Thursday, March 31, 2011

Me in Space..... Mission Accomplished!

June, 2010 is when I signed up with NASA to be on the last flight of a space shuttle.

I was aboard DISCOVERY on its last historic mission.

Well, not exactly all of me was "on board."

Just my face.

Along with 27,000 others who submitted photos to NASA to be part of the "Face In Space" program.

More than 10,000 were in the U.S. while 500 were in Spain.

And, reports NASA, one was in Cambodia?

We wanted our photo to be "out of this world."

I'm sure most were young students, encouraged to take part by their Science or homeroom teacher.

Me? I'm just a space nut who had watched the Discovery launch on August 30, 1984.

I was working for the Florida Division of Tourism.

I arrived before dawn at the Kennedy Space Center to watch what was then simply called 41D.

The final launch date was originally set for September 16, 2010.

We "space faces" were told we could request an official NASA certificate on September 25, 2010.

The flight was delayed until this month and flew flawlessly into history.

The oldest shuttle's next stop is Washington at the Smithsonian.

I remembered today to go look for my space credentials.

(Clicking on the pictures will show a larger image and you'll be able to read the document. I have no idea why I suddenly thought of this today. Glad I did find my Face place in the Space race. Ouch.) Thanks for dropping in.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Yeah, claims

Has a menu ever said "Well, our burger is kinda puny."

You know, "too bad you didn't eat first before you came here."

Hey, I will be the one to decide if a meal is a snack or very filling.

*Burp* Believe it here.

You know a burger doesn't get interesting until you go over 1,000 calories.

So I watched the waitress smile knowingly when I ordered the bacon cheeseburger.

Hmmm. That's different.

A burger served on toasted white bread.

I could see the bacon peeking out looked crispy, the way I like it.

And the lettuce and tomato was in place.

I had ordered potato salad instead of fries.

Maybe healthier?
She came over while I was still staring at the meal.

"I did tell you it was a large burger between TWO grilled cheese sandwiches, didn't I?"

Actually I guess she did.

I was busy trying to figure out if my 2-tier mouth could work on this 5-tier sandwich.

(Click twice on the pictures for more details. If you are dieting, you might not want to do that.This Grill opens at 4pm each day so go for a late lunch.) Thanks for stopping by.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

15 Seconds of Fame...

Musicians occasionally invite people to join them on stage for a few minutes.

Sometimes a guy is offered a chance to play his guitar.

But, usually it's the ladies who climb up to dance.

Some look embarrassed. Some are pretty good.

Every now and then, one steals the show!

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings exploded their 60s & 70s Funk/Soul sound at the Music Farm Friday night. Sharon nodded to security to allow a half dozen fans to share her stage for a few moments to wiggle and shake.

The last dancer REALLY worked it!

Sharon brought her 8-piece band - and two back-up singers - to Charleston and packed the Farm.

The music pounded almost non-stop. For two solid hours.

The wildly enthusiastic crowd clapped and shouted as Ms. Jones channeled James Brown and other R&B stars.

Lots of his songs. Many of his moves. More than matching his high energy. Yikes.

My Funky needs were fulfilled.

(Click the pix for details. It was great leaning against the front of the stage at the Farm as Sharon worked it back and forth. I was exhausted! Thanks for checking out my 401st entry.)

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Friday, March 25, 2011

400th BLOG. Yikes.

Moments in time.

My 400th posting on my blog.

Marked by a "1970s time travel" experience.

Yes. That is James Taylor in concert in Columbia a few days ago. Still in fine voice.

His Sweet Baby James album came out in 1970 with the intensely personal song "Fire & Rain."

He sang the title song as well as "Fire" and "Carolina On My Mind" but not "Steam Roller."

His "Special Guest" on the stage was his son Ben Taylor.

Singing, playing and banter was good from his barefoot boy.

The 63-year old dad broke his left leg skiing last week and quipped he was doing fine "thanks to some great chemistry." Ben added "Guess we should stop saying 'break a leg.'"

There were wooden stools on stage but both stood up to play and sing as well.

Earlier in the day I stopped at the Columbia Museum of Art.

Enjoyed 2 hours of time tumbling through the 60s, 70s and 80s.

No picture-taking was allowed inside but here's the poster out front with Punk stars The Ramones.

This classic shot captured a moment at Eric's Club in Liverpool,1977.

Get over to Columbia before this goes away.

The Beatles, Janis Joplin, baby-faced Keith Richardson and The Stones, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire, Kurt Cobain...all these and more were caught in front of these cameras.

Richard Avedon on his 1961 shot of the Everly Brothers: "A portrait is not a likeness....but an opinion."

Outrageous album covers were being imagined and created long before Photoshop.

Officials in Morocco were reluctant to allow placing actual giant inflated red balloons along the top of sand dunes at dawn but that was the vision of the album designer.

The funniest part of this looking back experience was using my Smartphone and GPS guidance system to find these places.

(Click images for detail. Koger Center for the Arts was aggressive enforcing no cameras..but only on the front row! Flashes going off all around the hall and my little non-flash camera acted as a magnet. Easy-to-get-to rules enforcement.)

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Special Marketing...

If you're male and go to clubs, you've seen ads posted above urinals.

Sometimes the sports page from today's paper.

Lately I've started noticing a small shelf where you can sit down your beer.

I heard a joke that one way to keep people on their toes is to raise the urinals.

But I digress.

I have seen ads on the bathroom wall in bars by lawyers who specialize in defending against a DUI ticket. Even drank from beer cups with an attorney's name and logo.

Now I have worn a DUI wristband ad.

(OK, I took the picture later. I wasn't drinking at a club at 6:20 in the evening.)

In marketing, as in duck hunting, you go where they are flying.

It also would deliver the cautionary message to both males and females.

Don't try dialing that number. I changed it to the one they always use in movies and on tv.

No sober free ads here.

(Thanks for stopping to see what this was all about. Semper Fi. It's 6:20 somewhere.)

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Night time Photography...

Friday night I took my camera to take pictures of pictures.

Prize-winning action & adventure sports photos.

The top 50 of 23,000 worldwide entries.

The Red Bull Illume tour started in Dublin, then Houston, Texas and now is here in Charleston on Marion Square.

Only at night.

The unique exhibit of enlarged back-lighted photos was turned on Friday and will be on display evenings from 7:00pm to 11:00pm through Sunday March 27.

My photography group was offered 10 VIP tickets to the opening and we brought our cameras.

Well, DUH. Of course we did.

The challenge, as twilight turned very dark, was to find a balance to show the brightly-lighted images and the people viewing them.

As you'll see on the link, the troops did a fine job of capturing the unique setting.

Kevin Harp, a co-coordinator for the group, probably surprised the sponsors with his use of a silhouetted skateboarder.

Fellow member Dee posed to seemingly "pluck" the airborne skater with her fingers.

This exhibit is very family-friendly.

Parents pushing strollers.

Eager kids crowding close to the images.

There's even one in 3-D and the familiar red and blue glasses are provided.

The only nude shot I saw was from Spain.

It was tastefully presented.

Apparently after a race of some sort, the winner is "de-panted" and tossed into the water.

It looked like the tide was low.

(Click on the photos for details. And click on the group link to see more pictures taken that evening.Go to Marion Square to see this unusual exhibit before it leaves town for Miami. Thanks for stopping by.)

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Patio Furniture & other Irish names...

This street performer caught my eye in Dublin, Ireland.

He was rather tall.
I mean, for a Leprechaun.

It also was nowhere near St. Patrick's Day there on the auld sod.

For some reason, today, I feel the urge to re-visit some things Irish.

Breakfast has been called "the most important meal of the day."

Usually an Irish Breakfast is available any time of the day in pubs.

Not only just in Ireland.

I see it's available at pubs here too.

Always a pleasant surprise.

Especially around 5:00 in the afternoon.

With a cool Guinness of course.

TheBreakfast of Champions if you will.

While touring Ireland a few years ago, I made sure I went to Blarney Castle.

While there, I climbed the stairs, assumed the awkward position, leaned way over backward and "kissed the stone."

Unfortunately, right after that, I realized I had stood in line, and done this while the whole world cringed in fright from the scare of Swine Flu.

Spread by kissing I'm sure.

I joke that I was there at Blarney to give a lecture.

I'm able to handle myself in most conversations and my Irish-ness contributes to my being a wee bit non-shy. Embellish could be my middle name.

(Had to dig back in my files for these photos. Click for details. I covered a LOT of the Emerald Isle in 2 weeks. Still would like to go back again.Thanks for stopping by.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Music takes a Village.

Remember to look it up as Charleston Village Tavern.

It's still in Mount Pleasant on Johnnie Dodds Blvd but the new owners have refurbished the "old" Village and have a great new attitude.

Last November they gutted the place, knocked out walls to make it more open and used their band connections to get the music re-started.

You can even have a cold draft beer now.

And the old "bar food" idea was scrapped to make way for Gourmet Burgers and such.

The day I stopped by David Warren was often on his cell doing what a Booking Manager does best...lining up the live entertainment.

John Morlan, the General Manager, toured me around, showing where walls had been pushed back or removed and the sizable sound booth they had created.

"We ran all the connecting wires down along the wall to the stage area and enclosed them with a bar foot rest," said Morlan.

It's been a few years since I stopped in to have a beer and listen to a regional band but I plan to keep tabs on who's coming to the Village.

They were moving the couches down to the area in front of the stage as I was leaving.

Get there early for a comfy seat down front.

(Click twice on the picture to see details. Their plan is to have shows that start early. I like that! Music beginning at 10:30 or 11:00 has you out in traffic in the wee hours of the morning. Tough on a "school night." Thanks for stopping by my blog.)

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Have a "Candlestick" telephone?

Well, THIS is not exactly the telephone I have been using lately.

Mine did not have a rotary dial.

But it also was NOT a hand-held computer and could not give me driving directions from point A to point B.

I never really wanted a new "phone" because my Tracfone ($7 a month) was fine for the last 6-7 years.

Also the minutes I bought would accumulate and I had built up a surplus of 300 minutes. Oh, and I didn't want to sign a 2-year contract.

The LG Optimus V 2.2 from Virgin Mobil/Sprint cost $149, has no contract and, for $25 a month, I have unlimited internet, unlimited text/messaging and 300 phone minutes.

I canceled my phone package deal through Comcast and no longer have a "stationary" phone at home. Yikes.

Pretty gutsy for a 70-year old guy.

This model is described online as a very good entry-level (some reviews said mid-level) Smartphone and has a lot of bells and whistles which are outlandish to my baby-steps mind.

I used the WiFi hotspot to activate my netbook - because I could - and set up a secure line naming it after a local bar. THAT will confuse the people in the trailer parks all around me.

The GPS talked me down a street I remembered as being a dead end but saw it has been opened and paved and now is a short cut I use often.

The calendar that syncs with my computer is awesome and I wonder how I survived juggling paper desk calendars for so many years.

The "swipe motion" keyboard is easier than learning to type at my age. Two-fingers on each hand have worked for years (40wpm!) and I have never texted (done a text message) ever.

I'm babbling on because it is all so new to me.

Obviously I have seen people with Blackberries and they always looked happy with an inner glow.

I saw an ad for a retro handset so I had to have that.

I haven't seen one for a retro 'stick phone.


(Click on the pictures to see them larger.

The 'stick phone image was found on the internet but the others were taken by me. Did I mention I really like high tech?

Thanks for coming by. Hey, call me.

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Saturday, March 05, 2011

"Kitty" Boyd,.... a cat's adventure.

My young cat is known right now as "Kitty Boyd" in the records at the Spay & Neuter Center on Remount Road in North Charleston.

The small feline is in the system and I am to go back Sunday at 10:00am for pickup.

I saw in the paperwork that dogs will be returned wearing the "Cone O' Shame" inverted lamp shade to keep them from licking the surgical site but I'm not sure if young orange tabby cats will be likewise embarrassed.

I WILL know tomorrow if the gender is female, how much it weighs and
its approximate age.

They decide the age by looking at the condition of the teeth. The sexual determination is probably less complicated.

They told me "Kitty" could eat plenty of Kibble last night... but only until 8pm. We had to make sure things were ready for the surgery today.

I arrived about 10 minutes early, amid fierce barking and pathetic mewing.

How did they know what was gonna happen to them? Grab 'em if you got 'em!

I was 3rd in line and had the forms processed by the nice lady who talked with me yesterday. I opted to have the ID chip implanted for an additional $20.

Because mine was technically a "stray" she said they first would check to
see if one is already there.

They do a free tattoo at the site of the surgery to make it obvious to medical people that the critter has been sterilized.

I did not get to select an image for the "tat" but could have suggested some catchy, colorful images. Hmmm...maybe a zipper?

When I left home this morning around 7:30 with the pet carrier, the often-seen gray bushy cat scurried from my deck, down the stairs and up and over the fence.

Out on the front step - when I brought in the paper - I saw the other large orange and white cat that's lately been sleeping close to the front door.

Glancing over in the neighbors yard, I saw their two black cats, one lazing on the hood of a car and the other one stretched out on the grass.

Probably just planning their weekend.

Whatever the name that finally will replace "Kitty Boyd, " I have decided it will be an "indoor cat".

There's plenty outside ready and willing to handle the neighborhood squirrel population and blue jay problems.

As I left the Clinic, I saw a long line of sad and anxious faces assembled in a winding row behind me.

It was quite a sight to see.

The owners looked scared too.

(Click on the pictures for more details. My kitty already knew I'm retired and like to sleep in. The alarm at 6:45 am raised its suspicions and worry.

But..THIS is the right and responsible thing to do for your pet. Thanks for getting up early today.)

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A Honeydew Summer....

So, the joke goes, "Where does a Honeydew go on its vacation each summer?"

The answer, of course is to Melon Camp.

Get it?

John Mellencamp?

Well, John played in Columbia last Saturday night and the audience was a mixed crowd.

Older (me) and young and lots of in between.

Nobody in the sell-out crowd at Township Auditorium was disappointed.

He said it would be an evening of songs you knew, and songs you didn't know. Well, not yet.

Some thoughts that might be new and others that you already had.

Some patriotic songs. Sad songs. Love songs.

With a great backing band. Or a soaring, roaring solo.

Brightly lighted stage, sparkling lights or a single flood lamp.

Acoustic and then HIGHLY amplified.

The floor thumped from the bass at times.

I even climbed the stairs up to the back of the balcony to see the overall effect.

Everything had been trucked in - lights, sound system, speakers, backdrop, etc.

It all would be packed up and leave town later that night. In big trucks.

Down to Florida then out to Texas and Colorado. Up the coast of California and into Canada. Diesel is already at $3.56 a gallon. Yikes.

I'm glad he chose to stop in South Carolina.

(Click on the pictures for more detail. My Canon S90 digital still camera was pretty busy but a fellow nearby making a long video was escorted out by security. James Taylor will be in Columbia Wednesday March 23. I'm glad I don't shoot video.)

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