Photo Inspiration

Two Archers
Two Archers
Photographer/Studio: Massie, Gerald R.

Sometimes you happen on a piece of art that really affects you. This amazing picture has a juxtaposition and poses that really does it for me.

Earlier in the day I was thinking about heroism. Mostly I feel it’s a human construct used to describe people’s actions. But all to often people are put on pedestals and called “HEROES!”. That really bugs me. But for some reason I find these two women real heroins. They are Sheros of the first order.

I found this photo, that’s in the public domain, in the Missouri State Archives Flickr collection. Find more info about the photograph there.

North Carolina has Worst Broadband In Country at 17%

(This information was manually converted to html from the original pdf which can be found here. It was created by the SouthEast Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (SETOA).)


Although access to affordable, fast broadband connections now determines economic, health, and educational opportunities and even public safety, North Carolina ranks dead last.

According to a June 2013 report issued by the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau, North Carolina ranks dead last – superseded even by Mississippi now- with only 17% of its households subscribing to the level of broadband the FCC deems necessary to engage in modern life.

First the industry asked the NC legislature to be deregulated, and they did, terminating local build-out requirements. Then they asked the legislature to stop municipalities from providing broadband, and so they did. And THIS IS WHAT WE GOT. Worst broadband in the country.

The legislative experiments have failed.

Time to reverse them.

State At least 3/768 Mbps
(advertised) Connection
(in thousands)
New Jersey 2,436 3,215 0.76
Massachusetts 1,914 2,549 0.75
Maryland 1,503 2,156 0.7
Delaware 240 347 0.69
District of Columbia 175 268 0.65
New Hampshire 339 519 0.65
Vermont 156 256 0.61
Colorado 1,217 2005 0.61
Washington 1,608 2,657 0.61
Virginia 1,855 3,079 0.6
Connecticut 799 1,372 0.58
Pennsylvania 2,896 5,025 0.58
Utah 508 903 0.56
Oregon 854 1,539 0.55
Arizona 1,220 2,440 0.54
New York 3,939 7,345 0.54
Florida 3,830 7,463 0.51
Nevada 511 1,027 0.5
West Virginia 373 766 0.49
South Dakota 153 326 0.47
Minnesota 1,017 2,097 0.48
Michigan 1,775 3,848 0.46
Nebraska 328 727 0.45
California 5,609 12,712 0.44
Wyoming 102 231 0.44
Illinois 2,150 4,861 0.44
Georgia 1,542 3,648 0.42
Indiana 1,042 2,516 0.41
North Dakota 117 283 0.41
Tennessee 996 2,522 0.39
Montana 157 415 0.38
Kentucky 658 1,732 0.38
302 806 0.37
Alaska 88 260 0.34
Kansas 366 1,121 0.33
Texas 3,024 9,113 0.33
Idaho 180 593 0.3
Louisiana 535 1,756 0.3
Wisconsin 682 2,289 0.3
Alabama 564 1,902 0.3
534 1,831 0.29
Missouri 693 2,390 0.29
Maine 147 556 0.26
Oklahoma 416 1,476 0.25
Iowa 302 1,231 0.25
Arkansas 294 1,159 0.25
Ohio 1,154 4,597 0.25
Mississippi 237 1,120 0.21
North Carolina 668 3,818 0.17

Source: FCC Wireline Competition Bureau, Internet Access Services, June 2013, status as of June 30, 2012; based on Form 477 data provided by industry service providers. Note: PDF source is Internet Access Services: Status as of June 30, 2012, Industry Analysis and Technology Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, May 2013, Table 13 titled Residential Fixed Connections (Approximating the National Broadband Availability Target) and Households by State as of June 30, 2012.

Update: June 24, 2013 – I added a link to the FCC pdf that is the source of the data in the table above. -BrianR
Update #2: Added “(in thousands)” to the Households column to more acuartly reflect FCC document.

Ginsberg’s Father Death Blues Video

Walking around downtown Durham I stumbled upon this projected on a wall. Wow.

Father Death Blues

Hey Father Death, I’m flying home
Hey poor man, you’re all alone
Hey old daddy, I know where I’m going

Father Death, Don’t cry any more
Mama’s there, underneath the floor
Brother Death, please mind the store

Old Aunty Death Don’t hide your bones
Old Uncle Death I hear your groans
O Sister Death how sweet your moans

O Children Deaths go breathe your breaths
Sobbing breasts’ll ease your Deaths
Pain is gone, tears take the rest

Genius Death your art is done
Lover Death your body’s gone
Father Death I’m coming home

Guru Death your words are true
Teacher Death I do thank you
For inspiring me to sing this Blues

Buddha Death, I wake with you
Dharma Death, your mind is new
Sangha Death, we’ll work it through

Suffering is what was born
Ignorance made me forlorn
Tearful truths I cannot scorn

Father Breath once more farewell
Birth you gave was no thing ill
My heart is still, as time will tell.

My Best Photos

Izzy and his Microbus
My son playing with his VW bus.

In college I spent a lot of time shooting 16mm motion picture film and still 35mm film. Mostly for documenting the art I was making. Recently I’ve been developing my own black and white negatives. (Thanks for being a good teacher Holden.) Plus taking advantage of the great local color film development at South Eastern Camera in Carrboro. Digital cameras are part of my arsenal too. is a selection of my best photography. It’s where I show what I’m most proud of. If you’d like a head shot taken or maybe a family portrait of you and your kids drop me a line.

Why Sprawl Kills Coworking

Note: This post first appeared on Medium. Thanks to Matt Fields for editing assistance and my amazing wife Ruby Sinreich for so much support.

Towards the end of 2011, I closed Carrboro Creative Coworking. It was a third place. Not home, not work, but another place where we could come together, be creative, and get work done. A community within our greater community.

I started and ran Carrboro Creative Coworking as a business, but its purpose was to be more communal than a traditional business. I dared to combine the financial rigueur of business with the heart of a community organization. Sometimes I wonder whether I focused on the right part of that combination.

It’s now spring 2013, and I’m thinking more generally about Coworking: I might say, the philosophical concept of Coworking, instead of the individual coworking space. Specifically, what causes a Coworking space to succeed or fail. To me, it’s not just a mental exercise, but an investigation into how humans get along in small groups. Here’s something I found:

Sprawl kills Coworking and other similar community based “third places”.

I’m speaking not just of my own space, Carrboro Creative Coworking, but also of other third places, like TechShop Raleigh-Durham. While I have no inside information on the business side of TechShop, I know enough about running a business and fostering community to know what its challenges are.

This North Carolina location of the TechShop franchise was a place for people to use all kinds of equipment they may not be able to afford. Guests and members took safety courses and classes to use tools that ranged from basic wood tools to laser cutters and computer controlled milling machines. TechShop Raleigh-Durham closed April 20, 2013.

There are three reasons I think sprawl is bad for Coworking.

1) If we live in sprawl, we are not Neighbors: We are “Others”.

For example, the many towns and cities that make up the Triangle region of North Carolina are very spread out. We have several unique cultural identities based on historical reasons. This keeps us apart from each other physically, ideologically, and even spiritually on some level. No one really considers people in Raleigh neighbors with someone who lives in Chapel Hill. In sprawling areas, people can easily become the “Other” person who we can easily ignore. This is bad when you are trying to build a community between connected municipalities, if for no other reason than that you need a large quantity of people to support a “third place”.

2) When we are too spread out, we look out for ourselves first.

When you struggle to prosper your primary concerns are self and family. The struggle is so hard that there is little time to think of your neighbors. This selfishness has consequences. Our lack of concern for our fellow human increases the difficulty of our struggle, both in wealth generation and in happiness. Because we are social beings, collaboration is a prerequisite for success. Sprawl insidiously keeps us at arms length, just far away from each other to prevent a real intimacy that fosters collaboration and empathy.

3) Commuting reduces the amount of time we have to give to the community.

Because we live relatively far away from each other, it is time consuming and expensive to commute to other places to commune with our neighbors. While you’d think there would be enough people in each individual Town or City combined to support a “third place”, like a TechShop, the numbers don’t prove that to be the case. The costs of maintaining the “third place” are now greater than the revenue generated from people willing to travel to be with others. The biggest costs being real estate and payroll.

In the example of Carrboro Creative Coworking, I determined that the maximum distance most people were willing to travel one way to cowork was twenty miles. That may not sound like much, but in the Triangle area it’s about the distance from eastern parts of the City of Durham to the Town of Carrboro. That area includes a lot of people but leaves out at least 1.1 million people who live in the Raleigh Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Cary.

I discovered this distance by plotting the location of survey participants on a map. These were people who said they like the idea of coworking. It showed a good number of people: enough to give me confidence that there were potentially enough customers to support a coworking business. But the number of people who actually drove a round-trip 40 miles and spent money to cowork was much less. In reality, very view people traveled from Durham or Raleigh to cowork in Carrboro. The majority of Carrboro Creative Coworking’s customers lived in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

For a “third place” to succeed, it requires that we know our neighbors, or at least feel some connection with them. We must be connected to one another so we believe our neighbors are our family. I believe this will occur when the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill/Carrboro Region has more dense and connected communities. Walking, biking, and ubiquitous public transit to “third places” must be possible for coworking to thrive.