in a bag.


palm tree enveoped between statues
The palm tree is right at their fingertips, and the blooming Azaleas (which are late to bloom this year) help envelope, hedge, and beautify the memorial.



Lighting up a cigarette, which is tobacco enveloped inside of paper. Also, for those who do not know, Virginia is the 4th largest tobacco producing state in the U.S. (North Carolina produces the MOST  – way beyond all others – and Kentucky is 2nd while Georgia is now 3rd).



The camera is enveloped in this photographer’s grasp. I like this photo also because it shows the girls talking near the exit doors –


It seems like “Dippin’ Dots” are everywhere these days – at festivals, carnivals, dance events, malls, etc. These little balls of ice cream, created in 1988, are referred to as “cryogenic encapsulation” – or super-cold beads – and just FYI – there are 2,000 Dippin’ Dots enveloped inside a 5oz cup, which cost $5.00.


collage from vabch
I made this little collage to show you what is enveloped on some of the side streets in Virginia Beach: street art, painted cars, people, and police on bikes and 4 wheelers.



enveloped in traffic going
When you drive to the beach from RVA, chances are very good that you will be sitting in traffic at some point (um, enveloped between cars). Linked to LULD


enveloped in the tunnel
When you drive to the beach from Central Virginia, you go underground thru the Hampton Roads Bridge–Tunnel (HRBT), which is a 3.5-mile passageway enveloped below the water! These photos are of the eastbound tunnel, completed in 1976. Linked to Cee’s Which Way.


On the ride home, it was stop and go as we waited to go through the Westbound tunnel, which was built in 1958. Many people think that it is high time to expand these small, old, two-lane arteries, which constantly get clogged with traffic (or enveloped with vehicles) making commutes extra long. This was my son’s first stop and go type of wait and he did so well (he still has his learner’s permit).  One time he rolled down the windows and cranked his tunes as a joke, but I was really proud of his patience.


My last photo is of Cain, who we met at a Rest Area (after waiting so long at the tunnel area). We had a nice little chit-chat and this is his third motorcycle, but it is his least favorite of all the bikes he has owned. He is the father of 4 and he no longer does wheelies. Oh – and his bike has lights – a 300 dollar light kit – and should I say enveloped one more time??? Okay…..why not! Cain’s bike lights are “enveloped” inside the framework, which emit a glow when parked. Using a remote he can also display a colorful light show.


Thanks for reading.  If you have time, why not have a listen to short Envelope song from Volatile Molotov (2010), which says –

I wrote this note on an envelope — a due date from long ago it said–  don’t be scared, just do your thing…

I like that – “don’t be scared – just do your thing.”

So this weekend, be sure to  – not be scared while you do what you do… :)


Force of Nature – walk with Jo

For a Walk with Jo this week, I bring you to the 2015 International Cheer Competition in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (14 images)

tigers 2
My niece is with The Tigers cheer team from Ontario, Canada. We had the chance to see them perform in Virginia Beach over Mother’s Day weekend. I was floored by how good their show was – these girls are powerful forces of nature!
force of nature- tigers
I think I was expecting the atmosphere to feel like Toddlers & Tiaras, you know, with a fu-fu feel. And while it somewhat did have that vibe – with glitter cheeks and thick mascara – the show exceeded expectations. The acrobatics, the choreography, and the high level of athleticism was a pleasure to experience.
tigers 1
They cheer to dance music with spotlights spinning – so there is a certain concert or club vibe in the air (which is cool ,but was a bit too loud) – and as noted – this modern kind of “cheering” is an ART.  The different twirls, the coordination with front rows popping up while a back row bends – while the middle row flips – it is SO cool.  They also integrate traditional pyramids and classic cheer moves.
This is my niece, Alexis. She is Canadian and she has been in gymnastics and sports since she was a toddler. Alexis is strong, but don’t let her tough side fool you – because she is kind and has a smile that warms your heart. This is her first year in cheer and she said she enjoys this competitive league. With her gymnastics background, she has brought strength to the floor routines and tumbling segments.
I guess that “hair bows” are the big thing here. Some bows sold for more than thirty bucks, and they also had a “build-a-bow” workshop in another part of the center.  Someone was making some dough, that’s for sure.
usfinals collage 2015
A mixed collage to give u a feel for walking around at this event. We were told that “selfie sticks” were NOT allowed – but we did see a few folks walking around with them (upper right).


holding dolphin
I took about 8 different shots to get this one – “Joy is… hanging out with your niece while waiting for showtime” – :)
dolphin reflection -paula
This photo, with the dolphin, empty chair, bit of trash on the ground – and slight reflection – is linked to Paula’s B & W.

For part 2, let’s finish our walk by going outside of the convention center.

The Virginia Beach Convention Center has some architectural flair – but don’t let the sweet design fool you – because this structure is also quite tough and it can handle the forces of nature (like hurricanes) and the cloudy sky in this photo is linked to JNW.


Here is the rest of the convention center – at dusk – with some more green lights to the front (yeah). This shot, with all of the lines and angles –  is linked to Cee’s fun foto challenge.



the beach
Here is the beach, which is a few miles east of the convention center – the smooth sand and sea foam is linked to narami’s week 20
at the beach
an elongated selfie….
force of nature - tear down
Forces of nature – forces of man.
force of nature - gravity
Forces of nature take two. There is something about this photo I just really like – and it is one of my favs from this post.  What about you…. do you have a favorite photo from this post?  Well thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a great day.  For more forces of nature posts, check out the daily post. And for more walks with restless Jo – go here – where this week she brings us to Krakow.






Mark Barker and 10 more Street Shots

Part 1

I received an email from RoxAnne this week (she is the one smiling in the photo with Mark) – letting me know that Mark Barker passed away last Sunday (5-3-2015). (My first post with Mark is here.) So I would like to start this post with a tribute to Mark.  I was hoping to interview Mark sometime later this year, and Jennifer sent me a cool outline for interviews, but it just was not meant to be….

mark barker rip - 1927-2015
So…. Rest In Peace Old Timer. The world is a better place from all that you did with TV in Central Florida, from your work in North Carolina, and from the MANY people you impacted with your smooth demeanor and caring heart. I am so glad I had the chance to meet you earlier this year —- our encounter was brief, but I am better because of it.  Also, thanks to you RoxAnne for staying in touch. I am sending you and all of Mark’s family my heartfelt condolences.


Here is the Orlando Sentinel’s article about Mark Barker –  also, Mark was a jazz music fan, so here is BB King jammin’ The Thrill is Gone in 1993.

Part 2: Ten More Street Shots From Florida 2015


This is Eric –  I took 6 photos of Eric in February and I emailed him the pics this week. In this collage, I combined 3 of the pics to highlight one of his boards –  and with all that wax, I just have to link to Narami’s texture week #19.


pps-312-3-2015-torn jeans lady
I took these photos a few months ago – and the one on the left reminded me (a bit) of Sally’s “high key” discussion  – check it out HERE – it is a very interesting post.


This is Chris. I really like the way the yellow circles look on the glass behind him – with his hat, sunglasses, soft smile, smoke, and crossed leg. I think he is homeless, buy I am not positive. He was sitting outside of the store and we started chatting as I was taking some tree photos. He was watching a Smithsonian show on his digital device.  Again, I am not positive he is homeless, but he talked about sleeping on the beach and there were other hints. I insisted he let buy him a Publix sub. He said no the first two times, but then when he said yes he had a custom order to blurt out. ha!  It turned out that the sub maker was quite rude (lower right) – the guy seemed highly inconvenienced. If I did not promise Chris a sub, I would have walked out and joined my Aunt who was down in the plaza getting Chinese take out.  It all worked out fine – but crabby workers leave a lasting impression.  However, nice people also leave an impression – and a big thanks to Chris for his sweetness.


This is Lea. I was glad when she said that I could take her picture. I took about 6 photos – real quick like – and later at home when I saw the photos –  I was surprised!


I was with my second cousin when I took this photo of Renee, who was sharing samples and recipes. It seems like every time I visit this cousin in Tampa – we end up at the store together at least once. We talk, we shop, we laugh…. and this photo of Renee serving up some Tuscan steak reminds me of the joy I feel when I visit this particular family. Traveling is so tiring – especially when we make the rounds to see this one and that one, but in the end — it is food for the soul.


This lady had the coolest story to share about her work and the customers she encountered. I did not have time to take notes or record her sharing, but she was so detail orientated and on top of her game.  Someday I would like to do a “series” on people and their work – but for this encounter – I just listened – enjoyed – and grabbed a few photos.


pps-320-3-2015-g-cigar shop
Another shot from Ybor City…the people in the left photo each have such a unique feel.



Such a nice store clerk. The mural in the background is of the Florida manatee.


The rain was coming down as we checked out this Mexican restaurant. I like the bright colors of the building and this pic is linked to lingering windows.
This is Carlos.  This is my favorite street shot connection from Florida this year because Carlos is so cool.  We had one of those conversations that was fueled by chemistry – you know, where you click because you see the world thorough a similar lens. We talked about family, NYC, and the space program. I did get a tiny bit of video, not sure how/if that project will unfold, but thanks so much  to Carlos for the convo on that early, rainy morning!


That is all I have for today, which is part of my “catching up posts” this month.  Please let me know if you have a favorite from today?


Have a nice Friday – and if you are in the mood for some more street shots, check out Bill’s “POSTS FROM THE ‘PORTRAITS’ CATEGORY” HERE



Elements in B & W (victor hugo snippet)

I am combining challenges today (6 images).

Part 1 is my response to Paula’s Guest this week.  Photographer Tobias said, Perspective – geometry – black and white photography: This is how things seem to connect.  Against this background, I would like you to challenge the idea that perspective is inevitable in a photo. If you like, make two photos of the same object: One containing as much and the other one as little perspective as you can.”  Go here to join in and go here to see S & S’s bird post for this challenge. 


second shot of tree
Perspective #A
tree 3
Perspective #B


For part 2, I am joining Lisa D. with her invite to “post photos of the four classical elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire.



earth 2
Earth… and water.



Water…. and air.


Air…. and fire (or at least some heat).
all the elements
Fire, water, air, and earth combine to make for a frothy afternoon java treat.



 For part 3, I close this post with a snippet from my favorite book, Les Miserables. This snippet does have a Christianity reference – so just a heads up to those of you who prefer to not read this type of content – you might want to skip this part – :)

But for those readers who are in the mood for a little Victor Hugo – or if you want to come back later –  I love this passage because it has some reference to the “elements” – but it also has a reaching out scene that completely inspires me. 

Victor Hugo depicts an amazing man, the B -, who models a LIFESTYLE of loving.

We do not have to live exactly like the Bishop in order to incorporate more loving practices into our lives – but with a little mindfulness — we can think of others more and more, which sure is a rich way to live (with balance of course).


From Book 2, Chapter 3: The Door Opened.


While he was speaking, the Bishop had gone and shut the door, which had remained wide open.

Madame Magloire returned. She brought a silver fork and spoon, which she placed on the table.

“Madame Magloire,” said the Bishop, “place those things as near the fire as possible.” And turning to his guest: “The night wind is harsh on the Alps. You must be cold, sir.”

Each time that he uttered the word Sir, in his voice which was so gently grave and polished, the man’s face lit up.

Monsieur to a convict is like a glass of water to one of the shipwrecked of the Medusa.

Ignominy thirsts for consideration.

“This lamp gives a very bad light,” said the Bishop.

Madame Magloire understood him, and went to get the two silver candlesticks from the chimney-piece in Monseigneur’s bed-chamber, and placed them, lighted, on the table.

“Monsieur le Curé,” said the man, “You are good; you do not despise me. You receive me into your house. You light your candles for me. Yet I have not concealed from you where I come and that I am an unfortunate man.”

The Bishop, who was sitting close to him, gently touched his hand. “You could not help telling me who you were. This is not my house; it is the house of Jesus Christ. This door does not demand of him who enters whether he has a name, but whether he has a grief. You suffer, you are hungry and thirsty; you are welcome. And do not thank me; do not say that I receive you in my house. No one is at home here, except the man who needs a refuge. I say to you, who are passing by, that you are much more at home here than I am myself. Everything here is yours. What need have I to know your name? Besides, before you told me you had one which I knew.”

The man opened his eyes in astonishment.

“Really? You knew what I was called?”

“Yes,” replied the Bishop, “you are called my brother.”

“Stop, Monsieur le Curé,” exclaimed the man. “I was very hungry when I entered here; but you are so good, that I no longer know what has happened to me.”

The Bishop looked at him, and said,—

“You have suffered much?”

“Oh, the red coat, the ball on the ankle, a plank to sleep on, heat, cold, toil, the convicts, the thrashings, the double chain for nothing, the cell for one word; even sick and in bed, still the chain! Dogs, dogs are happier! Nineteen years! I am forty-six. Now there is the yellow passport. That is what it is like.”

“Yes,” resumed the Bishop, “you have come from a very sad place. Listen. There will be more joy in heaven over the tear-bathed face of a repentant sinner than over the white robes of a hundred just men. If you emerge from that sad place with thoughts of hatred and of wrath against mankind, you are deserving of pity; if you emerge with thoughts of good-will and of peace, you are more worthy than any one of us.”

In the meantime, Madame Magloire had served supper: soup, made with water, oil, bread, and salt; a little bacon, a bit of mutton, figs, a fresh cheese, and a large loaf of rye bread. She had, of her own accord, added to the Bishop’s ordinary fare a bottle of his old Mauves wine.

The Bishop’s face at once assumed that expression of joyeuseté, which is peculiar to hospitable natures. “To table!” he cried vivaciously. As was his custom when a stranger supped with him, he made the man sit on his right. Mademoiselle Baptistine, perfectly peaceable and natural, took her seat at his left.

The Bishop asked a blessing; then helped the soup himself, according to his custom. The man began to eat with avidity.

All at once the Bishop said: “It strikes me there is something missing on this table.”

Madame Magloire had, in fact, only placed the three sets of forks and spoons which were absolutely necessary. Now, it was the usage of the house, when the Bishop had any one to supper, to lay out the whole six sets of silver on the table-cloth—an innocent ostentation. This graceful semblance of luxury was a kind of child’s play, which was full of charm in that gentle and severe household, which raised poverty into dignity.

Madame Magloire understood the remark, went out without saying a word, and a moment later the three sets of silver forks and spoons demanded by the Bishop were glittering upon the cloth, symmetrically arranged before the three persons seated at the table.




Hope u have a nice Sunday and speaking of the elements, here is an old school song from Earth, Wind and Fire


Check out Lisa’s post HERE if you have some photos to share that align with the  4 elements.


CORE Surf Shop in FL (catching up post 1)

Hello everyone.  May has officially arrived and for the priorhouse blog, this means catching up on some old post ideas.  Today’s post is part 1 (of about 10) “catching up” posts that I hope to share this month.  Today I invite you to join me as we check out Core Surf Shop.

core surf collage priorhouse 2015
Core surf shop is a small surf shop in Cape Canaveral, FL, which is on the East Coast side of Florida. This is in an area called the Space Coast. This section of Florida has seen better days. It was much more “happening” forty years ago, but the town hangs on with miscellaneous launch activity and plenty of beach access. 


core surf shop 1
Parking if reserved for surfers only….


Thank you, Core, for letting me take your photo to add to my growing collection of people shots!  I really like this photo of Core because it shows his surfer side mixed with his entrepreneur success. It kind of reminds me about how we need to “do what we love” and if making a business out of it works out too – well that just sweetens the days.   


surfer figurine front
This hard to miss figure sits out front of Core Surf and a lot of people like to pose for a photo with this silver surfer  This year (2015) is the first time I have seen the silver surfer wear a tie.


surfer figurine behind
Here is the surfer from another angle. The time of the sun setting was a treat for me because I like the mood it added to some of the photos – even though I have to admit that I was in a hurry – it was the end of another long day and dinner was waiting for us back on the river. (and yes, I think I caught a selfie here too- lol)


large surf shop
Core Surf is located right down the road from some of the larger surf shops in Cocoa Beach. Here is a shot of one of the tourist stores, which is also where I had one of my celebrity encounters back in 2001. Now you need to know that I am NOT the kind of person who gets all gushy over meeting celebs or while encountering someone who has status or power.  Not to disrespect them or anything, but usually it just means nada to me. Also, working in the restaurant business for more than ten years meant that I encountered many celebs and high profile individuals. Too many to count!  And usually I just like to give them their privacy, but most of the time I just do NOT care about their fame.  Well I guess it depends, because if it is someone I admire I might be interested. For example, when I met the author Larry Crabb in 1996, I was pretty excited. Anyhow, a while ago, Sonel and I were chatting about how sometimes we encounter celebs while going about life – and many times we do not even realize it at the time. It is like you see them and you kind of think that they look like someone you know. Your curiosity races as the wheels in your mind turn and sometimes it is only later when you realize who it was (or who you think you encountered)!  That was how it was when I met Kevin Spacey at Ron Jon’s surf shop.  We had two teenage girls visiting us from Denver –  and I drove them down to the touristy Ron Jon’s.  I was waiting outside while they shopped and I was wondering the time.  I left my sweet “Qulacomm cell phone” in the car (do you remember those phones?) – and I noticed some folks were shaking out beach gear. The first guy I asked completely ignored me (think it was Spacey’s son).  Then this guy with a beard looked up and smiled, looked at his watch, and told me the time. Those eyes haunted me all afternoon, and finally I figured it out- I think it was a Spacey sighting. In 2001, Spacey was popular for his role in The Usual Suspects (1995) and The Negotiator (1998). 


kevin spacey
I took this photo earlier this year while in a FL Publix, because I wanted to show Kan and let her know that I did not really care for HOC. It has good acting and all, but just not my kind of show and so I stopped watching. Anyhow, this store is also right down the road from where Kevin Spacey “told me the time” back in 2001 – and I sometimes think of it when I visit this part of FL. He was a very nice guy – not “stuck up” and so that is worth noting. 


a1a beachfront avenue
My memories in Florida start as early as 1989 and somehow as a family we ended up living there in 2001 (long story). We then moved away from FL in 2002.  I did not go back to Florida after that until 2009. Life had gotten so busy with moving a couple of times and raising kids – also, FL was the last place on my list to visit. However, when spring break 2009 rolled around, the boys and I really wanted to visit the Sunshine State. My mom was all settled into her new place and we seriously needed a road trip. The boys were fast asleep and it was about 2 a.m. when I called my mom for the final directions. I had quickly printed the route from Mapquest before I left – but did not really pay attention to the exact address.  On the phone my mom said, “And then you will cross over A1A, just keep going towards the ocean…” What???? Well for those that don’t know – A1A is beachfront Avenue (original Vanilla Ice song here) and anything closer to the ocean than that is pretty much on the water!  We did not realize my mom’s new place was 109 steps from the sea.  Ahhhhh – and we have been visiting her almost every year since.  Last year she moved to a smaller place on the River, but whenever I see a sign that says “A1A” – I always smile and finish it by saying “beachfront avenue….” 


core surf shop 2
As the sun sets and the salty air lingers – Core wipes the surf report board clean and then closes up shop for another day.




Azalea Mall Remnants

For a walk with restless Jo this week, I bring to you the leftover remains of the Azalea Mall in RVA.

looking thru

tree growing from concrete crack
This is linked to Thursday Special’s Traces of our Past Theme  because this old mall space whispers of days gone by.


thalhimers old terrazzo floor
Walking along this broken up terrazzo floor incited certain emotions. First, it was an experience to feel the hallow, crumbling crunch. Second, I thought of the shoppers who walked this very corridor: Rustling bags in a hustle, clutching hands in a stroll, or shuffling keys to open business. This interesting floor composite is also what made me look up the history of what used to be the Azalea Mall. As the boys skated briefly, I did a little research – and first I found O3’s cool post called the azalea wasteland – HERE.


azaela mall 1963-1982-2015
It turns out that the Azalea Mall was the first enclosed mall in Richmond, VA: It opened in 1963, closed in 1995, and for two decades it has been fenced off and waits for a new life
The big anchor for the Azalea Mall was a department store called Thalhimer’s. When I thought about this German name, I wondered how a branding expert today would comment on using this  family name for a store chain, because name pronunciation and the mood invoked matters (check this site for a snippet on the bouba/kiki effect). I then found out that the name was in fact slightly modified when California based Broadway Hale Stores bought the chain in 1978 –  they dropped the apostrophe and made it Thalhimers. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what branding experts think, but sometimes it does.


thalhimer with weeds
Before                                                        After


azalea mall collage 2
In this collage, I include this shadow selfie – because it shows how long my hair is getting! Last summer, I chopped my hair and while it was something I always wanted to do, I really like having long hair again.
everything happens for a reason
This quote has been coming up a lot this month – and as I walked around the remnants of old mall floors filled with decay, it reminded me of when I used the “everything happens for a reason” phrase while teaching science. On nature hikes, I would always remind students about the natural life cycle of all living things.  For example, even though it is sad when a great tree falls, it also is part of a needed cycle, which makes way for other things. A fallen tree can open the forest canopy so sunlight can reach saplings and a fallen tree ends up nourishing soil as the FBI (fungus, bacteria, insects) do their part.  “Everything happens for a reason,” I would remind students as we moved along the trail. And the same goes for so many areas in life, whether it be closed malls or difficult life circumstances, sometimes what seems so devastatingly empty and void is usually part of a rich cycle that works for good and contributes to a meaningful whole.  small tree in pavement old shop center
woolworths azalea mall
When I walked across the checkered remnants section, I think this might be where Woolworths had an eatery. Did you ever go to a Woolworths? I used to go to Woolworths at the Thruway Mall in Buffalo, NY, which happens to be another one of America’s “dead malls.” The Thruway Mall will always be special to me because in 1983 I recall going there and feeling all grown up because I had my own babysitting money to spend. I only remember the year ’83 because on one fun shopping day – as I was looking for bargains, Lionel Richie’s “You Are” song was ubiquitous and I can still picture a couple of older ladies in a store singing along as it played. Go here to hear the You Are song. 
old mall
Well nowadays – I am all grown up, compared to those early shopping days in the 1980’s. However, I still like to find bargains and I am still maturing – you know…  just always growing and trying to embrace each day for what it has.  And in this above photo – you can faintly see my son’s car (back center left) – which is how we ended up at this vacated mall space – my son is logging lots of driving hours with a learner’s permit and they begged me to stop here real quick like.  I was reluctant, but agreed because even though I had a list of things to get to –  sometimes investing in requests is a simple way to deposit into that “relationship account.” I ended up with this enriched stroll down memory lane and when I told my son about it-  how I took a few photos and also soaked up spring sunshine, well he said something about how his good ideas pay off (ha! – oh…. the grandiose mindset of a teen) – but you know, it really “was” win-win. Remember folks, a lot of personal pleasure can come from being able to enjoy the very simplest of things that come our way.  Try not to miss out – don’t let life weigh you down – don’t take things so seriously all the time – I know life issues are not always easy and you may feel heavy and worn down – kinda like this old mall space, you might feel like you are waiting for some freshness and would like (or need) a whole new life – but never give up – because even though better things are coming – so much can be enjoyed right now.  Try and find it.  And know that God has good things in store, because He not only promises to give us peace that passes understanding, but He says that will give us the desires of our heart. And that is good news. 
emerson quote - kidn, honest, silly
Goals are important. Achievements are satisfying. But if you really want personal joy that goes beyond circumstance and if you want to know what surpasses the ups and downs that can come with tangible, overt success – try these three things that Emerson suggested for a rich life: Be Silly. Be Honest. Be Kind. It will serve you well. 

Hope you have a nice day and for more Monday Walks-  check out Jo’s blog HERE, where this week she also gives us some traces of the past with a Daffodil Walk at Farndale (and a fun shot of some well groomed poodles).






Walkin’ in DC – Part 2 – PEOPLE

For my walkin’ in DC Part 2, I have 14 “people” photos. In a few pics, I have shared some thoughts on getting along with “people” –  because as annoying as some people can be – relationships are what makes our life come alive!  If you do not have time to read, please feel free to just skim the photos.

updated collage

a phone booth still around in 2015
He is paying at a machine for his parking spot, but from this angle it looks like one of the old pay phones that used to be everywhere-  Times sure have changed – instead of stopping to use a pay phone, most of us we carry “computer phones” in our pockets.


ballons on the metro
A lady was riding the Metro with bagged balloons.  I was marveling at how DC people “get around” using the Metro as their main transportation. I also wondered where she would gently unwrap those fun balloons. As she sat resting her free hand on her head-  I was reminded of the little things we do in order to “give to” and “celebrate with” people.


lady that reminds me of coconut
Do you see this lady in the center right – with the brown boots, tan coat, and bun in her hair? She reminded me of Modigliani’s woman, Jeanne, who was nicknamed “Coconut” because she wore a similar “coconut looking” bun in her long brown hair. I was reminded of how Modigliani’s manager, Zborowski, was hoping that Coconut would help “reform Modigliani’s disorderly existence” – and she did somewhat – because she brought much “completeness” and satisfaction into his life.  Jeanne and Modigliani both died way too young, but it is an example of how sometimes certain people come into our life with just the right chemistry to where it is a major gift. 


lady in dc
I love this shot of a lady taking a photo of the Washington Monument – because she makes the boots look good!


people of dc lady with silver shoes
This lady was wearing silver shoes and a pink skirt. I exchanged eye contact with this woman, and she actually first seemed to be checking out my sneakers!  I am not sure what she was thinking, or what her work in DC really was, but this photo is another one of those photos that leaves me wondering about a person’s story. And as T Daniels would say, We all have a story.
people of dc lady 4 - holding up monument
This lady is posing to make it look like she is holding up the monument and I think her photographer took hundreds of shots! I like this photo for her smile, for the people scattered in the back, and for the pale pink blossoms. For those that do not know, back in 1912, Japan’s Mayor Ozaki gave the U.S. 3,000 cherry trees, also called Sakura.  These gifted trees reminded me how “gifts” can be the sweetest part of enjoying life with people.  The right gift can assuage and enrich relations – not the gifts that try to buy affection – not bribes or the sucking up gifts – but gifts from the heart!  Whether it is country to country or friend to friend – the right gift at the right time can be oh so special.  These D.C. blossoms are actually “friendship trees” – and If you have time, check out Celia’s photos of Japan’s 2015 blossoms HERE


pilot on metro
I ended up talking to this couple on the right. I had to sit in front of them because someone with “cheap” perfume sat down beside me and it was so strong you could taste it.  I also have been watching some of the episodes of the TV series called “Air Disasters” – and so sharing a smile with this master pilot was nice too.


people of DC - helpful guy
The workers in DC are quite pleasant.


dc trash
Where there are people – there is mess – but it can be cleaned and managed.  DC has an efficient way of managing trash. And yes, there is life lesson here – because relationships can (and will) get messy, but when we learn “how” to effectively manage mess – we will have more success. This involves problem solving, serving, withdrawing, waiting, trying, discussing, assessing, and investing time and effort to each changing relationship. Managing “people mess” may also involve knowing when to draw good boundaries (so you don’t “cast your pearls before swine”).  Drawing appropriate boundaries can sometimes allow much-needed space to grow or heal. Sometimes we only hear advice about giving and giving – and how we need to make the big sacrifice because “hurt people hurt people” -and while this is true many times – it is also true that sometimes we might need to pull back or even cut ties (for good or for a while). 


dc-5-capitol streets closed
Do you see this single person walking?  Well this reminded me of how solitude is not the same thing as loneliness – and how sometimes the best way we get along with other people is by having the right amount of solitude to recharge and refresh our own batteries (we have to tend to our needs in order to have something to give). 
photographer taking photos in washington dc
Man. Man with camera. Man with camera with nice lens. Man with camera with nice lens takes very nice night photos. 
two guys walking path in dc
I love this shot of two guys walking on the open path – after the rain at sunset – and surrounded by trees.  DC can be crowded, but look at all this elbow room! I also like the vertical lines in this shot.  Notice how the two guys have leg positions that match – the branches have a right flow, and the arch of the path has four sections in a left flow- with a pair of empty benches that informally balance with the pair of trees on the left and two walkers.


communcation on manhole cover
This manhole cover says “Communication” and I am including it with my “DC people post” because all relationships benefit from good communication – cliché, but true.  Do do not forget that this applies to communicating with ourselves – – we need to watch the negative/unhelpful thoughts we entertain in our head. Also, side note – about ten years ago one of the most popular job interview questions was, “Why are Manhole Covers Round?” I heard that some employers are not necessarily looking for a right or wrong answer; instead, they want to see “how” a person responds.  And so just in case you get asked this question, here are some reasons: A round cover doesn’t fall through the circular opening and they fit back on with less adjusting that other shapes; circles resist earth compression; circular covers used to be easier to make; and circle manhole covers can be rolled, making them easier to transport.




washington monument with tree lines
The Washington Monument has a proud presence in DC, which takes on different moods at different times.  Isn’t that a lot like relationships too?  Relationships are not always static, and as we develop tighter bonds with people, sometimes it helps if we see something from a different angle – or revisit issues with freshness at a different time.  Some people are harder to get along with, some grate on us, and of course we will NOT have chemistry with everyone (and oh the joy that comes with being able to really accept that without taking it personal – it really is okay – and natural – to not have everyone like you). However, for those that are in our lives – either the inner or outer social circles – with a little effort – we CAN enrich relations – it might just take a fresh view or a new approach.


Have a nice day and if you are in the mood for an old school song, H E R E is a link to Triumph singing “Fight the Good Fight”


And if you have not had your fill of cherry blossoms yet – the link to the Washington DC Live WEB Cam is HERE

Mark’s cherry blossom post is HERE

And Radical Ramblings has an amazing single photo up view of white cherry blossoms, with a nice poem by A. E. Housman HERE

“About the woodlands I will go

To see the cherry hung with snow.”