COVID-19 Pizza Acquisition Logistics. Yes, this is "off topic" from photography.

Happy Good Friday, tomorrow. 

In the time before COVID-19 it was so easy to order, receive and enjoy a freshly made pizza. You'd hop online, enter your order, enter a delivery time, toss in your credit card information and then get back to retouching something or cleaning off your swim goggles until the delivery driver appeared carrying a box with a hot, fresh and topping rich pie. We kept an envelope of $5 bills next to the front door so we'd always have tip money ready to go. If work was slow and the coffers were running low we'd save the delivery cost and order the pizza as carry out. Then we'd flip a three headed coin to see which of us would go and collect dinner.

The delivery would happen and we'd pop that box open right on the table and start the wonderful process of truly appreciating freshly melted cheese, a robust tomato sauce and whatever savory toppings we craved in the moment. No muss. No fuss. 

Now though we have a virus/pizza box intervention process that we have to go through. Once the pizza is delivered to the front door a family member receives the box and the driver scurries away (we add the tip on line so the driver is pre-tipped by the time he gets here). Once the driver has retreated to his idling car we begin the process. 

It goes like this: The designated pizza box holder remains outside the house and places the box on the welcome mat on the front porch. The same person, who has already been potentially contaminated by whomever before has touched the box, opens the box and folds the sides down to make space for a person from inside the house to approach the box and without touching any part of the exterior of the box and the person on the house side slides a pizza peel (the big spatula used to pull pizzas out of ovens) underneath the pizza until it's stably situated on said peel. At that point she (it's usually Belinda, she's a pro at tossing coins) takes the pizza into the domicile and leaves the door ajar, just a bit . 

The pizza "intermediary" takes the box and places it into the trash can outside. After the box is properly disposed of he (it's usually me messing with stuff that goes in the trash = bad coin tosser) approaches the door and opens it fully with his foot. There is a bottle of hand sanitizer just inside the door and he uses it liberally to disinfect his hands. Then there is a trip to the bathroom to wash hands for at least 20 seconds. Next up is grabbing a Chlorox wipe from the kitchen to wipe down the sanitizer bottle and pump mechanism, and finally the front door knob gets a proactive wipe and the door is closed. Only then can the (now lukewarm) pizza be enjoyed. 

It's a process. And anybody who tells you the journey is more important than the destination is full of shit. Getting a hot pizza is definitely a luxury which I'm looking forward to A.C.-19 (after Covid-19). But lukewarm, safety pizza is definitely better than nothing. 

Side note, if you think the writing here is getting daffy and distracted you might not be all wrong. Monday the 13th will mark our first 30 days of "sheltering in place." Other than a weekly pizza, enjoyed by tradition on Thursday nights, we've been doing all of our meals at home. A strange and quixotic break from the recent good old days of favorite restaurants and favorite fellow diners. I'm not sure how long it will take me to re-socialize.... But I see why there are 400% more mental health issues per capita in rural areas than in cities. One's mind doesn't get pulled into "normal" if there's no social group around to help maintain healthy boundaries.

But, tonight is pizza night! Yay. It's like a mark on the prison wall that let's us understand a relative passage of time. If you order pizza tonight I hope yours comes piping hot. 

We're doing a veggie pizza tonight. With a salad and a bottle of red wine. Takes the edge off self-isolation. Now, if only we can find something fun to watch on Netflix....

How to cut your own hair during the crisis. From someone whose been doing so for about thirty years.

I can't give you advice on how to cut or maintain long hair. I only do "short."

Blog post by reader request....

I'm the most frugal photographer in the world when it comes to haircuts. I bought a set of electric barber's clippers and guards thirty years ago and started cutting my own hair. Something like this https://www.target.com/p/wahl-clip-n-groom-men-s-haircut-kit-with-built-in-finishing-trimmer-79900-1701/-/A-579774 which I found online at Target.com works great. When I heard from one of my friends that he was spending over $100 a month on "hair care" I almost fell on the floor. And when I heard from one of my female fellow swimmers that she pays around $200 a month for her "hair care" I became light-headed and had to sit down. If you invested those amounts in an index fund......sigh....

Okay, so if you have a hair style that requires much complex cutting, trimming and manipulation I probably am not going to be much help. But if you are a typical guy who doesn't really give a hoot about styles then I'm your cheap haircut mentor. I can be capricious, sometimes I just can't be bothered cutting my hair and it grows out like weeds in a garden. But before big client engagements or when I get tired of flying a flag of white hair (which makes every young person around me talk louder and offer to help me cross streets...) I grab the clippers and go berserk. 

Well, not really berserk but I have little fear of failure in this regard. I start with a #4 guard on the clippers. This translates to leaving your hair about a half inch long. The guard keeps you from inadvertently getting it too short....

So, put your #4 guard on the clippers, don't stand on the shag carpet (my bathroom is saltillo tile so it's easy to sweep up...) and start clipping. Generally, I find it most efficient to go against the grain of your hair. Who knew that hair has a natural "grain"?

Take some time to get all that head of hair more or less uniform and you are ready to move on to step two; the hair in front, above and behind your ears. Most of the clipper sets come with guards that are slanted and meant for each specfic ear. They are generally labelled something like, "Left Ear" or "Right Ear." Start with your favorite ear. Mine is the left and that makes sense because I am left-handed. These guards are like graduated neutral density filters; they allow a closer cut on one side and a longer cut on the other. Obviously  you want the close side next to the ear and the far side away from your ear. This will get you a close cut near the ear but a feathering into the rest of your hair. Now do the other ear using its specific guard. 

Now use the shallowest guard, going with the grain of the hair on the back of your neck. You don't want to start low and go high you want to start at the hair line and go down. After that you might just look in the mirror and tune up any rough spots. 

At this point you are done. If it takes you more than ten minutes you are either paralyzed by fear of failure or you are overly obsessed with perfection. If you really screw up you can wear a hat till it grows back. 

Should you want an easier approach you can do as my old pool manager, Brian, used to do and grab the #2 guard and use it everywhere. Once all the hair is uniform you are done. 

Take a shower. Sweep the floor. Put a drop of oil for clippers on the blade and then box up your clippers till next time. 

So, how frugal am I when it comes to hair cuts? Well, I will tell you that Studio Dog (Rest in Peace) and I shared one set of clippers for the past twelve years...   

 this is a "Kirk" haircut about 10 days later. Curly hair. No way it stays flat.

this is a "Kirk" haircut maybe two and a half to three weeks on....

This is from a time before haircuts...Or razors. And yes, it's a black Canon AE-1

I wouldn't take a chance on cutting hair like this unless I had a iron clad waiver and 
a team of liability lawyers on retainer.....

If you screw up (doubtful) you can always wear a convenient and stylish hat.

If you are amazingly good looking no one will even be looking at your hair.
Why pay extra to maintain it? At $100 a month that's equal to a couple of good lenses
or really cool used camera bodies per year....