Meanwhile in Oklahoma – 10.28.20

Day Three. We heard from a neighbor the electricity came back online around 3:00 PM. The Boss and I spent the day in her business office working. I was impressed with her company’s new co-working office. The electricity was online, wireless internet was amazingly fast, free drinks, snacks and HOT COFFEE. We are back home now doing many things that require electricity because we’re not so sure how long the power will stay on.

It’s very messy outside and the clean up starts this weekend. I’ll be taking lots of pictures to capture what has been the worst ice storm I’ve ever experienced. Stay tuned.

Covid-19 Buzz Cut – Done – 05.31.20

Getting WAY longer.  Note the Andy Rooney eyebrows.  The time had come to go back to my barber.


Meanwhile in Oklahoma…we’re reopening but nearly nothing appears to be pre-Covid.  The outside world feels different from all of the behavioral changes.


Screenshot_2020-05-31 COVID-19 Oklahoma State Department of Health

One of the changes at the barbershop was opening on Sunday mornings for cleaning and taking a few customers for haircuts by appointment only.  Business at the shop has been slow which tells me the customers here are still pretty much staying at home and sheltering in place.  They may have discovered the joys of cutting your own hair.  Or maybe money is tight, less frequent trips.  Or worse…

But for me this visit was about trust.  Trust in a man who has cut my hair for nearly fifteen years.  This is a man who would not put himself, his customers nor his business at risk.

Thanks Kevin.  I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.
























Covid-19 Buzz Cut Week 4 – 04.25.20

Getting longer…starting to pop out all over.


Meanwhile in Oklahoma…we’re getting ready to reopen.


Screenshot_2020-04-25 Coronavirus in Oklahoma 3,193 confirmed cases, 194 deaths

We have an estimated population of 4,000,000. Doesn’t look like we’ve tested a lot of people…

A week ago I was having one hell of a time contemplating the future.  One of the things I wrote was:

Online ordering and curbside pick up or delivery are probably here to stay.

Earlier this week I placed an online order with a Big Box Store, drove down to their parking lot and got my groceries delivered into my trunk.  The store however did not allow me to buy wine in this fashion.  So today I placed an online order for chardonnay at the wine shop, drove down to their parking lot and got my wine delivered into my trunk.  I can get used to this.

Retail shopping will be changed forever.

Restaurants and other out of home dining options will be changed forever.

Barbershops will all do very, very well from the pent up demand.

But I needed one more home-style buzz and The Boss graciously volunteered.

These were the instruments used, an old beard trimmer and an old pair of scissors.


And here’s the result.


I should be OK for another few weeks.

Stay safe.  Stay home.























The New Normal

Phil Kneen

I’m fortunate; I have a part-time job that gets me out of the house everyday, a virtual hall-pass that allows me to drive the corridors of the Isle of Man with my camera. For most other residents, it’s been a long few weeks, thus far. On Friday 27th March, the Isle of Man started an indefinite lockdown – nobody in and nobody out (unless you want to stay out).  I’d already started my own personal document of the COVID19 pandemic during a trip to London at the beginning of February – the sight of people wearing surgical face masks was less of a novelty and there was an obvious anxiety in public spaces with a lack of ‘social distancing’. I realised then that things were starting to escalate. 

Having already embarked on the project, sharing four images daily on Twitter, I was contacted by Breesha Maddrell, director of…

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Covid-19 Buzz Cut Week 3 – 04.19.20

Getting longer…


We began our shelter in place behavior one week before the state formally declared the shutdown.  So we’ve been home for a month.   In no specific order, here are some of the changes made, some of which could last longer than the than this first shelter in place order.  I’m pretty sure a lot of us are going through the same shared experience alone together.

Restaurant meals zero. No lunch out on Saturdays. No pizza nights. No fast food bean burritos. Nada. During the past month we have not even ordered take out curbside or delivery. No restaurant food period. The silver lining? I’ve lost 10 pounds. My jeans fit a hell of lot better than they did just a month ago. I’m cooking more and eating less. Frugality has extended to our home cooked meals. I know lots of people who waste too much food. They refuse to eat leftovers, they toss them away. We’ve been eating more leftovers, sometimes planning our daily menu with specific dishes from the freezer. We are spending less money on food, eating healthier, all while reducing the quantity of UFO’s (unidentified frozen objects).

Online ordering and curbside pick up or delivery are probably here to stay.

I can’t recall exactly when I curtailed my beer consumption. It was probably around the time I came down with a nasty gut bug when most foods were not appealing and I stopped drinking alcohol. The malaise lasted a week and I lost five pounds which I immediately realized weren’t truly lost just hidden somewhere when I started drinking beer again. Correlation is not causation but since the weight gain was immediate I concluded there was causation. So I pretty much stopped drinking beer. I drink whiskey now instead of beer. For longevity, of course.

Online ordering and curbside pick up or delivery are probably here to stay.


The 90+ Study
Major findings

Researchers from The 90+ Study have published many scientific papers in premier journals.  Some of the major findings are:

People who drank moderate amounts of alcohol or coffee lived longer than those who abstained.

People who were overweight in their 70s lived longer than normal or underweight people did.

Over 40% of people aged 90 and older suffer from dementia while almost 80% are disabled. Both are more common in women than men.

About half of people with dementia over age 90 do not have sufficient neuropathology in their brain to explain their cognitive loss.

People aged 90 and older with an APOE2 gene are less likely to have clinical Alzheimer’s dementia, but are much more likely to have Alzheimer’s neuropathology in their brains.

I borrowed clippers from my oldest son and buzzed my head three weeks ago. I don’t think I’ll do that again. I miss my barber. So I’m letting my hair grow out until he’s allowed to reopen. This could get ugly. But for some of us (like my younger son) not going to the barber or stylist doesn’t matter much at all.

Screenshot_2020-04-19 Our Team - Forum Phi

I haven’t been to the gym and to be brutally honest I don’t miss the lack of exercise.  I have some weights at the house and I’ve managed to go for a walk or two.  But what I really miss are the social aspects of being in the gym with all of the others going through their routines.  Besides, I still need to maintain a BMI > 25 and <29.9 (see point #3 in the 90+ Study findings above).

Happy Sunday everyone – you may have lost track of the days of the week, but in any case we hope you have had a peaceful weekend… we have been keeping up our daily routine, filling the hours with walks, naps, book-reading, occasional outbursts of yelling at the tv, face-timing, zooming, cooking and day dreaming.

Mary Chapin Carpenter

I find myself reading more, writing more and as Mary says day dreaming more.  With movements restricted we all have more time to day dream and think long and hard about what we want the world to look like when we all start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Shelter in place orders does not mean all will comply.  Easing restrictions for businesses and gatherings does not mean everything returns to “normal”.  There are structural behavioral changes that all of us are have made.  Nothing will return to “normal” and the best we can hope for is to make the right choices for us all.

“Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

Spock in The Wrath of Khan

I’ve never liked cruises and you won’t find me on a floating petri dish anytime soon.  Flying has lost its appeal as well.  We’re already talking about driving instead of flying for our next trip to Colorado.

Enough meandering.  Time to think about that longevity drink and what UFO to have for dinner.  Stay safe, stay well, stay home.

Stay home for these folks.  Please.



Craft breweries, adaptive reuse, and neighborhood revitalization in: Urban Development Issues Volume 57 Issue 1 (2018)

Source: Craft breweries, adaptive reuse, and neighborhood revitalization in: Urban Development Issues Volume 57 Issue 1 (2018)

The month isn’t over yet the events of the past few weeks already make this a memorable year. My contract with a large insurance company that shall not be named ended. I was with the client for nearly ten years. When I tell people I’ve contracted with a single client for ten years mouths drop open. In the gig economy this is about as rare as rare gets. Who contracts with a single client for ten years? Friday January 10th was my last day. Two days later I was in Lynchburg Virginia. Sometimes life moves quickly. When you get to the same stage and age in life as me you’ll come to appreciate the memories more and more with each passing year. But this trip was special and I want to capture and share these memories before they fade away. For me every day is another opportunity to learn something. Here’s what I learned from five days in Lynchburg.

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” Mark Twain

It’s Nice to Get Out of the House

I’ve been working from home since 2006. Seriously, I don’t get out much and when I do I try to practice my social skills. Working alone at home, or being face down in your smartphone (which makes you dumb), or severe anxiety where you need your benzos, all can erode what little you have left of social interaction skills. The Boss knows this all too well. The last business trip was over 2.5 years ago and placing me in a situation where I have to interact with others can be dicey.

“Be nice.”


“Be professional. Don’t be yourself.”

“The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else.”

ee cummings

The Boss knows at the minimum I’ll try to behave. Hopefully I passed the audition.

Staying in a Nice Hotel and Eating Out is Pretty Awesome

I had an excellent stay at the Virginian. The hotel was a block away from my new client’s office and the room was stocked with bottled water from local springs and a Keurig coffee maker. I did what I always do when I arrive in a hotel room with a coffee maker. I check the coffee supply for correctness. As I suspected the K-cup selection was all wrong. I had four servings of DECAF. I immediately went down to the front desk with the K-cups in hand.

“Mr. Lee, is there a problem?”

I handed the coffee to the front desk employee and stated in a low firm voice,

“This is so wrong.”

The very nice young woman at the front desk agreed and allowed me to exchange my four K-cups of DECAF to the real caffeinated kind. I also left a note next to the brewer for housekeeping to restock with only real coffee NO DECAF. The rest of my stay went quite well. The room was comfortable, quiet, and I had plenty of coffee.

Eating Restaurant Food Causes Obesity

I arrived in Lynchburg late on a Sunday evening and the only food available at the hotel was at the rooftop bar. There was local craft beer on tap. I ate there three times during my stay. When you work from home you eat a lot of leftovers. Some days you eat leftover leftovers. By the time Saturday rolls around you simply have to go out to eat. Taking all of my meals outside of the house this week was awesome despite needing to loosen my belt a notch by Wednesday. The team treated me to dinner at The Depot Grille, a renovated old train stop that had nice local craft beer on tap. Before I left town I was introduced to The Water Dog which was more of a Millennial type establishment that had even more nice local beers on tap. After seeing the (beer) menus I thought to myself I could live here.

Despite the proximity of some fine eateries I took most of my meals at the company cafeteria. This company amenity should never be taken for granted. I had plenty of good food, freshly prepared at reasonable prices. When you’re on business expense this is kind of important to avoid any potential criticism of your spending habits when someone else is paying. So the accountants will be happy I found Benny’s.


I had forgotten how easy it is for me to put the weight back on. Over the years I’ve moved away from the standard American diet (SAD) because it was my diet that was the proximate cause for ballooning up to 370 pounds. It might have been more but I stopped weighing myself at 370 (for obvious reasons). For this trip I relaxed my dietary preferences and ate whatever I wanted to. I haven’t weighed myself since the trip ended but my belt fits again at its usual belt hole. I’m easing back into my usual dietary routine. And I have no regrets about passing on the fried tofu sandwich at The Depot Grille. I didn’t want anyone to think I was a vegan.

“Look for the human connection as you make your journey. Connect us to the people who connected with you.” William Zinsser

There are Really Nice People in Lynchburg

During my week in Lynchburg I met some very nice people. The people you work with are just as important to your happiness as the work itself. I ate lunch at the underwriter table in the company cafeteria all week. I figured I needed as many contacts as possible once I started work in the system and needed guidance. I may work by myself from home but no one ever works alone.

It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.

Muhammad Ali

The Boss has told me change is good and my new adventure will be good.  I know she’s right.  And I am thrilled with the opportunity.