COVID-19

Pre-isolation memories, post-isolation worries

The week before my company asked us all to work from home, and two weeks before Indiana’s governor issued the stay-at-home order, I took a week off. I needed a little time to rest after a surprisingly stressful December, January, and February in the office.

I took a few long photo walks, one in Carmel, one in Broad Ripple, and one in Zionsville. All three times I stopped in a pub. The very thought of doing that now seems so strange, yet so compelling.

I’m not much of a beer drinker anymore. I prefer whiskey. But beer just seems righter after a photo walk. I stopped in the Broad Ripple Brew Pub, Indiana’s oldest brew pub, for their Porter. I love a good Porter.

Pause in the photowalk

I also stopped at The Friendly Tavern in Zionsville for lunch and an Anchor Steam. In the early 90s during that era’s beer renaissance, my favorite pub in Terre Haute had Anchor Steam on tap. My goodness but was it good that way. Fast forward nearly 30 years and Anchor Steam is a little hard to find in Indiana. But The Friendly has it in bottles, and I like to order one with my meal, which this day was their fish and chips.

Pause in the photowalk

It looks like I failed to photograph the pint of Guinness I ordered with my lunch at Muldoon’s, an Irish pub in Carmel. Too bad, because my lunch was their Irish pizza, a kind of nachos loaded with crumbled sausage, veggies, and top quality cheese. It’s a massive calorie bomb but it is so good.

Indiana’s stay-at-home order ends tomorrow. Governor Holcomb is sending signals that he intends to allow some businesses to re-open, perhaps in a limited way. He’ll have a press conference tomorrow to announce the changes.

I have conflicting thoughts about it. On the one hand, the shutdown has been a kick in the economy’s teeth and Indiana needs to get back to work. On the other, just because businesses like pubs might reopen doesn’t mean that it will be to full capacity — or that guests won’t be carrying the virus. I’m feeling hinky. I’m unlikely to stop for a beer anytime soon.

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Photography

Views from the tallest building in Indianapolis

My friend and colleague Charlie has worked with me at two different software companies. He’s a skilled engineer who specializes in site performance and test automation. He currently works for Salesforce, the giant software-as-a-service company. They have a large office in Indianapolis in the city’s tallest building, renamed Salesforce Tower when they moved in.

Charlie and I met for lunch not long ago, and he took me to the top floor of Salesforce Tower so I could see the views. Here’s the entire north side of Indianapolis. In the center near the bottom you can see the Indiana World War Memorial, and north across the long plaza from it is Central Library. Behind it, I-65 cuts across the landscape. I can even see the Michigan Road running off at a diagonal at left, a little north of center; can you detect it?

Northside of Indianapolis

On the south side of the building, this is the view of Monument Circle below. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, at 284 feet, 6 inches, was the tallest structure in town until the 372-feet-tall City-County Building was completed in 1962, a couple blocks away. When you see photos of Indianapolis from many years gone by, the Monument towers over everything. Today, not so much.

Looking down on Monument Circle

Other skyscrapers went up in the decades that followed, crowned by Salesforce Tower at 811 feet tall. It’s not just the tallest building in Indianapolis, but also the tallest building in all the Midwest outside Chicago and Cleveland and the 58th tallest building in the US.

Salesforce Tower was completed in 1990. It was originally to be the headquarters for American Fletcher National Bank, but before construction even began, Bank One bought American Fletcher. Later, Chase bought Bank One. Salesforce became the building’s biggest tenant in 2017, which gave them rights to put their name on the building.

View from the Riley gravesite

Here’s a view of the Indianapolis skyline from the highest elevation in Indianapolis, where James Whitcomb Riley is buried inside Crown Hill Cemetery. It’s about five miles away as the crow flies. Salesforce Tower rises above the rest.

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Photography

Interesting light, captured on iPhone

I’m still using the iPhone 6S I bought in 2016. That’s ancient mobile-phone history, but it’s been a good phone and I don’t see any reason to upgrade. Its battery is starting to wear out, but the Apple Store will install a new one for $49. That’s a fraction of a new iPhone’s cost.

The new iPhone 11’s camera is supposed to be startlingly good thanks to big advances in computational photography. I’m sure I’ll find out all about it someday, but not as long as my 6S continues to perform well.

The 6S’s camera is pretty good, anyway. Here are some photos I’ve made with it lately that I think turned out all right. What they all have in common is that I found the light to be interesting, and the iPhone was the only camera I had on me.

I made this photo through the windshield of my car as I drove out of my subdivision after a snowy night.

Snowy road

I made this through my car’s windshield too. I’d just left work and was stopped at a light on Washington Street (the Michigan and National Roads) at Meridian Street.

Westbound on Washington

We got some delicious late-afternoon light one weekday afternoon so I went to the nearest window and made this photo of the neighboring City-County Building.

The City-County Building

I was reading one evening as the sun set. I looked over and noticed these wonderful colors through the back door window. I wasn’t motivated enough to get up and add a photo to my Sunset Over the Toyota Dealer series so I zoomed in a little with my iPhone and made this.

Kitchen sunset

I made this at Crown Hill Cemetery on the day I shot a roll of Fujifilm Velvia there.

Crown Hill path

Margaret and I met her son Zach in the hip Fountain Square neighborhood for a night out. We stopped by Hotel Tango, which distills their own spirits. I stood in line waiting to order us a round of Old Fashioneds.

Order Here

Finally, where I work everyone who completes five years of service gets a rubber chicken. This service award is far less puzzling than the one given for ten years: a tin can with a plastic spoon sticking out of it. I’m sure that when my time comes for one of these awards, someone will explain them to me.

Rubber chickens

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Old Cars

Carspotting 2019

I love old cars! I always have. As a kid I used to be able to pinpoint the year, make, and model of any car built starting in about 1955, and of many cars built since the end of World War II. It still fills me with pleasure to find an old car parked, and I usually pause to photograph them, usually with my iPhone.

I’m a lot older now, and I’m amused to find that cars I remember debuting when I was an adult are now old and used up.

For the purposes of this annual post, I include any car 20 or more years old. Here now, the cars.

1956-71 Morris Minor 1000. I’ve seen this car at shows around town so I was pleasantly surprised to find it parked in Lions Park in Zionsville one day when Margaret and I took a walk there. I’m hardly knowledgeable in this car’s year-to-year trim changes; perhaps one of my UK readers can narrow down this car’s year better than I.

1961 Chevrolet Corvair Lakewood. This may be the rarest automobile I’ve ever found parked somewhere. Only about 33,000 Corvair wagons were ever built. Given this wagon’s Lakewood badging it has to be from 1961, as in 1962 the Lakewood name disappeared and these were just Corvair wagons.

1965 Chevrolet Corvairs. There must have been a Corvair convention nearby because these two Corvair two-doors were parked across the street from the Lakewood. I’m positive one of them is a ’65 because it has a 1965 license plate on it. I’m only pretty sure the other one is a ’65. I found all three of these Corvairs on the square in Lebanon, IN.

1967 Pontiac Tempest Custom. This car belongs to the fellow who lives two doors down from me. One day he and it were out at the curb by his house, so I went over to talk to him about his car. He said, “Would you like to drive it?” Does a drunk want a case of Jim Beam? I drove it around the neighborhood and photographed it in our community area. My neighbor has had the car for a few decades, and was friends with the original owner. He restored and gently modified it, replacing its tired but original 326 cubic-inch V8 with a crate 350 and doing other little things to it. It drove very nicely and stopped confidently on its drum brakes. Assuming the top doesn’t leak this would be a fun car to own.

1973-79 VW Bus. Good lord, but do I love these things. They were common during my 1970s kidhood and I got to ride in several. They had great visibility and plenty of room for a large crew. When Chrysler introduced its minivans in the 1980s I wondered what all the hubbub was about, because VW had already done it with its ubiquitous Bus. Spotted in downtown Zionsville.

1985 Toyota Celica Supra. A college buddy owned one of these; he bought it new. He let me drive it a time or two and it was great fun — low slung, tight handling, good acceleration. I guess this was more a boulevard cruiser than true sports car but so what? It was still a joy to drive. Spotted in downtown Zionsville.

1987-91 Honda Civic. I can’t remember the last time I saw one of these. Most of them have died a sad death because the kids all bought ’em cheap, hopped ’em up, and hooned ’em into the ground. And holy cow, is this ever an itty bitty car. When they were new they didn’t seem so small, but cars are so much taller and bulkier now. I found this in the parking garage next to my office in Downtown Indianapolis.

1987-91 Ford F-150. Ford trucks from the last 30 years are so common that it’s easy to overlook one. But here, parked in downtown Zionsville, was this one looking very nice. If I had to guess, I’d say it was an unrestored original that has received great care.

1987-91 Ford F150. When it rains, it pours. Here’s another F150 of this generation, also in very nice original condition. I found it at a nearby big-box store.

1989-93 Plymouth Sundance. This Sundance is an art project! I found it behind the dormitory my son lives in at his school.

1990-92 Oldsmobile Silhouette. Good heavens, how did GM’s designers think this design was a good idea? But these sold well enough, and were hardy enough, that I manage to find one every two years or so. I found this one at a Cracker Barrel in Indianapolis.

1992 Mercury Tracer. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I came upon this Tracer in the big-box-store parking lot. Tracers were far less common than their Ford Escort sisters, and the wagons were the rarest of them all. I know this is a ’92 as that was the first year for the lightbar grille and the last year for motorized front seat belts. I sort of wished this one had a For Sale sign in the window. I’ve always really liked these cars, ever since my dad had a terrific one in four-door hatchback form that lasted and lasted. The wagon would be just that much more useful.

1992-97 Ford F150. It was a good year for old trucks. This shortbed F150 is in like-new condition. It parked next to me in the garage where I park to go to work.

1996-99 Saturn SW. I always thought this body redesign of the original Saturn was better than the original but still weird looking. Spotted in Downtown Indianapolis. That broken side mirror and a little peeling clear coat were the only obvious flaws on an otherwise nice condition survivor.

1996-99 Toyota Celica. In profile, I always thought these looked like the old Ford Pinto. I always thought the headlight treatment was cartoonish. Spotted in the Broad Ripple neighborhood of Indianapolis.

To see all of the Carspotting posts I’ve made over the years, click here.

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Travel

A visit to Woodford Reserve Distillery

Woodford Reserve Distillery

My camera’s battery died just a few photographs into our tour of the Woodford Reserve Distillery, between Frankfort and Versailles in central Kentucky. It’s a shame, because the place is so picturesque. I would have liked to photograph it extensively.

The distillery is also historic, one of the oldest in Kentucky. Known previously as the Labrot and Graham Distillery and before that the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery, whiskey has been made here since 1812. Woodford Reserve is a Johnny-come-lately on the scene, having been distilled only since 1996.

Thanks to my iPhone for making it possible to document this visit at all. Here are Woodford Reserve’s famous copper pot stills, and also my wife Margaret from behind.

Woodford Reserve Distillery

Those pot stills make up only part of Woodford Reserve bourbon. The rest of it comes from the column stills of the Brown-Forman distillery in suburban Louisville, an hour to the west.

Woodford Reserve Distillery

Its rickhouse, where the bourbon barrels are left to age, is unusual in that it’s made of stone. So many are made of wood.

Woodford Reserve Distillery

One odd thing I noticed is that barrels in the rickhouse, the ones I could see anyway, carried distillery number DSP-KY-52. But newer barrels, including ones recently filled, bore the number DSP-KY-15018. This must be something quite new, as an Internet search on DSP-KY-15018 turns up nothing. A search on DSP-KY-52 returns all sorts of references to the Woodford Reserve Distillery. I wish I’d asked the tour guide about it.

Woodford Reserve Distillery

As a fellow who is seriously into bourbon, I appreciate a bar with a wide selection that includes some esoteric whiskies. But Woodford Reserve is a very nice bourbon, and most every bar carries it. Anywhere I go, I’m perfectly happy with a pour of Woodford Reserve. Neat, of course.

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Photography, Travel

Favorite photos from New Harmony

My main camera on our trip to New Harmony was, as often happens, my little Canon PowerShot S95. I did take a film camera, my Olympus XA2, loaded with Ultrafine Xtreme 100. But it simply turned out not to be a black-and-white weekend. I shot but nine frames. In contrast, I made 175 photos with the S95.

This is New Harmony’s Main Street. It’s perpendicular to the road that you have to use to enter New Harmony, which is Church Street and also State Road 66.

Around New Harmony

We got a spectacular sunset that night. In the shadowy foreground is the Lenz House, built in about 1820. Read a little bit about it here. That page mentions the Harmonists, a group that tried and failed to build a utopian society here.

Sunset over the Lenz House

Here’s one photo I made with my iPhone 6s. We were walking back to the house we’d rented after dinner one night when a fellow invited us to a jam session. We were surprised that it involved mostly cellos and violins! A guitarist later joined.

Jam session with cellos

I shared these two photos in my post about the Roofless Church.

The Roofless Church
The Roofless Church

A double log cabin — two cabins sharing a conjoining covered deck — provides this view. It’s on the same property as the Lenz house.

Lenz house property

Finally, a lovely yellow flower.

Yellow bloom

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