Friday, August 25, 2006

I Know ...I was Too Impatient!

I was ready for ANYTHING the Department of Motor Vehicles could throw at me.

I even brought a flat blade screwdriver to affix my new license plate to my new car.

In my wallet, along with my DMV-issued driver's license, I had additional picture IDs just in case. I had my "proof of insurance" card. I even stuffed my pockets with cash in case they said "Sorry, no personal checks." Or "No credit cards accepted." Or "No bartering." I was prepared.

Then she pushed the plate across the counter and I held it up and looked it over. Oh, sure, I could have pushed it back and said "just a minute here." Yes, I could have refused THAT particular rectangle of metal. I could have waited. But, oh no, I was in too much of a hurry!

Driving home I realized that if I had waited, my plate COULD have read 7-UP, sort of...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

April Showers ... Finally ... in August

To everyone (or anyone) who was wondering about my Taj Mahal Shower is now operational!

The old tub/shower was yanked out on April 20 and, on August 5, I finally was able to relax and enjoy a leisurely 15 minute HOT shower with all 6 heads working. What a treat.

The laser measurements have been made and the frameless glass doors are being cut and assembled but I was eager to try my bathroom makeover centerpiece and rigged a temporary shower curtain and turned on all the knobs.

The two Rennai tankless heaters work like a charm. Steady flow and a precise temperature for however long I want to shower. Actually, the whole house was re-plumbed from 1/2 to 3/4 inch so the dishwasher and the clothes washer also could be going while I shower.

After my terrible experience with the-contractor-from-hell, I found a great and talented plumber who completed that crucial hidden pipes portion of the project and an excellent tile ARTIST created the very, very visible final touches. The plumber then came back and installed all the "trim", the shiny handles and shower heads.

I had seen "rainheads" in ads and had considered changing from my single hand-held shower but I waited. I was aware also of "body sprays" but had never experienced any. Now I have the best of all these Water Worlds.

Once I decided to remove the existing tub, tear out a wall and create space for a 5' x 4' shower, I was commited to finally having a fancy modern bathroom. I did show some retraint however - a steam bath version could have been included as well as a wall-mounted tanning booth. But that would have been too much and I'm just a simple guy. Simple and very clean.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Silly moments with my camera..

The new Millennium Park in downtown Chicago has two tall fountains facing each other and each has faces of local people created by hundreds of LEDs.

The audio tour I was using pointed out that "about every 5 minutes, the fountains offer a surprise.". I was ready and laughed as the children - and some adults - scrambled to be under the sudden spout.

On a Chicago Sunday morning I was heading to a Thai restaurant suggested by a guide book for its all-you-care-to-eat buffet and I stopped to marvel at the name that could happen if the Disney folks bought the Elvis mansion in Memphis.

The Thai buffet was extensive and great.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Looking over my old resume...

People usually responded when I sent out my resume.

I always mentioned I had worked with CBS Television News and people would invite me in when I said I had been hanging out with Charles Manson. I had spent half a year with Chuck and the Family for CBS every day in court Monday through Friday (except holidays). Or people were curious to hear details on what heroic steps I had learned to take if it were necessary for me to land the Goodyear blimp in an emergency. These items were very prominent in my resume. Hey, we did what we had to do.

Some retired navy admirals even bought me lunch because they wanted to chat about my coverage of Commander Bucher and the USS Pueblo trial or the SEALAB III Inquiry for CBS News.

In the 70s I was part of the Los Angeles Cronkite Report and was damn near a member of the L.A. staff but, unfortunately for me, I was the 9th man in an 8-man Bureau. I covered Manson and elections and other stories as a "researcher" - often with a film crew and sometime with an artist - but my ego as a former newspaperman wouldn't let me continue to hang around and do everyday mundane tasks such as running film back and forth from LAX as I waited for a full-time staff opening. I wandered away into the Tour and Travel industry instead.

I look back on that every now and then. Hmm...Ed Murrow, Dan Rather, Terry Drinkwater, Bill Kurtis (Kurtis with a "K") and Chuck Boyd? Good night and good luck indeed.

During my earlier days as a staff photographer with the San Diego Union, in addition to taking human interest and weather photos - and "Dog Of The Week - I once found myself in the FBI offices at 3am taking pictures of bundled packs of ransom money and the FS ring as part of the evidence recovered during the sudden conclusion of the Frank Sinatra Jr. "kidnapping" story.

Or bouncing around in helicopters and Jeeps, spending 4 days and nights in the desert covering a search and rescue for a missing 9-year old. He was found, tired and thirsty, and my pictures ran each day as the search went on.

My camera caught the concern on the face of Phillipe Cousteau's wife after he was hauled back on board - bloody, wet and dizzy - from San Diego harbor. A cable had snapped and smacked him in the head knocking him unconscious during an experiment involving a huge parachute that unexpectedly dipped and yanked him from the boat into the cold water.

When I called LIFE magazine to pitch the photos and story, they asked if he had died and I said "no, he was only injured." They passed. The son of Jacques Cousteau DID die a few years later - drowned in a seaplane crash of all things.

It is an interesting read, my resume, of a career that started with a newspaper in San Diego then the tour and travel industry for 25 years and, finally, 8 years with a newspaper in my hometown of Charleston before I retired. Nice journey.
So far.