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The view from the kitchen window and a few other images of autumn…

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Urban Simplicity.

Things That can be Carried on a Bike (#609)…

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A camera bag, a book bag, a tripod, and 140 beef tenderloin steaks.

Urban Simplicity.

A time for everything…

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There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens
 Ecclesiastes 3:1

So this is interesting. At least I think it is. It’s about change but at the same time staying the same. Growth, I suppose. In the spring of 2004 I co-lead a small book group at my church. I know when it was because I often date the inside flap of a book when I purchase it (this of course was before kindle). The book is the one pictured, and I highly recommend it (here’s a direct link at Amazon). Anyhow, I re-visited this book just today because I am taking a continuing education class of sorts through the seminary from which I recently graduated and this is the text we are using. Tonight at dinner I re-read the prologue and the first chapters. And what I am finding interesting are what I found interesting in 2004….what I underlined or highlighted nearly 11 years ago. Most of what I originally underlined is still important to me, but now as I read it I find myself underlining sections that I didn’t in 2004 because they may have not interested me. Maybe if I read it again in another ten years the entire book will be underlined. Anyhow, I just find it interesting how a person (me, in this case) can be the same person but also change a little. Growth happens, I suppose. Little by little. Baby steps. This also happens naturally, I suppose, as a person progresses through their life (gets older). And as I’ve said before–and I’ve come to fully believe this–it is not necessarily abut the destination as it is about the journey itself. Happy traveling.


Urban Simplicity.

Bird(s) on a wire…

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I was in my backyard this evening and heard some birds (crows) squawking and I looked up and they were on a wire just above me. They seemed to be having some sort of domestic dispute. It was evening, and it was beautiful to watch. So I took their photo.

“Oh like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.”
~Leonard Cohen

Urban Simplicity.

Fortune Cookie Philosophy…More Fortune Cookies.

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More Fortune Cookies.

Urban Simplicity.

Before the onion fell…photos and words

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So first a few things. I am not a preservationist in that I chain myself to buildings before they are torn down (though a few people did to this one). Nor do I want to get in the way of “progress” or have a decrepit and unsafe building fall down on its own. But I am someone who has a keen interest in the rich history of the city which I call home. And I am also aware of the many (many many) old houses of worship that are vacant or falling down (though the national movement called Mass Mob may help some of this and in fact originated here in Buffalo and has made headlines in the Boston Globe and most recently the NY Times). This said, when I saw this article in Buffalo Rising this past Saturday as I sat sipping coffee and checking my email I put down my cup and made a b-line to our city’s east side. I had first seen this building many years ago and was struck by its unique appearance, but what I didn’t know is that it was our city’s oldest standing synagogue (the image below shows the building in 1903 and again just before it was demolished). And for the last few decades it has been used as a Christian church. When I arrived I was standing out front and talking to a few others and then I heard the crunching sound. So I locked up my bike and walked to the side of the building. It looked to me as if some sort of ravenous mechanical monster was consuming the building…but did they have to start with the sanctuary?  Was it on purpose…I know nothing about demolishing a building but it seemed even more sad that the very center of the building–where so many generations of both Jews and Christians worshiped–was the first to be eaten. There were still curtains on the windows as the mechanical monster chomped and chomped away. There were maybe a dozen or so people there besides the workers and everyone just sort of stood in silence. And I am not one of those people who sees Jesus in a slice of burnt toast, but I couldn’t help notice that there was a distinct cross–part of the debris–hanging from the rafters as the machine chomped (see inset second from the bottom). I had to leave before the onion fell as I had to work that evening, which was fine as I really didn’t want to see its most distinctive feature come crumbling down. But this morning I had a doctor’s appointment before work which was also on the east side and thought I’d stop by to take a look at the rubble. It was pouring rain and I was soaked (I had my camera wrapped in a plastic bag). I was surprised to see some of the facade still standing (see the very bottom photo). So I parked my bike and took a few photos. As I was walking back across the street to my bike I half-heard someone saying, “who are you?” Not thinking they are talking to me I kept walking. By now the rain is teeming and I am soaked. Then I hear the same question again. Turning, I see a guy with a hard hat and a coffee cup had followed me and was standing in the pouring rain asking who I was. “What, I mean, excuse me,” I say. “Who are you,” he asks again. “Umm…my name is Joe, who are you?” He then went on a mini-rant of how he was the foreman and that I needed permission to take photos, etc. I was standing on a city street well beyond the cordoned area, I said, and taking photos of a building that was owned by the city and commissioned by the city to be demolished, and that I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong and meant no harm. It looked like he was about to blow a gasket. He told me I needed permission to take anyone’s photo. I felt bad for him because I’m sure he’s been dealing a lot with local preservationists and the press (there were two TV stations there on Saturday). I assured him that I “was nobody” and that I just like architecture and wanted pictures of the building being demolished not the people demolishing it. He seemed a little calmer after that. But as I rode my bike away in the pouring rain I could still hear the monster crunching eating the building–and part of our local history–into oblivion.

 

 

Urban Simplicity

Something to look at…

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I took this photo in my backyard last night. I took about ten, actually, but this is my favorite. Pretty cool, right? And no, before you ask, I do not have a crazy expensive or powerful camera…entree level in photography world, actually. The main camera I shoot with is a Canon t5i, which was a gift to myself for completing seminary training this past summer. And if there are any camera geeks reading this, these are the setting I used…first, of course, I cropped the photo after uploading, and when I shot the image I was using a 75-300mm lens zoomed in to 300mm. I used a 1/10 second shutter speed,  F/20 aperture and an ISO 100. And yes, being taken last night, I also realize that this is not a 100% full moon, but a Waning Gibbous at 97%. The moon is 238,900 miles or 384,400 km away from where I stood last night while I shot this photo with a glass of wine in my hand and shoeing away my two crazy pugs, less they shake the tripod. But still I was able to capture it. And it looks so beautiful to me…just hovering there all desolate while all the craziness on earth continues to happen. And it really is something to look at.


Urban Simplicity.

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