Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sort of like a "barn raising"...but with no barn.

The loaded trailer backed in to my yard at 10 am on Monday, April 28.

It was my birthday and this was a BIG unwrapped present.

It had been about 2 months since I ordered the 12' x 20' x 5' car port.

That delay was a bit more than I anticipated.

There were exchanges back and forth with me, T-N-T Carports and the local Leonard Building company.

Also involving Hanahan City Hall and its permitting department.

But it was here now and I showed the foreman the flat, cleared space I had roped off.

I watched as the pieces were taken off in a planned sequence.

Small pieces were attached to larger pieces and
sturdy shapes started to emerge.

These three men did not pause.

There was no coffee break.

They performed a ballet of synchronized movements.
The base plates were quickly put into place on both sides.

Then they were  "tacked" down until a small machine was used to auger in the 3- foot long bladed stakes.

These would anchor the entire unit to the ground.

Meanwhile "arches" were being formed that would be the ribs of the shed.

One by one, they were hefted overhead and walked into position.
I could see exactly the shape of my new protective covering.

I stepped inside to refill my coffee and, in the short time I was gone, they finished positioning the last two arches.

Now they were carefully making sure everything was square.

Measuring, tugging, using levels, they finally felt it was ready to have the roof attached.

Additional braces were being installed.

A taut orange construction twine was wrapped around the entire unit and levels then ensured all was plumb.

A nudge here and a slight push or kick there had posts in the correct position.

Then bolts and screws were drilled to hold them there.

I was satisfied I had selected a great spot for this car protector.

Now that everything was square, it was time to apply the roofing panels.
 Out of nowhere, several folding ladders appeared and were positioned where needed.

One man climbed on top to start securing the panels as they were hoisted up and slid into place.

I was impressed the unit could hold a person walking on top.

I'm sure he was careful to step only on supporting beams.

But I knew squirrels would not weight it down and cause damage.

Those yard pests are a reality as they hop from tree to tree to roof to roof and scamper around teasing my "inside" cat.

So, there it is. My new Car Port.


These men had arrived, unloaded and built this beauty in one hour and 32 minutes.

I checked online: Mt. Airy was 306 miles north of here.

It had taken them about 4 and a half hours to get here.

Wherever the next site was, I am sure they have set a record erecting it.

There was a wait and some long gaps of uncertainty, but, I am totally pleased with the end product.

I'm glad to report that the three trees that were moved from this site appear to be snapping back from the transplant.

(Click on the photos for more detail.) Click on the link to T-N-T to get information on what they can build for you.

Park responsibly.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Digging the hole deeper.....

It has taken a while but I have been told my long-awaited car port will be here tomorrow. I ordered it March 5.

Yes, if it arrives and is erected, it actually will be a Birthday Present.

Mis-communications, conflicting statements, bureaucratic fumbling and outright BS, has been involved in getting this car protector down from Mt. Airy, North Carolina.

Planning to get a shed from T-N-T? Make sure you don't need it in a hurry.

I had plenty of time to think about WHERE I wanted it. Now it will be beside the house.

Three trees had grown there - and been ignored - but I wanted to move them so I started digging to free the roots.

I remembered 10 years ago when I pounded a Mole Chaser into the ground.

There were plenty of moles but no tree then.  It would vibrate and scare the critters away. Sorry neighbor! Now you know where your moles came from.

Over the years a tree developed and its roots extended out and wrapped around the battery-powered vibration maker.

The device stopped working years ago and the moles continue to tunnel in my yard.
I suppose I could drop in new D-cell batteries and see if it still works.

Actually this tree got a good deal.

Its attachment to the shiny device made me dig deeper than I had planned.

But, more roots will give it a better chance to bounce back from the transplanting.

I cut back a lot on the trees to aid the recovery and I am trickling water from a hose to give them a fighting chance.

The sunny days have helped too I am sure and rain is forecast in a day or two so more water .

The only one I can recognize is a 5-foot tall pine tree.

(Click on the pictures if you want more detail.)

Hope the car port is in place before the rains start.

I think Mother Nature owes me.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

"A Day At The Beach".... in my birthday suit.

Part of my Week long 75th Birthday Celebration was accepting a delicious FREE gift dinner at The Grill & Island Bar on Center Street.

They wisely allow me the entire month to come in as their guest.

So, naturally I delayed and now find myself with only a few days left, hence creation of the "Birthday Week of Dining Free."

Wednesday was a marvelous day and nice crowds at Folly.

I did not dip my toe in the water and the only sand I encountered was that tracked into the Blu bar at the Tides hotel.

Was pleasantly surprised by the bright new look at Snapper Jacks.

The lady behind the bar said new owners have been busy getting all the changes made before Summer.

They added those garage doors that slide up so you have an open-air window to Center Street.

An expanded second floor now has an updated deck.

The new tents or tarps are due in a few days the chatty bartender added.

If you are looking for a view, keep going up the stairs to the Rooftop bar.

It has three tents flapping in the breeze overhead as you look out at the pier.

Good angle to see the only traffic light on the entire island.

Last time here, I looked down and snapped a picture of a car passing by with two surfboards sticking out the sunroof.

My bad: I did NOT get the name of the fellow playing guitar on a sunny weekday afternoon.


I will call there and try to get his name.

That is my version of reverse fact-checking. Sigh.

I did like the shadows that formed on the deck and his songs were entertaining.

He sang one about going fishing.

That reminded me of a fishing guide in Florida who promised that for $75 he would take you out fish CATCHING.

No fish - no fee.

I still have a birthday coupon for the sister restaurant Crab Shacks but I'll go to either the one in West Ashley or Coosaw Creek.

I like to spread my (no cost) patronage around!
Speaking of spreading, here's a snapshot taken at Blu @ the Tides Hotel.

The iconic image of The Endless Summer from the 1960s caught my eye. Hard to miss.

This was a large surfer dude and I didn't want to argue or even discuss ideal wave heights with him.

It was a perfect setting as a surfing competition was to begin the next day. Probably at the Wash Out.

As I was leaving Folly, I saw this hanging out front at a gift shop.

Probably NOT where surfers would congregate.

This was several blocks down - and across the street - from the lawyer's office next to City Hall.

It has a distinctive sign as well, depicting a huge shark., mouth wide open.

Stopped at a fairly new crafts beer place on Folly Road called the Bohemian Bull.

Last November it opened after incorporating several buildings sitting next to the roller skating rink.

The Bull offers an array of pub grub and upscale beers at upscale prices.

The 11.5 ABV beer I had was in a 10oz glass.

Did the math and figured one beer at a dollar an ounce would hold me until I got to the last stop on my weekday outing.

I also had bought a coupon from Frothy Beard Brewing .

That special deal ended the next day so it was added to the mix of the 7-day celebration.

End a beer-drinking day with a little more beer?

Sure. That makes sense to me.

Eat and drink in a sensible manner, spacing when you have the next one, and there should be no problem.

One of the samples offered on the menu had the word Peppermint in its name and I was not too pleased with what I was drinking so, for the next one, I made sure I ordered a pale ale. Yep, the ale was the one with an overpowering pepper taste.

Steve quickly swapped it out for a delightful Irish red.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

Drink and take pictures safely. 

Don't discuss t-shirts with a guy wearing a 3XL size.

Have a Happy Birthday but only have one a year.

It can last a week though.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

"Born In The U.S.A".....but, hold your hurrahs.

It's been about 4-5 years since I stood in line - several of them -  at a Bruce Springsteen concert.

One line got me involved in a lottery that his people set up in each city.

Many fans follow The Boss from town to town so he rewards (some) of the lucky ones with special seating, er, standing, right in front of the stage.

I won in Charleston and stood among people who knew to bring
posters with song title suggestion. Instead of a set list of songs, he gets his cues from the crowd.

They support him in other ways too as I saw Saturday night in Charlotte.

There was a runway built cross the floor, splitting the audience, and he danced and strutted out there a few times to slap hands, pick up more signs with titles of his songs and even hoist a young girl up on his shoulder.

Shortest way back to the main stage is a straight line so he just leaned back, kept singing and the audience passed him along to the front.

There were 15 members of the band - including the talented backing singers and a huge horn section.

I remember the violin player way over on stage right from the Charleston show.

Bruce has a reputation of putting on a long, long show and did not disappoint.

More than 3 hours of fantastic music with one crowd-pleaser after another and the singalong factor was loud and clear.

This time I was seated on the side at the Time-Warner arena. Locals call it the Cable Box.

Unlike the folding chairs usually found on the floor area, these were soft and cushioned...and perhaps a wee bit wider?

Basketball season ticket holders sit up here so the seats are definitely more comfortable.

The show ran just a bit over 2 hours but then came the encores.

I don't think the sponge filled with cooling water was only for show!

I recalled from last time that the main microphone is securely anchored to the stage.

Bruce can almost pole dance on some songs as he swings around the stand and leans way, way out to the sides.

He's very physical and energetic as he holds up another sign, shows it to the band and they take off on a fan favorite.

He covered Mustang Sally and reminded the crowd that, like the iconic Ford, he and several groups (longest with the E Street Band) has been performing for 50 years. Yikes.

I understand "Born In The USA" has not been a staple on the concert tours but he sang it with grit Saturday night.

As the link explains, it is often mistaken as a puff song about the glory of our wonderful country and was even used as a rally cry by President Ronald Reagan and the GOP right after it came out.

But, take a moment and read the lyrics. Springsteen had a totally different intent with his message.

On the ride home Sunday, I thought I saw a motorcycle with training wheels in front of me.

As I got closer, I could see it was a 3-wheel vehicle. The single drive wheel was in the rear.

Had passed a few trailers loaded with sporty 4-wheel ATVs and, of course, had been roared past by the usual 2-wheel Harleys.

I liked the smiley face English muffin depicted on the back of the truck. Bet the biker was smiling too because the heavy rain from the day before had gone away.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

As I look over the many shots I had taken, I'll probably add a few more.

No...not of the biker.

More views of "The Boss" Bruce Springsteen.

Yeah, here's a few more....encore!

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Chuck checks Chuck while Chuck checks....

Jeff Nalbach (friends with Chuck Boyd
also commented on Chuck Boyd's photo.
Jeff wrote: "Notification on my FB "Chuck Boyd and 
Chuck Boyd also commented on Chuck Boyd's picture"
...Whoa, thought I was drunk for a min. or seeing 
double! Very funny to read that!!"

Well, there is a reason for the confusion. Let me try to give some background.

I grew up using my middle name - Lee - until I joined the Marines

and decided to use my first name, Charles.

The Marine DIs (Drill Instructors) called me many, many things in 

Boot Camp. Often my real name.

Eventually I settled on Chuck and have been called that for 

more than 55 years.
My brother's youngest boy, my nephew 
who lives in Florida, from birth
was called Charlie.

Then, a few years ago, I heard he now 

wanted to be called Chuck.

I really don't have an exclusive on that

name so I would try to remember to 
call him that.

Usually I just continued to think of the

young man as Charlie.

This is an old picture, taken of him when

I lived in Burbank, California.

My brother, his wife and their three boys 

came out for a visit and liked playing in my
backyard pool.

Little Charlie was still in diapers and loved 
to wiggle free and go bareback.

I am sure he wears a bathing suit now 
when at a pool or at the beach. 

Charlie, er, I mean Chuck is married and 
has two daughters. He founded 
CBoyd Media  videography company in Tampa/Clearwater.

Click on the link and, if you need some great work done, tell him Chuck sent you.

Thanks for stopping by.

There, that should clear up the confusion.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Blues By The Sea.....

Wow! Has it really been ten years?

Yep. Sunday was the 10th Annual Blues By The Sea at Freshfields Village Green on Kiawah Island.

Pretty sure I have been to all of them.

Thanks go to Gary Erwin, Blues keyboard, drums and guitar man, recording artist, and promoter. He's the blue believer who brought Charleston 21 straight years of a February Blues Bash.

Gary drew legendary musical stars as well as new, up and coming players to his annual 2-week long songfest party.

His opening act Sunday was Shelly Waters, from Rayne, Louisiana, known as the "Swamp Pop Princess."

She charmed the crowd in the packed tent and the grassy lawn, with a mixture of Cajun, old time country and New Orleans R & B.

After a break, the second performer was a true legend from the early 60s folk blues revival, Spider John Koerner, from Minneapolis.

I have not seen nearly enough strong 12-string artists, but he produced an enormous amount of music.

Gary even managed to produce a gorgeous Spring day before rain and clouds were due back late Monday.

A free concert in a great setting on a pretty day.

The crowd was generous with its applause and appreciation and I was hardly the only one with a camera.

A huge white tent had been purchased a few years ago with money and support from the Kiawah Island Accommodations Tax Committee to ensure "the show would go on."

Our folding chairs and blankets were spread out under the shady covering and people were seated all around the stage , amid the blooming azaleas.

A family-friendly atmosphere that encouraged youngsters to discover the Blues.

Beverly Guitar Watkins was amazing building up to the headliner.

We're both 75 and she outdistanced me by many miles.

I sat with her before she played at Sticky Fingers downtown a few years ago.

Thought then I hoped I would be as active when I got to be her age.

Oops. I was already there.

I saw a "Madonna with Nikon" handle several complex roles as the bands played on.

I like to be in a crowd and use my small inconspicuous digital camera.

It's only about the size of a pack of cigarettes but has a powerful 20x zoom.

This lets me come very, very close but not be "in the face" of a subject.

You don't want to draw attention when you're doing "crowd shots."

It would have been hard to NOT notice the quite impressive beard of this face in the crowd.

Later,  he took to the stage with this year's headliner Tinsley Ellis, the guitar strongman from Atlanta.

This is his bassist. Known as Evil 1.

Tinsley is now headlining festivals all across North America.

Many of us recall his memorable nights playing hard riffs at the Sand Dollar Social Club on Folly Beach.

Another new sight was the food truck of all food trucks.

Welcome to the Coastal Craft and Cru. 

A classic 1956 Ford V8 hauling around craft draft beers, bottled beers and wines.

The other side is where they store the folding table, er, I mean the clever bar.

This side folds up to form a roof over their heads. I was told they are caterers and have an even older vintage truck that can pull up to make fresh pizza in your driveway or lawn.
"..Saw a man dance with his wife"....while holding a small dog in his left hand.

After a bit, he passed the doggie over to her to hold as they continued moving with the music.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

It was a fun day in the sun.

Relaxing on the green with a gentle breeze wafting through.

Gary, we REALLY like your style.

Keep doing what you're doing and we'll keep coming to your parties.

(Do dogs really like to dance?)

 I know cats do not.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

First at the Bridge Run Finish Line....

I did the Cooper River Bridge Run for 13 years.

Well, actually the Bridge WALK.

Have all the bibs hanging on the wall, along with photos of the first "roller coaster" 2-lane John P. Grace bridge we all crossed as it wobbled and shook.

The next year, the race moved to the 3-lane Silas Pearman and I walked that one until the Ravenel opened in 2005.

In '05, I walked on our side of the 8-lanes and then stopped doing any more.

I'll start the Walk again when a new bridge is added.

But this was the first year I arrived at the finish line on Meeting Street BEFORE anyone from Kenya. Or Ethiopia. Or Morocco.

Of course, this was Friday, the night before the race.

I had just come from a Todd Barry comedy show up the street at Theatre 99 and saw the structure was still being built.

The comedian was doing a "Crowd Work" show, basing his humor on interchanges with the audience. Some were great and some just so-so, depending on the energy - and responses - from the individuals.

When the 37th annual bridge run was brought up, he went into a funny rant about "all this fuss about a dinky 6.2 mile race?"

"You have to be kidding, I can't find a hotel room anywhere downtown because of THAT?

"I would have walked further than that from my hotel room in North Charleston!"

I'm glad Mayor Keith Summey wasn't there that Friday night. His town took a LOT of abuse.

"Is there a South Charleston? Is the peninsula basically 'Middle Charleston?'"

Then the audience tried to explain South of Broad and he came back with some SOB comments that were very funny.

The Folly Beach "Edge of America" was discussed as well.

The two destinations were mentioned a lot. Maybe the crowd felt they could throw out those "safe" references and be less likely to be ridiculed.
I learned years ago that empty seats in the front row were vacant for a reason.

At a stand-up comic performance, you might be randomly targeted and perhaps asked "What's your name" Is that your wife or a hooker?

So I tend to sit a few rows back, especially if the whole act is talking to audience members. 

I saw him a few years ago and he had a lady in the front row raving about working at Guiseppe's Pizza.

I think the Mt. Pleasant eatery has changed hands - and name - but it was a funny few moments.

"Joe Seppy? That's the name of the place? Go to Joe for a pie?"

Actually, I saw there was an empty seat in the front row at Theatre 99  last Friday night.

Smart move.

(Click on the photos for more detail.)

 A night shot on Meeting Street in the dark is quite a challenge.

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Sunday, April 06, 2014

For a few EXTRA dollars....

There has been quite a bit of movie and tv filming around Charleston.

Reminded me of my time working for Universal Studios in Los Angeles, back in the 1970s. There I could roam the giant and diverse Back Lot.

Now I am living in a large setting for productions.

Last year I signed up on the local website to be a part of this Silver Screening Activity: An Atmosphere person. A Backgrounder. A paid Extra.
But, nothing happened. No calls from Lifetime's Army Wives during its 7 years of tours in Charleston.

Didn't hear back from casting for sultry Reckless on CBS.

Or that other one, on Bravo, Southern Charm, with Mr. Ravenel. (Has he been shown yet driving over THAT bridge?)
Finally I was asked to be way in the background on Identity,
a pilot being shot by CBS for possible pickup later this summer.

Apparently my name and photo had been passed around to various productions and - finally - an old retired guy with white hair was needed.

I had a 3:30 pm call Wednesday at the old Naval Hospital on Rivers Avenue.

I was to be part of a background crowd of assorted doctors, nurses, interns, orderlies, and EMS first-responders.

Oh yes, AND some patients.

I also had been told I might be used as a family member in civvies, visiting the hospital but - lucky me - I was handed a white wife-beater shirt and an open-in-the-back hospital gown.

So I went to the dressing room trailer, one of many bright white vehicles parked inside the barb-wire topped fence by the entrance to the long-closed hospital.

I had been told to bring lounging pants/sweatpants and slippers. My butt was not going to be visible. And, no draft.

I now was about to learn how to be a patient patient.

The instructions were to NOT wear primary colors (they hate RED) and my pair of grey checked pajama bottoms were rejected because "it might cause problems for the camera."

Well I knew I didn't want to be a trouble-maker on the set with bothersome pjs drawing the attention of the cameraman or director.

We went "on the clock" at 3:30 and lounged around in a large room that I guess used to be the main lobby. The 10-story building had opened in 1973, started slowing down in 1993 and closed in 2007.

We costumed extras ate snacks, read or used tablets, Smartphones and iPods, wandered down to the crafts food truck for bottled water and found where the Porta-Potties were placed.

One "nurse" commented she had three children and had attended many "boo-boos" so was comfortable portraying a medical person.

A doctor nearby munched on a healthy red apple and I gave him  a "thumbs up." Two other doctors gave conflicting views on smoking.

I had left my camera in my car, thinking surely it would not be allowed, but noted most had a cell phone and were taking snapshots.

We were still waiting for other scenes ahead of us to be filmed (or taped) and my rumbling stomach was pleased when the crew came streaming past us for the 6:30 pm "lunch break."

We were invited to join the crew by the P.A. (Production Assistant) who herded us to the craft food tent nearby.

Parked at the curb was the mobile kitchen I assume was used to prepare the delicious meals.

Naturally, as a blogger, I used my phone-cam to show my tasty fried chicken plate. Catfish and BBQ ribs were the other protein choices.

After the meal, the P.A. had staff issue us the props we would use in our two hospital scenes.

While others now were wearing ID badges and stethoscopes, the EMS duo strapped on thick Batman-like black belts with their pouches and equipment.

Authentic-looking shiny metal badges were pinned to their white shirts.

We patients now wore fake hospital wrist bands. Hmmm. Mine said I was one of the Smith girls. 

Should I ask for a another one, a male bracelet? Well, it was very tiny type.

I'm sure the fictitious Doc Kevin Miller was a fine chap. 

Probably an OB-GYN though.

A wheel chair appeared and another fellow was given crutches. He later would have a fake cast applied to his left lower leg.

I was to be the "old patient pushing an IV bottle on a wheeled stand."

A medical technical expert examined how each patient looked, made suggestions and said they now could tape my IV to the back of my right hand.

No needle means no pain.

I liked my prop but was a little jealous of the young man who would have a GSW* and be rolled into the ER on a bloody gurney

*Everybody else called it a gun shot wound but I had heard the initials on a tv crime show. And I have a daughter who's a detective in Oakland so I had heard the term.

Close to 8 pm, we carried our props (I rolled mine) and moved two rooms closer to the working set.

Now we had to be very quiet and absolutely silent between hearing  "Rolling" and "Cut."

There was some whispering as we were briefed and assumed our assigned positions in the hallway leading to the ER entrance.

Every hospital scene has people moving around in the background in a busy flurry of orchestrated activity.

Now I had a start point and, on hearing "Background," I would shuffle my way through the moving crowd, pushing my IV bottle along, with a sad but ever hopeful expression, turn right just at the ER doors and step out of view and wait to hear "Cut." 

This would be followed by a bellowed "Re-Set," and all the extras would quickly scramble back to the start position. Actually 10 or so crew members were hustling in and around us, adjusting lights, carrying tubing and strange shaped metal supports until the last second when they darted out of sight. 

We did this 17 times.

Then we returned to the nearby Quiet Zone waiting area.

Two hours later, we were assigned new start positions on a different hallway, the filming began and ended, was reset and done over with slight changes in camera angles. About 15 - 20  times.

At 12:45 am, we turned in our props and costumes, I grabbed one last chocolate chip cookie and nodded to the new crew of extras who had been waiting for their 10:00 pm call.

We had been told to NOT talk to the actors so I was quiet when the show's star Ahna O'Reilly took a break, sipping bottled water, in a room opposite me as I stood on my second late night start spot.

I drove home knowing I had made $58.00 but - maybe more importantly - was now on a short list of dependable extras who had committed, shown up on time and would (hopefully) be called again.

Oh yeah, after 8 hours, the pay jumps to time and a half!

(Click on the photos for more behind-the-scenes detail.)

I worked all day in sweatpants and slippers.

And nobody had snickered "ICU."

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