Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Heart (Love) Japan.

Well, that's what I thought I saw hanging on the wall in the alteration shop.

Eiko, the seamstress and owner of the place across from the main gate of the Air Base, explained what it really said.

"Ichiban is Japanese for Number One. The best," she said.

Then I saw it wasn't even a red heart. Duh.

I had just bought two suits and wanted to slim the trousers a bit.

A more tailored look.

I still had a few suits in the closet from when I retired in 2004.

They looked swell.

But didn't fit. Not even close.

My 8 years of relaxing - and not needing to wear a suit - had caught me by surprise.

I suppose it IS possible they shrank just hanging there year after year.

But, I also believe in the Easter Bunny.

And that the Tooth Fairy wears purple tights.

I looked around the small storefront.

Obviously the USAF was a major factor in her business.

Way back when I was in the Marine Corps, some of us had our uniforms tailored.

I remember the extra heavy starch the laundry put in our pressed utilities.

But not altered by a tailor.

These camouflage outfits probably just had stripes sewn on.

While Eiko was writing out a receipt, she said that next month she was going home.

"Oh, how long has it been since you've been back to Japan?" I asked.

"I go for a week every year," she responded.

"But, NOT to Japan," she added. "I from Okinawa."

As I hurried out I said I bet Okinawa is ichiban.

I came back for my suits on Tuesday.

Perfect fit.

Thank you! (Arigatou Gozaimasu.)

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Eiko readily agreed when I asked if I could take some pictures.

She said "Happen alla time."

The Air Base is home to the Air Force Combat Photographers Group.

I'm guessing they've come in to have some alterations done.

And come back with cameras.

I know I sure did.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Hi, Tech, how ya doin'?"

Oh, I do try to keep up with the new developments.

I know about Social Media.

But, I chose NOT to buy any Facebook IPO stock so I don't expect a refund.

I've carried my Smartphone (entry level) for about a year now.

I just bought a Kindle.

The top-of-the-line Fire model. Yikes.

The iPad is awesome but too large for me to tote around.

First thing I saw was the Kindle would easily fit in the pocket of my cargo pants.

Hey, my Netbook doesn't and it stays at home.

I realize I am still on the ground floor of tech world gadgets. They are still evolving. New models with newer features pop up every day.

But I am enjoying myself here and now.

I also belong to Paper Back Book Swap, which does as it sounds: I list books I have and fellow members pick one and I mail it out. I receive one point.
I look over the books available and use that point I earned to have it sent to me.

So far I have exchanged nearly 90 ink-on-paper books. Paper backs and hard cover.

Right now, there are about 8-10 books waiting in stacks for me to read.

Probably not going to download too many books to my Kindle at this point.

Fortunately, it's much more than just an e-reader.

(Click on the photo for more details.)

The photo of the Kindle was downloaded from the internet so may not appear much larger.

Usually my photos are large files but not always.

Still learning this high tech stuff.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tell me about YOUR newest device.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Do As I Do..Not As I Say.

The best way to learn is by doing.

That's not a famous quote.

Just something I happen to believe.

Shem Creek has a new long, long boardwalk that let's you walk out to where the shrimp boats (trawlers) leave the creek and enter the harbor.

My buddy Ron was down from Chicago and we spent a few days walking around with our matching Canon S90 digital cameras.

I stress they are identical. But, Ron's pictures look better than mine.

The panoramic shot of the creek was taken by Ron.

I could have taken the same 4-5 shots and then stitched them together seamlessly.

But I don't have the program he had downloaded into his camera that puts it all together. He told me what program to get and I will.

We both shot these oddly-shaped trees during a Sunday walk on King Street. His shows the shadows better.

I really like the way I caught the flags back-lighted.

They seem to glow.

Ron kept walking and didn't shoot this one.

He had his eye on something up ahead that was small and he crouched down to get an extreme closeup.

Photographers do that all the time.

I started to point back at the Fulton Five restaurant facade but the sun had gone behind a cloud.

Meh. With the dramatic lighting gone, it didn't look that great.

We continued walking.

The glasses stacked behind the bar at Leaf restaurant on Beaufain Street were shiny and glistening..

We had stopped and found the Sunday brunch was available for another half hour.

When Ron got his meal, he took some pictures with his camera looking though his glass of water.

The distortion was profound.

My meal was great.

Ron didn't take a picture of his food.

That's something we bloggers do.

Ron doesn't blog.

So that's how the week went.

He would shoot something and usually I'd admire it.

Then we'd discuss how he did it and I would give it a shot.

Or, he liked one of mine and would give it a try.

His usually looked better.


(Click on the photos for more detail.)

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

WHAT was that noise?

Hey! I'm sleeping here.

What the heck was that racket?

I've been living here a year and three months and never heard THAT before.

It's outside but it's scary.

And very LOUD and raspy.

Dang...there it goes again!

Sure glad I'm an INSIDE cat.

Oh, that might be the lawn mower.

I heard it had stopped running about two years ago .

Been sitting in the shed.

How is it running now?

There's a man working on it and his truck says Guerry's Mobile Lawnmower & Small Engine Repair.

Looks like his phone number is 843-343-4225.

He comes to your house with all his tools.

Fixes your non-running engines and guarantees his work.

"I can charge less because I don't have the overhead of a big shop." David Guerry said.

"I have 40 years experience and bring the right tools for the job, " he added, assembling his vehicle hoist.

Apparently the thingamabob stuck in the open position and gasoline flooded the place where there should be just oil.

He drained it all out. No damage.

Adjusted the float valve on the carbureator, changed the fuel filter, fine tuned everything, replaced the dead battery and it started right up.

Sharpening the blades after he gets the mower running is part of the service.

Uh oh. Not enough blade left to sharpen.

Chuck must have been mowing rocks.

Somebody needs to go get new blades.

Somebody else meanwhile could start working on the dead generator.

Hurricane Season starts in about a week and one early Tropical Storm got the Folly Beach surfers all excited a few days ago.

Chuck went to Home Depot and Lowe's but they didn't carry the right blades for his Murray mower.

He got lucky and bought the last set at Wal-Mart.Oh, great.

Now BOTH of the machines are running!

At least the police won't issue another ticket for having an overgrown lawn.

(Click on the photos for details.)

If you have a lawnmower or generator - or any other small engine machine - that's not running, give Dave a call on his mobile @ 343-4225.

He covers the TriCounty area..

He charged me $95 for the riding mower and $65 for the generator.

Came to the house, took a few hours and said if there were any problems, he'd come back and fix 'em.

I even cut the lawn as the sun went down.

The headlights now work.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Just Playing Around....

Placing your face on the copy machine is NOT a new idea.

Being a nurse and finding the time to copy your face is the real challenge.

Do this during a break?

Suppose a patient's call button comes on?

The bright light could hurt your eyes so the healthy thing to do is clamp them shut.

Taking off your glasses would be good too.

But, leave on the stiffly starched hat.

I found this 40-year old Xerox copy in my Mom's things as I sorted what to save and what to give to a charity.

I kept this from her days at St. Francis Xavier Hospital, It shows a giddy moment in her 25 years as a nurse.

Mom passed away in March. She was 96.

She still had her sense of humor.

(Sure, click on the photo for more detail.)

Mom would like that.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Small is beautiful....

So, the whole idea of having a digital Point and Shoot camera is it's small.

My Canon S90 is tiny enough that I usually have it with me.

Not left behind in a hotel room in Las Vegas because "it's too heavy to lug around."
Or strapping on a bulky back pack for camera lenses and accessories when you're at the Grand Canyon.
Sometimes though, you DO miss having a tripod. Say, at twilight. Or dusk. Or, after it's really really dark.

Gorilla Tripods sure had me in mind when they designed this handy device.

A "tripod" that's always attached to your P/S camera.

One that folds out and and, when your through, fits - along with your camera - in the little pouch on your belt loop.

The sounds had attracted me to these egrets nesting for the night.

I plan to come back when there's a little more light. I mean, it was getting inky dark.

But I caught the movement and activity as the graceful long-necked white birds flew in for the night and settled in the trees at Patriot's Point.

I had not been to The Cottages on Charleston Harbor before, nestled at the very tip end of Patriot's Point.

I was leaving after a delightful visit with friends I used to work with at the Post and Courier and members of their families.

The view over the lighted Yorktown aircraft carrier and the Ravenel bridge made me stop to take some twilight pictures. I then heard the birds rustling in the trees.

A great way to end a Charleston evening on the harbor.

(Click on the pictures for more long-exposure details.)

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

I got busted yesterday....

No, not for taking pictures.

This was the second time I've seen Taj Mahal at the Pour House.

This time I worked my way down front.

Really close.

The way I used to do when he played the Music Hall downtown.

There everyone was on their feet so you really could NOT stay in a seat and see anything.

But I don't use flash anyway in music venues.And there's no seating at the PoHo.

So I was good. No security and certainly no police.

A few days ago, an alert officer came into my back yard to discuss my "code violation."

"Huh?" I yelped in surprise when he said I was in trouble with the law in Hanahan.

I glanced at my burn barrel, with cardboard boxes ready to be set on fire on a non-windy day. He had no problem with that.

"You're breaking Code chp 18-27," he said with a suddenly grim face.

I responded with another "Huh?" and added "what's that?"

He now was holding a thick metal rectangular box and was writing on a form.

He said "You have grass and/or weeds over 12" tall. They MUST be cut."

I did not make any comments about the rough and dangerous job it is to be a police officer.

I did not mention that my daughter, a detective with a police department in California, had never mentioned code enforcement nor parking meters as an odious part of her work shift.

For a change I kept quiet.

I was guilty.

My lawnmower was not working and no young guys had come to my door offering to cut my lawn.

My bad.

The Code Enforcement Officer told me I had 10 days to correct the problem or a summons to appear in court would be issued.

Instead of delaying and possibly being hauled into court, I plugged in my weed eater and took a few minutes to knock down the few inches of grass.

He said the offensive problem was only in the front yard but I took care of the back yard too.

Can't be too careful.

(Click on the pictures for more details.)

These are old file photos showing a police car in my driveway a few years ago, a teenager - now probably 21 - who has done yard work in the past and a view of my front yard one morning a few months ago.

I did NOT whip out my camera and take any pictures of the officer yesterday. With or without flash.

Yikes. "Book him, Dano!"

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Wednesday, May 09, 2012 least to me.

Even back when I had a small boat, I never ventured out to the end of Shem Creek.

Now I see what it looks like where it enters the harbor.

The new wooden walkway was quite a sight to see.

And, being able to walk out to the end of the dock.

Nice going county/city/town government.

Good use of government funds.

I had a guest down from Chicago and this was on my list of things to see and do.

We're photographers (we each have a Canon S90) and were there as sunset approached.

It was the night before the Super Moon was to rise, so the tide was exceptionally high.
As an added bonus, a kayak instructor/guide was weaving in and out of the swollen marsh with a group of newbies.

They added a touch of color and symmetry.

And were kind enough NOT to mug for the cameras. Charleston politeness.

Everywhere we looked, there was another scenic view.

Palmettos at sunset.

High tide lapping at the edge of the shore where it usually did not reach.

A chef in his white apron, standing on the bank outside Vickery's, having a smoke.

Wait, I didn't snap that one.

Photographers are advised to look around while shooting.

Turning my back to the sunset, I caught a preview of the rising Super Moon projected for the next evening.

Sunrises, sunsets and even new full moons usually are complemented with the proper mix of clouds.

This was a good example of Mother Nature really showing off.

And, her big show was still a day away.

Think we'll head over to the pier at Folly Beach for that special event.

(Click on the photo for more details.)

I am amazed whenever I thiink about digital photos.

It's all created with 1s and 0s.


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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Voices Said To buy it.....

Stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up a few items.

I was tempted to buy quite a few more.

Wasn't even thinking about noodles.

Or Campbell's Soup.

Just came into my head.

Then I realized a lady at the end of the aisle was talking about these things.

Not a customer. A small tv monitor.

I had not been in the North Charleston store on Rivers Avenue in a while, so she was new to me.

She wasn't alone.

I looked up in the pharmacy section and I was being reminded that it was allergy season.

And shampoo was on sale.

That the pharmacists were eager to answer my questions.

I didn't have any prescription questions. Nor need any refills.

But some throat lozenges would be a good thing to get.

My throat was starting to feel scratchy.

Cough. Cough.

Over in the meat area, I saw the BIG monitor.

I looked closer and think it can be adjusted to offer a horizontal picture or vertical as it was right now.


We finally get someone to believe that commercials are broadcast louder than the show we're watching.

Now we are being hit with slick television-type ads in the grocery store. Sheesh.

I didn't mind the little discount coupon dispensers along the aisle.

They had a small flashing light to catch my attention.

But, they didn't talk to me.

(Click on the pictures for more detail.)

That's my first experience with Sam Walton's "in-your-eye-and-ear" marketing.

I doubt it'll be the last.

Sell like it's 1984.

(I know it should be "as if" instead of "like." I'm an English major.)

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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

String me up!

I bought this coupon that would save me money on fine tuning my guitar.

It was way past time to do this.

Phil Thomas of Shem Creek Music Center agreed it was sorely needed.

Apparently, having the initial set of strings for 12 years is not the accepted practice.

"Practice" is another word I had abused. Months would go by before I even picked up the guitar.

My first - and only - guitar teacher asked if I were trying to use the chords he taught me.

I admitted not exactly.

No, I would think about it usually on the morning of my weekly lesson. We parted ways.

I was becoming embarrassed by my cavalier attitude.

Phil was a man who played and loved musical instruments.

I was a wise a** who didn't appreciate nor take care of his Yamaha guitar.

At my home, the guitar sat out in plain view when people would visit.

Many asked if I played. I admitted I did not.

Some would pick it up, adjust the tuning and play a bit.

I enjoy acoustic and do plan to find a teacher I will click with and give learning another more serious try.

Phil announced the new strings had been tuned and it was ready to go.

Now, it was up to me to take the next step.

(Click on the pictures for a larger image.)

I chatted with a few of the customers who stopped by while Phil cleaned, oiled and shined up my guitar.

A music teacher needed a new book for her piano student; a young fellow who's mom dropped him off needed one string replaced on his guitar; a bearded carpenter came in for a new harmonica. The last guy suggested I catch some open mic nights and drive up to Awendaw Green.

Phil handed me the strings package and pointed out he had written the date when they were strung.

He advised me to keep track and know when to replace them.

My "lessons" had already started.

Thanks Phil.

I think I learned a lot today.

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