Ellicott City

Ellicott City Prints to Support Flood Recovery #ECSTRONG2018

Work continues in the efforts to restore and rebuild historic Ellicott City as residents and business owners get back on their feet.

I am selling prints of several Ellicott City images to support these efforts.  ALL profits from these sales will be donated to the EC Partnership for distribution to those affected.  You can purchase them here. As of today (June 19th), we've raised about $75!

There are many other ways to help with recovery.  Consider going to one of the many fundraisers at restaurants, breweries, and other businesses.  Consider donating to the EC Partnership directly. Consider volunteering your time as a Recovery Volunteer.

Thank you for giving back and loving our town!

Ellicott City Strong

It's surreal to see one's hometown on the news. Even more so when it's because a terrible thousand-year flood has destroyed businesses, wrecked a town, and taken several lives.

Bridge over the Patapsco on an early January morning

Bridge over the Patapsco on an early January morning

There is some sense of helplessness that sets in, seeing all that can transpire in less than two hours.  Yet, this community has thrown aside that sense of helplessness and replaced it firmly with heroism, sacrifice, courage, and selflessness.

How many people formed human chains to rescue those whose cars were caught by the current? How many kickstarter campaigns sprung up to fund the rebuilding? How any local businesses put fundraisers together and pledged to forego significant profits to catalyze the rebuilding?

Incredible effort has gone into rebuilding. There there is much to do, and it will be weeks and months until all is accomplished.

What can the average person do today?

  1. Back one of the many fundraiser campaigns still ongoing!
  2. Visit the Ellicott City merchants at Turf Valley.  The resort has kindly offered them space to sell their goods.  Go into the main hotel entrance, take the stairs down past Alexandra's, and follow the signs.  They're open Friday thru Sunday.
  3. Get back downtown.  Some businesses, such as The Wine Bin and Judge's Bench, are open again, with more to come.  In particular, go visit the Old Mill Bakery Cafe.  Several Ellicott City merchants tell me they're among the hardest hit by the lack of traffic downtown.  You have to take a longer route, yes, but you can get there in short order by taking Illchester Road.  It's most likely the quickest alternative to coming around Route 40 or 695 and down through Catonsville.

Let's rebuild, love our neighbors, and bear one another's burdens.


It had been eight days since Patient Zero.

Eight days since Pokémon Go was unleashed upon the world and some sort of social transformation happened nearly overnight....

I find myself on the way to Folky Fridays in Old Ellicott City, looking to relax with some friends and perhaps have a bit of adventure.  Having been released from the somewhat insular world of the Nine-to-Five, I am taken aback by the sudden change in my surroundings.  As I drive up Main Street, I see groups of two or three or six, mostly high school and college age, all glued to their phones.  Some with backpacks wield extra battery packs, wires spewing forth.  Never have I seen the sidewalks as crowded on any other given Friday evening.

Finally caught my Zubat.

Finally caught my Zubat.

I snag a parking space near the central stoplight and start off to Tonge Row.  More people are milling about here, index fingers swiping furiously on touch screens.  I run into Dan, a summer theatre friend.  We chat a while as he captures a Zubat on the thirtieth try.  "I've used all my Pokéballs," he moans.  Middle schoolers ask us which team we are on - I learn that there are three teams and opponents can battle one another at local gyms, which might be a church or some random building.  All around us, on grassy hills and any available seating, are phone-wielding Pokémon trainers.  Two port-a-johns are set up in the parking lot so these crowds might find some relief.

Stephanie arrives, followed shortly by Justin and Nathan.  We move to a nearby table, straddling two distinct worlds of Americana music lovers on one side and pocket monster collectors on the other.  We talk, observing the crowd of nearly forty people staring at their phones.  A group of young men attempt to sell water from their tailgate cooler.  A dating couple sits nearby, independently catching Pokémon together.

We are joined by Rachel, just finishing her shift at work.  She is intrigued by the fact that we are having a real conversation amongst ourselves, phones securely out of sight.  So she joins us and becomes a friend.

Emotions are Running High.

Emotions are Running High.

I have my camera out, as does Justin.  Nikki notices and steps away from her cadre of Pokémaniacs and comes to ask us about them before pitching a videographer job at the Otakon Animé convention.  Justin, intrigued, gives her his contact info.  She joins us awhile, and then her posse drifts on to the next Pokéstop.

Nighttime falls.  We are surrounded by the orange glow of street lamps and the blue glow of mobile devices.

It's like Fourth of July Fireworks without the explosions or cheering!

It's like Fourth of July Fireworks without the explosions or cheering!

It's time for second dinner at Cacao Lane, so we begin the walk down the hill.  On the sidewalk are messages in chalk:

10% for Pokémon Go players!
Look up! Real Artwork Right Here!

I spy another summer theatre friend, hunched over his phone while seated on a storefront stoop, and call him by name as I pass him by.  He hears nothing.  Our group of five surrounds him.  "Situational Awareness, man!" we say, laughing.  After a brief catch-up, we continue on our way.

Dinner at Cacao Lane is an enjoyable experience, but now it's time to head on home.  We enter again the mysterious world of Pokémon Go.  Larger groups now wander, five or seven clustered together searching for prey.  Two girls wander into the middle of the street, intent on capture, automobiles be scorned.

The Teeming Hordes bring blessings upon local businesses

The Teeming Hordes bring blessings upon local businesses

I remain astounded at this sudden change to the local economy and the average per capita level of exercise our town is now seeing.  A new medium of interaction with our surroundings and with each other.  What shall come of it?

We place bets as to the date of the first #PokémonGoWedding, say our goodbyes, and head home.

#Pokémarriage ?

#Pokémarriage ?