Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Fair Weather Friend...

 About a month ago, I checked out Bay Street Biergarten. It had just opened.

Had a good time exploring all the craft beers. And trying the unique beer draft taps at certain tables where you pour your own.

Checked out how nice and cozy it was inside during the Sunday brunch time.

I saw there were several shiny new gas space heaters set up outside but nobody was venturing out.

Brr, "Baby it's cold outside..."

So I went back the First Day of Winter. It was 70 degrees.

Gotta love Charleston's weather.

Another friend had said he wanted to see it so we sat outside - under a shady umbrella - and ordered some appetizers with our first beer.

Actually a "flight" of four different beers in 5 oz. glasses.

Two types of sausages (brat and spicy Italian) on a pretzel roll, some bright green sliced pickles and a saucer of sauerkraut. Tasty.

Around us it was family time with children running around enjoying the nice weather.

Several young men were setting up corn hole boards for a team competition.

And the food smell was fantastic.

Maybe one of the large pretzels would be in order.

We did go inside of course.

We checked out the beer wall at the front of the room with a variety of high gravity brews that you pour yourself.

Then we sat on stools at the main bar and took in the view.

I was told the copper plating around the taps was "how they did it in Germany."

That familiar back bar treatment I had noticed over on Cumberland Street at the Craftsmen Kitchen & Tap House.

Neither place had oomph-pah-pah music playing but the atmosphere was fun and enjoyable midst Charleston's burgeoning craft beer expansion.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Saw construction was going full speed ahead at Edmund's Oast, the next new Brew Pub (biergarten?) going up at the old William S. Bird location on Morrison Drive, close to Tattooed Moose. 

I believe it is due to open in January.

Might watch the Super Bowl there in February.

If they have space heaters outside. 

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pill Popping is Encouraged....

Pills used to come in small bottles.

The label told you what it was, how many to take  - and when -  and the name of the doctor.

Pretty straight forward.

Then the glass bottles became plastic ones.

Child-proof lids were added.

Now, my 30-day supply of a single medicine is delivered in a flat, stackable blister pack. Yikes.

In the pharmaceutical business community, it was hailed as a magnificent advance.

Unfortunately, now a patient has to overcome a child proof step, pull the 30-day supply out of its package and pop each pill through the tin foil.

Each pill, each day for each medicine the doctor had ordered. Fairly simple and now machinery did all the work.

The pharmacist no longer uses the cute little "butter knife" to count and slide the selected pills across a funneled tray.

They are NOT placed in a handy, easy to use, and store, bottle.

(Does the druggist not see that this eliminates another reason to even have a registered pharmacist on staff?)

A clerk can go to the shelves for the prepackaged dosage and slap it down on the counter, along with chewing gum, cough drops, vitamins and other OTC (Over The Counter) products.

Who needs years of training and the ability to answer health questions and give helpful advice?

Oh, and if the patient is elderly and perhaps has arthritic joints and stiff fingers, popping pills off a card might be a problem.

As for me, my cat sits beneath the kitchen table, waiting for a pill I've popped to roll off the edge and hit the floor to become either a toy or a cat treat.

I buy my meds in 90-day lots. That used not to be a problem but now I have to pinch and poke three 30-day cards and transfer them to a plastic bottle.
Oh, and several labels tell me to "take twice daily," so there now are six (6) blister packs with which to contend for each.

All of those flat packages would overflow my medicine cabinet.

So, I take the time and effort to accomplish what my drug store used to do.

I asked my Big Box pharmacy if I could "go back" to the earlier way of storing and setting up my daily doses.

I was told that no, this is the way it is.*

But among competitive stores, I feel sure there is another one that will want my Rx business.

Should not have to travel all the way out to California either.

Hmmm. I used to drop off all my black & white film at a local Walgreens for developing and making prints.

Maybe it's time to go reacquaint myself with the store in my neighborhood.

Be interesting to ask the pharmacist what he or she thinks of these easy-to-serve prescription blister packs.

Who would have thought that trained professionals could be replaced by a clerk.

Ah, but I remember when Kodak was THE leader in photography before digital came along. Things change. Including customer service.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

The blister pack is a tough pill to swallow.

*Update: The pharmacist at my nearby Walgreens said they can refill my prescriptions by counting and sliding the correct pills into bottles. They also will arrange to have all my Rx data sent from my Big Box store. Good to know for next time.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, December 20, 2013

I Was NOT Mis-Quoted...."

 Recently, a newsletter I receive from former fellow employees at the San Diego Union-Tribune asked if any of us had ever been interviewed. 

Really, it was asking if anyone had ever been victimized by the media?

Well, I responded, I WAS surprised when I met with the selection committee as a finalist for Director of Tourism for the State of Missouri in the 1970s.
Not surprised that I was a finalist - I knew I was very qualified - but stunned when I walked into a board room in the Capital and saw media was present.

 Yes, press and TV people were in the same room while I was being interviewed. Yikes.

A video camera was rolling, and two men with pads and pencils were making notes as I described to the committee what actions I would do first if I were chosen to be the Director.

This was still the selection process...not a press conference by the new Director!

I didn't know if the other contenders for the job had the media join in for their discussions.

But it was unsettling that news people were sitting and standing at the end of the board room table as I responded.

It's one thing to talk to the people who would be your immediate bosses.

This was completely different.

Everything I said COULD be quoted to the ultimate audience of people I would be serving - the 5,000,000 residents of the Show Me state.

The expression "this could come back to haunt me" passed through my mind.

I started to tick off my vision of how the state could and should be promoted.

How advertising dollars might be spent and target consumers selected.
None of the media interrupted as I spoke or while I answered questions from the committee members. The print guys jotted down my words as I tried to avoid looking directly into the camera.

We recapped the seven years I had been with the Convention & Visitors Bureau promoting the Kansas City area.

I reminded them I had made many trips to St, Louis .

And to the  Lake of the Ozarks and the Branson "Music City" area as well as down into the "bootheel" in the lower right hand corner of the state.    
 I realized I was talking on two levels: 

1. For the selection group in the room and  2. For the media message to the general public, the citizens of Missouri.

They might get an advance peek as they heard and read about this 40-year old man who -- maybe -- would be spending tax dollars to bring millions of visitor dollars to the state.
It took me two hours to drive from Jefferson City back to my home in Kansas City.

My mind was trying to remember all that I had said during the interview. 

When I got home I found my wife had been called to let her know that I had been named the new Missouri Director of Tourism.

I can't remember now if a committee member had called or a newsman.

Here's a picture of me the day before I drove over to the middle of the state for my interview.

I was pretty sure a clean shaved face was a good move if I wanted to be chosen for this public role.

I could always grow another beard.

Next, I got to meet the governor who, I found, had backed a different candidate for the tourism position. 

The news was full of details about his reaction to that!
No, I was not victimized by tv or newspapers and I thoroughly enjoyed my four years in print and on the evening news.

I even got to blow up some dynamite!

Local officials helped me push the plungers at a "ground breaking" media event. 

This was for a new State Information Center being built overlooking the HarryTruman Twin Stadium Sports Complex.

During my time in office we added three new Visitor's Centers to make a total of six.

(Click on the photos for more details. Not all will get much larger.)

The explosion expert in KC had suggested a quarter stick of dynamite. "Hmm," I said, "so half a stick would be really dramatic!"

He also added a bucket of flour to enhance the image.

We were pelted with dirt and stones and dusted with a white coat of powder!

Loved it.


Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, December 15, 2013

"Life Imitates Art..." Oscar Wilde

So, I was reading the paper a few days ago and thought B.C. was funny.

Even funnier when I walked out front to see what all the noise was about.

Yikes. My neighbor was having her roof done. Yes...a metal roof.

I remembered the Oscar Wilde quote right away. "Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life," Wilde had stated.

Apparently they had just positioned the first sheet on the roof at the front of her house

I had a front row seat to watch the Roof Doctor crew from Ladson.

In keeping with the black & white nature of the cartoon, I converted this picture to just two colors.

The neighbor explained her decision to re-roof with black metal panels. Huh? I had taken a few photos before I realized the material was black.

But I was already visualizing how these pictures would look in high contrast non-color.

When I first got into photography, black and white was the norm and color was not something you would try to develop at home.

I made a darkroom at home back in the 1950s when I was in high school.

Before that, I was a regular customer, dropping off rolls of film at Walgreens downtown.

Wait a week and come back for your prints.

When I graduated from Bishop England high school, I was working at Norvell's Camera Exchange on the corner of Calhoun and King.

We sent all the color processing to Kodak in Chamblee, Georgia but Harold Norvell had a B&W darkroom built upstairs in the Francis Marion Hotel.
OK, my neighborhood is actually in color.

Here's a view later in the day as the guys on the roof followed directions from the foreman on the ground.

Still can't tell the panels are creating a shiny black roof.

I went online to see if there was any link still existing for the Camera Exchange where I sold cameras and equipment in 1957.

I did find a recent article that mentions another Charleston photographer's experience with the store and Mr. Norvell.

Click the link and check it out. It's written by my friend Jason Zwicker.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

I hope I am crediting the B.C. cartoon properly.

Thanks for stopping by. Please come again.

The new roof really is black!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Here's a Tip: 'Tis The Merry Season!

It's that time of year when the postal service works twice as hard.

Catalogs keep on coming.

Your mailbox is stuffed with holiday sales cheer. Over stuffed.

The refuse collector truck slows down and they take a little longer to pick up your trash... just in case you want to come out and thank them.

(When my Dad used to put out extra large piles of scraps from his shop, he'd place a cold 6-pack of Pepsi on top. Especially on hot humid days.)

It's really not fair. The mailman can't just leave a holiday note to remind me how good they have been in bringing things to me.

Nor the trash man suggesting that a monetary remuneration would be appreciated for the fine job they do hauling away things from me.

The real winner is the fellow (lady?) who places my daily newspaper literally at my door.

I'm usually not awake when the delivery person makes his/her rounds.

Every morning though, when I open the door, there it is.

If it's rainy and damp out, the paper is double bagged to keep it fresh for me to spread out on my kitchen table.

This morning, inside the bag with the news, was a  Merry Christmas card in a blank white envelope.

The card was stamped with a name and a mailing address. Pretty slick!

You'd think the Postal Service would have thought of that as a logical way to let me easily reward my mail carrier.

I'll figure it out.

Also on Trash Day.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Remember, Tipping is NOT a city in China.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, December 07, 2013

A Walk In The Park...

The predicted rain showers did not appear this Saturday morning so I went to my first Tai Chi In The Park session.

This local MeetUp group meets monthly in, well, in a park.

Last month it was in Azalea Park in Summerville.

The January outdoor training event will be at the Battery, in White Point Gardens, next to the gazebo.

With benefits including movement, balance and healing. Tai Chi is a good way to stay active I have been told.

Turns out I was the only first-timer there today.

One lady had attended once before but the rest were very agile and much smoother in their movements than I.

I saw a squirrel in Park Circle that outperformed my efforts.

It was much more activity than I anticipated.

It was NOT just a Slo-Mo type of line dance, these people broke a sweat as they performed the ritual steps, dips, twists and hand movements.

Later Saturday, North Charleston would have a celebration at Park Circle, officially opening the festive holiday season lights.

Cars will slowly drive around the circle as riders ooh and aah at the annual Christmas spectacle.

As the Tai Chi session ended, the leader had added leg kicks. I was using muscles "in my core" that I had not really thought about before.

He encouraged us to "float" with the motions as we "went with the flow" or "pushed away."

My muscles are feeling the effects now. In a good way.

It was suggested that I get some books about Tai Chi to be better informed and I will. I also have found some DVDs online that demonstrate the "first four positions."

Another mentions the "first eight steps" so I don't see this as a fast education. It seems like a healthy discipline worth learning.

I'll leave all the technical and background explanations to people who have studied  this internal martial art that is practiced for both defense training and for its health benefits.

When I was in San Francisco, I saw groups like this outdoors and admired the slow movements and feeling of calm and mental clarity.

We all can use some of that.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

Thanks for stopping by.

It was a nice day in the Park (Circle).

Drive by at night to see the lights.

Stay limber.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, December 02, 2013

DANGER - Learning Curves Ahead....

Almost three years ago, I got my first true Smartphone, the Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V. 

The "V" stood for Virgin Mobile, the carrier, and it came without a 2-year contract. Yea!

Each month I paid a flat rate of $25 and received pretty much an unlimited package.

I was allotted 300 minutes of actual phone time but I seldom used more than 100 minutes a month so that was "unlimited" to me. Yes, I bought a funky replica phone handset to plug in to get a startled reaction. Used maybe twice.

The Optimus V had GPS built-in and I could voice where I wanted to go so that was pretty slick. 

The calendar entry was synchronized with my PC computer so I could keep tabs of upcoming events and have a diary of past ones.

The texting and online use WAS unlimited and that was the happiest part.

Wow. Having a computer in my pocket was fantastic but it took me quite a while to stop thinking "I'll look that up when I get home."

Today I bought my second Smart phone - the Google/Motorola Moto-X - after several hours delay online due to a $150 Cyber Monday discount, but it was worth the wait! 

My original choice had been the Nexus 5 ($350 with no contract) and the Moto-X was at $500...before they matched the lower priced Nexus 5 for today only.

The carrier is T-Mobile and I'll have 4G.

The Nexus was back-ordered until mid-December so I was able to cancel it.

The Moto-X is supposed to ship within a few days. I chose the basic black model.

I am still a newbie techie so I expect I'll slowly learn its features but the online reviews and details imply it will come pretty naturally - even to me.

Hope so.

motorola moto X home screen

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

Hmm, these pictures are lifted from the internet so may not enlarge.

When I get my actual new phone, I'll take my own photos and probably swap out what is shown here.

Hey, I'm a photographer.

That's what I do.

Labels: , , , , ,