Thursday, September 30, 2010


Just had my first roof installed.

I've owned a few houses over the years but never really had to face replacing ALL of the shingles and a lot of rotted wood underneath. Yikes.

Hint: get a good local company that's recommended by people you know.

As you gather estimates, be sure to check out Homewerx , a family-owned roofing business in Summerville since 2002. They won my contract and my respect.

Billy Martin, the owner, was up on my roof Tuesday at 8:30am with his crew. He also was there when the job was completed at 6:00pm that evening.

Mr. Martin told me that All the jobs have to pass HIS inspection.

I like that. And the fact he had selected the one dry day in a series of rainy one to launch - and complete - my roof in the same day.

"We watch Doppler closer than any weather man in Charleston, " he laughed.

About three hours after starting, the crew had removed five outmoded spinning ventilators, a short brick chimney and stripped off the shingles, felt and tar paper. Sheets of plywood were cut to replace areas that needed repairs. Duh. You don't put a new roof over a bad foundation.

Good planning - around noon, a large truck rumbled around the corner with a huge crane stored across the top.

The driver used a portable control box, pushed levers and walked around for the best sight lines as he hoisted pallets of supplies to the peak of the roof.

I guess I thought shingles were lugged up a ladder.

The rat-a-tat-tat of many hammers was replaced with a single nail gun for the shingles.

The team worked smoothly together, capping the job with a ridge vent the length of the house.

Two large loaded dumpsters were hauled away and a leaf blower cleaned sawdust and debris.

A strong magnet was wheeled around the house, picking up stray nails that had missed the blue tarps that had surrounded the house.

My brand new roof is completed and guaranteed.

When I turn 101 years old, I'll climb up a ladder to see how well that 30-year guarantee has held up.

(As usual, click on the photos - twice - to see amazing detail. This turned out to be a very pleasant business experience. I've heard horror stories of jobs taking 2 days and 5 days. Good grief!)

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Lens Is Delicate and Fragile...

It just makes sense to treat a camera lens carefully.

A telephoto lens is expensive.

A lens is composed of layers of precision-ground glass.

A good, sharp lens helps you take better photos.

You don't ever drop a lens.

Or handle it roughly.

Never mistreat it.

The lens should be in a protective case.

Use the lens cap.

Keep a lens dry.

Of course, if it is a coffee mug that is just designed to LOOK like a lens, then you have more leeway.

You can make tea in it.

My Canon S90 camera is a Point and Shoot, a P/S, and it does not accept interchangable lenses.

Or coffee mugs.

In fact, if I had to carry around different lenses and filters in a big gadget bag and a large tripod, it would be a much larger camera - probably an DSLR.

Then I would miss lots of pictures because it would be bulky to carry. And heavy. And I would be lazy.

I would probably NOT have it with me when a great photo opportunity presented itself. Yikes.

It IS fun to imagine having a great big lens though.

(I hope people actually read this and not just shake their head seeing the making-tea-in-a-lens picture. They would think I'm a dope.)

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Monday, September 20, 2010

The Pipes They Are A-Calling....

Yes. The 39th annual Scottish Games at Boone Hall.

Well, technically it's called the "Charleston Scottish Games & Highland Gathering."

But it's the place where each year you can get some haggis (the "other" other white meat?) and a Scottish Egg.

In Glasgow it's just called Egg.

My cousin Leslie in Camden is a ROSS so she has a clan table set up each year and invites me to come share some heritage.

Naturally I take my camera with me and caught some hammer-throwing action this year.

When you fling a boomerang, it comes flying back to you.

These do not!

In the Caber Toss I noticed again that it takes four strong people to lug the 20-foot long telephone pole to the contestant.

Then the burly fellow hoists it up so the small end rests in his palms and he staggers forward to gain momentum and gives it a mighty heave.

To win this contest the pole has to land on the bigger end, bounce forward and topple down so the small end points away from the thrower.

Landing at the "12 O'Clock" position is the ideal and one succeeded in doing that Saturday.

I had asked my cousin if I could bring lunch? I said I could stop at Burger King.

She answered she would have a lunch spread ready - and it was great - and added "doing it my way" would not be cool this year.

The featured group this year was Clan Donald. Mc and Mac means "son of."

(Click on the photos for more detail. Taken with my Canon S90) Thanks.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Good Reflection...

We had a "Walk In The Park" for members of my photographers group last Sunday.

Great turnout and great sunny weather.

Had not been to Azalea Park in Summerville before and it was awesome.

The theme was portraiture and included young models, studio flash equipment and even a simple white card to reflect light into shadows.

Quite a learning experience.

The black umbrella in the set up on the left is a "strobe" electronic light that fires into a white surface and bounces back onto the model with a soft effect.

The camera sends a signal to the light so it is synchronized with the shutter.
In the old days, a cord would have gone between the two to make this off-the-camera light happen.

The photographer in the foreground is using her flash on camera as a "fill" light.

My role was to step back and show what was going on. Many of the portrait results are posted on our group site.

There was even a second album created so take a peek at both.

(Click - twice - on these blog photos for more details. Thanks for stopping by. Tell others.)

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Paris Is In The Headlines ....

Well, she's in the papers again.

And being mentioned by late night television comics.

Her purse is pretty famous too.

(Or "somebody's" purse that she was holding.)

It's been a while since I've name-dropped Paris Hilton.

Back then, I ran a photo of me standing at the curb outside the Hilton.

In Paris, France.

There was a spike in hits on my blog for a few days.

I remember being the center of a small flurry of activity in the news - very local - back in the 1970s.

I was still getting used to being the Director of Tourism for the State of Missouri.

I had moved to Jefferson City, the Capital of the "Show Me" State, and I was learning Jeff City was a very small town that centered on government.

My office was still being redecorated and a couch like one I had seen while traveling had just been delivered. It had a corduroy fabric that I really liked.

I had requested that a staff member call the hotel where I had stayed and get the make and model number for me.

The local paper called and asked why I had a bed in my office?

Yes. I was not aware that it was a sleeper-sofa.

Welcome to the fishbowl of political life.

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Saturday, September 04, 2010

BOGO is a great idea!

The idea behind BOGO (Buy One, Get One free) is good.

But you have to think it through.

Do you REALLY want TWO orders of 40 peel-and-eat shrimp? That's a lot of shrimp.

Do that once and you start to plan better.

One shrimp and one seafood platter. Share the shrimp (about 20 each) as well as the flounder, scallops and french fries.

Hmmm...only two hush puppies.

(Yes, bloggers often take pictures of their meals. In fact, if you see someone doing that, they MUST have a blog. Click TWICE for delicious details!) Thanks

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