Love in the Time of COVID

I'm sure so many people have already used the word play on writer Marquez's book titled "Love in the Time of Cholera". My own love in the time of corona is someone I have been with for the last two years. My girlfriend Ally and I drove to rural mid-Michigan and back to meet my mom and dad this past week. On the way out from Boston, we stopped at a hotel briefly near Niagara Falls to sightsee. The photos of this brief, cautious excursion can be found at "". I was astounded at the brash, coughing families I spotted from a distance while witnessing the majestic beauty of over 100,000 gallons per second of water spill over a rocky edge. Ally and I were able to get a few different views of each of the discrete waterfalls. When you are standing there next to the rushing water, it's almost too massive to comprehend. I am encouraged to seek out other such natural world wonders after seeing the famous falls. Maybe I can get Ally to join me for another such adventure? She's watching over my shoulder right now as I write, so I should probably just ask and be forthcoming. :)

Ganzfeld Bath Time

Since I can't go out anywhere, I have found myself sitting by my lonesome on Friday nights scrolling the web. I was scrolling Wikipedia when I came across and article discussing false perceptions. These false perceptions are the result of the human brain 'coming up with stuff' that really is not there. This manifests as hallucinations. Sometimes this can happen when someone is really tired or stressed. At other times, hallucinations can arise when an abnormal preceptory stimulus is applied to one's senses. In the case of a Ganzfeld experiment, named after an German word for 'complete field', hallucinations can arise when a uniform stimulus is applied to any individual sense or all senses at once. This uniform stimulus can be white noise played over headphones, looking at a field of evenly intense light, or laying in a bath of warm water. In each case, hearing, sight, and feeling are equally stimulated. As time goes on, the body 'gets used to' this stimulus. And if time continues on, the brain no longer 'sees' new stimulus to react towards. 

After reading this Wikipedia article, I did not expect the effect to be that strong and I wanted to try it out for myself. I covered my eyes with a cloth and set up a red LED lamp to shine on my face. I wore my over-ear headphones and listened to white noise at a comfortable volume. After about 20 minutes of laying in the warm tub, I precepted slight rumbling sounds within the white noise which I'm sure weren't really there. I would say it was sort of like meditation or daydreaming. Generally underwhelming but seems to be sort of a real thing? The whole ESP thing with respect to Ganzfeld experiments is a load of baloney though. That's pseudoscience. It is popular for pseudoscience folks to engage with some element of real science to peddle their stick. Maybe COVID will make pseudoscience more lucrative? If it hasn't already :/ 

Shop Homes, Cottage Living, or maybe Post-Commerce Residential

I am trying to predict a trend in how America's commercial real estate will end up being used in the mid 21st century. As it stands now, the United States has way too much commercial real estate. A lot of malls are empty and not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the plague, malls and commercial real estate in general was having a hard time. Consumers in the USA are flocking to Amazon and e-commerce at large in droves. In a few years, Main Street USA will look even more different than it does now; after the great recession. Despite these changes, the large brick buildings and steel garages will still be standing even without shopping floors to occupy them. The same bond market collapse that we saw in 2008 connected to residential units in the sun belt will happen similarly to commercial units across the country. There is a silver lining to this economic issue. These buildings can be repurposed. As housing prices increase across the country (rent or buy), an additional source of housing supply can be added in the form of repurposed commercial units turned into residential units. Sometimes this is easier purposed than actually acted on, as zoning is a thing. However, many cities with strict zoning laws also suffer from housing issues. I could imagine some progressive movements in the US which strive to increase housing equity might support changes in zoning policy and land usage legislation which encourage commercial land owners which are holding unused properties to repurpose them for housing. 

Some problems I could anticipate relate to the building code differences. In residential units, the number of bathrooms and the amount of natural lighting needed is much higher than that of commercial units. This would involve intensive work to change and (often) retrofit existing utilities and structures to meet residential building codes.

What will these old stores turned condos be called? I don't know. Maybe shop homes because they were once stores. Or maybe something fancy like post-commerce residential. Let's wait and find out.

In Tennessee Now

  On Sunday, I drove down to Tennessee from Lansing, MI. I drove to Oak Ridge, TN, through the fields of Ohio and the hills of Kentucky. I p...